Archive for feminism

I Am Not Responsible For Your Penis (An Angry, Long and Possibly Disjointed Rant)

Posted in Dating, online dating, women's bodies, women's liberation with tags , , , , , , on March 20, 2013 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

I’ve read a bunch of stuff about relationships over the last few years and included in that is a lot of research on understanding the minds of men. One book even contained a complicated system for attracting a man that involved specific eye patterns and subtle hand gestures that were supposed to mesmerize him into attraction. I laughed quite a lot, then threw the book in the garbage.

There is one “dating/relationship guru” that I’ve read quite a few articles by: Eric Charles of A New Mode. He has some interesting things to say and doesn’t seem highly gimmicky, which I like. I became a fan on Facebook and see his posts come across my newsfeed fairly frequently. After reading his articles, his posts, etc., I’ve come to some conclusions.

  • I think it is valuable to be given insight into a man’s mind, because women think so differently. In terms of sheer honesty, he lays it all out there. The good, the bad and the ugly. Forewarned is forearmed, right? So he’s doing women a service, isn’t he? However…
  • I always wind up feeling like he gives men a free pass to be assholes. Now, I’m sure he would fall back on the “forewarned is forearmed”, but there is a particular segment that finally sort of gelled why I found several of his posts off-putting….

Mr. Charles has been very outspoken about the fact that men who say they don’t want a relationship, for whatever reasons, really just don’t want to be in a relationship with you. That if he’s continuing to date you/sleep with you and yet won’t commit because of ANY cited reasons (My life is a mess, I need to focus on my career, I’m just not ready to commit, etc.), that what he’s really saying is that he’s happy to continue hanging out/having sex until the woman he wants to be with long-term comes along (the woman who, clearly, isn’t you).

Here’s my problem with this: Doesn’t that mean these men are liars? If they’re willing to string a woman along for sex, knowing they don’t really want to be with her (and most of these men know the woman wants a relationship), doesn’t that mean they are users? Doesn’t this put the responsibility on the woman in a weird and unfair way? Instead of constantly having to arm women to recognize men who lie and use, shouldn’t there be more information teaching men to not be douchebags?

So many of the questions I see being answered on this site (and with good reason) involve: How can I tell if he’s really interested in me? How can I know if he considers me his girlfriend? What can I do to get him? What can I do to keep him? Some of the messages are fantastic and I applaud Eric Charles and his professional partner Sabrina Alexis for trying to empower women with some of their statements. Be the attraction, instead of the attracted. Live your own life and stop waiting for a man. Be happy with who and what you are, instead of seeking that in a relationship. Bravo! However, there seems to be this pervasive undercurrent that makes women feel like they’ve always somehow erred in the dating/relationship world. They’ve probably been too needy, clingy, dramatic, too uptight, promiscuous…they must have been either too much or not enough of SOMETHING. So much of the dating advice for women feels blaming; If we had done more or done less, it all would have worked out! What about the men??

To me (and I’m about to go out on a fragile limb, because this is controversial), this conjures up all the discussion about rape and how women can prevent rape, another situation where the onus is placed on the woman. Because if you get raped, obviously you simply didn’t take enough preventative measures, right? You wore the wrong clothes, or were in the wrong place. You were too flirty, sexual and didn’t take enough safety measures. We are constantly, as women, inundated with information on how to protect ourselves from physical attack. (Thank God for some stirring in the media by organizations who aim to put the responsibility of preventing rape back on the place it belongs: Men who rape and a society that creates men who rape. (Men Can Stop Rape Organization).)

Yet women are also constantly being inundated with ways to protect themselves from emotional violations.

Yes, men and women are different and it’s crucial to work at understanding the differences if you want to have a great relationship. I realize that little girls are trained from birth on to play into a culture that is screwed up about sex and relationships and it isn’t ONLY men who create this environment. This blog, today, isn’t about the women. 🙂 Why can’t we start teaching boys from an early age to respect women? Why don’t we start training them early about women’s needs? How women respond? How about teaching them that it’s not okay to lie to or mislead a women to keep sleeping with her, just because they want to put their penis somewhere? That using a woman’s desire for a relationship and her emotions just to get laid is not okay? Impress upon boys from an early age that women have value beyond the decorative and sexual. Teach boys to be men of integrity.

