The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets


And today, on the Time Travel edition of the internet, this.

I have to assume it’s some kind of 1950s performance piece. Seriously, even on the internet, I can’t remember the last time I saw someone say that if I wanted to catch a man, I should keep my legs shut. Honest. I’m barely paraphrasing. Here, let me quote:

Sadly, in the midst of being encouraged to be “modern femmes” we forgot our dignity, our morals and to close our legs until they actually tells us they like us for more than just our bedroom prowess.

Samantha Brett has certainly put the work in on this one. Here she is (warning: Sam’s so Up With the Net she thinks embedded music is GREAT) with her book on how to catch men. Srsly. Catch them.

And apparently, her top tip is don’t let them poke at your breasts. (I haven’t seen Bridesmaids, but having John Hamm poke at my breasts sounds like something I might enjoy.)

Sam’s theory is pretty simple, and highly original – in that she might not have been born yet the last time women got talked to like this. All women want only marriage. All men want only sex. Fortunately, men are SO STUPID that you can get one to marry you by not giving him sex. See how that follows? No, nor do I.

But then, I’m so dumb I didn’t realise that, when I was having sex with men (having sex with women just… I dunno, I don’t think that happens in Sam Land) it was to get them to marry me.

In the light of that, my enthusiasm for marriage in my Honours year is astonishing. I was engaged to be married, right, and yet, yet! I tried to get three other guys to marry me as well! That must have been my goal, because why else would I have slept with them?

Actually, that whole thing was completely backwards. Because I didn’t keep my legs shut and one of them proposed to me. Whereas I was a smug unreliable douche-bag with no interest in cow-buying. Or I had too much fucking self-respect to think of myself as a cow or something. Also, one of those guys is my current civil-union partner. In fact, if you were going by my experience and you really did want to get married at any cost to any guy, open-legged milk-giving-away would seem like quite the tactic.

But no. I’m wrong. Sam’s the expert on sex and relationships, after all, and she says: lie about your sexual intentions, string a man along for long enough and, slightly before his testicles explode from his uncontrollable sexual urges, you’ll get that engagement ring that’s a woman’s sole goal in life.

Fuck knows what happens to John Hamm after that, but I’m willing to bet he doesn’t get to poke any more boobies.

26 responses to “Moooo…

  1. Tamara July 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    oh my goodness, surely the good readers of the Sydney Morning Herald don’t buy this?

  2. Ngaire BookieMonster July 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    In our tunnel of moral turpitude thank god we have Megan Fox to be our beacon of virtuous light.

  3. Max Rose July 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    It seems a pity that Stephen Fry got into trouble for (supposedly) denying female desire when there are so many female “sex and relationship columnists” happy to do just that.

  4. Max Rose July 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    And did anyone else click on the link for “an iPhone app for getting away with it”, only to be disappointed that it was just an app for deleting call and text records rather than a way to connect with like-(dirty)-minded potential booty callers?

    More seriously, what do booty calls (or friends-with-benefits scenarios, which is more what the piece is about) have to do with furtive texting? Is she equating no-strings-attached sex with deceit and betrayal? More likely, it’s just such a confused, incoherent piece of insecure rambling that she just threw anything that doesn’t match her antediluvian idea of monogamous courtship into the same basket.

    • Emma July 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      So… you’re basically after a straight version of Grinder?

      And… yeah, in her world, it’s not possible to be up-front about your intentions for a relationship, or to just actually “let things happen”, so… I guess in some way you’re ALWAYS being deceitful. But who fuck-buddies would be hiding their texts from…. oh, their other fuck-buddies, I guess. Because you couldn’t be sleeping with more than one person and have everybody know about it. Imagine.

      • Max Rose July 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm

        “So… you’re basically after a straight version of Grinder?”

        That would be nice, except … there’s already Twitter.

      • Max Rose July 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm

        “in her world, it’s not possible to be up-front about your intentions for a relationship, or to just actually “let things happen”, so… I guess in some way you’re ALWAYS being deceitful.”

        Yes, in her world. But it does seem to be common in the world as a whole. I guess that I could quite easily have slept with several women that I’d fancied if I’d told them that I loved them and wanted to be with them forever and ever and have their babies … but I just couldn’t do that. I’m a rake, not a cad.

