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Was Last Week National Asshat Week on OKC?

I don’t know why, but last week was a particularly bad week for my inbox.  Every now and then I think, “hey, maybe if I use the site more and send more messages, I’ll actually find someone decent who also wants to date me.”  I conveniently forget that when I’m more active, I also get more pointless messages and more obnoxious messages.  But this  exchange made me really disappointed in humanity.

SirBoringPants: Are you still not dead?

Me: Uh, what?

SirBoringPants: Apparenrly I messaged you a year ago and that was the last thing you said.

What, did you go through all the rounds and come up empty?  Why would you message me again?  Maybe he’s celebrating the most absurd anniversaries in the history of stupid celebrations?

Me:Yeah, that probably means we were having an unpleasant conversation

So, sometimes when I get really boring messages, I’ll respond.  Not because I think it will go anywhere, but because I’ve been told I’m being far too selective because I want a message that has, you know, content in it.  And I’m clearly not in a position to be picky.  Okay, no one says that last part, because it’s not socially acceptable to do so, but i’s pretty heavily implied.  Because despite any good qualities that I have, my being a 29 year old fat woman means I’m supposed to take what I can get.  At least, that’s what society, and a  guy who messaged me once, tell me.  Not even kidding.  After messaging me to tell me how beautiful I am and give me his number, when I said that I wasn’t interested in someone whose priority was my appearance, this jerkwad told me, “That’s ok because I’m prob the only one there will ever be that thinks that”.  Which…ew.  So sometimes I talk to the “hi”s.  And you know what?  They are, 99 times out of 100, exactly as boring as you would expect.  So this guy must’ve asked me how I was doing, and I must’ve answered that I wasn’t currently dead.

SirBoringPants: Actually I just asked how you were doing. Maybe you were having a bad night?

Me: Oh, no, that just means that I spent a lot of time writing a profile and that was all you could come up with.

I don’t know how many times I can go over this.  Unless you are looking for really shallow relationships, you need to actually make it clear that you read the other person’s profile when you message them.  Otherwise, it just looks like you sent the same message to 500 other people in the span of 10 minutes.  While I know that I’m not more unique than the next person, I do at least want the person I’m dating to see me that way.  Is it really asking too much that the guy write a sentence that both acknowledge a common interest and asks about you?  If you are genuinely interested, it’s not hard.

SirBoringPants:Oh well Goodluck with that attitude…

Not sure he’s in a position to assume that my attitude is the problematic one – he’s run through all of the women in one year and is circling back to the ones he didn’t get completely ignored by.

Me: Good luck not reading people’s profiles and wondering why people don’t respond!

SirBoringPants:I read your profile, that’s why I messaged you.

No, those two things don’t always have to follow one another.  Guys will message women because they like the picture. Or click on the profile, look at the rest of the pictures, and then send a message.  I’m sure some women do it, too. Messaging someone /= “I definitely read your profile”.

Me: Well, “how are you doing” gives no proof of that, so you look exactly like every other dude who can’t be bothered to read a profile.

Again, this just sounds like something you could shoot out to every attractive woman in a 25 mile radius with minimal effort.  Also, you have not met me.  Do you know how many rat’s asses you give about how I’m doing?  Zero.

SirBoringPants: Maybe you could send out a questionnaire when you get the first message. Or talk to them? I dunno crazy right?

Some day, a guy will respond by saying, “you know, you’re right. I hadn’t really been thinking about how to make my messages more individualized to the woman I’m sending them to.  Thanks for the tip!”  (Actually, I’ve gotten thanks when I give feedback in the past, and I have to say, it raises my opinion of the guy quite a bit).  But this was not that day. Naturally, I am the problem.  It’s not the person sending the message doing it wrong.  I’m doing it wrong by not taking the most mundane question and turning it into a riveting discussion about pet kangaroos.  Not that I’ve ever told a guy on the internet that I had a pet kangaroo.  Definitely never did that.

Me: See, if this person were meeting me in the real world, with no information, that would be one thing. But I have an entire profile’s worth of stuff to talk about. Your way requires me to do all the work, but you’re not giving me any reason to *want* to do that work. Why is it my job as the person *receiving* the message to be the interesting person?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m obviously fascinating.  Oscar Wilde reads my blog and thinks, “Man, I need to get a life!” But sometimes that is too much pressure.  It’s unfair that I have to always bear the burden of brilliance.  If you’re the one trying to catch my attention, shouldn’t you…actually do something attention-catching?  Shouldn’t you tantalize me with your words? If a model showed up on a runway in wrinkled jeans and a plain white t-shirt, the designer wouldn’t walk out and tell the audience that they should “make that into fashion!  If you just asked questions and used your imagination, it would be amazing!”  No, fashion designer.  Do your job.

SirBoringPants: See, I figured you get the message check my profile and from there decide if I’m worth the time. That’s the way it’s been in the past.

…And here you still are on this website.  Desperate enough to message the same women who weren’t interested a year ago.  Maybe I should decide that he’s worth exactly as much time as he put into “how are you doin”.

Me: Again, putting the work…back on me. When your part of the work was a generic message you didn’t even bother to think about. Seems fair.

So I’ve been in relationships that were like this.  I don’t mind doing work.  I actually like a lot of it.  But I don’t want to be the only person doing said work – it should be a joint effort.  And I’ve been on that date.  Multiple times.  I drive home drained and then stare at the ceiling all night because I can’t sleep when I’m wondering how I could have made the date more interesting.  Because I tend to assume that I was the one dropping the ball.

SirBoringPants: I think that’s equal work I read your profile and you piqued my interest. You read my profile and then you decide? Is it really that hard? You come off as the lazy in that respect.

Okay, so how about this scenario.  I respond to “how are you doin” with “fine”.  Then what?  I did the bland thing, like you did.  There is no direction to go in.  The only way to fix this is to ask a question that actually starts a conversation.  Which, again, means I am doing the legwork of being interesting, or at least interested.  Which, in this case, I really am not.

Me: No, YOU come off as lazy. You couldn’t even bother to tell me what you found interesting in my profile. Since usually it’s some version of “I like how you look”, I need more to go on in that. Why is it that when *you* read *my* profile, you don’t have to do anything besides “hey” or something as boring, but *I* have to turn it into a conversation?

Seriously, it is my fault no matter what?  I don’t want to date the guy!

SirBoringPants: We’re just going in circles here.

Nah, I think you just realized that I have a point, and don’t want to admit it.  It’ll feel good, I promise.

Me: Trust me, I’ve had the conversation with the person who can’t be bothered to ask about anything interesting. It’s boring.

SirBoringPants: Yeah but you kind of came off as boorish though, maybe just don’t respond.

There it is again.  How I’m doing ALL THE THINGS wrong.

Me:You know what happens sometimes when women don’t respond?

A lesser version of When Women Refuse.  Google it if you’re not familiar.

SirBoringPants:What’s that. For the record I saw that coming haha

Not sure why this is funny to him?

Me: You get called a bitch, or racist, or get threatened with violence.

True story: about two days before this conversation, a guy messaged me three times before I had to explain that no response generally = not interested.  He then told me, “Fack you, racist”.  I didn’t know that in order to prove myself not racist, I have to be willing to date literally any guy who approaches me, despite having nothing in common, and finding the him to be awful.

SirBoringPants: So these hypothetical people who react like that to being ignored will respond well to you being rude?

Here’s when I get stabby.  First, they are hypothetical people?  No.  These are actual men who have messaged me.  Who have messaged my friends.  Who have messaged millions of other women.  They have the freedom to be cruel, disgusting, obscene, creepy, predatory, and abusive, but yeah, I’m the bad guy because I’m “rude.”  Screw.  That.

Me: Seriously? That’s your response? Not, “oh, it really sucks that you and other women have to deal with that”. No, but when I’m a little sassy, it’s rude.

SirBoringPants:I’m saying those people exist, so just avoid them entirely instead of messaging them at all. I think it is horrible that women get treated like that but it’s sad to say not surprising.

Ah, the backpedal.  No, you referred to them as “hypothetical”.  That very much implies that you do not think they exist. And that I am making them up, or preparing for a threat that doesn’t come about.  But you can brush it off with a “it’s not surprising”.  It must be nice to not have to worry about it happening to you.  Sure, on the internet, most of the time you won’t get someone who will stalk you in the real world, or get a chance to physically harm you.  At some point, though, being harassed by strange men on the internet because you aren’t giving them what you want eats away at your self esteem, your energy, your sanity, and, frankly, your empathy.  Dating gives me enough anxiety as it is.  I don’t want to have to worry about my mental safety, too.

