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View Diary: Today I'm 50. Here's what I've learned. (187 comments)

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  •  I'm almost as old as you, (16+ / 0-)

    and while I agree with many of your observations, I call THIS sexist framing:

    It doesn't matter how liberated or modern women are--men don't respect women who sleep with them too soon.
    It promotes the antiquated and misogynist notion that a woman's "respectability" is somehow linked to her personal sexual conduct.

    It's baggage the culture needs to shake ASAP.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:01:37 AM PDT

    •  Agreed--the culture should shake it. (8+ / 0-)

      However, sadly, it hasn't. What is and what should be are, unfortunately, still very far apart. I don't believe that society, as a whole, continues to see women's "respectability" as linked to her personal sexual conduct. But I do believe that many individual men do, much to my, and every other thinking person's, frustration.

      Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead. ~K. Vonnegut

      by Greek Goddess on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:05:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You say "too many" men still subscribe (9+ / 0-)

        to these antiquated and misogynistic views on sexuality. So?

        Is "bagging" such a sexist and stunted man, any kind of prize? Is it something we should want, or strive for?  

        The original point in your diary, and your defense of it, still trouble me.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:16:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not at all. Far from it. (9+ / 0-)

          All my life I've heard men of all ages talking about women, and the overwhelming attitude they have for a woman who "puts out" (not my term, by the way) too soon (again, a subjective measure) is contempt. Not all men feel this way, I hasten to add. But enough do that I feel I can say, from my own observation, that it is a prevalent attitude.

          Do I agree with it? Of course not. Do I like it? Hell, no! Does my disagreeing with it and not liking it make it not so? Sadly, no. I offer my observations only, not my endorsements.

          What have your observations been? Not your preferences for how things should be, but your observations of how things actually are?

          Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead. ~K. Vonnegut

          by Greek Goddess on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:24:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  in fact quite the reverse (11+ / 0-)
            Not all men feel this way,
            I am happy to be faithful to my long time sweetie who has never been shy about intimacy from the very start.  There are many things that have drawn us to together and a refreshing lack of gameplaying around intimacy is one of them.
          •  Again, I'm wondering, who cares if (11+ / 0-)

            "most men" really want women who are virgins, or whatever? Is it the "present reality"? If you're content with what "they" tell you about reality, then I guess it is. OK, listen to the traditional-gender-role propagandists: besides a general aversion to "slutty" women, men don't like "old" women, either. Indeed, many men absolutely swear they'd never look seriously at a woman past 40 as dating material. So the gender-role propagandists spin this as "everybody" supposedly wanting a hot young trophy, and not just for childbearing. This ubiquitous (and culturally amplified) propaganda has it that a woman who's "old" has supposedly seen her sexual and romantic prospects "dry up." But, scratch the surface a bit: women in midlife attract plenty of sexual interest. Based on my experience, and on long observation, mature women who are interested in doing so, have zero problem finding men to date. Being "old" is no bar in the area of relationships. I'm arguing that being "slutty" is no bar, either. No matter what "they" say.

            Yes, a lot of the culture is very sexist. I am not so thick-skinned that I haven't registered the dripping misogyny in advertising, movies, the corporate media, and the conversation of men in my earshot. But I know there are very different realities than the "official" one available to women (and anyone) willing to scratch the surface. The "surface," in regard to these particular issues, isn't so interesting. Not to me.

            Why give it air time?

            BTW, an excellent book, one that has really expanded my sexual thinking, is "The Ethical Slut," by Dossie Easton. Dossie, admittedly, is pretty wild. You may not go as far as she does in her sexual expression. But the book is guaranteed to make you think.

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 12:27:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for the book recommendation. (9+ / 0-)

              I'm always up for things that make me think. Like this discussion--thank you for making it so spirited. I'm inspired to do a longer diary on the state of gender relations in the infancy of the twenty-first century.

              Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead. ~K. Vonnegut

              by Greek Goddess on Wed May 15, 2013 at 12:34:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Heartily disagree (7+ / 0-)
              Indeed, many men absolutely swear they'd never look seriously at a woman past 40 as dating material.
              Most healthy men past 40 view women over 40 as very sexy and desirable.  Sure, about 15% or so of us are unhealthy assholes, but most men I know tend to find women their own age the most attractive.

              Scissors cut paper/Paper covers rock/Rock crushes lizard/Lizard poisons Spock/Spock smashes scissors/Scissors decapitate lizard/Lizard eats paper/Paper disproves Spock/Rock breaks scissors/Spock vaporizes rock

              by jgkojak on Wed May 15, 2013 at 01:40:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Like I said above (4+ / 0-)

                the personal views/behavior of many men regarding the sexual desirability of women, are totally at odds with what men are "supposed" to want, per the (well-amplified) "traditional-gender-role propagandists."

                You've scratched the surface of the mystique. That's all any feminist would ever ask.

                It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

                by karmsy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:01:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh, and BTW: (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  socindemsclothing, Greek Goddess

                  By your own estimation, 15% of men over 40 shun women their own age. This is still quite a high number of men :) and can seem higher still if men in this 15% are constantly catered-to in advertising and entertainment, and all other areas of the culture.

                  We have to knock the legs out from under the lie.

                  It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

                  by karmsy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:06:16 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Well here's some data from okcupid- (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                karmsy, Greek Goddess

                http://blog.okcupid.com/...

                Seems that men on that site do prefer women significantly younger than themselves- not sure how typical their attitude is. Maybe there are better polls out there, this is just what came up on google.

                •  Haven't checked out the link. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Greek Goddess

                  Don't know whether the gathering of the data, represents a "sampling bias," which would serve to cast doubt on the finding, itself.

                  Whether the finding is flawed, or represents the preferences of "average" men well (and I wonder about that), there's a problem.

                  There's no denying the results are troubling.

                  It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

                  by karmsy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 05:10:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Maybe the appropriate interpretation of the data (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Greek Goddess, ladybug53, karmsy, Chi, zooecium

                  is that the majority of men who utilize OKCupid are assholes...?

                  Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. -George Carlin

                  -7.88, -7.64

                  by socindemsclothing on Wed May 15, 2013 at 06:23:01 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No idea- I did check their wiki page- (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    karmsy, Greek Goddess

                    seems like basically an online dating and social networking site. Maybe more open emphasis on physical attractiveness- but let's face it, that's usually a factor whether or not people state it openly.

                    •  I know a few people who have been very happy (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Greek Goddess, karmsy, gramofsam1

                      with the outcome of their time spent on OkCupid, so there are at least a few gems strewn among the a-holes.  

                      I've never had great success there...it's a free site, and free sites have a tendency to attract people who are only partially, if at all, invested in the pursuit of a long-term, monogamous relationship.  A lot of the guys there, at least IME, are dipping their toe in the dating pool while trolling for casual sex.  I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who's serious about dating.

                      Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. -George Carlin

                      -7.88, -7.64

                      by socindemsclothing on Wed May 15, 2013 at 06:57:33 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well I'm a fan of match.com- (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Greek Goddess

                        not for myself, online dating was way in the future when I was single. But my daughter met her husband there 8 years ago, and he's a pretty terrific guy. The other guys she'd met there were, in her opinion, pretty nice guys too. She was very honest about being interested in a serious relationship, and she'd already adopted two kids, so maybe that screened out a lot of players.

                      •  Two comments... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Greek Goddess, zooecium

                        1. I may be an outlier- I met my wife on OKCupid when I was in my high 30's.  I tried match.com, and you don't get what you pay more for.  I used OKCupid. I can argue that I stopped dating after that (got married) b/c OKCupid had a better matching algorithm. Am I representative? Who knows?

