Re: Navigation

1

Girls are easy because you don't have to worry about mixed messages

"Nice boots."


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:19 PM
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You might start by not repeating yourself.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:23 PM
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But I know what you mean. I think rather than trying to fix you (or me), we should launch a campaign to make "You are an interesting person and I would like to converse with you again socially on a not-too-frequent, yet enjoyable, basis. I hope we can spend some non-awkward time together that is not misinterpreted," the new "It was nice to meet you."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:26 PM
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You are an interesting person and I would like to converse with you again socially on a not-too-frequent, yet enjoyable, basis. I hope we can spend some non-awkward time together that is not misinterpreted.

I would feel mad warmth for anyone who had this on a calling card and handed it to me. Seriously.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:28 PM
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Speaking as a guy, the messages I receive are precisely the ones I wish to. So I don't see much hope here. Maybe you could wear a burqa. (Though the GIS for that word doesn't seem too helpful.)


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:28 PM
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I do this quite often, with varying success. It turns out dudes are difficult to befriend because they're convinced you want their cocks, no matter what you say. Alas, the best one can do, I think, is to send an email or something that says something specific as a continuation of your conversation, like, "I was thinking more about what you said about X and it made me consider this other problem" or whatever. That is, don't move right into the "LET'S TOTALLY HANG OUT SOON!" stuff.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:30 PM
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I recommend becoming extremely ugly so that men aren't attracted to you.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:33 PM
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Let's not get too overfocused on the second sentence and the guy/girl stuff. Just the first sentence is hard enough to work out.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:36 PM
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"I'm not that into you. Wanna hang out?"


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:36 PM
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5: Geographic Information Systems?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:37 PM
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Step back for a moment. What do you want or expect to do with these friends? Parties are already covered. I expect "Invite them to do those things, and deal with correcting any hints of romance", possibly by making them not one-on-one.

(Though I find "Invite them to do things" to be challenging enough with my existing friends that perhaps I shouldn't suggest it so blithely.)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:40 PM
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I miss you too, Becks.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:40 PM
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Well... provided that you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, it's easy enough to mention at some point. That should be enough to dissuade people from misinterpreting invitations to coffee or just generally out for friend-like activities.* In the absence of that, or some lying, I guess the best thing to do for people where you'd have to put in some effort to see them again is just suck it up and accept that some awkward exchange may come in the future. So long as you've just had coffee, chatted, and generally stayed away from obvious flirtation, it should hardly cause cognitive dissonance when you explain "well, no, I'd rather not go back to your place. I'm not really looking to get involved with anyone nowadays, though I love our talks and want us to stay friends." You'll always lose some (even a lot) of people that way, but that's because a lot of people are just looking for sex and feel they have enough friends to juggle. Those people are kinda dicks, and are probably best left alone.

* Note (apropos of nothing in this thread, just sorta venting): non-obviously-friend-like activities such as sleeping over at a guy's place, changing into his pyjamas, getting into his rather large bed, and then still lying directly against him may still be misinterpreted even if you have previously mentioned a boyfriend. That shit's just straight-up confusing.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:41 PM
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7: Doesn't help. If you're attractive to them, they are annoyingly triumphant about how bad you want them when you said "Hey, nice to meet you." If you're unattractive to them, they are annoyingly triumphant in their refusals to date you when you said "Hey, nice to meet you." IME, they are flattered just enough to start flirting really hard, indefinitely, until I'm finally all "OK, let's date then," at which point they get to triumph over me by refusing me pointedly or suddenly telling me they already have a girlfriend. Dudes are really complex, man.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:41 PM
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If you're unattractive to them, they are annoyingly triumphant in their refusals to date you when you said "Hey, nice to meet you." IME, they are flattered just enough to start flirting really hard, indefinitely, until I'm finally all "OK, let's date then," at which point they get to triumph over me by refusing me pointedly or suddenly telling me they already have a girlfriend.

Have you ever met anyone who enjoys being with you, or only these people whose only joy is from manipulating others?


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:43 PM
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||

Good way to kill an hour: trying to set up a system to record Skype calls on a Mac g4 using a Digi 001, Line Out, Soundflower, Garageband, and Jack.

This could all go away with the purchase of a $25 headset and a $15 program, but I'm trying to do it with the hardware and freeware available.

Any ideas? email me...

|>


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:43 PM
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Sorry, Becks. You didn't want a gender-war thread. I should also admit that I am even worse at making girlfriends because, like my caricature of dudes, I tend to assume any girl who's way into hanging out with me must want to do me pretty bad.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:43 PM
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Just the first sentence is hard enough to work out.

