men

Is Ryan Gosling real?

You know how Ryan Gosling doesn’t exist?

I’m serious. He’s not a real person. I mean, sure, he occupies a corporeal form and is a great actor, but the guy from the memes, the one who wears sweaters made out of boyfriend material and who acknowledges that gender is a social construct but that everyone likes to cuddle and who breaks up fights on New York streets (oh wait that last one’s TRUE)? He is a figment of heterosexual female imagination, born of sheer desperate longing. There is (almost) nothing wrong with this. The only thing wrong with this is that real men are not at all like Ryan Gosling the Dreamboat. That’s why we had to invent him. Because he doesn’t exist.

EXCEPT HE DOES. He is a real person but his name is not Ryan Gosling.

His name is – get this – Rory. HOW CAN ANYONE EVEN HAVE THAT NAME? Rory is a real person with a preternaturally adorable name. We just have to deal with it and move on.

Rory is currently in the process of sweeping my friend off her twitter-pated feet. She is both embarrassed and ecstatic to tell us about Rory because she’s afraid of rubbing our noses in it. He is basically perfect. Let me paint a very shallow picture.

First, we’ve seen his picture. He’s a hottie with a body. Enough said.

Second, he’s a doctor. He saves human lives for money. If Rory were trying to fulfill a perfect man stereotype, so far he’s 2/2.

Third, he met my friend at a church dinner and politely asked her on a date. Since their first, he has continued to ask her on weekly dates, even though he only has one day off a week.

On these dates, Rory pays without hesitation. Gender roles and icky money stuff aside, this means that my friend never has to wonder if what they are doing is actually dating.

Their dates comprise EVERYTHING THAT TICKLES MY FRIEND’S FANCY: classic films, indie bookstores, Italian restaurants. They magically have the same interests and Rory is even more excited about everything than my friend is.

On top of that, Rory moves slowly. Eventually, on like their fourth date, my friend asked if she could hold his hand – and out spilled Rory’s history.

Turns out, that history is pure as the driven snow. He’s never had a relationship before, he was nervous, but he really likes my friend and wondered if she’d be his girlfriend? My friend said yes, of course, and they wandered blissfully hand-in-hand through falling leaves like lovesick yearling fawns.

Ryan Gosling doesn’t exist. But Rory does.

I hope that at least some of you were fighting your gag reflex while reading this. But Rory’s existence begs the question: What do we do with a guy like this? Is he setting the bar too high? Are these realistic expectations to have for someone we date? Which of Rory’s qualities are actually important ones?

Why Won’t She Sleep With Me!? On Sluttiness (Part II of II)

This is a question men ask a lot, usually about specific women. While I can’t speak for the women in your life (although, the answer is probably just she doesn’t want to. Move on), I do want to tackle this question from the perspective of women who refuse casual hook-ups with randoms or acquaintances more often than not. Women won’t sleep with you in this context for a couple reasons, fellas.

1. You (usually) call us sluts afterwards.

I’m not saying you wake up and insult your partner to her face, but you don’t have to. Society does it for you, and you’re a part of that. Women get the sharp and ugly end of the double-edged standard here, to mix a couple metaphors. We all know that men who sleep around are studs and players (even the word “player” has a positive connotation if applied to a dude by other dudes, even though it has a negative one if applied to a dude by a woman), while women who sleep around morph overnight into big ol’ Slutty McSlutbags.

Society tells us that women just have inherently lesser sex drives than men. In fact, women have as much of a variety of sex drive as men do, but they have been oppressed for so long in the expression of that sex drive that women often further repress their urges themselves for fear of judgment and puritanical crackdown from every corner of society.

That translates into a no for you, guys. Want more sexual encounters with enthusiastically consenting women?

Then stop calling us names for joining you between the sheets.

2. You (usually) don’t bother to be good in bed.

Or, more to the point, you just don’t know how yet. This is eminently forgivable, but the problem is when the lack of skill is combined with an arrogant assumption of your own extreme sexual prowess.

For many women, making the decision to hook up with a new dude is a trade-off: will the sex be good enough to make up for the fact that they’re likely to be judged by friends/family/society the next morning? Will it be good enough to put their personal safety at risk by heading home with a stranger that evening? Or will it be good enough to even want to deal with getting home/kicking him out of the apartment the next morning?

The sad answer to that is often: no.

For women over whom the word “slut” has little or no power (kudos!) (and see my previous post On Sluttiness), it may just be that the sad fact of the matter is that men are not well trained in the art of pleasing a female body.

Enter Porn.

Porn is totally fine in a lot of contexts. It’s also terribly abusive and degrading in others.

I’m talking about porn specifically as a learning tool for young men. The use of mainstream, hardcore porn as instructional videos has bred an entire generation of young men who can and will pound away at you for a half hour while you’re dry as a rock and who will never so much as touch a nipple or have the faintest idea of how clitorises differ on different women or that it takes more than random, arrhythmic rubbing to get a lady off, and who, if they have any cunnilingus game at all (to be fair, I’ve never been with a guy who hasn’t willingly and happily gone down on me, but I know there are head-avoiders out there), are sloppy and lack finesse.

Dudes, my challenge for you: 1) Start changing the status quo among your group of friends by immediately putting a stop to any language that disrespects sexually experienced and experimental women. 2) Watch (real) lesbian porn if you want to learn, and don’t forget to use a soft touch. Not to say that many women don’t like it rough, but it’s better to start gently and build up to harder play based on body cues, explicit verbal requests, and the context of your sexual encounter.

Good luck out there – go forth and do not multiply/use protection.