The horrible case of 8 year-old Leiby Kletzky lost on a seven block walk to meet his mother, kidnapped and murdered by a stranger he'd asked for directions, has prompted various forms of outrage and advice. One thing I've seen quite a few places is the recommendation that children be instructed not to ask men for help, on the basis that men are more likely than women to exploit a child. And I can't help but wonder if that's really the advice we should be giving?
How much harm does it do children to make them afraid of men, to be given the not so subtle message that men are by nature dangerous? I can't help but think that childhood lesson produces a lasting impact that is very real, but also hard to quantify. And is the damage done by that lesson given to all children truly less than the impact of the assaults/killings/abuses directed at a minority of children? We can easily say that protecting even one child from abuse is worth just about anything, but that would be a lie. While it's hard to compare these things, as a society we clearly do... All parents could escort their children everywhere they go until they are 18, to ensure their safe passage, but society has decided that the children's mental health requires the risk of them being given independence, accepting the horrible things that could happen when they exercise it. So is a society tainted by the fear that men are likely to abuse them worth the reduced harm to some children? I'm not sure.
And separate from that, does the warning to avoid men when in need not cross (or at least come infinitely close to crossing) a very sexist, stereotyping line? What makes me uncomfortable is that you could use a similar logic to explain to a young daughter that she should stay away from black boys. Statistically they are more likely to commit crimes. This advice would make her "safer". But that would be a horrible message to send a child; I can't imagine any decent parent doing it. It's offensiveness is obvious, the fact is black people aren't genetically more likely to commit crimes, the increased crime rate is explained by socioeconomic factors. And so now we turn to the advice for daughters regarding men. Are men more likely to commit crimes because of genetic/hormones or is it because of other factors (environment, education, culture, etc.)? If it is not genetics/hormones then it would seem wholly "unfair" to discriminate on that basis, just as it would be to warn whites about black people when the root danger is socioeconomic, not race. Presumably one would argue that crime is more common among males for genetic/hormonal reasons, and I'd probably agree that there is some truth to that. But I'm not sure even that is enough to make it an acceptable form of discrimination, when every individual male is being judged with comparison to the aberrant males.
And of course all this relates somewhat to my earlier discussions about SlutWalk and whether or not women advising women to take precautions in situations where their behavior and/or dress could put them at elevated risk constitutes sexism. In that case my argument was that it's not sexist (against women) to make women aware of the risk of assault and mention precautions they could take to improve their odds, as long as those precautions outlined do not necessitate women being restricted in how they dress or where they go, and so long as society does not see those who flout these precautions as no longer being victims, should an assault occur. In this situation with children, I see a few key difference. There is in this case the prejudgment that all men may be potential kidnappers/pedophiles/murderers. In this case the solution is to avoid asking all men for help, and it is the blanket nature of the warning that I think makes it so sexist. If the advice given to children was instead, ask any adult woman or any adult man in some degree of authority wearing an employee's uniform engaged in his duties (e.g., grocery store manager, postal worker, city construction worker, etc.) then I would feel the advice less sexist and more reasonable; I do not know what the right selection criteria would be for men equally unlikely to violate children as the average woman, but I'm sure there are some.
I started to write a very short list of two or three semi-humorous, semi-curious things I look to avoid in women and it somehow morphed into a longer, stranger list which would surely suggest many a neurosis to a trained psychoanalyst. Ah well... If one such therapist is reading, enjoy, and tell me what I've got and what pill will cure me. 🙂 Obviously there are no hard and fast rules in love, I'm sure I'd forgive a girl nearly every item on this list if I loved her so and so.
- Pointy "witch" shoes. The ones that were popular a few years ago. Freaks me out. I do not want to date a witch!!! I don't not want to date a woman with voluntarily deformed feet. I don't like sharp angles. I mean, if you are an ice climber and these are for ice climbing, awesome, otherwise, NOOOO!
- Makeup. I never like it, but if you insist on wearing it, please don't use it to look unnatural.
- Red nail polish. I'm not really a fan of nail polish in general, but if you're going to do it, have fun, pick unconventional colors. The classic red is so done... Glow in the dark nail polish is a winner, black is a bit goth but I won't mind, grey might be cool, even orange or blue. No nail art, though!
- No long nails!!! I don't mind if a girl's nails are an 1/4" of an inch or something, the better she can play guitar with, but if your nails are long enough that you can't do some things, or they break, then ick! I have no idea why long nails would be fun or sexy for anyone. It's a whole lot of scratchy, scratchy, pokey, pokey, uselessness.
