Re: I Certainly Never Figured It Out

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I remained friends with almost everyone I ever slept with, lay-deez.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:48 AM
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Wow, lb, you were dealing with a lot of schmucks in college.

I was genuinely dreadful at handling romantic relationships at that age, but I don't think your explanation would work for my shitty behavior. I was really defensive emotionally, which could lead serious aloofness. But women I wasn't sleeping with weren't nonentities. I always preferred hanging out with women over hanging out with guys.

I think the more general explanation for the romantic behavior of young men is emotional defensiveness leading to standoffishness.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:55 AM
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two out of three ain't bad, Walt.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:55 AM
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LB, I kind of had the opposite issue the (younger, but) same sort of stage, compared to the guys you describe.

2 probably has something to do with it, but manifests in different ways.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:58 AM
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The other day, Caroline's friend Caleb made a really big deal out of asking her on a playdate. This came after Caroline had been complaining for a long time that Caleb liked her friend autumn better than her. When Caroline actually got to his house for the playdate, he ignored her and played basketball the whole time.

Molly's comment: Typical boy behavior.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:59 AM
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(including very decent pleasant men I was otherwise friends with)

Reading the whole thing, it sounds like your "social circle" was full of tools. But if I'm to believe the quote above, which I'll try to do, I'd say they were mostly just poor communicators, especially regarding emotions. They were trying to pull away (for whatever reason) and didn't know how to talk about this, for fear of hurt and awkwardness. In some cases (maybe not most, certainly not all), they probably realized this silence was more hurtful than an open discussion, and that surely wasn't the intent (again, taking your statement above at face value), but their fear and anxiety around the conversation was simply too much to bridge.

I think your girlfriend/non-person dichotomy is probably mischaracterizing the problem enough to be genuinely unhelpful.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:00 AM
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Sympathies to AWB. I think the binary category explanation is a pretty good one. I am much more of a continuum type of person, which means I'm on good terms with everyone I've slept with (at least I was as of last contact - they might have had a change of heart in the mean time). The flipside of being a continuum type of person is that it's much easier to get into a mismatched expectations situation, where one person is in the friends with occasional sex mindset and the other is in the moving towards something serious mindset.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:00 AM
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3 made me laugh.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:04 AM
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LB's experiences were at MIT and U Chicago. Those places are magnates for nerds with very little emotional intelligence.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:05 AM
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but being willing to interact socially in a friendly civil way with a woman who had already demonstrated a willingness to have sex with them, and was showing interest in doing it again sometime, was too high a price to pay to get laid

Never understood this. It's definitely not an uncommon behavior, as I have seen it around, but... Sex! Right there! And you just give it up and act a dick on top of everything?!

Though, here's where I take the dickish side, I find this behavior less mystifying if a couple has only had sex once, or perhaps only done it sober once, and then contact is lost. There are some occasions where it's pretty clear that you don't want to go back to bed with that person, and if you've only gone on a date or two, it's a lot easier to beg things off and drop the relationship semi-mysteriously than to tackle that conversation head on. Sure, you come off as an asshole, but you're probably doing less total damage.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:06 AM
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I somehow totally missed the fact that AWB had started blogging again, so I'm glad LB linked to it, though I'm sorry that AWB's guy turned out to be so schmucky.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:08 AM
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9:...but now those same nerds are magnates themselves. Shoulda dug in, LB!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:10 AM
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There are some occasions where it's pretty clear that you don't want to go back to bed with that person

I'm actually not sure I understand what you mean here. I can imagine things that you could mean, but I don't think that's what you're getting at.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:10 AM
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9 is probably right, aside from the whole magnet/magnate thing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:10 AM
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"The basic principle was that in the eyes of most guys in my social circle (including very decent pleasant men I was otherwise friends with), there were two possible roles for a woman they'd had any sexual/romantic interaction with: girlfriend, meaning something really quite intense and committed; or social non-person, to whom no ordinary principles of friendly social interaction applied. "

Some of my husband's college friends were sort of like this, but there were two possible roles for any woman: those for whom there was a potential for sexual/romantic interaction, and those for whom there wasn't (e.g., because they were dating your friend), who were basically non-entities; apart from minor pleasantries & small talk you would basically not engage with them, listen when they talked, think they had opinions or told jokes, etc. (These were not guys I otherwise liked--in fact, not guys my husband especially liked, but they ran in the same circle & had enough mutual friends that he did like that they were sort of friends by default).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:10 AM
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15 is reasonably common, I think.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:12 AM
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I should clarify that 10.2 has little to no relevance to AWB's case, as she'd been with the boy for a little while and they seemed to be getting along quite well (going only off the relevant Unfogged comments I've seen). That's a totally different animal, and the one that I always find fairly mysterious when I see it happen.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:12 AM
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Well, let's be fair, this isn't only something men do to women. I had the same thing happen to me last year, only there were no excuses or anything, she just disappeared on me. It sucks, hardcore, so my sympathy to AWB. And though it sucks, but it's just a sign of immaturity in people, not reserved to either gender in particular.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:13 AM
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I have no excuse for the misspelling.

In many cultures, and many parts of American culture, the romantic partner/non-entity dichotomy is considered the right way for men and women to interact. The rules at that weird FLA religious college are just an extreme expression of this general tendency.

Really, its all about the patriarchy. If women only have contact with the man they are dating, their sexuality is under control.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:14 AM
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but being willing to interact socially in a friendly civil way with a woman who had already demonstrated a willingness to have sex with them, and was showing interest in doing it again sometime, was too high a price to pay to get laid - maintaining the social disdain was vastly more important.

What's this Friends With Benefits thing I keep hearing the young people talking about ?

I suspect "social disdain" in this context isn't a positive value that the disdain-ers are making an effort to preserve. Rather, it's the natural byproduct of the ambiguous terms of this type of situation. Not knowing what else to do, the default mode is to avoid doing anything.

Boyfriend-girlfriend relationships exist according to a reasonably clear set of rules, as do nonsexual male-female friendships. And, of course, even those rules are subject to a lot of confusion.

But for anything that doesn't fit tidily in those two categories, I suspect two people have to explicitly communicate the parameters of the relationship. For that to take place, I think there are two difficult preconditions: agreement between the two people on the general terms of what they want and communication regarding that agreement.

This is all guesswork on my part, though. I've never really tried to negotiate this kind of accord.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:15 AM
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I know this will come off as the cliche Daddy talk, but for this comment I will be sincere and tell things exactly the way I saw them.

In my personal experience you are almost perfectly dead-on but with some tweaks needed.

Guys, especially young adult guys, want sex, preferably with as many desirable women (or men if they are gay) as possible.

So women "friends" are potential sex partners. If it is obvious that will not happen then guys won't bother because they need to spend their time looking for sex partners.

The rejection of women friends is nothing personal. It is selfish of course and may be hurtful but at the moment the guy has bigger fish to fry.

I wasn't really aware of all this at the time. I mean I was aware of wanting sex but that pretty much drove any personal reflection out of the picture.

I'm not apologizing for this. I never did anything very hurtful or intentionally cruel but I'm sure I did hurt some feelings. I have also had my heart broken a few times too, but I don't blame the women.

One thing that may have changed since the 60's is the idea of "friends with benefits." That was totally not available back then. I know it would have made a large number of my friends and myself VERY happy but it just wasn't available.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:15 AM
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I think that second-group thing is pretty accurate, and applies to a lot of guys who would never ever believe that human men could act that way, because they're genuinely psychotic about desire. When they feel desire, it's miraculous and splendid when that desire is returned. But when they aren't at that moment feeling desire, the previously-desired woman is just supposed to understand, to sense it intuitively, and politely excuse herself from knowing the guy, and if she doesn't, as LB says, she's a crazy stalker.

I wish I had a time machine so I could somehow thwart the making of Fatal Attraction. Surely Adrian Lyne will realize this time that making a movie that universally justifies male terror of female desire is actually a bad idea.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:16 AM
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it's just a sign of immaturity in people, not reserved to either gender in particular

But it's not just a sign of immaturity, it's a sign of a poor ability to communicate about one's emotions. Which while, sure, isn't reserved to either gender, is much more common (in our culture) among young men than young women.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:17 AM
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Sorry, AWB.

I'm afraid that LB's analysis is spot on, at least with respect to my behavior early in college. I think that second category, that revulsion syndrome, is a manifestation of sexism: Instead of recognizing that I wasn't doing my women friends an immense favor by sleeping with them (laydeez) and that I was not only sleeping with women who wanted to be slept with but who also possibly or probably just wanted to have sex independently of a very thorough assessment of my worth as a potential boyfriend or desire to move things in that direction, I often decided that in those cases I had done something wrong by having sex with girl friends with whom I had no interest in pursuing a committed relationship and neglected them out of guilt. To make matters worse, I think at that stage I would most likely respond to any effort to convince me that a casual sexual encounter was merely that and need not interfere with a friendship or acquaintanceship by unconsciously assigning that person to a lesser-value category. Although I can't say that for certain, and I hope that in fact if it had ever come to it I would be more generous than that even when I was fairly ignorant about these things, as the situation never really came up.

When I learned better about how to handle this sort of casual encounter, or when I learned better about how to think of women, when I learned something I was able to build to find a really satisfying relationship that had just this sort of drunken casual friend "why not?" sort of beginnings.

Again, sorry, AWB. I suspect the answer is that he has gotten back together with his girlfriend.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:18 AM
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i suggested you people date only your fellow unfoggedians and even offered some compatible matches
for example for now i have these hypotheticals JE&MC, FL&Cala, PGD&Witt, DK&AK or you can shuffle however you like


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:19 AM
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I think the more general explanation for the romantic behavior of young men is emotional defensiveness leading to standoffishness.

Rob's explanation makes alot of sense to me. Except that I wouldn't limit it to "young" men. And I don't think it defeats the girlfriend/non-person dichotomy either -- I think at least some guys achieve the desired standoffishness by persuading themselves and communicating to the girl that the girl is more or less a non-person.

Also, my experiences at small midwestern liberal arts college are reasonably consistent with LB's post, so I don't think the "well, you went to MIT/U of C" explanation covers it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:19 AM
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15 ctd: it was like I was some sort of sentient accessory....Seemed to be more common among guys who'd never had a real relationship themselves.

In AWB's case, "he didn't actually break up with his girlfriend" is an obvious possibility. Who knows, & in any case basic decency would suggest you just explain that instead of blowing someone off w/o explanation, but if the break up never took suddenly you are the Other Woman & this might contribute to caddish-ness.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:19 AM
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22: Oh my god! It's like that scene in Annie Hall where they're talking about Marshall McLuhan, and he shows up! Awesome.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:20 AM
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I'm actually not sure I understand what you mean here.

Usually, you've gone on a date or two, and things felt alright but pretty lukewarm. Then you sleep together and it's just really not all that fun, or you find you're really not very attracted to the person... Yeah, then sometimes you just feign busyness and disappear because that's probably not as bad as saying anything about why you don't want to really see the person anymore.

It's still dickish, but myself and a fair number of my friends (girls, as most of them are) seem to have come to this tactic as the lesser of two evils.

As I said in 17 though, this only pertains to a brand new relationship with an otherwise stranger. Doing this to a friend or someone you've liked for a while would be disasterously stupid and self-absorbed, and even doing it to someone who's just in the circle of friends is stupid and masochistic (not that it stopped me in college, but oh man did I learn that lesson well).


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:20 AM
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And yes, PMP is right, this guy had very ardently courted my attention over quite some time, very intensely declared his desire to continue to see me, and we'd at least spent several nights together, not just having sex, but reading together, renting movies, having dinner, talking about what we wanted out of this. And now I feel like I'm being made to feel that I made that up, that we never dated at all. I sent him an email today about the situation, and as I was typing his address in, it was hard not to feel like I was committing some kind of horrible crime by acknowledging that we'd been seeing each other. I just can't stand being treated so disdainfully by someone I'm going to know professionally for the next few decades.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:24 AM
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To the extent that it's not just Being A Dick, I think the category confusion hypothesis is helpful. I didn't laydeez around much in college, but I certainly tried to, and one case in particular might have been a bit smoother if we'd had the language to say "OK, we slept together, but let's not assume we have to start being all letters-and-sodas." My M.O. wasn't the tenth avenue freeze-out; I tended to get a little more emo then the situation demanded, resulting in an awkward break-up.

The kids claim to have this today, but I wonder if they do. We pretended we knew what "hooking up" meant too.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:25 AM
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I suspect the answer is that he has gotten back together with his girlfriend.

Oh wow, yeah, if this was a possibility, then I'm pretty sure 'smasher nailed it. I know this has been the cause of a couple girls mysteriously disappearing after a few really good dates in the past.

Boyfriends, girlfriends and recent exes, they're a bitch.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:25 AM
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As a woman who is a lot more like a straight nerdboy than is really helpful, I note that through my teens and twenties I was almost always desperately afraid that people would first think I was attracted to them, then be horrified and embarrassed by my presumption, then drop me like a hot brick. So whether I was actually attracted to anyone or not, I constantly strove to seem uninterested. This eventually resulted in quite genuine disinterest/inability to tell whether I really liked people or just thought I probably should (never mind, of course, being much too anxiety-ridden and enshelled to tell whether anyone actually liked me.)

I recommend Emerson's approach. Also, I'm planning on moving to the woods to live on roots and seeds.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:26 AM
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Yeah...I'm talking more about LB's thing than AWB's, which seems like exquisite dickishness. Sorry, AWB.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:26 AM
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So women "friends" are potential sex partners. If it is obvious that will not happen then guys won't bother because they need to spend their time looking for sex partners.

I call bullshit.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:27 AM
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This is interesting but sounds very wrong to me. Possibly I wasn't very good at noticing when this was being done to other people around me, but it always seemed like there was plenty of friendly social interaction in a universe of people that had had a lot of miscellaneous hookups over the years.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:27 AM
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Kraab is right in 35. Its BS in particular because it goes directly against the evidence in LBs post. The guys she was dealing with weren't solely interested in sex. In fact, for them communication was often too high a price to pay for sex.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:29 AM
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Further to 37: two gender stereotypes you are not allowed to invoke on this blog are that guys are only interested in sex and that "nice guys" don't wind up getting sex because they are too nice.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:31 AM
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Yeah, then sometimes you just feign busyness and disappear because that's probably not as bad as saying anything

No, it's worse, and chickenshit to boot.

For some time I had an opposite sort of problem, as noted; I'm really pretty open about discussing all of this sort of thing, typically people would react with: wow, how refreshing. Couple that with being a pretty physical sort of person, single, and stressing my way through other aspects of my life and I ended up sleeping with an awful lot of my friend. It finally dawned on me (ok, I'm slow sometimes) that this was basically defining my relationship to a bunch of people.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:32 AM
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I suspect the answer is that he has gotten back together with his girlfriend.

Maybe. On the other hand, people going through break-ups of long-term relationships are in a crazy space, and what they want and can handle can vary wildly in a very short span of time. That is why I have always given the advice here to take some alone time between relationships and not date folks fresh out of relationships either. In the spirit of full disclosure, I've never been able to follow this advice myself, but it's still good advice. Honest.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:32 AM
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30: Oof, really sorry to hear that, AWB. It is really rough, and it's so annoying to be left in that situation going "C'mon, if you don't want to sleep with me anymore, that's fine. But we were getting along just fine, and friendships are a terrible thing to throw away."

