The Question on Everyone’s Mind “How Should Men Behave?”

This time last year I wrote about An Unbalanced Gender Culture, and how things were rapidly coming to a head (which I encourage you to read before continuing), with regards to uncertainty within our standard gender roles and how we relate to each other.  I have been blogging and tweeting about Baby It’s Cold Outside and the #MeToo movement with concern about what effect this is having on our perceptions.  And the problem being that we are ignoring the underlying issue about the roles changing between men and women, and more importantly how we are perceiving these changes.  And this is bringing up a multitude of questions, including, “where is the new line?”

Just yesterday, I was bartending, and one of my regulars told me with sincerity, that he no longer knows how to talk to women because of the #MeToo movement.  The last thing he wants to do is offend anyone, but the reality is, he is a newly divorced 50 year old man, and he wants to get out dating and flirting again, but the old ways don’t seem acceptable anymore.  He is completely open to changing his ways, but he also feels too old to walk on eggshells and not be authentic or truthful.  I think his challenges are completely relatable to almost everyone.  The world is changing, and what’s super scary is that we are trying to go back in time and retroactively punish people, media, etc with our currently unclear new world view.

Now let me be clear here, that this statement is not meant to scold the brave women for standing up against Weinstein or any rapist or abuser.  That, I need to be clear going forward, has always been wrong, and will continue to be wrong.  That isn’t hindsight.  That is bravery on the part of these women for finding the courage to say something, even years later.  There is a very clear difference between knowing something is wrong, or that gut wrenching action that made you feel horrible at the time, and what I am discussing here with regards to using todays new cloudy lens then seeking out situations from our past that, probably would not be acceptable by todays standards.  This is the key problem we are currently facing, we are focusing on digging up past situations instead of finding solutions for the current world view or thinking about what we want our future to look like.

So, with that in mind, let’s ask the question, how should men today, flirt and interact with women that they are interested in?  Where is the new line between coy, flirty and fun, versus rude, crude and inappropriate?  The answer, and I am really, really sorry about this, but… there isn’t one.  This is a grey area.  We do not have a solution yet.  So far, we can all agree that we have to start listening to the word no, and further we have to start using the word no in a more responsible and in a firm manor.  It cannot be said with a playful or coy intonation, and whenever used in that context it has to be taken at face value (precisely the reason why Baby It’s Cold Outside cannot be viewed with today’s new standards, no was used in a playful manor).  But aside from that, I struggle to find any other all encompassing rule that can help guide us in a sex positive behavioural direction.  Or in a less wordy way, to help us all get our flirt on and feel good about ourselves later.  Things remain really fuzzy and this is why I suggest we start with the simplest question first, where is your line?

I know where my lines and limits are, and just to give you a little insight or help point you in the right direction I will share or overshare as is often the case; I don’t enjoy flirting with strangers.  I like getting to know someone, and them in turn getting to know me.  Even just a coffee or two in a completely platonic way helps bring my guard down.  After that, flirting becomes fun and an enjoyable action, and I feel free to make dirty jokes, touch, and even drive things towards a much more physical setting.  So for this reason, online dating has never been an effective way to date.  Instead, it’s a way to find someone for a first meeting and then go from there.  I just don’t get off flirting or sexting with strangers.  And this is only an example of what works for me.  This insight will not work for every person out there, not even close.  As there are many women who won’t waste their time meeting someone if they haven’t been told they are attractive or have caught the eye of a stranger.  Expressing desire goes a long way for many, hell it even goes a long way for me, but again, never in an opening message or before an in person conversation (again just my opinion and will not work for everyone which is why I am asking you where your own line is).

My earnest hope in you reading or listening to this post is that you take a little comfort in knowing you are not alone.  And that you don’t give up, or go to the other extreme, which I hope I don’t need to spell out here.  We will find a solution, and we will get out of this grey area together.  Flirting will be fun again!  Mistakes will once again be allowed to be made without witch hunts, and we will again find the humanity in our sexuality, and even our sensuality.  It will just take time, education, asking tough questions and of course accepting a few more stumbles and growing pains.

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Baby It’s Cold Outside and the #MeToo Movement

 

I had planned for my first post of December to be light and fluffy and super fun.  I even created my very own #reindeerBoob (which you can see a sneak peak of on my Patreon) and was going to babble about my thoughts on this internet sensation, however, this post is much more important than my little bit of fun.  For you see, this morning I woke up to the news that various radio stations are banning a song (Baby It’s Cold Outside), and calling it a step forward in the fight for the #metoo movement.  And quite frankly, that is bullshit.

