A Profile of a Modern American Woman

Via Twitter I came across this charming story of a young woman who whored her way across Europe for the summer. There is an awful lot to say, so let’s begin:

This summer, just two days after my divorce, I left for a 10-week solo trip through Europe, visiting 11 countries and dating in most of them.

Note the use of the term “dating”. As we’ll soon find out, that’s not quite the word she’s looking for.

My ex and I eloped to Hawaii when we were 25. But shortly after we started arguing more, and with more intensity. Despite counseling, neither of us was happy, so I moved back in with my family. That was last winter.

So we’ve established she’s emotionally immature (eloping at 25?), makes rash decisions she’s unable to see through, and quite possibly unable to build a lasting relationship. Counseling? If you need that, the relationship is already doomed.

By summer, I was feeling like myself again, but I was falling for a guy I met on Tinder. Will* was a passionate, outgoing PhD student who wasn’t looking for commitment and who was leaving for a summer internship across the country.

Tinder. Classy.

So at 26, single for the first time in my adult life, I decided to spend the summer traveling.

As more evidence of her emotional immaturity, she deals with her marital failure by going traveling rather than engaging in serious self-reflection over her past choices and where her life is going.

And dating men abroad.

“Dating”.

In mid-June, I landed in Edinburgh and started swiping.

I matched with Nicholas* on Bumble, who was 29 and a pianist.

On my last day, we hiked to the top of Arthur’s Seat, a hill overlooking the city. I asked for his opinion about Will from home…Nicholas said Will sounded like a prolific dater who’s been moving through girls for years — and that I was too sensitive for quick, casual dating. He might be right about Will, but I didn’t agree with his assessment of me; I’ve dated other guys before and since Will, and I haven’t cared about anyone else.

Hang on. You were single for the first time in your adult life when you got divorced in the winter. You met Will in the summer, then you went traveling and met this Nicholas guy first up. Yet you dated other guys before and since Will? Again, her definition of “dating” is probably not the same as everyone else’s.

Will and I had an instant connection; we’d lie on the couch talking for hours and text daily. I couldn’t get enough of him, and it seemed like he felt the same way.

But when he left for the summer, I asked if he’d want to keep seeing each other in the fall. He responded: “The fall is a long way away, but I can’t immediately think of a reason I wouldn’t want to hang out again.” Ouch.

I’ll save you some time: he sees you as a fuck-buddy, not girlfriend material. At this point we get a pic of the author – one Elise Linscott, a freelance writer – in a bikini:

Okay, she’s young with a good body. Pretty much just the sort of girl anyone looking for a quick, meaningless shag on Tinder would go for, which explains her success. But anyone who thinks this is all that’s necessary to get a decent man to commit to a relationship is delusional.

I was in the city of Faro in the Algarve Region for one night and not expecting any dates. But on Tinder, a guy named João invited me for a motorcycle ride and coffee by the beach; we had a lot in common, and being with him felt easy.

After sunset, we went back to the city and hung out on the roof of my Airbnb apartment — until we got chased off by my host, who was furious I’d brought a strange man there (oops).

The host probably thought you were a prostitute. I’m being quite serious here. You might want to say a little more than “oops”.

Instead, we drove to his beach house and had sex for hours. (And, I learned that, in Portugal, they call spooning the “shell position.”)

We stayed in bed, playing guitar and singing until 6 A.M.

I was sad to leave João, but I couldn’t stop smiling. Those were the kinds of experiences I was hoping to have, and I thought about how much my life has changed over the past year, for the better.

She’s gone from being married to a long-term boyfriend to being shagged on the beach by random Portuguese blokes who ride motorbikes. Apparently this is change for the better.

I texted Will a picture of the view from my terrace and asked if he knew where I was — he guessed right. He said his internship was busy but good, and that he was enjoying Seattle. No sign that he was thinking about me as much as I was about him.

Which is fortunate for Will, given what you’re up to. Sounds as though he has some sense.

There wasn’t much activity on Bumble, but on Tinder I met Pablo*, a biologist from northern Spain with a beard and ponytail and sexy accent. He took me to a hidden “secret bar” for tinto verano (chilled red wine with lemon-lime soda) and vino de pasas (raisin wine) — both were surprisingly good.

