Promiscuous Boy, Get to the Point

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This song is ancient by pop music standards. But it’s still one of the best illustrations of the club singles scene I’ve ever seen.

Let’s start with the title of the song. “Promiscuous.” That’s a big word. It’s repeated several times throughout the chorus and keeps reminding you; these aren’t normal people we’re dealing with. These are promiscuous people. At this point in their lives, their entire identities are wrapped around sex, getting it and giving it. The dancing in the video isn’t typical music video dancing. It’s club dancing, they’re simulating sex, moving their hips suggestively. There’s a Justin Timberlake look-a-like doing something that resembles the normal stuff, but it’s not the same. He’s dancing at the girls. Trying to get with them. He doesn’t get it. (The real JT later makes an appearance.)

The song follows the typical dance of these people. The first verse has them going back and forth, feeling each other out. The video cuts back and forth between Nelly, others dancing in the club, and more intimate settings where they’re showing off by themselves. Nelly: “You lookin’ for a girl that will treat you right.” Timb: “I might be the type if I play my cards right, I’ma find out by the end of the night.”

Nelly knows what Timbaland wants, a girl that will “treat him right.” She’d sized him up as a guy who likes a “well-behaved” girl, who knows how to play that role. It’s not just the slammin’ body. And she likes what she sees. Notice the difference between Timbaland and that white dude who keeps trying with her. He’s playing it cool, he’s not even dancing. Maybe they tried putting him in but they could never get his fat ass to look good.

I’ve been that white dude way too many times. When you don’t know what to do, it’s natural to just fall back into “training.” I’ve spent a lot of time working on my dancing; it’s flashy and attracts attention. But if I do it too much it doesn’t look good. And that’s exactly what I would do if Nelly Furtado showed up at the club I was in. I can’t help it, I can’t handle her.

The girl Nelly’s portraying trades in sex. She knows how to project it, she knows how to use it to get what she wants. She’s got guys like the white dude doing stuff like that all the time. She likes the attention, but what she really wants is another guy who’s just as comfortable with sex, the game of giving and receiving pleasure, of the back and forth as she is. She wants someone to play with. The white guy might get in her pants one night when she’s really bored, but tonight he’s getting nowhere. He’ll have to settle for the black chick. Timbaland’s got her eye.

And he knows it. Most guys are completely clueless, but he isn’t. He can spot another promiscuous player from a mile away. Because, as is said later, they’re “one in the same.” He knows what she needs, he knows how to give it to her. The line I quoted is a perfect illustration. “I might be the type if I play my cards right.” He’s getting her excited by dangling her the opportunity of control. He believes he needs to “play his cards right.” Just as quickly, though, he snatches it back. “I’ma find out ‘fore the end of the night.” He knows it’s a game and he’s ready to play. With two sentences, he has her hooked. It’s on.

That’s how it works in a club. You’ve got nine, ten seconds to make an impression on people like that. Because that’s all that’s needed to signal that, yes, you’re a part of that tribe too. Anything more and you’re trying too hard.

Then they move onto the next stage, the next verse in this “love” song. This is shown with the phones. The setting’s ostensibly the same as in the first verse. But now they’re not interacting directly with each other, they’re talking on the phone. That first, incredible high is over, now they’re junkies, chasing that feeling again. Playing games.

They didn’t have sex that first night, but really, it doesn’t matter. It’s not really about sex. Not yet. It’s about the mind, it’s about the roles, it’s about ego. They’re objectifying each other. The seduction, the control you have over the other. Is it possible they find love in each other? Maybe, but that’s the storyline of a movie. In real life, promiscuous people just run into each other over and over again, satisfying their base urge, and never getting past that. And it’s a two way street.

Because we’re not comfortable with our sexual sides, the people that are make ridiculous amounts of money explaining it. Only they’re not writing books. Their manuals come in video form.

Notice the frustration on Timbaland’s face as he’s trying to get Nelly to see him again. “You know what I want, and I got what you need.” Nelly *needs* a man like him. And Timbaland *wants* Nelly to play that role. What Nelly wants is for Timbaland to play his role, a guy who “repects” her. “You expect me to just let you hit it? But will you still respect me if you did it?” This is every bit as much of a role as the one Timbaland wants her to fill.

