I’m a big proponent of internet dating. I have several dating profiles here and there, and am very open about the fact that I love to meet new people for dating, sex and kinky play on my Fetlife.com profile as well as these dating sites. I also discuss sex and kink in detail in my blog and in other internet places where I publish. For whatever reason, I have been fairly successful at meeting people via the internet, avoiding “trolls,” and instead have managed to meet many interesting people, dated some of them, and remained at least friends with a good number of the rest. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised that, as open as I am, and as explicit as my writing and photos may be, I have seldom received the kinds of "return to sender" emails that many others in both forums have reported: unkind, ignorant or downright ugly emails that make a person cringe in embarrassment for the sender, or flush with anger for yourself when you read them.
Until the other day! And then it happened not only once, but twice.
The first one was just plain ignorant. "Tell your Dom…if he can afford...improve your tits...." it said. And then continued with the completely nonsensical, "America has no money...THINK...” The last part I am pretty clueless about. The first part, I understand completely, even if it was in text talk. He believes I need to have my breasts "improved," whatever that means. Made bigger, I am assuming. Okay so, I was offended by his email, not the least of which was the fact that he used text talk. But, since he was obviously an idiot, I didn't give it more than a passing thought. I have a policy not to let the stupidity of others impact my life unnecessarily, and seldom waste my time responding to emails in text speak anyway. If you can’t write a complete sentence in English, we are probably not a good match.
Call me old-fashioned.
The second email was another story. This email was well-written. Polite, thoughtful, complimentary! It obviously came from a man of intelligence and in possession of some social grace. It ended with an invitation to drinks or dinner.
It was a sentence in the middle of this perfectly innocuous and well-written email that threw me. "You are so stunningly attractive in so many ways, why don't you buy yourself some breasts?"
Excuse me? Excuse me?? Buy myself some breasts?!?
I was stunned to read that. I expected ignorance from the other emailer. But this…was beyond comprehension. What in God’s name gave him the idea that he had any right to comment on my body that way? To critique my breast size, and then to not only dub them wanting, but non-existent; how could he believe that this opinion should in any way be shared with me, someone he was clearly trying to pick up??? Has the internet destroyed all sense of civility and, well, common sense? Did he actually think that I would be jumping up and down to go out with him after he said that?
It's no secret that I have small breasts. Hell, I show them off in my kink pictures all the time. And I have learned to love them. Yes, learned to love them. I didn't always. Growing up in a society that reveres the kind of "perfect" breasts that you see in Victoria's Secret ads can skew a young woman's feelings about her own body, if she doesn't conform to the ideal. It's damn hard to be a woman who doesn't "develop" physically at age 13 or 14…or 18 or 22…or 30 or 40, the way all her friends are. I was always embarrassed by my small breasts. So much so that, when I became sexually active, I didn't like anyone to touch them. I was sure they were critiquing them and finding them lacking.
Then in my late 30's I found kink. And I found a community where body acceptance was the norm, and where I didn't feel judged by my breast size. Then when I started seeing my partners, I discovered that there were things to love about my breasts, specifically because they are small. And that…they think they are beautiful. And, "work great," as one of them says! That was when I started being proud of my lovely little titties, and started showing them off, and stopped feeling ashamed for not having larger ones.
I stopped feeling less female.
I know that not everyone likes small breasts or my breasts in particular. And that's okay. Not everyone likes skinny women, or women with red hair, or women with stretch marks; or women at all, for that matter! I have my own preferences. ~shrug~ So, it was not that he doesn't like the size of my breasts, or that he finds them unattractive, that bothered me.
It was the fact that he a) characterizes what I do have as not having breasts at all, since they are not of a size commensurate with society's current opinion on what breast size should be; and b) did not even realize how deeply offensive he was being. How could that kind of comment, in any context, anywhere, anytime, be considered acceptable? How could he not know how offensive it was? And there’s another issue, too; One having to do with our society, a society in which a man finds it perfectly okay to talk about a woman’s body parts that way; to reduce her to a pair of breasts (or non-breasts) that he can critique, openly, to her. A woman he doesn’t even know, and gives every appearance of trying to impress in every other line of the communication.
I get that my own openness about my body, my pictures and the things I write about might give him the feeling that such intimacy might be welcome in an email. And to be truthful, if his words had been complimentary, while that wouldn’t have impressed me enough to go out with him, at least I wouldn’t have seen red when I read it. I accept that my own openness about my body and kink and sex leads others to a sense of comfort in talking to me about these things. In fact, most times I welcome it. We should be able to talk about our bodies and sex as openly as we choose. But seriously, dude? Telling a woman that she should “buy breasts” is not the way to get a date.
I thought about emailing him back, trying to educate him, trying to help him understand why what he said was so offensive. But there is a part of me that just doesn't think it would do any good. If he hasn't learned better by this time it's probably too late. Or even if it's not, I don't have the time, or, frankly, the inclination, to educate him. Instead I think I'll sit down with my 17-year old son and talk about body-shaming, unrealistic and hurtful imagery, and language.
And no, Mr. Clueless-Internet-Guy, I will not go out for a drink with you.