Recently, one of my friends was giving a girl a friendly back rub when she took off her top and bra and let him continue. Then she informed him that she didn't want to have sex with him. He told her he was going to go hang out with the guys. When he told us this story we were all in agreement that something is definitely wrong with that chick. I have found myself in similar situations with other women, as had some of the other guys, and what we want to say to women out there is this: "Why the hell would you let us fondle your bodies if you don't want to have sex?!"
We're gentlemen, of course, and none of us would ever force a girl into anything, but this kind of stuff does piss us off. There are a few things I'd like to know: (1) As much as I enjoy giving a half-naked girl a massage, how can I avoid women and/or situations like the one above? (2) What should I say to women when they do something like that? (3) And why in God's name do women do that?
--Sick and Tired of Being Used
I can only assume you live in a coed dorm at some godforsaken liberal arts college, SATOBU, as that's about the only environment I'm aware of in which men offer "friendly" back rubs to women they aren't involved with sexually. When you're older and more experienced, you guys are going to look back on those back rubs with acute and appropriate embarrassment. Real men only give back rubs to people they're already fucking; only desperately hard-up college boys give "friendly" back rubs to girls they hope to fuck. No doubt when you and your friends say, "Hey, you look stressed-out--would you like a back rub?" to college girls, you're hoping that the "friendly" back rub will lead to some friendly sex, right? Well, guess what? They rarely do, as you and your friends are discovering.
1. How can you avoid these situations? By not offering back rubs to women you aren't already sleeping with.
2. If you don't offer back rubs to women you aren't already sleeping with, SATOBU, then you won't have to say anything to women "when they do that," because they won't have a chance to do that. See how that works?
3. Why do women do this? Well, there are a few reasons.
Some young women accept back rubs from men they have no intention of sleeping with because they have a hard time saying no. Girls are socialized to be agreeable and perky, and don't want to give their new dorm mates the impression they're bitches or, worse yet, dykes. Offering an inexperienced young woman a "friendly" back rub puts her in an extremely awkward position. If you asked her honestly for sex, she would probably give you an honest answer: No. But when you ask dishonestly for sex (by offering a back rub), don't complain when you get a dishonest answer. You offered a back rub, and who doesn't want a back rub? By not being honest ("I'll trade you a back rub for some sex, howsaboutit?"), you and your friends are essentially manipulating young women into quasi-sexual situations that they may not be entirely comfortable with. Which isn't a very gentlemanly thing to do, is it?
Not all young women are so easily manipulated, however. Some have the nerve to say no, while others will respond to your manipulative offers of back rubs with manipulative behavior of their own. Take that woman who took off her top, for instance. Perhaps she knew your friend was after sex, and she let him think that sex might be in the cards because she wanted a back rub. She accepted his offer, and after she got what she wanted, she showed his blue balls the door. And that's just tough shit. There's also an outside chance--very outside--that the shirtless girl wasn't interested in having sex with your friend at the moment. Had your friend followed through with that "friendly" back rub, leaving her with the (false) impression that his offer was a genuinely friendly gesture and not an underhanded attempt to get into her pants, she might have considered having sex with him sometime later. As it stands, he'll be lucky if she lets him look at her again.
Recently, I went to a concert. A guy in the crowd and I hit it off, and there was a fair amount of groping. At the end of the night, the guy asked for my phone number. This was on a Wednesday. On Friday, I came home from work and there was a message from the guy. He told me that it had been a pleasure to meet me, and said he wanted to get together. He said he would try to catch me later and then added that his cell phone battery was dying and gave me a talk to you later. Now it's Tuesday night, and nuthin'. Why the heck did he make that phone call in the first place if he wasn't gonna call back? What sense does it make for a guy to call, leave a message, and not leave a number where he can be reached?
Just as men shouldn't expect sex in exchange for "friendly" back rubs, women shouldn't expect men to make sense. Maybe he's dead, maybe he's got a girlfriend or wife, or maybe he's just stupid and rude. But if I were a betting man, I'd say the guy's attached. Let's do the math: He didn't give you his number, he called you from a cell phone, and he didn't leave a number where you could reach him. Add it up, Puzzled.
Please refrain from trying to make George W. Bush look stupid. You might be surprised to know how many Republicans read your column and are offended by your cracks. Do you want half your readers thinking, There goes yet another stereotypical Gay Wacko Liberal making personal jabs at the next president of the United States?
Republicans are welcome to read my column, as are Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, and Natural Law and Communist Party members. The Nader voters, however, who put George W. Bush in the White House (with help from butterfly ballots, undercounts, and Republican Rent-a-Riot Inc.) are forbidden to read my column until they make amends. I'm not sure if Greens can ever make amends to the country as a whole, but they can make amends to me personally by burning their voter-registration cards. Really, haven't you people done enough damage already?
As for trying to make George W. Bush look stupid, that's not something anyone has to break a sweat "trying" to do, not with W. himself doing most of the heavy lifting. Quoting our next Commander and Thief verbatim ("They misunderestimated me") makes him look plenty stupid. But in an effort to reach out to my Republican readers--hey, I can be a uniter, too--I promise to show W. the same courtesy and deference that conservative writers have showered upon Bill Clinton for the last eight years, so help me God.
Confidential to Dining Out in Vancouver, B.C.
I disagree. The best-looking waiter in Vancouver doesn't work at Havana but at MacKenzie's Cabin on Robson. I think his name is Rory. Check him out. As for the cutest waiter in Chicago, I have no idea, but readers are free to send in nominations.
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.