Re: Mr. Robinson

1

Why should she be told that he's bisexual?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 10:51 AM
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Mexican standoff, meet the unspeakable vice of the Greeks!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 10:57 AM
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It's the kind of thing you'd generally mention to someone you were marrying, personal history-wise. If you're still in the closet to someone, that's a signal that there's something a bit guarded about the relationship, and I'd think you'd want to resolve that before marrying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 10:57 AM
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2: I did see anything about inability to collect taxes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:00 AM
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But why? Presumably he won't be having sex with men henceforth, any more than he'll be having sex with other women (assuming a more or less standard marital arrangement, and if he does want to have sex with men/other women, that seems worth bringing up apart from his bisexuality). It certainly seems like a reasonable thing to tell one's fiancée but if a body doesn't I'm not sure I'd fault said body.

I'm totally willing to be persuaded otherwise here, I was just a bit surprised by heebie's statement.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:02 AM
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6

Mostly, what I thought is "Apparently he has a type."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:02 AM
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Moby doesn't give some fucks about polarity.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:02 AM
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Her father is a male influence she is growing out of, and yours is a new sphere she's about to step into

wat


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:04 AM
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I fear Greeks, even when they don't swing both ways.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:04 AM
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What 3 said. Kind of a big secret to be keeping from a spouse. And that he is uncomfortable telling her is a bad sign.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:04 AM
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11

He doesn't say he's uncomfortable telling her that he's bi.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:05 AM
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3: For the sake of argument, gender is just another dimension of the guy's history of banging people. Unless they'd discussed every prior bangueur or bangueuse in detail, the question going forward is more: supposing monogamy is important to them, will he be monogamous, which isn't directly related to bisexuality vs monosexuality. If he is monogamous, what's it matter whether the people he isn't banging are male or female?

Now, on the other hand, having banged someone's progenitor...


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:06 AM
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nosflwned. Oh well.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:07 AM
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"Uh, honey? The bad news is we're both about to be having some daddy issues. The worse news is that they're all about the same daddy."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:09 AM
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5: The point is not so much why would you tell someone you were going to marry about your sexual orientation, but why wouldn't you? It's a fairly large part of one's personal history and identity, going beyond who one might be actually planning to have sex with in the near future. Is he planning to spend the rest of his life not mentioning old boyfriends, or feigning lack of interest when someone posts a particularly fetching picture of a half-dressed man with a cat on a leash on FaceBook? And if he is, why? Because he thinks knowing he's bi will upset his fiancee to the point that it's going to damage the relationship? If that's the case, I think that indicates that the relationship is on a problematic basis that should probably be explored.

Tl:dr -- He might not be morally required to disclose, but the fact that he felt motivated to keep it under wraps points to a problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:09 AM
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what's it matter whether the people he isn't banging are male or female?

"I'm afraid we have no gigolos today; would you prefer your monogamy with no courtesans?"


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:09 AM
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I actually wouldn't worry about confessing to having had sex with the father. I mean, it sounds as if it was really casual, not dating or anything, at which point it seems as if would have potential for freaking her out disproportionately to its actual emotional importance to the fiance or the father. (Could you say the same about his bisexuality? Sort of, but if his being bi is going to freak her out disproportionately, I think she's a bad person for a bi person to marry.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:15 AM
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The idea the he has had more female partners than male doesn't sit very well with the odds of happening to date the daughter of a guy he met on a cruising site. Unless it is a pull to characteristics found in that family, as mentioned in #6.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:16 AM
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18: I think one should hold off from drawing that conclusion until we know absolute numbers.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:17 AM
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My guess on that discrepancy would be that he's counting 'partners' as 'people I actually dated, rather than casual pickups', and that if he were reporting number of distinct sex partners, the number would flip. But that's pure guessing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:18 AM
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It could also just be a weird coincidence!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:21 AM
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It might be a weird coincidence.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:26 AM
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The fact that he met the father on a cruising site, and that he doesn't mention it as a freakish coincidence (that is, there's nothing in the letter mentioning "What are the odds, out of the very few partners I ever met through a site like that..." leans in the direction of my interpretation. Nothing's certain, and I'm certainly stereotyping here, but I'm pretty comfortable with my guess.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:26 AM
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But, I'm professionally committed to the idea that what has happened bears some relationship to the odds of it having happened.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:27 AM
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20 is indeed what I was wondering about. Because it doesn't seem like it would be at all compatible with marrying somebody who didn't know you were bisexual.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:29 AM
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But also, why would he mention that in the letter? It's a letter to an advice column, not a submission to Modern Love.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:29 AM
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27