I realize there are lots of men who DO have integrity; this is simply a rant because I’m tired of feeling like men frequently get a free pass for bad behavior. I’m exhausted by the daily conflicting messages women get about everything from looks to careers to relationships. I’m sick of the sly insinuations and subtle to overt criticisms, often conflicting, that still exist and break a woman down. I recently received a disrespectful email from a man on a dating site, stating that my hair was pretty and looking at it made his dick hard. I responded VERY negatively and then relayed the exchange to a dear family member, whom I love and respect. His response? “Good god, what kind of pictures do you have up?” When I wear a cute dress on a first date that shows some cleavage and my date attacks me in the parking lot, is it my fault? Can he not help himself, because he’s a man and wants to have sex? There are many who would say yes.

Bluntly put: Women should not have the constant responsibility of helping men control their dicks.

Whether we are talking about emotionally misleading women in relationships just to get some nookie, disrespecting them with your words and actions, or forcing yourself upon them physically. Do all men do this? No, definitely not. However, I do think there is still a cultural trend to be more forgiving of men who behave badly concerning sex and relationships. Instead of outrage, there’s still a rueful “boys will be boys” headshaking that goes on;  to the women who have been left with the consequences of WHATEVER the behavior was, there’s almost a “well, you should have known better” attitude. Or, what did you do to deserve it?

And yes, I know that to a certain extent, this is just the way it is. I know that Mr. Charles’s forewarned-is-forearmed approach is to help women deal with the reality of how many men approach dating and relationships and I mostly respect and like his advice. I can see that some things I might rail against are built-in, biological imperatives. Men are probably always going to be more sexually-oriented, while women are more relationship-geared, but there’s more going on with our dating/sex/relationship culture than just biology. I also recognize I am living in a world in which women are still second-class citizens, bound in part to the rules that are created by a society that does not respect them. On some days, like today, I just need to acknowledge that it sucks.

Still, I will continue to monitor my physical and emotional safety. I will try to apply my garnered “wisdom” to all my dating adventures and relationships, to ensure I’m not being misled or lied to. I’ll still closely watch what I do and say around men, in the hopes that they don’t get the wrong idea about me. I’ll look over my shoulder in dimly lit places, to make sure that I’m not about to be prey and hope that my dates manage to control themselves at the end of the night, so it’s not awkward or dangerous. I’ll still always think about birth control and disease prevention, because it’s my body and life most affected if I don’t. I’ll continue to watch for the verbal and non-verbal cues with men I’m dating, to try to find out if I’m being played or used.

And I’ll hope that perhaps we get to a place one day where women don’t have to feel so vulnerable, emotionally or physically. There are a lot of things that would need to be different in order to make that change in the world. Because it’s easy to say “Well, that’s just the way it is.” Yet for any significant change ever created, it had to start with someone who said: No, this is not acceptable.

So, let me state it clearly: NO. This is not acceptable. Where to go from here, I’m not certain…




Downpayment On The Goods?

Posted in Dating, women's liberation with tags , , , , on October 23, 2012 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Driving to work this morning, listening to a morning radio talk show, I caught a popular segment called “Second Date Update”. People who’ve had a promising first date, yet never hear back from their possible love interest, contact the radio program so the DJ’s can assist them with getting a second date (or at least finding out why they didn’t). The show is usually good for some chuckles or a bit of voyeurism into other people’s dating lives (which, honestly, don’t we all enjoy?).

This morning, a woman called in saying she’d had a great first date with “Jack”. They went to an upscale restaurant, had great conversation and shared some laughter. According to her, the date was really great and she couldn’t understand why he hadn’t called to ask her for a second date. Enter the DJ’s: They call “Jack” and get him on the phone, to try to get his take on the evening. Jack’s version was similiar, with one exception: According to him, she had told him mid-way through the meal that she wanted the relationship to be platonic (plutonic is actually what he said, but I’m nitpicking) and just wanted to be friends. He said at that point he lost interest, got the check and ended the evening. Reasonable, right? Afterall, he was looking for a romantic relationship and not somebody to hang out with.

