Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sex as small talk.....

This morning, Cecileaux followed up on my post yesterday by putting out the thought that sex is a language. A form of communication.

I agree with that.

It is.

But, as I commented on his site, it has gone from deep, substantial conversation to casual small talk.

A big part of my reason for not dating is the absolute and relentless expectation that I will be somehow anxious to engage in this "small talk" with everyone I meet.

Here's an example ~ from yesterday.

I went over to a small convenience store to buy a bottle of Diet Coke. The person behind the register is someone I have known for a long time now. Casually.

He told me that he would "take [me] anytime" and all I have to do is "say the word". When I commented jokingly that he is married, he said, "it doesn't matter".

And he couldn't even begin to imagine why I was offended. I am just a customer in his store. He doesn't know me, my value system, my way of life or anything about me.

He can only see that I am a female. If I am a female, I am a potential resource for him. Evidently, that is all that's required.

No different than a peice of steak.

Each time I have gotten to know a man (with the exception of one... the "Target Man" I met some months back) has brought up the topic of sex within the first few hours of knowing me, sniffing around, trying to see if I was open to the possibility. When I was not, he would lose interest and disappear. That doesn't make me feel bad, to be honest about it. I'd rather not be bothered by those types. They bore me senseless.

Keep in mind that I am not a physically attractive woman. I'm older. I'm heavyset. I make no efforts to be attractive to the opposite sex. I don't wear revealing clothing. My hairstyle is wash and wear. I don't use make-up. Frankly, I'm plain. Ordinary. Yes, I am unusual looking with all of my Thai stuff ~ but I'd hardly call that "primping". It is simply a style preference.

Hardly someone who should be subjected to this kind of tawdry sniffing around by men. It reminds me of a bunch of dogs in heat.

The scary thing is that this kind of behavior has become acceptable. It is no longer considered impolite or crass to openly pursue one's physical desires without any boundary. No ritual attached to courting anymore. It's just go out to eat and find somewhere to have sex.

Sorry to say... this turns me off completely and has led me to conclude that finding a mate in this day and age, given the prevalent value system, is not going to be something I am willing to do.

It's sickening. It's crass. It's impolite. It's tacky. And the truth is that I have a variety of reasons for existing on this planet and the primary one is not to be a vessel for men's sexual desires.

It cheapens sex and puts it in the same category as small talk. Useless chatter that is used to fill empty spaces.




MsLittlePea said...

I just got myself caught up over here and before I comment I must say I loved your post about censorship and I truly agree with you. Government cannot try to own our thoughts, and taking away a person's right to choose for herself is just plain wrong-unfortunately it's happening here too.

Anyway I wanted to say that you're right about sex becoming "small talk". What is so ridiculous about the situation you describe here and that "birthday boy" from before is a sense of entitlement. Like you're supposed to feel flattered by their words and actions and just because THEY want to, you should just do it anyway. I know there are many women who behave this way too. When I am with someone it's because I want to not because I feel like I have to. To me- anyone who acts like they can't control themselves, be it sex or anything else, that is the biggest turn off.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry that your pilgrimage came from "deep and substantial conversations" to "casual small talks". I knew the reverse. I don't think that your case is the usual road for all the women of the world. Fortunately.

Julie Pippert said...

First, I'm sure we each project something. Neither of us may fit the fakey fake so-called "ideal," but if nothing else, I've learned attraction falls on a range as does everything else.

Second, this reminds me of Gwen's recent entry in which she was surprised that a neighbor found her legs attractive. She had never thought they were, but he found something in them that appealed to him.

No matter how much we try, a part of us will probably always measure, measure against others, an ideal somewhere.

Third, I have to think about the reaction---whether sex has become small change, cheap, and how I would think of a date, an aquaintance, etc. making comments.

I think Cecileaux makes a good point, one that is still applicable to your post beyond where you say you diverge.

It really might simply be a clash---a miscommunication of language and cultures.

To stand close and be as touchy feely as is okay in many Latin cultures would seriously offend an American, usually.

As a single girl, I liked flirting, which often included silly risque comments and so forth. I knew who I flirted with, knew my boundaries, made them plain, and trusted my instincts.