The respect isn’t a real respect, it’s an act. His actions tell her whether he respects her or not. She has to go by his actions, because she cannot know him. They could talk, and banter, and entice forever, but because neither of them are in touch with any of their real needs, they can’t communicate those needs to the other, so they have to play these games to make sure they’re not being taken advantage of.

All they have is sex. They’re young, they don’t know who they are yet. Whether they need somebody talkative or quiet, practical or imaginative. These things take time to figure out, and they’re not aware of the need to. So they substitute other criteria. “Does he freak out when I shake my butt at him?” It’s a test borne out of the need to rapidly figure out what a person’s all about. Pretty much every enticing thing Nelly says to him is a test that he has to pass. He can’t turn into a quivering lump of putty like you or I would.

Until the third act. It starts with the climax, “Don’t get mad, don’t be mean.” That’s a very mean thing to say. You’re saying, “Yep, I’m screwing with you, on purpose, just for the hell of it. I don’t really care about you.” Look at how she flaunts it to the white kid, and the demoralized look on his face. Timb, though, has the right move, he strategically caves, and simultaneously turns it up. This is where things finally get sexual. “I don’t mean no harm. I can see you with my t-shirt on.”

What, what? “Finally? It’s been sexual since the beginning!” Wrong. They’ve just been getting to know each other. When sex is your identity, sex is your lifestyle, then what’s sexual to you is not the same as what’s sexual to others. When that hot chick shoots you down after you hit on her all night, thinking you were going to get a piece, you probably made the mistake of getting sexual too soon. She doesn’t even know you, she doesn’t want you putting sex on the table so soon. Nelly says, “You wanna get in my world, get lost in it? I’m tired of running, let’s walk for a minute.”

Even though “walking” in her world goes on for a few hours or days before it gets sexual, it’s still very important, and you can’t skip it. But it’s a game, and anyone can win, even with a super-hottie like Nelly. Because at the heart of the promiscuous personality is the void that has to be filled.

So now it’s sexual. Notice how less flashier the lines are, how much more intimate. The phones all but disappear. They’re whispering in each other’s ears. The dancing gets even more subdued. Nelly manages to squeeze a sex scene into the video, and it goes on right under your nose.

There’s a subtext. Anybody who leads a promiscuous lifestyle sees the subtext and understands the video. Those who don’t just see what’s on the surface. Fine women, dancing, moving bass. This is why I love pop music so much. The things they pull, right under the noses of the rest of us. And how effective it is at communicating to its target audience.

Most think of Eminem as just a thug, just spitting shit and making tons of money. They can’t understand the subtext. The conversation going on between Em and America’s youth is far more substantial than the conversations between those same youth and their parents. Eminem raised a whole generation of kids. He spoke to them, understood them, when their parents could only speak at them. This is the power of subtext. They grow up as part of a tribe, they can recognize each other by the shared connection. They speak a common language. And they’ll use that language to have a conversation right under the nose of their parents that they never thought could be happening, they think they know their kids. 

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20 Responses to Promiscuous Boy, Get to the Point

  1. AnonymousAtLarge says:

    Fat guy is hispanic, not white.
    Fat guy is fat and ugly because if anyone remotely attractive were to play his role, everyone at home would be thinking “why does Nelly go with timbaland when that other guy is so much hotter?” Since, you know, timbaland is not up to snuff physically speaking.

    Your analysis of the “club scene” makes me glad I have elected not to deal with people. Even if you have fabricated it totally, the fact that people might agree and think like this makes me glad I am alone and refuse to socialize and spend my time in my head. It sounds exhausting putting up with other people’s superficial wants/needs and “playing a game” all the time.
    Maybe I only think this way because I’m practically autistic (empathy quotient 22 systemizing quotient 37 FTW!) but with my brain that I have this sounds so pointless and draining.
    Somehow I feel like your analysis of the situation is exclusively through the lens of a male who was once young, I seriously doubt women think and feel the same way you do. That one girl you describe who is into giving and receiving sex with random people probably was raped as a child by her father and so doesn’t have normal sexual boundaries. This is not how normal women think and behave unless they are manic or something. Sorry, it’s just not. Hate to ruin your porn fantasies. Women are sometimes up for casual sex but not the way men are, which is basically to go to an establishment where the opposite sex is and hope you get lucky. Try bringing your testosterone level down to the normal female range and then tell me how much you want sex and how you think about it. I assure you that you will lose your interest in going to a club and humping on people all the time trying to get lucky.