He should sleep with his intended's mother and then get mom's opinion as a tie breaker.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:31 AM
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Oh wow I clicked through and this Mariella Frostrup person (she's famous for something else, right?) sucks. "Bisexual predlicition" for one thing is an idiotic turn of phrase. Also[ blah blah, hand-wavey argument about do people actually present their entire selves to partners that I don't entirely feel like making because honestly it's pretty clear that the guy's sexuality is a big enough deal to him that it should have been brought up.] And again, "Are you so confident that you have been reinvented and that this chapter isn't just on pause?" is not something she'd ask a heterosexual despite him having had a history of sleeping with lots of people and reinventing himself as sleeping with only one person.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:33 AM
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It's a weird enough thing to happen that I'd think you'd naturally mention the circumstances, telling the story. I mean, if his number of sex partners in the last ten years is, say, 25 women and ten men (or anything lower than that on either side), then that's a hell of a freak coincidence, and if a freak coincidence hits you in an area where it's a big enough deal to your life that you're considering walking away from "the woman of your dreams", I think you'd be very likely to bring up the cosmic injustice of it all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:36 AM
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Everybody just assumes heterosexual relationships are going to fail anyway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:37 AM
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31

I assume "Mariella Frostrup" is a pseud.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:39 AM
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32

I think you're making a lot of assumptions about how this dude should have written his formally boring letter to an advice columnist.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:39 AM
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It was going to be "Frostrump" but the editor chickened out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:40 AM
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And again, "Are you so confident that you have been reinvented and that this chapter isn't just on pause?" is not something she'd ask a heterosexual despite him having had a history of sleeping with lots of people and reinventing himself as sleeping with only one person.

I dunno, depending on how you define 'lots'. That is, rewrite the letter to be all hetero -- "I slept with her mother, who I met on a cruising website" -- and make the secret not bisexuality, but a practice of lots of semi-anonymous casual sex. Reinventing oneself as monogamous? Sure. Being invested in not mentioning one's past sex life to one's future monogamous partner? Would make me think immediately that part of the reason for keeping secrets about the past would be a explicit or implicit plan to keep similar secrets about the future.

I don't think there's a clean line here that I'd want to draw, exactly -- I don't think you're required to fess up about everything you've ever done to a partner. But keeping secrets about the kinds of things you were likely to do in general seems really off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:44 AM
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35

Is he likely to cheat on her with a man? Is that the idea?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:46 AM
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36

That's not my primary guess -- my primary guess is that he thinks telling her he's bi will freak her out to the point that it might screw up the relationship. But if that's the case, then good lord should he not be marrying her, because either she's a terrible person, or he thinks she is, both of which are bad news.

But "I have a vision of this relationship where I can go on quietly meeting men on the side" also seems like a possibility.

I can't think of a good third reason to keep the secret: the bad third reason is that he thinks she'll freak, but he's wrong, but he could straighten that out by telling her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:51 AM
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37

It occurs to me that from the letter we don't actually know that his fiance doesn't know he's bi.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:54 AM
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38

Oh wait it's implicit in the father's request, nevermind.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:54 AM
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39

(And, of course, there is a strong possibility that the whole weird coincidence is explained by the whole thing being fiction, at which point no one's motivations have to make sense.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:55 AM
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I'm a bit more curious about what is up with the dad in this situation. I mean, clearly he wants the guy to disclose the whole "casual sex with dudes" part of his past to the fiancee, which is absolutely the right thing to do. But, well, he's having casual sex with dudes while still married to the fiance's mother right? It could be a totally cool arrangement between the parents and all, but given that this guy is keeping it a secret from his fiancee I'm not sure how likely that is. I'm also not sure what the deal with the pictures is - presumably the dad is threatening to out this guy to his fiancee? That sounds like it would be a super uncomfortable conversation for everyone involved.

I suspect the answer to "what the hell kind of coincidence is that?" might just be "it's a medium/smallish city/town" though. In, e.g., New York the coincidence would be astonishing but in a smallish (cough-redstate-cough) city I can see it being way more believable that the local population using cruising websites might be small enough that it would be a low but reasonable possibility.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:58 AM
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41

the whole weird coincidence is explained by the whole thing being fiction, at which point no one's motivations have to make sense.

What do you know about fiction that Tom Clancy doesn't?

(Googling "The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense." shows it attributed all over the place to Mark Twain. Because of course.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 11:59 AM
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42

The father isn't out to the mother, because he's in a standoff with the fiance where the fiance is threatening to out the father to the mother if the father outs the fiance.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 12:01 PM
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43

INTERVIEWER

Do you not care whether your stories make sense?

