The engagement of Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker sums up all my sentiments about the year 2021.

Given relationships are what I mostly write about for a decade now, I didn’t write one single article about it this year. Not for the lack of subjects or things to say; this year is nothing if not fruitful in the matters of the heart – I felt a huge shift and it had to simmer thoroughly. Rules are changed in the (almost) post-pandemic world. Last year I analyzed men to quite a degree. Together, we discussed some of the weird little behaviors they were practicing in the big bad world of lockdowns. This year, it’s us, women that need a bit of scrutiny, I feel.

During my hiatus on the subject of dating/relationships/love, I constantly got bombarded with questions about it. Naturally, it’s everyone’s favorite, most haunting subject. “Miranda, will you write about this renewed relationship of Ben and Jennifer after 17 years?. “Will you write about an always interesting topic of whether true love ever ends?”. “Will you write about Sex & Life on Netflix?”. And so on.

Thank you Travis for coming through a week ago today, helping me structure the essence of 2021. Yes, essence. Of the whole year. Not just relationships. Why everyone is responding to Kourtney and Travis so endearingly, even the people that usually don’t care for Kardashians; it’s because this relationship goes beyond the relationship. Something is different about this. You feel it, even if you can’t articulate it. The announcement of something greater. A shift. And most importantly, it makes us examine the patterns we stealthily accepted as the norm.

If you think I’ve gone completely insane with looking for inspiration in a Kardashian, hear me out. This article was cooking for many months now and I’m very ambitious about changing your whole mindset.

Let’s break down the patterns.

We finished the year 2020 with an interesting phenomenon; guys who rather text than meet. You know them. They need verbal attention more than women, but strangely avoid meeting in real life. They’d rather just text/DM than have a relationship, affair, or even just sex. I solved this conundrum for you: men realize if you meet them in real life you’ll discover all their shortcomings very shortly; but if they keep texting, DM-ing, they get their attention quota for the day. Many of them are married, in a relationship, or have nothing to offer you, or can’t even fuck properly. Why let you discover that? When they can text for eternity and have the virtual hard-ons for a bit longer.

Come 2021. Men got it a bit together, I feel. Dealt with issues. I feel the pandemic was especially hard on them (fear of providing), and the usual – men dealing with any kind of pain, uncertainty much harder than women; whereas it’s pretty much built in us.

And women?

It’s the year 2021 and women still think they can strategize a relationship with a man that clearly shows signs of not wanting to. Somehow, we STILL can not accept – men know really well what they want.

Not sure if you ever heard of a 3 box theory. It goes like this. There is – want to date you box, just friends box and just having sex box. Men know right away in which box you belong to them. And there’s nothing much you can do to skip from one to another. You can be the best, most beautiful, and interesting person on this planet, if he doesn’t want to date you, there is absolutely nothing you can do. And if he wants to date you, you can sleep with all his friends, be the worst human alive, there is nothing that can change his mind. Just friends is a bit tricky, I have yet to meet a guy friend that didn’t want to sleep with me.

Somehow we, women, can’t seem to evolve in this theory. Men are not confused. We can’t strategize them into things – men know perfectly well where they want to be. And this should not cause any kind of despair, it should actually do quite the opposite – it should make you content as fuck. You should never analyze your brain out with what you did wrong with this or that guy, what incorrect step of yours ruined your chances; nothing did. You haven’t done anything wrong, you are just in a box. And boxes are just a choice. Guess what?

You too should have them, and as a matter of fact, you can choose more than they can. In order to do that, you have to change your mindset from waiting to be picked.

This year rode me hard on this conviction. I spent most of my summer with my friends trying to bully me into dating this guy they all love. There was nothing impressive about him except he looked good, and I told them, more to just get them off my back – I could only sleep with him, I wouldn’t date him. Their reaction was a harsh verification of how far we still have to go, as a society. They thought my rejection of their idea of him is “my game”. “If anyone can make him settle that’s you Miranda” – they quipped excitedly. Only, this was not my game. It was my choice.

We are literally living in a simulation where a decent-looking guy with money should unquestionably be everyone’s relationship material? Is this all we are thought to look for in a man? I refuse.

The whole summer I hear my girlfriends left and right say – “I’m going on a date tonight, I hope he likes me”. I’m mind-blown at any woman stepping foot out of the doors hoping the guy she’s meeting likes her, and not thinking first – hey, I hope I WILL LIKE this guy I’m meeting tonight. I witnessed hordes of intelligent, hot chicks going out with these lame, good for nothing, no qualities, not even good-looking men “hoping he likes them”. In the year 2021, I refuse to spend time with women who speed date 3-4 men a week, strategizing and scheming them to like you, date you, marry you. All while being frustrated for not even enjoying sex, all for him to think you are dateable. You know that one night he takes off from you to have dinner with his friends? That’s the day he’s having dinner with someone he’s having sex with.