    Girls like Nelly, when they exist IRL and are not being paid to say or behave that way, almost always use sex as a form of love and communication for emotional needs. It is not sex the way it is for men (get my genitals stimulated by a hot piece, get off, thus winning! like charlie sheen). They do this almost always because they are both sexually attractive and they were molested or raped at a young age repeatedly, by their family members. They want love, because they feel unlovable because of what happened to them, and they also know that men respond to them sexually because they are hot. They also have been trained by their abuser to think that having sex with someone is an appropriate way of communicating, no boundaries what so ever.
    When you communicate in a sexual way with people whom you should be communicating in a platonic/paternal way, it fucks up your ability to communicate in a platonic way and you start using sex for totally inappropriate reasons which would better be handled by you setting limits or verbally expressing yourself. You resort to sex because it’s the only way you know how any kind of relationship will go. You can’t have a relationship because you were prevented from learning how to interact with people. That is sort of the consequence when your father/babysitter/family friend just has sex with you when you are young as if you were a masturbation toy. All you know is 0 to 180….. meet someone and then sex happens, and it is your job to make them happy with sex.
    Either that or they have manic depression and are in a manic phase (hypersexuality is a big sign of mania).

    Or, alternatively, they have male levels of testosterone and an atypical endocrine profile… however if this were the case odds are you wouldn’t even notice her because she would look manly and you would be thinking “ew dyke”. Not to mention the fact that major endocrine abnormalities are extremely rare, much more rare than the number of girls who have been raped and molested and behave in a sexually abnormal way as an adult.

    • Comus says:

      I don’t agree with your hypothesis that (nearly) all promiscuous women have encountered sexual abuse or have some genetic difference compared to the norm. Not as a causation anyways.

      Promiscuity in general but especially in females has a a strong cultural background. In a 2005 (2008) study measuring one-night stands, number of partners and attitudes towards casual sex, questionnaired over 14,000 people in 48 countries. The results were then used to create a factor of “sociosexuality”. On top of this “promiscuity”-list came Finland, before some Baltic and Balkan countries. The first on the list of large industrialised western nations was Britain.

      Now Finland has always been a forerunner in womens rights, being the first country in the world to give women full suffrage in 1906, and being regarded as the second best place for a woman to live in a 1988 study after Sweden. Britain doesn’t lag far behind in the area of womens rights. Also noticeable is the decline on the cultural role of religion in these countries as well as the sexualised pop culture. Especially in the Baltic and eastern European states the number of women outweigh the number of men, so the women have to calibrate to the Game.

      So those factors could explain the rise of promiscuous sex better than the sudden increase in sexual abuse. Womens fertility peaks at thirty, males at about twenty. This goes well with the demographic of this video.

      I agree on you that the sex or the implicit promise of, might have something to do with emotional difficulties, but I do not see it as the only factor. Sex is a method of acceptance, a sort of praise, someone saying you are okay, and therefore can be seen as means to counteract the depressed emptiness. But that would be more of a desperate attempt to cling-on, not unlike the guys who overdo it on the dance floor in the beginning. If Nelly were to patch this acceptance-gap, she’d not be able to play it as cool. This excerpt on the video is pure power struggle.

      The truth is, we don’t want to see them hooking up. If they would both gain their desired halves it would end in a total catastrophe. Nobody can sustain such a mirroring relationship. The reason they are drawn to each other is the illusion of nonchalant power. From then on it’s just a test, Can you take care of me, or am I just another puzzle piece?

