Re: Smile like you mean it.

1

There's a discussion somewhere in the archives. I recall it getting...contentious.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:10 AM
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Oh, good.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:11 AM
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http://www.unfogged.com/archives/week_2005_07_31.html#003866


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:13 AM
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Oooh, this is old, old-school Unfogged. From back before I was a poster. I think Ogged linked to a post from either Catherine or Sue-and-not-U, being surprised about it. Let me try to google -- I think "maggot" and "eye-candy" should get it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:14 AM
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And Apo beats me to the link.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:15 AM
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This is one of these things that happens to women pretty much all the time that is completely invisible to the men who aren't doing it. There are a lot of these things, which is why when we talk about them, dudes act like we're crazy.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:16 AM
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I think the topic has been revisited since then, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:20 AM
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Presumably someone in the old thread said it's creepy, intrusive and presumptuous. Because that would be correct. I want to punch people when I see them do this.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:21 AM
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I know I've written 6 before somewhere, possibly several times. That's the thing; no matter how many times we have this conversation, it's still just completely unbelievable.

IME, being asked to smile by strangers is the least of the indignities women experience that some men claim to be ignorant that other men are doing all the time.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:26 AM
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I think it has been revisited since then too, becuase I'm pretty sure I remember seeing the discussion and I'm pretty sure I wasn't around here in 2005.

I've never personally, specifically noticed this, but there's at least one guy at my office I'd have no problem believing does it, based on how he acts with my cow-orker in the neighboring cubicle.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:27 AM
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11

some men claim to be ignorant
Do you doubt them?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:32 AM
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being asked to smile by strangers is the least of the indignities women experience

Sure, and those conversations were eye-openers for me. However, it still seems just *so totally weird* to tell somebody to smile. "Okay, now rub your belly. Great! Now pat your head. Excellent. Stand on one foot."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:32 AM
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It is bizarre. What do these people think they're doing by telling others to smile?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:37 AM
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You can doubt our claims, but you're wrong.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:39 AM
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13: "Your job is to look pretty for me and you're not meeting your obligation."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:39 AM
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I've been meaning to say something to you about that too, Eggplant. Turn that frown upside down!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:41 AM
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13: The most generous interpretation I can give it is that they intend to be cheering someone up. But 15 is my favored interpretation.

I did once reply: I'll smile if you say something actually funny, fucker. Then he made lame jokes that did not provoke a smile.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:42 AM
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It actually happens to me more from women. It really infuriates me. I had a housemate, whom I eventually disliked enough to move out of the house, who was very proud of her habit of stopping random non-smiling people at the local overcrowded grocery store and saying "hi! smile! have a great day!" complete with patronizing slow-motion wave. She was convinced that this made her a beacon of good cheer and positivity. From men it usually only happens from really, really old black dudes who are usually lying back on a lounge chair or gardening, and somehow I find that less annoying because it feels like a habit/relic of a previous era.

Somewhat tangentially, I also hate it when people walk up to me in the machine room at the gym and start giving me all kinds of advice. Seriously, people? Unless your advice is to prevent them from injuring themselves or breaking the machine, how intrusive is it to start talking to someone while they're leg pressing?


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:43 AM
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Stop slouching and stand up straight, M/tch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:43 AM
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I was in group therapy once and complained about this precise phenomenon. The group was run by two women psych residents, and there were three other patients/clients whatever who were all women. The instant I said it, one of the psych residents immediately said, "I hate that." The other resident and all the other members of the group had never experienced it. I was genuinely surprised.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:44 AM
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15: That's about it. I think it's meant kindly on some level: "Here, let me assist you in performing your duties as eyecandy more effectively," but that's not much of an improvement.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:44 AM
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The other resident and all the other members of the group had never experienced it.

Maybe they just weren't dour frowny-pants.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:47 AM
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"Here, let me assist you in performing your duties as eyecandy more effectively,"

Or something like, "Now what could a cute thing like you have to be glum about."


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:47 AM
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Surely 15 isn't what they think they're doing, though it's obviously the message they send.
I'd like to think they're trying to save you from Anthony Fremont.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:47 AM
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11: Only because we've had the conversation so many times. For me, it's akin to the way men here react to stories I've told about the way men behave on dates or in relationships. They're 100% incredulous that any functional human being could ever speak or act that way to another, and the problem must be that I somehow have something wrong with me, or that those guys must all be drooling raving maniacs whose leer can be spotted from 50 paces and that maybe I'm blind or stupid for not seeing it coming.

One of my favorite pedagogical tricks is to tell a new class during the first week a few stories about the lame shit former students have tried to pull (like turning in a research paper in which all the listed sources are just random books found from Google with no relationship to the topic). Or when I assign a paper, I'll give dopey examples of mind-numbingly bad papers I've gotten. All my examples are really common things, like the dictionary-definition intro ("Love. What is love? Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines love as..."), or thesis statements that are just clich├ęs ("And the theme of this book is that a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.") And the students laugh are are like "OMG, those people must have been idiots! What is wrong with them!" But while many of them would never do those things because they know how dumb they are, there are plenty more who just seem unaware that they're the kind of student who pulls that shit too. The thing everyone has in common is that they just can't believe that people who do such things exist.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:47 AM
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The "smile for me" thing is in originary form directed at kids, isn't it? It's one of those infantilizing things when directed at adults.

The only semi-stranger who ever told me to smile for her was a woman who cut my hair. I suspect it's because I'm one of those people who's neurotically uncomfortable with your standard protocol of talking about your life during a haircut, and it was showing. The only way I get through those conversations is to invent some completely false story about what I do and what I've been up to.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:48 AM
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Now, remember, Lisa honey, it's not what you feel like on the inside, it's what you look like on the outside that counts.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:49 AM
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There was one time that it kind of cracked me up. I was walking passed a homeless guy who was selling the English equivalent of Spare Change. I was studiously avoiding his gaze, because I didn't want him to ask me to buy the paper. I think that I must have had a particularly dour expression on my face, because he said, "Smile! Life's not so bad." Considering that he was homeless and I wasn't, and it seemed like his life was at that time objectively harder than mine, it seemed off--especially since I wasn't upset.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:49 AM
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"Smile, it might never happen" is a common phrase. Which is possibly meant as a supportive, look on the bright side, cheering up comment. Or not. I growl something like, "Too late, you spoke."


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:50 AM
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18: I sometimes wish that more people with expertise would do that when it's pretty obvious that someone is about to hurt him or herself.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:51 AM
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28 - mostly the Big Issue sellers really like it if you nod, smile, say "good afternoon", whatever, rather than avoiding them. All the ones I have encountered will say a cheery "afternoon" back and won't take it as an invite to more actively sell you the paper.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:53 AM
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32

19: Can't right now, I'm gardening.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:53 AM
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A guy tried to pick me up on the street last week in a way that I didn't find creepy or threatening at all. He struck up an actual conversation for a block before informing me that he thought I was sexy and wanted my number. He should give lessons or something. I didn't give him my number, but it's one of the few times I've been addressed on the street by a stranger that wasn't basically about humiliating me or telling me to fix something.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:55 AM
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Only because we've had the conversation so many times.
Well, okay. I think everyone here believes it now that we've had multiple conversations and complete unanimity amongst the distaff Commentariat. But it still seems unbelievable.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:59 AM
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31: I've generally found this to be true with respect to people on the street trying to get me to do something (whether it's give them money or buy something or sign a petition or whatever). If it does end up triggering the hard sell, I find a direct "I'm not going to be able to help you today" with no attempt at an excuse tends to work best to end things cordially (assuming I'm not actually going to give them something or buy something from them or sign their petition).


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:01 AM
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Why is it unbelievable?, is what I'm asking. Given all the atrocities committed by human beings, why is it unthinkable that this minor indignity is happening pretty much all the time?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:02 AM
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A guy tried to pick me up on the street last week in a way that I didn't find creepy or threatening at all. He struck up an actual conversation for a block before informing me that he thought I was sexy and wanted my number.

I just can't believe that people who do such things exist.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:03 AM
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38

Believe it or not, 37 was me.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:04 AM
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It's not an excuse, but I think it's very common for people to have a hard time believing that there's a common experience that doesn't happen to them -- that their experience isn't universal. Most people can snap themselves out of this if they try, but for something small like the 'smile' thing, I think it doesn't occur to them to try.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:06 AM
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Like, it seems unthinkable to me that white academics behave in racist ways toward their students because OMFG are you kidding me what year is this, but, no, it's not just a blip when I find myself surrounded by white professors who start complaining about having so many "diverse" students. It's not just a few bad eggs. I'm not saying the academy as a whole is racist, but a surprising number of white professors groan over seeing "too many" students of color or immigrant students in their classrooms.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:07 AM
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41

A baby smiled at me the other day on the subway. It was, in fact, very cheering.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:09 AM
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30: Yesterday it was along the lines of "I was reading an article that said if you do it at fast pace instead of your pace you lose more weight!" in a bright cheery voice. Reaaaaally? Go away.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:10 AM
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41: Much more cheering than seeing a baby cry, in a CRIB.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:10 AM
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Oy. I was just talking to a coworker about her daughter's new school, and she went from "The school's almost 50/50 white/Asian -- almost no other minorities" to "It's so nice for her being in a school where all the kids are smart!" And, you know, there's a hair of deniability there, enough that I didn't know how to object, but boy do I feel as though I should have.


Posted by: Nefertiti | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:10 AM
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41: I think this is in fact the well accepted, universal way of getting someone to smile. Smile at them first.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:10 AM
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39 explains it well. I've gotten used to it by now, but I had a similar reaction when I first heard the various rape statistics. "You mean X percent of guys I see on the street have forced themselves on some unconcious or crying woman?"


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:11 AM
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26.2: I got an amazingly fast haircut not long ago from a woman who was clearly kind of miffed that I was giving only one-sentence replies to her series of rapid-fire questions about my life. Usually I've found that people who cut my hair ask a question or two and then stop when they see I don't want to talk much.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:12 AM
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I once saw a white faculty member of my school say to the African American woman working behind the coffee counter, "You should smile more!"

She replied, "YOU should smile more," to which he frowned.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:12 AM
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40: Surrounded by? Or just encountering more often than you would have thought? Not that any is a good number to meet, but the former makes it sound like the vast majority of the white professors you encounter openly voice racist ideas at the drop of a hat.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:13 AM
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50

49: Something the real racists something.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:14 AM
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51

I'm one of those people who's neurotically
uncomfortable with your standard protocol of
talking about your life during a haircut

Yes, me too! I *hate* that.

The only way I get through those
conversations is to invent some completely false
story about what I do and what I've been up to.

I should try that. Actually, I guess I already do that, since I generally employ some directionally true, but highly misleading description of what I do for a living, so as not to have to spend 10 minutes explaining it to someone who won't understand it anyway and was only asking for protocol's sake in the first place.

Fleur can't stand to take me to one of her hair stylists, because I sit there mutely and unsmiling, and give one word answers when they try to start a conversation. She says that I'm being rude. I tell her I came because I wanted to get a haircut, not make a friend.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:15 AM
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44: Ugh. Yeah, I've started calling people out on that shit. I don't know if I'd recommend it as a good way to make friends. I'm really shocked what some people will say in an all-white conversation.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:18 AM
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51: I don't talk much because the haircutting person is holding sharp scissors very close to my head and face and I don't want them to get distracted by my amazingly fascinating stories.

And then I tip them five dollars.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:19 AM
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I used to wince every time my advisor would describe the place his kids were enrolled while he was on sabbatical: "it's 70% Hispanic, but it's actually a really good school!"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:20 AM
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so as not to have to spend 10 minutes explaining it to someone who won't understand it anyway and was only asking for protocol's sake in the first place.

You're not under any obligation to tell them about your life, but you never know what they know. They probably have other clients who do what you do.

Of course, I'm biased, because, when I worked in retail I had a creepy guy talk to me condescendingly about arranging deals to help one company by another. I smiled and said, "I know what M&A is."


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:20 AM
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48: Your mom should smile more.

