Why I never want to hear the term High Maintenance again

One of the most vile phrases I have ever heard is “high maintenance” in reference to a woman. Not just because it’s a term better suited to automobiles (something else hetero men like to climb into and control). Not just because it puts a value on the amount of work men have to do to gain sexual access to a piece of talking meat. And not just because it seems like a good 90% of men insist on having a “high maintenance” woman when they don’t have to, just so they have something to complain about. (More on some of this later.)

But mainly because you know who’s high maintenance? MEN. And you know why they don’t get called on it? Because our society has deemed the amount of maintenance hetero women expend on men and relationships with men to be “normal duty.”

An expensive piece of tail

The image I have of a “high maintenance” woman (from the perspective of men who complain about them) is a heterosexual woman who accepts that her sexuality is a commodity and attempts to “charge” men the highest prices possible for access to it. She makes them take her out to more dates before giving them sex, compared to other women. She waits for them to impress her with gifts and fancy dinners. Is she even attracted to men, or sexually alive? Who knows? It doesn’t matter to the men who complain about her. She can lie back and think of diamonds when she finally decides they’ve earned a throw.

This is a pure transaction, nothing more, nothing less. The man’s attitude is that of a shopper, looking at inanimate objects and trying to decide if it’s worth paying extra for the model that comes with the huge boobs.

The expense of a piece of male tail

But while men who buy into the idea of women as sex meat for sale to the highest bidder complain about having to work to earn tail, no one ever talks about the expense of hooking up with a man. Please note that not all of these “expenses” are the direct fault of the man in question: we have such a sick and twisted double standard that even in a relationship with a really progressive, feminist man, a woman can still carry a lot of extra, useless burdens.

  • She’s supposed to make him feel good about himself; he’s supposed to make her feel pretty. We’ve all been programmed for who knows how many centuries to think that “Honey, you’re so smart” and “Honey, you look so pretty” are equivalent. They’re not. The sad fact is, neither boys nor girls are trained to expect men to dig deeper and express what really makes them care about a woman. And some men really aren’t looking for anything deeper than beauty. As a woman who would like to receive compliments on her impressive intellect, sense of humor or strength of character, I find it extremely disheartening to instead get fumbling reassurances about my not-so-impressive looks. And men seem to be deeply confused by me because when I honestly acknowledge I’m not the best-looking woman around, they interpret that as low self-esteem (what has a woman to esteem but her looks), and yet my frank talk about my intelligence is interpreted as obnoxiously arrogant (interesting, considering I pattern that talk after the talk of men who are not considered to be arrogant).
  • Their needs come first. Now, there are a lot of men who don’t operate this way – who, for example, don’t think twice about relocating to where the wife or long-term girlfriend has gotten a great job offer… but their families and friends are almost sure to ring in with opinions of what a manipulative spell-casting witch she must be to make him relocate like that. Conversely, if he got a great job offer elsewhere but she wanted to stay near the grandparents so the family has trustworthy baby-sitters available, she is a selfish, demanding “high-maintenance” woman. While this is not the man’s fault (unless he buys into that double standard himself, of course), it is one of the stresses and therefore “costs” of being a woman who forms relationships with men.
  • They don’t initiate relationship maintenance. This is a very, very “invisible” problem because we’ve all been trained from birth that women initiate communication and want to discuss problems while men avoid communication and hope for the best. We’ve all been taught this is innate monkey behavior – to be fair, I don’t think men even feel it’s permitted for them to initiate talks when they feel a relationship slipping away (and I’m not sure most women would react positively, either – that’s how skewed the whole mess is). If she doesn’t initiate talks, she must not really care. If he doesn’t, well, that’s just because he’s male. If you’re a woman like me who somehow missed all this programming and tends to wait for him to initiate the talks to prove he really cares, you’ll find you’re in for a shockingly long wait.

