Re: Creeper, no creeping!

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Titler, no titling!

Obviously there's a lot more going on in the letters than just this, but as is often the case, Geek Social Fallacies is a good thing to point to. (Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil; Geek Social Fallacy #2: Friends Accept Me As I Am)

(Also: Jesus Christ, men-friends in letter #2, accept that your junior high school friend is a predator and a criminal.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:45 AM
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Oh, good, I was just about to write a comment about GSF #1. It was something of a revelation in my life when I realized I could stop hanging out with people because 1. I didn't like them and 2. they were terrible without ending up friendless and shunned.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:56 AM
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God, snarkout's link is perfect. This:

As a result, nearly every geek social group of significant size has at least one member that 80% of the members hate, and the remaining 20% merely tolerate. If GSF1 exists in sufficient concentration -- and it usually does -- it is impossible to expel a person who actively detracts from every social event. GSF1 protocol permits you not to invite someone you don't like to a given event, but if someone spills the beans and our hypothetical Cat Piss Man invites himself, there is no recourse. You must put up with him, or you will be an Evil Ostracizer and might as well go out for the football team.

is exactly what blew up my friend group in SF.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:57 AM
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3: that also sounds like conference-organizing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:01 AM
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The Chu piece is very good indeed.

I'd add that most guys know this already on some level, know what growing up means and requires, but it's hard.

It's impressive that he admits, as some of us have here, entertaining these thoughts.

An unfortunate part of the discussion has been what looks to me like , and several of us have pushed back against the attempts to put these guys and their issues outside of human society, of humanity.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:02 AM
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I struggle a bit with nerd culture with my kids. I really want them to grow out of it despite liking a lot of it myself.

My daughter has started liking way more of it after we moved and she dropped in social status at her new school.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:27 AM
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Geeks acting like dorks give nerds a bad name.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:41 AM
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Chu really is a good clear sane writer. Someone should be exploiting whatever's left of the Jeopardy celebrity and having him write a nerd-culture column somewhere.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:47 AM
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Annoyingly, my netnanny won't let me read the Captain Awkward column.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:49 AM
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It's settled, then: humanity is to be annihilated, leaving civilization's traces to the birds and the gentle woodland creatures.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:55 AM
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Is anyone able to read the Captain Awkward thread? I can get it from J, Robot's original link, but when I click the link in the OP I get a comment thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:01 AM
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It's settled, then: humanity is to be annihilated, leaving civilization's traces to the birds and the gentle woodland creatures.

The Great Filter is revealed!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:02 AM
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Now it seems to be working. I'm confused.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:04 AM
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Oh, you're probably just too tense, heebie. Here, let me rub your shoulders for a bit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:05 AM
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TWEET! TWEET! HE'S GOT A PEZ DISPENSER IN HIS POCKET. (That was supposed to be a rape whistle, not a twitter account.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:08 AM
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Is anyone able to read the Captain Awkward thread?

Not without the ol' gorge rising.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:10 AM
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https://twitter.com/meganamram/status/237313897315573760


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:12 AM
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Following 17:

I call my vagina "the Republican National Convention" because it has historically been filled with closeted gay men

Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:19 AM
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As a result, nearly every geek social group of significant size has at least one member that 80% of the members hate, and the remaining 20% merely tolerate. If GSF1 exists in sufficient concentration -- and it usually does -- it is impossible to expel a person who actively detracts from every social event. GSF1 protocol permits you not to invite someone you don't like to a given event, but if someone spills the beans and our hypothetical Cat Piss Man invites himself, there is no recourse. You must put up with him, or you will be an Evil Ostracizer and might as well go out for the football team.

Sounds like Occupy Wall Street and its crazy consensus / free speech ground rules (aka "heckler's veto").


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:28 AM
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My old gaming group had a person I found pretty creepy. No incidents with women (all-male group), but he talked once about Thai sex tourism and another time said some amazingly racist stuff about Baltimore; one of the main participants and organizers (there present) was black. The described GSF1 could have been the dynamic, although I didn't know the rest of the group well enough to be sure.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:33 AM
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As a result, nearly every geek social group of significant size has at least one member that 80% of the members hate, and the remaining 20% merely tolerate.

I identify with a lot of the geek stuff, but not this. I've always been very fond of all of my geek friends, and I've always been in groups that didn't have any trouble expelling assholes - but more often converting them into passable human beings.

Of course, I suppose I have to consider what they say about playing poker: If you don't know who the sucker is at the table, it's probably you.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:36 AM
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This morning, riding into work, I remembered a moment, during a period of my life when I was feeling depressed, when I thought, "everybody should come with a warning label that says either, 'danger to self' or 'danger to self and others.'"

The prompt was unrelated to the Isla Vista shootings, but it occurred to me that it related to the Mopey Straight Guy discussion.

I knew that I feel into the "danger to self" category, but at that moment it didn't feel like any evidence of moral superiority, just a different personality type.

Of course, as the conversation in the Isla Vista thread made clear, it is both inaccurate and unhelpful to think of the shooter as just being an outlier who is still on a continuum with depressed, unhappy people in general. But I do think that one contributor to the Geek Social Fallacies, mentioned above, is that there are a fair number of geeks who (at least some of the time) are mildly depressed and have somewhat self-destructive coping mechanisms. and that the social structures allow for that.

Note that like PF, I'm fond of my geek friends, but I've also gamed with people who made me think, "this person worries me, but gaming seems like a helpful outlet, and they behave themselves at the table, so it makes sense to let them participate."

Now I'll go read the linked articles.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:48 AM
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The Chu piece is very good indeed.

Chu really is a good clear sane writer.

Thirded. Very clear, well-written, and hopefully inarguable.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 9:01 AM
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As a result, nearly every geek social group of significant size has at least one member that 80% of the members hate, and the remaining 20% merely tolerate.

Funny, read the OP, took the dogs swimming, and came back to what had crossed my mind even more clearly.

Okay, so what if the division is 60% hate, 20% tolerate, and 20% like: does ostracism even arise as a possibility?

The question phrased as I left was something like:"What happens as a (cultural/political/whatever/ hegemony approaches dominance? Does it get ever more paranoid, dogmatic, and repressive as it approaches 100% acceptance"

Social Dominance Theory ...went googling, found this, obviously a little too much content biased for my uses.

...no example of a non-subsistence society where males do not dominate in positions of high power or that is free of sex-based discrimination has yet emerged.

So what, a society that is 95% free of sex-based discrimination is of zero interest or analytical utility?

It connects, because I have two books open on cultural nationalism or invented tradition.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 9:05 AM
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I think the GSF1 problem shows up where you have someone who is both unconventional/unattractive/visibly socially low-status somehow, and also actively obnoxious in a way that injures the people around them. There's a fairly laudable impulse not to ostracize people for being 'geeky' -- awkward, badly dressed, whatever -- and that can turn into a shield for someone who is both geeky and independently is an awful person who there are legitimate reasons to want to avoid. If you get stuck on not ostracizing people for being geeky, it's easy for that to turn into not being able to ostracize anyone who is geeky, whether or not you have good reason for it.

(I had a bit of this problem in high school. Incredibly geeky weird kid who used to hang around and sort of lean on me in a way that made me uncomfortable, and I couldn't quite figure out how to make him go away without feeling as if I were bullying him because he was pathetic.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 9:10 AM
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Note that like PF, I'm fond of my geek friends, but I've also gamed with people who made me think, "this person worries me, but gaming seems like a helpful outlet, and they behave themselves at the table, so it makes sense to let them participate."

After reading the Chu article, which concludes, "He needed to grow up. We all do. " I wanted to make clear that I'm thinking about Middle School or High School above. I've never had a regular gaming group as an adult, but that would be a very different situation.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 9:10 AM
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I've never had a regular gaming group as an adult

Because you got ostracized out of them, right?

(The Chu piece made me cry a little. A lot of things would make me cry right now, but I'm very grateful for what he wrote.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 9:13 AM
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18: She has one of the very few Twitter feeds I pay any attention to because she consistently makes me laugh. "I think our scariest president was Rushmore, because he had four heads."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 9:16 AM
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Another page on hegemony

I especially liked the bulletpoints from Raymond Williams at the bottom. I have got to get around to reading M & L, dammit.

Hegemony attempts to neutralize opposition, "the decisive hegemonic function is to control or transform or even incorporate [alternatives and opposition]" (113). One can argue persuasively that "the dominant culture, so to say, at once produces and limits its own forms of counter-culture."
...why I don't argue with Republicanism

I mean I guess you might say that "barefoot and pregnant" is the dominant hegemony in America, and feminism only a mere 1-2% of the acceptable ideologies. Maybe it is even useful to feel like an oppressed minority.

But maybe the dominant hegemony has different and more effective ways of securing and stabilizing and rendering ineffective fringe counter-cultures.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 9:26 AM
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Chu helps me express something I've never quite been able to get out. In the prehistory of this blog, when we alternated between cock jokes and arguments about feminism, I never quite got the Nice Guy complaint. I kind of got that "whiny guy feeling entitled to sex" is not desirable, but I didn't understand the venom. But that's because of this:

Lusting after women "out of our league" was what we did. And those unattainable hot girls would always inevitably reject us because they didn't understand our intellectual interest in science fiction and comic books and would instead date asshole jocks. This was inevitable, and our only hope was to be unyieldingly persistent until we "earned" a chance with these women by "being there" for them until they saw the error of their ways.
So I totally recognize the first parts of that, but I think what I never understood was the ubiquity of the last bit. That is, I was totally a guy who'd say, "Why is she dating that jerk, I'm so much nicer*?", but because I wasn't the guy who planned to quasi-stalk girls until they'd see how awesome I was, and reward me with sex, I didn't understand why the first part - which isn't great, obviously - was so awful. Like, more awful than the ever-present football player rapist, to hear internet feminists talk about it.

Anyway, Chu is super-right to point out that our culture is really invested in the underlying narrative - essentially, it's unrequited love raised to a false ideal, and turned poisonous.

*and, while I often hear, "because the jerk actually thinks of me as a person", I don't really buy that Johnny Football gets the girls because he's such a sensitive listener


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:16 AM
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Sorry, I meant to say: shorter 30 = #NotAllNiceGuys. That wasn't my point, but I did mean to include the joke.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:25 AM
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"because the jerk actually thinks of me as a person", I don't really buy that Johnny Football gets the girls because he's such a sensitive listener

"Such a sensitive listener", maybe not, but social skills are a thing, and socially successful people tend to have them. Someone with strong social skills and emotional intelligence isn't necessarily a good person, but they're pleasant to be around if they want to be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:26 AM
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In my (antediluvian) experience, mopey high school and college football/baseball/random other sports players can become quite the sensitive listeners. Still didn't work from a romance perspective but we usually became pretty good friends, due in good part to underlying social skills as LB notes.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:34 AM
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32: Ah, I hadn't thought of it in those terms. And, obviously, the nerds won't be on the receiving end of Johnny's charisma, so all they say is the jerk.

Actually, it occurs to me that jealousy of charismatic people, especially men, is a thing - look at how insane Bill Clinton made/makes so many people, the whole Slick Willie thing. I think charisma, from the outside, is largely indistinguishable from smarm.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:41 AM
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Given the pernicious effects of thinking about things from a perpetual jocks vs. nerds lens (see, e.g., Nate Silver's unconvincing explanation as to why his hires skew male) and the degree to which that didn't really map onto my lived high school experience (I hung out with nerds and metalheads, and the lunkish jocks basically ignored both groups because they had better things to do with their time), I wonder how much American society has been warped by the experience of John Hughes and the social dynamics of New Trier High School in the late '70s and early '80s.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:42 AM
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One problem with the internet is how people have the same arguments over and over again. Any "space" you enter to share your opinions or ask questions about other people's opinions turns out to be a debating society where everyone recognizes your first sentence, predicts the rest of your spiel, and shuts you down immediately. Legitimately curious people, people new to a topic, well-meaning people who have been misled by their sources, are all perceived as part of a monolithic troll army.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:46 AM
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There is of course also the fucking thing where the "I'm so much nicer" guy never reflects on the fact that he is not exclusively attracted to women on the basis of how nice* those women are.

