(because sometimes even ladies must bitch)
nothing infuriates me more than when a guy says "smart girl."
that may sound irrational. because i'm moderately proud of my smarts and have gone into considerable debt to further them. but there's something about that phrase.
it's loaded. and it doesn't help that it's usually said with raised don't come closer! you're scaring me, woman! hands and in a tone that implies, thank God! you're not the dimwit i thought!
i hate "smart girl."
back in september, bombsy, bee and i went dancing. we met three guys and sold ourselves for drinks and a few songs. the one i wound up with made the standard shouted small talk: where are you from? how'd you wind up here? oh, really, grad school where?
upon my response, the boy's jaw literally hit the floor. he stumbled backwards a bit. stricken, he gasped, smart girl!
in the sexual networking context that is clubbing, this simply meant he'd hit the jackpot. he'd randomly bought a diet coke for someone with excellent eyeliner who, it turned out, had a working brain and with whom he hoped to score. i couldn't get away from him fast enough.
because i hate "smart girl."
but you can't escape "smart girl." last week, it came at me again. because i had the sense to notice something even a blind man would be at pains not to see. surprised, he said, smart girl. it's hard to imply fury on a cordless phone. that damn beep is so inadequate. it could never convey how much i hate "smart girl."
i HATE "smart girl."
because yes, we are smart girls. stupid boys should not be astonished by this. it shouldn't warrant relief. it shouldn't elicit a patronizing exclamation akin to good for you, little girl, for not being thick as a plank. but still, it does. and that is infuriating.
the funny thing is i'm quite sure "smart girl" means nothing. it's just a transitional aside. a tiny two words that lazily fill a conversational gap. it's how we get from where did you go to grad school? to what was your major? it's supposed to carry connotations of applause. it is supposed to be a compliment.
maybe i'm too much of a smart ass to see "smart girl" for what it really is. maybe i have some monumental inferiority complex i'm not aware of because some stupid people have thought my smarts pretty stupid in the past. or maybe this is all wrapped up in societal influences- little things like the fact that mothers tell daughters to play quietly because that's what daughters do.
but whatever the impetus, the end result is it's tricky being a smart girl. you have to become aware of it and grow into it and find people who help pull it out of you. like walking in heels, it takes practice- putting your smarts on your sleeve. it's Love Not Fear to the hilt.
and in return, we smart girls, we demand rather a lot. we expect exciting wordplay, satisfying discourse and, most importantly, prodigious diction. because we intelligent, clever, discerning, creative, sensible, cunning, tenacious charmeuses- we're so much more than your simple "smart girl."