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DEFENDING A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO TEASE

 

By Sarah Jacobsson 

 

Tuesday, February 12, 2008.

 

So here’s the story; I’m at the apartment of a boy I’d been dating for about a month. Things are heating up, so I think it only fair to warn him, before we get too far into the moment: “I’m not going to sleep with you tonight.”

 

“Okay,” he replies in stride and goes back to kissing me.

The next day he asks me if I’m waiting until marriage.

 

“Um…no,” I assure him, “Sex is just…kind of a big deal to me.”

 

“Oh,” he replies, “Yeah. I feel that.”

 

Well, apparently he doesn’t “feel that” because the next time I ask him to come over he hems and haws before remarking that I am a tease and he has a paper to write.

My first response? Um…asshole? But then I think about it for a moment—am I a tease?


Later that day, I am at dinner with my friend Max, relating the insulting story over sushi and sake. Max nods along sympathetically before informing me that, after a month, he is, in fact, surprised I haven’t slept with the guy yet.

 

“Excuse me?! We’ve been on six dates, I don’t see him during the week, and the only reason I know his birthday is because Facebook reminds me! I’m sorry, I just don’t think I know him well enough,” I mutter through a mouthful of avocado roll.

 

“Well, what, aren’t you attracted to him?” Max asks. “Are you going to sleep with him? Because otherwise, aren’t you just dangling something in front of him?”

 

Okay, so this is the second time I’ve been called a tease within a single week. Perhaps it’s time to really think about what a tease is. Am I one, and if so, then… what’s the crime?

 

As far as I’m aware, if you sleep with a guy you’ve just met, you’re either drunk, or at least a little on the slutty side. And if you don’t do anything with a guy you’ve been dating for a month, well, then you must be a prude.

 

Neither choice will help your reputation. And if you have, well, a little bit of fun, but you refuse to go all the way…then you’re a tease.

 

So where do you draw the line? Where in that equation do I get to be a normal girl who just wants to know the guy more than “just sort of” before she sleeps with him? What am I supposed to do in this situation—not touch him at all, for fear that he might get turned on and then I’ll end up leaving him all…you know? I don’t know about you, but it kind of feels like anything short of going for the main event brands me with a scarlet “T” for Tease.

 

Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. Bottom line: In guys’ eyes we’re sluts or teases. The way we look, sound, smell, feel and touch—it’s all (supposedly) calculated to turn a man on. Maybe that’s why some cultures choose to hide their women indoors, or under a head-to-toe cloak.

Well, I have a better solution; Guys…man up!

 

If I don’t want to sleep with you, it’s not an insult to your masculinity. It’s not even that I don’t find you attractive. And it’s not that I just want to string you along. Maybe my mother taught me to be a good girl.

 

Maybe that lesson took. Get to really know the guy first, you know? Be comfortable with what you do with your body.

 

And if we girls have to choose from the slut at one end, or the prudish princess at the other or maybe some playful teasing in the middle while we think it over, I say teasing is the way to go.

 

No giving it up right away and no sitting at home for the rest of your life with your cats. There is a third option. Call me “respectable.” I can handle it.

 

Sarah Jacobsson is a journalism student at New York University, she can be reached at sarah.jacobsson@nyu.edu

 

Please e-mail comments to comments@thenewblackmagazine.com

 

 

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