The brainiac wars
Boy, am I familiar with these. An ex-boyfriend once told me that I need to have a meek, submissive boyfriend after we quarrelled, and I was really offended and told him so. And with very feminist language--I explained that if he had this model of relationships where one person always dominates, he would probably always be lonesome. Anyway, I was put in mind of that after reading Lauren's blog post about dealing with a guy at a party who seems to have been using the old flirting method of putting a girl in her place by trying to intimidate her intellectually. (He defends himself in the comments section, but I am only more convinced of her side of the story because of what he says. Read it and see.)
For the record, my current boyfriend is not meek or submissive but also isn't overly committed to making me fall in line with his opinion. Trying to bully others into line is something that people do associate with leftists, but it's a behavior that knows no political or intellectual bounds that I can think of. The only strong correlation between this and any other trait, in my experience, is a sort of insecure snobbishness. Some insecure snobs are like me--we talk a big game but capitulate at the first sign of disagreement and hide in the corner. And some are just bullies.
What I don't get and will never get is why some bullying types think that their behavior is so damn sexy. What's clear is that the guys who have pulled this shit on me that was pulled on Lauren tend to single out topics that they have correctly guessed are things I care about. My all-time favorite story on this subject is the guy who hit on me by offering to buy me a beer that's better than the one I had in my hand. Since I was drinking Miller Lite, there is no reason to know that I have a secret side that loves expensive beer, but there you go.
There's no doubt when you run across someone who hits on you by making statements that convey that he thinks that you are the sort of woman who appreciates what he does, though obviously you are not in his league, about what his motivations are. I mean, it's tempting to believe that you could date someone who both sppreciates what you are talking about, but knows less than you and so sits in rapt attention while you pontificate. Hell, I'm enthralled myself. But c'mon. Does it ever work?
I have been hit on this way by more guys I can count. Either they thought they knew more about literature, art, beer, music, whatever, and it was very important that I knew that right away. And it's never really worked. (Well, not since I was legal.) I always fell for guys that I can blah blah with back and forth, who I do respect but I find also respect me. You know, like a friend. One of the things I really enjoy about my boyfriend and about my closest friends, male or female, is that we can be relaxed and excited about stuff we like without getting our egos all in a tangle over it. Just listening to that show Pop Vultures the other day, my boyfriend turned to me and said, "Damn, I think that we could do a show like this. Like with me and you, and ____ and ___. Hmmm.... Who else?" And I offered a couple other names, saying why I thought those people would have unique and valuable perspectives.
I guess that's why I just don't get all the fucking infighting that occurs in any leftist arena, be it men wanting women to take on roles as a chorus of admirers or the punks who beat up Jello Biafra because they thought he had "sold out". I'm as egotistical as the next person, but even I think there's a lot of value in respecting other people, especially those people you know for a fact have similiar goals and values. C'mon now--there's bigger enemies to fight.
And I really don't get any guy whose head is so far up his ass that he can't see that bulldozing women is offensive and sexist and isn't going to get you into the beds of the women whose brains are so attractive in the first place.