It reminds me of the first time that I cottoned onto the deeply embedded ideas that fashion our collective view of how relationships ‘should ‘ be. I don’t put in this anecdote for either sympathy nor as an example worthy of any note. I really don’t. I put it in just because it is still one of the most bizarre things that I ever experienced and it stayed with me because I know without a shadow of a doubt I should have seen it coming, but I just couldn’t believe it did.
I was young. Very young and very naive. And I had a boyfriend. He was the school captain of an all boys Catholic college and I was a very bright student at a Catholics girls college. I was good at school. My marks were good and I loved to learn. I wasn’t overly stressed as the end of year 12 drew near because I knew I was going to get a top rank. All the signs pointed that way and it was fairly inevitable that I would be able to pick any University course that I wanted. My boyfriend also thought that he would get a top rank and have access to any University course that he wanted. And he wanted to do medicine. He needed a top rank. The results came in. He didn’t the get the top rank and missed by a few places. I did not miss. I got the top rank.
Immediately after the results came in he tried to suggest that I got the result I did, not because of my own talents, but mostly because my school was good and the overall standard pulled me up. Without going into the ins and outs of a very boring grading system, that can sort of happen but mostly, if you are good, you are good. End of story. So no. I got the rank because I had the talent.
The next day I went over to his house to hang out. This had been organised several days before and before the awkward end of school results conversation. I arrived at his place. He was in the backyard with his brother and sister playing football. I say hi. No response. I said hi louder. Still nothing. All three of them continued to ignore me for the next 15 mins while it dawned on me that there was a problem. And that no one was planning on speaking to me ever again. So I left.
That was how I got dumped. The why of getting dumped was because he was competitive, petty and small minded and couldn’t deal with the fact that I was smarter and more successful. It was the first time that I ever realised that outshining your boyfriend could and often did cost you the relationship. So so bizarre. Yet as I said earlier. So predictable. And yet I still can’t get my head around the concept.
Needless to say this wasn’t the last time that I experienced the negative consequences of being more successful, better paid or smarter than the guy I was dating. The rest of the stories are as boring as the first. The sad thing is that I can still see it coming and it still seems incomprehensibly dumb.
I wonder even now as I watch the TV shows and see the movies, how many other girls or young women take it as a given that to out perform your partner is to quickly find yourself without a partner? I know heaps of single women. Single Wonder Women. And quite simply no single men. Other than the ones it seems obvious as to why they are single.
So here is what I want to say to the brilliant people that made the Wonder Woman movie. I loved your movie. It was great and it exceeded all my expectations. Please make a sequel and then another. And at some point in all of that, can Wonder Woman get a boyfriend for keeps? And can it be epic. Not because that is the norm. Not because you are promising happily ever afters. Not because she needs one. Just because it would be great to see more of what it could look like. So that I can imagine and other women can imagine. It would be cool. Thanks.