An Acceptable Double-Standard?

I wrote recently of rejecting the affections of a woman who engaged in “lazy flirting” – exaggerated winks, thinly veiled innuendo, and back-handed date invitation.  I was colder than I needed to be, and less polite than I ever want to be.  It was not my best moment.  I am neither proud of my behavior nor willing to offer excuses for it.


But what if we reversed the gender roles?


What if it had been a man making persistent overtures to an obviously uninterested woman?

What if it had been a man who kept winking enough for the world to see?

What if it had been a man who issued the weak date offer of “I win you buy dinner, you win I buy dinner” to a woman that had already rejected his overtures?

What if it had been a woman who delivered another but clearer rejection?

What if it had been a man who when faced with this unmistakable rejection protested “Am I not pretty enough for you?”

What if it had been a woman who in frustration indicated that lame come-on’s are not sufficient to create interest?


I firmly believe in the equality of genders yet I also believe that there are some acceptable conflicting standards of behavior.  Is this one on that list?  I am not telling just yet, I look forward to reading the thoughts of others on this matter.


10 Responses to An Acceptable Double-Standard?

  1. Shannon says:

    Interesting question. Yeah, there’s a double standard, but that’s because of the safety element. A persistent man sets off danger signals, whereas a persistent woman is generally just a pain in the neck.

    Generally speaking, I give any guy who approaches me a fair shot. I respect that it takes nerve. But if a guy is pestering me, and I ask him to back off, I expect him to back off. If he tries again, I insist without being insulting. If he really, really won’t go away, and I don’t feel safe, I either leave or ask a member of the staff for help.

  2. Aileen says:

    I second Shannon’s comment about the safety issue. An overly aggressive man is definitely a danger signal.

    Having said that, this (overly aggressive man not taking no for an answer) happens on a pretty regular basis to most young women. I learned at an early age that the only thing that works is brief, cold answers. No eye contact, and body language turned away. Most women are taught to be “nice”, in this case, it works against you.

    Another difference is that in your scenario, you did subtly let the woman continue. It was you that suggested “stakes” for the pool game, giving a wide open door to a seductive response.

    I am generally going to stay out of this for a bit – I really just wanted to start a dialogue. But one thing you said is slightly incorrect. Pool players don’t race to anything without there being stakes. She offered the bet when she asked for a race.

  3. Lemmonex says:

    A man would never say “Am I not pretty enough for you?” Women are the ones who have the pressure of being beautiful and thin, not men.

    True, but what if we changed it to tall enough, successful enough, funny, enough, good looking enough. smart enough, etc.?

    I am not beating you up–I respect the fact you admitted your wrong deeply–but I think your rebuttal was so harsh because you said 1. I think I would LOSE the bet either way and 2. I don’t like lazy flirting. You called her unintelligent and unwitty. It cut her to the quick. You didn’t just shoot her down, but you also planted a deeper seed of doubt in her mind.

    I always give guys a shot, but if pestered I will simply take the “leave me alone” tactic. No need to say “you seem like an idiot”.

  4. MIchelle says:

    I would think in your original scenario the man comes off as an a$$hole, in the reversal the woman would come off as a bitch… so maybe i am not seeing the double standard?

  5. Lemmonex says:

    A man would never even say “Am I not tall enough? Am I not smart enough?” They just are not that conditioned that way. They keep their insecurities under wraps.

    Also, if a man thinks a woman won’t date him because he is not rich enough or tall enough, he will say FUCK HER, she is shallow. Women are much more likely to blame themselves and try to change to please others.

  6. Aileen says:

    Lemmonex is correct. A man would not lay that vulnerability out there.

    And I still think you encouraged her. If the situation was reversed, and I was you, and the man asked “Mind if I join you?” I would decline- make up an excuse, something. Instead you engaged in what could be considered banter. Then you cut her to her knees.

    I know you’ll disagree with me, but isn’t that the point of this dialogue?

  7. Angela says:

    i’m the wrong one to debate this issue.. i am always too nice. gets me in uncomfortable situations all the time. in a way i’m proud of making sure i’m kind… on the other hand…

    there was a time when i was younger when i was overly blunt. it should have been hurtful to men, when i’d comment on how they were nowhere near intelligent enough for me to waste my time with. However, it usually got them more interested, and they would then follow me around for the rest of the evening. my friends would just shake their heads and laugh in wonder…

  8. Angela says:

    oops.. damned auto-fill added my last name to that last comment. i should probably be more careful about such things.

    the website it links only has a few of my posts… but they are there, if anyone is interested, in digging a bit. the other posts are definitely worth reading as well…

  9. Dara says:

    I once experienced a peculiar variation on the “Am I not pretty enough?” line. One time, I was out drinking with a gaggle of male coworkers, mostly of the married sort. One of them was clearly intoxicated, and proceeded to try to kiss me. I pushed him away. He actually said, “Am I not a good enough lawyer?”

    Generally speaking, I’m with Shannon. There’s a fine line between annoyingly persistent and dangerously aggressive — and that’s why there’s a double standard.

  10. lacochran says:

    Men say unwanted/inappropriate things to me all the time. I can think of several examples in the last two weeks alone. I’m talking clumsy/artless/suggestive/etc. comments from strangers. I’m usually able to stop them from continuing while still allowing them to save face. 99.9% of the time, there is no need to be rude much less annihilating, as I believe you were.

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