Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

“He’s not going to buy the cow if he can get the milk for free.”

I’ve been working on this post for the last few days.  Or rather, I’ve taken several stabs at it. I keep writing posts full of passion and conviction. None of which really belong here.

The thing is, I have a stake in this fight.  But I try (TRY) to keep my temper in check and keep this blog from turning into a battlefield.

All that said (and I’m not sure a damn bit of it made any sense) I’ll just cut to the chase. I was delighted to see the posts in Broadsheet and Jezebel about the new related to hookups.  It turns out, SURPRISE, we women aren’t such delicate creatures, after all. We’re perfectly capable of having casual and then, at some later time, having perfectly happy LTRs. Those of us who have casual aren’t destroying our chances of long-term relationships, or so says the latest research. Well, that’s a relief (because I totally believed all of those people who were telling me otherwise).

Perhaps the best thing (or most amusing) I read about this this week was in the comments section at Jezebel

Once, my younger sister (she’s 16) found out that I was hooking up with a friend of mine. “Yes, we’re hooking up…No, we’re not in a committed relationship.” Horror of horrors, right? (To be fair, I would have reacted similiarly at 16, I bet. There’s room for a lot of growth.)
Then she said to me, “He’s not going to buy the cow if he can get the milk for free.”
And I looked at her very seriously and said, “[insert her name here], why would I want anyone to buy me?” Like, what is this, the year 1350? Or the black market sex trade? Sheesh, what kind of analogy is that – comparing women to cows

So much of the discourse about women and sex is this bizarre connection.  That our worth, to men, is sex.  And that we are more valuable when we withhold it.  And that somehow, ALL WOMEN have internalized this societal belief and so our self-worth is also pegged to the withholding of sex.  Or should be. Or some such nonsense.

Anyway, I could go on for thousands of words.  I won’t, because this is so not the right forum.  And I’ve probably already said too much…

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17 to ““He’s not going to buy the cow if he can get the milk for free.””

  1. Ailce says:

    Once my own Mother uttered those same words to me in front of my then boyfriend. As if he wasn’t even in the room. My Mother; the once bra burning, Woodstock attending, ERA demanding feminist that raised me.
    I’m still unclear as to why she did this, but I have to tell myself she meant well.
    I do think sex is a part of the equation there, but also the caregiving and affection that is associated with the role of “wife”.
    Still, it’s a horrible sentiment.

    On the other hand…
    That boyfriend and I DID eventually get married.
    I just spent the last few years divorcing him.
    Had he not “bought the cow”, our LTR would have ended without so much as a nod to the financial/emotional contributions and sacrifices I made as his partner. (and he made as mine)

    Perhaps my Mother was just setting me up properly for “the end”.
    So I wouldn’t walk away with nothing at all.

    • Simone Grant says:

      As you said, I’m sure your mom meant well. They usually do.

      You’re talking about something far more complex (as you said) than just the “value” of sex. And whether women can/should use it as they personally desire, as a matter of personal choice.

  2. Cougel says:

    In a moment of insecurity I told my boyfriend “why would u buy the cow if you’re getting the milk for free” and he said, “because u love the cow…?”

  3. Emily says:

    my high school, AP european history teacher told all the girls in our class that no boy would every buy his cow if he could get the milk for free.

    charming. all the girls form that class are now in lovely LTRs, while i think a few of the dudes have kids have kids (and no wives or girlfriends). i think we won that battle.

    • Simone Grant says:

      LOL, I’m not sure there’s a battle to be won here, other than personal happiness and satisfaction. But it sounds like the women have all made happy lives for themselves, so yes=WIN.

  4. SecretSquirrel says:

    I’m ok with giving my milk to one guy (Simone, you and I are strikingly similar in some aspects except I feel very comfortable with having a significantly younger lover), and looking for a buyer in another. I compartmentalize sex and dating. Two different things. I’m not sure I will ever reconcile the two, but I’m ok with that.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I don’t know that there is a need to reconcile the two. Yes, you and I are similar in this respect. You and I and MILLIONS of men. Let’s face it, men have been compartmentalizing sex and dating/mating for a longass time. I see no reason why I shouldn’t be able to, if that’s what makes me happy.

  5. vendetta says:

    It’s not that I don’t think it’s okay to have casual sex, but I do think that if you are looking for more from someone it’s probably better to wait a little while. I also think a lot of girls/women use sex to keep a guy that isn’t in love with her around and interested, when if she didn’t, he’d have been gone a long time ago. I think that is the lesson to be taken away from all of this. If you know you don’t love a man and don’t want more from him in the long run, by all means, satisfy your urges and have casual sex. But, if you want more, and aren’t sure he does, or how he feels about you, maybe waiting is the better way to go, at least until you are 100% sure where things are going. It’s a fine line, and it’s a very personal choice for each of us, to do what we are comfortable with.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I don’t think we’re in disagreement here. I’ve been very open about the fact that I wait (although perhaps not as long as some people) as least a few dates to see where a relationship might be going. To see if there is potential.

