Rich Santos, the "Single Guy" advising the seemingly female readers of Marie Claire's "Dating Diaries" column, seems to be gaining more and more attention in the blogosphere in recent weeks. After catching references to the young Manhattanite on Jezebel, I was surprised to catch one of his articles making it onto Feministe's "Things to Make You Sick as Hell" post, I decided to peruse the online archives of his column on Marie Claire's website to see what the buzz was all about, and why Jill over at Feministe was the next respected blogger to call bullshit on the man who "finds charm in stupidity" and is "jaded and annoyed by everyone." Perhaps the former can be said the same for his more accepting readers.
In reference to Feministe's evident criticism of Santos' logic lies his March 7th post - "Why Men Prefer Inexperienced Women". If the title alone hasn't yet infuriated you to the point that you're not still following, let us begin by looking at the five main points Santos uses to illustrate his assertion:
1)"Corrupting Innocence is Fun" - Really? Isn't this what happens when a handful of Catholic Priests pick out their favorite altar boys for a special adventure on the floor of the confessional? "Making someone bad is fulfilling and fun," Santos says, enlightening his readers to the hypocritical ideal that, while a woman is undesirable if she is already "bad", being the man to make her that way is perfectly acceptable. One must wonder what context Santos places such a thought within in order to actually have this logic work, as well as be able to sustain itself. "Guys want to be the leaders rather than the followers," he says.
Basically what Santos is saying is that a woman who is self-motivated, who is strong and takes charge, who is proud of her sexuality and in control of the way she carries herself an d of the desires she seeks to fulfill, is not attractive. Instead, he takes on an almost pedophiliac vision of a virginal, pure woman ready to follow the teachings of his personal sexual prowess.
2)"We Don't Take Bad Girls Seriously" - Here Santos voices the assumption that a "bad girl" isn't the type of girl you'd want to "take home to mom". It becomes apparent that there is great danger in splitting women in half, labeling one side "good" and one side "bad". How is a male to decide which category a woman fits into? Just as the label "bad" brought such issues above in point number one, her such a label really begins to show how ambiguous such categorization is. What makes a girl bad, the fact that she's comfortable in her sexuality or has, assumably, had enough experience to not allow herself to completely fall helpless in the hands of a man eager to "teach her the ropes"?
3)"Bad Girls Are Intimidating" - What, because you're so insecure that you can only go after meek, shy, unsure little girls who need some male validation? "This is my biggest issue," admits Santos. "I love confidence, but that confidence has to be quiet confidence." According to Rich, my assumption that categorization of bad girls involves their level of confidence is verified. Go ahead and be confident, girls, but if you expect to land a man like our fine author here, you better hide it and lie through your teeth so as not to embarrass him or rape him of his sense of masculinity.
4)"Bad Girls Seem Promiscuous" - Santos doesn't seem so sure that "bad girls" are promiscuous, but some girls might be, and this makes them bad, never mind the other 99% of their character. That short skirt and those 7-inch stilettos send the message to Santos and his dude-bros that you're a villain on par with Cruella de Ville, ready to skin them alive with your razor-sharp eyelashes and acrylic fingernails.
5)"Bad Girls are Less Mysterious" - Yes, because if you can see 70% of a woman's fleshy surface area, the other 100% of what is inside her is irrelevant. "I wouldn't complain about a woman showing too much skin, but I don't find it as compelling." Of course, because the more skin a woman shows, the less innocence a man can steal from her when she gives herself over to him in private.
6)"Guys Have Control Issues" - "A bad girl is tough to control; we never know what she's going to do next."
Each of Santos' points culminates into one final statement that summarizes his terribly flawed opinion of what makes a woman desirable. In summary, Santos' article seems to convey the idea that it is a combination of confidence, security, experience, and freedom that makes the difference between a good and bad woman.
UPDATE: After working on this article I was looking through posts on the women's blogging site, Jezebel, only to find that they had columnist Tracie Egan Morrissey had taken on the same post as I had with Rich. Her take on Santos' beyond questionable commentary can be found here.