49: It's so hard to tell. There are the people who say it, and then there are the people they say it to, who don't act like they just said something creepily racist. I don't feel entirely comfortable around either group.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:21 AM
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54: That just shows the raw intellectual firepower of the other 30% to be able to overcome such a deficit.

Wait, this isn't "Talk Like James B. Shearer" day? Sorry, my bad.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:21 AM
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51: Mine's pretty focused, and I'm moving my head in different directions while he cuts, but we talk during the pre-shampoo discussion of what I want him to do. Some of the other people talk a lot more.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:22 AM
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The "smile for me" thing is in originary form directed at kids, isn't it? It's one of those infantilizing things when directed at adults.

It's not cool to say it to kids, either. What good could it possibly do anyone?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:23 AM
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52: I know, I should. I just play out the conversation and it's so obviously going to go immediately to "I didn't mean that. Jesus, what's wrong with you?" that I can't hack it in the office. I make vaguely uncomfortable faces, which are totally ineffective.


Posted by: Nefertiti | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:23 AM
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I make vaguely uncomfortable faces, which are totally ineffective.

You should smile more.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:25 AM
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I'm really shocked what some people will say in an all-white conversation

I'm often shocked at what people will say on Facebook, in what is clearly *not* an all-white conversation.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:25 AM
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58: So, when I said, "talk" I mean talk about my work or life, e.g., "Well, my Dad was in the hospital with heart failure." "Yeah, my Dad was in the hospital for something similar. It's really scary."


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:25 AM
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The very nice woman who cuts my hair kindly indulges my questions about the bizarre things being done to the heads around me (foil? weird ochre muck? something that looks like a comb but appears to include a straight razor?).


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:25 AM
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65

Expectorate!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:25 AM
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66

Of course, I'm biased, because, when I worked in retail I had a creepy guy talk to me condescendingly about arranging deals to help one company by another. I smiled and said, "I know what M&A is."

I doubt he was trying to insult you--I would guess that 5 out of ten people to whom I say "M&A" respond "what?", and it gets tiring. Easier to lead with something more self-explanatory.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:26 AM
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66: I fondly recall the Finnish journalist I sat next to on a flight from Tokyo to Fiji, who very pleasantly and sweetly explained that Finland was a country in Europe, which was a continent to the east of the US, in a tone that completely inoffensively assumed that there was no reason to think a young-twenties American would have heard of either Finland or Europe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:28 AM
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66: He was creepy and kind of hitting on me. He gave me his card, and I looked up his company which describes itself as "providing services which go above and beyond what's normally expected." And the way he explained it just sounded like he thought I was dumb. He was genuinely shocked to find out that I wasn't entirely stupid.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:29 AM
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19: Can't right now, I'm gardening.

Gardening in my front yard elicits some surprisingly standardized reactions. Nearly everyone walking by feels compelled to encourage me (You're nearly there!) and compliment the yard. I believe some of those, from people who look like they enjoy native plants.

Black men will very often ask me where my man is. (Why are you out here all alone?! Where's your man at?) That question has been astonishingly difficult to answer. If I knew that, I'd go to that place to find him? Why presume that my man has a role in the garden? Perhaps he's inside, cooking me dinner? How do you know my man isn't a woman, and maybe she's inside or out somewhere.

And then there are regular catcalls.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:29 AM
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70

I don't think the request has any content at all beyond "I want to do you and I can't think of any interesting way to engage you." I don't even think it's about enforcing any creepy male need for women to be happyfriendlypretty. I just think most of the time it means "you're hot and I have limited social skills."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:29 AM
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Well, okay. I'm just saying that the "companies buying one another" thing might have been standard langauge developed through trial and error, and not pulled out for you because he thought you were stupid. He might otherwise still have been a creep who thought you were stupid, of course.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:32 AM
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"you're hot and I have limited social skills."
Is there a good way to express this? I'm just asking for a friend.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:32 AM
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70 is also a very plausible interpretation.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:32 AM
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70: It's a reasonable guess, but it feels a little off: "Smile" guys tend to be (not always, but often) older and coming across as fatherly. When I've gotten "Smile"ed, it feels more like "Relate to society properly, young lady" than "Suck my cock."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:32 AM
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Looking it up now, his website said,

Personalized client relationships are encouraged and often exceed normal business expectations in order to accommodate client schedules and satisfy special social or geographic requirements.

I found that kind of creepy.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:33 AM
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I don't even think it's about enforcing any creepy male need for women to be happyfriendlypretty.

It may not be intentionally "about" it, but that doesn't mean it's unrelated or that it doesn't express that kind of expectation.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:34 AM
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77

Is there a good way to express this?

"Betcha ten bucks it won't fit in your mouth."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:37 AM
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78

I'm just asking for a friend.

I am also asking for Eggplant's friend.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:39 AM
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79

Durrrrr...


Posted by: ToS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:39 AM
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I recently took down my OKCupid profile because I just could not stand getting 15 messages a day from guys just saying "How r u?" and then, half an hour later, "So wut u don't like me whatever bitch." I thought about appending a note saying "If you want to be friends, be friendly. If you want to have sex, be sexy. If you don't have anything to say, don't say anything." But reading comprehension is probably not among these guys' primary skills.

A friend here went on it for a week and just quit, citing exactly the same problem, that it's monstrously tedious to sift through messages calling you a cunt for not letting some random dude stick it in you with absolutely no attempt on his part to even be a little pleasant or engaging.

One 23-year-old kept asking me why I didn't want to be with him. We hadn't had a conversation. The main reason was that his profile was just descriptions of times he's been really drunk. But I said he was a bit too young, and good luck. Then he replied to say that since I claimed to be interested in casual sex that he assumed I'd let him have sex with me.

What the fuck is wrong with people? I'm not a hole in the ground. I'm not saying I need any kind of fancy old-school wooing, but even just a few notches above sneering contempt might be slightly enticing.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:40 AM
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76: True, that.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:41 AM
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My gym is in a bad neighborhood, so I run by many bums while doing Crossfit. The bums like to make various comments. Decrepit Beard Dude #3 likes to shout out "Smile! Smile like you love it!" to both men and women as we pass him by.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:42 AM
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The temptation to abuse my privileges and change Smearcase's 76 to a 77 is a powerful temptation indeed.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:42 AM
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Decrepit Beard Dude #3 likes to shout out "Smile! Smile like you love it!" to both men and women as we pass him by.

When I was flying in Alaska last year, there was some random old guy with a backpack full of clinking glass bottles who, for some reason, had decided to lug his portable bar to the resort, ride the lift up a couple thousand feet and spend the day sitting in the snow, yelling "Get it! Get it on!" at launching paragliders.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:47 AM
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Durrrrrr, durrrrrr, durrrrrr...

Durrritos! HA HA HA HA HA! See what I did there?


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:50 AM
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77 in any case made me laugh hard enough I was afraid I was going to have to explain it to my office-mate.

I think the reason I was thinking about the subjective meaninglessness of idiotic requests to smile is that yesterday I saw two young women walking down the street, one of them in jeans with big holes in them (obviously intentionally) and some guy said to her "Ma, there's a hole in your jeans."

Now, beyond the creepy "addressing people who are not your mother as Mama/Mami" thing, the main thing that struck me was that he just seized on absolutely whatever comment he could make in order to say something to her. He could just as well have said "Ma, you have two legs!" or "Ma, the square root of nine is three!"


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:54 AM
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Decrepit Beard Dude #3 likes to shout out "Smile! Smile like you love it!" to both men and women as we pass him by.

Back when I used to leave the office to smoke and walk, I'd always pass this guy who sat there saying "Yada, Yada, Yada" and "Hi, king" if a man walked by or "Hi, angel" if a woman walked by. He kept it at for most of a working day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:57 AM
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"Ma, the square root of nine is three!"
Sexy and informative. This my friend can work with.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:57 AM
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86: This is the equivalent of most lines, no? The other kind of OKC message I received was "You like to read books, huh? I don't know any of those books! Hit me up if you wanna get 2gether sometime cutie...:-P"

I'm trying to imagine writing to someone and saying, "You like football! I don't watch football! I don't like it! Pay attention to meeeee!"


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:58 AM
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If you want to be friends, be friendly. If you want to have sex, be sexy.

[Scribbling notes furiously.]


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:59 AM
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If you want to race, be racist.

Er wait no I don't think I got it


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:00 AM
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I'm trying to imagine writing to someone and saying, "You like football! I don't watch football! I don't like it! Pay attention to meeeee!"

You might have more success if you stuck with the original formula: "You like football! I don't watch football! I don't like it! Hit me up if you wanna get 2gether sometime cutie...:-P"


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:01 AM
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(For some value of "success".)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:03 AM
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"We are going to hate each other but I'm pretty sure we have complementary genitalia!"


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:03 AM
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If you want to sing out, sing out.
And if you want to be free, be free.
And if you want to get 2gether hit me up cutie


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:07 AM
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"That's a great book you've got."


Posted by: Opinionated OKCupid Penis | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:08 AM
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More seriously, I believe the approach in 89 is known as "casting a wide net". And 94 is right, but he doesn't care if he's going to hate you, because he just wants to have sex with you. (Or, at least, he wants to have sex with you, and can figure out later whether he hates you.)

It's no doubt a strategy with a low rate of return (which is why you're mocking it), but it's arguably better than "You like to read books, huh? I love all of those books! They're my favorites. Hit me up if you wanna get 2gether sometime cutie...:-P" coming from the same guy. That wastes more of everyone's time.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:08 AM
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Here it is! http://www.zunta.org/blog/archives/2005/08/01/more_reasons_wh/

for the record, it still happens (less so than when I was younger) and it's still gross.


Posted by: Catherine | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:08 AM
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I'm not finding a version online for you, Eggplant, but the Dance Hall Crashers wrote a song about approaching women called Pick-Up Lines.

Great song; the lyrics are here, but they're way better when sung by the DHC.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:09 AM
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86: This is the equivalent of most lines, no?

Well yes but even "you're pretty and I want your phone number" is furlongs ahead of "there's a hole in your jeans." What on earth, even if you wanted to, could you respond to "there's a hole in your jeans"? "There so is!"? "You're keenly perceptive about denim topography!"?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:11 AM
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97: Sure, but why, if you know you're putting zero effort into contacting someone, would you then follow up by informing her that she's a rotten stupid bitch for not leaping at the chance? They put so much more effort into expressing their sense of unbearable rejection than they do into the original contact.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:12 AM
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100: "there's a hole in your face!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:12 AM
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In fairness, as a guy, it is a gigantic pain in the ass to compose specific long OK Cupid intro messages that just float off into the ether and go unanswered. Generally speaking the casting a wide net strategy is probably the better one.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:14 AM
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101: oh, yeah, um, I don't know. That's asshole behavior, is the only explanation, I think.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:14 AM
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It's a reasonable guess, but it feels a little off: "Smile" guys tend to be (not always, but often) older and coming across as fatherly. When I've gotten "Smile"ed, it feels more like "Relate to society properly, young lady" than "Suck my cock."

I guess I will be the contrarian. I think most people mean "hey! Cheer up!" when they say "smile!"

But, I neither hang out in bars nor am I a woman getting hit on.

My recollections of witnessing such an interaction have mostly been office settings where the intent was certainly not "I want to get into your pants."



Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:14 AM
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Well yes but even "you're pretty and I want your phone number" is furlongs ahead of "there's a hole in your jeans."?

Wrong. "There's a hole in your jeans" works almost like a negliment. Calling attention to an insecurity!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:15 AM
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103 before seeing 101, which, yeah, WTF.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:16 AM
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specific long OK Cupid intro messages

I don't think they have to be long. Something like, "Hey there, I liked your profile. [Sentence saying soomething about yourself in relation to something in the profile.] [Question at the end, to give the person something to respond to.]


