I’m currently reading a galley copy of “Men on Strike” by Dr. Helen Smith (aka InstaWife). A thought-provoking book that I’ll write about more after I’m done reading it. Basically, it talks about why men are boycotting marriage and fatherhood. Smith likens it to “Going Galt” in that men are taking their production away from a society that oppresses them.
I only just started the book, but it occurs to me, especially after reading a BuzzFeed article titled “Everything You Need to Know About Dating in 60 Seconds,” that women are all-too-willing to let men go on strike.
When it comes to dating, single women and men are told the rules are out the window, which leaves many of us wandering around waiting for our soul mates to drop out of the sky. Even then the best we can hope for is non-date ask that’s masked to insure no one feels rejected. In D.C. this takes the form of someone forwarding you an email about a happy hour with no additional commentary. From BuzzFeed’s article on dating:
Chiara says: “If you want to go on a date, at some point, someone has to ask the other person out, and honestly, it might as well be you. But asking someone out doesn’t have to be as formal or terrifying as you may think! A sneaky way to do it is by simply inviting them to ask you out. Say “Let me know if you want to grab a drink sometime.” That way, you’re suggesting the date, but the ball is in their court.
After reading this silly advice, I was immediately reminded of one of my favorite columns that Ann Coulter wrote for George Magazine (included in her bestseller, “How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)”.
Boys in Washington don’t know how to ask for a date. What they do is try to trick you into asking them for a date. They say, “I know you’re really busy, so call me when you’d like to go out to dinner” or “Call me when you’re back in Washington” or, my favorite, “Are we ever going to get together?” What are you supposed to say to such completely insane things? I’ve never figured that out, which is why these conversations tend to end in hostile silences.
“Call me when you’d like to go out for dinner” isn’t asking for a date; it’s asking me to ask you for a date. For male readers in Washington, asking for a date entails these indispensable components: an express request for a female’s company on a particular date for a specific activity. Oh yes, and the request has to be made to the female herself.
In fact, the incapacity of the D.C. male to request a date is the perfect synecdoche for this whole pathetic city. There is a total absence of normal civilized conventions in Washington. The customer is always wrong, the cabs don’t have meters, and complete strangers ask for the sports section of your paper on the subway. In every real job I’ve ever had, it was a convention for the boss to give a Christmas gift to the people who work for him. In Washington, minimum-wage staffers take up a collection to buy Christmas gifts for the senator and chief of staff.
There’s a reason boys asking for dates is a convention of civilized society. First, someone’s going to have to face rejection. It may as well be the aggressive, testosterone-pumping, hunter male. Speaking for myself, I’ll take 69 cents on the dollar (or whatever the current feminist myth is) never to have to ask for a date. But the whole point of this convention is to reduce, if not eliminate, the need for rejection anyway. The entire dating system runs on implicit understandings. If the hunter male doesn’t like a girl, he doesn’t call. That’s the end of it. If the hunted female doesn’t like the boy, she’s unavailable without a good excuse three times in a row. No explanations, no hurt feelings. When you start fiddling with a centuries-old system like this, you’re just asking for trouble. If you can’t operate by covert signals, you’re going to get horrifying, misery-inducing explanations.