If you’ve read my blog or met me or know (or are) a similarly embittered young woman, you shouldn’t be surprised when I say I resent men: for a) earning more b) not needing to menstruate c) having statistically lower body fat percentages d) lots of other reasons, many valid and most ridiculous. I’ve even written a few posts categorized under “Operation Hold Men Accountable,” in which I embarrass myself calling out certain man behavior (manhavior!) that I think is fucked up. When I say embarrass myself I guess I mean more…irrevocably mortify myself, especially when I post about specific encounters that I know very specific people will read. Oh, and just like, knowing my parents and Jesus have probably read my thoughts on hand jobs, that’s rough.
But I’ve come to terms with being the Crazy Bitch who calls people out. I realize it might not be a good look, but at the same time, everyone said mom jeans weren’t a good look and now they’re sold in American Apparel and worn by Barack Obama, so yeah.
Yet being the Crazy Bitch can get tiresome—it scares people away. Plus, it involves expecting humans to act in a certain way, and expecting things of humans can never end well. Just refer to all of literature ever, or life. And when it comes to 20-something men, I’ve learned to expect more base-level decency/maturity from my Louie CK poster, umbrella, hair straightener, or really any of the inanimate objects in my room that I’m looking at and randomly listing.
Wow, so that was a super roundabout way of announcing a new series, (of which this will probably be the only entry), called Operation Empathize with Men. Because the more I’ve lived in this city—and been wronged—the more I’ve seen that men have it really fucking hard, too.
Here are some things I suspect are hard for men: a) Many men have mustaches even though it will decrease their chances of sleeping with a woman from decent chance to zero chance, zero chance at all. B) Men have to pay for drinks a lot, and girls take advantage of this, as they should, because men usually get paid more, wait, sorry, sorry, back to empathy C) The pressure to confirm to certain standards of masculinity must be really exhausting. Like, being expected to approach girls and ask girls on dates, rather than vice-versa, invites so many different kinds of ways to be rejected. <-I’ll come back to this. D) Men are mean to each other. Women are obviously meaner to each other—in subtler, more psychologically fucked up ways–but from what I gather, men don’t get to talk about feelings as much in their man friendships (manships!). This is why fat, outcast boys in movies (Up! being the most depressing movie on the planet, even though that old man eventually accepts the adorable, round boy) always make me cry—who are they going to get to talk to about being fat? No one, is who. No one. And they’re going to get picked last for kickball. At least in my middle school, girls could opt out of playing the sports and just walk around the track instead, so we could totally just bypass that trauma.
But back to reason C of why men have it rough. They have to (or feel compelled to) hit on girls, and how creepy they come off is directly correlated with how attractive they are, which is terrible. And even when beyond the superficial—which certainly haunts women, as well—there are so many missteps a man can make as he navigates the tumultuous, choppy seas (sorry for that) of hitting on a woman. To illuminate: a scene from my life. I was at a bar with a friend, and a generally hairy, plump-from-daily-beer-consumption, goofy-toothed young man approached me.
Man: Hey, how are you?
Me: Good, how are you?
Man: Great! The second you two walked in the bar, I was like, woah, girls!
Man: Haha, I mean no, I mean. There are a lot of dudes here.
Me: Yeah. Very high dick-to-chick ratio.
Man: It’s because, well, you know that if you Google “best bars pick up girls in NYC” this place comes up? That’s why there are so many dudes here! I mean tourists Google that. I’ve obviously never Googled that. I live right next door, I’m not a tourist. Right across the street there! With my buddy.
Me: Wow, cool. (<–I swear I’m being friendly and not sarcastic here).
Man: Do you like sushi? And sake? There’s this all you can drink, all you can eat sushi place near by. We should all go on a double date! The four of us. We’d pay of course–me and my buddy.
Me: (Genuinely excited about any all you can drink, all you can eat opportunities) I love sushi.
Man: We should do it! We would pay.
Me: (am I supposed to thank him?) (…ok, I choose silence)
Man: We could also all go back to my apartment. It’s right there, across the street!
We didn’t all go back to his apartment, but I let him have my number, because I felt bad about (and was pretty impressed by) how horrifically that conversation had gone.
He texted me the next day asking how I was. I said good. He asked if I wanted to go out that night, and I just couldn’t respond. The next day, he texted me a picture of himself at work with a penis etched going into his mouth, and then wrote, “busy at work hahaha.”
I wondered what part of him thought that would be a really smart, suave, even borderline funny move. Once again, I couldn’t bring myself to respond. Praise baby Jesus, he didn’t text me back this time. Because—and I think this is universally understood—once you strike out in any way involving a picture of yourself and genitalia, drawn or real, you probably can’t bounce back from that.
At least when I take textual risks with a guy, it’s already doomed because, well, women aren’t expected to pursue guys—in fact, that in itself is often the deal-breaker.
But guys—expected to pursue—must come up with creative ways to move interactions, text exchanges, and relationships forward.
So I’ll say it here: I empathize with you, and I’m sorry.