This weekend started off much like most others, a cup of coffee with the wonderful company of my beautiful girlfriend, a bit of music, catching up on the news and checking my monolithic network of notifications when a friend got in touch and notified me that she’d been hit on by, yet again, another tragically inept guy.
“You should become one of those fat-girl models,” he said, in unabashed earnest. It’s as if saying something like this wasn’t a problem at all. For the record, guys, if there’s one way you shouldn’t address a woman you’re interested in, this is probably it. How did the idea of “negging” women hang on for so long? How did it become a staple of our bizarre American diet and the fuel of our failed attempts at intersexual socializing? And, why is it so difficult just to say hey and just be a decent person in today’s world? For the record, there’s nothing morally wrong with being fat, either, but it’s safe to say, and pretty much universally known, that it’s an easy go-to jab for anyone trying to insult a woman. Just like the man who’s as sweet as a glazed donut when he’s trying to win over a woman’s affection, but twists and morphs upon realizing that he’s been rejected, into the hostile and borderline-violent man that he always was (and was trying to mask), as quickly as he can utter the standard inflammatory word, “Slut.”
These words are loaded and laced with venom…
The tone and mood of our culture and the stark differences between how men and women treat each other are startling. Before anyone gets all worked up, which I know some guy inevitably will, this isn’t a story about how women are perfectly innocent little angels, women have some issues, too, but they’re certainly not messaging strange men out of the blue and saying, “Hey, you should become one of those erectile dysfunction models! Just stand there and be flaccid, you’d look great!” Women also aren’t killing their spouses and former spouses with a terrifying rapidity.
If only they can make women feel bad enough about themselves, question their attractiveness, desirability, and virtues enough, or if they can make them doubt their past sexual behaviors enough, wondering deep down inside if they should feel this genuine shame that they feel when they’re called a slut, then at least some of those women along that line of absurd flirtations will fall into their trap.
Is this a genuine incomprehension of basic etiquette? Ignorance and simply not knowing how to engage with the opposite sex? Or is something more nefarious at work? It’s as if guys truly believe somewhere deep down inside that they can’t attract a woman without insulting her. I simply cannot believe that sheer ignorance can explain this behavior alone. I’m sincerely hoping that Facebooks new dating feature will mean that random guys who approach women online outside of that forum can be punished; frankly, I’m tired of watching my female friends struggle and grin through the bombardment of male advances which are never kind. They smile and joke, they may laugh and brush it off, but when they turn their faces or think you’re no longer looking, you can see the sense of despair looming inside of them. You can sense the pain — it’s palpable in the air, discharging from behind the facade that they put on so well. Ladies, I feel for you…I wish there was something I could do…
The constant feeling every time a female friend or even my own girlfriend approaches me and tells me that this type of thing happened, yet again, as could be predicted with an alarming accuracy, is one of sinking helplessness, the same agony that I feel when my girlfriend gets sick and I’m powerless to help her. To the men out there, our society is very, very sick, and the women need our help — I can’t do it alone, but we can, we just need to make the choice, as a culture, to do so. It’s 2019, now, can we all get on the same page and agree that we’re just going to be nice to women from here on out, accepting when they don’t want to date or have sex with us? That’d be swell.
Perhaps the logic of these men is that they’ll inflame and anger many women along the line, but, every once in a while, they’ll find a woman whose insecurity they can prey upon. If only they can make women feel bad enough about themselves, question their attractiveness, desirability, and virtues enough, or if they can make them doubt their past sexual behaviors enough, wondering deep down inside if they should feel this genuine shame that they feel when they’re called a slut, then at least some of those women along that line of absurd flirtations will fall into their trap. These women will feel inclined to reclaim their pride, their glory, their womanhood. Which seems to be the ultimate goal of such tactics, to devalue, to degrade, to insult, and to strip away both the humanity and womanhood that lies within the woman in question, making them earn it back. The opposite of the Nice Guy is the guy who holds common decency above a woman’s head and makes her jump through hoops in order to be paid the basic respect she deserves. This is textbook gaslighting.
Distort another person’s self-image and wait for them to try to reclaim it, then guide them into whichever position you want them…sadly, it’s all-too-often the best people who fall into these traps, for they assume everyone else is as harmless as they are. If niceness is the counterfeit currency of the Nice Guy with which he seeks to purchase sexual favors on the open market, demeaning insults and covert disparagements are the weapons employed by the wannabe dominant who feels he always has to one-up women wherever he finds himself, lest he be taken down to their level. Whether we want to admit it or not, this is misogyny. This is what sexism looks like in the interpersonal realm, and while it may look like men who are depriving women of the right to vote in the political realm, in the world of dating, misogyny is the subtle pressure to accept the status of being less-than.
It’s the pressure to earn the right to be treated decently, usually by performing sexual favors or by giving other forms of intimacy and affection to men who arguably don’t deserve it. Don’t give in, ladies. These guys will weed themselves out, in time. They’ll either learn or fade away into the abysmal obscurity of loneliness.
I wonder if any of us will live to see the day when men can accept that sometimes they might be wrong, that they aren’t perfect, far from it, but works-in-progress that are still lovable and desirable human beings — if only we could knock off the vitriolic toxicity which we’ve immersed ourselves in. And perhaps, with that, we can learn to love ourselves, as well. Time will tell.
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