Now I’m a little late for International Women’s Day. The actual day of, I was at a WorldDenver event where three women from Russia, Burma, and Japan discussed the global journey to gender parity. Then the keynote over lunch regarded women and entrepreneurship. So forgive my tardiness on the subject, but this is my reflection on the past couple years in this once cow[boy]town, where over 100,000 people flocked to in 2015 alone. I was also riding from then to now and we all know that the barn is a place where time doesn’t exist.
Have you tried online dating? It’s utterly miserable. I mean, seriously, I think I’d rather be strung up by my toes in the middle of 16th Street. At least that wouldn’t shock anyone.
Then there’s this other ridiculous idea that Hollywood has driven into our heads: The Meet Cute.
You know, where you organically meet someone perfect in an adorable way like running into their shopping cart with your own, or your dogs’ leashes getting tangled at the park. Gag me.
Dating is rough. It’s especially rough in Denver, where it seems most of the men suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome. Many of the women I know aren’t looking for commitment, or babies, or a Ring by Spring; they just want a fun-for-now relationship. Good luck with that. Even in so-called “Menver,” finding a date that isn’t misogynist, or casually sexist at best, is a chore.
While finding a man in this town has become an increasingly base unicorn search because that population seems stuck in time (sorry, Boyfriend), what isn’t hard to do is find amazing lady friends who are very much of the moment. I have lived in Denver for 25 of my 30 years, and never has it been so easy to grab drinks with a smart, funny, bad ass woman. This, to me, is even more amazing than any best-for-singles town ranking.
Over the past year and a half/two years, I have worked with or met more inspiring women than I’ve ever had the pleasure of being around. In an age of the Taylor Swift-like #squadgoals, Denver is the place to be to form that squad. Madeleine Albright once said that there was a special place in hell waiting for women who didn’t support other women. I’ll add that that special place will also be filled with women who “don’t like other girls because they’re catty/dramatic/shallow; I just like guys better.” How does that happen? Like, how do you reach a point where you reject any connection with your gender? Guys are fine, guys can be great, but my ladies will unquestioningly always be a priority. They just get the experience of life as a female in a way that men can’t. Even our closest allies in the feminist movement just don’t *get* everyday sexism, rape culture, work-related inequities, and that very real feeling of being threatened the same way.
There is something unequivocal about female friendship. Others have written about it more eloquently here and here. However, in a struggle to find friends in my post-college, post-grad school life, it’s never been easier than now. These aren’t the shallow let’s-complain-about-everything-and-get-drunk friendships of my late teens/early 20s. These are the we-will-actually-schedule-time-to-hang-out-or-get-drinks-and-check-in-with-each-other real deals. We swap links to news articles that are relevant; we talk about how Hillary Clinton personifies the struggles that we still share, and how her victories are our victories; we lament global warming and how it will affect our children/nieces/nephews/generations that we will never know. In these relationships, being a knowledgable, smart, independent female (ok, a nerd) is not only accepted, it is shared and celebrated.
I sit on the young professionals’ boards of two major nonprofits in this city: the Rose Andom Center, and the Behind the Red group of the Mile High Red Cross. One night over dinner, the board of the RAC hatched and planned out a summer fundraiser with the blessing of the Center’s ED. While we have some fantastic dudes at BTR, the planning of the most recent Soiree After Party was carried out mostly by the women. Women get shit done. It is fact. It is life. And it is awesome.
In an age where we Netflix and chill with ourselves, and where my half joking refrain of “I don’t leave my house” is fairly common, finding women who you want to keep plans with is huge. And in Denver, there are so many of us, I feel comfortable calling this a hub of independent, successful, intelligent women.
Menver be damned, this is a ladies’ town.