There is plenty of privilege to go around, and while I spend a lot of time thinking about the big things I’m afforded due to my lucky draw, the little things I get are worth considering too.I hypothesize that it will feel shitty to spend time on a nice note and to be ignored, but I don’t know, because I haven’t really tried.Why do I not respond politely to every message, even the ones I’m not interested in? Once we make it out of the safe cocoon of the Internet and into the real world I’m better about aligning my actions with my values.Why do I alternate between playing the damsel and the playing the demanding entitled a**hole? Out here, at a bar or restaurant, I work really hard to make sure that you know we are equals participating in a traditionally unequal transaction.I tell all my single guy friends to watch out for online dating.It is a sad, soul-crushing place where good guys go to die a slow death by way of ignored messages and empty inboxes.Many times in my writing I ask men to try to understand how women feel out in the world, to take a walk in their shoes, to try on a different perspective to understand their own privilege.I believe exercising those empathy muscles is what helps us be better, kinder human beings, but it’s not fair of me to ask without trying to reciprocate.
You will look for things in common in their profile (they like Scrabble too! You will send them a note, carefully crafted to show interest and attention to detail. The next one will, but she spells “you” as “u” and you will let the conversation stall.
Maybe instead we can learn to treat each other as equal players of a very silly game that we all secretly take quite seriously. But it seems quite clear to me that we’re not there yet. I’m a feminist, sex-positive 21st century lady whose photos include me posing in a Rosie the Riveter Halloween costume.
I write about gender on the Internet for crying out loud!
The Internet could be the great democratizer, the great playing field-leveler.
After all, we each have only the 500-word text boxes and crappy jpegs and clever (not so clever) user names to show for ourselves. Maybe in this environment where we are safely sequestered behind screens, we can get past some of the lingering gender-based “rules” that dominate the “How to Catch a Man” playbooks of yore.