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:17 AM
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Yes, 108 is probably the best approach.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:18 AM
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Obviously, it is very different for a man, but once somebody said "Don't give yourself a heart attack" when I made an angry (but not obscene) gesture at a driver who didn't yield to me when I had the light to cross the street. This guy was in the car following the car that didn't yield to me and he also didn't yield to me. I yelled "fuck off" and ran down the sidewalk to catch the guy at the next light after stopping to grab a rock. Before I got there (and I could have caught the guy), I decided that throwing rocks at a car would probably not be good. Later, I realized that guy was my new neighbor (not quite next door, but close), so at least he knows where he stands.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:18 AM
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"hey! Cheer up!" can often feel pretty much equivalent to "Relate to society properly, young lady". It is your job as a woman to be pleasant, and don't you forget it.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:19 AM
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108: I agree. We're not talking a huge amount of effort. In fact, I'd rather read a message from a guy with a few sentences introducing himself than one in which he refers to all the things he hates about my profile and then asks to fuck me.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:19 AM
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I yelled "fuck off" and ran down the sidewalk to catch the guy at the next light after stopping to grab a rock. Before I got there (and I could have caught the guy),

Unless you stopped to gratuitously kill some harmless snakes on the way. Moby, why are you contemplating throwing rocks at cars?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:21 AM
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You don't even really need to fill things in.

Just send
"[ Generic compliment about profile ] [ Statement of relationship of item/element on profile to self ] [ Interrogatory statement suitable to respond to ] cutie?"
to everybody.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:21 AM
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25: For me, it's akin to the way men here react to stories I've told about the way men behave on dates or in relationships. They're 100% incredulous that any functional human being could ever speak or act that way to another, and the problem must be that I somehow have something wrong with me, or that those guys must all be drooling raving maniacs whose leer can be spotted from 50 paces and that maybe I'm blind or stupid for not seeing it coming.

Hmmm. I don't remember many here reacting that way to your stories...


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:21 AM
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rotten stupid bitch

AWB: I dont mean this in a bad way, but when I read your posts on these topics, I often wonder whether you are crazy or dont understand the internet dating/dating world and/or what it is like to be a single woman. I say it with love. Love ya. Truly do. But I read your posts and wonder.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:22 AM
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113: Because the guy in the car told me to calm down. I thought I covered that clearly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:22 AM
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116 to 115.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:23 AM
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115: So, yes. Me. I am not 100 percent incredulous bc I know people can be crazy mean and horrible. But, AWB's comments seem so foreign to me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:24 AM
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what it is like to be a single woman

Wait, what? Will, why don't you tell me what it's like to be a single woman? That would be really fucking informative.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:26 AM
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118: Seriously. We are incredulous now that people are incredulous about women's stories about their own experiences. Just wait till we get to Meta Level 3!


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:27 AM
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I have never participated in internet dating (OK Cupid, Match, etc), speed dating, or really even dating in the last 8 years, so I understand that my knowledge might be off.

Plus, I am not a woman so creepy guys arent hitting on me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:27 AM
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Will, why don't you tell me what it's like to be a single woman?

I suspect there was supposed to be an "I" after "whether you are crazy or".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:29 AM
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122: You come here often with those sweet, sweet holey jeans of yours?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:29 AM
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Wait, what? Will, why don't you tell me what it's like to be a single woman? That would be really fucking informative.

Yea. I dont know.



Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:30 AM
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123:

Yes. Apo is correct. I left out an "I" out.

I meant that I dont understand that world.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:31 AM
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"Relate to society properly, young lady[.]"

There is a story in Cleveland Amory's The Proper Bostonians about a Brahmin lady sending out her maid to drag a young woman who had been passing her Back Bay windows into the parlor, to receive a lecture (the tone of which I can well imagine) on the importance of standing up straight in public, concluding with a peremptory "Walk erect!" and dismissal.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:31 AM
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These online dating site stories are both depressing and (all about me!) also oddly encouraging that, God forbid, singledom happened, it can't be too hard to make out like gangbusters.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:33 AM
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123 would make that comment about 100 times less offensive. I was trying to imagine how Will intended to school me on what it's like to be single, or to date, or do online dating, or be a woman, from his vast store of personal experience.

I just finally got a 1/4" splinter out of my heel after 14 hours of agony. Yay! I will be in a better mood now.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:33 AM
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If you want a stranger to smile, smiling at them usually works. Therefore, if the goal is genuine, meaning you really do just in a friendly sense want to see more people around you smiling, that seems like it ought to be your primary tool. And this seems to be fairly broadly understood. So, given that, I almost have to assume that anyone who chooses instead to ask a stranger to smile is likely doing it at least in part with motives beyond just generating smiles--there's got to be some element either of objectification (most likely) or something else (possible an effort to pick you up by someone with limited social skills). It's not about just spreading cheer.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:33 AM
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oddly encouraging that, God forbid, singledom happened, it can't be too hard to make out like gangbusters.

Yep.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:33 AM
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it can't be too hard to make out like gangbusters

THIS IS WHAT I'M SAYING. It would take like zero effort for a decent person to swoop in and collect all the ass.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:34 AM
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zero effort for a decent person to swoop in and collect all the ass.

ASSHAWK!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:35 AM
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Soooo, AWB. Was your daddy an oscillating fan?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:36 AM
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Because you've just sliced my finger to ribbons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:37 AM
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Ooookay. Well... apart from will, I would like to register that I believe most of us who've chimed in to an AWB story with "wow, that's a crazy story" or "wow, that sounds like a crazy guy" are not in fact passive-aggressively, or just aggressively, accusing AWB herself of being either crazy, stupid or wilfully blind. Just for the record.

will, questioning whether AWB "knows what it is like to be a single woman" might just be the single most bizarre thing I've ever seen you say. But I don't mean that in a bad way.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:37 AM
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"you're hot and I have limited social skills."
Is there a good way to express this?

"Walk erect!"


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:37 AM
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133 made me laugh, and I really didn't want to explain why to my coworkers.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:38 AM
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128 et seq.: Not my experience, but I am not the most outgoing dating entrepreneur. More plausibly, I may be palpably far from decent dating material.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:38 AM
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We'll just wait for DS to catch up with the rest of the thread.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:39 AM
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133 made me laugh.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:39 AM
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I've participated in internet dating quite a bit in the past eight years, and I can vouch that after an ad goes up, there's an initial flood of illiterate, no-effort replies along the lines that AWB describes.

They got tiring for me because I sorta perceived them as slight tugs on my attention, like a quick pull at the sleeve of my shirt. They're discouraging, because I don't really want to remember how illiterate and entitled most of the people out there in my city really are. I want to pretend they all have astonishing and wonderful inner souls that compose masterpieces on a daily basis. So long as I don't interact with them through Craigslist, I can keep thinking that.

That said, I don't take it to heart the way AWB seems to. They're making low-probability appeals, and I feel zero obligation to that. I've gotten the occasional, "why didn't u reply u think u r to good 4 me" but life's too short for me to worry about that. I console myself by thinking that one day those gentlemen will find the right ladies for them and those pairs will find the happiness they deserve.

Actually, the ones who got to me are the ones who pour their lonely hearts out.

But I'm out of that realm now, it seems. Craigslist finally put out with a nice Ph.D. candidate and we've been spending lots of time. It is worth remembering what he reports, which is that the female ads are also a near-complete wasteland. It is no good only inveighing against men in this system.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:40 AM
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I am incredulous that the thread is moving this fast. Slow down, thread!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:41 AM
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concluding with a peremptory "Walk erect!" and dismissal.

I'm still catching up after my long comment, but I would LOVE to feel entitled enough to do that. It is all I can do not to straighten people's posture as I walk by them Doesn't it hurt them to hunch like that?!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:42 AM
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I smile 24/7/365, because I am a lady.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:42 AM
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135 made me hoot with laughter. (I still don't chirp.)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:43 AM
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And yay, Megan!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:43 AM
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132: I've become absolutely inarticulate with wanting to agree with this and say something about how mysterious it is that people are so bad at this sort of thing. But I can't really figure out what I want to say.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:44 AM
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It is no good only inveighing against men in this system.

True, IME, in that the messages I've gotten from women are at least as unappealing as the ones from men, but usually far more aggressively so. "i know im in boston and thats far but im gonna get in my car and come to your house and lick you raw mmmm" Uh, thanks for your expression of interest, madam! Our people will be in touch.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:45 AM
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It is worth remembering what he reports, which is that the female ads are also a near-complete wasteland.

That's true, and most unsolicited messages I got were, in their entirety, "Hi :)"


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:45 AM
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145: She had / A heart . . . how shall I say? . . . too soon made glad, / Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er / She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.


Posted by: THE DUKE OF FERRARA | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:45 AM
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God forbid, singledom happened, it can't be too hard to make out like gangbusters.

Yes. A brief composed self-aware reply, decent manners and being upfront about your intentions would get you astonishing amounts of good-natured sex.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:45 AM
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will, questioning whether AWB "knows what it is like to be a single woman" might just be the single most bizarre thing I've ever seen you say.

I shouldnt try to comment on Unfogged while I talk on the phone. ALternatively, I should re-read stuff before I hit post.

Having said that, AWB's stories are crazier that most. She is certainly more willing than most here to try new adventures, so that might account for it.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:46 AM
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144: From time to time I feel a similar urge to give people little bits of advice as I pass them on the sidewalk: "Get a haircut! Pleated pants make you look fat! Your beard looks stupid! For God's sake, are you smoking a pipe in 2011? Wear a helmet! Scarves aren't for August!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:46 AM
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the female ads are also a near-complete wasteland

During my brief single period, I spent some time looking through online ads and decided I had to find a different route for meeting people because it was putting one godawful beating on my opinion of my fellow human beings. They put a spell checker right inside the very computer you typed that on.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:46 AM
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Thanks, heebie. It has been exceedingly nice.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:47 AM
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She's also usually explicitly looking for something uncommitted, and I think that probably tilts the pool of responses even further toward hostile weirdness than a relationshippy ad might.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:47 AM
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Yeah, online dating really is wonderfully easy. I was so lazy I mostly didn't send any messages out myself, and didn't update my profile, but all you had to do was send off like 25 short messages on a Tuesday and you could pretty much guarantee weekend dates. True love, not guaranteed, but it does make it easy to be an ASSHAWK.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:48 AM
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"Get a haircut! Pleated pants make you look fat! Your beard looks stupid! For God's sake, are you smoking a pipe in 2011? Wear a helmet! Scarves aren't for August!"

All to the same guy? Man, what a weirdo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:48 AM
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Posture is different, Flippanter. There's a right and a wrong.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:48 AM
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It would take like zero effort for a decent person to swoop in and collect all the ass.

Seriously. My last experience in singledom was that women older than 30 wanted to have sex, and all you had to do was not doing something atrocious to screw it up. (Like try to school them on what it is like to be a single woman.)



Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:50 AM
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That said, I don't take it to heart the way AWB seems to.

This is what I think is actually going on, that most single women share my experiences, but they somehow learn to live with them without getting deeply depressed and sexually impotent. For me, the whole prospect of logging in to read these messages became such a profound daily turn-off that the last thing I could imagine wanting from anyone at all was sex. The effect doesn't lessen for me; it adds up. (I reacted the same way to getting cruel, incompetent rejection letters on the job market last year. It should toughen one up, I suppose, but instead it just felt like nothing is worth feeling that bad every single day.)


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:50 AM
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I guess I will be the contrarian. I think most people mean "hey! Cheer up!" when they say "smile!"

But who the hell wants to be told to cheer up by someone who doesn't know them or whether they are even in a state of un-cheer?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:52 AM
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Posture is different, Flippanter. There's a right and a wrong.

Oh, there are rights and wrongs w/r/t haircuts, pants, beards, pipes, scarves and helmets, I tell you what.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:53 AM
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She is certainly more willing than most here to try new adventures

When you don't have long-term relationships, you have more of them. Even if the frequency of times I've had sex has dwindled to basically once a year, I'm still having more different partners in a five-year span than someone in a long-term relationship for that same time.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:54 AM
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163:

I am an idiot today.