      Also it’s aimed at the thirtysomethings, so it is creating the very reality its’ portraying. Overdone dancemoves < nonchalance

      • AnonymousAtLarge says:

        The influence of religion (depending on which religion) will typically mask, often falsely, the sexual behavior and sexuality of people in the religion. Religious people tend to inhibit their sexual behavior abnormally, or at least they will lie about inhibiting it so as to conform to the mandates of their religion.
        As “religion” becomes less prominent and influential in a region, people lose that pressure to lie or about or inhibit their sexual behavior. This does not necessarily mean that their sexual behavior changed, or their sexual instincts, all it means is they are no longer lying about their sexual behavior or inhibiting themselves abnormally.
        I think we may be using two definitions of “promiscuous” here.
        If you are a catholic, you may think a woman who dates, has had sex with multiple men and is not married is “promiscuous”. In reality this is normal female sexual behavior which is being shamed and labeled “abnormal” by the catholic. Calling her “promiscuous” is inappropriate because it is healthy sexual behavior which is not harmful to anyone. It would be more appropriate to call the catholic a religious psychopath who believes in myths with no regard for reality.
        If you are an average person, you may think “promiscuous” is a girl who goes to a club, picks up a different guy every night and has sex with him, has had dozens of partners (like Nelly in the video). A girl who is cruising for sex. This is typical male sexual behavior which is abnormal for women and I mean this from a biological perspective, not some kind of moral perspective like the catholic nut. The label of “promiscuous” would be appropriate because “promiscuous” describes sexual behavior that is excessive and indiscriminant (whereas promiscuous is not appropriately applied to a woman who is dating and having sex before marriage, because she is demonstrating a high degree of selectivity and is not merely humping on random bodies in a club).
        This type of “cruising for sex” behavior is very uncommon in women and it is not seen in nature in female animals who reproduce sexually as humans do (ovulating, limited offspring, etc) . The only exception would be the fertile window (where female animals go into heat, and human females often do have changes in sexual behavior at this time as well). Even females in heat do not behave as males do – just wanting to get it on with as many people as possible, choosing first the best / most fertile partner and settling for lesser partners after. That’s male sexual behavior. “Promiscuous” behavior is very common in male animals, including humans, and is a normal part of male sexuality (or at least all males aspire to a promiscuous lifestyle, on some level, even if their social upbringing leads them to inhibit it or they lack the fitness to successfully live it).
        But anyway the point I’m making is I am curious how this study measured and defined promiscuity, since observation of natural sexual behavior of female and male animals suggests that females should not be interested in meaningless casual sex the way men are. Otherwise, if they were, heterosexual bath houses would totally be on every corner, and lesbian bath houses would exist. These things do not exist because only men are truly promiscuous the way the OP describes. Women do not think or behave this way if they are “normal”. I don’t think “individual personality” can overcome these innate biological real sexual differences.
        Much like the sexually dimorphic features of men and women are innate to their sex (men have low brow bones, strong jawlines, facial hair, a deep voice, more muscle mass, and are taller/larger…. women have infantile faces, weak jawlines, no/very minimal facial hair) so are there neuroanatomical / endocrine differences leading to differences in thought and behavior.
        Something as highly physiological as reproduction must be primarily controlled by physiological underpinnings, therefore men and women should conform to standards for their sex (unless their brain or anatomy is sexually incongruent in some way, as does sometimes happen). There will be no “personality difference” which can make otherwise gender/sex congruent females behave like males from a sexual perspective, and whenever you see females behaving that way, you should realize that something is “wrong”. Mania, drug abuse, early life sexual abuse, etc.

        I do not think there is a “sudden increase in sexual abuse” leading to promiscuous behavior in women. I do think the difference in our culture now (less religion, more emphasis on free sexual behavior ever since the 60s) may lead people to respond to sexual abuse differently than in the past. In the past girls who were raped by their fathers were sent away to have children somewhere, sent to convents, sent to mental institutions. This doesn’t happen anymore.

        Women’s fertility peaks in the mid / early 20s. It’s said that women’s sexuality peaks later than that (the 30s) which is related to a shift toward higher testosterone and lower estrogen/progesterone which is in line with dwindling female fertility. Why this happens may represent and evolutionarily conserved mechanism to have additional children before reproductive capacity is lost forever.