Those are just the costs of entering a relationship with a man who respects and values women. If the man has inherited any degree of the sexism of his culture – and let’s face it, most men and women have, and don’t even realize it – a woman has additional burdens:

  • She’s expected to accede to his desires. When he wants to have sex, buy something or go out, she must accede to his demands or else he will receive sympathy from everyone around about her “henpecking” and encouragement to dump her ass or find a nice cozy piece on the side. If she wants to have sex, buy something or go out, there are no penalties for him to refuse her. In fact, if she’s always asking him for things he doesn’t want, that too gives him material to gain sympathy from friends and family.
  • She’s expected to be more forgiving. Women are counseled to give second chances and overlook misdeeds more often than men are. We need to understand that men are inferior when it comes to being moral, sensible or sensitive, even though they are our superiors in all other ways and naturally better suited to running the world. (This is a neat bit of doublethink I never mastered.)
  • She’s expected to make sacrifices and do more than half the housework/child rearing even while working full time. A lot of men still think they’re making a Great Noble Sacrifice if they “babysit” or do the dishes once a week. As Eames on L&O: Criminal Intent once said: “Newsflash: it’s not baby-sitting if they’re your kids.” Many men still receive accolades and sympathy for doing even a quarter of the tasks for the whole couple.
  • Her requests/demands are seen as frivolous tests of the man’s love rather than genuine needs or wants. Whether she’s asking for a working dishwasher, help at home that would allow her to work overtime and earn more/get a promotion, or a ludicrous collection of diamonds, a man who’s inherited the culture’s sexism tends to interpret her desires as a test she’s made up just to annoy him. She’s not fully human like he is, and therefore can’t really have passions or dreams. She’s just faking it to see how high she can make him jump.

And so on, and so forth. Please: never, ever tolerate someone using the term “high maintenance” to describe a woman. Please at the very least look appalled (like you would if someone offered to tell you a good racist joke) and instruct them never to use that term around you again.

Comments

  1. harlemjd says

    I’m glad to hear someone else confuses men by acknowledging that she’s not beautiful.

    I usually hear “high maintenance” used to describe women who put a lot of effort into looking good. Which makes it all the more annoying when guys complain because they’re not the ones putting in the work of maintaining.

  2. says

    Recently, I’ve heard it more frequently in a fairly practical sense – a “high maintenance” hairstyle/wardrobe/car rather than a person. Except that my mother and father both refer to my father jokingly as a high maintenance husband because of his care requirements these days – though once again it is true on a practical level.

    The list of expectations remind me of one of our family doctors who told my mother her sons were home defrosting the freezer because she was “raising husbands, not boarders”.

  3. Scarlett says

    I don’t suppose you pilfered some of those points from the things I’ve said about my ex? That, or the problem is a lot more widespread than I thought it was :(

    Looking back, I can’t believe how much energy I expended on my ex catering to what he wanted and swallowing it when his expectations didn’t apply in reverse. The scary thing is, if he hadn’t been QUITE as unreasonable as he had been, I probably would have stayed.There’s definitely a culture among the women I know to accept lower standards from their boyfriends and husbands then said boyfriends and husbands expect from them.

  4. scarlett says

    I usually hear “high maintenance” used to describe women who put a lot of effort into looking good. Which makes it all the more annoying when guys complain because they’re not the ones putting in the work of maintaining. 0 harlemjd

    Heh, this ex of mine used to whinge constantly because he didn’t like the colour of my hair and wanted me to dye it. Refused point-blank to pay for it or the treatments I’d need afterwards, or aknowledge that BLEACHING HAIR DAMAGES IT though.

    My undersanding of ‘high maintainance’ was a woman who spent an extroadinary amount of time looking good – hours a day at least. To me, if a guy wasn’t happy with that, he was free to date a woman who didn’t look like a supermodel 100% of the time, who, you know, looked like a regular person at the breakfast table. Oh, so you WANT a stunner over morning coffee? Make up your bloody mind. You can have someone who spends a lot of time on their image and always looks like she belongs in a magazine or you can have someone who takes half an hour to get ready who looks like a regular person, but you can’t have the stunner AND whinge about it.

