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  • Writer's pictureAshley Gray

10 Things I think... That time I was the “perfect”girlfriend

The Makings of Basicry.

So… I don’t know about you all, but I used to try to be “The Perfect Girlfriend”… Part of the issue is, it wasn’t according to my own standards of perfection, but usually some #!& I heard a man describe as perfect. In this process of being Anastasia, (because I sure wasn’t Ash) I learned about about the dangers of role playing in relationships. I’ll share a few examples of my former slavish, June Cleaver ass, Ayesha Curry-esq, “I’m trying to get chose”, “let me hook him with this” ass ways. Now when you read this, be careful… I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my $#!& and I’m recovering from perfection syndrome. I’m just a few years removed.

1. Cooking. Now, y’all know me at this point. You know cooking is my therapy. There was a time in which my cooking was just for the sake of securing my spot. At one point I had put on so much weight because I was making pot roast like it was a pack of ramen. I was wining and dining my eks (when you’re not worthy of being an ex, you get called the eks). I mean I was meal planning for real. Like Monday, surely he’ll want something like lasagna and Tuesday he’ll want wings.

2. Y’all I messed around and developed a signature wing sauce. Now there’s no shame in the creativity and mouth bliss that the sauce brings but the desire to “hook em” was piss poor frankly.

3. Why did Black mommas let us listen to songs like “No Pain, No Gain”? Betty Wright, whom I adore in some ways and hate in others clearly says the following…

 “Be a cook in the kitchen/ a lady in the streets/You can’t show your teeth to every guy you meet/It’s alright to be a little sweet/ But be a momma to the kids- a who-know-what in the sheets.”  Betty had me thinking if you could make a good meal, play coy, and dance like a stripper that, that was all you needed to keep a man. I bet Betty ass single. Better yet, I bet Betty ass is married and don’t do half of what she was singing for us to. They probably have no gender roles in the house and she might even run a feminist book club on the sun porch for all i know. Either way- she was the queen of inspiring “basicry”… Yes I made that up. Ok back to me…

4. Baby I was looking like Michael Jackson trying to maintain my straight hair. “________, likes my hair straight.” You know how many years it took to get my natural together because a man without a pot to piss in and/or window to throw it out of told he preferred it that way?Walking around with thinning hair like a orangutan so you can feel special… Pisses me off just thinking about it. Anyway, curls popping now.

5. So I had this rule where if a man opened my car door, I would lean over and open his before he got to it. You know because, One dude told me that shit was charming. You ever leaning over hot leather in shorts? Know how many times I almost had a permanent burn in the shape of the middle console because “a lady always remembers to return the favor.” Boy bye, You open my door now and I’m trying to get the air on and find my favorite radio station before you get in. “He sure is taking long, oh well “Ok ladies, now let’s get in formation…”

6. THIS IS THE ONE THAT WAS THE MOST DETRIMENTAL… Not having tough conversations. Perfect girlfriends don’t nag right? So of course, I didn’t challenge the distinction between falling silent in collusion and clapping my hands while saying in perfect rhythm, “What you ain’t gone do is…” (I really just stopped to clap as I typed that). I was taught that silence and a pretty face were the 2 best tools for a woman to have. My ass was MISERABLE. *Listen to Betty Wright’s “Clean up woman” for greater context.*

7. Unwarranted loyalty. Because great girlfriends stick it out, right? Wrong. Great people know when to get out. I was in some relationships because “great girlfriends were able to make it work.” I was essentially the pretty mat for him to dry his feet.

8. My clothing… Oh God. I dated this one dude who loved a sweater vest. I should’ve known then that we weren’t compatible. It got to the point where he had be dressing like I sell gently used Kias at the local car lot. Boxy tops and all. Y’all know my shoulders already a little boxy. He never wore sweat pants and if I did, he would ask back ass questions like, “How does your outfit speak to your goals?” I should’ve slapped him. I mean two years ago I saw him in an argyle sweater from 05, the wheels of karma may turn slow, but dammit they turn. He looked like Maury Provich. Ok so then I dated a dude who loved wearing loafers without socks. Always tried to get to wear corduroys. I kept trying to explain, “Though these thighs be small, they rub mightily.” I swear one day I thought my legs were gonna catch fire. One day he told me I was gonna be the best looking wife out of all his friend’s potential wives. I wanna punch his face. 

9. Inserting forever into the temporary. Part of the appeal of being the perfect girl is the choosing. I just knew my ass was getting married everytime I met a new guy. Surely he will love the cooking, cleanliness and closeted twerking, right? I mean I was planning weddings out because everything had to conclude in forever. As a 29.86 year old, nothing scares me more than this old thinking. Some of these relationships shouldn’t have even been temporary.

10. Seriously… there’s a lot of performance pressure placed on women in the mate selection process. Here are some of the underlying messages:

a. Women are responsible for the retention and maintenance of relationships

b. There is a clear role for you to play- play it well

c. That there is actually a way to retain someone who has no desire to be exclusively with you.

All these cakes with names like “Better than sex cake” or “Sock it to me cake” are all supposed “hook em” tools. Shit don’t work. I’ve baked them all. And made the pot roast to go with them. The lessons I learned from my era as Anastasia, definitely inform just how authentic I show up now in dating. (Stay tuned for a post about that). Y’all gotta stop letting Steve Harvey tell you how to get chose, while all the while asking you to be anybody but yourself. Take a second a google 2 things… 1. How to get a man to marry you 2. meals to make a man fall in love… I hate that these are on my search history since I just looked them up for this. The fact that there are numerous resources on the 2,394,305 things a woman should do to attract a mate should trouble us all. Lastly, Betty Wright is a slave, but she got range though. My song of the day in the fullness of sarcasm is Betty Wright’s “No Pain, No Gain”

Focus on loving yourself unapologetically. That doesn’t require anyone else. If someone else should come along, make sure they fall in love with the real you. 

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