Somewhere between asking your father if he could walk you home from church and loose one night stands, something went terribly wrong between the sexes.
That’s not to say that one night stands and casual hookups are wrong, they’re perfectly wonderful and great if both parties are consenting and willing. But we haven’t actually created an equal playing field where both genders run around having casual sex free from any kind of ramifications. I mean, we’ve definitely tried, but instead, we’ve given way to the rise of Generation F.
Groups of men who exist somewhere between wedding vows and mutually beneficial, ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ type arrangements.
Currently, now more than ever, the majority of my female friends are struggling with relationships as they try to scrape together some semblance of a love life in an arid modern world that doesn’t leave much room for romance to bloom. As they sat and complained about guys and their latest love agonies, I noticed similar traits appearing again and again. Despite different ages, jobs, backgrounds and cultural heritages, the men all display the familiar symptoms of a classic fuckboy.
An inability to commit. A fear of loving someone other than themselves. Selfish nature. A deep-rooted need for emotional connection, ego stroking and love, yet an intense fear of giving any of that back. A complicated past that involved some kind of heartbreak they’d refused to let go of, and a whole lot of vulnerability that they attempt to fuck away with different women every night. It sounds pretty tragic, and the reality of it really is, but that’s not to say that every fuckboy is a bad person necessarily. They’re mostly hurt, upset, confused and don’t possess the right language or emotional ability to even begin to work through the things that have got them into this set of behaviors in the first place.
Changing sociological patterns, financial insecurity, the rise of technology and we women all contribute to making a fuckboy what he is today. I say ‘we women’ because we’ve been complicit in the very thing that now ails us. We’ve spent years buying into the narrative of the ‘cool girl’, attempting to be belching boys on the sofa who automatically transform into beauty queens who fuck like porn stars the minute the lights are dimmed, and it’s completely fucked up the idea of male/female gender relations.
We’ve also stayed silent a lot, and that hasn’t helped. The social pressures of double texting, being the girl with feelings or somehow possessing a need that is other than sexual is so damning that you’ve almost convinced yourself you’re dying alone if you tell a guy you like him.
After all, elaborate games must be played, the exact formulaic time must have passed before responding to messages and a casual indifference to intimacy must be employed at all times. We’ve all played those games and it’s the reason we’re now in this sorry situation. A lot of fuckboy situations happen because two people were unable to voice their needs and desire and so everyone just went along with it instead. Inevitably along the way feelings happen, someone gets hurt and someone is always left crying on the bathroom floor.
It doesn’t help that feminism and the narrative of womanhood and female power continues to roar on while the discussion around masculinity remains alarmingly absent. All these women are running into a future confident and strong, financially independent and aware of themselves, but they’re doing it alone. Alone because the men haven’t started to have those conversations yet, they’re misplaced and powerless, unsure how they fit into the lives of these new women. They’re aware that they don’t need to provide money or traditionally protect them, and without possessing the right language, they’re just uncertain, shuffling around, refusing to answer text messages and using sex as a power play because really, it’s the only bit of power they’ve got left to grasp on to, and because they literally, haven’t got a fucking clue what else to do.
And here’s the thing, sex is a powerful tool and it will always work, and because of ticking biological clocks and spinster stereotypes, the men do still hold, for the most part, the power. But I also know that there are hundreds of fuckboys out there who are lost in the woods of Tinder, looking for connections and meaningful relationships but stuck in familiar patterns that are hard to break. At some points both genders need to start realigning themselves, even if only for our own self-preservation.
And the answer isn’t that women need to close their legs more or online dating needs to be eradicated. These things are not problems. Our silence is the problem.
Men need to start having conversations about modern masculinity, women need to stop trying to be ‘cool girls’ because we’re only perpetuating a myth and we all need to dig down deep and find some courage. The courage to say what we want, walk away from the things we don’t, be honest about the way we feel and brave enough to take a chance on another person.