Let’s call it gender bait and switch. Never before in history have men been matched up with women who are so much their equal — socially, professionally, and sexually. By the time they reach their twenties, they have years of experience with women as equal competitors — in school, on soccer fields, and even in bed. They very reasonably assume that the women they are meeting at a bar or café or gym are after the same things they are: financial independence, career success, toned triceps, and sex.Like women weren't confusing to men before the Dawn of Co-Ed Soccer. Anyway, fewer Americans are getting married, which is an undesirable result for some reason (pitchfork proctors in Hell couldn't get me to read Hymowitz's book, but I'm guessing it has something to do with the idea that marriage increases your earning power), and so must be nagged into it.
That’s the bait; here comes the switch. Women may want equality at the conference table and treadmill. But when it comes to sex and dating, they aren’t so sure. The might hook up as freely as a Duke athlete. Or, they might want men to play Greatest Generation gentleman. Yes, they want men to pay for dinner, call for dates...
This theme has become a popular favorite, at least among the deepthink crowd. Little Miss Attila feels it too, and insists everyone else agrees, even liberals:
Right now, we live in a culture in which the structure of male-female relationships is broken, and everyone senses it. When I talk to my lefty friends, they acknowledge that as well, but they would really like it to be the fault of corporations, so they tend to talk a lot about “making sex into a commodity.”I haven't heard this argument yet at the liberal clambakes I attend; maybe it's currently big in Portland and destined to sweep the nation next season.
LMA tries to be playful about it ("I, for instance, planned to be a sexually active spinster all my life, until I fell in love..."), but her prescription is less sex. "We have to get back to a place wherein 'sexual freedom,' as a cultural norm, actually includes the freedom to say 'no,'" she stresses. You'd think freeborn Americans already enjoyed this right, but apparently the "culture" took it away from them, so that "what was possible became a mandate."
Thus, I suppose, "Manning Up" starts with admitting that we are powerless against culture, and have to be liberated from it by new ways of thinking: "Erotic restraint has to be acknowledged as the wiser course," says LMA, "rather than treated as weirdness." She doesn't say how this change will be affected -- maybe national Promise Rings legislation, or a new edition of Nancy Reagan's Dating Do's and Don'ts.
No such discussion is complete without the contribution of Dr. Ace O. Spades, who tells those man-hating feminists at length that they're the ones to blame for prostitution being illegal, and that they're only hurting themselves with a "Sexual Arms Race" that "leads to increased pressure on other women to behave, sexually, in a way they would prefer not to." (Again with the strange compulsion to be sexy against their wills! I thought conservatives were the personal-responsibility people.) Ace hurtles to a spectacular and perhaps literal climax:
Silly third-generation feminists watched Melrose Place and didn't realize it was fantasy inverted-world wish-fulfillment, but in fact was describing actual reality, or at least the way the world could be and should be, if dirty men weren't screwing everything up by insisting that Heather Loclear settle down and marry someone.Little Miss Atilla thinks this post "did, I think, have a few stereotypes hitchhiking through it, but still made some good points." So they can work together! The strategy planning sessions should be awesome.