Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

Opinion Opinion Spotlight

“THHS boys are so not fetch”

May 28, 2014

Written by:

  1. Allegra Santo

    Okay, no. I see the vague attempt to say, "Hey, I'm not saying that I'm entitled to your body and your time," but really, that's what's being said here. Think about this. Imagine that you're in a room filled with all kinds of food. It looks great, it smells great, but maybe you're just not feeling like eating, or maybe it's Italian food and you're more into Chinese food. Then imagine that someone comes along and says, "Why aren't you eating? Why aren't you appreciating what's being given to you? Do you realize that there are starving children in Africa?" Except this is a completely bogus comparison, since FYI, people aren't hors' devours. There are a lot of reasons why girls may not want to date guys in this school. They could, like me, just not want to deal with the drama that often comes when you date someone who goes to the same school as you; if there's a messy breakup, then it's awkward for anyone who was ever involved in the relationship. They also could – get this – just not be into people who make them feel like they are obligated to date someone inside the school when in reality, they just aren't that into some particular person. In fact, most of the world's population probably isn't gonna be into any particular person, either (if you date a total of ten people in your life, that's only about .0000000014% of the entire world). And none of those people who aren't into you shouldn't feel obligated to write you a dissertation on why they aren't that into you. Girls do see what's right in front of them. And they see that guys at Townsend – a lot more, I've noticed, than should be at such a supposedly socially liberal school in one of the most socially liberal cities in the world – have the sense of entitlement that after subjecting a girl to a myriad of unwanted attention (because seriously, too many girls I've known have stated multiple times to guys that their advances were not desired for, and the guys just saw it as a challenge), they still should be given the time of day for their efforts. Even though these efforts only just make women uncomfortable. This is the kind of opinion that got four men and two women shot in Santa Barbara this past weekend. Time to rethink.

  2. Dillon Mahabir

    I think the main idea that this article is trying to emphasize is that it is wrong to entirely label a group of boys 'undatable' (as frequently stated on Facebook pages like 'Townsend Confessions'). Though, with that said, I disagree with a seemingly small yet major idea in this argument. It's not WRONG to label a group of boys as 'undatable' because everyone is entitled to their opinion. I do see this opinion as inherently offensive which is most likely the reason why the writer seems to be pleading that the girls are 'close-minded' and 'can't see what's infront of them'. I can agree that calling someone undatable is near synonymous to calling them overall unattractive, and even though labeling and insulting a group is widely considered distasteful, this is irrelevant to discerning whether it is right or wrong.

  3. Erin Robinson

    Yes, yes, yes. I completely agree with Allegra. And just to reiterate, so many times guys will approach girls, be shot down and take it "as a challenge," WHICH IT ISN'T. Also, I feel like if a girl wrote this article, people would be making fun of her, not taking her seriously. Ross, I kind of get where you're coming from, but you need to acknowledge that this kind of thinking is super problematic. All this does is perpetuate the idea that girls need to be flattered by and grateful for the advances of guys even if these advances make them uncomfortable or could even make them feel unsafe. Also, just a thought but maybe THHS guys are "undateable" because of these kinds of gross, entitled ideas.

  4. Kyle Su

    First, I'd like to say thank you to Ross for expressing his personal opinions in this op-ed. Although we may not agree on all points, it's admirable and a sign of your personal integrity that you published your opinion regardless of the controversy you anticipated it would create. To Allegra Santo, With all due respect, it appears to me you have either missed the point of Ross' op-ed, or chosen to avoid addressing it. In your comment, you claim that women should not be forced to appreciate unwanted advances, and that no man should ever feel entitled to attention for his efforts. I agree, 100%. I know Ross personally, and I can attest that he does too. Although I personally wouldn't have mentioned Elliot Rodger's murders (This is an op-ed about high school girls claiming the boys are unattractive is it not? Does a mass murderer need to be brought into the conversation?), it's a logical and coherent step or reach. It's true; Too often do both men AND women feel they should be rewarded for behavior they have been repeatedly asked to stop. In the case of Elliot Rodger, rejection by women led him to misogyny, and an even darker path. However Ross does not advocate the opposite side from your claim. He does not claim that Townsend males deserve attention for bringing flowers, or walking crushes to classrooms. He does not say that men are entitled to ANYTHING, except an iota of respect. Ross even goes as far as to explicitly state: “Girls aren’t obligated to do anything in return, or react in any sort of way." Ross asks for the ladies of Townsend to please be direct in their responses to our advances. He does not demand one single thing. Ross does not mention the guys who ignore rejection and continue to doggedly pursue females in direct opposition to their stated wishes. Whether this be from oversight, or a deliberate choice, what this means is that you should not use them as the center point of your counterargument, because they are not what Ross addressed. To borrow a technique from your comment, imagine this. It's 1778, you're an American colonist, and someone says to you, "You shouldn't say all foreigners are against us. I know some French who are supporting us with men and guns." Can you respond with, "But the British are trying to kill us and take our land. You can't make me accept and appreciate foreigners when the British are out to kill me!"? No, you shouldn't say that in response. It fails to address the point of the first speaker, who is trying to say you shouldn't say ALL FOREIGNERS (British + French + Germans, etc) are bad, when some foreigners (French) are trying to help. In the last sentence of his first paragraph, Ross wrote: "I often see some of my perfectly nice and datable male friends ignored by the young women they pursue." I'm sure you two will disagree on the ideal datable male, but I'm also sure both of you will agree that the ideal male does NOT chase women when he has been asked not to, and does NOT feel entitled to attention from women. Therein lies the flaw of your argument Ms. Santo. Ross does not claim all men are datable, or that Townsend females should believe and espouse that all men are datable. Your claims are certainly an excellent counterpoint against the ideas I just mentioned, but those are not Ross' ideas. His “nice guy,” is not the persistent, insensitive, and arrogant person you criticize. Ross believes that Townsend girl should not claim all the males of our school are "undatable." You believe women should not be forced to accept or put on a fake smile for unwanted suitors. Ross believes there are nice guys in our school, who are unfairly referred to by girls as “undatable” when they group my entire gender as such. You believe there are creeps and guys in our school who don’t understand or respect the words “No.” Ross and I believe that too. Do you believe every single guy in our school is undatable? Do you believe it is fair to address every single guy in Townsend, both the “datable” and unsavory, as “undatable”? Do you disagree with Ross’ plea that the females of Townsend make clear their feelings, and avoid leading boys on IF they currently are? Those are the opinions directly opposed to what Ross has written. I didn’t read anything close to that in your response. Which leads me to wonder, what exactly Ross has written you are opposed to?