  5. Jennifer Kesler says

    @harlemjd, it’s crazy how people react when a woman cheerfully says, “I’m not beautiful, but that’s okay – I have other things going on.” From the awkward, tense responses, you’d think someone had just announced they had a terminal illness.

    @Kathleen, “husbands, not boarders” – that’s awesome!

    @Scarlett, your recent comments about your ex- did some to mind when I wrote the paragraph about “if he wants to and she doesn’t, they do.” But I’ve heard that SO MANY TIMES before. It is terribly widespread. In fact, I doubt there are very many women who’ve dated men and NEVER made that mistake once.

    To everyone:

    I have heard a lot of women refer to “high maintenance” as a woman who puts in a lot of time and/or money on her appearance. Which is part and parcel with the whole idea of selling your companionship for the highest possible price. But from discussions I’ve had and listened in on with guys, I think from their perspective it means a woman who’s not easy, but is so attractive she might be worth all the headache. And that usually boils down to a woman who looks like a supermodel, i.e., the culture’s ideal look for a trophy mate.

  6. sbg says

    Oh, man, some of this really hit home. Every man I’ve ever dated has been extremely high maintenance. It always came to a point I was too exhausted to keep up, and realized exactly how much of me was being drained away while I was trying to be perfect for him. What a mess. No.

    But I’m sure if you asked them who was high maintenance in the relationship, they’d point to me.

    Hey, I’m all for doing some of those things on the list as long as I get the same in return.

    Also, I’ve often puzzled about why people, not just men, react like I’ve said something tragic when I express a realistic view of my beauty (or lack thereof). Oh, I’m cute enough, but I ain’t no head-turner. What’s so wrong with knowing that?

  7. Firebird says

    When I think of “high maintenance” I think of someone like my sister; yes, hours on appearance, yes tons of clothes and shoes, but more about the way she is in relationships. Things are always on her terms. You’re ready to talk when she is or the conversation doesn’t happen. You give her what she wants and don’t dare ask for anything. She flies straight from lovey-dovey to a towering rage, and then calms down without ever talking or resolving anything.

    When I think “gee, I think I’d rather be in a relationship with a guy” the tired feeling I have is from imagining being in a relationship with a girl like my sister. When I (mistakenly perhaps) commiserate with guys about the games women are said to play, it’s girls like her I have in mind. I am, unfortunately, prone to forgetting that culture insists women must play games and manipulate to get anything done. How many movies have a mother telling a daughter to make her man think her idea is really his?

  8. Jennifer Kesler says

    @Bellatrys, here’s a high five on the stayin’ single theme! Woot!

    @SBG, that makes three of us who get weird reactions for acknowledging that we look the way we look. I think this is officially one of those peculiar rules that proves things aren’t equal. Maybe we need to discuss that item all by itself sometime. *ponders*

    @Firebird, do you know for sure that your sister treats guys that way? I’ve had some women friends who expected me to jump when they said, but then I was astounded to see them turn into fawning “Let me do that for you!” types as soon as they got around a man – any man. But even if that’s not the case with your sister, I can’t tell you how much your description sounds like a lot of men I’ve known.

    You’re ready to talk when she is or the conversation doesn’t happen.

    Check.

    You give her what she wants and don’t dare ask for anything.

    Again, check.

    She flies straight from lovey-dovey to a towering rage, and then calms down without ever talking or resolving anything.

    Okay, that’s a little… if you’re talking about going from “I hate you and I’m going to kill you” to “Hey, let’s go out and have some fun” in the space of a few minutes, I have to say that’s a classic indication of a personality disorder (or possibly really fast-cycling bipolar, but my first guess would be PD). That’s just evidence of loony tunes in either gender. But since I’ve known more than my fair share of men with personality disorders, I have to say that check, I’ve known more than a few men who do this.

    If you’re talking about something a bit less dramatic, then I’ve known TONS of men who behave that way.