      • AnonymousAtLarge says:

        (Please delete previus response; stupid wordpad didn’t create spaces so it looks like more of an unreadable wall of text than my postings usually do).

        The influence of religion (depending on which religion) will typically mask, often falsely, the sexual behavior and sexuality of people in the religion. Religious people tend to inhibit their sexual behavior abnormally, or at least they will lie about inhibiting it so as to conform to the mandates of their religion.

        As “religion” becomes less prominent and influential in a region, people lose that pressure to lie or about or inhibit their sexual behavior. This does not necessarily mean that their sexual behavior changed, or their sexual instincts, all it means is they are no longer lying about their sexual behavior or inhibiting themselves abnormally.

        I think we may be using two definitions of “promiscuous” here.
        If you are a catholic, you may think a woman who dates, has had sex with multiple men and is not married is “promiscuous”. In reality this is normal female sexual behavior which is being shamed and labeled “abnormal” by the catholic. Calling her “promiscuous” is inappropriate because it is healthy sexual behavior which is not harmful to anyone. It would be more appropriate to call the catholic a religious psychopath who believes in myths with no regard for reality.

        If you are an average person, you may think “promiscuous” is a girl who goes to a club, picks up a different guy every night and has sex with him, has had dozens of partners (like Nelly in the video). A girl who is cruising for sex. This is typical male sexual behavior which is abnormal for women and I mean this from a biological perspective, not some kind of moral perspective like the catholic nut. The label of “promiscuous” would be appropriate because “promiscuous” describes sexual behavior that is excessive and indiscriminant (whereas promiscuous is not appropriately applied to a woman who is dating and having sex before marriage, because she is demonstrating a high degree of selectivity and is not merely humping on random bodies in a club).

        This type of “cruising for sex” behavior is very uncommon in women and it is not seen in nature in female animals who reproduce sexually as humans do (ovulating, limited offspring, etc) . The only exception would be the fertile window (where female animals go into heat, and human females often do have changes in sexual behavior at this time as well). Even females in heat do not behave as males do – just wanting to get it on with as many people as possible, choosing first the best / most fertile partner and settling for lesser partners after. That’s male sexual behavior. “Promiscuous” behavior is very common in male animals, including humans, and is a normal part of male sexuality (or at least all males aspire to a promiscuous lifestyle, on some level, even if their social upbringing leads them to inhibit it or they lack the fitness to successfully live it).

        But anyway the point I’m making is I am curious how this study measured and defined promiscuity, since observation of natural sexual behavior of female and male animals suggests that females should not be interested in meaningless casual sex the way men are. Otherwise, if they were, heterosexual bath houses would totally be on every corner, and lesbian bath houses would exist. These things do not exist because only men are truly promiscuous the way the OP describes. Women do not think or behave this way if they are “normal”. I don’t think “individual personality” can overcome these innate biological real sexual differences.

        Much like the sexually dimorphic features of men and women are innate to their sex (men have low brow bones, strong jawlines, facial hair, a deep voice, more muscle mass, and are taller/larger…. women have infantile faces, weak jawlines, no/very minimal facial hair) so are there neuroanatomical / endocrine differences leading to differences in thought and behavior.

        Something as highly physiological as reproduction must be primarily controlled by physiological underpinnings, therefore men and women should conform to standards for their sex (unless their brain or anatomy is sexually incongruent in some way, as does sometimes happen). There will be no “personality difference” which can make otherwise gender/sex congruent females behave like males from a sexual perspective, and whenever you see females behaving that way, you should realize that something is “wrong”. Mania, drug abuse, early life sexual abuse, etc.

        I do not think there is a “sudden increase in sexual abuse” leading to promiscuous behavior in women. I do think the difference in our culture now (less religion, more emphasis on free sexual behavior ever since the 60s) may lead people to respond to sexual abuse differently than in the past. In the past girls who were raped by their fathers were sent away to have children somewhere, sent to convents, sent to mental institutions. This doesn’t happen anymore.