*What does "nice" even mean here, I don't know. Let's say "kind" instead. Which, oops, of course, and this isn't a new remark, but how actually kind and thoughtful are all those "nice" nerds? They are mostly jerks too.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:48 AM
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35 is certainly true. One of the failures of realism in Revenge of the Nerds is that Ogre et al spend a lot of time going "NERRRRRDS" and trying to hurt the nerds, when in fact they most likely simply wouldn't have paid much attention to the nerds one way or another.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:49 AM
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Ned is honing in on something there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:51 AM
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35: Right. My high school just didn't sort into nerds and jocks at all.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:52 AM
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One of the great things about Freaks and Geeks is that the show not only rejects the jocks vs. nerds trope, it shows how the nerdy main characters' lives are made worse by baseless worry about jocks vs. nerds dynamics.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:54 AM
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35: it doesn't map onto my high school experience that well but the John Hughes/New Trier Framework (JHNTFW) definitely applied during the roughly middle school-ish years. In fact it was fairly literally the case that the nerd social group in high school was made up of kids who had been isolated and picked on before getting to high school, and was fundmanetally defined by collective relief at having a peer group.

(AISIMHB a friend's son is now in the same high school I went to; the nerds are occupying the same corner of the cafeteria, and they actually sought him ought the first day of school because he was sitting by himself. "Come sit with us," they said, "we're the table of all the kids that would otherwise sit by themselves! We're called the LASERS because that's cooler than LOSERS!")


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:55 AM
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I made my sister watch the whole run of Freaks and Geeks with me right before she started high school. I hope it helped. She might be popular anyway though, I'm not sure.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:57 AM
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41=also correct.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:57 AM
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Posted this on the wrong thread, but I'd like to throw it in here:

Note that Chu seemingly dissents from the view that the UCSB killer and regular nerds are entirely different critters:

I've heard Elliot Rodger's voice before. I was expecting his manifesto to be incomprehensible madness--hoping for it to be--but it wasn't. It's a standard frustrated angry geeky guy manifesto, except for the part about mass murder.
I've heard it from acquaintances, I've heard it from friends. I've heard it come out of my own mouth, in moments of anger and weakness.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:57 AM
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"AISIMHB"? The only other use of it I could find on google was also by Sifu.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:58 AM
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46: "as I'm sure I've mentioned here before". I admit, as an acronym it hasn't taken off as I might have hoped.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:00 AM
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-ay, +ee


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:00 AM
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"AISIMHB"?

As I Said In My . . . Hat Band?

Another post about creepers creeping.

Sometimes, I compare being a feminist to The Matrix, because once you understand the theory, you see injustice everywhere. That's why I mentioned the invisibility of rape culture in the title, because clearly the author can't see how clearly he is describing rape culture even though it's smacking me in the face. And hell, I don't even think it's that invisible to people who don't self-identify as feminists. I wasn't too surprised to see that a man wrote this article, though. To be fair, the author could have just ignored the stories of sexual abuse, but instead chose to report on them in an honest portrayal of Edsel. However, by equating sexual harassment to "flirtation," the message the article gives off is that sexual assault is normal and expected.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:01 AM
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One of the great things about that show is that it shows the character most hurt by a false notion of the jocks/geeks dynamic to be Sam, the geeky kid who is also super competitive and obsessed with achieving dominance. The other characters who are less competitive but more open minded fare better.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:01 AM
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Hey now. At Father Trier, nobody had more girlfriends than the theater geeks. But honestly, looking back, my friends weren't actually all that geeky. Some I knew from sports, many from debate, but no sci-fi/d&d/comic book friends. I speak well of NT, but I have no idea what those kids' experience of it was.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:01 AM
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Less competitive also means "less contemptuous of women as anything other than status objects."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:02 AM
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As I Said In My . . . Hat Band?

Sifu Tweety IS the Mad Hatter!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:03 AM
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Whoops, work phone call.

Don't give up hope, Sifu.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:03 AM
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Opening October 6th!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:03 AM
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And June 10th internationally.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:04 AM
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Anyhow, the thing about the jocks ignoring the nerds instead of delivering atomic wedgies or whatever is that the social mechanism that leads to the geek social fallacies is, sure, generally ostracism, but social ostracism is plenty bad -- as bad, in some ways, as physical bullying (see, for instance) -- and it isn't particularly surprising that it leads to weird social dynamics among the otherwise-ostracized.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:05 AM
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the geeky kid who is also super competitive and obsessed with achieving dominance

I remember this book making the point that when geeks are operating within their areas of mastery they often behave in ways that resemble stereotypical jocks -- being dismissive of anybody who looks like they can't keep up, and quite happy to create an environment which includes all sorts of hurdles for people to stumble over.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:06 AM
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how actually kind and thoughtful are all those "nice" nerds? They are mostly jerks too.

So open-minded! So insightful!


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:07 AM
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37.1: No doubt; Chu correctly identifies this as a big part of the issue, being attracted to people not on the basis of compatibility, just on the basis of, well, hotness.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:07 AM
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Along the lines of 50, one of the striking things about Rodger and his corner of the world is how completely he adopts he superficial reading of commercial culture: beemer, money, blondes. These are what's important! Most subcultures at least have a narrative of ways in which they 're superior to the dominant culture. Rodger didn't, and he hated his own guts.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:07 AM
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If only all those movies had been about the other distinguishing feature of New Trier High School, that it is alone among high schools in teaching the historical and recent realities of racial discord in America.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:08 AM
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36: One of the great things about the internet is how people have the same arguments over and over again. So if you're legitimately curious, you can just RTFA and not come across like a troll when you're new to a topic.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:08 AM
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Ok, going offline. Wedgies for everyone.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:09 AM
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61: those forums, from the little I read, seemed to be oriented around status contests over who could hate themselves and everybody else the most.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:09 AM
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59: please disregard. overly touchy as a former guy who pined quietly.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:17 AM
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@36: I've seen that dynamic at a number of feminist sites I've read over the years. The trouble is that the regulars at those places are damned if they do and damned if they don't because those places - feminist sites in particular - get trolled so hard.

The profanity spewing "Go make me a sandwich you b*tches" types are easy to just ignore or disemvowel or whatever, but skillful trolls are good at imitating "genuinely curious" newbies at first, and can string people along for 50-60 comments and disrupt and derail everything before it becomes obvious that they're just fucking with people.

After that happens for the Nth time, people get pretty impatient. It's too bad that the trolls poison the well for everyone, but I'm not sure anything can be done about it.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:21 AM
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The trouble with Nice Guy Theory is that there is a category of Genuine Assholes, who also generally don't care deeply about the inner humanity of every woman they want to have sex with, but who really don't have any difficulty getting laid. The distinction between Genuine Assholes and Nice Guys is thus primarily one of social status; one is the group that a lot of women want to have sex with, isn't. And of course "niceness" has very little to do with it. I think some bitterness on the part of those left out of the Fun Sexy Time is understandable, although some handle it better than others. Where it gets bad is when Nice Guys try to use the tactics that they see being successfully employed by Genuine Assholes; they aren't cut out for it and it comes across as creepy.

Then there is the category of actual nice guys who are fine, decent people who would be loving, attentive partners to women, but who just don't play the game very well. Nice Guy Theory projects a bunch of stereotypes on to these dudes, and lumps them in with the misogynists, and that's not fair. Not getting laid is bad enough, but Nice Guy Theory condemns them for the crime of wanting to.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:23 AM
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So, holy god, talking about Nice Guys on the internet again, but I don't think 68 really gets at it; the thing about Genuine Assholes Who Get Laid is that, first, they tend to be conventionally attractive in a confident sort of way and, second, oblivious narcissists tend to pass the "will this person get unhealthily obsessed with me" test much more ably than Nice Guys, or nice guys, or lonely guys who hope they're nice but project a lot of weirdness onto a woman they don't actually know that well and drive her away.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:29 AM
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When you correct for the fact that most males under the age of [pick a number] are pretty much jerks, the odds are very low that anyone on either side of the equation was nice.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:36 AM
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The distinction between Genuine Assholes and Nice Guys is thus primarily one of social status; one is the group that a lot of women want to have sex with, isn't.

There's something wrong with this. First, "Genuine Asshole" is the wrong name for the group you're talking about -- there's nothing particularly related about being an asshole and being sexually successful. Call guys who a lot of women actually want to have sex with "Players", maybe?

Second, if women actually want to have sex with them, there's something peculiar about describing that distinction between Players and Nice Guys as "primarily one of social status", unless you're taking as a premise that that really is the only reason women want to have sex with anyone. And to say the least, I think that's a premise that should be examined closely -- is it possible that the Players are more attractive and socially skilled than the Nice Guys? ("Not caring deeply about the inner humanity" of everyone you have sex with is probably not ideal, but I've done it, and I don't think I was being an asshole for it at the time.)

I suspect that when you're calling the class of people you're talking about "Genuine Assholes", you're lumping together men who lots of women actually want to sleep with ("Players") with men who seem to get laid despite the fact that lots of women don't necessarily want to sleep with them (call them, depending, "Creeps" or "Rapists"). And that's a category that really needs to be broken out rather than lumped together.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:37 AM
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It's too bad that the trolls poison the well for everyone, but I'm not sure anything can be done about it.

Poison the trolls, obviously.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:38 AM
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68: "Actual nice guys who are fine, decent people who would be loving, attentive partners to women, but who just don't play the game very well" who aren't making friends with women with the unstated expectation that their friendship will eventually be repaid with sexytimes are not Nice Guys, they're nice guys. The canonical Nice Guy is someone ranting about how their female friend keeps dating assholes and why can't she see that her One True is right there in front of her, I bet if I treated her like shit instead of giving her a ride to the airport last week she'd blow me.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:41 AM
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Anyway, Chu is super-right to point out that our culture is really invested in the underlying narrative - essentially, it's unrequited love raised to a false ideal, and turned poisonous

Not what I got from him. Unrequited love is at the heart of western culture: Dante, Shakespeare, Schubert, Joyce. Often transcendent, and a stepping stone to transformation, otherwise known as "growing up."

What I got from him is that the movies suggest you don't need to change, to engage, to win that argument with yourself. That they'll come to you without your needing to change. You deserve it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:42 AM
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73: If that's really what's going on, I'm not sure why we have to use the same letters for both terms.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:45 AM
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More of 71: Where it gets bad is when Nice Guys try to use the tactics that they see being successfully employed by Genuine Assholes; they aren't cut out for it and it comes across as creepy.

Here's where the disaggregation of "Genuine Assholes" into "Players" and "Creeps" helps. If what you mean by 'tactics' is "being attractive and socially skilled", that's not going to come across as creepy if the Nice Guy manages it. If he doesn't manage it, he's not using the same tactics. "Player" tactics are available to anyone who can pull them off.

If what you mean by 'tactics' is rape-culture sorts of things like physical intimidation, emotional pressuring, and so on, it is, horribly, much easier for high-social status men to get away with that sort of thing without repercussions -- Johnny Football isn't going to get punished for a lot of bad behavior that Joe Nerd is going to get punished for. If Joe Nerd perceives that as an injustice to him, as opposed to the women Johnny Football is abusing, Joe Nerd really needs to get his head straight, and has forfeited any claim to be thought of as a "nice" person.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:46 AM
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30/59: Here's how it looks from the other side: A friend and confidant has been pretend to like and "get" you for your entire years-long friendship just because he was hoping that you'd dump your (perfectly satisfactory) boyfriend and jump into his arms. And, even better, has been privately miserable that you haven't and might possibly be seething with resentment. Basically, they'd befriended me based pretty much on the hopes that I'd date them and kept hanging out, not because it was fun, but because they were still secretly hoping.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:46 AM
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is it possible that the Players are more attractive and socially skilled than the Nice Guys?

What, a bunch of nerds with a disdain for the gym lusting after stereotypically hot women and wondering why that's not going so well? Say it's not so.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:46 AM
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75: Because Nice Guys constantly self-describe as "nice guys".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:46 AM
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I think 71 missed Spike's point, which is that there are a lot of genuine assholes out there (especially in the age group we'r mostly talking about), some number of whom get laid a fair amount. And the difference between the assholes who get laid and those who don't is, basically, social status (because social status takes into account most of the cues that, on an individual level, lead to getting laid - charisma, social intelligence, physical attractiveness, money).

That is, maybe there are Players and Nice Guys, and the primary difference is, indeed, social status. Players aren't better people than Nice Guys, but they're getting laid, and 25 years after HS, internet feminists aren't heaping opprobrium on them.

