Tuesday, July 8, 2008

No More Muffins

I guess someone else on teh internetz had some bad breakups that forever turned them off of muffins?

Okay. I want to talk about Tracie’s Jezebel post on Emotional Conquistadors, but I want to do it in a way that focuses entirely on the content of her writing and puts aside judgments on her motives for posting it. That said, anyone who got funneled over here because of this post should also go to Jezebel and read Managing Editor Anna Holmes’ reaction to the whole thing, as well as the myriad of comments it generated. It’s worth it: trust me.

Anyway. Tracie’s post oozed with a sincerity and insecurity she hasn’t really revealed before on Jezebel. Many Jezebel readers and Tracie supporters are very sex positive in their views of feminism. This doesn’t mean manipulating the "rules" to justify one night stands or casual sex, but instead viewing female sexuality in a way that allows for sexual openness and the relative removal of shame from sex. I’m still trying to figure out if I agree with these ideas, but it’s safe to say that Tracie and these other women can compartmentalize physical attraction and emotional attraction much better than I can. I’ve tried to separate sex and love, and I fucking suck at it. I almost always go into relationships claiming that I’m emotionally detached and only in it for the physicality, but inevitably I end up developing feelings for the person I’m with, even if they aren’t necessarily that great of a person. I envy the way some women can treat sex casually. I try to, I really do, but it’s just not the way my brain is wired.

That’s not to say I’m against sexual liberation. I mean, once you’re my boyfriend, I’m really very slutty. I just haven’t found a way to separate sexual and emotional satisfaction so that I don’t feel ashamed afterwards. Maybe I’m letting society dictate what should make me feel bad, but I really believe it’s just the way I think: Lady in the street but a freak in the bed, so to speak.

But for some reason I still attempt to entertain the notion that I can remain emotionally unattached while fucking someone. Like Tracie, "I’d rather be fucked than fucked with." And these men that she speaks of in the article – the ones who are emotionally manipulative, know just how to burst through that defensive shell and get under your skin – these are the ones I always end up falling for. I can be incredibly complimentary and supportive and giving when I really like someone. I bake muffins for them for fuck’s sake! So I’m entirely susceptible to the Emotional Conquistador. I know how to make people feel good, I know what to say to make them feel special, so it’s no wonder that men who crave ego plumping flock to me.

The irony is that the more I get hurt, the more open I become. I went through a pretty ravenous breakup a few months ago, and I experienced the traditional emotions: “I’ll never date men again” became “I’ll never date men like him again,” which then became “Alright I want a boyfriend now.”

I’ve learned from my past relationship mistakes, but I also refuse to walk around like a robot, fucking anyone I want to because I’m scared of developing a tenuous emotional connection. I’ve been hurt in the past, I’ll be hurt in the future, and yes, sometimes I wonder if the good things that come along with all that pain are even worth it. Ultimately I guess the answer is yes. That’s why people still continue to get married despite the over 50% divorce rate, right? There are people out there who still believe in love. I’m wary to declare myself one of them, because, as a child of divorce, I do have some fucked up opinions about relationships and marriage. But I think, overall, I’m beginning to trust my instincts. There is a definite middle ground between falling head over heels with anyone who pays you attention and living life completely stoically. It's a delicate balance that I think many women have trouble navigating; all it takes is one person to break through to you and then break you. I guess, for me, I'm willing to risk it. So the emotionally needy hangers-on in constant demand of validation are welcome to continue flocking: but I’m not gonna bake you any more muffins.


-Jess

4 comments:

Marshall said...

I'd rather be flocked than flocked with.

nina said...

Providing constant support and reassurance for an Emotional Conquistador eventually takes an emotional and painful toll (as we've learned the hard way). But you're right, you come away stronger and smarter - i.e. more able to recognize these kinds of guys for what they are and therefore stop yourself from baking them the ego-boosting muffins they thrive on.

jmc said...

Some people are good at separating sex and love, and some people are good at acting like they can separate sex and love. I don't know which Tracie is, but I for sure have been the latter at times. And I also have totally sucked at it, as you say you do.

Also remember that Tracie more or less has her 20s behind her, and you still have all that to experience, for better or for worse. So there's that.

Luiza said...

You shouldn't be ashamed of sex, but you definitely shouldn't envy people who can treat it casually. I don't think sex is sacred at all, but there's no glory in being a super-slut (whether you're male or female - no difference) for more than a couple of years, usually in your mid-twenties. Honestly.