No, you really don't have to sleep with him for his self-esteem
Cary Tennis had an advice column a couple days ago where the writer described what most women will probably recognize as a sadly all-too-common occurrence--men ask her out, she turns them down, and they get extremely hostile with her. The writer was black and suggested that this might be a black thing, and if she wanted assurance that it's not, she wrote to the wrong person. Men who don't do this sort of thing are usually oblivious to it. Mythago and I educated quite a few of them over at Hugo's blog that being called "bitch" or otherwise treated disparagingly because you don't just drop your panties when asked is way common.
The guys at Hugo's remained unconvinced that a woman who rejects a man only to suffer harassment or a woman who raises a fuss when groped in public can expect to be treated with more contempt by the general public than her harasser. Well, fellas, meet the people who wrote into Salon this week to explain to this woman why she should be downright grateful that men condescend to get angry with her and otherwise express the belief that they are entitled to access to her body just because they asked.
Puh-leeze. Perhaps you did not feel you could take her to task for being vain and shallow because she played the race card, but this woman's "dilemma" has nothing to do with race, or male/female interaction; it's about her own ego, narcissism and insecurities.... It's telling that she only mentions the men's physical traits and never seems interested in their character. She could be missing a real good Brother because of her own hang-ups or shallowness.
Actually, when you shoot a man down for whatever reason and he calls you a name, that's a pretty good indication you aren't missing out on shit. The advice asker did indulge her own vanity a little bit, but nothing outrageous--bottom line, she is telling men "no" and they are not accepting her answer. That is inexcusable and these men should not be sided with.
The next letter is full of pity for men for having to do the approaching.
Because many men feel that the onus is on them to start a conversation or the opportunity may be lost, maybe women who are approached -- by any man, in any league -- should be gentle with any man who has the rocks to go on up and say something. Plus, she can take it as a compliment.
I don't disagree that approaching someone can be difficult. But this is no excuse to disparage someone for rejecting you. Period. Feeling entitled to a woman's intentions is not having "rocks". It's being a bully. By the way, it's quite a trick there, turning someone's hostile temper tantrum into a "compliment". Most of us don't have that rich a fantasy life and know when we're being insulted. And having someone act like you stole something from him just because you won't go out with him is an insult.
The next letter is the standard "women need to lower their standards" letter coupled with the "women owe men their time" letter.
What kind of man would she consider "out of her league" -- and why? And what is she afraid of? What if some man she considers out of her league finds her delightful, interesting, or fun to talk to, not caring if her education or income match his? And how does she know that some of these "unsuitable" men might not be interesting, smart, insightful, warm, loving, loyal and sexy?... I would just suggest, as does Tennis, that she at least give them a minute or two of her time before dismissing them.
I hate to keep hammering at it, but a man who gets angry when you reject him has told you everything you need to know about his character. You may turn Mr. Anger Management into a warm, loving, blah blah in your own head, but odds are that the rest of the world will think you're a fool anyway. But this letter has so much more going on. I would suggest to anyone who is preparing to tell a woman that she needs to consider dating men she finds unappealing whether or not they would give that advice to a man. I know I wouldn't tell a guy friend to date a girl who doesn't feel attraction for, so why would I tell a girl friend?
One person who wrote in today nailed it on the head. Kudos to her.
Just look at films, where someone like 60-something Harrison Ford or Sean Connery is romantically paired with 20-something actresses. Or television, where the stupid, insensitive, balding, dumpy schlub has a hot, thin wife who looks 10 to 20 years younger. And let a woman dare to turn a man down because she finds him physically repulsive, and we're called shallow. Yeah -- he's 50 and is hitting on 19-year-olds, and I'm shallow.
When I read these letters, I tried to imagine what would happen if a woman hit on a man who looked at her, didn't like how she looked, said no, and then got an angry response where the woman says thing like he should be grateful to get attention at all or called him a shallow asshole. I'm sure it's happened, and if there's any guys who can tell me their stories about it, I'd be grateful. But I don't imagine a woman who did this would be getting letters of sympathy from strangers if her behavior was described in a public forum like this.
Edited to add: If you aren't thoroughly creeped out enough for a Friday, read JC Christian's ode to men who love women who can't say no.