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Katrina is a realistic and passionate optimist focused on actively challenging the way others think about themselves, others, and their world.  She has a Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology, is a certified Adult & Kid's Yoga Instructor,  and founder of Bagus Kids, a child focused company inspired to create fun, mindful products for children.  Katrina is an avid world traveler and do-gooder working for causes in children's education and the environment. You can follow her humorous, personal reflection on Life, Dating, Feminism & Political Social Change here at  Breathe, Smile, Listen 

Too Pretty and Actually Smart

Too Pretty and Actually Smart

Prettiness is not the rent you pay for a space marked female” -Diana Vreeland

I worked hard to get my Master’s Degree, and continued to focus on additional courses in the areas of language acquisition, with a focus on Autism Spectrum Disorders.
 
Having already been fortunate enough to have traveled through Europe and Japan. I saved my money to travel to Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Kenya.
 
Dating wasn’t much of a concern.
 
And then one night a girlfriend from my University called me.
 
“There’s a party tonight with some guys from school. You should come,” she says.
 
“Nope. I’m really trying to get a break from people from our University,” I say back.
 
“Just come. What else are you going to do? If you hate it, you can leave,” she insists. 
 
“Okay but if I have to sit through medical conversations at a party I’m out.” (I went to a graduate school that was connected to a medical school.)
 
“Yay! See you there,” she says.
 
Walking into the party I immediately met a nice, smart, funny, good looking guy. We had that instant click and talked the rest of the night. We had our first official date a few days later and it flowed on.
 
We were annoyingly cute. We liked the same things, shared similar views, same sense of humor, and I loved his family.
 
One-night walking hand in hand at an art show, a man he knew stopped to say hi. My boyfriend introduced me.
 
“Oh, she’s too pretty for you. How’d you get her?” he says laughing.
 
 “Yeah she is and she’s actually smart. She has her Master’s Degree,” he says squeezing my hand.
 
Actually? Did he just say I’m actually smart? Is that surprising because I’m pretty? Even if I didn’t have my degree I’d still be smart.
 

But with all my smartness I couldn’t think of anything funny to say.       
 
“Bet she’s stoked she scored a Doctor,” he laughs.
 
Yep this too pretty, actually smart girl is so lucky to have finally scored a Doctor. My life is now complete.  Lucky me asshole. 

(My brother’s a Doctor, I have girlfriends that are Doctors. It’s not a novelty.) 
 
“Oh she’s doing well for herself,” my boyfriend says as an attempt to stick up for me.
 
“Well she won’t have to work for long,” the man laughs.  
 
Does nobody see that I’m standing right here?
 
Just breathe through it Katrina. Breathe, smile, and hope this painful exchange ends quick.

 
We walk away and I finally thought of something funny to say. My boyfriend laughs.
 
 You can’t fight every battle.
 
The relationship continued on seemingly seamless.
 
Until one-night walking away from his work party it came to an abrupt end.
 
“That was fun!” I say hugging him.
 
He looks coldly at me, “Why don’t you just go f** him? All the guys stare at you. I’m done with it.”
 
“What?  Are you joking? Who? Wait what? You’re joking right?”
I say shocked.
 
Did he not just see how awesome I had been making an effort to talk to all of his people.  He has to be kidding.
 

But it got worse.  He angrily says…
 
“I can’t stand that everyone likes you. People tell me how pretty you are and it makes me feel like shit. My friends like you. My family likes you.  I hate it. You’re funny. You’re way too pretty and actually smart.  I’m done with it. Guys are always looking at you. I can’t do this. You just want to get married anyway. That’s all girls want is to get married.”  
 
Woah…. What is he saying?
 
Are these compliments?
 
I’m glad he recognizes I’m funny. I am pretty funny. Did he just say I’m pretty, smart, likable, and he wants to marry me?
 

No. That’s not what he said. He’s angry. What’s he saying?
 
I reprocess it.
 
He’s breaking up with me.
 
I burst out crying.
 
I quickly apologize for anything I may have done that I wasn’t aware of but how do I become un-pretty, un-smart, and un-likeable. I can’t apologize for that.
 
And no I don’t just want to get married. I never even talked about marriage. And no that’s not what all women want. But as a woman, you’re screwed when that topic comes up. If you say yes, you’re the girl who just wants to get married. If you say no, you’re bitter. Yes, I’d like to get married someday based on a good relationship. Preferably one where I’m not getting yelled at for being likable.
 
Now it makes me laugh but at the time I was devastated.
 
 I sat at home for a week eating shitty food.
 
Might as well just start un-prettying myself.
 
Perhaps not an award worthy moment in his life but he wasn’t a bad guy.  I could have handled the aftermath a bit more graciously. Although, I’m not sure I’m entirely accountable for what a week of cheap wine and pints of half-baked made me say.
  
There I was again heartbroken and confused.
 
He seemed fine with smart women.  What seemed to push him over the edge was it was paired with too pretty and likable.
 
Okay so let me get this straight. As a woman I can’t be too pretty, but it helps to be a little pretty? I can’t be too smart, but it helps to be a little smart? If I’m not that pretty than I can be really smart but If I’m really pretty than I can only be a little bit smart? Or I can just be okay pretty and okay smart and then it’s all okay.  Hmmm.
 
So if I want a guy to think I’m smart don’t make myself any prettier that won’t help. Or do I want him to think I’m not that smart and just be pretty so it’s not threatening?  Definitely can’t be pretty and likable at the same time as smart. Apparently a deadly trifecta. Well, fuck me. I’m clearly not smart enough to figure this out so no one should be worried about the “smart” thing. I’ll get old so the “pretty” thing will take care of itself and much faster if I keep eating this shitty food and don’t leave the house.
 
Deep breath. It’s going to be okay. I can be smart and pretty and likeable. This is bullshit. I don’t know what I’m “supposed” to be as women that appeases men (at least the men I’m coming across) but all I can do is keep being that “2006 girl” who wants to be free to be me.
 
Why is this so hard?
 
This too pretty actually smart girl is moving on.... 

With Love XX

Kat

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