MATHEWS

I don't say there is no sense or no meaning. There is, but it's not one that exists outside of the work. Robert Louis Stevenson--and he's not exactly considered a modernist writer--once wrote: "The novel, which is a work of art, exists, not by its resemblances to life, which are forced and material, as a shoe must consist of leather, but by its immeasurable difference from life, which is both designed and significant, and is both the method and the meaning of the work." For me, that's it. He's really my favorite prose writer of all. His pithiness and efficiency--he says an awful lot in that one sentence.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 12:02 PM
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44

Oh right. The main guy on Coupling had a lifelong crush on Mariella Frostrup, I think.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 12:05 PM
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45

This situation becomes even clearer if you remove the family relationship: "I once slept with a person who is emotionally and otherwise significant to my fiancee. She has known him all her life, and we are likely to go on seeing this person at important occasions (and possibly on a more everyday basis) for many years to come. Should I tell her?"

Phrased that way, it's extremely difficult for me to think of a reason to say no.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 12:12 PM
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46

||
Now that we're past forty comments I'd just like to say that I saw Roar last night and it is amazing. What surprised me most is that the camera work really is well done. There were more than a few shots that were genuinely impressive, which is probably the biggest contributing factor to its insanely jarring tonal shifts. Suddenly jolting from "light hearted slapstic" to "sheer terror" is a lot more disconcerting when the filming is good enough that the terror is really, really scary looking.
|>


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 12:15 PM
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45: Right. It doesn't strike me that the bisexuality is an issue as much as the fact that, well, also YOUR DAD.

It appears from the letter that the dad wants the letter-writer to disclose his bisexuality without disclosing that YOUR DAD was involved.

That said, any number of people marry someone whose friend they've slept with, and I wouldn't necessarily say that that must be disclosed. It's perfectly possible to close a chapter, and indeed to virtually forget that it ever happened.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 12:38 PM
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45: Makes sense, but "I once slept with a person who is emotionally and otherwise significant to you" is probably easier to actually say when it isn't unavoidably coupled with "BTW, your dad has a whole other life that he has keep hidden from your mom for years."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 1:00 PM
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49

Anyway, at a certain point maybe you just shouldn't have a relationship because the necessary disclosure is too similar to Chinese cell phone erotica.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 1:03 PM
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50

To 28.last: whether or not a womanizer can settle down is a common trope; it's the very opposite of something that no one would ask if it were a het thing.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 1:45 PM
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51

What I learned from "Chasing Amy" is that someone's going to decide that the only solution here is a threesome.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 1:49 PM
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52

I learned to never go to a movie that has anything to do with comic books.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 2:00 PM
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53

Anyway, that 1/2 plus seven rule really seems like a great idea.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 2:01 PM
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54

42 is certainly the impression we're supposed to have, but all we know is that he asked the father if he was out to his wife, not what the answer was or whether there was one. Even assuming the answer is no, than the father is acting responsibly at some risk to himself to prevent his daughter marrying him without knowing, and accepting. The father knows he risks exposure, out of spite if nothing else, if the disclosure goes badly. But if the disclosure goes badly, well then it was necessary.

But just because there's been a question without an answer doesn't mean the wife doesn't know. We have seen that parents may keep secrets from children.

By some alchemy I've become a guy sympathetic to fathers and their problems.

50 is certainly right. I think I can remember an exchange with mcmc about a long-forgotten pop song, Lou Christie's Lightnin' Strikes that raise the issue with an unreliable narrator. (My 13-yr-old self didn't use that terminology but understood the concept)


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 3:19 PM
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re: 44

She's not unattractive, and has a famously sexy voice.*

Used to be married to Richard Jobson. Rugged looking Scottish ex-punk [were The Skids technically punk?] singer, and film-maker/tv presenter.

* although to the extent that I have a type, she's not mine.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 3:22 PM
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43: Possibly the greatest of my UofC professors, which is saying something, the late Robert Streeter, was a champion of Stevenson, of not only his artistry but depth and relevance.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 3:27 PM
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57

I've always wondered how she got the advice column job though. Think she just thought it would be fun.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 3:32 PM
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57:

I didn't spot any red dragons on those Belgian hills; where should I have been looking?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 3:45 PM
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re: 57

I guess it's all insider stuff. Someone I used to know slightly used to be the TV reviewer for the Independent, having previously been a cartoonist, among other things, and then she had one of those 'columns' --- like Ronson used to have, or Tim Garland has now in the Graun.* She got pretty much all of those jobs off the back of crying on R\ osie B\0yc0tt's shoulder when she cut her cartoon.

* that may be enough to identify who I mean.
** her comic was quite good.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 3:49 PM
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I'm sure I could work it out. One of my favourite "it's who you know"s is the story of Dr Sarah Jarvis, who seemingly became a media medic from being constantly mentioned in Matthew Norman's Diary of a Hypochondriac.

Idp - I think C checked the tv coverage and we were nowhere to be seen on the Kwaremont. We went to Paris-Roubaix last weekend - no idea if we got on camera, but C wrote a nice words and pictures thing here https://medium.com/@TheWorstTrip/paris-roubaix-2015-cd139b1c8587 .


