Nadia Bokody on the ‘creepy’ difference between dating men and women

2022-09-09 23:32:59 By : Mr. JIANCHAO XU

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I think your girl got lost in my DMs bro. #lesbeansoftiktok #tiktoklesbean #lesbeansoftiktok🌈 #gaygirlgang #lesbianhumour

♬ Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) – ABBA

Just under a couple of years ago, I came out as a lesbian in this column.

It was important for me to do it publicly because, when I was first grappling with my feelings for women, there weren’t any stories like mine. And hearteningly, since it was published, women have continued to send me messages sharing how that column helped them feel seen.

They’ve also – unexpectedly – sent me romantic and sexual propositions. (To date, my favorite was the woman who simply wrote: “Gotta warn a girl before setting such a powerful thirst trap. I’m stuck, don’t bother trying to get me out.”)

I say this not as a humblebrag – though, let’s be real, I’m not mad about it – but to elucidate a striking difference I’ve observed in the way gay and bicurious women approach me, in comparison to the way straight men do.

It’s fair to say I’ve seen enough unsolicited snaps of random dudes’ junk with household paraphernalia held beside it (presumably for size comparison??) to be wary of ever touching a TV remote or coke can in a man’s house again.

And if I never have to open another DM from a guy detailing his masturbatory session over me again, it’ll be too soon.

It’s always been unclear whether these images and messages are supposed to garner my attention and gratitude, or if they’re actually just aimed at asserting control via the complete and total decimation of my boundaries.

Regardless, I’ve never closed out of one of them feeling flattered or empowered.

More often than not, I’ve emerged with the sense the man on the other side of the screen sees me as an object he’s entitled access to by default of his sexual interest in me.

And this is notable, because, despite what we’re constantly told about women not being as sexual as men, in the last 18 months, I’ve received almost as many messages of interest from women as I have from the opposite sex.

The difference, however, is the distinct absence of this sense of entitlement.

Even the steamiest messages I receive from women are peppered with tentativeness – there’s a palpable sense of not wanting to appear “creepy” or make me feel uncomfortable.

In contrast, men often appear unaware of the ways their communication style might make me feel intimidated or violated. Instead, there’s an implicit expectation I’ll be thrilled to learn I’ve elicited an erection.

Of course, patriarchy tells men their attention is a gift, thus rendering any woman who fails to gleefully accept it an ungrateful “b**ch” (frankly one of the kinder things I’ve been called by guys I’ve rejected online), while conditioning women to second-guess and devalue ourselves.

Cultural messaging reminds us at almost every turn, we’re not thin/thick/confident/demure/sexual/pure/pretty/hot enough to be chosen, and that we must be in a constant state of renovation, always moving toward but never reaching the ever-shifting goalposts if we hope to garner male attention.

“I could never approach him” I routinely hear beautiful, accomplished female friends remark. “I’m not hot/smart/interesting enough,” they insist.

It’s a sentiment comic Ely Kreimendahl captured in a recent tweet, writing: “He’s a 5 but thinks he’s a 10. She’s a 10 but thinks she’s a 5. Now they’re married.”

he’s a 5 but thinks he’s a 10. she’s a 10 but thinks she’s a 5. and now they’re married

This confidence gap, something researchers have identified leads men to overvalue what they offer and women to doubt and minimize what we bring to the table, might explain some of the disparity between how we both navigate sexual attraction.

There’s another factor that could shed some light on this, too. And that’s the fear and unease cauterized in the brain of every woman I know who’s had a line crossed by a man who expected access to her.

It’s a universal experience that imprints in us a hyper-vigilance around boundaries. Because we know the quiet terror of trying to exit a situation in which we have to carefully negotiate with a man’s ego to avoid retaliation. And so, we’re far more cognisant of the importance of creating safety in our own romantic and sexual interactions.

And look, perhaps we’ve also received enough unwanted images of men’s junk to know the art of seduction isn’t in verifying you stack up to the remote control (also men – please Glen 20 that thing); but in simply acknowledging your thirst traps are the kind we’d like to get stuck in.