THE KATIE GIRL FACTOR07 / 21 / 2017
Katie Girl: An unusual woman whom men don’t choose over less interesting and less difficult women. (Urban Dictionary)
What do Carrie from Sex and the City, Khadijah from Living Single and Beyonce all have in common?
Like most American women, I’ve related to quite a few of the dating scenarios on HBO’s hit show, Sex and the City. The four central characters follow the same modern American female archetypes as shows like Living Single and The Golden Girls did before them. Since my early 20s, I’ve always thought of myself as a hybrid between Carrie and Samantha (or Khadijah and Regine, Dorothy and Blanche): creative and free spirited while at the same time unapologetically ambitious and a little flamboyant.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw the “Ex and the City” episode I was a junior in college. In that episode the show’s central character, Carrie has a realization about her longtime tumultuous relationship with the love of her life, Mr. Big and its demise.
While Carrie and her three best friends sit in a bar, Mr. Big is celebrating his engagement to Natasha, a simple, seemingly perfect straight haired woman he has chosen to marry over Carrie. Miranda, her straight shooting lawyer friend brings up a concept from the classic Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford movie, The Way We Were (1973).
In the film, Streisand plays Katie- a loud, opinionated, complex curly haired woman whom Robert Redford’s Hubbell falls in love with but ultimately leaves her to marry a “simple,” safer woman. Carrie realized she was a Katie girl being left by Mr. Big, her version of Hubble.
“Ladies, I am having an epiphany. The world is made of two types of women…the ”simple” girls and the ”Katie” girls. I’m a ”Katie” girl!”
Although I was too young to understand the gravity of the Katie Girl factor at the time, the concept stuck with me for years. Little pieces of the story’s arc have found their way into most of my relationships over the past decade. I’ve met quite a bit of conflict within relationships for being outgoing and extreme in my thinking. I don’t fit neatly into a conventional heterosexual monogamous relationship model as I am queer, polyamorous and defy a lot of gender norms as a woman. Appearance-wise, I’m tall, heavily tattooed and have wild, thick wavy hair that I’ve worn just about every possible way. I’ve been a bartender and a musician for my entire adult life which lends itself to a lot of drinking, social interaction, late nights and meeting new people. I love being me and I’ve always naturally drawn soon-to be lovers in with the excitement within my world.
They love it all until it becomes too much for them.
This real life Katie Girl archetype isn’t just a theme for the Carries of the world, nor is it unique to being a professional heterosexual white women in pre-911 New York City. Complicated women being rejected and misunderstood by their partners is just as applicable today and across all cultures. In my experience, it isn’t limited to heterosexual relationships either, I have had a nearly identical experience with both male and female partners in the past. To find a modern day example of a Katie Girl, I had to look no farther than Queen Bey herself. She draws on her own experience of it over and over on her instant classic, Lemonade. In “Don’t hurt yourself,” my personal favorite song on the album, Beyonce says to her cheating husband, “’Til I realize I’m just too much for you.” I found this line to be instantly relatable. Unfortunately, even Beyonce has been rejected for taking up too much space.
Although I can relate to all these women, I’ve never seen myself as a one dimensional character. I have always been aware of the nuances and complexities that go along with being a human. Yes, I’m a boisterous, tattooed, heavy drinking queer woman but I know that there is more to me than that. I’m also a yoga practitioner who loves to read, adores my family, loves animals and still sleeps with a Teddy bear. I am all of these things at once and perhaps most of all, I am a woman who thrives on connection and deeply desires to be loved.
Maybe my extreme personality, lifestyle and appearance have always overshadowed the softer parts of myself. I’ve often been in relationships that started out fun and exciting until my partner has discovered that I will not shrink to be smaller or compromise my identity to make them feel secure. I’ve had the experience in relationships where I’ve wholeheartedly believed we could build a future together only to discover that my lover has never seen me as marriage material. During the final heated conversations leading to some of my most painful breakups, I’ve been told things such as “I never saw myself ending up with an artist,” “I can’t accept your sexuality, it means you’re going to have to sleep with someone else one day,” “I’m not just gonna stay home with kids while you’re on tour.” …You get the idea.
As a real life Katie girl, I fully embody my eccentricities and present myself as authentically as I can from the very beginning of a romantic connection. I don’t see myself as a victim. I realize that being with a woman who is complicated and large in personality isn’t always easy but like any other woman, Katie girls want nothing more than to be seen and fully accepted.
“Katie Girl” The Song
I wrote the song “Katie Girl” after the most painful breakup I’ve ever been through. Defeated and heartbroken, I felt rejected for all the qualities that make up who I am. The partner who I had been fully committed to had found me to be hard to love. In the song I vented my frustration about this being the demise of some of my other past relationships along with my anger and disappointment about it.
Much to my delight, although the song is heavy in content and feel, it has resonated with many of my listeners over the years. There are a lot of Katie girls out there who feel as if their wild hair, large personalities, and even larger ambitions have been seen as a threat to the people they’ve fallen in love with. These are qualities that no Carrie, Katie or any other woman should ever be apologetic for. As Warsan Shire, the woman who gave poetry to Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ said best, “women like her cannot be contained.”
Watch the Katie Girl official music video HERE