        I guess most of my sexual encounters haven’t been on a pre-determined one-night-stand basis, but as you say, on a “let things happen” basis. At times, I’ve started out expecting something more only to realise it wasn’t working; and at other times I’ve expected a lightweight fling but ended up falling in love. How the hell do you know whether you want to have a sexual relationship with someone until you’ve actually had sex with them? They might end up being as awful in bed as all those “smug, arrogant, no-strings-attached unreliable douche bags” that have obviously soured Samantha’s view of casual sex.

        • Emma July 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm

          I’ve been pondering this lately in another context, because I think tied into this is our strongest prejudice about relationships: everyone – absolutely everyone – needs to be in a monogamous permanent relationship. That’s what’s best for them. And you can spend some time running around avoiding that, but that’s where you’re going to be in the end.

          So our general social assumptions about relationships get in the way of discussing actual relationships. And stuff like this is encouraging men to believe that the specific woman they’re bonking must be after a permanent partner, and women to believe men don’t have emotional needs – actually, one of the oddest things about this whole idea is that casual sex is supposedly devoid of affection. (By casual sex I mean sex without an intended relationship commitment, not ‘sex you’re totally casual about’.)

          And yeah, I’m a big believer in just seeing what happens. I’m hardly analysing the prospects for the next forty years if I can barely stay dressed in the taxi. People surprise you in all kinds of wonderful ways. The less wonderful ways at least make good stories down the line.

          • Isabel July 8, 2011 at 5:06 pm

            To be fair, in the relationship that stuck, I did carefully analyse the prospects for the next forty years but I’d been caught by surprise when I started fancying my best friend and it was the most angsty, terrifying thing I ever did. While I’m really pleased with how things worked out I think just seeing where things go is probably a lot less fraught.

            And, yeah, I’ve had remarkably affectionate and emotionally satisfying sex with people with whom there was no intention on either part of forming a relationship.

        • Emma July 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm

          Heh, also clearly this year that I’m talking about in the post, I was being deceitful. I couldn’t have been honest, because I thought it was “I’m a monogamous person who just hasn’t found the Right One yet”, and didn’t realise for years the truth was, “I’m probably, basically, polyamorous.”

          Or, y’know, possibly just an arsehole by nature.

          • Max Rose July 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm

            Of the many conflations in that travesty of an article, one of the most insidious is that of long-term emotional commitment with exclusivity. For the sake of argument, I will buy into her heteronormative essentialist generalisations for a moment because it does apply to me: yes, men want sex. A lot of sex. With a lot of different women, at the same time if at all possible. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t want love, can’t offer love, or don’t want long-term security, affection and mutual support as well.

            Does that mean that we want to have our cake and eat it too? [Stop snickering.] Of course. And there are indeed many men who would apply the old double standard by putting it about while expecting their women to be faithful, and that is fundamentally misogynist. But I’ve been in several relationships where my lover had other men, and it didn’t bother me a bit. In one case I had a long-term relationship with a woman who had a live-in boyfriend. We all knew about each other (it’s hard not to when you’re all in bed). Both of us loved her, and I had no doubt that she was in love with both of us. If familial love and platonic love can be non-exclusive, why does romantic love have to be?

            In the end, what sex-positivity means to me is that all sexuality is celebrated, whether one chooses to be monogamous, polyamorous, celibate, promiscuous, polysexual or any combination thereof. Polyamory is not always easy, and it can be fraught with self-delusion and wishful thinking, so one has to pursue it with respect and self-awareness. But that applies to all human relationships.

            I’m not suggesting that everyone could or should give up on monogamy. A lot of people may indeed be in the situation that the article describes, pretending to be okay with non-exclusivity when they’d really rather have something one-on-one. But being open about polyamory is a part of feminism, and indeed it’s a part of humanism, because it not only tolerates but blesses every person’s sexual choices rather than forcing people into roles that don’t suit them, or into deceit and self-loathing when they can’t fill those roles. And in the end, perhaps accepting that monogamy isn’t for everyone will lead to more relationships lasting longer.

          • Emma July 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm

            You and your cake fixation…

            And yeah, I don’t appear to have the Jealousy Gene (and I think I’m only half being facetious about the ‘gene’ bit). I understand that other people do, I don’t think it makes me a better person or anything, there’s just a structured expectation that I will feel a certain way in a certain situation, and I don’t.