You always kind of hope that people figure out how these things worked back in college, and I've definitely found people are getting more graceful about entering and leaving relationships now that we're in our 20s (it didn't take much), but there are still some cases where people act very immaturely, and it'll nail you out of leftfield.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:33 AM
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Two pieces of evidence:

1. I didn't really comprehend that there too were women who just wanted to get some until I started reading LB's posting here, which was well after college (and marriage for that matter).

2. In high school this was much easier, presumably because we admitted to ourselves that we were just figuring it out. Some toes got trod on, for sure, but I had a horny group of friends who took every opportunity to put their hands down one another's pants, and it all seemed to go okay.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:33 AM
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AWB,

But when they aren't at that moment feeling desire, the previously-desired woman is just supposed to understand, to sense it intuitively, and politely excuse herself from knowing the guy, and if she doesn't, as LB says, she's a crazy stalker.

Close, but not quite it in my opinion. It makes it sound like the guy actually "thinks" about this. It sounds like a woman saying "Well if I was a guy and I did this I must be thinking this and that."

My experience is that you are giving we men to much credit - or maybe just not understanding how easily we can focus on one thing and exclude everything else.

It is kinda like say a man is target shooting to win the gold medal at the Olympics and he is sighting in on the target and a woman starts to talk to him quietly. He won't respond and the woman thinks "Why doesn't he respond? Why is he so cold? It is like he thinks I'm supposed to understand what is going on do all the work and this is not fair."

What if the guy *was* honest and said "Don't bother me, I'm trying to win the Gold." Obviously that would be good, but in real life can a guy, if he is even reflective enough to know it, say "Don't bother me, I'm trying to get laid by someone else?"

I don't think that is going to happen.

As I said, I'm explaining this but I'm not apologizing for the guy's behavior. I totally support fairness and women's rights and I am totally faithful to my wife and have raised some great daughters but I will not be made to deny or feel shame about my sexuality.

I'm not trying to be hurtful. I'm trying to give an honest answer to a sincere question.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:34 AM
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Oh, and AWB: LB's commentry aside, this situation really sucks for you and I'm sad to hear it. He's being at best a dick.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:35 AM
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Damn, I'd hoped people had learned some stuff since I was a kid. Seems like they can talk the talk, but they won't walk the walk.

Sorry to hear this AWB. I'm afraid Smasher's almost certainly right, but that's an explanation, not an excuse. Everything else aside, the sheer damn bad manners makes me so angry.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:35 AM
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So women "friends" are potential sex partners. If it is obvious that will not happen then guys won't bother because they need to spend their time looking for sex partners.

I call bullshit.

Agreed, Kraab. Some women are kept around to increase the flow of potential sex partners. Like seed money.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:35 AM
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I don't think that is going to happen.

This is completely incorrect.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:36 AM
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I guess I don't think the ex thing makes much sense in this case, given the details I know about that situation, but, of course, now I guess I can't think much of the sorts of things he might say about his past relationships. Oddly, he does tend to stay friends with some of his exes and speaks very fondly of them, but not of the woman he was seeing before me, and I suppose he doesn't think much of me now either.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:37 AM
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All I can really add is that decades ago when I was trying to find clues about dating behavior / relationship practice by observing what other guys did, I got little or no help because their behavior was so stupid and sometimes unpleasant. EG falling wildly in love with a succession of mostly-wrong women, or dating long-term someone you have nothing good to say about. My attempts to decode women's behavior were equally unsuccessful.

My conclusion was that relationships are best left to easy-going, accepting, affectionate, uncritical people who like to have someone else around all the time. In other words, not me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:39 AM
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rob,

Further to 37: two gender stereotypes you are not allowed to invoke on this blog are that guys are only interested in sex and that "nice guys" don't wind up getting sex because they are too nice.

Oops, I didn't know that. Is it OK if I myself was the stereotype? And the weasel word "only" does give me some wiggle room because I was interested in other things too. Like attaining enough power so I could in the future get more sex. Oops.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:39 AM
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Oddly, he does tend to stay friends with some of his exes and speaks very fondly of them

This is probably way too cynical, but... I think there is an extent to which speaking fondly of exes is just part of the show. You know, "See what a great guy I am? So not bitter at all!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:39 AM
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I don't know if this has been suggested as an alternative explanation for LB's theory yet, but here goes.

The guys' attitudes towards women they had slept with and were friends with, but were not girlfriends comes from an intense fear that the woman in question would try to turn it into a serious relationship. In order to avoid this possibility, they tried to return to the friends status, but of course overcompensated, leading them to ignore/be a prick. There wasn't some magical social disdain for people they had slept with, but rather an intense desire to avoid having it turn into something serious that, through ineptitude, usually translated to avoidance.

Of course, much of this could be established by communication, but since most guys are afraid of that too, it doesn't leave many other options.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:40 AM
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No, it's worse, and chickenshit to boot.

If you've only gone out with someone once or twice, and it hasn't gone well, what the hell do you owe them in terms of a talk? What could you possibly say that won't make things worse?

"I don't think we're compatible in bed." (although true and fairly non-judgmental, it does not come off that way)

"Sorry, but I'm just not physically attracted to you... After I saw you naked." (because it would come up through the obvious questions)

"Oh yeah... we could be friends, but here's the catch... I like my friends."

I mean, the only important thing is that the dates are not working and shouldn't really continue. Any reasons the breaker-upper has at this inchoate phase are probably idiosyncratic matters of superficial taste, and thinking that giving those reasons will provide some helpful insight to the break-upee is damn conceited.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:43 AM
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John,

My attempts to decode women's behavior were equally unsuccessful.

Seriously?! If true I admire your courage in admitting that, but really the subject is not all that difficult. No harder than high school algebra. The only problem is wading through all the BS. It would be hard to learn algebra too if most texts got it wrong.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:43 AM
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and I suppose he doesn't think much of me now either

Then he's a perfect fool.

F, you may have half a point, but s/ineptitude/cowardice


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:43 AM
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On the other hand, people going through break-ups of long-term relationships are in a crazy space, and what they want and can handle can vary wildly in a very short span of time.

Testify.


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:44 AM
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I also figured out that the two things I was most worried about were a.) rejection and b.) attachment. There must be some sort of technical term for people whose area of comfort is so small that it might not exist.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:44 AM
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52 explains whatever bullshit's going on in the guy's head, sure. "I don't want that bitch stalking me! Bitches are crazy!" But I guess I like LB's explanation better because acknowledging that fear as if it's not 100% solid gold bullshit gives it too much credit. What's happening is that male desire makes them psychotic in a certain way, and the cessation of that desire makes them psychotic in the opposite way. And to someone who has a total disconnect of memory and feeling from moment to moment, someone whose feelings don't change from day to day or from one context to another looks, well, psychotic.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:45 AM
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@57

I don't think that's so rare.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:45 AM
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technical term for people whose area of comfort is so small that it might not exist

There's a term for the condition, anyhow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:47 AM
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PMP, I at least think even a one-time sex partner should get the news, in one way or another, that it's not going to happen again. No need for reasons, which can only be offensive and stupid. But it's nice to be told that the person who pursued you so intensely and was so sweet to your face the last time you saw them actually has no desire to see you again.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:48 AM
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Of course, much of this could be established by communication, but since most guys are afraid of that too, it doesn't leave many other options.

True, but guy's are afraid of honest communication for a VERY good reason.

First, a guy may not be introspective enough to actually know what he is doing and why. Second, he may not be articulate enough to describe it. And the third, very very good reason, is that women do NOT want to hear it.

Oh sure, in general and on an impersonal blog total honesty may be OK if the setting is safe enough, but in person? Nope. Bad bad juju.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:49 AM
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My period of (theoretical) sexual activity began in the early Elvis era and lasted into the punk era, indicating that there were a lot of contradictory signals, especially since (as Freud didn't quite say) all the later stages were constructed on top of the still-existing earlier stages. Around here there are still lots and lots of early-Elvis people in their late 50s, 60s and 70s.

Tripp, I think that your easy understanding of women's behavior belongs on Standpipe's blog. I'm not willing to grant that men are weird and women aren't.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:49 AM
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but being willing to interact socially in a friendly civil way with a woman who had already demonstrated a willingness to have sex with them, and was showing interest in doing it again sometime, was too high a price to pay to get laid

You know what I think this comes down to? Options. In my experience with gay-dating (a lot like your experience, LB, only in hyperdrive), the guys with lots of sex options are less likely to think of their partners as people. Sex isn't a scarce resource, so the fact that they've slept with you doesn't make you special. People with fewer options, and fewer sexual partners, tend to afford them special status.

I've been reading about AWB's whole deal, and it sucks. I've literally been on the receiving end of this so many times that I just contemplate the 'when' at this point, not the 'if'.


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:49 AM
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two gender stereotypes you are not allowed to invoke on this blog are that guys are only interested in sex

I thought the Forbidden Stereotype was that only guys are interested in sex, not that guys are only interested in sex. The latter is, for some guys, true.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:49 AM
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57: Not rare all I don't think, but rarely described so well.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:49 AM
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women do NOT want to hear it

No, we don't want to hear sadsack excuses or litanies of our faults. But we do want to know that the person we've been seeing never wants to see our face again. It's handy information to have.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:50 AM
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60: Please zip up, Apo. The artisanal penis group is down the hall.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:51 AM
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what the hell do you owe them in terms of a talk?

If they contact you? A response.

We're not talking about a mutual drifting apart here, we're talking about actively ignoring someone who has done nothing wrong. That's chickenshit.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:51 AM
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Oh sure, in general and on an impersonal blog total honesty may be OK if the setting is safe enough, but in person? Nope. Bad bad juju.

You know, this really doesn't match my experience at all. At least, not after some baseline assumed maturity (teenagers, and those mentally stuck in the same place, are all crazy, no way 'round it).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:53 AM
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59: don't go minimizing John's inability to form relationships. He is truly a unique embodiment of the drunken bitter old crank.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:53 AM
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70 pwned by AWB.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:54 AM
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AWB,

58: What's happening is that male desire makes them psychotic in a certain way, and the cessation of that desire makes them psychotic in the opposite way. And to someone who has a total disconnect of memory and feeling from moment to moment, someone whose feelings don't change from day to day or from one context to another looks, well, psychotic.

Thanks. Your 58 demonstrates my 62 very nicely.

Feel free to throw in more labels. Cold and selfish I will attest to. Sexist? No. Psychotic?! Well, isn't neurotic maybe a little closer? But as I said your labels are not gonna make me feel ashamed of my sexuality, and they will NOT change a guy's sexuality any more than calling someone a homo or perv will make him go straight.

I sympathize with you but I won't internalize your labels.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:54 AM
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All ways of rejecting people are pretty much wrong. I really came to hate the lame, mushy, nice ones. Usually there's no werious reason to give, and if there is a good reason, probably you shouldn't say it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:54 AM
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What about "It's not you, it's me?" Did George ruin that one forever?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:56 AM
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||

Someone just forwarded me a particularly disgusting chain e-mail (I'm sure it's been around a while) proving that Obama is a seekrit Muslim and all Muslims are hateful, anti-democratic misogynists who want to annihilate Israel and destroy the great Satan.

Along with the usual (Obama was sworn in on the Koran, etc.) It includes some real gems:

- "Allah, The moon God of Arabia" (huh?)
- "he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt" (please read the Constitution before citing it)
- "Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran does not allow freedom of religion and expression" (but clearly you do)
- "Perhap s we should be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. - - - They obviously cannot be both 'good' Muslims and good Americans."
- "SO FREEDOM IS NOT FREE
ELECT OBAMA AND YOU WILL BE JUST LIKE HIM
OR
DIE BY THE SWORD
THE MARINES WANT THIS TO ROLL ALL OVER THE U.S."

|>


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:57 AM
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To a degree, I lived down to the kind of behavior in the post during my college years (but nothing like the AWB situation, I hope--yeesh). I'd say it had a lot to do with the emotional/social immaturity thing and an utter lack of communication skills, but there was also a lot of self-deception that went along with those relationships and a callowness I thankfully finally shed. One thing I never did get my head around then or afterward was the concept of casual dating--if we like and are attracted to each other, why aren't we serious?


Posted by: babble | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:57 AM
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Sex isn't a scarce resource, so the fact that they've slept with you doesn't make you special.

I think this is close to something core. Not to pick on Tripp, but the point is you certainly can have a conversation like:

"Hey, X, great to see you. Gotta go though, I'm trying to get in Y's pants."

and have it be perfectly fine with everyone (including Y, if Y is in the conversation) but that has as much to do with (all of) your relationships to sex as well as to each other.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:58 AM
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You know, this really doesn't match my experience at all. At least, not after some baseline assumed maturity (teenagers, and those mentally stuck in the same place, are all crazy, no way 'round it).

soup biscuit,

You may be right. Most of my experiences in this matter were when I was younger.

But I still think my wife would not like to hear that I desire sex with other women. Not real women instead of someone safe like a movie star or something.

But I could be wrong.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:58 AM
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65: they are two sides of the same coin: Horndog men and chaste, virtuous women. The false stereotypes reinforce each other by letting you say "Ah, look, another way men and women are completely different."

The main reason the "men only want sex" trope was deprecated was that it didn't fit the experience of so many women who in fact found that men would turn them down. LBs cases are standard examples. Men will turn down sex if it means they have to communicate, or they will look bad in front of their buddies, or they just aren't into it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:59 AM
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It is kinda like say a man is target shooting to win the gold medal at the Olympics and he is sighting in on the target and a woman starts to talk to him quietly. He won't respond and the woman thinks "Why doesn't he respond? Why is he so cold? It is like he thinks I'm supposed to understand what is going on do all the work and this is not fair."

OMFG. Tripp gives us the "men are mindless testosterone-fueled sex seeking missiles" argument for why women shouldn't expect to be treated like human beings, because really, what are they but a) targets, or b) cockblockers.

I will not be made to deny or feel shame about my sexuality.

Does men's sexuality require them to be assholes to anyone they're not fucking? We're not talking showing up at the bar, pulling a a stool next to a Boy and his Target (really nice analogy, BTW), and trying to join the conversation.

Thanks for validating LB's sense of what boys are like.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:59 AM
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All ways of rejecting people are pretty much wrong. I really came to hate the lame, mushy, nice ones. Usually there's no werious reason to give, and if there is a good reason, probably you shouldn't say it.

This is why I never ask anymore, and usually just give some ego-preserving speech about how "I'm not ready" when on the giving end of the cessation. Who gives a shit, really, if my ears are too big, or you talk too much? It didn't work out, we'll both survive, let's make like progressives and MoveOn.


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:59 AM
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All ways of rejecting people are pretty much wrong. I really came to hate the lame, mushy, nice ones. Usually there's no werious reason to give, and if there is a good reason, probably you shouldn't say it.

This is why I never ask anymore, and usually just give some ego-preserving speech about how "I'm not ready" when on the giving end of the cessation. Who gives a shit, really, if my ears are too big, or you talk too much? It didn't work out, we'll both survive, let's make like progressives and MoveOn.


