Thursday, July 7, 2011

I really don't get tired of saying what a jerk Richard Dawkins is.

If you're not already, let's pretend you're a 31-one-year-old single female.  You're at a conference, and after a long day of speeches and seminars, you get on the elevator to ride back up to your room.

<---This guy, and no one else, is on the elevator with you, which understandably, makes you a bit uncomfortable.  Unfamiliar town, late at night in a hotel, now trapped alone in a confined space with an older male.  This is one of those situations that girls are taught from puberty to avoid for their own safety.

Imagine this guy then proceeds to tell you how much he enjoyed your speech at today, and would you come back to his hotel room with him to discuss it over coffee?  Any woman with a working sense of self-preservation's "skeeze-meter" would be registering off the charts.  The actual woman in question politely declined and made the walk back to her room jumpy and shaken, worrying that the guy might take offense or follow her.

Well, this is something that actually happened to feminist blogger Rebecca Watson.  She wrote about this incident later, not naming the other party, but opining that, "Guys don't do that."  And she's right.  A logical man should realize that no woman in her right mind is going to join a stranger in his hotel room.

Unfortunately, the guy in question is 70-year-old author Richard Dawkins, a militant atheist most (in)famous for his book "The God Delusion".  He's one of those jerks who's not just content to be an atheist, but wants to mock all religious people as soft-headed and weak.

Since he is such a jerk, he took to the comments section of Rebecca Watson's blog to belittle her and tell her how glad she should be that she doesn't live in some 3rd-world country where women are stoned or mutilated, which is kind of like a kidnapper using the "at least I didn't kill them" excuse.  Wrong is wrong, whatever the degree, and there's something really creepy about a 70-year-old hitting on a girl less than half his age.  (Obvious exceptions include if the guy in question is Alan Rickman and the girl in question is me.)

Because internet flame wars are a train wreck I'm completely unable to look away from, I've been following this story in the blogosphere.  Being young and female, I have, inevitably, been hit on by creepy older guys.  (The worst is when it's a customer.  :shudder:)  So I can really sympathize with Rebecca Watson here (our dissenting worldviews notwithstanding).  And I already knew Richard Dawkins was a jerk, so I'm not really surprised by his arrogance or condescension.

However, one male commenter posed an interesting question.  The gist of it was, "What if I'm really, for all the right reasons, interested in a girl in that situation?  I'll probably never run into her again outside of that elevator.  What can I say or do that won't be misconstrued?"

Ah.  THAT is the right question.  And I'm here to help.  Okay, hopefully you've all by now stopped imagining yourself as the young woman in our initial hypothetical (but not really) scenario.  Now imagine you're a guy (not 70 though, ew) who heard this woman speak, found her fascinating/brilliant/electrifying/etc., and you would really like a chance to talk to her about it.  Here is what you say:

"Hey, I know it's late and you're probably getting ready to turn in, but I wanted you to know I really enjoyed your lecture on (whatever).  Would it be all right if I left you my cell number, and if you're interested, maybe we can meet for coffee sometime and discuss (whatever)?"

Bam.  No pressure on the woman.  Even if she's not interested, she doesn't have to risk offending you; she can just take your number and never call you.  It's completely non-threatening, and it shows that you're willing to invest in her long-term (as opposed to just trying to pressure her into your hotel room right then and there).  Extending a later invitation, at her discretion, proves you're not just in the mood for a quick hook-up.  And it gives her an escape hatch.

Weird.  I think I just wrote an advice column for men.  I'm really terrible at keeping this a "mommy blog".

No comments:

Post a Comment