  9. MaggieCat says

    @SBG, that makes three of us who get weird reactions for acknowledging that we look the way we look. I think this is officially one of those peculiar rules that proves things aren’t equal. Maybe we need to discuss that item all by itself sometime. *ponders*

    Make it four. I’m average, and might manage slightly above average on a really good day, but apparently I’m supposed to either not be perceptive enough to notice or be in denial about it. I’ve stopped saying it because I’ve found it’s not worth the trouble of the only three reactions that I’ve ever seen: astonishment and horror that I was willing to admit such a thing, the misguided idea that I’m apparently fishing for denials and compliments, or that I have terrifyingly low self esteem.

    Do men get this sort of reaction to this sort of thing? For some reason I doubt it.

  10. Neil K says

    Hi there. Found this post on Reddit, a friend of mine just started the ‘feminisms’ section there.

    I found this post interesting and I think a lot of your points hit home. It distresses me how casually women accept unequal positions in relationships.

    However, among the men I know, I don’t think “high maintenance” refers to the amount of financial expense required to obtain sex. (I think the word for that is more like “whore”.)

    “High maintenance” is borrowed from fields like vehicle ownership. You can choose a solid vehicle that will last and last and only require a tuneup every now and then. Or you can buy a sports car with a reputation for being “high maintenance”. A high maintenance car may look beautiful, but it is never quite working the way you expect it. There’s always some little thing that’s rattling or squeaking or otherwise requiring investigation and repair. In theory the car is wonderful, but in practice you seem to always have it up on blocks, fixing it rather than just enjoying it.

    In other words, a “high maintenance” woman is someone who requires a lot of energy-sapping emotional attention. Sometimes she is particularly low in self-esteem and requires frequent praise and reassurance, or has a passive-aggressive way of communicating that puts the onus of investigation and “repair” on the male.

    Note, however, that “high maintenance” does trivialize whatever problems that the woman raises. She’s not raising the issue because there’s a problem; it’s because she’s “high maintenance” and thus generates an infinite sequence of problems, regardless of whatever her partner does.

    As to whether “high maintenance” is a real phenomenon or just a misogynist label — I’d have to say it depends on the relationship. There are women who like to see their guy jump through hoops, and there are women whose needs just aren’t being met. Overall I’ve probably seen more of the latter.

  11. Jennifer Kesler says

    Hi Neil,

    I would never expect men to think of themselves as purchasing a whore when they look at a woman’s maintenance value. It’s an invisible setting left over from a history in which the vaginas/wombs of women (white, and of “good breeding”, anyway) were valuable. To control wombs, patriarchies set up government systems which denied women the right to education, jobs*, land ownership. The only way women* could get the necessities of life was by effectively contracting out the use of their vaginas and wombs for the having of sex and procreating of sons.

    We may think that all sounds awful and medieval now (though really, it’s not as far back as we’d like to think), but it’s where all the attitudes that have filtered down to today come from. A man may never consciously think “I’m going to control me a womb”, but if he buys into the old thinking patterns, that’s what he’s connecting to.

    “Maintenance” is still a term attached to alimony payments. It means – literally and legally – “keeping” a woman at a certain income lifestyle. High maintenance does indeed mean “this is an expensive vagina/womb to contract.” Whether or not that’s what the guy thinks he means. And many women are still operating on that old way of looking at themselves: why do you think skinny is in? Because men like the feeling of bones? Not in my experience. I think it comes from a twist on advice women were given on dates as recently as my childhood: show him you don’t eat much and therefore won’t “run him out of house and home” with the expense of “keeping” you.

    *I have to emphasize that my use of “women” and “woman” in this comment applied pretty much exclusively to the “white women of ‘good breeding’” I mentioned later. Women of color and poor white women were always welcome to jobs no one else wanted, and subjected to sexual abuses somethin’ fierce, and marriage certainly didn’t provide as much (if any) protection from abuse as it did for white women from the middle and upper classes. Not that marriage protected white affluent women half as well as we were taught to think it did.

    There certainly are women who just like to make men jump through hoops. There are also a lot of men who like making women jump through hoops. I grew up in the Southeast (land of “Fetch my beer, woman!”) so I naturally have known a lot more men like that than women, and I consider it all ugly behavior.

