"It's 2007 A%@$#!!"
"I hope she'll be a fool--that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." -F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Then go be 2006 girl!” he shouts.
“I will! And It’s 2007 you A@$%#&! I yell back.
The door slams behind me. I get into my car. I’m crying so hard I can’t breathe. I take a few deep breaths to calm myself down. I call my parents.
My mom answers, “Honey are you okay? What happened?” I retell her the events that transpired. “Can you believe him, mom? Dad isn’t like this. I didn’t know guys were like this”
I have a suspicion many times when I’ve called home my parents look at each other thinking Oops.
“Why don’t you talk to your Dad.” she says. I’m sniffling from crying. “Dad why is he like this?”
“Well,” he says. “Some men are. You weren’t raised like that but a lot of men feel that way I hate to tell you. We wanted you to have a skill and have the ability to choose what you want.” He sounds worried for me but also a little amused that I really didn’t know.
This isn’t funny, damn it. I’m crying. My boyfriend is a sexist jerk and apparently I was supposed to have known this.
My mom gets back on the phone, “You know it can be nice to not work. I worked so hard because we had to. You could cook more.”
When have I ever cooked? The last time I tried to cook I had to call my mom every two seconds for clarification on what that dumb recipe said. “Put a dollop of cream in.”, Okay that’s easy enough. I can do that. Wait, how much is a dollop? What is a dollop? Argh.. call mom again.
“Mom, I don’t cook well. You know that. Remember how many times I had to call you last time?”
“Yeah, I really failed there huh? Maybe you can learn now if you have all that time?” Now she is laughing.
“Okay mom. I got to go.” This was ceasing to be helpful.
I grew up with three siblings and both my parents worked. My dad was “a guy’s guy” (whatever that means). He worked as an electrical lineman with a crew of, “guy’s guys”. Despite the way the media portrays it, my dad was always kind, and respectful to us and others. My mom at one point wanted to go to night school to get her Master’s Degree so my dad took over a lot of her typical duties. At another point in life my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and going through Chemo so my mom picked up the pieces. In short, I saw a partnership. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t perfect. But they loved each other, supported each other, and figured it out.
So when my college boyfriend, and I graduated with our degrees and “real life” began, I wasn’t prepared for how he saw life. He was a Dr. that already had a practice handed over to him by his father. He was content and ready to stay put. Meanwhile, I was ready to find out who I was through work, travel, and exploring. As you can guess, this wasn’t going to end well. Not to mention, we had completely different philosophical views on pretty much every area of life.
Then one night at dinner, that light hearted fun we had been having throughout school came to an end. That inevitable topic of marriage and kids came up.
“If we are married and have kids I wouldn't want you to work.” he says.
I started feeling claustrophobic and a shortness of breath. I wasn’t ready to have kids and I can’t imagine just being home. I just graduated.
"Would you adopt a blind dog?" I ask.
"No I wouldn't Katrina, and what are you even talking about? You're being ridiculous." He is annoyed.
"Well I would." (I realize I sounded absurd but my point was he expected life to be perfect and I didn’t. I actually tried adopting a blind dog years later but my current dog wasn't having it. Anyway back to my story)
“So let’s say we have kids and I don’t work, would you be willing to help out?” I’m playing out a million different scenarios in my head. “Would you, let’s say, take the kid to a Dr. appointment if I was busy?”
“Well no. I work hard so I wouldn’t have to. That would be purely your job.“, he states.
“So you wouldn’t help? Cause you work hard?", I’m getting upset.
“You should be thankful Katrina. So many women would love not to work. Even without kids you wouldn’t have to work.”
I thought about that for a second. That actually sounded fun. Without working maybe I could take some classes that interested me or we could travel. Okay calm down Katrina, take a breath, and try talking about that. I do and he looks angry.
“What’s wrong with what I said?” I ask.
“You really want me to say it?” He’s getting angrier.
“Yeah I do. Say it.” I knew this wasn't going to be pretty.
And out came a long rant about the roles of women. The arguing gets worse.
“This isn’t the 50’s.” I say getting up to leave.
Then, I hear that line that still to this day makes me cringe and laugh at the same time.
“You go be 2006 girl!” He shouts.
“I will! And it’s 2007 you A@#$%!
The door slams. He’s angry. I’m crying. My parents are confused how I was so unaware of this and I’m left just as confused.
I left shortly after. He told me I would fail, I would see how hard life was, and I would see what dirtbags men really were.
It wasn’t about working or not working. I have great respect for women who choose to not work outside the home. I never expected life to be easy or perfect. It was about wanting to be respected for who I was and feeling like I had a choice in my life moving forward. I would be happy to work, to not work, to travel, to not travel, to decide together whatever life calls for in that moment. I wanted a partnership, but that I have come to realize isn’t as easy of a concept as my parents made it seem. He wasn’t a “bad guy”. We were young and it was an eye opening experience as to what society was going to keep expecting from me.
So I set off to become that 2007 girl. Whatever the hell that meant. I knew though if it meant I could be me, I was perfectly okay with it.
Venturing out into my new single life I was ready to embrace the fellow sisterhood of support. Surely women will support me. Right? ….Wrong.
While my family and close friends were very supportive I found many were not.
A typical response I became accustomed to by women from my University, “Why would you do that? He was a Doctor. You would have been set for life.”
Um because I was going to die a slow miserable death void of anything that mattered to me. But hey what does that really matter as long as it looks good to you on the outside right? Turns out nobody wanted to hear that response.
I was left with so many questions; How many men are like this? Why am I getting that response from so many women? Why am I now labeled a feminist “2007 girl” for wanting a partnership? Is my Ex right? Am I going to fail? Are all men are dirtbags?
There I was, alone, with a lot of questions, a shitty job, a small apartment by the beach, broke, sitting with my dog. So this is what it means to be a 2007 girl. Awesome.
“Well, Winston, (my dog) here we go. We can do this”
to be continued...
With Love XX