I read an article last night about a woman, Claire Brosseau, who went on a “manbbatical” – she chose to give up sex, dating and flirting for one year to get a handle on her own response to the idea of attractiveness.
Her website outlines the 10 rules for her year-long fast (warning, it has “adult content”) and conclusions as she blogs about her experiences throughout the year. In a conversation with Blisstree Brosseau, a stand up comedienne in real life, says she thinks the experience was beneficial.
“I’ve learned and accomplished SO much,” Brosseau says to Blisstree. “In the past year I’ve lost over 30 lbs., did my first gala/televised comedy special for a major comedy festival, I got management in the U.S., started headlining as a comic, and I feel more driven and determined than ever. It proved to me that I can do anything, if I REALLY want to. I know for some, one year going sexless is no big deal – but it was for me, and I was able to turn my life around.”
I don’t know that giving up dating, etc. for a year is that unusual – or maybe I’ve just been around so many young adults who choose to save dating for the purpose of marriage. I often talk with students who “fast” from relationships for a time to focus on their spiritual growth or give themselves time to heal from a break up.
Some insights I gained from learning about Brosseau’s manbattical:
1. You can only get so far by focusing on self. Brosseau evaluated her growth in terms of self which I think will still leave her lonely in the end. It would have been nice for her to realize the time she spent consuming romantic thought could be better used by contributing to the greater community.
Getting outside of yourself allows the potential for meeting like-minded people, which allows you greater fulfillment in relationships. As humans we cannot meet all of our own needs through selfishness.
2. Setting boundaries on social media is good. Her rules for the manbbatical included not visiting a crush’s facebook/Twitter page more than once a day. Do people really get obsessive about the social media of their crushes? Why? Wouldn’t just getting to know them through a conversation be better?
Here’s a tip for the masses: Never ask someone out over facebook or Twitter. Get off your tush and look them in the eye. It makes you brave and strong and more attractive. Period.
3. See people as interesting whether they’re like you or not. Brosseau’s take on ceasing flirting was profound: “I am very flirty by nature. As the project wore on, I realized how nice it could be to simply speak to people without seeing them as potential lovers, and just as people. I was able to really listen, and develop relationships in a whole new way.”
A genuine interest in people will get you far in life – no matter how they might play into your life later an authentic concern with others is a very healthy way to take part in community. It allows you to see the diversity in the world and marvel at all the different ways people attack their experiences.
Now it’s your turn – would you ever take a “manbattical” or “wombattical”? What would you hope to accomplish through a romantic fast?