html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: I don't know what they are doing in the bathroom for that long either.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I don't know what they are doing in the bathroom for that long either.

So this is making the rounds, and you know what? I don’t like it. At first I thought I didn’t like it because I recognized me a little. Yeah. Those are pictures of me and Ali on the fridge, and you can tell we love each other because our faces are pressed together. Then I thought that I didn’t like it because of the casual misogyny, but I decided that I don’t know the guy and I can’t decide he’s a misogynist. I can tell that he’s way frustrated by dating and generalizing that to the women he’s attracted to, but that is hard, hard, hard to resist and I can understand when want and frustration make people slip off the narrow path of respect. Instead I have three good reasons I don’t like it.

First, it is the humor of superiority and I don’t like that in general. It is cheap. Second, dude. That caricature is not every girl ever. The type is clearly recognizable; that piece was written in Philadelphia, my friend from San Diego sent it to me, and I’ve been in those apartments up here too. But that woman? She is one type of middle-class, recently graduated, first-job woman, and the author is revealing his class and filters when he thinks those are all the women out there. The rest, the married, poorer, browner, older and younger? They aren’t extras. They’re women.

So the author has skewered one type of woman, and he thinks those are the women out there. He goes on frustrated date after another with them, and this is because he finds them and picks them, time after time. He does that because… he likes their generic looks. She has matched herself to a look, and he responds to it again and again. There is something in that type of look and he reacts. This is fine. People do. BUT, that is exactly what he is mocking them for. Somewhere, some Pottery Barn designer found that people like geometric shapes in wrought iron and honed in on that design and sold that to all the women who have some spending money to make a place look nice for the first time ever. All their apartments look the same because it is vaguely nice and that is what (some) women react to. All those women look the same because it is vaguely nice and that is what (some) men react to. The author does not get to heap scorn on women for acting just like him.

Finally, the guy who sent me that piece? I’ve wanted to date him for years. It is more than a little galling to infer that he is also frustrated with pointless dates with those women. I hope he is touring those apartments long after I am welcoming my husband back to our home full of functional and interesting and unpredictable things.

36 Comments:

Blogger Megan said...

Starting the countdown until a well-meaning newcomer asks me the obvious...

1:24 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Then the people in my physical presence will get to watch me throw a spectacular fit.

1:35 PM  
Blogger KingM said...

Nothing of obvious questions, but I do want to note that even the white, middle-class, recently-graduated, Ikea-decorating girls are also women. And I bet some of them are kind, and witty, and sexy, and everything a guy could possibly want. Oh, and they're probably looking for someone who isn't a judgmental asshole over such trivialities as how many pictures with friends a girl hangs on her fridge.

(Oh, and when someone disappears to the bathroom for ten minutes and doesn't explain, I usually assume that's because it's neither polite nor romantic to discuss one's bowel movements.)

3:22 PM  
Blogger Dubin said...

What obvious? You mean asks you if you're a feminazi? Or asks you if that's really how to spell "papizan"?

Or you mean, asks you why don't you and Anand just get married? :)

3:30 PM  
Anonymous scottb said...

So, did the guy who sent that to you include an opinion about it? Maybe he thought it was sophomoric. Maybe he already knows in his heart of hearts that you aren't like the women being caricatured, so it makes it more likely you'll be willing to appreciate their skewering. And he thinks you'll even realize that he's paying you a compliment by including you in the people-who-aren't-like-those-girls group.

Since you've wanted to date him for years, he obviously couldn't have demonstrated character traits like those you now attribute to him before this...

When my son was younger, and in the "why" phase, I regularly had to explain to him that I could try to answer why questions about _things_ but that why questions about _people_ are extremely hard to know for sure.*

* At least they are for me. I still struggle with understanding my own motivations, much less those of other people...

3:47 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Scottb, I know I'm guessing. He didn't send much text with it. But my guess is that he is trying to tell me I'm not one of them. But it caught his eye for some reason and I suspect he got some sense of truth from it.

Dubin - it is nearly four, and A&A aren't here yet. They'd said they'd be here to help all today. I don't care, but only 'cause I didn't really expect them. I will not be proposing to Anand this month.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Years ago I actually dated a woman who did one of the things mentioned in the piece - ordered the most expensive things whenever we went out to eat yet hardly ate anything - and let me tell you it was annoying!

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

4:30 PM  
Anonymous SwissarmyD said...

is it OK if I'm well meaning without asking you anything else? :grin: hey, wait don't throw that fit, you might hit someone...

We are not a class, we are individuals... We are not looking for a class we are looking for only one...

The guy who sent you this may not have meant anything much, but you will have to ask him point blank what it was. He probably found it amusing, either because it is true to an extent, or not true to an extent...

so I guess I will risk the fit to the head, and ask the obvious... are you willing to throw him away, because he thought it was worth sending it to you?

6:40 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

I know a girl who, whenever she's not paying, will always (and I mean literally always. This is never not the case and she will admit it) orders shrimp, which is usually one of, if not the, most expensive things on the menu in the not super fancy restaurants of Michigan.

