Re: Earl

1

I only saw about 10 minutes of it but thought the same thing (the funny and the dead-on and the really, network tv?).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:38 PM
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I didn't see it. What was shocking? The political content? The black humor? The unexpected bestiality?


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:38 PM
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I wasn't, no.

I didn't watch it; I suspect that's why.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:39 PM
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The political content was somewhat shocking. It completely mocked post-9/11 hysteria, especially small towns thinking that terrorism could happen to them.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:39 PM
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People still watch network TV?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:40 PM
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I DON'T EVEN OWN A MICROWAVE


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:41 PM
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people still watch TV ?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:41 PM
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Also, some really raunchy sex jokes that I'm surprised they got away with on network TV. Like there was a "Hands On A Hard Body" contest, only they couldn't get a car so they got the town prostitute and the winner got an hour to do anything they wanted with her. Something patriotic happened (forget what) and she was so moved that she pledged not to abort her next pregnancy. All of the guys took their hands off of her to lose the contest because they didn't want to risk knocking her up. On NBC.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:42 PM
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People still watch?

("Yes, voyeurism is alive and well in today's America...")


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:42 PM
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People still?

("No, some movement there.")


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:43 PM
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People?

("Get ready!")


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:43 PM
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People?

("No, frogs.")


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:44 PM
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Peop?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:44 PM
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Peop?

No, he's aleady had the opeation.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:44 PM
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?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:44 PM
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I wasn't offended, by the way. Just really surprised to be seeing the show on NBC and not somewhere like HBO. But it wouldn't surprise it if it makes (really tedious and annoying) news in the next couple of days.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:45 PM
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!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:45 PM
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()


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:47 PM
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:(==8 8==):


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:47 PM
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18: Ágætis byrjun


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:49 PM
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So this emoticon of yours, does it represent teabagging, or am I going in the wrong direction here?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:49 PM
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19: Is that two people unhappy when they discover they can't fuck in lotus position?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:49 PM
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NOTE: This hijacking is merely a space-filler until someone who's actually seen the episode posts a comment. Not a real hijacking.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:50 PM
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21: symmetrical blowjobs. Or possibly a tie-fighter. Depends how you swing, dig?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:52 PM
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Can't we have both?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:52 PM
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25: tie-jobs for everyone then, bachelor!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:54 PM
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I saw it, Becks, and thought the same thing. Besides the 9/11 jokes, there was also a pedophilia joke (the 8 yr old boy?)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 10:02 PM
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I'm not watching TV on the microwave I don't own right now.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:11 PM
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You and me both, Gonerill.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:11 PM
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Since we seem to have hit a lull, a threadjack: My next date, inspired by some discussion here a few days ago, will be at an anthropology museum. Thoughts?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:16 PM
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MAKE IT LAST MORE THAN 3 HOURS.

Otherwise, no.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:16 PM
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I'll have to check the museum's hours.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:18 PM
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noooooo

So teo, I think the thing is to suggest an activity that follows up the main activity of the date. Then, after that, think of another followup activity. Then another, then another, then "well gosh, might as well climb in this handy bed"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:20 PM
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33: PUAs call this the "bounce," and it is useful because, it seems, having seen a gentleman in more than one venue makes her feel safer with him, and more likely to engage in further activities in further venues. Like a bed, or whatever.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:22 PM
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Open 10-4 on Saturdays. I think I'm okay.

So teo, I think the thing is to suggest an activity that follows up the main activity of the date.

Yes, this worked pretty well last time (dessert after dinner). I'm ready to take it to the next level.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:23 PM
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well, bed's not a bad place to bounce


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:23 PM
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34: You pay an awful lot of attention to those guys, don't you?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:24 PM
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38

Keep bouncing until she really must go home.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:24 PM
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Is this date dinner/lunch then museum, vice-versa, or no food yet?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:26 PM
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37: Nah. I went through a phase. But it is good advice; seeing people in only one venue makes you associate them with a place too much. I even have friendships that only take place in a single venue, and I never think to invite those people to do other things, or to seek other kinds of intimacy with them. When I make new friends, as I have of late, I think about trying to see them in a lot of different places/situations.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:27 PM
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39: We haven't discussed that yet. I could go either way.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:28 PM
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42

Museum then food would probably be preferable, because it's easier to stretch out the food part.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:29 PM
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the key is, never ever ever ever say "okay, well I'll be heading home" unless that's what you want to do. Hang out indefinitely. Hang out for months, if need be. Keep hanging!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:30 PM
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44

43 is possibly the best advice I've ever gotten on this site.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:31 PM
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Do people really say that when they don't actually want to go home? How absurd.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:32 PM
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I'm blushing! Also, kiss her eventually. If it helps, get drunk.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:33 PM
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Do people really say that when they don't actually want to go home?

Yeah, I've done it when the event that was the focus of the date is over and I'm not sure what to do next.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:34 PM
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It's okay to touch her before you kiss her, like on the arm or knee, gently, to sense whether she wants you in her space. Hell, she might just kiss you if you do.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:35 PM
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Museum, food, and then: walk in nearby [nature area/neat neighborhood], and then coffee, and then, oh, what the heck, a movie, and then, and then.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:35 PM
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It's okay to touch her before you kiss her, like on the arm or knee, gently, to sense whether she wants you in her space.

See, this is the kind of thing that I know I should be doing, but I have a hell of a time getting myself to actually do.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:36 PM
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Ask to see her watch and hold her wrist in order to see it better. Then compliment her on it. Trust me on this one. If she doesn't wear a watch, or you don't like the watch she's wearing? I'm stumped.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:36 PM
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I'm really bad about doing the opposite. I'll drag a date out all night if it's not obviously going to lead to sex yet and I'm still having fun. I was out with a boy recently at 4am and suddenly had the wonderful idea that we should stay on the train all the way out to the beach and watch the sun come up. I almost had him on-board, too, and then I think I realized it was a dumb idea and he was never going to sleep with me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:37 PM
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Young people don't wear watches, old man.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:37 PM
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49, 50: take her to see some kickass architecture! Talk at length about xeriscapes! The key is to keep spending time together.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:37 PM
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So is it cultural anthropology or physical?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:38 PM
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55: Both.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:38 PM
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then I think I realized it was a dumb idea a

That's really not a dumb idea.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:39 PM
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53: not trying to pick up young people now, am I? Ask to see her fuckin' pokemon, what do I know?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:39 PM
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Ask to see her fuckin' pokemon

That comes later, I think.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:40 PM
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57: It was if he wasn't attracted to me. I think he got swept up in my eagerness for activities, after 12 hours together.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:41 PM
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This is all very useful. I think part of the reason I've been dissatisfied with dating before is that I've had an overly restrictive idea of what a date consists of.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:41 PM
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It was if he wasn't attracted to me.

So what were you doing together in the first place?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:42 PM
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63

Met him at school. Offered him a fun night out.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:42 PM
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60: Fair enough, although as someone who will ride a subway/metro/etc. line to the end just for the hell of it, it still doesn't seem like such a bad idea to me. Not all good ideas should be carried through, though.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 11:44 PM
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On the post topic: they're going on strike anyway, so they probably figured they'd do whatever the hell they wanted this week.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:08 AM
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Ask to see her fuckin' pokemon

If you're lucky, she'll have Squirtle.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:11 AM
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I must say, the description in 4 and 8 don't really make it sound that outre to me. Do people who'd be offended by 4 actually watch it? And 8 is basically too misogynist and American Pie-esque to actually be offensive to the mainstream.

Teo, are you still in NM?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:12 AM
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OT: I suspect the newest Rambo (link to preview) is going to be another flaming turd of a sequel.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 1:23 AM
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Teo, I went on a date once to an anthropology museum. We saw an exhibit comparing reliquaries, fetishes, and totems from various cultures: lots of carved and painted bones. That guy and I ended up dating for five years.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:18 AM
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Yeah, dates like that are cool. My first proper date with my wife we just met up in London and spent the day wandering museums and galleries, stopping for lunch and then dinner.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:31 AM
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It's okay to touch her before you kiss her, like on the arm or knee, gently, to sense whether she wants you in her space.

See, this is the kind of thing that I know I should be doing, but I have a hell of a time getting myself to actually do.

Real Live Practical Advise From A Former Very Awkward Dater: make the first time an accident! Stumble, and brush her arm. Or reach across to point at a reliquary and brush her hand. Or! Be looking the other way at some intriguing totem, and accidentally gently back into her. Contact! After that, it should be easier to do it on purpose. (I don't recommend an accidental boob-graze or butt-grab.... laydeez.)

An "Oh, you!" shoulder/upper-arm touch is one of the best ways to start.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:32 AM
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I was talking to some younger folk about my son, who I think has never been on a date. In fact, I think that in his set a "date" is what prostitutes have. (He doesn't hang around prostitutes to my knowledge, but the lingo filters out somehow). They asked, "Well, what do they do". The terms I came up with were "doing stuff together", "hanging out", and going out in groups. To my knowledge he's never had one of those famous "friends with benefits" hooking-up type thingies we read about either.

This may not be helpful to Teo if everyone around there is programmed for dating. Maybe getting out of the boonies would be a solution.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:49 AM
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69: UBC Anthropology museum? Open stack, if you like an exhibit you can see dozens of the same thing in a drawer.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:51 AM
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We saw an exhibit comparing reliquaries, fetishes, and totems from various cultures: lots of carved and painted bones.

Teo, you need to figure out your strategy for how to react when you inevitably come across a display of carved wooden phalli. You could play it totally straight, stroking your chin pensively and saying "Hmmm", you could snicker and elbow her, you could make a deadpan joke about how that tribe would have made you Chief, etc.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:52 AM
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that tribe would have made you Chief

If there is one thing that is certain, it is that promising excellent sex or magnificent endowment is not rhetorically successful for seduction. I just did a lesson on this w/r/t Renaissance seduction poetry. But sure, cheeky jokes reminding her that you are flesh after all will probably work.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:56 AM
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make the first time an accident

I had this epiphany when I realized with hindsight that a girl had used the same technique on me.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:58 AM
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If there is one thing that is certain, it is that promising excellent sex or magnificent endowment is not rhetorically successful for seduction

For the record, that entire comment was tongue-in-cheek.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:59 AM
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I never went on dates until I was uprooted from my friend-community. And so, having been programmed to think that dates were awkward and weird, I've been on a number of awkward dates. The best advice I gave myself was to pick outings to places I was interested in visiting, with or without somebody else.

I wasn't initially interested in the guy with whom I went to the relics exhibit. At first I was being rather cynical: using him as an excuse to get out and see the town. We went to two or three museums, a couple of plays, a number of parks, before we ever kissed. (We made that awkward transition by finally going out to dinner---which made the dating context very very clear---and then getting tipsy.)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:01 AM
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Do people who'd be offended by 4 actually watch it?

If the people who produce television shows asked themselves this question more often, television would be better, if only the next question weren't "then how can we make this show blander and stupider so that those people will watch it?"


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:05 AM
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77: I know, but it is a really difficult transition to make, getting someone who sees you as "harmless museum date" to think of you as "potential source of hot sex." I always try to make that conversion too early and either end up with (a) pointless, immediate, short-term sex, or (b) a friend who is mildly sexually frightened by me. (a) isn't so bad, but (b) sucks.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:05 AM
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As already mentioned, at tedious length in previous threads, I've never really been on a date in the US sense, either.

I've met up with women to do things together, but in every case, we'd already kissed/made-out beforehand [at a bare minimum]. So the dates took place post-snogging, rather than pre-snogging.

That saying, if (god-forbid), I was to become single now, being older and less connected with my friend-community, I'd be in the same position as 78, probably.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:07 AM
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It's okay to touch her before you kiss her, like on the arm or knee, gently, to sense whether she wants you in her space.

See, this is the kind of thing that I know I should be doing, but I have a hell of a time getting myself to actually do.

The advice in 71 was great, and I'll add in that your shoe/her shoe counts, and might be not hard to do.

I second all the hanging out advice. When I found the one person in school shyer than me we ended up watching planes at the airport.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:12 AM
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I'm not suggesting the airport, just agreeing that the hanging out can extend to rediculous but fun lenghts. This is making me nostalgic. Good luck Teo!


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:22 AM
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I have extremely fond memories of a museum date with "accidental" touching after a coughing fit. (Shoulder pat, IIRC.) However, it took an additional seven hours of hanging out for the touchee to get the hint and kiss me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:24 AM
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So the dates took place post-snogging, rather than pre-snogging.

A London couple I knew once expressed some amazement of an English guy who move to the US and was dating different women. When I said 'and.....?', they told me that in England people meet when drunk, have sex, then date.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:26 AM
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'who HAD moved to the US'


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:27 AM
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re: 85

Yes, this has been discussed on here before. 85 is basically right.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:27 AM
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The advice in 43 is really, really good. The thing is, with awkward situations (as those involving awkward people usually are), it takes a long time of one-on-one hanging out, occasional "oh, you!" touching, and having a good time before a person just gets so fed up that they decide "fuck it, I'm going for it!"

Back in January, I went to see a play with a friend. Like, a good friend, someone I'd been hanging out with for a couple years (though usually, but not always, in groups). We saw the play, then went to a restaurant, then a bar, then his house to drink some more. I was trying my damnedest to send signals, and doing a lot of accidental/purposeful touching, but finally figured out that it probably wasn't happening, at 5:15 am, and called a cab to go home. I was all dejected. Then two weeks later, we went to dinner, then a show, then another show, then a bar, then a diner, and sat there forever. Around 4 am, I come back from the bathroom and he tells me that he's into me. You know, in that way.

We're still dating, and it's awesome.

This comment contains no helpful info, I just wanted to gush about how happy I am. Now I'll shut up.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:29 AM
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53- Ask what time it is, then reach into her pockets to look for her cell phone.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:30 AM
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teo, this was successfully used on me this summer, in a situation in which I easily could have been annoyed by an inappropriate pass because we were supposed to be working, and the boy in question might have gotten in trouble with his employer-mother had I been annoyed. I'm just throwing it out there as one more possible technique. If you're sitting next to her, on a bench, say, and her hand is not actually on her own body, but somewhere on the sitting surface, you can put your own hand next to hers so only your pinkies are touching and leave it there. If she doesn't draw it away, she wants to kiss you, and she will think more and more about kissing you as you sit longer with pinkies touching and the tension of the unspoken ratchets up. If she does draw it away, no harm done, and hey, it was an accident anyway.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:30 AM
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On the subject of both TV and The Bounce:

Molly and I watched 30 Rock last night, where Alec Baldwin offered this piece of social advice: "Never go with a hippy to a second location."

It was a good episode.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:33 AM
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re: 90

Yes, the 'just touching, wait to see if the other person withdraws' thing is a pretty good barometer.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:35 AM
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88: You would not believe how long I had to sit on Buck's couch before we finally managed to start making out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:36 AM
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There are some days that I am glad to be my age.

Dating in the soon-to-be forty landscape is so much better than in the twenty yr old landscape.

With us old people, you don't have to spend as much time analyzing whether whether blinking means she wants to have sex or whether the slight touch means she wants you to kiss her.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:36 AM
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AWB, aren't there books teaching horny women how to seem demure and virginical? Classes?

My sister, who's remarkably good looking, seems to intimidate guys, but she has an ordinary-looking friend who can walk into a room and snag a guy in a minute. (Not the full nine yards, I mean, but just getting unknown guys immediately into the mood.) Being approachable, accepting, non-judgmental, and warm seems to be the whole story.

You'd need to have a different persona for when you you just want to walk neutrally through a room unbothered, but urban women already have to have that.

Marilyn Monroe once told a friend that she could turn her persona on and off at will. She'd been walking around unnoticed and gave an example, and sure enough, guys started swarming up. But my sister's friends did it without Marilyn's looks.

I'm not sincerely pretending to be helpful, god forbid,just asking a scientific question.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:37 AM
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You would not believe how long I had to sit on Buck's couch before we finally managed to start making out.

You Jung people take forever.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:37 AM
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91: I'm going to watch that episode tonight. The first few episodes of this season were a bit of disappointment, but it seems to be picking up. I love Alec Baldwin.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:38 AM
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re: 93

Just about the worst sex I ever had was in a similar situation.

Literally hours of sitting with this girl, lots of 'accidental' touching both of us totally knowing we wanted to do it, both of us plenty experienced and having done it with many people before. Both of us pretty good at the whole transition from conversation to fucking.

However, in this case, we were already friends [and had been for ages]. So ... awkwardness. It was totally not worth it.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:40 AM
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98: Huh. And to me that sounds hot. What about being friends went wrong?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:42 AM
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With us old people, you don't have to spend as much time analyzing

Indeed. During my unmarried interregnum, I found a straightforward "can I kiss you" is perfectly acceptable and cuts right through the fog.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:43 AM
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re: 90

What if the touching person is the employee and the touched person is the supervisor and the touched person withdraws after a moment due to work/power related issues (and is neurotic about these things)? and also the distinct possibility that his (the touched person) brain would explode if the touching continued? Has the touched person blown his chances? Which is to say, Am I doomed to die alone?


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:44 AM
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95: I know people with that sort of persona, and I think it's hard to put on -- you really have to be like that. And 'being like that' has some serious drawbacks; you spend a lot of time involved (socially or romantically) with people who aren't necessarily people you want around.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:44 AM
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101: Probably yes on the doomed to die alone thing, but I doubt shying away that one time had any irreversible bad consequences. If you're interested, I have no idea what to appropriately do, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:46 AM
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re: 98

I think the anticipation, the fact that she was a friend's girlfriend.* The fact that her best friend was my ex. That we'd known each other for years. Lots of stuff contributed to making it a disappointment. If we hadn't known each other, it'd have been much less awkward and significantly better.

I'm not a big believer in friends first, sex later. It's much better the other way round.

* this isn't quite as dodgy as it sounds. The friend had decided to leave the country for 2 years. He asked her to 'wait' for him. She said 'fuck off, I have every intention of shagging while you are away and it's damn stupid of you to expect otherwise.' Then, erm, she asked another mutual friend to phone me up and tell me she wanted me to 'come round and see her some time'.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:46 AM
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With my honey, both of us being older and all, we went out for dinner for our first date, hung around awkwardly for a while, and then he walked me home and I invited him up "for a cup of tea." Even with all of that, it took absurdly long for us to stop drinking tea and get on to the real business at hand.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:46 AM
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get on to the real business at hand.

Blogging?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:47 AM
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George Washington, I hope you don't really hope to remain anonymous.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:48 AM
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101: Don't bang the hired help. Really never a good idea.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:49 AM
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107: Should I edit to make him sound Russian or something?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:50 AM
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Further to 104. The night ended awkwardly. We never spoke about it again.

Then a couple of years later at a New Year party we were giggling and laughing [privately] about our terrible night of bad sex. Both of us were totally up for a repeat performance -- which'd have been completely without awkwardness, we'd been discussing in minute and filthy detail both what had went wrong and what we'd do this time. Unfortunately, circumstances intervened and we've not met since.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:50 AM
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re: 107

No, I'm pretty sure it's obvious who I am. But obvious to commentators here rather than obvious to Google. Which is fine by me.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:51 AM
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Unfortunately, circumstances intervened

And that circumstance grew up to be... Martha Washington.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:52 AM
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Drat. The re-nationalizing for anonymity process sounded entertaining.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:52 AM
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With my honey, both of us being older and all

Absurd presumption.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:53 AM
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re: 113

Da. Next time, we won't do it over the samovar, and the borzhoi will stay locked in the potato shed.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:54 AM
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No, I'm pretty sure it's obvious who I am.

It's, erm, pretty darn obvious, yes.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:55 AM
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103: OK, great. I am doomed but hopeful. Also, today is do or die day on this topic. I.e., employee X becomes former employee X at 6 PM. Employee X, however, is always trailed around like a little puppy dog by Employee Y, so there is no chance and cornering employee X at 6 PM. So, I must liberate myself from my craziness and just ask her out via the emails prior to COB. I realize this isn't much of a conundrum for most folks, but what are you going to do.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:57 AM
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Hey, at least you've got the appropriateness problem solved.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:01 AM
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If you're sitting on a couch with a member of the opposite sex after a date, and they have either accepted an invitation to go into your house or they invited you into theirs, you should probably always try to kiss them. Assuming, you know, you're attracted and everything. The couch thing is practically a request. I missed out on a few opportunities earlier in life from a failure to grasp this basic fact.

One thing is that going in for a kiss is, in fact, fairly low risk. I've had women turn me down, but never be angry or ill-disposed in any way toward future contact because I attempted to kiss them. It's rather a compliment when you think about it.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:01 AM
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52, 88: I realize you live in the city that never sleeps, but how can you do that? Aren't you totally dead the next day?

(I must be getting old. Anything past about 10pm seems daunting in my current arrangement.)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:04 AM
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Alfi G: that's an easy one. You tell her that you don't date colleagues on principle, but now that she's leaving, how about going out?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:05 AM
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I would like to get a confirmation that 119 is true from a non-male person, since it sounds too logical to me.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:07 AM
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119 sounds about right to me.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:08 AM
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120: Actually, I live in a different big city, that sometimes does sleep.

how can you do that?

Well, it only works if I really, really like and/or want to sex the person. The adrenaline keeps me going. And I usually try to do these things on weekends. In this case, this was a person I'd had a crush on for, like, ever, so I was pretty excited that things seemed to be heading that way.

