Gentle readers, I think we have a winner. 2009 ain’t over just yet, but today on CNN I encountered a personal essay that combines many of the things I frequently write about: women, relationships, skeevy dudes, language, the need to be a bitch and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).” Unfortunately, it brings them together into one howlingly dumbass, poorly reasoned, cringe-worthy essay so dire that I can hardly believe CNN ran it.
From CNN’s occasional relationship columnist Audrey Irvine, I bring you: “A Boyfriend is No Defense From Being Hit On.”
Well, duh. Who said it was? Who said it was supposed to be?
But believe it or not, the title is actually the most well-reasoned part of the article, whose lede is:
When did the term “boyfriend” become obsolete? I must have somehow missed the memo.
I was unaware that it had. But wait until you see why she’s asking:
One day, I was at the mall running errands when I heard a persistent “excuse me” that got louder and closer the faster I walked. I slowed down, realizing this guy was speaking to me.We make eye contact, and he says, “Did you know you are beautiful?” I never know how to answer that; it always feels like a trap. If I say “yes,” I’m arrogant. If I say “no,” then I seem like I’m being coy, begging for compliments. I simply reply, “Thanks.”
“Mr. Excuse Me” continues walking with me, then after a couple of more questions asks if he could have my phone number. Hesitantly I reply, “I have a boyfriend.”
His response throws me for a loop. This man counters with, “Oh that’s fine. I just want to get to know you and really broaden your mind to the possibilities.”
What? Are you serious? Where in this scenario of me, the boyfriend and you would the broadening of my mind occur? I’m sure my boyfriend would love to know that in addition to the overpriced moisturizer and unnecessary fall lip gloss, I managed to pick up a potential male friend who wants to broaden my mind.
Audrey, are YOU fucking serious? This dude is harrassing you and yet your main concern is that he’s not showing enough respect for your boyfriend? He’s not showing any respect for YOU!
Ideally Audrey would be able to tell the harasser to fuck off, instead of protesting: I belong to someone else. But no…apparently Audrey cannot bring herself to tell the guy she’s not interested–or simply walk away. Instead she has to invoke the POWER OF THE BOYFRIEND. Then she gets upset when the magic words “I have a boyfriend” fail to run him off.
The reason they fail to run him off, of course, is that he’s a skeevy guy. Period. It’s really that simple: skeevy guys don’t give a shit about whether you have a boyfriend. Skeevy guys just need to be ignored or told to fuck off.
But instead of seeing this situation for what it is–an unfortunate but standard case of harassment–Audrey decides to expand it into a diatribe about how no one respects people unless they’re married. For this, Audrey blames…Beyonce. Yes, Beyonce. And the US Census. To wit:
It isn’t enough these days to say you have a boyfriend. Let’s see whom can we blame for this?
I blame Beyoncé. That’s right, Beyoncé.
What started out as a nice dance song to shake your butt this summer has managed to erode away that beautiful stage after dating and before marriage — the boyfriend.
“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” has become a pop culture phenomenon. It has been mimicked in hundreds of incarnations on YouTube, even recently in an episode of “Glee.” But somehow our obsession with the “put a ring on it” mentality has made the concept of boyfriend and girlfriend one that no longer warrants respect.
The catchy line, “If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it” has become a sword for some women — a weapon that they wield at men challenging their relationship. I guess no ring means the relationship is no longer valid. “Mr. Excuse Me” probably figured no ring equals no real relationship.
After all, why would anyone consider a boyfriend a commitment, right? Consider according to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2008, 95.9 million people 18 and older are unmarried.
Even more staggering, 53 percent of those unmarried Americans are women. With those numbers, it’s a wonder anyone would think that a committed relationship would have any validity. Many people simply think that a boyfriend is an audition for a commitment.
Even if you can ignore the alternately whiny, sarcastic, entitled tone of the author, the article is still some of the most twisted, shallow, completely illogical writing/reasoning I’ve read in years. To wit:
- “Single Ladies” glorifies having a wedding ring and being married and is responsible for the entire nation having no respect for unmarried relationships. (I don’t know if Audrey’s ever actually listened to the lyrics of “Single Ladies”, because the song is actually glorifies being single, not being married. But that fact doesn’t stop her from drawing the conclusion she wants to make.)
- This national disrespect for unmarried people–boyfriends in particular–is known to be true because Audrey told a skeevy guy at the mall that she had a boyfriend and he wouldn’t leave her alone. That isolated incident is obviously representative of all of American culture.
- Speaking of American culture, stats from the Census Bureau confirm that lots of Americans–like Audrey–choose not to get married.
- Beyonce sings about being unmarried; most Americans have heard her music and therefore, Beyonce is to blame for America’s complete lack of respect for unwed relationships (as represented by a single exchange with a skeevy guy at the mall.)
- Such as.
It’s bad enough that Audrey thinks she has to prove she’s “taken” when she wants a man to leave her alone. I don’t know why she felt she couldn’t tell him “I’m not interested”–or just say nothing and walk away. But to make the entire incident into one big self-serving whine about how no one respects her relationship–and thefore by extension, everyone else’s unmarried relationship–and then try to blame it on one pop song and rope in some random stats in a completely useless effort to lend her rant some socio-cultural significance…well, it’s a FAIL on pretty much every level. Seriously, CNN, this is the best you come up with?
But since Audrey goes out of her way to malign it, this seems like as good a reason as any to link to the Fiercest Video Ever. You’re welcome.