I Won’t Be Interchangeable

he's just not that into you

I feel like many of us have been in this situation before. I am standing in a bar, beer in my hand, laughing with one of my friends when a nice looking guy comes up and introduces himself. We shake hands and maybe he offers to grab me another drink. We chat for a while and it becomes clear that he is looking for a little post-bar hanky panky. We continue the polite little dance while I try to make it clear that I only want to talk, removing his hand from the small of my back several times before excusing myself to go to the bathroom and, instead, heading to find my friends in another section of the bar. To most guys, this gives them the signal that they have a “no-go” on their hands. Perhaps some girls are bothered by the whole encounter, but to me, it’s a nice conversation; we both bring what we want to the table, and the signals below the surface of our conversation usually lead to a mutual and pain-free understanding.

Two minutes later, however, the same guy is usually trying the same thing with the next girl in his immediate vicinity. In truth, I can’t blame the guy for wanting to get laid. There’s nothing wrong with that. But how many girls did he try before he got to me? I have no delusions of how special I must seem as random Johns chat me up in a bar, but it is still irksome to be shown explicitly that he finds me completely interchangeable.

I don’t necessarily look for my self-worth from someone on a mission to find one night of fun from a girl at a bar, so this slightly annoying situation rolls off my back with relative ease. But this interchangeable view of women seems to have spread outside the bars and gotten into the more serious dating world, which is where I feel the real problem lies.

Earlier this year, I started hanging out with a guy who defined himself as ready for a relationship. In many ways, I kind of thought I was starting to define myself in the same way. But I found that two people ready for a relationship do not necessarily a relationship make. When we talked, there wasn’t this deep connection through understanding I expected there to be. This guy was claiming he wanted me to be his girlfriend, but everything he said showed he didn’t even know who I was.

That is just one example. I have had guy friends who literally, one by one, profess their love to each girl in the friend group, sometimes less than a month apart and always claiming this time it’s different. It happened just a couple weeks ago that a friend of mine asked me and a close friend of mine out in the same week.

It seems that these particular guys want a relationship just like the other guys want a night of meaningless sex. Maybe it is the “millennial problem” of always being told by my parents that I am special, but I feel like the desire for me specifically needs to trump the desire for a girl in general. That said, everybody has different wants and we should all go after whatever we want. I’m not asking all men to stop going after what they want, but I do ask for them to take a step back and ponder, “why her?” because I think as a group of awesome and unique and beautiful individuals, none of us want to be interchangeable.

Contributor: Erin Bouwma
Erin Bouwma: Loves friends, family, reading, karaoke, bad television, peanut m&m’s, and writing. More or less in that order. Never be embarrassed of your Tinder, we all have one.