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I connected with the ultimate mansplainer on Tinder and called him out, to which he responded, “But I’m a feminist!” Please, just read this for yourself.img_1638img_1639img_1640img_1642img_1643img_1644img_1645

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And then he blocked me, without understanding AT ALL that a) I wasn’t calling him a rapist, b) I never asked him what he thought about me not wanting to be alone with a stranger, and c) if he was really a feminist, he would know he was mansplaining. #UGHMEN

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Come on, dude. We clearly have nothing in common. You can’t even pick out one thing from my profile you liked, when prompted.

So I’ll just be rude and dismissive. And clearly you’ll keep messaging until I stop responding. WHY???

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I’ve taken to unleashing my antagonistic tendencies on people who message me on OKCupid who clearly haven’t read my profile or paid any attention to what I have to say, but just liked my pictures.

It’s infuriating, first of all, because we clearly have nothing in common, based on a quick read. Why waste my time and yours? But also, it’s insulting – come on, I’m a whole person. Don’t you want to know anything about me?

I’ve also found that these people seem to think that any attention is good attention – so, I’m mean to them, and dismissive, and even insulting, and they just keep talking. And then try to make jokes and ask me out. Come on, dude. Have some self-respect.

Anyway, here’s one good example:

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The other day, I got a message from a young man.

“Lush bath bombs?!?!” it said.
At first I had no idea where that even came from. I knew there was no chance I had mentioned a brand in my profile. I knew that I definitely hadn’t mentioned bath bombs, because I hate anything with a scent. Baby everything for me – baby shampoo, baby sunscreen, baby lotion – because it’s usually unscented and hypoallergenic.
And then I realized that the first line of my profile reads, “Writer. Book reader. Dog owner. City girl. Lush.”

I feel like that sums me up pretty well. The next part of my profile mentions that someone once told me that I’m “the kind of high maintenance that’s worth it,” so I feel like I’ve given full disclosure right up front.
Anyway.
I had figured it out. That was where the “Lush” comment came from.
“No,” I responded. “That shit is nasty. Hate how they smell.”
“Really,” the gentleman sent back. “So which Lush products do you like??”
Punctuation is accurate in each of those messages, by the way. I’ll mention briefly the excessive use of question marks and exclamation points, and then let it go.
So he had brought up Lush products again. Was he joking? Did he really think that I was summing up my personality by citing a company that makes mediocre scented soaps?
“What?” I said. “Are you serious?”
And then he didn’t respond.
I guess I’ll never know if he was trying to flirt by talking about bath bombs, or if he really thought that Lush was so integral to my life that I mentioned it in the first line of my profile.

I went on a brunch date this morning.

It was excruciating.

This guy did improv (red flag). People who do improv are always trying to make a scene and be the center of attention and prove how cool and funny they are, and I ain’t got no time for that. This wonderful improviser was no exception. He would not stop talking about his improv troupe, and his upcoming improv shows, and describing his sense of humor.

“I really like things that don’t fit in boxes,” he said.

He told me that he had gone to a party the night before in Williamsburg. We discussed how much we hated Williamsburg.

“I just wouldn’t have gone,” I said.

“Well, it was my friend’s party,” he said. “I mean, I have a lot of friends in the improv community – like, probably 300 friends. So there’s always a party to go to.”

Cool, bro. Sounds like your life is awesome.

Also, he was really, really unattractive. Sorry, that’s mean, but it wasn’t just that he couldn’t help it. He was a total mess. He was balding – which is cool, I don’t mind that. But the hair that wasn’t balding was long and curly. So, half of his head was bald (and covered in acne), and the other half had this gross long curly frizzy hair. For the record, if you’re balding, keep your hair short. PSA.

Dude was trying really, really hard. He told me I was beautiful twice. He complimented me on my dress. But I just couldn’t handle it. I barely slept last night, and then he was so unpleasant – I couldn’t even fake it. So we ate our brunch, I drank three mimosas, and then we parted ways, with an awkward hug.

I got home, googled the guy, and found his Twitter. This was the first tweet on his timeline, from right after we left each other’s company:

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I favorited it, obviously.

Because – FUCK YEAH.

Hey, good for you, dude. At least you realized it was a bad date.

Also, props for not inviting me to your next improv show.

 

I got a message on OKCupid from this guy who was super, super excited and into me from the start.


That’s right. Butterflies. Yes, please.

I asked him what he had liked about me, because who doesn’t love an ego boost?

And he was appropriately hairy, allegedly. He told me he had just shaved off his beard, but it was on its way back.


There was more, too. He lived a few blocks away from me. We both loved John Mulaney (who I wish would leave his wife for me). And he was effusive about liking me from the start.

And then it got annoying.

That first night, he asked if I wanted to come over and make out. I said no.

Then, a day or two later, we were texting, and he asked the same question.

“Listen,” I said. “I’d like to meet you and get to know you a little bit before making out is on the table.”

“Understood,” he said.

But like, clearly it wasn’t understood. Because he refused to respond whenever I tried to set a date.

I sent him one last text.

“Come on dude. Work with me here. You can’t just ask me to make out a bunch of times and not respond when I ask for a date.”

He did not acknowledge it. So much for being into all the great things about me. Looks like being smart and liking pocket notebooks didn’t matter so much, compared to the make outs.

In my personal experience, I’ve often found that men who have older sisters respect women more – because they’ve seen firsthand that women can be badass bitches, maybe? Or they just have the tools to better empathize with women, as human beings? Dunno.