That weekend, we went to a music festival with his friends and danced to DJs and bands. His friends were nice, but didn’t really English, and he made little effort to include me in their conversations.

Perhaps you had nothing interesting to say?

His friends seemed more willing to help me translate in restaurants than Pablo, who seemed more interested in flirting with the scantily-clad girl sitting next to him.

So having had sex with you a few times, he’s no longer interested and is giving you every sign he wants you to fuck off and leave him alone. You know, there is a branch of feminism that insists women having meaningless sex with strangers is empowering. Does this woman seem very empowered at this juncture?

My last week in Seville I dated Mario*, who was half Italian and half Spanish. He took me to a rooftop bar with a view of Seville Cathedral and said he’d bring me to the airport Monday morning when I flew to Paris.

Sunday, I texted him. He said he was stuck in Malaga, hours away.

I’m beginning to think this woman has rocks in her head. How dense do you need to be to firstly believe this guy will give you a lift to the airport, secondly actually believe he is stuck in Malaga, and thirdly write about it in a major magazine later?

I was starting to realize I shouldn’t count on men who know they’ll never see me again to keep their word.

This woman is 26 years old.

But, I was still enjoying traveling overall and spending my days sightseeing. And I was optimistic I’d meet more guys like João.

To be honest, they all sound alike to me.

I met Max*, a 28-year-old British Student (a Tinder match), for lunch. The very first thing I noticed was that he not as attractive as his photos.

Can we get Max’s opinion on you?

By dinner, I was out of cash (and the restaurant was cash-only)

Wait, this is in Paris. Where the hell were they eating, the Grand Istanbul Kebab House? Everywhere takes credit cards except the Turkish joints, and even half of them do. I think she’s been taken to dinner at a vending machine.

The next day, he texted, asking if I was free for coffee. I wasn’t interested and didn’t respond.

Because a simple “no thanks” is too much effort.

“We never settled the bill from dinner! And I can’t afford the 22 quid,” he texted. At first, I was confused, until I remembered he paid the bill.

He’s taken you out to dinner and paid the bill, but the next day you can’t even be bothered to respond to an invitation to coffee?

He then asked me to PayPal him the money from my half; I didn’t respond. Funny how he only wanted the money after he knew I wasn’t interested.

It’s equally funny how you only let him know you weren’t interested once he’d paid the bill.

He kept texting, so I blocked him.

Of course you did. I addressed that here.

A few days later, he found me on Facebook and sent me a message: “Is there something wrong with you, or are you just a c*nt? Hahahaha.”

Why, it’s almost as if shitty behaviour from one party brings out the worst in another, isn’t it?

I blocked him again, and started to wonder if the mix of good dates was worth the risk of bad ones.

From what I can tell, her definition of a good date is meaningless sex with a random Latino, and a bad date is when some guy gets understandably upset by being ignored after he’s bought her dinner.

I was in a terrible mood until that night, when I got a notification Will added me on Snapchat.

Obsessed with Will, yet sleeping her way around Europe. In my book there is a character who, separated from her fiance by the cruel demands of the US visa system, addresses her heartache by shagging someone else for several months. I say this because I’m sure there are elements which normal people will think unrealistic or exaggerated.

In Munich, I met Maddin* (from Bumble) near the Isar River. We sat in the grass and watched people wade in. He was 33 and chiseled. We sat with our feet in the water and he moved closer to me and kissed me. He said he had to leave for a wedding in his hometown that evening, but that he had a few hours, and asked if I wanted to go home with him.

Heh! If Maddin had to go for a wedding, I have a bridge to sell Miss Linscott. So did she go? What do you think?

Just as I expected, his apartment was huge and sleek and expensive-looking. And he was amazing in bed.

So, why is someone who is 33, chiseled, and lives in a huge apartment in Munich picking up women on hook-up apps? Answers on a postcard.

He said he’s never been in love and that he’s too picky, and that he finds one flaw and moves on (this seems to be a common pattern in today’s dating-app culture).

A major flaw being a woman’s readiness to go to bed with him almost immediately and falling for stories about weddings in his hometown. Note that her behaviour utterly typifies the dating-app culture, yet she’s too dim to realise it.

