Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sexual Casualties

Samantha on Sex and the City started it. I don't think she meant to and she totally made it look like a ton of fun, but she opened up a whole Pandora's box of unrealistic expectations for young women. She made it look like a good idea to, and I quote,"f*** like a man." Without emotion, is how she put it. She did whatever felt good to her at the moment without considering the repercussions. Sounds liberating and glamorous, but I think in the long run it just sucks. Living like that has consequences that I don't think are worth it. The disasters that are the lives of the characters on Girls should be proof enough.

I see a trend on TV and in real life among young women. They're disappointed with the guys in their lives yet unable to quite figure out why.  They lament that guys are not interested in relationships, only casual sex. Newsflash, there will always be guys like that. So aim higher. Perhaps these girls need to take a look at themselves for a clue to why they are attracting such low-quality boys. Yes, I meant to say girls and boys (not women and men) because talking boldly about sex and and having a bunch of it isn't the same as being a grown up.  As for Samantha, I think it's pretty simplistic and insulting to say men are unemotional about sex. Maybe just the ones she found herself surrounded by?

Whether you're a man or a woman, as a general rule, you can't be sexually irresponsible and selfish and expect true intimacy and a relationship above your navel when it becomes convenient for you. If you're a woman, you can't consistently dress, talk and behave like a 'ho and expect to be treated like a lady. I realize this is wildly unfair, because men can be total sluts and the consequences are never as bad for them. Infuriating, unjust, but true. For now, at least. All I am saying is in my 44 years of living I have observed that when a woman has a healthy respect for herself, she tends to attract men that are worthy of her. Isn't that really the kind of man most women want to be with versus the shallow man slut? You'll get a concussion diving in his pool.

I realize I'm old-fashioned, but I am genuinely sad for this generation that seems to have lost the concept of romance. Recently a few young women told me it's rare to get asked out on a date. Guys just aren't taking them out and making an effort to get to know them. They meet in bars and hook up.  I'm all for bars, God knows, but wow is it lazy if a guy is interested but can't get off his ass and create a little fun. It's as if they've traded in the mystery and excitement of courtship that, yes, takes effort on both sides, in favor of the ease and feebleness of trash like friends with benefits and sexting. I just can't fathom sleeping with a friend, or a stranger (!?!?) then looking him in the face the next morning and feeling like what happened was no more special than splitting a pizza. It would be dumbing down and diminishing a pretty amazing and powerful thing.  To be clear, my love life was NOT all rainbows and butterflies in my youth, actually it was a highly comical mess, but I don't have any awful regrets and I always felt there was respect and genuine affection between me and the guys I dated. Maybe all they really wanted was to make out, I don't know, but at least they were nice about it and showed me a good time first.

In the sixties a very good thing happened that has been slightly distorted and definitely taken for granted of late. The "women's lib" revolution gave us females a shot at living life as previously enjoyed only by men. Slowly and painfully, thanks to those brave enough to pave the way, opportunities for women opened up in careers once dominated by males. We became more equal to men in the eyes of society. Our thoughts and ideas began to be considered just as legitimate and valued.  The rights and freedoms women enjoy now were once only a dream. I wonder if today's young women know just how much of a struggle it was for women like my mom, who grew up in the deep south and whose options were really limited, to build herself a career and earn the respect of men in her field. She didn't do it so you could f*** like a man, ladies. She did it for self-respect and in hopes that her daughters, girls like you, could be taken seriously and have a few choices in life.

I've heard the business phrase "spilling your candy" and think it applies here.  It means giving away too much, too soon. Ladies, don't spill your candy. If a guy isn't worthy of what you have to offer, hold it a little closer to your chest and move on. I speak from experience here. My advice would be to find things about yourself physically and mentally that you love and make it a point to nurture them. Surround yourself with the girlfriends that you can totally be yourself with and who won't let you take yourself too seriously. Find a place where you are needed, where you help those less fortunate than you. This makes you less of a selfish jerk and harder to feel sorry for your self. Realize that when a guy does ask you out, it probably took a lot of courage. Show a little appreciation for that. And know that a bike ride in a park or a visit to a museum is sometimes a lot more conducive to real conversation than a stuffy upscale restaurant with $16 cocktails he may not be able to afford at the moment. Focus on these things and I bet there will be less space in your life for the boys that only want to hook up in bars and more for the men you really want.