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F*ck That Guy: Mansplainy Slut Shamer Edition


Name: Audrey


Message: Hi Christan And Sara,


Over a week ago I matched with a guy on Bumble, we’ll call him Conner. We exchanged a few messages and then he asked me out for pizza. We met a few days later for pizza, and I really enjoyed talking to him. We went out again a few days later. And then we had our third date last night. He began to probe me for my relationship history, and I tried to keep my responses light. He asked about my last relationship and I just said it was a few years ago, we dated for 11 months and then he moved away. He starts asking questions about how many guys I’ve dated in the past. Then he asks how many sex partners I’ve have had. I was taken aback because I didn’t think it was good etiquette to ask a lady that. I disclosed that my count is likely around 100 men, I’ve never actually counted so I could be off by a few. He was blown away by that response and he said that he’s only had sex with 8 women.


He asked me what it was like to have had so many sex partners, and the conversation started to make me feel uneasy. I had sex with Conner on the second date, and he told me that he didn’t “feel special” anymore after finding out I’ve had sex with around 100 men. He believes sex should be reserved for people you care about, and sex should be meaningful. He said that he imagined that the girl he someday marries to have had about 20 sex partners? I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean. So I get this text today from Conner. He says that he wants to discuss the future with me. I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean? He wants to talk to me in person on Sunday. I agreed to that, but I don’t have a good feeling about Sunday’s meeting.


I texted him to say “I feel like you don’t like me anymore since you’ve found out that I’ve had sex with a lot of guys.” And he responded with “Of course I still like you as a person. But finding that was definitely a big deal for me. I can’t talk right now, I’m in class, let’s talk Sunday.” I was kind of offended and hurt by that, I thought when you loved someone that it wouldn’t matter what their sexual past was like. 100 doesn’t seem that high to me tbh. I’m 32, and began having sex when I was 16. 100 divided by 16 would mean I’ve had about six sex partners per year. So I don’t see why this should be a “big thing.”

So my question is, should I meet him on Sunday? Thank you




Sarah knocked this one straight out of the park:


First of all, I think you should meet with Conner on Sunday, and resist the urge to contact him sooner to try to defend or explain yourself. You didn't misrepresent yourself and you haven't done anything wrong. Go into this with your head held high. 

Second: I think your full response to this depends on how charitable you're feeling. The problem isn't your number, or even Conner's reaction (Not great, Bob!) -- it's that he feels entitled to know it -- and so early! You guys JUST. MET. He doesn't "feel special?" He's not special. Because you JUST. MET.  


My kneejerk response to your letter was, "He's a monster," and he may be -- but it's also possible that he's just a little clueless. Maybe he's from a fundamentalist family. Maybe he sat through some backwards sex ed classes in his formative years. What is definitely true of Conner is that he's absorbed some implicit cultural misogyny. You and I know that a vagina's not like a car -- its value doesn't decrease once it's driven off the lot. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume Connor is white? As a white man, he hasn't had a lot of motivation to question the status quo, because the status quo generally operates in his favor. And the status quo is keeping the Madonna/Whore complex very much alive.


It doesn't sound like Conner's done much reading or thinking about women's issues; he's probably not familiar with terms like "slut shaming;" "sex-positive feminism," or the notion of virginity as a social construct -- and he doesn't know how much he doesn't know. He's probably drifted blissfully through life, assuming, for example, that there's no wage gap, or that he's in that class he's in on the basis of his own merit and nothing more. So unless he wants to meet up just to end things -- which is possible, but not how this sounds to me -- this could be a teachable moment (if you think he's worth the effort). After all, wokeness is a journey, not a destination, and we all have to start somewhere. Do you owe him such an education?


Nope, not at all. But it is December, so you make the call.