                        2. As far as the statistics of older men who are dating, it's a self-selected pool, not random. This group excludes all of the men who are not dating at 40 or 50 or 60  b/c they're married or in a stable relationship. Of course there are bound to be more men in that group not interested in or maybe not capable of or for whatever reason just not yet ready for a serious relationship. There are also more women in that category as well. More, but not all. Some move on to being ready for a stable relationship, and some do not. It's probably not the website so much as the situation.

                        •  For the record, (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          socindemsclothing

                          I met my husband on Plenty of Fish, another free dating site. Well be married two years in July, and I couldn't be happier that I took a chance on love online!

                          Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead. ~K. Vonnegut

                          by Greek Goddess on Thu May 16, 2013 at 01:25:27 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Outlier, maybe...but it proves the point that you (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Greek Goddess

                          can always find a gem if you dig through enough muck.  I'm sure there are plenty of great people on OkCupid, etc., and it's always nice to read about another success story.  

                          I think women just have to brace themselves for the onslaught of undesirables if they're going to go that route.  And be courageous enough to have high standards.  A 40-year-old guy who wants to date women 25-42 is a shallow d-bag no matter if he's the CEO of Philanthropy Inc and rescues abandoned puppies and kittens in his spare time.  I would give anything to go back in time and beat that into the head of my younger self.  

                          Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. -George Carlin

                          -7.88, -7.64

                          by socindemsclothing on Thu May 16, 2013 at 07:12:59 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  Tee hee! n/t (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    socindemsclothing, karmsy, zooecium

                    Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead. ~K. Vonnegut

                    by Greek Goddess on Wed May 15, 2013 at 07:40:50 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  If you're not part of the solution...... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Greek Goddess

            Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

            by nolagrl on Wed May 15, 2013 at 07:03:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  There Is No Such Thing as "The" Culture. (11+ / 0-)

        There are thousands of cultures around the world that are represented here full blown or diluted below the surface. Gender relations and expectations here run the whole gamut of the rest of the planet from the most oppressive to the most liberated.

        There was a huge sea-change in the mid 60's with the Pill, and while older generations and religious reactionaries stayed behind with the disrespect for sexual activity, a big chunk of the population moved forward at that point.

        I've been a wedding and funeral musician since the early 70's constantly dealing with most of the range of European and quite a few non European families. If you weren't an evangelical I'd have to ask if you stepped out of a time machine because I haven't encountered women or men in the mainstream with such harsh views of women's respectability since "Gilligan's Island" was on the air.

        But there are definitely ethnicities and religious affiliations where that's remained true.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:52:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know if it's always or even mainly (10+ / 0-)

      contempt -- but I do know that if you sleep too soon with a man, he is less likely to bond with you and more likely to see it as a one-time escapade.

      When I was in my early 20's and not interested in settling down to one guy, I had my share of one night stands.  They were fine, I enjoyed them in the moment, and forgot about them soon after.  I didn't lose respect for the guys I slept with - but my intention was never anything beyond the moment.  

      The relationships that have been long-lasting were the ones where I took my time in getting to know and trust the man, and vice versa.  So that when we finally did the deed, it had some meaning and it served as a further bonding in the relationship.

      There's nothing wrong with casual sex, as long as you're as careful about it as can be.  But expecting it to lead to a long term relationship will usually result in disappointment.  If I had a daughter, that is most definitely one of life's lessons I'd try to be teaching her.  It's a concept I have discussed with my son on more than one occasion, much to his embarrassment.  

    •  This old woman agrees w GG (5+ / 0-)

      And yeah, I was a second-wave feminist, even putting lots of hours over many years on radical feminist theology which has been oh so extremely helpful to me in later life (snark).  But the skills in deconstruction have been useful.

      I don't think GG is 'promoting' a 'notion'.  Not do I think she's saying anything about 'a woman respectability'.

      I think what she's talking about is the most basic levels of one-to-one relationships -- or of attempted relationships.  And she's right.