Actually, the first few months we were together were kind of hell in that regard. Lots of staying up talking/engaging in other activities until like 4 or 5 am instead of, you know, sleeping. It did start to make me feel crazy until we finally stopped being so excited that we could take a goddamn nap.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:10 AM
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Wow, I missed out on an opportunity from virtually everyone I've ever dated then. Maybe everyone.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:10 AM
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119- I vote for the little kiss before you enter the building, even better if before you've decided to go there. Then, at least, you've already decided kissing is ok.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:10 AM
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A two-person couch is called a "love seat" by some. Given my principles, I called it a two-person couch when I had one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:10 AM
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127, but there are so many other options

"grudging respect seat"
"cordiality seat"
"platonic seat"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:12 AM
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119 is totally correct. On my aforementioned thing-that-lasted-til-5:15-am, I pulled the following move. He was sitting in the loveseat, I in an armchair. I got up to pour myself another glass of wine, and when I came back said "I'm going to sit on this couch now--it's more comfortable."

The fact that we didn't end up getting it on that night is still a total mystery to me.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:13 AM
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119 is true, but there should be a caveat to the order of "passes should be made gently and if necessary, declined gently."

I remember that when I was young and foolish, I often gave out signals in all kinds of weird directions, and sometimes suggested willingness when my heart wasn't in it. With the result that I could be very hurtful, I think, when hit-upon. (And here and there some other results not-so-pleasant.)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:14 AM
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The fact that we didn't end up getting it on that night is still a total mystery to me.

You must not have been sending enough signals.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:14 AM
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119 is totally right; nothing's a guarantee that the person you're with actually wants to kiss/have sex with you, but if you're on an identifiable date, and the person you're with has happily gone home with you and taken you home, that's absolutely a green light to go for the kiss.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:17 AM
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:-(


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:24 AM
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I've actually never had a problem with not passing into whatever intimacy I wanted, without the awkwardness so many are confessing here, or just sitting there. It takes a while, but there's always talking, or rather there always was with me, and that either got you closer, to where you made the move, or it didn't, and you didn't want to.

I can see where the hanging out could stretch on if you were doing something else, such as watching tv or a movie, or if there were others around. Whenever that was happening, particularly others around, then I would leave after some reasonable time.

Voice quality, expression, the things we just can't use in a typed medium like this, make reading the situation much, much easier than it would seem.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:37 AM
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117: This sounds like the precise moment for Action! (Acting when she was still the supervisee would have just been a world of hurt.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:37 AM
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Shorter 134:

"Damn I'm smooth."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:40 AM
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passes should be made gently and if necessary, declined gently

Therefore, comment 100. Laydeez, the best answer to that question is a sly grin and "Not yet."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:43 AM
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130: all first kisses should be gentle. The reason not to ask someone whether you can kiss them is that the kiss is gentle enough to itself be a question.

All right, so much for my little lecturey ego trip.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:44 AM
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119 is correct.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:45 AM
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Another vote in support of 119.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:48 AM
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I've actually never had a problem with not passing into whatever intimacy I wanted, without the awkwardness so many are confessing here, or just sitting there. It takes a while, but there's always talking, or rather there always was with me, and that either got you closer, to where you made the move, or it didn't, and you didn't want to.

You married your high school sweetheart, right?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:49 AM
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138- Yeah, I don't like the asking, either. I think it's be covered here previously, though. I also think eyes can be a big help.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:50 AM
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Shorter 134:

"Damn I'm smooth."

That can't be it; I'm as surprised as you are.

My "dates" were more like JM's: a couple of people fully informed in the premises.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:51 AM
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Can I kiss you, terpbball?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:51 AM
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119 doesn't even mention the popcorn bucket. Terrible advice.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:52 AM
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The couch thing is practically a request. I missed out on a few opportunities earlier in life from a failure to grasp this basic fact.

I blame the patriarchy. When I was young, I didn't necessarily understand this point either. I kind of thought it might be true, but I was scared silly of trying to find out whether it was true.

I knew girls wanted to kiss or have sex at some point. I was just bad about figuring out when we were at that point.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:52 AM
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135: I could go on about this all day . . . basically the current problem is twofold: 1) lack of one-on-one access. Email will have to suffice, or I can wait until other people leave the room. No problem, really. 2) I know she is (or was) interested. How? Oh, the millions of quasi-flirty (but almost entirely non-sexual) emails. Basically, due to my professionalism based reservations, the relationship/friendship has become weirdly worked over with half-meanings and ambiguities. As in, the pulling back from the touching when I'd really rather have lingered there forevers. Everything would have been perfect if the project ended one week ago, I just haven't quite been able to fake-it well and am appearing to be increasingly weird.

I just need to cut through the shit and act like a "man" (by which I mean not act in a nebishly inept/neurotic sort of way, like Woody Allen or something), show some directness, and so forth. Everything I am writing in these comments is the "crazy-talk" that I need to suppress for the remainder of the day.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:58 AM
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144- You had me at 'interregnum'.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:59 AM
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When I was a boy, straight sex was forbidden just like gay sex. I have no idea how anyone ever procreated in those days. The whole system seems to have been dependent on Satan moving things along.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:59 AM
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146: And from the girl POV, I was always bad at figuring out how to communicate that point. The obvious answer, in retrospect, is probably "directly."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:00 AM
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Alfi--

Send her a meeting request through Outlook, book a small conference room. Bowm-chick-boww-bowm.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:01 AM
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Hey, Woody Allen scores like a sonofabitch. Supermodels, moviestars, the whole nine yards. Not just with stepdaughters.

Harpo Marx really could speak, too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:02 AM
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And from the girl POV, I was always bad at figuring out how to communicate that point. The obvious answer, in retrospect, is probably "directly."


Thanks a lot Di Kotimy.

Now everyone knows that you and I never slept together in high school. We just sat there watching boring late night tv, hoping the other would make the first move.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:02 AM
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I'm not sure I understand the dilemma you're facing, Alfi. You sense chemistry. She's leaving, you're going to ask her out. You may have to email or wait until other people leave the room. Okay. Either one should work. What's the problem?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:02 AM
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119 is one of those things I wish I'd realized when I was was single. Now I just look back and think, "Dam, how could I have been so stupid?"


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:03 AM
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147- Whatever you do, not in writing.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:03 AM
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I would say not email, if it were me. Face to face works much better.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:04 AM
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147- Whatever you do, not in writing.

No voice messages either. Based on 147, you might leave a long Woody Allen esque voice mail.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:05 AM
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This thread makes me realize that, at least for people at the shyer end of the sociability spectrum, this stuff is a lot harder for guys.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:06 AM
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152: Well, sure. I was never short on dates in Woody Allen mode, I just wasn't "scoring". The Woody Allen act is great for landing a highly neurotic, and highly beautiful woman, but I always seemed to do more nursing than scoring. Maybe I'm not doing it right?


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:06 AM
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There should be a way to make hidden bets on Unfogged. For example, how many comments before Apo responded to LB's second sentence in 157.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:07 AM
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Face to face is surely preferable, but email works fine if face to face is unavailable (due to the mysterious employee Y, or whyever else). Better?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:09 AM
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161: I almost built a response into 162, but decided I should give earnest advice instead.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:09 AM
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My earnest advice would be to simply relax and ask her out. She will either say yes or no.

If she says no, then ask another girl out.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:11 AM
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Oh, so much painful self-recognition in this thread. I am one of the worst move-makers in the history of sex.

I once flew across the country to get together with a guy I'd met at a wedding and flirted with by phone for a month. When I got to his place, we managed to second guess each other so completely that we ended up lying in the same bed together all night, not touching, trying to sleep but finding it impossible. We were both adults, experienced with this sort of thing, etc. Urgh. Next morning we managed to get it on, finally.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:12 AM
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This thread makes me realize that, at least for people at the shyer end of the sociability spectrum, this stuff is a lot harder for guys

Yes, but: knowing the initiative is yours, that in the normal course it's up to you to make the move, ask for the date, etc., is some comfort. If nothing's happening, it's because you haven't felt ready to start it, not that there's anything else about you that's making you repellent.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:12 AM
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Brock, there really isn't a problem. I happened to bump into Tia's comment regarding the hand-touch and just got on a roll. Anxiety is just dripping out at the moment. Anxiety about what? This woman puts me into a panic. A panic. I'm not nervous about asking her out, I am panicked about her. She cuts though me. I have done a very good job of not being vulnerable for a very long-time and with this woman I have no decisions in what or how or when to feel.

The problem is that there is no choice. I cannot not ask her out; it is psychologically impossible.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:13 AM
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159: Six of one, half a dozen of the other. When a shy guy fails to make a move through failure to understand the rule of 119, the woman doesn't get any either. (She, of course, could make a move herself, but is probably hamstrung by her belief that women don't make the first move, and if she did it would be scary and offputting to him.) Basically, everyone's crazy, and it's a wonder the species has survived.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:13 AM
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Yes, but: knowing the initiative is yours, that in the normal course it's up to you to make the move, ask for the date, etc., is some comfort

Or in my case it means you are going to die alone.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:15 AM
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146: yeah, exactly. I think the patriarchy causes shy guys to internalize a secret, half-conscious fear that women don't want sex at all and men are just these grasping bullies they have to put up with.

159: you just figured this out?


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:16 AM
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Also, I want to punch employee Y in the crotch. He knows I am into employee X and steadfastly refuses to politely excuse himself.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:17 AM
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167: Sounds like you're in good shape.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:17 AM
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I am panicked about her. She cuts though me. I have done a very good job of not being vulnerable for a very long-time and with this woman I have no decisions in what or how or when to feel.

But isn't it fun to feel this way as an adult? Teenagers feel like this about everybody, but after a while you get jaded.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:17 AM
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159: Except for Peter O'Toole.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:18 AM
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171: Is he into her too, or just being annoying?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:18 AM
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Basically, everyone's crazy, and it's a wonder the species has survived.

On the veldt, the high school dances were strictly chaperoned, and the marriages were arranged by the parents.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:18 AM
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162- I'm probably too paranoid to be considered functional, but a 'Hey, yeah, after all those horny emails you've sent me while I've been your supervisor, we can now shag' is potential fodder.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:20 AM
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167: I commend the writings of Soren Kierkegaard to your attention. That guy really knew how to suffer from love.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:20 AM
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Also, I want to punch employee Y in the crotch. He knows I am into employee X and steadfastly refuses to politely excuse himself.

Oh please. Make a damn move already.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:20 AM
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Punching him in the crotch is cowardly, and you need to act like a "man", remember? Stand him up and whallop his face. Then explain to the woman why you did so--I'm sure she'll be charmed.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:20 AM
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Or by lions. If you were chased up the same tree by a lion, you were married in the eyes of the tribe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:20 AM
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Oh please. Make a damn move already.

I am with gswift. I've got some work to do today. Get on it already! I need to know what happens.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:21 AM
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This thread makes me realize that, at least for people at the shyer end of the sociability spectrum, this stuff is a lot harder for guys.

Back then I thought that something like "By my presence on a date with you and as a male person, I signify that I would like to get intimate. However, as a female person, you have made no such commitment by your very presence. Therefore I hope that you will at some point signify something." was understood.

Also, this.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:23 AM
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177: well, I would probably word things more judiciously. Which is really the important part -- it's fodder to say something like that to her too, you know.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:23 AM
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173: Yep. Frankly I was drifting in the Emersonian, "No Relationship" direction until meeting this woman. So, yeah, and wow. It just makes it hard to communicate. I just want to say, "Hi! Please go out with me. You make me feel like that twit from high school who awkwardly felt you up at the prom and accidentally tore your dress. You should go out with me. Good Times!"


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:23 AM
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"Y? There are a whole lot of people on a website who think you should go out with me because they want to gossip about you. Sound good?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:23 AM
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Punching him in the crotch is cowardly, and you need to act like a "man", remember?

Yeah, slap him in the face with your dick.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:24 AM
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Oh please. Make a damn move already.

"You're with me, Leather [alter as necessary: Twill, Chiffon, Tweed, Hopsack, Whipcord, Cashmere, Burlap]."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:24 AM
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Brock, granted. "Man" s/b "grown-up" in my prior post.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:25 AM
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Alfi -- have someone call Employee Y. I'd tell you to post the # here, as I'm sure any of us would be more than willing to help be the decoy. But, pseudonymity and all...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:26 AM
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Back then I thought that something like "By my presence on a date with you and as a male person, I signify that I would like to get intimate. However, as a female person, you have made no such commitment by your very presence. Therefore I hope that you will at some point signify something." was understood.

Ned captured my feelings as a young man perfectly.

I kept looking for the signal.

Young Will: "Ok, she brought me back to her house. Took her clothes off and is grinding on my lap. What could this mean!??!?!??!"


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:27 AM
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182- Yeah, walk up and ask her. It's a cliche, but she's leaving anyway. What have you got to lose? Just do it in person.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:27 AM
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185: so long as you are obviously not an awkward twit, it is a big compliment and a winning move to tell a woman (or man) that they are so attractive that they make you feel like an awkward twit.

But if you obviously are an awkward twit generally, this tactic won't work.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:29 AM
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191: What was Megan's term? The Naked Dance, with instructions written in Sharpie on various body parts?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:29 AM
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191, I think I would have taken that as a signal.

But logically...if the conventional wisdom is that men want to have sex all the time...then haven't I already made the first move by my very existence? Shouldn't it be that if she makes a move it will not actually be the "first move" but more like a reciprocation?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:29 AM
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177- Granted. But once a woman told me that it was a bad idea to use email to ask a woman out. It hadn't occurred to me, but it made sense.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:30 AM
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Woody Allen can be counted on for move-making advice. This is a good one:


ALVY
Hey, listen, listen.

ANNIE What?
ALVY Gimme a kiss.
ANNIE Really?
ALVY Yeah, why not, because we're just gonna go home later, right?
ANNIE Yeah.
ALVY And-and uh, there's gonna be all that tension. You know, we never kissed before and I'll never know when to make the right move or anything. So we'll kiss now we'll get it over with and then we'll go eat. Okay?
ANNIE Oh, all right.
ALVY And we'll digest our food better.
ANNIE Okay.
ALVY Okay?
ANNIE Yeah.
They kiss.

ALVY
So now we can digest our food.

They turn and start walking again.

Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:30 AM
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But once you're relying on conventional wisdom, the conventional wisdom is that women don't make the first move. (Descriptive of conventional wisdom only, not normative.) Which is why they're sitting on your couch, tapping their feet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:31 AM
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OK, everyone should get back to work. I won't be seeing her until after lunch . . . at which point I sit in a room with her and will be waiting to pounce like a lion on the veldt -- or whatever the fuck.

Y is just universally annoying and thinks he is being funny. He also has a broken bird quality so X seems to feel bad about just telling him to fuck off, altogether.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:31 AM
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191 and 195: this was pretty much how I felt too. Sucks, but on the other hand probably gave women's sexuality a more mysterious / taboo and therefore hotter and more interesting quality.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:31 AM
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193: That's for advanced students, if you don't want to be accused of doing a bad Hugh Grant imitation.

For beginners, I'd recommend the Gregory Peck-in-The Big Country: when Burl Ives asks him why he rode alone and unarmed into Ives' band's hideout, Peck just looks hard at Jean Simmons.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:32 AM
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It might not be a bad move to use e-mail to say, "Can I speak to you privately?"

Suspense can be used to your advantage.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:32 AM
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199: Alfi's jealous.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:32 AM
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Alfi--could you maybe write her a note, and include your home/cell number in it? It's not perfect from the security standpoint, but it seems like it might be a good way to surmount the other obstacles.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:32 AM
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196: Now you fucking tell me?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:33 AM
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But once you're relying on conventional wisdom, the conventional wisdom is that women don't make the first move.

And as backup, at that age, conventional wisdom is also that women are not logical. So, you know, ball's still in your court. It would be better if more women were substantially more aggressive.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:33 AM
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The Naked Dance, with instructions written in Sharpie on various body parts?

This conversation is making me really glad to be turning forty.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:34 AM
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I remember thinking it must be horrible for girls, because they had to either wonder why anyone/the one they wanted wasn't making a move, or whether to accept the one they didn't want because it was the only outstanding offer.

This is just the memory of my impression at that time, I don't think of it in those terms anymore.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:35 AM
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199: I find that people like that respond pretty well when you get gently direct and alpha with them. "Y, I know you have a lot to say, but I need you to let me speak privately to X now." If he keeps going, "Are you done?" is pretty lethal.

If you give people a chance to stop embarrassing themselves, they will often take it.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:35 AM
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And as backup, at that age, conventional wisdom is also that women are not logical. So, you know, ball's still in your court.

Yes, that as well.

"Maybe it would have been okay to kiss her an hour ago, but I missed the chance! Maybe she changed her mind and is now just being polite! Probably the best way to avoid awkwardness is to just go home and then ignore her forever so she can move on with her life."


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:35 AM
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199- Don't wait 'til the end of the day. Even if it means an awkward rest of the afternoon. You sure this Y person isn't a little bit of an excuse? It probably would be for me.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:36 AM
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"Probably the best way to avoid awkwardness is to just go home and then ignore her forever so she can move on with her life."

I wish you people would stop reading my mind.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:36 AM
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I remember thinking it must be horrible for girls, because they had to either wonder why anyone/the one they wanted wasn't making a move, or whether to accept the one they didn't want because it was the only outstanding offer.

Not me. I just thought that they were all powerful beings who held the key to all sexual activity.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:37 AM
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Wrongshore gives excellent advice in 209.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:38 AM
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213: this is the very source of bitter nice-guyism.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:39 AM
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Bunch of neurotics around here.

Hurry up and ask Alfi. Sure it'll kind of ruin the day when she tells you she thinks of you like a brother, but at least you'll feel free to get a head start on the weekend's drinking.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:43 AM
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Probably the best way to avoid awkwardness is to just go home to a depressing weekend and then ignore her forever so she can move on with her life."

209

Y, I need to talk to X for a while. Can you excuse us?


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:44 AM
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Bunch of neurotics around here.

This is news?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:45 AM
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212: Just keep dressing slightly better than you usually do, and you'll be fine, Flippanter.

When it comes down to it, I'm really an advocate of making superficiality work for you.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:46 AM
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This is news?

People need reminding.. Keeps them from getting uppity.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:47 AM
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Just keep dressing slightly better than you usually do,

But then she'll think he's havng an affair.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:48 AM
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There's always:

"Y, gonnae fuck off, eh? Afore a rearrange yer face."

Doesn't quite project suave, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:49 AM
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222- That works. BTW, Alfie, I'm emotionally vested now. You don't want to let me down, do you?


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:53 AM
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But logically...if the conventional wisdom is that men want to have sex all the time...then haven't I already made the first move by my very existence? Shouldn't it be that if she makes a move it will not actually be the "first move" but more like a reciprocation?

Yeah, and based on the conventional wisdom that men want to have sex all the time, when the man fails to make any sort of move, the (this?) woman sits there thinking, "Why doesn't he want to have sex with me? What's wrong with me? He must know I'm interested -- after all, here I am sitting on a couch and accidentally touching his shoe."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 9:59 AM
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209 and 211: We (me and employee X) pretty much already stepped on his neck on . . . Monday. We were very nice last Friday, and let him play along, but on Monday we sort of reached an unspoken agreement to freeze him out. He is enough of a misery queen, however, to keep sticking his nose in on occasion, in order that he can feel aggrieved, I suppose.

Once we froze him out, however, things got increasingly weird between X and me . . . almost as though no one was saying what they were thinking. [and I got increasingly anxious, hence these comments] In any event, I will either call her to a conference room or wait for people to leave or just quietly ask her out and give her the piece of paper with my contact info.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:00 AM
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224 was me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:00 AM
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Also, I want everyone to know that if she says "no" it will be because I knew a suspicious amount about furries and plushies -- it came up in an innocent work room conversation among a large group of workers --, and I learned these things from you people. Hence, if I fail it will be your collective fault.

Although if I succeed y'all can take the credit, too.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:03 AM
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224/226: It's a wonder the race hasn't expired yet.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:03 AM
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Carpe diem, Alfi! You could be dead by tomorrow. Or could she. If you don't sex her on the conference room table this afternoon, you may never see her again. Just remember that.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:04 AM
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227: Just tell her about the site; we'll be sure to talk you up nicely. Except ogged, who will ineffectually try for the cock block.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:04 AM
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228: I can testify that the thought process isn't limited to Di.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:04 AM
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230: Ogged, cock block? It is only from reading ogged that I have so thoroughly mastered the art of Self Cock Blockery.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:07 AM
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with this woman I have no decisions in what or how or when to feel

There used to be one of these in my office, her desk in full view of mine. It was a relief when she left the company, 'cuz I'm married and all. Also, she was at the lower boundary of the half-your-age-plus-seven rule. There were moments of flirtation where I was convinced she would have a go of it, and then I would have to mentally slap myself across the face and remind myself that it would be tantamount to throwing away everything in my life that's worth anything.


Posted by: thcerpuR thcenK | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:07 AM
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232, see `ineffectual'


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:08 AM
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228: Part of this is social groups though. If you've been hanging around with a `nice boots, wanna fuck?' crowd it's really hard to figure out that `accidentally touching your shoe' is a signal.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:11 AM
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232: also, most men are born with high ability to self cock block --- they have to learn not to do it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:12 AM
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235: Interesting, I may need to try a new social group. In fact, I just bought this great pair of boots...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:13 AM
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224/228

It didn't take much imagination to realize this; for one thing, young adult fiction, then as now was full of these situations presented from the girl's point of view. There'd be stories with this in them near at hand, not explicit about sex but clear about the uncertainty.

