Kate Carraway counsels the confused on social media response times, "comfort sex" (ick), women being complicit in enforcing systems of shame and insecurity, socks and sandals (ick again), coffee, Kitty Pryde, F buddies, and other girl stuff.
Last week we did the first round of me answering your girl questions, because I’m not actually a real person but an all-knowing deity; here is round two. Let’s do this again sometime, but not toooo soon, because all y’all seem to care about is getting your lawn watered.
What is the right response time for social media or phones? Like, what is with the crazy timelines/deadlines people have and their wild responses to not hearing back from someone and jumping to conclusions?
Post-AIDS panic, sexual anxiety seems to center around, like, emotional user’s manuals. Obvs better than AIDS panic buuuuuut this is in its own way extraordinarily boring. Guess what? I have totally liked a guy and not written him back for two months because I just didn’t. But other times you feel like texting right away because your joke is just *smooch* and needs immediate transmission. If a girl cares a lot about when you text her back, that sucks, UNLESS you say you’ll call and don’t, because in that case, you shouldn’t have said “I’ll call you.” That is just regular logic. But seriously, the next time you are like “Why” about this just throw some glitter in the air and spin around three times while it falls slowly into your hair and wonder about something more interesting.
Providing comfort in the form of sex to a friend you otherwise wouldn't do it with: Is it appropriate/problematic/completely fine? I feel like it could get a bit tricky… I don't know.
No, it’s not appropriate! You stupid bitch. What? No! Here is why books and TV are dumb: I never understand why any of the women do anything they do. Like why would you have sex for any reason other than if you don’t do it with this particular person, your pussy will vacate your body and move in with someone else—even on the couch in the basement—because it is mad at you? Trading sex or using it is the WOOOORST and that includes relating to men you aren’t specifically interested in via pussy instead of via, like, heart-plus-brain or whatever “friendship” is.
ALSO: “Comfort” isn’t sex. Sex is awkward and manic and transcendent and challenging and absurd. “Comfort” is human attention, a next-level hot chocolate preparation, many hours of listening in a real way.
I feel like some girls are more willing to like eye-rollingly fuck a dude than do the sometimes genuinely hard work of being nice.
Why are girls so complicit in enforcing the systems that bind them to insecurity, self-doubt, and shame?
Because when you are the sucker in an eternally established power dynamic, it is a lot easier to take a lil’ nap than be showing up cocked and pissy every day. Here is what my friend Gchatted yesterday: “I don’t want sisterhood sometimes. I just want to be a regular lady.” The idea of onus is really interesting, like, being complicit isn’t some shady on-purpose sociopath thing, it is just the least resistance.
I get why you’re asking but that’s just an axel jump, spewing nega-ice everywhere, away from the actual thing of Because Sexism. The thinnnng is, it shouldn’t have to be up to me to actively oppose the grimiest misogyny at all. Every girl is already subject to the huge, hard daily sexism tablets; liiiike why is it my responsibility to fix? That is for straight men to do (gay men? I don’t know. Men, though) with other men. That is how a message is transmitted to the people who need to know it the most. Men should be talking to other men all the time about women and sex and consent and anger and fear. Girls just aren’t allowed in the dirt. That is not me being an essentialist jag, that is me knowing that even my best best best guy friends don’t tell me everything and couldn’t because I would cry and throw up.
Socks and sandals: why so reviled?
Boys dressing awesome or not-awesome is a serious point of contention in the girl community. But socks and sandals is beyond matters of relative style, in that as a look it demonstrates an aggressive disregard for even the most forgiving mores of fashion. Super, super bad fashion demonstrates an arrogance about yourself that is more off-putting than the visual effect of your grungy, thick-cotton toes. Nobody really cares if you dress boring or dress cool, but people really care if the way you dress yourself is an active fuck-you-ening.
What's with girls booking dates and then rescheduling the day of? It's all fine after that but the first one is like a test. It’s like they’re thinking “If I last minute change it up, are you still gonna buy me coffee?" Has happened to a lot of my friends lately.
Thing One: This—cancelling—is just a NBD thing with a generation of Muppet Babies whose defining, all-time-historical selfishness and smartphone-as-life-conduit doesn’t understand changing plans even at the very last minute as having any non-pH-neutral aspect of morality or even manners. And I think that’s half-right: Maybe this is revolutionary to boys, but when you are expected to show up always doing some kind of LEWK and having some kind of sunnily girlpropriate mood-mien, and instead are wearing a pillowcase hat and nothing else while you search for house keys in the pockets of every conceivable jacket and coat—since we have to have 16 of them—cancelling is very often an objectively better choice than showing up, way acidic or way alkaline, to entertain a boy at a bar. So maybe STFU about it.
Thing Two: Maybe it’s because you are suggesting that buying a girl a coffee is even a quarter of the way to an actual gesture? A coffee? There is free coffee in literally every building in the United States of America, if you can find the right door. Have you ever walked by a coffee plant in Guatemala while the beans are being processed? It is a worse smell than any smell you ever smelled and I have lived with a crusty male chef. Coffee, more than any substance, is pre-shit. Buying a girl, or a pal, or a stranger, a coffee is not even on the scale of something that matters. And look, this is not about cash, this is about effort: Organizing a blanket and some homebrew (crusty punk chef!) and some comics for a day at the park is better and more meaningful than paying for a Superdinner. But do you see my point here? She’s less likely to cancel if you are taking her out for something real, something that she doesn’t do every day with every person.
Thing Three: I’ve never heard of this as a “test” but I have heard of this/done this as an “I’m not interested enough to New Jack Swing over to where you’re standing, so try harder,” like, ice-pick your way through Bitch Mountain first and thennnnn you will have access to a conversation. So maybe that is a test, actually.
I was friends with a girl for several years. We share many mutual friends and a social circle. Admittedly, we got into a disagreement over a couple different issues, but we ended our apartment deal on fairly good terms. Emailed and texted a few times since the move, but now haven't heard back from her in two+ months. Like, zero communication at all with no warning.
She is Black Ops-ing you. She doesn’t want to be friends anymore (or, and this is a teensy-weense “or,” she is legitimately too busy or preoccupied or stressy to rehash your stuff right now) and is doing you the semi-maybe-favor of not engaging you in a knockdown-drag-out-emotional-battle-royale about it. Leave her alone, I think, and I know that will make your heart go blue because you like her (or even like-like-like her), but if you’re running a long game you’ll def want her to come to you, when she’s ready. Your Black Ops will be an unexpected hard-to-get-ness.
What's the girls’ perspective on F buddies and post-relationship casual sex?
Are we Crystal Pepsi about how there is no Empirical Girl? No catechism, no “always”es. Based on my undulating posses of girl-things, I can tell you that some are zero-sum never-againers about post-relationship hookups, and some have sexual lives that revolve around the singleness of their exes. Obviously everyone approves of “F buddies” even though that and nothing is a good term for it.
Girlsplain Kitty Pryde!
I dunno, but we spell our names the same so we are whatever the “Kathryn” version of “Eskimo Brothers” is. No, actually I do know. (I doono.) Affectless embarrassment-rap is a theoretically great and useful genre because it is predicated on just total, gutting literalism. More specifically, girl is like a bedroom-community Princess Superstar. Approved! [Signs it, stamps it, seals it.]
I'd like to know why it bothers me when men refer to women as "females," despite, genetically speaking, being correct.
Previously – Girlsplaining: Part I
Follow Kate on Twitter @KateCarraway