From Wednesday to Wednesday, May 28-June 4, 2008, The Playground will be participating in the Fourth Youth Media Blog-a-thon hosted by YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia and WireTap. Youth bloggers– along with any bloggers dedicated to writing about youth issues and youth media – will address the topic of sex.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me just put this out there from the start: I've got no game. Despite plenty of charming Gemini in my astrological chart, I've grown accustomed to striking out with the femmes I find so alluring. Now, certainly, I carry some baggage about straight girls/gay boys wanting "real" men and lesbians wanting "real" women, but on good days, I consider myself a pretty decent catch--intelligent, sensitive, thoughtful, possessing a sense of humor, good-looking in a quirky sort of way...and humble. Did I mention humble?
Anyway, the point is, I'm definitely more dateable than a burlap sack. So how is it that I end up spending night after night watching crappy television shows on my laptop computer with only a quart of ice cream to keep my company? I don't blame it on the sunshine, the moonlight, the good times, OR the boogie. I blame my politics.
Let me just give you an example before I delve into an explanation. Last week, I saw this GORGEOUS woman working at the campus post office. She helped me mail my letter between coy smiles and batted lashes, and if I were anyone else, I probably would have summoned the courage to make a move. But I did nothing. And do you know why? Not because of a lack of self-confidence, but because of an intense understanding of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of uninvited advances. She may have been flirting, or just being herself, and I was NOT about to inadvertently become the cause of another horror story of harassment or violation through questions or comments that seem innocent enough, but whose impact could not be predicted when put in the context of a larger society. I wanted to tell her “you’re really beautiful,” but I stopped myself because she was at her workplace, trying to earn a buck, and not really asking to have her looks assessed by her customers.
See, the thing is, I have a tough time "playing" the game when I know how badly it hurts to get played. I know how painful it is to get fucked up by patriarchy time and time again. So when I see a woman I think I might want to ask out, I don't. I get stuck on the sting of sleazy advances and objectification and struggle to find the path that allows me to be her respite from that world.
I know that even with the best intentions, I can’t escape the system; I’m a part of it. Presenting and being read as male can make me dangerous, and my politics would rather I stay dateless than risk perpetuating that insidious pain and fear that seems inevitable in our culture. So I do nothing.
OR, alternately, I enter into the friend zone, get to know her better before saying anything, and end up past the point of casual dateability. I get to that spot where we already care too much about each other to risk the friendship for a bit of mutual fun, and end up with an inner circle of ridiculously good-looking friends.
So my politics sideline me from the dating game. I sit on the bench in my warm-ups. A little frustrated with my lack of playtime, but trusting that it’s for the good of the team. And holding on to a glimmer of hope that if I'm patient enough, maybe one day she’ll find ME and pull me on the court.