Me: Dude, did you miss the part where when I ignore them, they message me anyway and say nasty things? This has happened to me several times. I’ve ignored messages. I’ve rejected politely. I get nasty responses 95% of the time, no matter how I respond. It seems only fair that I can respond however I see fit. 

This is kind of the crux of it for me.  Sure, I could not respond. I could take the abuse, block the guys, and move on.  I did some version of that for so many years of my life, while being bullied by nasty middle school girls, when being told by a boy on my bus that my legs were too hairy, when people assume that I can’t do something because I’m female/fat/was an English major/work in human services/insert other things about me that our culture has negative opinions about.  And honestly?  I’m tired of doing that.  I’m tired of being the bigger person.  Sometimes I want to just be angry at people who deserve it without being called a bitch or something worse.  I want people to get back the same shit sandwich that they give.  I don’t call people names or threaten them with violence,  I just shower them with snark and a big helping of The Way Things Are.  And as frustrating as it is to go through the same thing over and over, it feels good.  I’m finally standing up to one of the bullies, and on my own terms.  It can be incredibly freeing to decide that, you know what?  This one guy probably thinks I’m a big meanie bitchface jerkasaurus.  But it turns out, I don’t actually care what this one guy thinks.  I can stop feeling bad for telling someone off because they’re being an asshat.  Well, I can try, at least.

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Come on, OKC Dudes. You’re Better than This. I Hope.

So, because I’m a masochist, I pay for my OKC account.  Which means that I see whoever “liked” my profile.  This is actually one of the main reason I pay – I can find guys who maybe aren’t so confident about making approaches, but be more sure that I will get a response.  Seems like a win for everyone, no?  Well, most of the time, I still don’t get responses from those guys (are they just liking every profile they see?).  But I also end up looking at some of the incredibly incompatible profiles of people who’ve liked me.  Like this one.  Here’s his “message me if” section:

You are an honest genuine person looking to get to know who I am. You’re non judgemental and real. I’m not looking for random hook ups. If you can have fun, regardless if we’re out for the night or in playing a game just laughing or watching tv, then we’ll get along great.

Oh, and if you think you can convince me this online dating stuff is worth it. Seriously though, message if you think we have something in common and have actually taken the time to read about me.

Italics mine.  I’m not a big fan of any backhanded challenges in these sections, like “if you want to prove that women do message men”.  Please stop trying to trick people into messaging you just to prove how much of an asshat you are.

Is a woman who’s slept with 100 men a bad person?

Dude: Yes

Hmm.  This sounds totally non-judgmental!  And just to be clear, I’m not trying to say that everyone should try to sleep with that many people. I certainly haven’t, and never will.  It’s just not my jam.  And chances are that a guy I date would feel similarly.  But why must that mean that someone living their sex lives differently is automatically wrong, or bad?  If it’s all consensual, no one is being harmed, and I’m not personally involved, I can’t see why it’s even my business or place to judge.

If you were to get married, would you want your partner to change his or her last name to yours?

Dude: Yes

Ohhh.  I think I understand.  You want me to be non-judgmental, because you want to be able to make my choices for me. Cool.

Do you dress up for Halloween almost every year?

My answer of “Yes”  comes up in red.  Really?  That’s a thing your going to judge me for?  In that case, your answer of “no” allows me to judge you as “boring and generally not awesome”.

Are you more attracted to virgins?

Dude: yes

So much side-eye for this. What century is this?  This is a preference I see all over the place.  It’s one thing if you’re very religious, and you also plan to be a virgin until marriage.  Or maybe if you’re asexual and want to date someone who has no sexual experience (though really, as longer as the other person wanted to be ace from then on, I don’t see why it would matter).  But it’s often guys who either aren’t virgins themselves, or who wouldn’t be if they’d had the opportunity.  So they’re asking women to live up to a standard that they are unwilling to keep for themselves.

How frequently do you go out of your way to make others feel appreciated?

My answer of “way more than average” (there’s only a choice for average, below, and way above – nothing for slightly above) is in the red.  So..you claim to be looking for someone who is nice and kind (mentioned in other parts of your profile), just not…nicer and kinder than you are?

Do you attempt to conserve water, energy or other resources during your everyday life?

Again, my answer (Almost always) is in the red.  I’m sorry, you’re bothered by me conserving water?  How could this possibly affect you in any negative way?  This sounds, again, like you don’t like anyone who doesn’t do things the same way, or to the same degree, as you.

Reading profiles can be, for lack of a better phrase, a huge bummer.  Worse, this guy is a 95% match.  With 40 un-matched questions, of about 150 that we have both answered.  I know the questions are weighted, but I can’t see any system of weighting in which this makes sense.  Profiles like that throw my hackles up, but not as much as the conversations I’ve had lately.

TheMan: I love that you are into Nirvana. What are your favorite songs from them?

Okay, there isn’t anything wrong with this as a first message.  Music isn’t my favorite opening topic, but I’ll generally bit.  So I checked out more of the guy’s profile.

Me:Care to explain this answer: “Do you feel there are any circumstances in which a person is obligated to have sex with you?”

You: yes

This is about as dealbreakery of a question as you can get.  That, and the question that asks if you abuse animals.  They don’t just make me not want to date you, they make me wonder what illegal things you’ve done that you haven’t been caught for.
TheMan: I must’ve press the wrong question. I thought I answered that to no. Sorry!

TheMan:Still interested in talking?

TheMan:?

So he didn’t actually change his answer.  It’s still up like that.  Also, allow me some time to read your message before you message me question marks.

Me: I don’t think we’re looking for the same things.

Okay, I think the general population understands that this means: I don’t really want to date you, but I’m trying not to be a huge douchecanoe about it.  Most people do not actually want you to say, “no, I don’t want to talk to you because I find you hideous”.  Or “holy shitballs you’re stupid.  I can’t talk to you for one more second”.  Yet, it almost never stops there.  The willful ignorance is staggering.

TheMan:Like what? I want a long term relationship.

As if that is the only thing that would matter.  For Newton’s sake, Hitler was in a long term relationship.  Andrei Chikatilo a serial killer who is responsible for raping, murdering, and eating up to 100 women was married for 30 years.  Surely this isn’t the only standard I should be basing compatibility on?

TheMan:Just give me a chance.

Ugh, this is one of my least favorite phrases.  It just reeks of “I can’t take no for an answer”.  Which might work in sales, but it gets into gross and potentially illegal territory when it comes to dating.

Me: Dude.  That was a soft no, not an invitation to ask why.

Whenever I start off a response with “dude”, I’m exasperated.  There’s an implied “really?” after it.

TheMan: Well I’m standing up for myself. I thought women like that.

I…don’t even think this is a legit stereotype.  Also, not taking “no” for an answer when someone does not want to date you is NOT the same as you standing up for yourself.

TheMan: Also we have lots in common.

Yes, we are both human shaped, and have interests.  And like Nirvana.  Seems like enough for a marriage to me!

Me: But just in case: I don’t think it’s cool to call women “sluts”. I’m interested in politics, and would like to date someone who is also. I’m not particularly interested in sports. I think it’s gross that you mentioning women “playing games” in your profile – as if men here don’t play just as many games. I don’t find arrogance charming. I don’t think shoving a baseball bat up someone’s ass is an appropriate reaction to a rape joke on a t-shirt. I’d rather play games than get drunk. You also put a much bigger emphasis on sex than I do.

These are all things based on his profile and answers to questions.  But yeah, tons in common!  Except, you know, stuff I find important.

Me: I case none of that is enough, me saying, in other words, that I’m not interested, made you push harder, which makes me think you feel entitled to my attention. It’s not about sticking up for yourself. No one was picking on you or oppressing you. I merely don’t want to date you. That is not a time to push further. Accept a “no” gracefully, whatever form it comes in. And maybe stop thinking about women as a monolith who all like the same thing.

Is it obvious from this how tired I am of this kind of response?  I’ve never had a guy explain to me why he wasn’t interested in dating – and this includes friends or guys I’ve asked out in the real world.  I generally just say, “alrighty then”, seek clues for whether they want to actually stay friends, and then try not to be terribly embarrassed for asking in the first place.  I can’t think of many answers outside of “I’m gay” or “I’m already seeing someone” that would make me feel remotely better.  Maybe “you’re just too awesome, and I can’t handle it”.  I imagine that’s why most guys turn me down.  I mean, this amount of awesome is tough for the average person to deal with on a daily basis.