The sex part, I also quite don’t understand.

I think women totally underestimate the power of great sex. Just sex. No dating. It can be both but doesn’t have to be. In my opinion, it’s better to have a safe person to have sex with, even though you are not dating, than going on 4 dates a week with lame people you have nothing in common with. Why are you interviewing 4 times a week? Isn’t work stressful enough?

You know those 3 boxes? Just friends, just sex, or relationship? You can also put men in those boxes, you can CHOOSE. You are allowed to just want to have sex with someone, just be friends with a guy, or have a type you would date. Why are you happy with just anyone random that wants you? How is this lost on women?

Sex, a huge part of this theory of mine. Sex is not a strategy. It’s been, throughout history, but since it’s not the 19th century anymore, can we just evolve? Having sex to get something and withholding it to get something. You do realize sex is something to enjoy? You could totally just enjoy fucking sex, for the sake of ENJOYMENT. You don’t agree? Is that why you lost it at Sex/Life on Netflix and sent me 10 messages a day if I saw it, do I like it and will I write about it? Is that why all of you were glued to your screens on episode 3 and rewatched it 17 times? Going on pointless dates, not having sex to strategize the relationship out of some guy, but then coming come to watch Sex/Life over and over? How is this healthy? I’m at loss here.

Repeat after me: CHOICE.

Enter Ben & JLo. “Great, amazing, true love never dies, he was always dying for her, she was always dying for him”, etc etc…Sorry. Not quite feeling this one. But it’s not important how I view their relationship, what’s important is this is another, very important lesson in choice. Their story is significant in changing the usual tired, boring narrative of a woman having less of a choice than a man. She is wronged, she breaks up with the guy, he moves on with a younger chick right away, she’s alone for a while, does 2-3 much younger guys, it doesn’t work out, she stays alone, finds happiness in her kids; roll credits. Jennifer is too legendary for that scenario, and I think Ben thing is more her playing into this narrative – not me, ARod, buddy. Instead, he was left, boring, insignificant. I don’t wish sorrow to anyone, but it’s important to change this chatter. Women need to SEE different scenarios.

Ben is a drunken mess and that’s really not my jam – huge pet peeve of mine. I don’t find him anything, they look too performative, everything looks too produced, too much, too done but with all this pretense of lightness, flowy dresses, boats, Italy, and fresh air; after all, that’s her signature hustle – working hard as fuck for things, then making them look effortless. But as I said, I think it’s very important for women to see a different scenario, a woman in her 50’s leaving a cheating guy, finding (or re-discovering) someone better. Him going from a much younger girlfriend back to her. The message of age not limiting you; it won’t limit you if you think it doesn’t. You have a CHOICE.

Age goes for both here.

The common mistake society often makes is this tired notion guys find younger women after the breakup because they want someone younger, therefore prettier. Mostly, it doesn’t have anything to do with youth or looks, but finding someone not yet developed or experienced to see through his bullshit. Men leave or were left; a relationship where a woman he was with learned and saw through all his bullshit. She’s no longer impressed. A man needs someone to be impressed by him. A younger woman will be impressed with all his crap, will find excuses for all his shortcomings, and think it actually makes him interesting.

Ben could have done that. Instead, he chose to be challenged. With someone on his level. And that’s an important narrative. And tells good things about him. That’s why until yesterday he was washed out for all of us, and all of a sudden he was hot again. Balls to be challenged daily. It’s sexy.

And finally – Kravis. FUCKING KRAVIS!

There is a palpable significance in Travis and Kourtney. It transcends just love. As I said in the above paragraph, they came as messengers to announce a much-needed shift. None of this bullshit saga of waiting to be picked, strategizing, scheming, hoping for dudes to like you, dealing with man-children, and finding excuses for their boy on a school trip behaviors. And worse of all HOPING these kinds of problematic men LIKE you instead of respecting yourself enough to finally realize – you ain’t for me, buddy.

You are smart, pretty, capable and you are hoping some incapable, not even cute, problematic man-child likes YOU? Change this mindset, I beg you. I say it to you, and to myself.

Kravis descended literally from the motherfucking skies, at the time where people are not even people anymore, but mere products of something they want you to see. Content, clout, likes, relevance. There are no real connections anywhere, just a week or two-long excitement over something or someone that vanishes faster than a slice of pizza at 4 am.