I was thinking about non-strangers.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:54 AM
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165:

I think it is a positive that you are willing to try new adventures. I admire that tremendously.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:56 AM
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how mysterious it is that people are so bad at this sort of thing

I cannot figure it out. You've said before that if men were really motivated by sex, they'd think through the problem and realize there are functional approaches that require common pleasantries and upfront declarations of intent and not much more. Men who claim to want this but aren't doing it must be blocked by powerful forces. Stereotypes about women not liking or wanting sex, for one. Fear of being an asshole, for two. Insecurity for three. Besides those, I don't know what's going on.

they somehow learn to live with them without getting deeply depressed

Sorta. I could pretty much manage a two month stretch of internet ads and resulting dates, and then a three month recovery period.



Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:56 AM
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153.2: Many of us also have very different thresholds for sharing personal stories here.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:58 AM
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Yeah, online dating really is wonderfully easy.

I recall that was not teo's experience.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:59 AM
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I cannot figure it out. You've said before that if men were really motivated by sex, they'd think through the problem and realize there are functional approaches that require common pleasantries and upfront declarations of intent and not much more.

Yeah, I guess we've had this conversation before. I keep wondering if there's some giant obstacle to that sort of behavior that's not visible from my perspective, because the casual sex/dating world really looks to me like the economist's impossible $20 bill on the street ("It can't really be there, or someone would have picked it up already.")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:59 AM
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170: Age-bracket effect? I'd think it's probably much more straightforward in the 30 and up zone than in the early-20s zone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:01 PM
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They're 100% incredulous that any functional human being could ever speak or act that way to another, and the problem must be that I somehow have something wrong with me

I am often utterly gobstruck by the offenses you report, AWB. My reaction is neither that you're making it up nor that it's somehow your fault, but that you have a fascinating combination of bad luck and great reporting skills.

Which is to say, I believe this stuff is happening to you, but I have a hard time believing it's happening to everybody. Though your theory that other people have higher resistance may be the right one. 157 is plausible too. And it wouldn't be the first time I'd been blinded by optimism about the human race.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:03 PM
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Well, it hasn't been visible from my perspective either, and I've been a good candidate for the efforts of someone interested in friendly casual sex (with someone like me).


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:03 PM
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Yeah, online dating really is wonderfully easy.

I had mixed results on this. It took me a long time to get a second woman to go out with me, but I married her.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:04 PM
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I keep wondering if there's some giant obstacle to that sort of behavior that's not visible from my perspective

Many people live in smaller cities than you and Halford do.

Also, I concur completely with 173.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:04 PM
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I got some of the stuff that AWB reports, although not the threats of violence. The stuff that shocked me was:

At best, men being utterly unconscious of the implications of their self-presentation. "No, I do nothing. I watch TV all day and go home and I'm bored and never make anything or do anything. Oh, you do things? That sounds like a lot of work. I never do that." What are you proposing to add to my life, good sir?

At worst, horrible stories of the way they've fucked up their lives, with terrible implications about their character. I don't care whether they're true, but where the hell is the self-awareness that would keep men from telling me that on a first date?!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:08 PM
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Men who claim to want this but aren't doing it must be blocked by powerful forces. Stereotypes about women not liking or wanting sex, for one. Fear of being an asshole, for two. Insecurity for three. Besides those, I don't know what's going on.

Don't forget sabotaging yourself out of unconscious self-loathing. Its not just a woman-thing, you know.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:09 PM
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What are you proposing to add to my life, good sir?

Genitals.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:10 PM
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168/171: I've wondered the same thing, and ended up concluding that sex doesn't motivate people; ego does. A great number of men will behave in ways that are directly counterproductive for getting laid because the other option will swath their fragile masculinity in another layer of bubble wrap. That's not all men, or even most men, but it is a large number of single men.

The other problem is the "I've never met a girl like you" problem, which I was discussing with my friend here after she went on her one and only OKC date. The guy was fine, decent, smart, feminist, etc., but just really bowled over that my friend exists because she is a brilliant academic, laid-back about sex and relationships, etc. She called me afterwards to ask me what that means, and why guys don't see how unimpressive it is to announce that they've always been content to date women who are dumb or mean or uptight. I really don't want to be the smartest, nicest, most sexually liberated woman you've ever met. That's not very fun for me!

The traumatized depression thing is I think probably my biggest personal flaw, and it's one I've had since I was like two, so I don't think it's going to go away anytime soon. People who don't "toughen up" but remain outraged and hurt are fish in a barrel for bullies, who get off on seeing the spectacle of your suffering. When I was a kid, I'd be crying and begging bullies to stop because don't they realize I'm a human being and that they're hurting a real person? And they're all, "Toughen up, you fucking fat four-eyed lesbian. You think you're better than everyone else." And I'm like, no, I don't think anyone should ever be treated the way you're treating me.

If I could "toughen up," I'd be a lot better at everything, but it's not in my nature.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:11 PM
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"No, I do nothing. I watch TV all day and go home and I'm bored and never make anything or do anything. Oh, you do things? That sounds like a lot of work. I never do that."

This dude is probably thinking that he should change his profile so it reads something more like "Total sloth seeks same, for shared indolence."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:11 PM
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I met my husband on Match (he was my second Match date; I also went on two dates with a Craigslist find). I think that if I had stayed on longer, I would have become deeply depressed, but thankfully I lucked out right away. At first I thought that including "feminist" at the top of my profile was keeping away the creeps, but then I learned that most guys were just looking at the pictures.

Re: ASSHAWKS, prior to meeting me, my husband had incredible luck finding casual hookup partners on Match (for a good decade, I believe), and I'm pretty sure it was because he was so obviously not a creep.


Posted by: JennyRobot | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:11 PM
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I can verify 177.2 and 177.3, to the shock of no one.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:13 PM
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173.--It's not really happening to me, but then I give off "no, really, I'm not going to talk to strangers" vibes and I'm often fairly oblivious to my surroundings. Besides, after my time in Paris, which is 24/7 Harassment City, very, very little in New York fazes me. (Also, I tend towards serial monogamy, which decreases my exposure and vulnerability.)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:13 PM
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I should clarify that online dating makes it very easy to go on lots of dates. Whatever happens during after that date is as easy or as difficult as it would be without the online dating service. If you're just looking for sex, well. If you're actually looking for a meaningful or deep relationship, there can be a lot of wasted time.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:14 PM
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Also, one woman's "being upfront about your intentions" is another woman's sexual harassment, and it's hard to tell which woman you're dealing with before you've even really met. This is why I've pretty much only ever dated people I already knew socially.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:15 PM
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re: 168

The conclusion I came to, when I was still in my teens, is that an awful lot of men don't seem to actually like women much. If, on the other hand, you do, treating women just like actual thinking regular people who like sex, and having fun, comes a lot easier.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:18 PM
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186: The threshold for pepper spray is so much clearer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:18 PM
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one woman's "being upfront about your intentions" is another woman's sexual harassment

Four women in my office were talking yesterday about the outrageously forward statement a man said to one of them at the end of a four hour fabulous date. He said "if your son wasnt at home, I would be really interested in going home with you."

They were advocating to never speak to such a horrid man.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:19 PM
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180.2: The other problem is the "I've never met a girl like you" problem, which I was discussing with my friend here after she went on her one and only OKC date. The guy was fine, decent, smart, feminist, etc., but just really bowled over that my friend exists because she is a brilliant academic, laid-back about sex and relationships, etc. She called me afterwards to ask me what that means, and why guys don't see how unimpressive it is to announce that they've always been content to date women who are dumb or mean or uptight. I really don't want to be the smartest, nicest, most sexually liberated woman you've ever met. That's not very fun for me!

Okay, okay... I'll bite. What? Why exactly is it "unimpressive" to announce that a person you are seeing has qualities excelling people you have previously seen? I'm not given to pronouncing "I've never met a girl like you" myself, but not because it had occurred to me that it would be read into such a declaration that I had previously had impossibly low standards or something.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:20 PM
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I've wondered the same thing, and ended up concluding that sex doesn't motivate people; ego does. A great number of men will behave in ways that are directly counterproductive for getting laid because the other option will swath their fragile masculinity in another layer of bubble wrap.

This is absolutely true. Also, its not just true for sex; its true for money too. You see a world driven by greed, and you assume everyone out there is in it for the money. But really everyone wants status, and money is just a big, all-purpose status symbol. Many an economic analysis goes wrong because it makes this mistake.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:22 PM
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190:

I agree with 190. Dont you often mention the horrible people with whom you have dated? You didnt date them because you were "content"
to date them.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:23 PM
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AWB, I'll say one more thing that sounds kinda awful and snobby, but I've now validated (presuming that the relationship I'm now in is the one I think it is). People kept telling me that I shouldn't pre-judge just based on what his response said and I could find on the internet. "No, no, don't judge because he went to a Cal State and not a U.C.." "He might be wonderful even though he has mis-spellings and emoticons." "You don't know until you meet, so don't be put off by something aggressive in his emails, it might just be the difficulty of communicating by text."

If I have indeed found the right guy, I can say that I was completely fucking right the whole time about knowing what I wanted and being able to tell from email exchange/internet stalking. He did not make the textual errors I hate; he's the first one who hasn't been intimidated because he's my academic peer; there isn't a misogynistic undertone to his emails because he isn't misogynistic. I was fucking right and I could too tell and people shouldn't have told me to widen my net.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:24 PM
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190: I'd take it as saying, "Before you, all the women I've met have been kind of worthless. You're the first one I've ever met who's impressed me. Who knew such a thing as an impressive woman existed? I thought they were all contemptible, but I was wrong." Way overstated for clarity, but that sort of thing.

If you take it that way, it sounds unfortunate.

Oh, or try it like this: "You're really impressive for a woman," rather than "You're really impressive for a person."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:24 PM
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111, 127: this is the mode I usually get it in. For some reason I give a pass to the super old black dudes in my neighborhood b/c they're so very old and and since they do it much more consistently than any other demographic, it really feels like a cultural relic of them looking out for the young people's manners. It's the same tone with which they warn me my shoelaces are coming loose or my bag's zipper is coming open. But I really can't stand it from anyone under the age of 75. I feel like the 30-65 year old women who stop me and interrupt my train of thought with their extended sermon of positivity are exactly Berkeley's equivalent of that Bostonian 'Brahmin' lady, and their effort is less about cheering me up and more about accumulating some fodder for their self-congratulation engine.

159 bust my gut.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:26 PM
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"No, no, don't judge because he went to a Cal State and not a U.C.."

That sounds like good advice.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:27 PM
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Seconding 191, 180.1 is right, I think yeah.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:27 PM
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More of 194: And I wouldn't necessarily take it that way -- this is the kind of thing that would depend very exactly on what precisely the guy said and how. But I have had people say things like that to me, and I have kind of boggled at them, along the lines in 194.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:27 PM
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190/192: I have friends. I complain about guys I've dated, but when I meet a nice one I don't say, "OMG I've never met a man who wasn't a psychotic rapist before. You're so special and unique it's like you almost aren't a man at all!" Personally, I don't trust men who don't have women as friends. Either you think of women as human beings who can be spoken to like real people, or they're a mysterious category of incomprehensible bitches who let you fuck them sometimes.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:30 PM
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193.all: Exactly.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:31 PM
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I thought they were all contemptible, but I was wrong.

Huh. I didn't interpret it as "I didn't realize women like you existed" so much as the male equivalent of "all the good men are already taken".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:31 PM
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He said "if your son wasnt at home, I would be really interested in going home with you."

They were advocating to never speak to such a horrid man.

Oh that poor man and the mixed signals he suffers. I would completely welcome a straightforward declaration like that and be grateful he had the nerve to be so clear. If I were interested I'd take it as a good time to get out our calendars and find the right time. If I weren't interested, I'd be impressed that he was so clear and say that I was flattered but no thank you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:32 PM
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I read it the way apo did, but I wasn't there obviously.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:32 PM
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"all the good men are already taken"

Timeshare?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:34 PM
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Yes. A brief composed self-aware reply, decent manners and being upfront about your intentions would get you astonishing amounts of good-natured sex.