      As you said, it’s a personal choice. One that women should be able to make without being judged.

  6. I totally agree with you Vendetta as this is a sour subject to a lot of us. But I honestly think it also depends on the person that you choose to be with. Some men are jerks and all they want is have sex and then split faster than The Flash but others might be looking for something real. So what happens when you wait five months and you are in love with that special someone and when the moment of the big event finally arises you are left hanging in the middle of the appetizer. Some people are just not compatible sexually and excuse me but I will not wait until I’m too wrapped up in a relationship to find out this little piece of information. In my mind sex should be based on the attraction that two people feel and eventually, as the relationship progresses, it becomes more special and defining.

    • Simone Grant says:

      LOL, and that’s why I’d never wait 5 months. Sorry, but FOR ME sexual compatibility is a key component of a relationship. If that doesn’t work the relationship is doomed.

      And, for me, sex can also be casual. Filling a sexual need outside the realm of a relationship. You need a relationship and that’s great FOR YOU. But for all of those men who just want to have sex and split, there are women who want the same thing.

  7. misspinkles says:

    I hate that saying, why are we females being compared to cows.
    Every time I hear it, it just makes me angry.
    We live in a modern day world, not the 1880s.

    • Simone Grant says:

      It’s not a metaphor I’m fond of either. But sadly, so many people (you should see the comments I delete) equate women’s sexuality with value and any woman who gives it away outside the confines of a committed relationship as low in value.

      It’s not the 1880s, and yet there are lots of people who still believe good girls don’t “give it away”.

  8. pansophy says:

    Personally, I think this one is hugely complicated. I think what people often overlook is that a fundamental function of culture is to ensure survival. That’s means that by it’s nature it is designed to be resistant to change, and parenthetically whether culture is based in ‘truth’ is sort of irrelevant from the standpoint of survival.

    It’s only in say the last 50 years that being a single mom without help was really feasible. There are many many statistics that show that it is still significantly harder for single mom’s. I watched my mom do it.

    There is a reason that divorce was rare until fairly recently, and it’s not because people were any happier being married, or had less affairs etc. then they do now. It simply wasn’t a real option to separate and survive.

    Technology is changing the world faster than culture can adjust. The rules are changing incredibly fast, and given that culture is designed to resist change, is it any wonder that sayings like ‘buying the cow’ persist?

    Certainly it has happened before, but I doubt many people would recommend having sex on the first date as a good plan if you want a lasting relationship with THAT person. Meaning if you want to be serious with them you should let the relationship build first (doesn’t mean you can’t have sex with someone else causally…just doesn’t typically lead to anywhere else).

    But birth control makes causal sex, or sex before marriage for that matter, even a safe possible option. Birth control wasn’t around all that long ago and so ‘buying the cow’ was still pretty important. So to me the game has just changed faster than culture – and the phrases it generates to promote survival – can keep up.

    I found this article strangely relevant here…

  9. Black Iris says:

    I think some guys do think like that. I just decided I didn’t want to marry one.

  10. Terry D says:

    Hi – I’m gonna agree with Pansophy. Beneath all our angst and posturing is race survival as the prime driving force. Millions of years of natural selection does not flip flop in two or three generations. But let’s think about this for just a moment. First I’ll suggest that most men have fairly fragile egos. That is to say they are somewhat unsure of themselves when it comes to women. Then, I’ll suggest that women assuage that insecurity by showing said men that they are special. When a man feels special (as in worthy of being loved by you) he tends to devote his energy to what makes him feel that way. (note: I’m not suggesting that this is the BEST way to be, but it is the most common) His insecurities exist because he’s gun shy about rejection which is a phenomenon peculiar (generally) to men. Women (again usually) do the rejecting so they don’t have context for this. What this means is……..If you give him what he wants easily and quickly, he will unconsciously assume he’s NOT all that special and that you would do the deed with his buddies just as easily. That does not make you relationship material for insecure males. Very secure males (the rare breed) will just assume it’s their due and don’t attach as much value to it in the first place. They already think they’re special so what THAT man wants is a woman who also thinks she’s special. If she says no to him that makes her intriguing. All of this has a base in making and raising babies but is tempered by modern life and birth control. Fun ain’t it? lol
    Terry D recently posted..Summer fling – for the Insomnia ClubMy Profile