It was probably a big help to have started dating when I was already over 20, and had a better sense of myself and the world. I'd bet a lot of the most awkward memories are from high school or residential college, and I didn't go to the latter and wasn't in the game in the former.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:17 AM
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Sometimes, after a relationship with someone has grown really intense, I find I desperately want to punch them in the face. Often people will send emails that seem to me to indicate, implicitly, that they would like me to punch them in the face. But I'm never sure when's the right time to make a move. Should I ask first if it's all right to punch them in the face? Or should I simply haul off and see what reaction I get? What if it's an employee at my place of work? I often find that, what with working long hours at the office, the people at my job are the ones for whom I have the most intense feelings, and whom I would most like to punch in the face. What do you think? Am I doomed to a lifetime of disappointment?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:17 AM
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Di, I had a weird path through this stuff. Started at a pretty early age, in social groups where nobody dated and sex was pretty matter of fact. It wasn't till years later when I was in my 20s that I had anything resembling a `date', and, in very different social groups then, I totally missed the signals for the first little while.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:18 AM
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I'd bet a lot of the most awkward memories are from high school or residential college,

Would that this were so.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:19 AM
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re: 241

The 'so-embarrassing-I-could-literally-weep-on-remembering' moments are mostly all from before my late 20s. This could just mean that I'm becoming more callous and less responsive to shame, though.

In another 5 years, I'll be voting Tory.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:26 AM
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Yes, but: knowing the initiative is yours, that in the normal course it's up to you to make the move, ask for the date, etc., is some comfort. If nothing's happening, it's because you haven't felt ready to start it, not that there's anything else about you that's making you repellent.

I envy you, IDP. Envy in the sense of "hate".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:44 AM
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238: Do you have tenure?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:49 AM
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Suppose I do.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:50 AM
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knowing the initiative is yours, that in the normal course it's up to you to make the move, ask for the date, etc., is some comfort. If nothing's happening, it's because you haven't felt ready to start it, not that there's anything else about you that's making you repellent.

I'm not sure that this is something all guys should count on, actually.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:51 AM
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246: and that's an understatement.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:52 AM
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245: Then punch away.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 10:54 AM
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243, 246: No, of course you can be rejected, or evaded. But if you haven't asked, then there's no reason beyond that to wonder what's wrong; maybe, probably, nothing.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:01 AM
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after all, here I am sitting on a couch and accidentally touching his shoe."

I just do not think the Larry Craig approach is the way to go.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:03 AM
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How about:

"While I'm very sorry to see you leave, there are reasons why I'll be glad no longer to relate to you in my supervisory capacity. "

*bell rings signaling the end of her last day of work*

"Wanna fuck?"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:21 AM
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251: what if he doesn't have a bell?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:30 AM
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Management can get bells I hope, and he's management.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:32 AM
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Time clock, you turned in the grades, whatever.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:32 AM
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I'm sure 119 is true and all, but when I was in my early twenties, a woman I'd known well but platonically for over a month playfully (and totally soberly) suggested a sleepover--just the two of us--at my place. When I leaned over to kiss her later that night, as we both tucked into my bed, she rejected me and explained that she was quite surprised that I didn't intend to sleep on the floor in the other room. She was very nice about it, and ended up staying the rest of the night nonetheless. Somehow, we remained close friends for a couple of years afterwards--ultimately, we just lost touch over time--but boy, was that confusing.


Posted by: NickFranklin | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:33 AM
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255: that's utterly confusing. You're sure she wasn't a seventh grader, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:34 AM
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When I leaned over to kiss her later that night, as we both tucked into my bed, she rejected me and explained that she was quite surprised that I didn't intend to sleep on the floor in the other room.

That sounds like either some serious crossed-wires, or someone fucking with you.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:35 AM
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257 sounds right to me. But the deal with 119 isn't that any particular set of circumstances including the Naked Dance constitutes consent in itself, just that it constitutes a situation where it's okay to make a move. Which it sounds as if it was -- while god only knows what she was thinking, you didn't do anything offensive or wrong by kissing her, and she wasn't in fact offended.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:38 AM
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256: I was 22, she was 20.

257: I'm pretty sure she wasn't messing with me deliberately. I think it was one of those situations where the possibility of romance had been in the air for a while, and she was genuinely conflicted. It was probably also a case of staying in friendship-mode for too long before making a move.


Posted by: NickFranklin | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:40 AM
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And you're right, LB: of course no circumstances demand consent. I just thought that that was a pretty extreme example of strong positive signals followed by rejection.


Posted by: NickFranklin | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:44 AM
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for what it's worth, I've been intentionally (no crossed wires) in that situation with m.o.a.s a bunch of times. Granted, hardly ever planned out ahead of time, usually just because we're tired, and it's easier to sleep there. I'm pretty sure every time there had been some sort of explicit, although perhaps jokey, discussion of what this meant or didn't mean though. That way, no confusion.

Sounds like genuine conflict in your case, though, which might have helped to talk about.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:48 AM
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Oh, it's pretty extreme, but I bet you're right on her having been conflicted. I told a story here somewhere about having done something similar when I was 19 or so -- very actively invited a pass from a friend, and then when it came decided I wasn't interested -- which I still feel apologetic about. (We stayed friends, I ran into him a year or two ago, he's fine, but I do still occasionally think about it and wince about what a jerk I was.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:49 AM
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Oh, I have all manner of bells.

Problematically, co-supervisor Z, is refusing to leave the room on the grounds that it is everyone's last day and she is feeling nostalgic. One more pair of eyes to work around.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:51 AM
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Well, I've mentioned once waking up on a floor at a friends house. To find that the girl I'd been chatting with all night had stripped off and climbed under my blanket and was sort of wrapped around me. And yet, when I phoned her to ask her if she wanted to go out for a drink she said no. So I've certainly been there when it comes to mixed messages.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:51 AM
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You know, you don't need absolute privacy here - you're asking her on a date, not to join Al Qaeda.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:52 AM
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265: why can't it be both?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:53 AM
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re: 265

Maybe he works for Emerson's Council for the Prevention of Relationships?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:53 AM
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Ask someone out for a first date in front of other people? Aagh! If other people won't leave, you go up to X and say, "Could I have a word with you in my office?"


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:57 AM
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When my son was just out of HS I got up to go to work one day in the morning and there was an adorably cute girl sleeping in the living room. Apparently she had followed him home drunk from a party and he had put her up for the night. She was from a semi-elite family and had the habit of following guys home or showing up at their door at 11 p.m.. As I understand, they didn't have sex, based on the fact that they woke up in different rooms. (I wouldn't have objected if they had). I never really heard the end of that story, but they hadn't been close friends before and didn't become close friends. As far as I know this wasn't traumatic for either of them, though I didn't pry.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 11:59 AM
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268: Well, yeah, but he doesn't need a private moment in which to draw her aside. He can say "Can I talk to you privately a moment" in front of other people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:00 PM
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Right-o.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:07 PM
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This is jumping too far ahead, but when Teo gets married, how is he going to explain the thousands of extra wedding presents?


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:14 PM
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272: I would think "Cha ching!" should suffice.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:15 PM
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I once flew across the country to get together with a guy I'd met at a wedding and flirted with by phone for a month. When I got to his place, we managed to second guess each other so completely that we ended up lying in the same bed together all night, not touching, trying to sleep but finding it impossible.

OMG, I did the same thing once, only I was a freshman in college so we weren't even smooth enough to get it on in the morning. He finally got up the guts to try to kiss me a couple of months later when we were back at school but something felt horribly wrong about the whole thing (despite having wanted to go out with him before) and I got such a bad gut feeling about it that I fled his place at like 3 in the morning.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:20 PM
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272: Good question. Luckily, I have a long time to figure it out.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:20 PM
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275: How many months?!? Have you chosen a minister? Let us get a look at the rock!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:28 PM
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To find that the girl I'd been chatting with all night had stripped off and climbed under my blanket and was sort of wrapped around me. And yet, when I phoned her to ask her if she wanted to go out for a drink she said no.

Jeez, Ttam, stuck on yourself much? She didn't want to have a drink with you. She wanted to fuck you.

Guys, they always get all hung up on this shit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:37 PM
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Apparently when the girl went in to work Sunday morning after the first "date" on a Saturday night (she teaches Sunday school), the rabbi asked her "so, is there going to be a wedding soon? We do weddings." I kind of hate the rabbi.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:38 PM
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277: Sounds like he blew his chance, too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:41 PM
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I kind of hate the rabbi.

naturally.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:42 PM
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So does she, as she explained to me on the second date after telling that story. A match made in, er, heaven.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:44 PM
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278: If she told you the story, though, that's good. Embarrassing, but if she found third-parties speculating about your relationship humilating or unpleasant, she wouldn't be telling you about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:45 PM
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Yeah, it's a good sign. I'm still not sure how things are going to turn out, but the signs are mostly positive.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:50 PM
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She also just accepted my friend request on facebook. So there's that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 12:57 PM
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Try to refrain from poking.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 1:00 PM
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I'm just a simple unfrozen caveman lawyer. Your 'facebooks' and 'pokings' frighten and confuse me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 1:03 PM
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She also just accepted my friend request on facebook. So there's that.

This is a big deal only if you're rejected. But LB was right about the rabbi thing. Very promising.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 1:11 PM
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285: on facebook.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 2:55 PM
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I just read this thread from the bottom up. When I came to:

but if she found third-parties speculating about your relationship humiliating or unpleasant, she wouldn't be telling you about it.

I thought "She knows about us?"


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 3:12 PM
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That would be third-through-nth-parties.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 3:13 PM
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Anyone know what time zone Alfi is in? Is it T -30 mins. for him?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 3:29 PM
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How would you put that in a pleading?
a list of names aka their pseudonyms, followed by a list of the urls of those whose identity is unknown, followed by x unkown lurkers?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 3:30 PM
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Let's just hope it is unnecessary for anyone to figure out how to name us all in a pleading.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 3:33 PM
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It would end up looking like the case title for a mob trial. (Some of which are quite funny, but someone else will have to do the googling. My head hurts.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 3:34 PM
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291: I think it's EDT (see 199.)


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 3:39 PM
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Oh, I missed that one and thought he was waiting until the official 6 p.m. quitting time. Regardless, hope it went/goes well.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 3:44 PM
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Oh, I'm not actually sure when he was planning on asking her (and I missed it when he sa saying that she quits at 6). I hope it works/worked out too.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 3:51 PM
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If he doesn't come back here soon and report what happened, he's banned. The only acceptable reason for leaving us on the hook like this is if they're currently shagging.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:06 PM
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So what the hell happened, dammit?


Posted by: Steve H. | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:28 PM
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299: I hope you're not hoping to be unidentifiable.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:37 PM
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Lawyers who are no longer at the puny associate level don't need to worry about anonymity, I figure.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:41 PM
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Depends on what they say, I would think. Steve may want to comment again in the future. And since you scream at people who change their handles, I figured it was worth warning him.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:45 PM
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Come to think of it, I should be despising Steve for the 'Common first name Last initial' handle structure. I'm kind of burned out on hassling people about their handles, though, and I can't think of another Steve. It's not like Dave or Matt.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:47 PM
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Where the fuck is Alfi?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:55 PM
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I just thought that the e-mail address was required. Newbie mistake, won't happen again (though I usually don't reveal too many client secrets on the web, anyway).


Posted by: Steve | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 4:59 PM
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Oh, don't worry about my griping about handles -- it's more of a running gag. (Although dropping the last initial is worse, rather than better -- my problem is I can't keep track of non-distinctive pseudonyms.) Email addresses aren't required, and you'd probably be fine even with your email address hanging out. Brock was just being solicitious.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:05 PM
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Unfortunately, I can't keep track of any *distinctive* pseudonyms. So Steve it is.

(Now that I've already fucked one thing up, no way I'm going to try italics right now)

Have a good evening, all.


Posted by: Steve | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:09 PM
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See what happens when you don't scream, LB? Steve it is.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:10 PM
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Ohhh, please please don't use just Steve. There are several nothing-but-Steves in this general area of the Internet world, and at least one of them is a giant dickhead. Also it is Snarkout's real first name and I am sure to find it confusing.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:11 PM
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Yeah, but I hate getting hostile at people until they've been around a little longer. Let him comment a few more times, and then I'll berate him into calling himself "Rhinocerous" or something. You could remember "Rhino", right, Steve?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:17 PM
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If my name were Lizardbreath, I'd certainly be harsh with people with sensible handles.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:19 PM
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Yeah, give me any more lip and I'll make you change your handle to Goldwater.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:25 PM
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Sorry this took so long. This can all be summed up in a single word, Fiasco.

I wasn't upset that she hedged; apparently she is in the running for another gig in the organization. So, ok, fine, technically I am not supervising her but I am still a superior in an organization with whom she is only able to get short-term projects. Fine, fine, fine.

She just, more or less, hedged and refused to speak about it. Clearly I am way out of line in the appropriate feelings department. She just sort-of had a "what's the big deal" attitude.

Oh, well.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:33 PM
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Oh no. That sucks, Alfi.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:34 PM
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Aw, darn. Sorry to hear that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:35 PM
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Yeah, sorry. I'd buy you a drink, if I were nearby.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:35 PM
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He could be Chet. Or Steve-Chet.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:40 PM
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Is it thoroughly hopeless (like, you don't think she's interested at all), or just the possibility of future consulting gigs getting in the way? Not that I've got any ideas of what to do about the latter: you just sounded awfully smitten, and the workplace relationship is distant enough that it doesn't sound insurmountable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:42 PM
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She didn't want to have a drink with you. She wanted to fuck you.

Heh. If she'd gone for a drink with me, fucking would have been a post-drink option -- it's not like I was holding out for marriage or waiting till the third date. Fucking definitely wasn't an option at the time -- since I was fast asleep.

I suspect (due to the quantity of wine imbibed) that she didn't really remember stripping off or getting in with me and was a bit embarrassed in the morning.

Annoyingly, before I phoned her, I asked her best friend if I should. Best friend told me she was totally into me, and would love me to phone. This was nearly 20 years ago, and it still rankles.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:44 PM
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Hey, where is Alfi? I'd buy him a drink too, if I were nearby, which I may be.

Sorry about the unhappy ending.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:46 PM
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a bit embarrassed in the morning

The internalized double standard will get you every time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:50 PM
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re: 321

Arrggh.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:52 PM
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Annoyingly, before I phoned her, I asked her best friend if I should. Best friend told me she was totally into me, and would love me to phone. This was nearly 20 years ago, and it still rankles.

Oh! The exact same thing happened to me! Only in reverse! Female Friend A asked me if Female Friend B should ask me to the prom (or homecoming, or something), since I hadn't asked Female Friend B and she wanted to go with me.* I said sure, why not. Female Friend B then asked me a few days later, and I said no. Christ, what an asshole!

* Yes this is needlessly complicated and juvenile. What can I say? We were juveniles.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:52 PM
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don't get 321


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 5:53 PM
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321 spelled out:

A possible thought process that would explain the described woman's actions is as follows.

On the drunken night: Ooh, he's attractive. Yay, sex! [Strips, snuggles]

The next morning: Oh, god, how humiliating. I acted totally slutty. And the next morning he still had all his clothes on. God, I practically raped the poor guy, and he was so not into it.

At the phone call: Ew, he wants to have a drink with me now? Ick, he only wants to see me because he thinks I'm a complete whore. What kind of person wants to go out with someone just because they know they'll get fucked, even when they're not all that attracted? I am so not going out with him.

Not endorsing any of this, but moderate neurosis and an internalization of a sexual double standard can leave one acting irrationally. I wouldn't be surprised if a slightly more Scottish and less teenage American sounding version of this were what was going on in her head.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:00 PM
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OH AND I FORGOT THE REALLY FUNNY PART OF 323:

Why did I say "no" to Female Friend B? Because I really wasn't into her at all. So why did I say "yes" to Female Friend A? Because I really was into her, and so had a hard time saying no to her. Jesus.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:01 PM
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303: If Steve needs a suggestion, Tom Dickharry might be a good one. I'm really glad it's not the 50's or I'd be in trouble too.


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:03 PM
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Thanks, but that's so developed a speculation that ttaM can comment on it's perspicacity. I take your sad point in American context, though.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:04 PM
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its


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:05 PM
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Obviously, 325 is wildly overspecified for clarity. God knows what she was actually thinking.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:06 PM
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318: I don't know. While I appreciate that there is still some issues with the (possible) new position, I thought that the "distance" of the new position was sufficient that the possibility could have been entertained. At least. Just fucking humor me, that little bit . . . if nothing else we were very friendly, just a little bit of an explanation (not to explain, but to demonstrate an effort) would have been nice.

I don't, right now, see how it isn't hopeless. I think I am seeing her reaction as not merely uninterested, but unsympathetic. That might not be fair. As I say before, things had gotten weird this week, so I can understand a "no". The sort of "no" that might acknowledge that "no" matters. But, really, what I got was a "maybe" / "we'll see about the other job". But what does the "we'll see" mean? Is it, "sure, I guess so, if there is no conflict; but whatever" or is it "it can't happen right now, so I will not [cannot] engage in the possibility . . . it makes me a little [just a little] sad too."

So, I don't know. It's not necessarily the lack of reciprocity but the possible lack of awareness and/or sympathy.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:07 PM
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Could it have been an "I can't think about this right now"? In which case, she knows you're interested and knows where to find you.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:09 PM
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Eh, you can't tell unsympathetic by how she handled an awkward situation. I'd leave the door open by sending her a nice email: I really enjoyed working with you, I'd love to see you socially, I understand there are questions of professional appropriateness given this possible other gig, but any time you're professionally comfortable with it and would like to do something, please give me a call.

And then put it out of your head. Odds are she won't call, but might as well leave the possiblity as open as possible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:11 PM
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332: It could have been. I can't be sure what she has been reading off of me. Maybe she thinks (thought) I was more aloof and thought she was reacting appropriately. She is kind-of close to another of my co-workers who is convinced that I am 100% stoic. So, maybe she has gotten some misleading info. I feel what I feel right now, but I am trying not to read too much into this so as not to close my mind to anything that might still develop.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:17 PM
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325 certainly seems plausible. She was Catholic, so the double standard would be more plausible than with my normal peers.

Ironically, she was both great and totally gorgeous. I'd have been into her whether she'd acted 'slutty' or not.

Alternatively, maybe I asked her out in asshole-ish way [I don't think so, but perhaps I'm misremembering, I was 17]. Maybe I didn't seem so interesting with the perspective of a few days. Perhaps I snored. God knows.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:21 PM
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333: Yeah, I basically already sent that email.

Also, my instinct is to assume unsympathetic. I know full well that this is largely my current mood, and isn't a fair reading and isn't anything I would seriously ascribe to her in any possible later interactions.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:22 PM
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Ironically, she was both great and totally gorgeous. I'd have been into her whether she'd acted 'slutty' or not

Of course; this is exactly the internalized double standard I think LB has in mind.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:39 PM
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If she'd gone for a drink with me, fucking would have been a post-drink option

The point is, she didn't want to have to date first. Jeez, man.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:39 PM
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What, he was supposed to show up at her apartment naked? You're harsh, man.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:44 PM
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She crawled into his bed, he didn't wake up, his opportunity was lost. Too bad, baby.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:51 PM
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"We'll see" in a work environment is bad times. Smacks of "How do I say no without actually saying no."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 6:51 PM
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My son's situation in 269 may have been exactly like ttaM's. IE, after it happened she felt bad. I didn't pry, as I said.

One of his friends had a situation when one of the elite girls but a big hit on him and he backed out because he didn't have a condom. Props to him for that, but then he told his friends (boo! hiss!), the word got around, she denied it, all her friends backed her, and his name was mud with everyone but close personal friends (all guys).

He figured out that he had enough credits to graduate and graduated a year early. Smart kid. Doing well now.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:03 PM
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"put a big hit"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:04 PM
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Alfi G, I'm so sorry to hear it. Bringing crushes to the Mineshaft may be a sign that they're not going anywhere. I think it means that one has fairly strong feelings which one hasn't been able to communicate to the object of one's feelings, perhaps, because--deep down--we know they're not reciprocated. The denizens of the Mineshaft probably won't be reporting back to mutual friends.

I think that's what happened to me. I couldn't admit to my real life friends how strong my crush on John, my doctor-friend was--partly, because I didn't want to sound sappy, and partly because many of them would continue to see him. Admitting to feeling like a teenager, in real life, is kind of embarrassing. Somewhat less so here. That's not terribly articulate, but


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:06 PM
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Is Bostoniangirl alright?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:22 PM
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And Alfi, I'm very sorry to hear of your travails.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:25 PM
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I'm fine. I meant to delete that sentence fragment at the end.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:27 PM
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She's alright, all right. Water under the bridge now; I hope our interest and sympathy were worth something.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:28 PM
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Alfi, I'm bummed for you. You are excellent for having taken the risk. I hope a friend is buying you a drink and a box of Little Debbie® Star Crunch right now.

I echo (not for the first time) LB's advice. The best thing to do for yourself is to put it out of your head now. There's no way to know what's really going on with her, and you can make yourself crazy trying to figure it out.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:32 PM
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IDP's right. The problem is 99.995% past. I was trying to express sympathy, but I'm afraid that I sounded solipsistic.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:32 PM
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325: I would add that this thought process is not limited to teenage Americans.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 7:55 PM
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Off-off-topic, but I think BG (or someone) was wondering about Tolstoy translations a while back: I've only skimmed the review, but it looks like this reviewer loves the Pevear and Volokhonsky War and Peace.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:25 PM
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Don't all reviewers love all Pevear and Volokhonsky's translations from Russian? That's my strong impression. (And the translations I've read of theirs have been fantastic.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:30 PM
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Thanks all. My head is now empty and I have fully embraced Emersonianism. I will begin my new life at 7:30AM tomorrow. I anticipate lapsing by noon. Que Va.