TheMan: Whatever. Your loss like everyone else’s on dating sites. So many high expectations. Just being a man. CyA!

I…what?  I didn’t realize that “respect for a no” was a high expectation.  Or that finding someone who shares my general political views and some interests were also high expectations.  Or not wanting someone to respond to a rape joke…with a rape simulation.  Yup.  These women with their high standards.

Me: Uh, no. Being pushy isn’t “being a man”. It’s being disrespectful.

This is a line of thinking I don’t understand, and that shoots up giant, light up, glittery red flags for me.  Trying to push someone into dating you is “being a man?”  What the what?  That is horrifying.  If you follow that to it’s logical conclusion, sexual assault and rape are just “men being men”.  Which, like “boys will be boys”, is another cliche that I loathe. Frankly, it’s incredibly insulting to boys and men to think that self control is just something that they don’t have.  As if no men are capable of taking no for an answer.  I guess none of the guys I’ve dated are real men. Gender is not an excuse for bad behavior.

TheMan:HA!

Me: That response makes me think you meant your answer to the obligation to have sex question. If you thinking being pushy is important to manhood…

What did he find funny about this?  I really can’t figure that out.  Does he genuinely think that respect is the antithesis of manliness?  Where is this awful message coming from?  Because I’ve got news for you – this guy?  Not alone in thinking this kind of thing.

TheMan: Just drop it would you.

TheMan: Glad I won.

Oh no you did not.  First of all, if you approach conversation as things you win or lose, you’re conversing wrong.  Second of all…is this his way of saying, “nah nah, I got the angry woman to shut up”?  It went of for a few more messages, but this is the note I need to end on.  This is the reaction when a guy asks why a woman doesn’t want to date him and she answers honestly.  And if would be one thing if this kind of conversation is rare, but I have it several times a week, if I’m getting messages daily.  Honestly, I frequently have to remind myself that I have male friends in the world who are not like this, and that the majority of men are probably not like this, because when I’m on the internet (and not just limited to OKC), it’s really, really hard to remember.

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This is What We Mean When We Talk About Male Entitlement

Lately, it just seems like the messages I’m getting are all just varying degrees of terrible.  For example, this is one I got last night:

LazyBones: I have no idea what to put in a first message to someone on this website. I’m just gonna skip all that. You look like a cool person – wanna talk?

Come on, man.  Why in the world would you think this would merit a good response?  This is, roughly translated, “I saw your picture, thought it looked good, but I don’t want to put in any effort into this.”   Is it really that hard to send a message that helps you get to know the other person?  Do people really not know how conversation works?  Stop expecting me to do all the work for you.  I put a lot of effort and time into my profile, working out the best way to show off my personality without being either too braggy or too self-deprecating.  Why is it that you think that you don’t need to put in any thought at all? This is as bad as the people who start off their profiles by saying “eh, I’m really bad at describing myself” or “I don’t really know how to write about myself”.  If you don’t know, learn.  Read other profiles, and see what’s in them.  Do more interesting things.  If you tried this in any other part of life, it would backfire miserably.  “I don’t know how to do taxes, so I’m not gonna”.  Um, okay, good luck getting your income levied by the IRS when they realize that you haven’t paid them any money.  Wait, can I use this same principle when I’ve read through these guys’ boring profiles?  Like, in a few years, they owe me something interesting to read?

And then there’s this conversation.  He’s 19.  I’m 29.

Old4MyAge: Hey how are you

Old4MyAge: Hi

Me: I don’t think we have much in common. Also, you’re really young.

We’re a 40% match.  Even someone who just graduated from high school should know that’s a failing grade. Does that, or what I said, deter him?  Of course not.

Old4MyAge: Well would you like to chat for a little and see if we do have things in common? And our ages shouldn’t matter, so what do you like to do for fun

Dude, no.  “I don’t think we have much in common” is not a challenge.  It is not an invitation for you to prove to me that we have things in common.  

Me: Ages matter to me, therefore they matter.

I get to decide what matters to me.  You can think it’s silly, but you do not get to tell me what should and should not matter to me in dating.  I can say that I won’t date guys who have an uneven number of face freckles, or who like Star Trek more than Star Wars, or who own anything written by Ayn Rand (okay, that last one is a completely justifiable reason to not date a person).  And you do not get to argue with that.  

Old4MyAge: Ok so you don’t wanna talk just because of our age gap

Me: Not really, no. I worked in a high school last year, and you are the same age as the students who just graduated.

Old4MyAge: I graduated two years ago I know not a big difference but still I think we could have a nice time talking, so what do you like to do

I have now told this guy in three different ways that I’m not interested, and yet he is STILL trying to start a conversation.  He even acknowledged that I did not want to talk to him.  And yet he’s still trying to get me to talk to him!  

Me: Dude. “We don’t have a lot in common” is a soft no. It means I’m not interested. I’m curious why you answer “yes” to whether you enjoy intense intellectual conversations, and my identical answer comes up in red, and also would like to let you know that wherefore means “why” and not “where”, but otherwise, pretty much done with this conversation.

He finally got the message.  For some reason as soon as I tell guys that their answer to the “wherefore” is wrong (it’s not an opinion question.  There is a right answer), they immediately stop talking to me.  No complaints here.  And this dude:

NotRacistButWouldDateOne: Hello,how are you? I would like to chat with you,i hope you give me a chance

Already begging for my attention, but really not giving me any a good reason to give it to him.  F for effort.

Me: I don’t think we have much in common, or are looking for the same things.

Okay, to me this is a pretty clear soft no.  It’s a nicer version of what I want to say, which is something like “holy shark farts, you’re boring” or “not only do I not want to date you, I do not want to be in the same room with you, ever”.  Those things are considered impolite and socially unacceptable, though, so I generally go with some variation of the above.  

NotRacistButWouldDateOne: What are you looking for?

Seriously?  Is he this dumb?  I doubt it.  But there are guys who, if you do not use the word “no”, loudly, in their faces, will weasel their way into things and then try to convince you that you were leading them on.  

Me: Someone who thinks gay folks can adopt, and who doesn’t want to date a racist.

NotRacistButWouldDateOne: Well i’m not a racist and i agree with gay people adopt

NotRacistButWouldDateOne: You think i’m a racist?

NotRacistButWouldDateOne: Give me one chance

And we’re back to the entitlement.  He has given me no reasons to be interested in him.  In fact, he’s done the opposite.  If the situation arose where I had the choice of saving this guy, or saving a cat, I’d save the cat without hesitation.  Keep in mind that I’m allergic, and very much a dog person.  At this point, I was pretty fed up, so…

Me: First of all, I owe you zero explanations, and zero chances. Second, you seem confused about how to answer questions, then, because here are some of yours: Would you consider dating someone who has vocalized a strong negative bias toward a certain race of people?
Yes. or The idea of gay and lesbian couples having children is: Not acceptable. Not to mention that I’m monogamous, and that you don’t seem to be. Oh, and that you set your age range from 18-26, and I’m not in that. Is there a reason you won’t date a woman your own age or older?

This is one of my pet peeves – guys who set the high end of their age bracket at or below their own age. I’ve heard guys try to explain that if they want children, they need to date someone younger.  Because there’s no such thing as adoption or surrogacy or anything.  The only option is to date a 25 year old!  And this guy is only 27.  Plenty of women older than him can conceive, if that’s what he’s worried about.  No, it’s an excuse to follow the cultural norm that it’s totally appropriate for older guys to hit on significantly younger women, because reasons.  I mean, we all know that once a woman turns 30, or 28, or 25, or whatever it is, her market value decreases, or insert disgusting way Red Pillers would use to describe it.  Dating a 30 year old woman is basically dating a corpse.

And then there are the others.  A sampling:

Omg your eyes are amazing 😍 hello gorgeous my name is Ali 😊 how are you doing

I know this is a cliche way to break the ice, but your eyes really are very pretty

Omg your eyes 😦 I wanna be with you give me that one chance and I promise I’ll never let you go.

hey hun, I’m Vince. I think you have such amazing eyes and would like to get to know you 🙂

Is there some sort of dude dating advice handbook that is telling guys that they should always compliment a woman’s eyes?  For the record, I use my Facebook picture as my profile picture, so those of you that know me can tell that you really can’t see my eyes.  In fact, in most photos, if I’m smiling, my eyes are almost closed.  Is this what guys started doing once they realized that “nice tits” isn’t the ice breaker they once thought it was?  And, some more:

I’m sure that you hear this a lot but you are seriously one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life

So, here’s a think a lot of guys have already told you, so I thought I’d be super boring and repeat it.

