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I Have to Pay for Love, and It’s the Feminists’ Fault

Debbie says:

Jonquil has found a couple of essays on related topics, both by politically conservative Anglo American men, and she and her commenters have drawn some interesting and useful conclusions from them.

Steven den Beste is unhappy, because women have been replaced by “female persons,” and female persons don’t smile at him, or hug him:

I paid Raven $200 plus a big tip for a private dance on Sunday.

Wednesday I returned to the same club. I walked in as she was on the stage, and she recognized me immediately and her face lit up and she said “You came back!” and called me over to the stage and embraced me; later she sat down and talked to me. I again paid her about $200 for private dancing and again tipped well. Later after I’d spent as much money as I could justify to myself (I had more but really needed to stop) I was walking towards the door and she saw me and asked me if I was leaving.

Now I have no illusions about her motivation: it was mostly mercenary (though that doesn’t completely explain that last big hug). But it doesn’t matter why she treated me the way she did; the point is that way her face lit up upon seeing me when I walked in, that initial embrace, that eagerness to talk to me, that hug as I left — those are the things I need to be happy in life. I need to get that from someone. I need that to happen a lot. I need it daily. I need it as much as I need food or sleep or water to drink.

And I haven’t got the slightest idea, not the faintest hint, how to get that without paying for it. (And paying for it routinely is not an acceptable answer.) Because I can only get that from a woman, and I’m surrounded by female persons. The only women I know of are married, engaged, or work in strip joints. Every female who’s single that I know is a person, not a woman. I’m not a man to any of them and they don’t treat me that way.

The point is that it doesn’t have to be the way it is. Anglo women have done this deliberately, and I’m not sure they realize just how much they’ve damaged Anglo men in their search for professional equality. There’s a price for everything, and in this case it’s the male persons who have paid most of it. By changing from women to female persons, they’ve forced all their male coworkers to change from men to male persons, whether they wanted to or not. And that was a very high price for the men to pay, because unlike the women, the men got no benefit whatever out of this change. Just pain and loneliness and confusion and fear.

Leo Frankowski (who wrote some very entertaining science fiction novels back when I was a bookseller) has “solved” a very similar problem.

And the more that I looked at the women of America, the less I wanted to do anything with them. I wanted a woman like my grandmother was. Intelligent, tough, and self reliant. Warm, loving, and absolutely straight. Compassionate with all that lived, caring and supportive, but don’t you DARE cross her! There don’t seem to be any of those any more in America. Then I stumbled across a web site that told me that for the price of a small used car, they could bring me a place filled with beautiful women eager to meet me.

Six months later, I flew to Russia, and had a wonderful time. Beautiful women, sometimes three and four a day, were absolutely eager to meet fat, old me! In a few weeks, I picked a pretty thirty year old who ran her own business. That’s right, I picked. I wasn’t in Kansas any more, or Michigan either. I bought her a diamond ring, and we spent a weekend in St. Petersburg together. Then I went home to get her Fiancee Visa going. Well, I picked wrong, and in a few months I broke it off.

But after I spent six more months back in Michigan being lonely, I … headed back to Russia with two suitcases. It was the smartest thing that I’ve ever done. Over the next year I dated over 80 fine ladies, and finally picked Marina, whom I married.

If your stomach can stand it, more in a similar vein can be found in this 2006 Harpers article by Kristoffer Garin.

Jonquil pretty nails one key point:

Leaving aside the commoditization of women, there’s a fascinating political conundrum here. Either of these men would be severely mocked by his cohorts if he complained that he wasn’t getting the wealth that he was owed, or that he couldn’t get health insurance and other men could. He would be told to suck it up and compete in the marketplace; that losers deserved to lose. And yet “women won’t pay attention to me” is a plaint that can be made with no fear of abuse from other conservatives — if attractive sympathetic women are a rare commodity, the fault is that of society rather than that of the commodity-seeker. This is the rare situation in which society apparently owes resources to the individual.

