So the other day I had an email exchange with a gentleman on OKCupid. It was, as most of them are, irritating. The conversation culminated with a very long communiqué from him and after all the energy it took to read the damn thing I didn’t have any left to respond. But it gnawed at me. This certainly wasn’t the first instance of miscommunication between the genders and it most definitely won’t be the last. But still. Is there any hope? Our exchange:
i thought you gave up on the whole thing? surely your dance card isn’t empty?
still serving cocktails at double-your-pleasure?
I did give it up. But I’m back. It’s really the only way I meet people outside my social circle. Empty dance card? Um, I’m not currently sleeping with anyone, if that’s what you mean. And yes, I’m back at Double Down after three months out in the desert.
pity. those tits are too grand to be left alone.
Har har. You’re a real charmer.
oh, like i’m the first to make a comment about your tits.
c’mon, abs, i think youre adorable.
Nope, just the oldest.
i know that’s not true. and if you’re trying to insult me you can do much better than that. but nothing sticks.
and i have no reason to insult you. why would i?
It was crass. Of course you’re not the first person to comment on my tits. But through the ether it just comes across as offensive.
And yes, as far as I can remember, I have never heard anyone comment about them who was older than I am, the possible exception being construction workers, since I have no idea how old they are. Not an insult, just an observation.
i’m sorry if i offended you.
there is so much i don’t know, and admittedly don’t understand.
this will be an attempt at a “sweet” email–perhaps even a confessional–but i don’t know that i’ll succeed and i certainly don’t know if it will be received in the spirit in which it’s meant–nicely.
i’m bothering to take a stab at this because you’re clearly a smart (i might even say “brilliant”) woman, but a paradox, not that they’re mutually exclusive.
you were offended by my remarks yesterday even though i’m positive you’ve heard (and hear) worse on regular occasions. i wonder–and don’t beat me up for this–if it’s because of the image(s) you project.
you exude sex, you work in a bar, you’re covered with tattoos, you’ve had a boxcar’s worth of (self-admitted) wild experiences. that a 60-yr old man should comment about your tits should hardly be eyebrow-raising or dare i say it, offensive.
the paradox, as i see it (and struggle with) is that you want to be treated like “a lady.”
this gets back to an old (unresolved) argument: can’t a woman wear provocative clothing without the gawks, cat-calls, and crude comments from men? (ans: no.)
feminists (and i KNOW you’re in that camp; i am TOO!) would say “men have no right (to make comments)” women would say, “what i wear is my business; it makes ME feel pretty, and sexy, etc.”
there are consequences; we don’t live in a vacuum; we have to deal with all sorts of people from all walks of life with all sorts of sensibilities.
do “nice” girls flaunt their sexiness? can they not expect remarks–even less-than-nice–from perhaps “nice” men? the answer is delineated along gender–and people of a certain age. you attempted to dress-me-down with my apparent agedness. i could only be amused.
in july i got into a discussion with a 68 yr old woman (who claimed online to be 62) about what she felt was a patronizing remark i made to, of all people, gloria steinem, only 25 yrs ago. i shared the story of a brief elevator ride i made with gloria at nbc when i was a writer for the Today Show and gloria was trying out for a host position.
gloria was clearly struggling, she was scowling, and not getting guests to warm up; this was obvious to producers and everyone watching her on-air. at show’s end the two of us were the only people in an elevator cab. she glowered at me as she entered (we didn’t know one another even though i had to feed her copy). i said, “try smiling more.” (i’ve said worse to bryant gumble. ) my 68-yr old friend took umbrage, and she made it a point to say when she shared the story with a 22-yr old, the 22 yr old (who didn’t know who gloria was, and didn’t know the situation. and obviously didnt have the sensibility of a 68 yr old woman (or a 60 yr old male) agreed.
my point is perception and sensibility.
you give all the appearance of feistiness; you dish it out but can you take it?
what i REALLY wanted to say i won’t repeat here because of your sensitivity (and sensibility) to “crassness.”
it’s an intersting tightrope you walk–not the least of which because of your self-summary opening–and all that you have encountered–and your self-summary closing, and the declaration that the site is not “okgetmydickwet.”
and i’m crass for invoking your tits? right.
so let’s review here, shall we? i’ve complimented you on your brains, body, writing capabilities, sensibility and [tender] sensitivities.
i came to DoubleDown in May because i was curious to see you person. thru the prism of time, your profile, and your rejoinder to my “crass” remark of last night, i’m hard-pressed to find that “lady.”
i’m glad she exists–if only in your own mind–but i wonder if you don’t get the correspondence you, forgive me, deserve.
and though you don’t believe it, i say this nicely.
the eternal struggle of men and women.