True. Ideally, you've discussed some mutual interest, such that you can say, "Let me send me send you that article I mentioned about [mutual interest]" or "Some friends and I are planning to see that new documentary about [mutual interest]. Maybe you'd like to join us." (If you're worried about sending the wrong signal, change it to "my mom and I.")


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:45 PM
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I've never been the big group type, which is apparently the easier way to go about making friends with low levels of commitment and awkwardness. I also tend to be nakedly sincere. Thus, me saying "we should hang out again" means, in my mind, "how about next Friday, for coffee." However, occasionally I gravitate towards the likewise sincere, and they actually take me up on my offer to have a friend date! But my best friends were made through that "I really like you and want to be your friend" tactic.

Now that I have a critical mass of close friends, I find it harder to make new friends who are just this side of friendly and yet not too high maintenance. I have my close friends, mostly dispersed across the nation, that I talk to weekly or bi-weekly. But in my local area, I am having a hard time just finding casual friends to hang out with. So I have resorted to big group tactics like dinner parties and movie nights, even though that's not my thing, and eventually breaking off the few I can really hang with into more individualized friendships, which is my preference.

Though, I don't hang out with as many people as I should, because I am a toolish homebody whose circle of friends contracted after getting a boyfriend, which I have come to regret.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:46 PM
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Wait—does this mean, AWB, that you actually don't want me bad?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:47 PM
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Yeah, this is a tough one. One night some months back I hit it off very well with a presently engaged, former girlfriend of a friend (who introduced us at the bar). We Facebooked, we made plans to make plans. But absent real, regularly recurring interactions with shared friends it was too hard to transition some good conversation one night into a foundation for future interactions. You know, she's got real friends and a job and a fiance and I have (some of) those things, too, and there just isn't time enough for face time with those people you're already obligated to spend time with--making new friends takes a lot of time.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:48 PM
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Have you ever met anyone who enjoys being with you...?

Ouch, but I think academia + NYC makes this especially hard. Academics are vipers, and New York academics venomous ones. Yes, I meet people who genuinely seem to enjoy my company. But making friends is especially hard in a town where everyone's so obsessed with their relationship status. The last guy I dated was someone I contacted just trying to be friends and colleagues with, and that ended up in actual dating and inevitable disaster. I'm a good friend for married guys, I guess.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:48 PM
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11 nails another big part of it. Often, the idea of seeing person X again is great but I have no idea what I'd want to do with them and can't picture where they'd fit in.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:48 PM
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um, yeah, that wasn't supposed to sound insulting. sorry.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:49 PM
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I am awful at making friends with non-attached dudes. I have never figured out a way to say "I want to hang out" not be misinterpreted as "I want to fuck you" or have some kind of awkwardness with unrequited affections on either side. So most of my guy friends, at least the close ones, are married, the partners of my female friends, or started off partnered and even if now single, are in the "just friends" category.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:49 PM
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21: Well, one thing is that you could stop saying "face time" so that people don't think you spend most of your time at '80s parties in Hollywood.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:53 PM
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7 to 25.

that's really all I have to say on this issue. If you are attractive, I am attracted to you, especially if we have things in common that would make a frienship possible. It's unfortunate, true.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:53 PM
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28

I mean, I want you bad.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:53 PM
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27: Say a little more. Does that mean you aren't able to have friendships with attractive women, or just that you find there's inevitably some tension, at least on your side?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:55 PM
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I should also admit that I am even worse at making girlfriends because, like my caricature of dudes, I tend to assume any girl who's way into hanging out with me must want to do me pretty bad.

Oh noes!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:55 PM
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24: It's OK; I didn't take it that way. But I think it is especially hard to make friends with single dudes when you're a single woman without either giving offense or sexual encouragement. You both have to be pretty comfortable with yourselves to say you want to hang out with a single person of the gender one is oriented towards without being weird. My best girlfriend is married and in an open relationship, so she's got it made. She's non-threatening for friendships but also, if things turn out super-cool, sexually available!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:55 PM
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the idea of seeing person X again is great but I have no idea what I'd want to do with them and can't picture where they'd fit in.

I've gotten very lasseiz-faire about this. I run across so many interesting and agreeable people that I just trust they will resurface again at the right moment. The amazing thing is that they almost always do.