This guy, the one who respected my boundaries so well in the last post, has two older sisters. I can’t help but think that having strong female influences in his life, females he respected and looked up to, helped him value women more as people. But I also think sisters can have a lot of influence on the ways their brothers learn about women and learn to treat them.

Last week, I was talking to a male friend (who has no sisters, for the record, but gets it) about active consent. I think it seems like an easier topic to understand, even to teach, than “no means no.” Because too many men believe that one “no” really doesn’t mean “no.” Which I can’t understand, and it makes me super fucking angry, but it’s apparently the case.

So how about active, enthusiastic consent? I love that as a standard. Make the litmus test whether she says “yes” three times, not “no” three times before giving in. It’s definitely the standard for the relationships I’ve felt safest and happiest in, in the past.

When my brother started high school, I bought him a box of gifts. In it were two super cool new t-shirts (my brother used to love anything I picked out for him), and a few stereotypical high school things; red plastic cups or something.

I also included condoms (because, duh), and a book entitled “She Comes First.” The cover featured a cross-section of a papaya in the foreground, and an out-of-focus banana in the background. I chose it because it was an absurd cover, with a few stupid double entendres that I knew would have shock value. But I also chose it because I wanted my little brother to respect women’s sexuality and their bodies. I knew that he would laugh at it, but read it in secret – learning how to be not just a man who sleeps with women, but a good and generous man who sleeps with women. And, the first time he encountered a pussy, he’d at least have some idea of what to do with it.

Similarly, when I was 11 or 12, my mom gave me a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves (ostensibly, “For the New Millennium,” but there were a lot of grainy 70’s pictures of naked nursing mothers and very hairy vaginas [Note: nothing wrong with a hairy vagina. I’m all for women doing whatever the fuck they want with their pubic hair and not being shamed for it or told that they’re gross. But that’s a digression]).

Anyway. Our Bodies, Ourselves.

I sat in my attic room and devoured it, eager to learn about how my body worked. When the book said to sit in front of a mirror and look at my vagina, I did. When it told me to feel around and explore, when it told me that women’s bodies were not smelly or weird or ugly – I listened. And, later, when I became sexually active, I could consult the book with any question, and it would be answered. The pros and cons of using the pill vs. condoms vs. spermicides vs. IUD’s? All there. Yes, sometimes nipples had little bumps on them, and that was normal. The great tome first published in 1971 was still so relevant in 2001 (And I just looked – last edition was released in 2011).

If I had a daughter, I would absolutely give her Our Bodies, Ourselves. It was invaluable to me when learning to understand my body and my sexuality. And if I had a son? I’d want to give him the same information – yes, about women’s bodies. Obviously, I’d want to educate him on his own body and sexuality. But I think we miss out on an important part of teaching men about respect in relationships if we don’t teach men about women’s bodies and consent from a really early age. Teach them to see women’s bodies as complex and fascinating, at the same time as we teach them to see women as human beings who deserve to have their wishes respected, without pressure or coercion.

Teaching men to respect and understand women, our bodies, and our varied, exciting sexualities seems like a great start to teaching men not to treat those bodies like masturbatory aides. Because there are just too many damn times that my “no’s” are overruled, my pleasure is dismissed, or my comfort ignored.

What do you think? How do we help the men around us – our brothers, friends, everyone – to respect women’s boundaries as much as this guy did mine?

 

 

 

I’ve been dating a guy who I not only really like, but who is also exceptionally decent and respectful.

On our first date, it got late, and we were drunk, and I told him he could stay over. We all know I can be really stupid about these things, and allowing strange men into my apartment has more than backfired in the past – it’s been actively harmful.

But I let this guy stay here. Before we left the bar, I set explicit boundaries with him.

“I don’t want clothes to come off,” I said.

“I mean, I’m gonna try to take your clothes off,” he said, with a smile.

“No,” I said. “I mean it. If I take clothes off, I’m going to feel shitty about myself in the morning.”

(Side note: something I’ve learned this year is that I can’t do one-night-stands, or have sex with someone I don’t already trust, as a person, and someone I don’t already trust to respect me. I think I already posted this article about why consensual sex can still be bad.)

Anyway, he agreed to my terms. He came over. Buckley loved him. We made out a little bit, and then went to sleep.

And he completely respected my boundaries. I didn’t have to say “no” a few times before he gave up, or even remind him at all. The next morning, things were getting a little intense again, and he told me he had to leave, or he was going to try to get me naked. He wasn’t trying to manipulate me into taking my clothes off. He was genuinely listening to the terms I had set for our sleepover, and never once tried to push me into doing what I had already said I didn’t want to do.

This shouldn’t be exceptional, but it is. I honestly don’t know if I have ever had that experience before – where I said, “Listen, this is what I don’t want,” and had it completely respected. Most of the time, men will push until either I’m turned on enough in the moment to say okay (and then regret it later), or they’ll push the bounds a few times, making me say no more than once, before dropping the issue.

To these men, this is consent. I’m not saying these interactions are non-consensual, but they are not acknowledging my (or, I’d assume, other women’s) bodily autonomy. I do know that these interactions don’t feel good. And I didn’t realize how not-good they felt until I had an experience where my boundaries were completely acknowledged and respected. A man took my words about what I wanted at face value, with no attempts at coercion or convincing me to do what he wanted, instead.

And I literally cannot remember a time that has happened before.

How do we create men who treat women with this much respect? Thoughts in my next post.