Having a career doesn't hurt either.


Posted by: Under-employed Online Dater | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:34 PM
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205: The economy is bad. Maybe having a clear set of plans would be enough?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:35 PM
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194: Seems unwise to restrict your dating pool to people who find you ordinary.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:37 PM
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206, 207: I think that will be somewhat age-block dependent.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:38 PM
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That should have been "205, 206".


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:39 PM
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Well, see 198. It depends on exactly what the interaction's like.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:39 PM
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210 to 207. I think all comments from this point forward should consist solely of references to other comment numbers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:40 PM
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190/192:
The women here would know better than me, but one problem I imagined was that being put on a pedestal on the first date, or otherwise early in a relationship, is a lot of pressure.

201
Huh. I didn't interpret it as "I didn't realize women like you existed" so much as the male equivalent of "all the good men are already taken".

If I was on a date with a woman and she said "all the good men are already taken", I'd be a bit bothered by it. She's saying I'm not a good man? Well, I must not be, if I'm not taken yet!


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:40 PM
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If I was on a date with a woman and she said "all the good men are already taken", I'd be a bit bothered by it. She's saying I'm not a good man? Well, I must not be, if I'm not taken yet!

Exhibit A: Why logicians shouldn't date.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:42 PM
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You're not under any obligation to tell them about your life, but you never know what they know. They probably have other clients who do what you do.

Yep, one time I was totally up front about what I was doing to the woman who cut my hair, and she said, "you know, I had someone in here the other day who had pushed a fat man into a trolley."


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:45 PM
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This thread makes me thankful I am not in the dating world. Each person dissects the things the other person said with very little regard to nerves or the fact that people often speak imprecisely.

Geez people. Read a transcript of yourself speaking and be humbled.

I said what!?!?! I didnt mean it THAT way.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:48 PM
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212.1: IME, the problem is sort of complex, in that a guy who claims he's never dated someone he felt was deeply ethical or kind before and that it's so refreshing--that relationship will only go so far before he realizes that he finds it exhausting, that he has always, every single time, opted to date someone who is catty, reactive, selfish, and jealous because that's what he likes; it's what turns him on. Or he wants to have license to be kind of a dick sometimes without feeling bad about it.

I never actually figured out why my only long-term relationship ended; he wouldn't tell me. He just emailed and said two and a half years was too long to be in a relationship and disappeared and never said another word to me. Throughout the relationship, he kept talking about my ethical commitments and how thrilling it was for him to be with someone who cared so deeply about other people and felt a purpose in life, etc. I found out later that the day after he broke up with me, he raised his tenants' rent by $3000/mo and filed papers to take full custody of his children and demand child support. I.e., he wanted to act like a selfish asshole and not consider the consequences for that family or his own kids, and he knew I would have talked him out of it. Was that why he broke up with me? I honestly don't know. But I do know that the man I was with all that time never, ever would have done those things. I think my presence in his life was really constricting.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:48 PM
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215: How DARE you call me a liar!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:55 PM
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never dated someone he felt was deeply ethical

That does sound like a giant pain in the ass.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:57 PM
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one problem I imagined was that being put on a pedestal on the first date, or otherwise early in a relationship, is a lot of pressure.

If I'm still up on a pedestal after a date or two, the man is clearly an idiot and needs to be dumped for his own protection. I've done that a couple of times and it was for the best.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 12:59 PM
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198: this is the kind of thing that would depend very exactly on what precisely the guy said and how. But I have had people say things like that to me, and I have kind of boggled at them, along the lines in 194.

I mean, I'm not unfamiliar with the venerable tradition of the backhanded compliment, or to the sort of gender counterpart to a white person telling their black friend "you're the whitest black guy I've ever met!" and expecting them to be pleased.

But telling someone they're smarter and nicer and cooler than people you've previously dated, it seems to you'd have to deliver it in a really specific way for it to be read as "you're not like all those other bitches," or "I'm telling you this because I have no experience of women and no female friends." Yet our much-beloved AWB seems to be saying such statements can and should categorically be read this way.

I mean, I've been fortunate enough to have known, and to know, many cool women who are very dear to me. But if asked, I could identify in a heartbeat the one woman I've ever known who qualified as in one package the nicest, smartest and most sexually-liberated I ever met. Does that make all the rest of them worthless bitches? Not by a long shot, it just means they're different people (and also that there are valuable human qualities apart from niceness, intellect and sexual liberty). But if I had told her this, would she have been reading that sentiment into my words? A disturbing thought, although I like to think no.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:00 PM
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The other problem is the "I've never met a girl like you" problem

FWIW, I got that a few times while online dating in Cambridge as well. None of those times was it a compliment to me; it was definitely the guy being weirdly wowed by me in a way that made me question what kind of women he had been hanging out with up to that point.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:02 PM
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210: You bet. I was really talking about the original example, here:

The other problem is the "I've never met a girl like you" problem, which I was discussing with my friend here after she went on her one and only OKC date. The guy was fine, decent, smart, feminist, etc., but just really bowled over that my friend exists because she is a brilliant academic, laid-back about sex and relationships, etc.

Brilliant academics who are laid-back about sex and relationships and have other "etc." qualities are really unusual people in my world. AWB finds such people so ordinary that she assumes that a woman who lacks these qualities must be "dumb or mean or uptight."

LB, I understand your point, which is that placing one woman on a pedestal could be correctly read as an expression of contempt for all other women. Cyrus's 212 also makes sense to me.

AWB's point, however, is lost to me. Here it is:

I really don't want to be the smartest, nicest, most sexually liberated woman you've ever met. That's not very fun for me!

Mind you, there was nothing else notably wrong about this guy. He was "fine, decent, smart, feminist, etc."

As best as I can reckon, AWB's point is that an otherwise attractive person must be a loser if he finds you special and says so.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:03 PM
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There is a guy at work who never likes any of the women he dates if they show a lot of interested in him. A lot of people use a "if my date is impressed by me, he/she must not be all that great" heuristic.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:03 PM
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None of those times was it a compliment to me; it was definitely the guy being weirdly wowed by me in a way that made me question what kind of women he had been hanging out with up to that point.

Oh. Come. On!

Blume is smart, has interesting tastes (see Sifu), funny, and hot. Why wouldnt he be wowed!?!?



Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:05 PM
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Yet our much-beloved AWB seems to be saying such statements can and should categorically be read this way.

The devil's in the 'categorically'. What you're talking about sounds like "I can rank the women I know on these axes, and someone's got to be at the top, what's wrong with that?" And you're right, there's nothing really wrong with that.

What I've boggled at, and what it sounds like AWB is talking about, is a compliment along the lines of "Your good qualities are things I don't expect to run into in a romantic partner -- it's surprising to find someone who has those qualities at all." Not "Of these good qualities, you have more of them than other women I've met," but "Who knew women even showed up on this ranking?" Does it make more sense now?

As per Will, this could all be uncharitable misinterpretation, but that's what I think is going on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:06 PM
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If I were better at expressing myself, 222 would have read more like 220.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:06 PM
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If I'm reading this correctly, the best thing you can do early in the relationship is to let your date know you find them to be basically the same as every other member of their gender.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:06 PM
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It seems like it matters where in the course of the relationship this impression develops. Being able to retroactively identify the nicest, smartest and most sexually-liberated woman you've ever met is pretty different from seeing a woman's picture in an online dating profile, having a five-minute chat in which all you learn that she (1) is educated and likes books, and (2) is interested in casual sex, maybe, and proceeding from there straight to wonderment that such an amazing creature could exist.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:07 PM
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223: Famously, "I wouldn't want to be a member of any club that would let me in".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:07 PM
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As best as I can reckon, AWB's point is that an otherwise attractive person must be a loser if he finds you special and says so.

I think this is right. Specifically he must be a loser if he doesn't already have lots of awesome female friends at the time that he meets you, such that you don't stand out particularly from his notion of the typical woman.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:07 PM
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Yet our much-beloved AWB seems to be saying such statements can and should categorically be read this way.

Nope, not what I said! I'm sorry that I was unclear. I personally do not take it as a good sign when someone lavishes me with praise for not being a frigid, bitchy, stupid woman. I personally take that to an extreme in that I prefer to date people who have known women in the past whom they have respected as ethical, intellectual people who may even perform their sexual identity in non-heteronormative ways.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:08 PM
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Why wouldnt he be wowed!?!?

Because we had only been out once or twice? I remember thinking to myself on at least one occasion when that 'compliment' was delivered, Seriously dude, if you think I'm this awesome now, there's no way you can handle how awesome I am when you actually get to know me.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:08 PM
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Seriously. Ive had crushes on lots of women on Unfogged. Smart, funny, interesting women. Lots to be wowed by.

It took a long time before each and every one of you annoyed the hell out of me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:09 PM
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If I'm still up on a pedestal after a date or two

The pedestal thing only works once. By the second date, any decent guy should have switched to the mirrors-on-shoes strategy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:10 PM
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I.e., I don't like having to educate the men I date that sometimes women enjoy sex and might even want to initiate it. The charm of being treated like some kind of crazy sex demon because you enjoy having sex really wears thin.

I wish I could say I'm surprised by how this conversation is turning out. Let's just go back to saying that I'm a crazy weirdo and no other human women resemble me in thought, deed, or experience, and call it a day.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:10 PM
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Also, related to the original post, is this guy still giving out Spare Change News in Harvard Square? I believe "smile for me" was part of the repertoire.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:11 PM
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232: Exactly.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:12 PM
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A possible rephrasing of the compliment would be "your good qualities make me feel better than anyone I've been with." A statement about the relationship rather than the partner. I've probably said the equivalent of the apparently objectionable compliment, and I'm pretty sure that the relationship context would have been the most correct framing.

I know I've been involved with many perfectly nice women who had either shallow or bad motivations for enjoying my company; when a bunch of things go right between two people, it's a refreshing change.

Not trying to deny anyone's experience, just a little surprised at the relatively adversarial close reading of a well-intentioned compliment.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:12 PM
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225, I do see what you're saying, and 228 is a good point. Going for too much, too soon would of course seem bizarre.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:13 PM
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I wish I could say I'm surprised by how this conversation is turning out. Let's just go back to saying that I'm a crazy weirdo and no other human women resemble me in thought, deed, or experience, and call it a day.

You know what's weird? I feel like exactly this happens a lot. You say something that doesn't sound all that strange, you get the "Man, that's weird" reaction, I pipe up with a version of the same thing from my own experience, and it gets pf's 222: what I said is reasonable, but what you said is still loony, despite the fact that I think I'm mostly repeating what you said.

I do not understand this dynamic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:13 PM
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AWB finds such people so ordinary that she assumes that a woman who lacks these qualities must be "dumb or mean or uptight."

This is fair. I am used to having a huge number of incredibly awesome friends who don't suck at all, so it does seem to me that if you don't know any women who are awesome maybe you're not looking very hard.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:14 PM
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I guess the thing that surprises me in this conversation is that the same women describe the vast horriblness of men they have dated, yet seem to say that the men shouldnt be surprised when they date a woman who is terrific.

When you met a fabulous guy who seemed to be the complete package, you werent surprised?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:15 PM
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231: Well... okay. That's reasonable.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:15 PM
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228: YES. Exactly.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:16 PM
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Superlatives are fine. You just have to phrase them the right way.

Good:
"You're more like you than anybody I've ever met before!"

Bad:
"I've literally never met anybody before."

Good:
"i've never said this to any woman before, but you should know: geeelarbhurmulg"

Bad:
"You have gained the power of speech?!? Are you a god?"

Good:
"I've never been happier right now than I am right now!"

Bad:
"You have the largest breasts the world has ever known."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:16 PM
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"You have the largest breasts the world has ever known."

Actually, that one works.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:17 PM
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Yeah, but you're an asshole.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:18 PM
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"You have the largest breasts the world has ever known."

"You must have incredible back muscles!"



Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:19 PM
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It doesn't work if you forget the plural.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:19 PM
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When you met a fabulous guy who seemed to be the complete package, you werent surprised?

I don't feel like "surprised" is the right word at all. Pleased, moved, excited, nervous, longing, but not "surprised." I'm not sitting there totting up his qualities on some scoreboard.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:20 PM
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240: I think it comes from the fact that you never say intensely melodramatic and accusatory things like 162.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:21 PM
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"I have the largest asshole the world has ever known."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:21 PM
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"You must have incredible back muscles!"

So STAND UP STRAIGHT!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:21 PM
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233: Sorry, will.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:22 PM
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That is, when I've met a man I really really like I'm not thinking about anyone else. When I meet a man I'm not sure I'm compatible with, then I'm totting up qualities. It would never occur to me to think in terms of measurable qualities when I've fallen in love.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:22 PM
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I'm not sitting there totting up his qualities on some scoreboard.

You could use one of those things they use to get shoe size measurements.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:22 PM
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247: Strangely, that's what her husband said, too. I personally find that assessment a touch on the harsh side.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:23 PM
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254:

I'm still totally crushing on you, BG. And apo. But, that is mostly because he is a ginger.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:23 PM
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251: Help me. How was that melodramatic and accusatory? I didn't accuse you of anything. Why are you hurt by it? I don't intend to hurt you. I was talking about how I get down about how other people, whom you do not know and whom I do not know, can be rude. So why are you more worried about their feelings than mine?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:24 PM
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245: Ok, so which one of those worked on Blume?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:25 PM
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I don't feel like "surprised" is the right word at all. Pleased, moved, excited, nervous, longing, but not "surprised."

Right! And I'm assuming that you don't congratulate him for exceeding your expectations.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:25 PM
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I suspect all of this goes back to the principle in AWB's 6:

one of these things that happens to women pretty much all the time that is completely invisible to the men who aren't doing it

Women get compliments like, "you're so [good quality/skilled at task] for a girl" all the time. Frequently, the "for a girl" part is explicit. From this perspective, it is not crazy to be unimpressed or even offended by a compliment. It's like* whoever it was who called Obama "clean and articulate."

*Banning myself now.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:26 PM
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245: Ok, so which one of those worked on Blume?

Okay, I admit, it was "i've never no one has ever said this to any woman before, but you should know: geeelarbhurmulg". Tweety is the MPDB!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:27 PM
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236: Yes. He always used to say "Hello, young lady." I think that he might have said, "Hello there" the last time I saw him.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:27 PM
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It's like* whoever it was who called Obama "clean and articulate."

That would be the current vice president of the United States.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:27 PM
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Maybe "relieved" is a better word. It seems like people say "whew! I was afraid you were going to be some weirdo. But, you are great!"


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:28 PM
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I pipe up with a version of the same thing from my own experience, and it gets pf's 222:

I can only say that I did my honest best to represent the original comment with direct quotes and appropriate context, and you haven't explained how I failed.

I saw your comment, and Cyrus's, as expressing something different - both from AWB and each other.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:29 PM
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Coming late to this, but there really is a pretty obvious difference between: "You're smart, fun to be around and enjoy sex: cool!" versus "You're smart, fun to be around and enjoy sex: you totally don't act like a girl!"


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:29 PM
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Tweety is the MPDB!

Or I was wasted.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:29 PM
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Coming late to this, but there really is a pretty obvious difference between: "You're smart, fun to be around and enjoy sex: cool!" versus "You're smart, fun to be around and enjoy sex: you totally don't act like a girl!"

Just add on the first one: "A lot of girls are not upfront about enjoying sex!"

I wouldnt find it particularly surprising that someone might not have dated women who were open about sex.



Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:33 PM
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269: Not mutually exclusive!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:33 PM
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Women get compliments like, "you're so [good quality/skilled at task] for a girl" all the time. Frequently, the "for a girl" part is explicit.

Is there anyone on this thread who has doubted the existence of this phenomenon? If so, I missed it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:36 PM
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Wait, Tweety puked on Blume?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:36 PM
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272: Does it seem related to what AWB was saying to you? Because it does to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:37 PM
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No, seriously, like all the time.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:38 PM
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Did you date Joe Biden?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:39 PM
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Anyhow, AWB's point isn't a girls-only thing and doesn't really need to be that dramatic. If some woman on a date seems to be amazed by some quality of mine that I think of as totally normal, my assumption is that there's some kind of incompatibility.

Except that everyone likes to be told that they were the best ever in bed.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:39 PM
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154: Flippanter, you should become a Life Coach. Make money from these impulses!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:41 PM
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277: Rob, you were the best ever in bed, for a guy.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:45 PM
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I will say that I found women who described themselves as "ethical" as a dealbreaker in reading OK Cupid profiles. Who wants that?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:45 PM
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275: Yup. And this is why, I guess, it feels like the expression of "surprise" that a woman isn't an asshole or an idiot wears fucking thin. We live in a culture in which one should be able to find images, even in popular culture, of women who are not assholes or idiots. There is evidence available to any curious mind about women being intelligent and kind and enjoying sex. It's not locked up in a secret vault run by witches. The perpetual "surprise" of men upon meeting a woman who isn't a pathetic nightmare gets old, and it doesn't end on the first date.

I'd also say that, IME, whatever the thing a man was "surprised" about upon meeting me ends up being the reason he ends the relationship. (My "surprising" sex drive has emasculated him. My "surprising" sense of right and wrong makes him feel like a bad person. My "surprising" intellect makes him feel dumb, etc.)


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:47 PM
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277 is exactly right, and I regret expressing it as a gender-different thing.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:48 PM
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280: Right, but you're a greedy Hollywood lawyer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:49 PM
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283: Who wants that?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:55 PM
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Some fine and unethical ladies, let me tell you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:56 PM
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Greedy Hollywood executives.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:56 PM
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"You're so unethical for a lady!"


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:58 PM
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"I've never been with anyone who made me want to take so much care to watch that my phone doesn't disappear before the end of the date."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 1:59 PM
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If some woman on a date seems to be amazed by some quality of mine that I think of as totally normal

No really, I've been in men's locker rooms before. They're all about this size.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 2:00 PM
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Actually, thinking about it more seriously, generally it was the women who self-presented as super-slutty or hardcore vegetarians who described themselves as "ethical."

I guess in the former case it was a way of saying "I'm into sex but not into trashy drunken one night stands where we never call each other again" and in the latter case it was "I am another victim of the Big Lie."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 2:00 PM
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274: You lost me there.

L. seemed to think people were failing to understand the matter she discussed in 262. You seem to think specifically that *I* failed to understand it - or that I contradicted AWB when she said something similar to what L. said.

I'm sure it's possible for me to have been clearer (as I said, I thought DS did an admirable job), but I don't see how something I said could have been interpreted the way you do. If you can quote it to me, that would be great.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 2:01 PM
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"I am another victim of the Big Lie."

Now you're just bragging, but with poor grammar.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 2:11 PM
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291: Well, 274 was a question, rather than an interpretation of anything you've said, so I don't think I can quote you anything.

What I think is that AWB was talking about a type of interaction that's related to what L. said in 262. I don't know if you agree with me about that. If you disagree, that is, if you would say "I don't think AWB's 180 has much at all to do with L.s 262", then I know that I've found the point where we disagree.

On the other hand, if we agree about that, then I need to figure out some other point of disagreement to understand your reaction to AWB's posts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 2:12 PM
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281: "...whatever the thing a man was "surprised" about upon meeting me ends up being the reason he ends the relationship."

Which says a whole lot more about men's raving insecurities than it does about you. Or it says more about their hypercompetitive working environment than it does about you. Or something.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 2:26 PM
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pf, specifically this:

LB, I understand your point, which is that placing one woman on a pedestal could be correctly read as an expression of contempt for all other women.

made it seem like you'd never thought about the "...for a girl" thing much before. Obviously you understand it, but maybe you don't appreciate how common it is and how much it would influence my view of an interaction like AWB and Blume described. Like catcalling, "smile!", etc., it's easy to imagine that men would way-underestimate the frequency of this occurrence.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 2:27 PM
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293: Gotcha. I don't see where AWB's 180 has much to do with L's 262. Moreover, I explicitly differentiated between 180 and 262 in my comment 222. DS did the same thing, only more clearly, in 220, and I endorsed his comment as soon as I read it. (See my comment 226.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 2:36 PM
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296: Okay, got it. I still think you're misreading AWB, but I know where your interpretation diverged from mine now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 2:55 PM
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As best as I can reckon, AWB's point is that an otherwise attractive person must be a loser if he finds you special and says so.

Yeah, this isn't how I read AWB at all. I think it's more a claim that sometimes when a a guy says such a thing isn't so much about you as about that guy's general experience with and expectations of women. IME, it's not that hard to tell the difference when you're the one ostensibly being complimented.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:02 PM
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(The quote in 298 from pf's 222.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:03 PM
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I don't see where AWB's 180 has much to do with L's 262. Moreover, I explicitly differentiated between 180 and 262 in my comment 222. DS did the same thing, only more clearly, in 220, and I endorsed his comment as soon as I read it. (See my comment 226.)

Can I get some kind of graph or diagram here?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:03 PM
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Blume is correct about what I meant.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:06 PM
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For those of us with a pessimistic outlook on life, it is at first quite surprising that there are women out there who can satisfy not just one or a couple of our preferences, but all of them. It has taken me decades to realize that I don't have to settle for a stereotypical woman with stereotypical flaws. Cultural norms are difficult to counteract, especially if you don't live in a big cosmopolitan city.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:08 PM
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there are women out there who can satisfy not just one or a couple of our preferences, but all of them.

Say what?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:11 PM
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To clarify, I don't think 262 is fundamental to being turned off by someone who finds you too impressive, I just think it's a special case that happens very frequently to women. A dude who is like blown away that I manage to do perfectly ordinary things like homebrew or drive stick or study math while in possession of ovaries is repulsive for obvious reasons. A dude who was amazed that I manage to leave the house most weekends or read books would be repulsive too, but I've never run across one of them.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:13 PM
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Sorry, that was horribly unclear. I meant that I was resigned to the fact that a woman that I dated would have to have several stereotypical flaws that I would just have to deal with, i.e. that I would be resigned to marry a sitcom wife and make jokes for the rest of my life about how she nags me and we never have sex anymore. I did not know that there were women out there who were not like that until relatively late in my dating life.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:14 PM
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Another way of looking at the surprise thing is that, let's say you have a preference in mind for something you've never experienced, like, "I want to meet someone who wants to have sex like twice a day, at least. That would be ideal." But you've only ever dated people who want to have sex once every two weeks. So you're unhappy and you think how cool that ideal person would be. But you still don't really know how it would *feel* to be solicited for sex by your partner twice a day. Maybe you'd actually hate it.

Or it seems like it would be fun to date someone with an extremely good memory, because all your past partners couldn't remember your birthday, or that you had a date planned. They suck, for sure! So you end up dating someone who remembers every single thing you say, and at first you're like whoa that's so cool s/he must really dig me. But then maybe they remember every single thing you do and say in a way that makes you feel like you're on trial all the time, and actually it turns out that it's not cool at all.

Maybe this offers a more sympathetic and less gendered way of thinking about the surprise problem, and why I don't enjoy being the *first* of a particular quality some guy says he's always wanted to find in a woman?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:15 PM
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||
This looks like good news.
|>


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:15 PM
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305: Exactly, you're the guy we're talking about! But given that you got better, and probably weren't rude about it, don't feel too bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:15 PM
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I can just hear LB grumbling inwardly about all the single-initial pseuds.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:16 PM
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Oh, I would have been far too embarrassed to actually say something like that, which is probably why I didn't get rejected. I was just inwardly marveling.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:24 PM
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306 is fair, but it's kind of a different problem than the one I thought you were talking about before. If you're in any relationship, your partner is going to have certain positive qualities that you're attracted to but have never experienced before, and you just have to learn how to deal with them. Refusing to date someone because they are inclined to like some of your positive attributes but haven't met someone with them before seems incredibly and needlessly limiting.

