Exuding Sex

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.

Thank 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. 
sincerely, 
m.

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!

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19 responses to “Exuding Sex

  1. You tell him Abby!

  2. It sounds like women have a difficult time in online dating…

  3. it certainly appears that abby has a bigger dick than the bloke she’s sparring with. it certainly appears she’s going to need it.

  4. If it sucks so hard — online dating — why bother? Why not try something else where you are apt to find lots of men, like anything to do with technology or politics? For example, you could attend a few meetings of the Junto Society, a libertarian oriented political group in New York whose meetings are composed of about a hundred or so men and maybe five women. The men are generally bright and well off (or at least better off than average). There are lots of other organizations out there for you to try. Granted, you might not have much interest in the subject at hand, but if the point is “getting out there” and meeting men organically, this makes a lot more sense than any online dating venture I’ve ever heard of.

    Also, as bad as online dating is for women, it is about twenty times worse for men. At least you have numbers to work with and sift through; men do not. Where do women hang out in disproportionate numbers (apart from yoga classes)?

    • Thank you for your suggestions, Gregor. And I can empathize with how horrible online dating is for men; my (male) friends complain all the time. It’s a horror show for everyone involved!

  5. i found abby’s link thru various sexuality sites.

    after reading the above comments i find it head scratching at best to understand abby’s pique and gregor’s recommendation. how can you, abby, get upset at the writer’s reference to your tits (in your response to the “exuding sex” story), when in the first line of your [editrixabby] bio you refer to yourself as a “smutmeister”? seems hypocritical. did you have some kind of contact with this man before that he felt he could take the liberty? regardless of whether you did or you didn’t the language you use through-out your blog is provocative to provoke a similar response from men.

    i am a 48 year old woman who has dated enough online to know that language–body and literal–provoke predictable responses in men, and any comment that has anything to do with sex begets similar responses of sex. this is a law of sexual physics.

    as for gregor’s suggestion to attend “junto society” meetings, well, this is just plain nuts. a wiser choice would be to loiter around construction sites and locker rooms. (kidding.)

    i do share an intimated notion of gregor’s that “normal” online dating sites (or dating venues) may not be the wisest choice for you, abby, considering your apparent heavy sexual proclivity. this is hardly a judgment, merely a view from the sidelines. lighten up. it’s difficult for all of us.

    perhaps i’ll come to one of your beerfests.

  6. Hello, Melissa, and thank you for your thoughtful response.
    I’d like to address some of your points.
    You say you found me through sexuality sites. The gentleman I’m corresponding with in my post found me on a dating site. He didn’t know about my blog. (I really need to change the “smutmeister” title because it’s now been years — unfortunately — since I’ve written for any adult sites/publications.) So he hadn’t read any of my bios, merely my online profile. People who read my blog are FAR more “intimate” with me than potential suitors on OKCupid. (Unless, of course, they Google me and find the blog, a possibility.) It is the nature of a blog (or at least MY blog) to be intimate.
    I am capable of using coarse language — and worse — and equally capable of “taking” it but, as I said in my post, I believe it needs to be in context and, ideally, live and in person. This man did NOT know me. Our only previous interactions were a few emails on OKCupid and him visiting my bar, during busy hours, and not even conversing. Again, he did NOT know me.
    So is having been a writer for adult publications reason enough to be impervious to any sort of “advance?” Or is working in a bar and being tattooed, as this man assumed, reason as well?
    What if I had been a porn star? I suppose one can assume it’s a given that I’d have “nice tits” but does that mean I’d want to hear about them in an online dating overture? Don’t ALL women deserve to be treated politely, initially, at least, by strangers, when online dating? Perhaps not. Your assertion that “any comment that has anything to do with sex begets similar responses of sex” may be accurate, but I had not MADE any comments about sex and he knew me only from my online profile. His reference to my joke about OKC not being “OkayGetMyDickWet” was, apparently, his go-ahead for the tits comment. I’ll be sure to remove that. But since I bartend and have tattoos I’m open season. Sigh.
    Oddly, everyone I’ve spoken to about this has been equally dismayed by this man’s comment. (And I’m talking about people who are FAR from prude, same as me.) It seems that we all agree that “putting your best foot forward” is a better idea when online dating. It was simply unnecessary.
    In retrospect, my use of the words “crass” and “offended” might’ve been unwise. “Put off” would probably have been better. I was “put off” by his words. I don’t have thin skin, as he suggests. I am fairly impervious, actually. My “Har har” response wasn’t a “BLOCKED” or a “Fuck you!” And had he left it all at “I apologize” we would’ve been fine. That he chose to “over-explain” himself was what irritated me.
    Anyway, online dating is a virtual minefield of offensiveness, inanity, rudeness and much, much more. Which, of course, makes it a HUGE source of blogosphere hilarity! Hence my continuing to bother…
    I hope that I’ve explained myself and my feelings about this a bit more clearly…again, my blog is just my (extremely) personal experiences.