        Women’s fertility peaks in the mid / early 20s. It’s said that women’s sexuality peaks later than that (the 30s) which is related to a shift toward higher testosterone and lower estrogen/progesterone which is in line with dwindling female fertility. Why this happens may represent and evolutionarily conserved mechanism to have additional children before reproductive capacity is lost forever.

  2. Jerboa says:

    I know my opinion is irrelevant, but this is a beautiful post. Seeing this video alone, I would have described it as boring people dancing at each other. The context you’ve provided has taken something I would normally consider unwatchable and given it multiple layers of meaning.

  3. martel says:

    I thought this post was an April Fools joke? The over intellectualization of hip-hop music/videos to fit a “narrative” or “sub-text” that seems interesting or insightful is funny stuff! Or maybe I’ve been out of the club scene for too long to pick up on the intricacies behind Nelly, JT, Timbaland and my favorite….”Em”.
    I actually laughed out loud when the author called Eminem “Em”!

    • Pastabagel says:

      I don’t understand the idea that this is overintellectualizing it. Did the director over intellectualize the video when he decided what everyone wass going to be doing in the video when he shot it?

      • martel says:

        I’m not sure what the director was thinking when he directed the dance sequences in this video? I only know what the author of this post was thinking when he watched it.

  4. Napsterbater says:

    Thanks Pasta, Jerboa. The feeling that the video is “unwatchable” and that you never would think to look deeper is the entire motivation for the piece. I love to take, say, a Justin Bieber vid, swallow my musical sense for a second, and just look at the psychology. What’s the body language saying? What are they not showing? This is how artists get away with putting subtext into art that nobody except the target audience gets. I wanted to take a video that nobody would ever watch critically, and explain just those elements that most would miss.

    As for the message, I could have gone either way with it. I tried a more cautious tone, but after I finished I didn’t like it, I don’t like moralizing to the reader. So I cut it back and focused on the subtext. Hey, if you want to go to the club and get your freak on, who am I to tell you no? Hell, if you understand what the void is, on an intimate level, not only are you going to be devastating at the club, but you’ll wake up a lot of people.

    Pasta hit on something I was thinking about, but never found the words to express. These aren’t stupid people writing, choreographing, performing in the video. Especially in the pop/hip-hop genres. Everything’s there because some smart person sat down, considered the alternatives, and made a decision that it belongs there or doesn’t. There’s waaayy too much money at stake. Why isn’t Timbaland dancing in the club? Everybody else is. There’s no reason he can’t be, too. It’s a pretty conspicuous absence. I even assumed he was there, until I went back, “Was he in the club? No, he wasn’t!” and I had to go back and revise. Only thing I could think of, was they couldn’t get his fat ass to look good.

    That’s how you figure out that, yes, there is indeed a subtext going on. That video looked like soo many of my experiences clubbing and trying to get with women. I watch these hip hop videos, and all of a sudden, all those experiences start to make sense to me. I’m like, “damn, do all these girls watch this stuff?” The answer is yes. If you’re not watching and enjoying hip hop music videos, and you go into the club, you’re going to be lost, you won’t know what to do. Like 80% of the experience of going to a club is pretending you’re in a music video. There HAS to be a subtext or else none of it makes any sense.

    • boeotarch says:

      The interesting question for me is, did the club subtexts originate in the clubs or in the videos? I’m too young to know what pre-hip hop clubs were like, so I don’t know whether the videos are glorified versions of reality or if reality is just chasing the fantasy.

      • Napsterbater says:

        You don’t need to go back in time to find a contrast to hip-hop clubs. You can find analogs in the country-western club, the rave, the jazz bar. They all have their culture, informed by the music and the types of people that go to them. And you can discover the underlying unspoken subtexts shared by these tribes by observing their art forms. It’s interesting looking at how promiscuity manifests in these subcultures too.

  5. Icarus says:

    Spot on. White guy is clearly trying too hard; that should be fairly obvious to most viewers. Timbaland is demonstrating his ability to match her emotional state. White boy is erratic, over energized. If he’s like that on the dance floor, is he going to be the energizer bunny in bed? Timbaland has an air of amused mastery. Calm, confident and strong.

