What’s Sex Got to Do With… Losing a Guy in 10 days?

Here we see the post-college arena of dating reflected by Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. His intention is to make her fall in love with him – is a reflection of social scripts concerning how a man should act really that alluring?

Bogle’s research discovered some interesting changes in sexual scripts between college-aged individuals and the post-college age range. The shift from hook-up to dating culture subtracts the component of campus living from the equation, taking with it a certain level of comfort and knowledge of the people around you, and those you interact with on a daily basis. Dating culture, however, still reflects certain aspects of the sexual double standard – for example, men who were extremely sexually active in college described their ideal woman as having limited sexual experience. However, dating culture gives men and women the role of simply reflecting the dominant portrayals of the ‘good guy’ and ‘good girl.’ Men who described themselves as less than chivalrous during their college years found themselves opening doors for women, paying for meals, and not pursing anything sexually with their partners for a set amount of time. So what changed?

In much the same way that adolescent females are taught to incite desire rather than experience it themselves, females again assume the role of the ‘gatekeeper’ in the post-college dating arena. This shows how sexual socialization resurfaces again and again, regardless of more apparent sexual freedom found in the hook-up culture of college. Societal expectations of men and women again intervene to provide us with a picture of the ideal ‘man’ or ‘woman’ which we then reflect in hopes of finding a partner. Those who inhabit the post-college arena describe their behavior not as their own, but as a reflection of what they believe they should be.

In the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Benjamin Barry displays all the desirable aspects that a male can have – being caring, understanding, kind, and accommodating. He does so because he is participating in a bet with his friends to make a girl fall in love with him in just 10 days. To do this, he simply reflects all of the aspects of being a chivalrous male that society tells us are what to look for in men. In this case, he bets his friends that he can not only keep a girlfriend for 10 days, but make her fall in love with him as well. Again, this media portrayal serves to reinforce the set roles we ‘must’ inhabit in order to find a partner in the post-college dating world.

What are some things you’ve been told by your family regarding finding a partner in college? Have you been told that college is the best place to meet a potential mate? Has your family encouraged you to change your behavior accordingly, such as acting more conservative or reflecting more of the ‘dating’ scripts in order to appear as a good potential mate? Do you have any thoughts about this shift in scripts?

One thought on “What’s Sex Got to Do With… Losing a Guy in 10 days?

  1. This is very interesting because many people are told that college is a great place to meet your future husband. However, college is also know for meaningless hookups and a time to experience with out being in a committed relationship. Bogle explains how men and women are more likely to go on dates post college, which these characters in the movie do but only because he is looking for someone to fall in love with him so he must exhibit these qualities. Why does it seem like men exercise these chivalrous behaviors only when they are planning to settle down or find the one?


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