Hint: It?s not you, it?s them.
There are women on the far end of the spectrum, who proudly claim their high-maintenance status as a badge of honor, a membership into an exclusive club alongside Kim K and other famous-for-being-famous women. The click-click-click of their echoing stilettos entering a room before they do. The concept of ?go with the flow? is completely foreign to these women. They are unapologetically demanding, the emotional expenditure they require from a partner rival a full-time job, or at least a very demanding hobby.
And yes, there are the women at the extreme low end as well, who embody the color beige. Ones who take no interest or pleasure in adornment or taxing grooming rituals. Their semblance camouflages softly into the background, leaving partners unable to determine what their position is on anything, regardless of importance. ?Whatever you want? is their mantra, their partner only needs to water them biweekly and set them in a sunny window.
Then there are the remaining women. The clear stereotypes of women are easy to categorize into high or low maintenance. Unfortunately, real life doesn?t always work like that. So that leaves the rest of us, who fall somewhere within one or two standard deviations of average definition of high maintenance. The ones who maybe are a bit categorically fussy, the ones lacking chill, the ones who perpetually sigh they ?have nothing to wear?, the ones with a catalog of preference and opinions, the ones who say they will be ready in 5 but you know that really means 15.
Or worse- the ones who *think* they are low maintenance when perhaps evidence suggests otherwise. Who knows, I may be one of those women.
An exchange with a fella (who I briefly dated years ago) stirred up this pondering when he balked at my statement of me being low maintenance. I was referencing that I was sleeping in my Prius three states away from home on a spontaneous winter road trip. He reminded me of his three-years-prior last-minute assembling craft show displays and schlepping lip gloss-stuffed boxes for my biggest event of the year.
His insistence that I was out-of-control high maintenance because I asked him to help me with a craft show while he had a cold. I was on my feet for 50 hours over three days and I had the wild audacity to ask for a backrub after the event when he had a cold. I?m sure you?re all playing a sad song on a teeny tiny violin right now. Words can?t even describe the amount of pain I was in after that week; my autoimmune issue was in full flare-up mode. I slept for two days straight after the event?but let?s stop everything because a man has a cold! If that?s not high maintenance I don?t know what is.
But hey, isn?t that just what unlabeled-dudes-you-are-sleeping with do? And isn?t that why blowjobs were invented in the first place?
On a serious note, the idea of being high maintenance is so ambiguous, it is difficult to define.
The problem with defining this remaining group of women is that is covers a vast range of real estate. How do I operationalize the concept when it?s not an obvious caricature of a person? In other words, how do I know if am I high maintenance?
And why do I care?
I think to the wrong person, I?ll always be high maintenance.
Instead of worrying if I?m high or low maintenance, I focus on being a integrous person. I worry about giving more than my share in a relationship. I worry about doing good in the world. This should be our focus, ladies.
Being called high maintenance represents a manipulation. What they are really saying is ?I want you to comply to my wishes?. Which, clearly, is gross.
As a woman, you?ll acquiesce because you don?t want that title. It suggests your standards are unreasonably high. Or you make drama. Or you are (heaven forbid) a bitch. Ladies, lets stop this!
What I think it comes down to is perception of effort exerted. And when men use the term high maintenance, that implies (the perception) of a huge amount of effort- effort they don?t want to put in.
I guess what annoyed me most about the comment from that dude was that he was essentially saying ?you are not worth the trouble?. THAT?S what high maintenance means. It?s not a universal list of symptoms, able to be diagnosed and subsequently cured.
But frankly, I don?t give a damn. Let the Mr. Wrongs weed themselves out. And clearly, to the dude I dated, the pros of dating me were not outweighing the cons.
The key is the imbalance. Your demands or expectations don?t line up based on their subjective judgements of the ROI.
How is it that the same woman can demonstrate demanding, needy, superficial behavior and some men will be drawn in and some will think she?s a spoiled brat. How can one boyfriend find my needs to be no big deal and eager to accommodate, yet another finds my requests ridiculous.
Do I get to be more of a pain in the ass if I offer something subjectively deemed worthy by my partner?
Clearly, some men are just better at bringing more (emotionally) to the table. There must be some evolved men willing to share the responsibility of mental labor that a relationship entails and expect to carry their own weight. Surely some men understand a woman simply having opinions does not make her selfish or a bitch.
I mean, I *am* a bitch but that?s neither here nor there.
I was recently told by a POS online that I was ?way too much work for just a condom orgasm?. Ew. Was he insinuating that he would be more willing to treat me well if I was ok with having unprotected sex with a stranger? That guy can eat a bag of dicks. I am too old and secure to prove my worth to some wannabe. The trash takes itself out.
To the wrong person, I?ll always be high maintenance. And I?m 100% OK with that.
Instead of worrying about some bullshit title of high maintenance, I propose using this as a deal breaker. If a guy says you?re high maintenance it means they think you are not worth the effort they would be required to put in.
So, screw those guys. Obviously, not literally. There are plenty of guys out there who will think your brand of crazy* is worth the effort.
*We are all a little bit crazy, the smart ones understand that.
Remember, this is not a reflection on you, it?s a reflection on them. They?re lazy. They don?t value you. And who the fuck wants to be in a relationship like that?
So the next time someone calls you high maintenance, call them an EX.