Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rude pervs aren't born

Jezebel brought to my attention an interesting question about teaching kids manners in the ways of dating and sex:

Should the conversations parents have with sons about sex, manners and respect be any different than the talk they have with their daughters?

I never really thought about it before, but it's extremely strange how a lot of men act with women. The article includes comments from a woman who frequently received explicit propositions for sex from strangers - and it's really weird how men who think they are otherwise polite and normal will put strange women on the spot. What I think it comes down to is the bizarre tendency to separate "sexual morality" from "morality." You need to be polite ALL THE TIME, even when you're naked. I think people who grow up with the idea that they're being naughty and breaking rules any time they engage in sexual behavior are more likely to figure they've already crossed the line of decency by getting onto the topic of sex, and what could possibly make a difference in how much they offend someone after that Rubicon's been crossed?

An example from the past few days in my life would be when in the new Spring sun, my extremely fit neighbor was out and about shirtless, and I very obviously made a point not to stare at him. Later, it occurred to me that if I'd been out in my swimsuit (and probably only if I were more conventionally attractive), I'd expect to be unapologetically ogled by any man, without thinking much of it. In the situation where I am the nearly-naked one, I'd probably feel like I was inviting stares, as would any men hanging around at the time.

I think the same reasoning applies to men who feel entitled to proposition strange women - they feel they're being provoked by the presence of an attractive woman.

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