And just a reminder: most guys don't fit in either category, because they're not assholes of either type (even if they're not especially "nice", because adolescent male).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:47 AM
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Huh, I just read that Arthur Chu piece. It's really really good.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:50 AM
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79: as do nice guys. But let's call them all assholes, just to be sure.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:50 AM
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I am somewhat relieved to have passed through this very common phase quietly, without the means or desire to complain publicly, 45 years ago when it was not so freighted nor so likely to be interpreted, not least by me, ideologically.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:50 AM
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Players aren't better people than Nice Guys, but they're getting laid, and 25 years after HS, internet feminists aren't heaping opprobrium on them.

No, they're not better people, but they are, by definition, more desirable. Women who have sex with them are having sex with someone they wanted to have sex with. Which, even if the Players are bad people, means that, generally, their sex partners aren't going to be pissed off at them for the sex they had. (For other bad behavior? Sure. But not for getting laid in itself.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:50 AM
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74 is excellent.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:50 AM
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84: I didn't mean to imply that the laying was, or should be, the source of contention after the fact.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:52 AM
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Or 73. Snarkout, you are a shining light. If I never have to deal with that again, it'll still be too soon.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:53 AM
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as do nice guys

No. If you describe yourself as a "nice guy" full stop, you're an asshole.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:54 AM
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oblivious narcissists tend to pass the "will this person get unhealthily obsessed with me" test

Well put, and seems to match up well with the experience that ydnew described:

Basically, they'd befriended me based pretty much on the hopes that I'd date them and kept hanging out, not because it was fun, but because they were still secretly hoping.

As JRoth said earlier, that is a useful description for me of the reason why people complain so vehemently about Nice Guys.

25 years after HS, internet feminists aren't heaping opprobrium on [Players].

Is this true? I feel like there are plenty of cultural narratives that include, "he seemed charming when I was in HS but, looking back, what an asshole."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:54 AM
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Maybe it's more fun/tolerable to have a high-school relationship with a charismatic, attractive asshole than a non-charismatic, unattractive asshole. But I'm sure the same wouldn't be true for men.

That is, maybe there are Players and Nice Guys, and the primary difference is, indeed, social status.

One of the underlying biggest problems here is (a) treating sex with women as an accompaniment to "social status," and then (b) theorizing that sex with women should be redistributed from the underserving assholish rich to the deserving nerdy poor once the world reorganizes itself into the better arrangement that would put the deserving nerdy poor on top. This entire way of thinking about the world is wrong.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:55 AM
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89.last: That's the theme for my upcoming high school reunion.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:58 AM
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Prom 2015: "Underneath the Sea, With Assholes"


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:58 AM
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maybe there are Players and Nice Guys, and the primary difference is, indeed, social status.

Perhaps the primary causal difference is, but the primary difference is that the Nice Guy's whole deal is the narrative he's constructed around the premise that he's a nice guy and what that is supposed to entail, that's why.

And just a reminder

Why is this an important reminder and how do you even know it's true? I think generic resentment of women for one reason or another is pretty damn common.

79: as do nice guys. But let's call them all assholes, just to be sure.

I'm not at all sure that actual good guys spend a ton of time self-identifying as "nice guys" because they'd need to be more self aware and wary of the pitfalls of thinking of themselves as uncomplicatedly "nice" to do that.

Not what I got from him. Unrequited love is at the heart of western culture: Dante, Shakespeare, Schubert, Joyce. Often transcendent, and a stepping stone to transformation, otherwise known as "growing up."

On the one hand, sure, and I am all in favor of the narrative of growing up as something that requires getting over oneself. On the other hand, did you notice something about the set of representatives of "western culture" you named there? And on that same hand, you know that it's not really so awesome, in itself, to be cast as the stepping stone to someone else's self-actualization.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:59 AM
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93.3 pwned by 88.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:00 PM
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Schubert unrequited? Das Mädchen sprach von Liebe, die Mutter gar von Eh'!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:00 PM
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|| Andrew Sullivan is a misogynist and an idiot, but at least he's not a Nice Guy. |>


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:01 PM
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And the difference between the assholes who get laid and those who don't is, basically, social status (because social status takes into account most of the cues that, on an individual level, lead to getting laid - charisma, social intelligence, physical attractiveness, money).

The problem with lumping all those things together as 'social status' is that 'social status' sounds like an evil reason to decide who you want to have sex with -- arbitrary, meaningless, and cruel. If you break it down into physical attractiveness, charisma, and social intelligence, it gets a lot clearer why that would drive a reasonable person's sexual decision-making. (Money, admittedly, I find a little questionable, but whatever floats the individual in question's boat.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:01 PM
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Prom 2015: "Underneath the Sea, With Assholes"

Post Prom: Underneath the Assholes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:02 PM
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97 is astute.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:03 PM
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Maybe it's more fun/tolerable to have a high-school relationship with a charismatic, attractive asshole than a non-charismatic, unattractive asshole. But I'm sure the same wouldn't be true for men.

A charismatic, attractive girl asked me on a date in HS. We saw "Alien Nation". It was awful. And the movie wasn't so great, either.

Anyway, Sondheim clearly got it right: Nice is different than Good.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:03 PM
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Jared Remy, never lacking female companionship, gets life without parole. He didn't have any disdain for the gym, fer shur. A comment has his whole rap sheet. Wow. Decades of beating women.

But fuck watch out for the nerds with fantasies, They are the really scary ones. Or maybe just boring?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:04 PM
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And on that same hand, you know that it's not really so awesome, in itself, to be cast as the stepping stone to someone else's self-actualization.

"No, no, you're not on a pedestal. You are a pedestal. You should be proud!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:05 PM
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I think 71 missed Spike's point, which is that there are a lot of genuine assholes out there (especially in the age group we'r mostly talking about), some number of whom get laid a fair amount.

This. I'm not begrudging guys who get laid by merit of being fine, attractive human beings. There are plenty of those, and I can understand why women want to have sex with them. But, back when I was a youth, it seemed like several of the guys in my social circle who got laid the most were also generally regarded to be the biggest assholes. There were others who didn't, and who didn't get laid much, and of course there were also assholes who didn't get laid because they were assholes, but lacked the psychopathic ability to conceal that factor from the women they chose to pursue.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:06 PM
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97: Absolutely, and I'm not blaming girls for liking charismatic, attractive guys with emotional intelligence and money, even if they are also, on the side, assholes. My point was that, in terms of the society of the group, the high status assholes get laid and the low status assholes doesn't, which suggests that assholery is a trait without negative consequences.

I believe this is why we have religion.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:07 PM
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Unrequited love is at the heart of western culture: Dante, Shakespeare, Schubert, Joyce.

Now I'm imagining an alternate version of The Sorrows of Young Werther where before he acts on his decision to commit suicide Werther encounters a Mystery type PUA character who teaches him The Game...


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:08 PM
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Anyway, it all comes back to the misogyny about sex being something that men get and women give/concede. On both sides, people date/sleep with attractive jerks, only figuring it out afterwards. The difference is that men get high fives for sleeping with the attractive asshole, while women get blamed, because that sex rightly belonged to a non-asshole (or, rather, someone who believes himself to be a non-asshole).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:10 PM
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"Along the lines of 50, one of the striking things about Rodger and his corner of the world is how completely he adopts he superficial reading of commercial culture: beemer, money, blondes. These are what's important! Most subcultures at least have a narrative of ways in which they 're superior to the dominant culture. Rodger didn't, and he hated his own guts."

Rogers thought that women were incorrectly unattracted to his black BMW and his fancy clothes. That is, he believed that women were insufficiently superficial and materialistic.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:12 PM
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103: Is it possible that what you're thinking about is explained by the last paragraph of my 76? Guys who were either rapists or not-quite-rapists who were getting away with it?

Seriously, that is, I think, a huge area of confusion in this discussion -- the conflation of men who are sexually successful because they're attractive with men who are sexually successful because they're predatory.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:12 PM
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101 was me. Don't know what happened.

Alyssa Rosenberg once did a post explaining why Veronica Mars would be so attracted to some total asshole, not having watched the show once, you would know him better than I.

"A little dangerous" and "exciting" were on the list. See Jared Remy.

I am not a nice guy at all.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:13 PM
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The turn this thread has taken is not not fascinating, where fascinating is but one of many adjectives that I could have used.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:15 PM
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As 97 breaks down, caring about social status is totally reasonable. Maybe in an ideal world, women would care less about social status and more about things like "won't sleep around on me" or "willing to pick me up from the airport, share housework, etc.", but there's no point complaining about other people's preferences.

But would people agree that complaining that men base their preferences on unrealistic beauty standards, our society's focus on women's looks is insane and damaging, and men "should" appreciate the other stuff women have to offer is the exact same thing in reverse?


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:15 PM
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110: is another one "predictable"?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:17 PM
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112: why, yes!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:18 PM
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the conflation of men who are sexually successful because they're attractive with men who are sexually successful because they're predatory.

Of the four assholes I have in mind, I suspect one may have been predatory - although probably not exclusively predatory. The other three I don't think were predatory, but, obviously, there is no way I could know that.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:18 PM
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110: I'm guessing that you didn't actually want that double-negative (as opposed to a single or triple) there? I mean, if you meant straightforwardly fascinating, you probably would have said that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:19 PM
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115: I didn't not want it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:20 PM
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But would people agree that complaining that men base their preferences on unrealistic beauty standards, our society's focus on women's looks is insane and damaging, and men "should" appreciate the other stuff women have to offer is the exact same thing in reverse?

Only if you assume that "social status from something other than looks" is something that women can't have. Women's beauty is not the "girl" version of men's social status - men can have social status because of looks, charm, wit, money, political power, writerly skill, etc etc; with the exception of looks and charm, those things usually make straight women less desirable. (That's why I gave up dating men - I realized that a single, funny, well-read, well-dressed, employed, not particularly physically decrepit guy in his mid thirties would be a total catch, but that I as a mid-thirties non-man was an absolute surplus commodity.)

Perhaps it's a problem of framing - I don't want men to nobly appreciate women for those other, boring "non-status" things; I want women to have status and desirability for the same things that men do. And that does include "being a nice person" and "being responsible" as sources of status, because we all know that straight dudes get huge props in our culture for, like, expressing their feelings instead of being rage machines, doing the dishes when their partners are sick, etc, while that's just baseline expectations for women.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:21 PM
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...with men who are sexually successful because they're predatory.

And why does predatory work so well?

Old saying of con-men, "can't con an honest non-greedy person." Or something. It could be, not saying it is, but could be that "nice guy" are calling out a line of bullshit.

But this thread is about nerds, licking their computer screens. Ewwww gross.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:22 PM
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The guys I knew who got laid the most combined being physically attractive to very attractive, being genuinely nice guys albeit rather commitmentphobic, having excellent social and flirting skills, mildly hitting on a ton of women, and not pushing things. They also dealt with rejection well - it didn't see to bother them particularly nor make them more or less inclined to be friends with the women who rejected them. Some women did end up getting hurt because of the commitmentphobia but that was either bad luck or stupidity.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:25 PM
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117: In addition, a lot of the complaints about unreasonable beauty expectations for women are about the imposition of those expectations and pressures in non-romantic contexts, rather than complaining that men generally look for sex partners they find physically attractive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:25 PM
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I'm not at all sure that actual good guys spend a ton of time self-identifying as "nice guys" because they'd need to be more self aware and wary of the pitfalls of thinking of themselves as uncomplicatedly "nice" to do that.

I don't know how you want to define "a ton of time", but I know that I used the phrase "I'm a nice guy" in HS, and I also know that I never thought any girls owed me sex, I never pretended to be anyone's friend in order to eventually reap my sexy reward, and I always looked to personally connect with girls I was interested in (which is why 100.1 ended as it did; one date sufficed to tell me that the attractive, charismatic girl was not right for me). I was not, by any means, a perfect guy as a teenager, but misogyny was incredibly low on my list of flaws. Which is also why I say fuck you to 88.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:28 PM
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There's some truth to the perception that male assholes get laid more than one might expect, if one's theory of layworthiness were based on moral worth. They are, by definition, more willing to violate people's boundaries and that translates into taking more chances.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:31 PM
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121.last isn't very nice.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:32 PM
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88: You know how sometimes you're a bit of a fascist?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:33 PM
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No. If you describe yourself as a "nice guy" full stop, you're an asshole.