Posted by: Alfi G | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:36 PM
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Thanks, eb. I'm actually waiting for that from interlibrary loan. I go to the BPL, but the Brookline library is closer to me than the local branch of the Boston library. A bunch of libraries in the MinuteMan network have bought the P&V translation, but Brookline bought the one that Anthony Briggs brought out last year--so it looks like they won't be buying P&V.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:54 PM
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325: I would add that this thought process is not limited to teenage Americans

I was the very archetype of middle-middle-class Protestantism when I was growing up. Catechism 1965. I literally wore a pocket protector like my dad. I borrowed his slide rule and felt powerful and competent. (I still have it, and used it to my daughter's amazement just a couple of weeks ago). The sight of me, the thought of me would have given Almeida middle-class cooties.

And I never had the slightest thought to correspond with 325. I'd have been thrilled by what happened to ttaM, and would have been devoted thereafter, if given the chance.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 2-07 8:57 PM
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Alfi, sorry to hear about that.

How about Ryno? Would that be acceptable?

Otherwise, I'll have to go back to posting as John F. Kennedy.

(Yeah, I wish.)


Posted by: Steve | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 6:14 AM
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356: Oh, I was trying to describe neurotic stuff going on inside a woman's head, not attributing the attitude involved to any remotely decent man. But for some examples of the related male attitude on the (cloven, unkosher) hoof, check out the comments to this post of McMegan's. (Which, I would note, really don't seem to be her fault in any sense.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:14 AM
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And Ryno's fine, as is anything else. The only thing at stake here is whether I'm going to be able to remember anything you've said three weeks later and connect it with you. If that's not a concern, 'Steve' is fine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:15 AM
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Drat, I can't make the link work for some reason. It's the comments to her latest post, "Women's Work".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:19 AM
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354- I don't know about the Emersonian part, but that's kind of what it's about. You had something you wanted to do, talked about it a little with friends and gave it a decent shot. You can relax this weekend and actually be a little proud of yourself.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:20 AM
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And Ryno's fine, as is anything else.

MackDaddy is still available.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:21 AM
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Hey, apo, take a look at the link in 356, would you? I can't figure out why it's not showing up at all -- it must be something obvious, but I'm drawing a blank.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:29 AM
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That's weird, LB. It looks fine to me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:36 AM
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this post of McMegan's


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:37 AM
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[shrug]


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:38 AM
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Wow, the comments to that McMegan post are quite bad.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:41 AM
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Yeah, it is funny going from a vague belief that no one normal thinks like that to people confidently saying that of course men think like that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:47 AM
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Honestly, I think what's happened is that double standards are still around, but we've become self-deceived about what's going on. The men saying "of course men think like that" are clearly old, so maybe that's the explanation. In my generation, I don't see anyone saying "oh no way I would date her, what a slut," but instead I see men just happening to develop less-strong feelings for women who sleep with them right off, than the ones who don't. It's very disquieting. Sometimes it seems like even they don't know what's going on.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:50 AM
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men just happening to develop less-strong feelings for women who sleep with them right off, than the ones who don't.

I so don't see that.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:53 AM
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(I figured out 356 -- I had a left bracket in error for a paren that was mangling everything after it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 9:58 AM
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369: Sometimes it seems like even they don't know what's going on.

370: I so don't see that.

See?


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 10:00 AM
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In all seriousness, I really do think I could be wrong about this. It's mostly my not-that-great theory based on anecdote and a lot of hypothesizing.

And I think it could be just a symptom of people generally tending to be more into those that they had to "pursue", or go after, or quietly lust after for a while. If you get what you want immediately, it's hard to have time to want it.

As in, I will full cop to the fact that part of the reason I'm so into the guy I'm currently dating has to be related to the fact that I was thinking "Wow, this guy is cute and really really fucking smart and awesome" for like two years before it actually happened.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 10:05 AM
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370: That's my impression -- that the difference between ttaM's description of UK dating culture (makeout, have sex, then maybe go on to date) and US culture isn't that drunken hookups don't happen here, but they're unlikely to lead to dating. Drunkenly or casually hooking up with a guy is likely to close off the potential of going on to any longerterm involvement, leading to all sorts of annoyance on all sides. (This isn't universally true, of course, but it's the impression I have, and it's certainly what McMegan's commenters are explicitly saying.)

Irritating as all get out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 10:05 AM
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And I'd agree with Leblanc that this is an impression, not something I'm certain of. I don't have enough anecdotes at my fingertips to feel confident.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 10:07 AM
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re: 374

It's true that with all my longer term partners [with one exception], we had sex the first or second time we met. It certainly doesn't close off the possibility of a further relationship for me and I don't think it'd close the possibility off for any of my friends either.

I'd be much more suspicious the other way round.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 10:18 AM
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US culture isn't that drunken hookups don't happen here, but they're unlikely to lead to dating.

My experience might be aberrant, but my long-term relationships have all started with drunken hookups. (How in gawd's name do people hook up without alcohol?) Beyond that, drunken hookups strike me as the sort of situation where both parties are more likely to be looking for "Mr./Ms. Right Now" rather than "Mr./Ms. Right." That seems likely to result in fewer long term relationships. And, relatedly, we might be talking about different pools in which people fish at different times in their lives.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 10:25 AM
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Annoyingly, before I phoned her, I asked her best friend if I should. Best friend told me she was totally into me, and would love me to phone. This was nearly 20 years ago, and it still rankles

I had a similar situation in college. We went to see Bobby McFerrin. After it, we kissed. She said, "I hope we can do this again."

Her friends reported to me that she wanted to go out with me again. I asked her. She had other plans. Her friends said, it was just a conflict, she wants to go out again. This happened three more times with her friends encouraging me to ask her out again.

Jeez. I am big boy. If you do not want to go out, just say so.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 10:26 AM
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Sex on first date with most important relationship of my life.

What I meant to say in 356 is that I grew up without any concept of "slut." And the notion is still alien, and I'm revolted to realize how big a role it plays in conversations I'm party to, even here, and that my "issue-spotting" never sees it. Knowing how important it clearly is, and how it passes me by, leaves me feeling rattled and abashed.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 10:45 AM
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I don't see anyone saying "oh no way I would date her, what a slut," but instead I see men just happening to develop less-strong feelings for women who sleep with them right off, than the ones who don't. It's very disquieting. Sometimes it seems like even they don't know what's going on.

Here's my half-baked, speculative raction to this. There's one standard out there that tells us that sex is something Very Special and therefore the first time with a partner is this significant moment where the realtionship is presume to be serious. Then there's this reasonably clear countercurrent that says, hey, there's nothing wrong with casual sex -- we are sexual beings after all, and it's fun.

I don't think there's anything wrong with either of these two theories, but I think people get a little mentally caught up trying to define it as one or the other, as Very Special or just casual fun. I think your sense that men happen to develop less-strong feelings for women who sleep with them right off the bat would make sense in light of all the internalizing of double-standards on both parts.

I'm not going to articulate this very well, but I wonder how much of the dynamic is both men and women thinking if they slept with each other right away, then the other must just be in it for casual sex -- or panicking because they speculate that the other might be thinking it's Very Special and, yikes, nobody wants to dive right in to Very Special. It's harder maybe to internalize the middle ground -- the diving right in to sex because it's fun while keeping the door open to see whether or not Very Special is a possibility.

As someone who can't even order dinner without agonizing over the menu for half an hour, I find myself far more comfortable in middle ground land, but the pressure -- internal and external -- is to want to define toward something more definite once the sex has occurred, toward casual or special.

Or maybe I'm talking out of my ass.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 12:51 PM
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American men are just idiots, is the point.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 1:01 PM
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I'm not going to articulate this very well, but I wonder how much of the dynamic is both men and women thinking if they slept with each other right away, then the other must just be in it for casual sex -- or panicking because they speculate that the other might be thinking it's Very Special and, yikes, nobody wants to dive right in to Very Special. It's harder maybe to internalize the middle ground -- the diving right in to sex because it's fun while keeping the door open to see whether or not Very Special is a possibility.

This seems plausible. Another factor that seemed to figure in my relationships and those of my friends was with how one came to know the person. Random casual sex with a cute guy at a bar probably stayed casual; random casual sex with someone in your circle of friends probably lead to a Conversation and a Relationship.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 1:03 PM
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We went to see Bobby McFerrin.

The problem right there. Very talented, BUT....


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 2:17 PM
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You know, there's no better way to find out how you really feel about casual sex and double standards than to talk about both to a young teen-aged daughter.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 2:23 PM
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Oy. I am so not looking forward to that -- half because the things that I think are sensible are things that I think are out-of-step enough with convention that handing them out as advice to my own teenager worries me, and half because getting in step with Buck on this stuff is going to be a strain and a half. Not that we're that far apart -- we're not -- but it's an area where he's formally reserved the right to be unreasonable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 2:29 PM
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Just hide his shotgun when the time comes, LB.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 2:31 PM
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I'm pretty lucky in my daughter, who is well-endowed with common sense. I hope she feels free of double-standards in the internalized sense we're using it here, while at the same time being aware of the issue, more than I've been. She reported an interesting exchange with her boyfriend's mom while visiting there, just to make sure they were on the same page about precautions, etc.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 2:40 PM
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Oy. I am so not looking forward to that -- half because the things that I think are sensible are things that I think are out-of-step enough with convention that handing them out as advice to my own teenager worries me, and half because getting in step with Buck on this stuff is going to be a strain and a half. Not that we're that far apart -- we're not -- but it's an area where he's formally reserved the right to be unreasonable.

Ha. The subject came up briefly a few years ago with the Ugly Naked Guy. He was profoundly mortified by the suggestion that I would encourage Rory to explore her sexuality a bit before settling down.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 6:19 PM
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384: I can totally imagine.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 3-07 6:38 PM
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I ignored about 300 of the comments. The jokes on that Earl episode were very funny, unbelievably crass, and pretty sly. The terrorism stuff was good, but when you make jokes about morons torturing, and of course the tortured confessing to anything, and you layer that with the torture being a camera up your butt, and then finish with Joy exclaiming "now you know why I confess things on our anniversary every year"- an oblique joke to the "once a year buttsecks" wow. just wow.


Posted by: Pinko Punko | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 12:51 AM
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I'm put off by the trope, which I'm not accusing anybody here of really endorsing, that dads are going to be highly and inappropriately protective and aggressive about their daughters' sex lives, and that their wives will be indulgent of this and think it natural, if comical, and kind of cute. You see this all the time in popular culture, in movies, or that asinine t-m/b/le ad. The way the thing goes, the more active the dad was as a young man, the more he fears the same directed to his daughter.

Well he should, if that was what he was like, but most of us were not, and should and do look on our daughters' sexual autonomy with pride and confidence. Why does this nonsense persist? Quo bene?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 2:59 PM
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Just hide his shotgun when the time comes, LB.

Has country music taught you nothing? The shotgun is to be given to the daughter.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 3:11 PM
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391 -- In my household, the gender difference doesn't run that way.

Kids aren't born understanding social/cultural expectations. There's stuff to tell them.

There are also practical things to say. Example: when my daughter was starting 9th grade, every Friday or Saturday there was a party at someone's house. Every time, some kid ended up passed out drunk. No one should do this, it's stupid for anyone. It's a whole lot stupider for girls, though.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 3:25 PM
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393: That I get, and in fact resembles conversations I can remember having, also in the 9th grade. But she was always way ahead of me about the stupidity, and I pretty quickly came to respect her judgment.

The controlling-father thing, on the other hand, seems to be about equal parts bad conscience and social expectations. My friends and I don't feel anything like this as a rule, we've talked about it, so it seems gross to me.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 3:32 PM
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392: If your daughter gets a shotgun, she'll just be rapin' and abusin' every guy in town. That's just wrong.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 3:44 PM
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In my household, the gender difference doesn't run that way

Sorry, I didn't catch that first time through.

I do think I'm confided in a little more readily on these issues, which certainly runs against the stereotype I'm complaining of.

I wonder how common that is?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 3:49 PM
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I don't mean to drag this conversation too far into the weird, but it seems to me that certain father-daughter relationships, while not literally sexually abusive, are fraught with a lot of weird shit. The daughter is the bepedestaled ideal for the father, some perfect combination of everything he loves about his wife and everything he loves about himself, which should never be touched by anyone. At least, that occurred to me about my dad when I was 16 or so, and it still seems to hold true. He will not speak to me about my dating life or acknowledge the existence of any boyfriends unless they're face-to-face with him, and barely even then.

For my mom, OTOH, my dating life is just a fantasy about what she would have done had she not married so young. She wants me to date charming, handsome, respectful but witty men--that is, guys like my friends, whom she adores. I tend to date odd, quiet, awkward, brutal types. Do I do it just to offend her sensibilities? Maybe!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 3:59 PM
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The way the thing goes, the more active the dad was as a young man, the more he fears the same directed to his daughter.

Well, yeah. If have recollections of being a horny 16-year-old who would say anything to a girl to get in her pants, you know what your daughter is going to be up against, and you're going to be concerned about her emotional well-being, even if you don't fetishize her chastity as such.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 4:02 PM
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The daughter is the bepedestaled ideal for the father, some perfect combination of everything he loves about his wife and everything he loves about himself

That's a great insight, AWB (though I don't necessarily agree with the clause that follows).


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 4:04 PM
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Controversey: who said the funnier line?

While Jammies and I were sitting at dinner with my parents, mom made an offhand comment comparing Jamaal favorably to my other boyfriends. Then I said, "And really, I've slept with like millions of guys. Then there was a long awkward pause. Finally my dad said, "Well Jamaal, you're one in a million."

Jammies recounted the story as, "Listen to how funny Heebie's dad was." I got all indignant. I was the funny one! I made everyone super uncomfortable! Dad just bailed us out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 4:27 PM
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HBGB, your dad's pretty funny.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 4:31 PM
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I've been reading A Thousand Splendid Suns today, and so am feeling a little smug. There's a long way to go before my attitudes and conduct can be called fetishization of anything.

My kids, both of them, seem to have inherited all my flaws (and those few good points I have) and gotten little from their mother, much to her dismay. I try to help the kids avoid mistakes I made, or almost made. Too little avail, since they are as interested in parental advice as I was at that age.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 4:39 PM
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Heebie sets, dad spikes.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 4:40 PM
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402: This seems key to me, CC, in that parents who seem to be able to talk to their kids about difficult adult-type stuff are the ones who can identify without projecting too much. Since neither of my parents ever really went through any significant time as adults when they were single, I think it makes it particularly hard on them when they try to talk to me about my personal life. It's baffling enough to them that I live alone, something neither of them ever did.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 4:51 PM
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Well, yeah. If have recollections of being a horny 16-year-old who would say anything to a girl to get in her pants, you know what your daughter is going to be up against, and you're going to be concerned about her emotional well-being, even if you don't fetishize her chastity as such.

And even dads who have recollections of being perfect gentlemen are probably privy to locker room talk of the sort they would not want applied to their own daughters. Mom far more than dad was the enforcer of chastity in my household growing up, but I certainly know a few men of my generation who are of the "shotgun and a shovel" philosophy.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 6:48 PM
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405: I hear what you're saying, but have to say again that I don't feel that sense of danger, from a dark and predatory world. Might bad things happen? Sure.

The message from us has always been: feel right about what you do, don't feel obligated or coerced, do it when you really want to.

Her sense of the practicalities, of bc and other protections, is good, and she's been able to talk to me about some situations she's been in. This gives me a good feeling about how she handles herself.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 7:25 PM
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I suppose there's some overlap here between the issues of women and fear that have come up in other contexts -- m.leblanc's "intervention" with the 12-year-old street harasser springs to mind, but I know the idea has come up in other contexts, too. Women need to be more afraid than men of what might happen if they drink too much, of what people will think if they sleep with someone too soon or too many people, of what kind of trash talk might go on in the locker rooms. Sorting out what is necessary fear and what is fear instilled to keep a girl in her place is an interesting question. Thankfully, I have a few years before any of this is an issue for my own daughter.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:04 PM
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Women need to be more afraid than men of what might happen if they drink too much, of what people will think if they sleep with someone too soon or too many people, of what kind of trash talk might go on in the locker rooms

But there's no one thing, no universal nor even general "women's" experience; we learn that on this blog every day, however frustrating for those who want to draw lines or find solidarity. What you need to be afraid of will differ by family, region, ethnicity, class, level and style of education.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 5:40 AM
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408 -- Obviously, you don't need to warn a kid who isn't going to take a drink about the risks of drinking too much. Thing is, 13-14 year olds may or may not be in that column. They don't even know themselves, much less their parents.

And there's no family, ethnicity, region, class, or educational level where it's a good idea for a girl to get pass-out drunk with a group of unsupervised drunk boys.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 5:58 AM
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Di, I never thought of these things as needing 'fear.' Obviously, there are things you can be afraid of. But most of the stuff you really want to talk about is the kind of thing that's in their control: how much to drink, how far to go, how much older a boy ought to be (eg 14 + 18 = potential for trouble).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:02 AM
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Yeah. This plays into the conversation about whether sleepovers should be allowed for teenagers. There's a real problem -- if no sexual activity is openly allowed or discussable (my teenage years) -- there's no way of talking about the exercise of good judgment, and so you just end up loading up the kid with "If you do something 'wrong', you're in danger, and anything bad that happens is your fault."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:10 AM
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The super-macho dads seem to be the ones who are most protective of their daughters. I remember the studly (according to him) Norman Mailer talk about how he was raising his daughters (conservatively) and thought something like "What a transparent jerk!" (Norman Mailer was the guy who turned me against sexual politics and sexual ideology forever. I can't stand him.)

Madonna sending her little toy girls to elite Catholic schools was her version of the same BS.

They both remind me of mafiosi, who prey on they weaknesses of outsiders but keep a strict standard for their own families. Mailer and Madonna made their bundles peddling bullshit to suckers, and when the bubdle was big enough they ran off to a safe place.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:11 AM
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My impulse with a daughter would be to set them up with non-toxic boys until one stuck, but that would been seen as manipulative in personal-freedom terms.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:13 AM
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Maybe "fear" was a little too strong. I'm just kind of struck by how natural it feels to talk about protectiveness of girls' sexuality based on concern for their emotional well-being (KR's comment) or how it is a whole lot stupider for girls to get drunk than boys (CC's comment). Overprotectiveness being my central maternal characteristic, I'd probably advocate being more protective of boys rather than less protective of girls. But it's too early to really think this all the way through....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:18 AM
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re: 414

I've mentioned in other threads, that I think the 'emotional well-being' concern is largely bullshit.

I don't mean that in a callous way in that I don't think that their well-being is important, but in the sense that I think teenagers [male or female] are pretty tough and that the way some people show concern about the 'emotional well-being' of girls (rather than boys) masks some fairly unfortunate views on gender.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:22 AM
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I haven't had a 14 year old son. Yet. It'll be pretty different, though, and not just based on gender: the kids are different, I'm different, I've learned some things the hard way, etc. The world is different.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:28 AM
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That is, re the world, 2009 is different from 2000.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:29 AM
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315: Agreed -- it's condescending to women/girls in that it assumes they are emotionally fragile figurines to e handled with kid gloves and it's unfair to men/boys in that it presumes they have little or no emotion worthy of concern.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:31 AM
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418 -- Well, either extreme is ridiculous. It's not like there are no boys at all with eating disorders. What do you think that stats are, though?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:37 AM
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315 s/b 415 in 418


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:37 AM
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419 -- You lost me there. Are you trying to say that girls are statistically more emotional than boys?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:43 AM
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re: 419

The prevalence of eating disorders doesn't tell us anything about the relative vulnerability of either gender to emotional distress. It may tell us about the ways in which young people of one gender or other may express that distress.

You could run the same sort of numbers (only the other way round) with suicide, for example.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:47 AM
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422: not that I disagree with your larger point, but boys only outrank girls on successful suicides, not attempts.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:48 AM
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it's condescending to women/girls in that it assumes they are emotionally fragile figurines to e handled with kid gloves and it's unfair to men/boys in that it presumes they have little or no emotion worthy of concern.

Did you get a volume discount on the straw you used to construct that man?

It is empirically well established that delaying the age of first intercourse for girls to 18 (or better yet, 20) is correlated with all kinds of positive life outcomes. Whatever the causality--and I am prepared to believe that retrograde gender expectations play a role here--it's not foolish for a father (or mother) to want to shelter their teenage daughter to some degree; at minimum to reduce the chance she becomes sexually active either unwillingly or under circumstances she later regrets.

I want my daughters to be strong, self-reliant, autonomous individuals. In good time, that autonomy will include sexual autonomy, and I'm cool with that. But I also know the kinds of predatory threats they will face from teenage boys (because I used to be one myself) long before they are capable of mature judgment or informed consent.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:50 AM
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It is empirically well established that delaying the age of first intercourse for girls to 18 (or better yet, 20) is correlated with all kinds of positive life outcomes.

I have to go teach, but this statement made me gag.

Also, that strawman comment was a cheap shot - Di was agreeing with ttaM and creating this thumbnail that they both were knocking down.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:52 AM
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re: 424

I don't think any straw man is being built. In fact, your own comment -- predatory teenage boys versus vulnerable girls incapable of mature judgement or informed consent -- is pretty much an illustration of exactly that supposed 'straw' position.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:53 AM
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Eating disorders are not the issue. Look, whether we take it particularly seriously or not when guys here talk about the "trauma" of being "rejected" by girls, it seems that a lot of men are extremely angry at or afraid of women as humans. And whether that results in eating disorders, violent behavior, or even just disaffection from 51% of the population, that's a problem. We spend a lot of time blaming "the patriarchy" or the boys themselves for not manning up to the conditions of a human social life, but isn't this another area in which parents can have a supportive role, instead of a hurtful one? If we can say that parents need to help girls avoid victimization by men, can't we also say that parents need to help boys develop healthy attitudes toward women as people?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:53 AM
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I'd be interested in absolute numbers comparing eating disorders with suicide attempts. I perceive the former to be genuinely epidemic (I'm not counting deaths, just occurences) while with the latter, it's serious but much less prevalent.

