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Guys & Dolls! Gender Wars, Sexuality, and Conversations

Updated on November 24, 2008

I recently went to lunch with some people I know. Somehow we started talking about casual dating, the guys were boasting about having more than one card on the table. It’s great for guys to casually date multiple girls. It means they have options, they have little to lose, and they can be as indifferent as they want ‘cause if they lose one, there’s always someone else to call.

I chimed into the conversation stating how great and cool that is for guys, but once a girl starts casually dating multiple guys at a time, she is classified as easy, promiscuous, a tease, unable to commit or hold on to a real relationship, etc. Not surprising, my comment on the subject was ignored.

Please don’t misunderstand me! I love being a woman, and I love my sexuality. I love that I hold the keys to the night and get to call the shots. I love being pursued, twirling my hair, batting my lashes, (speaking figuratively) and watching guys stumble over trying to figure out what to do and when. Guys are pretty easy to figure out, and they are pretty easy to please. The only challenge is to get them to figure out women, and, well, to please us which is an entirely different subject.

Guys are pretty much clueless.

Awhile back I was talking to 2 men simultaneously, interested in getting to know both of them. In addition, I had a few guy friends I was spending a good portion of time with (strictly platonic). One of my male friends made the comment that I am a player. He was just kidding around. Still, my response to that is, "No." That is not the case. It just means I have options, which are real, genuine, and good. It is surprising coming from a female, considering that we were built differently, psychologically. But if television series such as Sex and the City becomes a milestone to socially revolutionizing the perceived notions of what it means to be a single woman in her thirties and forties compared to being a single male in his thirties and forties, then so be it. The problem is that I don’t think America is ready for such a reality yet. I don’t know a single fan of Sex and the City who in reality lives with those ideals. Men think it is a great idea, but get intimidated by women who are independent and able to casually date without getting emotionally tied into a relationship. They feel as though they become useless. Women think it is a great idea, but still get emotional and jealous, especially when the relationship becomes romantic. Heck, most women I know have a difficult time even being single for 6 months and enjoying it, and that’s not even a long time! Sad, but true.

As Clueless a men are, they sure do have it easy, being able to date, have random sex with random women, hook up with anyone, look at women lustfully, enjoy their singleness because it all to be boasted of, all respectable, honorable, and even expected. Women who attempt to portray those same ideals are looked down on, considered either naïve or mean, or promiscuous. Find a woman that has been single for longer than 6 months, or in her thirties and single, and it’s guaranteed her friends think there is something wrong with her.

Funny thing about me is that I tend to have more conservative ideas on relationships and dating, and am not really a casual dater at all (I hate dating really). Yet, in my circle of influence, I am probably living the most liberal lifestyle. I am the most indepandant, have made clear and rational choices, have not said yes to the first tall, dark, and handsome man who asked for my heart, and I have had my share of singleness, and I have loved it! I was single in my early twenties because I was so passionate about others things and involved in other events that I just didn’t have time to be in a relationship, and I didn’t want to be distracted by one either. Plus, I just had my heart broken twice and just decided it necessary to stay away from the dating scene for a time. It was great, healthy, and a decision I have no regrets about. In college, I had my interests in certain men, and they in me. There was never anything really serious, and the “me, you, US” conversation was always avoided with those I liked. I have publicy spoken and taught about dating, relationships, boundaries, typical boy meets girl stuff. This has always been an interesting topic to me, and although I don’t have all the answers, I think from my experience, I have learned a few things here and there about the interaction between men and women, and ideologies that have been adopted about dating, relationships, gender roles, sexuality, etc.


Men & Their False Reality:

I kissed a guy.  Not that it is unusual (usually we kiss those we love, right)  In this case, with this particular person, it was very random, unexpected at the time, and something I wholeheartedly regret. Months later, that same guy came back to me to ask me if it meant anything. I said, “no.” He was completely surprised. He really thought that I was totally into him. This was all in his head, or perhaps he was displacing his own behaviour onto me (he would look at me and his eyes would wander, he would even call me endearing names such as baby, and constantly would ask to come over to my place, etc.).

I have to confess, however, that my behaviour toward this man did change. I lost trust in him, respect for him, and any level of attraction that might have been there before disappeared. I am not blaming the kiss for this change. My perspective of that man was changed for the worse. My point in telling this story is that guys will often get an idea in their heads that a lady has an interest, and no matter what that lady does, they will somehow find a way to validate their idea that she wants him.

The only theory I have come up with to explain this false reality that men have about women being head over heals into them is: Men have an ego, and it needs to be stroked (pun intended).