In 1990, 2 Live Crew was arrested after performing a banned song with very sexually graphic and violent lyrics.  This began a trial that was ultimately going to determine the fate of an artists freedom of speech.  Spoiler alert, musicians won, and freedom of expression and speech were protected.  And here we sit, 28 years later, banning music, yet again to protect our little sensitivities.  Have we really learned nothing?  Why do we have to keep making the same mistakes over and over again to only end up in the same place?  This is the definition of insanity.  It’s time to wake up and stop banning things just because you don’t like them.  Censorship never has the intended effect, EVER!

I absolutely think the #MeToo movement is valuable and woke a lot of people up to a major problem in our society.  It made the word consent meaningful.  It began conversations with peers and parents alike about what we can do in our social circles, and how we can better raise the next generation.  Conversations and education are the most precious things we have at the moment to move forward as a society with awareness and compassion alike.  I fully support using the hashtag #MeToo to spread awareness of facts.  What I have an intense problem with, is when groups of people rally together to start banning music, books, media, etc in the name of social change, and in this case a hashtag.  For the past couple of years, people have been rallying to ban Baby It’s Cold Outside.  And when that didn’t work, they even tried to change the lyrics to a more socially aware little ditty.  And now they are just outright pulling it from public airwaves, siting a movement that quite frankly has nothing to do with the song.

NoMoreWetSpot.com

And before you ask me, have I even heard the lyrics, yes, yes I have.  And as I write this, I have the original on in the background with a man singing it to keep his lady friend from going home, and the very funny flip of a woman singing it to keep her man from leaving.  It was written to be sung, with the irony of how a man and women singing the same lyrics would be perceived, in a comedic setting.  Light hearted fun, fit for the times, and with such a beautiful melody, it has been recorded countless times over the years with people eager to give their try as this catchy duet.  Now if you read the lyrics, with zero context and get to the line where the singer says “no” it is firm and playfully ignored.  And I would be a fool to say that this is not a huge problem in our current society.  It absolutely is, no, should always be no.  But I ask you this, what can possibly be gained by banning this song and just removing it from our musical archives?  If you guessed nothing, you would be absolutely right.  And what can be gained from having a conversation about why that part of the song is so offensive and off putting, oh that’s right, EVERYTHING!

We have an opportunity here to educate and change the perspective of people going forward.  We do this by having dialogue and debate.  We talk about what offends us and we work to improve things.  We do not just sweep things under the rug and hope they will go away, because we all know that doesn’t work.  So please, let’s not go back in time, banning music that doesn’t suit out delicate constitutions. Instead, choose to listen or turn it off.  Talk about what we can do to make more socially aware changes in your own life.  And finally, if you have ever thought about blaming a song for you being socially inept and ignoring the word no in your own life, please, sort that shit out, because you are the problem, not the song.

 

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Predators in Direct and Private Messages

Yesterday I tweeted this:

So this is pretty f’d up. Everytime I post something emotional or show I’m vulnerable or struggling my DM’s explode with sliders. Men…stop fucking doing this! Your dick doesn’t look more appealing to me when I’m crying! And it’s not an invitation to get off on my sadness! by K_ghislaine

And I am astounded by the response I received from it.  In fact, I have to say that this has been my most influential post to date, far exceeding the occasional cleavage or sexy picture.  And that tells me that this topic requires more discussion.  Especially after I received a message from a guy who was genuinely shocked I posted this, and asked what men are even allowed to do or say in this #metoo charged environment.  He honestly felt that no interaction was safe anymore and was feeling stifled by the recent changes in response from women.

Ok, let’s talk about this.  9 or so years ago, I was seduced by a private message.  And it was so hot!  Within a few hours of the initial message, this guy was on my doorstep for what was to become a very regular and incredible booty call buddy.  He opened with a sexy tease, I responded in kind, and the flirtation ramped up exceedingly quickly.  He was the first guy who randomly messaged me and was in my bed that day.  Totally success case, and an inspiration to men everywhere right?  But here’s the thing, that’s not the whole story.  There were a few key things that occurred prior to this message that ensured its success for the both of us.

First, we were already friends.  Yup, that whole friendzone thing is bullshit in my opinion and maybe I will touch on that in a future post.  For now though, we had established a bit of a rapport and some trust.  To be clear, we had never flirted previously, we were truly, just friends.  Second thing that happened, I posted online that I was lonely and looking to have a little fun.  Yes, that’s right, I playfully put my intentions out there, I opened the door to have someone on my friends list message me, and take the bait.  I gave consent and permission to be flirted with using my words.  I used more than just a sexy picture (are you seeing a pattern forming yet?).  And thirdly, he was a emotionally stable and mature man, who was playful and listened to all my boundaries without any push-back or manipulation.  It was a fully consensual pairing that turned into something incredibly hot and satisfying.  And looking back, this was actually more like a 1 in 100 success rate for me, perhaps even closer to 1 in 1000.