Wow, this is overkill. If you are familiar with the internet discourse in which "nice guys" are bad, and you still describe yourself as a "nice guy", maybe you're an asshole. But you know, the word "nice" actually has some positive connotations to most people.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:35 PM
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JRoth, chill. High school was a long time ago. We all think you're swell now, don't we guys?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:36 PM
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I'm with Henry Tilney in saying that we should roll back the language to when "nice" meant precise or persnickety. That'd solve this whole problem. ("Nice Guys? You mean they're fussy about stuff?")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:37 PM
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121.last: You can be an asshole without being a misogynist. At the very least describing yourself as a "nice guy" without any qualification demonstrates a Rumsfeldian lack of self-awareness. It's just not a thing you can meaningfully say about yourself.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:37 PM
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119: My experience also, although my roommate described there to a 'T' did cry on my shoulder about why he hated women.

He was also into conquest and hustling in ways I didn't like, talking girls into anal, once convincing a 17-old into pulling a train (not me), always in ways about which she couldn't complain. And they didn't. He dreamed of being a pimp, but was too gentle and too much a doper .


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:37 PM
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Nicely observed, LB.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:38 PM
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128: how do you feel about "I have been reliably informed that I am a nice guy"?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:38 PM
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And chilling should happen all around. 88 was kind of a messed up thing to say, as well, but no one should take serious offense because this is, after all, the internet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:39 PM
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Oh yeah, and lest anyone think I'm too far up there on my high horse, I'd absolutely apply 88 and 128 to myself too. It's not like I think JRoth's guilty of anything I haven't done.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:39 PM
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133 could be construed as climbing onto yet a higher horse! I wouldn't so construe it, tho, because I'm too (wait for it)

nice

to do something like that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:40 PM
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I'm still mulling over if one's theory of layworthiness were based on moral worth because I don't think this is actually what practically any adults believe, and yet it's back to all that "deserving" language that I have a really hard time dealing with meaningfully because I think it's a lot like what I italicized. But this is a separate conversation I'm basically only having with myself.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:40 PM
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Assholes get all the highest horses. I'm always trying to climb on high horses but there are no pedestals interested in helping me. Schubert would have seen this.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:41 PM
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A tiny piece of NiceGuyism* is built on a valid observation: That liars often prosper, and that Good Things Happen To Bad People precisely because they are bad people.

I'm long past the age where I'll fret about bad guys getting laid. And I've got enough maturity and perspective to be able to grasp the fact that, even now, I'm not as nice a guy as I ought to be. (But I'm working on it!)

And I don't even have any real envy for those with power and authority. (I've already got all of the privilege that I know what to do with.) But I do find it vexing that decent people are disqualified from being, say, the CEO of Exxon-Mobile or the President of the United States.

*I said "a tiny piece!" I don't want to oversell this point.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:42 PM
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At the very least describing yourself as a "nice guy" without any qualification demonstrates a Rumsfeldian lack of self-awareness.
Or a lack of awareness of the larger conversation, something people with poor social skills may be prone to.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:42 PM
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I have never ridden a horse, but I have been reliably informed that when one is on a horse it feels as if ones is higher up than one would have guessed, just thinking about what being on a horse is probably like.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:43 PM
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131: Maybe this is a failure of imagination on my part, but I can't come up with a context in which I'd ever say that. I mean, really, who are you going to convince?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:43 PM
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134: Bring it.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:44 PM
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Not every utterance is aimed at producing conviction, Josh. Conversations aren't all battles. If you were a better listener, you would know this.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:44 PM
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135: No, that one popped for me as problematic as well -- any theory of layworthiness based on moral worth has something fundamentally wrong with it, as does really any theory of layworthiness at all. People aren't permitted to have sex because they meet some objective standard of layworthiness, they have sex because they've found someone else who mutually wants to have sex with them.

It's not that moral worth can't be a component of attraction (who among us, after all, lacks a perverse desire to corrupt the virtuous?)(Should I not have said that bit out loud, maybe?), but it's not like there's a non-partner-dependent standard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:45 PM
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if one's theory of layworthiness were based on moral worth

I judge whether to have sex with someone based on how they answer a series of trolley problem scenarios I pose to them on the first date.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:45 PM
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142: Teach me, master.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:45 PM
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135: I was trying to evoke the common mindset amongst whatever group of socially unsuccessful men we are discussing. The "deserving" language was intentional. I wasn't trying to endorse it.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:46 PM
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Does the horse have any say in this?


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:46 PM
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Is it a nice horse?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:46 PM
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(who among us, after all, lacks a perverse desire to corrupt the virtuous?)

Uh oh, the worst are filled with passionate intensity again.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:47 PM
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Nice enough, I suppose, but it has to be ground up and fed into the protein vats if we're going to get to 95%.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:48 PM
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146: I totally understood it as you describe. Not attributing anything to you except I guess good taste in fascists. I'm just thinking about whether it's a larger cultural thing, and it sort of is. I mean, Tyler Perry-type movies where the hard-working single mom is eventually rewarded with a Good Guy, etc.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:50 PM
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144 is sort of amazing in that implies there might be a second date after the Trolleython. Maybe after we croudsource Eggplant's okc profile we can define a series of experimental dates. What could go wrong?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:52 PM
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151: Phew, I really hesitate to step into these conversations, for reasons.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:52 PM
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Okay, what. Women like orgasms. Orgasms are fun! Sometimes, perhaps often, women see men as dicks with cars attached. Why not? I accept that, though I am not sure why I should admire or respect it any more than the comparable attitude in a guy, which I am apparently supposed to despise.

Question: do women, possibly because of the patriarchy and traditional roles, attach more bullshit to the exploitation of dicks with cars? Do they say more often, he talked sweet or respected my mind or other garbage because they feel guilty or shameful? How sad.

Do nice guys and nerds hear the garbage about mutual respect and social skills and kindness and not understand it's all dicks with cars? Do they actually take women's bullshit seriously?

I blame the patriarchy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:52 PM
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I want women to have status and desirability for the same things that men do.

My theory is that this is what has happened in education - girls/women are increasingly being judged on merit - and it turns out they are actually better than the boys/men for a variety of reasons.

It cracks me up that MRA-types are complaining that women are doing better than men when the only real thing that's changed is that women are being given a real chance to compete. I mean, when has education ever been tolerant of kids who act up and can't focus?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:53 PM
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"But would people agree that complaining that men base their preferences on unrealistic beauty standards, our society's focus on women's looks is insane and damaging, and men "should" appreciate the other stuff women have to offer is the exact same thing in reverse?"

Women being attracted to status and men being attracted to beauty is different than a status obsessed and/or beauty obsessed culture.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:56 PM
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152: Rule 34.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:56 PM
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"If I told you that you had a body that would stop a trolley from crashing into a box containing a child, would you hold it against me."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:58 PM
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I would be very hesitant to go on a second date after being faced with trolley problems, for fear of finding myself a brain in a vat at the end of it. (On the other hand, when else would I get a chance to wear my bleen dress?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 12:59 PM
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You know how sometimes you're a bit of a fascist?

This is one of those cases where I'm doing a horrible job of sounding like I'm not contemptuous, isn't it?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:00 PM
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158 - so are you saying I'm fat?


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:03 PM
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This dude could totally get away with presenting trolley problems on a first date.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:05 PM
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And since I've been flippant about this, I'm with Josh in thinking it would be very weird for people to describe themselves as nice or good or whatever and would usually take that as a red flag that you're not. But I'm also abnormally fond of caveats, as everyone here knows.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:05 PM
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160: but you've never been hotter.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:05 PM
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finding myself a brain in a vat at the end of it.

Hot!


Posted by: Opinionated Rene Decarte | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:06 PM
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But this is a separate conversation I'm basically only having with myself.

I went for a walk at lunch, and here's the conversation that I ended up having with myself about this thread.

It's been noted before that the best way to get better at something is to practice it, and that one of the things that separates self-conscious, awkward, introverts (who may or may not be assholes) from the people we've been describing as "players" (who may or may not be assholes) is that the latter have a lot more experience with sex and dating and that, by itself makes them better able to navigate.

I would add something to that. As I get older, I recognize a certain, familiar train of thought as being fallacious. That is, "I have a problem because of X. If I can solve X I will have fewer problems in my life." In fact, solving one problem usually just means that you've acquired enough experience/skill to recognize other more complicated problems.

Part of what seems to distinguish the Nice Guy attitude is the feeling, "I'm not having sex (and I can, perhaps, recognize a long list of reasons why this is the case). If I can have sex, then my problem will be solved." That is, they are distinctively oblivious to the fact that having sex is just one part of a long process of figuring out how to have successful relationships, rather than an end point.

[I'll mention, also, my appreciation for this comment in the previous thread, which seems related.]


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:06 PM
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165: I think not.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:07 PM
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159: I miss SomeCallMeTim.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:09 PM
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I mean, when has education ever been tolerant of kids who act up and can't focus?

Indeed.

Girls have been doing better than boys in school for as long as they've been required to go.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:10 PM
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168: Indeed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:12 PM
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Was SomeCallMeTim into BIVs or Nelson Goodman or something? What am I missing?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:14 PM
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The nice guy virtues are the good coworker virtues. People could describe themselves as good coworkers and I would understand what they meant and probably believe them. Doesn't mean that women should want to have sex with them though.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:15 PM
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People could describe themselves as good coworkers and I would understand what they meant and probably believe them. Doesn't mean that women should want to have sex with them though.

Chicks always sleep with dudes who move cheese.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:16 PM
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If you're at the office for something like 1/3 of your waking life, you may as well get something out of it besides a paycheck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:16 PM
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171: RTFA, n00b.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:17 PM
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I can't really figure out what people are getting so worked up about, but whatever. 119 is my experience as well. I generally think the "assholes are more likely to get laid" is for the most part simply an empirical fallacy based on the resentment of the less sexually successful. (Unless maybe you think being a commitmentphobe always makes you an asshole.) That doesn't mean that assholes never get laid, either, just that the whole line of thought is based on a basic fallacy, as is the entire line of quasi-economic reasoning about women that seems to be the core of NiceGuy (tm) resentment.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:24 PM
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the entire line of quasi-economic reasoning about women that seems to be the core of NiceGuy (tm) resentment.

Bitterness over lack of romantic success is as old as humanity, but the new twist in the internet era seems to be this drive to take that bitterness and build it up into some kind of deranged pseudoscience or grand theory of human interactions.

I blame fresh water economists.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:30 PM
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169: Interesting! If the headline had been, "Sciientists study girls and you won't believe what they found" I might have discovered that story on my own, via Facebook.

Poor Vox. I wish them well, but I have my doubts. Still, it's nice work.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:33 PM
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the "assholes are more likely to get laid" is for the most part simply an empirical fallacy based on the resentment of the less sexually successful

Yeah, I think that's right, mostly. Or, I think there's a less culpable but still fallacious train of thought: (1) I'm nervous and introverted about interacting with people partially because I'm afraid of doing something offensive and being seen as an asshole; (2) people who aren't nervous about this sort of thing have an easier time interacting with people and getting laid then I do; (3) people who aren't nervous about this sort of thing aren't afraid about seen as assholes, so they probably are assholes; (4) assholes are more likely to get laid.

The reasoning breaks down on step three, I think.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:34 PM
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(Unless maybe you think being a commitmentphobe always makes you an asshole.)

Well of course it does. When two people have sex, that means they are forming an eternal bond that means that they will remain absolutely devoted to each other for all time. How those jerks don't understand that's what women want I'll never know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:34 PM
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Being an asshole requires you to try to have sex with lots of different women, because eventually they start refusing to have sex with you. Men who are polite and considerate can stay in a stable relationship for longer.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:37 PM
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Confidence and ability to manipulate people both strongly correlate with ability to get laid and with being an asshole. I mean not everyone who is good at getting laid is an asshole, but plenty are.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:42 PM
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I'd bet that, especially during adolescence when most are timid and inexperienced, being an asshole can help one get laid, simply because assholes are more likely to take chances and push for relationships.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:43 PM
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182 says it better.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:44 PM
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I generally think the "assholes are more likely to get laid" is for the most part simply an empirical fallacy based on the resentment of the less sexually successful.

LOSERS ALWAYS WHINE ABOUT THEIR BEST. WINNERS GO HOME AND FUCK THE PROM QUEEN.