I'm not an expert in this field.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:54 AM
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Welcome back, Tia. Nice of you to drop in.

To your point, I think I recollect that boys are more likely to use reliably lethal means of suicide, like firearms and hanging, whereas girls are more likely to overdose on pills or slit their wrists, both of which carry a higher chance of survival. There are exceptions, obviously: a girl in my high school shot herself in the head with a 12 gauge; it doesn't get much more reliably lethal than that.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:55 AM
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429--
conversely, it makes a pretty ineffective cry for help.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:58 AM
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In fact, your own comment -- predatory teenage boys versus vulnerable girls incapable of mature judgement or informed consent

My argument does not require all teenage boys to be predatory, merely for there to exist a subpopulation of predatory teenage boys. I defy anyone to deny that proposition.

Nor does my argument require teenage girls to be uniquely incapable of mature judgment: teenagers tout court have less than fully developed critical faculties. I reject the implication that my position can only be held by a sexist.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:59 AM
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If we can say that parents need to help girls avoid victimization by men, can't we also say that parents need to help boys develop healthy attitudes toward women as people?

No doubt. And if I had boys, I would endeavor to do that. But until I can be 100% satisfied that every other parent of boys is doing the same--and we are a long damn way from that utopia--I'm keeping an eye on my girls.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:01 AM
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But Knecht, there's really nothing you can do about teenage girls' sexuality. You can discourage high school sex, but short of anything abusive, you can't prevent it. Who knows? You might end up with daughters who don't date, or who are lesbians, or whom you feel you can trust with their own decisions. I wouldn't worry about it too far in advance.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:02 AM
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re: 428

Rates of successful suicide are about 3 - 5 times higher among males in the 15-24 age group [depending which year you look at]. That's figures for the UK, I don't know the numbers for the US. Also, the trend in the UK over past years has been for overall suicide rates to decline, but they are declining least among young men.

The rate of eating disorders among young women versus among young men shows a greater disparity by gender than suicide [it's more like 1:9 than 1:4]. My point was just that it's perfectly possible to find measures that track 'emotional distress' to some extent and where the gender disparity runs in the opposite direction.

re: 431

I still think that's a retrograde attitude. Teenage sexuality isn't some spooky monster against which girls need unique protection. It really isn't.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:05 AM
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Also, 429a? WTF? Are you actually joking about Tia's struggles? Because that's really disconcerting.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:07 AM
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Oh fuck! She was here! So sorry, nevermind, read that really really wrong.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:08 AM
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397: My dad referred to all of my boyfriends as 'buddies.' No romance going on there at all. This persisted until sometime after I was engaged.

409,415: A lot of the 'emotional well-being' concerns are just flat-out bullshit, or something that depends more on the teenager than on the teenager's gender. But it's a tricky line to walk between being sexistly overprotective of a daughter and preparing her for the world. She isn't a delicate flower, surely, but if she were a boy she wouldn't have to worry about date rape.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:08 AM
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erm, 435, I think he was just saying hi.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:08 AM
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uh, hi all.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:09 AM
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435: I'm pretty sure that 429 was not a joke. I don't know (or at least, remember) anything about the reasons why Tia is seldom around any more, and my guess is that KR doesn't either.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:10 AM
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But Knecht, there's really nothing you can do about teenage girls' sexuality....I wouldn't worry about it too far in advance.

I totally agree with that comment, and I don't worry about it (my wife, on the other hand...).

I got a little bit touchy about the implication that there was something inherently sexist about being more protective of girls w/r/t sexual activity. Not all of the differential risks are imposed by the patriarchy: biology imposes on girls the possibility of pregnancy and an elevated risk of contracting STI's. And the risks imposed by the patriarchy--getting a "reputation", etc., are meaningful even if odious.

Extrapolating from their current personalities, I would guess that my youngest daughter will be the one who comes home on the back of a motorcycle driven by a guy named Spike and shows off her new nipple piercing. I'm actually less concerned about her future sexuality than I am about her more inhibited older sister, about whom I would worry about the sweet-talking asshole who swears he'll love her forever.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:10 AM
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425 -- Thanks, Heebie.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:11 AM
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439 and 440 are correct. Apologies if my greeting came across as snide. Is there an emoticon for sincerity?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:12 AM
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There are two general paths to helping your daughter become a sexually healthy adult. On the one hand, you could do what my parents did and emotionally hobble your child as much as possible. She will learn not to trust her instincts, and to trust yours instead. One day, when she realizes she has the reins of her own life in her hands, she'll ride that pony all over town, thumbing her nose at you the whole way. Or she might just end up emotionally stunted, happily letting someone else tell her what to do since she never trusted herself while young. OTOH, you could raise her to trust herself and value sobriety and intelligence in herself, so that she won't be used to giving into the voices of men other than herself. She won't think men have any special knowledge of what's good for her, but she'll know how to create lasting, intimate, interesting relationships while maintaining her integrity.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:14 AM
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:-|


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:14 AM
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Cala's dad's strategy seems pretty sensible to me. Dad's really shouldn't be getting too imaginatively involved in their kids' sex lives. I don't remember Cala reporting that he was problematic in any serious way, though maybe my memory is bad.

I guess that if I had a daughter there are some things that I hoped I trusted her mother to talk to her about, and possibly better yet, an older and more experienced woman friend with a good attitude.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:14 AM
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My 436 explained. I thought KR was talking to CharleyCarp and was all "DAMN. WTF?" But he wasn't; he was being nice. So sorry.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:15 AM
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Dear God, has it really come to this? Expressions of parental concern for the well-being of daughters are "condescending" because they fail to uphold the fiction of a gender-neutral world, which, as a matter of fact, we do not yet inhabit?

In fact, your own comment -- predatory teenage boys versus vulnerable girls incapable of mature judgement or informed consent -- is pretty much an illustration of exactly that supposed 'straw' position.

Why do you not mention "mature judgement" or "informed consent" with relation to teenage boys? Has anyone suggested that teenage boys are capable of mature judgement and informed consent while teenage girls are incapable of exercising these capacities? That really would be condescending, of course. And more than a little bit silly. But that's not what people are saying here.

We are talking about young, inexperienced people (male and female) who are, by very definition, not yet capable of "mature judgement."


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:16 AM
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My father was convinced that all of my male friends were sexual predators from whom I needed to be protected. He was really inarticulate about it, and it was really annoying.

I know at least two men who've went through fairly serious eating disorders. Unlike the women I've known who went through it, the men seem to lack descriptive vocabulary; it's more of a "suffer in silence" situation.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:16 AM
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448: Maybe teenagers are not capable of mature judgment, but they sure have to exercise it a lot. When I was a teen, I probably saw my parents for less than half an hour a day. I spent the rest of my time at work, at school, doing extracurriculars, hanging out, or sleeping, and I was around much older people, some of them predatory indeed, most of the time. My brother spent his time similarly, and when my parents tried to involve themselves in his teenage romance, he just drove off for days and we wouldn't hear from him. Teenagehood is way too late to be doing anything about your kids' incipient decision-making skills. By the time they're 12, they're already making decisions.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:20 AM
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I am broadly in agreement with 444, all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. Comity!

OTOH, I don't take "rais[ing] her to trust herself and value sobriety and intelligence in herself" to preclude expressing my firmly held belief that there are a lot of good reasons to postpone intercourse until she is a legal adult. If she chooses otherwise, that's life, and I want her to be well-informed and to have access to contraception, etc. But I don't have to like it.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:22 AM
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I'm actually less concerned about her future sexuality than I am about her more inhibited older sister, about whom I would worry about the sweet-talking asshole who swears he'll love her forever.

I understand that there are particular issues for girls -- pregnancy, elevated likelihood of catching certain STDs -- but those are largely a matter of proper use of contraception. Those aside, what's the big fear of the sweet-talking asshole? Really?

We are talking about young, inexperienced people (male and female) who are, by very definition, not yet capable of "mature judgement."

Again, this has come up here before. I don't buy that teenagers are all that incapable of mature judgement. This is, I think, a US versus UK thing, in part.

I take it that we treat teenagers as mature adults. That's just the right thing to do. And that most of the things that can go wrong aren't as scary or terrible as they are sometimes painted to be and that sex and sexuality is an area in which people will make mistakes but where the right way to deal with it isn't by thinking in terms of predatory boys and vulnerable girls.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:24 AM
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I'm starting to think KR's big issue is that sex/dating might keep his daughters from, like, going to college and getting careers and stuff. If your main issue is wanting them to fulfill their intellectual and professional potential, I think the best thing you can do is not hate on sex or dating, but openly value education and happy career decisions in your own life. Lots of things keep people from finishing college, and sex might just be a stalking horse for a lack of desire to get a great job.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:29 AM
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A lot of guys really are sexual predators, including well-spoken, talented, seemingly nice, upper-middle class guys. And there's often a sort of boy's club dynamic encouraging guys to be as much that way as possible. Granted that the effect of that sort of guy behavior is to convince individual young women that there's something wrong with them, it would seem that being more protective of girls would make sense.

Most dads have been part of the boys' club and know what even basically nice guys can be like. When I was young I refused to introduce a coupe of guys to my very popular sisters because I knew the guys.

And the damage is asymmetrical. I think that recovery is easier for a guy who looks back at his years age 15-20 and thinks "I was sort of a shit and did some things I'd rather not talk about" than for a woman who looks back to the same years and thinks "I spent 5 years getting the message that I was no good and being inlove with people who treated me badly."

In other circumstances I'm one of those "nice guys" and will talk about guys' probalems, but I don't think that there's a symmetry. Mostly it's just that I am more pessimistic about relationships per se than irrationally optimistic, hormonal people are. My no-relationship police is partly a joke and partly not. Hopefullness tends to make people miscalculate the odds.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:30 AM
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Those aside, what's the big fear of the sweet-talking asshole?

In one case I know of (not my sister), the guy got a girl pregnant after telling her he'd had a vasecomy, and then used his status as father/lover to abuse her and take advantage of her for 20 years. She was not prepared to deal with a jerk like that, especially because he was very nice some of the time, and above all because she'd become emotionally attached to him.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:35 AM
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Re: 452. I will not deny that there is something paternalistic (in the truest sense of the word) about my point of view. It's part of a natural and generally positive dynamic of parenting that the parents are a little less ready than the child to extend the boundaries of autonomy at every step of the game. That's a healthy tension, in my view, as long as the parents are prepared to grow with the child and don't impose their will with authoritarian methods.

There is a lot of middle ground between the poles of "sex is yucky and sinful and you will go to hell if you touch a boy's penis" to "sex is the most natural thing in the world and an unambiguous good; the key to mental well-being is to deny that sex has any particular totemic power".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:36 AM
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re: 45

That's hardly the same sort of thing.

There are people very close to me who have been horrendously abused by men. I'm not ignorant of the possibility. I'm just reluctant to endorse a view that things that young women are especially deserving of a certain kind of paternalistic concern.

There is a lot of middle ground between the poles of "sex is yucky and sinful and you will go to hell if you touch a boy's penis" to "sex is the most natural thing in the world and an unambiguous good; the key to mental well-being is to deny that sex has any particular totemic power".

Comity. I suspect that I am closer to the latter pole than you are, but I'm not all the way there, either.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:38 AM
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I think the best thing you can do is not hate on sex or dating, but openly value education and happy career decisions in your own life.

Once again I find myself in full agreement with AWB. This is fucking scary!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:39 AM
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457: In fairness, he isn't saying 'all young women'; he's saying 'one daughter is more trusting and hence more vulnerable than the other daughter.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:41 AM
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This is worth emphasizing:

. By the time they're 12, they're already making decisions.

The people I know who made the worst decisions about teenage issues were often the ones who hadn't had much of a chance to exercise their decisionmaking skills in lower-stakes situations when they were kids.

One of the threads of modern American parenting that I like the least is the one that seems to want to avoid failure at all costs. You cannot develop good judgment without making some misjudgments along the way, and it's a heck of a lot easier to fix some things at 10 than at 20. Or heaven forbid, 30.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:42 AM
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And the damage is asymmetrical. I think that recovery is easier for a guy who looks back at his years age 15-20 and thinks "I was sort of a shit and did some things I'd rather not talk about" than for a woman who looks back to the same years and thinks "I spent 5 years getting the message that I was no good and being inlove with people who treated me badly."

The thing is, though, that treating girls as innately more emotionally fragile in this regard sets them up for the damage. The asymmetry is that if a teenage boy and girl have a lousy sexual experience together -- they're both desirous and consenting, but they don't, say, actually like each other much or really want to be involved with each other on any kind of a continuous basis, so the aftermath is awkwardness and avoidance -- he's a shit who's treated her badly, and she's a wounded bird with less pie for her husband, or whatever the fundies are telling girls these days. And if she's not feeling all that damaged or wounded, just awkward and weird, then there's something wrong with her for not putting the emotional weight on sex that girls 'naturally' do.

The situation's not innately asymmetrical, but the way teenagers are pushed into feeling about it is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:43 AM
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I'm going to go out on my usual limb here and say that most young people do not get involved in risky sex because they're so terribly erotically desirous. Sexual desire is not by itself a great motivator of human beings, especially young ones. Risky sex tends to be about social status and/or control within a relationship. One of the things I think evangelical churches have wrong about their attitudes toward teen sexuality is they keep acting as if sexual intercourse is the most tempting thing in the whole world, creating a mythology around desire that simply doesn't match the specific kinds of temptation that give rise to risky behaviors. Evangelicals do this, I think, because, in the end, they want submissive women who end up married to dominant men, and saying that marriage and submission is the only way to get that sweet sexual honey is a reframing of the situation for ideological ends.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:44 AM
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re: 459

Yeah, I was largely responding to the previous comments.

The people I know who made the worst decisions about teenage issues were often the ones who hadn't had much of a chance to exercise their decisionmaking skills in lower-stakes situations when they were kids.

Yes, dammit. Exactly.

One of the threads of modern American parenting that I like the least is the one that seems to want to avoid failure at all costs.

Yes, again.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:44 AM
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And what LB said in 461. Which encapsulates part of what I was trying to say better than I could.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:45 AM
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I guess I think that the stakes really are higher for women. You have pregnancy, and the way double standards are applied in the actual world, and the way a lot of actual guys are predatory studs, and even the way M2F transmission of diseases is worse than F2M. Some of this is just biology, and some of it just the actuality of actually existing people in the here and now.

Guys do worry about women enticing or tricking them into marriage, and to me that's reasonable too. In the actually-existing world, with many exceptions, women seem to want to settle down and get serious earlier.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:46 AM
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Sexual desire is not by itself a great motivator of human beings, especially young ones

OK, finally something to disagree with AWB about. From about the age of 13 or 14, thoughts of penetrative sex crowded out just about everything else in my head. Admittedly, the pressure grew stronger once others in my peer group were "getting some", so I won't deny there is a social aspect to it as well, but I think it functioned more as a validator of my desires (giving me permission to do it, my Christian upbringing notwithstanding) than as a substitute motivator.

I did a lot of things I'm ashamed of today (*not* extending to date rape, I hasten to point out) to satisfy carnal desire.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:51 AM
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462: I wanted to disagree with this on first reading, but on a closer reading I think you're dead on. It's not that sexual desire isn't a powerful motivator for people generally, or teens of either sex specifically -- the implication to the contrary made me want to disagree. But IME 'risky' sex -- the kind of sexual behavior that turns into emotional or practical life problems -- tends not to be the sex motivated by desire, but by, as you say, desire for a social place, or compliance with a pressuring partner, or some other not directly sexual motivation.

Something I've thought about, in terms of raising teens, is that an important message for practical and emotional safety for anyone is that while there are terribly important deeper emotional issues and all that, sex not immediately motivated by desire is almost certainly a very bad idea. If you're doing something sexual for any reason other that you very badly want to be doing that thing with the person you're doing it with, you're very likely to be making a mistake.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:51 AM
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462 is the best inadvertent argument for asymmetry i have read yet.
maybe for the teenage awb, desire was primarily social or aspirational.
but even i can remember back to my boy-teen years. and it was not like that, at all.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:51 AM
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461: This seems right, but I'm not sure it leads to an easy practical solution. As things are culturally, it *is* asymmetrical. It's not that it's set in stone for all time, but it's a fine line to walk between reinforcing those norms and letting the child be ignorant of them. It's similar to the line between knowing about, say, date rape statistics and preparing yourself, and living in fear.

462: There have got to be scores of disappointed evangelicals after the first time they have sex. That's it? Where's the goddamn choir of angels?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:52 AM
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There have got to be scores of disappointed evangelicals after the first time they have sex.

Particularly if they are used to substituting blowjobs and buttseks for reasons of technical virginity. The guy might find the real thing to be a let-down by comparison.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:55 AM
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I think that there are liberated areas in the US where LB's 461 is probably right, but not all of us live in those liberated areas.

However, let me restate it. Suppose a dad correctly recognizes that the boys in his kids' social group mostly are of the common predatory type. What this means is not only that they are predatory as individuals, but that the boys club will back the predatory individual boys and stigmatize the girls they score (the old "kiss and tell" thing).

In that case he would want to make sure that his sons wouldn't treat girls that way, and make sure that his daughters didn't get sweettalked by a jerk. In some ways he'll say the same thing to his daughters as to his sons, and in some ways he'll say different things. He'd also recognize that the risks are different, and I would say, greater for the girl. And it isn't the parents' concern that makes it so.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:57 AM
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My LDS sister said that after first having sex on her wedding night, they resolved to practice a lot. The work ethic, you know.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:58 AM
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I believe 462 might be correct if "young people" was replaced by "girls". Because it looks like the exact opposite of correct from here.

Maybe this is connected with AWB's other minority views, including the notion that people normally make out with each other before they feel any lust toward each other.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:58 AM
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462: The charismatic churches seem to promote a revolving door of religious ecstasy, backsliding, sexual ecstacy, and repentance. Having in common an emotionalism not found in mainline churches.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:00 AM
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maybe for the teenage awb, desire was primarily social or aspirational.

Actually, that's not true at all. The main reason I didn't do it with anyone in high school is that I realized I wanted sex out of sexual desire, and I couldn't find anyone else who seemed to understand that. I still have a hard time finding partners who are actually interested in sex itself, not some weird status thing or mystical value.

That is, I think we could do a lot worse than to tell young people that they should only have sex with someone if they really, truly want to. That would prevent pretty much all the kinds of behaviors we're labeling as "dangerous."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:00 AM
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461--
less pie would be a big deal.
but i think the current version is "less duct-tape adhesive".
"all the stickies are gone" or some crap like that.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:01 AM
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I have known several guys who dated evangelicals by preference and said that they were very enthusiastic and curious.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:02 AM
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475--
sorry if i distorted your 462. didn't mean to.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:02 AM
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I'm finding the whole 'sex crazed predatory boys' thing a little at odds with my own experience too. Perhaps this is another 'two nations divided by a common language' thing.

That is, I think we could do a lot worse than to tell young people that they should only have sex with someone if they really, truly want to.

Truly, words to live by.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:03 AM
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What this means is not only that they are predatory as individuals, but that the boys club will back the predatory individual boys and stigmatize the girls they score (the old "kiss and tell" thing).

AFAIK, this sort of lousy behavior isn't tightly linked to the actual sexual behavior of the girls in question: see m. leblanc at Bitch's in the last couple of days talking about seeing graffiti about what a slut she was in middle-school based on her bra size rather than anything she'd actually done. I don't think a girl who does what she actually wants to do sexually (rather than what she's been bullied into, or what she thinks will cement her position in a social group) is any worse off, even in a social setting where this sort of 'predatory' behavior is commonplace, than one who doesn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:03 AM
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people normally make out with each other before they feel any lust toward each other.

Again, this is a mischaracterization of my feelings, which is understandable, since they may be unfamiliar. People do not "normally" make out without feeling lust. I happen to often feel undirected lust and look for outlets for that lust. I don't wait to find the #1 Lust Object before trying to make out, because #1 Lust Objects, IMHE, never, ever work out and I get far too frustrated and dissatisfied with life. OTOH, maintaining too many lust-objects tends to cockblock me severely, especially of late.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:06 AM
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479--
well, you were clearly a nicer, more decent teen than i was.

479.2
sure--genuine intense desire is a necessary condition for healthy sex. surely not a sufficient one, though.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:07 AM
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Am I right in thinking 444 and 467 agree completely with my 406 and earlier, or is there an important distinction I'm missing? Charley and I are more on the same page than he seems to think about 14 yr olds; I'm looking back with a daughter nearly 18 about how I've come to trust her judgment, but I was concerned about her 9th grade parties, apparently with good reason, but she handled herself well enough then.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:08 AM
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480--
again, slimey boys will talk dirt about girls based on bra size, deranged fantasies of their own, any damn thing.

to infer from that that girls would be no worse off having sex with said boys? seems like a weird inference.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:09 AM
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. I don't think a girl who does what she actually wants to do sexually (rather than what she's been bullied into, or what she thinks will cement her position in a social group) is any worse off, even in a social setting where this sort of 'predatory' behavior is commonplace, than one who doesn't.

I don't see how this follows, unless we assume the girls who do what they want sexually have less sex and that less sex entails a better or neutral reputation. You're right that it's not a tight or perfect correlation, but the girl that sleeps with the football team because she just loves sex and the girl that does so because she just loves status aren't going to be distinguishable by their intentions.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:10 AM
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I'm finding the whole 'sex crazed predatory boys' thing a little at odds with my own experience too. Perhaps this is another 'two nations divided by a common language' thing.

