“Do You Think I’m Sexy?”…On Aziz Ansari, #MeToo Era Dating & Desirability Politics

By:  H.T., Website:  Rogue Black Nerd

Let me start by saying that I believe what Aziz did was wrong, but it wasn’t rape or sexual assault.  If Aziz is guilty of anything, it is not reading body language and not understanding the situation.  Overall, this speaks to a bigger issue going on and a question that hasn’t been asked in a rational manner.

I didn’t lose my virginity till I was 21 years old.  I still remember her and how I lost it because 1) despite being with this woman for almost 2 months, I hadn’t brought up sex till that day, 2) I was a nervous wreck, and 3) when we broke up, she would attempt to extort me for money by making the threat of saying I raped her.  It was thwarted when I screenshot the message, sent it to her to show I had proof she was lying, and still agreed to pay her the actual amount of money I owed her.  So kiss my ass Ricky L. Hinds II, that’s what happened, stop lying on me you creepy faced bastard.

This is not a “the woman who accused Aziz is lying” article, this about perception and where things are going as far as sexual politics in the age of #MeToo.  Women should have the right to decide who they sleep with and men should obey their wishes or face consequences for violations.  But I ask an honest question:  how does a man navigate this modern age of dating if they are socially awkward and not desired often sexually?  I ask this because simply put, it’s very possible that Aziz misread the situation.  Again, this was a woman who was still willing to blow him, so in that it’s easy to mistake that as a sign that a woman wants to progress to sex.  But this raises the question:  how lightly are we as men to tread now?  Let me remind you that we’ve come to the point that now both apps for consent exist and the art of courting is essentially dead.  Men who are sexually desired only have to make literal small talk to get laid now, reducing things to a short game of necessity.

Which goes back to my question:  what do men do that are socially awkward and also sexually undesirable?  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t some MGTOW, red pill ass inquiry, it’s a serious question.  If not only are you bad at reading people but haven’t fully figured out that at least the women around you aren’t attracted to you, what do you do?  As I said about awkward men before, the double standard of desirable men hitting on women vs the ones women aren’t drawn to exists and is just an unfair part of western society.  But beyond that, what becomes of men who try to date, don’t know where they’re wanted if at all and try to get by without being labeled a creeper?

I ask because let’s be honest, there are many young men who are clueless about many things.  Among them being women, social cues, social norms, and just sex in general.  How do we teach young men things that we used to let be learned over the course of a decade within less than a third of the time?  Remember, there’s not a lot of men who enter their adolescence fully understanding concepts like agency and consent, and they can learn.  But how do we systematically teach a new generation this both effectively and without relying on fire & brimstone tactics?  Keep in mind, the reason that so many young men indulge toxic ideals within masculinity is because a figure come in their lives and spews jargon mixed with half truths about what they were taught.  In this case, it would likely be that all these men are being taught to respect agency, but will point out the double standard I mentioned earlier about attractiveness without mentioning the issue of body language.

When It comes to Aziz, I feel as though he didn’t mean to make her uncomfortable, but as someone who’s followed his very open and frank stand-ups that’s often about his life, I can tell you that by his very nature he’s awkward around women because he admittedly lacks the savoir faire of a man that would normally be good with potential sexual partners and because he cares enough about others to want to at the very least be on their good side.  This is no to say he doesn’t need to grow, but this is also to say that he’s not someone we should write off and socially view the same way as say, Terry Richardson or Matt Lauer.  However, this leads to the more shallow point about things that aren’t discussed because both no one knows how to be nuanced about it and frankly this generation is almost unable to come to a consensus on things we could agree on just a decade ago.

I know, there isn’t a universal standard for what people find physically attractive in humans period, let alone heterosexual standards of beauty for men.  But the fact is that there are traits and body types that most, but not all, women are attracted to.  For men, it might as well be all since the ones that like them either aren’t what they like or in some cases even their female counterparts have standards that rule them out as well.  I will stand by my belief that no one needs to adhere to anyone’s standard of beauty and that includes men, but that isn’t to say that one must not try to make themselves appealing in some way, even if that means cutting back on certain things or fixing certain issues.  But this leads into the issue at hand:  when considering the issue of things like agency, consent at this generations disdain for the idea of what we once called courting as it’s been reduced to attraction being built at first sight and personal attraction taking longer and still not guaranteeing men mutual attraction IF she clicks with him (yes, I know that men aren’t entitled to women’s affections).  I will say that this fear exists in my head because as a kid, I tried to get a girl from school to like me.  I failed, but because of things that happened that I had no control over that was inadvertently my fault elsewhere, things got out of hand and I was brought in to answer questions.  What drove things over the edge wasn’t me or even the young lady herself, it was the guidance counselor that for whatever reason decided to make this what would otherwise be an issue of a lovesick freshmen into a case of stopping a potential sex offender from blooming.  Yes, he was talking about me.

When you combine the issues of physical appeal and men who already can’t read people, especially women they are attracted to, you are left with a serious question:  how do we prepare a generation of men who are already inept with dealing with people and teach them to navigate basic things like signs of affection for women with the added stress that a misstep could mean these men being social pariahs?  Again, I’m not talking about the guy who goes up to a woman and makes unwanted physical contact or says something that sounds vaguely suggestive.  I’m talking about the sweet yet nervous guy that can’t tell if the girl he’s trying to get to know and get in a relationship with is either being nice just to keep him from possibly escalating, is just a nice person or actually likes him.  For as much as we joke about men buying sex dolls and porn, the fact is I have met many young men who find it easier to spend a few thousand dollars on a sex doll or buying Skype time with a porn star as it’s not even that dating is getting hard, it’s beginning to become a situation where it just about feels like being a pro-athlete in that you would have needed to be elite since you were young or there would be no point in joining the game later as you quickly become penalized.

There are many men out here like Aziz, but if we reach the point that we read every situation where a man makes a woman uncomfortable in a sexual situation as assault rather than being nuanced in our approach in dealing with the incident, then I can’t say that anyone can really expect there to be a huge wave of men for the progress of intergender politics.  Again, we’re at the point that there are people who require men to fill out consent contracts in every sexual encounter, some more detailed than others.  The problem isn’t asking for consent, but rather that the bureaucracy of a basic human act is admittedly a turn off and no one wants to admit it.  Gone are the days of being the ugly guy who gets lucky and hooks up with a pretty girl, sober or drunk.  Instead, the fear but not the actual fact is people fear that things are edging to where men fear that being a bad lay or even a regrettable partner could lead us to at a minimum of being accused of rape.  The problem with that isn’t that men would be falsely accused, it’s that we would send law enforcement potentially to investigate 5 different cases of “this weird guy was so awkward in bed and now I don’t like how I feel” posts when they could be covering 3 cases of “this man got me incredibly drunk and forced his penis inside me.”  In short, I’m saying that we are approaching an issue like Ansari that could simply be a time to hold it up as what not to do and let Aziz have time to apologize and make amends.  Instead, we are making an example out of a man who likely wasn’t malicious in intent despite making mistakes that many men often make daily and setting a standard that in the end will not actually push men to improve but rather walk away frustrated and possibly lash out in some way.  If we truly want 20 something men in the #MeToo era to be better, we have to teach them, actually teach them.  Not yell, not posturize, not call women pick-mes even when they tell them what they did was wrong but gently explain what to do better.  Again, as someone who explored the r/Incels boards back in the day, a lot of those men were an Aziz and never got a second chance socially.  Let’s not make more of men like that.

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