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Commenting Note: This post is not about how you are unable to get a date and you are sad about that. I sympathize with people who cannot get a date! Really, I do! You are welcome to fill up my inbox or askbox with all of the tragic tales of your inability to find a romantic partner! But if you try to do it in this thread I will delete your comment.

Someday this article will go down in history as the point at which “Nice Guy ™” ceased to mean anything.

I mean, seriously, what do guys who sexually harass you on street corners, your abusive ex, and Hugo Schwyzer Robert Jensen douchey male feminists have in common? Other than being men, interacting romantically/sexually with women, who think that they’re nice people while actually being assholes? I know Nice Guy ™ is confusingly named, but it doesn’t mean that, it has a very specific meaning, it means “men who feel entitled to sex with their female friends because they are nice.” Also, no one wakes up in the morning saying “today I’m going to be a misogynist pig because I enjoy hurting women.” They say “I know! I’m going to brighten some woman’s day by yelling at her to ‘smile’!”

But I’m not actually ranting about the continued misuse of the word “Nice Guy ™.” (That’s what Twitter’s for.) I want to look at this particular item.

The Aspirational Fuck Buddy

It’s just a sex thing and you’re not ready for a relationship. You’ve told him this. But he won’t listen. He doesn’t understand rule number one of taking your pants off is that you can’t fuck your way into a relationship.
Likes: Making you soup when you’re sick.
Dislikes: The fact that you are not his girlfriend and have told him that you should stop sleeping together.
Pop culture muses: The dude from 500 Days of Summer

Okay, maybe I’m missing something… but how the hell is that an example of misogyny? Look, you can genderswap it:

The Fucking Clingy Bitch

It’s just a sex thing and you’re playing the field. You’ve told her this. But she won’t listen. He doesn’t understand rule number one of taking your pants off is that you can’t fuck your way into a relationship.
Likes: Making you soup when you’re sick.
Dislikes: The fact that you are not her boyfriend and have told her that you should stop sleeping together.
Pop culture muses: Bunny boilers.*

See? Now it’s an item in an AskMen.com article.

People of all genders have casual sex with people and fall hopelessly in love with them or have casual sex expecting that this will mysteriously lead to A Relationship. It’s not a girl thing or a guy thing, it’s a people thing.

Which is not to say that it isn’t a gendered phenomenon. For one thing, the girl version does some kind of weird pseudofeminist “he’s in love with me! That misogynist!” thing, while the guy version is blatantly misogynistic.

I also think the whole business is rooted in some deeply toxic assumptions about relationships and sexuality. For one thing, it is incredibly fucked to expect that other people have to date you because you have a crush on them and are non-objectionable. It continues to be fucked if you’ve had sex with that person.

On the other hand, sex produces emotions in lots of people, including feelings of closeness and intimacy. Friendships (even casual friendships) often result in unintended crushes. I have no idea why someone would think “I’m going to have a friendship, and add an activity that results in a lot of people having romantic feelings for people they do it with, and this will mysteriously reduce the chance that someone will end up with romantic feelings.”

There’s this bizarre idea floating around that romantic feelings are a thing under one’s volitional control, and that if other people have feelings you do not like it is their fault somehow. (See also: poly people who open their relationship on the condition that you not fall for anyone else.) But the vast majority of people cannot stop themselves from having crushes when they have them. The label “casual sex” is not a magic salve that makes them able to.

Now, if you were sensible human beings, you would handle an unexpected unrequited crush like this:

Crusher: I have a crush on you!
Crushee: That’s awkward, I don’t have a crush on you.
Crusher: Well, in that case, I will have to stop having casual sex with you, because that would just make me sad that we’re not dating.
Crushee: Cool!

OR

Crusher: I have a crush on you!
Crushee: That’s awkward, I don’t have a crush on you.
Crusher: Okay. I’d like to still have casual sex with you then.
Crushee: Unfortunately, I don’t feel comfortable having casual sex with someone who has a crush on me.
Crusher: No worries.

OR

Crusher: I have a crush on you!
Crushee: That’s awkward, I don’t have a crush on you.
Crusher: Okay, I’d like to still have casual sex with you then.
Crushee: Neat! I’m free on Wednesday.

This is one of those multiple-choice type situations.

But those models are all based on the assumption that “I don’t want to date you” is sufficient reason not to date someone. Unfortunately, a lot of people are under the impression that you’re not allowed to not date people unless they’re Bad People. If you refuse somebody, then you’re a horrible person grinding their beautiful romantic heart under your heel– unless, of course, they’re an entitled misogynist or a psycho clingy bitch, in which case they’re Bad People and you’re allowed. (This is actually the flip side of the “if I have a crush on you you have to date me!” assumption.)

To sum up:

  • People do not have to date you because you have a crush on them.
  • Most people can’t control whether they have a crush on someone.
  • Not wanting to date someone is a perfectly good reason not to date them.

*I have BPD, I’m allowed to make bunny boiler jokes.

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