It's part of the package of stereotypes that we get in commercials, sitcoms, mass-market movies, shallow journalism et al. Therefore to say it isn't true is to reject the conventional wisdom, and who wants to do that, especially writers who have the power to strengthen or weaken the stereotype?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:11 AM
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482.2: Not sufficient, but as a rule of thumb it knocks out a whole lot of really bad but very conventional situations.

479, 482: There's a strain of thinking that boys and men are innately misogynistic: they see girls and women only as a route to get sex, and find them boring and contemptible otherwise. I haven't met a whole lot of men who actually seem to feel that way, but there are a lot who seem to sincerely think that most other men do. I think believing this attitude is normal and ordinary is in itself kind of fucked up, because you seem to get men playing along with it out of a homosocial desire to present themselves as normal men, rather than out of any genuinely felt misogyny.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:12 AM
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487--
"they see girls and women only as a route to get sex, and find them boring and contemptible otherwise. I haven't met a whole lot of men who actually seem to feel that way"

well no: i for one am not a man who feels that way.
but i was very emphatically a teen-age boy who felt that way.
and so i sincerely think that most other men, even if they're not like that now, probably were when they were in the intense hormone haze of puberty.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:14 AM
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I don't think a girl who does what she actually wants to do sexually (rather than what she's been bullied into, or what she thinks will cement her position in a social group) is any worse off, even in a social setting where this sort of 'predatory' behavior is commonplace, than one who doesn't.

I just think that in the end it doesn't add up to zero at all. And your parenthetical is one of the things I would tell a daughter, of course, and is something I'd feel much less need to tell a son. To this I would add, a warning about attractive guys who seem nice but aren't.

I think that your personal experience of life might be atypical of the US. What I've heard about Berkeley and SF seems fairly civilized along the lines you suggest, but what I saw in Portland wasn't.

I also think that your commitment to equality is so strong that you overreach sometimes.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:16 AM
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unless we assume the girls who do what they want sexually have less sex

I would assume that, yes, especially for high school girls. All the women I knew who talked about really wanting to get laid were extremely choosy in finding kind, thoughtful boyfriends, if they dated at all. The kind of women who sportfuck football teams are--I hate to stereotype, but--probably not doing it for the rolling orgasms.

I guess I say this because a girlfriend of mine in college went through a weird spiral of sportfucking, and it was really obvious that her decision-making process went like this:

Does he like me? No --->
Has he called me fat or ugly in public? ---> Yes
Could I convince him to fuck me? ---> Maybe anally.
GO SEXXOR. I WIN.

I found it really disturbing. It really wasn't about sexual desire at all. It was about "beating" them at a game. She'd come away saying, "Well, he told all my friends that I'm fat and hideous, but I didn't hear him complaining when he was six inches deep in my asshole." I asked her if she got any pleasure from it, and she'd say that was it, that was the pleasure, to feel like her orifices were desired more than her figure was loathed. I find that fucking disturbing.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:18 AM
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the intense hormone haze of puberty

Personally speaking, according to my recollection I could not separate the hormone haze of puberty from the social aspects of puberty. The men vs. boys thing seems just as much socialization as it is the weakening of hormones (in fact I would say it's much much more socialization than hormones).


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:19 AM
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485: I don't see how this follows, unless we assume the girls who do what they want sexually have less sex and that less sex entails a better or neutral reputation.

Couple of things, here. Girls I knew who had lots and lots of sex in high school were often not doing it out of desire -- in the social world we live in, getting gangbanged by the football team is not, in fact, your average teenage girl's sense of a fun time. (It's a big world out there, and presumably there are at least some teenage girls for whom this is not true. But I think it's a safe rule of thumb.) So, encouraging teenage girls to have all the sex they actually desire does, I think, result in sensible, 'good' girls having somewhat more sex, maybe, and 'slutty' girls probably having somewhat less sex mostly.

Having done something you didn't want to do, or didn't enjoy, because you were bullied or socially bribed into it, leaves you in an emotionally vulnerable position -- you're a chump, who colloquially as well as literally got screwed. If everything you've done was something you wanted to do, the damage from having it known or commented on seems to me to be much less.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:20 AM
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It's part of the package of stereotypes that we get in commercials, sitcoms, mass-market movies, shallow journalism et al. Therefore to say it isn't true is to reject the conventional wisdom, and who wants to do that, especially writers who have the power to strengthen or weaken the stereotype?

I did see a son through his high school years, and I never watch TV at all. Other than that, you judgment of my thought processes is correct.

Perfectly nice girls got trashed by seemingly nice guys (and also by other girls).

One girls in my son's H.S. class (one of the smartest and best looking) just quit dating HS guys at all. She was going out with a college guy, and I thought that was fine.

A lot of this is specific to generic American high schools. I'm not sure LB went to one, and I know that ttaM and D^2 didn't.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:20 AM
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Well, as a teenage girl, I also saw many guys as hot but otherwise boring or contemptible. I didn't get much play with those guys, but not for lack of wanting it. The whole thread of this impulse that has to do with what girls are "up against" really bothers me. Yes, there are predatory guys, but it's a distortion to think of girls as blithely unaware of the seething horndoggitude that they will have to battle their way through.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:21 AM
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493 --> 486 (First part S/B italicized).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:21 AM
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they see girls and women only as a route to get sex

I'm not sure I would agree with "only", but the 15-19 year old KR's principal motivation in getting to know women was the chance of getting sex

and find them boring and contemptible otherwise.

Never true of me. I consistently had a slight preponderance of female friends.

you seem to get men playing along with it out of a homosocial desire to present themselves as normal men, rather than out of any genuinely felt misogyny.

Definitely agree that there is a lot of this going on. I will even cop to having participated in the proverbial locker room discussions in ways that betrayed my friendship with certain girls--one of the aforementioned things I'm not proud of.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:22 AM
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496 applies to me too.

And as a man you know that boys pressure each other to treat women as objects sometimes.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:24 AM
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"I also saw many guys as hot but otherwise boring or contemptible"

i am confident you would not have felt that way about me.

seriously--you feel like you were wised up, and that's great.

so how would you pass that on to kr's daughters? or some niece of yours who *was* blithely unaware?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:25 AM
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493: Oh, none of my personal experiences can be generalized. I'm a member of the coastal elite, and it's well known that we're not Americans, and are hardly in fact human beings at all.

Perfectly nice girls got trashed by seemingly nice guys (and also by other girls).

All I'm saying is that playing by the rules of a misogynistic social group, if you're stuck in one, is not going to get you out of it with less damage.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:25 AM
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I wasn't wised up, I was VERY VERY HORNY.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:26 AM
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I'm going to credit all those who remember themselves as teenage boys who saw girls and women only as a route to get sex, and found them boring and contemptible otherwise as telling the truth, and offering valuable data. I was otherwise, and don't feel I have anything to feel ashamed of, which I suppose is a blessing.

It's a different issue from how to encourage and support a girl's maturation and autonomy. Living in Chicago, with my teenagers attending an "artsy" magnet high school that doesn't have athletic facilities, and which some observers feel has as a result a very self-selective student body, largely free of attitudes and hierarchies taken for granted most places, makes me feel I live more in ttaM's and LB's world than the others.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:27 AM
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I also saw many guys as hot but otherwise boring or contemptible

I ran into so many of those guys at my high school reunion. They were still awesomely handsome, and I still kind of thrilled a little when they smiled at me, but I really couldn't imagine any of them being fun to do.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:27 AM
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492: I think you're broadly correct here, except that I don't think it's going to be easy for the average teenage girl to shrug off being called a slut blithely just because she had only the sex she wanted.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:27 AM
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LB, that was stupid. Not everyplace in the US is Manhattan and Berkeley. That's all I said.

I also don't believe you if you're saying that you went to MIT and didn't run into a lot of misogynist guys.

As I said, one way one of my son's female classmates got out of the game in HS was to date older non-HS guys. That's cool. I don't know what you're saying by now, but I think that my understanding of what's going on in a generic US HS is better than yours.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:31 AM
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so how would you pass that on to kr's daughters?

For the record, they won't need this type of coaching for a while yet.

Yesterday my daughters asked me how baby pigs get out of the mother. I answered matter-of-factly that the baby pigs come out of the sow's vagina. They promptly started laughing and dancing around singing "They come out of the vagina, they come out of the vagina..."

Oh, the things I have to look forward to.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:32 AM
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In order to go on dates in high school I had to take my friends' advice on what to do, some of which followed the stereotypes of "OK you want sex and she doesn't", and some of which was sincere and useful. I definitely didn't have enough confidence (or instincts) to use my own instincts in these matters.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:33 AM
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503: Absolutely, people being shitty to you is going to hurt -- if you're in a situation where that's happening, there's not much to do but stick it out until you can get away, and for a lot of people, that seems to be high school. I'm arguing, though, that you do yourself a lot more damage by internalizing the rules that let them be shitty to you than by just taking the hits.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:33 AM
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All I'm saying is that playing by the rules of a misogynistic social group, if you're stuck in one, is not going to get you out of it with less damage.

???????????????????????????????

Who is saying that? We're just saying that young women in HS should be warned about what they'll be facing (and in a different way, young guys). And the ways of dealing with a misogynist social group are different than the ways of dealing with a healthy social group. Is that "playing by their rules"?

And what KR and Carp and I have been saying is that in those environments, seemingly very nice boys can be pretty awful. While my son was in HS I ended up being caught in the crossfire -- a friend of my son's whom I really liked a lot was really beastly to the daughter of an old friend of mine.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:36 AM
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I also don't believe you if you're saying that you went to MIT and didn't run into a lot of misogynist guys.

No, but I didn't date them or worry about their approval. If you're trying to figure out how to function in a social world controlled by misogynist guys, you can't win -- the only thing to do is vote with your feet and go associate with whichever guys you can find that aren't misogynist.

And advising girls to follow their actual sexual desires is, IME, not a bad rule of thumb to get there. Being despised (for most women) isn't a turn-on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:37 AM
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I don't know why Emerson is becoming angry here.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:37 AM
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I was certainly snippy in 499.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:40 AM
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I just feel that I'm trying to knock down pieties. LB seems to be misreading what Carp, KR, and I are saying, and she took my observation that maybe her experience was atypical as a cheesy redneck smear.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:40 AM
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If you're trying to figure out how to function in a social world controlled by misogynist guys, you can't win -- the only thing to do is vote with your feet and go associate with whichever guys you can find that aren't misogynist.

OK, is that something that Carp and KR should say to their daughters? Or should their daughters find out for themselves?

The business that some misogynist guys seem very, very nice in private is one of the points I'd try to make. Would I be wrong to do that?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:42 AM
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Actually, I think being despised is probably the greatest incentive to bad sexual decisions, as in my 490 example. And being despised can become a really hugely perverse turn-on for someone who hasn't been taught to value happiness in sexual relationships. I never wanted to fuck people because they found me unattractive, like my friend did, because I'm really not insecure about shit like that. However, I've probably had sex with a few people who I knew found me (in a misogynistic way) "intimidating" or "weird," because that's the stuff I'm insecure about. Would that I was as wise as my advice to the young peoples of the world!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:43 AM
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I'm arguing, though, that you do yourself a lot more damage by internalizing the rules that let them be shitty to you than by just taking the hits.

I'm going to come at the question from a different angle for a moment. Generally speaking, one of the qualities that makes a young person into a successful, well-adjusted adult is the ability to defer gratification. These are habits learned in childhood and adolescence.

I submit that the ability to restrain oneself from having sex despite being horny is related to a whole family of virtues centered around self-control: good study habits, persistence, the ability to endure frustration while training oneself in a particular skill. To the extent that a young person, boy or girl, can overcome sexual urges until they are in conventionally "appropriate" situation (you're really into the other person, you've both talked it over and know you're ready, you've taken precautions), this is part and parcel of the set of bourgeois virtues that prepare that young person for success in the contemporary economy.

This comment is probably tantamount to admitting that AWB was right with "I'm starting to think KR's big issue is that sex/dating might keep his daughters from, like, going to college and getting careers and stuff." So sue me.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:43 AM
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510: I've been told more than once here by more than one person that my suggestions about how to deal with a certain problem are just perpetuating the problem. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but if I'm not, that angers me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:44 AM
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encouraging teenage girls to have all the sex they actually desire does, I think, result in sensible, 'good' girls having somewhat more sex, maybe

Maybe is right. Mine, and the daughter of close friends of ours, both would have had on particular occasions in the last few months but didn't because no condoms to go w/ low-dose bc. Everybody frustrated but the girls not doubting they'd done the right thing, the boys not objecting or denying it. I have a feeling sex would have been more likely and more risky if the girls hadn't the sense of autonomy they do.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:46 AM
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512: Well, for one thing Carp hasn't said jack beyond that getting passed out drunk with a bunch of boys is a lousy idea, which I wholeheartedly endorse.

For another, you seem to be misreading me. I'm not arguing that there are no social penalties for being perceived as slutty, and I didn't go to fantasy hippie highschool where there was no such thing. I'm saying that the kind of sexual behavior that can be broadly described as 'risky' often doesn't have all that much to do with actual sexual desire, and also that in a poisonous enough environment, sexual continence doesn't protect a girl from being stigmatized as a slut.

Given those two dynamics, encouraging girls to engage in the sexual behavior that they actually desire and only that behavior, while it won't actively protect them from the effects of a poisonously misogynistic social group, won't put them at the risk of a whole lot more abuse than they'd be in for anyway for breathing while female, and sets themselves up for less emotional grief in later life and healthier situations.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:49 AM
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517: Yeah, exactly. To be honest, I'm moderately weirded out that you know that in detail, but that's probably a reasonably likely corollary of the sort of child-rearing I'm advocating.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:53 AM
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encouraging girls to engage in the sexual behavior that they actually desire

I doubt that it's easy to separate out "actual desire" from less benign motivations at any point in life, let alone high school. That, I think, is part of the problem.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:54 AM
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LB, somehow you've objected to the idea that should be especially watchful of their daughters in certain ways. You seem to take that in the worst medieval sense.I don't think that anyone was suggesting chastity belts, chadors, and purdah. I think that most of the concerns expressed here by father types have been pretty reasonable, even though they all do involve treating young women differently than young men in certain respects.

I also think that you want certain things to be true badly enough that you're trying to believe that they're already true. And as I said, it may already be true in some places. If I may be allowed to say so.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:56 AM
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515: I submit that the ability to restrain oneself from having sex despite being horny is related to a whole family of virtues centered around self-control: good study habits, persistence, the ability to endure frustration while training oneself in a particular skill. To the extent that a young person, boy or girl, can overcome sexual urges until they are in conventionally "appropriate" situation (you're really into the other person, you've both talked it over and know you're ready, you've taken precautions), this is part and parcel of the set of bourgeois virtues that prepare that young person for success in the contemporary economy.

I would say that this is demonstrably false as a matter of fact for boys -- that there is no good correlation, if you separate out effects of social class and such, between this sort of good sexual decisionmaking in the teen years and bourgeois virtue and success. For girls there probably is a correlation, but what's going on is that the social penalties for 'bad' sexual decisionmaking are great enough that a girl who makes unusual sexual decisions is likely to be the sort of fuckup who makes socially penalized decisions generally. That, to me, is not a reason to put additional controls on girls' sexual behavior, but to work on the asymmetrical social penalties.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:58 AM
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520 gets it right. Under my earlier-stated policy of only going out with girls who were in my league, with a presumption that girls I found attractive were out of my league, I went out with a couple of girls who I was not attracted to and who I thought were attracted to me. I wanted to have sex with one of them so that I could have had sex. If that had actually happened I probably would have ended up never becoming attracted to the girl and being seen as an asshole forever. But I didn't want to do anything she didn't want to do, and she wasn't all that attracted to me, so it didn't happen. Maybe if I had had a whole lot more self-confidence I could have been manipulative.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:59 AM
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521...seems to be addressed by 518.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:00 AM
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521: LB, somehow you've objected to the idea that should be especially watchful of their daughters in certain ways. You seem to take that in the worst medieval sense.I don't think that anyone was suggesting chastity belts, chadors, and purdah.

I really think you're misreading me. I do think that being 'especially watchful' of girls' rather than boys' sexual behavior is counterproductive and harmful, even in a conventionally misogynistic high school environment. But I'm not denying that there is misogynistic behavior out there, and I'm not coming from the happy hippy flowerland where I've never seen any -- I'm just arguing that the conventional 'watchfulness', even at a reasonable, civilized level, isn't the best way of handling it.

520: Yeah, that's a problem, but if 'actual desire' is at least a consciously valued rule of thumb, I think it gets you part of the way there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:04 AM
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507 and 518 are right.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:08 AM
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This was the source of my parents' biggest argument in their marriage: whether I should be given different rules than my older brothers. Earlier curfews, etc.

Ultimately my mom won, and I was given the same rules. I feel VERY strongly that it would have been wrong for my dad to win.

(As an aside, I was totally aware that this was a contentious point until long after the fact. My parents were very careful to go on walks to discuss it.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:08 AM
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That, to me, is not a reason to put additional controls on girls' sexual behavior, but to work on the asymmetrical social penalties.

Not mutually exclusive, and as I've said, you can't make something true by pretending that it already is true.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:09 AM
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I've said, you can't make something true by pretending that it already is true. /i>

Actually, you sort of can [some of the time]. When we're talking about socially constituted phenomena, that's exactly what you can do. One way of neutralising the effect of certain toxic value-judgements is just to ignore the fuck out of them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:11 AM
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I would be endlessly pleased for my daughters to grow up to be as sovereign and self-confident as LB, and at that point their sexual activity would be a matter of utter indifference to me. But I hope I can be forgiven for fearing that premature sex could be damaging to their self esteem, and for wanting them to have built up their emotional defenses and capacity for rational judgement before crossing that Rubicon.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:11 AM
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Not mutually exclusive, and as I've said, you can't make something true by pretending that it already is true.

I believe that putting restrictions on girls behavior is a wrong because it doesn't protect them and infringes on their rights as a human being.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:12 AM
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Fucking self-esteem can fucking fuck off.

[Sorry, not directed at you personally Knecht, but preserving or enhancing people's self-esteem tends to employed as a justification for all kinds of wank and cant].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:13 AM
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Not meant snarkily, but out of genuine curiousity: Does Nattar have children? Daughters? (I know LB has both.)


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:16 AM
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Is not unhappy, premature sex sometimes genuinely up-fucking for teenage boys as well? Perhaps I was just friends with a bunch of big girl's blouses*, but some of them managed to freak themselves out pretty well. And I heartily agree with 531.

*A phrase I adore despite its whiff of misogyny.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:17 AM
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528, 529: Right, social relations is a world where wishing does, sometimes, make it so. If you, as a teenage girl, have the sex you want, and some misogynist assholes call you a slut for it, you are really, practically, better off to the extent that you can know that they're just broken, and they don't rule the world -- at some point you'll be able to get away and associate with decent people who aren't insane. If you're playing under the assumption that misogynistic assholes calling you a slut is an important part of the nature of reality, and you have to shape your behavior to avoid it, you're screwed. For one thing, as Heebie says, it doesn't work -- they can call you a slut whatever you do or don't do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:17 AM
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534 - yes, of course. You don't want girls to think you suck dick at fucking pussy.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:20 AM
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re: 533

No children. I am an older brother, though. With a sister close enough to me in age that she was part of my social circle, so I'm not entirely alienated from the whole 'urge to protect' or unaware of what goes on. I recognize the emotion, I just don't think that acting on it [in certain ways] is very helpful.

535 is right, again.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:21 AM
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I wasn't advocating putting special curfews on girls. I don't think anyone here was.

Actually, you sort of can [some of the time]. When we're talking about socially constituted phenomena, that's exactly what you can do. One way of neutralising the effect of certain toxic value-judgements is just to ignore the fuck out of them.

I was thinking of a specific social environment where that didn't seem possible to me. People in social movements tend to overestimate the possibilities of this kind of way of bringing about change. I've been there.

I think that false aspersions are being cast on fathers who have special concerns about their daughters WRT sexual behavior. This is, in fact, a kind of thing that normally hip, normally liberated, normally feminist fathers often pretend they don't do, and for all I know, really don't do in some cases. But I think that it's pretty reasonable for fathers to think that way, though the ways they might act on their concerns are discussable, and certain ways are indeed problematic.

Of course, this whole debate could have been avoided if no one had ever said anything, and in fact, most hip feminist fathers learn not to say anything.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:23 AM
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536: A marvelous example of emphatic profanity creating genuine syntactic ambiguity.

534: Yeah, and I think the emotional risks for boys are a result of the same double standards -- guys I've known had a whole lot of fear about being unintentionally abusive or hurtful, combined sometimes with a belief that getting sex meant being abusive or hurtful, so that they'd have to change themselves into someone crueller to actually ever have sex.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:24 AM
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In bringing up Axl Rose on the other thread, I reminded myself of the time I ended up sitting next to Johnny Van Zandt on a flight to Jacksonville. We chatted about raising daughters (he has two, one adult one from a previous marriage and one young one from his current marriage).

Here was this aging rocker, with his tatoos and scraggly hair and Harley Davidson teeshirt, talking about how he had to warn his daughter away from certain lowlife boyfriends: "I had to tell her, 'Honey, that boy is a punk, I can see it.'" It occured to me that for this guy to make a negative judgment about someone based on appearance, the boy would have to be pretty far over the line.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:24 AM
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I think that false aspersions are being cast on fathers

Emerson, I'm really not trying to start a fight here -- the following is intended to be defusing rather than the reverse. But I think the aspersions you're seeing are a result of hasty reading. I've been arguing that the conventional forms of differential worry about the teenage sexuality of boys and girls are counterproductive. I really don't think I've said, or that anyone else I've noticed has said, that fathers with such differential concerns are bad people. Thinking someone's mistaken is not casting aspersions on them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:28 AM
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I know plenty of healthy, well-adjusted adult women who were raised by parents who had enlightened attitudes about sex, but did not go all the way to the "it's all natural and OK" pole, i.e. people who have attitudes much like my own.