Hi how are you .,?? you are very attractive 🙂 but what is that on your neck !!???

It’s a time turner.  I keep it so that after I read messages like this, I can go back to a time when I still had faith in humanity.

Hi beautiful lady are you doing

This guy went on to ask if I was married, give me his number, and then beg me for about twenty messages to text him.  I finally had to google how to say “No, I’m not interested” in his native language. Now, this exchange really illustrates the problem to me.  He lives in ND:

Dude: Hi how are you

Me: Very much not in North Dakota. Nor do I have any interest in going there.

Dude: Ok ur really very beautiful

I made it pretty clear that I wasn’t interested, and he still feels the need to evaluate my looks.  Why do so many guys (strangers) think that I give a rat’s ass what their opinion on my appearance is?  Why do they think that any woman cares? It has never once occurred to me to message a guy and tell him how nice his eyes are, or that he’s got a good body, or that I think he is super cute.  Because I don’t think it’s my place to tell strangers that, and there is no reason for them to care about my opinion on the subject.  If you’re wearing a t shirt with dinosaurs on it, will I compliment that?  Probably.  But that t shirt is a thing that you chose for yourself.  

But let’s be honest here.  When guys send these kinds of messages, it’s not because they’re trying to be nice.  It’s because our culture places a woman’s value in how attractive she is.  Just ask older women in Hollywood.  And, a lot of men think that they are entitled to having their opinion on a woman’s looks heard. So you, internet dude, are going to evaluate me based on what our culture has deemed important, and you will assume that this is how I judge my own worth, and that I care what you think about my body/face/eyes/etc.  Except that I don’t, and many other women don’t, either. Sure, I like to look nice sometimes.  I want people to find my appearance generally pleasing.  But not as much as I want people to not think I’m an idiot.  Or to think that I’m a generally good, kindish person who can be funny and sassy and who has finally decided not to take crap from people.  

And just in case you think I’m exaggerating, or that I’ve over thought this, here’s what happens when you respond to these “compliments”:

NiceGuyFrank: Hey what’s up? You are absolutely beautiful, I am frank, I would love to get to know you, you would make my day if you messaged me back and told me more about you or you could text me if you wanted 732***-****

Me: I don’t usually like to talk to guys who are only interested in my looks, thanks.

NiceGuyFrank: That’s ok because I’m prob the only one there will ever be that thinks that

Wow.  Two minutes ago you thought I was gorgeous.  And now that I’ve told you I’m not interested, suddenly I’m a hideous she-beast and he was slumming it by even considering hitting this.  Because the best way to insult a woman is to imply that she is ugly, and that no one will ever think otherwise.  

So, guys.  If the only thing you can think to message a woman about is her appearance?  You either haven’t looked at her profile, or don’t have anything in common.  You might also just be a boring person with nothing to say.  And for the love of pizza, stop telling us what you think about how we look.  We really, really don’t care.

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So I Think One of Donald Trump’s Supporters Messaged Me

So I mention in my OKCupid profile that I’m a feminist.  Now, I understand that this word has taken on a lot of baggage: Feminazis, tumblr feminists, some versions of SJWs, ruining video games, etc.  But I’m talking about feminist in the most basic sense, i.e., gender quality through the lens of helping out the less privileged party.  I think most people mean this when they describe themselves as feminist.  And yet, guys on the internets feel the need to explain it to me, or tell me why I’m wrong to be a feminist.  “Well, isn’t that saying that women are BETTER than men?”  Nope.  “I know that individual women are smarter than individual men, but overall, I just think men are smarter based on absolutely no facts or statistics”.  Cool story, bro.  “I’m an egalitarian – that’s more equal than feminism is”.  Except that egalitarian is super broad, and doesn’t involve taking any sort of action to fix and social problems.  It’s pretty much just saying you believe all people are equal, in the same sense that Thomas Jefferson told us they were over 200 years ago. But some of my favorites are the ones who tell me how feminist they are, like this charmer:

ImSoFeminist: Hey, how’s it going? I love your random trunk goodness lol. I’d totally eat your melted gushers, those things rock! I’d be down for some board games together(do you play Monopoly?). I’m cool with you being a feminist, I’m the same. I have a pretty silly sense of humor, and an overactive imagination to boot:) We should totally chat sometime.

-Randy

Just to clear up confusion, I start off my profile with a list of stuff that I keep in my trunk.  It’s a weird list, but I think it gives a decent idea of my personality without me having to sell myself in a way that makes me cringe.  And speaking of that, please, guys, stop telling me about how great your sense of humor is.  Show me, by, you know, actually being funny. 

Me: So..a feminist who still wants his partner to take his last name?

I’m not going to lie, I already knew I wasn’t interested in this guy.  We disagreed about some pretty crucial stuff, as you’ll see.  So I figured, why not bust some chops?

ImSoFeminist:Yeah, what’s wrong with that? I’m sorry if that offends you, but that is the tradition I’m used to. And hello to you too…

Well, if that’s what you’re used to, obviously you can’t consider anything else.  That might require opening up your mind a little.  That sounds hard.

Me: Well, you mentioned being feminist, and that, and some of your other answers, makes me question that a bit.

ImSoFeminist: Let me clarify it for you. I believe in equal rights for me and women. We should be treated equally. I have a lot of love and respect for women in general. My cousins gf told me I was a feminist. I may not agree with or know everything about feminism though, so don’t be so harsh towards men.

Ohhhh I get it.  You have no idea what the word actually means, and have made zero effort to find out. Gotcha.  Oh, and one woman once told you you were one.  Also, I like how “treated equally” means, “well, unless it affects one of my traditions”.  And that I’m apparently being harsh towards all men because I questioned this particular man’s opinion.  Now, here’s the sad part: his views on women look half decent compared to what follows.

Me:Care to explain…this one?: Would you consider dating someone who has vocalized a strong negative bias toward a certain race of people?
Your answer: It depends on which race.

I’m honestly not sure what I was expecting here.  I can’t think of a single explanation that would cause me to slap the heel of my hand to my forehead and say, “I see!  He’s definitely not a racist!”  There’s really no wiggle room with this one.  Maybe I just wanted to see a racist try to justify racism, or pretend that it isn’t racism.  

ImSoFeminist: I feel some races have more bad people that I’ve come across than others. That’s my opinion, and I’m entitled to it. Wow, whatever happened to just getting to know somebody, rather than see how quickly you can attack them and pick them apart?

Nope, he took a thing and made it worse.   He even admitted that this utter horseshit is his opinion, and not based in any facts.  Also, I don’t thinks it’s unreasonable to have racism as a dealbreaker.  In fact,  a guy NOT having racism as one of his dealbreakers…is a dealbreaker for me.  If that made any sense.  And if you don’t want people to read your answers to the questions and ask about them, well, don’t answer them.  Or, I don’t know, consider that if you’re worried that other people might accuse you of sounding like a racist…that you might actually be a racist.  

Me: You are, and I’m entitled to think that that opinion..seems pretty racist. I wanted to give you a chance to clarify in case it wasn’t actually meant to be racist.

ImSoFeminist: I mean what is your damage?

Um, what year is this? Are we in Heathers?

Me: I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to ask for people to clarify their views. I thought this was a dating site, where people answered questions, and those answers were public. How dare I want to know about the views of a person I’m considering dating!

ImSoFeminst: If that’s an issue, best of luck to you. Everybody is a little racist in some way. I don’t like anybody Islam because of ISIS. Every time you turn around when something crime related is on the news, 90% of the time the person is a black male. I mean wtf is a person supposed to think?? I guess you’re perfect, right?

First of all, yes, I’m perfect.  Also…I…what?  Nobody is “Islam”.  Islam is a religion.  People are Muslim.  The same way that people are Jewish, and not Judaism.  But this guy is just digging a deeper hole to bury himself in.  Does he really not understand that while ISIS is pretty much made of Muslims, not all Muslims (in fact, not even the majority) are in ISIS?  And those last two sentences make me so damned angry.  I mean, if he follows his own logic, wouldn’t that mean that women are superior, too?  And that none of it has anything to do with, say, environmental factors?  Sometimes I want to ragequit humanity so hard.

ImSoFeminist: Wow, wound tight a little much are we?

For that, I will end you.