  5. Andrew Palma/Palmtree

    So I liked ross's article.. I loved the part when he mentioned violent misogyny .. I really enjoyed the part where he referenced the events in Connecticut and California that hadnt happened yet.. but by far my favorite part was when he objectified women and spoke about our entitlement to their bodies as a definitive part of his article.. Ross made this article to express distaste for the generalization of guys in our school and for generalization of people in general. And yet here we are generalizing guys in our school as people who always feel entitled to women; and chastizing them for such beliefs.(which is really all about point of view and it is not something that I do not see in most men including myself at times) We all know Ross as a loveable and huggable person. He meant no harm in making this article. So dont assume too much, because if theres one thing Ive learned in this school from several teachers its that to assume is to make an fool out of you and me.

  6. Khalil Smith

    I've read this article multiple times, and I've read what has been written in opposition in order to properly understand all positions. I am a fervent believer in gender equality and with that said I don't believe that has anything to do with this article. From what I gather, Ross is expressing his dislike for the status updates on Facebook where girls post things such as "Why are there no attractive boys at Townsend? FML". In expressing his opinion Ross has faced a lot of backlash from the female community who is saying that he feels gentlemen are entitled to the affection of the females they pursue. I believe that in fact what Ross is asking for is the courtesy for girls not to generalize the entire male populace and in doing so he inadvertently generalized the girls as being shallow and heartless. Of course, that is all speculation and perhaps a response from Ross himself could better clarify the intentions of this article. That being said, as a gay man I know a lot about rejection and pursuit. Ross speaks of being baffled when girls return gifts, but I believe this is a very appropriate action. By rejecting a gift the pursued party is delivering a clear message that they are not romantically interested. I find that it's a juvenile mentality to not be able to readily accept a "no" as you would a "yes" and in that case dating is not for you. From my own observation of the common teenager, I do notice however that if attraction does not already exist, then the person pursuing does not stand a chance, because there is no sexual interest. Some may call it corny, but I personally like to consider romantic relationships as houses. I think before anyone is pursued you need to lay a foundation, which is your friendship. You must know someone before you pursue them romantically, Disney movies and romantic novels often make us forget this. It's imperative to know that without a foundation your house is destined to crumble. After laying your foundation you begin to build your way up. The first level is representative of the wooing stage in which you offer romantic gestures and verbally establish with the person where you would like to take the relationship. If told that the relationship is best left at a friendship, respect that and move on, it's not the end of the world. My mother always told me, "there's a somebody for everybody", so this one just didn't happen to be yours. On the other hand, if things go well pursue that. As a certified HIV/AIDS educator I am obliged to say hold off on sex because it's the attic in your house,a unnecessary accessory that is desired, but not needed, and remember to always practice safe sex (the safest sex is abstinence. All of that said, I implore you all to drop this battle of the sexes debate and recognize that this is an issue of humanity. Both sides are asking to be respected because both sides feel offended. At the end of the day all are entitled to their opinions and to voice their opinions, so in reference to being generalized, "if it don't apply, then let it fly". To my brothers I leave you with this, "respect that everything will not go as you desire in life, but embrace that life goes on." A good friend of mine once told me when I got caught in a world of promiscuity seeking to be loved, "Know your worth. You always say you want to build a house, well then stop settling in apartments. It's no surprise when you're faced with one night stands because these people defined what they wanted, but you were blinded by desire. As a friend I'm telling you to learn to listen, so you can choose the right one to help you build that house". To my sisters, I leave you with this, "Be strong in your hearts, but not rigid in your beliefs". It took me years to realize that what a man looks like is not what made him attractive. Don't be afraid to lay a foundation and get to know someone because if he's putting in the effort to have your time, grant him a few minutes. I always thought about it like this, the robin doesn't fly in the rain unless he's seeking a worm, so find out what's your pursuer's "worm" before you so readily write him off. To all of you out there in world of dating I conclude with this, "A pretty face can fly you to France, but a great mind can help you soar to the moon."

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