I hope it's ok I post this here. I've been trying to think through the murder of three women at an LA Fitness club a few days ago by a man who was angry that he couldn't get any dates.
The posts are part of an ongoing project about ethics in dating. I've edited for clarity, but there are more details in the original. The obvious reaction is that it's not ethical to fucking shoot women because you can't get a date, but I guess I think there's even more than that to say. So the following is my attempt to say something about what these murders say about men and women and heterosexual dating nowadays.
I briefly fucked around with an older man. I'd say he was in his mid to late 50s, although he could have been even older. I never asked and he never told me.
When we were talking one evening after some wine and sex, he started to muse aloud. "I like you a lot. I even love you," he said, "but I don't see how we could get seriously involved. I want children and you're too old already. I need a younger woman."
I am about 15-20 years younger than he is. And he has pretty unrealistic expectations about the women he will date. They need to have an athletic body, a pretty face, and a good mind, like me. He wasn't having a lot of luck with those women and, after a few weeks, he didn't have much luck with me either.
What stuck with me were his expectations -- his sense of entitlement.
It turns out Sodinis had a blog. He wrote about how he worked out and tanned himself and couldn't get a date. He estimated that he had been rejected by 30 million women (the number of single women 'out there,' apparently). He said he hadn't had sex for 20 years. He was filled with resentment for the 20-something "hoes" who were having more sex than he was. He dismissed one woman he'd dated as "only" a 7.25.
How exact! A 7.25. A if there really is a metric for evaluating women! As if, in any metric, a 7.25 is not enough. As if he's entitled to a 10 simply for wanting one. As if there is any actual 10 out there who doesn't come to us under a sheen of photoshop enhancements.
Sodinis was furious that attractive, young women wouldn't date him -- furious enough to kill three women he didn't know simply because they were women.
And I think of brznhussy's post about how women don't realize that there are plenty of men who would love to sleep with them -- it's just that they're not the men those women *want* to fuck. I'm sure there are plenty of women who would have found Sodinis cute (disregarding for a moment that he was a murderous, rage-filled man). I'm also equally sure that he felt he deserved better than those women. That they were too old or too fat or too ugly or too assertive or too whatever.
Yet, as my confidante reminds me, fat people have sex; ugly people have sex; old people have sex. There's sex for the having. Maybe the trick is as simple as letting go of the "10" you think you deserve and discovering the 7.25 with an interesting smile, or a good story, or great ambitions, or whatever.
That's why I tried out my older man. I gave up on the 10 and went for a guy I thought might have something interesting to teach me. I was wrong in that case (or at least that he might know the lesson he's teaching), but not because he was too old or too fat or too ugly. He turned out not to be worth it because I didn't like his opinions. Maybe I deserve better, but at least I'm willing to try and see what people have to offer. Then again, maybe I don't deserve better.
We all like to think we are too good for each other; maybe we're not good enough.
But then there's this: there were murdered bodies on the ground, and those bodies are women's bodies, and they were murdered for being women, because some man felt he had a right to them -- either to fuck them or to kill them. George Sodinis felt he had a right to those women and, when he was denied access, he killed three random women he'd probably never even met.
That's misogyny. He hated all women for the perceived actions of some women. He blamed women for his problems.
He felt entitled to murder women for being women. Anything else I say is secondary. Too many women are murdered for being women.
But I'll say more anyway:
Maybe some of those women might have found Sodinis attractive. Maybe some of those women were wondering what they would have to do to get that cute guy or girl to notice them. None of that mattered because Sodinis thought of women as both interchangeable and destroyable.
Maybe those women were murdered for not being interested in someone who felt entitled to their interest -- for having the audacity to want what they want. Maybe those women just wanted to go to the gym and work out and go home and have a beer and watch reality tv. It is not our job to be interested in men.
But then there's this:
I created Jane Doe because I was so tired of being treated as if I were expendable by men. I was tired of seeing them gaze over my shoulder to see if they might find someone better. I was tired of being left because they assumed there was someone more interesting on the horizon.
But under all that was the hard truth that I felt entitled to better. And that makes me a little like Sodinis. I created a blog where I articulated exactly what drove me to my own extreme action. That also makes me a little like Sodinis.
You know what makes me not like Sodinis? I didn't then go out with a gun and shoot any man just for being a man. Women don't tend to do these things. We cultivate eating disorders, or depression, or self-injury. We agonize and drive our friends crazy, but we don't kill people.
So now, at the end of another day, there are three women murdered for being women. By a man. Who thought he deserved more. And I am here again, writing as hard as I can because I have things to say about dating and ethics and all of a sudden, the stakes have gotten higher.
And can't believe I have to say this, but here it is:
You do not have the right to injure people because you think you are entitled to attention from their gender. You do not get to be misogynist. This is axiomatic.