Full of Yourself:

In general, a woman can tell when a guy is into her. It is just part of our nature to notice, and to respond. Unless that interest is reciprocated, the guy has two responses: pursue until she gives in, or shy away and deny interest. The same guy mentioned above expressed interest in me daily for months and months. And let me say, this was not a genuine interest, but rather was a very lust filled desire for me that was disrespectful, creepy, and grossed me out. My response at first was to ignore it. I refused to confront it. Finally, I decided to get honest with him. I told him that I don’t like the way he looks at me and talks to me. I explained as politely as I knew how that I am not interested, and that he really needs to understand that and stop disrespecting me. He then completely denied everything, and told me that I am full of myself, arrogant, and selfish to think that just because a guy looks at me he is interested in me. Well, I suppose so, if it is just any random glance, but his glances were clearly intentional. However, when it gets to the point where he always wants to come over to hang out, it becomes obvious that his interest is intentional. That brings me to my next point.

The War between Naïve & Mean:

One male friend of mine whose opinion I trust and respect told me once that I can be naïve in my dealings with men. He was making a reference to knowing when I guy is interested in me. Okay. That is fair to say. There have been times when I have been surprised to learn of a man’s interest in me, or of my spending too much time with a man without realizing his true intent. To my defense, I have to say that often times I am aware of what is/could come out of every friendship I have with a male. I just tend to be more passive at times and will ignore it. If I am not interested in dating a man, but would just rather hang out and build on a friendship, I will typically avoid acknowledging his true intent even if I am aware of it. It may come across as me just being naïve.

On the other hand, in circumstances like those I described above, I cannot simply pretend to ignore a person who is so bold, aggressive, and forward with me about his desires. However, to confront the issue with the same boldness and aggressiveness, I am considered mean, arrogant, and full of myself. I feel that either way, I am cornered, and the guy walks away without a conscious.


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    • capalynn profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Response to Comment 1:

      Perhaps I am making hasty generalizations directed toward men. Perhaps my experience above is not so much the rule, but the exception. However, I am sure that guys still only have two responses to rejection: pursue till she gives in, or deny attraction and act indifferent.

      Response to Comment 2:

      Media- we have a choice, but a limited choice, and probably are not even half aware of what we are being influenced by. Example: mainstream music is not nearly as good as what is was a decade ago. In fact, all we hear are beats and lyrics about booty bumping, strippers, and implicit (heck, even explicit) suggestions about sex. We say it doesn't matter because it's just music. However, it does matter and it IS indeed influencing us (we just may not realize it for another decade). Some people even claim that they don't pay attention to lyrics, but a day or two later, we hear them repeating the lyrics in a conversation, or singing them as they wake up in the morning. My point is that even though we don't THINK we are affected, we are affected.

      The TRUE self- we only learn not to lie to ourselves if we are seeking truth and can be honest and objective with ourselves. Otherwise, we just continue to feed that false reality, and we decieve ourselves by believing it is real. That being said, one cannot grow INTO oneself to FIND oneself. That statement doesn't even make sense logically. If you are decieved about who you really are, than you really have to get OUT of yourself (who you believe you are) and look at the canvas of self from the perspective of the other. But, the majority of humanity is not going to be object and honest enough to do that. Anyhow, if a person is decieved, he/she will not even know that change (or finding ones true self) is necessary.

    • Enigmatic Me profile image

      9 years ago from East Coast Canada

      We like to talk about the media and how it has been shaped by men to influence women. I would probably have to do research on the amount of men working in the field to say that man has forced its perceptions on women. I personally, believe we have choice in what we are influenced by, and agree that maybe media, learning environment, family background, all have a part to play in how we see ourselves.

      The mention of facades in my previous response was more weighty than I meant it to be. We all have a social self that we put out there in social situations. And then we have the true self waiting for us in our homes. Both men and women do it, as it is a way to balance the psychie. The id and super-ego etcetera. As we grow into ourselves we learn not to lie to ourselves about who we really are, and who and what we really want. Its at that stage of our lives that relationships are true and honest. In terms of holding out for the friendship that may be there.... you are better to cut bait... let him know you are not interested... and not be upset over how that happens. Truth Matters.. even to those of us who are delusional about someone wanting us.

      Nice guys are out there but slow to engage in the whole mess of seeing the social and trying to decipher your true self. We sometimes have as much intuition as you. So give us some credit.

      I really enjoyed readin your perspective. Keep it coming.

    • Enigmatic Me profile image

      9 years ago from East Coast Canada

      Oh if you only knew how untrue most of this is for a great portion of guys out there. But, hey, these are your experiences and examples... I cannot challenge what you have lived.

      Ego... maybe. Though the flip side of this coin is that you do not share that description to women. Even if you wholeheartedly disagree that women too are impacted on how they feel they should be treated/how they are being treated/how they wish they were treated.

      Reality for many men is that they do not know how to differentiate pure/true interest from a woman, and feigned attraction. So there is a facade of knowing/certainty, aggression/pursuing, non-chalance/arrogance. None of it is their true selves. But, without giving them the time to break through their own facades, there is no hope that a friendship will be powerful enough for a guy to let his guard down. After all, this is who he thinks he needs to be to get into the relationship in the first place... warrented or not.

      As different as the sexes are, there are so many similarities that in doing the comparison/contrasts we see different values weighed and measured different by each sex. Therein lies the complexities of human behavior.

      Sorry it's late... I'll write more.. maybe


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