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Dylan Stafne

"Don't be gay...unless you are" is really funny, but it might be breaking down.

This might sound strange, but I'm a straight man in college and fake-gay flirting is a staple of our humor. I was at a party and the host was showing me his book collection (we're fancy intellectuals you know). When he said he had more books in his bedroom, I felt no embarrassment putting on my "sexy eyebrows" and asking "Are you inviting me back to your room?"

The College Republicans do it too! Two straight conservative philosophy majors joke with each other about a hypothetical perfect universe in which the two of them are eternally fucking.

I'm not sure what this all means, but I thought you might be interested.


The idea that men are willing to have sex with any woman - or that "that's all they're after" - is a bit annoying for women as well.
Your whole life you're told that getting sex is easy if you're a girl - just wear a short skirt, shake your booty and take your pick of the horny losers falling at your feet. Getting turned down by something you've essentially been raised to see as a vagina-seeking penis robot is mortifying.


"Real" Guy rules:

#1: Be proud to be a pussy on all suitable occasions.
#2: Don't be pussywhipped or a pussywhip. More on that later.
#3: Don't wait to be an object of desire.
#4: If you do not have predatory sexual desires, don't expect people to believe you.
#5: Don't expect people to believe you if you date for personality, intellect, emotional compatibility and relationship skills.
#6: Cry, but expect that people are not used to seeing it. More importantly do not expect people to know how to handle it.
#7: Expect things to be perpetually difficult if you don't fall exactly on the expectation/liberation fault-line that is seen as the enlightened male. Expect that being interested in equality does not make you lots of friends of either sex.

A few explanations to this.

We are a far cry from an egalitarian society. Too much is unchanged.

On #1: Many guys do not want to fight. And there is nothing wrong with being called a pussy. Which one would you rather be? A pussy or a dick? My choice is easy. Especially if it means that everything evolves pleasantly thereafter.

On #2: Pussywhipping is a difficult topic. I am a naive guy and hadn't heard the word until my late 20s. When I first heard it I heard it from a woman! And it was in a situation that I found troubling. She was an acquaintance and I ran into her when she had a new boyfriend and they were out for a drink and I joined them for some small-talk. She realized that she needed some chore done (something to fetch, forgot the detail). So she batted her eyes, gave him a kiss and asked him in a sweet voice, if he please could do the chore for her. He ran off. Once he was gone, she turned to me and said proudly: "Pussy power, yeah I have him pussy whipped". Later I also heard the word in other contexts and other meanings. Of course it's not OK to treat a partner as an object of manipulation. Nor is it OK to use the word "pussywhipped" to shame a guy into not listening to his partners concerns.

On #3 many men want to be objects of desire. We want to be liked and desired. To be desired is nice. Gender roles as currently played will very unlikely have this work early on. To hope for it is to hope for a miracle. You have to ask out. If you do not do that, you likely won't be desired.

On #6 crying men are rare. People do not know how to handle it. It's a shame. Nothing like having a bad time and people treating you like a martian that just landed and they don't know if your skin is toxic.

On #7 don't hope for an egalitarian relationship early on. Early dating is extremely gendered. Later on you have to be lucky to fall into that relationship with someone who can handle you not fitting the stereotype, who understands that you want equality, and that you are able to communicate and that's OK.

We still have this myth that primarily men have to change. In reality we all have to, and as long as women don't change men, in some areas have little choice but either be ill-adapted or stick with what works.

There is a kind of "new masculinity". Emotional enough but not too emotional. Listening and considerate, but not having too many independent needs. Egalitarian, but still quite happy to lift heavy furniture, change tires and operate heavy machinery. Giving and taking, but still having the characteristics that are still desired, strong shoulders to lean on, confidence, wealth, drive, and only those emotional needs that are charming. Be human in the right spots, but not all spots. In the other spots, be as expected. And if you are not, hide it.

I don't think we will see the disappearance of masculinity/femininity any time soon, and a replacement with individuality and humanity. For that we'd need conventions to negotiate the new complexity that we can now just assume, at the price of having to fake it to make it.

In closing a story of an exchange with a female friend of mine. She had a dry spell dating. Guys wouldn't ask her out. I told her to try ask guys out, I know there are lots of guys who'd love it. She said, she had tried, once, and got rejected, so she's back to the old pattern. This alone made clear to me how massively different our worlds are. For I had lost count how many rejections I had taken at that points. But only one of us had a choice in picking a pattern.

Your whole life you're told that getting sex is easy if you're a girl - just wear a short skirt, shake your booty and take your pick of the horny losers falling at your feet.

Yes, well, "loosers" is the operative word here. If you sit down on the bar, spread your legs and scream "come and get it, boys!", you almost certainly will have takers. Whether those takers are guys you'd want to touch with a 60 foot pole* or not is a different matter.

