Sex. Feminism. Lesbian Werewolves.

Men Missed the Memo

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

One of the biggest lessons that the women’s rights movements struggled to convey was that women didn’t need to look to men for approval, affirmation, or a right to exist.
These feminists believed that relationships with men could be founded on mutual respect, appreciation, attraction, interests, and fun, instead of the need for power or a sense of self-worth.

Today after over-hearing an infuriating conversation between my LL (righteous, as per usual) and a guy I’ll refer to as Misogynist Dick Bag (or MDB), I realized that a lot of men missed the memo.

The MDB was sharing a lot of stories which showed how heroic or awesome he was based on the hotness of the women that he took home.  This isn’t uncommon, and at times, forgivable.  We all like to brag sometimes about our trysts or the allure of the person we managed to lay.  For MDB, however, it became clear to me that this was a benchmark for his self-worth.  He feared he was weird and “creepy” until a sexy woman wanted to talk to him.  Then, he came to the conclusion that he couldn’t be creepy or else this woman wouldn’t have talked to him.

I don’t really need to point out the fault in his logic, and for a while I was sympathetic to his plight.  Here was a normal straight dude who was indoctrinated by the patriarchy to equate self-worth with sexual attractiveness.  It’s a cruel paradigm that afflicts both men and women.

We’ve all been taught that quantity of sexual interest, rather than quality, is what defines us as desirable.   If I walk into a room and 80% of the room wants to do me, that’s supposed to be more important than the one really rad person in the corner who thinks I’m smart and sexy and fun.  For men, there’s an extra level of needing to “score.”  If a man leaves the bar without getting laid, it’s supposed to be a failure.  Even if he’s made great business contacts, had awesome conversations, or made some great friends, it’s “tough luck, dude, you suck.”

Feminists taught women that the easiest way to find satisfying relationships was by being authentically themselves.  Then, the worthwhile paramours would be attracted to who the woman really was, not just what she was packing under her tee-shirt.  It may be a harder model for getting laid, but it does make sure that those you’re bedding are actually invested in your pleasure.

My LL “landed” me by treating me like a human being.  Even if he did lust after me from first sight, instead of leading with that, he decided to learn what was between my ears.  We had a great conversation where he treated me like a peer, like an interesting person, and most importantly LIKE A HUMAN.   Respect is a powerful aphrodisiac, and it worked like a charm.  I was a lesbian-identified person that ended up making out with a blond dude in the corridor at work within the hour.  That ain’t magic, it’s RESPECT.

I have a lot of straight male friends who love hanging out with lesbians and/or queer women, because they feel like they can finally relax.  There’s no game on.  They can just kick it with cool ladies without having to be on the make.  This is the key difference between lesbians and straight women, which has nothing to do with eating pussy.  It’s that lesbians don’t care what men think.  Period.  Without that element, the men that hang with them don’t have to put on airs.  When these same guys hang with mixed groups, they invariably are the most attractive to guy-loving-women.  Because they are defining their self-worth based on other things rather than how many chicks would do them.

This is the part that the Pickup Artist and similar methods miss entirely.  If you’re a guy out to get laid, by anyone, for any reason, just. to. get. laid., it’s not that hard.  Find the person with the lowest self-esteem, flirt with them, then insult them, and then reap your rewards.  It’s pretty easy.   If, however, you’re interested in having GOOD sex, with INTERESTING people, it’s harder to pull a simple formula.  You have to rely on the fact that you have something worthwhile about you.  You have to trust that, actually, you can converse with cool, strong women and have something interesting to say.  You have to treat women like human beings, and listen to them.  And then, getting laid becomes (1) fun, rather than a win/lose endeavor  (2) an awesome effect of being a good person and (3) WAY easier.