Me: Um, whoa. Not all Muslims are in ISIS. A person is supposed to think…that other factors may be involved. Like poverty, or oppression, or education, or class.

Me: Yup. Because I’d prefer not to date/hang out with racists, I’m uptight. Sounds legit.

Seriously, I’m so tired of this.  If a woman expresses an opinion that is contrary to yours, she is not automatically uptight.  

ImSoFeminist: Right. And when one of them kills somebody you care about, get back to me on that one. Later.

Like, really?  I don’t get this at all.  If a white man killed, say, his father, he wouldn’t automatically hate all white people, or all men.  He would just hate that particular man.  But because it was a black man, he must therefore think worse of an entire race.  But not of men.  Because he’s one of them.  So this way of thinking only works if you’re so set on othering people that you can’t even see that you’ve turned people who are different than you into lesser, non-human things.  If a Catholic had killed his father, would he hate Catholics?  Unless if was over a religious feud, I highly doubt it.  Because that would be fucking absurd. Are there really that many people who haven’t figured out that a good portion of those black men who are committing crimes are also…poor?  And that if you look at the numbers for crime from a pool of just poor people, things look a little different?  Or that being a member of the most oppressed minority in our country might actually wear away at you until you’re left with only a raw jumble of nerves, and that that might make you incredibly angry?

ImSoFeminist:Get over yourself, girl. Best of luck, you’re going to need it! Bye!

Oh, the butthurt is strong with this one.

I guess I just don’t understand where these opinions even come from.  What do people gain from harboring so much hatred for certain groups of people?  And how much does humanity lose when some members abandon all empathy?

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What Your Message Really Says, Part 2, and a Bunch of Other Ramblings. This One Veered Pretty Off Topic and Got Me a Little Annoyed and Sad.

So, I know you’re all desperate to hear more tales of internet dating.  I’ve got those, and more.  It’s been a while.  So, here are some of the greatest hits of the last few months,  along with a douche to English translation:

SirTactless: Hey there how’s it going, I will be pretty blunt I’m looking for a girl who knows how to suck dick are you good at it.

Translation: I think that by calling myself “blunt”, I’m entitled to say whatever gross thing I want to a stranger.

In retrospect, I should have responded with, “I have very sharp teeth”.  

PulledFromMyAss: You strike me as someone that’s bursting out with sexual repression between all the corny stuff on your profile. Are you looking to get orgasms at all or just talk about Harry Potter and rubber balls?

Translation: I’m so horny that I just assume everyone else is horny all the time, too, and I will now dump all of that on to you, internet stranger.

FYI, good conversation about Harry Potter beats most orgasms.  Just saying.

SadBoner1: I HAVE A CGPA OF 3.97/4. And a morning boner.  What excites you?

Translation: I feel entitled to your attention because I have a dick, it does things, and I need women to know about it RIGHT NOW.

But guys on the internet: if a woman doesn’t ask you specifically about your penis?  Don’t tell her anything about it.  Or send her a picture of it.  Don’t send them to guys, either. This isn’t hard.  Pun intended, folks.

GrammarIzHard: I want to know y u r so beautiful there r billion of flower in okcupid garden but as I scroll through u catch my eyes ball n immediately cupid shoot me with is love arrow I am antonio can I get to know u

Translation: Here are some cliches and text gibberish.  Let me use it to paint you a horrible horrible word poem.

So, fun story about this one.  First, I gave a nice, soft “no”.  Then he pushed further, and I told him that the man of my dreams had better grammar and spelling.  And the same guy who told me I was so beautiful?  Sent these words: 

GrammarIzHard: I am just just doing short spelling thats what texting is its not a letter I am writeing letter and I can spell better than you and your mother and father so fuck you you fat ugly bitch do you know who I am. You can never be my woman your so fucking dum smh fucking fool

Folks, if you’re trying to prove that you’re the smarter person, and a good speller…you should probably spell well in that message.  It’s amazing how quickly I turned into a fat ugly bitch, though.

ItalianSausage (I didn’t make this one up.  It’s actually part of his username): Lets hookup and watch harry potter while you suck my dick.

Translation: I read a paragraph of your profile, then remembered that I don’t care, because my penis is what really matters.

I got to have a little fun with this one, and asked Facebook for snappy one liners to respond with.  Here are some samples:

-No, I’d rather not touch your Elder wand
-No, I don’t want your Hogwarts
-I don’t want to fight the Basilisk
-You will not Slytherin to this Chamber of Secrets
-No, I’d rather send you to Azkaban so that I can snap your wand in half
-Wingargium LeviNOsa

I messaged back with all of those, and then a short rant about how this kind of message is rude and disgusting and causes women to quit online dating.  He pretended that his cousin had stolen his phone and sent messages.

So, I’ve been trying something new.  I read a blog about dating, and one of the complaints I always hear from guys is that they hate that women don’t respond, and that they would prefer a response of “no” to no response at all. Women (and men) frequently explain that they don’t respond either because they get too many messages, or, as applies to most of us, responding tends to make things worse.  But guys still seem annoyed about this (even though the majority of men don’t bother to respond to me, either), so I figured I would try it, and see how things went.  You know I’m a masochist, right?

It…did not go well.  “I don’t think we have enough in common” seems to be read as invitation for some guys to: tell me how the match questions don’t matter/that they didn’t take them seriously; tell me that opposites attract; explain to me why it’s probably okay for gay couples to marry but definitely not for them to adopt (the research says you’re full of shit, OKC dude); argue with me about how despite you studying to be a preacher, my lack of interest in religion totally won’t be a problem; and attempting to bully me into dating them.  But here’s the worst caste of rejectionitis (a disease that seems to hit mainly internet dudes; a lot like “butthurt”):

MisterUnderstood: Wow. I love your profile. You seem like a great adventure of a person. I mean you look fun. And I can’t stand how pretty that face of yours is.

Okay, this is not a great start.  I like you’re face so much…that I can’t stand looking at it?  But whatevs, at least I “look fun”, whatever that means.  Also, this guys’ photo?  Lying down, shirtless, pecs and up. There’s another picture of him in a bathtub.

Me: Thanks, I don’t think we would be very compatible, though. I have to ask, though, because I see this kind of thing all the time and I’m always wondering- we have some questions with the same answers, like the “STALE is to STEAL” question, which we’ve both answered correctly, but my answer shows up red. Is that a mistake, or are you actually hoping to find a woman who would get that question wrong?

I notice this a lot, and it’s often with intelligence/logic-based questions.  I mean, I know the stereotype exists about smart men dating dumb women, but I thought it was mostly nonsense.  

MisterUnderstood: I don’t read into the way you answer those questions. I don’t care about that at all. I don’t even remember the equation, but I think the answer was based on relativity of the person answering it. And what makes you think we’re not compatible? Forget the questions. You can’t know merely by looking at those questions. I insist.

Why do guys always respond with this shit?  If you don’t think the questions matter, don’t answer them.  Or pick another dating site.  Do Tinder.  There are thousands of people on OKC. That’s how I figure out what profiles to actually look at!  Also, how do you read into a question that only has one answer?

Me: It wasn’t based on “relativity” – there’s one right answer. But those questions exist for a reason – to help people figure out compatibility. But you don’t get to “insist” that I do anything, and the fact that you think you do? Gross.

Notice how I said the *fact* was gross.

MisterUnderstood: Really? You think I meant to be rude? Seriously? What the fuck…you’re like the rest of them. Unable to understand my method of expression. And yes, I’m allowed to say I insist. It wasn’t supposed to be forceful. I’m on the damn autism spectrum. Nobody ever understands me. And don’t call me gross. It’s offensive.  And it doesn’t matter what the question was based on. It’s meaningless.

No, dude.  It’s a question to test your ability to solve problems.  Also, “you’re like the rest of them” is only insulting if you’re the kind of person who calls everyone else “sheeple” and thinks you are a superior special snowflake who is misunderstood because you are better than all the “regular” people.  Annnd now it’s time to get sassy, because most people I know who have Asperger’s would never try to use it to excuse bad behavior.  

Me: And it’s offensive to use autism as a reason for being rude and sexist. When someone says they’re not interested/compatible/some other version of no? Accept it, stop pushing it. I get to choose why I don’t want to date someone, and I don’t owe you an explanation. There’s no way to win with this stuff, as a woman, though. If I just ignore the message, it’s because “women can’t be bothered to respond”, and then if I politely turn someone down, they try to bully me into dating them and explaining why I’m turning them down. If “like the rest of them”, you mean that I expect people to be respectful when I’m not interested, then, yeah, I’m like that.

