The winter dance at my school is a Sadie Hawkins dance, so the girls are supposed to ask the guys. Some of my friends and I pretty much decided that we aren’t going to go to the dance this year. While talking to my friend Sara, who does want to go to the dance, I casually told her about a boy, Charlie, that I would ask if was going to go.
Fifteen minutes later, to my surprise, Sara asked Charlie to the dance.
I’ll admit, Sara did ask me if I would mind if she asked him. I jokingly responded, “You just have to steal all the guys I like! But fine…whatever. Ask him.”
I assumed that Sara wouldn’t ask Charlie, simply because I had just told her that I was interested in asking him, if I was going to go. I assumed she would recognize my statement as a clear indication that I did not want her to go with him, that he was off limits. I assumed that Sara, as my friend, wouldn’t even think to ask the guy I wanted to ask. I assumed that this was a part of the “girl code,” which would take precedence in a situation like this if Sara didn’t recognize my feelings.
So what is this girl code? In my mind it’s this: one shalt not date a friend’s crush or ex-boyfriend. True, Sara is not dating Charlie, but I figured that asking the guy that I was considering asking to a dance should be some violation of this code. But, when discussing this with my sister, she alerted me to something that I clearly hadn’t considered: maybe Sara’s girl code is different than mine. Maybe she isn’t aware of the code that I inherently follow (and expect my friends to follow).
After she invited him to the dance, Sara asked me if I was mad at her. I said I was, a little bit. She responded that she didn’t think I was going to go to the dance anyway. I realize that Sara must feel like I don’t really have a right to be mad at her. First of all, I gave her permission to ask him, basically. Secondly, Charlie’s not mine to claim.
Writing this out now makes the whole situation seem pretty trivial. Is my friend supposed to be aware of this girl code at all? Is it her job to follow it just because I think that I am supposed to follow it, too? Bottom line is this: when Sara asked me for permission, I should have been honest with her about how I really felt.
So, what now? Is the girl code null and void? Does it exist at all? Does it just not apply to this situation?
Maybe the issue is not that Sara broke the girl code. Maybe it is just that I was so surprised to see how quickly Sara disregarded my feelings, whether or not she realized that she did so. I suppose people can’t always adhere to specific codes of conduct, especially those unspoken ones that I assume everyone naturally adheres to.
Perhaps it’s time to stop worrying about breaking the girl code, and time to start worrying about breaking free of the girl code that says girls shouldn’t talk openly about what they really feel and want.
Until I talk to Sara about my feelings honestly, she won’t understand why I am upset, and I will continue to resent her decision.
What you affectionately refer to as the “Girl Code” is nothing more than socially acceptable manipulation, ie: “to negotiate, control, or influence (something or someone) cleverly, skillfully, or deviously”. Along with the “Guy Code”, “Marriage Code”, “Family Code”, “Work Code”, etc, it’s a destructive mode of (mis)communication resulting in misunderstandings, personal offenses, and damaged relationships.
Let our words be true! Say what you mean, and mean what you say. We all deserve the dignity of speaking and hearing the truth, and it’s the only path to authentic, mutually respectful and satisfying relationships.