On not being a tramp

My last post about tramps caused some controversy, but unfortunately, most of it was delivered verbally or via direct message and is not captured on this blog. But if 8 out of 10 cats are thinking something, then you probably are, too.

Maybe you agree that a tramp attracts attention, but you are asking how she keeps it.

Hell if I know. My Eurovision costume did not conjure instaboyfriend … but it did increase my odds. The relationship game is one of numbers, but it’s narrowing those numbers that’s the harder part. At the very least, you need a good rapport, shared values and physical chemistry — and even when those align, it’s still a bit of a crap shoot.

Please hold that thought, because I’m coming back to it after I answer question number 2. The big one.

If you look like a tramp, how do you convince men you’re not one?

And I’ll answer first with … an anecdote!

When I was an adolescent, I developed quickly and amply. This triggered a reaction: boys stared and girls whispered, both speculating about my own budding (cough) sexuality. With no originality whatsoever, they cried ‘Tramp!’

And for a year, before the girls caught up and everyone shut up, it hurt.

So I sought advice. From the school counsellor, of all people. (Why I did this, I still don’t know. I thought school counsellors only existed to pass on pre-made leaflets about marijuana use). But this one surprised me.

‘How can I not be branded a slut?’ I asked him.

Don’t be one,’ he said.

And that’s your answer.

Regardless of what I’m wearing or what look I am owning, no one who has spent any significant amount of time in my company has mistaken me for someone who plays fast and loose with her sexuality. Like modern women and feminists, I may have a ‘liberated’ view – but that does not mean my powers of selection have been liberated as well.

I was irked by the questions related to my post — not because they were asked of me — and certainly not by those who did the asking, but because of the bigger issue reflected in them. It’s the in-built societal assumption that it’s the man who gets to do the choosing.

In fact, I think the idea of a tramp and her easy availability attracts men for precisely that reason. If they think they are calling the shots, they’ll go for easy wins.

Let’s surprise them.

Regardless of how many heads we turn, and long may we turn them, we make choices about who we reject and who we let in, and under what circumstance and criteria. And if those decisions feel right, no one can call you anything but true to yourself.


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  1. #1 by jennamilly on June 20, 2012 - 8:55 pm

    Don’t be one. Genius! Love this SS!

  2. #2 by AM on June 20, 2012 - 9:50 pm

    Soho- these two posts brought back memories of my mom’s go-to criticism when she caught me experimenting with makeup or my hemline: TRAMP!! And my retort when I finally had enough, ” Tramp stands for taking risks and meeting people!!”

    May be turning this into a bumper sticker (or t shirt 😉 Long live tramps!

  3. #3 by Marianne Moulson on June 20, 2012 - 10:02 pm

    A copy of this should given to every 6th grader in the land…any land,

  4. #4 by Empty on June 22, 2012 - 9:03 am

    Having discussed this and the previous post with friends, both male and female, the consensus seems to be that this is bang on. Most of my male friends agreed that, yes, to a larger or lesser extent, we as a gender are simple, visual and base. I think there is a nuance however, in as much as the visual instincts and baseness of men is on a scale. There is an argument that dressing as a tramp tends to attract those who are most simple, visual and base, while potentially turning off those at the other end of the scale. In the eyes of some men dressing so provocatively advertises an availability, to the extent that they subconciously feel more indignant should they later be rejected by said tramp-dressed woman than they would be had they been rejected by a non-tramp dressed woman. On the flip side, there are men who, on seeing said tramp outfit, would be less inclined to approach you. To refer to your comment re: instaboyfriend, i agree that it probably did increase your odds, but primarily with one particularly subset of men, perhaps to the detriment of another.

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