In a related, but more body-image-relevant point, what struck me in den Beste was the absolutely overt racism:

And every single Hispanic female [at a wedding] was a woman. And every single Anglo female there was a person. The contrast could not have been more vivid. It was astonishing, and to me even a bit intimidating: every single Hispanic woman there liked being a woman and liked men. You sure couldn’t say that about the Anglos, though.

I can guarantee you that if I had the opportunity to tell den Beste that this is racist, he would tell me it was anti-Anglo and pro-Hispanic. However, in the first place, any bright-line division of behaviors by race or ethnicity is racist. In the second place, what he’s really saying is that (some) Hispanic women have comparatively few economic and professional choices, and thus may have more need or more motivation to attach themselves to men. And every woman knows what kind of behavior is required to attach herself to a man. den Beste is smart enough to know that the lap dancer is responding to his money, not him, and it’s worth it to him to pay her for her attentions–he’s just unable to make the jump to see that the Hispanic women may also have been responding to his money, job, and class … or practicing on him until they find a man they like whose money, job, and class suits them.

Frankowski is dealing with Caucasian Russians, so he forsakes racism for classism. Notice how he is proud of “choosing” a woman, and “picked wrong.” There’s absolutely no indication of what happened to the woman who was the wrong choice: she could be dead, she could be in jail, she could be stranded in this country with no job and no income; she could be married/ remarried; or she could be in Russia in her old life. He doesn’t know, and he doesn’t care. She’s not real to him; he’just “picked wrong.” And because he has American money, he can pick again and, he can pretend that he’s bought genuine love rather than value for dollars.

So many things are going on here: these men don’t understand that affection, attention, attraction, sex, and love are all different things. They don’t understand that economic freedom for women means at its most basic level that women are under much less pressure to settle for the best of a lot of bad choices. They don’t understand that human interactions are complicated and rich and nuanced, that women who don’t run up to den Beste and hug him at work might very well go home and hug their sweetheart(s) with great delight, that women who don’t fall at Frankowski’s feet might simply be looking for a different kind of man (possibly one who thinks women are human?).

It all comes down to two truths: 1) if you want something badly enough and you have money, you can almost always pay for an imitation and pretend that it’s the real thing; and 2) to get real loving attention from someone, you have to offer exactly that to people until you find someone who wants it from you. That’s how you get it back. As long as (some) men continue treating women like a commodity, they’ll be paying for those imitations … and blaming women because it’s so much easier to blame women than to take responsibility for how people respond to you.

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9 Responses to “I Have to Pay for Love, and It’s the Feminists’ Fault”

  1. littlem says:

    “And I haven’t got the slightest idea, not the faintest hint, how to get that without paying for it. ”

    This is the problem in a nutshell. I’ve read other odious essays like this, in other places. For these men, it’s all about what they can GET, and what they WANT. It’s about people
    1) whose social skills are so underdeveloped that they can’t seem to grasp the concept of reciprocal affection, and yet
    2) who could give less of a d*** about altering that problem, THAT THEY HAVE, so that they can “get what they want from a woman”.

    In other words, a brain that teeters on the edge of autism (not an insoluble problem) coupled with a MASSIVE entitlement complex (BIG problem).

    I am repeatedly amazed that you’re not more widely read. Maybe your analysis makes too many people who want to wallow in the status quo way too uncomfortable.

  2. Anna Feruglio Dal Dan says:

    I have the opposite problem. I keep looking for male persons, and all I can find are men.

    Apart from my gay friends of course – those are, mostly, male persons, at least with me. And you know, you can get a lot of smiles and hugs from them.

  3. Sniper says:

    Wow. I’ve often heard that feminism is the radical notion that women are people. This guy would apparently agree in the worst way.

  4. Debbie says:

    littlem, yes indeed, and many thanks for the compliment!

    Anna, I’m not quite sure what the difference is between a man and a male person, but if you mean that sometimes it’s lovely to have friends of the opposite (or a different) gender and just enjoy the friendship, I completely agree.

    Sniper, I think that quotation is from Katha Pollitt. I like it a lot and love how you thought to apply it in this context.

  5. Lizzie says:

    I’ve been reading whining stuff like this in the fannish community for years. I’m not any sorrier for them now than I’ve ever been.