Where I live, it is considered okay and meant as flattering to compliment a woman. This might even include a joke, such as, "You're a great gal, you ever decide to lose your husband, call me first."

I suppose out of context and on its own, that could be considered quite awful.

You are sure how that clerk meant what he said. You heard what you heard.

I wonder what I might have heard.

On dates, with a man I liked, were he to "sniff out" how I felt about sex...I wonder what I would have heard.

I'm not sure for me it would have been the same deal killer...the same indication of moral flaw.

Maybe I do my own sniffing.

And now we're back to the spectrum.

Julie Pippert said...

Oops, clicked distracted and meant to also say...

I wonder what I would have heard because I feel differently and have experienced it differently.

Anonymous said...

I need to add to my comment that not all the men of the world are just a penis untied to a brain, a heart, a soul, unlike your guy in the store.

QT said...

Chani - Honestly, looks have very little to do with how a person is perceived "sexually" by males. In our female head, we think if we put on a costume and make ourselves beautiful, it tells the world we want to attract a mate.

What it usually does is intimidate a man to the point where they will rarely speak to you in the fashion you describe. This has been my experience. I am not ever approached by men when I am dressed for work or when I am dressed to the nines to go out with girlfriends.

On the other hand, a woman going about her daily business, looking the way you describe is easy to approach and quickly evaluate on a "sexual" level. It is on the weekend when I am running around at the garden center, sweating, wearing stained clothes and not having showered that someone will try to pick me up. I think the rejection is easier to take if they can tell themselves you were not "perfect". You are right in describing it as the search for nothing more than a vessel.

I'm not going to knock sex, because I, for one, love it. But I agree that it can take many forms, and to have it on your OWN terms, whatever those terms are, (cheap sex, deep sex)is the best form I can think of.

I agree that it is disgusting to see people constantly pursuing their next lay. I remember the "birthday boy" and sadly, there are many men like that out there.

But there ARE men that are kind and caring that are also sexual beings. They are very difficult to root out - I think they have formed a secret society so as not to be taken advantage of. :)

Nice post - these having been making me do a lot of thinking lately.

thailandchani said...

MsPea, exactly. It is the sense of entitlement, from some who don't even know me! They just automatically assume that everyone subscribes to the same values. That is the part I find so annoying.


G, no.. I don't think it is, either. If that was the case, no woman in her right mind would ever get married.


Julie, I think you're right in a couple regards. In some senses, there will always be tacky men, regardless of culture. (I met some horndogs in Thailand, too).

I have never been comfortable with flirting, and that is even before I'd ever heard of Thailand. I really do have very conservative social values.. and that often puts me at odds with contemporary life. I'm aware of that.

I'd be curious to know what you would have heard, too. Honestly, I found his comments totally out of line.

I do my own sniffing, too. I sniff for honor, integrity, ability to communicate, intelligence ~ those kinds of things because that is what I look for in friendships ~ male or female.


G, I know that intellectually. Sometimes I forget though. I'm so, so sick of predatory sexual behavior.




meno said...

"The scary thing is that this kind of behavior has become acceptable. It is no longer considered impolite or crass to openly pursue one's physical desires without any boundary"

It is not acceptable to me. I have had people tell me that "it doesn't matter" that they are married too. My reply is "It matters to me."

The encouraging thing to me is that my daughter seems to understand and agree with my values on this subject.

All hope is not lost. I think in every civilization, at some point, the morals have disappeared. But not for everyone.

Lee said...

When I am the recipient male attention, it really all does come down to the look in the eye or the leer in the voice. Covered in tattoos, I can spot an genuine interest in my work, or a fake interest in my tattoos to make an opening for conversation. Even then, sometimes it's respectful, and sometimes it's just gross. And sometimes it's just kind of cute. Someone who is sexually suggestive is shut out immediately. No matter who they are, men should never assume. But sometimes I think I nice shy nudge can be flattering.

I agree that small talk is annoying, but men AND women have to start somewhere. It can be construed as polite interest and not aggressive sex-grabbing.

Pam said...

No women enjoys crass behavior (well, most don't) but not all men are like that. It's a question of taking chances and finding the prince among the frogs. I don't believe that we have to have a relationship to be happy in life, I've been on both sides of the fence, but a good relationship is a warm and wonderful thing.