Posted by: OPINIONATED JOHN MASON | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:44 PM
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Does confidence really correlate all that strongly with being an asshole? I wouldn't have thought so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:46 PM
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186: depends who you ask.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:47 PM
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I find the internet feminist discourse around Nice Guys a bit bizarre. Women who like "bad boys", or even women who think they can reform someone who seems bad on the surface are not entirely fictional.

When I was a teenager I was a self-pitying whiner about being a nice guy, while by my mid-twenties I was a successful womanizer. I like to think I was as nice at the end as I was at the beginning, so while being good at sleeping around does not necessarily make you an asshole, it's certainly asshole-adjacent. As far as I could discern, the shortest path to sleeping with someone is to be flirty, but have zero invested in the outcome. It's pretty easy to have zero invested in the outcome if you have zero invested in other people, i.e. if you're an asshole. Even being flirty is easier if you're an asshole -- you just say stuff and see what happens, which is easier when it wouldn't bother you if the other person doesn't like it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:47 PM
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The Tao of Walt!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:49 PM
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I was thinking of the role literature played in giving me perspective on the situation, and provided models and consolations, which encouraged coming out of my shell, and, yes, "getting over myself" this morning.

And I wondered, how is "growing up" for women modeled in literature? I thought about Austen heroines first. Typically they do need to get past some notion or infatuation, "prejudice," but it presents itself as a choice between men, one more superficially attractive, the other of more worth our heroine needs to be brought to see. Helps that he's also older and richer, and doesn't turn out to have been a fraud, as the other was.

Jane Eyre married him, reader. Dorothea and Mary Galt succeed in Middlemarch--and George Eliot detested the way Elizabeth Bennett changes her mind about Darcy while touring his estate--but don't exactly have to face hard decisions that make them grow.

As you can see, I'm focused on literature about women, by women but well-enough known for reference. Am I overlooking an obvious one, or does this particular growing-up problem have an intrinsic maleness about it?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:51 PM
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I guess what I object to is condemnation of Nice Guys for wanting to get laid. "Silly Nice Guys, don't you know that getting laid is only for the charismatic and attractive?"

I see an element of picking on people with low status in that, and I don't like it.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 1:53 PM
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191.2 reminds me of a quote:

To paraphrase the great John Oliver, listen up, fellow self-pitying nerd boys--we are not the victims here. We are not the underdogs. We are not the ones who have our ownership over our bodies and our emotions stepped on constantly by other people's entitlement. We're not the ones where one out of six of us will have someone violently attempt to take control of our bodies in our lifetimes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:00 PM
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@191: As with every other buzzword, there's been some usage creep over the years, and maybe the term gets a bit over used.

But really, I don't think anyone's suggesting that you're a terrible person if are/were depressed or frustrated or even a bit bitter about lack of romantic success.

It's deciding that the reason you're unsuccessful is that women as a class are stupid or like to be treated like dirt or are otherwise broken that's the toxic step towards becoming the canonical Nice Guy(Tm).


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:00 PM
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189: The Kickstarter for the movie project starts tomorrow. Or maybe I should start with a self-help book?

I never saw The Tao of Steve, but I had a friend who saw it and took it to heart. Later he and I were interested in the same woman, and he ended up with her, so apparently it works. I want to know if anyone has tried picking people up at funerals, as recommended by Wedding Crashers.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:02 PM
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191: It's not condemnation of wanting. It's condemnation of expecting anything other than 'finding an individual human being who wants to have sex with you' to work. That's an easier job for the charismatic and attractive out there, but there are a lot of funny-looking introverts having consensual sex.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:04 PM
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194: honestly your method as described nearly summarizes it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:05 PM
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Dorothea and Mary Galt succeed in Middlemarch--and George Eliot detested the way Elizabeth Bennett changes her mind about Darcy while touring his estate--but don't exactly have to face hard decisions that make them grow.

This seems like an odd reading of Middlemarch to me -- I see plenty of hard choices for both Dorothea and Mary.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:07 PM
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188: so while being good at sleeping around does not necessarily make you an asshole, it's certainly asshole-adjacent. As far as I could discern, the shortest path to sleeping with someone is to be flirty, but have zero invested in the outcome.

That's the shortest path in some quarters, but my god it's not the only way to go about having sex with people.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:08 PM
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I just wanted to pop in to say that one of the reasons I've been plastering my feed at the other place with so much commentary on the murders is that I've been seeing signs that some of my more clueless male friends and acquaintances are finally starting to understand what the hell I've been ranting on about in terms of everyday misogyny, rape culture, and are even starting to think about ways in which their peer groups might be implicated. It would be really nice if this lasted.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:09 PM
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I thought a lot of the stereotypical "nice guy" resentment came from the observation, which was certainly noticed by me in high school/college, and based on movie tropes, etc., I think was noticed by many, that the guys who got laid the most also tend to be the guys whose talk in the metaphorical locker room or anywhere else that only other males were around, when on the topic of "girls", was usually the most dehumanizing and generally misogynistic. Those who were highly sexually successful were also quite plainly those who clearly didn't view women as anything other than sex objects. (I'm not talking in absolutes, obviously, but noticeable strong correlations.) This is stereotypical jock culture as rape culture, basically.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:12 PM
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Jane Eyre married him, reader.

Sure, once his ex mutilated him in a fire. (That said, please see my forthcoming Dating Secrets of the Brontë Sisterhood.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:13 PM
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no tall men

lol, ant-men

ten on mall

melt nolan


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:13 PM
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It's deciding that the reason you're unsuccessful is that women as a class are stupid or like to be treated like dirt or are otherwise broken that's the toxic step towards becoming the canonical Nice Guy(Tm).

I'd be happy with this usage, but when I've seen it around, I feel like the term gets applied way more broadly than that.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:14 PM
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201: Like so?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:16 PM
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I feel like the term gets applied way more broadly than that.

Likely true, but that's just the nature of internet memes, I think.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:17 PM
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Jane Eyre married him, reader. Dorothea and Mary Galt succeed in Middlemarch--and George Eliot detested the way Elizabeth Bennett changes her mind about Darcy while touring his estate--but don't exactly have to face hard decisions that make them grow.

Perhaps you've read Villette? It's the more difficult, more unpleasant and much more upsetting version of Jane Eyre, if you like, and has never been as popular although it enjoys a great deal of academic and feminist esteem. Or Persuasion, while we're on the topic of Austen? Or, for that matter, Emma, which is all about facing up to how your asshole-ism nearly ruins your poorer and socially vulnerable friend's life?

(Are we assuming that literature only occurs between 1800 and 1850?)

If we're not restricted to books by women, we could talk about Pamela and Clarissa - although "growing up" is much more a factor for upper middle class white European men of the period, since they are the ones who are assumed to have a lot of choices in how they grow up. (Goethe's multi-volume novel whose name escapes me...uh, Moretti talks about it in The Way of the World.) You could say that what Pamela and Clarissa do is resist with varying degrees of success being destroyed during the course of other people's "growing up".



Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:18 PM
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And another thing - taking 19th century literature as proof of some kind of gendered character development....that totally ignores how the novel form comes into being, how it is consolidated into the classic "white European dude grows up" form, why novels about women don't do the same thing, what is considered an interesting and worthwhile subject for a novel, why women's experience in the early/mid-nineteenth century is not especially well-served by the bildungsroman form....Again, you might find The Way of the World interesting, although honestly Moretti is not particularly interested in gender. How Novels Think, the subject of a long-ago symposium at the Valve, is also a useful reference point. (Er, at least the first half, that's all I can testify to.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:22 PM
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(Are we assuming that literature only occurs between 1800 and 1850?)

All other "literature" was written by Nice Guys and should be condemned in its entirety.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:22 PM
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I take issue with 190. Anne Elliott, Emma Woodhouse, Catherine Moreland, and Elinor Dashwood don't choose between men. They grow up mainly by realizing they've treated other people shabbily and feeling bad about it.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:24 PM
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204 - Precisely, only with more setting shit on fire.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:26 PM
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Pwnd by Frowner, who is on fire. Go Frowner!


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:26 PM
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Are we assuming that literature only occurs between 1800 and 1850?

Literature occurs in the year 1847 between 8:00am April 2, and 3:45pm September 3.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:27 PM
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190: I highly recommend Penelope Mortimer, well in general actually, but particularly The Pumpkin Eater, for a fantastic novel on issues of sex, assholeness, maturity, etc. The movie is supposed to be pretty terrific as well, but I haven't seen it.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:27 PM
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You're cheering that Frowner's on fire? Shouldn't you try to put her out? What kind of monster are you?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:28 PM
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182: Some people try to pick up girls and get called assholes. (This never happened to Pablo Picasso.)


Posted by: Opinionated JoJo | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:28 PM
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200 gets at something I'd been thinking about but couldn't quite articulate. The same guys are also the ones most likely IME to be engaging in the kind of low level bullying passed off as humor that keeps 'nice guys' on edge around them.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:29 PM
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If we're talking nineteenth century novels, I would argue that a narrative of achieving maturity for women is often to be post- rather than pre-marital. Think Dorothea or Gwendolyn in Daniel Deronda; Glencora Palliser in Can You Forgive Her?, I bet I'd be able to come up with some more if I thought about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:30 PM
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(That's why I gave up dating men - I realized that a single, funny, well-read, well-dressed, employed, not particularly physically decrepit guy in his mid thirties would be a total catch, but that I as a mid-thirties non-man was an absolute surplus commodity.)

This isn't true at all I don't think -- probably true that a mid-30s woman is less of a burning object of indiscriminate sexual pursuit than an 18-25 year old woman, who in that respect occupies a unique position -- but it's weird to say that a mid-30s woman is some kind of romantic nonentity. Likewise, weird to say that a reasonably sane/together mid-30s guy is automatically a romantic superstar.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:30 PM
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218: In the context of the full comment, Frowner's talking about what it's like if you've got everything going for you except being pretty (or the dude equivalent of pretty). It seems a lot easier to make up for deficiencies in conventional physical attractiveness through other good qualities for a man than for a woman. (You can argue that this isn't true, but you seem to have missed what she was saying.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:34 PM
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This seems like an odd reading of Middlemarch to me -- I see plenty of hard choices for both Dorothea and Mary

Of course, Dorothea's recovery from her marriage and Mary's faith in Fred are testing and difficult processes, although my point was there isn't a "we defy augery..." moment. I suggested by my final question what Frowner is picking up in 207, that these examples really are structurally gendered.

And I agree with 209 about the moral process, thinking particularly of Emma. That other plotline is also going on however; the right choice is also pretty practical.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:35 PM
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Tell me a tale! No lame man alone, ma'am alone tome; allot a tale male & momma, Alan & Lana, teat & eel to elate! Alan & Lana meet—a motel-melee, not tame—tool-talent & natal lane* mete a moan.


* sorry.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:36 PM
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200 is getting close

Those who were highly sexually successful were also quite plainly those who clearly didn't view women as anything other than sex objects. (I'm not talking in absolutes, obviously, but noticeable strong correlations.) This is stereotypical jock culture as rape culture, basically.

Workers maintain, sustain, and perpetuate capitalism, partly by enjoying their ressentiment and supposedly superior moral position as the righteous but peaceable and law-abiding victims of capitalism.

Signed, banned for analogizing


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:36 PM
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217 is a good point, also probably structural, in the social sense. That is when a woman had an opportunity to grow up, or not.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:39 PM
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218: Well, it wasn't exactly that. I was in this reading group, see, and I met a guy - about my own age, more or less my own degree of attractiveness, smart, funny, well-read, etc. And yet I could tell, from our interactions, that in order to attract him I'd have to do a lot of compensation for the things I liked about myself - I'd have to make my hair look more feminine, downplay how well-read I was, laugh at his jokes while making fewer of my own, just generally do the standard "how power dynamics work in straight relationships" thing. I add that this guy wasn't some sexist monster - it was just that all the things that made me feel good about myself were things I'd have to downplay, conceal or change to succeed with guys - not just him, guys in general. When I was younger, I was able to do that more easily because I was more insecure and didn't like very much about myself anyway, but in my thirties I started to like myself, wear clothes I liked, figure out what my own intellectual interests were instead of just reading what my sub-grad-student friend group was into....Now, I'm not saying that all straight women have to crush their personalities to date successfully after thirty - I'm just saying that my particular personality is one that isn't very alluring to dudes, my particular chubby and muscular body is one that requires a lot of feminizing via ruffles, make-up and foundation garments to read as attractive (and I hate all those things)...