  12. MaggieCat says

    And many women are still operating on that old way of looking at themselves: why do you think skinny is in? Because men like the feeling of bones? Not in my experience. I think it comes from a twist on advice women were given on dates as recently as my childhood: show him you don’t eat much and therefore won’t “run him out of house and home” with the expense of “keeping” you.

    I don’t think that has that much to do with the emphasis on weight, but the opposite– making yourself look richer, not cheaper in maintenance. Historically such trends are cyclical, but they tend to reflect the wealth of a given society– poor cultures value some extra weight because it means you can afford plenty of food, rich cultures value thinness because it means you have the time to spend on the upkeep and that it’s not even a question that you might be in need. For some time now, the cheapest food in the US has been the highest in calories, while health food isn’t cheap in most places or for people who don’t have time to devote to preparation. So thin= has that time and/or has that money. (Similar to the change in thinking that declared suntans fashionable; originally it meant you made your living doing manual labour (horrors!) but it shifted to meaning you didn’t spend all of your time locked in a stuffy office and had free time during the (work)day.) It does always fall far more heavily on women since a woman who reflects whatever the current beauty trend may be is still a status symbol for the man she’s with.

    Just my opinion, of course.

  13. Jennifer Kesler says

    I disagree, and I’ll explain why. :D

    The weight standard to men that I grew up hearing was that they didn’t want to be “skinny” – you know, 98 pound weakling. Nor “pasty” like they spend all their time indoors on video games and couldn’t catch a ball to save their lives. Men buy powders and use steroids to GAIN weight – muscle weight, specifically, but still.

    There are definitely class issues. Definitely. The whole thing is racist as hell, too. But when you look at the expectations on white men and white women, the suntan thing applies to both genders while only women can “never be too thin.” So I think the tanning thing is more of a pure class/race issue, but the fat thing has an element of dimorphism…. which is totally backwards to nature. Women store fat better than men and have more trouble losing weight because we’re engineered to feed rapidly growing fetuses with that fat. If anything, it should be women who are granted more leeway before they’re declared “disgusting”, not men. (Ideally, no one would judge people for weight, but my point is you can’t even make an evolutionary biology essentialist type argument for the weight standard varying between men and women.)

  14. SunlessNick says

    “High maintenance” is borrowed from fields like vehicle ownership… In theory the car is wonderful, but in practice you seem to always have it up on blocks, fixing it rather than just enjoying it. - Neil K

    I don’t think, as a source, that that’s any better. A car is something that’s supposed to function for an owner’s benefit – as with defining it financially, it’s still taking an evaluation that should be applied to a thing, and applying it to a person.

  15. MaggieCat says

    Men buy powders and use steroids to GAIN weight – muscle weight, specifically, but still.

    But when you look at the expectations on white men and white women, the suntan thing applies to both genders while only women can “never be too thin.”

    I think that these two things are linked, and still make sense with what I was saying before: men are supposed to gain body mass, preferably muscle (but not a lot of people are going to take on a 220lb man in a bar fight regardless of how much of that may be body fat), while women are always supposed to be physically non-threatening. Heaven forbid we don’t look desperately in need of protection all the time. But that standard is most frequently applied to working class men, and women aren’t really allowed to do the blue collar girl made good thing, ‘success’ for a very long time being measured by landing the richest man possible.

    What I’m saying is that in my opinion this is a slightly different issue than the one I was talking about before: that I think weight standards between women are more class and race based, but I think comparing the standards to which men overall are held to the standards to which women overall are held to taps into different issues of what’s considered “masculine”– looking as un-”feminine” as possible. (Which may or may not be supported by the emphasis on male upper body strength when I think I’ve heard that many women tend more easily to building lower body strength, which would correspond with at least what my personal experience has been. Back when I spent all my time at the stable I may not have been able to carry a bale of hay as easily as the guys, but I was miles ahead when it came to learning how to post without the aid of stirrups.)