This very moment I am waiting in my office as an acquaintance of mine finishes up an appointment she's having here. I met her at a tedious event (she and her husband were hilarious company), e-mailed afterwards with a brief note about work, and lo several months later needed her specialized expertise...and ta da!

However, it probably helps that I have a small core of very dear friends, and don't really want/need a bunch of local hang-out friends.

On the how-to-prevent-misinterpretation front, I think that men in our society have not traditionally been given a lot of pathways or models for male-female friendship that don't involve sex. But that's slowly changing for the better. So, mamas and papas and aunts and uncles: Model cross-gender friendships for your kids! They'll thank you someday! ::only a quarter joking::


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:57 PM
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To just focus on the first sentence's question: new friends just kinda take a fair amount of work. I've found the key that let me make new friends was just to spend a lot of time outside the house. Once you do that, especially in the early 20s when you meet a lot of unattached people, you can just take those free nights when you're out of the house and call new friends to hang out with them at fairly short notice. It's really informal, it gives you lots of time to chat, and it often leads to party invitations, meeting their friends, getting more phone numbers, having new people to call, and so on.

'Course, it's a really slow process to start out, and my first year or two in town really were far less social. But if you already have some of the seed contacts, you just want to make friendships out of them, it's the best way I've found.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:57 PM
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Does that mean you aren't able to have friendships with attractive women, or just that you find there's inevitably some tension, at least on your side?

The latter. unless I am attached at the time, of course.

I prefer to think of it as a "frisson of flirtatious excitement" but that only makes sense if both people are flirting. otherwise it is more like unilateral frustration.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:57 PM
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The real question is why don't you want to have sex with the guy? Unless one of you is in a committed relationship (which should be a reason he can understand), it seems like a no-brainer.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:57 PM
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"unless I am attached at the time" s/b "unless one of us is attached at the time"


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:59 PM
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27: Yeah. Is this why that after college, when I realized that all of my male friendships were "ambiguous" (or at least they were to the guys), I have since had very very few single male friends whom I did not suspect wanted to sleep with me? That makes for rather awkward, arms-length friendships, and they don't feel as real.

Right now I am avoiding all men, except my best buddy at school, whom I met when he was seriously partnered. He's been my support during a rocky period with my boyfriend, but with no agenda. But my boyfriend always said that B would date me if I gave him an opening. Part of me thinks that's just cynical and reductive and ignores the complexity of male-female friendship, and were I not avoiding contact with the boyfriend, I wish I could say "and see! B is on *your* side and wants us to get back together!"

But yes, the Harry Met Sally conundrum is par for the course.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 3:59 PM
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Yes making friends is difficult. This is especially frustrating when you just know that you could be bestest friends with someone if only the stars would align and you might see them more then once a month (or whatever). In some ways it can be more difficult than dating because there is no real expected type of social interaction. This problem is only increased given a peripatetic life style.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:00 PM
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34: I suggest going to a costume shop for some really big, hairy, stick-on moles and asking your attractive friends to wear them when they're around you.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:02 PM
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It's hard if you're not a hang-out type person. I have a couple of really close off-blog friends whom I email daily and visit a couple of times a year, and that's much more real to me than some occasional hang out with a school mate. I like the slow build of epistolary friendships.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:03 PM
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"epistolary friendships" sounds so much better than "my pretend Intertube friends"


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:04 PM
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42

It does, doesn't it.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:05 PM
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37: Eh, that's not a great reason to avoid guys. I'm certainly attracted to a reasonable number of my female friends, and a few of them have mentioned the same feelings about their male friends.

The important thing is that the two people actually have something other than physical attraction in common, and that a physical relationship isn't the priority for either person. If that's the case, the attraction almost doesn't matter, it's just something that's there which helps make the friendship even easier. It's not like one is obligated to try and sleep with everyone they find attractive.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:08 PM
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41: That is quite interesting. I've always thought that making pretend internet friends was the ideal solution for someone who spends most of their days alone, but I have yet to really make it work. Or for that matter tried to make it work. Even IRL acquaintances seem more real than the internet. I probably just need to read more Baudrillard though to solve that problem.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:10 PM
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If you can arrange it, weekday lunches are a great way to see people. Fixed duration, casual and repeatable.

My friend Tall Chris walked up to me early in our acquaintance and said "I think you are wonderful and we are going to be friends. I'm with J___, but we are going to be friends." From then on out, he acted like we were friends. It turned out that the awkwardness of his initial declaration was about the same as his usual awkwardness. We have lunch every few weeks and I quite like him.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:12 PM
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I have a hard time keeping up with people. I have some good friends from college in the area and some I've known from other places, but I don't keep up with them.