Anyway, I thought about all that and I felt tired, and I decided that I didn't want to go through all that again.

Now, of course, I have veered in the opposite direction, am rarely mistaken for straight and couldn't attract a man if he were iron filings and I were a giant magnet. But I like myself even more.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:39 PM
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220: I don't think you're going to get any kind of satisfying response to this unless you frame the question with more precision. Obviously, upperclass men's and women's experiences in 19th century Europe were highly dissimilar, obviously, so are novels about them. Also obviously, there are novels about both men and women facing hard choices and maturing through them.

So, is there something fundamentally gendered about this sort of thing? Depends completely on what fundamentally means, and what this sort of thing is exactly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:40 PM
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Penelope Fitzgerald also excellent on vagaries of romance, both male and female cluelessness, insensitivity, lack of maturity, particularly Innocence and The Beginning of Spring. Selwyn Crane: asshole! But awesomely drawn. The Gate of Angels, proto nerd love? Silly to try and cram all of this into categories, whether in life or fiction, I mean i understand the universal human impulse to do so but still. If the theorizing and categorization aren't helping you to get the human closeness that makes you and others happy, perhaps time to back away from it?

Of course a good gossip is also excellent justification for categorization and theorizing, so I suppose carry on. All seems a bit arid here tho as none of this is about mutual acquaintances.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:41 PM
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224.last: This seems relevant, somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:42 PM
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I <3 Penelope Fitzgerald, though The Bookshop was maybe a little too bleak for my taste.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:42 PM
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224: I agree that those things would not be worth doing. And I'm going to take your judgment as correct, but sad. I'd hope that there would be guys who would respond to your preferred self, but that's probably wishful thinking.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:44 PM
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228: you know that simultaneous sinking and soaring feeling you get when you are reading a book SO good that you are preemptively sad you'll never read it for the first time again, but that you can read it again and again and again - do the Germans have one long glorious word for that? Got that with most of her novels over a marvelous stretch of weeks...


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:49 PM
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I also think that's a misreading of Jane Eyre - everyone gets all wound up in the story of Mr. Rochester the Giant Creeper (seriously, ew) and forgets about the cousins, St. John and Jane's decision not to become a missionary. I'd argue, actually, that Jane's interactions with Helen at school and the sequence with her cousins are precisely the moral core of the book, and neither set of decisions are exactly practical. With Helen, Jane sort of toughens up, basically decides not to be so good that she dies*, decides that though Helen is a saint, Jane doesn't want to be a saint. She's chosing paganism and the earth, sort of. With her cousins, she's choosing to make her own way and showing that she's learned the lesson of her childhood - someone is pushing her to be a good woman, to be so good that she dies even though he knows and believes that she'll die. Resisting that...that is what makes this problematic and racist novel none the less powerful. Jane refuses to be a good woman. She is rewarded in the story by marriage, but she does not know that she's going to be rewarded. And I add that being unmarried in the early 19th century was a much bigger deal than it is now - you read Jane Eyre now and you're like "oh, you have a modest fortune and your cousins for company, tell St. John where to stick this god talk and go tour Europe or something, you don't need to marry", but that's not the emotional register that the book was written in.


*Being "so good that you die" is pretty much the story of Clarissa, and it's a common arc for women in the "moral education" type of novel. The growing-up choice for women as women is very often the choice to be on their own side - in hell's despite - whereas that's not an important choice for men-as-men. (For men of color as men-of-color, certainly; similarly, key moral moments for white women as white women are often about not being on the side of their own whiteness.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:50 PM
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Where'd you get the word fundamentally? I don't often use it because I'm uncertain still how to spell it.

Chose those novels because I knew them more or less and thought the largest number of others would too. Hoped we'd get suggestions about others, and thoughts about how they might be structured and we have.

Trying to be a littler looser here, see what happens.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:52 PM
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231 is great. Close to my wife's reading. Thanks and glad to be reading so much of your stuff on the blog this afternoon.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:56 PM
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And, of course, that she can choose to be neither a sinner nor a saint -- she's fleeing Rochester as a matter of moral principle, rather than living with him in sin as he wants and she would have liked barring the moral issues. She's neither lost to moral considerations entirely, nor completely self-abnegating, but navigating a complicated set of moral choices. (See, also, her negotiation of her relationship with her aunt and maternal cousins; acceptance of some relationship creating some sort of familial responsibility, but rejection of the obligation to let it injure her.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:56 PM
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If I get responses like these, I may try trolling more often.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:58 PM
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does this particular growing-up problem have an intrinsic maleness about it?

I made the jump from "intrinsic maleness" to "fundamentally gendered". Sorry if that distorted your meaning. I still don't think there's much to talk about unless you tighten up on what you mean to ask by "this particular growing-up problem".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:58 PM
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235: Please don't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 2:59 PM
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233: I have read Jane Eyre about a million times. I think I was probably 35 when I realized that I found the part with the cousins more interesting than the romance. So much with the colonialism, though!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:00 PM
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Perhaps another sign that I am growing old - I can't even tell trolling from regular commenting any more.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:01 PM
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Of course, she does volunteer to go die with St. John; she just refuses to marry him. Which still works along the same lines; she will be self-abnegatingly good, but only up to a limit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:03 PM
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Obviously, upperclass men's and women's experiences in 19th century Europe were highly dissimilar, obviously, so are novels about them

Also different in various countries. French novels take female sexual desire as a given in a way that British ones don't seem to.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:09 PM
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231: If you're going to write a story about someone being rewarded for their behavior, they can't _know_ that they're going to be rewarded for it.

I found the romance between Jane and Rochester basically comic, almost satirical. Jane is level-headed, sardonic, and middle-class, while Rochester is melodramatic, grandiose, and rich. Everyone else in the book has a normal story; Rochester has his wife locked up in the attic.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:17 PM
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219: well, I do think there are veldt-related differences in how the sexes respond to looks vs. other factors. But the idea that looks are all for women while men have a whole bunch of easy substitutes (true self-confidence or the ability to project an attractive character are not easy to come by!) strikes me as a gross oversimplification. From womens' end as well; romantic self-confidence impacts looks for women.

224: a lot of generalizing there -- sliding from 'this one particular guy doesn't like me' to 'no guy can like a version of me I feel comfortable with', because Sexism.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:22 PM
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241:

On that point, I found Sebald's portrait of Stendhal in Vertigo searing, as I had been reading Stendhal not long before on the subject of sex--he actually touches on this thread's topics a lot, as to who is successful and why. Portrait in Vertigo is creepy, full of stalking and obsession, also syphilis, which he will have given to every woman he ever wrote about.

Then again, that seems to have been why Schubert died also, I've just recently found out.

I may need some new cultural heroes.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:25 PM
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Women are compulsive generalizers -- it helped them gather nutritious fruits and grains. Men are more capable of nuance and fine distinctions, because no two prey animals are exactly alike.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:27 PM
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Rochester has his wife locked up in the attic.

As one does.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:28 PM
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Not all men grasp nuance, Walt.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:34 PM
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Nice men wait to see if the nuance really wants to be grasped.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:35 PM
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How come only assholes have a sophisticated grasp of ambiguity?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:37 PM
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I've never read Jane Eyre, but if the Wikipedia plot summary is accurate, that's a pretty fucked up book.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:40 PM
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When I were a lad, the Children's Theatre here did an abridged version called "Young Jane Eyre", incidentally starring one of my classmates in Jr. High. Good though it was, I suspect it didn't really get to the heart of the book.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:42 PM
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105: Such a character may come to be regarded in some circles as a hero, both of his time, and ours.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:42 PM
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Unfogged: Putting the "bro" back in Brontë


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:43 PM
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250: If you have any tolerance for nineteenth century prose, it is both awesome and really, really weird. (Come to think, I haven't read it in a million years, although I still have it pretty much committed to memory. I should come back to it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:45 PM
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253: You know Branwell wrote all of those books, trying to earn money to cover for Emily's drinking problem, right?


Posted by: Mr. Mybug | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:45 PM
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I've actually been rereading Jane Eyre and I can report that I am enjoying it much more than I did at 18.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:50 PM
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There's something about reading things at the wrong age. I read Jane Eyre first as a kid, and kind of got the "Young Jane Eyre" version out of it -- the important part was her aunt and then Helen and Lowood, and the rest of the book was "And then she had some adventures and lived happily ever after." But the main thrust of the book was successfully getting to employable maturity.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:53 PM
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If I have to be serious, contra a lot of comments above, I wouldn't actually say that all self-described nice guys are assholes. I think they're more likely to be immature. I'd definitely my past self from the relevant period that way. If you think being "nice" is the most interesting thing about you, and important to whether or not you're getting laid? Sounds like a simplistic, juvenile view of things, that's all.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:53 PM
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Man, that is sad about Patrick Brontë outliving his entire family. Deee-pressing.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:55 PM
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Villette is definitely really, really weird. Woozy and unsettling in strange ways, even leaving aside the plot.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:55 PM
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260: Yes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:58 PM
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250: What doesn't come across from the summary is that it's a very witty book. When Jane is a girl, for example, an authority figure says to her that she's a wicked girl and how does she think she's going to avoid hell. Jane's response is "Not die."


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 3:59 PM
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Freaks and Geeks

I guess I remain the only person who found this show acutely unpleasant to watch....


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:02 PM
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Well, go edit the Wikipedia page. I'm not going to start reading whole novels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:03 PM
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I admit, as an acronym it hasn't taken off as I might have hoped.

I was never able to make #OTOM happen, either.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:06 PM
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I just inserted the whole novel into the Wikipedia page. You're welcome.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:07 PM
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105: well, Faust.

Idp, Persuasion, partly because the heroine is old enough to grow up before she's married. Almost anything by CM Yonge, in an enormously gendered and theological way.

Zola's virtuous characters choose impractical loves and die starving freezing crushed shot in the hedge ditch mine rebellion. It doesn't always seem worth it.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:08 PM
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I am definitely on team Villette, all those violent storms welling up from within Lucy and ripping the atmosphere asunder...great stuff.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:10 PM
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Zola also great for high incidence of incest and spontaneous human combustion.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:11 PM
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#OTOM is a thing on Twitter at the moment but I can't figure out what it stands for there.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:14 PM
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Back to the GSF discussion: When a friend of mine comes to town there's always a big reunion of geeky friends, some of whom form a distinct Geek Social Circle, and others who are hangers on or unaffiliated. At the last such gathering, there was one fellow who was waaaaaaay overcompensating for his self-perceived boorishness. Like, he apologized for coming into a room where some other people were hanging out. Exceedingly awkward. I gather he had been behaving badly at some point, and then someone had tried to straighten him out, but his socialization was so crappy that he'd just decided to go in the exact opposite direction.

Then of course there is the young woman in this grouping who has a totally unrequited crush on visiting friend, to the point of saying really creepy, stalkerish Nice Guy (tm) stuff to her while other people are in earshot.

Visiting friend will be coming back in a few weeks. I may just skip the party this time around.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:14 PM
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269: Some kind of pyramid scheme, apparently.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:17 PM
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All I remember about Zola was that it was sort of assumed sex would happen if the woman was attractive enough regardless of whether or not she was married or post-pubescent. Also, I think maybe the one guy had a drinking problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:19 PM
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It was very French.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:20 PM
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Frowner is a glorious torch.

St. John falls back on the neg ("for labor, not for love") and it fails him. Yesss. For examples of how self-destructively selfless the virtuous daughter was supposed to be, try Yonge's The Daisy Chain.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:21 PM
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But the main thrust of the book was successfully getting to employable maturity.

And grasping the opportunities thereof.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:26 PM
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Flirtation is really a delicate tightrope act, suspended above assholery, fraught with emotion.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:28 PM
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Acrobats of love, bay bee.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:29 PM
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The great thing about Zola is the books are just so darn reliable. You cruise along with the usual sex, social climbing, politico-financial corruption, etc, and just when you think "what this book needs is for the hemophiliac child to fall into the fire irons while left alone with the paralyzed but not blind grandmère and bleed to slow death" sure enough, book gets on with it. Zola doesn't waste hemophiliac children, paralyzed grannies, lecherous stepmothers, amnesiac religious maniacs, wily extortionists ... On the down side, they are kind of exhausting.

