Dear Men: Dat­ing You Is Hell

Forward Magazine - - & - BY JENNY SINGER

Dear Men,

I re­gret to in­form you that I am unavail­able to date you at this time. Thank you for your in­ter­est in dat­ing me — and for the more than 3 bil­lion of you who have never ex­pressed in­ter­est in dat­ing me, thank you for what I can only imag­ine would be your in­ter­est in dat­ing me if you got to know me. I don’t know how long this break will last — prob­a­bly only un­til the next time I see a pic­ture of a baby dressed as a pump­kin. For the men who have made it clear that you do not want to date me, this is a retroac­tive an­nounce­ment that I also do not want to date you. And that I hardly even think about you any­more. Your new girl­friend seems fun. Any­way.

Men, you did this to your­selves. As a straight woman, I have long been aware that my sex­u­al­ity dooms me to wan­der the earth, try­ing to mate with the ex­act peo­ple who, sta­tis­ti­cally, are the great­est threat to my health and well-be­ing. “What a drama queen,” you men must be say­ing, tak­ing a lit­tle read­ing break after start­ing al­most ev­ery war in his­tory. See, ev­ery in­ter­ac­tion with a man, sta­tis­ti­cally, is a risk. Lately the risk has just seemed too high.

Men, women and chil­dren all ex­pe­ri­ence sex­ual vi­o­lence, and an es­ti­mated 99 out of 100 per­pe­tra­tors of sex­ual vi­o­lence are male. One out of six women will ex­pe­ri­ence a rape at­tempt in her life­time. Ah, yes, a sure bet! “Get me one of those over­priv­i­leged, emo­tion­ally re­pressed, po­ten­tially vio-

lent peo­ple,” said no one after read­ing these sta­tis­tics.

If there has ever been a time when men have been an ap­peal­ing propo­si­tion, it’s not 2018. If I can’t trust the Supreme Court, the pres­i­dent, the FBI and 51 mem­bers of the Se­nate, why should I trust Tad from JSwipe who works in sales?

You, sir, are lovely, I’m sure. As Jane Austen wrote, young men are all so ac­com­plished! You can boil wa­ter, quote Bukowski, ex­plain the Elec­toral Col­lege to me over drinks de­spite my protes­ta­tions that I know what about the Elec­toral Col­lege and more. But the fact that most men are not rapists is a small com­fort, con­sid­er­ing that most rapists take pains to look and act ex­actly like nor­mal peo­ple. And it’s not en­tic­ing that no one seems to be able to square the fact that — since sex and in­ti­macy take place be­hind closed doors and are nor­mal ac­tiv­i­ties when not the re­sult of vi­o­lent force — prov­ing that an as­sault oc­curred is al­most al­ways im­pos­si­ble. Se­ri­ously, why should I go to any pri­vate space with a man if I will have zero le­gal re­course if the sit­u­a­tion turns force­ful? I’m sure I’ll be back to dat­ing men soon — I’m not the Ashke­nazi Mike Pence. But I do think all men should con­sider how un­fair it is that women have to put their lives on the line ev­ery time they want to go on a date. You should con­sider that our courts and pundits and par­ents ad­mon­ish women for hav­ing the au­dac­ity to get them­selves raped with­out set­ting up a cam­corder first, even as as­sailants seek out their daugh­ters. Your daugh­ters soon, male peers.

But I’m lucky to be liv­ing in the best of times. After all, the #MeToo move­ment brought about many changes, in­clud­ing that you can now ap­plaud your­self for not be­ing ac­cused of as­sault­ing more than 100 women. Good boys! Have a treat. You’ve never mas­tur­bated into a pot­ted plant. That girl wasn’t too drunk. Noth­ing that hap­pened be­fore you were 18 — no, 21 — counts, right? You can’t even re­mem­ber that. (She can.)

Just kid­ding!

Lis­ten, it’s not that I think you’re a preda­tor — I know most of you aren’t. I think you hap­pen to have been born into a pa­tri­ar­chal so­ci­ety that you’ve done lit­tle to dis­man­tle, and that’s just not re­ally light­ing my fire any­more. Why would your po­lite supremacy en­dear you to me? “If you’re a guy,” Louis C.K. joked, five years be­fore he ad­mit­ted to be­ing a se­rial sex­ual preda­tor, “imag­ine you could only date a half-bearhalf-lion. ‘Oh, I hope this one’s nice!’”

Babes! You and I know men are noth­ing like bears and lions, ma­jes­tic an­i­mals whose nat­u­ral in­stinct is to kill to sur­vive. For­get C.K.’s im­pli­ca­tion that male vi­o­lence is a nat­u­ral in­stinct — the com­par­i­son is wildly over­flat­ter­ing. Most men are less like lions and more like pa­per wrap­pers re­moved from dis­pos­able straws: weight­less, flighty, they suck up all the liq­uid they come across, ex­pand­ing into a sod­den, ooz­ing abun­dance.

You can’t help it — ev­ery day, you ben­e­fit from a sys­tem that priv­i­leges men. And I don’t think you want to help it, just like I, as a white per­son, don’t thrill to the idea of giv­ing up the race priv­i­lege that pos­i­tively af­fects ev­ery part of my ex­is­tence. You don’t know what women ex­pe­ri­ence, and that’s how you like it, and that turns me on. (No, it doesn’t — why would it?) You en­joy your supremacy over women — your short show­ers, your higher-for-the­same-work pay, your deeper voices and taller bod­ies that are ar­bi­trar­ily con­sid­ered bet­ter, your abil­ity to walk out­side at night with­out won­der­ing: “Is tonight the night I get raped? Will it be my fault?”

How are any of us sup­posed to fall in love with one of you peo­ple, with your to­tal con­sol­i­da­tion of power, re­lent­less grip on the sta­tus quo and re­fusal to stop at more than 200 Mar­vel movies? You at-worst-vi­o­lent-sex-crim­i­nals, at-best-gorm­less-hand­maid­ens-totheI am cer­tainly not en­vi­ous of queer women, who en­dure ha­tred and dis­crim­i­na­tion be­cause of who they are. But it’s in­con­ve­nient to be at­tracted pretty much ex­clu­sively to the gen­der re­spon­si­ble for, well, one ex­am­ple that comes to mind is al­most

ev­ery mur­der. I like some men quite a bit. It is sad that these men must be pun­ished for the sins of the col­lec­tive. I like the co­me­dian Kee­gan Michael-Key. I like my brother, though I can’t marry him — he’s way too young. The best men I know do not pas­sively ac­cept the fact that they have been so­cial­ized to be­lieve they are bet­ter be­cause of who they are. They fight it. That’s hot. I’ll miss it dur­ing my brief boy­cott. Say good­bye to this short, brusquely ag­ing Jewess with no re­tire­ment sav­ings, boys! Hit me up after you’ve had a good think about what you’ve done wrong and have come up with a plan to make things bet­ter.

Yours (in no sense),

Jenny

P.S. Ob­vi­ously none of this ap­plies to Eli from col­lege. Text me, Eli!

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