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:00 AM
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Rottin' is having trouble Moving On.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:01 AM
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soup biscuit,

"Hey, X, great to see you. Gotta go though, I'm trying to get in Y's pants."

Ah. That is good to know. I guess things have changed more than I realized.

I'll go back to my golden oldies now.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:02 AM
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||

I need some advice from the windier members of the Unf'ariat: suppose I were to want lunch in the vicinity of the Westin Michigan Avenue tomorrow. Where should I go?

Few diet restrictions, no need to be stingy, or stupid either in terms of cost.

|>


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:02 AM
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All ways of rejecting people are pretty much wrong. I really came to hate the lame, mushy, nice ones. Usually there's no serious reason to give, and if there is a good reason, probably you shouldn't say it.

Just to repeat what AWB is saying -- it's not that you need to give a reasoned explanation of the decision to break-up/no see someone again. It's just that it's rude/chickenshit/cruel to make the decision and then not bother to communicate it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:02 AM
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I suppose he doesn't think much of me now either
sure it hurts, but it's a good thing that you still can feel hurt, coz the next state'd be perhaps indifference as other people say here
so if it hurts to feel better you may try the defense mechanism like to reverse the situation and wear this attitude: 'it's pity that it's over, but you (that guy, not you) lose not having me around'
it should work, coz it's true in your case


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:03 AM
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I guess things have changed more than I realized.

I'm not that young, Tripp. I don't think things have ever been that homogenous, so much as there has always been selection bias .


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:03 AM
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87

This implies that a conscious decision has been made, which is often giving too much credit.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:04 AM
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Ack, I've written a dozen comments on this thread, and exactly one on the class thread I'm supposed to be grading. I've got to go away.

One last note: Am *I* the only one who is going to explicitly blame the patriarchy here?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:04 AM
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86: I'm among the geographically challenged of the Windy group, but I think Shaws Crab House is right near there. I quite enjoyed it last time I went.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:05 AM
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61, 69: Yeah, that is fair enough. Going fully incommunicado is pretty terrible. I always respond, but yeah, I'm too chickenshit and don't trust my thinking-on-my-feet responses enough to say directly that it's not going to happen again. It's pretty unambiguous when someone actually speaks to you and makes excuses a couple times, or at least it has been to me in the past.

The main thing I'm seeking to avoid is the horrendous conversation where the guy tries to explain his reasons, which just ends up a presumptuous needless mess. I've heard too many of those conversations secondhand, and no friend of mine has ever found them to help.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:05 AM
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91. Rob you can blame the patriarchy for pretty much anything so, while true, it's a bit vague.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:06 AM
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90: So what happened? He literally forgot I existed and has no idea who this woman is who emailed him two weeks ago asking if he was still interested in getting together? I get that people are flaky and that it's hard to remember what you did a month ago, but surely he recognizes my name still and can read words.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:07 AM
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87: Exactly. Nobody is talking some bullshit teenage melodrama. But if you've lost interest for what ever reason and they haven't, just ignoring them is mean. If you can't emotionally handle the conversation, that's your fault, not fair to take it out on them. Find another way to communicated (which, even if lame, is better than stringing them along until they give up on you)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:07 AM
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I always avoided this by [almost] never sleeping with my friends. This has come up on many Unfogged threads-past. Fucking first, then friendship. Not the other way round.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:08 AM
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87: I totally agree. Chickenshit is a term I need to use more.

I find it genuinely interesting that people here seem to find this a unique experience. This has happened to all of my friends at least 3 times each. crush, crush, crush, disappear, dead air. I just figured this was an inevitable component of mid-20s urban dating life.


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:09 AM
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And, obviously, if you've fucked more than once; you owe people some kind of explanation [even if it's a transparently crappy one] as to why you won't see them again.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:10 AM
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Quick, someone write a Modern Love!


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:10 AM
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81:

mcmc - Hey, if you don't want an honest answer then don't ask the question.

As I've said numerous times, we must accept our feelings and control our actions.

Men's sexual feelings require them to do nothing other than feel them. Behavior is what must be labeled and controlled.

Label my feelings whatever you want. Call me names. My behavior has been good but I have focused on what I want instead of what someone else wants from me. In that respect I am selfish. I have also made peace with who I am.

The funny thing is once I accepted myself then, as I crudely say, chicks dig me. I've been able to relax and enjoy the company of women. I made a vow to be faithful to my wife and I have kept that vow but I still enjoy women and all that is human sexuality.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:11 AM
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This has happened to all of my friends at least 3 times each. crush, crush, crush, disappear, dead air.

It happens to tons of people. It's always lame.

I just have real trouble trying to identify with the disappear-ee, beyond a general 16-years-old, awkward and confused about everything sort of space.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:11 AM
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I ran into a mutual friend who has known the guy for several years, and she responded to the story by saying, alas, the guy in question is a total mess, a gigantic flirt with good taste in intelligent, interesting women whom he then abandons. So there's that.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:12 AM
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re: 98

It's never happened to me. Nor, I think, to anyone I know. Or at least not in that way.

One-night stands that have never called again or been called again, sure. But seeing people [even if it's just a couple of times] and then literally cutting them dead or cutting them off? Not that I can remember.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:12 AM
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A difference that seems important between the LB and AWB experiences is the size of the community. It's entirely possible for AWB's person to physically disappear from her life (even though there may be professional reasons to be in the same place again). The college situation doesn't allow that as much; many schools just aren't that large, and unless someone does this by totally ripping up their social network, that network is even smaller. In college, I probably couldn't go two days without seeing an ex or someone I'd fooled around with, and it wasn't because there were so many of them. Now - even within an existing social circle - it could be months or years.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:12 AM
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103: That is, last night I ran into...


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:12 AM
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86: Oak Tree Restaurant on the 6th floor of the 900 N Michigan building (the big tan one just across the road) has quite tasty classy burgers, sandwiches, fries, juices, etc. The Acorn Burger is a particular favorite.

Otherwise, Morton's Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmicks Seafood, and a number of independent variations on those menus are all nearby.

For breakfast food, the Original Pancake House is open until 3 pm, and it's a few blocks north of you on Bellvue. It's interesting if only because it's north of Michigan and off Rush, so its still a somewhat neighborhoody place unlike anywhere else you could eat around there.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:13 AM
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95: Yes, AWB. Don't buy this men are men are sexual automotons with no capacity for self-reflection and not even any memory.

I'm a man and I think and remember and I brood over decisions whether to call somebody or not ...and with all that I probably wind up being a jerk anyway.......


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:13 AM
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AWB: weird. does it help to know it's not just you?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:13 AM
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He is truly a unique embodiment of the drunken bitter old crank.

I resemble that remark. Oh, wait, I don't drink.

Tripp, I think that your easy understanding of women's behavior belongs on Standpipe's blog. I'm not willing to grant that men are weird and women aren't.

Me neither, but I don't know anything. Could be true, but I doubt it.

1) Everybody hurts. Everybody. What I don't buy is the people who say they got it together in a problem free way. Had a Lothario spend a night crying in my arms. Seen "perfect" marriages break up overnight. Believe most people wake up in the night and wonder if they fucked it all up.

2) Had a Hispanic guy in a midnight conversation tell me once that "Silence is kindness" He specifically meant the awkward pauses in conversation but I extend it much more broadly. All the way up to sociology and politics, all the way down to strangers on the streets and blog comments.

Maybe communication is kindness too. Watching the social animals it's either all kindness or all aggression, depending on my mood. I don't understand anything.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:14 AM
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an inevitable component of mid-20s urban dating life
I sometimes wonder if I've missed something interesting by doing all of my dating while in school. It would be interesting to see what's different by having a real income or any privacy while dating, for example.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:16 AM
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93: I've heard too many of those conversations secondhand, and no friend of mine has ever found them to help.

I think the only thing that really helps is time. We are talking about grieving after all. Grieving hurts bad.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:16 AM
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86: I like the pastas at Cafe Spiaggia a whole lot, though it's more than I'd usually spend at lunch.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:16 AM
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AWB, let me say up front it's hard to justify your case. The guy should have responded, if only with a weasely maybe.

As a hypothetical: he gets your email asking if you want to get together. He thinks that he had a good time with you and that might be nice, but maybe there's something else more interesting to him right now. So he decides to think about it, gets distracted by someone else and fails to respond. Not because he has suddenly vacillated from totally interested to totally uninterested. But because he has gone from interested to sort of interested but easily distracted.

Or as another hypothetical: he lost interest, doesn't want to deal with telling you and is a totally wimp about it.

I realize the protective value of just calling him psychotic and being done with it. It probably won't help understand what's really going on, but you probably won't ever know that anyway, so why not just call him a jerk and move on.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:16 AM
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109: I dunno. Her explanation is that he's a deeply troubled, conflicted person who is trying desperately to make himself believe that he is a good man by doing good things---his scholarship, his work, his friendships, his relationships---but he can't maintain any of it for more than little blips at a time, no matter how genuinely he wanted to do them.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:18 AM
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Re: Understanding men and women.

As I've said before to understand someone you need to understand what they want. Everything else falls into place after that.

Maybe you can't believe what they want. Maybe you refuse to believe it. Maybe they themselves are confused and don't know what they want. In that case you are out of luck, other than knowing that someone who is confused will do confusing things.

That's what I meant.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:20 AM
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Right, I forgot to add that all I was saying was that the loss of interest that results in him being easily distracted does not have to be a conscious choice, nor does the fact of him having not called. Inconsiderate, sure, but not necessarily conscious.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:20 AM
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115. Is your friend usually right? Because if so, there's food for thought about wanting him as a professional ally, let alone a date.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:22 AM
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115, 116:

AWB,

He sounds like he is confused. Take him at his word. The question then is what do you want and please keep in mind that you will NOT be able to 'fix' him. Confused people do confusing things. What do you want?


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:23 AM
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I think the bare minimum of human decency is to be courteous to people you interact with, and the burden of figuring out what form that courtesy should take is on you.

You can compassionately grant that we're all human and fallible, that younger folks in particular are still figuring out how to communicate effectively, that cross-culture and -class and -gender issues can make communication harder...but at the end of the day, I'm perfectly comfortable with saying we all have a moral obligation to be decent to each other. And that just doesn't include ditching people and never responding. Don't do to a romantic partner what you wouldn't do to a professional colleague or a friend.

(And FWIW, the people I know who most enthusiastically espouse the "Men are ___, women are ___" line of thinking are massive consumers of media (TV, magazines) that reinforce this worldview.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:24 AM
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118: Yeah, she seems pretty smart about that sort of stuff, though I don't know her any better than I know him. The problem is we scheduled to host an event together before we started dating, and it's something that benefits him more than it does me. Don't really know how or whether to go forward with that.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:24 AM
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I think the only thing that really helps is time. We are talking about grieving after all. Grieving hurts bad.

Right. Which is why a heads up as to when the period of grieving can commence is appreciated.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:25 AM
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It's what I call Willoughby syndrome. Although I doubt he dropped AWB because his family is pressuring him to marry an heiress.


Posted by: Foose | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:25 AM
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I'm sorry, LB. It sounds like you ran afoul of a guy whose dateage is essentially snake oil. A huckster.

And by the by, I didn't mean to propose that it wouldn't have occurred to you that he might have gotten back together with his ex. I only meant to offer an independent, loosely formed, instinctive analysis so as to confirm any suspicions you might have harbored, if you harbored them. 115 changes my opinion entirely. He sounds like a habitual jerk monogamist. He would have to be not a little bit self obsessed to not answer your emails. Can we show up to his conferences and heckle?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:25 AM
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you will NOT be able to 'fix' him

What do you take me for, Dr. Phil?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:25 AM
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FWIW, the people I know who most enthusiastically espouse the "Men are ___, women are ___"

are generally wrong, ime.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:27 AM
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The problem is we scheduled to host an event together before we started dating, and it's something that benefits him more than it does me.

Aye, that's a bugger. With hindsight, probably you should have contacted him about this when he vanished, and then had the rest out when/if you met. But who's got hindsight in advance? Pacing. This time next week, send a smartly worded professional email asking if he wants to go ahead, because you need to plan. Then have the rest out when/if you meet.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:31 AM
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you will NOT be able to 'fix' him

What do you take me for, Dr. Phil?

Actually, he was just telling you to put down the pruning shears.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:31 AM
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Here's an alternate explanation for LB's experience: men don't actually like sex. They like scoring, but they don't like sex. (The artisanal sexpots of Unfogged excepted.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:34 AM
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Don't really know how or whether to go forward with that.
revenge! he should suffer too
or kill him with kindness, it's up to your satisfaction
though we have a proverb that the bush which was eaten blooms again, while the jaw which eats gets whitened (refering to the jaw bone of a large domestic animal getting washed white in the steppe after its duly reincarnation)
well, should work, work, the chocolate i had in the morning keeps me high i suppose to comment on the blogs


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:34 AM
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Even when I've gone on a lame coffee date, I've made sure to tell the person that I wasn't interested in having dinner at his place. I have occasionally talked to someone and gone on more dates than I wanted to, but I didn't hear from him again when I hugged him to keep him from kissing me.

The guy that I'm dating now has to tell me when he wants to stop seeing me, because I have the keys to his apartment.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:34 AM
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What do you take me for, Dr. Phil?

Ha! Well, one never knows . . . Dr Phil, Lorena Bobbit . . . the world is full of all types.

I'm glad you didn't take the bait and say what it is you want. That would have been too easy. I think most people enjoy a good puzzle.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:35 AM
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129: Potayto, potahtoe . . .


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:36 AM
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because I have the keys to his apartment.

Well played!


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:38 AM
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get i suppose


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:39 AM
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Given what AWB said in 103, and the fact that he's apparently very handsome, it sounds like this is just some sort of game he likes to play with women. Clearly an ass-kicking is medically indicated.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:39 AM
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the bush which was eaten blooms again

Oh, that old chestnut?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:40 AM
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Should I enroll Tripp in the Unfogged Designated Troll list, along with me and McManus and maybe Stras?

And B?

B, would you like to join the Unfogged Troll Wotking Group?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:40 AM
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Or if not that, the Working Group?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:41 AM
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136: I think he doesn't experience it as a game. My guess is that he's upset about it, and ashamed, and doesn't want to acknowledge it because then he'll have to start seeing this as a pattern of failures.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:41 AM
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131: Argh, now I just feel really bad that I even brought this up. Anything beyond two lukewarm dates is "yes, you need to give a reason" territory without any doubt. If someone professed love or even just major enthusiasm but then wants to drop it, they should definitely say something in terms of explanation to not seem like a psycho (probably unsuccessfully, for a good reason).

But hey, sensible words from soup, AWB, Di and co. have convinced me. Next time it comes up, I'll try to just say directly that I don't really want another date. Eesh, it's just such a terrible thing to do after having sex for the first time, it's so transparent. What issues/questions have you people had to face in this situation in the past, when you really don't know the person at all, you just had sex (but it technically wasn't a one-night stand since you'd seen each other like twice), and you've just told them you don't want to see them again?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:42 AM
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(no, you were right the first time, read, the jaw which eats *gets* whitened)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:43 AM
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120: I think the bare minimum of human decency is to be courteous to people you interact with, and the burden of figuring out what form that courtesy should take is on you.

