I dressed up as a man once. I bound my breasts, put on a moustache, and walked without moving my hips. With a high femme friend, I took the subway to a drag king show, where I made a date with the runner up. Other than that, I've lived as a woman.
It's ironic, then, that when I create a manifesta on OKC with my breasts as a userpic, I get asked repeatedly if I'm really just "acting like a man."
I get the question, I think: If I'm switching roles by sleeping around, then am I guilty of the same behavior I'm criticizing?
The answer to that question is no.
After my first casual fuck, I went over to my confidante's house. "I did it," I told her. "I can do it."
I didn't just mean that I could disengage sex from romantic relationships. I meant that I proved to myself that I could do so ethically.
It wasn't easy to be ethical: I recognized the desire to dress up fucking with romantic kink and indulge in a fantasy of leaving my awful single life behind. It was so tempting to whisper a lot of sweet bullshit into his ear, to sleep over, to let him think there would be more. I also recognized the urge to flee, to blow him off, to sever all ties in the hopes I could avoid any awkward feelings.
But I refused to give in to those urges, so I know it's possible to do. That night, I felt an odd mixture of condemnation and forgiveness for the men who pushed me to this choice: I understood how powerful the urge is to act like a cowardly jerk, but I also knew it was possible to resist the temptation. That night, I decided to write this manifesta, because I hoped that other men might also resist the urge to act like Jack in Sideways and the man who was my last straw. Then I wanted to find them and fuck them.
There are also faulty assumptions behind the question about "acting like a man." The assumptions are both sexist and anti-male.
I object to whispering sweet bullshit into women's ears to get sex. I object to being too lazy or clueless to figure out what you want and too dishonest to admit that you don't know what you want. I object to men being clueless, callous cowards, because I know there's another way.
I don't object to men (and women) wanting to have sex. I don't object to casual sex. I also don't think that doing those things = "acting like a man." Equating having casual sex with "acting like a man" is sexist.
The suggestion that I'm "acting like a man" is also based on the assumption that you can simply interchange male and female behavior in the first place. Doing so ignores the fact that male and female sexuality are regulated very differently in our culture. Women aren't supposed to seek out and enjoy sex with multiple partners. They're supposed to be selective with their mates. They're supposed to barter sex for emotional security, romantic love, and domesticity. Men are supposed to avoid this trap at all costs. According to this logic, I can never act "like a man" because we already have a term for a woman who acts like I do: slut.
I wonder, then, if calling my slutty behavior "acting like a man" reflects a desire to regulate my sexuality. The question implies that I should stop what I'm doing because I'm guilty of transgression.
It also assumes that "acting like a man" means acting like a jackass, which is profoundly anti-man. I don't think man should = jackass. I don't think one gender has cornered the market on bad behavior. I do think men have cornered the market on this particular type of bad behavior.
I'd like to consign the phrase "acting like a man" to the dustbin of pre-feminist history. Instead, I'd like to see more people act as ethically as this slut tries to do. I'd like the world to decide that the only person who needs to regulate slutty behavior is the slut him- or herself.
And if I find that man who really acts like a slut in the best possible way, maybe I'll whisper sweet truths into his ear, and maybe I'll sleep over, and maybe I'll let myself imagine romantic love and emotional security, and maybe I'll let him know there can be more, and maybe I'll invite him to join me in making it up as we go along.
And then I'll wrap one long leg around his waist and press my other calf against his shoulder and beg him to fuck me into sweetness and delight.