Julie Pippert said...


In reply to your reply to me...

I might very well have walked away going, "EWWWW DISGUST, the nerve of that CREEP!" just as you did.

Or I might have caught a different nuance (not saying one was there, just saying I've had some men say peculiar things...they meant to compliment but, err, let's just say *seriously* communication challenged).

I don't think I would have extrapolated that the entire construct of sex in this society is completely flawed and dysfunctional with no ritual, just eat and bang.

There are definite problems with objectification of women, with dysfunction, with men and women alike focused on the score, etc.

There are men who are jerks. I've unfortunately met a few. But they stood out as the exception, not the rule.

I just don't find in my life that this sort of thing is common or acceptable. I wonder why?

I'm annoyed when I see cultural evidence of it, hear stories about it, etc. But when I sat and thought today, I couldn't think of a real life example in my life, not recently, not frequently.

There was the jackass in college, the creepy boss...but all of that was years ago.

I dated a number of men before marrying and not one pressured me for sex. Most actually were in my life because they valued me as a person; the attraction was (in my opinion) a bonus.

My husband and I knew each other for years before becoming romantically involved, so the friendship was solid, and we dated for a while before becoming intimate. We have similar values.

I'll go out on the TMI Honesty limb and say I like sex. I feel attraction and appreciate feeling attractive. Now, these things are *not* just physical.

So, different experience, perspective, etc. It might mean I'm might mean I miss might mean I give credit where it isn't due, and it also might mean that I'm not too far off. Probably a mix of all and then some.

Propositioning a woman, saying marriage/commitment doesn't matter, etc. is crass, impolite, sickening and out of line. It cheapens sex. No question.

However, I like small talk, it can be good in some places and situations.

Prior to marriage, I admit it: I wasn't just looking for friendship. Sometimes yes, sometimes that was the outcome, but sometimes I sought romantic companionship. It wasn't a mission for me, though, like it was for some people. I was simply open to the idea of romance if a wonderful person happened to cross my path.

To me that didn't just mean sex, though. I don't find honor, integrity, ability to communicate, intelligence, sense of humor, etc. mutually exclusive from sex. In fact, it absolutely can't be, for me.

I'm not disagreeing with your frustration and points. That's what you've got around you. And your conclusions about what you see are in line with what I'd think, in your shoes.

I'm just disagreeing with the idea that it is the norm, across the board.

Caro said...

When you write posts like these, it makes me regret that I can't pick up the phone, make a date for tea-and-a-chat and drop by your place :). This helped me a lot, thanks Chani.

Anvilcloud said...

You are absolutely correct, but you may be throwing the baby out with the bath water by being very categorical. Having said that (and other things elsewhere), if the Cuppa and I were to be separated, I can't see that I would be drawn to the market, so I do have a lot of sympathy (not the right word) for what you are saying. A lot of ... whatever the right word is.

slouching mom said...

I am admiring your honesty more and more lately. You are direct. It's refreshing. And, whether you see it in yourself or not, you strike me as one of the most confident and settled people I have ever 'met.'

I don't agree with your take on men and sex as a rule. Perhaps more as an exception to the rule. But damn, I have to respect your take. Because you present it so effectively and compellingly.

Christine said...

This is an interesting post, Chani. I agree with SM in that you are direct and make no apologies for that. Good for you.

But, for me, sex has fit into my life in various ways at various times. Sometimes all i needed was "small talk." And at others long, meaningful discussion. And now, i am happy and committed to my husband and only him.

I don't intend to be too revealing here, just to note that sometimes the way we view and approach sex changes over time. But I will say that I have always been respectful of the men in my sexual life. Crass or derogatory behavior is never ok in my book.

jen said...

i just wanted to let you know i was reading. my head to full to comment.

Lawyer Mama said...

This *is* an interesting post and it really made me think and look back at my casual conversations with men. I can honestly say I don't often encounter what you do. It happened more often when I was younger and had no wedding ring and toddlers in tow, but was still pretty rare.

But I still think that you are correct that sexual small talk has become much more acceptable. Some people are just creeps with no boundaries.

thailandchani said...

