By Caitlin Creeper

“Dude, girls get so clingy when you spend months making them psychologically and biochemically dependent upon you.” -Trevor S, Twitter.

THIS IS FOR THE NEXT TIME YOU’RE HOVERING YOUR THUMB OVER THE ‘SEND’ BUTTON OF A TEXT MESSAGE TO A DUDE AND FRETTING THAT HE’LL THINK YOU’RE ‘CRAZY’.

Today it struck me how many times that word pops up in the dating world. Frankly, I’m over it. How often have you heard your guy friends tell stories about the ‘crazy’ girl they’re seeing, simply because she might have texted him first to suggest they hang out, or even – oh hell no! – drunk- texted him? How often have you tried to talk a friend out of calling a guy for clarification after he went cold for whatever reason, out of fear of appearing ‘crazy’? How often have you stopped yourself from saying something too forthright to a guy you’re seeing because sending a ‘hi’ text to a human being who has seen you naked is pretty fucking crazy?

IT NEEDS TO STOP. GUYS NEED TO BREAK THE HABIT. AND FRANKLY, GIRLS NEED TO STOP CARING ABOUT IT AT ALL. LIKE, RIGHT NOW. STOP IT.

To be clear, I’m not saying girls can’t be dicks when it comes to dating – particularly these days, where romantic courtship seems less like dating and more like a competition of ‘Who Can Give the Least Number of Fucks’. But men dismissing women’s expressions of emotion as ‘crazy’ is a deeply ingrained habit.

In an excellent post on his men’s advice blog, Dr Nerdlove, Harris O’Malley points out that “the association between women’s behaviour and being labelled “crazy” has a long and infamous history in Western culture”. Until the 20th century, O’Malley writes, women were diagnosed as ‘hysterical’ for exhibiting any number of symptoms including “emotional excitability, outbursts of negativity, excessive sexual desire and ‘a tendency to cause trouble’”.

Attributing these very normal ‘symptoms’ to a medical condition made it easier for men “to diminish women’s concerns and issues without having to pause to consider them as possibly being valid”.

O’Malley goes on to confront his own tendency to describe his female dates using labels like “crazy” or “irrational”. He realises that he and his friends have, in the past, effectively been talking about their ex-girlfriends as though they had legitimate mental health issues, when really, they were simply “acting in a way I didn’t like”.

“It’s a habit that we men need to break,” O’Malley insists. “It’s damaging to relationships, trivializes genuine mental health issues and – most importantly – hurts women as a whole.”

Hit the nail on the head. Case in point:

THE TALE OF MR JET SKI. Mr Jet Ski was a man my friend was seeing and, as his nickname suggests, was very proud of his jet ski. He spoke of taking my friend out on said jet ski no fewer than seven times. He showed her the jet ski, even let her sit on the jet ski… parked in the garage. Thrice, he actually set a date for said jet ski outing, though each time it fell through due to work, weather, ominous signs in his tea leaves, etc. When my friend had the gall to ask when they’d actually be taking the jet ski out, you know,in the sea, she was surprised when Mr Jet Ski was taken aback by her forthrightness. She was “acting pretty crazy, man” – that is, he didn’t like that she’d called him out on his flakiness.

Second case in point:

MR STRAIGHT-UP. Named on account of his priding himself on always being ‘straight up’, Mr Straight-Up was bewildered when my friend asked for a straight-up answer as to why he’d suddenly gone cold on her. He thought it was a “crazy” proposition – a girl wanting to know why things had abruptly ended between them? Nuts.

Perhaps he lost interest. Perhaps he met someone else. Perhaps he just wasn’t in the right head space. Or maybe, as one friend helpfully suggested, he dropped his phone down a deep, dark well. It totally happens (perhaps not so much the latter). It’s life; you’re not a bad person if you decide someone just isn’t for you.

However, especially if you pride yourself on ‘owning’ everything you say and do, a woman isn’t crazy for asking why you’re not ‘owning’ the fact you treated her like your girlfriend in front of your friends, talked to her as though you had a future together, had sex with her, but then never called her again.

LADIES, HERE’S MY MESSAGE TO YOU.

Don’t shut down your feelings out of fear of appearing too keen or even “crazy”. I see it happen so often and it breaks my heart. I don’t mean to give you full licence to let your freak flag fly and knit that winter scarf out of his pubes you’d been slowly collecting in a box under your bed. But you aren’t “crazy” for expecting some basic common courtesy – an honest reply – if you send a damn text message.

Worried about appearing too keen? Don’t be! If this past year has taught me anything, it’s that life is short – it turns on a pinhead and you don’t know how long you’re going to be here for. I, for one, am not going waste my time being anything less than open and honest about how I feel and what I want in a relationship. I’m not going to hide behind smoke screens and extended pauses between text replies to appear as the mysterious chilled-out girl I am not.

I like you, I clicked with you, and I want you to get in my life, so let’s see what happens. No? No worries. Next!

If that makes me crazy, c’est la vie.