"Dear Margo: My daughter, 22, refuses to go out with men. Why? It seems that girls of her generation have created a situation where the young man summons the young woman to his apartment to "hook up." That's the date: no phone call, just a text message. Then, after the event, the girl wonders why he doesn't call. In addition, the young lady is expected to wax her privates and carry baby wipes in her purse so she can be fresh and ready for anything. This is because men like "young" girls.
If you recall our college days, gentlemen called you no later than Wednesday for a Saturday night date. They wined and dined you and walked you to the door for a goodnight kiss, if they were lucky. Sex came later, when the woman felt she was in a committed relationship. Young women today should all unite, stop waxing and "take back the night." — Sally"
Go read what Margo says and then what the daughter says and then come back to me so we can wring our hands and wail about the death of civilisation together. And you were wondering why so many Islamic immigrants are so in love with the idea of sharia law.
But I have a lot of quibbles with this letter. First of all, I wonder how old Sally is, because I am almost old enough to have a 22 year old daughter myself, and in MY college days, very few gentlemen called you no later than a Wednesday for a Saturday night date. This was because they didn't read The Rules, which says that is what men SHOULD do. They did, however, call because there was no texting yet. There was still such a concept as the "Saturday night date" although, really, once you had a boyfriend, you just hung out as much as possible.
Also, you got walked to your door only if you insisted on it. In my college days, college age men were generally clueless about how scary it is for women to be out on their own after dark, particularly from the bus stop. One night a male friend of mine thought it would be a really good joke to scare me as I made my way home from the bus stop. He met my Inner Banshee. Most men of my generation had no idea, NO IDEA, what it might be like to be a woman when they were in college.
Men and women of my college years, like men and women of my grandmother's generation's college years, made out like bandits. (My grandmother was born in 1904, and didn't go to college, but she told me she would catch her college-age sister "necking" on the sofa.) The "good-night kiss" was a first date, will he/won't he, will I/won't I, worry, although even when I was in high school, a few girls would make out with cute strangers on the dance floor.
Sex probably "came later" for the vast majority of undergrads who did not get drunk at parties to steel themselves to do what they wrongly thought the majority was doing. I'll give Sally that. We did not reside in the sexual world she describes, with its Brazilian waxes and baby wipes.
Now I'll talk about that. First of all, I don't think this world was created by the college girls of today. It was created by p*rnographers. It was created by HBO. It may have been created by the writers of "Sex and the City". It was created by the music industry, possibly inspired by Madonna Ciccone. (In the 1980s, children, that far-off decade in which you were born, female pop stars wore big baggy clothes. The only pop star who pranced around in underwear was Madonna Ciccone, and those of us who copied her made it look 80s instead of sexy. The very daring might wear a bra over her shirt, not just a bra. Boy, those were the days.) I spend the 1990s in Goth clubs, but I recall that most women wore jeans to class. Jeans and t-shirts and no make-up. Make-up was so high school.
Incidentally, Naomi Klein was an undergrad at the University of Toronto when I was, and the feminists of that era loathed Camille Paglia and pro-porn feminism. They were beginning to waffle on "sex work", but they were still generally against porn. In so far as they thought about having children at all, they were sure they would bring up their sons to respect women as partners and equals and all of that. I doubt any of us could have predicted that their sons would summon girls to their beds with a text-message or that our daughters would simply shave their private parts and go.
The shaving thing would have made us all, radical feminists and Catholics, throw up, and indeed I do feel a twinge of nausea because only prepubescent girls do not have pubic hair. I suppose, though, that porn actresses don't either, because I can't imagine where else men would get the idea that adult women don't have pubic hair. (John Ruskin was a different headcase altogether.)
And the text message summonses would also have made us throw up, as would the baby wipes. My feminist pals carried condoms in their bags to protect themselves from disease, not baby wipes to make themselves all fresh and nice for non-paying clients.
By the way, you'll notice that I am taking Sally's ideas about today at face value, which might be a mistake. If she wildly exaggerated the (snork snork) chivalry of the 1980s or 1990s, she might be exaggerating what her daughter told her. However, my heart broke at [high-profile American soi-disant Catholic college] when a professor reported the findings about Frosh Week, which was that incoming students, in their shyness and fear and who knows what, get absolutely smashed at parties so as to be able have sex with each other later. After that, it is easy to believe thousands of American girls are trotting around to men's bedrooms like absentminded hookers who forget to ask for payment.
Why do women act like this? I almost wrote "girls", but maybe that is part of the problem. Maybe we should hark back to the 1990s, when it was considered wrong to refer to any woman over 12 as "a girl." It could be that women think they are SUPPOSED to. But who told them this? And why do they believe it?
Meanwhile, I am absolutely sure this situation is not fault of children born in the late '80s and '90s. They were groomed for it--but by whom? Surely not just Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda?
Incidentally, one of the commentators scolds Margo about her advice that Sally's daughter should accept dates. So far nobody has asked Sally's daughter on a real date, so she is quite right to say no to everyone who just invites his over to their place. Personally, I would ask Sally's daughter why she picked the pseudonym "Virgin Whore". She is quite obviously not a whore, and refuses to act like one or be treated like one. If it is because she feels sexually frustrated, that's just mad because most adult women feel sexually frustrated at least of the time. Meanwhile, she's only 22. Most men are not old enough for marriage at 22. She should wait for a grown-up. A grown-up will ask her out for dinner.
Now that we are all depressed, I will tell you that the male university students I know do not summon women to their beds with text messages. They are Catholic and Polish and wish to be married. They have fiancees or they hope to find one soon. So there is hope for your generation, particularly if you are Polish.