- High heeled shoes. Not a fan. I like tall women, sure, but I'd rather you just be your real height. We can pause sometimes on stairs and pretend if you want to imagine you are taller. I like Chuck Taylor Converse shoes on my women. Or other funky, fun shoes. I never want to hear a girl say to me, "Oh, I can't walk that far, because my shoes..." We are ambulatory people! Wear shoes you can walk, run, dance, play in! I don't like those odoriferous Petri dishes they call Uggz.
- Beer taste on the lips/breath. Ugh. Wine taste is slightly preferable, but still not my favorite. My favorite? Jolly Ranchers. I wish all women were always sucking on Jolly Ranchers, but from a variety pack, ideally reflecting their mood towards me. When they smelled of watermelon I'd know it was on...
- Lacy underwear or underwear with flowers. What makes that stuff sexy? I have no idea, they turn me off. Grandmothers wear that sort of stuff. Oddly, though, I find fishnet stockings sexy (though I've never encountered any in real life). I hope I'll be surprised with fishnets some day.
- Dainty watches. I hate that women are encouraged to wear tiny, dainty, functionless watches. Poor dears, they deserve the same rights to wear watches with tons of features like the men's. I once had a crush on a girl in a college physics class because she had a watch with a chronograph! A year later I was in a math class with her and I discovered that my crush was all built on a lie! The chronograph dials on the watch were just printed on the watch dial. The story of my life.
- Women who live within the limits of an inherited, "Women should do...". Some people just seem to think the world should be a certain way, and I'm no fan of that. I think the world should be the way you want it, screw society and its expectations; hard to do, but fight the good fight...
- Women who "know" they are very attractive. Nothing is uglier than arrogance. Confidence, being comfortable with yourself, feeling secure, those are grand things. Arrogance is quite another. Too many people on both side of the gender fence get their ego a bit stroked as a youth and spend the rest of their lives making people around them miserable.
- Women who use their feminine wiles to get men to do things for them (pay bills, buy dinners, move furniture, etc.). Using people sucks. You're one step up below an escort, at least escorts can be respected for their relative honesty and straightforwardness in their social exchanges. I haven't run into many of this sort, though. I did make a friend who soon after revealed to me she was sleeping with a guy because he would fill up her gas tank, and she was sleeping with another guy (at the same time) because he would take her grocery shopping, and another who... Oh dear, she was physically a beautiful girl, but not so much inside. Our friendship was short lived.
- Cowboy boots. I'm sure cowboy boots are probably perfectly suited for cowboys. But there is no excuse for any non-cowboys to be wearing them. A woman or man in cowboy boots in a city makes as little sense as them wearing ski boots.
- Smoking. Ugh. You have taken from me every ounce of interest I might have had in you and crushed it like you do your cigarette butts. You smell like an ashtray, you taste like an ashtray, and you reek of addictive behavior. Not for me.
- "Nude" Pantyhose. Ugh. I used to think I hated pantyhose generally, but now I realize it's just the "nude" or sheer kind I dislike, mostly because I don't like something pretending to be skin color, that's just creepy like a snake shedding its skin. And then at the crotch area the stitching on sheer pantyhose is right there, with flaps, and extra material, and I don't know... it's just weirdly complicated and unattractive.
Things I love with women:
- Winter wear! Hats, coats, sweaters, mittens/gloves! How I love layers! Women look pretty in them, and when the time comes for their removal it just makes things so much more fun! And put a woman in the snow, and wow! I like it when pretty white flakes of snow land on their noses. I would have been a very randy Eskimo.
- Women who like driving. There's something sexy about a woman who takes pride in her driving.
- Sweetness, tenderness, vulnerability. 'nough said.
- Multicolored socks/stockings. Japanese girls sometimes rock this look. But I don't know any. And I am a little afraid of the Japanese when it comes to the bedroom and their tentacle porn. 🙁
- Dancing. I'm a bit too self conscious to really enjoy dancing myself, but I like women who don't have that shyness and might move me past mine. I was once in a a gas station, in line, waiting to pay with my girlfriend of that time, and she started to dance subtly to whatever was on the radio they were playing. It was a truly beautiful moment; I loved her so very greatly in that instant.
- A yielding sexual aggressiveness. I don't want a woman to be all corpse-y, that's no good. But, neither do I want to be their bitch (nor they mine). I advocate for a position of relative, exchangeable equality, with each person taking that controlling interest at different times, a communism of sex. To each according to their sexual needs of the moment, from each according to their sexual ability of the moment, etc.
- Creativity. One of the most attractive things for me is creativity (however it is expressed, in their art, writing, or just the play of brilliant banter).
- Freethinkingnes-ish. In theory I like women who are freethinkers, but freethinking can also lead to freeacting which might include daily orgies and drug induced stupors and I'm not so keen on those. I'm looking for someone who's probably a bit like me, freethinking in mind, but more conservative (cowardly?) in action.
- Smilers. I love women whose smiles elevate me, and everyone else.