November 4th, 2005

Brad @ Burning Man

Dibs on Genitalia?

Since when is it OK to call "dibs" on a third party's genitalia without asking that third party if they have an opinion?

This strange question did not come completely out of nowhere. I want to leave gender out of this, so I'll refer to the persons of one gender as "A" and "B," and the person of the other gender as "Z." "A" was complaining to me that "Z" was sexually attractive, and had good reason to think that "Z" was making a play for "A." The only, and I mean only obstacle to them getting together? "A" knew that "B" was attracted to "Z." "Z" has never made a play for "B," "Z" made the play for "A." But it would be icky, it was explained to me, a sign that one is a bad person, to swoop in and steal (???) "Z" from "B" since "A" knows that "B" wants "Z", and good people don't do that. And all I could think to say was, "Doesn't 'Z' get a say in this?" Since when does person "B" get to call "dibs" on person "Z's" sex life?

I'm not going to say that it doesn't suck to be "B" in that setup. The God knows it's happened to me often enough, and I've hated it every time. But it would never, ever, ever in a kajillion years occur to me to blame "A" for this. "Z" makes the decision as to who she is and isn't going to have sex with, not me, and not "A." Only murderous stalkers say, or even think, things like "If I can't have 'Z' then nobody can."

But no, my friend (in this case, "A," who is female if it matters) tells me that every woman she has ever known in her entire life, since the age when boys were no longer icky, believed that it was, in fact, OK for the girls to meet in private, divide up the boys amongst themselves by mutual agreement and pack hierarchy, without any input from the boys, and if they pair girl "A" with boy "Z," then "Z" can either have sex with "A" or he can do without. That's sick. That's twisted. We fought a four year Civil War in this country a while back over the issue of whether or not one person can own another without that person's permission. There are no "dibs."

Oh, but wait, it goes further she told me. Among all the girls she grew up with, it was not only unacceptable to have any physical contact with a guy that another girl you knew wanted, it wasn't even OK to want to. If girl "B" thinks that guy "Z" is hot, then girl "A" must disagree with her and find "Z" completely unattractive, or else she's a bad person. What the heck? Where did that come from? Among guys when and where I was growing up, it was the exact opposite. You were only permitted to express sexual attraction towards the same woman, or at most the same few women, that every other guy you knew considered sexy. To disagree with them as to who was sexy and who wasn't was to invalidate their consensus judgment, to set yourself apart from them.

So what the heck? Is this a guy/girl thing? A generational thing? A social class thing? Or is this a neurotypical/neuro-atypical thing, and only crazy people like me don't understand that it's perfectly OK to call dibs on another person without that person's input or consent? Do me a favor, take the poll and then comment. I need more input to refine my mental model here.

Poll #604891 Dibs on that person?

Is it normal and/or OK to think poorly of other people for falling in love with, or having sex with, someone that they know you want yourself?

Of course. How could you hurt a friend by doing that in front of them?
7(9.3%)
Obviously most people think that way, but it's not healthy.
33(44.0%)
I think that's the only healthy way to be, but unfortunately it's not common.
2(2.7%)
Nobody but a crazy person would think that it was OK to call "dibs" on another person's sex life just out of spited desire.
33(44.0%)

If this is a common thing, do you think this is a guy/girl thing?

I think that both guys and girls agree on this.
26(39.4%)
I think that it's mostly only girls who divide up the guys like this.
39(59.1%)
I think it's mostly only guys who divide up the girls like this.
1(1.5%)
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