For the spinster sister gone wonderfully bad, see Lilly Willowes.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:44 PM
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270: wow, after extensive googling, neither can I. Some kind of cult landmark forum thing? Some religious thing? Some kind of management seminar? No idea.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:48 PM
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Lolly, not Lilly.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:49 PM
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"One Team One Mission"?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:50 PM
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Apparently.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:50 PM
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It's often paired with "#ItWorks".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:50 PM
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Aha! Body wrap multilevel marketing scam.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:50 PM
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I've really enjoyed this, but l'm sorry to have annoyed LB. Commenting from a phone is excruciating, though.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:50 PM
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Only Zola I've read is Germinal.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:56 PM
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Ok, but what was its title?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:57 PM
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ahhhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:58 PM
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Unless you've got a long convalescence ahead of you or are planning on being marooned, I'd read Fitzgerald, Mortimer and Townsend Warner before Zola, to be honest.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 4:59 PM
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Hey, this is perfect timing: I just downloaded the entire Rougon-Macquart saga onto my Kindle (in French, natch) and was wondering if the books are actually worth reading for other than anthropological/historical reasons. Seems like the answer is a qualified yes?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 5:07 PM
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As opposed to #OVOR, trending in early 1948.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 5:12 PM
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La bete humaine, which I read in English but whose title the translator kept in French, was pretty great, I thought. I've tried a couple times to read from the start of the Rougon-Macquart cycle but keep timing out in the first novel. I blame Vizetelly.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 5:18 PM
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Josh, I am very sorry to hear about your upcoming marooning, but I trust you will be well rested when eventually rescued. Remember to pack enough sunscreen, and a solar charger for that electronic book!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 5:19 PM
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I read Zola partly as I read SFF, for the worldbuilding. He's much more explicit about material differences & constraints than more "psychologically realist" novelists. There's less inner growth & detail partly because immiseration doesn't allow as much. I don't think this makes it less serious than, say, The Golden Bowl. Also, the physical surroundings are fascinating - the mines, the rural roads through varying geology, housekeeping techniques.

George Gissing's characters are mostly in the narrow, precarious middle class between Zola's poor & the rentiers.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 5:42 PM
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More seriously, there are two basic strategies for Zola reading. 1) anthro-historical interest (germinal, pot bouille, au bonheur des dames, l'assomoir), or 2) flagrant fevered hallucinatory weird (conquête de plassans, le docteur Pascal, le rêve). There's plenty of overlap, obviously, but you get the idea.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 5:45 PM
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What is this I don't even.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:08 PM
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297: the... the hell?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:13 PM
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297: Yowza!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:14 PM
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There should totally be a marijuana store in Colorado called "The Golden Bowl." Whether in Golden, CO or not, doesn't matter.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:16 PM
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297: That is a truly amazing and terrible object.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:18 PM
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The kids will rise up, learning that they must either become a poet or a killer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:21 PM
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The best thing about that is that even though the headline works for literally anyone on earth, ever ("What Elliot Rodger could have learned from author Hildegard of Bingen" "What Elliot Rodger could have learned from Tampa-area insurance executive Steve Rogowski") it's hard to think of a worse choice than Bukowski.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:26 PM
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"What Elliot Rodger could have learned from Dodgers backup catcher Drew Butera."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:29 PM
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Always wear a mask?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:31 PM
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"What Elliot Rodger could have learned from the one-armed man."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:46 PM
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it's hard to think of a worse choice than Bukowski.

What Elliot Roger could have learned from Dr. Lecter.

What Elliot Roger could have learned from Marc Lepine.

What Elliot Roger could have learned from Hitler.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 6:59 PM
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Urple's comment above has got me to thinking. Are the terms "asshole" and "nice guy" primarily about how men (boys) talk to each other about women, in locker rooms and other places where women are not present? Rather than, as seems to be an assumption, descriptive of how the man/boy behaves towards women?

It's no surprise that I'm a nice guy, I don't engage in that sexist objectifying locker room talk everyone says is a bad thing isn't impressing women much.

I mean there no way those guys aren't thinking they're not engaging in sexism and objectivization, because every word in every sentence that includes the words "nice guy" indicates the contrary (except, maybe, "nice" and "guy").


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:01 PM
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It seems entirely fitting that the behavior giving rise to these terms would take place with women off stage, since neither requires or even permits the consideration of women as actors. My only question is whether there's something going on (silently and jealously seething) IRL, or if all the "nice" is solely within the head of the NG.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:12 PM
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308: I've certainly heard male friends use those descriptions as follows: Why do chicks only date assholes? I'm such a nice guy; why can't she see it? Then I'd say something like, I guess she sees something in him you don't. (This is usually followed by a dick joke.) To be fair, I've spent quite a few years as a honorary "cool chick," you know, the one who's not like all the other bitches. (Read with dripping sarcasm.)


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:17 PM
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310: Can you ever sense you're getting through to any of them? I'd expect some to be more amenable to reason than others.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:21 PM
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What Elliot Rodger could have learned from Curtis LeMay.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:27 PM
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It seems entirely fitting that the behavior giving rise to these terms would take place with women off stage

Mme. Merle pointed this out in the other thread, but the degree to which the whole nice guy-PUA-player-asshole conversation happens in the total absence of women seems indicative. You divide up humanity into nice guys, assholes, nice guys who are actually assholes, and then you're done. The actual impact of all this on women is, even in the most well-meaning of dude-involved discussions, an afterthought.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:31 PM
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311: You know, it's been years since I've had that conversation. Most of those guys I'm not in touch with anymore. I think it was more a matter of time than anything I could have said. My favorite was a dear friend pining for years over an unattainable girl named Katja. He's been married to his college sweetheart for over ten years now. They just switched breadwinner roles so he could be a stay-at-home dad to their two boys. I'm so happy he came to his senses. He's Facebook friends with Katja. She's still hot and single, and he can look back and laugh at how silly he was.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:35 PM
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Do they even have this deal in other countries? I guess that show "the Inbetweeners" that I saw a few episodes of was kind of a UK version, though they made pretty clear that all the seemingly self-identified nice guys were pretty much willing to go max asshole.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:39 PM
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314: I'd say he was lucky to have you as a friend, and lucky you didn't treat him as a creep.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:48 PM
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297 is magnificently horrible.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:51 PM
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About the Captain Awkward creepy-guy discussion: while I agree that rape culture is part of the problem, I also feel that there's a massive character flaw on display here. Even if you've been exposed to lots of misogyny in the locker room, an actual event involving your close friends should be enough to snap you out of it. Waving it away so as not to disturb your social life is just cowardly.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 7:57 PM
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|| Anyone want vote for this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOoXJI4vBns |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:11 PM
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316: Kind of you to say so. He's a great guy, and I'm lucky to know him. He was one of the many mopey, lonely guys I was close to, but he was never creepy. It's hard to explain, but he was lonely in an endearing and sheltered way, not in an overstepping kind of way.

318: It's hard to make guys understand when it's easier for them not to. If creepy guy can maintain plausible deniability, each other friend can avoid making waves for just a little longer. I had a roommate who watched her frat brother corner me, grope me, and generally make me hugely uncomfortable. She refused to stop bringing him by for dinner, bringing him to our room, etc. It kept escalating until I made a huge public scene when he managed to squeeze in next to me at cafeteria dinner. He kept grabbing at me, hauling me closer, and I kept telling him to get his hands off me, loudly and clearly. Finally, he grabbed my crotch under the table. I stood up, slapped him, and left. Guess who followed? Nobody. I'd embarrassed them all by making a scene.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:17 PM
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320.2: That's horrible.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:26 PM
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Having skipped around the thread a bit, and realizing that the answer to "Am I the only one who..." is always "NO," am I the only one who knows "nice guy-ism" only through online descriptions?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:30 PM
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322: No.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:47 PM
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her frat brother

Her brother, who's also a frat boy, or she's a member of his fraternity somehow?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 8:50 PM
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He's Facebook friends with Katja. She's still hot and single, and he can look back and laugh at how silly he was. have current pics for the spank bank.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 9:10 PM
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322: Come on, you never knew any guys who always aspired to girls out of their league looks wise and thought that just by virtue of being nice that the smoking hot pussy should fall into their lap?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 9:26 PM
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No. This might be a function of having a very small circle of friends, but none of them is anything like that, and I've never heard any of them complain about someone like that in their circle of friends.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 9:46 PM
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Not so much in my circle of friends as coworkers. I can't think of any offhand in my current gig but I definitely worked with a couple guys like that at Ebay. There's also the guy who was in my wife's geology program who remarked to her a couple times that she had a thing for pretty boys which I am so not except maybe relative to him if we were the only males left on the planet.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 10:03 PM
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324: The latter. My university had what are called professional fraternities, which, unlike social frats, admitted both men and women. This particular one was for architects. There were social ones, too, but those were the traditional men only.

322: I think it's a really common thing for teenage boys. Most that I knew outgrew that stage by the end of college. I think the older ones either are both less common and less vocal to folks who don't seem sympathetic to their woes.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:10 PM
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Yeah, I think of classic Nice-Guyism as mostly associated with high school and (especially) college. The fact that those are social environments where you're surrounded by lots of other people your own age, many of whom are nevertheless very different from you, is probably an important factor. Also, hormones.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-28-14 11:19 PM
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eitherare both less common and less vocal to folks who don't seem sympathetic to their woes. There, that's better.
330 reminds me that college seemed to be when Nice Guys got scarier. Maybe it was hormones, maybe it was precarious mental health. In college, these guys seemed to hang around and hope for a while, then maybe get brave enough to get a straightforward rejection, then react angrily rather than sulking quietly elsewhere. Maybe that was just my experience, but it seemed like the costs of polite rejection went up.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 12:09 AM
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Huh, that's interesting. Probably not hormones, as I'd expect that to be less rather than more of an issue as guys get older. Maybe increased frustration at continuing lack of success? The cultural idea of college as a context where everyone gets laid might be part of it too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 12:24 AM
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332: Huh, I hadn't thought about frustration. Makes sense, though, since the anger seemed at least partially self-directed. I didn't usually stick around long enough to get a good handle on the why. Most of my take home lesson was never to be alone with that person ever again.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 12:37 AM
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As I was going to sleep last night I was trying to think of a really clever comment to make about assholes, attraction, and nice guys...

Then I realized that Skins (UK) Season 1 put it all much much better than I ever could.

The guy who gets all the girls really is genuinely a huge asshole, but is also genuinely magnetic, attractive, and exciting. Even a straight guy can see why girls would want to date him (and it's not "because he's an asshole"). The "nice guy" character really is "nicer" in certain ways, but is also an asshole in his own way. And the viewer can see that his "nice guy"-ing the hot girl is pathetic and weird, and as a viewer you're rooting for him to be with the right girl for him and not the hot girl he can't see past.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 1:15 AM
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re: 315

I think being frustrated at not being with the people you think you should be with is pretty much universal. I've certainly had friends who have been frustrated at what they see as their lack of success with girls/women, and friends who are jealous of what they see as more successful guys.* However, I think the particular package of traits under discussion, I don't really recognise as describing anyone I know or have known. Either the misogynistic element of it, or the self-identification as 'nice' or as morally more worthy or deserving than 'assholes'.

British high schools aren't really like US high schools, if discussion here and pop culture and movies are any kind of guide, and I don't think British universities are necessarily the same either. So, maybe, while some of the same tropes are present, they just don't join up in the same kind of way.

I had friends in my teens who were kind of dicks, who were nonetheless very popular with girls, but, much like has already been described by a few people, it wasn't a mystery why girls liked them. They were fun, and attractive, and even the ways in which they were dicks might have made them interesting.

* as someone who was, I suppose, one of those more 'successful' guys I've had people express that jealousy directly to me, even.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 1:35 AM
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As 97 breaks down, caring about social status is totally reasonable. Maybe in an ideal world, women would care less about social status and more about things like "won't sleep around on me" or "willing to pick me up from the airport, share housework, etc.", but there's no point complaining about other people's preferences.

How about: "willing to treat me like a person with a complex inner life, agency, and desires?" Most women go for men who treat them as humans. There are subcultures where this isn't true, but women don't want to be with a guy who thinks driving her to the airport = blowjob anymore than she wants to be with a guy who thinks spending $$$ on her = blowjob. The transactional nature of sex and the idea that sex is something women give to men as a reward (rather than a mutually enjoyable activity) is the problem, as Arthur Chu points out.