  16. smurfette says

    “As a woman who would like to receive compliments on her impressive intellect, sense of humor or strength of character, I find it extremely disheartening to instead get fumbling reassurances about my not-so-impressive looks”

    Wow. So someone else feels like that. My intelligence isn’t particularly impressive, but it’s above average, while my looks are way, way below average. It’s been extremely painful in my teen years, now I’ve somewhat come to terms with it. However, when I state it as a mere fact (generally as an incidence in a conversation about something completely different) people completely freak out and feel the need to reassure me. Whether they’re men or women. As if I didn’t know myself how I look. As if being ugly made me worthless.
    On another side, I feel comfortable about my intelligence and wit, but seldom do I get compliments about them, especially from men. It’s not that they think I’m stupid or dull. They just don’t seem to consider that being intelligent or funny is important or valuable in a woman.

  17. Dan says

    Mmmyeah, couple problems with this one.

    1.) High maintenance is only a problematic term when applied to women?

    2.) The comment about hetero men and cars makes a whole lot of strange assumptions. Do all hetero men love to drive? Do non-hetero men not enjoy driving ? What about women?

    3.) Were you to disparage your own intelligence and brag about your good looks, I promise you the reaction would be much the same. People interpret self-deprecation, however honest, as an indicator of low self esteem (or compliment fishing), and self-aggrandizement as arrogance. These are conventions of human interaction that apply far beyond the borders of gender roles.

    Furthermore, I think men mainly compliment women on their looks, as opposed to other qualities, because they think that’s what women want to hear, not necessarily because they themselves believe it to be more important. They imagine women are more concerned with their perceived beauty than their perceived brains, because those are the expectations they see displayed in society. This is, of course, just as problematic an assumption, but it’s important to pinpoint just what the assumption is.

    Also, if you say, “I’m not beautiful, but that’s okay – I have other things going on,” well yeah you’re going to get weird responses. It’s a weird thing to say! It’s kind of an unspoken understanding that people are more proficient in some areas than others, and bringing it up in terms of “Well, I’m unremarkable in this respect, but at least I’m good at other things” makes it sound like you’re consoling yourself for your flaws. It’s hard to come up with a tactful way to respond to a statement like that.

    But on the whole, BetaCandy, you made a lot of great and insightful points. And you’re very intelligent. :)

  18. Jennifer Kesler says

    (1) I’ve never heard anyone apply “high maintenance” to men, but no, I’m not in favor of referring to any human with a term better suited to objects.

    (2) Yeah, I got overly snarky there and crossed the line right into stereotypes. My bad. :)

    (3) Hmm. Maybe you’re experience is different, but it’s very rare in my experience that women rush to reassure each other they’re not stupid when a woman says, “I’m so stupid!” But if you say “I’m so fat” women chant on auto-pilot, “No, you’re not! I’M fat! Look at this (often totally not-fat) body part I’m wagging at you! It’s disgusting!”

    I agree that “I’m not beautiful, but that’s okay – I have other things going on” would be an odd statement to make without context. A more likely example would be something like I’m telling a story to female friends about a really gorgeous friend of mine getting hassled by some guy who claimed to be a modeling scout, and I knew he couldn’t really be one because earlier he’d hassled me, and I’m like 5 inches below the minimum height for a model. This simple factual offering about my height is likely to inspire reassurances that I’m cute enough to be a model. And it’s like WTF because I didn’t say I wasn’t cute, I said I wasn’t tall enough, which is not something I’m remotely insecure about.

    Imagine a boy saying to his friends, “I know he wasn’t a real football scout because he said he wanted to sign me up as a linebacker, and I only weigh 90 pounds.” Would the other guys rush to assure him he’s big enough to be a linebacker, despite the absurdity, or just laugh with him since he’s obviously not bothered by this fact, and besides everyone knows they wouldn’t be friends with him if he wasn’t cool in ways aside from having 110 pounds of muscle bulk.

    And you’re very intelligent.

    *preens* ;)

  19. Pocket Nerd says

    Hmmmm. Suddenly I perceive that “high maintenance” is one of those treacherous terms that come loaded with a lot of subtle baggage.