I wish that the MDB would have gotten that memo.  That instead of getting the 19 year old chick all hot and bothered as a vindication, he could know he wasn’t creepy or weird in the first place.  He would know that sexually-empowered women yearn for men that can meet them half-way.  That they can respect and lust after her brains as well as her body, and that he can offer her pleasure not because he’s afraid of doing a bad job, but because he wants to, because it’s fun and sexy just for the sake of it.

The old canard that “chicks dig self-confidence” is probably true.  The question is, if you’re measuring your success in self-confidence by how many chicks will bang you, are you actually confident at all? Or are you just measuring yourself by another yardstick that is designed for your failure?  Are you transcending the proscribed man/woman dynamic, or are you upholding it by your complacence?

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3 Comments

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  1. Caryn

    You should consider submitting this to Jezebel. A reprint there would bring in a lot of new readers/interest.

  2. Adam

    Women Stopped Writing the Memo…

    I am a man. I was raised by a single mother who told me to respect women for their brains, not their body. But when I got old enough to be attractive to women, it wasn’t my respect for their brains that got me “action.” I would routinely get LJBFed (let’s just be friends) or I would get a woman who would spend our time together complaining about all the jerks she was sleeping with.

    Now my anecdotal life story is by no means scientific evidence… But now that I work with women to help them create loving partnerships and understand men… I’m noticing a trend.

    Straight women reinforce men who are physically aggressive, and they generally ignore men who hold back from lusting after them. If the power dynamic is supposed to be over (and women sent that memo long ago), then most women didn’t know that they have to keep sending it even after their mothers delivered the message.

    Men may be full of passion and drive, but we go in the direction women steer. If it turns you on (in brain or body) that’s where we go. If you continuously ignore a certain behavior, we will almost always give it up.

    If women want to get men who are excited about pleasing a woman’s biggest sex organ (brain), then they need to reinforce men who attempt to connect with them there. My guess is women are just as timid as men when it comes to expressing their physical desires. So it’s a lot easier to just let the aggressive boys who poke at them, poke them. If women started going after the men they wanted, not only would they have a lot more pleasure in their lives, they’d also find far fewer MDB’s hanging around them.

    Men will always measure themselves by a yard stick, but it’s the women around them that mark the units. Are you giving the men in your orbit the appropriate feedback to work with?

  3. Allison

    Hi Adam! Thanks for your comment. I agree with much of what you’ve said. I think it’s important to separate the Women’s Movement from women themselves, just as it’s important to draw a distinction between MDB culture and men themselves. Ultimately, I think everyone is trying to do a good job at relationships, and most people are looking for satisfying partnerships without really knowing how to find them.

    I’d suggest that it all comes down to self-respect and self-esteem. The fact is, many of the lessons of the Women’s Movement haven’t translated thoroughly to contemporary women, because culture moves way slower than individual revolutions. Feminists can scream “You don’t have to be a size 2 to be attractive!” all they want, but when the major messages in the media contradicts that, well, most women aren’t going to hear the feminist voice. Many straight women are complacent in their oppression AND they can enact similar oppression on men. I think your complaints about mixed messages are spot on, because women are taught to behave one way for self-respect (continuing the size example: “Eat and be happy, girl!”) and another, contradictory, way in order to get action (“Diet and be miserable or no man will want you!”).

    Where I disagree with you, is that I believe there is a third option between LJBF and MDB-territory. Finding smart sexy is the key here, as is communicating that fact. Holding back lusting after a woman isn’t necessary unless she asks you to hold back (or you’re find yourself sending “creepy” vibes). Instead, it’s important to lust in a respectful way that treats the woman as a complete human being. Approaching women from a position of: “Tell me what lights you up,” then listening to the response, then sharing (if it’s true) “Damn that’s so sexy. I love the way your brain works. I would love to talk more about [insert woman's specific passion] over dinner,” is a powerful and effective way of honoring both the woman’s personality AND her sexuality. This isn’t an either/or situation.
    Men too often separate the two, which demeans all genders.
    And yes, it needs to be reinforced. Women got the message, but they need to reach across to the men and help them realize it for themselves.

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