Banana Looks For Love, Disrupts Societal Norms Instead

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you might have remembered— i spent 2 weeks as a banana on a dating app.

Otherwise, have a peek here first -- it’ll help give you context.

I was actually overwhelmed by the number of people who tried to contact the banana and quickly a question formulated for me: why? Why would people -- who are looking for love (or other things) -- engage with a giant banana in what was clearly a social experiment?

I found my answer after agreeing to have a real life conversation with someone.

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I sincerely contemplated wearing the costume, but ended up having to work prior, so I was dressed as myself. At first I thought I might have had to explain:

Hello, it’s me.

the giant banana you are looking for.

But apparently the small window in which you can see my face through made me recognizable enough. Who knew?

 
 

“I thought it was brilliant and hilarious,” he said.

“But you didn’t think it was like a giant joke? That I might not show up? That my kid brother might show up (I don’t have a kid brother)? That Chris Hansen might show up? That an orange might show up instead?”

“No,” he replied, “I was expecting you.”

“So why?”

“Because it was funny. Because it was different.”

 
 

And then our conversation took a deep dive into the stereotypes of internet dating profiles. I’ve heard many a complaint from my many female friends: about men with shirtless selfies, about men with tribal tattoos, about men who have nothing but sunglasses photos, about men who are shirtless with tribal tattoos and sunglasses — you get the point. But recently, I’ve asked men about what they see on the other side.

Turns out, stereotypes go both ways. Men are complaining about women with yoga poses, women at the beach with their backs to the camera, women with live, laugh, love in their bios, and women in yoga poses on the beach talking about live, laugh, love.

So I suppose amidst it all, a banana seems refreshing.

In a sea of mirror selfies, dare to be a banana.

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But in my time as a banana, I did notice -- men seemed to have a hard time speaking to me. Because it took more than just casual conversation the way you might slip into someone’s DMs before asking them out. Or the way you might inquire about someone’s day, someone’s life, someone’s job before exchanging numbers on an app. Unbeknownst to most of mankind, it requires someone in possession of sharp-as-steel wit to parlay a conversation with a human masquerading as a giant fruit.

And it seemed, only one person had succeeded (so far). And as I told him this, he seemed surprised.

Both men and women say they’re looking for someone with a sense of humor, but they actually mean two different things. Women mean they’re looking for someone who makes them laugh. Men mean they’re looking for someone to laugh at their jokes.

Think of your high school yearbook. Who was voted class clown? Was it a boy? And while that boy was goofing off in class, whose attention does he have? Aside from the teacher, probably all the girls’.

So why the gap? Because society has long since placed a woman’s value on her appearance and humor has long been attributed as a masculine trait.

It’s not that women aren’t funny.

We are. We’re just not encouraged to be funny.

Humor also requires risk. There’s a level of self-deprecation that goes into being funny. You can’t be afraid of poking fun at yourself. You can’t be afraid of how people will perceive you. You can’t care what anyone thinks. And if you’re a woman — sometimes that’s hard. As young ladies, we’re taught to think before we speak, to walk don’t run, to be dainty and delicate — lest we should appear “unladylike.”

There’s also a power dynamic that goes into who can make who laugh. And when a woman can make a man laugh and the man can’t return the favor, something shifts. I once had a guy asked me why it was important for me to be funny; because he thought, “you’re already beautiful.” But beautiful is boring. And beautiful gets old. Instead: Be brave. Be funny. Be happy. Be creative. Be adventurous. Be brilliant. Be talented. Be kind. Be passionate. Be yourself.

Be a banana.

But be more. More than beautiful. Because if you’re going to be defined by a singular word, let it be something you worked towards — something you fought for. Something that’s more than how your DNA came together. Let it be the grandness of your dreams. Let it be the fire of your passion. Let it be the strength you display in adversity. Let it be the sweetness of your compassion. Let it be more.

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