The most frustrating part, is that she only likes breaded shrimp, and she slavers them with so much tarter sauce she can't possibly taste it, because she loves tarter sauce. I always want to suggest she just order mozzarella sticks, or perhaps breaded mushrooms with a side of tarter sauce. It has all the parts she likes, and a core that's half the price.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous SwissarmyD said...

"I know a girl who, whenever she's not paying" -Eric

er, yeah? doesn't it seem to be something NOT about shrimp? On a lazy sunday in 10 years when you are nibbling on the back of her neck, will the shrimp matter?

Figure out where to buy some amazingly good fresh shrimp, learn how to cook it properly with the most flavorful breadding, make your own tarter sauce... and invite her over for nothing but that.

Her reaction will tell you everything you need to know. It's only my guess that it's nothing about the shrimp...

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I disagree with you on a lot of things, but this time I think you nailed it. At first when I read it, I found it amusing, but there was something vaguely unsettling about it. I found it funny because I had in my head a picture of several girls who really annoyed me from college who fit the profile to a T.

But you pinpointed one of the things that nettled me (aside from the fact that I find the Ikea/Pottery Barn look nice in some ways as a base for a more individual style). There's the "every girl" part, for one. And then there's the fact that he's chosen to go out with the same type of girls, whom he apparently does not find nearly as attractive when he's not drunk. Leaving aside the possible benefits and disadvantages of choosing dates based on how they look in a bar when you're drunk, there's a decent chance he's not as hot without the beer goggles, either. To see how it goes when directed toward him, I picture him as sort of like the Striped Shirt guys from the Phat Phree: http://www.thephatphree.com/features.asp?SectionID=11&StoryID=239

11:45 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

Swissarmyd

Thank you for the advice, but the girl in question is not someone I date. She resides on the far side of my circle of friends, so while we aren't particularly close, I have observed the behavior in question, as well as been told about it by many mutual friends.

For what it's worth I actually have no beef with her, I just thought the anecdote was somewhat on topic, and amusing.

1:46 AM  
Blogger arf said...

But that woman? She is one type of middle-class, recently graduated, first-job woman, and the author is revealing his class and filters when he thinks those are all the women out there. The rest, the married, poorer, browner, older and younger? They aren’t extras. They’re women.

YES.

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Agreed -- you nailed it with the comment that this isn't every girl ever.

This makes me want to write about "every boy ever" and talk about this guy in return, about how he refuses to let me pay for half of dinner but complains to his friends behind my back because I ordered what I wanted to eat. About how he thinks that because he bought me dinner I now owe him some physical affection in return, as though we're working on some kind of barter system. About how he thinks that calling me on Thursday night and asking me if I want to maybe hang out with him and his friends on Friday (read: go to a party where I don't know anyone and watch him and his friends play beer pong) is an acceptable alternative to actually making plans with me.

But I don't think I have it in me.

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This piece is meant to be a parody, not to be taken literally. It is a composite of annoying quirks, many of them in an exaggerated form, that can be found in some young women. "Composite" is the key word. No one has all of these quirks. It just that a man who dates enough different women has a good chance of encountering a fair number of these things over the years.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

9:28 AM  
Blogger jens said...

I didn't find it unsettling, I just found it amusing. The generalizations stated or implied can't be taken too seriously. He makes about as much fun of himself with the "Why don't you pet him and act like you like cats even though you hate cats?", so I'm not sure "humor of superiority" applies here.

In fact, as I see it, the whole thing is more about his desperation and the charades he lets himself be chained to than the nature of women.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Spungen said...

I might get another job. Maybe something in pharmaceutical sales.

I didn't want this to go unnoticed. Attractive young women, often stereotypical bimbos, work in pharma sales. Everyone knows this. It's like you were saying: Here's a guy complaining about bimbos while actively seeking them out.

Imagine the froth of male Interhatred if we were to write a piece skewering arrogant young working men who like Maxim for not treating us well enough on dates. "That's what you GET for hanging around good-looking alpha males with jobs!"

10:28 AM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Hey, are we sure a man wrote this? As I said on Bob's blog, it almost sounds like something a bitter woman (like me) would write. "Ha-ha, your airheaded dates suck your wallet dry and your shallow life is empty, that's what you GET!"

10:40 AM  
Blogger Spungen said...

What annoys me about this is that it's not clear what the narrator would find preferable. Why is this behavior annoying? Does he have some particular decorating taste that clashes with hers? Did he want to have an animated discussion about politics or spirituality? Did he want someone with a better job? Someone even prettier than a pharma rep?

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine the froth of male Interhatred if we were to write a piece skewering arrogant young working men who like Maxim for not treating us well enough on dates. "That's what you GET for hanging around good-looking alpha males with jobs!"

Maxim is not an Alpha Male magazine. It's an Alpha wannabe magazine, written for guys who think that reading it and following its advice will turn them into Alphas.

Real Alphas read magazines like Business Week, Forbes, Golf Digest and Sports Illustrated.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

11:45 AM  
Blogger Spungen said...

