From today’s Dear Abby:
DEAR ABBY: I haven’t had a boyfriend for a while now, and I’m not sure why. Everyone says I’m cool, funny and outgoing. I play video games, sports, and do things that boys think girls would never do (like paintballing in the woods or bungee jumping over and over again).
All my guy friends think I’m awesome, and I do get compliments on my looks as well. I’m not a tomboy, I wear nice clothes and some makeup, but for some reason, whenever I get a crush on a guy, he says it would be “weird” because I’m a “really good friend.”
What am I doing wrong? I love who I am and so do boys. So why don’t they think I could be “girlfriend material”? – BOYFRIENDLESS IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR BOYFRIENDLESS: It may be that “guys” see you as one of them. And because of it, they don’t consider you in a romantic way. Therefore, it’s time to emphasize your feminine side and present yourself in a different light. This may mean temporarily downplaying your involvement in boys’ sports and paintball games, and amping up your “girlishness.” Give it a try and see what happens.
Why do we still have to read crap like this in 2007? A man who can be allured only by a deceptive acquiescence in antique gender roles isn’t worth catching. Since when is the need to be found pleasing to some goofball so important as to justify sacrificing a woman’s authentic identity? What Abby should have told her is that the problem is not with her but with these guys who think being a romantic partner is incompatible with being a “really good friend” – a warning sign if I ever heard one. Instead, she essentially told her to sacrifice her integrity in order to get some Neanderthal to date her.
And for any libertarians who don’t see why I’m making a fuss about this, here’s a start: it’s like telling libertarians “you’d make more converts to your position if you dropped your opposition to Government Program X.”
I can’t tell you WHY we still have to read this crap – but I can and will thank you for saying this. It needs to be said. I’m tired of watching my friends follow this line of thinking. It’s not just the female ones, either.
For the record, I’m22; I love video games, scifi/fantasy everything, roleplaying games, and only wear makeup on the rarest of occasions. I also happen to be getting married next summer to an incredible man – who is also my best friend. So hang in there, ladies – it is not only possible, it’s wonderful.
Ditto for gents – and libertarians. Who wants to be devoted, in the romantic sphere or any other, to someone who doesn’t really believe in YOU?
This is the kind of situation where I like to quote a line I’ve seen attributed to Brecht: “If the government doesn’t trust the people, why doesn’t it dissolve them and elect a new people?”
Though I usually think of it in discussions of roleplaying games, where many people seem to feel that they have to stay with the same small more or less closed circle of players and try to get them to accept a new rules system, setting, campaign premise, or play style—instead of defining what kind of game they want and then seeking out players who think it would be fun.
When I was much, much younger, I read Bernard Shaw’s maxim, “You had better take care to get what you like or you shall have to like what you get.” I’ve lived by it ever since.
I would take Dear Abby’s advice in the context of the motive behind the question that was posed. If the presumed goal is for “BOYFRIENDLESS” to convert one of her video game buddies into a romantic partner, then Abby’s suggestion is probably a practical means to an end. If the presumed goal is for BOYFRIENDLESS to find a satisfying long-term relationship with an equal partner for whom no compromise is required, then Abby’s advice is indeed silly and outdated. I was under the impression that BOYFRIENDLESS was seeking the former arrangement, though I agree that her values are possibly questionable.
I agree. If a boy doesn’t like you the way you are, then they’re not going to like you — and it just leads to problems down the line if this deception turns into a serious relationship.
I always hated Abeys collumns anyway..
“And for any libertarians who don’t see why I’m making a fuss about this, here’s a start: it’s like telling libertarians ‘you’d make more converts to your position if you dropped your opposition to Government Program X.'”
Perhaps not drop opposition altogether, but certainly to downplay opposition to some government activities is only good sense. To go on about the Social Security Administration is a good example, especially when compared to Empire.
Kind of tangential, but I’ve long wondered why people say things like “Why do we still have to read crap like this in 2007?” It implies that there is something inherent about a particular year that it should make whatever the speaker is complaining about an impossibility. I guess it’s sort of an expression of a deeply internalized Whig theory of history: progress is inevitable, ergo whatever problem from the bad old days should have been eliminated by now.
My “2007” comment was based not on any generic assumption that things always get better but on the specific fact that the 20th century saw an unprecedentedly active and widespread movement of feminist consciousness-raising. So the idea was less like “how can people still believe the earth is flat when scientific progress automatically goes forward?” and more like “how can people still believe the earth is flat when we’ve all seen photos of the earth from space?”
William H. Stoddard: great post.