Whatever Happened to Normal?
Emma Linday is a weird woman or, perhaps I should say, she once would have been considered weird, but weirdness is now so common that it’s weird to be normal. Try this little sample of Emma’s weirdness:
Here’s the problem: men are fucking beautiful. And, it wasn’t until years of dating women that I was able to appreciate male beauty. With women, I was all like “omg, you look so good, you feel so good,” and that was seen as totally normal. Many women invite this type of attention comfortably. But with men, shit gets weirder.
One thing I have noticed about dating dudes is that the are hyper attuned to even the smallest expression of desire. In fact, I’ve been impressed/kind of jealous at how well some guys have been able to read even my tiniest signals. . . .
Part of the reason I think these straight guys are hyper-attuned to even the most subtle expression of desire in women is that’s all they get. As far as I can tell … straight women aren’t like “baby, you are fucking gorgeous” that often with dudes. All the positive affirmation they receive will need to be read into the intensity of the female sigh, so men learn to hear the inaudible in the exhales of women.
Now, this is just a sample, as I say, and maybe you should go read the whole thing because there are layers of weirdness there, seriously.
And also seriously, what the fuck?
When did every woman on the planet suddenly decide that she needs to relate her every sexual experience — and every thought she’s ever had about sex — for the entire Internet to read? Who would want to date someone like that, knowing that your every interaction is likely to be conveyed in detail (and critically analyzed) for the enjoyment of everybody with a Wifi hookup?
Blame Sex and the City, I guess, for this endless proliferation of wannabe Candace Bushnells constantly blabbering about their sex lives. Doing the math: Emma Lindsay is now 31, which means she was 13 when Sex and the City debuted on HBO in 1998, and I don’t know if Emma ever watched it, but the recent trend of women writing about sex! sex! sex! did not emerge from nowhere. We need a scapegoat, and I nominate Candace Bushnell.
Anyway, like every other woman who writes about sex — sex! sex! sex! — Emma Lindsay’s personal life is a catastrophe, i.e., she’s bisexual and 31.
That’s the headline on her column, but who needs her advice and why? If you were in need of advice on relationships, wouldn’t you seek advice from someone who had a successful relationship, rather than someone who can’t seem to make up her mind who she wants to have a relationship with, assuming that there is actually anyone who wants a relationship with her?
Question: How many relationships has Emma Lindsay been in? What was the longest relationship she’s ever been in, and why didn’t it last?
Do you see my point here? Hopping around from one relationship to another isn’t a difficult accomplishment. Six months with this person, a year with that person — you don’t need anyone’s advice on how to do that. What’s hard, and what Emma Lindsay has obviously never been able to do, is to make a relationship last, to survive the tough times and go the distance. Of course, lots of young people bounce around a bit before they figure out that bouncing around is not a good idea. They learn from their mistakes, get their act together and settle down. But if you’re a 31–year-old bisexual women who’s just starting to date guys again after spending your 20s with women, you probably shouldn’t consider yourself qualified to offer relationship advice.
And to repeat the question: Why didn’t your longest relationship last?
This is where the hammer comes down. Failure requires an explanation, and if you’re still single at 31, you need to be honest with yourself about the causes of your previous failures. It will not do to say, for example, that you were just with somebody who was wrong for you, because you chose them, and choosing to be with the wrong person brings your judgment into question. If you were a good judge of people, you never would have chosen the wrong person. Therefore, the question is, why is your judgment so bad?
Consider the possibility that you are emotionally immature. Consider the possibility that you are superficial or selfish or impatient. It cannot be — it is illogical to suppose — that you are a wonderful person who, just by random coincidence, keeps stumbling into failed relationships with bad people.
It is one thing, I would argue, to blame bad luck for your romantic woes as a teenager, or to suffer a breakup in a serious relationship when you’re 25, but it is a different thing to be 31 and still single. Mere bad luck can’t explain that.
At some point, you have to accept that your real problem is you.
Also, what’s up with this trendy “bisexual” thing?
Are you just a follow-the-herd type of person? A weathervane who changes direction every time the wind blows? Because it seems to me, based on what I read from all the young women writing about sex — sex! sex! sex! —that there’s a lot of this “exploring my sexuality” stuff going on nowadays. It’s as if people think it would be wrong to make up their minds what they like until they try every dish on the Sexuality Buffet at least once. “BDSM? Well, sure, tie me up and spank me, because I’m not one of those BDSM-phobic people!”
“Exploring my sexuality” — like you’re on an expedition in the Peruvian jungle, trying to find the Lost Treasure of the Incas or something.
One week you’re butch, the next week you’re femme, then you go through a purple-hair androgynous phase, and who knows where you’ll end up? If you finally move to rural Utah and join a polygamous cult — the ninth wife of some fundamentalist “prophet” — we won’t be much surprised.
Advice on Relationships From a 56 Year Old Grandfather and Hey, You Kids, Get Off My Lawn!
See? Nobody wants my advice. Whatever else you say about bisexuality, it’s a clever marketing angle for young feminist writers. No matter your preference, the bisexual feminist is an all-purpose expert — penis, vagina, whatever — and there’s always a potential plot-twist. “Will Emma’s next partner be male? Female? Trans? Tune in next week when we spin The Wheel of Sexuality!”
How did Emma Lindsey’s last relationship end? Did it involve a grand jury indictment? A restraining order? Did her ex-girlfriend join a cult? It seems to me that you’d want to do a background check on a 31-year-old bisexual before you took her advice on relationships. We need the Better Business Bureau to start rating relationship advice columnists, or maybe there ought to be some kind of federal commission to regulate relationship advisers, because otherwise someday you’ll be reading stuff like this:
Dear Emma: My boyfriend wants us to get married, but I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of commitment. What should I do? — CURIOUS
Dear Curious: You definitely need to explore your sexuality before you even think about marriage. Have you considered the possibility that you might be attracted to pygmy hermaphrodites? Because some people are, and maybe you’re one of them. On the other hand, if you do decide to get married, have you considered polygamy? Because there’s a cult in Utah and …
Excuse my sarcasm, but this DIY sex-expert racket is dangerous. Anybody can post relationship advice and column after column about sex — sex! sex! sex! — but what about their credentials? What is the basis of their authority?
Well, she’s an MIT graduate — a software engineer and therefore not stupid, which may explain a lot of her personal problems. Your genius-IQ super-brainiac types are not generally street-smart common-sense people. You’re gonna have to spend most of your childhood and adolescence grinding away with your nose stuck in a book to make it to MIT. That kind of fast-track academic trip doesn’t leave much time to develop your social skills. And invariably, the nerd is always overthinking everything.
Sex and relationships cannot survive constant critical analysis. Sex is about action — just doing it, not habitually second-guessing yourself or your partner — and you have to get beyond the rational level to reach that primal urge.
Do MIT graduates have primal urges? Surely they must, but how can they lay aside all that obsessive analytical nerdiness to release their inner beast? These brainiacs are always weird people, you see, because their habits of mind are attuned to solving complex abstract problems, which makes it difficult for them to understand simple things like sex.
Or at least that’s my theory, but what does a state-school graduate know? Nothing, I guess, which is why nobody ever asks for my advice. Maybe I could move to Utah and start a cult: “The Prophet hath spoken!” And then my nine wives would fix a big batch of biscuits and gravy, while arguing about whose turn it was to receive, uh, spiritual guidance from the Prophet.
Sure, it sounds weird, but this is the 21st-century. Weird is the new normal.