    Also, to anonymousAtLarge, I don’t really think you’re qualified to say all promiscuous girls are damaged. The seduction game/ hookup culture is fun for those involved, that’s really all the explanation needed. The emotional highs it brings are hard to find elsewhere.

    • Napsterbater says:

      Riiiight. When I first started watching it, I was like, what the hell is he doing? It’s so out of place. The black chick too. Watching Nelly disrespect him later, all of a sudden I saw the point they were making. They never mentioned anything about other guys or girls in the song. They’re there to show contrast. They’re what turn the song/video from a sexy little narrative into an R-Rated instruction manual.

      I’m sure there are ways to be fun and sexual and promiscuous without falling into the traps of emotional instability/self disrespect, though I really haven’t found my way there, yet. Women throw me signals and flirt all the time, that’s how I could recognize what was going on in the video, but I’m just not comfortable enough with the process, yet.

    • AnonymousAtLarge says:

      Again, he’s hispanic and not white (why does everyone keep labeling him white? are you guys projecting/identifying or something? A lot of white guys seem to be under this impression that their whiteness is the reason that they aren’t surrounded by hot women 24/7 as in rap music videos ).

      I’m not qualified to say my opinion anymore than you are… well maybe I am slightly more qualified because I am female, and have probably spent more time speaking to other women in a non-sexual way than you have (since most men only speak to women when they want to have sex with them, either that or they are family members).

      I’ve never heard of a woman who has had lots of casual sex who was *not* doing so for reasons related to mental problems. I mean there are plenty of well adjusted normal guys who do this because duh, this is normal male animal sexual behavior. The club scene caters to male sexuality.
      But for the girls who do it? They’re not looking for random hookups…. and the ones who are, are not mentally right upstairs.

      Again, if women really were into this, why are there no lesbian bath houses, why are there no heterosexual bath houses? Why are there only gay male bath houses? Women are not into casual sex with random people. If you find such a girl you can safely bet she falls into one of a few categories: train wreck on psychostimulants, in a manic phase, or her capacity to have relationships and interact with men has been hopelessly and irreparably FUBARed by early life/chronic sexual molestation.

      • Napsterbater says:

        We’re talking about the guy who’s dancing with the black chick, and at Nelly. He’s obviously white. You may be talking about him, or about Timbaland, the other guy featured prominently in the video. Timbaland’s real name is Timothy Zakar Mosley, he might have a little Latino in him, but he’s definitely black.

      • sunshinefiasco says:

        In the name of the sweet lord, AnonymousAtLarge, where do you get off speaking for all women’s sexual mores? I am a straight female, and one who has spent a lot of time speaking to other straight (and bi/gay) women about sex and promiscuity in otherwise non-sexual contexts. Based on my own feelings and on the content of these conversations, I’ve got a few problems here:
        Firstly, no matter what my own policies and practices were on promiscuity and hookup culture, I honestly can’t believe that someone as thoughtful and articulate as yourself is attempting to account for the sexual decision-making of all women. I think it’s only slightly more unbelievable that while doing this, you have divided “promiscuity” into two categories:

        1) What would, by and large, be considered normal dating culture. (An unmarried woman who dates and sleeps with multiple men.)
        2) Anonymous sex. (Which is COMPLETELY different then random sex. Or so I read.)

        The fact is, there are millions of women who, at one time in their lives or another, travel somewhere in between these two paths, and not all of them are victims of molestation/on coke/ mentally ill. Some of them maybe find sex “a natural, zesty experience” and aren’t looking for a boyfriend. Or maybe, once in a while, they want to get laid and they aren’t seeing a lot of boyfriend material around.

        In my personal opinion, the first path isn’t promiscuous at all, it’s called “dating”. The second path, which is closer to meeting people off craigslist, banging them and going home, is a legitimate kink that some women have (albeit a small percentage). Whether there are safe ways to engage in ANONYMOUS (i.e. bathhouses, craigslist-type things) sex is another discussion, but that’s not what going on in the video.

