Column: Words from the black book
I own a little black book. I'm a regular at Shooters. And I like my men.
It's widely known and accepted that boys will be boys, and that boys will be bad. But women can't. At Duke, women are perceived as dependent on men. Southern belles and beauties are completely vulnerable, waiting to be swept off their feet.
In this image, it's the Dukie who becomes her Prince Charming... for an hour or two, while the two go back to his place to consecrate the chemistry of the Bullies' dance floor, and until he's finished with her.
The next day, he expects her to be smitten. He'll never call. And if all she wanted was those two hours, too, well... then she's a whore and a slut.
The continuing dissertation in and around campus to explore the hook-up culture has missed one very important question: Can a girl really hook up like a guy can hook up? There is no room for a little black book in a woman's life at Duke, because an avant-garde, promiscuous woman who enjoys sex--and her men--defies boxed notions that often pigeonhole and restrict the women of Duke's campus.
This is not a throwback to 1960s feminism; this is realism. Like Madonna, men want us to be their virgin, touched for the very first time. But even Madonna, we know, was no virgin. In fact, her "in-your-face," viva-la-vulva attitude perpetuates the idea that a woman can indeed enjoy sex--or simple sexual contact--and that she is not just there for the male experience.
In our "Sex and the City," Britney Spears I'm-a-slave-for-you hook-up culture, it amazes me that such popular notions of women in pearls and manicures still exist at Duke; and that this woman in pearls is favored over a woman in stiletto heels that knows what she wants, who she wants, and how she wants it.
At Duke--at Bullies and at Shooters--I've seen more pearls than I have stilettos. As a woman of Los Angeles, I cannot, for the life of me, begin to understand the ivy-leagued, collar-popping, Polo-wearing average Dukie--the woman in pearls who, I'm assuming, pops her collared man more than she pleases herself.
More than sexual pleasure, what hooking up really does is "hook" a woman into the role of hustler and tramp. Instead of becoming your lady for life (Duke life, that is), she becomes your lady for the night.
At Duke, a woman who enjoys sex defies the boxed notion that we are prim and proper, gracious and genteel, modest and meek. But mostly, a woman who enjoys sex defies the boxed notion that we are submissive to men and theirs for the taking. It defies the notion of "hooking up."
So let us think outside of the "box." What if we women want to "take" men?
Is a woman faithful to her sexuality--instead of to a man--a slut and a whore? It's true: Women can be independent of men, and a woman who depends on a man, sexually, may not depend on him for much else. Unfortunately, Duke is a small school. Reputations form and misconceptions mask the very modern train of thought that female sex gods like Madonna and Britney have tried to teach us.
I am not prim and I am not proper; instead of my pearls I wear Gucci barely-there tops; and I've been known to dance on a table or two. In the words of Sandra Cisneros, and in an echo of Madonna and Britney's message, I'm a "black lace bra kind of woman..., a tease and a twirl." I'll "ruin your clothes" and "get you home way after hours." I worship Victoria Secret instead of Ralph Lauren. And, like I said, I like my men.
But if these men can be classy and be pimps and gigolos, then a pimpstress or gigolette can also be classy. In the spirit of promiscuity, I propose another, more modern definition for the term "hooking up." In the very little time that I have spent at Duke, it has become painfully clear that there is something disturbingly and undeniably wrong with a culture that pushes a woman towards promiscuity and then chastises her for it.
Duke women carry the very heavy, anxiety-filled burden of living up to a double-standard. We worry about looking bad if all we want is a hook-up. At the same time, we also worry about looking like psychorelationship fiends to the men who expect us to want more if we come back to the room sober, or if we want to go again.
Girls, as I'm sure most of you know, talk. And we have all come to a very similar conclusion: "Why is it that when I go back to what's-his-face, all I can think about is how he's probably confused and intimidated by his very wrong perception that I want to have a relationship, when all I'm really there for is a rumble in the sack." To use the words of one of my good friends, women too sometimes just want to be "naked friends."
I have a different kind of proposition for the women of Duke: Be a black-lace-bra kind of woman. Lose the pearls and get the La Perla. Worship Victoria Secret. Ask for more when he's done and you're still going. Within a male dominated sexual campus, take the term "hooking up" and make it your own. Have your own little black book of names and numbers. Ask a guy to a semiformal because of the simple fact that every time you pass him in the BC you think, "Damn, I'd like to 'beat' that." Break out the Courvoisier instead of a corsage... or maybe try something a bit kinkier: Corsage? Who wants thorns when you can have handcuffs?
I'll see you at Shooters... on the bar or table. And maybe we can exchange names and numbers from our little black books.
Shadee Malaklou is a Trinity freshman. Her column appears every third Wednesday.