Clearly, my frustration with this whole process got to me.  There’s another long rant where he calls me arrogant, ignorant, and abhorrent, and prattles on about how I called him gross (which I didn’t).  But there’s a lot of pent up anger about sexism and double standards in my response – so many things I’m tired of hearing guys say about women.  “Women get so many messages and never send any”.  Nope and nope.  “Women don’t ever respond”.  Nope, I do, and then the guys stop talking to me.  Even when I’m actually nice!  “Women can always get a date”.  Hahahahaha no.

No, what guys really mean when they say this?  “Women I find attractive do not message or respond to me, and since they are often also *conventionally* attractive, and have lots of other options.”  I’m tired of not existing to like…90% of guys.  Because if you are a woman who is not conventionally attractive, old, fat, disabled, and often, non-white, you do not exist.  A guy friend once told me that it was impossible to be good friends with a woman without there being sexual tension (for context, he had pantsfeelings for another friend).  And when I asked how he and I were able to be friends, he shrugged it off with, “well, you’re not like them,” like it was some kind of compliment.  No, dude, you forgot I was a woman, because I don’t register on your attractive-o-meter.

And it’s the same shit with dating.  Before I message a guy, I have to make sure he doesn’t hate fat people, or that he would be potentially be open to dating a fat woman.  Which isn’t as easy as just scanning the questions about body type, though a shockingly awful amount of people are legitimately annoyed by fat people.  Guys, I’m not being fat *at* you, I promise.  If a guy mentions going to the gym, or “being active” or attention to health/healthy foods?  There’s a good chance he wouldn’t date me, because in our society, we equate active/healthy with thin, and we assume that fat people are all lazy stupid slobs who eat nothing but bacon and fast food while watching reality TV on our couches.

And it’s worse in real life, because guys don’t approach me…ever.  Okay, one time a guy at a bar/club came up and danced next to me when I was with friends.  But the rest of the time?  It’s me doing the approaching.  And that’s soul crushing and exhausting, and has only worked once.  Again, I have to feel the person out, not just for whether they’re interested, but whether or not they’d be offended that I even thought they would consider dating me. Or if they would, but they’re too worried that their friends would give them flack for it. It’s really hard to figure this kind of thing out.  Plenty of guys will be perfectly friendly to me, but when you see things like “women’s worst fear on a blind date is that they will be killed, and men’s is that the woman will be fat”, it’s pretty hard to want to go out and date at all, ever, . Somehow, just by existing in the body I have, I am a lot of guy’s biggest fear on a date.  I mean, I get that people are attracted to who they’re attracted to – I’m not attracted to all men.  And that a date with someone who doesn’t float your boat isn’t ideal, but…really?  A fear?  Just…don’t go on a second date.  But it’s not just that.  It’s not just not finding people like me attractive. It’s that there are people out there with such vicious hatred about it.  There were like a dozen subreddits just for hating fat people and telling stories of fat people being humiliated, until, a week ago, they got taken down because their members were harassing other reddit users.  Reading about that kind of thing makes me want to crawl into a corner and huddle with my knees to my chest and never come out.

But I can’t, because I have work and life and rats to feed.  So I get up every morning and try to be awesome.  Except that some days it’s really hard to feel awesome, and really exhausting to pretend that I do.

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OKC Burnout

For those of you who’ve known me awhile, or have read some of my other blog entries, I often find online dating, if not particularly successful, at least amusing.  But lately, I have less and less energy for it, and my bullshit tolerance meter is showing a lower reading than usual.  I can take the overtly sexual messages, or the moronic ones.  I usually respond to them, and it gives me a chance to vent my frustration on deserving targets, rather than on my friends, family, or coworkers.  And it is virtually consequence-free, assuming that I am able to brush off any nasty responses, which I usually am.  Most of the time, they’re just funny.  I can even handle the boring “hey” messages, if by “handle”, I mean “ignore”.  Disappointing, sure, but unmemorable.  It’s the exchanges that actually go on for more than a few messages that are draining what little sanity I have left.

Sometime in July, I heard from a guy in Pennsylvania – I’ll call him Sparky.  A few years younger than I am, but he seemed nice enough, and was able to hold up his end of the conversation.  We talked for maybe two weeks, and then he stopped responding.  I assumed he lost interest, or met someone else.  Not a huge deal.  Three months later, Sparky messages again asking how I’m doing.  He had been “busy with work”.  Uh, for three months?  Unless you’re the president, or are off in a spaceship, you’re not so busy at work that you cannot send a message once in a three month period.  So I responded with something incredibly witty, like “seriously?”  And he went on to tell me that while I seemed really cool (nope) and fun (okay, yeah, maybe), that I might be “too much work”.  A message in three months is now considered “lots of work”?  I don’t even consider someone to be close friend if I don’t hear from them for several months at a time, unless there are extenuating circumstances.  While I take my relationships (romantic and otherwise) seriously, I don’t think I’m terribly demanding with my expectations for contact.  And, frankly, it pissed me off that he thought I would just wait around and be delighted by his very belated response.  You’re not my doctor – you don’t get to make me wait inordinate amounts of time for your professional services (I don’t like when my doctor does that either, but in that kind of professional relationship, I can’t just leave and find another doctor.  Thanks a lot, Obamacare!)

I met another guy in NYC -Luigi, let’s say – he lived in the Bronx.  In my experience, most guys in the city don’t want to date outside of the city.  Some of them won’t even date outside of their borough.  This is already frustrating because I live less than 50 miles from NYC, and roughly 90% of my high percentages matches live in the city.  So the fact that this guy message me at all was surprising.   So we meet up during the day, in an ice cream/pb&j restaurant, and it seems to be going well enough.  The restaurant gets crowded, so we bail and take a walk.  It’s also the hottest day of the summer, and after taking a bus and spending 20 minutes in the steamy subway station waiting for the train, I am not the most fragrant or comfortable I’ve ever been.  Fifteen minutes into the walk, Luigi stops.  He points towards the subway entrance and says he has to go.  I figure he’s trying to get out of the date, though I’m not sure why, so I’m about to try to part as gracefully as possible.  But then I realize that I have to take the same subway uptown to meet my friend.  Which I mention.  “Oh!” he says, “then we should ride together!” He doesn’t seem annoyed about this.  We get on a very crowded train, and I sit next to a wall, which makes me more claustrophobic.  I must be sweating or shaking, because Luigi tells me that he can see that I’m anxious. He holds my hand. We get off at my stop and he comes up the stairs with me, so I think he’s going to stay with my while I wait for my friend (who won’t be in Harlem for another hour or two), so I go out through the turnstile.  He stays on the other side, and we say awkward goodbyes and wave.  Guys, do not end a date on a subway.  It is never not weird.  So I stand out in the 98 degree air and wonder what the hell just happened.  He tried to bail (I think), but then he seemed pleased that we were taking the same train.  He held my hand.  He didn’t say anything about meeting up again.  After mulling this over for an hour, I text him and, later in the conversation, ask if he wants to go out again (because this seems like the best way to decode his mixed messages).  He says yes, and over the next week, at the pace of roughly one text per day, we make plans to go for a hike near my town the next weekend.  As that date gets closer, Luigi’s responses are more spread out, and he’s too busy this weekend, but would really like to try for the next weekend.  Uh huh.  At this point, I tell him I don’t think this will work out for me.  I should have figured – New Yorkers just don’t want to leave New York!

The next guy I meet is one I messaged first – so far, the only date I can say this about.  Felipe is one of…maybe two guys who have responded to me, at least more than once?  He sends a message maybe once a week, claiming that his work schedule is busier than usual, and that he doesn’t want to send half-assed messages.  Not wanting to come off as needy or anxious or, heaven forbid, not “laid back”, I try not to take it too personally.  (Side note: I’m sick of trying to pretend like I am this super laid-back, casual person.  In reality, I care about stuff, and I care about some of that stuff, and people, a lot.  Why is this such a terrible thing?  I gave up trying to be cool at…age 14?).  Eventually we make a date for a Greek place in Princeton, where we have an okay date.  I do most of the talking.  This happens to me quite a bit.  I talk more when nervous, and a fair amount of the guys I’ve gone out with are on the shy side, and tend to talk less when nervous, leaving more dead air for Jess to fill.  I give Felipe the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he is more interesting than he came off, that he was just having first date jitters.  I ask if he wants to meet again, which he does.  After some prodding, he chooses a day, a place, and a time for the next weekend, and we meet again.  On the second date, we talk over tea for about five hours (again, me still more than him).  I’m a little more comfortable, more animated, and a little better at leaving him space to talk. He doesn’t use it.  At the end, we stand out in the cold, and Felipe fumbles over his words for fifteen minutes.  He really enjoys my company, and wants to be friends, but doesn’t think it will go beyond that.  He offers me his number.  I tell him that I don’t know that I need a friend who requires this much extra work on my part.  After a few minutes, he says that he’s not saying we would NEVER date.  Um, what?  I don’t really think the Friendzone is real place, but if it is, it’s right here, in between this guy’s words.  No, guy, I don’t want to hang around with you and never know if you’ve changed your mind and want to date me.  It’s not as if there were tons of sparks flying anyway.  I turn and walk to my car.