Still, this is where “Jack” turns into “Jack-Ass”…

According to him, it was her obligation to tell him she just wanted to be friends before he took her to a nice restaurant and spent a substantial amount on dinner. He said he wouldn’t put a downpayment on a sports car if he just planned to park it in the garage–he wanted to be able to drive it! He elaborated at length about the amount of money spent, did his best to demean her during the entire conversation and said she should have offered to pay half if it was a “friend” date, because he doesn’t spend that much money on just “friends”. He even went so far as to say the most he’d ever spent entertaining a friend was $65, elucidating this was for a returning war hero. He said, “Now tell me why in hell I should spend $120 for dinner with you, if we’re just gonna be friends, when you haven’t even been shot at?”

And thus we come to the crux of my blog: Do men feel we owe them something if they pick up the check? Are they really just putting a “downpayment” on the future event of sex? Now, most decent men would object and say, “Of course not!” Yet…are they being honest with themselves? Maybe they don’t expect sex that date, or the next, or even the one after that. Yet if they continue to spend money on wining and dining a woman, they have an end goal in mind. For most men, this at least includes sexual intimacy.

I have typically opted to go dutch on dates, for precisely this reason. I don’t want to feel any obligation to a man I barely know. Do I feel I have to sleep with a man if he pays for my dinner? Of course not. Still, if he continues to pay for dinner, I always feel there is some level of reciprocity that is anticipated. Perhaps 60 years ago, the pleasure of a woman’s feminine presence and company was enough, although I’d be willing to wager that wasn’t the case even then. Perhaps the knight slays the dragon for the princess as an act of gallantry; or maybe he’s really just hoping to get the king’s okay to shag his daughter (Sorry: Have her hand in marriage). Today, marriage isn’t always on the table. Sex, however, is almost ALWAYS on the table.

Of course, this isn’t meant to pick on men. I know LOTS of women who think the man should pay simply because they are women. I know plenty of women who would be willing to accept dates just to get a free dinner out. There are people who say they are “old-fashioned” and think a man should pay for at least the first date (if not every date). Really? Why? If you want things to be “old-fashioned”, are you willing to put on a pretty dress and pearls and meet him at the door with a martini in hand? Are you willing to stay at home and play housekeeper and take care of all his needs while he brings home the bacon? Are you willing to have him be the head of the household, since you’re assigning him the “protector” status? If so, that’s totally fine. However, don’t scream about your liberation or your equal rights. If you are seeking out a man to take care of you and be your protector (which is what you’re signaling when you expect him to pay), expect to be treated like someone who needs to be taken care of and protected. Expect to be treated like you are not his equal. Pull the gender card when it comes to who pays and be prepared to have him play the sex/inequality card. It’s not that he should, it’s not that it’s right, but reality isn’t always the ideal and we often create our own reality by the decisions we make.

I think we need to take the money out of the dating equation. Go dutch on dates. If a man insists on paying after you’ve offered to split the check, then offer to leave the tip. Pick up the check on your next date. Allow a man to woo you in ways other than monetarily. Take the pressure off the man financially (what a burden!). In return, guys, if you offer to pay, don’t have an agenda. Don’t make innocuous little jokes about “now that I’ve bought you dinner, I guess you’re going to have to put out”. By making the joke, it hints that you expect something in return, but know it’s not really kosher to say it in a straight-forward way. If you do decide to pay, consider it a gift freely given. If you are going to resent the gift, don’t offer it.

For all the great guys out there who would never dream of thinking a woman owed him because he pays on the dates, know there are lots of great women who appreciate you and won’t abuse it. We realize you won’t refer to us like we are objects you can “put a downpayment” on; we are human beings you are trying to get to know. We’re not naive; we know if you continue to ask us out you probably want to have sex with us (probably sooner, in many cases, than we are ready to have sex with you). We know it and appreciate you putting in the time it takes for us to be ready.

As for “Jack-Ass”, go find a professional. That way it will be an honest, monetary exchange, with a guaranteed rate of return. Ending the date and not contacting her for a second because she played the friend card doesn’t make you an asshole. Referring to her as an object, stating repeatedly and in detail the money you spent on her, acting like she was a gold-digger…well, that certainly does.