I've noticed that I have a sick compulsion to treat the men in my life far better than I treat the women. I have lots of male friends (as many as I do female). I notice I tend to be much more—shall we say—lenient with the guys than I am with the girls.
For example, one guy said he would help me move and then never showed. Shortly thereafter, he blew off my much-hyped (by him) birthday party. After a week or two of the silent treatment, I agreed to forgive him, despite the fact that he gave me no explanation for his bailing.
I was recently at a "girls' night" party at a friend's house when her boyfriend—who was supposed to have vacated the apartment for the evening—showed up. Girlfriend was a little icy and refused to give up "his chair" for him, and reminded him of his promise to lay low. Unable to deal with his crushed expression, I got up so he could sit. Then I offered to get him a drink. In his own home! In short, I have a normal sense of dignity when it comes to dealing with women, but if a penis-possessing member of the community gets those hurt puppy-dog eyes, I go out of my way to overlook his flaws, meet his needs, and justify his behavior.
This problem has extended to my relationships, too. I have perfected the art of oral sex, yet could care less if a guy goes down on me or not. I have let boyfriends walk all over me. And these many cool male friends of mine . . . I should admit that at some point, I have fooled around with most of them. Afterward, I tend to write it off as "bonding."
If a female friend/roommate/co-worker crosses me, I am assertive and either work out the problem or let the friendship end. But somehow, if it's a man who's groveling, it kind of makes me feel important or something.
This isn't fucking up my life in some kind of serious way, but now that I've noticed the pattern, I'm worried. I am an attractive girl and have plenty going on, but I know that this could get worse as I get older. Should I start holding my own against the men in my life? Should I be nicer to the women? I guess the answer lies somewhere in the middle, but I just want to know what an expert thinks.
OK, you need to stop. Now.
Much like you, I used to abandon my dignity for the men in my life, though I did limit it to the guys I was actually hoping to sleep with. I'd be on dates and have these near out-of-body experiences . . . I'd watch myself grinning adoringly as that week's handsome ninny gassed on about some lame-o topic nobody with half a brain could ever care about. And yet, there I'd be, smiling and nodding in agreement—behaving as though he were the most fascinating man on the planet. Yuck! Who was this strange and annoying woman, and why was she wearing my favorite dress?
Oddly enough, though I couldn't have been more solicitous without diving under the table and publicly fellating these undeserving blowhards, I rarely got a second date. And really—can you blame them? After all, who wants to spend time with a soppy milquetoast?
(I'm not saying that it's somehow "better" to only behave like a moron with the men you're dating; I'm merely pointing out that I understand the sick, sick phenom.)
The answer isn't becoming a doormat to the women in your life as well, but more along the lines of growing a spine instead of bending over and spreading for anything attached to a penis. You might want to explore this need for male approval with a licensed professional because you're right—it's only going to get you in trouble further down the line.
Oh, and quit fooling around with your friends! Blowing a "friend" is not bonding! Especially when said friend is otherwise completely unreliable and kind of jerky! I'm not saying the friendly fuck is always a bad idea, but in your case, it just seems to be another symptom of your need to please. And for fuck's sake, if you're going to put a dick in your mouth, make sure he reciprocates!
Identifying a bad habit is half the battle, but now you have to take action. It took me a long time to realize it, but the fact is, the only people (of either gender) worth spending any time on are the ones who like you for who you are, not what you can do for them.
Take action! Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.