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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 

The Surfing Date

The Surfing Date

 “A girl should be two things; who and what she wants.”-Coco Chanel

Any woman that has lived near the ocean has dealt with the inevitable “surf date” request. 

I get it. I mean on the plus side the guy is trying to do something that isn’t just a standard drink or coffee date. I really appreciate the effort but really guys? Unless you are an amazing teacher, understand the ocean, and can truly put a person who doesn’t know how to surf into the right kind of waves please don’t do this to a woman that doesn’t surf. Just don’t.  

Not being a surfer at the time (I’ve now learned a little but I am far from a surfer) I got the inevitable request. 

I met my girlfriends for a drink.

“Any new dates?” one of my friends asks.

“This guy I met the other day asked me to go surfing. I told him I don’t know how but he said he could teach me. I just am nervous to agree. I really don’t know how to surf. He is pretty hot  though, ” I say. 

“Oh that’s way better that you don’t know how,” one friend says. 

 All of my girlfriends there surfed.  They nod in agreement. 

“What? What do you mean?” I ask. 

“Guys don’t really like it when you surf,” she says. 

“Especially if you surf better than them,” another friend adds.

“Sometimes I’ll tone it down and not catch waves because I’ve been out with  guys who seem upset when I do.  They don't want to go out with me again. ” she continues on. 

“What?” I ask. 

I’m so confused. 

I guess I’m not the only one that has learned to “dumb it down.”

“Yep. I’ve had that happen to me too. Once I had a surfing date. I was getting waves and he wasn’t.  He seemed so annoyed. He never asked me out again.” she says. 

“That doesn’t make any sense.” I say. 

Shouldn't it be about a connection?  

“I bet he will carry your board for you,” my friend says.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“If they know you surf they never help carry your board,” she says. 

“Shouldn’t that be a common sense thing? If it's too heavy he can help me out. If I’m managing fine then it’s cool.  If his is lighter and he is physically stronger we could trade. Common sense should kick in....right?” I say confused. 

“No. Common sense isn’t common,” she says.

“Also if they know you surf they won’t take you out on a date. It’s like you’re a buddy or something,"  my other friends adds. 

I laugh.

 Who knew it was so complicated.  So I would get preferential treatment for not being as good as a man? 

My friends convinced me that I have some sort of advantage and I should agree. 

 I agree to the surf date.  

The next morning he picks me up and we head to the beach. 

  Don’t stress about surfing just have fun and this will be fine.  

The weather had changed that morning to overcast and cold. We go to what I now know is a fast beach break meaning most of the waves close out or crash. Not ideal for learning to surf.

It starts raining. I see waves crashing all over. They look very inconsistent, it's raining a bit more, the wind is picking up, and I’m freezing. 

I look out and pause before I put on my wetsuit.

“You know it doesn't look that great out there. Maybe I should just sit this one out. You should go. I really don’t mind,’  I say.  It really looks bad out there.  

“No it’s fine,“ he says.

I weigh my options. 

He said he was a good teacher.  Suck it up and just do it Katrina. 

We paddle out. I’m avoiding the waves quite well. Mostly because I’m petrified of getting stuck in the the inside. I make it out, sitting on the board the waves looks scarier. It starts raining more. 

This is stupid. 

He takes off. 

Catching waves. Paddling in and out quickly. He waves at me and smiles. 

I give a half wave back and smile. 

You jackass. Why did I wave? I should have just lifted my middle finger. 

 “Catch a wave!” he yells out at me.

Really? This was all your f*** idea. “I’m a good teacher. I can help you.” 

….You’re not hot. You’re a liar. 

“I don’t know how!” I yell back.

“Just go for it!” he yells again. 

I sit there contemplating where I went wrong to be sitting on a board, freezing, in the rain, in big waves, watching him surf.

Well, what the hell. I can’t keep sitting here. I’m freezing. 

A wave comes. I paddle for it. 

The tip of the board goes down. I nose dive. The wave closes out. I tumble. The fin slices my leg bad. I hit my head on the bottom. I pop up covering my head. I get on my board and paddle in.  I’m bleeding.

I still have a scar across my leg.

He paddles in. 

“What happened?” he asks surprised. 

“I went for it,” I say matter of fact. 

“Does it hurt?” He asks.

“Yep.” I sound annoyed. 

“Oh shit. Sorry,” he says still completely clueless to any of his missteps. 

“I need to head home and clean it up,” I say. 

“I can carry your board for you,” he offers.

Well there you go. Chivalry isn’t dead. Cut your leg, hit your head, and it’s alive and well. 

He drives me home. 

“Want me to help?” he asks. 

“Nope. I’m good thanks,” I say as I get out. 

A few days later I got a bad sinus infection which I linked in my mind to the rain and the dirty water. 

Maybe it was out of sympathy, maybe he really liked me, maybe the girls were right and he was happy that I didn’t surf, or maybe he wanted me to watch him surf again, who knows but he did message for that second date. Sitting there with a fever  of 102 and a cut leg the answer was clear. 

No thanks. 

It took me years to paddle for a wave again. 

I’m not sure there is a point to this story other than as it turns out many women have learned to “dumb it down” in ways I wouldn’t have expected. 

Not only do women themselves do this,  they teach other women to do the same. We often reinforce to each other that to “get a man” you are  better off  if you aren’t as smart, aren’t as physically active, aren’t as competitive, or well basically just aren’t “better than” in any way. 

We make passing comments to each other such as,  “You’re too pretty and that’s intimidating to him.” or “You have such an amazing job and own your own place that has to be hard for a guy.” Think about it. At some point you’ve said it or you’ve heard it.  

I still remember vividly one of my earlier boyfriends laughing with his friends as one said, “ You don’t wanna date those bulldog women in medical school.“ (all the men were Doctors) I distinctly remember being offended and simultaneously thinking I guess it’s good I’m seen as “likable”.  

It happens in subtle ways so often we become immune. So immune, we say it without thinking and we hear it without giving it a second thought. Instead of standing up for ourselves and each other we feed right into it.

 I recently had a girlfriend ask, "Aren't you worried you will intimidate men by writing about these issues or they won't like you as much?"

My simple reply,  "No."

 I still choose to believe that you can be who you are and find a person that loves you even if it may take just a little longer. In the meantime…

If a man asks you to go on a surfing date (and you don’t surf), take a breath, smile, and listen to your intuition and say “hell no”...... unless you really think he is worth it and you’re willing to have that scar.  And if you surf then please catch every wave you can. There is a chance you won’t get that second date but you’ll gain something much better, your true self.


With Love xx

Kat

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