Leap Day – Why you should NOT propose

Feminist Suffrage Parade in New York City, May...
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Ever since the  film Leap Year came out, the discussion of women proposing to their potential spouses has entered the circles of my friends. I have a very very strong opinion about this, which initially might seem unfeminist but before you cry of betrayal of any sisterhood – like,whatever – it in fact, is not.

Firstly, men are NOT incapable: it is a myth. Yes, they might look at emotions differently than women but that does not rule out that they possess them. They might not deal with situations as women do but it does not mean that they don’t deal with them. In other words: if he wants to propose, he can and he will.

It is one of the few gallantries in life that have survived the necessary push of feminism. Like having doors held open for you and being served first at the table,  a proposal is one of those gestures that you should be able to enjoy. Let it stroke your feminine and his masculine ego.

Feminism or not, women are still the only ones who can carry children. You might not want children, you might not be able to have children but if you do and can, then you are sacrificing 9 months of your life and body to a baby. That in itself is worth a great big friggin ring and the effort of a proposal.

If you are a crazy about each other you will be nice to each other. I believe that relationships, unlike popular believe and recent Hollywood portrayal, are not meant to resemble nuclear wars. I quite hope that they are fun and positively challenging for both parties enabling both to reach full potential.

So in conclusion, he is  perfectly capable to propose if he wants to, the right man is not going to hold out on you just to make a post-feminist point and you have time to wait for the right man because *badaboom* you are worth it.

Being Dutch

When I left for the UK, I wanted to break free from the small country in which I was born. Ironically enough in the ten years to come, I would become more attached to my nationality. Perhaps because I see the past through rose tinted spectacles, perhaps because being on foreign grounds leads you to appreciate your roots. Who knows.

“If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much” is  a tongue in cheek slogan that has been used by my very cool sister and I.  Awareness of one’s nationality is so subtle, so inexplicable until you feel it.

I felt it when two weeks ago The Ice skating Tour of Tours  “De Elfstedentocht” (Eleven city tour, which is a tour that leads overfrozen streams past eleven cities – quelle surprise.) was hyped and then cancelled because the thaw set in. The last tour was 15 years ago and I’m sure the whole country felt disappointed.

I felt it today. It was just announced that one of the Dutch princes, Friso, who got hit by an avalanche on the Royal Family’s annual skiing trip last week, might not wake up from his coma. If he does, he will need years to recover. He’s a complete stranger of course, still there is an inexplicable sadness for his mother, the Queen,  his wife and small children.

It’s another small drama really but perhaps one that is quietly felt by 16 million people.

Thoughts on Men (Blue Valentine)

I saw Blue Valentine and a lot of people have called the film amazing, depressing and real. After having seen the film, I have started to realise why especially men find it so depressing: as Ryan Gosling’s character Dean says, somehow “men are more romantic than women.” Forget bloody chick flicks and all that jazz: when it comes to the real world, it might be men who have a rose-tinted view of love and relationships.

The main trigger for this train of thought was the moment that Dean shouts: “Tell me how I should be. Tell me and I’ll do it”. I can almost guarantee you that every woman who has threatened to walk away from a relationship, which the man still wants to save, has heard this phrase. (That, and: “Fine! Leave!”).

Dean, in essence, is a good man: he holds down a job, loves his wife and daughter and that is enough for him. Cindy, Michelle Williams, is not happy anymore in her relationship and she initially tries to change what she perceives as the problem: her husband. Meanwhile Dean seems to be saying “But I’m doing the best I can.”

It must be hard for guys, women who practically state: “If that is the best you have, you can keep it.”  Not necessarily looking for a better offer either I think, just preferring to be alone than to deal with something that makes their lives difficult.

I don’t think guys get it, they see it as cowardice, giving-up. Most men are fixers but this seems unfair, what more can they do? The bitter men stop trying; will treat a woman badly because what is the point of making an effort if she leaves? What makes women think they are so much better? The good guys are left behind wounded and confused; what else could they have done? What more did she want?

Perhaps it is time to tell young boys what we’ve been telling young girls since the days of feminism: You don’t need another person to make you happy. Then in theory, both parties will stop putting the responsibility for their own happiness on the other. If we then also manage to stop throwing around generalisations along the lines of  ‘women are insufferable and men are incapable’, maybe our relationships will stand a chance.

Still, having said that, it would make a rubbish film. Of course.