I agree completely. Sadly in the real world things are what they are and it is also helpful to understand what is going on regardless of how people behave.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:44 AM
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I read life in novels, poem, movies, album lyrics not because I didn't or don't have a life but because the bullshit gets so thick I might as well go for the pretty stuff. Listened to Ian's Between the Lines all the way thru last night, and damn, it feels on topic.

At Seventeen (huge hit for lonely nerds, but the title should give a clue to a certain level of irony)

Watercolors

The Come On

Friends Again

Everybody hurts, most of us in very similar confused ways.

Except, apparently, Tripp. Who the girls really like.
Uh-oh, "nice guy" bullshit. Sorry.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:44 AM
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141: I remember a scenario like that in which a guy who had charmed me into bed on a second date and been really fun and warm and thoughtful broke it off after a few days in an email. It was actually a really nice, even slightly funny email in which he acknowledged that we'd had a good time and that he liked me and wished me well, but he realized he really wanted to get back together with his ex. He admitted it was shitty timing, apologized, and was generally decent about the whole thing. I was disappointed and sad, but it was probably the best short-term-break-off email I ever got.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:47 AM
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138 - I can be put in whatever group but unlike a real troll I am actually trying to contribute to the discussions whenever I can be meaningful. Of course a troll would say that too.

I know I say things people may not like but I am not trying to be hurtful or stir things up. Except to real trolls who deserve it. Then I pretty much do whatever I can.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:49 AM
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You know, Janis Ian has come out and recently married up in Canada. But I don't know if it is a recent self-understanding or if I need to reinterpret those lyrics from the 70s.

Mostly it doesn't matter, since I believe the differences between men & women, gays & not-gays are anywhere near as important as the commonalities.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:52 AM
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144:

bob, that is sad. Pretty is nice and all but the real world is where it is at.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:52 AM
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148:I seem to make you sad a lot, Tripp, Happy to give you the opportunity for compassion and empathy.

I share your pain.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:54 AM
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75
What about "It's not you, it's me?" Did George ruin that one forever?

I can imagine it being successful if you do it self-consciously and acknowledge the cliché and use it as a lead-in to an honest explanation of what that problem with yourself is -- not lying about being too busy for a relationship or getting back together with an ex or something, but being clear that (for any reason or no reason) you aren't "clicking" and aren't interested with seeing him or her in a social or at least a romantic situation. I've... well, I guess I've had that discussion spread out in bits and pieces over the past few months. (I think and hope she understands things in that spirit, and I have no reason to think she doesn't, but I'm just a bit afraid I'm being an asshole here. Oh well.)

But just saying "It's not you, it's me," and expecting that to settle the issue? Seinfeld was cancelled by the time I was dating, but I have a hard time believing that strategy worked even before George gave it a bad name.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:54 AM
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147: Mostly it doesn't matter, since I believe the differences between men & women, gays & not-gays are anywhere near as important as the commonalities.

bob, stop it. Really. The differences are what it is.

Or is this more of the 'nice guy(TM)' troll!? If so, well played. You pwned me!


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:56 AM
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Just to repeat what AWB is saying -- it's not that you need to give a reasoned explanation of the decision to break-up/no see someone again. It's just that it's rude/chickenshit/cruel to make the decision and then not bother to communicate it.

I am shocked that men and women are not better communicators about such a clear issue as dating.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:59 AM
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151:Mine is a non-hegemonic masculinity.

But we are still engaged in some weird alpha male competition that has to bore the fuck out of the Unfoggedetariat. I usually don't play with the other trolls.

Off to the park with the dogs.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:00 AM
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People hate confronting difficult topics.

"I do not want to date you anymore" always generates "Why???"

You are then forced to articulate an answer more compelling than "just because" when often the answer is "just because."


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:02 AM
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Eesh, it's just such a terrible thing to do after having sex for the first time, it's so transparent.

Well, and maybe a premature thing to do, too. Sometimes it takes a couple of efforts to find the rhythm that works for you and another given someone. If it's someone you otherwise like, why not give it a little more chance?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:03 AM
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You are then forced to articulate an answer more compelling than "just because" when often the answer is "just because."

Eh. "It's just not clicking for me," would seem just right in a short term dating scenario.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:06 AM
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I was disappointed and sad, but it was probably the best short-term-break-off email I ever got.

Well, yeah. Nobody likes rejection, but everyone ought to be able to manage sending at the very least something like what you describe. This is a basic decency/competence issue, as I see it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:09 AM
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Update! I just got an email back from mine of this morning. Apparently the ex came briefly back into the picture (point for Smasher) and then he decided to clarify for himself what he wanted from anyone before calling me, but couldn't bring himself to say yea or nay to it, knowing on the one hand that he's a faithless jerk and on the other that he does really like me. He wants to be friends and stay single for a while. The latter part sounds wise, and the former part I might be able to manage sometime. I will just have to be very careful.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:09 AM
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Of course, there is also the issue of consistency. If you say that you are not feeling it, then you need to stop feeling it.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:10 AM
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You are then forced to articulate an answer more compelling than "just because" when often the answer is "just because."

If you've given it a real try, you weren't playing games with anyone, but it isn't working for you and you can't quite figure out why --- well, it's perfectly ok to say that. No need to fall into the (newbie?) trap of floundering around trying to come up with excuses. That's not helping anyone.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:11 AM
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158: Well at least you know what's going on now!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:12 AM
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140: It could be a compulsion, rather than a game, but beforehand he has to know what he's going to do. People find it hard to quit cigarettes still know when they stop in the corner store what they're there to buy.

It's kind to think that he can't help himself, that he is, in his way, a victim too, but in my experience people know perfectly well what they are doing. When I have acted badly in my dating life, I knew perfectly well that I was acting badly, and why.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:12 AM
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160:

I mostly agree with you, soup. But, people cannot communicate well. Period.

Also, it is really hard to clearly communicate your feelings when they are confused and conflicted.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:12 AM
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expecting that to settle the issue?

I don't know, do people here have a lot of experiences of the person you're breaking up with pressing for more of an explanation? I can certainly imagine it, but "expecting it to settle the issue" sounds like you think that it would never be an acceptable answer.

I'm a lot fonder of people who said "We're just not a match" (in e-mail or in person) than I am of the ones who disappeared. The longer the dating/relationship, the more I would expect the courtesy of an explanation. And it should be honest, even if truncated.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:13 AM
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As more details emerge this guy begins to sound almost exactly like a friend and former housemate of mine. Handsome, intelligent, funny, dynamic, creative - the whole shebang. When he started a new relationship it was always very romantic, and not just in the chocolates and roses sense - real opening up and connection on a deep level. At some point down the line he'd just flip a switch with little or no warning to her and stop talking to her, even going so far as to take active measures to avoid her. I don't fully understand his psychodynamics, but it clearly had something to do with an extreme aversion to dealing with the reality of causing her pain through rejecting her - by running away he was able to avoid the up-front questions that would force him to acknowledge her unhappiness.

If this guy is similar (for all I know he might even be the exact same guy), then the only way to handle this is to just set aside any hope for a reasonable explanation. Salvage the professional connection by being pleasant but distant when you meet in person so he knows that you won't be making any emotional demands on him. Under no circumstances do anything that might lead to getting back together. If he decides he wants to apologize let him, but don't ask for an explanation. If he wants to try again shut him down, which may be hard to do while preserving the professional connections, at least in the short term, but the loss of a single such connection is well worth the price of not getting royally dicked around, which is what will happen if you don't walk away.

As always, YMMV.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:14 AM
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But, people cannot communicate well. Period.

Yeah. But life gets so much easier when you realize this stuff isn't so hard after all. Nobody is perfect, of course, but wow can you ever expend a bunch of energy winding yourself up uselessly. Just tell them what's going on. Mostly, that is exactly the right thing to do. And if it makes an unfortunate situation a little harder for you, that's vastly preferable to selfishly making it a lot harder for them. It's the only decent thing to do.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:16 AM
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166: Fuck, this is like getting dating advice from the Buddha. Just because you can do the adult thing, doesn't mean the rest of don't prefer to fuck everything up, thank you very much.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:18 AM
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166:

I agree with you completely, soup. It really isn't that hard.

I think that I have previously told the story about trying to teach this lesson to my 12 year old son. But, before he could use his new-found dumping lessons and use his clear communication skills, the girl sent a mutual friend to break up with my son.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:19 AM
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It really isn't that hard.

Except when it is, of course. I have found that I can pretty quickly manage to articulate a pretty coherent explanation for my feelings (one way or another) one day, and a week later recognize that I was completely full of shit.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:26 AM
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Having awkward conversations in these situations is an unpleasant responsibility. People often shirk unpleasant responsibilities.

The noncommunicative behavior of AWB's friend is jerkish, but not mysterious.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:26 AM
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Sometimes it takes a couple of efforts to find the rhythm that works for you and another given someone. If it's someone you otherwise like, why not give it a little more chance?

Oh, absolutely. But someone who I like, I'll happily keep dating for a bit. At the worst, we can probably transition gracefully to a friendship as has happened in the past.

Really, the case that I'm talking about is fairly rare, it just sticks with me because the most recent occurance only happened a few months ago. It really was a one-night stand that took two nights to happen between initially meeting way too late at a party when I had to leave and meeting up on a weekday when we couldn't go home together, but we never really clicked in any way other than finding each other cute.

Whereas a true one-night stand in those circumstances would have probably ended by just not exchanging phone numbers, we had already done so, which made things slightly more awkward.

Also, I'm chickenshit.

And Hooray for resolution on AWB's issue! It is nice, even if the answers are really weird.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:27 AM
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I don't know, do people here have a lot of experiences of the person you're breaking up with pressing for more of an explanation?

Oh my, yes. (But then I haven't dated since I, and the people I was dating, were young and foolish.)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:30 AM
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Whoops, 172 was me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:30 AM
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Fuck, this is like getting dating advice from the Buddha.

Damn Walt, it's not like I've never be known to channel my inner teenager in these situations either. I'm just saying don't pretend it's anything else. We all screw up, it's human.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:30 AM
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I do this all the time. I tell myself that I am breaking things off with Unfogged. But, the next day, there I am slinking back, checking if I still like it.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:34 AM
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I can smell the other blog on you, Will.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:35 AM
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You are then forced to articulate an answer more compelling than "just because" when often the answer is "just because."

Yeah. I'm a chickenshit avoider by nature, but have really begun to appreciate how important rejection is. Honest and straight (and kind, if you can manage that) is what makes the system work. The key to that is that there very often isn't a reason. The guy is great and would be a great guy for someone, but I just don't have a crush and that can't be forced.

So the last piece of that is that it goes both ways. If you are gracious and civil when you get rejected for no reason, then you are in the clear when you have to reject other people for no reason. I'm still learning how to apply this, but that's the goal.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:35 AM
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Actually communicating is damn hard. Because you really can't be honest all the time with everyone. Because sometimes it's too close to home and you're afraid. Because sometimes your deepest feelings are pretty jerkface-like and you're trying to ignore them and do the right thing anyway. Because everyone is imperfect. Because sometimes you just don't know damnit.

I don't understand people who don't understand why people communicate poorly.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:36 AM
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I don't understand people who don't understand why people communicate poorly.

Eh, I don't think being honest with everyone all the time is necessarily communicating well.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:40 AM
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I am shocked that men and women are not better communicators about such a clear issue as dating.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:51 AM
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I don't know, do people here have a lot of experiences of the person you're breaking up with pressing for more of an explanation?

I do have one rather farcical experience to share. We dated now more than 2 weeks (though, a college hanging around each other every day 2 weeks). He started into how I was his soul mate; I fled screaming.

For what seemed like longer than the 2 weeks we dated, he kept coming over asking me to explain what went wrong, why didn't it click, should he have done something differently... "Well, for one, don't tell a girl you've only been seeing a couple of weeks that she is the love of your life. It's creepy." I patiently kept trying to explain. Until one day, as I was suffering with a genuine case of laryngitis (no doubt a psychosomatic response to all this explaining) and he wouldn't accept my explanations and I was growing tired and exasperated and my cat strutted quietly over and bit down hard on the guy's arm. He left and never came back. Good kitty!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:52 AM
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I think Unfogged should start charging Emerson for all the free publicity it gives his no relationship system.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:01 PM
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I figure Emerson's going to start demanding royalties any day now.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:02 PM
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174: I was teasing.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:05 PM
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Sympathies to AWB, who deserves way better. I got nothin' on this, although I'm enjoying reading the various proffered theories of the phenomenon. I started dating in August after a five year hiatus, and it was really hard not to take everything personally. Finally I chanced upon a guy who was willing to set aside "the rules" (I have never read this--what the fuck do they say?), and when I told him to call me the next day after sleeping with him on the first date, he did.

But I am still bewildered by this phenomenon and occasionally think of those guys who suddenly dropped me with something approaching rue. Why?! Not worth my time, and yet it feels unsettled, and so occasionally I think about it, even though I'm now in a long term relationship. Doesn't help that six months after that one date, I suddenly got an email from one of the other guys. WTF?!


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:06 PM
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I've been telling my female friends for years that a rule about (younger) male behavior is: the guy generally decides whether he wants a relationship (of any kind) after he sleeps with you, the woman decides before she sleeps with you. This leads to much confusion between the sexes.

Like most sex differences, it evens out as you get older, though. I think that over 30 most people won't bother to sleep together unless they at least like each, which is a good thing.

Part of this is also to do with urban anonymous dating, though...people frequently wind up in bed with others who they have no prior social connection to, so if someone decides they don't want it to go anywhere romantically there's a big temptation to drop things entirely. Out of laziness if nothing else...it's hard to make a new friend, initial sexual attraction carries us over many of these difficulties in the case of romance.

Obviously the urban anon stuff doesn't apply to LB's college experiences, which do sound pretty trying.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:08 PM
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I would have come up with exactly the opposite rule about male versus female from the one proposed in 186. Possibly this generalization thing is harder than in sounds.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:11 PM
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Generalization is always harder than it sounds.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:13 PM
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Having awkward conversations in these situations is an unpleasant responsibility. People often shirk unpleasant responsibilities.

Should have read the damn thread -- this is exactly right and happens all the time.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:16 PM
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All generalizations that conflict with my generalizations are false. Specific exceptions may occur, but never invalidate my generalizations.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:17 PM
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My experience has been the opposite there too.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:21 PM
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Sorry AWB. The guy's broken. Not much more can be expected of him. Nothing to do but draw the inference and move along. You can live up to what you expect of yourself, though, and carry off the professional thing professionally.

More generally, I'd guess that this thing with this guy, and with a bunch of other guys, is just the tip of an ugly iceberg. Sure it's impolite to disappear without a word, but who wants to hear what a person who would do such a thing has to say for himself? The silent goodbye is but one of a number of fleas you can get from lying with this dog, and there's a non-trivial chance it's the easiest to shake.

Anyway, thanks Chicagoans.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:22 PM
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Every celibacy pledge an Unfoggetarian takes releases one teenager to play around. Think about that.