      •  Regarding this: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        socindemsclothing
        I don't think GG is 'promoting' a 'notion'.  Not do I think she's saying anything about 'a woman respectability'.
        I politely differ.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Wed May 15, 2013 at 05:04:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't either (11+ / 0-)

          until I reached my 50s.  And I didn't want to accept it as the thought began to develop.  I was very resistant letting go of the ideological 'how it ought to be' that I had based decisions on in my 20s-30s and, say to say, even into my early forties.

          One thing that begins to happens after age, say, age 45 (plus or minus) is that you begin to do what they call 'life review'.  You find yourself looking back over your life and evaluating how you did, if your choices made sense, where you were right and where you were wrong, if you had to make that decision today, instead of 30 years ago, would your decision be the same?  Were your criteria valid?  Had you learned enough by then to be capable of making a good, sound, informed decision?

          And, of course, as you look back, you find many instances to which your older self  can only say things like: ' What was I thinking?'  or 'Geez, thought I knew so much and I didn't even have a clue!'.  And you come to forgive yourself and can only say 'Well, how could I have known any better.  I was just a pup!'

          I remember thinking that way about my 19-23 year-old self when I was around 35.  Now I look back at that 35-year-old self realized how much I still hadn't learned since then.

          In regard to the particular issue in question, I have not only my own choices/experiences to look back on, but on my memories of many other women -- friends, co-workers and such -- and how we all just talked our experiences to death.  So the body of evidence I'm basing my statement on was provided by quite a tribe of women, over the years.

          And so eventually there came a day, after the thoughts about the ideology/experience conflict had been showing up in my brains & emotions pretty frequently for several months, one day I just stopped and said:  'Stop.  Look at these two ideas.  Only one can be true.  Which is it?"

          I looked at them both for a moment.  I could only accept one of those ideas while remaining true to the body of five decades of experience.  For me, experience will win that kind of conflict every time.  So, with a sigh, I said, 'Well, that's that.'  And let the ideology go in favor of lived reality.

          Then I finished sweeping up and watched a movie that afternoon.

          •  I seem to understand both sides, but tend to (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Greek Goddess, Chi, JerryNA, CroneWit, karmsy

            think that the lack of respect, such as it exists, would be from the kind of guys (misogynists) that I would not want to date anyway, were I not happily paired now. I tend to agree with karmsy on this, and think women should make their own standards and let the guys adjust.

            My ex-husband and I had just seen each other around a couple of times when we ran into each other in a bar, sat and had a chat and went straight home. It was atypical, as I was pretty shy, but there was no lack of respect because he was really crazy about me.

            So, it is more complicated than that. I would say "don't sleep with people who aren't crazy about you unless you just want it to be a one night stand and that's fine with you."  

            Lots of people, males and females, like to know someone well first.  And lots like to date more and see more people and get involved. And lots have no idea what they want. That last group can be dicey.

            Happy birthday Greek Goddess! I'm just a few years behind you, close enough to feel my advice giving days coming on!

            •  Thanks, LT--I look forward to your mountaintop (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lonely Texan, CroneWit

              wisdom when it's your turn! Though you seem to have a pretty good handle on things right now. ;0)

              Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead. ~K. Vonnegut

              by Greek Goddess on Wed May 15, 2013 at 07:44:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks, LT. (0+ / 0-)

              Though I didn't say so clearly at the time, the crux of my objection to the diarist's remark was that her "wisdom" completely discounted women's wants, which are discounted in society, anyway.

              I love this remark:

              I tend to agree with karmsy on this, and think women should make their own standards and let the guys adjust.

              It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

              by karmsy on Thu May 16, 2013 at 09:55:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  OK, I've had a bit of time to reflect (3+ / 0-)

            on remarks I made yesterday.

            I've realized it's actually more personal than I let on.

            I have spent now almost 5 decades being bombarded with misogynist CULTURAL propaganda of "how things ought to be," i.e., women should be young, slim, pretty, light-skinned, do as they're told, and never ask questions. THEN men will want them.

            Hey, wait a minute. What about what WOMEN want? Is that important, at all?