I thought you were talking about folks who are either doing the pedestal thing or who are like "you actually READ that ENTIRE book? Wow, I've never met anyone so smart before."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:24 PM
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Is that L.?!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:24 PM
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(cont.) I mean, try to flip it around. Presumably there are a bunch of things you think you want in a partner that you haven't had yet. If you find someone like that, you're going to be happy about it, and you're certainly not going to want the other person to dump you for being insufficiently experienced.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:26 PM
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hi jms!


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:30 PM
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311: Listen, maybe it sounds like I go around rejecting some people and accepting others like some princess. That's not true. I don't actually date anyone at all for any reason, or at least I haven't in quite a few years now. I go out with people, but they suck. Or I fall in love with people, but it's not possible for us to be together. I dated a LOT several years ago, and looking back, these are patterns I noticed. I literally have no conception of what would be appealing to me now--at least, appealing enough to give up singlehood for. I cannot think of any human quality that would make the hell of being in a couple an acceptable fate to me, at this particular point in my emotional life. There's a certain point when the bullshit just piles right on up to the ceiling and you throw yourself into your work.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:31 PM
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315 -- Maybe I'm a weirdo, but given 315 I'd bet $50 that you will be in a serious and happy long term relationship within a year. I feel like whenever I hear a statement like that from a friend they are married in like 9 months.

That's meant to be encouraging and optimistic, not dismissive! I fully believe you when you say you hate dating.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:43 PM
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F, are you by any chance a WU undergrad now living in B?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:45 PM
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I knew Halford was a Hollywood guy, but I didn't know he actually lived inside of a romantic comedy.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:45 PM
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Hell is living inside a romantic comedy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:47 PM
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Ha, ha, ha, ha.


Posted by: Opinionated Studio Audience | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:54 PM
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What's odd is that 252 is right, and yet all of apo was in my colon.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 3:59 PM
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Wait, we just had to get F and L in the same thread, and in some unholy way they merged to form Labs?

Far out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:00 PM
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252: You don't expect us to believe that, do you? We've seen pictures of your colon.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:01 PM
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323 to 321. Of course I would mess up the joke.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:02 PM
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321 is not quite true. I have a flared base.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:06 PM
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322: "F" + "L" + a large asshole.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:07 PM
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Off to swim go hang out with people I went to high school with over a quarter-century ago.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:07 PM
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Now you can have sex with the teachers if you want.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:20 PM
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262, 265: It's like* whoever it was who called Obama "clean and articulate."

That would be the current vice president of the United States.

Sure, but Neil Kinnock said it first.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:21 PM
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I have to say you people are not encouraging me in my plan to finally get around to internet dating, which I have been putting off for years now.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:24 PM
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|| I was baptized into trial lawyerhood today. I think I might like it.|>


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:33 PM
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I was baptized into trial lawyerhood ....

That isn't as catchy a name as being a shellback, but there should still be a ceremony of some sort.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:39 PM
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331: Great news and good luck.

Also, next time tell the judge he's clean and articulate. If the judge is a woman, say she isn't like all the other judges.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:48 PM
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I have found this thread more acutely depressing than most of our dating threads for some reason.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:51 PM
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Here's a later "smile" subthread but still from 2006 (I know there have been some later ones bit no find-y). Includes references to two earlier threads.

And in case it is not clear that we are stuck in a time loop.

Apo then: This has come up before, and I was amazed then, too. This is common? I'm not disputing that it is, just that it seems completely bizarre, like walking up to someone and demanding that they whistle.

Apo now: Sure, and those conversations were eye-openers for me. However, it still seems just *so totally weird* to tell somebody to smile. "Okay, now rub your belly. Great! Now pat your head. Excellent. Stand on one foot."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:57 PM
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As we put that in my line of work, Apo has great test-retest reliability.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 4:58 PM
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331 -- what did you do?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 5:23 PM
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69: Nearly everyone walking by feels compelled to encourage me (You're nearly there!)

As you can see, I've barely read the thread, but this made me chuckle.

The Baltimore Marathon is tomorrow, and in a radio interview this morning, one long-time participant shared this information: The best thing to tell runners if you're on the sidelines and cheering them on is "You look great!" even though of course they know they do not. The worst thing is "You're almost there!"


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 5:25 PM
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"You look great!"

"Your nipples haven't been rubbed into a bloody oblivion yet."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 5:41 PM
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"But they're getting there!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 5:52 PM
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337: Motions in limine. Babysteps, I know. but they usually voluntarily nonsuit before I get this far...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 5:53 PM
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Oh yeah.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 5:55 PM
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That was meant for Di, and supposed to be in the Kool-Aid Man voice.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 5:56 PM
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330: I had the very best eighteen of my seventy years of life (so far) started by an email on Compuserve. That's a bit over 25%, not bad at all, I think.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 5:59 PM
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304: DE, I assume?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 6:03 PM
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344 is very sweet. ANyhow,Emir, online dating totally works.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 6:09 PM
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Hey Moby Hick how do I email you?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 6:12 PM
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344 made me smile.

As, btw, did some 6-year old kid (give or take) who was in the city for the first time with his (mom/aunt/sister/babysitter) and just bouncing with excitement as I passed them on the way to court. So dang cute.

Or yesterday, the three older men grinning like big goofballs at an appropriately amuse infant one was holding.

As someone prone to periods of depression, weeks like this where I find so many good, solid reasons to smile are just awesome.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 6:12 PM
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347: About like you might guess.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 6:14 PM
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This Lynda Barry story reminds me very much of AWB's experiences. (Ira Glass was allegedly quite the asshole ~20 years ago.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 6:30 PM
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350: Wow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 6:39 PM
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345: Yes, the DE. She emailed me a question to which, now that I think of it, she probably already knew the answer. Things progressed from there.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 7:01 PM
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350: I love that story! I like to think that it's evidence that all the people who have been unaccountably dickish to me just need a decade or two of introspection and then they will become butterflies.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 7:11 PM
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Is this L. the same L. as before?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 7:27 PM
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||
Headlines the Onion clearly wishes it had thought of first: Topeka Decriminalizes Domestic Violence.

One party quoted in the story claims this sort of thing is in fact happening all the time in America, it's just that the authorities involved rarely broadcast it like this.
|>


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 7:30 PM
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80

... I claimed to be interested in casual sex ...

I think this is a mistake even if it is true. Better to play the game a little. In fact I would see this as a warning sign that the woman was actually a prostitute looking for clients. Or are the prostitute ads on these sites even more blatant?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 7:36 PM
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It's hardly trolling. The man knows prostitutes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 7:43 PM
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the sort of gender counterpart to a white person telling their black friend "you're the whitest black guy I've ever met!"

I went on a date with a dude who did this explicitly. He told me, repeatedly, on our first date, that he could't get over how cool and fun and unlike any other woman I was. "I really hate most women! Sometimes I wish I were gay so I wouldn't have to date them! Ha ha! But seriously it's SO GREAT that you aren't like that! You're, like, fun to talk to and everything!"

It didn't work out, long term.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 7:44 PM
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358: It didn't work out, long term.

Yeah, that's horrid. Of course the first time you have any serious disagreement with someone like this, you're JUST LIKE THE REST OF THEM.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 7:48 PM
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I like to say "You're the Puerto Ricanest Korean guy I know." If they're Korean, that is.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 7:49 PM
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240

You know what's weird? I feel like exactly this happens a lot. You say something that doesn't sound all that strange, you get the "Man, that's weird" reaction, I pipe up with a version of the same thing from my own experience, and it gets pf's 222: what I said is reasonable, but what you said is still loony, despite the fact that I think I'm mostly repeating what you said.

I do not understand this dynamic.

Well LB it is like this. You come across as much more "male" than the average woman on the net. So this is just another example of male privilege.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 7:50 PM
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360: Extra points if you do this when they're actually Japanese.

361: My goodness, Mr. Shearer! Was that... a witticism?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 7:53 PM
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Better to play the game a little.

Um, so I can have the privilege of fucking the kind of guy who prefers it when women "play the game a little"? I'd rather have it sewn shut.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:09 PM
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Arguably 356 starts out as one of Shearer's periodic flashes of lucidity. It's not at all outlandish to say that courting often involves a bit of gamespersonship in both directions, and that there might be some advantages to this (although you have to establish for yourself beyond what line it just constitutes the uncritical acceptance of traditional gender roles).

Of course he wrecks it with the subsequent looniness about prostitutes looking for clients, but it is Shearer after all.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:16 PM
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363

Um, so I can have the privilege of fucking the kind of guy who prefers it when women "play the game a little"? I'd rather have it sewn shut.

If you are happy with the guys you are attracting you should go on as you have been. If you aren't you should consider doing something different.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:20 PM
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What if one isn't at all interested in "courting" or anything associated with "courtly" practices, which are hundreds of years out of date? The word "courting" came back into fashion when I was a teenager among right-wing evangelical groups who wanted to prevent kissing and one-on-one dates until the wedding, as a way of further shaming people who express desire for one another. The same groups sponsor talks by young married people who get up and talk about how the only thing that could possibly make marital sex exciting is mystery, darkness, coyness, ignorance, etc. I don't want anything to do with it.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:23 PM
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365: Oh you mean I could get to have sex with men who hate women even more and know even less about sex? Fantastic news! I'll get right on that.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:25 PM
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The same groups sponsor talks by young married people who get up and talk about how the only thing that could possibly make marital sex exciting is mystery, darkness, coyness, ignorance, etc.

It's like they've never heard of drinking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:28 PM
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Compared to the varieties of male-to-female unpleasantness noted in this thread (pointless offense, threats, grim candor, businesslike "I wrote a Javascript to compose personalized messages to 1,000 women on OKCupid every weekday"), a little courtliness might sound pretty good, if the convents are closed.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:34 PM
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Slightly off-topic, perhaps, but still on the topic of sex and dating--Oh god. How is one supposed to respond when the doorbell rings, and it's the woman with whom one went home, very drunk, a week prior, and she's saying "I know we didn't exchange phone numbers or contact info or anything, but I was just in the neighborhood, and was wondering..." -- SO AWKWARD.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:34 PM
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367

Oh you mean I could get to have sex with men who hate women even more and know even less about sex? Fantastic news! I'll get right on that

So you think you have been attracting the cream of the crop?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:35 PM
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James.

Manners.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:36 PM
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And yes, I know, perhaps one ought not invite a woman home if it's at all likely you won't have any interest in seeing her again in the future, and okay, fine--in mitigation if not defense, it was a dance-club hookup, and a great deal of alcohol was involved; but still: awkward!

Anyway. I'm going to stop now, because I'm probably just an example here of general dating-world perfidy.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:38 PM
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370: just mumble something about the tests coming back positive and then start crying. That should do it.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:38 PM
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What if one isn't at all interested in "courting" or anything associated with "courtly" practices, which are hundreds of years out of date? The word "courting" came back into fashion when I was a teenager among right-wing evangelical groups

The word "courting" has rather broader connotations than this; I'm afraid neither right-wing evangelical groups nor aristocratic court societies get to own it. "Courting," "flirtation," "dating," whatever we call it, it's hard to escape the fact that gamesmynshyppe tends to apply, and that depending on the dynamics this can be in fact be a force for more than just evil.

In fact if you look at this thread marvelling at the incompetence and rudeness of many male online daters, what is in fact being marvelled at is the complete and total lack of even the basis for gamesmanship, to the point where some of them will frankly admit to doing nothing and having no ambitions, or will outright physically threaten other people for not wanting to fuck them. Likely they tell themselves they're just being real, but their sin, arguably, is their refusal to play the game, even a little.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:39 PM
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X.t., wow, that's persistence on her part. Sounds like she's trying to force you to explain in plain language that you don't want to date her, which I guess means that's what you have to do, despite the fact that not exchanging numbers seems pretty clear.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:43 PM
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371: Jesus, guy. I'm trying to extract some peanuts out of your turds here, would you mind holding off on further movements for a while?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:44 PM
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375: I think what I (and several other people in this thread) seem to find baffling is why men who want something--i.e., sex--do not even try a little tiny bit to make themselves sound in any way sexually or personally appealing. That does not seem like courting or gamesmanship to me. There's no trick, no roundabout mysterious path of tests and feints, that we want. Just an earnest presentation of self and desire would do.