Yes, there's a finite number of celibacy pledges in Heaven. It's a zero-sum, doggy-dog, struggle for that scarce celibacy. The losers spend 70 years wondering why things aren't working.

In other news, the 82-y.o. widow lady next door seems to have a thing going with a much younger 75-y.o. widower, freeing up her 60-y.o. son's inner teenager.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:24 PM
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Having awkward conversations in these situations is an unpleasant responsibility. People often shirk unpleasant responsibilities.

Was it Kant or Aquinas who wrote about the ethical centrality of the awkward-conversation obligation?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:26 PM
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But we are still engaged in some weird alpha male competition that has to bore the fuck out of the Unfoggedetariat. I usually don't play with the other trolls.

Off to the park with the dogs.

Whatever.

I'll stay here with the attractive, smart and witty women.

Heh heh.

Because knowing what you want is half the battle. The other half is getting it.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:35 PM
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This is a kind of interesting discussions. I think communication about relationships is pretty hard. Not because communication is hard, but because you don't know what you want yourself or how to tell a person you're not interested in seeing them without getting into the (frequently shitty) reasons that you have for feeling that way.

Plus, lots of people are bad at communicating.

I have some experience with this going both ways and also where I've handled it both ways. For reasonably serious relationships, I would always expect a conversation for a break-up. And as a I got older and figured out what I wanted better, it was easier to do correctly. But it has always been hard to do when the reason was: I'm just not that into you. You never feel like you can tell something like that to their face and they frequently push back when you give them a kind of lame reason. People should just recognize that they should stop at the kind of lame reason, but they rarely do. They always want the real reason or whatever.

There was also the time I hooked up with someone, wanted to keep it casual, and they started calling me and trying to get me to meet up with them every day. I was still in my non-serious dating phrase and I freaked out and started desperately avoiding them. How else do you handle it when you've already given them really obvious signals that you wanted a very casual relationship? It is also the only time I can remember turning down sex after they called me at about 5AM for a booty call.

But other than that, I can't remember ever turning down sex from someone I was physically attracted to. So I'm always surprised when I hear such stories. I even went to MIT. Do men really do this?


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:40 PM
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Do men really do this?

Sure.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:44 PM
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but usually not that often, I'd guess.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:45 PM
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Apparently no one is too happy to be enrolled in the official Unfogged Trolletariat.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:49 PM
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198:

Of course, maybe what I mean is, do they do it frequently enough that it's worth commenting on or complaining about? I know some men who are a little persnickety about sex for whatever reasons, but that seems more like the exception to me. Not wanting to have sex a second time however... that is a whole 'nother can of worms. Worth an entire conversation on it's own for sure. Even as a guy who knows that this can be very true about himself... I don't really understand it.


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:51 PM
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Every celibacy pledge an Unfoggetarian takes releases one teenager to play around.

Well at least I am helping someone else then. That's good I guess.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:58 PM
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198 - Yeah, like a solar eclipse or something. But it happens.

Lets face it, rejection sucks. As a mediocre actor without a distinctive 'type' I know all about rejection.

Even people who are experienced or good about being rejected sometimes let the hurt and anger come out sideways - like "That wasn't fair" (true) or "They are a jerk" (maybe) or "I'm not mad about being rejected, I'm mad about they way they told me." (usually not true)

There is no good way to reject someone and there is no good way to help someone through the grieving process caused by rejection.

The best you can do is to be quick and quiet and sympathetic and let time take care of the rest.

I know this may sound blunt but I'd rather speak the truth here instead of fictions.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 12:59 PM
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a finite number of celibacy pledges in Heaven

Check out this fascinating article in yesterday's Times about "sworn virgins" in Albania.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:02 PM
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mpowell,

Even as a guy who knows that this can be very true about himself... I don't really understand it.

The explanation is pretty simple but for a long long time it has been used as an excuse for men to act like boors so most people these days don't want to hear it.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:07 PM
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204: What is your reason, then? I don't think it's really as simple as one single thing, to be honest.


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:14 PM
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re: 204

The Guardian had a big article about them a couple of years ago.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/mar/31/gender.kosovo

It was in their colour magazine, I think. I remember the pictures quite distinctly.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:18 PM
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re: 203

I mean.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:19 PM
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I can't possibly be the only woman here who's ever done that sudden awkward nothing-to-say-to-you thing.

People do it for a lot of reasons, but they all boil down to shame. For some reason you're no longer interested--you've met someone else, what you thought was Deep Like turned out to be short-lived infatuation, the other person said or did something that freaked you out a little, they overshared, you lied about the status of your current relationship with the person you're "breaking up with" out of lust and are now feeling guilty. Whatever.

And basically you feel like you've said or implied a promise that you didn't really mean, even if that promise was only "I like you." And the other person's continued attempts to get in touch or find out what the fuck happened just confirm that you made a promise of *some* kind, and you are ashamed.

And shame leads people to avoid things.

Maybe you *do* like the other person well enough as a friend, actually, but their attempts to get you to talk about What Happened are suggestions that they want/ed more than a friendship, and you're trying to communicate, albeit awkwardly, that new friends don't have those conversations (which is generally true). And yes, it would be easier for the other person to hear "no," maybe, but it wouldn't be easier for you to say it (obviously). And it's frustrating to have them want to hear you say what's going on when it's fairly clear that they do, in fact, realize that you're not interested: no one likes being pushed into a situation of admitting that they've behaved badly.

Yeah, it's an asshole thing to do and everyone knows that. But knowing that doesn't always help because, hello, shaming.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:21 PM
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I can't possibly be the only woman here

Sure you could.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:24 PM
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208: Well put.


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:27 PM
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ttaM's link in 204 provides a nicely succinct explanation (with one glaring exception):

I am not interested in love or sex. I just want to be free to work, go fishing and drink raki, vodka and beer.

Ladies, bring him raki.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:29 PM
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I meant that as an explanation for some male behavior, but I now realize that it's the perfect break-up line for men & women alike. Get the raki, but keep it for yourself!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:33 PM
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138: Sure, put me in the group. The more so as I think that in this thread Tripp is actually being quite sensible, with the one caveat that he's being a teensy big chivalric in implying that the kind of thing he's talking about is unique to young men. It's not.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:33 PM
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202:I know this may sound blunt but I'd rather speak the truth here instead of fictions.

I so admire your courage.
...
Last night I was looking for an adequate way to display my submission to King Tripp and came across This and it got me thinking. I wouldn't want to say that some alternative (sensitive, feminist, communicative) masculinity was better because that would just attempt to create an alternative hegemony. I chose "non-hegemonic masculinity" because God know I can't anybody how to be a man. That's bphd's troll responsibility.

And now it's like I've discovered a new word. What is this thread partially about if not "How should men behave?" How can we reinforce our own kind of cultural-social hegemony? And maybe hegemony pertains to the approved kinds of commenting, as in cockjokes and whatever apo links to.

As far as differences between men & women, I have always thought they simply had different dominance hegemonic strategies, mostly culturally determined. I can't remember the veldt. So I have mostly ignored the "Talk to me" stuff as some kind of normative problem. I considered it a patriarchal artifact.

And just to show my objectivity, on the way back from the park, I asked myself if this kind of invasive, patriarchal objective analysis was itself sexist & patriarchal. Could be.

Can't say I have ever cared if the women liked me, at least I can't remember much evidence of it. Particular women, sometimes. But as a general strategy it just felt very wrong, and thru observation, useless if not counter-productive.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:35 PM
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214:Dammit

s/b "I asked myself if this kind of invasive, patriarchal


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:39 PM
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214: Wow! If that comment won't overthrow the patriarchy, I'm not sure what will.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:44 PM
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208: Well put.

Yeah. She has a way with words, that's for sure.

213: 138: Sure, put me in the group. The more so as I think that in this thread Tripp is actually being quite sensible, with the one caveat that he's being a teensy big chivalric in implying that the kind of thing he's talking about is unique to young men. It's not.

I write what I know. Never been a young woman.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:48 PM
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won't overthrow the patriarchy

Watch your language. I doubt that we can command it to fall.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:48 PM
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Watch your language. I doubt that we can command it to fall.

Sure we can. The only question is whether it will listen.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:51 PM
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208:b, you keep using the word "shame" but in detail, your analysis seems to describing a kindness.

There are few sadists around.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:52 PM
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Pluralism is not a counter-hegemony, it's a non-hegemony.

All hegemonies are alike, but each anarchy is incoherent in its own way.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:55 PM
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217: Weird thing is, I write what I know too. Yet our experiences seem to be very different. Some of the things we're saying are pretty close, too. So there is that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 1:58 PM
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I don't think nerdy guys in their late teens and early twenties are a good sample for broad generalizations about culturally induced male behaviour. They're just confused and immature. That would have described me. I was great with female friends where neither of us was interested, ok if I was interested but she wasn't, scared and nervous and thus a bit aloof if we both were, and ran like hell and cut off contact if she was giving off strong romantic/sexual interest vibes and I wasn't attracted. This was true to one extent or another of most guys I knew. Very few were like the people Tripp describes.


Posted by: tkm | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:01 PM
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||

Vitter and Craig cosponsor Federal Marriage Amendment

This should be the theme of our Republican Convention completely legal guerrilla theatre: Vitter, Craig, and the Marriage Amendment. T-shirts, posters, bumper stickers. A website. A spokesman. A slogan. Invite Vitter and Craig to public appearances.

|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:02 PM
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Also had a recent situation sort of like AWB's. The difference was that she started off by being way too intense and serious for me, talking about moving in after we'd dated for two weeks. I told her that she was moving a bit fast. She agreed, things were fine for another few weeks, and then she just dropped off the face of the earth. Funny thing is, we'd talked about how people do that, and how wrong it is, and promised that if either of us wants to end it we'd tell the other person. Oh well.


Posted by: tkm | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:05 PM
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222: It's a big world out there. Lots of different kinds of things happen.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:07 PM
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Havent we all learned that it's better to burn out than to fade away?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:09 PM
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226: Hence the caveat against the sort of generalizing some were doing above. Guess that wasn't obviou.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:09 PM
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Incidentally, as of last night I am peripherally involved in a lawsuit. People who thought they were doing the right thing in commanding others to do the right thing overstepped the legal boundaries.

Silence is kindness.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:11 PM
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This was true to one extent or another of most guys I knew. Very few were like the people Tripp describes.

tkm,

No offense but what you describe sounds to me like a thirteen year old male. The anxiety, the nervousness. Maybe this is indicative of how we've infantilized our children recently? Is adolescence getting longer now? Egad that is a horrible thought.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:14 PM
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227: No.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:15 PM
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208: Of course you're quite right, bitch, that you're not the only one. As a remarkably dorky young woman (my excuse is that I came into my looks, such as they were, post-high-school, and never got the early practice) I did the avoidance version of breaking up more than once. Also when approached by uninteresting strangers I would frequently give a fake phone number, because it was easier than saying no (sorry, strangers!). However, I do not attribute this pattern of behavior to some relentless female drive to get non-mate-type men out of the way while pursuing the attractive Target-type men, but to my own social clumsiness and, as you say, shame. But I will never apologize for my dorkiness, or be shamed out of it!!!! Never!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:21 PM
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I was too dorky to speak to mcmc in DC.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:22 PM
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No offense taken, and I can only speak for my own experiences, but this is the way things were in late high school and early college for me way back when in the late eighties. The high school was fairly uptight sexually, not on moral grounds but just some sort of general behavior pattern. The college was the reverse, and that cured us fairly quickly.


Posted by: tkm | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:24 PM
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||
Never do a Google Image search for "ben w-lfs-n." At least, not at work.
|>


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:24 PM
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this thread sucks.

I hope you all appreciate the dedicated procrastination it takes to keep adding lameness to it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:24 PM
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233: That wasn't dorkiness, Will--I wasn't there.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:28 PM
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236: this thread sucks.

Yeah, let's all blame Lizardbreath.

Mom. Mommy! We're bored!!! Everybody is too nice and boooooring!


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:30 PM
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You ever get the feeling that the more time you spend commenting here, the more you slowly turn into Norm from Cheers?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:34 PM
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That wasn't dorkiness, Will--I wasn't there.

If you didnt want to talk with me, you should have just said something. Why did you just have to disappear??!?!?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:36 PM
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240: Don't try to shame me! Dorkiness must be free!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:38 PM
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202 and 208 are right on. The sudden freeze-out is always tempting because rejection sucks for both parties, and is emotionally fraught. Women certainly do it at times too.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:44 PM
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the sudden freeze-out is rejection, PGD. It's just drawn out and weird and potentially made worse.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:45 PM
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243: Yes, but at least the rejector doesn't have to deal with the emotionally fraught conversation explaining why they are rejecting the other. Fact is, ignoring someone really isn't a bad way to get them to stop bothering you.


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:57 PM
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Emotionally fraught conversation is required by the categorical imperative, Mpowell.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 2:58 PM
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Emotionally fraught conversation is required by the categorical imperative

I read that as scatalogical imperative. My version is better.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:05 PM
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Fact is, ignoring someone really isn't a bad way to get them to stop bothering you.

Ha.

A lot of the remarks here seem to assume that the rejected relationship is all or nothing: either sexually active or non-existent. In some cases, both parties do view it that way. But not nearly in all cases, and ignoring someone does tend to rule out post-sexual friendship.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:09 PM
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244: but that's exactly why it's chickenshit. If you're the one ending thing, the only decent thing to do is tell the other person, not make it easier on you by making it harder on them.

If you have told them and they are bothering you, that's a very different situation that the one we were discussing.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:13 PM
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This doesn't quite rise to the level of presidentiality, but apropos this discussion, I just got a random e-mail from a dude I had one date with.

Scenario: Multiple e-mails, quite friendly and building-toward-intimate (emotionally). He makes a big, explicit deal about honesty and how crucial it is to him. Takes about three weeks to arrange a date due to schedule/geography consideration.

Finally have the date. Turns out he is 12 years older he claimed. (Tip: If you have lied about your age, do not pass your driver's license to your date.) When said lie is pointed out, launches into bizarre and borderline creepy justification of how he really prefers to date people of X age. Conclusion: I send chilly e-mail telling him goodbye and good luck.

What happens today? He e-mails because he's suddenly remembered the title of a book he tried to recommend to me. Way to ignore a rejection, dude.


Posted by: Minor Public Official | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:18 PM
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Well, of course it's sort of chickenshit. That's not the argument.

I have to say, though, my worst breakup experiences have featured the most arduous and dedicated attempts to communicate. I'm not so sure that just ripping the band-aid off quickly is worse. Although, you know, don't leave people in suspense.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:22 PM
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249: Obviously different (and weird) situation.

248: I'm not arguing it isn't chickenshit. But the question is why, right?


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:24 PM
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250: This is a good point, too. The freeze out is not the worst possibility in some cases.


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:25 PM
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Way to ignore a rejection, dude.