            I have wasted more time being completely out-of-touch my wants, because "what I wanted" didn't matter--per my early experience in my family, the church I attended, and whatever. All that mattered was "what I was good for," and this was reckoned in authoritarian and patriarchal terms.

            It's hurt me. The time I spent completely discounting my personal wants, in decisions about schooling, employment, and intimate relationships, is time I'll never make up. I'll always be behind. So, when the diarist started propounding her wisdom about "what men wanted," as if this should factor so highly in women's lives, I guess I got sore.

            It's drivel we have to listen to all the damn time, anyway.

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Thu May 16, 2013 at 09:50:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Karmsy, you got guts. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              karmsy, radical simplicity

              Thanks so much for all your comments and reflections. I never meant to propound the notion that what men want should set the agenda for how women behave. Rather, I was trying to offer my observation that in American culture, regardless of era, women have their work cut out for them if they are trying to achieve certain relationship goals. If anything, I intended to highlight--bemoan, even--the fact that women continue to struggle against the same obstacles that the feminist movement has worked so hard to overcome.

              I, too, spent years of my life shoving my wants and needs aside to live up to the image that others--parents, husbands (and there have been several), society--had of me. I, too, regret opportunities lost, decisions made and not made, time lost trying to please others. I think many women feel this way. When I embraced the person I am, I felt free, and I also found myself attracting the kind of people (men and women) who appreciate me for who I am.

              Your statement that you will always be behind makes me wish for you the chance to embrace your own "timeline" of life in which you are not behind, but right on schedule--that every day will bring a new opportunity to kick the drivel to the curb and set your own agenda.

              {{{karmsy}}}

              Hugs to you!

              Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead. ~K. Vonnegut

              by Greek Goddess on Thu May 16, 2013 at 01:58:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed. (7+ / 0-)

        Sleeping with someone too soon doesn't prove either party likes or respects the other one. Waiting to sleep together is much more telling.

        And the diarist didn't say anything about sex with men you have no respect for...soooo!!!!

        IIRC, young men willingly trade in respect for sex, never questioning a "gift horse," should the possibility of sex on the first date come up. For young women, this is STILL a question, according to my daughters. My advice has always been "If you think you might want the guy for something other than sex, then waiting a bit is never a mistake." Different phrasing but same lesson as the diarist conveys.

        •  Wow. You said that so well. (4+ / 0-)

          I wanted to write about that, but couldn't come up with a way of saying it that wasn't crass.

          'never questioning a "gift horse' -- great phrase!

          [insert big-eyed lolkittie pic here]
          'Tuna?  You have TUUUUUNA?  Of course I'll still respect you in the morning!'

        •  You disregard the assumption that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Greek Goddess, JerryNA

          women initiate sex without guilt.

          I'm sure the youngsters think we're old-fashioned even thinking about it.  They know how to Google 'sex.'

          I was a foot soldier in the sexual revolution. I was young, and strong and was determined to not look back and regret not doing.  :)   I don't.  Vague feelings of guilt my 40s, but now it's memories of a youth well spent. (pun.)

          We can always blame it on raging hormones.  We are designed to crave sex right after puberty, just like any other creature.

          Besides, if sex was normalized and accepted, how would advertisers sell everything using it?  Sex might still create desire, but so do Taco Bell commercials.

          Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

          by nolagrl on Wed May 15, 2013 at 07:22:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, CroneWit. I'm merely reporting my (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zooecium

        observations, like if I'd said African Americans continue to fight workplace prejudice on a daily basis. It's not right, but it is true.  

        Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead. ~K. Vonnegut

        by Greek Goddess on Wed May 15, 2013 at 07:47:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's not about "respect" from the guy AFAIK (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zooecium, Greek Goddess

      It's about making sure we're both on the same page about a whole lot of other things, sexuality being only one aspect.

      "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate." ~ Al Cleveland & Marvin Gaye (1970)

      by JBL55 on Thu May 16, 2013 at 11:18:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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