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My friend Julie in Baltimore decided to dip her toes in the OKC waters, which inspired the two of us to go at this together. Much like workout buddies, we are there to remind each other to hold our heads high and not to give up — and to share some of the insanity that runs rampant on the Internet. We also thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast the Los Angeles and Baltimore dating scenes.

Because some of this material is too good not to share, we’ve decided to share it with you in the form of weekly highlights. You’ll get them until either one of us finds love (don’t hold your breath) or gives up (more likely).

From Julie:

So now that Dahlia and I have moved our focus to the fairer sex, we’ve both found ourselves with a problem. We love writing about our misadventures here, but we’re both hesitant to share when it comes to our nascent same-sex affairs. Not because they are same-sex, we’ve both made it clear that we are totally comfortable with that, but because they are with women. And, well, women are different than men. We feel fine, justified even, in mocking guys for their ridiculous missteps and their arrogance. But ladies? No, then the shields come up, and we want to protect them from your prying eyes and our own acerbic wit.

I’ve been trying to figure out why. And in my pondering, this gem from My Fair Lady keeps popping into my head.

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If you don’t have the patience to watch the whole thing, here are the lyrics for “A Hymm to Him”:

Henry:
Why can’t a woman be more like a man?
Men are so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historically fair;
Who when you win will always give your back a pat.
Why can’t a woman be like that?
Why does ev’ryone do what the others do?
Can’t a woman learn to use her head?
Why do they do everything their mothers do?
Why don’t they grow up like their father instead?
Why can’t a woman take after a man?
Men are so pleasant, so easy to please;
Whenever you’re with them, you’re always at ease.
Would you be slighted if I didn’t speak for hours?

Pickering:
Of course not.

Henry:
Would you be livid if I had a drink or two?

Pickering:
Nonsense.

Henry:
Would you be wounded if I never sent you flowers?

Pickering:
Never.

Henry:
Why can’t a woman be like you?
One man in a million may shout a bit.
Now and then there’s one with slight defects.
One perhaps whose truthfulness you doubt a bit.
But by and large we are a marvelous sex!
Why can’t a woman behave like a man?
Men are so friendly, good-natured and kind;
A better companion you never will find.
If I were hours late for dinner would you bellow?

Pickering:
Of course not.

Henry:
If I forgot your silly birthday, would you fuss?

Pickering:
Nonsense.

Henry:
Would you complain if I took out another fellow?

Pickering:
Never.

Henry:
Why can’t a woman be like us?
Why can’t a woman be more like a man?
Men are so decent, such regular chaps.
Ready to help you through any mishaps.
Ready to buck you up whenever you up whenever you are glum.
Why can’t a woman be a chum?
Why is thinking something women never do?
Why is logic never even tried?
Straightening up their hair is all they ever do.
Why don’t they straighten up the mess that’s inside?
Why can’t a woman be more like a man?
If I were a woman who’d been to a ball,
Been hailed as a princess to one and to all;
Would I start weeping like a bathtub overflowing?
Carry on as if my home were in a tree?
Would I run off and never tell me where I’m going?
Why can’t a woman be like me?

Okay, so you can get your panties in a bunch over some of the lyrics, and we all know things have changed since Lerner and Lowe wrote that number seventy-five years ago. But the fundamental truth remains: women *are* different from men. In ways both frustrating and wonderful. And the converse holds true. And sometimes you’re so frustrated with both that you can’t help but think that we need a third gender entirely.

But what is it about the difference between men and women that gives Dahlia and I pause as we write about dating ladies? Well, when all else fails, I turn to the Internet hivemind. That’s you, dear readers.

So here’s another chance to participate in our grand OKC experiment. Tell us what you think. How are men and women different, how do these differences make us adore them, and why might they make us feel justified and enthusiastic about sharing our trials and tribulations with guys but hesitant and chaste to discuss our relationships with women? We’ll post the results and analyses later this week or next.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CC9L9FR

WEEKLY RECAP
Dates: 3 (well, “dates” is a strong word)
Phone Calls: 1
Messages: Not freakin’ enough

BEST OPENING MESSAGE:
Yeah, none this week.

WORST OPENING MESSAGES:
Nope, nothing good enough to be “worst” either.

BEST RESPONSE TO “THE MOST PRIVATE THING I’M WILLING TO ADMIT”
“is that I am quietly judging anyone who puts their secrets on the internet.”

[Fair enough!]

WORST RESPONSE TO “THE MOST PRIVATE THING I’M WILLING TO ADMIT
“I have a sewing machine and I know how to use it. I don’t have a microwave in my kitchen.”

[That a guy has a sewing machine isn’t a big deal unless he makes it one. Which he just did. Also the microwave thing is “private”? Does he keep it somewhere other than the kitchen? I fear words have lost all meaning.]

PROGRESS (OR LACK THEREOF):
As discussed above, I’m just not going to go into very much detail. Suffice it to say that one date went exactly as I wanted it to go and the other two were more complicated. Not at all bad, good actually, just complicated.

OKC might not give you exactly what you want, but I’m starting to believe it gives you what you need. I have developed a wonderful new friendship with a kindred spirit through OKC. And, shock of all shocks, she seems to have found real happiness with a woman she met through the site. I’m holding them out as the model for what I want, and as hope that I might actually achieve it. Time will tell.

WHAT I LEARNED FROM OKC THIS WEEK
I can report that I’m continuing to succeed in separating out sex from other encumbrances when that’s what I want. I know this may seem contradictory to what I wrote in Week 2 post sex with Lovecraft. And, well, it is and it isn’t.

I have not and never would have sex with someone I do not fundamentally like and respect. I feel there’s a high bar for getting in the door, even if I decide I don’t want a relationship in the typical, normative sense, and, instead, want something more purely-sex based. And in bed, as in the rest of life, I do not abide fools or moral weakness. I’m not fucking anyone who isn’t a good and just person. You sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas. There’s no sex or other visceral pleasure that is worth that.

And that whole love thing? I’ve realized love is very much involved for me every time I have sex. Philia, or the love of friendship, is always present. I have never and will never sleep with anyone with whom I’m not friends. And more importantly, perhaps, love of self is also always there. I don’t mean that in a narcissistic sense, although I do tend towards that, and I don’t mean that in a sick and selfish way either. But sex should first and foremost be an expression of self-love, love of one’s own body, a gift of pleasure and happiness to oneself. It’s an acknowledgement of self-worth and a reminder that this fragile form can do and feel some quite remarkable things.

I’m not sure we’re anything more than carbon and hydrogen and oxygen and trace elements that will one day be recycled. But sex, for a few moments, can link us to something both centered in the self and above and beyond it. And to the extent that religion or spirituality can make one aspire to, reach for something true and good beyond one’s everyday mundane existence, then sex, by connecting us even fleetingly to this feeling of something more, can serve as a concrete reminder to pursue the better angels of our nature. And, hey, that ain’t bad.

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