Okay. forgive me, dear reader, if any of this sounds like a sputter. I was so irked it was difficult to write clearly. And I hope you don’t mind that I address him directly, since it makes more sense that way.
I am capable of “receiving” messages in the spirit in which they were delivered. So thank you attempting to be “sweet.” I am smart and admit to being a paradox right in my profile. I believe most interesting people are multi-dimensional and, ideally, paradoxical. That’s what makes them interesting.
Saying I’ve heard “worse” than your remark about my tits is certainly accurate but that sort of crassness has, in my experience, been either in the bedroom, where it might be considered in context, or in jest from a friend or from some rude stranger on the street. Yours was on a dating site. If you are at all interested in me — getting to know me better, dating me, becoming my friend — I have to ask, is this putting your best foot forward? But I won’t belabor your remark. I found it crass. And there’s really no point in arguing about whether or not I’ve ever heard “nice tits” before. It doesn’t matter. It irked me and that should be enough.
But let’s address the rest of your message, shall we?
Because you think I “exude sex” and work behind a bar, because I am tattooed and have had an interesting life, and because I project an “image” that is, quite frankly, in your head, because everyone sees the world through their own filters, because of all THIS, you find it odd that I might want to be treated like a lady. Well, first off, I don’t give a fuck about being treated like a lady. Most people don’t. But you also seem to believe I have no right to be offended, to have my feelings hurt, to be “sensitive” or experience any other “feminine” emotions. Well pardon the fuck out of me. I’ll make sure to have only feelings that YOU think I should have.
Your digression into what comes off as a “She deserved to be raped cause she was wearing a miniskirt” argument is even more offensive. Just because a woman looks sexy doesn’t mean she wants sex. Or wants to hear your crass comments. It doesn’t mean ANYTHING, really.
I am feisty. Feisty as hell. I dish it out all the time and, believe me, buddy, take it all the damn time too. You think working in that bar is like the fucking Plaza? I’ve fielded a lifetime’s worth of crass, rude, insensitive, hurtful, horrible BULLSHIT from men. And a bit from women, truth be told. But it’s all been live and in person. So how’s this: I don’t want to EVER hear anything sexual from ANYONE on a goddamn dating site. Ever. I am no prude but until I meet someone face to face, we are STRANGERS. And making any sort of assumptions about a STRANGER is just stupid. Dating sites, as I’ve written before, create a false sense of intimacy. Merely because you know my favorite movies or books — or think you’ve accurately perceived the exact, perfect “image” of me — doesn’t mean you know SHIT about me.
[And if I might digress for a moment, when I first met my husband, we discovered that we both liked the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's." It featured prominently in our early courtship. I had a bagel and a Nutriment in a Tiffany's bag delivered to him at his office; he gave me the book, with the inscription: "Abby, I hope you enjoy 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' as much as I enjoyed dinner at Veselka." The discovery of our common likes (and dislikes) was a pleasant part of getting to know each other, something that is sadly missing with online dating.]
This is why I don’t like to email back and forth forever or, even worse, “chat” on the phone. Either we get together and see if there’s any chemistry or we don’t. And I can usually tell within moments of meeting whether there’s any chance of romance or not.
You came to visit me at Double Down for your various reasons. Was there a spark? Was I interested in you? Um, no. So there you have it. If a friendship is of interest to you, sending me compliments of any sort — cute, crass, coy, whatever — seems pointless. Other than telling me you enjoy my writing, which is how I’ve made a few other friends on OKC, saying nice things won’t get you anywhere. Especially via email.
My “OKGetYourDickWet” comment is to fend off a certain type of person. It isn’t directed at ONE person. And it wasn’t in a “polite” conversation. I am not, for the most part, a lady. So the fact that you haven’t found her, through your “prism of time,” is not surprising. What IS surprising is that you couldn’t just leave it at “I’m sorry I offended you.” Why that wasn’t sufficient — and the end of our irksome exchange — I have no idea. It also pretty much precludes our ever becoming friends. I am reluctant to make any assumptions but if what you were wanting to say, but afraid to due to my “sensitivities,” was something along the lines of “I’d fuck that,” I can tell you that there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell. Even without your crass remarks and complete inability to grasp the feminine psyche.
Good day, sir!