People being so fucked up with themselves, how can they be anything to you? Now add a sprinkle of a pandemic on top; we thought it would bring us awakening and it brought mostly the gutter we have to wade through. Some seething hopelessness ascended; people on edge, aggression, rudeness – unbearable to the point of wanting to teleport to some other times.

Smack in the middle of it, Kravis.

And you just know Kim Kardashian is somewhere, plucking her godamn hair at the captivating attention this is getting, pretending to be light and unbothered. Sharon fucking Stone posted about it! This is how far these optics are reaching.

Out of the left-field, just having burgers one day, looking real, simple, unfazed. With no effort, they brought in the simplicity of another time. They transported us to the unbotherness of the ’90s. looking and behaving in the spirit of the majesty The Nineties. After all, there were authentically this then, just separately. They are so consumed in each other, indifferent to who sees them, where they are, how they look. In the current times of living your life for the overproduced Instagram content, same dumb faces, same bodies, they look unperfect; she frolics with him, her body flabby at times or in some positions or angles of the shot, and it’s beautiful.

Teleports you to a time, probably in our teenage years, when we were so consumed with love, we couldn’t see past it, or notice anything around us. Love handles, tummy falling out of our pants, what? What are pants? What are clothes?

You know how everyone tells you you don’t need a man to be complete? You don’t. You won’t even get him if you aren’t. But also, this shows how the right kind of man can elevate you to the unspeakable, otherwise not reachable levels of YOU.

The significance of her in this is too grand.

He’s a vessel, but the lesson is in her. Look what happens when you finally have some real support? Real, true support in who you authentically are. But her family supports her, you say? On the surface. Not saying they didn’t feed her when she was a child. We are all grown enough now to know real support is allowing a person to be exactly what they are, without expecting one should behave like the rest. We all had a hard year and a half; you probably have your own woes with your own parents or siblings where there aren’t necessarily malicious towards you, but they don’t really welcome you being different. They want you to be like them, be “normal”, act like others, and don’t hesitate to badger you every chance they got. Constant criticism piles up.

I didn’t really watch Kardashians, but I’ve seen enough; this family did nothing but passively “it’s for the ratings” bully her for being different. For not wanting to be on a show. For not wanting to participate as much as them. For not wanting to be a product as much as them. For not wanting to open a side business. For being lazy. For being late. Did you know that chronic lateness has to do with some disorders and often has nothing to do with not respecting other people’s time? All I heard was people being nasty to her for being “uninterested”. This or that. Her whole storyline in that show was being not quite “good” enough, as the rest are.

Despite being constantly mocked but in a “fun-loving family way” for ratings, she stayed true to herself. Endured all the jabs. Didn’t steer off her course. Kourtney is the only person in that family that is fully authentic. Herself. Everyone else is a product of what society needs at this moment. Each and every single one of them has a role to play.

You know those moments, and we all felt it; when just nothing works? You try to be true to yourself but things are constantly off. You can’t get on the same page with anyone around you, no one gets you, you just feel like you don’t belong anywhere, nothing fits? Many people steer off course in those moments and lose themselves. They listen to others, try things that don’t fit them, minds are hindered.

There’s a saying I always liked: If you stay somewhere long enough or if you stay true to yourself long enough – luck will find you. The perfect job will find you. The guy you want will find you. Just stay there. Stay in you.

I’m even a bit in awe of Kourtney, and how on course she stayed. How authentic and fully herself she remained. Insisted on her lifestyle, insisted on what SHE wanted in a partner, stayed the course. Partner, a huge deal. The one thing that strongly stayed with me from what I’ve seen around their show/interviews – is how adamant she was with what she wants in a guy. How do you move on from a failed relationship when your family constantly has your ex around? How unkind of your family is to keep your ex around for ratings when you clearly need to separate yourself?

Co-parenting is one thing. Your family getting along with your ex better than you, treating him like a buddy, bestie, have him at every event, gathering, hangout – it must be the 9th loop of Hell.

Yes, while trying to leave a guy and form some sort of boundary, the thing you want to hear is how funny he is or you want to run into him in your sister’s bed chilling, gossiping. No wonder she spent years trying to date one wrong guy after another, just to escape that unhealthy fuckery.

The significance of her in this is too grand. I can’t repeat it enough. You can have an unsupportive family, you can waste a decade of your life on a man child that makes you miserable, and the usual epilogue of that scenario is – you stay with the man child who sucks the life out of you, he’s funny sometimes and fluffy, your fam loves him, it’s ok! ENDURE. Or you can leave him, he will find a younger girlfriend within 2 weeks, while you will struggle with wrong guys, much younger guys, being mentally split between being alone and dealing with a mess of a man. You tried everything. You still can not get out of the situation as a winner; a society is simply designed that way for women.