Most recently, I talked to a guy who liked to race cars, who I’ll call Jean-Claude.  That is not remotely a turn-on to me, and it was actually one of the things that kept me from messaging him first.  But besides that hobby, he seemed like a smart, funny, kind person who was genuinely interested in what I had to say, and who was also interesting himself.  Maybe four or five weeks into talking with him, I ask if he wants to meet up sometime soon.  He agrees, but then changes the subject.  I finally bring it up again, and Jean-Claude tells me that he’s not really in a place in his life where he should be dating.  He’s going through financial and emotional stress, he might be moving for another job, and he doesn’t want to start something he can’t finish.  I guess that didn’t apply to our conversation.  At this point, I was pretty fed up with OKC nonsense.  Really, dude?  You talked to me for over a month knowing that you shouldn’t really be dating?  I basically told him, “oh, well, great, thanks for telling me now”.  He apologized a lot, but it didn’t really make me feel better.  The same way that, when one of my exes broke up with me because he “was never going to feel the same way I felt about him”, his apologies didn’t make me feel better.  If anything, they made me feel worse. This guy’s apologies brought me right back to that time, when I wanted desperately to be mad, because it would have given me so much more to hold onto than just being devastated and sad and collapsing in on myself until I was so small that I could get stuck in the cracks on the sole of someone’s shoe.

Here’s the thing: dating is exhausting.  When it’s long term, it can be great, especially at first.  But when it ends, it takes so much out of me, and I’m running out of things to use to patch of my holes.  So now, every almost-relationship, or date that goes nowhere, is another sliver of my emotional energy siphoning itself out of my body.  And many days, hitting my head against a brick wall in the online dating world, while simultaneously doing the same with my career, is giving me a life migraine.

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I’m a Masochist: Delving into the Manosphere and the Entitled White Boy Problem

Remember how I was talking about how scary it can be to be a lady on the internet?  I didn’t hit on one of the scariest recent phenomena: the manosphere.  Over the last few years, an overwhelming surge of blogs, fora, and websites have been created to talk about male issues.  This alone isn’t a problem.  Men are allowed to talk about their problems with other men.  But in the case of most of these sites, the quest for solving men’s issues involves a lot of discrediting women’s issues or discrediting women altogether.

Just like with feminism, the manosphere folks don’t seem to agree about all of their issues, and some cases are more offensive and terrifying than others.  So I’ll start with the basics.  Most of the blogs stem from the Men’s Rights Movement.  This movement, which started in the ’70s but has become exponentially popular in the last few years, sets itself up in opposition to feminism, and professes concern about issues that they believe disadvantage men in today’s society, including family/parental law, domestic violence, military service, education, and the social safety net.  Some of these are legitimate concerns, but the problem is how they are frequently expressed in the “safe spaces” of the manosphere.  Many Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) get their power from attacking feminists and their issues.  Perhaps the largest gathering for MRAs is on reddit.com, a site already accused of being sexist and recently involved in the not-unrelated dispersal of illegal nude photos of female celebrities, on a subreddit called MensRights, which now includes almost 10,000 members.  This is a forum in which popular disccusion topics include, “Feminists and Manginas: “Slut shaming is bad. Virgin shaming is great!” (a term thrown around the manosphere frequently which refers to male feminists or male supporters of feminists), “How to expose hypocritical feminists at my school“, “Dear feminists, you having privilege is not discrimination against women, it’s just privilege“,  and “Men are better equipped than women to deal with all sorts of situations and better able to adjust, which is a sign of intelligence.”  For a group that claims it’s main goals are to fix social issues that negatively affect men, a lot of their rhetoric targets women and feminists.  I haven’t read too much in their threads, because I can only handle so much of this nonsense at time, but pretty much anytime someone mentions that certain feminist goals actual line up with MRA ones, because they focus on equality, that person usually gets heavily downvoted.  I even read one poor peacekeeper attempt to convince other members that it was in the group’s best interest to not alienate all women and feminists, and this person basically got laughed out of the conversation.

But the MensRights subreddit is only the tip of the iceberg.  Some MRAs are also part of the subreddit TheRedPill (a group with over 70,000 members – roughly six times as many as r/puppies, just so you get a general idea of how prevalent this may be) which is based on the premise from The Matrix that those who swallow the red pill are choosing to see the harsh reality, and those who take the blue pill are choosing the comfort of ignorance.  But in this case, the harsh reality is…that everything we’ve been taught about being nice and respectful to women is a lie, and that “feminism is a sexual strategy”.  Some of their further fun beliefs, included as the tenets of their movement (if you can call it that), are that “women are irrational and inconsistent”, “women are Machiavellian in nature”, “western females are self-entitled”, “women are depreciating assets” who spend most of their youth “riding the cock carousel”, which means “fucking lots of different guys in nightclubs, having flings, being generally irresponsible and riding through life on easy mode getting ahead for no real talent, but because she’s pretty and can give head.”  Some of these men try to pretend that this group is not filled with misogynists.  Umm…what?  The devaluation of women as assets that lose their value due to aging (losing their looks) and how many “cocks” they’ve “ridden”, is disgusting, hateful, and completely disrespectful.  They can pretend that this is all just about giving confidence that women have taken from them (I mean, I know that I personally have a box in my closet where I store all the confidence I’ve stolen from women), but it’s really just a poorly thought out excuse they can use for treating women like objects and manipulating them into doing what men want (which is mainly sex, according to the content of this subreddit – am I the only one who thinks that this is a terribly limiting way to view men, as merely sex-crazed predatory types?).  Their fundamental assumption seems to be that “well, all women treat men like shit, so I should treat them like shit before they have a chance to”, which might be a rational response if, in fact, all, or even most, women treated men like shit.  Based on my own experiences, I’ve found that just as many men are crappy to women as women are crappy to men (frankly, I think more men are crappy, but this may be biased, so I’m going to assume it’s about equal), and I haven’t used this small number as a reason to become an asshole.

Just in case that doesn’t deter you from joining this group, or from supporting their missions, they have an entire glossary of terms and abbreviations, many of which they’ve coined, to set up their system of delusions.  Most familiar are probably alphas (leaders, typical “masculine men) and betas (more “feminine” men who like to do nice things, especially for women – the horror!), and somehow redpillers believe that all men fall into one of these two categories, as do all behaviors.  Then there are “incels”, or “involuntary celibates” – some of you might recognize this term.  Guess why?  Because this is how Elliot Rodger referred to himself.  A sane person might just call this a single person who either doesn’t enjoy/pursue or is unable to effectively find casual sex.  If this idea, and the terminology, makes you nervous, you’re having a normal reaction.  The terms sets up the understanding that sex is something owed to men, and when they don’t get it, it’s because women aren’t giving it to them.  Fun stuff, right?  There’s also the Friendzone, which I’ll talk more about later, because that’s another rabbit hole altogether.  There’s “plate theory”, which is the idea that women are plates that you spin once, then move onto another one.  Sometimes you can return to plates, but they exist strictly for sex, and almost exclusively in addition to other plates.  And, of course, there’s SMV, or sexual market value, a key component in their teachings.  For women, this number comes mostly from their appearance (at least, until they hit their “wall” – the point at which their SMV starts decreasing rapidly, as does their power over men), while for men, it can come from their alpha qualities, job/social standing, and wealth.  When I first read all of this, I thought it was an elaborate hoax.  No one could really think like this, right?  So, so wrong.  And these are just the things you find in their foundational texts – the actual threads and comments are worse.  And some of these redpillers will wonder around other subreddits, or feminist spaces, to try to convince others that their ways are rational, logical, and beneficial for all.  It’s like their trying to be sexual manipulation missionaries.

