POSTED ON NOVEMBER 5, 2008:
The Advice Goddess
I'm a guy in my mid-20s, and I'm feeling socially penalized for only having dated (or even been with) a few women. I find it odd that there's this pejorative word "slut" for women who sleep around but no similar strong pejorative for men who do. Of course, there is a pejorative for men who don't: loser. People value a woman who's choosy or chaste, but if a man doesn't date much or have much experience, women will often reject his sexuality completely (seeing him only as a friend). Men and other boys will make fun of him for not being able to live up to the playboy/stud lifestyle. What gives?
So few sex partners, so many questions: What would Foucault say? What would Wittgenstein do? Socially penalized! Sexually rejected! Pejorative this, pejorative that!
Excuse me, but are you a man or a gender studies paper? Here, lemme take that one. What you are is a guy who ducks into a forest of polysyllabic sociology mumbo jumbo to escape the simple truth: You're too big a wussy to ask women out, and too big a wussy to admit it.
That said, you've got a point: If a guy and girl who've just met at the bar go on their first date five minutes later in a stall in the men's room, the word on the street'll probably be "That slut!" and "Whatta man!" The double standard has been the standard since before there were bathrooms or bars to build them in. These days, we can put a bathroom stall on the moon, complete with the message "Earth girls are easy!" but psychologically, we're still hunter-gatherers on the savanna, chasing dinner with a sharpened bone.
Back then, an alpha-male could sleep around and walk away afterward, and still maybe pass on his genes. For a Stone Age girl, going out in the bushes with just any old loincloth-chaser came with a high price - getting knocked up and saddled with a bunch of mouths to feed eons before the invention of the grocery store. Her kids still might survive to pass on her genes, but her best bet was holding out for a guy who'd stick around - the savanna version of the nice suburban dad. Meanwhile, that guy could easily be chumped into bringing home the buffalo for a kid with some other guy's genes. His only way out of getting evolutionarily screwed was finding a woman in the habit of keeping her hairy legs crossed. While in the last 50 years we've come up with paternity testing and reliable birth control, human hard-wiring takes hundreds or thousands of generations to upgrade, so it's still slut, bad; stud, not so bad.
What does all of this mean for you? Not a whole hell of a lot. If women "reject" your sexuality, maybe it's because they've seen neither hide nor hair of it. Maybe you're one of those guys who thinks he'll duck rejection by becoming a woman's therapist/best eunuch, and listening to her problems with the guy she is sleeping with. The answer, again, is really simple: Ask women out on dates, and make moves on them afterward. If a bunch of women say no, ask a bunch more women, until some woman finally says yes. As for the notion that anyone knows or cares about your sexual stats, either you've got way too much information on your business card, or you'd better call the fire department to come over there and break you out of junior high school.
I reconnected with this great woman at my high school reunion, and sparks flew. We live a couple hours apart, and have been e-mailing each other about five times a day. I'd like to send her a little gift to let her know I'm thinking about her. Any advice on what it should be?
Pull the cord on your modem and mail it to your mother. If you want to get to know somebody, don't type to them. In Internet courtships, there's a tendency to project, so if you find yourself getting all enamored, it might be with your own prose. The good news is, "a couple hours apart" is not a long-distance relationship, it's a long-drive relationship. Don't mail her trinkets; take her to dinner. Tell her you'd like to come visit, book yourself a hotel, and spend weekends eating out, going to Home Depot, and seeing how you go together in real life. You should then find it easy to let her know you're thinking about her - by staring deep into her eyes like they do on those bodice-ripper novels. (I don't know about you, but I've never see one where the woman waits bored as the guy sits in his living room bubble-wrapping a ceramic coffee mug.)
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