Meno, it's not acceptable to most of the people I know. It just seems that so many people out there have the morals of feral cats.


Lee, I appreciate a compliment as much as the next person and I know sometimes that is oblique sexual talk. That I can handle.. but blatant, overt, "I want it" stuff seriously irritates me. Beyond reason probably.


Pam, if I am able to find that, it would be great. I'm not closed off to it.. but I do acknowledge that it is very unlikely.

I'm only 55.. and I already feel like a relic.


Julie, you know what I think is a big part of the problem? My age. Seriously. You'd be utterly surprised at the dreck that's out there looking, once we get over 50. Most of them are unmarried or unpartnered for a reason. (Including me, of course. I'm not really good partnering material either for a variety of reasons.)

Older men (well, maybe until they're 65 or so) are like teenage boys who are let out of the house for the first time, especially those who are newly divorced.

I ran into a lot of American and British men in Thailand who were like that, too. They saw the whole country as nothing more than a sexual playground. Even the guy I stayed with when I went there bragged about how "easy" it is to get laid.

Yeah.. maybe if you go to Bangkok and pick up bargirls.

I suspect that is what I'm running into - that mentality. And then they see an overweight woman and figure she'll put up with anything.

Maybe I would see things differently if I was interacting with a different type of person, if you get what I mean... :)


Caro, glad it did. Of course I'm curious what it said to you. Do you experience something similar to this?


Anvil, I'm not drawn to the "market" at all. Seriously. I have such an intolerance for that baloney that a different side of Chani becomes evident very fast. :)


SM, as I said... I'm beginning to think it has something to do with a lot of the men my age who are newly divorced. The nicest men I met are the ones who are widowed and had good relationships with their wives.

This might be worth exploring more at some point.


Christine, I've never pursued sex with anyone so I can't even say what that would feel like. The ideal would be to have it happen naturally.. in time.

I'm also respectful to the men in my life... unless they disrespect me by trying to manipulate me into having sex with them. Then they hear what I really think.



Jen, hear you.


LM, yes.. sexual small talk.. and treating sex as though it is no more significant than casual small talk. You know... casual.. meaningless.. a time filler.

That is the cultural change that has alienated me.

To me, it's still more than just a friendly way to say goodnight.




Christine said...

I hope you didn't think i meant that you were being disrespectful to the men around you. On the contrary, it seems like you treat everyone, men and women alike, with great respect and kindness. That is a good and admirable quality.

And letting a crass, manipulative jerk know how you feel is SO satisfying!

Christine said...

Oh--and I'm try to make myself understood here. I have never been loose or a bed hopper. I was just trying to say that sex has been a positive part of my life over the years, in various ways. I haven't taken it lightly. Oh, and I've always been faithful to my husband. I don't believe that joking about extramarital sex is ok. It is objectionable.

KC said...

Those kind of men- I know what you mean. That would turn me off completely too.

thailandchani said...

Christine, I understood what you were saying and never took it to mean that you were "loose" in any way. :)


KC, those kinds of men just embarrass good men. :)




heartinsanfrancisco said...

I applaud the way you express yourself. I agree that many people take sex far less seriously than I do, and always have.

But I don't think that things have changed much over the years. They have simply become more overt.

When I was young and single and guys tried to pick me up, I would say that I was married. Usually, the guy would say, "So am I. Doesn't matter."

So then I began to affect different accents and claim to barely understand English. Also not effective.

Finally, I realized that I didn't owe them an explanation, or a conversation.

For me, sex with strangers is unimaginable. I am so glad that I am not single and looking for a mate. There is no way I would subject myself to the meat market mentality, ever.

Pam said...

Chani, you are right, the older we get, the more difficult it is, and many older men are looking for caretakers rather than partners. But I have two friends who met wonderful men in their late 50s, so one never knows. On the other hand, a life made on our own has its lovely side, too. I never minded living alone, I've always been comfortable in my own space and, at times, prefer it.

Tabba said...

Chani, When I was reading this I was thinking that you maybe are placing many a man in a category to which he doesn't belong.
Though you have many valid points. And you have every right to feel the way you do about someone who you know on a very surface level would speak to you like that. And though I know most men are like that......many aren't.