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 4:03 PM
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The mexican standoff itself sounds pretty ridiculous when you stop to think of it, too. There's no clear-cut continuation for the dad showing his daughter naked pictures of the guy. He's going to have a story for that and it'll sound weird, and the guy will have a story too. Or was he counting on the fact that the guy, even without any reverse leverage, would decide to spare his fiancée what he'd have to tell about the origin of the photos? So how do the fact that the guy has photos of his own change anything?


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 4:06 PM
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62

-m +M.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 4:08 PM
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63

50: I guess I'll amend that to: it might be asked of a heterosexual man who had slept with lots of women, but is somehow a natural question if he slept with even one man.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 4:48 PM
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61 - I was wondering about the photos too, but depending on the cruising site maybe that's where the photos are from? That way either one could, theoretically, make up some story about how they learned that the other one frequented that site and, even if the profile is deleted, prove it with the photos?


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 4:54 PM
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I realize this is the cheating-on-your-spouse-is-just-like-forgetting-to-empty-the-dishwasher-that-one-time blog, but of course he has to tell her, otherwise he's starting his life with her by keeping a secret from her, and not just an I-put-glue-on-a-caterpillar-when-I-was-a-kid secret, but a secret about his relationship with her father, who they'll presumably interact with. The answer would be precisely the same if he'd slept with her mother.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 5:15 PM
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66

This thread has a nice flavor of Unfogged Classic.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 5:32 PM
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67

He needs to tell her he's bisexual because presumably he's going to continue to incorporate men into his fantasy life, and while that need not be a thing that they share unless they see fit, it shouldn't be a guilty/shameful secret either. You don't get to know every last detail of your partner's fantasy life, but you should know the broad strokes as a matter of basic compatibility - he shouldn't be terrified that you'd stumble across his browser history, and who knows, maybe you'd be in 7th heaven to be told.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 5:41 PM
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Asilon, that's a nice write up of the race.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 5:44 PM
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You don't get to know every last detail of your partner's fantasy life, but you should know the broad strokes as a matter of basic compatibility

He could share notes with this guy!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 5:58 PM
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The more I think about it, the more I think he should just run. Behind the veil of ignorance, I think most people would choose not to be told that, if sex with their parents was Kevin Bacon, they had only one degree of separation. Running away is the only way that can be done without making things worse.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 6:04 PM
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The link in 69 is really something.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 6:11 PM
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72

It is. That's why we need to stop with anecdotes and go back to consider this from a Rawlsian perspective.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 6:22 PM
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73

My ex was convinced that her ex had never masturbated to thoughts of anyone but her during the two years they were together. I didn't argue too much but... seems unlikely.

Do we think the dad is issuing this ultimatum because consciously or unconsciously he wants to scuttle the marriage?


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 6:24 PM
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I think the dad maybe is aware that his marriage was suboptimal as far as his wife was concerned and he doesn't want his daughter in the position his wife is in now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 6:27 PM
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75

Which means he needs to read more Rawls, plus maybe Kant.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 6:33 PM
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63: You're absolutely right that there are people who would make that distinction (one would only worry about whether a leopard can change his spots in terms of het fucking around if there were lots of it, while one would worry about bisexuality if it were just once), and someone who would make that distinction is a homophobic jerk, but I wouldn't call the columnist one on the basis of this letter -- the writer has been actively bi for a ten year period, met her dad on a cruising site, and got around enough that having done her dad wasn't an impossibly unlikely coincidence. Doesn't mean he's not going to be monogamous going forward, but this doesn't sound at all like an isolated experiment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 6:47 PM
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73, 74: That's what it sounds like to me -- the father has been cheating on his wife long-term, and doesn't want his daughter in the same sort of marriage, so he's trying to either scuttle it or compel disclosure. Doesn't mean he's right about the letter-writer, but the father's motivations seem clear.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 6:49 PM
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I'm wondering if there's any "having him around reminds me of what I can't have" or more likely "it's an awkward situation for me and I'd rather he just go away"ishness happening on dad's part. We can't really tell from here but in his situation I'd be worried about keeping that out of my own motivations.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 7:13 PM
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79

If the younger man does go away, he will have absolutely no reason to keep the dad's secret.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 7:26 PM
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80

Can't comment on this thread b/c I've been tasked with the litigation risk memo for the Lifetime movie.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 7:28 PM
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81

This should be a play and it go to the end of the second act with dad and the daughter's fiancee come to some kind of agreement to keep things hidden. The second act should open with the mom stumbling on to the secret by making a typo when searching the internet for how to make grinder.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 7:29 PM
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82

81 before seeing 80. Because I'm all about the slightly classier than basic cable.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 7:31 PM
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83

