Someone tried to roofie me and my friend last week. For real. The first man in the group approached us babbling like a coked out teenager, mind fucking blown that he had met two women so openly discussing sex in a public space, then ushered in a couple timid friends – the tall quiet one labeled as the Ladies Man of the bunch. After not too long they scattered to meet others or presumably to cut more lines in the bathroom, and soon the tall gentleman returned with two glasses of water for our poor parched lips. Then he left. Without really a word. After hanging around the end of the bar for a while they finally ditched the place when it was clear that neither one of us was going to drink that drugged up garbage. Come on now fellas. You can’t even drop ten bucks on a real beverage to slip that shit into? Is this your first attempt at rape? Ladies Man??
That was my first experience encountering what I’ve heard is not an uncommon story out in latenight Chicago. Perhaps Minette and I seemed vulnerable to this tactic. Or perhaps we just pissed them off by being so unavailable while still being adult enough to discuss sex. I really don’t know what goes on in the minds of men so fucking pathetic. In my entire existence as a single woman I have dealt with a completely different style of courtship absurdity. And I have to say after facing a move like two free roofied waters I’m starting to find my regular suitors much more endearing.
It’s not that I think all men are stupid. Ok. Yes. I think men are stupid. All of them? Well when confronted with a woman they are just made to be. It’s really hard to take anyone seriously when meeting for the first time. It’s really hard to believe anything they say. And it’s really fucking hard to give a fuck. Maybe it’s because of all of the animal courtship videos I watch. The hours and hours of nature shows I’ve seen where the males put on these extravagant displays of color and dance, build complex and beautiful mega-structures or sing intricately rehearsed songs, all for the desperate need to win a female’s acceptance. All she has to do is quietly watch, inspect, judge. If she’s not feeling it she trots, flies, or swims away. He waits for another one. And the show starts all over again.
This is how I feel every time I go out. I’m one of the judges at the table in Flashdance as men in their leotards, legwarmers, and let’s put headbands on them just because they seem to need them these days with all those unkempt coifs and manbuns going around, and they dance and twirl and flip excitedly but anxiously, their hearts are pumping with adrenaline and goddammit they’re putting on the best show to date because they’ve got to make this fucking audition! They’ve been working their whole lives for this. It’s kind of what we train them for, isn’t it? Sure we dress ourselves up and try to be objects of beauty and sex mixed with some kind of virginal shit that we think we have to be but isn’t that sort of dying out? Aren’t we now just doing that for ourselves? I certainly don’t think about attracting men when I wear my 4 inch flat platform lace up military boots and wide leg black pants with a tucked in black turtleneck. If I did I’d probably change into heels and a bodycon dress. Yet I get hit on constantly. Just like those female bowerbirds, all brown and flat feathered with nondescript wings and tails. We attract men when we’re being ourselves because we look confident and happy. Of course this is the lesson we should be teaching everyone. Everyone. But I don’t mind letting men scramble trying to think of the right thing to say while I sit there behind a desk with my pen and clipboard. I’m power hungry. I feed off of this shit.
A friend recently told me that I’m never going to accept any new men into my life, therefore never letting go of my ex, if I don’t start congratulating some of this behavior. I find that fact hard to take. I’ve complained lately, now that I’m actually going on dates or making connections through apps, that everyone is just so dumb. Dumb being defined as saying stupid shit. That devalues them. Things I really don’t care about. Never have. Likely never will. I’m not all that concerned that you shop at Whole Foods or do Bikram Yoga, or that you live by the Lake. This is the first bit of information you are sharing with me? Yes, I see the photos on your wall that you took in Africa. You didn’t have to point them out. Also – not that interested, they’re not very good pictures. Of course I go and bring up a book I spot on your shelf that I have and really liked and you haven’t read it. So there that is. I’m told that men don’t really care about the random facts they throw at us either, they just say this shit thinking that we’ll care. Which is why I choose not to acknowledge the information I’m getting and just move on. If you don’t care, and I don’t care, it’s irrelevant to our conversation. Best to ignore it and find something that we’re both interested in. But is this just me? Am I the only one who’s not impressed? Do women want to talk about Bikram and Whole Foods? Like “yeah, Moneybags, tell me more about that.” Or “Whisk me away to Turkey next time you leave the country, take photos of me and put them on your wall!.” Are these stupid offerings of credentials the Bowers, the sand crop circles, the melodies, the posturing, the dance moves that we are conditioning them to make? The Satin Bowerbird decorates his stage with anything blue he can find. Berries, petals, bottle caps, plastic straws, any bits and pieces of blue fiber or plastic or even a metal chip within flyable distance. It’s because the females dig the blue, it reflects the bright cobalt hue of their shining eyes. Perhaps a little shallow in their youth, only as they mature the females begin to pay more attention to the dancing.