  7. i learned a new word last week, maybe you already know it: “prosody.”

    it means the patterns of stress and intonation in a language. internet communication is sorely lacking in this, and as i read the responses to “exuding sex” what comes through loud and clear is misunderstanding–and i’m not sure it’s a “chicken” and “egg” thing.

    abby, you say the “okgetmydickwet” was meant as a joke. where’s the joke? there’s nothing in the prelude to indicate “funny”, unless i’m missing something. you also say you can “receive” as good as you “get” but there’s no indication of this either.

    what comes across in this post and in your “dating do’s and mostly dont’s” is anger; that you’re tired of dating, and that you’re tired of hearing from assholes. you speak to how long it took you to read the writer’s “sweet” note but fail to acknowledge how long he took to write it or the effort he went to explain himself. do you not do exactly the same thing in your lengthy response to melissa?

    we all want to be heard. better than that is understood. of course there’s nuance to every communique but rather than get mad, consider another’s prosody. maybe he was reaching out to you.

    and you get mad at “tits?” have you read any of your own writing? or did i not hear the prosody?

    • You need to read my OKC profile to see the “OKGetMtDickWet” joke.
      My writing is not a reference point, outside of my correspondence with him. YOU may all have been inside my thoughts and profanities bit HE hadn’t.
      I am merely saying that using the words tits to a stranger on a dating site isn’t the best choice of words.
      Either you agree or you don’t.
      Was he reaching out to me? Obviously. But he was refusing to acknowledge — as are you — that I do have feelings, regardless of my vocabulary, my past or my tattoos. Why on earth couldn’t he have let his apology suffice and moved on to more neutral topics?

  8. at your suggestion i’ve read your okcupid profile. funny how we don’t see ouselves the way others see us. i’m not surprised you have your supporters, i’m not surprised you have your detractors. you certainly are a provocateur. you seem to take offense at those who don’t agree with you. (just sayin.)

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  10. I believe the appropriate term for this tool’s comments is “mansplaining.” Glad you schooled him, Abby!

    • keep dreamin’.

      if you’ve read any of the author’s work–and you surely have–you’ll see what a man-eater and hypocrite she is.

      abby speaks about having her feelings dinged and she has a point; the would-be paramour should have tried a different approach, on the other hand, the so-called “slutmeister” (and “opinionated c…”) has the thinnest of skins and cannot hide behind her feelings when her language and choice of words throughout her body of work far exceeds any seemingly inappropriate advance the initiating writer made.

      and then there’s “beatdizzy” (in “always angry”), who finds it acceptable (for abby) to be inconsistent.

      and abby wonders why she has unusual adventures in dating-land?

      as a woman and a feminist the common continuing (consistent) thread i’ve had in successful encounters with men is fairness. methinks the lady (and her overwhelmingly female supporters) doth protest too much.

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  13. Dear Abby, hats off for how you dealt with your commenters and thank you for your story. Too many men think that if a woman ‘exudes sexuality’ they are entitled to get a slice of that. Surely someone that advised Gloria Steinem to smile more can be insightful enough to realise that refraining from complimenting one’s anatomy until he meets you in person is just good manners, but he seems to believe, together with some of your supposedly female commenters, that you’re not deserving of respect in the form of said good manners because you’re so openly sexual, and, you know, good girls are meant to close their eyes and think of England.

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