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Dick, misogyny, patriarchy, etc.

Thursday 8/1/19

This is pretty standard. It can often occur before eight o'clock in the morning. I arise each day usually between five and six thirty. I shouldn't do this, but one of the first things I do is glance at my phone to see if, miracle of miracles, some smart, sane person has written me in the night. They never have. There will be things. They will come from people of all ages, all kinds of jobs. I know someone who told me that I should just hook up with lots of women, since I am able to get lots of women. This is so because most people, certainly on dating apps--maybe it is different elsewhere (it's not)--can barely create a sentence, and I am fit, look younger than I am, etc. I see guys my age who look twenty years older than I am, easily. I will get all kinds of offers. College women who offer to be my slave or sub, doctors in their forties who send some cliche, lots of things in between.

One of the bugaboos about dating sites and apps is the one word note. Everyone hates to get the one word note. Or the standard "What's up?" or "How was your weekend?" People are ostensibly on these apps to meet, but most really do not want to meet anyone. They want to tell themselves they are trying. On Tinder, you can write a small profile. There is a character limit. But you have a number of sentences to work with, and people can see some idea of what you are about.

As you would imagine, my profile is quite interesting and well-written. The other morning, a nineteen-year-old writes me. She says, "Hey there." Now, this is telling. It's not an age thing or a generation thing. A person of any age between eighteen and fifty could have sent me this. People are so lazy. They want you to do all of the work. I am not looking for just someone. If I was just looking for someone, I could have a different someone all of the time. I am looking for someone brilliant, dynamic, with character, with her own interests. Actual interests in this life. No the standard folderol about The Office--and not even the good Office (Gervais, Merchant)--and Game of Thrones and nothing else. If you like beading, great, if you like Homeric epics, great; if you like Bessie Smith, great. But your own interests. I want someone with an active mind. Not a braying sheep.

So how would it follow if you behaved like the person who sends you the "Hey there" note?

You'd say "what's up?" back. They'd say ""Nothing, you?" You'd say "not much." Then they'd say, "How was your weekend?" You'd say, "Fine, and yours?"

They'd be pissed now. You're just matching their moves. You are doing exactly what they are doing, putting in the same amount of effort. But they want you to put in all of the effort. Obviously I can turn it on and be brilliant and funny and all of that without any effort at all--in fact, that is the default setting, and I have to turn something else on not to be those ways. But I am not looking to pull a sled by myself. So, I respond by asking this woman what the point is. She tells me it's a greeting. I ask, "Why not just have something interesting to say?" (And my profile certainly gives you material to work with, if you need help thinking up something vaguely interesting. Or I don't even care if you send the same kind of/sort of interesting first note to everyone so long as it is something.) Now, this is all I've said. I've not called her a name, I've not sworn. Pretty innocuous. But I know what is going to happen. And sure enough, happen it does.

Her next note called me a dick, a misogynist, and used the word patriarchy. Then she threw away my profile and I couldn't have responded if I wished to.

That's how it often goes. You ask someone what the point is, you ask them if it might be better to say something of substance or wit, or not the exact same thing they get, that you get, over and over again, and you get the names, the standard citation of misogyny--which someone like this must dole out 200 times a day--and, of course, an airing of the word patriarchy.

Because, after all, is an internet or app-based encounter with a man one does not know complete without having said the word patriarchy?

That's the new version of the adage about a tree falling in the forest and if it makes a sound if no one is there to hear it.


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