I’m in LA to work on some projects for Creepy Catalog, so it’s only natural that when I felt like writing today I felt like tackling the scariest subject of all, Men. Here are some things that scare me about men:
(Disclaimer: gender roles are stupid. You have my joyful blessing to be an outlier to the generalizations below.)
1. Men and women seem so different. There are so many ways we don’t speak the same language and yet there’s this overwhelming sense that I should one day find complete partnership with a dude. It seems like such an unlikely thing that we understand each other’s needs and are free enough from baggage and emotional dis-ease that this will become a reality.
2. For instance, I have discovered over the years that the most common sexual fantasy men have is a woman who wants to have sex with them for no reason. They want to show up at my door so I can start drooling over them and beg them to fuck me. I’m not offended because a fantasy is a fantasy, but it’s not something I am personally into whatsoever. It doesn’t make any part of my body do a little pitter-patter of excitement.
3. On the other hand, I think the most common sexual fantasy for a woman is a man that extremely desires her. Specifically her. Not a stranger, not a random woman, but specifically the person you have worked your whole life to become. Someone who sees you and wants you and fucks you the way you specifically want to be fucked. A lover who takes us on a holiday and wants to talk about everything they are thinking and have such life-affirming, intimate moments that make you feel like anything can happen in life.
4. I think (???) both fantasies could make both sexes happy. A chance encounter isn’t a terrible way to start a romantic fling. But that promise so often dies out before it even starts. Men lose interest (???) when they’ve slept with you. It’s not the beginning of anything for them, it’s the end. It doesn’t always happen this way, but enough.
5. When women have good sex they want more good sex. When a guy cums it’s like when they turn the lights on in the club and you question everything about your life and your choices. These are two very different moods. It feels very rude to take a vulnerable journey with someone only for them to have lights-turning-on-at-the-club feelings about you afterwards.
6. I’ve never met a man who is unhappy while in the middle of a passionate love affair, even if they wouldn’t have thought to pursue it on their own. It reads as work to a lot of them. Labor to put in in order to get something out of. Even though they seem so happy while it’s happening.
7. Also like, the whole narrative that men want freedom but will give it up for a relationship. This is just exhausting to think about. I don’t want to take anyone’s freedom away but taking away someone’s freedom in this context means like, telling me what day and time you want to come over a few days in advance so I can plan my week.
8. This seems really bad. Maybe it is just me. I don’t really think it’s just me, but it’s hard not to consider.
9. Which is another thing. I don’t have an infinite reservoir inside me of love and affection and self-confidence. When a guy ghosts me (many guys ghost me, which is on par with the dating experience of the diverse set of women I hear dating stories from) it has a cost. I have to spend months getting over this. It sucks that it takes months and I agree with anyone who says it’s overkill. But that’s just how long it takes. I think dating someone is like going camping and you should leave people in better condition than you found them. Ghosting unnecessarily increases the pain and prolongs the rebound period of someone who was nice enough to spend their time with you and maybe put one or a few of your body parts in their mouth. It feels very disorienting to be asking for someone to at least be polite when they decide they don’t want to see you anymore. I don’t think these guys would behave rudely to a stranger they met off the street, but they are rude to me and it is sad and confusing.
10. Once my tarot reader told me, “You are already happy with little, you do not need to settle for less” and that haunts me. I like men. I don’t participate in “all men are trash” culture because I think it’s fundamentally both untrue and harmful. But my expectations aren’t high. I think we’re in a place right now where there are a lot of models of toxic masculinity and not a lot of models of wholesome masculinity. Men don’t learn to express their feelings and so they do weird things to not feel them or to bottle them up. (Though, to be fair, I did spend QUITE a bit of money co-paying my therapist because even though it’s more socially acceptable for women to express feelings, it’s still frowned upon socially and we still by and large do not learn how to do this in healthy ways). I am happy to be with a work in progress like myself and I don’t know how to say this in a nice way but even asking for the trajectory of someone who wants to be a good person feels like I am aiming too high.
11. I just want to be full-time adored.
12. And I have no control over this.
13. And no one gets to have that anyway.
14. Another scary thing is that I am reasonably independent and accustomed to time alone. I think I could be very happy living in the woods, hoarding animals, and writing poetry. But I know people will think that’s kind of sad and it’s really discomforting to think about other people thinking your life is sad. It makes me feel like it’s the wrong choice but I can’t see or understand why on my own terms. Like driving with no headlights.
15. It’s scary that it’s supposed to be so important but also that it’s so hard and not hard like figuring out how to build a car, for which there are many manuals and experts and rules about what makes an engine run.
16. It’s scary to be worn down. There are many things that get better with aging but you have to work purposefully at not getting bitter and the more tired I get the harder it is to frame my dating life as something other than failing. What is going to happen if I fail for another 10 years? I think it would be just fine to be single for 10 years or the rest of my life but I’m not sure I can take the pressure of knowing that I failed at something that is so fundamental to our humanity.
18. Is anyone else out there?
19. Is this normal?
20. A one foot in front of the other kinda thing?
21. It’s hard that there’s no answer. It’s out of my control. I can’t conjure up a lover who respects me and is affectionate in all the ways I want someone to be affectionate. I don’t want to use my brain space for this. I think love is an interesting topic but I’m bored of it. I want to learn about trees and space and read as many memoirs as I can.
22. I’m not lonely. But that’s not a cure. It offers little in the way of protection from the enormous pressure to date so that I can hold some boyfriend up to my parents and everyone around me and say “See?”. I think some of them are waiting to breathe a sigh of relief once I am coupled and they can figure me out. This is a weird line of thought, but it’s true, and their approval means something real to me.
23. There’s a famous story about how you trap a monkey without a cage which is that you put a banana in a cage with bars wide enough for the monkey to put his or her arm in, but not wide enough to get the banana out. Because the monkey will not let go of the banana, the monkey is trapped. I don’t want to be trapped by a fucking banana but I don’t know if I’m ready yet to let go.