Where Do I Join the Women Approach Men At Bars Feminist Coalition?
I will now present to you a vision of hell as dreamed up in the minds of the man-hating women who litter internet toilets like Feministing and who live in countries like Sweden...
I thought I'd check the site out and see what all the fuss was about. The first post I encountered was a blogger named Samhita's list of dislikes about heteronormative dating (I was going to suggest our own Micha Ghertner give Samhita a ring, but since that's on the shit list, Sam, please contact Micha).
My thoughts were, heteronormative dating is a double-edged sword. The listed complaints and my thoughts follow:
1. You are expected to dress nice and act a certain way "waiting" to get asked out.
It also helps to dress well and act a certain way when doing the asking. If a noticable pattern on returns equates to an expectation, this is pretty universal. It's going to change with your setting and crowd, obviously. If I'm looking to meet women in black framed non-perscription glasses, tapered jeans and Weezer sweaters, I won't even bother showering before I leave the house in the direction of Grumpy's. If I decide I want to meet women in cocktail dresses and heels while I'm at Grumpy's (because while they have awesome hot dago sandwiches, I really hate when otherwise attractive women put spacers in their ears, as the lobes will only continue to stretch out over time and I can't imagine kissing the dangly part), I'm going to have to talk to the bouncer at Seven about how much I love the place as they're one of the few restaurants in town that will cook a steak blue before he'll let me enter the rooftop bar because I'd forgotten to switch shoes and still had my old pair of Chucks on that I'd worn to Grumpy's earlier. It's going to be harder to sustain a conversation with strangers wearing a blazer at Grumpys, just like it's going to be harder without at Seven.
2. You have to play by the rules which generally give men most of the power. (wait till he calls you, don't be too forward, be mysterious-you don't want to scare him off, etc)
I know a great number of men who would love to reliquish that power. You know what waiting for women to approach you at bars, and giving women your number instead of asking for theirs equates to for men? Celibacy.
There are positives and negatives for both sides in this type of power relationship. If I see an attractive woman across the bar, I've got to approach her, start the conversation, entertain her and her friends, and if I can't successfully do it, I'm labeled boring and will never get the chance to get to know her better to see if she is someone I'd like to be involved with romantically. The postitive is I've got more control over who I meet.
Women who passively wait around to be approached do suffer in that they give up control in who they meet. On the other hand, doing nothing but sitting back and waiting makes them the gatekeepers. If a man comes across the bar to talk to a woman, he's already tipped his hand. She then gets to be judge, as he's already conveyed his interest. This is the reason so many women, including our own mothers, tell men to, "Just go up and introduce yourself." That's pretty selfish to say if you're the one that gets to wait to reval your level of interest.
By all means, women, go approach men. If he's intimidated because you came over to him, it's no loss because that's a good way to screen callow, timid men.
3. If you show emotion too early on or too much of it, you are needy.
We're in complete agreement. It applies to both geneders. But where we differ as I read that as a neutral fact, instead of a complaint. Coming on too strong can scare romantic interests away and speaks to insecurity in anyone, regardless of gender.
4. If you don't show enough emotion, you are making the other party insecure forcing them to wield social privilege to silence your daring attempt at independence from self obliteration via coupling.
Same as my response to the previous numbered item. These are both just problems with two people wanting the other to share (and show) the same amount of interest in each other. When either a man or a woman feel their affection isn't being returned in kind, they get hurt, often angry and lash out at the other. This cuts both ways.
I have a friend who got dumped by his girlfriend. He then started to see other women. His ex-girlfriend then decided she wanted to get back together. He was immediately upfront with her, and let her know that he wasn't going to stop seeing the other women he had met since she broke the relationship off. She said she was okay with that. He later took a phone call from one of the other women in her car. She kicked him out on the spot and he walked a few miles back to his place, no biggie. He then found the next week that she'd e-mailed all the professors that work in the same lab he does (she's a recent graduate who used to work in the same lab, which is where they met) and had told them that while his work was good, he had character issues. That didn't do much, and all the professors thought it was strange, so she later sent the same professors an e-mail letting them all know he and she had consentual sex in the lab.
People do lots of terrible stuff when scorned.
And I'm going on nothing more than assumption, but I highly doubt numbers three and four are confinded to heteronormative dating. I'm sure it's just as easy to come on too strong or not return someone's affection in same-sex romance, or any romance. The thing is, my friend thinks his ex is now coming on way too strong, and she thinks he isn't returning her affection.
5. It fetishizes unequal power relations between women. He'll get the tab, he'll get the door as long as he gets the vagina, and that is considered "romance."
There seem to be two groups of people in this respect, and I think they deserve each other. There are the people who believe in the aformentioned power relation, namely men who think they're entitled to sex because they paid for dinner and drinks and women who go out to dinner with or ask to have drinks purchased for them by men they aren't interested in. Then there are the folks that split checks and tabs, pay their own way, or assume that whomever proposed the outing should pay regardless of gender (although given the double standards this translates into men almost always paying, at least during the start of any relationship).
I've learned a great line that works wonders at bars. Whenever a woman asks me to buy her a drink, I pause, survey the room, pickout the least attractive man in the bar, and suggest she go talk to him, as he seems like the kind of person who buys strangers drinks. I think the inverse could work just as well for women. When a man offers you a drink, pause, look around the room, find the most unattractive woman in the bar, and suggest he go talk to her, as she looks like the kind of person who accepts drinks from strangers. As always, most of communication is non-verbal. Do this lightly, and while wearing a smile, throw in a soft, playful elbow and you can establish the let's-pay-our-own way vibe even with people you find attractive.
6. It makes same sex couples feel "less than."
Never been in one. But if this heteronormative stuff is so bad, why does it bother folks who are lucky enough to date outside the confines of such horrid social conventions?
7. It dictates your interaction in most social settings and social circles, whether you are single or coupled. It is either/or, there is no 3rd identity or in-between.
A lot of couples in these social circles have already invested a lot in heteronormative dating. Cut them some slack.
8. If you have sex too early you ruined it.
9. If you don't have sex early on you are a prude.
This seems like one of those digs aimed specifically at men that are worded gender neutral to deflect opposition. Kind of like how men are legally responsible for their actions when intoxicated and women are not (I'm not talking about forcable rape, but that regret after the fact can translate into grey rape).
The slut-versus-stud double standard is stupid, and men should come down hard on any of their own kind they catch calling a woman a slut because he's only making it harder on everyone, in both genders, to get laid, and what's worse, just to momentarily prop up his own ego (but to be honest, I see woman-on-woman crime more frequently when it comes to branding women as sluts). But in the end, isn't this all personal preference between two people? Early and late are relative terms. Neither party is wrong with regards to their preferred timing, and both parties deserve a sexual relationship they find rewarding. Neither side should be forced to wait, or forced to hurry up. They should go off and find new partners that share their views on how soon to have sex.
10. It is expected to lead to marriage (and if you don't have a ring on your finger you are "on the market.")
It's hundreds of millions of sprem versus 1.5 million eggs. Supply and demand says that forcable rape is the only time women don't control sex. Women have the power to change whatever dating norms they wish. Next time a woman sees an attractive man at a bar she should just, "just go up, introduce herself, and say hello."