Another overlapping group are the “Men Going Their Own Way”, or the MGTOW. This group may be even more hateful then the redpillers.  I don’t think they even try to hide their misogyny.  This group consists mainly of bitter divorced men, and very young guys who haven’t had much luck in the dating world, and who have decided to give up on dating altogether.  Which is funny, because for men who are done with dating, they spend a decent amount of time on OKCupid.  At one point, they posted a profile of a 24 year old woman whose biggest offense was that while she detests when friends or guys she’s met in person don’t respond to texts, she admits to being flaky responding to OKC messages.  Now, if they wanted to just point out this discrepancy, I wouldn’t take issue with it.  But no.  They went on to claim her as a slut who, because she looks older than her age, shouldn’t be dated, but rather “fucked and chucked”.  The 1702 that’s part of her username must be her “cock count”.  They mock her appearance, and label here a dumb whore.  And some other, possibly worse insults.  In response, she wrote an article about all of this for xojane, a feminist-leaning site, where she mostly just seemed amused by their endless angry and hatred for women.  The MGTOWs found out, and trolled the comments section to call her out, and basically to call all women “fat cunts.”  Because there’s nothing the MGTOW hate more than fat women.  HOW DARE ALL WOMEN NOT APPEAL TO MY SPECIFIC STANDARDS OF BEAUTY?  Then again, I’ve heard some of these men refer to Jennifer Lawrence as “fat”, so it sounds like their main criterion is “woman who who never in a million years want to sleep with me”.  Which is accurate, because what self-respecting woman would want to have sex with, or even associate with, such misogynists?  I checked out some other discussions on one of the MGTOW fora, and found another post with OKC profiles and pictures from a few random users.  While they weren’t the most interesting profiles (the users mention liking music and hikes, or cooking, but were vague and generic), but they got hatred spewed at them for being single moms (all single moms want to find a man who will pay for her kids – they actually believe this), looking a few years older then their actual age, and for having boring interests.  And I’m not talking about people pointing out that they are boring.  That’s valid.  But that they are disgusting sluts who should get banged and then thrown out?  (And about 30 more similarly absurd comments). No.  No, no, no, no.

And these sites don’t exist in isolation.  There are pickup artists sites with advice on improving your game. Don’t forget to “neg” a woman if you want your attention.  Well, not all women.  Only the 8s, 9s, and 10s.  They’re the ones who will act like the don’t have time for you.  Say something mean to her, and she’ll HAVE to talk to you.  One of these blogs for pickup artists types, Return of Kings, has such delightful posts as “No One Would Have Died if PUAhate Elliot Rodger Learned Game”, “5 Tips for Getting a Quality Foreign Woman”, and “How Much is Your Cost Per Orgasm (CPO)?”.  Another blog, TheAntifeminist, the author responds to any remotely dissenting (note: not aggressive, nasty, or name-calling.  Merely any discussion of a different opinion) which charming one lingers like “If you have a degree then you’re already well past peak sexual attractiveness and in a truly free sexual market most men probably wouldn’t even look at you”, “You stupid fucking bitch, learn to read” and “Now f*** off you retarded whore”.  It’s one thing when trolls invade and say these things, but it seems like the author should be civil enough to at least refute these people, rather than bully and insult them.  When another commenter suggested that these kinds of responses would alienate potential female readers, the author replied that, “And they’re not particularly welcome here”.  He claimed that any women who agreed were just trying to get men back on their side so that they would be sexually favorable again, and they they were all working with agendas.  Because…this guy obvious doesn’t have one.  And there many other sites just like the ones I’ve looked at.

Now, normally I would just chalk this up to the internet intensifying people’s shitty behavior, but the numbers are pretty terrifying.  As are the demographics: they’re 98% male (not surprising), 94% atheist (not sure what this means yet), 87% aged 17-20 (also not terrible surprising), and 98% white…there it is.  Reddit itself is fairly white, around 77%, but this is a much whiter subset of reddit users.  There are some theories floating around about why it’s mostly white men involved in the Men’s Rights Movement: they are finally feeling what it’s not like to have overwhelming privilege is the main one.  I think they feel a little left out: women have feminists (not that men can’t be feminists!), and other minorities can fight for their specific rights, and for barriers to their success to be removed.  But as the most privileged group, white men feel a bit persecuted.  So they’re lashing out.  So their story is that they aren’t privileged.  That, in fact, it’s women who have all of this wonderful privilege.  When asked what issue they support, 84% chose legalizing marijuana, while 10% or less chose gay marriage, trans rights, abortion, socialized medicine, increasing the minimum wage, and gun control.  They overwhelmingly identify as strongly conservative.  So, they’re not terribly concerned about LGBT folks, women, poor people, or sick people.  You know – many of the people who might experience systematic oppression.  88% answered that they believe they are largely more socially disadvantaged than women, and a whopping 93% believe that women also have large legal advantages (so when they try to say that they’re just trying to voice men’s views because they aren’t being otherwise heard, keep this in mind!).

And there follows an alarming narrative that is perpetuated throughout the manopshere about dating.  There’s the nice guy.  Oh, he’s so nice. I mean, he has to be – he keeps telling us that he is!  So he makes lots of friends who are ladies, because of the niceness.  But none of the ladies want to play hide the salami with him.  Well, at least, this is the conclusion that our nice guy draws, because it doesn’t happen.  Even though he tells her nothing of his, erm, feelings.  So now she is a terrible person, because she put this sweetheart in the FRIENDZONE!  Don’t look for it on a map, guys, it’s not a real place.  It’s not even a real concept.  It’s just you being pissed because a.) a friend did not want do the ol’ in-and-out with you, and b.) your friend is also not a psychic.  But now our little hero is alone and listless.  So he goes to the internet to find dates.  And he messages the 100 most attractive women on the site.  But…none of them respond!  No one wants him!  At no point does our nice guy think, hmm, maybe I should focus on finding a lady who has common interests, or who shares my beliefs!  Or, I bet there are some moderately attractive ladies out there who would like me.  No, he deserves the best!  After all, he’s so nice!  He can’t stoop to average, even if he is boring, unintelligent, and unattractive himself.  And so, he bemoans the ladies.  Why don’t any of you like me?  Why are you all so shallow?  Why do you only date jerks?  And he makes a decision.  Women are all sluts, whores, and bitches.  They are vain, stupid, manipulative, and ugly.  And they are all fat!  And he puts little dogmatic bandages on his heart as he becomes a Man who Goes His Own Way, and begins to spread the world the womenfolk are out to destroy men, and that they are not to be trusted.

As it turns out, nice guy, you aren’t actually that nice.  You make friends with women because you want to get into their pants, and then are angry when they exercise their right freely choose the men they date.  This is not nice – this is manipulative.  If this is all you want from this friendship, then you weren’t looking for a friendship, and you are being dishonest.  And while you judge all women as shallow, you are unwilling to lower your standards to a woman who isn’t stunning, or who is maybe a few pounds overweight.   You aren’t being nice; you are being judgmental and narrow-minded, and you need to stop assuming that the blame should be placed on all women, or even any women.

Now, don’t get this confused with the friend who turns into a love interest scenario.  I’ve been on the crushing side of a mixed gender friendship, too.  But see, I TOLD the guys.  One of them was a jerk about it – he pretended like I hadn’t said it, and spent the next few months whining about his problems but not bothering to listen to mine.  We’re not really friends anymore.  A second was very sweet about it – he told me he was flattered, but didn’t see as as more than friends.  We were never best buds anyway, but we’re on good terms, and he used to invite me to his comedy shows when he was performing in Seattle.  And a third became my first boyfriend.  We’re still on good terms, though I don’t see him much as he lives on the other side of the country.  It’s okay to develop feelings for friends.  Or to stay friends with someone you once had feelings for.  But it’s not okay to be friends with someone just because you want t date them.  Women aren’t a sex company that you’re investing your time in.  That kind of relationship will almost never pay off for you.  You are not entitled to women or their bodies.  Your supposed niceness does not guarantee you anything.  You need to shed this story that our culture has built for you that you are superior to everyone, and that you are owed things in life because of this.  And, maybe you should try…actually being nice?  It’s a start.

 

http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2014/04/13/but-how-do-you-know-the-mras-are-atheists/

http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/tag/demographics/

http://permutationofninjas.org/post/82516701412/r-mensrights-demographics-survey-april-2014

http://www.xojane.com/sex/men-going-their-own-way-forums-has-a-whole-thread-dedicated-to-what-a-whore-i-am

 

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