With that story in mind, let’s get back to my tweet that started this post.  I have been struggling as of late with where I want my future career to take me.  And it sometimes feels good to just vent a little, especially on twitter because I really appreciate all the people that I interact with, and their perspectives.  I feel better just putting some words out into the universe.  It helps focus me, and well, it’s why I blog.  So on Sunday, I did just that, I wrote a little tweet stating that I was having a rough time, and I was hopeful that Monday would be better.  And publicly, there was a lot of love.  But privately, some men showed their disturbing colours.  And it sucked having my vulnerability preyed on like that.  And I do not want to mince words here, what those two men specifically did was predatory.  Offering me a kind ear, getting me smiling and then rapidly ramping up their sexual intentions without any warning or any previous DM history.  And I, like so many women who responded to my tweet were outraged.  Doing that, is NOT OK.

And guess what?  We as past victims, are onto you.  We are onto you all!  Being empathetic or sympathetic does not give you the right to proceed with your ulterior motives.  That is not consent on our parts, and we are tired of feeling weak for showing our emotional vulnerabilities and getting sexually propositioned as a result.  If I want sexual interaction I will ask for it.  And crying is not asking for it by any insane stretch of the imagination.

That being said, let me get back to the guys concern that he no longer knows how to treat women. To that, I say good.  Stop what you’ve always done in the past, and listen to the women you approach.  Watch their body language, listen to their words and ask for feedback.  Do better as a whole.  If you have always had positive “hell yes I want to sleep with you” or “OMG I love when you touch me” then guess what, what you’re doing is most likely amazing.  But, if you have ever felt a lukewarm reception to your advances, or heard the word no, or even just uncertainty, it’s time to stop and check yourself.  And as I am completely honest, I will fully admit that when I was younger, I never asked permission to touch men or women.  I lived by the assumption that every person I touched would be flattered that a decent looking female was touching them.  But you know what?  I grew up.  I realized that I preferred a fully consensual yes you absolutely can touch me, to the initial shocked and often uncomfortable looks I would get in my early 20’s.  It’s hotter for me not having uncertainty in interaction.  I can be so much more intimate and intense that way.  And guess what?  You can too!

In summary, the jig is up.  We see what you’re doing and do not like it.  The guys who are successful have a backstory that you don’t see.  Approaching a person who is vulnerable with your ulterior motives needs to stop.  And if you’ve ever become turned on by helping someone, or having a girl cry on your shoulder, keep it to yourself.  Show self control and DO NOT try and act on it.  It is not the time, nor the place.  Instead, build up a friendship.  Get to know a wide variety of people in and out of your comfort zone.  Listen, read a book or a blog and get interesting.  Only predators go after people who are weak and vulnerable.  It’s time to break that cycle!

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I Just Wanted to Get Lost in the History of the Victorian Age…[Book Review]


So, I decided to read the book “Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage and Manners” by Therese Oneill, thinking this would be a welcome change of pace.  And to its credit it is an incredibly well researched and hilarious look at women in the Victorian era.  And you would not be disappointed to pick yourself up a copy of your very own, which I so happen to have a quick link at the bottom of this post to make that decision a little easier.

Anyways, I spent the first ¾’s of the book delightedly powering though it.  Honestly, one of those cannot put down books, delving into all the questions you never thought to ask yourself about what a woman’s life really was like back then!  And then a big nerve was struck.  The nerve of the moment… consent.  What I found most striking is that our grasp of consent has not differed much since the Victorian Age.

“If they persist, she should tell them in a brief and firm, though polite tone, that she desires to be left to herself.  If a man follow[s] her in silence, she should pretend not to perceive him, and at the same time, hasten a little in her step”.

The above quotation is the standard education that women were receiving if they ventured out of the house and a male approached them.  Be polite, brief, but firm.  And if that doesn’t work, walk a little quicker!  And the thing is, during that day and age, if the man didn’t take the hint, you were basically screwed, quite literally!

I mean, on the one hand, at least women were taught to say no or at least how to if the need arose.  On the other hand, this obviously was not an effective strategy and relied heavily on the breeding of the male on the receiving end.  And yet many women still employ the exact same tactic today.  In fact, I myself was taught this very thing!  I was not educated in the world of no means no.  There was instead a significant amount of emphasis placed on how I was perceived by my friends and peers, rather than what I wanted.  I recall quite clearly the few times I displayed any characteristics that were aggressive or unbecoming of a lady because I would be met with a swift slap across my face.  And that hurts!  So, I would resist toeing the line of an unbecoming nature.  I remained calm, pleasant, and never publicly assertive.