We could have k-sky write the script.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 8:50 PM
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84

43: How to get over, how to escape from, the besotting particularity of fiction. "Roland approached the house; it had green doors and window blinds; and there was a scraper on the upper step." To hell with Roland and the scraper! Yours ever, R.L.S. (to Henry James, 1893)


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 9:09 PM
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85

84 is eliciting a !!! reaction from me. Stevenson, spiritual brother of Valéry, opponent of Marquises who go out at five?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 9:40 PM
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I suppose persons who work on the relevant period have been all over this, as evidenced by lourdes' having the letter to hand. Would've been a nice addition to (aspects of) Josipovici's argument in What Ever Happened to Modernism?, though.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 9:43 PM
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I know of two older studies on the interesting and underreported subject of proto-Modernist theory of fiction in late Victorian times, which go by the gripping titles of The Theory of the Novel in England, 1850-1870 and English Criticism of the Novel, 1865-1900.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 9:51 PM
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I haven't read that Josipovici title, but I think a difficulty with modernist exceptionalism in general is that the movement has a lot of component threads and any of them can easily be followed outside the bounds of modernism proper. Backwards in England is just one direction I happen to know about, IYKWIM.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 04-19-15 10:03 PM
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Borges was a big Stevenson fan.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/books/review/Galchen-t.html


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 5:36 AM
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90

Blume sent me a bunch of extracts from foundational essays on German Romanticism (in order to try and edumacate me) and they seemed -- to uninformed me -- confusingly modernist. Maybe that's another thread! Or maybe I'm missing the point! Help me, Apparition Boat!

Matters concerning speech and writing are genuinely strange; proper conversation is a mere play of words. We can only marvel at the laughable error people make--believing that they speak about things. No one knows precisely what is peculiar to language, that it concerns itself merely with itself. For that reason, it is a wonderful and fertile mystery--that when someone speaks merely in order to speak, one precisely then expresses the most splendid and most original truths. Yet if one wishes to speak of something determinate, then temperamental language has them say the most laughable and perverse things.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 5:44 AM
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I'm a big McLean Stevenson fan.


Posted by: Miby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 6:06 AM
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Who knew that was still here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 6:12 AM
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60: Enjoyed C's voice in the Paris-Roubaix writeup - reminds me of Will McLewin's In Monte Viso's Horizon. And the pics are fun too. I was amused by the dilemma in the OP - I remember asking ms bill's dad if I could call him by his first name, and I wasn't even on a cruising site.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 6:12 AM
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Apparently, I'm going to have to leave a bunch of comments under my proper pseud before the pseudo-pseudo drops back down the list.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 6:20 AM
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OT: Based on how breathlessly she rushed into the office, I think maybe my coworker thinks that (A) I know when she is supposed to get into the office and the (B) I would care if regardless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 6:22 AM
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95: Do you think maybe she's been hooking up with your mom and feels awkward?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 6:26 AM
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She might just generally be a person who rushes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 6:27 AM
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Russians don't insist you use person-first language, I don't think, though it's nice you're dialing back some of your prior bigotry.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 6:30 AM
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Russian doesn't even have a word for "person who is entitled to park somewhere I want to park or where I think that I or someone I know might want to park someday."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 6:49 AM
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99: khuligan.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:13 AM
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100: if you allow me 2 words "nyekulturni khuligan". My transliteration might not be standard.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:15 AM
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||

I just turned in my final assignment of law school. That was a quick three years.

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:24 AM
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Congratulations. You're only one test away from being part of the problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:25 AM
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Unless you've also got finals to take or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:29 AM
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102: Wow, that was quick! Congratulations!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:29 AM
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104: Nope, no finals: all of my classes this semester had papers and/or oral presentations. I do have to attend a few more classes yet.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:33 AM
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but is somehow a natural question if he slept with even one man.

My wife is unaware of my one incident with another man (who was still a friend I saw when we met), although it was of this type, and so passive.


Posted by: Abraham Lincoln | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:34 AM
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107: Has she ever asked and if she did would you tell her the truth? It's always come up naturally in my relationships, but I think that's probably less true when both partners are at least presumed to be straight.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:37 AM
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At least one male commenter has told a similar story in his own persona, although I don't think he mentioned whether or not his wife's heard about it. That strikes me as the kind of thing one could either mention to a partner or not -- not a major life event or part of one's identity, and might possibly be given disproportionate importance by the partner.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:40 AM
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It's probably a sign that you are an attractive man. At least, no random blow-job fairy of either sex ever paid a visit to me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:45 AM
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Congratulations, Stanley! It is disconcerting that this blog keeps producing lawyers, but I guess you should still be proud of yourself.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:47 AM
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89. Also Nabokov, I liked the Stevenson chapter in his Lectures on Literature.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 7:54 AM
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I was thinking about this, and thinking that 'of course she should know', but then remembered that about four or five of the women I've gone out with have also had sex with women. Of those, a couple I knew before we went out, or they told me almost immediately. One, it came up in some conversation or other quite a while after we went out, but was clearly never intended to be a 'secret'. And one, I didn't find out for ages, and maybe she'd have never told me.