Quite the dance it is. Finally feeling like I’m back on the market after two years of holding onto a man I wasn’t even capable of loving properly, it seems like something has shifted in the singles scene during the transition from my twenties to thirties. No longer are men trying to pay homage to a woman in order to soften her up, pick a color that reflects her beauty in hopes that she’ll notice that she’s being noticed. We’re too confident to fall for that play. Empty compliments either get brushed aside or simply affirmed with an “I know, thank you.” So what do men do in the face of a self-assured strong woman? They dance. They dance their little asses off because the test is no longer on her to meet any sort of societal standard of womanhood or girfriendhood or datable material. It’s on this dork who is feeling his grip on a once male dominated culture loosen. We sit back behind that table and scribble our notes. Set our own standards. Watch men dizzy themselves as they try to get high enough marks. Maybe I’m a purist, but I’m waiting for someone to cut the tape and just say “Hey, lady, do you ever wonder what all those black spots on the sidewalk are?” And I’ll have a new best friend to talk to about Gum Spots and other wonders of city life, mindless chatter and observations that spontaneously lead to information that will really tell you about a person, rather than what they choose to present with the intention of impressing you. Really. Kale Chips and Hot Yoga. I know you’ve got more going on than that. I can tell in the language you use. So use language, not statistics.
I’ll still go on a date with this man. In fact we’ve set a time and place already. We’re baiting each other with pretty unique sexual claims about ourselves. Whether or not this is also part of the dance I’m too curious to forego at least meeting the guy face to face. In a public place. For hot chocolate. It’s actually turning out to be an adorable show, it’s so meticulously choreographed, his feet pumping so fast I can barely see them. I have to say as endearing and outright silly as I find my communication with most men just trying to get a foot in, at least they’re fucking trying. Because buying me a hot chocolate and throwing out some manufactured lines takes a hell of a lot more effort and acceptance of vulnerability than simply dropping off a couple of dosed waters and waiting for your prey to become incapacitated. For all the crap I give men for pumping themselves up or using ridiculous facts to impress me they’re still putting in an enormous amount of work just for me. I think that’s why I find it more endearing than anything else. Because it takes courage to put yourself out there, even if you’re full of shit. It’s admitting your own fallibility, your own weakness, by jumping up and claiming that you’re strong. On the other hand admitting, unquestionably, grotesquely, that you are a weak and miserable man is when you don’t even bother to enter the audition. You bribe directors. You put Exlax in the cast’s coffee pot before the show. You take a pipe to Nancy Kerrigan’s knee. Men who try to cheat the system ruin the game for all of us. Minette and I were lucky those idiots were just fucking idiots. Free waters. Come on now. It’s not my place to speak for women who haven’t been as lucky, only to offer my unending support. But I can say that all men are desperate as fuck. All of them. Whether they’re doing something adorable, hilarious, stupid, or downright evil, it comes from an internal and often pathetic need for acceptance. In understanding this I’ve never let a man have power over me, even if he could or has overpowered me. I just picture him in a little leotard, leg warmers, and headband running those crazy legs, working up a such a sweat that it drips into his eye and he tries to not let it interfere with all the kicks and pas de bourrées but it stings should I touch it I can’t it'll mess me up I’ll just squint my eyelids will squeeze it out it’ll be fine just breathe and oh fuck what’s my next move again??
Men are nerds. I think I’m ready to date again. Good luck everyone.