* They might be, but there is certainly no guarantee.


"Who cares what society wants?"
This seems the key question that could sum up the whole issue. The answer is of course "the society", i.e. everyone of us has some expectations of how everyone else should behave (lack of violence is one obvious one).
Each individual's expectations are strongly shaped by the general expectations of everyone else, but it's the individual's choice whether to conform (and possibly be less happy) or to rebel against them (and risk exclusion from the society). Both attitudes have advantages and disadvantages. What's interesting is that the more liberal the society gets, the easier it becomes to rebel, while adapting to the norms (and actually figuring out what they are) becomes the harder task.

As for the many contradictions it seems the problem of unreasonable expectations - many of us just want to both have our cake and eat it. For example, women often want the man to be "the decider" but at the same time they want to be an equal partner in those decisions (or even the dominating side when they resort to "pussywhipping"). It's unreasonable to try to live up to all the expectations, and we must make choices which ones to try to achieve (and also be careful not to have similar contradicting expectations of our partners).


Excellent article. I agree with you on your observations. As a woman I have been trying to understand the preferences of the people around me and of course weed through all of the nonsense that goes with it. In college I took and Old World History course that gave me a clearer idea of how society evolved and it seems the rules were created from the destruction of Roman Empire by Germania! These rules are their creation! We are getting free now! We all struggle to find ourselves and we will win in the end!

Doug From Dougland

Excellent article. As a man I really appreciate these kinds of topics being addressed in constructive ways. I can say I have big problems with the "hot to trot" stereotype. When I was single, it seemed like if I wasn't aggressively predatory with my desire I couldn't get even the slightest bit of recognition, and if I was I was just being typical (not that being typical didn't pay off, but it felt degrading). And now that I'm in a committed relationship of two years that has been wonderfully equal and communicative, my girlfriend and I are about to have a long talk about her telling me, "Well, I wanted to, but you took too long to make a move. It's ok, you'll figure it out eventually." after (unusually) not having sex the night before while I was taking her to work the next day.


We resolve our conflicts with words, with glares, with strategies, with the law as a last resort.

I'm curious about this attitude. If an irreconcilable conflict of values manifests, then it would seem that force is the unavoidable last resort to keep your values from being violated. Being prepared for that would seem to follow naturally. Trying to intimidate or manipulate an antagonist with words or glares without being ready for further escalation is suicidal. Sure the law might avenge your death but that wouldn't help you, and anyway isn't that just relying on someone else to deploy violence on your behalf?

Am I missing something?


The contradictory nature of manliness can seem like an impossbile trap. However, it allows you to get away with breaking one kind of manliness by referring to another aspect of manliness.

"Yes, I do ask my wife about pretty much every decision I make in life. Does that make me pussy-wipped? Probably. However, I have no real choice. When marrying her I took an oath to ask her opinion about every major decision. Yeah, it was a stupid oath by a stupid man -but it was an oath. I think a man should stand by his word no matter what other people say."

"Yeah I guess being an artist isn't particularly masculine. However, I seriously believe in art, and I seriously believe I have a talent for it. A man shouldn't be a sheep. He should stand for what he believes in no matter what society says. I happen to believe in art and I stand for it."

"Yeah, maybe I am overdressed. Yeah I do put a lot of effort into my clothes. I don't really care what you or society thinks about that. If that offends you we can totally take it outside -cause I think your blood will look great on me."



"Yeah, maybe I am overdressed. Yeah I do put a lot of effort into my clothes. I don't really care what you or society thinks about that. If that offends you we can totally take it outside -cause I think your blood will look great on me."

BWA-FSCKING-HAWHAWHAW! Sensemaker, you are my hero for today. "I think your blood would look great on me." Haw!

Now onto the serious part. Greta, I'm so glad you wrote this post. This is something that's actually been on my mind a lot. I'm a closet mtf trans-person, and it's oftentimes very difficult to balance my own feelings with the expectations of nearly everyone around me to conform to a conventional male gender role.

I'm not allowed to cry or be afraid when anyone else is around, but it's incredibly difficult for me to meet this expectation, because I think what I may face in the years to come is scary. I'm really afraid of losing my family and not being able to provide for myself, but I wouldn't need to take off my shoes to count the number of people that I can openly talk about these concerns with.

But I think the thing that struck a chord with me most was your number one point; not that it made the list, but that you were surprised by how strongly it made the list. Keep this in mind, when you are in high school (to a lesser degree elementary school as well), being able to "take care of business" by yourself is a big thing. If you can't intimidate or beat the guy who is messing with you into submission, it's a golden ticket for him to do whatever he wants to you from the minute he realizes you can't fight him off until you graduate. And unless he is poor, a racial minority, or not on one of the sports teams, you can fucking forget about asking a teacher or administrator to help you.

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