In the “you should message me if” section of my profile, I wrote silly things, like “if you want to share pictures of baby tapirs” and “if you just want to talk about Harry Potter”, because I like to make sure people are paying attention. My favorite one is, “if you know where all of my missing socks are”, and whenever someone responds directly to that, I respond immediately, if only to find my damn socks. I’ve been keeping their lonely mates for far too long. I once found a guy who includes a similar plea in his profile, and also cites an addiction to book buying. For a good two hours, I was convinced he was my soul mate. I messaged him, waited and watched as he viewed my profile (twice, might I add), and didn’t respond. Perhaps the shortest relationships in the history of the word “relationship”.
So when a guy messaged to say that he knew where they were, I perked up. “Where?” I asked. He answered indirectly, and we traded one-liners (and not particularly clever ones) for a few days. After awhile, this grew a bit boring, so I did some more serious searching of his profile, which of course meant time to look through his answers to the match questions. You can tell a lot from this section, especially from what people choose not to answer. There are several questions about concern for appearance, including at least a few that ask whether or not the person would ever date someone who is overweight or with an otherwise “less than ideal” body type. As this is one that actually matters in my case, I tend to look for these, and also notice when someone answers none of them, which is a red flag. That almost always means that they wouldn’t, but that they don’t want to admit that and seem shallow. Some people avoid the gender equality questions, the intelligence questions, or the political questions. I tend to skip most of the overly private sex questions, mostly because I don’t want to share all of that information with the internets. But this guy didn’t seem to avoid anything. He answered that, in general, men are smarter, men should be the heads of their households, and that he doesn’t think voting is important.
A year ago, I would have just stopped talking to this guy cold turkey, and left it at that. But the more recent me has been trying to be more confrontational about things that actually matter to me, so I decided to press him on it. Did he really think that men were smarter? “Well,” he told me, “I was kind of joking when I filled some of those out, so I don’t remember my answers. But it asks about in general. I know some specific women who are smart, but overall, on average, I think it’s men.” Yikes. He gave no statistical or research-based reasoning for this, so I imagine he is just of the type who has instincts and assumes that they’re always right without bothering to follow up on them. I argued with this, but didn’t get far.
I was unhappy with this response, but pressed in another direction. Why didn’t he vote? As someone who woke with jitters on the first election day when I got to vote in person, who stays up to watch election coverage, and who spends countless hours reading articles about Supreme Court decisions and the recent failures of Congress, this raised my hackles a bit. “The system’s a mess,” he said. “It can work, but it will fix itself on it’s own, so I don’t get involved.” I can sort of understand not wanting to take part in a system you deem corrupt, but his logic is heavily flawed. It’s as if he’s saying that he really likes snowmen, but he doesn’t want to put in the effort to build one, so he’s just going to ignore the snow and hope that it happens to fall in the exact shape of a snowman. The odds are not in his favor. If you think something needs to be changed, hoping that someone else will fix it won’t work (I’ve tried this system of “hoping and waiting” when I shared a roommate and he seemed to never replace the toilet paper. Eventually I caved and bought some every time, because this method sucks, and because when it came down to it, having toilet paper was more important than principles in this scenario). Also, if you’re not voting, you give up all rights to complain about the people in office. I told him some version of my view on this, and he felt very attacked. He blabbed on about how his job involved a lot of conflict, so he didn’t like it in his personal life (as if that’s possible in a successful one). At some point the conversation dropped off, and I assumed I’d never hear from him again.
A month later, a message pops up in my inbox: Didnt realize I never replied! I do think dodgeball as a metaphor for life is very apropos. How are things going? How’s feminism?
First off, if someone doesn’t realize that they haven’t responded in a month, and didn’t notice that they weren’t talking to you, it’s not the kind of connection you need to rekindle, usually. Also…how’s feminism? For serious?
Of course, I had to take the bait on that one: Oh, you know, we had out usual monthly meeting that’s held in a room shaped like fallopian tubes. We talked about how to emasculate men some more, and laughed about women wearing aprons.
*our. That’s bothering me.
So, yes, men and other non-feminists (because, of course, only women can be feminists. And all feminists hate men and want to destroy and emasculate them), that’s where the meetings are, and what happens at them. Mark it down in your secret calendars so you know when to target our members.