Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sex With Someone You Don't Know

Shakespeare called them the “happy few.” I suspect that I belong to the subclass of the “happy few” who had not, until last week, known who Aziz Ansari is.

Now, Ansari has become even more of a household name than he was before—excepting in my household—for having been accused on a website called Babe, of having provided a young woman named Grace—pseudonymously-- with a less than satisfying sexual experience. The incident is apparently extremely common. The fictional version, a story  by Kristen Roupanian, called “Cat Person,” went viral when it appeared in The New Yorker. It spoke to a lot of women, even though it was certainly not very well written.

For those who do not know who Ansari is, Lisa Bonos enlightens us in the Washington Post:

Just because Ansari plays Dev, a self-described male feminist, on his award-winning Netflix show “Master of None,” doesn’t mean he’ll act like a “woke bae” in real life. Just because Ansari has convened focus groups with men and women about what it’s like to date in the Tinder era — and has written a book called “Modern Romance” — doesn’t mean he’ll be respectful or empathic in his own dating life. And just because Ansari sported a Time’s Up pin at the Golden Globes in support of combating sexual harassment and assault doesn’t mean he’ll be an attentive sexual partner hyper-focused on consent.

Of course, this is all super-sophisticated whining. Surprisingly, many women have come forth to defend Ansari and to pummel Grace. From Whoopi Goldberg to Ashleigh Banfield to Bari Weiss to Caitlyn Flanagan (the latter via Maggie’s Farm) feminist women have stepped forth to defend a male feminist… who is a Muslim, to boot. No one has suggested that their rush to defend Ansari has anything to do with his ethnicity, so I will not go there either.

Of course, Grace is being modest when she calls her date a date. True she did share a pro forma dinner with Ansari, but it was more like a failed hookup than a date. It’s not as though she knew him or that he knew her. They found each other attractive, or something, and decided to hookup. One needs to define the transaction. In another context Grace would have been an aspiring starfucker… not that there’s anything wrong with that. One must mention, with deepest regret, that if Grace feels badly, one reason must have been that she  compromised herself morally when she allowed herself to get into the situation in the first place. 

Before explaining what it really means, allow me to quote some of the fine prose that Grace’s discomfort has elicited.

From Bari Weiss, at the New York Times:

If you are hanging out naked with a man, it’s safe to assume he is going to try to have sex with you.

If the failure to choose a pinot noir over a pinot grigio offends you, you can leave right then and there.

If you don’t like the way your date hustles through paying the check, you can say, “I’ve had a lovely evening and I’m going home now.”

If you go home with him and discover he’s a terrible kisser, say, “I’m out.”

If you start to hook up and don’t like the way he smells or the way he talks (or doesn’t talk), end it.

If he pressures you to do something you don’t want to do, use a four-letter word, stand up on your two legs and walk out his door.

Ansari, like Harvey Weinstein and Charley Rose and Matt Lauer is a feminist. But, so is Bill Clinton. Apparently, feminist men believe that they can take more liberties with women… because they have gotten away with taking more liberties with women.

Weiss continues:

Aziz Ansari sounds as if he were aggressive and selfish and obnoxious that night. Isn’t it heartbreaking and depressing that men — especially ones who present themselves publicly as feminists — so often act this way in private? Shouldn’t we try to change our broken sexual culture? And isn’t it enraging that women are socialized to be docile and accommodating and to put men’s desires before their own? Yes. Yes. Yes.

But the solution to these problems does not begin with women torching men for failing to understand their “nonverbal cues.” It is for women to be more verbal. It’s to say, “This is what turns me on.” It’s to say, “I don’t want to do that.” And, yes, sometimes it means saying goodbye.

Weiss believes that most women should just say No… should assert themselves, should lean in—but not for a kiss. It sounds simple and easy. If so many women do not do it, then clearly the problem lies elsewhere.

Caitlyn Flanagan offers some salient and astute commentary:

Was Grace frozen, terrified, stuck? No. She tells us that she wanted something from Ansari and that she was trying to figure out how to get it. She wanted affection, kindness, attention. Perhaps she hoped to maybe even become the famous man’s girlfriend. He wasn’t interested. What she felt afterward—rejected yet another time, by yet another man—was regret. And what she and the writer who told her story created was 3,000 words of revenge porn. The clinical detail in which the story is told is intended not to validate her account as much as it is to hurt and humiliate Ansari. Together, the two women may have destroyed Ansari’s career, which is now the punishment for every kind of male sexual misconduct, from the grotesque to the disappointing.

