I realized something about my own social conditioning when I went out with an *absolutely gorgeous* punk rock boy today.( I mean, GORGEOUS.Collapse )
I cannot tell you how very, very much that is EXACTLY WHAT I LIKE physically, and have liked, since I was about 13. Big blonde mowhawk? Omg. I'm so there. Yesterday. <3 He's also more than adequately smart and nerdy (he's a high school math teacher. We talked everything from social and sexual roles to fantasy/scifi tropes to microbrews) but but but.... he's just so... unmasculine.
Not in a... the way a flamboyant gay man will act "girly" way. No. No one would ever come up to him in a bar and give him shit for being girly. He's still a big punk rock boy. He's just such an ... activist / anarcha-feminist / anti-racist that he ABSOLUTELY REFUSES TO INDULGE IN ANY KIND OF SOCIALLY "MASCULINE" BEHAVIOR. I get WHY he's learned to be so utterly inoffensive. He is a straight white man. Of COURSE every marginalized subculture has always treated him like an embodiment of the enemy. As the activist/anarcho/vegan/punk sort, of course he's become involved in every kind of social equality movement. So of course his hyper-caution around women is logical.
But, but... I LIKE that men are socially conditioned to be men.
If women were socially conditioned to be like that, I would like women. I don't even care about the bits. It's the assertiveness I like. In Ellen's words, "I AM BIG MANZ" behavior. Evolutionary biology has, logically, rewarded alpha behavior. I, like many women, am biologically hardwired to be interested in dominance, assertiveness, confidence, and everything else than men are socially trained to be. As an extremely alpha person myself, this narrows even further my range of acceptability. As I often find myself saying, "I can't stand a man with less balls than I have." It's pervasive - even in, like, the way men MOVE. When I went through the obligatory bi-researching phase in college (I say bi-researching and not bi-curious because I was never curious. I just went to such a liberal school that I got sick of everyone bitching at me to "come out already" and saying "you can't knock it 'til you try it"... so I tried it. And tried it. And tried it. Still straight. Very sure of it now.) I observed that I cannot stand the way women kiss. I've only kissed, I dunno, maybe 20 or so women? So it's far from a scientific survey, but it's enough anecdotal experience to make me tire of the act of collecting data now that I can tell rabid gay advocates to back the fuck off on the homophobia accusations. I find that most women are so horribly passive they bore the crap out of me. Kristina was the worst. Fucking damsel in a tower. She doesn't put her arms around anyone she's kissing, which men let her get away with. She just flops her hands daintily on his chest and lays her head down and makes herself small and lets herself be held. No holding of others. Just being held.
Yeah, that doesn't work at all for me.
I kind of understand, in reflection, a lot of the terminology that has developed in gay (masculine) subculture. It doesn't come up in heterosexual culture because a lot of the aspects are attributed to gender roles and left at that. If a girl is being hyper-passive, she's just being a girl. If a girl actually moves and participates, she's generally praised as being a rare find, but it's not such a widespread phenomenon that a word has been invented to categorize her "type" with.
Gay men call that trait of being an active and participatory sexual recipient being a "power bottom."
It's a little disturbing to me that there exists no equivalent terminology for heterosexual women. Are heterosexual women expected to be non-participatory? My anecdotal experience indicates this may be the case. Both the consistent pattern of men being surprised at how actively I participate (go figure, right?) and of women I've been with consistently being terrible. I find it's very rare that women are willing to break this archetype. (I wouldn't be surprised if there was a misleading high ratio of my friends who were willing to break it, as I hang out with exceptional people.) The only woman I've ever enjoyed kissing was an extremely aggressive bulldyke who moved exactly like a man.
Which gets me back to my original point.
Punk rock boy may be pretty, and smart, and interesting, and too progressive to be a bigot, but seriously? OMG. Make a decision. Make a move. Take a risk. Be a little politically incorrect. Know the rules, then break them. You know it's a role. You know it's an archetype. Fine. So do I. It's still a means of communication. There was a physical theater / pantomime improv class at the actors gym years ago called "risk and relationship." Yes. That. Exactly. Risk offending people to reach out and communicate with them. It is on that which we build a rapport. If everyone keeps being so timid and self-contained, we will never speak. And his complete "bumming all that work off on the woman just so I won't be called a skeeze if I do it, and besides, it's overdue" attitude? Is unattractive. It's one thing to be OPEN TO and supportive of women making the first move. But to steadfastly refuse to make the first move ever is not going to actually help anyone get past their binding gender roles. I did message him first. Because of who I am already, not because I am a mind-reader and knew that's what he wanted. I also messaged dozens of other guys first over the years - all of whom had much stronger masculine socialization and didn't need to "encourage" me. And as someone who needs no encouragement to be bold, I'm still a girl, want to be the girl, and want you to be the boy. I went through my gender dysmorphic phase and decided I didn't want to change my body. I've already thought through the fact that I think I was trapped in the "wrong" body and that in this day and age I do have the scientific means to artificially change that. Okay, fine. I originally wanted to play a boy again, but I got cast as a girl this time around. It's taken me the last ten years, but I've decided to embrace it and get good at playing the girl. I'm liking it now, 'kay?
I'm glad for the socially progressive movement that they have an intelligent and dedicated contributor to their cause. But so much for any ATTRACTION.