It's an Alpha wannabe magazine, written for guys who think that reading it and following its advice will turn them into Alphas.

Like roissy's blog, right?

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's an Alpha wannabe magazine, written for guys who think that reading it and following its advice will turn them into Alphas.

Like roissy's blog, right?

To some extent, though Roissy seems to be more interested in proclaiming his own exploits than in passing on advice to sub-Alphas. He also appears to enjoy the occasional vitriolic exchange with commentors who disagree with him.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

12:48 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Yeah, I loved how he was proclaiming those "exploits" on Half Sigma last week at 10 p.m. EST Saturday night, did you notice? I'm sure he was at some great club surrounded by hot women panting for him, while he tapped furiously away on his blackberry.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Hey, Peter. I see you've played a part in this making the rounds. I googled it, trying to find out its origin -- and Number 3 hit was your link to it on Subchat yesterday, commenting that it "describes more than a few young women."

So, maybe you can answer my question about what would make the narrator happy.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Peter. I see you've played a part in this making the rounds. I googled it, trying to find out its origin -- and Number 3 hit was your link to it on Subchat yesterday, commenting that it "describes more than a few young women."

So, maybe you can answer my question about what would make the narrator happy.


Not many people at Subchat paid much attention. Which shouldn't have surprised me, as Subchat has turned into a lite version of Little Green Footballs, packed full of Islam-Will-Conquer-the-World neocon panty piddling paranoia.

Anyway, it isn't possible to answer the question you posed because this posting wasn't meant to be taken seriously. As I noted earlier, it appears to be an exaggerated composite of those annoying-yet-amusing foibles which illustrate that men and women really aren't the same. I'd enjoy seeing a male version.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

2:45 PM  
Blogger bobvis said...

Peter, I'm not sure how interesting it would be. Actually, you would probably be able to do it yourself. You have described the composite attributes of the alpha male male times. It would basically just be that except in the first person. This kind of humor is about 1.5 steps up from fart jokes.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous bjk said...

"This was really fun for me and not you."

What's wrong with this girl? It's not that she's empty or conventional, it's that she pays no attention to him. He's a prop for her fabulous life. If she'd bothered to get to know him, maybe there would have been a second date.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous bjk said...

Of course, he may be no price. But you get the point.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Peter, I'm not sure how interesting it would be. Actually, you would probably be able to do it yourself. You have described the composite attributes of the alpha male male times.

Why is the stereotypical alpha male this girl's counterpart? The narrator could just as easily be a weasel.

Allow me to quote myself (ahem): "Although an outsider might call The Weasel privileged, he has a chip on his shoulder because he can't have the best of what's around him. Guys from these backgrounds have seen the absolute best. It's not unusual for them to have female classmates who ended up being actresses or supermodels. So that's what their standards are based on, even if they don't meet those standards themselves."

5:27 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

This is the part that doesn't quite fit with the rest:

"Wow! Thanks for opening my car door for me! I'm totally going to blow that meaningless gesture out of proportion and delude myself into thinking that you're a really good guy because that's what I want to believe."

Kind of makes me feel sorry for her. And makes me think he must not be a good guy.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is the stereotypical alpha male this girl's counterpart? The narrator could just as easily be a weasel.

That "weasel" discussion is something I'd just as soon not remember.

In any event, the young woman in the item (if she actually existed) could best be described as very immature. Alpha Males in most instances are not immature at all, and hence would not be the equivalent type.

I would say that a man who displayed similar levels of immaturity would be at most a low-end Beta.

Again, though, the original piece was not meant to be realistic.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

7:16 PM  
Blogger bobvis said...

I'm not so sure about his low-end b--- status. He gives the impression he has dated scads of these women who *he* doesn't call back, right?

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've often thought it must be really terrible to be sexually attracted to people you can't stand out of bed. I have a female friend who is turned on by domineering jerks. As you might expect, her romantic life is highly unsatisfactory. The man who wrote this sounds like the male equivalent of her - drawn to seek out a type that will never make him happy.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure about his low-end b--- status. He gives the impression he has dated scads of these women who *he* doesn't call back, right?

My "low-end B---" comment referred not to the status of the man who wrote this item, but rather to the (hypothetical) status of the male equivalent of the young woman it describes. She displays a combination of immaturity and insecurity, which certainly wouldn't be seen in an A---- male nor, most likely, in a higher-end B---.

As I've noted, this item is a composite and an exaggeration, and probably shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Marcus said...

Eh, come on. It's a CL post. He's annoyed, he's whining, he's exaggerating to be funny, he's expressing frustration. He's under no obligation to represent 50 percent of the human race. An amusing stereotype of the tiny sliver of humanity that ticked him off is fine. Think how boring life would be if every discussion of other people had to be an earnest, fair-minded analysis of the true nature of a broad range of demographic and social groups. Women stereotype men plenty too.

The net combines aspects of private and public expression. Something like this is closer to bellyaching with your buddies than writing a newspaper article.

5:36 PM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

Who goes on that many dates with women they met in dark bars?

1:06 PM  

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