What is really going on here? What is the problem? By all accounts such experiences are commonplace among young women today. Apparently, five decades of strenuous feminism has not improved the quality of women’s casual sexual encounters. You've come a long way, baby!

Now, feminists are advising women to learn to say yes or no, to say it clearly and loudly, to define exactly what they want and to demand that they get it. Men, of course, are told that they must be more empathetic, more sensitive to women’s needs, more attuned to women’s nonverbal signals.

Have you noticed that these standard prescriptions are more the problem than the solution. At the very least, they advise a role reversal, where men become softer and women become harder. Sorry for the vulgar reference, but at least the point will be clearer. Between us, if women become harder and men become softer there will be no casual sexual encounters… so one understands why women have been loath to adopt such feminist-approved posturing.

The problem, if may be so bold, is that women like Grace or like Margot from “Cat Person” are engaging in random anonymous sexual encounters with men they barely know… because they have been told and have had it beaten into them… that they must do it to show that they are liberated. These situations were not prescribed by the patriarchy, but were imposed by feminists… especially those who insisted that women have sex like men.

One must mention, in passing, that the feminist caricature of male sexual experience is just that... a caricature. In the world where women sell sex for money, among their most valuable offerings is something called the girlfriend experience. 

So, one part of their mind places them in awkward and embarrassing positions—because they have been told that they must overcome their sense of shame. Grace, we recall, disrobed for Ansari, performed oral sex on him, had him go down on her. At the least, she had taken leave of her own modesty. And she did not feel very good about it. Duh!

Why? Because he was a stranger. Most women have a functioning moral sense. They might override it at the behest of their feminist overlords, but it still exists and it prevents them from getting very involved in these hookups. They voluntarily place themselves in situations that they should not be getting involved in, and then detach psychologically and emotionally… which ruins the mood.

Of course, since they have been indoctrinated in feminist ideology, they blame it in on men. Clearly, men are pigs. (Except perhaps for Muslim men.) But the situations that are causing these modern liberated women so much distress have been prescribed as a rite of feminist passage… allow  yourself to be traumatized by doing something that you know you do not want to do… and blame it on a man. It will make you miserable but will make you a better feminist.

As for the solution for modern women: sex with someone you know... and know well... and who has made something resembling a commitment to you. Otherwise, stick with The Rabbit.


Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: Most women have a functioning moral sense.

I always assumed we could blame alcohol for "loose morals", at least that seems to cover a huge fraction of the cases.

I read one opinion that suggested he should have acted more like a gentleman, and of course the counter argument is that she should have acted more like a lady, one who doesn't get intimate in private with a stranger on a first date.

Overall I'll go with the NY Times article as sensible.

The counter arguments I've heard is that women don't use escalating language because they're afraid of violence from men, and clearly that's an insane position to find yourself, where you're with someone you don't know, and don't trust, doing intimate things, with no one there to protect you.

Perhaps we can divide adult women into 3 categories: Women, Ladies, and Girls. The first can be feminists and do as they please, the second don't need to be feminists because they don't do as they please, and the last should just put "kick me" signs on their back and hope no one reads it.

James said...

Kinda reminds me of an old Tom Waits song about dating yourself "I'm not weird, I don't tie myself up first". People go figure.

L. Beau said...

"No one has suggested that their rush to defend Ansari has anything to do with his ethnicity, so I will not go there either." - Stuart Schneiderman

You are a gentleman and sport for not going "there", Dr. Schneiderman, and I applaud you for it. But in point of fact, Caitlyn Flanagan did "go there" in her piece in The Atlantic. I provide the following short excerpt as my evidence:

"I thought it would take a little longer for the hit squad of privileged young white women to open fire on brown-skinned men. I had assumed that on the basis of intersectionality and all that, they’d stay laser focused on college-educated white men for another few months."
- Caitlin Flanagan, in The Atlantic, Jan. 14, 2018


Sam L. said...

Well, I remember reading that He gave HER oral sex first. I could be wrong, and I'm not going to look for that story to check my memory.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Such is my recollection... which suggests that she received it first. For L. Beau I was trying to be ironic... raising the issue by saying that I was not raising the issue... apparently not very successfully.

James said...

Kinda reminds me of the old Mae West quip "The game of Bridge is like sex, if you don't have a good partner you better have a good hand".

Sam L. said...

Mae West! Hoo, BOY!!