Joshua Byron


Commitment seems to be kryptonite for men, so is it better to play the chill girl? 

The rise of the chill girl has electrified men’s obsession with no strings attached fun. She’s elusive yet fun, wild yet doesn’t ask a lot of questions, has a tragic past but you don’t need to know it. 

While the pool of folks I mostly date are gay men, I find that they are rarely any different from cold-blooded heterosexual men; they both want what they want on their terms.

We see it in #MeToo and while it doesn’t always end up so dark, the power imbalance of gender is at the base of our society. Trans folks, gender-nonconforming folks, and women are often at a disadvantage compared to men when it comes to dating. Men have power. 

I hate that stating what I’m feeling to men is considered inappropriately intimate. This is a weaponization of intimacy. Intimacy becomes a bartering chip that men dispense to others when they like. I’ve had plenty of fun interactions but find that as soon as I try to assert my right to feelings, guys can’t run out of the room fast enough. Or alternatively, if they aren’t physically present, they ghost. There’s lots of ghosting when you say how you really feel. 

I recently texted the guy I was seeing if we were both waiting for the other person to kiss first. That’s how I really am with my friends. I double, triple, and quadruple text. I’m messy; I’m anxious. I feel like I’m too much and never enough all at the same time. That’s the paradox of the chill girl. She can’t be autonomous since she’s a slave to all societal desires at any one given time. 

We are conditioned to be small and timid when it comes to voicing our desires. We shouldn’t speak too soon or too boldly lest the man we’re talking to get scared. But it begs the question of why we are holding onto this man who is so fragile that he can’t understand why we feel lonely.

It’s never about any one man. We are all feeling around in the darkness in search of many things. Men are just the one we are told the most about through pop culture. Spinsters are demonized. Why is the decision not to date so shunned? Why are single people so looked down upon? Spinsters are powerful in their own magic. It isn’t good or bad to be alone. It’s simply one way of being. Being alone sometimes gives us the strength to voice our own desires. Men are scared by those who are ok with loneliness rather than a half-assed form of companionship. 

Men are scared by you wanting anything more than casual fun. Men are scared by honest desire instead of covert lust. Men are scared of intimacy as anything other than a short anomaly. Men are scared of you texting than more than necessary to negotiate a time and a place. 

All the things people like me want — communication, companionship, attention, to be texted first — these are all the biggest red flags for the single man in Bushwick. They are too busy getting settled as a freelance yoga teacher or are still figuring out their sexual liberation phase or are not in “that place right now” after their artist-boyfriend left them for their hot roommate. They are in a hurry to escape. Trying to pin down men who don’t want to it is like trying to get tickets to the Oscars. Pointless.  

So what do we do? Either we deal with sanitized cheap intimacy from second-rate men who lack ambition or we step up and demand what we want. We ask for what we need. We say when we’re lonely. We say when we’re scared. We play the game some, enough to seem sane(ish), but we also take leaps to say things like:

Are we both waiting to make the first move? 

Are you actually into this? 

I’d like to see you tonight tbh.

Cover image courtesy of Stefano Pollio on Unsplash