            But yeah, when I was with Craig and Karl once that relationship was open… first nobody would believe that I loved Karl, it was just a fling. And once it became clear that I did, and it wasn’t, ergo I couldn’t possibly still love Craig. Everyone’s “solution” was based on the basic idea that I must only love ONE of them. I lost friends permanently.

            But I’ll also cop to doing some arsehole things I couldn’t expect people to understand. Like being just very slightly shitty to the guys I slept with on the side, just to make sure they didn’t get emotionally attached to me

            I wish I’d understood then the stuff I do now. And people like you help with that, because you are so obviously a lovely person.

          • Isabel July 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm

            (We really need more reply slots – this should go a few posts lower or something)

            Far and away the worst romantic decision I ever made was due to having a group of friends insisting that the only decent thing for me to do was to choose and choose now. Of course both, neither and the other one would all have been better choices than the one I made in haste (though I’m fairly certain that the parties involved would not have shared in any harmonious fashion).

            I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect one person to be able to fulfill all ones physical and emotional desires so a relationship is always going to require either letting some desires go or meeting them elsewhere. The trick is in doing it kindly, honestly and without resentment.

            Can jealousy be separated out from basic insecurity and fear of being left out? The times I’ve felt jealous it’s been due to thinking my love loves someone else more than me, fear of being left alone or being excluded from areas of their life I wanted to be a part of.

  5. Lerc July 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Have you ever seen a man have his testicles explode from his uncontrollable sexual urges?

    It’s worth trying once just for the experience.

  6. Isabel July 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    So the women I know who cheerfully put it about a bit (or did in their youth(including me)) and the men I know who have waited for that someone special? I’ve obviously met a whole bunch of people who don’t actually exist.

    • Emma July 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      Lying. Self-deluded. False consciousness.

      I actually don’t know how you explain the men who wait for The One.

  7. Max Rose July 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    That’s flattering, but I’ve certainly done shitty things in my time. Some of those things may have been avoidable if I’d been aware of my fundamental unsuitability to monogamy, and acted openly on that basis, rather than repressing it and feeling like a shit because of my wandering eye.

    I’m reminded of my reaction to finding that my father had had an affair. At the time I was reading Dante, and I thought for a while about which circle of hell he belonged in. The obvious one is the second, for “i peccator carnali, che la ragion sommettono al talento” (as an aside, it’s revealing of Dante’s proto-modern sensibilities that it’s not so much the carnal sinning that’s wrong, as letting desire overwhelm reason). But in the end I decided on the ninth circle, for those who betray. Dad had always emphasised that honesty was the primary virtue, so his years of lying and betraying trust was the worst “sin” he could commit.

    Over the long term, that has helped me come to terms with my essential sluttiness. There’s nothing wrong with being attracted to lots of different people: just be honest about it and don’t lie your way into someone’s bed. Of course, self-deception is often a pitfall.

    • Emma July 10, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      I don’t flatter. Seriously, never, it’s pretty much pathological. If I say something “nice”, it’s because I see it as an accurate assessment. What I mean is that having done shitty things, as you and I have, is no barrier to being a lovely person.

      I’m also thinking I should have written a post actually on polyamory.

      • Moz July 12, 2011 at 10:19 am

        And then a follow-up post on how the writing on/by polyamory can be really helpful for mono couples too. You know, “it’s ok to have close friends other than your primary partner” and “going out by yourself doesn’t mean your relationship is a failure”. Etc etc. Actually, see also “caring for your introvert” 🙂

        For me, a lot of the poly stuff just makes my one-partner-at-a-time-is-ample work better because it’s a handy tool for analysing some of what’s going on. In my current setup, it’s less me needing those intellectual tools than my partner. Reading “the ethical slut” has helped her think about some of the dynamics in our relationship in a slightly more useful way than her Catholic upbringing did.

        • Max Rose July 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm

          Certainly: understanding others is the key to understanding yourself. For instance, I thought that I understood Maori concepts such as whanau and turangawaewae, but it wasn’t until I spent several years in a job where I was in a minority that I could understand them on a more than intellectual level, and really came to understand what it meant to be pakeha. But without a broad and open discussion of the spectrum of beliefs and ways of life, it’s impossible to explore, contextualise and express one’s own beliefs.

    • Moz July 12, 2011 at 10:14 am

      People often emphasise as important the things they struggle with. I find that that idea is correct disturbingly often, especially in job interviews (and the start of any other relationship). Never, ever work for a company that talks about how empowered its employees are. But your father… possibly ditto.

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