Friday, November 23, 2012

double standards and confusion

keeping with my apparent theme of dissecting dating, can we talk about double standards and weirdness? first of all i'd like to say that i'm a little reluctant to publish this post because it will likely make me look like a slut or a crazy bitch. there's a lot wrong with that in itself. i should be able to write and publish anything i like without people thinking i'm talking about myself unless specified and i hate the term slut and all that it implies (see slut walk etc). what i'm saying here applies more or less to all genders and orientations but i think the difference is most pronounced when i'm trying to date men. stay with me here, it's not all bitching. to be clear, i do not hate males. i'm irritated with society as a whole, that includes me and you since we all participate in it. i'd like to see what we can do about fixing it. as ranty and unattractive as this article makes me look, i think it's important and i don't think i'm alone here.  

mind games: i'm a straightforward and honest person. i'm possibly too blunt but i expect people to take me at my word. i think it's a good thing. i also think that getting to know someone involves knowing their faults as well as their strengths and it's a fair part of choosing a partner.
it makes me crazy that the official dating world seems to have all these insane rules about who calls first, how long you wait to contact someone, when you sleep with them, what it's ok to share and when, how you should look or hold yourself, how positive you should be, when you can consider it a "relationship", who you can ask for advice or support, etc ad nauseum. none of these rules make any kind of sense to me.
i can understand that people are trying to protect themselves and have created rules as a way to manage risk. the problem is that none of these rule sets sync up and most of them defy common sense.
if i could get away with bypassing this crap and just say "hey, this is how i feel about you and where i'd like us to go, what do you think?" it would be fine, but i can't. you know why? NO ONE takes me at my word. it's extremely rare for someone to refuse to play by the rules so it's assumed that even in saying that, i'm playing the game. i know quite a few people who run into exactly the same issue. the distrust runs so deep that even when someone is saying "i seriously have no double meaning here. i like you. i'd like to get to know you. that's all" people are having the reaction of "what do you really mean by that?" *suspicious glare*. does that sound totally crazy to anyone else?
i shouldn't have to gauge how many days it's been since i last talked to someone and determine if that makes it appropriate for me to message them today. i shouldn't have to worry that my most straightforward and honest statements are going to be taken as "well if she's says THAT then what else is she NOT saying?"
 have you ever spoken to a paranoid schizophrenic who's off their meds? everything you say to them is taken as you being out to get them. even you saying you realize they're having problems with a mental illness and would like to help. that's how i feel when dealing with this kind of crap.  

guys are liked for being confident, girls are liked for being...what, exactly?: i realize it's hard for guys to be confident and assertive. no one's saying you have it easy, boys. you're often called upon to pay for everything (i call bullshit), initiate communication, make the first move, etc. all of that crap SUCKS. it doesn't make any sense for these pressures to fall on one partner simply because they have a dick.
i have no problem with asking a guy out, calling first, making the first move, whatever. everywhere you go you'll hear that it's ok for girls to do so. the problem is that it labels me as "aggressive", no matter how gently i do so. if i was male my current dating style would probably be considered really meek and i'd be told to man up and grow a pair. because i was born with a vagina i usually feel like i'm barely walking the line of acceptable assertion without coming off as desperate. that annoys the fuck out of me.
can we look at the definition of desperate for a moment? someone who is willing to be with ANYONE just to not be alone. to chase someone into the ground even if it's clear they're not interested, to compromise their own standards. someone who defines their own worth by having a partner and can't deal with being single. i see that behaviour more in 'player' type guys. the partners they want are only for a night or two but that doesn't make them any less desperate. is someone who's genuinely interested in one particular person and doing their best to get to know them and assess them as a potential mate in a respectful way meeting any of those criteria?
the flip side, girls who are confident and sexual and go after what they want, may be liked initially since they take the unfair pressure off the guys, but how many of them are taken seriously as relationship material? that same confidence that makes them hot to sleep with tends to be taken as threatening or emasculating after a little while and girls don't generally end up with a healthy partnership that way. if you had to pick one trait that almost all girls would say is attractive in a guy(and mean it. and respond to it. and have it work long term), it would undoubtedly be confidence. you ask guys the same question and you'll probably get a similar (if less unified and enthusiastic) response, but it doesn't seem to actually work other than getting laid so i'm confused.  