And in _none_ of those cases was it a big deal that they hadn't told me. Even the ones where I didn't know for ages. They hadn't wanted to tell me, and I was completely OK with that.

So I was wondering why I'd think it should be otherwise in this case. First, I think our society is a lot less comfortable with male bisexuality and homophobia runs much deeper there, so maybe the presumption is there that it is somehow a bigger deal, although of course it shouldn't be. But second, is the thing several people have brought up above. It sounds like this is an on-going thing for the bloke concerned, or at least something that has been a part of his life for a long time. And that seems different from just not telling someone that you slept with a few guys in college, or whatever.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 8:09 AM
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If it were just "Some random dood" there would be a case for telling her. But her father? That could not possibly end well.

My guess as to the father's motivation is that he would like to come out to his family but fears if he does he will be immediately and permanently reassigned the position of Worst Person in History by his wife and daughter. This way he can hope to have company in that role. I still don't see the upside for the son-out-law


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 8:18 AM
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I haven't read that Josipovici title, but I think a difficulty with modernist exceptionalism in general is that the movement has a lot of component threads and any of them can easily be followed outside the bounds of modernism proper

I enjoyed it a great deal (though D/vid H/lls teased it a bit for its incredible moralism), but it's certainly true that he isn't terribly concerned about staying true to "modernism proper". It's interesting, or was to me, a neophyte in such matters.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 8:35 AM
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108: As my pseud should make clear, of course I'd be honest... if asked.

I don't think I ever lied about it, purely omitted it. Mostly because of the ongoing socialization, and I didn't want that to get weird. He left town years ago, so that's moot, but we're way past sexual history as a topic.

109: Probably me, I was on the fence about going presidential.


Posted by: Abraham Lincoln | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 8:48 AM
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And that seems different from just not telling someone that you slept with a few guys in college, or whatever.

Yeah, exactly. Some minor bit of history is one thing, but ongoing cruising that's going to stop, honest....

I certainly take the point where he doesn't want it to be a bigger deal for her than it is for him, but I'm having trouble believing that it's truly not a big deal for him.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 8:53 AM
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It is a little weird that I've never heard of a man worrying that his bisexual female partner would leave him for a woman. I think there's an assumption that bisexual men are closet cases and bisexual women were just messing around but will always come back to heterosexuality in the end. If you have any interest at all in peens, that's your main interest. (I also think there's a lot of not-really-conscious internalized homophobia among women that makes it very easy to believe a queer relationship isn't real or serious or, in fact, okay, no matter what society tells you. So the reaction isn't "OMG you're a homo!" but "you had girlfriends? That is literally nothing of significance;" it's still a form of disapproval. My anxiety levels when I was walking around in public with other women were so much higher; it was really soothing when suddenly I could hop back in the closet and enjoy all the benefits of largely unquestioned straightness. I am going to post this one not-very-deep thing here and leave the subject alone, though, because it depresses the fuck out of me.)

Total failure of empathy with this guy actually wanting to get married under the circumstances. I simply cannot imagine. It's really, truly okay not to get married!


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 9:00 AM
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I do so wish there were a way to quickly delete these flights of earnest puerile idiocy.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 9:05 AM
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No, lurid, that's a very real thing and what ttaM is getting at is also meaningful. I think it's definitely worth hearing from people who've experienced that.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 9:07 AM
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Total failure of empathy with this guy actually wanting to get married under the circumstances. I simply cannot imagine. It's really, truly okay not to get married!

I'm curious about the ages of everybody involved. I assume the guy is older than his fiancee, but I keep picturing him as Connor from How To Get Away With Murder.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 9:10 AM
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So I was wondering why I'd think it should be otherwise in this case. First, I think our society is a lot less comfortable with male bisexuality and homophobia runs much deeper there, so maybe the presumption is there that it is somehow a bigger deal, although of course it shouldn't be.

Mmm. I'm trying to unpack my reaction, which was obviously that he should tell his fiancee about his bisexuality or he shouldn't marry her*, to figure out if I'm buying into the homophobia/discomfort with male bisexuality thing. The first part of it -- if he's bi, and his reason for not telling her is thinking she'd be hostile and horrified about it -- I think is unexceptionable. You shouldn't marry someone if you think they'd hate you if they knew the truth about you; it's not exactly that it's a morally wrong thing to do, but it's a profoundly bad idea.