(Arthur Chu is an acquaintance of mine, and I'm extremely thrilled to find out what an awesome person he is).


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 2:00 AM
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I was a little sad that Chu's article has that title and subject matter but never mentions Braid.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 2:21 AM
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I have a former roommate who's a player. The thing is is that my friend absolutely loves women. He has an extreme appreciation for the female form, being in the company of women, and pleasuring a woman. He works on being good in bed by doing things like watching instructional youtube videos, and getting feedback from women and taking it seriously. He spends lots of time grooming, keeps up with fashion, and works to 'improve himself' by honing social skills and developing interesting talents. He also sleeps with any woman who is interested in him and doesn't care if women are "conventionally attractive." He doesn't care about numbers or status at all, but rather sleeps around because he enjoys the process of flirting and hooking up as an end in itself. About 1 of every 5 women he sleeps with is really hot. Other male friends notice the times he hooks up with a really hot woman, and 1) complains that he's a sleazy creeper with underhanded methods, and 2) hot women only go for flash in the pan guys with accents who will break their hearts, not Nice Guys. They miss that women willingly sleep with this guy because he takes women and their pleasure seriously, and works really hard to be good at it. He's not conventionally attractive but has learned how to compensate in other ways.

Men I know who are extremely successful in the bedroom are all like this. They enjoy flirting, they enjoy women, and they enjoy sleeping with women. Women pick up on this. They know it isn't going to be True Love, but that they're going to have fun. Men who see women as status symbols miss that women can often sense this, and sense that hooking up with them is going to suck for the woman.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 2:21 AM
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The player-est guy I ever slept with was organized to forestall the `Walk of Shame'; borrowable clothes, toothbrush, I think he helped comb my hair. In hindsight, I think the modal college guy rather liked sending a girl off looking disheveled as a conquest, ew.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 2:35 AM
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279 is probably the best thing I've read this month, much as 297 is the worst.

I have nothing to say about the substantive issue. It's all too long ago.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 3:06 AM
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I keep scrolling through the comments but after 300+ I am not finding a lot of discussion of "willing to treat me like a person with a complex inner life, agency, and desires." Just a whole bunch of "guys should act like this and not act like thus." Good grooming learn to flirt, etc .

So what do women do to get laid?

What do the women that get laid a lot, by a lot of different partners, do right? (Answer in 336,337? completely symmetrical?)

What are the women who don't get laid doing wrong?

They don't treat guys as having "complex inner life etc?"

How do women feel about losing to their competition?

Etc. This would be interesting.

...

Besides the main plot of "Train Man" the ugly anime nerd totally changing himself to earn the cosmetics spokeswoman; if that is what happened, maybe he just was honestly himself and the super beautiful woman chased and chose the otaku geek. whatever...there are at least two other subplots. And the side characters and stories (and there are more) are much of what makes the series funny and entertaining.

1) Nerd has competition:good looking suave businessman who tries to woo and fails cosmetics spokesperson mostly by pushing his fantasies onto her:moonlight drives, complicated cute proposals.

2) More fun is the young woman "player" and friend of the nerd. As a general rules, she has about 2-3 different "conquests" per episode, usually her bosses, and changes jobs three times in the show.

The series ends with a restaurant full of men in suits, 40-50 men, suddenly discovering they all have in common that she dumped them.

But it doesn't show how she does it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 3:33 AM
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If the 2nd interpretation sounds implausible, all I can say is that to a large extent the beyond supermodel, and a cosmetics spokesperson really usually is, is for the most part the initiator and aggressor in the relationship.

It is partially explained by her back story: she was with a studly high-management dude for two years: he gave her a ring, fucked her for two years, and then told her was married with two kids. In addition, another side story is her parent's divorce, as her father moves onto trophy second wife. She has trust issues.

So maybe besides nerd's other qualities, and it is overtly discussed, she wanted someone who wouldn't lie and cheat. Someone who would be really appreciative.

She is on the mousy quiet passive side of the scale, bright and educated but just an office lady and not at all likely to be an independent businesswoman or anything, and of course aging out of prime marriageability by Japan standards.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:01 AM
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||

This sequence of photos is pretty great:

http://ceevee5.tumblr.com/post/83716684730/blvcknvy-licia-ronzulli-member-of-the-european

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/10461357/In-pictures-MEP-Licia-Ronzullis-daughter-Vittoria-in-Strasbourg-parliament.html?frame=2739798
>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:07 AM
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They really are -- the first few especially.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:11 AM
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The Telegraph's caption on this one also made me chuckle:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/10461357/In-pictures-MEP-Licia-Ronzullis-daughter-Vittoria-in-Strasbourg-parliament.html?frame=2739788


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:17 AM
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What Elliot Rodger could have learned from reading Elliot Rodger.

What Elliot Rodger could have learned from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

What Elliot Rodger could have learned from reading Unfogged.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:24 AM
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I have a very soft spot for Licia Ronzulli. It's a pity she's in Berlusconi's party. But she seems to do usefulish stuff independently of that.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:46 AM
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Those pictures are great. As an American, I resent both her ability to do that, and the fact that both the mom and the child are more chic than I or my children will ever be.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:47 AM
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348. I'm guessing that legally a congresswoman could take her baby into the House any time she wanted. However she might be cited for child abuse if she did.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:49 AM
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Exactly right. Legally, she could, as long as she wanted to be That Woman and endure one billion questions and articles about what it all means and what it has all come to.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:59 AM
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And you don't think Ronzulli took any shit for it, until she persisted and people got used to it?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:05 AM
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I actually don't know, but I'm always happy to hear that Europe isn't quite as enlightened or as topless as we believe over here.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:14 AM
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People here have talked about being worried that they'll accidentally say something in real life that only makes sense in an Unfogged context, and that sounds very weird in isolation. "Enlightened topless Europe" is the one that scares me as something I might really say -- I figure I've got three syllables to save myself if I hear it starting to come out of my mouth when I'm actually trying to talk to sensible people about the social welfare state.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:19 AM
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I'd think that one would be broadly understood by anyone who read The Onion.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:23 AM
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I think you're Ok, LB.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:23 AM
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It's a fight that's been going on for a while. Oliver Cromwell's three year old daughter once wandered into a meeting of the Council of State and climbed on his knee. And when people protested, he said something along the lines of, if you want to say anything you can't say in front of this child, I don't want to hear it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:23 AM
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Enchanted pwned New Mexico.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:25 AM
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Oh, you thought LB was just going to take your word for it?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:32 AM
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No one I know hasn't read that article.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:36 AM
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Is "enlightened topless Europe" an Unfogged joke? I didn't realize, which means I probably have already said it.

Italy is probably overall less enlightened than the US, hence Berlusconi. The enlightened part of Europe is too cold for toplessness. It's all a lie.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:46 AM
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359: I hadn't. I thought "Enlightened topless Europe" was an Unfogged joke. Today I Learned...

322
Having skipped around the thread a bit, and realizing that the answer to "Am I the only one who..." is always "NO," am I the only one who knows "nice guy-ism" only through online descriptions?

Lots of people have already chimed in explaining the idea in various ways, so I'll just link to XKCD. This one is relevant too. Like I said, I'd say I used to be a Nice Guy. I think it was mostly a phase I grew out of (which involved more than just the passage of time), but some guys get stuck in it a lot longer. I know a guy now who has elements of it and he's in his late 30s or early 40s. Not nearly as bad as what people have been talking about here (at least, not as far as I know, but it's the kind of thing I wouldn't know about, isn't it), but enough that I'm not surprised he has been single for years.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:06 AM
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359: englihtened, topless Pauline Kael.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:06 AM
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I'm sure this has been said before, if not here then elsewhere on this evergreen topic, but mood, depression if you will, is what I think lies behind most mopeyness.

I'm talking about mild degrees, responsive to situations and environments, not something clinical.

The change in outlook is remarkable seen from a fairly postive place. Only a few notches on the scale, well within normal functionality, and I lack all sense of self-confidence. My many achievements, my happy relationships, including romantic ones, all seem like a dream, like they happened to somebody else, and may never return. I've lost the trail, forgotten the secret.

In just the last few weeks, for instance, probably with the coming of Spring finally to this place, I've noticed a mood upswing, and with it a tendency toward easy, pleasurable flirting. Just like that, I might as well be a different person, although I'm not.

This factor must be at work on teenagers and young college students, and if it still has such effects on me, after many years as an adult, it must be worse on those who haven't been through it before.

Even before I had any success socially or sexually, mood swings made all the difference in how the world looked, felt and consequently how people responded to me.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:19 AM
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I did know it was from the Onion, but I've never encountered it as a catchphrase other than here, so I'd expect it to throw people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:41 AM
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I'd seen the article in 355, but I don't think I'd ever before read past the headline. The article is pretty persuasive.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:49 AM
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The Onion lost its edge when it left Wisconsin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:51 AM
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Italy is probably overall less enlightened than the US, hence Berlusconi.

I read somewhere semi-reputable that 95% of Italian men don't know how to operate a washing machine.

The enlightened part of Europe is too cold for toplessness. It's all a lie

That's why they have saunas.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:01 AM
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353 I think NMM would probably be the worst one. Just imagine trying to explain, one day, 'Hey, no more masturbating to Dick Cheney' to your colleagues.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:01 PM
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And that one really is local to here -- spun off from a Savage Love column, but wouldn't have been recognizable from it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:03 PM
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Didn't one of our commenters assert here that Europe is no longer topless? That is, that it's no longer considered cool for women to go topless at the beach. I remember being super disappointed.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:15 PM
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Last summer on the cote d'azur there seemed to be less than I remembered - maybe one in five at most. But I spent very little time by or on beaches and most were very urban, e.g. downtown Nice.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:30 PM
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The enlightened part of Europe is too cold for toplessness.

What, like the Swedes and Danes never go on vacation?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:40 PM
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I'm trying to think of a way to research the "is toplessness still a big thing on European beaches" question at work without getting in trouble.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:44 PM
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Google it.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:47 PM
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Yahoo Answers, my usual go-to source for tough research questions, is providing ambiguous answers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:49 PM
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One guy says "Less nowadays than used to be the case. It tends to be older women - for younger women thong bikinis are the in thing." Hmmm. This seems sort of nonresponsive:

It all depends on how religious the area is. Honestly, it's nice but it can also be really distracting. If you're a pro and not a loser, you want to touch, not just look, and you're only get to do that with some serious legwork as a foreigner. You get to see what you're getting, but make sure there are no brothers or snotty girlfriends around, because that is the quickest way that you won't be getting any.
From what I'm reading the younger women are more self-conscious now than they used to be. I do find it kind of inspiring, kind of like extra fuel for the game, but don't think it means you're in, because it doesn't.

Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:53 PM
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I don't remember thong bikinis from last summer. In my childhood you would occasionally see a dude wearing a thong on French beaches. And they guy you quoted sounds very on thread topical.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:57 PM
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Relevant.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:01 PM
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That provides NO relevant information. Where can I find serious research on this topic??


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:03 PM
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Could Liberal Dude go to one of those beaches with blinding himself like Oedipus?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:19 PM
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I was in Nice for a little while in the late 90s doing a French language program and it was rumored that there were parts of the beach where toplessness was more common than elsewhere, but that at some point in the past toplessness was more generally distributed. Actually, I think the rumors were confirmed but what it meant was that there were places where women were tanning their backs lying face down and were topless to prevent tan lines.

It was winter/spring most of the time I was there and only warming up around when I left. I don't remember seeing much toplessness but there were a few women who walked around the "normal" parts of the beach topless. Most people I think would have associated them with the word "enhanced" before thinking of the word "enlightened".


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:25 PM
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In the eighties, based on a couple stays in the south of France and a zillion trips to the 'beaches' on the Lac d'Annecy I'd estimate that about half the women went topless. Same was true on the beaches in Corfu, including the Romandie girls in my summer camp which surprised me a bit since on the lake Geneva beaches toplessness was much rarer. Croatia in the nineties had less toplessness but sometimes it seemed like every other 'beach' was nude. Also no crowds in Croatia then, what with the wars and such, though by the time I was there the Croatian part of the Wars of Yugoslav Secession had ended.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:37 PM
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368. I'd take it if it meant the bastard was dead.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 3:13 AM
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