In a different circumstance something like that seems like a good way to send out a "are we still friendly?" feeler?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:32 PM
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Why isn't Dsquared here to ridicule us? He hasn't been himself recently. Maybe he's been naturalized as an Englishman and no longer is short, dark and dirty.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:37 PM
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166, 248: I think I am a little in love with soup.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:37 PM
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255: Mmm, mmm good.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:39 PM
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256: It must be the day for advertising taglines. I almost posted "Fun with a purpose!" in response to your comment in the pirates thread.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:41 PM
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249: Ick. The only blatant lie I encountered in personals dating was a guy who was so much older and worse-looking (which, I emphasize, certainly don't have to go together) than his pictures that I did not recognize him at all when I got to the restaurant. And he turned out to be something of a SNAG (sensitive New Age guy). On the plus side, he was very knowledgeable about the science of global warming, so I learned a bit.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:45 PM
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I don't understand why people lie about their age, etc., in situations like that. How do they think it's going to go?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:46 PM
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I must not be watching enough TV. What's 257 from?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:46 PM
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259: Me either. My best guess is that they feel like that's the only way they can get a foot in the door.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:50 PM
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and use that foot to dig out from under the bad first impression they've made?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:51 PM
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Highlights magazine! Fun with a purpose!

I am just tickled at the ridiculousness of lying about your age and then handing someone your driver's license. Like, what? Are you counting on obliviousness or just the inability to do math?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:53 PM
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I don't understand why people lie about their age, etc., in situations like that.

This is pure speculation, but I wonder if (some) people think that everyone is doing it, so that if they don't lie about their age anyone reading their description would expect someone 6-7 years older.

That's pretty weak speculation, but I don't know that it would take too many confirming experiences to make someone believe that.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:55 PM
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My guess is more like once you see how awesome they are and hear their many stories of not being able to get a date when they were honest, you'll understand and forgive.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:58 PM
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Because "Everyone says I look ten years younger!". It's pathetic when someone lies about their age.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 3:59 PM
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263: Goofus and Gallant is really what sticks with me.

Why did he give you his license anyway? I mean besides his unconscious wish to be discovered?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:00 PM
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261, 262: My somewhat limited experience leads me to believe that about 10% lie in the headline/age section of their online personals ad and then disarmingly admit it up front in the longer description.

In that case what they're trying to do is escape the tyranny of computerized age-sorting. If they come across as gregarious and straightforward in the rest of the profile, it may mitigate the lie (for some people).

The other 90% are just sleazy.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:00 PM
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Loads of people do say I look ten years younger that I am, but I really can't see how I'd get from there to claiming that's the age I was. That's bizarre.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:02 PM
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I guess 268 sort of makes sense, I guess. But that's a bit different than propagating the lie through until meeting the person. And then giving your license. Wow.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:03 PM
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People lie about their age because they suspect automatic rejection above some cutoff point. Questionnaires are designed for quick screening, and for many age is a big automatic non (along with shortness, heavy drinking, poverty, and toothlessness).

I'm a non-smoker, though, laydeez.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:04 PM
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232: Okay, good point.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:04 PM
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266: And I hate it when someone assumes I want to lie about my age. "So it's another 29th birthday for you!" or some nonsense.

269: It's true! At our meetup, M/tch & I didn't recognize him. When he approached us, we were expecting him to ask us to buy him some booze.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:05 PM
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People lie about their age because they loathe themselves. Or they loathe people their own age.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:06 PM
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273: Starting to go grey is helping with this.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:08 PM
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I am sure I've cited this here before, but the funniest ad I ever saw was the one that said, in deadly earnest: "I'm 24, but could definitely pass for 23 or even 22."

I was in stitches. It still cracks me up, although I don't know why I should find it *that* funny.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:09 PM
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You nearly got a spit-take on that one, Witt.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:12 PM
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So now lying to get laid is out?!?! You all really are minions of the Almighty Emerson.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:12 PM
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I don't lie about my age, but under certain circumstances I would ("certain circumstances" = if there was something to gain, and if I had a reasonable chance of getting away with it). People make mostly negative assumptions about old people. This is true both in the job market and the dating market.

In China I wasn't old, but I noticed that people there seemed to like and admire old people. A stereotype, but a true one, and one Chinese hold about themselves -- to the extent that I would bet that a Chinese who doesn't admire old people will keep his mouth shut unless he's trying to be shocking.

My parents noticed in Mexico that people tended to be very nice and deferential to old people (including old Mexican people).

The US is not like that. Really, no one should be puzzled about people lying about their age.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:13 PM
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I especially hate lies about indisputable facts. How old. How tall. Educational degrees. On the Achille Lauro, the terrorists checked people's passports, presumably to see who were Americans. Some friends played the WWUD game, and I said I wouldn't lie about my citizenship. That probably wouldn't happen as I do have a decent Canadian accent.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:17 PM
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After a certain point lying about height is more self-defeating than lying about age, but I always add a couple inches (5'6"-->5'8").


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:20 PM
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I lie about gender.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:24 PM
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280: I though the point isn't that people lie (they do) or that they lie to get laid (duh). The point was making transparent lies in a context where you are going to be found out, and that finding out is going to undermine your professed goal in the lies.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:24 PM
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I am just tickled at the ridiculousness of lying about your age and then handing someone your driver's license.

one of my high school best friends had parents who, on their second or third date, had this situation arise. Except the dad had lied not about his age, but about his NAME. When confronted, he said he just liked the made-up one (Sebastian) better than his real (biblical, boring) one.

They got married and lived happily ever after though. And about 50% of people (including the mom) still call him Sebastian.

Moral: sometimes weirdo dates work out well for everyone.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:24 PM
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Anyone would in your situation, SCMT.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:24 PM
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and that finding out is going to undermine your professed goal in the lies.

Depends how much she drinks. Which reminds me: are there any personals code words for "alcoholic"?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:28 PM
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284: That's the plot of "The Vital Importance of Being Ernest", one of the characters of which is, and fact, "little Cecily". And which features cucumber sandwiches, just as Alameida does.

There are no coincidences.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:29 PM
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Alcoholism is #2 among "the usual nons", after drugs. Marijuana doesn't alwasy count as a drug.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:32 PM
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287: you seem to be displaying signs of triviality


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:33 PM
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284: That's a great story. I think (I don't trust my memory) that I know a couple of guys who aren't sure whether they've been told their wives real ages. If it's the two I'm thinking of, both appear to have good marriages. (If there is a discrepancy between age and reported age, it's at most three years in each case.)

(Looking at that, I think I may have killed w-lfs-n, even as he's on hiatus.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:34 PM
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the ridiculousness of lying about your age and then handing someone your driver's license

This happened to me! I was just a kid though. And I thought the guy I was dating was the same age as me. He told me that the drivers' license was a fake ID so he could get into bars. I was, like, what kind of bar requires that you be 35 years old? I believed him, though, because I was a really, really dumb kid.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:35 PM
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My two cents, for whatever they're worth:

1) Good communication about relationship status is really, really, really the most important thing in avoiding dating pain. It should be taught to teenagers along with algebra. But it's harder than algebra. It's HARD to communicate, for many of the reasons expressed above. In dating utopia we would all be emotionally aware and able have a friendly, gracious, face-to-face conversations explaining briefly but kindly that we just don't feel that we can continue the relationship. But most people aren't, and will never be, like this, especially when they're in the middle of conflicting/painful emotions about a relationship. That still doesn't make it OK to freeze somebody out and not giving them the courtesy of an I'm-breaking-up-with-you call.

2) LB's post seemed to me to be getting at something different. That is, the problem she I identified went at something other than the need for good communication. As I understand it, her fear at college was that if her friends or acquaintances slept with her, they would either (a) want to be in a serious relationship with her or (b) start ignoring her and drop her completely as an acquaintance.

I think that understanding was probably incorrect. But there's no disputing that sleeping with someone DOES change the dynamic, often considerably. In reality, I know that I've lost friendships when I slept with the friend, not because we immediately started ignoring each other, but because busting through that sexual tension altered something in the bond that was creating the friendship. Maybe that's avoidable in some cases, but sex really does make it likely that you'll either be in a more ongoing relationship or have some awkward times around each other. So I don't think it's irrational -- or even particularly gender-specific -- to fear that sleeping with your friends will cause them to either want to marry you or avoid you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:37 PM
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Everyone in that play is maximally trivial, little Cecily. Wilde was an Olympic-Nobel level trivialist, possibly the greatest of all time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:43 PM
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I've always been totally turned off when I show up for a blind date and the guy has lied about anything. Once, I nearly left after shaking his hand, not because he was hideous, but because it was clear that he'd lied about everything. His picture was incredibly flattering, he was easily ten years older than he claimed, he was two or three inches shorter than he said, and I think it even turned out that he didn't have the job he claimed to have. What that says to me is that he's wildly insecure about his looks and career, but is vain enough to think he can charm a lady in person.

I always did the opposite when personals dating. I put up a mildly unattractive picture of myself, and generally made myself sound a lot less cool. Then when I show up looking better than he expected and being much more charming and likable than expected, I get laid. Worked every time!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:44 PM
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AWB, with similar singles ads women get more than an order of magnitude more responses than guys do. The incentives are different.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:47 PM
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he was two or three inches shorter than he said,

Yeah, this one too. My only remotely similar experience was a date with a girl who had asked me how tall I was. I guess she couldn't handle the idea of dating someone shorter than she --- but it turned out we were the same height exactly.

Anyway, when we met, she accused me of lying about it! She kept at it in a sort of amused-but-serious way, until I had a friend of hers measure us back to back. She was pretty sheepish when her friend said yeah, you're the same height.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:48 PM
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Or to make Emerson's point in a slightly different way: Then when I show up looking better than he expected and being much more charming and likable than expected, I get laid wouldn't surprise me as a description, either. Not the same for guys, generally.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:51 PM
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I think I am a little in love with soup.

This makes me ridiculously jealous!!! I want to be loved and I want soup all for myself!!!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:51 PM
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295: Yes, but the game is usually that a woman's profile is written to attract the right kind of man. Men are usually not trying to attract responses, IME. They are trying to say just enough in their profile so that when they respond to a woman's profile, she writes him back. At least, I never received a single response from anyone I wrote to, though I got plenty of nice (and less nice) responses to my profile.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:52 PM
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297: Ugh. So not true. I get rejected a lot, and was rejected plenty in person when I put up a cute picture and profile.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:53 PM
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My no-relationship no-job policy makes honesty easy, of course. I don't even need to wear my lying false teeth.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:54 PM
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BR and I missed the entire personals/speed dating/match.com life. Sometimes we feel left out.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:56 PM
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299: You know, I totally didn't understand that when I tried that, so I had a backwards experience. I just put a thing up and mostly ignored it for 3 weeks (for reasons of being crazy busy). So when I finally got back to it there were a few `hellos' almost all of whom I dated. Taking with a couple women about that later, they were absolutely astonished at the ratio. I thought it was just like that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:56 PM
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I want soup all for myself!!!

Hey, no fair. You have to share.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:57 PM
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300: Gay, but not ready to acknowledge it, I feel sure.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 4:58 PM
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Confession: For most of my life, I have been deceiving myself about my hight. I am exactly 6 feet tall. The last visit to the doctor confirmed it. In my 20s I would say I was 6'1", 6'2" in my doc martens. After a while, that just became "I'm six foot two." I'm not. I'm six feet tall.

Anyone can deceive themselves about their hight. It is a very natural thing to do.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:00 PM
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I guess 306 makes sense. It's not like it's something you check much.

Then again, you're probably just shrinking, helpy-chalk.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:01 PM
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306: Maybe it was a "6'5" tall, 6'9" with the Afro" situation. Did you have big hair?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:03 PM
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302: Me too, except for the feeling left out part.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:03 PM
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Certainly Mrs. Helpy-Chalk has a lot of thinking to do about the person she unwisely married. Fortunately Rob is a wealthy professional and can afford generous alimony and child-support.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:04 PM
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Fortunately Rob is a wealthy professional and can afford generous alimony and child-support. wedge shoes


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:05 PM
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Along AWB's lines, I prefer to get the bad stuff out in the open early on.

I essentially say "You really dont want to date me for long. I can be entertaining for a little while, but you are best of moving on soon." Then, I list the bad stuff to get it out of the way.

Full disclosure is important.

I'm still waiting for BR to dump me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:05 PM
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Magpie:

Doesnt speed dating interest you? It seems like fun.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:06 PM
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Never too late, will


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:07 PM
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My hair doesn't get big. I've got very northern European, lies flat hair. I also refuse to believe I have shrunk between the ages of 21 and 40. That's too cruel.

In any case, sometime in my mid 20s, I totally started including the heels of my combat boots in my hight without telling people.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:07 PM
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314:

For you and me?
Me and witt?
me and Kraab?
Speed dating?
Br to dump me?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:08 PM
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will: life's full of wonder, innit?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:08 PM
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I have shrunk between the ages of 21 and 40

Of course not, don't be silly.

More like between the ages of 33 and 40.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:09 PM
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Height related: I've formulated a hypothesis based on random personal impressions.

My students at SLU were not just well scrubbed and healthy looking. They were tall. I routinely saw women who could look me in the eye and men who towered over me. This was especially noticeable with the women, who were almost all in Kraab/McMegan territory. Now that I am at Last Chance Community College, people seem to be regular height.

Conclusion: the height/wealth correlation is still present, and quite strong in females.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:12 PM
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In any case, sometime in my mid 20s, I totally started including the heels of my combat boots in my hight without telling people.

This is called your "NBA height."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:16 PM
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Doesnt speed dating interest you? It seems like fun.

You mean take all of the aspects of dating that are awkward and superficial and intensify it for one evening? *shudder*

crazyblinddate.com, mayyyybe (though it's probably at least as fun goading my single friends into trying it than doing it myself). But speed dating is introvert hell.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:20 PM
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292: I don't think that the sleeping-with-someone-always-changes-the-dynamic is necessarily universal. I have friends who became lovers who are/were still friends in the same way they were before the event. It may have been because my post-college social group tended to be fairly casual about sex [and fairly in-group - what do you expect with a bunch of geeks who realise, oh joy, that there are two sexes and both of them want to get laid?]. But I don't remember all this angst.

In college #1, I was too young [15] and naive to even think about dating, so I have no frame of reference. In college #2, the campus was small enough that news of rude break-ups would have travelled through the dating-sphere so quickly that people were forced to be somewhat polite, if only to avoid shunning.

I've been the breaker-upper in three long-term relationships. Husband #1, I think, was relieved, his mother liked me, and that hadn't been his intent in marrying a shicksa; husband #2 and I had just grown apart and split amicably; TheBadBoyfriend had a screaming fit, because I dared to dump him. [TBB went around telling people that I was a) a lesbian who exploited him or b) part of a sex cult and and that I flew around the country every weekend having sex with hundreds of men. In his version, he threw me out.] I tried to be polite in all three situations, but there's no pleasing some folk.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:29 PM
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Nobody's too young, Dom!


Posted by: Clare Quilty | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:34 PM
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It should be taught to teenagers along with algebra.

Amen.

I don't deceive myself about my height, but I am annoyed that I was penalized by the DMV for being honest. My driver's license says 5'7" because I said I was 5'7-3/4". Who knew they were going to round down?! So now I say "I'm about 5'8"." Except if I'm having a date with someone I've never met, and then I say "I REALLY AM 5'8" so they can preemptively make excuses if they want.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:36 PM
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306:People do get shorter with age,you know.

