Oakland, you’re the hot chick now:

Stop letting your boyfriends treat you like you’re lucky to be with them!

Please forgive the heteronormative nature of the following piece.

If you read my blog posts regularly, you know a few things about me: I’ve been the fat chick and I’ve been the hot chick. I’ve been with guys who treat me well and I’ve been with guys who have conveyed to me that they’re slumming it a little. (Added note: I’ve found that guys don’t tend to treat me better or worse based on my size; I just tend to let them treat me badly when I don’t realize that I’m a person worthy of being treated well regardless of size.)

At the last city council meeting I attended, I found myself thinking, “whoa–there are a lot of developers these days who know that Oakland’s the hot chick, AND they know she hasn’t figured it out yet! That’s gonna get messy!”

 

So, based on my learnings from the dating world, here is my contribution to the upcoming surge in high-end development in Oakland. It’s really addressed specifically to city council, the brains of the incredibly hot chick that is Oakland.

 

Dear Oakland:

I know how it feels to look in the mirror and not see how hot you are. We’re conditioned that way — stupid patriarchy. But let me tell you — San Francisco‘s noticed for SURE how hot you are (which is particularly awesome because he’s kinda let himself go).

Other people have noticed, too, and I’m talking the big dogs — the world’s largest developer noticed a couple of years ago how hot you are, but I also watched the mind games he played with you, trying to let you know that if you expected to be treated well, he could walk away at any moment to find a girl who understood how awesome he was. Thank GOD you had your girlfriends there to remind you of what you are really worth.

I know how those guys can get in your head — I went out with one guy who played me so good that he convinced me that other women were competition instead of recognizing that who I am has dignity and value in and of itself and that he was lucky to have me.  I know there are more than a few guys who are going to be vying for your attention when they see you walking down the street. So here’s what I really want you to hear, because I know it’s hard to believe:

You don’t have to sell yourself cheap. You are amazing. You deserve to be treated well. And most of the guys coming round are going to try to take what they can for as little output and effort as they can. YOU DESERVE BETTER, especially with the hard-scrabble history that has brought you to this point.

So a couple of things to bear in mind:

  • Your girlfriends. They were here before the guys were knocking on the door, and they deserve to be treated well. Don’t forget about us just because you’ve got a couple of potential suitors; that’s a rule my mother taught me long before I started dating. Sisters before misters.
  • Consider making a list. Because you might be swayed in the heat of the moment by some pretty words whispered in your ear without any guarantee of anything being delivered, use the advice some of my more traditional girlfriends have encouraged me to do: make a list of things you need from a partner. And when the time comes, even if you are afraid of being lonely, stand firm. The right guy will come along — trust me, you’re super hot AND you have a great personality. (You’re not elitist, too geeky to carry on good conversation, or really flaky like some of our neighbors.)
  • Also, don’t sell out your family. I was hanging out with your brothers the other day, and THEY were the ones that got stuck telling me about the plans you had already made that could seriously cut out your girlfriends, the ones who have been with you your whole life, who you have literally sworn an oath to protect (yeah, we’re that tight). Don’t get me wrong; I know it is every girl’s fantasy to bag a prince, but even so… your family and the sisterhood matter. Otherwise, you’re going to turn into someone we don’t even recognize, and we’re going to end up having to hang with the Antioch posse, cuz you’re about to get too rich for our blood. (That commute is gonna kill me, by the way.) I gotta say, I felt crummy for your brothers having to deliver news that they had no control over but they were having to live out because you decided to make a decision that affected all of us. I know that we’re talking it out now, but it’s a little late in the game.

Long story short, though, Oakland. You’ve been treated rough. You really have started to believe the stuff that abusers use to their advantage — that no one else will want you, that you’re lucky to get anything they give you. But it’s a new day and that’s just not true any more.

You deserve a safe place to live in dignity even when money is tight. You deserve fair pay for hard work. You deserve for your children to get a good education and to have a future that involves good work and not an orange jumpsuit. You deserve for your family members to have decent opportunities. You deserve to have clean air and clean water.

Any man who won’t put down in writing that he will partner with you in making those things real, he’s not worth the time. Because you are such a catch that the next man will recognize it.

 

With deep love,

your sister Sandhya

Comments (2)

  1. Monza Naff

    No, NOT over ANY line! As usual, a brilliant analysis based on a perfect metaphor. Alright, the fact just may be that not EVERYone just might not GET IT, but the smart ones WILL. That’s the audience you wanna get anyway!!

  2. Vic

    Well said! I am prayerful that all will be well but sometimes desperate people (developers) do dangerous things!

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