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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spy vs. Spy (Or What I Don't Get About Straight Culture)

According to my local Metro (emphasis mine):
"That '70s Show" star Danny Masterson has asked his girlfriend of four years, Bijou Phillips, to marry him-- and she said yes, Hollyscoop reports. The couple met at a celebrity poker tournament in Las Vegas, where Phillips was initially attracted to his disinterest in her. "Every guy at the table was flirting with me but Danny. He wasn't laughing at my jokes," Phillips told Paper magazine.

Ok. So.

Could someone explain this to me? No wait, scratch that.

What is up with (you) straight people?

What's with this weird little culture of antagonism that straight people seem to have set up? What's with the spy vs. spy crap?

So this is how it went? Boy meets girl, girl notices boy doesn't seem interested in girl, girl... pursues boy? boy becomes interested in girl? boy now pursues girl? boy and girl spend 4 years together, boy proposes to girl?

Seriously? Ok, somewhere in there, there HAD to have been lying. Either he wasn’t interested or he PRETENDED to be not interested. Lady, you’re attracted to someone that you know either finds your jokes tedious, or has a history of pretending things that aren’t true/misleading you? This seems like a recipe for fucking disaster.

More probably it was: boy meets girl, boy pretends to not be interested because he knows that in straight culture showing interest is a sure way to fail, girl therefore pursues boy (thus falling for his devious plan), boy (when the time is right) deviously hooks girl, boy and girl spend 4 years together, boy proposes to girl.

When I started dating Bluejay, I got a bad case of NRE (New Relationship Energy). I wanted to call Bluejay all the time, I wanted to see Bluejay (all the time), I just basically was a little Bluejay obsessed. So I did. My straight roommate thought I was out of my mind. Apparently, if a guy called HER every day, she'd think he was desperate. She admitted it was a game, but said that if a guy didn’t want to play, it meant he wasn’t really interested….
Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? So, if a guy shows interest in you, then that means he’s not really interested, because if he WAS, then he’d pretend to be not interested in you? Where does that leave guys who just genuinely don’t like you? Does that mean that to make sure you never start liking them, they have to constantly pursue you? Seems a little counter intuitive.

Ok. So girls know it's a game, boys seem to either know or just have learned how to play instinctively... So revision of the story.

Boy meets girl, boy pretends to not be interested because he knows that if he does girl will reject him, girl therefore knows that he is actually interested since he went to the trouble of pretending to be NOT interested and thus pursues him, boy (now knowing that the game has been successfully started) starts pursuing girl, boy and girl then spend four years actually learning about the other since their initial courtship merely indicates their understanding of the rules of the game/their interest, boy asks girl to marry him.

This is becoming a full blown paragraph!

If it was my story (on their timeline) it'd be this: boy meets genderqueer, boy and genderqueer pursue each other, boy and genderqueer spend 4 years together, boy and genderqueer get married.
(I'd like to point out that "genderqueer" has WAY more letters than "girl" and yet my story is still shorter than the original).

Personally, I like less stress. I like knowing what the fuck is going on, and not having to figure it out by finding all the pieces of paper, glueing them together, holding them over a candle, hoping the lemon juice trick still works (and that I didn't glue any pieces on wrong side out), holding the paper up to a mirror to see the backwards writing, and then translating from Aramaic! I like knowing that when someone seems interested, they ARE interested, and the way to know if they aren't interested is obvious (they don't call, they don't seem excited to see you, they don't laugh at your jokes).
Hell! I like having people laugh at my jokes. Even if they aren't flirting with me. Even if they in general find me as unattractive as I find dumpsters and fire hydrants. Maybe it's an ego thing, but I think I'm pretty gosh dern funny, and I don't want to be around a whole lot of people who don't agree. I think it'd hurt my feelings.


  1. Amen, brother. That whole game really gets me down. It's one of the things that drives me crazy about trying to find new relationships. (Thank goodness I've been out of that wacky world for quite a while.)

    T and I both have a philosophy that if you like someone, you should tell them in no uncertain terms. This applies to both romantic and platonic relationships. When T wants to become friends with someone, he generally says to them, "I think you're really interesting and cool, and I'd love to hang out sometime." And what do you know? It works!

    Relationships should be based on honesty and communication, not head games. At least, that's how I prefer my relationships. Evidently different things float different people's boats. ;)

  2. I'm not sure I'd call it "straight culture"; I think I'd tend to call it "mainstream culture" instead, since I don't think it's only straight people who do it (and not all straight people do it either).

  3. While I do acknowledge that not all straight people interact this way (and that some gay couples do), I disagree that this doesn't make it a "straight culture" thing. While some of the most egregious examples are in the "mainstream" area of straight culture, there are plenty of fucked up examples of interpersonal relating in "alternative" straight examples of music (HOO BOY are there in music), and film (oh HELL yes), and literature (not as sure what counts as "alternative" literature, but you tell me and I'll find you some right quick).
    As someone who is immersed constantly in straight culture (since it IS the dominant culture), I do feel like it's a "straight" thing, not a "conventional" thing.

  4. It seems to be a straight thing and I have no fucking idea why it exists and why it won't fucking stop. Fuck.

    Even reading about it pisses me off to the point of using naughty words, and I'm not even in the day-to-day throes of it right about now.

    There's almost nothing I hate more.

    It's probably because I don't have that "instinctual" feel for it that you mentioned. I have no idea. It's a game I lose over and over. Worse than losing, I show up with my uniform and protective goggles and wrist bands only to find that everyone is laughing. Laughing at me because I didn't catch on to the rule change that forbids all of the above. So I take it all off, and they're still laughing at me, and I still lose. And then they laugh more. And then next time I show up completely naked and everyone fucking laughs because, dude, where are my shin guards? Where are my cleats?

    Fuck it. When I think about this, I wish I were gay.

  5. I think the short answer is that mainstream straight women and mainstream straight men are basically subs and doms, to at least a mild degree.


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