I usually like to wait and make decisions in retrospect, at least when they have little or nothing to do with me. I find it best to reserve judgment until the emotions die down. Generally, people don’t respond to my way of speaking or writing when they’re still taking things very seriously.
But, it’s been a while, and I think both sides have said their piece, and it’s generally settled in the minds of those involved, even if no consensus was reached between the various views. So, what better time than now for me to pick at the scab?
For those not in the know, a female atheist at an event for skeptics gave a talk about how she didn’t like how women were objectified by men, typical feminist stuff. As the woman was leaving via elevator, a man who saw the talk got on with her and asked him back to his room for coffee. She declined, she ended up off-handedly mentioning it later online, and it set off a crazy debate about the treatment of women in the atheist community.
It shouldn’t be news to most that there are more men who are atheists than there are women. I highly doubt this is because atheist men are driving women out. Out to what, religion? Right, because religion is known for treating women well.
No, I think there are other cultural and socio-economic reasons for this, and I believe the new crop of highly educated females in my generation and younger will translate into more female atheists in the future. But this isn’t really the point.
The initial issue at hand is: was the guy wrong for doing what he did?
Without getting into a too detailed account of how one ought to date (and I would know, I was ugly, out of shape, lazy, not very bright… yet I still did pretty well for myself while dating, and managed to get married), I think what he did was certainly gauche, which in this case is a polite way of saying “fucking creepy.”
Generally, you should wait until the last possible second to proposition someone for anything, be it a date later or “coffee” (and we all know he meant the coffee he was brewing in his pants). This means waiting until someone is leaving company for good, like as he or she is stepping off the elevator. This way, when they most likely decline, it won’t be as awkward, because you will be parting company immediately.
Also, it’s always inappropriate to ask someone out when in an enclosed setting. If they are a captive audience, it’s borderline intimidation. When in doubt, just remember this bad pun: asking a girl out while riding in an elevator is wrong on many levels.
Then there is the issue of addressing the backlash to the woman’s comments regarding the incident. I believe it was a video initially, and I think I remember seeing it, as well as some post or comment from her on it. I got the distinct impression this was far less of a big deal for her as it was for the community at large. If you want to blame anyone, she’s not the droid you’re looking for.
I feel like the initial hostility came from men blowing the whole incident out of proportion, and then women (and level-headed men) jumping all over these horn-dogs who were unabashedly being their primal, male selves. Hmmm… primales? Maybe a Wednesday Word, if I’m having a slow week…
There ended up being stupid things said on both sides. For one, I think it’s okay to proposition a woman who gave a talk on not objectifying women. Asking a girl out or back to your room is not objectification. Men don’t fuck objects; we fuck people or our hands, both of which are biological. I assure you, I have had sex with more than my fair share of women, and I never saw any of them as objects.
Although… isn’t it women who have multi-colored dildos, and vibrators with a little rabbit that stimulates the clitoris? Then you got your nipple clamps, and of course you gotta have a butt plug in this day and age… I guess what I’m saying is, I know more women who sexualize objects, and I have heard women talk about guys as being literally “pieces of meat…” so maybe this whole “men objectify women” nonsense is just projection.
Plus, I’ve dated plenty of feminists who have told me at one point in the evening that they were trying to focus on their career and couldn’t handle a relationship right now, and later that night, after awkward sex, she was asking if she would see me again as she was leaving, even though I asked her to stay. Hell yes she would, because unlike guys on TV and assholes in real life, I’m like most guys: I dated to find someone to be with, not to collect sexual partners (and STDs) like Pokemon.
Call me old fashioned, but I like to really get to know a person before I dump their ass to the curb… I’m kidding. I have never dumped someone in my entire life, ever. I prefer the female method, where I just become intolerable to the point where the other person ends it. Since so many women I dated do this too, it became a seriously irritating game of progressively tortuous verbal abuse chicken, but I have incredible emotional stamina and a real knack for annoying perseverance (or at least a perseverance for annoying). This is more of a confession of a personal short-coming than part of the whole general argument…
So here’s my final advice to guys: you can ask a girl out whenever and however you want, but don’t go sobbing like a beaten puppy if she mocks you for your tactless come-ons. Be a man, jerk off, and try again tomorrow. At least she didn’t slap you.