        The culture being explored in the video is one of “random” hookups. Specifically, finding love in the culture of “random” hookups. People cruising for sex in bathhouses is completely different from showing up to a club and seeing where the night takes you (maybe it takes you home, maybe it takes you to a different club, maybe it takes you to the house of a “random” person). (I have random in quotes because in this context, it’s being used in the slang-y manner it’s acquired, kinda meaning “out of nowhere”.)
        First of all, while I’m not trying to claim that no two people have ever left a club together, not knowing each other’s name, and gotten it on, that’s not what always happens there, and it’s not what’s happening in this song. Having a few (or few dozen) drinks and talking to/flirting with someone for a while, and then taking them home is quite simply, not the same shit, and often, it can’t even qualify as anonymous. In fact, if it is anonymous sex, then a massive percentage of college-age women are consistently engaging in anonymous sex. As one of those women (and as I bet the friends of those women can tell you), more (long-term, healthy) relationships start from situations like that then you might expect.

        Even if you never see that person again, there is a sort of removed intimacy to the situation while it’s happening/the morning after. And this song isn’t even talking about the folks who hit it and then run home that night, there’s a clear morning after implied here. Look at the lyric “I can see you in my t-shirt”– that image (a girl in a man’s shirt) is more often applied to girlfriends, not wanton club skanks. To me, the whole song reads as: two folks like Nap described, who are secure in themselves/have an idea of what they’re looking for (or at least of what they’re not looking for), finding one another, and doing a bit of a mating dance because they’ve both found a worthy adversary that they’re into a little bit. Game recognize game.

        Beyond that, the end implies that a relationship of some kind is to follow (“we don’t gotta play games no more”). The song is both about poking fun at traditional notions of promiscuity (maybe Nelly in the video was a ho at some point, but she’s older and wiser now). It’s also about telling people (read: teens/kids): It’s okay to like somebody and still be a down-ass club kid. Moreso, you don’t have to give it up the first night, in fact it’s probably better if you don’t. And what does it tell those people’s older siblings? It says “You’re not a skank just because you met your boy/girlfriend at a club.”

        Even if you think my read of the situation is bullshit, please don’t speak on female sexuality ever again without taking into account that there are tons of women with different ideas about what’s all right, what’s fun, and what’s just not their bag.

  6. octo says:

    Your viewpoint is interesting and salient, but I take issue with portraying the video as a competition in which Timbaland outdoes the other suitors to get Nelly. A few examples:

    1) The white dude in the hat might be a freak, but he’s still dancing with her throughout the entire movie (first at her, and then with her at 3:12, after the flaunting you mentioned), and also talks on the phone with a split screen when she says “pay attention to me I don’t talk for my health” at 1:33.

    2) Nelly talks in other guys’ ears as well (i.e. 2:42), right at the intimate “I can see you with nothing on.”

    3) She’s still dancing with another dude alone even into 3:49, implying a certain sense of intimacy with other men, and is never alone with Timbaland after this, either. Instead, he’s alone at 3:54 with another chick. At the end, it’s Timberlake, Timbaland, and Nelly just dancing around.

    These consistency issues matter, because your part of your seems to hinge on Timbaland outplaying everyone else by keeping his cool.

    Maybe I’m reading too much into your placing Timbaland at the front, and you didn’t mean that he gets with her to the exclusion of all others. It just seems to me that the dude she seems to spend the most time with outside of Timbaland, strong silent shaved-head guy, never talks on the phone or says anything to her at all, which seems very unlike Timbaland’s strategy. In fact, he seems to be the one that she’s pursuing, by her body language relative to his, the way she throws herself into him when she says “don’t get mad, don’t be mean.”

    As for the rest of the post, quite nice.

    • Napsterbater says:

      1) Yes, he is portrayed trying to get with her through the whole video. But anyone who goes to these clubs and knows the game can see that he’s not doing a good job of it. There’s a definite pecking order in clubs and he’s in that category where he’s above the loser, but not really an ‘A’ player.

      2, and 3) Yes, this is what hot girls do at clubs. They like the attention and will talk with you and dance with you and even flirt with you even if they have no intention of going any further with you. They do this to fill the time up and make the guys they really want to talk to jealous. The entire atmosphere of clubs is engineered to elicit this side of women, they may never act like this anywhere else. See my later post, “Little Bad Illusion” for an exploration of this.

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