But I've also got a reaction where I am kind of buying into stereotypes about male bisexuals, at least closeted ones. There's a behavior pattern you hear about frequently with closeted married men who cheat on their wives with men: Senator Larry Craig/all those evangelist pastors/the letter-writer's father-in-law to be and so on. And while I'd think of someone who thought that all bisexual men generally had a problem with monogamy was being a homophobic jerk, I do find myself looking at someone like the letter-writer who's bi and planning to marry someone who he's still in the closet to, and wondering if he's planning on some level to set up a nice publicly straight lifestyle for himself that still incorporates sneaking around with men.

And possibly I'm being a jerk having that reaction -- I don't think I am, but I'm in shouting distance of someone who I would think was being a jerk.

Anyway, I think that might be part of why it seemed like no thing to you to not have been affirmatively told about your girlfriends' past same-sex relationships -- I've never heard of that same sort of closeted woman in a hetero relationship sneaking around for casual same-sex sex pattern. I'm sure it's happened at least sometime, somewhere, everything has, but it doesn't seem to be common enough to be a thing that comes immediately to mind.
_____________
*I think I'd be on board with concealing the actual father-screwing, under the assumption that it was a casual encounter on both sides, and that the father could be relied on to keep it under wraps as well. Just because it seems like such an individually unimportant event at the time it happened, but might be so disproportionately gross and weird to know about after the fact.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 9:11 AM
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It's for sure true that there's now near-total acceptance of young women's bisexuality as not a big deal at all (though this is somehow different in the cultural mind from going full lesbian) where that's not true at all for men. It's hard to figure out why that is, and no I don't think "men fantisize about threesomes" is a sufficient answer. In terms of disclosure to their hetro partners by bi men of same sex encounters norm cuts multiple ways -- first, since there's still significant social shaming involved, there's an important case for "people should be able to keep their private lives private as a near inviolable right" (I think this is where Smearcase is coming from, and it makes sense). OTOH precisely because there's still a strong social norm cutting against male bisexuality it's more likely that a same-sex encounter between two men is indeed a bigger, more identity-forming deal for the man than it would be for a woman.

With that said can we all just fucking agree that you shouldn't marry someone when you've previously had an illicit encounter with one of their parents. There are lots of people in the world and no need to live inside a Lifetime movie by choice.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 9:27 AM
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The stereotype that it's much easier for most gay men to find a casual sex partner than for most straight men is true, right? (Forgive me/yell at me if it's not.) So it's understandable to be more concerned that a bisexual boyfriend will cheat on you than a straight boyfriend, since he'll have a lot more opportunity to do so. Of course you ideally would be so confident he won't that this isn't an issue.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 9:36 AM
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I wonder if it can be connected in some way with there historically being less moral panic about gay women than about gay men. Something about men being the standard-bearer/gender-norm-enforcer?

Also, maybe this has been pointed out above, but I understand anecdotally there are a number of negative stereotypes of bisexuals floating around in the gay community specifically - more likely to cheat or have STIs, having one foot in the closet, even "greedy" (?).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 9:49 AM
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I was working on the same stereotype in my assumption about number of partners. Not that it's all gay or bi men, but it's my belief that a man looking for sex with men on a casual basis is going to be much likelier to rack up higher numbers of distinct partners than a man looking for casual sex with women.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 9:50 AM
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I think the letter is fake.

So the gf is (unknowingly) attracted to a man just like her dad? A twist worthy of fiction.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 9:51 AM
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My anxiety levels when I was walking around in public with other women were so much higher; it was really soothing when suddenly I could hop back in the closet and enjoy all the benefits of largely unquestioned straightness.

This is when lourdes kayak says "Wait, you were with women before!?"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 10:33 AM
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So the gf is (unknowingly) attracted to a man just like her dad?

Where are you getting that?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 10:36 AM
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And Lurid says 'there's something I've been meaning to tell you about your mom...'


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 10:41 AM
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A twist worthy of fiction.

These things can happen!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 10:48 AM
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Is it too reductive (or obvious) to suggest that female bisexuality is less threatening because no penises involved? Lesbians are threatening because they reject men (and the peen) completely, but bi women are still relying on men for the all-important peen, while occasionally having harmless fun on the side.

Not that it's the whole explanation, but ISTM that it creates a sort of psychological bright line for people to thoughtlessly (and subconsciously) fall back on.

That said, I don't know that I would have made a distinction before college. Back in the '80s, I don't think the casual girl-girl thing was such a trope (at least not in the mainstream; and I don't mean the lesbian until graduation thing*, I mean "straight" girls making out with other "straight" girls), but it seemed to become one during the early '90s, I'd say due to the rise of porn culture, but I feel as if that came a little later. "Girls Gone Wild" maybe? Anyway, my point is that I feel as if, whatever the underlying psychology of it, there's a been a fairly recent and explicit cultural shift towards the acceptance of girls having sex with each other as not a big deal.

