Does Acting Like A Man Mean Acting Like A Jackass?
A friend on Facebook sent me a link to a notorious OkCupid profile. It is, to say the least, a good read about a woman who is burned out on online dating and now just sleeps with men for fun.
A brief snippet:
“The suggestion that I’m “acting like a man” is also based on the assumption that you can simply interchange male and female behavior in the first place. Doing so ignores the fact that male and female sexuality are regulated very differently in our culture. Women aren’t supposed to seek out and enjoy sex with multiple partners. They’re supposed to be selective with their mates. They’re supposed to barter sex for emotional security, romantic love, and domesticity. Men are supposed to avoid this trap at all costs. According to this logic, I can never act “like a man” because we already have a term for a woman who acts like I do: slut.
I wonder, then, if calling my slutty behavior “acting like a man” reflects a desire to regulate my sexuality. The question implies that I should stop what I’m doing because I’m guilty of transgression.
It also assumes that “acting like a man” means acting like a jackass, which is profoundly anti-man. I don’t think man should = jackass. I don’t think one gender has cornered the market on bad behavior. I do think men have cornered the market on this particular type of bad behavior.
I’d like to consign the phrase “acting like a man” to the dustbin of pre-feminist history. Instead, I’d like to see more people act as ethically as this slut tries to do. I’d like the world to decide that the only person who needs to regulate slutty behavior is the slut him- or herself.
And if I find that man who really acts like a slut in the best possible way, maybe I’ll whisper sweet truths into his ear, and maybe I’ll sleep over, and maybe I’ll let myself imagine romantic love and emotional security, and maybe I’ll let him know there can be more, and maybe I’ll invite him to join me in making it up as we go along.
And then I’ll wrap one long leg around his waist and press my other calf against his shoulder and beg him to fuck me into sweetness and delight.”
I couldn’t disagree with most of what she wrote in her massive diatribe. I think what gets lost here are two things:
1) Giving up on men, dating, and the possibility of love pretty much seals her fate. Angry Jane Doe will continue to sleep with men for pleasure and continue to keep her heart closed to true love. To me, that’s sad.
2) There are millions of men who are just as frustrated with dating as any single woman. I should know. I was one of them. 300 dates over 10 years and the two “best” women I’d ever found both dumped me? This is an underreported story – that women hurt men at an equal rate as men hurt women.
So read the piece and let me know your reaction. It may start off, “You go, girl!” but I think you’ll agree that this manifesto is a catharsis that actually heals nothing.