I do not have personal knowledge of people who were raised by parents with the "it's all natural and OK, the naysayers are tools of the patriarchy" attitude, so I cannot judge how effective this is at helping children develop into well-adjusted adults.

Applying the principle of primum non nocere, I'm going to stick with my attitude until I see some pretty convincing evidence that the other way is better.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:30 AM
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To expand on 536, at least twice I ended up being embarrassed when a potentially casual-sex situation did not proceed past an endless succession of repetitive foreplay, becuase I hadn't had sex before and didn't know the girl well enough to think I could confess that and still have her be interested in me. I say "embarrassed" because it later became clear that she was perplexed by the seeming lack of interest. One of the most typical teen-movie situations there is.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:31 AM
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I do not have personal knowledge of people who were raised by parents with the "it's all natural and OK, the naysayers are tools of the patriarchy" attitude, so I cannot judge how effective this is at helping children develop into well-adjusted adults.

Is this necessarily the alternative to being more watchful of daughters' sexuality than of sons'?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:32 AM
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re: 544

Yeah, I was wondering that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:34 AM
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520: Yeah, that's a problem, but if 'actual desire' is at least a consciously valued rule of thumb, I think it gets you part of the way there.

Disagree, maybe. I'm leery of The One Rule to Rule Them Alls, generally. I think if "actual desire" ends up being the focus, people just learn to understand whatever it is they end up doing as actual desire. I can think of two women in college who slept around a lot, one healthily, one not so much. Both would have used the language you use to describe their behavior. In fact, the not so healthy one did pretty often. With the healthy one, it didn't come up because she was clearly in control and people just thought of her as someone who really liked sex. I'm not sure giving the not so healthy one a language to justify her actions helped. In that specific case, I think it might have hurt.

If "actual desire" is one of a fairly sizable number of soft guidelines offered, it doesn't seem problematic to me at all.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:35 AM
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Also, fwiw, I don't remember my parents treating me or my sister differently in any way on this issue. In fact, my sister probably had slightly more freedom than I did (in the manner that younger siblings sometimes do).


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:36 AM
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in the manner that younger siblings sometimes do

Heh. Indeed we do. I had immensely more freedom than my older sister, and still got to be the good compliant daughter while she was the rebel. I sympathized with the fact that this drove her nuts, but there wasn't anything I could do about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:38 AM
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546: Nothing works for everyone, all the time. I'd still guess that the 'not so healthy' woman you're remembering got there through a previous high school history of sex motivated by social factors other than desire, and that any help she could have gotten at that point to help her figure out that that was a bad idea would have left her better off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:43 AM
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being more watchful of daughters' sexuality than of sons

Once again, I don't have sons, so I don't have any real basis for comparison. My only point is that I am not, and probably will never be comfortable with my daughters having sex before, say the age of 16, and ideally not until 2-4 years later. I intend to tell them that I don't think it 's a good idea. I also intend to make sure they understand what contraception is and how they can get it if they need it. I don't intend to threaten them with hellfire and damnation, and I don't intend to try to lock them up in a cloister.

I also intend to eye their boyfriends skeptically and make sure the young fellows see me demonstratively using a meat cleaver in the kitchen when they come over.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:44 AM
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in the manner that younger siblings sometimes do

My brother was much older, nearly 8 years, than I and my sister, who's younger still. My parents were much more restrictive of him than of us. He was a teenager in urban Canada, early sixties, a repressed and stereotyping place, we almost ten years later in the US of the late sixties. We were given freedom that I know he wasn't, because our personalities differed, my parents were older, wiser and more relaxed, and because the times were different.

Lisgar high in Ottawa, IA. Paul Anka, Rich Little, and a number of others.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:51 AM
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Way back at 507: all I'm saying is to the extent that 'have only the sex you want' works as anti-slut protection, it only works indirectly, if the girl ends up having less sex than she would have otherwise. Not that there aren't good reasons to get that message across to teenagers, but to the extent it reduces harmful teasing, it's because it's abiding by the norm (good girls have sex rarely, and for love) rather than changing it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:54 AM
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Not Ottawa, Iowa, if there is such a place; Ottawa, for IA's information, since she seems to know the place.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:55 AM
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I'd still guess that the 'not so healthy' woman you're remembering got there through a previous high school history of sex motivated by social factors other than desire, and that any help she could have gotten at that point to help her figure out that that was a bad idea would have left her better off.

I can't tell if we're disagreeing or not. I'm uncomfortable with "actual desire"--as distinct from amorphous, uncategorized desire--because I don't think it--which I read as something like "authentic desire"--exists. And I think bad models often enough do more harm than no models. If the model works, it works. Focusing on "actual desire" primarily isn't the one I'd use.

If I had a relevant daughter, I'd probably say something along the lines of "actual desire." I'd certainly note that there isn't anything wrong with either wanting a lot of sex, or having a lot of sex. But I'd probably also talk more about safe spaces to sort that out and the relevant downsides, just or not. As long as you have the car, you might as well find out how fast it goes, but you should remember to belt in. And mostly just leave her to it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:01 AM
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Cala, is it your opinion that Catholics are more likely to be conscious of and preoccupied by the reputation issues you (and Di) so take for granted?

Way upthread I said I grew up a mainstream Protestant without any concept of "slut," which I'd guess was denomination, class and ethnicity determined.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:06 AM
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552: I think it also defuses the impact of being called a slut. Someone who (let me come up with the most stereotypical situation possible), lets the quarterback of the football team have hasty, unpleasant sex with her because she was bullied into it, or because she thought it was a route to social acceptance or status as the quarterback's girlfriend, and then finds herself being abused as a slut didn't get anything she wanted out of the event -- she only got abuse. He's powerful, she's weak, he used her and got what he wanted, she got abused and got nothing out of it. That's an emotionally rotten position to be in.

If the situation is, on the other hand, that she had sex with someone because she and he both wanted to have sex, even if it turned awkward and weird and avoidant afterwards, and even if she gets verbally abused for it, she's in a much stronger emotional position. It's much easier to say "Fuck you, I'll do what I want," if what you're taking shit for is something you did want, as opposed to something you didn't want.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:09 AM
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I'm uncomfortable with "actual desire"--as distinct from amorphous, uncategorized desire--because I don't think it--which I read as something like "authentic desire"--exists.

I don't think we're squarely disagreeing. I think you're overreading the degree to which I mean anything terribly specific by 'actual desire' -- all I really mean is desire, rather than mere willingness due to motivations other than desire.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:13 AM
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I think there's a big excluded middle in 556.

Let's say she's out with one a guy, he's not the quarterback, but the's the second string defensive end, and she thinks he's kind of sweet, and he likes her, too, but they're both 15 and virgins, and it's getting kind of hot in his parents' basement, and what he's doing with his hands feels sooo good, but maybe she's not really ready, but she doesn't really feel like stopping because it feels soooo good, and he's whispering that he's never liked a girl as much as he does her... And Sunday morning she's really sorry it happened so soon.

There was actual desire involved, but in the cold hard light of day the desire, or the inability to resist it, is regretted.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:24 AM
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That is, I think we could do a lot worse than to tell young people that they should only have sex with someone if they really, truly want to.

Thinking about it, this is close to the message I got (as a guy) and, for me that message tended to reinforce rather than defuse a tendency towards hesitance and neurosis.

I took that as a higher bar (how do justify a desire as something i "really, truly" want) rather than as a sign to trust my instincts. Though, my instincts are relatively conservative so, perhaps, that is just trusting my instincts.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:26 AM
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555: The only traditions I'm familiar with are Catholic and evangelical Protestant, and they're way nutser than we are. Being Catholic is all about rationalizing it away, I say cynically. Living together before marriage is bad, exceptinyourcousinscasebecausetheywereengagedanditdidntmakesenseforthemtowaittobuytheircondo.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:28 AM
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Also, 'really, truly want to' includes 'because I and my copy of Wodehouse don't wish to go to college deflowered.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:30 AM
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558: I'm not claiming to have the panacea to avoid all hurt feelings. If you want sex and a relationship, running into someone who just wants sex and doesn't want a relationship is an emotional rejection, and anyone, male or female, is going to get their feelings hurt by such a rejection. But I'd still say she's better off, emotionally, being able to say to herself "Well, Saturday night was at least enjoyable in itself, pity he's a lying sack of shit. Note to self: develop better 'lying sack of shit' detectors," rather than focusing solely on how terribly damaged and lessened she is by the experience.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:30 AM
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My only point is that I am not, and probably will never be comfortable with my daughters having sex before, say the age of 16, and ideally not until 2-4 years later.

Great! Here's what your daughters will hear: "Under no circumstances am I to find out if you have sex before age 18-20." You will have compliant daughters.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:33 AM
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Thinking about it, this is close to the message I got (as a guy) and, for me that message tended to reinforce rather than defuse a tendency towards hesitance and neurosis.

Yeah, I think that was/is true for me as well. I think it's better to be clear that there are a set of things you should think about, but you're bound to make mistakes, because everybody does, just focus on being broadly healthy, and don't sweat it too much.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:34 AM
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562: For the sake of my hypothetical in 558, he's not a lying sack of shit, but a guy who sincerely likes her. Hence my point about there being a large excluded middle.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:35 AM
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You will have compliant daughters who may end up thinking that it's no use coming to you for practical or emotional help if they do something you've forbidden.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:36 AM
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Lisgar high in Ottawa, IA. Paul Anka, Rich Little, and a number of others.

My Dad went to Lisgar. Hi IDP!

With one French and one English parent I got the 'benefit' of both messages. (Fr: your sexual pleasure is the reason to have sex, Eng: guys might do terrible things to you.)

I really do think the first message innoculated me to an extent against people who would try to use my sexuality against me to shame me (happened a lot).

The problem of how to live in a mysogynistic social world without internalizing self hatred until you can get out of there- with that I wish I'd had more help, and that would be my big concern if I was talking to a teenage girl. That's where I feel I have inadequate answers, even now.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:36 AM
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563: I don't think he's sounding that unreasonable, really, especially when he's talking to them about contraception and decision-making, to tack on 'and I think it's better if you wait till you're older.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:36 AM
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Let's say she's out with one a guy, he's not the quarterback, but the's the second string defensive end, and she thinks he's kind of sweet, and he likes her, too, but they're both 15 and virgins, and it's getting kind of hot in his parents' basement, and what he's doing with his hands feels sooo good, but maybe she's not really ready, but she doesn't really feel like stopping because it feels soooo good, and he's whispering that he's never liked a girl as much as he does her... And Sunday morning she's really sorry it happened so soon.

The gender dynamics of this little tale are weird to me. How does what she's doing with her hands feel to him? Is he really ready? What's wrong with it feeling so good? Does he have regrets on Sunday too? Are her regrets a bigger deal than his are? Is she a victim here?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:37 AM
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565: So what's she upset about? Religious objections to premarital sex? Practical fears of pregnancy or disease? I'm not following the basis for her hypothetical regrets here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:37 AM
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Could you spell out what the harm is in 558? You say she's sorry but I don't know why.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:38 AM
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561--
deflowered?
undeflowered?
(wodehouse?)


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:41 AM
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572: I missed a negative.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:44 AM
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I'm not following the basis for her hypothetical regrets here.

Doesn't really matter what the basis is: she's scared of STI's, she's internalized the norms of the patriarchy and is worried he'll think she's easy, she's promised Jesus to wait till the wedding night. I'm saying regrets can ensue for a variety of reasons, and while we might not like the origins of those reasons, we can't avoid the regrets by the heuristic of "only do it if you genuinely desire sexual gratification".

You will have compliant daughters who may end up thinking that it's no use coming to you for practical or emotional help if they do something you've forbidden.

Where did I say anything about forbidding anything? It's more like Cala's appending "and I think it's better if you wait till you're older" to the birth control talk. Forbidden will be, for instance, drinking & driving; sex will be merely discouraged.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:48 AM
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encouraging girls to engage in the sexual behavior that they actually desire and only that behavior, while it won't actively protect them from the effects of a poisonously misogynistic social group, won't put them at the risk of a whole lot more abuse than they'd be in for anyway for breathing while female, and sets themselves up for less emotional grief in later life and healthier situations.

I'm sceptical of the notion that there's a sexual behavior that girls (or boys, for that matter) just "actually desire," underneath or apart from the way those desires are socially constructed. As if stripping away all that poisonous misogynist stuff would leave us all in a pre-social state of nature, or perhaps in the garden of Eden. As if attempting to create an alternative to the misogynistic social setting (which goal I support) isn't also a form of social construction.

The problem, which problem I think Emerson is getting at, is that there's the aspiration for a different and better context, and then there's the actual context of the here and now, within which teenagers actually live.

It's not unreasonable or condescending for parents to worry about the asymmetry which currently characterizes sexual risk.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:50 AM
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I'm sceptical of the notion that there's a sexual behavior that girls (or boys, for that matter) just "actually desire," underneath or apart from the way those desires are socially constructed.

I don't disagree with this, and I think this is the point that SCMT was making. But I think there's a fair amount of sex that goes on, and quite a large part of what would be characterized as 'risky' sex among teenage girls, that's unambiguously not motivated by desire; that's, rather, acquiesced in for reasons other than the pursuit of sexual pleasure. (I've been thinking for a while here, although I can't quite make it fit, that the term 'easy' fits in to what I'm talking about. A girl who's 'easy' isn't one who's sexually desirous, she's easily persuaded to do things she doesn't want to do.)

I'm not claiming that restricting sexual activity to that which is in some sense an expression of sexual desire eliminates all possibility for regret, social penalty, emotional pain, or practical bad consequences. But if you strongly discourage that class of sexual activity that isn't motivated by sexual desire, you (IMO) don't lose anything of value, and you do eliminate a great deal of potential for negative and painful experiences.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:00 AM
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Is there also a second problem, that kids imagine that their detectors for evil or damaged people work well without any good basis for this imagination? How much caution is it right to try to instill in a kid?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:05 AM
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Not Ottawa, Iowa, if there is such a place

Ottawa is the plural. Iowa contains a smaller city called Ottumwa.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:09 AM
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Further to 574, 575: Again, I'm not denying that social pressures are asymmetrical between the genders, or that sex is emotionally fraught and can lead to pain. Both are absolutely true. I'm just trying to talk about what, in the world we live in now, a teenage girl's best course of action is to remain emotionally healthy (and what advice and guidance parents should provide to get there). Active, conscious rejection of misogynist double standards to the extent they exist in your social group really seems to me to be the healthiest and best advised option, although I'll admit that I'm not precisely clear of the alternatives being offered.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:09 AM
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I think that contexts are really important here. I was thinking mostly of my son's HS, which was very mixed but was mostly kids from only moderately prosperous families and only moderate social capital, and where the social atmosphere was fairly brutal. If I had been thinking of my upper-middle class college classmates (or my son's) in elite colleges (only 1-4 years out of HS), I'd think differently. If I were raising a kid in, say, Norway, I'd say entirely different things and would be much more relaxed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:10 AM
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I don't see why Knyecht is being criticized here.

Forbidden will be, for instance, drinking & driving; sex will be merely discouraged.

What does "forbidden" mean? You'll throw them out of the house?

Logically I think the difference between "forbidden" and "discouraged" would mean different punishments.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:11 AM
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581: I don't see why that Knyecht is being criticized here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:12 AM
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I can't tell if 582 was a serious reply to 581 or a joke about the "Knyecht" typo. No, there's no "Knyecht" being criticized here...


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:15 AM
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Serious, albeit snarkily delivered. I just ignored the typo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:17 AM
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I don't think it was a typo.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:18 AM
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I don't think it was a typo.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:19 AM
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Now I'm really confused. What is it if not a typo?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:19 AM
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Ah, grasshopper. What is anything if not a typo?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:20 AM
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586: Ah.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:20 AM
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Yah.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:22 AM
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I've been fairly sympathetic to Knecht's side of the discussion in this thread, but I have to admit 558 doesn't make much sense to me. At least, it's not a scenario that seems to call out for fatherly protection and sheltering. Quite the opposite actually.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:25 AM
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I've typed and deleted three very long comments. No, I just deleted another one, so make that four. This is a tough issue. LB's "real desire" seems right,* but social influences make it such a foggy concept (even in adults, but especially in teenages) that I'm not sure it's really a meaningful guide. I mean, I certainly wouldn't want to leave my teens (boys or girls) with no advice but "only follow your true desire." And some degree of discouragement, as Knecht put it, or at least expressed reservation, seems like some of what I'd want to include in the mix.

*For you godless heathens, I mean. I drag my family to mass every week, so naturally my children will all have their first impure thoughts on their wedding nights.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:32 AM
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I mean, I certainly wouldn't want to leave my teens (boys or girls) with no advice but "only follow your true desire." And some degree of discouragement, as Knecht put it, or at least expressed reservation, seems like some of what I'd want to include in the mix.

Yeah, I'm not disagreeing with this.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:35 AM
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Huh. Okay then. That's probably what I get for skipped those middle 300 comments.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:38 AM
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Well, I don't know about 'discouragement', but I would think that teen boys and girls should both, in thinking about sexual activity, be thinking about at the least kindness to potential partners, and that the pursuit of sexual pleasure probably requires an expectation of kindness from partners as well. And that's going to be a high enough standard to meet that it's going to practically be discouragement on some level. I've just been arguing for gender symmetry in expectations, and a certain formal acceptance that teenagers are likely to behave sexually to some extent, and that fumbles and hurt feelings are going to be part of that and aren't really avoidable. Thinking that different expectations for girls successfully protect them from misogynistic attack or other sources of emotional pain seems mistaken to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:46 AM
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Logically I think the difference between "forbidden" and "discouraged" would mean different punishments.

No, that's not it. "Forbidden" means punishment (not throwing out of the house, but some serious consequences). "Discouraged" means "you'll get that look from me that leaves no doubt you have disappointed your father, even though he would never in a 1,000 years think of punishing you for it."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:17 PM
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but I have to admit 558 doesn't make much sense to me

It didn't make sense to me either. I just like visualizing teen seks.

No, seriously, I didn't mean this as a particular scenario to protect the daughter against, merely as an example of a middle ground between "sex motivated by something other than carnal desire = bad" and "sex motivated by carnal desire = perfectly OK".

In subsquent comments LB acknowledges that she does not mean to exlude the middle ground, but to argue that most of the middle ground is relatively benign, or at least less harmful than imposing archaic attitudes about female sexuality.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:21 PM
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595: Thinking that different expectations for girls successfully protect them from misogynistic attack or other sources of emotional pain seems mistaken to me.

I've already confessed to not reading the whole thread, but does anyone disagree? I think you'd need to swap "may help" for "successfully" to even have a colorable argument.

LB, apologies if you've covered this somewhere (and if so, just pointing me appropriately is sufficient response), but do you think in our current culture that teenage girls are more likely to experience emotional pain resulting from sexual experiences than are teenage boys? If so, is there something wrong with a parent attempting to acknowledge and address that? I don't think anyone is advocating for a 1950s double-standard.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:25 PM
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To be honest, I'm moderately weirded out that you know that in detail, but that's probably a reasonably likely corollary of the sort of child-rearing I'm advocating

Having given acceptance and approval, I don't expect too much more blow-by-blow, and wouldn't be surprised if I don't hear much more except in a more general way.
But both girls were looking for support from their parents, or at least one of them, and got it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:28 PM
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If so, is there something wrong with a parent attempting to acknowledge and address that? I don't think anyone is advocating for a 1950s double-standard.

Well, there seems to be a widespread expectation that even "sensitive" dads are going to get all extra protective of their daughters' sexuality, and be seized with the desire to hold off the hordes of boys whose RAVENING IRRATIONAL sexuality they understand all too well, having been ravening boys themselves, and that this is, if not the best idea, certainly cute and unavoidable.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:32 PM
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If you look back at Emerson's 454 and my 461 in answer, I think they both address your question. I think that teenage girls are probably more likely to be abused or treated with hostility because of the sexual experiences they've had than boys are; people being shitty to you hurts, so there's some asymmetry there. Boys can get their feelings hurt, can be rejected, either before or after commencing a sexual relationship, and so forth, but it's unlikely anyone's going to judge them harshly for having sex.

If so, is there something wrong with a parent attempting to acknowledge and address that? I don't think anyone is advocating for a 1950s double-standard.

See, I think the productive way of acknowledging and addressing that sort of thing, if necessary, is making it clear to the girl involved that anyone calling her a slut for her sexual behavior is really, deeply, fucked up, and all you can do about assholes like that (assuming effective retaliation is impossible, which it usually is) is hold on until you can get to a place where you don't need to worry about them, and ignoring them until then. Advising a girl on how to manage her sexual behavior to avoid misogynistic attacks seems counterproductive to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:35 PM
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Is 600 a restatement/reference of my 391, or is the similarity of rhetoric coincidental?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:36 PM
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Coincidental, though it's certainly true that I'm pretty much just repeating what you said.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:38 PM
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I don't expect too much more blow-by-blow

IYKWIMAITYD


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:41 PM
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Boys can get their feelings hurt, can be rejected, either before or after commencing a sexual relationship, and so forth, but it's unlikely anyone's going to judge them harshly for having sex.

Indeed, it's probably generally true that they'll be judged harshly for not having sex. Sluttier girls would be win-win for both genders.

Advising a girl on how to manage her sexual behavior to avoid misogynistic attacks seems counterproductive to me.

