Friday, April 17, 2009

Someone Must Have Done a Number On You: The Blessing and Curse of Being Jaded


I have been called “jaded” many times. So many times in fact that I felt the need to confirm its definition, possibly in the hopes that it meant “wily and mysterious” instead of “a nicer word for stone cold b*tch.”

The actual definition of jaded reads as follows:
1. A worn-out, broken-down, worthless, or vicious horse
2. A disreputable or ill-tempered woman

Well that was a brilliant idea. Disreputable or ill-tempered woman? Nice. I think I would rather be the horse.

Only men have called me jaded, not women. This is because the word is loaded with female bias and romantic connotation; you don’t hear many people say, “Well, I’ve been hurt a lot by Bounty in the past so I am pretty jaded when it comes to paper products.”

What I don’t like is the fact that the word jaded also has a consistently negative connotation. It is a passive-aggressive insult usually thrown at a woman after she rejects or emasculates a man in some way. Of course men reasonably conclude that because I don’t like one man, I am “jaded” when it comes to the entire male gender. Maybe I am just NOT THAT INTO YOU.

Being a little jaded is not such a bad thing. Being jaded makes me pickier than most when it comes to dating. I am certain I have avoided a lot of uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations because I chose not to believe the stupid lines and idealized images. Relationships are scary, and if you have had a bad experience or two you are likely to approach with caution. Hurt me once, shame on you…hurt me twice, shame on me. We learned as children if something is hot, don’t touch it. How did we learn that? By touching something hot. Call it what you will, but a good offense really is the best defense.

I’m also labeled as jaded when I make a cynical comment about romance or relationships in general. The role of the man-hating feminist has become my trademark as a result. This is unfortunate because I don’t have a problem with romance or relationships in general; I have a problem with the lack of authenticity that often accompanies them. My generation operates under a lot of false impressions when it comes to gender roles. My cynicism stems from my desire for people to establish a unique identity and then form lasting relationships based on honestly appreciating each others’ individuality, not on some insincere romantic gesture that looks like a deleted scene from “The Notebook.” (Although in some cases this is better than no romantic gesture at all…but that is a whole other post).

Basically if you won’t go home with the guy or if you express an opinion that stresses the importance of being genuine in a romantic relationship you are a disreputable or ill-tempered woman.

If that’s the case, I wonder what a reputable woman does.


Suggested Reading: The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker
Takes being jaded to a whole new level in regards to a woman’s physical safety.

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