Judgy Judgmentalism, With A Dash of Sexism

December 17, 2014

Gardom Pond

Over on Facebook, I happened upon a conversation regarding this guy, who, after breaking up with his girlfriend, sought a woman of the same name to use the round-the-world air tickets he'd booked. And, fancy that, he found someone willing to take over the ticket. Conditions of the trip: no strings attached, no common lodging required, no common activities at each destination expected. Here's some airfare, go have fun.

The Facebook comments were along the lines of:

This girl already has a boyfriend.

She's so selfish to leave her boyfriend for a few weeks to go on a trip with a strange guy.

Why would you do this to your boyfriend if you're not in an open relationship?

This is stupid, selfish nonsense.

Did I say selfish?

And I'm all like, "Huh?"

First of all, what, a woman isn't allowed to travel without her man? Puh-lease. Don't get me started.

Second, don't project your insecurities about your own relationships onto other people. Why is it automatic that she will be somehow cheating on her boyfriend? Why is it automatic that it can't be platonic? Mariott has even offered them separate rooms for the duration.

If I were offered a chance to go to a really interesting place, and circumstances conspired to give me the time and the means, I'd jump at it. And, in fact, I did, in very similar circumstances. In 1992 I planned a 9-week trip to Europe, the first 6 of which were to be with a good girlfriend of mine, and the last 3 of which were to be with my long-term boyfriend, with whom I had a strictly monogamous, non-open relationship. Except, 2 months before the trip, my female friend canceled. I spent the first 3 weeks traveling alone, but a male friend of mine offered me a chance to hike with him for 3 weeks straight in Corsica. Shared tent, close quarters, etcetera.

And you know what? Jealousy and possessiveness never entered into the equation for the decision. What nearly prevented me from doing it was a fear that I couldn't handle the physical nature of the hike (I'm not a hiker). But not once did I consider myself selfish for grabbing at the opportunity to go to a place I might never see otherwise. I had a great time. I did not cheat on my boyfriend, and, in fact, we are married now. He and I also had a great time when we finally met up again. The three of us are all still friends.

And that trip is one of my highlight life experiences. I'm so grateful my now-husband is not a jealous, insecure judgmental person. I'd have far fewer interesting stories to tell.

Have fun, Elizabeth Gallagher. You won't regret it.

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