When I was entering the dating scene at the beginning of high school, I was lost when it came to what I was supposed to be looking for.
I'd never had any exceptional male role models; Which is just a nice way to say I had "daddy issues." I went for the douche bags and the players like all the other stupid cliche sixteen-year-old girls. Guys who didn't respect me or think I was deserving of their time. And it was my fault. I didn't demand respect and I treated those boys as if their attention was a gift and something I had to earn.
My self-esteem was at an all-time low, and my self-worth was at the mercy of a jock who thought of me as nothing more than a conquest in a long list of conquests.
I, like every misguided girl, wanted the bad boy and friend-zoned the nice guys. My best friend who was the ultimate "nice guy" stood by me through all of the crying and breakups. He held his tongue and supported me even when I complained and said, "There are just no nice guys out there, where are they hiding?" It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize the answer was right in front of my face.
After going through numerous messy relationships in the span of a year, I finally woke up. And I realized what that I deserved someone who would treat me with respect.
Still, I wouldn't go back and change anything. No matter how deeply my now-boyfriend suffered through all my naïveté, without all the tears and life lessons, I probably would still be with the boys who will never be and never were worthy of me.
Thank you to all the boys who made me cry and took advantage of an insecure girl. Because without all those assholes showing me how sucky most guys are, I probably would still be chasing after overhyped football players and underwhelming potheads.
Now I watch my friends make the same mistakes I made paying no attention to the "nice guys" in their lives. They go after the guys who don't value them as anything more than a party hookup and then spend the next week waiting for a text that will never come. I've been there, and it makes me want to shake them and force them in the right direction.
But I can't.
Heartbreak is a lesson you must learn on your own and ignorance can only be overcome from your own mistakes. No matter what my friends said to me in high school, I didn't listen. I thought the boys I chased around was all that existed, all I could ask for.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
On my first date with my current boyfriend, he opened the door, paid for dinner, bought me flowers and held my hand. Honestly I was shocked. What I hadn't realized before that moment was that chivalry should be the baseline for what we require out of our partners. The few good men who are true gentlemen shouldn't be considered such a rare breed. Chivalry should be a trait men naturally possess and utilize every day. Women should never expect or accept being treated like anything less than a princess.
If I'm ever single again, and I go on a date, if the guy doesn't open the car door for me, I won't get in. You could call me an unreasonable feminazi if you feel so inclined, but I'm not. I'm a scorned hopeless romantic who knows what she wants and what she deserves. And I beg all women out there to demand that for themselves as well.
So here's my shoutout to all those men who open the doors, pay for dinner and aren't too “cool" to respect women.
And a congratulations to the women that are intelligent enough to want and seek out what they deserve, who actually want what's good for them and know to hold onto the guys who will give them the world. (Because there's not many of them left.)
Finally, of course, a round of applause for the women that know the difference between boys and men and aren't afraid to demand the chivalry they deserve.