319:Eloi & morlocks. And yes, the eloi were beautiful & gentle & genuinely kind, even to strangers. The morlocks were ugly and brutish and cruel even to each other. But good with tools.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:37 PM
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Except Witt seems 6'2" bc of the shoes she always wears.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:38 PM
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Addendum to 324: Although I'm always a little wistful when they mention that astronauts get "taller" in space because the lack of gravity lets your spine stretch out a little.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:39 PM
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5' 8" is freakishly tall for a lady anyway.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:39 PM
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Thank God I'm not a lady.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:40 PM
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exactly. Witt is a Lay-dee!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:44 PM
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322 -- Really? Didn't change the dynamic at all? I'm impressed/surprised because I've had weird times with the sexfriendlationship every time.

The usual pattern: (a) friendship, plus unacknowledged sexual tension; (b) sex; (c) a bizarre comfort/awkwardness hybrid, combining the feeling of being in on a "secret" together with the fear of knowing just a little bit too much about the other person; (d) uncertainty about the direction of the friendlationship, leading to a slow but certain decrease in time together; (e) friendship dies or goes into a very deep freeze as soon as someone finds the "serious" relationship.

Not saying that this is inevitable, but it fits w/my observations of others and boy does it feel like it happened every time for me!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:46 PM
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331: Yeah, sleeping with friends doesn't always change things, and if it does it certainly isn't always negative (even if/when you stop sleeping together). I've had friendships get better through this. Matt's right that sleeping with people before you are friends avoids the potential.

It's sometimes difficult for other people (i.e. new beaus of said friends) but that's a different dynamic. I've been "grandfathered" into a relationship before.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:50 PM
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I've been trying off and on throughout the afternoon to fit what people recount here to my experience, and it doesn't really fit. Perhaps like DominEditrix, I've had a lot of friends turned short-term lovers returned to friends; some of that is a function of having had groups of friends who were always rather incestuous. That's through college and grad school.

I think I've tried to have good radar for men who would be likely to cease all contact when a liaison ends, and with whom that would bother me very much (sometimes I don't care). Maybe I've been lucky, but I've really only begun to encounter the potential freeze-out since my mid-30s, to the extent that I'm more likely now to turn people down if it looks like a friendship loss is in the making.

What sucks is judging that a potential partner is sensitive enough, or communicative enough, to manage the disengagement and maintain the friendship, and being wrong. The pain there is as much to do with having misjudged the other person -- being disappointed in him, being bewildered -- as it is to do with rejection.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:52 PM
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Other than my ex-wife, I've remained friends with all of the women that I have dated. Sex hasnt really impacted any friendships negatively.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:55 PM
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332-334: Wait a minute -- does this mean that it's ME that's the immature jerk? Oh shit.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 5:58 PM
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319: May that be the last time anyone ever puts me in the same 'territory' as McMegan. Empirically, I know it's true, but I don't have to like it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 6:06 PM
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More seriously, to be clear, I think the assumption that sleeping with someone who's a friend means that you immediately start avoiding them and never talk to them again is totally weird and insane and also totally foreign to my actual experience. But I have had the experience of very slowly losing much of what made the friendship work in the first place. That process accelerated quickly when I've gotten into more serious relationships or when the friend has. These days, now that I'm married, I've basically lost touch with my friends who I slept with (no one ever formally "ended" the friendship, but there was a gradual drifting apart). I found that sad, but it also felt inevitable, but maybe some of you libertines have figured out a better way.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 6:08 PM
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331.2: Sure, that's not exactly unheard of, but there are a few other things in play there: the sexual tension is unacknowledged? Er, whenever I've slept with people who were friends first, we talked at some point about the, uh, ideas, we sometimes had, and what we thought it might be.

And most relevant: a freeze-out once one party finds a serious relationship can be just as much a function of the new girlfriend/boyfriend monopolizing time, or requiring, explicitly or not, that your friend not have any close, maybe single and attractive, friends of the opposite sex (adjust for same-sex if appropriate).

That last goes to 337 as well, on preview. It's a sad situation, but some people have those requirements of their partners. Fact of life and all that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 6:18 PM
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338: requiring, explicitly or not, that your friend not have any close, maybe single and attractive, friends of the opposite sex

Red flag number one in a new relationship.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 6:20 PM
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I'm going to endorse 208's "shame" terminology, and say it's the explanation that rings truest to me.

I've felt that shame, and been avoidant because of it, and I think even more that that's why I've been avoided.

I would say I have been more frozen than freezer, but there is an interesting question: why do some of us seem to be treated to this more than others? Are we perceived, correctly or not, to be hard people to level with?

Most data sets, including mine, are probably too small to say for sure whether we experience it more than normal in our cohorts, so the effect may be illusory. But some people probably are treated to this more often, in some objective way.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 6:23 PM
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339:
Red flag #2 in a new relationship: being locked in a soundproofed basement room.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 6:30 PM
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339: Which is the red flag: your partner has attractive friends of the opposite sex, or your partner doesn't want you to have attractive friends of the opposite sex?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 6:32 PM
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325: *Old* people get shorter with age. I'm not old.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 6:34 PM
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Red flag #3: Your partner's favorite song is "The Red Flag", and there's not even a hint of irony.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 6:41 PM
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340.3: I would say I have been more frozen than freezer, but there is an interesting question: why do some of us seem to be treated to this more than others? Are we perceived, correctly or not, to be hard people to level with?

I can only speak for myself: I'm pretty invested in talking, or in honesty. Not to the death by any means, but if I'm truly confused, assuming we have any kind of friendship and I care at all, I'll tell you so, and I'll ask. Some people don't like it.

That's not at all the same as being difficult to level with. The reverse, in fact.

The problem, of course, is that while I need to understand (again, only in some cases, for in some cases it's really fine, really), I'm not stupid, and I suspect that people are afraid they'll have to go to extraordinary lengths to make themselves understood. Perhaps it really is a communication problem on their part.

That said, I haven't experienced the freeze-out thing often. It's like this: there is room in one's life for many kinds of love and regard, and some people don't live that way.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 7:11 PM
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I once had a blind date who lied about her looks, to make herself sound much uglier than she really was. When I still showed up, she was impressed. Unfortunately, she was totally insane, so it didn't work out. It was weird, though, in that I felt good that I passed the little test, but disturbed that I had been tested.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 7:14 PM
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And basically you feel like you've said or implied a promise that you didn't really mean from 208 is exactly right. Thanks, B.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 7:20 PM
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OT: Holy shit.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 7:22 PM
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"There's also, or course, oil at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean," he said. "Now, the irony of that is kind of clear, but the fact that we are opening up the Arctic Ocean does make it more accessible."

I think you should spell out the irony for us, scientist man. I think maybe we need to hear what the irony is.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 7:25 PM
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338: Hmmm. Now it seems that I may have slandered my wife as a jealous hater of my old ex-FWBs. Totally untrue. Usually, I love slandering my wife, but I should make it clear that she herself has no problem with my old friends; if anything, it's the opposite, the old friends who are uncomfortable with the post-marriage situation. (wait, why do I think anyone on the internet cares about my experience with this, again?).

But for discussion purposes, here's my INCREDIBLY CONTROVERSIAL thesis: I think that (often) having sex with a friend will hurt the friendship when a new partner enters on the scene EVEN IF the new partner is totally cool with the idea of the old friendsexlationshipee hanging about. Basically, with friends, there is no really casual sex, only serious sex with people you aren't interested in having a serious relationship with. Isn't there anyone prudish enough to agree with me?

On getting frozen out, it's never happened to me. On the one occasion when I came closest to doing this (repenting after a little bit and making contact), it was totally about shame and cowardice, and the situation where it arose was with someone I didn't want to date but didn't want to appear as a shameful coward to.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 7:25 PM
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There are some positive aspects to the ice melting, he said. Ships could use the Northwest Passage to save time and energy by no longer having to travel through the Panama Canal or around Cape Horn. advertisement

"There's also, or course, oil at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean," he said. "Now, the irony of that is kind of clear, but the fact that we are opening up the Arctic Ocean does make it more accessible."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 7:25 PM
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Isn't there anyone prudish enough to agree with me?

Fighting words.

Nah. There are all kinds of friendships. I've just been talking about two kinds: friends with whom you've been through thick and thin already, seen each other through various relationships already, and you're both in between at the moment. Those friends are like family. Yes, you can wreck it. That stuff is very private between the two of you, but the friendship probably has some staying power.

And the other kind, in which you simply enjoy each other's company, a lot, very much, but without a lot of history. And you sleep together for a bit. And then you would like very much to continue enjoying each other's company.

I suppose both of those can be serious sex. Why is this topic annoying me so much?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 7:42 PM
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That's funny, I went to post the exact same quotes as 349 and 351. We heard about this over dinner (the restaurant has CNN on), and that became the only thing we discussed at dinner.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 7:44 PM
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Basically, with friends, there is no really casual sex, only serious sex with people you aren't interested in having a serious relationship with.

This meshes well with experience for me. It also seems like what ogged (peace be upon him) was getting at when he insisted that sex was not fun.

At the same time, I don't *want* this to be true, even if it will never be true for me. So I hold out hope that somewhere, for someone is having good, non-serious sex with someone they don't want to have a serious relationship with.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 7:44 PM
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Basically, with friends, there is no really casual sex, only serious sex with people you aren't interested in having a serious relationship with.

Yeah, I don't buy this. I mean, I'm sure it's true for some. I've had very non serious sex with good friends though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 7:53 PM
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It also seems like what ogged (peace be upon him) was getting at when he insisted that sex was not fun.

This seems correct. Thanks for expressing it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 7:59 PM
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I've had very non serious sex with good friends though.

Yeah, me too.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:00 PM
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It was pretty goddamn serious to me, apo.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:07 PM
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It required a hospital visit, if I remember the archives correctly.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:10 PM
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so that's another thing ogged was wrong about then.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:11 PM
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serious sex with people you aren't interested in having a serious relationship with.

"Serious" is being used in two different senses here, I believe.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:14 PM
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If apo has sex with people who are just friends he makes sure it's in a Daihatsu.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:15 PM
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354 -- I agree. And it looks like we've found our man in 355. But how does he do it?

Actually, as I get older and crustier, I'm increasingly of the even more extreme view that, for me at least, there isn't and never was anything like really casual sex, even truly anonymous can't-even-remember-your-name bar hookups. Those were casual in the sense that they led nowhere at all in terms of an ongoing relationship with the person, but were still pretty far from having only a casual or insignificant effect on me or being anything like what you'd call just fun. Too bad, because when I was 18 I thought that if I just tried hard enough I really could obtain the life of a 1976 European swinger in one of those "Erotic Adventures of M." movies.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:16 PM
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If apo has sex with people who are just friends he makes sure it's in a Daihatsu.

Well, that tends to help with the not taking it too seriously part, after all.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:18 PM
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You know what really has consequences? Causal sex.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:19 PM
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I am starting to suspect that some kinds of romantic relationships are kind of like peanut allergies. You can give the same peanut-butter sandwich to 1,000 people and most will enjoy it, a few will dislike it, a few will love it, and a handful will find it deadly dangerous.

You could present the same kind of romantic (or at least sexual) relationship to DominEditrix, apo, Robert H, and Ogged, and they would experience it very differently.

(What happens if a commenter violates the analogy ban and Ogged is not here? I ban myself!)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:22 PM
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You could present the same kind of romantic (or at least sexual) relationship to DominEditrix, apo, Robert H, and Ogged, and they would experience it very differently.


Why, Witt, brilliant of you to volunteer to test this emprically. Keep us posted!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:24 PM
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that tends to help with the not taking it too seriously part

Also, the footprints magically appearing on the windshield a couple days later when it fogged up.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:25 PM
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apo [...] and Ogged [...] would experience it very differently

As would the partners, I feel quite certain.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:26 PM
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so that's another thing ogged was wrong about then

I would have to agree with ogged, assuming correct interpretation of his intent, and RH. I don't think I could do casual sex. Not that other people can't, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't find it fun.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:27 PM
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366.2: It would not be the same kind of romantic (or at least sexual) relationship. They are not something handed to you. Not the same peanut butter sandwich.

Analogy failure!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:28 PM
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Tangent: now that Screech and Mini-Me have both had sex tapes, who is the proper person to complete the Law of Threes with such things? Discuss.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:30 PM
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Keep us posted!

But I hate peanut butter.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:30 PM
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But I hate peanut butter.

I'm Nutella, baby.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:32 PM
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Relationships are kind of like peanut allergies.

I feel that you are trying to trivialize my point. But yes, they seem pleasant and fairly innocuous, but they can kill you just like that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:33 PM
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Ooooooohhhh, Nutella. All bets are off.

Per 372, Wikipedia informs us:

[The actor who plays Mini-Me] has sued TMZ, Blatt, and Blatt's company for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement.

It's a sad day when the reaction to your sex tape going public is to sue for copyright infringement.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:36 PM
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372: Ralphie May.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:36 PM
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372: Carrot Top, obvs.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:41 PM
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Well, I'm new here, but I'll see your Daihatsu and raise you one incredibly uncomfortable and chafing sand-filled sleeping bag set up in some dude's dirt yard. You can bet I took that one seriously. Especially weeks later when I had the world's most painful set of sex-caused rashes not caused by an STD -- OR WERE THEY?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:41 PM
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379: groupie sex doesn't count.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:43 PM
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Well, since there is comity in the thread, looks like I am going to have to talk about why "shame" is actually a socialized form of kindness.

What does it mean to be embarrassed to be caught wearing stripes and polka-dots in public? It means you care what other people think and feel, that you respect and revere social norms and prevailing fashions. Kinship, kindness.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:47 PM
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I thing the term `casual sex' is probably playing too many roles here too.

There is a lot of difference between (esp. drunkenly) hooking up with someone you don't know and will never see again, on the one hand, and having fun sex with a friend whose happiness you are invested in, but neither of you are looking for your relationship to change.

And sex is fun, dammit.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:50 PM
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If you're doing it right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:52 PM
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I don't know about "revere," bob. Embarrassment means you acknowledge the norms at hand, and perhaps have internalized them. Respect as a form of kindness -- but really the reverse, kindness as a form of respect.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:57 PM
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Next, Apo's book:

How To Do It Right: No More Peanut-Butter-Allergy Sex.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:58 PM
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There is a lot of difference between (esp. drunkenly) hooking up with someone you don't know and will never see again, on the one hand, and having fun sex with a friend whose happiness you are invested in, but neither of you are looking for your relationship to change.

I am pretty sure neither of these would be fun for me.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:58 PM
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It just means noticing that people are giving you the wrong kind of attention, and not liking that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 8:59 PM
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383 to 380.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:00 PM
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377, 378: Not bad. I was thinking Bruce Vilanch, maybe.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:00 PM
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Or Grandpa Munster, but he's dead.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:01 PM
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382 is of course right.

And Ogged just defines "fun" in an unusual way.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:02 PM
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I don't know how I ended up googling this in attempting to respond to 389, but here we are.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:02 PM
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I am pretty sure neither of these would be fun for me.

Fair enough, but that doesn't make them the same thing.

