The Foolishness of Playing Hard to Get

Grease is an American musical about teenage lovers who lived in the mid-20th Century. It takes place when America was about to change from a culturally conservative society that emphasized sexual modesty to a rebellious society that embraced free love. At that time, a woman was expected to preserve her honor by resisting amorous overtures from male suitors. Hence the line in one Grease song that asks if a female character “put up a fight” when a male character had some summer loving with her. The satire of that song below suggests the problem with these social expectations.

When societal norms force a partner to say “no” despite his or her desires, then that refusal can be interpreted as “try again” instead of a rejection. Slut shaming or homophobia may also force a relationship into the shadow there the lack of input from friends makes abusive behavior easier to continue. This is why informed consent is much better than unbending rules when it comes to romantic interactions. Yes, taboos often protect partners, but if they are too rigid they can cause more harm than good.