  6. Sarah says:

    Wow, I may be a somewhat sheltered 25 year old woman, but I can’t believe that a man could sit there and say that women aren’t what they used to be and that someone us wanting more in our career and our life (outside our relationship with a man and our family) has created some kind of distress to men…a disturbance…well frankly that’s the point…to create a change.

    It is harder than I think a man can understand, I have found, in terms of growing in your professional career without loosing you feminism and essence of a woman…it’s a hard to thing to negotiate.

    It’s incredible how much he passes such a sweeping judgment over the female population…

  7. Not-Raven says:

    I worked as a stripper for a while. Maybe it has jaded me. I think what these men don’t understand is that in ALL relationships there is a give and take–a transaction, if you will. Strip clubs are for men who are too lazy to find another commodity to trade for affection. Is it too difficult to find something of value in yourself to give to another person in your life? (And if you think this thing of value needs to be material, then I feel sorry for you.) Well, if it’s too difficult, if you can’t do it, can’t make something worthwhile of yourself, something loveable of yourself, if you can’t make a woman want you for something, anything–then you can pay her to pretend, in a strip club. And in a strip club, for a while, you can live a fantasy. But that’s all it is, and I feel sorry for you. Just as I felt supremely sorry for the men who visited me three nights a week, or the man who paid me just to sit and talk with him, and pretend to be his girlfriend, on the phone with his brother. It’s sad, that’s what some men come to. It’s bad enough, that. But at least that option was available to them–through MY choice. Because I was willing to play that game, for that price.

    These men that are complaining? They’re too lazy even for that. Too lazy and unwilling to find some way to make themselves wanted, and too cheap to pay the price for their incapacity to make themselves worth something to someone. (Men: Don’t discount the value of unconditional love. It’s a valuable thing to some women, if it’s a price you’re willing to pay.) What’s sad is these men who are too cheap to pay the price? They think taking away choice of the women (or female persons, if you prefer) would somehow make that easier for them. Not likely. They’d still be competing for the same women, and against the same men. I suppose there’s some chance they’d have to prove their worth to a woman’s father/brother/guardian instead of to the woman, but the game would play the same. And ultimately for that “lit up” expression–that natural affection–a man would STILL have to make himself appeal to the woman he’s taken as his.

    If you want someone’s face to “light up” when they see you, then you have to give them something so wonderful that they hope to get it from you again and again. If the only thing you can come up with to give a woman is money, I’m sorry for you. There are other things, worth more. I’ve been paid for my affection (nothing more, I was never a whore) and yeah, I was thrilled when a regular came in to see me–a sure thing, I was happy because I saw my car payment in his smile. But I felt sorry for them on the days when they asked me out on dates beyond the club, or when they tried to get my real name or number. They were never anything but a car payment. And what tiny portion of caring I gave for those car payments (and house payments and credit card payments) could never for one second equal the love I’ve traded just for one smile from the man I know will love me above all others, will love me every minute of every day, just because I am me.

    I feel sorry for that man that he could confuse Raven’s car payment for anything resembling true affection. He could probably get the same reaction by making consistent large purchases from any commissioned salesperson on a regular basis.

    Poor stupid man.

  8. Laurie says:

    Not Raven,

    Thanks for the really cogent and useful comment.

  9. Lynne Murray says:

    I have to say this is an extremely tangled knot of seeking out a fantasy to hide in, rather than finding joy in real life–which might require self-examination and difficult compromises. When I met my first lover I was 17 and he was 25. I later learned he had a penchant for finding teenaged girls with low self-esteem and using them for awhile before ditching them for even younger girls. He used their youth and inexperience to prop up his shaky self-esteem. Like so many people who look for solutions outside of themselves, nothing seemed to work for long and nothing was ever his responsibility.

    When I encountered him about a decade later he wasn’t able to attract the teenagers anymore so he was resorting to lovely young prostitutes he could pick up on Sunset Blvd. in LA. After rhapsodizing about their perfect bodies and intoxicating youth he said a little wistfully that “there can be love between a hooker and a client sometimes.” One of my friends who had worked as a prostitute during her own teenage years heard the remark and commented, “Only in his fantasies.”

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