Allow me to preface this a little bit. I’m 24, I’m Jewish, a first generation American, a grad student, and pissed. That should cover everything in terms of contextual readings.
You see, there’s a frustration going around that hasn’t been addressed all too often. In fact, it took me a while to figure it out myself, and that was after a multitude of anger-inducing shenanigans. Finally I figured out how to verbalize it: “Hipster” or pseudointellectual males in their 20s have a big problem; they want to have sex without any emotional commitment. But they only want to do it with smart, self-possessed, witty women in their 20s. And they don’t want to tell those women it’s what they want, because then the women will get to make their own decision, which would usually be a no, since women capable of so much generally want little to do with men whose emotional capabilities are so stunted.
It’s one of the strongest forms of misogyny there is in the dating world today.
Intelligent women are seen as commodities, as objects to satiate the wet dream of wannabe Kerouacs believing that they’re spending their 20s in a haze of romantically artistic love affairs. Affairs in which the women are tantamount to magical objects that help the hero achieve his ultimate self. Naturally, the problem with this scenario is that women aren’t seen as people.
The eruption of faux arts (rhymes with beaux arts, but a lot less attractive) among millennial adults has brought with it the idea that artistry is a desirable characteristic. That’s great, right? Well, it’s mixed. It has meant that people are consistently more drawn to artistic endeavors, which is great. But it also means that boundless numbers of 20somethings are buying an Instax and a flannel shirt and telling everyone that they’re “artistic”. This is merely a jumping-off point for something more sophisticated and manipulative.
Look on any dating site, and you’re bound to find dozens — nay, thousands — of these hipster looking fellows. Most have degrees, some from prestigious colleges. They’ll write grammatically correct odes to sarcasm and list Murakami and Hesse as their favorite authors. They’ll drop words like, “phallocentric” and “feminist” in their descriptions. They have pets, they are seemingly in touch with their feminine side, but still favor a high quality whiskey on a Friday evening — likely while wearing their favorite elbow-patch blazer and flipping through a dog-eared copy of Foucault. Sounds irresistible, right? Not so fast.
A date or two and the guy generally seems pretty charming. He’s everything a bright 20-something girl could ask for, and provides stimulating intellectual discourse alongside top notch picks in restaurants and bookstores. But something seems off. Something feels off. He almost always kisses on a first or second date, and gets you into bed by the third, if that long. He doesn’t say anything offensive, and he even compliments you on various things, like your lingerie or the shapeliness of your back. It seems right, and you don’t want to think that there must be something wrong with him. But over time, it gets vastly more apparent.
Most all contact is initiated by you, the woman, unless he’s asking you out to the bar, or starting to get frisky while writing his paper on late 19th century German thought. Whenever the conversation veers less theoretical, it feels unsettlingly empty. He often stops responding, and avoids anything at all resembling a heart-to-heart conversation by failing to do so, or simply by changing the subject to something more generalized. This is the sign that something is wrong, but as intelligent women, we largely don’t want to see it, so thrilled are we that a man who can match our wits is interested in us and our brains.
Naturally, as he gets bored, the pseudointellectual male will gradually drop off contact. If you call him on it, he’ll claim he’s just been busy, or writing a paper, or working, or something like that. He won’t apologize too profusely or show any signs of remorse, but also won’t directly come out with any conflicted feelings. Mostly because he doesn’t discuss any of his feelings with you, unless they involve what’s in his boxers and how high it’s standing. At this point, one can prod him until he gets annoyed by emotions and tells you it’s not working, or simply leave him be, in which case he will either fail to contact you ever again, or wait for a time when he wants you in bed again and can pull you from his rolodex of smart girls to sleep with on a Saturday night.
Now, there isn’t a huge issue with guys who just want to have sex without an emotional commitment. It’s a little odd, and it’s not a very sustainable way to live (see: countless bachelor-oriented films), but everyone has a period of life where they’re a little emotionally selfish, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is being dishonest about it, drawing others in, and treating them as objects with the expectation that they treat their men as venerable life partners.
So what’s the point? Why write about this at all? The point is twofold: To put words to the frustration far too many bright women in their 20s are experiencing and doubting themselves from, and to point out the misogynistic, dishonest, asshole-ish behavior of 20-something men in the hopes that they think twice before disregarding the feelings of every woman they bed.
I cannot, of course, change the world, the culture of my fellow Millennials, or suddenly bring a light of conscience to men. I’m afraid that ship sailed a very, very long time ago.
But hopefully, this will help some very intelligent women stop asking themselves, “What’s wrong with me?” And maybe, just maybe, one or two of these book-hoarding plaid-clad man-children will contemplate the dysfunction of their own behavior.