Feathery Strokers

Now that I'm back at a point in my life where I'm meeting men here and there again, my friends and I talk quite a bit about men, and of course the quality of men, in the dating pool.

One thing that many of us have agreed upon is that men in San Francisco are, in general, not as aggressive as we would like. They tend to be soft and passive in a way that just doesn't work me, personally.

Well, I just read Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes, and there's a fantastic notion about a "feathery stroker". I would like to point out that Keyes is NOT a local author.

An excerpt:
Jacqui's Feathery Stroker test is a horribly cruel assessment that she brings to bear on all men. It originated with some man she slept with years ago. All night long he'd run his hands upa nd down her body in the lightest, feathery way, up her back, along her thighs, across her stomach, and before they had sex he asked her gently if she was sure. Lots of women would have loved this: he was gentle, attentive, and respectful. But for Jacqui it was the greatest turnoff of her life. She would have much prefrred it if he'd flung her across a hard table, torn her clothes, and taken her without explicit permission. "He kept stroking me," she said afterward, wincing with revulsion. "In this awful feathery way, like he'd read a book about how to give women what they want. Bloody Feathery Stroker, I wanted to rip my skin off."

And so the phrase came about. It suggested an effeminate quality that instantly stripped a man o all sex appeal. It was a damning way to be categorized and far better, in Jacqui's opinion, to be a drunken wife beater in a dirty vest than a Feathery Stroker.

Her criteria were wide and merciless--and distresingtly random. There was no definitive list but here are some examples. Men who didn't eat red meat were Feathery Strokers. Men who used postshave balm instead of slapping stinging aftershave onto their tender skin were Feathery Strokers. Men who noticed your shoes and handbags were Feathery Strokers. (Or Jolly Boys.) Men who said pornography was exploitation of women were Feathery Strokers. (Or liars.) Men who said pornography was exploitation of men as much as women were off the scale. All straight men from San Francisco were Feathery Strokers. All academics with bears were Feather Strokers. Men who stayed friends with their ex-girlfriends were Feathery Strokers. Especially if they called their ex-girlfriend their "ex-partner." Men who did pilates were Feathery Strokers. Men who said, "I have to take care of myself right now" were screaming Feathery Strokers.

The Feathery Stroker rules had complex variations and subsections: men who gave up their seat on the subway were Feathery Strokers--if they smiled at you. But if they grunted "Seat," in a macho, n0-eye-contact way, they were in the clear.

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