I have two sort of groups that I see--my church friends and my boyriend's athletic activity friends. Plus you all--my online friends some of whom I've met up with. I'm actually pretty good at one on one friends, but I have a hard time with groups and never got included when people made spring break trips, because I never fit into someone's whole social circle.

(I'm currently trying to figure out how to be one-on-one friends with my doctor friend. I used to see him at church, but he is super busy and doesn't come much. I obviously was interested in something romantic, but I also really liked him as a person and miss having the close friend to talk to alone about serious stuff.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:13 PM
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I agree with 43.

Eh, that's not a great reason to avoid guys.

I wouldn't go this far though. In my experience, friendships with people I am attracted to are only uncomfortable when it involves a one-on-one situation. groups are fine.

I don't see why this thing I'm "admitting" to is a gendered issue, anyway. The easiest explanation i can think of is that women experience the same feeling, but it is usually not relevant because women are attracted to a far smaller percentage of their acquaintances at any given time than men are.

but it is clear that the thread shouldn't be about this, and this is something you've discussed before. so, the end.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:13 PM
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More people should do like the dude in 45 did.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:14 PM
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Sure, that's easy if you're already "with J___", 48.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:15 PM
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Somehow we must learn how to use our power of awkwardness to decrease the total amount of world awkwardness!!


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:18 PM
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BL, why would it matter if a bunch of your old guy friends would sleep with you if given the chance? Clearly that's not all they want from you, because they would already annoyed you with their clumsy pick-up moves.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:21 PM
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I have an epistolary friendship which is wholly unmediated by the internet, so there, SK.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:22 PM
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Isn't this what Facebook is for?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:22 PM
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Facebook is for playing scrabble.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:25 PM
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I also don't understand how you transition to friendship with people from work. There were people at WF in different departments who became friends and hung out even though retail schedules make that nearly impossible. Most of them were short-term people who were about to go to grad school.

I'm not at all sure how to keep up with people you used to see casually or consistently, but don't anymore.

I used to belong to a group therapy that met in the evening at one of the hospitals in Boston. This particular hospital suddenly cancelled all of its groups with very little notice. Everyone else in the group had a regular doctor at the hospital. For reasons related to the joint hospital structure of a residency program, I had been referred there by my doctor at another hospital.

The security guard at the hospital was very friendly and very invested in all of us. He always counted to make sure that we were all there. When we told him that we weren't going to be meeting anymore, I basically promised to stop by and say hello sometime. I suppose that I could easily walk down the street from hospital A to hospital B when I'm in that area for an evening appointment, but I doubt that I ever will, because I don't know how I would finesse it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:25 PM
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Right now I am avoiding all men, except my best buddy at school

So this means the Saul's meetup won't be happening anytime soon, then?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:26 PM
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51: It doesn't bother me as much, but, without hijacking the thread, back in college it was more of the "nice guy but not really" syndrome. Now I'm better about being friends with a guy who may be attracted to me and I might have been attracted to him. The ones who stuck around after college, even though we never slept with each other but flirted with the idea--that's golden, and we're still friends. And for the most part my boyfriend doesn't mind this much, so long as I'm open and honest and don't hide my hanging out with male friends from him. We have a "don't ask, do tell" policy.

I am incredibly awkward. But my awkward "let's be friends!" declaration has garnered me a few very close life-long friends, and so the costs of dorkiness are not too high. It has tended to work better with female friends though. Me gushing over how much I like a woman hasn't yet been misinterpreted by said woman.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:27 PM
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56: Oh hell no, that's still on. I was going to send out an email. I was actually thinking dinner party.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:28 PM
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For Becks' original question, I would say that the key is to just remember that when you're living your life that your every move is not being scrutinized from space. If you act friendly to someone, and somehow you fuck up the transition, the Romanian Judge in Space is not going to give you a 3.4. I know this is obvious, but it's easier to take a risk if you don't think much is at stake.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:31 PM
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We have a "don't ask, do tell" policy.

It's kind of like in Breaking the Waves, but less harrowing.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:31 PM
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Romanian Judge in Space

Dr. McNinja fan?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:32 PM
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Walt's 59 is a really good point.