guys are players, women are gold digging sluts: speaking of getting laid, are we not evolved enough as humans to dispense with the stereotype that women aren't supposed to like sex and men aren't supposed to like relationships? i don't think i have any male friends who are just looking to get laid. certainly there are guys who do that, just as there are women who do. there are shallow assholes or people just wanting to fulfil physical needs and not wanting an attachment in every group of humans. i tend to hang out primarily with men and they are all awesome guys. they would almost all prefer a healthier relationship to a one night stand.
i also really like sex. i know very very few women who don't. not just for the lovey dovey connected feeling or as a way to keep a guy around (and certainly not to get him to buy me things, disgusting concept) but because sex is awesome! it feels great, it releases stress, it helps you sleep, it's good for you in a hundred ways. it can be an amazing spiritual love making connection with someone, or it can just be two people enjoying each other and having a great time! i think it's totally fine for women to safely seek out sex for whatever reason, with whomever they're comfortable with. i don't think they need to answer to anyone for that choice unless they're cheating on a partner.
i also think that it's a bit sleazy to start counting your sex partners as if they were just conquests. considering there's a ton of different definitions of sex (see clerks, etc), it makes more sense to me to have a general estimate and a fluid concept of it. regardless of that number or estimate, you can't change what's already done anyways, nor does it mean you are in any way dirty or unsafe. i would rather sleep with someone who's had 50 partners and was safe and careful about it, than someone who's slept with 15 people but never used protection. they're a much higher risk and less responsible and respectful.
sleeping with someone early in a relationship doesn't necessarily mean they aren't really into you as a person. even if it did, you were part of that decision, what does that say about you?
on a semi-related note, expecting someone to buy you things just because you're sleeping with them means they are paying for sex and you are a prostitute. if you want to be in an adult relationship, act like an adult and pay for yourself. apply the same principals of sharing expenses that you do with your friends.  

the shift from early "dating" to a relationship: there's a host of conflicting and generally shitty advice out there for the initial dating stages, and the same amount of crap for established relationships. where exactly does one become the other? i would think it's when both parties talk about it and decide it is so, but that doesn't work for two reasons.
the first being differing expectations before you have that conversation; some people think you should only ever be interested in or 'seeing' one person at a time. some people think you're free to see multiple people unless you've specifically said otherwise. same thing but more charged when it comes to who you're fucking.
the second being the emotional shift after that conversation. if you're officially in a relationship there's the expectation that you're going to be more attached, rely on them more, etc. the problem is that all of these things take time. you can't just declare someone your bf/gf and suddenly you trust them with all your secrets and they are there for you whenever you need them and love you for evah and evah and evah (i think i'm getting cynical, i just flinched a bit at that).
a conversation or an agreement is just that. it doesn't change your current relationship any more than you let it. there's a whole section of weirdness in that stage where a lot of couples fall apart that no one seems to really understand.

 the weirdness of the alt world: the majority of rules just simply don't apply to us. this is a social world where men and women are close friends really frequently and lots of people are polyamourous, pansexual, trangendered, bi, queer, or all of the above. the lines get muddy really fast. the good part about that is that it necessitates somewhat better communication. the bad part  is that the few stereotypes and double standards and hangups that remain become even harder to figure out. i'd like to think i have a little influence in my community so maybe my rant here will help?

things i think could fix this nonsense:
*say what you mean, take people at their word-starting a relationship with mistrust is a recipe for failure. if i say "i haven't made up my mind about you" it's not a polite way of saying no. if i say "i like you. lets hang out and see if we get along" it's not a marriage proposal. constantly looking for extra meanings where there are none is psychotic, and it makes everyone else involved psychotic too. suck it up and say what you really mean. make it known that you do so.
*standardize-if we must apply rules to make this silliness manageable, they should apply to everyone across the board and everyone should understand them. having a dozen sets of rules that apply only to one gender or the other makes things more confusing, not less. ideas on rules that make sense?
*stop policing other people's choices!-if two people choose to have a one night stand, that's their business. if someone had a crazy section of their youth where they slept with 50 people in a year, that doesn't mean it's still who they are. girls have as much right as guys to say yes or no to sharing their bodies with other people for any reason they like. judge someone by who they are as a person and how they treat you. not on how many people they've slept with in the past.
*talk to your partner, for the love of god!-we all have different communication styles and there will always be some differences in the way men and women think. that said, we are all just people and have way more in common than not. we all have insecurities and hangups. we all get depressed and awkward and nervous. this is part of being human. it's not something that needs to be fixed. be easy with it. tell the person you're interested in how you're feeling. if they're someone you want to date they'll think it's endearing, not unattractive. if you're confused about what your partner said, ask for clarification before you jump to conclusions. if you want to call or text someone, just do so. life and love and relationships shouldn't have to be this hard

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