    I have used the term “high maintenance,” and yes, even to describe women I’ve known or dated. I’ve also heard it reasonably often among my circle of friends, both male and female. (Fair warning: My friends tend toward bisexuality and polyamory, and are probably not statistically representative of most people in the United States.) As nearly as I can tell, when people in my circles use the phrase “high maintenance” they generally mean a person is severely neurotic, prone to theatrics and needing excessive amounts of reassurance and emotional support in a relationship. This sort of “high maintenance” is not exclusive to women, either; there are at least as many whiny, needy, drama-addicted manipulators among men as there are among women… and quite possibly far more, since, as you point out, society often expects a woman to appease a man’s need to be worshipped while asking little for herself.

    Now I’m looking back and wondering how many times I might have used have used the phrase in the sense I described it above, while the other party in my conversation read into it something orthogonal to what I meant– either “Yeah, that dumb broad really should know her place” or “Damn, Pocket Nerd is a misogynist jackass for using that phrase.”

    Damn you, THL, for making me question my long-standing, comfortable assumptions! DAMN YOUUUUUU!!

  20. AS says

    Hi!
    I’m not an English speaker native, but I have come across all the problems mentioned and beyond in my country.

    I recently went on a blog that belonged to a male student to was talking about “How expensive cunt is”(that is the exact translation from Romanian). He was referring to a friend of his who got played because a “cunt” didn’t want to be with him after he gave her an expensive present.

    I left a comment explaining very politely that his conception was wrong from the get go because he treated her like an object without feelings or in the best as a hooker(explaining that his thoughts were directed towards a transaction, not a relationship with a person) and that she had the right to reject him. I also told him about behavior from most men who after a dinner or mere juice/coffee expect you to sleep with him because he paid for that, which again only shows a transaction being made.

    His reply was that I should get my head out of my butt and I will never get laid. I honestly got pissed at first, but then I thought that I just put my comment in the wrong place. I mean it was quite funny afterwards thinking how punished will I be by not getting laid with men who treat me like an object and insult me in my face.

    In my country it is the rule that men pay at the first dates, mainly because women have started earning money very late here and they are usually given very small salaries compared to those of men.

    In addition to the fact that there this hilarious doublethinking which puzzles me :
    -if the woman accepts for you to buy her a drink she is an “expensive cunt”
    -if she doesn’t, she is either thought as the same but more arrogant or just as weirdo
    -if the woman pays, she is either – a feminist bitch
    – a controlling bitch
    – just good for a few rounds, because, you know, men should be the head of the family and woman should not get more many than them.

    Excuse for the language, but this is how most men refer to women here.

  21. says

    AS, your English was just fine, and it was very clear that you were talking about someone else’s perception of women and not your own.

    You make very good points about how our behavior gets criticized whether we let men buy for us, don’t let men buy for us, or buy for them. It seems to me it’s all arranged so men can reassure themselves it’s the woman’s fault anytime something goes wrong. (Which is not to say all men do this; it’s just an option societies make available to them, and it’s unfair.)

  22. Casey says

    A MILLION THANK YOUS for explaining why “You’re so smart” and “You’re so pretty” are NOT THE SAME. It bugged me how hardly any guy I was yearning for approval from (LOL I WAS PATHETIC) ever acknowledged my intelligence or sense of humor by complimenting me on it (instead, they always said that I frightened them/intimidated them/made their brain hurt…and this was even coming from men in their mid-late 30′s!) and now I fully understand why.

    I <3 this site…so much. ;_;

  23. Jennifer Kesler says

    LOL, Pocket Nerd. I also used to use the term the way you do, describing any man or woman who needs a lot of coddling – particularly someone who needs excessive ego stroking. The reactions I frequently got when applying it to men – surprise followed by an “Oh, I get the joke now!” laugh – made me realize a lot of people viewed it as a gendered insult. So I stopped using it altogether, though I wouldn’t hesitate to use it in a closed group like your circle, in which I know MY meaning will be understood.

    So, you know, maybe in future you want to make sure anyone you say it in front of knows what you actually mean by it. But if you weren’t aware of it as a gendered insult before, then you couldn’t have known how it might be taken.

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