(Although that Romanian judge is really pretty tough, I hear.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:33 PM
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I'm certainly attracted to a reasonable number of my female friends

Me too, and I'm reasonably sure that's reciprocated in some cases. When it's pretty clear that you're not going to do anything about it, it's a non-threatening bonus reason for enjoying someone's company. This is probably easier when you're old, boring, and married, though.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:35 PM
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Another cheer for 59. That's the crux, really. Do stupid stuff that seems like it might be fun and try to put yourself out there for people. If it doesn't pan out, that's what's great about living in big cities and not Lake Woebegon, where every social failure haunts you for decades.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:40 PM
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I never heard of Dr. McNinja until this very second. I've just read the first couple of pages of it, and they're pretty funny.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:40 PM
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In the latest storyline, Dracula has a moon base.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:45 PM
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(In fairness I should point out that I once walked around my small town wearing my clothes completely backwards as part of an experiment in social deviance, so I probably have a higher tolerance than most people for looking ridiculous. Also, I like hats.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:48 PM
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How did the experiment work out?

...and what have hats to do with it?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:50 PM
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Hats are wonderful. I wish I could rock a Kentucky Derby style hat. I stick to cloches in the winter and straw hats in the summer.

Kriss Kross stole your style, Witt.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:55 PM
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People were quite freaked out, actually. Except one salesclerk who said admiringly, "It's amazing the trends that they come up these days!" or some such.

...and what have hats to do with it?

There exist those in this benighted world who view anything so out-of-the-ordinary as a wearing a hat to be unduly provoking of attention, and thus making oneself the object of ridicule. I know, I don't get it either.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:56 PM
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Nuh-uh, Belle, I'm pretty sure I was first, or at least around the same time. Weren't they in the early '90s?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 4:58 PM
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69: I think the suggestion that they stole your style implied that you were first.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:01 PM
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The "69" in 72 s/b "71". Goddam shoddy internet connection.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:01 PM
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Good lord, I apparently have reading comprehension problems. Thank you, Brock.

I think that means I should finish up and go home.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:02 PM
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In fairness I should point out that I once walked around my small town wearing my clothes completely backwards

Were you Mac Daddy or Daddy Mac?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:02 PM
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Goddammit.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:03 PM
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There's a picture on the flickr group of Witt rocking a black and white hat quite admirably.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:04 PM
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cloches

Oooh, I had an orthodox Jewish client a while back who came in the most exquisite cloche you can imagine. I am embarrassed to say I didn't grasp that there was a reason (beyond style) for the headgear until she stepped back from shaking hands with my male colleague.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:07 PM
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If you're worried about sending the wrong signal, change it to "my mom and I."

This is absolutely brilliant.

I haven't had these problems in the years now that I've been able to say, "And this is/over there is/I'd love you to meet my boyfriend," but in the years I couldn't say that I learned that the way to get to talk to someone without making it seem creepy or stalkery or whatever is to talk to them by introducing them to a third person. That way it makes it seem like it's about making them talk to people in general rather than making them talk to me.

It's much easier said than done, though, as with all things, and Rah is crazy far and away the outgoing, non-freakishly-shy one in our house so I don't really have to do much other than stand around, usually, and all of a sudden I'm meeting people.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:14 PM
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Being of the "one best friend" persuasion is really unsatisfying once you are no longer buffeted by a sea of vague school acquaintances. My chief tactic for trying to branch out is inviting people to cheese parties or German board game nights, but surprisingly few people want to schlep out to the burbs for that.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:22 PM
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I wonder if the key to everything is just being cooler than we actually are. The instant one is all awkwardly being self-conscious about sending mixed signals, the recipient of them receives the mixed signals. It's like me and blushing. I have a bright, hard, pink blush whenever I stop to think "Don't be weird, AWB. This isn't weird, so don't blush." Then I do. At other times, when I'm feeling particularly cool, I can manage all kinds of weird stuff with impunity.

When I drink too much and I'm feeling particularly cool, I have the danger of pulling off shit no one should ever do. The recipient thinks it's all fine at the time, but then the next morning... Sigh. It's better when I'm all weird and awkward because I get into a lot less trouble that way.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:24 PM
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When I drink too much and I'm feeling particularly cool, I have the danger of pulling off shit no one should ever do. The recipient thinks it's all fine at the time, but then the next morning... Sigh. It's better when I'm all weird and awkward because I get into a lot less trouble that way.

Me, exactly. Have I mentioned the office party a few years ago at which I spent a good portion of the night grabbing the ass of a (female) coworker (with whom I wasn't even good friends--had only met her earlier that very day)? It was friendly and non-threatening and not-harrassing (really--I talked to her about it the next day and she thought it was nothing but hilarious), but good god did I ever wake up with a WTF DID I DO? the next morning.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:33 PM
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German board game nights

Fun!


