Saturday, October 23, 2010

Argh! Why is it that OK Cupid guys cannot follow simple directions?

Sample message.

"How locked in are you to the age group thingy?"

From a dude who looks to be about 20 years older than me. OK, folks, look - some people are willing to date way outside their age range, and that's fine. But not everyone is, and that's not an unreasonable position to take. It's not a "thingy", preferring to date people around your own age. And I can't help but wonder how this guy would respond to a woman who's as substantially older than him as he is older than me sending him "how locked in are you to the age group thingy" messages. Because I can't help but notice that it's always men just blithely assuming that women young enough to be their daughters should be willing to date them.

So, in case anyone from there follows this link, just to make it clear...I am not interested in dating anyone more than 10 years older or younger than me. Friends that much older or younger, or even more so, are fine. But not romantic/sexual relationships. In fact, within 5 years would be ideal, so at this point that would mean people aged 32 to 42. People aged 27 to 47 might be acceptable if we get along really well. People under 25 or over 50? Nope, no way, not under any circumstances, because I don't want to feel like I'm dating either my child or one of my parents. And if I was a man no one would ever expect me to be open to dating people old enough to be one of my parents (though they'd probably pat me on the back for dating someone young enough to be my kid).

Seriously, guys, introducing yourself in a way that makes it clear that you're not going to respect even the most basic of the other person's boundaries, with a side order of "oh those silly boundaries of yours!", is not a good way to get a date. At that point, not only do I not want to date you, I don't want to be friends with you either.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ironic moment given all the talk about women in journalism recently

Yesterday I went to do some local reporting. New client/publication for me, they're a start-up. While I was there I met this guy who's supervising contruction/restoration on an old building. And that's when things got annoying.

This guy repeatedly referred to me as a "cub reporter". Um...I am 37 years old. OK, granted, I probably look a little younger than my age, but not that damn young. And even if I was that young, it would still be rude and infantilising to refer to me that way. And sexist. What do you think the likelihood is that he'd have referred to a man, even a young man, that way? Not very strong. The chances of him referring to a man my age that way? Close to zero.

This guy was wierd and creepy in general - I have very curly hair, and he asked if he could have a lock of it. As in, just cut off one individual curl and keep it as a souvenir? Oh, no, that's not wierd and creepy at all. (Rolls eyes) I mean, I understand that my hair type (curly, but very soft, and naturally tending to fall into the kind of distinct curls most people only get through artificial means) is unusual, but still, to ask if he could cut off a bit of my hair? WTF?

It's guys like that who make me really appreciate all the men I have to interview who aren't creepy wierdos. I just did a pair of interviews last week and both guys were lovely, and they're rock stars - if they can manage to be polite and civilised, what's builder/architect guy's excuse?

Monday, October 04, 2010

My photography is getting better! Check out the latest set.

(I'm going to post to Flickr from now on - will upload the Arch Enemy pics at some point, they came out well too. Angela is super cool - so great to see a really strong, asskicking woman fronting a metal band, and not doing it in a bikini.)

Although this isn't at all the best shot (blurry, taken from far away) I really love it because it sums up the whole feeling of the show.

Now these are great shots.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Oh, Cosmo…

It was always a bit silly, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t always this bad. Or maybe I’m just remembering it with rose tinted glasses because I started reading it when I was 13 and didn’t have enough life experience to realize how stupid it was.

Check out the latest article. Which addressed Breast Cancer Awareness Month by…discussing ways to get men to pay attention to your boobs. Um, isn’t the answer to this question as simple as “be in the room with a straight man”? OK, so I’m oversimplifying and attraction is a complicated thing, but still. It’s really not that hard for a woman to get men to look at her boobs. Really, if a man is at all attracted to you, he’s probably going to be more than willing to give your boobs plenty of attention.

So why, then, do we need a huge article full of what are apparently tips to get your boyfriend/husband/random UPS guy to go “OMG, you have boobs, that’s so hot!”? They’re boobs. They accomplish that just by existing. They don’t need a PR campaign.

There’s also the weirdness of responding to a disease that causes many women to lose their breast and, you know, die, by reminding everyone that boobs apparently exist as toys for men to play with. Notice that all the tips are about ways to make sure that your boyfriend/husband enjoys your boobs, not that you enjoy them. (Seriously, people, hot pasta sauce on the nipples? Ouch!)

I’ve always had weird feelings about all this because I’m kind of on the busty side. So in my experience the idea of having to go out of your way to persuade men to pay attention to your boobs sounds completely ludicrous. It’s like “10 tricks to get your child to eat ice cream” – no tricks necessary, this will pretty much happen by itself. Most of the time the real trick is how to stop men from focusing on your boobs when you’d rather they didn’t.

It’s a weird position that I’m in relative to the media attitude towards boobs, because I’m bisexual, and I like boobs, I really do. Trust me, straight guys – I probably check them out at least as often as you do. But there’s a level of empathy there that men don’t seem to have, for logical reasons. So, when I hear about, say, the topless coffee shops in Portland, my first thought is “ouch, second degree burns on nipples from hot, hot steam” rather than “yay boobs!”. But at the same time I can see the appeal, for a guy raised with the idea that boobs are essentially toys made just to make him happy.

Society encourages us to think of boobs as somehow separate from the woman they’re attached to, is the problem. For men this probably makes life easier – they can enjoy staring at boobs without feeling awkward, because they can turn off their awareness of the woman the boobs are attached to. But for women it creates massive cognitive dissonance, because it’s bizarre to think of part of yourself as essentially disembodied. And for women who’re bi it’s even weirder, because we have the same “stare at boobs” impulse as straight men do, but we also know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the stare.

Also, I think part of my issue is how childish the whole thing seems. I have no problem with the fact that straight men love boobs – hey, it’s very much to my advantage that they do, so I’m not complaining about that – but there’s something so juvenile about the idea that they’re encouraged to act like they’re unable to recognize the fact that the boobs are attached to a person. It creates this weird situation where men are essentially trying to get past the woman who’s in the way and is blocking their access to her boobs, and they get all whiny and petulant when said access is not granted. Which makes me think of a baby crying for it’s mommy to breastfeed it, which just isn’t very sexy at all.

Just one more example of how sexism screws things up for everyone, I guess. If a man can only relate to a woman as a collection of disembodied parts, he’s going to have a hard time forming strong, emotionally rewarding relationships. If a woman thinks of her own body as being made up of disembodied parts, sex is going to be really weird and awkward and not very satisfying. It would really be to everyone’s advantage if people would learn to appreciate boobs in a more grown up way, as part of the whole person/experience.

Yeah, not holding my breath on that one.