This is going to sound as arrogant as fuck, but I’m saying it anyways. I’ve got a fan club. I don’t call it a fan club. I actually call it a Man Club. These are men who fit into a few different categories–men who think I’m sexy and want to have a fuck buddy, men who like to look but won’t touch because they are taken or otherwise unavailable, men who I’ve had relationships with and are still holding out hope, men who want to pursue some kind of relationship, and guys either stuck happily or unhappily in the friend zone. Wow, that’s a daggone mouth full. I think any single available heterosexual woman has these kinds of guys in her life. The man club can be a wonderful thing, or it can become an absolute disaster all depending on how you handle it.
Your man club can be wonderful on those days when you are feeling down, but if you become too dependent on the man club for a pick me up, it undermines your self worth. Believe me I understand the struggle on this. When you have what you think is a great date, but you don’t get a call back the Man Club can be there to remind you that you are still sexy and desirable. But looking for attention from the Man Club can be addicting, and I know for me getting attention from 10 men who want to have sex with me because they love the fatass is not really going to help me meet my goals. I’m craving genuine love and affection, not just lust. A little lust never hurt anyone, but as women we are taught from a very young age that our worth is connected to our desirability to men, and constantly catering to the Man Club just feeds that vulnerability and insecurity that is socialized into us from kindergarten until we die.
As women we need other sources of self esteem, and other ways to pick up our spirits. I’ll share a story that illustrates how this becomes pathological. Karen is a Facebook friend of mine; she’s got a smokin’ hot body although she’s not conventionally attractive otherwise. She’s in her 40s and has never been married or had children. Karen loves to post photos of herself on Facebook, and every time she does most of the commenters are men, lavishing her with attention some sexual, some nonsexual. In fact, I’ve notice that women rarely comment on Karen’s photos. Karen claims to be happily single, and I genuinely want to believe that she is. Being single doesn’t have to mean you are a lonely old spinister. However, it’s also evident that Karen soaks up attention from men like tanorexics soak up the sun. It may feel good in the moment, but is that attention really fulfilling her spiritual and emotional needs? What would our lives as women be like if male attention didn’t mean so damn much to us.
Another problem with the Man Club is that it often involves a lot of game playing. You know you will never want to have a long term relationship with Tommy–he’s horrible in bed, he has a filthy house, and he’s a classic mama’s boy. But Tommy’s the first dude on Facebook every damn day, telling you how fine you are. You know Clarence is a perpetual player. This dude is so much trouble, he’s slept with half the women up in the Amen Corner Baptist church, but he’s giving you and Sister Bernice much love every Sunday. Then there’s Terry. He’s loved you since 5th grade, but you’ve friend zoned him. He’s nice but you like your men taller with more money. Terry doesn’t stand a hoot owl’s chance in hell of dating you, but you keep him around because you like the compliments. In fact, he’s the guy you called, when that “good date” mentioned before didn’t call your ass back because you knew he would listen.
I wish I could say I was totally immune to that pressure myself, but I’m not. I’m not the type of person who dishes out relationship advice with out also acknowledging that I struggle with these issues. I probably wouldn’t be 41 and single if I had handled relationships perfectly. I’m still figuring out how to properly handle my Man Club. How much attention do I really need? Who am I stringing along? How would my life be different if I didn’t have all of that attention? What will I do when I’m not single any more and I still have these men lingering around? What if I got more attention that was nonsexual? What if that attention came from folks who had no sexual interest in me?
Getting attention in dating is definitely validating, but it should be something that you become dependent on. The world of online dating makes that even more of an issue because we are all one dating profile away from a likes or messages, but hen our validation comes from how many compliments we can garner from folks, it’s very easy to lose sight of what really matters. It’s very easy to string people along, it’s very easy to lose sight of the fact that we are so much more than our ability to attract sexual interests of others.