Vox earnestly presents a new weekly advice column, Just the Tip. In this first edition, the lovely Emlyn Crenshaw counsels a freshman who can't deal with his floormates' "masculine banter" and tells another boy how to diffuse the Christmas gifting bombshell with his somewhat casual boyfriend. Remember to submit your questions to Emlyn at the end of the column.
Ever since I came to Georgetown this semester, I've had trouble keeping up with my friends' masculine banter. In high school, it wasn't an issue, but this year, my floormates sit around and talk about their latest piece of ass and call women bitches if they don't want to have sex with them and graphically go over every detail of their most recent conquest.
I was raised by a single mother and I have an older sister. Objectifying women is a completely foreign concept to me. Not only do I not know how to talk like that about my relationship with women, it makes me uncomfortable when others do. Even so, they insist on it, and my refusal makes me seem sissy and they've even joked that I'm gay because of it (even though their male chauvinism seems like overcompensation to me). At the same time, they're my friends. What should I do so that I'm not permanently resigned to being the sissy?
Not a Sexist
Hi Not a Sexist,
I’m sorry that your friends suck so much, but good for you for not wanting to objectify women. You should feel weirded out about this, and I promise you that respecting women will definitely work out for you in the long run. Sexism is probably the least sexy thing ever, besides maybe tap dancing. I know it may seem like “masculine banter,” but it’s really just dumb, immature, and a little gross. 2 Chainz may make it seem really appealing, but if you genuinely approach girls by calling them “big booty hoes,” they will likely not get hot 'n' bothered over it. Trust me. You are not 2 Chainz, gentlemen, nor should you ever try to be.
Definitely keep sitting out on any objectifying conversation, and don’t even be afraid to speak up about it. I know that nobody ever wants to be that person, but I can’t say demanding respect for a certain group of people (be it women, janitors, people that like Celine Dion) is ever annoying or sissy-ish. It’s just right. You don’t have to get awkwardly mad at your friends, but explaining yourself and asserting that equality/respect is a thing people are into nowadays will really help; it could make your friends realize that they’re acting like cast members on an early episode of From G’s to Gents rather than actual, sexy men. If they keep suggesting that you’re gay, roll your eyes and just say, “No, actually, I’m doing just fine in the girl department” or something similarly vague. Even if the only woman you’ve spent time with that week is the Progressive Insurance girl that pops up in YouTube ads from time to time, leaving things to the imagination of your friends will have them thinking you’re a super stud.
I've been casually dating this guy since I delivered a pretty kick-ass almost-roundhouse-kick to his shin during a particularly intense game of Ninja during NSO, but now I'm wondering if I should get him a Christmas present. Even though we've been hanging out for a few months now, we're not that serious. I'm worried it will be awkward if I get him a present and he doesn't get one for me, but then the opposite might also happen. What should I do?
Hung Up in Harbin
What a charming story about how you two met. It must really be love. This is easy to solve if you’re proactive about it—next time you’re hanging out, say something to the effect of, “Hey, let’s not do Christmas presents okay? I’m super low on money but I was thinking we could just go ice skating down by the Georgetown waterfront / make cookies/ get jiggy with it instead.” If he agrees, then you’ve got yourself a date and you don’t have to bother with Googling “what do boys want for Christmas” in the wee hours of the morning. (By the way, the Internet says that all boys want fancy whiskey stones and a $300 pen that looks like Don Draper would use it. UGH, honestly? Is that what you guys really want? Am I the only one that finds whiskey stones super weird and suspicious?)
Your sort-of boyfriend may say, “Aw, man, but I already got you a present!” Again, pretty easy to solve. Diffuse any awkwardness by trying to guess what it is (A Georgetown Dining Gift Package?!? Don’t get your hopes up.) and then say something to the affect of, “Well I’ll get you something small too, but seriously, let’s still get jiggy with it or whatever, 'cause I really want to.” Then you’ve got yourself a date AND a present, which is arguably better than just a date. Presents rock, unless they’re actual rocks to put in your whiskey… then they’re just boring and look like someone took a chunk out of the sidewalk.
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