And you know what else has not died with the Victorian Era?  The idea that if women dressed provocatively that is was their own damn fault.  Especially if they were mistaken for an easy target or tricked into the white slave trade also known as prostitution.  That’s right, even though today we know we are all human beings under the law, there are still men and some women, who will state that if you look like a harlot you kinda deserve what you get.  In the Victorian era you could not show legs, or even ankles because you were basically asking to get raped.  And while the modern woman is free to wear what she dares, if push came to shove, you may well be accused of asking for it.  Because again, woman are taught such things as modesty and how to attract a spouse, but no mention is made on how men are to respond or reciprocate in kind.  Boys will be boys after all!

Let’s see here, we still practice polite often subtle “no’s” and we still get judged for how we dress.  Perfect!  And here I thought that we were evolving and had bridged a huge gap towards equality!

Aside from the few points that made me feel like I was still an uneducated prisoner of the Victorian era this was a remarkably funny and amazing book which I highly recommend.  So, grab a copy and please share your thoughts with me on it in the comments section when you’re done!

 

 

Do I Have to Stop Supporting Someone’s Work Because There Are Sexual Allegations Against Them?

Over the Christmas holidays I read Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari, and I absolutely loved the blend of humor and his take on modern dating because it overlaps with what I teach and coach in my day job.  It was one of those positive affirmation books.  Something that I envisioned promoting as a tool to help send the message home of how my clients could or should be approaching dating.  There were just so many times that I nodded excitedly, yes, YES!  This is exactly what I have seen over the years and this is exactly the problem that needs to be sorted out.  Thank you Aziz, for researching this, and providing a book that basically spells out the current key focus in modern dating, that quest for perfection.

So, just as I am in the process of adding this book to my recommended reading list on my coaching website, a sexual allegation was made against him.  Well, damnit!  Now what do I do?  Do I now have a moral obligation to stop supporting his past work, because of a woman’s unproven story.  But wait, does it even have to be proven?  Isn’t that the whole point, that we are starting to shift the mentality to trust women when they come forward, because it does more good than harm?  Ok, let’s go with that.  I’m trusting that this woman was truthful, that she said no, and he crossed the line.  Fine, but what do I do with my recommendation for his book?  Do I pull the book and stop encouraging clients to read it?  Do I start from square one, finding a similar book, with a premise that I support, and an author who has no black marks against him to help my business?  Can I ethically feel comfortable giving this guy money, in order to help my clients?  These questions are difficult because it affects my livelihood.  I could lose prospective clients because of where I place my support.  But, I could also use the resource as intended to actually help people who matter to me.  And let’s be realistic, his book has absolutely nothing to do with the allegations.  So on a simple apples to apples comparison, do the pros’ outweigh the cons’?

These are the tough questions we need to start asking ourselves.  We are making it clear that sexual harassment will not be tolerated.  But where is the reach of this going to end?  Is this something that will affect a person’s future indefinitely, impact their past work and ruin the lives of their children?  Where are we going to draw the line?  Or will it be judged on a person by person basis?  In essence creating a flexible standard of judgement based on the alleged actions and taking into account a person’s history or even accepting their apology? Or perhaps we will land somewhere in the middle, I just don’t know, nor does anyone right now.

I will tell you honestly, that I felt a little weird watching Aziz Ansari last week, on an episode of Comedians in Cars, Getting Coffee.  And I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t find the episode funny, or because I am questioning how to judge his work knowing, that he made a woman feel uncomfortable.  It is super tough to answer honestly.  My biases are showing and I’m not sure how best to address them, other than to start asking questions.

And it’s only fair to ask you all the same question.  Will you click on his cover below that I’ve provided to see his book on Amazon?  Are you curious about the comparison between having no choice in partners, to near infinite choice and how that’s affecting our overall happiness?  Or, now suddenly, is all his wisdom and humor invalidated?  And more to the point, all the interviews, and hard work of his collaborators, do we no longer get to hear their voice because the name on that front cover may have acted inappropriately and we are angry?

When I re-read the title of this post, I desperately want to have a yes or no answer.  But the truth is, whichever celebrity or professor, or politician that I insert into that question, I came up with different answers.  And I think it is a good exercise for each of us to go down the list and put our beliefs to the test.  It’s one thing to shame a person, but where is that line, and is there some degree that they are all equal or can have comparable ramifications.  At what point do we stop supporting their work, whatever that may be?  And for how long and to what degree do they get penalized for?  I think it’s healthy for us to all take a step back, and look at the bigger picture.  Where do we see our future, and how do we get to that place of mutual respect for all humans beings.  Once we know that, I think this will start to get a little less fuzzy.

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