He said it was one of the nicest conversations he’d had with someone he just met. I smiled the whole walk back to my hotel, feeling revived and relaxed.

I’m beginning to like this Maddin chap. My guess is he’s made his money selling secondhand cars.

I took an overnight bus to Copenhagen. At a seafood restaurant near the city center, one of the waiters smiled every time he walked past, and I smiled back. I heard him talking to my waitress (in Danish), and shortly after, he took over as my waiter.

Can you imagine that conversation? “Hey Olaf, I’ve got another one of those American airheads on my table. She seems a lot like the one you shagged against the dumpster two nights ago, you want to swap tables?”

After dinner, he made me a cappuccino from the restaurant next door and got my number, then we went out for champagne. He said he was surprised I didn’t mind eating alone, “looking like I got stood up.”

I suspect what he meant was he’s surprised she didn’t mind eating alone and hooking up with the waiter.

I still don’t know what will happen with Will, but we’re seeing each other again. He asked me to come over his first night back in town, and it felt like we picked up right where we left off. We spent the whole night cuddling and telling each other about our summers, and have been seeing each other in the weeks since.

Prediction: Will is going to find someone else shortly and give you the heave-ho.

I think you can learn from every person and every relationship, no matter how brief (or awkward).

Every relationship? She’s only had one, followed by a summer of sex with random strangers.

I’m building a better picture of what I want in a partner, but I’m also learning that I don’t need one to be happy.

This is probably just as well; I see several cats in this woman’s future life.

Okay, this post is already long but I’m going to make it longer because there are some important points here, many of which I make in my book. The first is that feminists will tell you there is a double standard at play: if a man had written this, everyone would admire him for his sexual prowess. This is a myth, and I address it in my book thusly:

Amy took a step towards me. ‘You have such fucking double standards!’ she said, trying to control her anger. ‘If she was a man, nobody would say anything, but she’s a woman so you think you can judge her!’
‘What double standards? If a guy’s lurching from one low-grade woman to another, fucking anything that moves and failing to hold down a proper relationship, you think women won’t judge him?’
‘Not in the same way,’ said Tom.
‘Bullshit! No self-respecting woman would go near him, and rightly so. This whole double-standards thing might apply to young people, but there comes a time when men need to show maturity and restraint, just the same as women, and we’re all way past that point.’

There’s passage from my book which is relevant here, too:

‘Remember when you were younger,’ I said. ‘You’d always ask a girlfriend how many guys she’d been with? The answer would always bother you; if she said two or three you’d be disappointed. But that changes with age; when you’re with a woman over thirty you don’t care how many, but you want to see that they were decent, normal guys and she was with them for the right reasons. You don’t want to hear she’s had one-night stands, or been with a string of losers, or men twice her age. It’s not the number of guys a woman has slept with that matters, it’s the standards she’s kept.’
‘Yes, you need to see she’s applied some sort of filter.’
‘If she’s got no standards, it reflects badly on you. It means either she sees you on the same level, or she’s scoring out of her league – in which case you should probably aim higher yourself. Whereas if she’s maintained her standards, it shows she values you.’

Is this being judgemental? Perhaps, but I address that too:

‘It’s not so much judging as assessing, trying to work out if you’ll be compatible with that person. The thing is, I know guys can be judgemental about women, and sometimes they might react unreasonably to an aspect of their past. But it all depends on what that past looks like, doesn’t it? Where do you draw the line?

You know what? I should be judgemental! I don’t care what people do on their own, but if they try to enter my life I’m entitled to judge what I see of their behaviour and values. If they don’t like the process, it tells you something already.’

If women – or men – are going to behave like Miss Linscott, then they should at least shut up about it afterwards. As one character says to another in my book:

‘Everyone has a history at our age; I don’t expect the women I meet to be virgins, so they’ll have a past, ex-boyfriends, and so on. If an ex was important to them, or they were in a serious relationship, then I’d expect them to tell me about the guy and I’d be okay with it. But I don’t need to know everything. For example, if a girl went on holiday to Mexico and fucked a waiter, I don’t want to know about it. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with it, but she should keep it to herself. This sort of thing isn’t my business.’

This is obviously difficult advice to follow if you’ve bragged about it in Cosmopolitan. Also, I think this point is crucial:

When you start dating someone you want to know the choices they’ve made, but more important is how they view those choices today.

