I just left this comment over on a post at The Frisky.
For whatever reason, it appears this comment has been moderated. I felt strongly enough about the comment that I wanted to post it here just in case it doesn’t get approved over there.
ATWYSingle • 3 minutes ago
People who go to bed with writers (ahem) will expect to wake up with shit written about them.
This is a cop out that way too many bloggers and writers use to justify behaving badly on the internet.
The only people who *expect* to be written about are the people who go out with us *solely* to be written about. Those usually aren’t the nicest/most stable of people aka narcissists.
I, for one, have to make extra effort not to be stereotyped as what is now considered the “typical” dating writer. It was bad enough trying to get over the Carrie Bradshaw, shallow, neurotic, shopping addict comparisons. Now we have to deal with being labeled drama/attention seeking, lacking objectivity, self-obsessed, trainwrecks. I’m tired of it.
What decent men expect is that we will keep conversations and interactions private. They expect that courtesy. They don’t waive their right to privacy just to take us out for a drink. I won’t even get into how gross it is that you expense bad dates so you can roast those dates online. You just said it yourself…even you are a potential target of websites like the ones discussed in this post. You make it quite clear that you are uncomfortable at that thought. So I don’t understand how you can then turn around and be so blase about doing the very same thing to the men who date us.
I just want to make something very clear here. Any man who expects to be written about because he dates a dating writer is bad news. Any guy who doesn’t express concern about how he is described or position in something you write wants to be trashed. Bad attention is still attention. I don’t care how many times they tell you that they don’t even read your blog or your articles…they’re lying. If they really don’t read what you write, then they don’t care about you. End of story. Run far, far away from any guy who acts unconcerned at the thought about being discussed on the internet.
The other night I was having a conversation with someone and he revealed that he initially, before we met, saw me as a “player.” Which, as we all know, is laughable. Orly? A 40something year old women in Manhattan? A player? Allow me to recover from my momentary bout with The Vapors. Since I don’t talk about my personal life here or really anywhere, and I don’t discuss anything that I do with anybody else with the men I date, I was confused as to how he could make such an assumption. So I asked him to clarify his statement.
“Well, you know, you write about dating. That’s what I mean.”
This is one of those situations were men and women need to pay close attention to the words being used in certain conversations. Being called a “player” is not a compliment. Ever. Just like it’s not a positive thing to be categorized as “intimidating” or “aggressive.” If someone describes you as aggressive, take that as a warning. They are telling you that your approach is somehow unsettling. If someone calls you a “player” what they’re telling you is that they deem you unsafe in some way.
I asked him if there was something specific that I had written that had rubbed him the wrong way or bothered him. He said no. I didn’t push the issue because there really was no need to and it likely would have ended up in an argument. I wasn’t going to pick a fight over something like this. But it was clear to me that he was lumping me in with whatever other “dating columnists” he follows, reads or knows about.
I guess what bothers me is that, no matter how hard someone tries to present a “dateable” persona online, there’s still the possibility that we will be judged simply for what we do. Hell, I’ll never fully get past the whole Blow Job Class that we used to host a couple of years ago. Hindsight is 20/20.
There’s no real delineation between writing a blog that deconstructs bad dates and a website that contains editorial content. Probably because the more editorial focused website contain a lot of “Ermergard, let me tell you about the dumb guy I went out with last night” type fare.
I realize that these are #singlegirlproblems and not that big of a deal to most of you, as most of you have chosen different careers. But this is the one I chose. It frustrates me that – no matter how much effort I make to be mindful of what I say and write – it could all be for nothing. Granted, my love life has greatly improved over the last couple of years after I decided to keep certain things offline. I guess I just worry that I’ll never fully be able to get past whatever preconceived ideas men have about women who do what I do.
I’m especially aggravated at writers like the one I linked to in this post, who seem to think they’re entitled to trash guys online because they are “writers.” “Oh, well those guys know what they’re getting into!” No, they don’t. Not the decent ones. The decent ones expect us to be decent in return. The assholes want us to flame, obsess and criticize them because it feeds their ego.
Face it, ladies. Some of you tolerate the worst in male behavior in the hopes that you will somehow score that Brass Ring of Single Men. Then you whine and cry when that little bubble gets burst. You endure bad dates with jerkwads not to be polite but because you hope that, somehow, you’ll be different or have a great story to tell at happy hour. When what you should do when a man acts rude or offensive is get up, put your money on the table and leave. Stop tolerating it. The desire for validation from strangers is strong. Believe me. I understand. It’s like a Siren’s call. (Men are just as guilty of this, too, of course. I’m directing this commentary more to the women because most of what I read is written by women.)
Worse is how thin-skinned these writers are when someone turns their critical lasers back on to them. Then you’re being a bully. I had it out with a blogger a few weeks ago who played the bully card after I responded via Twitter to a post she wrote about getting a dick pic. I suggested she focus less on charm and looks because those are shallow attributes and that might help her avoid encountering dudes who want to chat about their sexual prowess. Let’s be honest. That is something women indulge as long as the guy is good looking. “I didn’t ask for your advice!” she cried. Yes. Yes you did. You write a god damn blog wherein you break down the faults of every freakin’ guy you meet. That is asking for feedback. Don’t like it? Don’t share it on the Web.
Seriously, do us all a favor and write a diary. You’re not helping the cause. Trust me. You’re making it harder for us to do what we do and be taken seriously.