Wednesday, April 15, 2015

An excerpt from learning about sex during single life in So Dad, What Makes a Man? A Narrative on the Male Identity

Chapter 5   MINDSET: WORK-N-SEX  (age 25-29)

"In Chicago, I found an apartment in the northwest suburbs. A secretary in my new office had told me about it, a singles-only complex called International Village, in Schaumburg. It sounded good, especially when I found an available third floor, one-bedroom apartment on the southern edge of the complex, with windows facing a wide view over a wooded neighborhood, a freeway, and a Motorola plant.

                The environment there and Chicago's single girls did not support my Christian morals that had faded since I started college, any more than had Three Fountains. Nor did I seek a church or any organization with older adults to talk about life. I continued to compete with men who flirted with the same girls I liked and battled with me for the best job offers. If another man accompanied a beautiful woman, I wondered what the hell she saw in him. I envied men my age with more wealth or with greater expertise.

                I spent most of my time working with those men, and when not working, I played tennis with a few and filled the remaining time seeking women. That failing on any given night, I drank with other men who didn't have a date and talked about women. It was one subject, after discussing sports and weather that we spoke about in collaborative terms, including the women with whom they went to bed. We compared the latest magazine articles, reports, and books on sexual behavior, trying to understand what women wanted.

                Some men confirmed my belief that women gave sex to get love and the corollary that they at least had to like the guy first, but that didn't help me understand at all why they might like us…that is, why they might like me. However, the more we single men talked, the less my belief held up.

                My theory did not explain, for instance, the man in my apartment complex who painted a big white area on the red wall behind his king-sized bed, and, invited every woman who joined him in that bed to sign the wall. He gave all visitors to his apartment, men and women alike, a tour of his bedroom. Given his good looks, I didn't think I could be successful with his approach, but I stopped in from time to time to envy his growing array of signatures.

                Another man explained his practical approach. He said at first he had sat in bars getting so drunk that he would go home at the end of the night with any woman who was still there and willing. Or, that failing, he went home alone and suffered the next day's hangover.

                However, the pain of those mornings-after and the money he spent being unsuccessful led him to engineer what he called his "go ugly early" approach. After arriving alone at the bar and buying one beer, he would take it with him as he went around the room introducing himself to every woman, then propositioning her—and he meant every one of them, not just those he found attractive.

                He said this approach saved him time, money, and a hangover, especially when every woman turned him down and he headed home early and sober. But every woman did not always turn him down. I never tried his approach either, because I was not confident enough to handle the level of rejection he encountered.

                A couple of men succeeded with “they like it when you treat them like shit” theory. The few women who accepted that approach bewildered most of us men, who were reluctant to treat any women so counter to our upbringing.

                One night, after a lengthy discussion about their approaches  and enough beers to bring us great clarity about the world of boys and girls, I adopted a method that was the opposite of treat-them-like-shit. I called it the Three-Date-Theory, TDT for short. I put it into practice with any woman on the conditions that I considered her attractive when I was sober and that she would accept more than one date with me. At no time during any of the first three dates would I make any sexually motivated move or talk in sexual innuendoes. On the fourth date, I would ask for sex. Like the other theories, practicing the TDT met with mostly negative responses; only once did I hear “I thought you would never ask.”

                After other men tried it, we analyzed it over more beers, exploring, for example, why we didn't get a third or fourth date, sometimes concluding such women preferred to be treated like shit. I suspected that some of us, like me, had quietly stopped reporting successful results at our gatherings. But the biggest benefit of the TDT came to me as a surprise. 

                 I found that over three dates, with sex removed from the table, many women could talk about more than just the weather. They emerged as unique life-support systems for an array of intellect, skills, interests, and behavior that reengineered my objective to have sex with all of them. One was a more consistent tennis player than me and we partnered weekly, playing mixed doubles and watching Billie Jean King defeat Bobby Riggs. Others had political opinions about getting off the gold standard, Roe versus Wade, the founding of Greenpeace, and the shooting of Democratic presidential candidate George Wallace. Even though most women still said “no” on the fourth date, by that time it didn't feel like rejection to me. Many of these new women became friends. We talked long enough that I was able to feel accepted, and I grew comfortable speaking more with them about personal matters, including the hardships in my life. They soothed my loneliness."

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