Looking Out for #1

I’ve spoken a lot about how I’ve always admired the bitches over the nice girls. Amanda Woodward. Julie Cooper. Scarlett O’Hara. And it occurred to me, writing my last article, that it was because, although I believe everyone has a self-preserving instinct to look after #1, only the bitches will fess up to it; take pride in it, even.

I’ve lost count of how many times, when I’ve been prompted to do something selfless (and although I’m self-preserving, I’m not an insanely selfish; I’m just pretty insensitive sometimes and need a bit of prompting to other people’s suffering), to look after then, I quip “˜haven’t you learnt yet that Scarlett looks after Scarlett?’ which usually gets a good laugh.

I don’t see why it’s all that funny. I honestly believe that all people are self-preserving, and to a lesser extent, self-serving. We look out for #1. Fair enough, ‘coz everyone else is looking out for #1. That’s not to say we don’t look out for other people, but we tend to look after ourselves first (or at least equal to our most loved one/s) and everyone/thing else is a lesser priority. Those who don’t usually get screwed over (unless you’re a Mary Sue) or canonised.

Do we live in an world where it’s not cool to be upfront about your sense of self-preservation? Or is it that because I’m a woman, I’m expected to be more selfless?

I’ve found that men are much more accepting of the things I’ve done out of selfishness or self-preservation than women are. Things like charging my girlfriends $5 a pop petrol money each time we go out drinking for being permanent sober sister, especially since I’m a student and actually need the money, when they all work fulltime (and it’s damn cheaper than a taxi), is something my males friends understand but my female friends call being greedy. Well, I want to be greedy for once. I don’t want to be the woman you know you can take advantage of. Because that, in my opinion, is what it comes down to.

Which is not to say that I don’t know plenty of women who don’t let themselves be taken advantage of. I do. It’s just that they don’t put it so bluntly as to say “˜I’m looking out for #1′. Women, I believe, have been conditioned not to appear so “˜selfish’.

To hell with that, I want to be selfish. Except I call it self-preserving.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to read Gone With the Wind for the 1038th time. There is a woman who is unashamedly self-preserving”¦


  1. Ifritah says

    My fiance started me on a saying that I enjoy using quite frequently: “How can this benefit me?”

    I do so very much love to say that. ^_^

  2. scarlett says

    I was at work last night and one of the guys made a mess in my aisle. He looked around, saw me looking pointedly at him like I expected him to clean it up, and he cleaned it up. I asked him ‘would you have cleaned it up if I hadn’t seen you’ and he replied ‘hell no’. We had a good laugh at it, because frankly, in the same position, I would have done the same thing, and I said so. I wonder how common it is to find people, especially women, who are frank about leaving hard/messy jobs for other people to do if there’s a good chance they’ll get away with it?

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    A lot of women I know are so conditioned to clean up messes that they never would have considered leaving it, whether they were seen or not.

  4. scarlett says

    Well, to be honest, the likelihood of me cleaning my own mess up is linked to the liklihood of me being caught having made/left the mess. OK, it might be different if it had been a spill that someone could have slipped on and hurt themselves if it didn’t get cleaned up immediately, but in this case, it was a few tin cans that had fallen down which, if I wasn’t likely to be busted over, I would have left.

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