I'll admit I can be extremely coy when it comes to capital-F Feelings because that's where I start to feel very soft-bellied and vulnerable. But if what I want is sex, from a stranger, on a limited basis, that seems like it should be reasonably straightforward. Save the drama for relationships. That's why some of us don't want relationships. Why would I bother with casual sex if it means all the drama of a relationship without any of the benefits?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:48 PM
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370: "Excuse me but The Rockford Files is coming back on in a minute."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:49 PM
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376: Well, I think there's now no ambiguity. It was just ... awkward and made me feel terrible. And I imagine it must have felt even more awkward for her. Blah.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:50 PM
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374: Duly noted for next time.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:50 PM
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370: Have sex with her, duh.

(NB: DO NOT ACTUALLY HAVE SEX WITH HER.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:51 PM
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James's problem seems to be a lack of understanding of what motivates someone to seek sexual intercourse with strangers. It's not the same impulse as seeking a life-partner. The whole concept of "quality" shifts when one is seeking different categories of qualities. They're not even really on the same continuum.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:51 PM
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Ah. Why do I get involved in these conversations, but -- I do have to say in the world we live in, as opposed to a hypothetical better world, it's probably a very bad move to list casual sex as an interest as a woman even if that is, in fact, an interest. For whatever reason, it's like a siren song to the laziest and creepiest of dudes.

I think the theory that you'd be getting more repulsive guys who hate women more with by taking down the casual sex marker is, as an empirical matter, wrong. Plus odds are pretty good that you can hook up the cas sex regardless.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:53 PM
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I have to say you people are not encouraging me in my plan to finally get around to internet dating, which I have been putting off for years now.

FWIW, my experiences with it have been almost uniformly positive (although the demographics are heavily in my favor). And even the negative experiences a) haven't been very bad and b) have been brief.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:56 PM
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380: If it's any comfort, it doesn't sound like you did anything wrong. It sounds like maybe it's her first time having a one-night stand and she doesn't know what to do about it.

If I did exchange numbers/email with someone after a one-night stand, and it went reasonably well, I usually thought it was polite to send a message saying thanks, that was nice, and I would do it again, even if I knew he wouldn't write back. I wasn't lying; an ongoing affair with someone who can be cool about it is the very best thing. But no, going to the house and ringing the bell seems like a rookie freak-out. I mean, as long as she's OK and not coming to see you because you gave her crabs.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:56 PM
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I mean, as long as she's OK and not coming to see you because you gave her crabs.

Or is carrying a bulky, chainsaw-shaped package.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:58 PM
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I think so.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:58 PM
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Uh, 388 is to 354.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:58 PM
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Oh yeah, and: L.! I was wondering what you were up these days.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:59 PM
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James's problem seems to be a lack of understanding of what motivates someone period. As he's demonstrated countless times by now. I was just zeroing in on the part of his argument that made some sense.

As for 378: I hear you. Honestly I've come around to the belief that truly "casual" sex is a much rarer animal than our culture wants it to be; it's in fact often hard for a great many people to keep the complex of emotions that attends to relationships from impinging on the proceedings, either before (as is likely the case with the self-sabotagng online dudes of upthread), or during, or after the fact. And yet we don't want to resort forthrightly to prostitution either, because it carries its own set of even bigger problems. It's a conundrum for which I don't pretend to have a solution.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 8:59 PM
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It sounds like maybe it's her first time having a one-night stand and she doesn't know what to do about it.

Yes, she said something about not normally doing this sort of thing. Ugh. It was just like those scenes I can't bear to watch in sit-coms, where the humor is in the painful awkwardness. Except it was real! And she seemed about to cry.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:02 PM
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Also, I really don't want to be associated with Shearer here, but 378.1 seems weirdly utopian or unrealistic or something. Maybe DS is right that truly casual sex just is utopian and unrealistic. What is this world in which there's no gamesmanship involved in erotic relationships? It doesn't really resemble any world I know. I mean, I admire the idealism but you go to bed with the human race you have, not the one you wish you had.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:03 PM
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Cheap and shallow as it may be, at least straight sex is always causal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:06 PM
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If prostitution were legal, common, and less creepy, believe me, I would take advantage of it. Even when both parties are on the same page with casual sex, there's this whole awkward performance of not-caring that can quickly turn cruel, or at least stupid.

One of the most memorable evenings of my hedonistic life was spent with a handsome young model under circumstances that could not have been more obviously casual and light-hearted--100% friendly, mutually fun, totally clear about what it was that we were doing and why--and the next morning we still had to have this weird conversation in which he was sort of performing his lack of interest in a relationship. I was still kind of giddy, and I'm afraid I might have laughed a bit while trying to indulge his need to get serious. Yes, I kept thinking, let's say it aloud! We're not dating! That's what so great about it!


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:06 PM
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391-2: This is where someone has to put in "On the veldt...." Yeah, I think true casual sex is a statistical myth unless it's a solo performance. Quite rare, I think.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:07 PM
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I have to assume that the fraternity of people who have casual sex with one another is entered through some handshake more complex than "interests: casual sex." But maybe I'm pessimistic that way.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:24 PM
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… fraternity?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:26 PM
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Uh, 397 is to 384.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:28 PM
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398: very nice fellows.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:28 PM
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It is a lot easier to arrange with people one meets in person because you can already tell if you're attracted to each other. Online there's all this, "but what do you mean by 'casual'" business. Plus, I would never arrange to meet a stranger with the understanding that we would have sex. I have had a few meetings where we were explicitly there to find out if that was a good idea or not, but not like CL "come to my house the door's unlocked" business. The downside to meeting in person is that you probably have friends in common who will be judgmental shitheads about it.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:28 PM
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"The sorority of people who have casual sex" is probably a movie title.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:29 PM
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The Unfogged gold-standard casual sex definition.

In general the archives are good on this. "Casual sex" is a fruitful search term, even via google.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:31 PM
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you go to bed with the human race you have, not the one you wish you had.

I like this. Like, forearm-tattoo-like. Well, maybe just rollover-text-like.

x. trapnel, I think in that circumstance, the thing to do is to pretend that you are James Bond. Give her a here's-looking-at-you-kid faraway look, a kiss on the cheek, and say, "I had a really nice time with you. See you on the flipside." In which case she'll go away thinking either, "wow, what a night of impossible fantasy with such an unattainable free spirit" or "Christ, what an asshole." Either way you are off the hook.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:37 PM
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the thing to do is to pretend that you are James Bond

Doesn't that mean she'll end up dead? (I'm presuming she's the first girl, not the second.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:39 PM
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Dead, but shiny.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:45 PM
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It is a lot easier to arrange with people one meets in person because you can already tell if you're attracted to each other.

It's a lot easier to arrange the sex, anyway. Not necessarily easier to tell for which of the parties it's actually casual and for which it isn't; the distribution is, unfortunately, rarely symmetrical. Or so it seems to me.

Some disclosure: in some cases I've backed away from arrangements for ostensibly "casual" sex because the person involved was someone I'd crushed on for ages, or was someone who was obviously damaged and performing an interest in "casual" sex that was really about the propitiation of deeper demons, or both. In other cases I've failed to heed that inner warning, and ultimately regretted it... sometimes just "to a certain extent" and others Really, in particular one that wound up losing me a close friend of many years. In others I've opportunistically failed to heed the signs that what was basically casual for me was not for them, and in one of those actually wound up in what passed for an (incredibly dysfunctional) long-term, or at least medium-term, relationship by this route. I can honestly say I've never had an encounter I would describe as strictly both casual and healthy. So that, plus observation of others and of course the Wisdom of the Ancients, is the background for why I've arrived at the view I have.

(Honestly I regret that I so often seem to be arguing, or wind up arguing, with AWB in threads like this one. I have a strong feeling that there's a lot more in common between our experiences than there is disparate, and I don't think that comes across.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:52 PM
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406: Now that is some mouseover text.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 9:55 PM
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407: Agreed, throughout, except I think I've been a bit luckier at finding a few scenarios that seemed non-abusive to either party, perhaps because I was dealing with dudes (who are sometimes more unwilling to admit that maybe there were emotions happening, so not much doorbell-ringing) or bi chicks (we understand each other). Also, NYC produces a lot of dudes who are super-aggressive and remorseless, but that might be the cocaine talking.

I have also backed off of sleeping with people I actually felt some budding Feelings for, on several occasions. In fact, I sort of don't know what to do about Feelings so I just pine and weep and wait for it to pass. I get incredibly shy about sex, or even kissing, or even eye contact, with people I have Feelings about. I have perfectly friendly feelings about people I've actually dated or slept with, but twinges in the direction of love make me want to join a convent. Too scary!


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:00 PM
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Oh wait, I totally did sleep with someone for whom I had developed serious fluttery feelings, and of course that was the last person I ever dated. No thanks! No more of that! It felt really itchy and bad the whole time and ended in misery. I would prefer to preserve my crushes in amber.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:03 PM
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It felt really itchy and bad the whole time and ended in misery.

[Afraid to pick the low-hangingest of fruit.]


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:11 PM
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410: I truly wouldn't mind the serious fluttery feelings so much, if they'd just time themselves to coincide with relationships that aren't long-distance. So it goes.

I believe will listen to some Smiths now. Toodles all!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:22 PM
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(The link in 403 is super-awesome, BTW.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 10:29 PM
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403.1 is excellent.

You guys are weird, but you know that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:27 PM
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The last person I slept with, I had the most serious, flutteriest feelings ever for. It was awesome. Until the part where it turned miserable. But if I could have the fluttery awesomeness forever, I'd give almost anything for that.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:38 PM
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Thanks for 403. 'Twas nice to run into the DE's words by happenstance while enjoying this thread instead of searching for them in a fog of sadness. Time does heal if you let it.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-14-11 11:48 PM
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I love the definition of casual sex in 47 in the link at 403. (lb did command use of numbers, right?)


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 5:01 AM
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I love the definition of casual sex in 47 in the link at 403. (lb did command use of numbers, right?)


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 5:01 AM
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416: Yes, DE's 143 in that thread is wisdom.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 6:39 AM
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... fraternity?

I have seen a good number of films that indicate that, yes, this is exactly where casual sex is most likely to happen.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 6:47 AM
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||

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15319106

>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 6:48 AM
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317

No, but that's the first time I've been mistaken for an undergrad in many years.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 11:06 AM
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Not now an undergrad-- both the story and the voice reminded me of someone named F, that's all.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 11:28 AM
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421: Mr Singh broke the records for 100-year-old men

Ageist.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 3:04 PM
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"I haven't ever met a woman as interesting or as captivating as you." Dick move? Or sweetie?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 4:47 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwmtbLJdKvI


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 4:57 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7sEchp-n64


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 5:16 PM
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425: If a guy has complimented your aura first, all bets are off.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 5:24 PM
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My theory about the dynamic in 240 is that what happens is the following. There's some behavior that say 5% of people engage in semi-regularly. However, due to various circumstances it's something that a lot of people never see (e.g. say it's something rarely seen by men). Further AWB's original description sounds to many readers like it's saying that say 50% of people (or, more typically, 50% of people in the "new york dating scene") engage in this behavior. People's initial reaction is "that's crazy, that can't be that common." Then the clarification reads as "Yes this really does happen more than 1% of the time." And people think "huh, that's plausible."

In particular, I often find that AWB says something about the New York dating scene and my reaction is to think that there's no way that's actually true of the New York dating scene *as a general rule*. That's not to say that I think AWB is crazy or wrong, but rather that different people have different experiences and I expect that AWB's experience is unusual in some ways. (Not knowing AWB very well, I don't really want to speculate on why.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10-15-11 8:04 PM
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