*which I, at least, associate with identity experimentation as much as sexual


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 10:49 AM
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Further to 126 the same thing is stereotypical for women: it's much easier for a bi woman to have a higher number of casual male partners than female partners. So this is really more of a sexist stereotype than a heterosexist one.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 10:50 AM
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132: Is this a 180 reversal? Wasn't it the case that in England upper class boys were considered likely to have experimented with homosexuality while at public school? And now the cliche is about girls at liberal arts colleges going through a lesbian phase?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 11:05 AM
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132: I think there also a bit of, I'm going to end up misusing what are probably defined terms that I don't know the proper usage of, defensive masculinity? Being a tomboy is respectable for a little girl, being effeminate is much more negatively viewed for a little boy; menswear is either practical or sexy on women, while women's clothes are very unusual and transgressive on men, and so on -- basically, men and boys are generally much more closely policed in terms of gender and sexuality than women are.

So, a woman with some same-sex experiences can define them however she likes -- she's basically straight, she's bi, she's gay, whatever she wants to call it -- and social enforcement doesn't overreact about it. But a man has a same-sex experience, and it has to mean something very defined, because it is a big freaking deal when a man deviates from a tightly defined gender/sexuality norm.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 11:08 AM
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So the gf is (unknowingly) attracted to a man just like her dad? A twist worthy of fiction.

There's a well-known Mormon author whose most famous book is a gut-wrenching (I'm told; have only read a tiny bit because it's too sad) memoir of losing her gay husband to AIDS. The author's daughter then married a gay dude. Mother and daughter have collaborated on further literary products about the subject.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 11:10 AM
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134: Never happened. It has always been a scientifically determined fact that men's sexuality is absolutely fixed -- only women have fluid sexualities affected by social expectations and norms.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 11:12 AM
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It's the one-drop rule for men's sexuality.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 11:14 AM
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138: I'd say that was a good analogy, but unfortunately that means that you're banned now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 11:15 AM
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It's not an analogy; different drop.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 11:20 AM
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Thank you, JRoth. It's a sad day when things need to be made explicit, even for the old timers.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 11:36 AM
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He means spluge, right?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 11:42 AM
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134. All in line with the classical education. Simply bring back an appreciation of Roman poetry, classical sculpture, and discus throwing for greater equality in the future.

Possibly this could be done under the guise of introducing kids to the founding fathers outlook to gain access to conservative foundations' education grants.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 11:50 AM
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To you, an implied equivalence between two bodily fluids isn't an analogy? You remain banned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 11:51 AM
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Maybe you shouldn't look for work a blood bank.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:13 PM
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There's no implied equivalence.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:15 PM
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This is why the analogy ban is so necessary. With respect to the racial 'one-drop' rule, blood (of African origin) is the bodily fluid one drop of which (inherited from your ancestors) makes a person black. With respect to your analogous sexual-orientation 'one-drop' rule, semen is the bodily fluid one drop of which (encountered from a sex partner), makes a person gay. The two bodily fluids occupy analogous positions in the two rules.

It was funny; I got the joke the first time you made it; it was an analogy; this is why we have the analogy ban, because analogies lead to idiotic arguments like this; you're still banned; and Moby? I've never seen 'spooge' spelled with a 'u' rather than a double 'o'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:22 PM
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It's tragically missing from my Chicago Manual.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:25 PM
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Please, please no one tell Moby how he could get it in the book, okay?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:26 PM
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Isn't 's single swallow doesn't make a summer ' canonical?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:26 PM
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149: I was this close to a strategic "Be the change you want to see in the world," but if you don't want me to say it, I won't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:27 PM
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A


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:27 PM
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There's this one-drop rule, and there's that one-drop rule. They're both one-drop rules, but neither is being compared to the other in order to (ostensibly) elucidate something about it. The analogy is in your mind.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:27 PM
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Did anyone hear a strange muffled noise, as if someone banned were trying to comment?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:29 PM
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Isn't 's single swallow doesn't make a summer ' canonical?

How many swallows make a canonical summer?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:33 PM
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You can't misspell 'Bacchanalia' without Bach.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:38 PM
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153: It was a while before I understood what had come between the stars to form the constellations.


Posted by: Lyn Hejinean | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:38 PM
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It may take fewer in Texas.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:39 PM
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I get the anal in this discussion but who's logy?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:40 PM
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Yo mean ogy?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:47 PM
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Anal Ogy and Ogy Bloggy


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 12:49 PM
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130: And then we all take a family film outing to see Spencer Tracy as Jekyll/Hyde CLOSURE.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 04-20-15 1:39 PM
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