At some point in future, Miss Linscott is going to meet a man who might be interested in forming a relationship with her and this summer of sex is going to come out. If she’s engaged in some self-reflection and is doing everything she can to hide this sordid episode due to the shame it now induces in her, she’ll have half a chance of convincing him to stick around. But if she hits him with a barrage of angry feminist mantra about how she was “empowered” and he’s being “judgemental”, he’ll be off like a shot. Of course, she may still meet someone, but:

‘The only guys who wouldn’t care are those who just wanted a fuck. Or maybe guys who are desperate.’

Finally, what the hell kind of job did her parents do on her? They must read this article and feel so very, very proud. That’s something else I address in my book, too.

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64 thoughts on “A Profile of a Modern American Woman

  1. Pah, it was mixed sex by the time you were around. Much wilder in the all-male days.

  2. I’m sure many a dog-eared copy of Cosmopolitan could be found on the floor of the toilet block back then. :-/

  3. This may be relevant, or not, but I recently frequented Mumsnet as I was researching school info and the state of the property market (they have school and house sale threads that are useful – more falling through sales reported the more I know to wait, anyway…)
    Lots of threads on why men are horrible. One woman met some nice chap, slept with him fast, as was her right, and then wondered why he only was interested in coming round late at night for sex rather than a relationship and was it salvageable. Doh! What is more amusing is I posted a reply along the lines of the discussion above, ie don’t give it up so easily, dump the guy as you can’t turn it around after prior performances show you are easy etc. Phrased nicely though. More amusing still were the chorus of women complaining about my “male” view and how I was old fashioned. I replied to the effect of “ask men you trust and you will get the same answer”. Again they start with the feminist “I can screw anyone I like whenever I like” stuff. This is true but actions have consequences and the consequences are that you will be spending a lot of time on a female chat site complaining about how men are not wanting long term relationships anymore.

    They really believe they can be as easy as they like and a decent man will still want to help them climb onto a pedestal and worship them. No. A decent catch will know he can swipe and swipe again whereas only the poor quality ones will undertake worship as they are weaker catches. This is an eternal truth that they just don’t understand.

  4. Her writing sounds like that of a high school student. Oops. Serves as a great warning for what young men are up against.

  5. Andrew again,

    That’s interesting, but not surprising. Mumsnet is one of my main targets for marketing my book – plenty of discussion on these subjects and plenty of debate/controversy. I’m hoping there will be some women who want to read a man’s take on all this, with the thought process broken down. The “actions have consequences” theme is an important one that a lot of feminists, as you say, simply don’t get.

  6. BiG, your missus may well be taking note of the “10 hot sex tips” but it may not be for your benefit. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

  7. was also about to direct you to Mumsnet, especially the ‘Am I Being Unreasonable?’ (AIBU) threads (such a time-sink, so tread carefully, my husband and I waste hours on there).
    Bit off topic but I’ve noticed a distinct move on there towards it no longer being acceptable to question the role of a woman’s own behaviour and choices for the situations in which they find themselves or continue to put up with. Questions of that nature will often see you accused of victim blaming. It’s far easier to call a man controlling or abusive than reflect on how the woman might have contributed or done things differently.
    There’s currently a thread calling Martin Clunes a twat for saying that some women have been known to flirt with movie producers to get jobs, though to be fair quite a few posters are defending him. I’ll quite often feel like I’m a lone voice of reasonableness on there though.
    Your book sounds interesting!

  8. It’s been said before, but worth repeating in light of this article and the comments. Any Martian visiting earth for the first time would conclude that feminism was invented by horny commitment-phobic twentysomething males.

  9. A Mumsnet and AIBU! I can imagine you sniggering your way through that forum. There’s a Twitter feeed called Mumsnet Madness which takes the best parts from the AIBU forum, some of the stuff on there defies belief.

  10. Well, my now ex-boyfriend met her on a trip and was about to fell in love with her.
    I find out that from her article!

  11. Well, my now ex-boyfriend met her on a trip and was about to fell in love with her.

    Really?! Oh, do tell us more! Which one was he?

    P.S. He must be rather daft to fall in love with someone like that, but I suppose it happens to us all.

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