I'm not claiming anyone should or shouldn't sleep with any of their friends as friends. Depends on the person, depends on the friend, depends on well, loads of things.

And I'm certainly not claiming that it couldn't be a problem in the wrong situation.

But there is no inherent problem, and in some situations it can be good, I think.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:03 PM
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OK, since I've been pushing on this topic incoherently:

1) Sex is fun. It really, really is. Even with me, sometimes. Except when you're locked in soundproof basements. It can be fun w/out regard to consequences, even if there are also consequences in addition to the fun.

2) There is a big difference between having sex with a good friend who you're invested in and a drunken hook up with a stranger. In my own experience, sex with friends has been a very significant, altering event in the friendship, which has led to awkwardness and, eventually and slowly over time, to a burning out of the friendship as the wife/husband/partner/very serious boyfriend comes onto the scene. I can certainly believe that there are sometimes, maybe lots of times, when sex doesn't kill or even very much hurt the friendship, particularly as, as Parsimon suggests, you've got a really deep, family-like friendship that has been around for a long time and seen a lot. But I'd take a pretty strong view that, at least usually, having sex with a friend is a big deal for the friendship, and that it's at least reasonable to anticipate some weirdness in the future if you sleep with a friend. That's got to be pretty uncontroversial, right?

3) Different topic: Sex with a drunken stranger can be fun. Take it from me -- I've been drunk and a stranger. But when I look back on those times now, I don't think that I'd use "casual" to describe them, which I think of as referring to something like having a nice meal and then moving on. The more I reflect on those incidents, the more emotionally important they seem, even though there's no real reason why they should have been a big deal, and even though they were pretty fun. Maybe that's my own weirdness, but I find myself increasingly impatient with the notion that even one night stand sex is really something to be taken lightly, as opposed to something that's really, really a big deal. And that seems more true to me now than it did 15 years ago. But maybe everyone else thought so all along?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:11 PM
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Topical.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:13 PM
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Aw sex with friends can be fun enough. You just have to make a joke out of it later, and also have a circle of friends where everybody has sex with everybody. Easy!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:15 PM
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and also have a circle of friends where everybody has sex with everybody.

The attitudes of your social group(s) make a huge difference here, as with most things.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:26 PM
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Robert Halford, some of this may have to do with age. It's possible that the more sexual experience you've had over time, the more seriously you take it, as you see friends and relationships come and go.

And of course, some of it is sheer personality, or personal orientation. Some find themselves bonding more seriously through intimate relations than others.

Yeah, I've been pushing incoherently at this as well. I'm not sure why. I'm reduced to platitudes as a result, so as not to offend anybody.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:33 PM
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Fair enough, but that doesn't make them the same thing

They are not the same thing, but I would find them not fun for the same reason. I don't think I would find sex outside of some kind of longer term romantic relationship fun. Obviously this is a personal thing so other people could feel very differently and find only one or neither of those types of relationships problematic.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:44 PM
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396-- ok, it's not that I don't believe you, but really is this that common or easy? Everybody sleeps w/everyone else and nobody gets hurt feelings or intense orpairs off into single pairs and its all one big happy sexy friend family? Sounds like I need to go back in time and get a new youth. I still think that sex ratcheting up the weirdness and complications in a friendship has got to be the more common scenario.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:46 PM
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396-- ok, it's not that I don't believe you, but really is this that common or easy? Everybody sleeps w/everyone else and nobody gets hurt feelings or intense orpairs off into single pairs and its all one big happy sexy friend family? Sounds like I need to go back in time and get a new youth. I still think that sex ratcheting up the weirdness and complications in a friendship has got to be the more common scenario.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:47 PM
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We're going to end this thread by agreeing that everyone's different, and nobody's wrong, aren't we? Well fuck that. CJB? Wrong. Soup biscuit? Wrong. Robert Halford? Wrong. Parsimon? Wrong. Me? it's hard for me to say what's right, when all I want to do is wrong.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:50 PM
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Walt's wrong.
Comity!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:52 PM
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NOOOOOOOOO!!!!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:54 PM
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Parsimon -- yes, that's really insightful, especially the point about age. Having seen a bunch of relationships come and go has, oddly, made each one seem to matter more. Cool.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 9:56 PM
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rob halford/parsimon, I can see that except again, my experience is somewhat opposite. Not entirely, but somewhat.

I'm mindful about sex and who I have sex with or don't (in a way that would have been alien to teenage soup b.) , but also went through a period when I was younger where I blew it all out of proportion and that made my relationships with people worse.

And the more sexual experience I have, the more I've realized there are an astonishing number of variations possible, and it's not something you can force, and none of them are `the right way'. Actually that holds in general for intimacy, I think.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:02 PM
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406-- yes, that's all really true, and sex is the zone where universal certainties go to die. But we're getting pushed to fight. So I'm going to say that there's only one right way to have sex, that just happens to be the way that's shaped by my political and religious views and life experience, and that everyone who disagrees with me is doing it wrong and should be loudly shamed. Oh, and it's all the feminists' fault.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:17 PM
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406-- yes, that's all really true, and sex is the zone where universal certainties go to die. But we're getting pushed to fight. So I'm going to say that there's only one right way to have sex, that just happens to be the way that's shaped by my political and religious views and life experience, and that everyone who disagrees with me is doing it wrong and should be loudly shamed. Oh, and it's all the feminists' fault.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:18 PM
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406-- yes, that's all really true, and sex is the zone where universal certainties go to die. But we're getting pushed to fight. So I'm going to say that there's only one right way to have sex, that just happens to be the way that's shaped by my political and religious views and life experience, and that everyone who disagrees with me is doing it wrong and should be loudly shamed. Oh, and it's all the feminists' fault.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 10:18 PM
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250: Basically, with friends, there is no really casual sex, only serious sex with people you aren't interested in having a serious relationship with. Isn't there anyone prudish enough to agree with me?

Not I. There's a difference between "not interested in having a serious relationship" and having a serious friend relationship, but not a romantic relationship. But then, like Parsimon, I had an incestuous social group, most of whom knew who was boinking whom. [Someone even made a chart at one point, tho' it was not entirely correct.]

I'd also have to disagree with Parsimon's age-theory, at least in relation to myself ['It's possible that the more sexual experience you've had over time, the more seriously you take it, as you see friends and relationships come and go.']. I think one gets a better understanding of what makes a romantic relationship work over time, but I'm not at all convinced that I take sex "more seriously" now than I did in my youth. Hell, I probably take friendship more seriously now, as lovers and friends have started dying off in depressing numbers.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:39 PM
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slowly losing much of what made the friendship work in the first place... better way

No better way here, several friendships burned. Self-respect and shame are complicated. There's no answer to discontent. I'm still in collegetown, looking forward to leaving now.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:48 PM
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411 was me. I'd propose furtive/incestuous as social group extremes, having tried both.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:50 PM
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Hell, I probably take friendship more seriously now

I take friendship so seriously now that I wouldn't dream of messing it up for a night or two of sex. In the long run, really good friendship is much harder to come by than good sex.

Well, OK, I might *dream* of it. But just a little, and not very seriously.

I'm still very pro-sex, but sex with no possibility of leading to a lasting romantic relationship is a lot less interesting than it used to be.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-27-08 11:54 PM
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413: This is what I don't get, I guess: The if-we-have-sex-it-will-fuck-up-the-friendship being the norm, rather than the exception. Maybe we have different kinds of friendships; I know my friends well enough to know with whom it would be a good idea to have sex and with whom it would not.

To be honest, this is no longer an issue, as the Biophysicist & I are monogamous, but my previous marriage was not. My ex, poor baby, is not allowed to fraternise with Ye Olde Group, as his current wife does not want him to have friendships with any woman he's ever slept with. The Biophysicist is far more laid back.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 12:20 AM
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I didn't mean there aren't friendships where you can have sex and know all will carry on well. Just that in those cases where there's risk, I'm not tempted even if I think the sex will be good.

I do think my circles are not as free and easy as yours though.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 12:35 AM
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No way am I reading the whole thread, but I'll echo (as I'm sure many have done) 2: whatever social circle LB was moving in was completely fucked. Ridiculous.

So I hold out hope that somewhere, for someone is having good, non-serious sex with someone they don't want to have a serious relationship with.

Yes, but the serious, deeply conflicted sex is better.

I haven't, as a rule, been the one to drop a relationship unexpectedly, but I did once and the reasons were the sort of thing that's not very exotic or gender-specific but can very easily fly under one person's radar: we had nothing (non-physical) in common, I was increasingly bored in her company and one night I came within an ace of cheating on her, so decided to break up with her instead.

Of course this has nothing to do with the dynamic AWB describes, which seems to be something more along the lines of really intense initiations and pursuits who are so wrapped up in that initial intensity that they stall on moving beyond it. The sorts of people who are more interested in laying siege than living in the castle, if you'll forgive the crappy sexist military metaphor.

No doubt this has all been said already in some way or other.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 1:43 AM
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Huh. This putting up personal posts and not being around to participate in the thread is weird.

First, the post was about my perceptions. They were based on reality to some extent, but also filtered through my own neuroses, which are powerful and complex (and were more so at the relevant time). So, it's probably not fair to my social circle to call it globally fucked up based on the fact that I found it difficult to figure out or navigate the rules.

But 24 sounds familar:

I often decided that in those cases I had done something wrong by having sex with girl friends with whom I had no interest in pursuing a committed relationship and neglected them out of guilt.

What I found so unpleasant about these situtations was being defined into the position of an injured party, as if continued social contact on my part were an attempt to obtain redress or chastise the guy involved for having done me wrong. Getting shunned out of guilt for something that you didn't perceive as an injury is maddening and insulting, and I ended up avoiding any possibly ambiguous relationship situation for years because of it.

33 confirms that I continue to be disturbingly similar to Frowner in all respects.

42 cracked me up: I didn't really comprehend that there too were women who just wanted to get some until I started reading LB's posting here,
It's a complex blog persona I've crafted here, but it's good to know that poster-girl for the proposition that everyone wants to get laid is part of it.

186 was interesting:I've been telling my female friends for years that a rule about (younger) male behavior is: the guy generally decides whether he wants a relationship (of any kind) after he sleeps with you, the woman decides before she sleeps with you. This leads to much confusion between the sexes.

I don't know if the rule works (well, I know it doesn't, or if it does I'm a man) but it seems to touch on stuff I ran into trouble with. A lot of the discussion in the later part of the thread seems to assume that people generally have clear categories any sexual encounter gets placed into beforehand, and communication problems arise because the parties have categorized the encounter differently and have not communicated it to each other: e.g. one person is thinking this is the opening of a romantic relationship, and the other is thinking this is a one-time encounter between friendly people with no emotional interest in each other. The playing-it-by-ear option seems not to be on the table, which is mostly where, in the events that gave rise to this post, I would have liked to have been.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 11:27 AM
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I'm a man

And a 47 year old balding one at that, for all we know. Are things comfortable there in your mother's basement?


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 12:26 PM
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42 cracked me up: ... it's good to know that poster-girl for the proposition that everyone wants to get laid is part of it.

You've taken that position on a couple of occasions, but I suspect that the comment that lead to this mis-attribution probably stuck in a lot of people's minds.

I had forgotten that comment was in the "Innocence" thread.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 2:18 PM
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The comment that led.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 3:24 PM
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Looking over my dread wedding guest list, I find invited only one other person I slept with besides the bride, and only two other people I made out with at all, one of whom will fall off the list.

(I think the bride has no invited exes but lots of invited kissed.)

This seems prudish, but I think having been married for all of my twenties provides some cover.

But there are a lot of people I've seen naked.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 3:28 PM
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The thread that taught us that LB is a dirty slut also featured the greatest argument of all time (not by LB). Loosely paraphrased:

Let us stipulate for the sake of argument that I am right on everything. Then doesn't the fact that you keep disagreeing with me make you a bit of a douche? Why yes. Yes it does.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 4:23 PM
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Blog thread argument is non-Euclidean, non-binary, and fractal, and second-millenium traditionalists have trouble understanding it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 4:27 PM
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I piss on your law of the excluded middle! Any proposition is true, false, both, or neither, as needed. Petty factual arguments can always be overridden by higher truths.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 4:29 PM
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422: Aw, if I'm tracking your reference right, that's not quite fair -- I'd say the commenter in question was actually not expecting that the facts he was trying to get everyone to stipulate to were genuinely controversial, and was simply pointing them out as common shared assumptions. Realizing they weren't was surprising for him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 4:37 PM
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421: But there are a lot of people I've seen naked.

That's what working on the set of a Vivid movie does for you...


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 4:38 PM
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today's Modern Love column is eerily relevant to this thread.


Posted by: mmf! | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 4:39 PM
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To add on to LB's comment re: the guy generally decides whether he wants a relationship (of any kind) after he sleeps with you, the woman decides before she sleeps with you. This leads to much confusion between the sexes. LB and I must both be men, then, and several of my male friends must be women.

Or, to quote my old friend Maggie, from back in the early 70s: 'What is wrong with men these days? Just because you sleep with them once doesn't mean you want a freaking relationship!'

I think that the conventional wisdom has so long been that women are looking for relationships and men are looking to get laid - hell, the slut/stud dichotomy reinforces that regularly - that this a major factor in the post-one-night-stand shunning that goes on. If the guy is convinced that the woman is expecting something "more" and is afraid that he will be harped & carped at for not coming up to snuff - Hell hath no fury, etc. - he may well run because he doesn't have the slightest idea that a post-coital post-card would probably suffice.

[FYI, women are raised to be polite, or there wouldn't be all of that faking orgasm stuff. Glenn Close does not represent the norm.] And, of course, women are raised to be the gatekeepers of purity, the defenders of decency, valiant warriors against the testosterone crazed, because all the laydeez want is a nice wedding and a horde of rug rats. So the idea that a casual bit of shagging within a friendship or, OMG!! a one-off is just fine is alien to the minds of many males.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 5:41 PM
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To both agree and disagree with 428, I really -- really! -- don't think that this particular set of sex/relationship problems is particularly gendered. I think whether the relationship is decided upon/hoped for before or after sex has way, way more to do with the circumstances than the genders of the parties. And plenty of women don't make up their minds until after the sex when the guys are hoping that one night of passion will seal the deal forever.

As for one night stands, lets not forget about the women who just want to get the hell away and forget that the whole thing ever happened. That's particularly common in my case.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 6:03 PM
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It's not clear to me where this thread has gone at this point, but to 410.last:

I'm not at all convinced that I take sex "more seriously" now than I did in my youth. Hell, I probably take friendship more seriously now, as lovers and friends have started dying off in depressing numbers.

Yes, that's what I meant. My friends aren't dying off yet, but are fading away as we move on. Friendship is most serious, and I just meant that risking a loss of friendship (when that seems conceivable) for sex is something that gives me more pause than it once did.

LB's 419: The playing-it-by-ear option seems not to be on the table [in the way the thread panned out]

Right. I don't quite know what to say about this, since it's to be describing young(er) people. I wanted to say earlier in this thread that the playing-it-by-ear thing is problematic at various stages of life, particularly when people are feeling the clock ticking with respect to children.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-28-08 6:28 PM
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