I have something I want to say on this subject, but I'm not sure where I want to start. I guess I'll just dive in and figure it out as I go.
It's no secret that I've been divorced and in the mid-life dating pool for a number of years - like 13 or 14 - I've lost exact track. I've been shooting for six of those years now, and it's become a topic that I've started bringing up right off the bat when vetting a prospective date.
I've decided that if a man is going to hate my guns, I need to know about that as a "deal breaker" from the very first couple of emails or texts.
In the best of all possible worlds, the exchange might go something like this:
Me: So here is a deal-breaker question - How do you feel about firearms?
Prospective Date: I have a couple and I shoot them regularly
Me: Oh great! Maybe we can shoot together sometime ( whew)
Him: Cool - what do you shoot?
However, sometimes the exchange goes like this:
Me: How do you feel about firearms?
Prospective Date: Firearms? I have no interest.
Me: But are you opposed?
Him: ( long silence) No.
Me: Okaaay, because I shoot competitively. It's one of my BIG hobbies, and if you really don't like guns, that's all you're going to hear about.
This is actually okay with me, because I'd rather know upfront if we are basically incompatible. I'd rather hear crickets than get or give hurt feelings down the road.
But then there is an exchange like this:
Me : How do you feel about firearms?
Prospective Date: I'm not interested in them at all.
Me: Well, I shoot competitively and it's a big hobby that is very important to me.
Him: That's so hot!
The thought of you shooting guns is a big turn-on!
I'm sorry folks, but this just rates a giant "Ewwwww". Especially coming from someone with a professed lack of interest otherwise. There is no respect for skill there. There is no admiration for hard work, or challenge or determination. In that man's mind, everything I have worked so hard for is boiled down to sex. And that's just ... gross. I don't have a better word for it than a 5th grade term, because it's a 5th grade kind of response from a supposed grown man.
I don't shoot for this, or any guy's icky self-gratification - I shoot for my own personal sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
Now, don't get me wrong - I know that most men think about sex morning, noon, and night anyway - whether it involves women and firearms or not. But that kind of comment is TOTALLY inappropriate toward a woman you haven't even met yet.
Context is everything. If you are a long time married man, you can get away with telling your wife you think she's "hot" when she shoots (and she probably appreciates hearing it). She knows that she already has your respect and admiration first, and your comments are coming from a position of love and support.
But saying something like that to a woman you don't even know is just slimy.
Yet men say stuff like that frequently. Especially on social media, where the usual social boundaries seem to be mere suggestions.
Guys, don't be "that guy". That's all I'm asking. I'm sure almost every female shooter out there thanks you.
End of Rant.