As a 39-year-old guy who’s crammed a lot of living into his years, I’ve been party to more than my fair share of embarrassing faux pas and given plenty of women dating horror stories to one-up their friends whenever the topic of “worst dates ever” should arise. Some that come to mind:
– my first date ever when I ate a half dozen Vivarin beforehand and proceeded to babble incoherently and dance like a sweaty idiot for the better part of its short duration
– a second date when I hoisted up a girthy cucumber and yelled from across the produce department, “Hey, honey, is this about the right size? Do you think it’ll fit?”
– another first date when we saw one of my exes out at the bar, I argued with her in front of my date and poured a beer on her head from the second floor (soooo classy)
Clearly, I am far from having an untarnished record regarding loutish, even ungentlemanly, behavior. I cringe at the recollection.
Finding myself back out in the dating world after the dissolution of a 10-year relationship, I have had to confront a whole new paradigm of courtship brought on by the ubiquity of communicative devices. As great as it is to be able to find the closest Thai restaurant on the fly or to shut down bullshitters with a quick wiki check, the influence of technology seems to have done polite society no great favors.
I’ll qualify the following by admitting that my views might be influenced by the fact that most of my guy friends are married or in long-term monogamous relationships, so mine is effectively the only male dating perspective I entertain. In addition to being settled down for the most part, they are also not mouth breathing, macho bros, which only serves to compound my social isolation from the kind of people whom I will later address.
My female friends, see, are mostly single, among them an even split of divorced and never married. As we commiserate over beers about our dating experiences, I find myself playing the apologist for my gender more often than I’d like. I am regaled with tales of cluelessness, oafishness, and utter lack of emotional intelligence on the part of my fellow men, which leaves me questioning our prospects of reproductive success as a species.
I mean, what kind of life experience leads a guy to believe that asking a girl if she’s “into butt stuff” 10 minutes into a first interaction is going to yield positive results? How is it one comes to think that sending a picture of his hardware in the same timeframe is going to get him in the door (no pun intended)?
No, Seriously. The unsolicited prick pics. Why?
Has a woman ever been confronted with a picture of a semi-erect five-incher surrounded by a jungle of hair against the backdrop of a dirty bathroom rug and thought, “You know, it’s been too long since I’ve had short, unsatisfying sex with a stranger. Let’s do this!”? (Note: this is merely a case in point, not intended to imply that the better man-scaped or more well-endowed premature phallic image senders among us are any less reprehensible in their acts.)
I have tried to wrap my head (again, no pun intended) around this apparently common practice. Taking it at face value as a strategy to impress a potential mate, basic armchair psychology would dictate that it must be influenced by a belief that it will achieve the desired end. Surely someone, somewhere must have had success with this method of wooing, and the rumors of his conquest must have circulated far and wide to foster this false sense of efficacy.
Dare I suggest that the blame is shared for this phenomenon? There are the peter pic senders, but then there are also women who have not shut them down in reaction, even those who condescended to sleep with the perpetrators. Ugh, why? Don’t they know they’re reinforcing bad behavior? The men, then emboldened by the payoff on their gambit, go on to disseminate their phallic likeness to the next 10 ladies they court on e-Harmony, thinking, “Well, it worked that one time”.
My pondering on the matter has led me to two advisory conclusions:
Guys- Before you go sending a girl photographic evidence that you are, in fact, a male in possession of a real live dong attached to your person, you’d better be damn sure that it’s something she’s interested in seeing. Maybe wait for her to send you a picture of her lady bits first. Or at least her boobs. Or if she says, “Can you give me a visual of what you’re working with in the pants department?” At that point, you’re probably in the clear (be sure to include a banana for scale). Otherwise, better hold off until you know for sure.
Gals- Not that I’m suggesting that any of my fair readers would do such a thing, but maybe you know someone who does: don’t reward the schlong senders! Exemplify the change you want to see in the modern dating world; shut that shit down! I’ve crafted some ready-made replies to aid in this endeavor:
- “Looks like a penis, only smaller.”
- “Does it come in a different size?”
- Or even a simple “No thanks.”
Not to be Marxist, but together, single men and women of the world, we can make the dating landscape more fruitful for one another, thus increasing the chances of those male members being employed for their intended use instead of as awkward conversation starters (or enders).