I was sitting on my bed, wondering if one day I will wake up to discover that all my hair has fallen out (seriously: I shed like a mohair goat and at a certain point it’s just all going to run out), when my BBFF called, upset: “I need you to go online,” she said.
This seemed like a better thing to do then worry about my hair, so I did, and read this, as she asked me to. “Everyone I know is talking about it.”
I read it. Generally, in sum, a young man appears to have written something he found important about the so-called virtues of female sexual propriety. “This is obviously a joke,” I said. “No one’s this stupid.”
“I don’t think so,” she said. “People I know seem to be taking it very seriously.”
“But honestly, dude,” I said. “It like literally does not even make sense. I mean, literally.”
Women see us drool over that hot girl that is standing half naked in her default picture or see us go wild when we easily get the number to a hot girl we just met on the street. To a man’s perception this seems “right” because it’s exactly what we want: sex without much effort. But for women from the outside looking in, they think that this is what we want, and it skews their perception.
“This is written by someone who has not graduated from high school yet. Or it’s a joke.”
“What is your biggest fear in life?” she asked.
“I have a million biggest fears in life,” I said, “but the one I’m thinking about right now is all my hair falling out.”
“That’s ridiculous,” she said. “My biggest fear is my daughter—I mean, did you see the part about the kindergarten?”
The truth of the matter nowadays is that good girls, as we like to call them, don’t really exist. They are unicorns. You are lucky if you come across one that is actually who she says she is. We sometimes even joke that our future wives are currently in Kindergarten because it is comforting to know that she is currently playing with blocks and not swinging from dick to dick because they sell her a good enough story. And when she’s 18 we’ll snap her right up and she’ll have no exposure to being a slut.
“Jesus Christ, Laura,” I said. “This was written by someone without any sense of how to built a sentence together. Like, by some idiot drunk guy at a bar who everyone hates because he won’t shut up, only this one had an iPhone. You can’t take this seriously.”
“But the things behind it are true. There are asshole guys out there who might judge Ashley [that's her daughter] and that is not acceptable!”
“But Ashley’s only like three months old.”
“Which means this douchebag is going to be coming after her in four years! What am I going to tell her?
So we talked it out. We read, and admired, the spirited rebuttal of this essay/word vomit at Jezebel, but in my opinion, it didn’t go far enough. It’s worth reading in its entirety, and I read its central point as this: Women should not give a fuck about what men think about what they do with their bodies. I think we need to make that argument even bigger: Women should not give a fuck about what anyone thinks about how they spend one second of their days.
Seriously. Make a list of three people who care for you, comfort you, respect you and admire you. Care what they think (and by the way—that doesn’t mean to do what they say. Only to care what they think.) Do not care, ever, what anyone else thinks. Take what you can from their counsel and thank them for it and dismiss the rest. For me personally: I am an exceptionally conservative person in many ways, but I travel as much as I can, often by myself. I don’t like to go to brunch. I’m happy single and I’m happy in a relationship. If someone dropped a baby off at my house, I’d probably feed it, and change it, and I would welcome the chance to take it to Mozambique to live on a beach and help me catch fish, but if someone doesn’t, in fact, drop a baby off at my house, I’m not going to freak out about it.
Do this often enough, be like this often enough—do what you want, rather than what everyone expects you to do—and you may be shocked, like I was, at the reaction: You will piss people off. I had no idea that would happen: I mean, seriously, what does anyone care if I go to Paris or Brazil for two months, beyond the people who have to dial three extra numbers to get me on the phone? Let me tell you: It’s unbelievable, the number of people who give a fuck how you spend your time—chiefly when they have no control over how they spend their own. I’ve been at this long enough that at this point, I just say to myself—when I hear that a distant relative or a friend’s mom or some girl from my old job is talking about what a “bohemian” (not meant in a nice way) I am, I say … actually, I don’t say anything. I think a little bit more about all my hair falling out and then I wonder why some people waste their time and energy being jealous when they work jobs they hate, fail to pursue the things they might really like, and waste their time in relationships with people they never have and never will love. And then I think about what to have for lunch.
Of course, of course, this is true for how women act sexually. Like I said, I’m, personally, a conservative person. Or at least a private one. The one point I take from the piece that launched this conversation is that some women, sometimes, act in a way they wouldn’t otherwise to get the attention of men [who are probably douchebags].
This argument splits in two right here. If you want to be a non-monogamous, anything-goes, ultra-libidinous goddess of sex: more power to you. Thank God for you. I love you. We are, all of us, on a spectrum, and if that’s your place on it: Thank God for all of us, and our different preferences and stories and experiences and all of that. But here’s the other side of that argument: I will hope that my little goddaughter Ashley isn’t too frequently in a position where she pretends to be anything other than what she is. If she’s a prude (hey: nothing wrong with that, either) pretending to be a non-monogamous, anything-goes, ultra-libidinous goddess of sex to earn the attentions of some guy [who is probably a douchebag], I will hope she doesn’t do that often, and I will hope she grows out of it. Because she should just be whatever she is, and everyone else can just fuck off.
I honestly think that the most important thing I’ve ever learned as an adult is that no one’s opinion matters as much as my own. (Well, maybe my parents’, but that’s perhaps because they’re usually right and they’re extremely laissez-faire.) It sounds arrogant. You know what? There are worse things. If all of us women believed that, I think we would be blown away by all the amazing shit we could do.