This is, I think, one of the places where I disagree with you, on basically "About A Boy" grounds. The world is at is, and making some concessions to that fact isn't the worst thing in the world, and is also a part of growing up.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:42 PM
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I am genuinely curious, and fully prepared to believe whatever answer she gives, but I wonder whether LB would feel exactly as concerned/unconcerned upon finding a used condom in 15 y.o. Sally's room as in 15 y.o. Newt's room.

What about 14 y.o.? 13 y.o.?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:44 PM
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The world is at is

The thing is, though, managing your sexual behavior to avoid misogynistic attacks doesn't work very well if that's the sort of social environment you're in. There's not no connection between a teenage girl's sexual behavior and whether she gets hassled for being a slut, but it's not the kind of tight connection that makes it productive being compliant with the rules so as not to get in trouble. (See, again, m.leblanc on being a slut for having big tits in middle school. If you accept that getting misogynist abuse is something you can control through your behavior, you just make yourself crazy, because you can't control it. The people handing out abuse control who they abuse, not the people getting abused.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:49 PM
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Emerson's 454 is roughly my point, and I think 461 may be getting at an answer but I quite honestly don't understand it. 601 seems to be addressing a different sort of emotional pain--one which you've been addressing in most of the thread, that I've read--that girls may be called "sluts" or be subject to other misogynistic attacks. Granted that's true, but I think your responses here have been exactly right. What I'm asking about (and, again, what I think Emerson may have been asking about and what I think you may have been answering) is more direct emotional pain resulting from the sex itself--from realizing after the fact that she didn't really want that sex that she thought she wanted, from being "used" by someone who she had been led to believe cared about her, etc. In our (of course imperfect) culture, all these sorts of things seem like much bigger risks for teenage girls than teenage boys. I'm not talking about absolutes--there are definitely role-reversals, but the risks tend predominantly to fall in one direction. (It seems to me. Perhaps you disagree.) Doesn't this justify some differing degree of concern? Again, I'm not talking about "Son: go get 'em, stud; Daughter: no kissing until you're married!", but a higher degree of reservation doesn't to me seem out of line. But I've no teenagers of my own, so maybe I'm full of shit.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:49 PM
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606; They're not there yet, so I don't know first hand. At 15, I think I'd be a little worried on either of their behalf's, but I don't know what they'll be like at 15 yet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:50 PM
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601: There seems to be a couple threads tangled here. Whether advising a girl on how to manage her behavior to avoid misogynistic attacks is productive (I think we pretty much all say no); whether KR's advice to his daughters is going to lead them to be afraid to come to him about sex (I'm thinking there's got to be a middle ground between 'no sex ever' and 'my twelve-year-old has a seventeen year old boyfriend but she says she's in love and I as a parent must not express an opinion lest it turn into a chastity belt', and KR seems to be navigating it pretty well); and how best to react to the fact that right now, the world does not treat teenage boys and girls the same w.r.t. sex.

I think the last is the most interesting question.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:53 PM
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608: Having been a teenage girl not that long ago, and having engaged in sexual-type activities with boys who I later realized actually weren't into me, I can say that the fear of "direct emotional pain" is probably overwrought.

Yeah, later on, I was like "man, why did I do that? Motherfucker was totally using me!" but it wasn't like horrible and awful. It was more like "note to self: don't do that again."

So I think the original advice is to engage in activities that you want, regardless of whether the other person is so so into you or merely thinks you're hott. Such advice is good for both teenage girls and boys.

Now, 9 years later, I just think "well, that dude was pretty fucking hot, so rock on," and not "OMG he used me noooooooo!"


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:56 PM
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Emerson may have been asking about and what I think you may have been answering) is more direct emotional pain resulting from the sex itself--from realizing after the fact that she didn't really want that sex that she thought she wanted, from being "used" by someone who she had been led to believe cared about her, etc.

I think a great deal of that different pain comes from the different expectations of pain. To get all autobiographical, I had a couple of makeout sessions in high school with boys who I wasn't particularly socially interested in (party, drinking), and vice versa. I wasn't distraught about this, although certainly teenage-awkward-embarrassed. I was wildly embarrassed, though, by one such circumstance where my friends got all protective on my behalf, as though I'd been rejected in some fashion that I should really be upset by -- while I didn't find it particularly upsetting to be known to have made out with X but not progressed to a meaningful relationship with him, it was upsetting and humiliating to have it assumed that I was humiliated: I didn't have the bravado to assure people getting pissed off for me that there really wasn't a problem here, and the totality of the incident turned into something quite unpleasant for me.

The assumption of different levels of emotional/social fragility can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:57 PM
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Or what m. leblanc said.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:00 PM
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Hmm. I could be off base (never having been a teenaged girl), but I'm not really thinking about things that fall under the rubric of "different levels of emotional/social fragility". I'm thinking more of truly shitty things that would naturally upset anyone, boy or girl. It just seems to me that teenaged girls are much more likely to be subject to them than teenaged boys.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:03 PM
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612 is very interesting and plausible, about the confused feelings social interventions provoke particularly when they're supposedly done on your behalf

while I didn't find it particularly upsetting to be known to have made out with X but not progressed to a meaningful relationship with him, it was upsetting and humiliating to have it assumed that I was humiliated

Particularly like that.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:04 PM
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I think I'm just repeating the "most teenage boys are unbelievable assholes" meme, but, dammit, it's true.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:05 PM
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One thing that certainly seems to be true about all of this is that the trauma experienced does depend in part on how everyone else reacts and what they expect of you. (I suspect this is true of most traumas, but that's a separate point.) If losing your virginity to a guy that turned out to be an asshole is treated as a violation of the most sacred gift ever, it's going to seem pretty traumatic. If it's treated as sad, but not the worst thing ever, it won't.

The question is how much the parents have control over whether the kid thinks X is a trauma, compared to the rest of the culture.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:05 PM
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I'm thinking more of truly shitty things that would naturally upset anyone, boy or girl.

You've got to get more specific here, because I can think of a couple of ways this could go, that seem like very different issues. Date rape, for example, is something worth worrying about on safety grounds (passing out drunk is generally not fun, and around anyone who you don't rely on completely is not safe, and so forth). But what are you thinking of?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:07 PM
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611, 612:

I used her, she used me, neither one cared. We were gettin' our share.

Six hundred posts later, we reach a consensus on a matter that Bob Seger understood decades ago.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:08 PM
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616: Actually not really that true. Our Gaiman-loving interlocutor aside, of course. Maybe my situation is weird, but when I was a teenager I liked all kinds of boys that didn't like me back. They were usually fairly nice about it, didn't try to take advantage of me, and we were often friends anyway.

I remember one particular guy I had a giant crush on, we became pretty good friends. I was mortified to later learn that he totally knew about my crush all along, but didn't want to let on that he knew, because it would make our friendship all weird and he liked hanging out with me.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:08 PM
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Our Gaiman-loving interlocutor aside, of course.

Oh, he wasn't that bad. He was a kid being pompous, but you grow out of that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:12 PM
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we reach a consensus on a matter that Bob Seger understood decades ago

Trying to flush Apo out of hiding, and induce him to charge?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:12 PM
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618: LB, I am thinking about date rape on incidentally. More what you might call "soft date rape"--heavy pressure to have sex she really may not want to have (though goes along with). Or just issues like blatant lying (about feelings or whatever else) in an effort to get into pants.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:13 PM
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"on" s/b "only"


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:14 PM
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One of my younger sister's very cute friends had a crush on for me for two years in HS, and I didn't know (my sister didn't tell me). About half my sister's HS friends got pregnant in HS, but not her, and it was my fault.

When I was in HS women were so fertile that they always got pregnant the first time, and then you had to get married and drive truck for the rest of your life, so I was very cautious.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:15 PM
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I had a couple of makeout sessions in high school with boys who I wasn't particularly socially interested

Yet you totally pissed on my idea of making out in your parents yard after sneaking a couple of wine coolers. Harrumph.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:16 PM
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Whether advising a girl on how to manage her behavior to avoid misogynistic attacks is productive (I think we pretty much all say no)

I disagree, and can't think how it's unrelated toand how best to react to the fact that right now, the world does not treat teenage boys and girls the same w.r.t. sex. I think of the issue as akin to advising your high-school age kid that going on and on about his nifty new Harry Potter pajamas to everyone at the high school might not be the best course of action. It's not going to prevent people from calling you a nerd or weirdo on other grounds, but it's an easy way to blunt an attack.

I agree with this, though: If losing your virginity to a guy that turned out to be an asshole is treated as a violation of the most sacred gift ever, it's going to seem pretty traumatic. If it's treated as sad, but not the worst thing ever, it won't. And I think recognizing it--and that most of us are fuckups fumbling our way forward on sex, so don't sweat this stuff too much--would be a gigantic help for everyone involved.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:17 PM
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Or just issues like blatant lying (about feelings or whatever else) in an effort to get into pants.

Brock, at least you're RC and have the sacrament of confession to get this stuff of your chest. I've got the unfogged comments, which is capable of delivering only penance through flagellation, but never absolution.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:18 PM
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More what you might call "soft date rape"--heavy pressure to have sex she really may not want to have (though goes along with).

This, I think, I addressed above, talking about advising girls to put a lot of weight on not having sex that they don't actually desire as sex -- if someone has to twist your arm to talk you into it, you don't want to do it and shouldn't do it. But I think you address this by saying that you (the hypothetical teenage girl) are most likely going to actually want to have sex; the unpleasant, hostile sex on offer from someone who's bullying you into it isn't your only shot at experiencing sexuality.

(That is, I'm thinking of conversations with a couple of friends who had kind of fucked up 'slutty' sexual histories in high school; part of that was being bullied and socially bribed, in the 'you can hang out with us if you fuck us' sense, but another part was a failure to get that there was something wrong with unpleasurable sex -- that if you were evaluating sex by how endurable it was, rather than by how much fun you were having, you and your partners were doing it wrong.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:21 PM
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627: It just seems to be a strawman. I'm assuming that people aren't primarily worried about high school misogynistic attacks when they worry about teenage sexuality, and to frame it as 'the only reason parents worry about their daughters is that they're worried they will be called sluts, and that could happen anyway, problem solved' seems wrong.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:25 PM
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629: and you don't think that (in our culture in our time) those sort of experiences are more common to teenage girls than to teenage boys?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:26 PM
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630: Huh, I thought that was the primary topic. And I understood "the world does not treat teenage boys and girls the same w.r.t. sex" to be a nod towards such misogynistic attacks. I'm not sure if we don't disagree at all or a lot.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:28 PM
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629: Of course they are. But the way you avoid them isn't being less sexual (well, you could, but what fun would that be). The way you avoid them is by avoiding sexual situations that you're not desirous of and enjoying as sex, rather than as a route to some other goal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:29 PM
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Probably not much. I was taking the latter to mean things like: managing an accidental pregnancy, expectations of emotional trauma, likelihood of STD. I mean, if all the bad of teenage sex was limited to 'someone might talk nasty about you behind your back', we'd place it mentally somewhere closer to 'how to dress nicely so people won't laugh' or 'don't let your grades drop just because someone called you a nerd or 'don't wear the Harry Potter PJs to school.' The sort of things that we wouldn't really expect a parental Plan for when the kid was six.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:32 PM
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The way you avoid them is by avoiding sexual situations that you're not desirous of and enjoying as sex, rather than as a route to some other goal.

I am suspicious of our ability to distinguish this finely. It makes me think of the claim that people in very sexually conservative states get married earlier and divorced more often as a result. I assume all those people believed they were getting married for happily-ever-after love and not for sex. I believe that they were wrong.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:33 PM
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635: God, the number of people I know of who followed the trend of marrying at 20 so as not to sin and divorcing by 25. A friend here tells a story of guys at his Bible college undergrad convincing themselves that the reason they were attracted to particular girls was that the Holy Spirit was moving them.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:37 PM
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633: No one said anything about "being less sexual", did they? I hope I haven't spent half my afternoon fighting the wrong battle here. I thought we were talking about the a variance-by-gender in the degree of parental concern regarding teenage sexuality. I can want my teenage daughter to have a healthy and enjoyable sex life* and still be more concerned that she might not be achieving that than I would be for my teenage son.

*Full-disclosure: thank goodness I don't have a daughter. I could never want this.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:38 PM
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I am suspicious of our ability to distinguish this finely.

And I'm not talking about fine distinctions. I'm talking about someone who was literally having sex that she found unpleasurable -- not 'Am I truly in touch with my best self when I have this orgasm, or is it spiritually empty' but 'Jeez, I wish I didn't have to give blowjobs to hang out with these guys, they make me gag.' You can still make mistakes, and big ones, while you're within the category of pleasurable, desired sex, but there's a significant category of negative experience that avoiding undesired sex protects against.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:38 PM
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637: You were talking about having a second kid a while back, weren't you? If you do, and it's a girl, it behooves you to work on it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:39 PM
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I assume all those people believed they were getting married for happily-ever-after love and not for sex.

Well, I think it's both. Part of evangelical culture is the (zany) idea that sex brings happily-ever-after love. Which is part of why you can't ever have sex outside of marriage--the risk is that if you don't end up married and spending your life together, you'll pine for your lost lover forever. I know a lot of poeple who married young for similar reasons and the thinking is often "well, I like him or her just fine and once we're having sex we'll be madly in love forever."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:43 PM
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638: There are fine distinctions all over the place, though. Am I sleeping with my nice boyfriend because I really want to, or because I don't want to lose him and even though he's never said anything we have been dating three years? Am I having sex with this girl because I like her, or because I'm afraid to go to college a virgin and she seems like she'll do?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:44 PM
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639: you know, I thought about not including that (half-serious) joke in the comment, because I was afraid you'd pick up on it any ignore the rest of the comment.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:44 PM
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there's a significant category of negative experience that avoiding undesired sex protects against.

This is actually useful, practical advice that I will have to remember in eight or nine years when I'm having these discussions with my girls.

thank goodness I don't have a daughter.
Listen, Landers. You keep the mass attendance up to the point where your son thinks he will go to hell if he sees a girl's boobies, and he's totally welcome to go out with my daughters.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:45 PM
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639: you know, I thought about not including that (half-serious) joke in the comment, because I was afraid you'd pick up on it and ignore the rest of the comment.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:45 PM
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If you thought about not including the half-serious joke twice, it makes a whole-serious joke.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:52 PM
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641: Sure, but the basic "Is the 'having sex' portion of the date something I'm looking forward to delightedly or enduring, bored and repelled?" or, if you haven't done it at all yet "Am I anticipating the prospect of sex with aroused anticipation (probably with some nervousness in there) or with resignation and fear?" question seems reasonably easy to answer in most cases. And I think bringing that question to the forefront is useful.

Am I having sex with this girl because I like her, or because I'm afraid to go to college a virgin and she seems like she'll do?

This seems like a different and more difficult question about kindness. The default assumption for a teenage boy is that he's going to desire the sex as sex -- if he doesn't, he shouldn't do it. Is he going to be unkind or dishonest about it, on the other hand, is a more difficult emotional issue, but the kind of thing that people becoming grownups need to learn how to negotiate for themselves.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:52 PM
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644: What's to say about the rest of the comment? There are different social pressures on boys than on girls, and if they make you worry differently, they do. The question is what overt actions that should lead you to.

(And in a serious discussion, I'm pretty much always going to treat "haha only serious" as "serious". This is because I am Humorless™.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:55 PM
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Part of evangelical culture is the (zany) idea that sex brings happily-ever-after love.

News to me. My evangelical parents never told me this, and I don't remember having this thought as a kid. With my (very devout) cousins, most of whom married early and have several kids, I've always gotten something like the opposite impression--that any sexual incompatibilities would work themselves out once the couple were right with God or whatever.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:57 PM
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Yeah, I want to comment on the joke too. Basically, the reason we are arguing different arguments here, I think, is that "I could never want this" is a real, important, and problematic component of the protective dad schtick. And so I can't quite see myself as arguing only against the version of the position that scrupulously omits it.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:04 PM
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647 seems unusually hostile and dismissive, and I'm not sure why. But I don't think this is getting anywhere at this point anyway--I don't really have a lot to say, or any well thought-out opinions here. So I'll go away.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:04 PM
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646: I'm with Cala on this one. Sex is confusing even after you've had a bit of it. At the early stages, it's all anxiety and dread. Making sense of that is only going to come with time and experience. I think you're right that it's useful to foreground the issue you raise, but I'm not sure how much work it does for the youngsters initially.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:04 PM
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At the early stages, it's all anxiety and dread.

Nuh uh.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:07 PM
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649: it really was a joke. When I said "half-serious", that too was a joke. I really don't have different parental standards for male and female teen sex (so long as neither are having any sex at all.)*

*That too was a joke. Sort of.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:08 PM
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650: Sorry, didn't mean to be either, although I could see it perfectly reasonable to take it that way. (The typographical dingbat was meant to clearly indicate that I thought I was being charmingly witty.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:09 PM
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The relevant advice for kids is this: "Don't worry too much about making some sort of soul-connection a precondition to sex. In the end, we all die alone."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:10 PM
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653: Okey dokey! Sorry to be humorless.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:11 PM
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655: Comity!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:12 PM
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Emerson could make a killing doing relationship consulting for teens. I bet there are tens of thousands of parents around the country who would pay five figures for him to make presentations to their kids.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:14 PM
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I don't think that "avoid undesired sex" will be quite as effective in avoiding unpleasant or damaging experiences as LB thinks.

I also think LB overestimates the ease with which it is possible to avoid social stigma within harsh high school communities. It can be pretty miserable even for strong kids, and kids frequently are forced to change schools in order to avoid various sorts of bullying. To say "Don't have sex with members of misogynist boys' clubs" does not seem to me to be giving in to misogyny, and I think that the further proviso "Some guys seem perfectly nice until afterward".

I also think that sometimes really wonderful kids lack defenses against both the negative aspects of high school groups (M and F) and the advances of charming, jerkish guys (F). Being tough and street smart can be a good thing, but not everyone is, and if your kid isn't, I think that it's legit to be protective.

And I guess I also think that for various reasons these things are more problematic for young women than for young men, so that it's legitimate for parents (including mothers) to be especially attentive to these questions in th case of daughters.

I don't think that I've ever said more than this, but if I am not mistaken this is still too much for many people here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:26 PM
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658: I am a complete failure as a relationship consultant. Ogged was the way he is before I started my work. I may have had some success with AWB, but she doesn't seem happy with that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:28 PM
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660: I am not happy with it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:30 PM
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645: And two half-funny jokes or an infinite number of unfunny jokes makes one funny joke!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:31 PM
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I only have a problem with laying down different rules for one's boy-children versus one's girl-children. Having different concerns is valid, and talk to your kids, and all that good stuff, but keep the house rules consistent.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:32 PM
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645: And two half-funny jokes or an infinite number of unfunny jokes makes one funny joke!

Someday my jokes will converge to Funny!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:33 PM
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I only have a problem with laying down different rules for one's boy-children versus one's girl-children. Having different concerns is valid, and talk to your kids, and all that good stuff, but keep the house rules consistent.

Oh, no doubt. I'll definitely tell my son that if he finds himself in a situation with a girl where he wants to refuse sex but can't, he should just offer her oral.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:36 PM
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That would be so awesome. Also remind him: "A minute on the lips, forever on the hips."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:39 PM
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659: While I still think you're misreading me (I don't think my advice is the key to happily proceeding through a poisonous high school. There is no key. I just think that it's better than the alternatives for getting out the other side with minimal damage), there's nothing in your position I need to disagree with, given that the differential treatment you're talking about is limited to being "especially attentive to these questions" for girls.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:44 PM
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One thing I worried about and have spent a lot of time on is keeping my kids away from poisonous schools. The environment was a big factor in the choices we made with them.

But I know how many people have no effective choices, and it never occurred to either me or my wife when we were growing up that you'd choose a high school, just as you do a college, on these bases. You went where you went.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:51 PM
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666: I am aware of the Weight-Watchers slogan, but not used in this context, and can't quite figure out what it might mean.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:52 PM
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669: Not only should you inculcate your son with sexual insecurities through overconcern, you should also try to give him an eating disorder by worrying that what he eats will make him fat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:54 PM
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Oh, just being gender-reversey. What's good for the gander is good for the goose. Nothing specific.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:54 PM
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I am Standpipe's blog.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:54 PM
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Okay, now I'm completely confused. 665 was a joke, referencing this. No offense intended.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:59 PM
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Perhaps I should stop joking on the serious threads.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:00 PM
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673: Heebie and I both got that (that is, I did, and I think she did) and were kidding in return. It's all good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:01 PM
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Geez you feminists are touchy.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:02 PM
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Yep. They call me Nitro Liz.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:04 PM
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If we're being American gladiators, I get to be Zap.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:07 PM
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By the way, 666 was funnier for the 10 minutes I spent puzzling over what exactly it meant when used in a sexual context (which was how I thought you were using it). I had lots of ideas.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:11 PM
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If we're being American gladiators, I get to be Zap.

That was a good show. I want one of those tennis ball cannons.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:14 PM
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I was doing the same thing, Brock: it had a wonderfully salacious folk-wisdom quality about it, even if it made no sense. Certainly the relative times are decidedly unEleanoric. One wanted it to be true in some sense, and the use of "hips" had a great, pulling force. I wanted it to be something.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:17 PM
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Aw, it can still be funny, Brock. Somewhere over the rainbow, where jokes are multiply interpretable.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:17 PM
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I remember watching it in college. Surprisingly entertaining.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:17 PM
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unEleanoric.

?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:18 PM
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You're OLD.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:18 PM
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685: This is news? I'm a greying matron.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:19 PM
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Actually it was still on the air when I went to college too, apparently.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:22 PM
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for Eleanor Roosevelt, pseud of a pseud.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:22 PM
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