Start demanding that men stop giving women things to deal with.
Some things are ignorable. Some posts passé, some bullshit benign. And then there are moments, my stars there are moments that don’t deserve to go unchallenged. Moments if such farce, such horseshittery that I do my sisters a dishonor by saying nothing. I also tend to get really goddamned angry in these moments, as will become apparent, and refuse to sit idly by while women are shrunk down into exactly the sized plaything men want them to be. If I say nothing, and never attempt to fight back, I’m pretty sure I’ll die, so as far as staying silent goes, I’m sorry… I can’t…don’t hate me.
Real quick: Today I saw a post on Jared Freid’s Instagram. I’d list it here but I don’t want to send him traffic. It’s a video telling women to stop romanticizing a man they’ve been on one date with, and to be fair, on that point I agree. It’s probably not the best move to put too much weight/thought/pressure on one date, just as a precaution. But the video goes on to say that the reason women shouldn’t give too much of a shit about a first date is because the man only went on the date to have sex. He is still texting her just so he can have sex, without having to go on another date. I commented, in far fewer words, and said what I’ll delve into below, and was blocked impressively fast by Jared Freid. Jared Freid is not the issue. His message is.
The message suggests, at a high level: “Women, here’s how to change your reaction to shit men do, so that you can deal with it better.” As opposed to: “Men, stop doing shit that women have to deal with.” Assuming “advice” like this comes from a good place (chokes on sparkling water) I have to assume that when men give women any sort of “take this less seriously, move on” lecture, it’s given with the intent to help women become more casual at dealing with the realities of dating, to take it less seriously. It’s meant to make women deal with dating as if they’re men. Here’s the problem: We’re not.
The modern dating landscape is built upon a church of fuckboys, and it must die. We’ve crafted a culture where ghosting, dick picks, and having sex with someone once and then ignoring their existence for a year before putting them through the whole process again because you know you can get away with it are simply behaviors that women need to take less seriously, accept, and just deal with. We tell them that if they just keep moving on, and on, and on, and on from these little dishes of poison, they’ll find their husband, hiding in that app somewhere.
We bait women with forever, and feed them Friday night on a paper plate.
Let me make something very clear: There is nothing fucking wrong with taking dating seriously. There is nothing wrong with wanting more than causal sex. That doesn’t make women lame, or prude, or boring, or living in some kind of a past that you don’t think exists anymore. Women are allowed to want whatever they want, and whatever they want, they deserve. They do not deserve to always be made to feel like the party for whom dating is the problem. They do not deserve to feel like they are ALWAYS THE ONE THAT’S WRONG. Dating is not about men deciding what happens. Contrary to popular culture, women have a say in this shit too.
We never reverse the argument. We never ask for better behavior from men. We never stop telling women how to get better at swallowing spoonfuls of bullshit. We need to tell men to shove the spoon up their ass. A few issues I take with telling women to stop taking things so seriously, because naturally men are only going on dates with them in order to have sex with them as quickly and effortlessly as possible, and what else can they expect, really:
- Women don’t deserve to feel like shit for failing to handle a man’s bad behavior “the right way.” That’s like telling someone they’re wrong for smelling something terrible when you’re the one who farted. Try asking men to stop viewing women as more than just objects to stick themselves into, and maybe instead as human beings of value who are worth spending time with and getting to know. The fact that this sounds like an outlandish idea should give you a sense of how fucking far gone we are.
- When you try to “teach” women that men are only dating for sex, you stereotype all men which is unfair, and you train women to go into dating expecting to encounter exactly the shit men want them to participate in. You numb them to the things they don’t want to experience. I see you asshole. If you convince women that men ONLY date for sex, they’ll get used to the fact that men only date for sex, and start accepting that “this is just the way things are now.” Not on my goddamned watch.
You’re training women to expect the least, and to stop caring, so that it becomes easier for men to get what they want. If men genuinely only ever want sex from women, and you want it to be easier for them to get that, start lobbying for the legalization and regulation of safe sex work so that everyone’s happy. Because I’ll tell you right fucking now, Tinder is not your free whorehouse. (I say whorehouse lovingly and with respect, sex work is work.)
One last thing that really lights my tits on fire, because it’s helping men get away with telling women they’re the ones who need to change: There aren’t inherently fewer men in the world than women. There are shitloads of us both. That’s where this kind of messaging gets really clever. It convinces women that if they don’t comply, if they don’t just deal with the fact that men date strictly for easy, fleeting, disconnected sex that values women about as much as a keyhole, there are 50 more women just a swipe away who are more than willing to.
And if you’re not one of them, you’re not cool. If you don’t just “deal with” the “way things are now,” no one is ever, ever going to want you. And you want to feel wanted, don’t you? We’ve trained you to do that, too.
But I’d ask women currently paddling through this shitstorm: Do you only want to be wanted on a (very) temporary basis? Or do we deserve to be wanted more? Do we deserve to demand to be wanted more? Do we deserve things like time, care, patience, and a fucking pre-heated relationship? I don’t know about you but I gave up these microwave dinner men two years ago and I’ve been much happier since.
They can block me, of course. It’s allowed, and I get it. It’s easier to block dissenters and curate an audience full of only people who agree with you and accept your advice as their own shortcomings. But I don’t accept it. I work to let others know they don’t have to accept it either. You blocked Batman today, and I will not let you talk to women like that. Not without one talking back.
Shani Silver is a humor essayist and podcaster based in Brooklyn who writes on Medium, a lot.