Except, she DID.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Scott. Scott is funny. Scott is messy and funny and guys like Scott mostly get away with everything in life because they are funny sometimes. I lived with A SCOTT. They are always fine; either they leach on someone good for them who can not seem to shake them or they find someone young to not yet discover their level of mess. Men like Scott rarely feel the repercussions of their behavior. That’s exactly why there are so many Scott’s around in the world.

Except, this one DID.

Scott actually got punished for his behavior by losing her. While also losing the teenagers he keeps distracting himself with. The only way the world is going to get more Travises and less Scott’s is by men not being forgiven for shit behaviors by women who fear being alone.

It’s important for women to see this narrative, for a significant shift to take place. You stay yourself, no matter what. You don’t get bullied by others making rules of how each individual needs to be. I’ve experienced it all summer. People getting nasty towards me because they somehow imagined their behavior is a guideline of how I should be. It’s important for women to see there is ALWAYS someone you can meet if you don’t settle for temporary pleasure or the illusion of security.

You think there are no men because you convinced yourself there isn’t.

A man can be a new one you meet or someone you already knew but the moment wasn’t right then, it can be someone that took wrong turns while you took your wrong turns and you got out of it at the same time. You have no idea what the world has in store for you if you just kept going, without the fear of ending up alone.

Fear of ending up alone single-handedly prevented so many possible great relationships from happening. I know it’s a risk. Meeting someone is, after all – circumstantial. Your WANT can not create a man in front of you. But isn’t the possibility of that happening – worth all the risk?

And just like that, in a blink of an eye, Kourtney went from “the least interesting to look at” (absolute lies), to pretty much a fucking icon. All that she is, what didn’t work so many times before, all of a sudden were the exact things people found so inspiring! Always a bit edgier than the rest of her Herve Leger wearing tribe, before Kanye taught them style; here comes Travis, with a backpack full of the same vibe, the same lifestyle, but also stability and acceptance. They look like teenagers in love, except, they are not teenagers. They are full-grown adults feeling this. The stability you see on Travis’ face, the type of man he is and the way he makes her feel is so important to see today, in this over-produced smoke and mirrors climate. Unkindness, fakeness, superficiality; you felt it too, all summer long.

To witness what healthy love looks like and how strong a bond it can create, it’s a priceless present to receive this year. The type of bond that makes you ready to deal with your traumas. He sat on a plane for her. A godamn plane.

Optics of Travis is also important here. Take notice. Think about the guys you like. How they are. Messy. Needy. Problematic. Not communicating properly. Issues. No stability.

The year is 2021.

We’ve been through hell & back. We got reminded of our own mortality. Isn’t it time we update our boxes? And truly see we aren’t unlucky in love – we are just wasting time with guys we KNOW in our guts are not it.

Choices are not the only lesson I drew from this, and the whole year in general. It’s realness. Kravis hits that note too. As I said, we thought the pandemic will drag the best from us. Make us see what’s important. Not sure about you, so far I see the total opposite. We need to subtract. Seriously. We need to subtract people, situations, behaviors. The world is fuller of smoke and mirrors than ever before. Performance tactics all around. Why do we look at Travis and Kourtney endearingly but are annoyed with Megan Fox and Machine Guy Kelly? Because we see one is the real consummation, and the other is a performance for the masses.

Do we want to be served a product any longer? Aren’t we tired?

It’s safe to say, our collective obsession over optics of the ’90s through clothes, make-up, style, vibe, filters; editing pics to look like the pics from the ’90s – means we’re all subconsciously yearning for those times. Simpler. Unbothered. Unperfect. REAL. We want a change.

Why is Kim frantically posting the pics from the ’90s in her garage? She can strategize to marry Kanye after never being romantically interested in him; she was smart enough to see he can give her the legitimacy she did not have before him. To go from designers refusing to dress her, put her on covers, to the product she is today – it’s impressive product placement. But it’s a product. There is nothing authentic or real about her.

Travis’ striped navy t-shirt, at the beach a week ago, got more FEELS over the world than all the business plans that came out of that family’s production office.

And if that’s where we’re headed, sign me up, book me a ticket!

Take all my money.

If you like my work and want to support it, buy me a cup of coffee! For more of my content, check out my publication on Medium and personal stories on Substack.

connect with me:

If you like my work and want to support it, buy me a cup of coffee! For more of my content, check out my publication on Medium and personal stories on Substack.

connect with me:

Miranda Vidak

Storyteller. Creative. Founder / Designer of Moodytwin Inc. Disrupting the conversation about culture, society, tv, dating, self, one op-ed at a time.

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