Unpacking the ‘written by a woman’ TikTok trend

Why I let go of my expectations for an idealized partner 

There is no ideal romantic partner.
A recent TikTok trend celebrates real-life men who are "written by a woman" and criticizes women who are "written by a man."
This trend is inspired by fictional characters from books and films, characters women writers have crafted as male protagonists or love interests and are the embodiment of an ideal man. 
Think Timothee Chalamet in Little Women, Henry Golding in Crazy Rich Asians, and John Krasinski from The Office—sweet-hearted, respectful characters you would want to bring home to your family.
TikTok has adopted these terms to celebrate men who meet every checkpoint for a women and simultaneously to critique women who change the way they act to cater to men. 
A man "written by a woman" can be understood as a product of the "female gaze.” This character is typically tall, handsome, introspective, apologetic, and respectful towards his mother. He’s the kind of man who you can introduce to your parents and who will give your friends relationship advice. He shows up on time for dates, expresses his feelings eloquently, listens earnestly, and hates golf.
On the other hand, a woman "written by a man" is unbelievably beautiful, endlessly laid back, knows about sports, and can shotgun a Bud Light like it’s nothing. She can hang with the guys, but also has a perpetual air of sexual allure. 
As a young adult, I used the characteristics of pick-me girls and soft boys as reference points for my ideal relationship. I thought these meticulously curated, idealized roles would let me finally achieve a love story that would make Jane Austen proud.
In my first mature relationship, I was shocked to learn that the same person who made time for my family and friends and listened to me earnestly also made mistakes and actually enjoyed playing golf. 
I was equally refreshed to learn that my partner didn’t expect me to sensually prepare a French pressed coffee in a silk nightdress with my hair in a perfect updo—I could just throw in a K-Cup in my plaid pajama set instead.
I quickly found that understanding and loving a partner for their complexities and imperfections was vastly more fulfilling than the Ryan Gosling-Jude Law hybrid character I’d formulated in my head since the seventh grade.
Equally as comforting was realizing someone would accept me without being disappointed that I wasn’t Margot Robbie from The Wolf of Wall Street.  
Once I came to this realization and let go of my idealized expectations, I was pleased to find my relationship exponentially improved. I stopped being disappointed by the inane standards I’d developed in my head. 
While there are certainly aspects of the "written by’" characters that are beneficial and important, like showing up on time and being respectful, I’ve learned that bringing unrealistic, predetermined standards into a relationship serves no one.

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