Women of all ages tell me that they want evolved relationships with enlightened men, men who know that developing intimacy skills is part of the job of being a 21st century guy. And I ask these 21st century women, “Okay, cool, but who are you in this? Are you playing the role of a 20th century woman?”
The story of intimacy in college dorms reveals that the new paradigm of hooking up–which was supposed to free women to make sexual choices without waiting for a commitment, or even a relationship–has some really tired old baggage. It’s still men who decide whom to see again after the inital hook-up. It’s still men who earn a cool-guy reputation for hooking up a lot, and yes, it’s still women who are called “sluts” for doing the same.
In coed dorms, the birthplace of this egalitarian idea of Hooking Up, it’s still women doing the laundry, making breakfast, washing men’s sheets, sweatshirts and sweatsocks, and putting flowers around. Why? “The stench gets to you if we don’t do something,” a freshman woman at The University of Wisconisn told me somewhat apologetically yesterday. “It’s still us trying to bring some clean air into those pits of t-shirts and beer cans.” It’s still women tarting up the caveman and bringing the EPA into the cave.
Sex with no strings is great only if age-old drudgery isn’t the unspoken subtext attached to it. And only if women are very clear about boundaries. Like, in saying, “I’m not your mommy.”
So don’t do mommies’ work. Don’t sleep with men who are likely to turn around and call you a “slut” (and give ammunition to those women who would do the same). If men at your college dorm won’t clean their own grubby socks and sweatshirts—don’t socialize with them! Don’t go out with them! Don’t for God’s sake, sleep with them. If you’re their mommies now, at age 20, just think how disgusted you’ll all be in a few years, when you’re supposed to be thinking of these guys not as hookups, not as a dorm-mates, not as dates, even, but as partners. By then, it’ll be too late to think in terms of an evolved relationship!
Need I say more?