Thursday, November 03, 2005


As we tunnel through culture like a mole, we sometimes encounter items that have a strange synergy.

K-Fed Spends Britney's Money

Maureen Dowd asks "What's A Modern Girl to Do?"

Now dating etiquette has reverted. Young women no longer care about using the check to assert their equality. They care about using it to assess their sexuality. Going Dutch is an archaic feminist relic. Young women talk about it with disbelief and disdain. "It's a scuzzy 70's thing, like platform shoes on men," one told me.

"Feminists in the 70's went overboard," Anne Schroeder, a 26-year-old magazine editor in Washington, agrees. "Paying is like opening a car door. It's nice. I appreciate it. But he doesn't have to."

Unless he wants another date.

Women in their 20's think old-school feminists looked for equality in all the wrong places, that instead of fighting battles about whether women should pay for dinner or wear padded bras they should have focused only on big economic issues.

After Googling and Bikramming to get ready for a first dinner date, a modern girl will end the evening with the Offering, an insincere bid to help pay the check. "They make like they are heading into their bag after a meal, but it is a dodge," Marc Santora, a 30-year-old Metro reporter for The Times, says. "They know you will stop them before a credit card can be drawn. If you don't, they hold it against you."

One of my girlfriends, a TV producer in New York, told me much the same thing: "If you offer, and they accept, then it's over."

Jurassic feminists shudder at the retro implication of a quid profiterole. But it doesn't matter if the woman is making as much money as the man, or more, she expects him to pay, both to prove her desirability and as a way of signaling romance - something that's more confusing in a dating culture rife with casual hookups and group activities. (Once beyond the initial testing phase and settled in a relationship, of course, she can pony up more.)

"There are plenty of ways for me to find out if he's going to see me as an equal without disturbing the dating ritual," one young woman says. "Disturbing the dating ritual leads to chaos. Everybody knows that."

When I asked a young man at my gym how he and his lawyer girlfriend were going to divide the costs on a California vacation, he looked askance. "She never offers," he replied. "And I like paying for her." It is, as one guy said, "one of the few remaining ways we can demonstrate our manhood."

And Kanye West's hit "Golddigger" is gauranteed to be on at least one station in every listening area at any given time.

a bit of the lyrics:

(She give me money)
Now I aint sayin she a gold digger (Well I'm in Need)
But she aint messin wit no broke niggaz(She give me money)
Now I aint sayin she a gold digger (When I'm in Need)
but she aint messin wit no broke niggaz(i gotta leave)
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head get down (I gotta leave)
get down girl go head

[Verse 1:]
Cutie the bomb
Met her at a beauty salon
With a baby louis vuitton
Under her underarm
She said I can tell you rock
I can tell by ya charm
Far as girls you got a flock
I can tell by ya charm and ya arm
but I'm lookin for the one
have you seen her
My psychic told me she'll have a ass like Serena
Trina, Jennifer Lopez, four kids
An I gotta take all they bad ass to show-biz
Ok get ya kids but then they got their friends
I Pulled up in the Benz, they all got up in
We all went to din and then I had to pay
If you fuckin with this girl then you betta be paid
You know why
It take too much to touch her
From what I heard she got a baby by Busta
My best friend say she use to fuck wit Usher
I dont care what none of ya'll say I still love her

Hmmmm . . .

You can check out the video for the song
And you can read thoughtful responses to the Dowd article here, here, here, and here.


mzn said...

Another take on Dowd from Katie Roiphe in Slate.

Jenny said...

I have been waiting for your take on the Gold Digger song. More! More!

I'm interested to read those articles about the Dowd book. We'll have to talk more about it when I get back to Texas.

nhennies said...

I will never never never ever understand what the hipster appeal of Kanye West is. Critics seem to be giving the impression that he's somehow more artistically and socially viable than other rappers but like Kurt's post a while back said, he's just some schmuck who does thinks recording a track without a lawyer is adventurous. He's also been whoring himself out everwhere: Pepsi, Verizon, and god knows who else. I hate him.

femme feral said...

Well, I have a complicated relationship with Kanye West. His album cover features a stuffed bear, and I like that. He's sorta critical of the diamond trade, and I like that. He called out George Bush, and I like that. But that "golddigger" song is pretty stupid. Now I'm not saying that it isn't catchy. When it comes on the radio I turn it up. But the whole money for sex thing is pretty tired, and bitching about paying child support is always gross. My hunch is that (as nhennies suggests) that Kanye isn't anywhere close to the musical genius people have made him out to be. I'd much rather listen to Mos Def and Talib Kweli or Missy.

Anonymous said...

Who is the original artist of Goldigger? plz respond the original is so much better!! laterz