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:34 PM
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We are currently into a two-person German card/board game called "Lost Cities." It's hard to find a two-person game that is both straightforward and good--this one has been really hitting the spot lately. Not so good for group activities, though, obviously.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:38 PM
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I'm a big fan of lunch. And other activity stuff: a show someone might like, a ball game, Billy Goat trail, bike ride. Of course it really helps to be obviously taken, so no one is looking for signals, and obviously walrus-like, so no one is sending them either. Just living.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 5:47 PM
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OK, this is way late, but I was busy losing a softball game:

Say a little more. Does that mean you aren't able to have friendships with attractive women, or just that you find there's inevitably some tension, at least on your side?

Yeah, exactly, the latter. For a decently-adjusted guy, it's not a big deal, but it's really hard, as an unattached guy, to meet a woman who's interesting and thinks I'm interesting without thinking, "Hmmm...." It's not even about "scoring," or anything so simplistic/hound-doggy. It's just how it is. I mean, hell, that's really how AB and I got together - neither one of us thought it was time for a serious relationship, but we were right for each other, and always kept the possibility open.

Oh, and:

German board game nights

Yes!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 6:02 PM
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Of course it really helps to be obviously taken

Yes, this. On the one hand, being still (or again) single gives me more freedom, given that some partners can be weird about the having of opposite sex friends the partner himself doesn't know; on the other, being single means that potential male friends have their radar on, as it were, for an interest on my part that they may not share. I lose potential friendships this way, and sometimes want to say: look, I enjoy your company, I like you, so let's relax!

Actually, I wind up saying just that, at times.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 6:04 PM
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I was always the opposite to Becks. I used to [it's been a while] find making female friends easier than making male friends.

And I don't mean in a 'initially I wanted to date them but when I couldn't we became friends' sense. I've never gone out with someone I was friends with first. I just mean that (very mild) flirting provides a bit of a framework for negotiating the early stages of friendship.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 6:14 PM
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I'm was initially thinking along the lines of what ttaM said re: mild flirting opening doors. But I have the same hangup as Becks re: the mixed signals concerns. (This is probably exacerbated a bit by the fact that I've been in that newly-on-the-prowl stage of not being sure myself when I'm flirting lightly and flirting with intent.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 6:31 PM
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You could lure them with the idea of sex after a certain amount of time getting to know each other, then cut off the sex idea once the friendship is established.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 6:54 PM
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Too much like an actual relationship.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 6:58 PM
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It's like, how much more dour could they be? And the answer is none. None more dour.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 7:04 PM
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You know, I would think it would be pretty important early on in a dating relationship to get's one's partner all the way on board with the idea that one is going to have friends of both genders, and that flipping out is not called for.

I'd like to think I've been a pretty fair role model for my kids on this point: even beautiful women are human beings, and you can have a friendship with one without spontaneously erupting.


Posted by: Napi | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 7:07 PM
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You could lure them with the idea of sex after a certain amount of time getting to know each other, then cut off the sex idea once the friendship is established.

Sadly, this expresses pretty succinctly why the whole platonic friendship thing feels so fraught. At least for someone neurotic like me. Either I worry that I am giving a "luring with the idea of sex" vibe, or I just overcompensate and get all cold and distant to avoid mixed signals. Cold and distant has only rarely proved a good approach to making friends.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 7:43 PM
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It's hard to find a two-person game that is both straightforward and good

Yes it is! What others have you found besides Lost Cities?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 7:54 PM
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Yes it is! What others have you found besides Lost Cities?

It's been a while since I've played an German Board games, but my favorite two-player game is Caylus.

It's a bit long. It would be nice to find a good two-player game that lasted 45-60min. Carcasonne looks promising for a shorter two-player game, but I haven't played it enough to say for sure.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 7:58 PM
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Well, it's not a game with specialized cards like that, but we do love playing cribbage.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:00 PM
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we do love playing cribbage.

Thank you!

I had just been thinking, "My favorite two player game is a card game but I can't seem to remember which card game we always end up player."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:05 PM
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Woo! Carcasonne! Haven't played two-player yet, but love it. I think my dad - who has played it with 2 and with more - prefers more, but it's been a couple months since we discussed it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:06 PM
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Napi is ever the altruist. Befriending the foxy laydeez . . . for the children.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:08 PM
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I love cribbage, too, but I can't get M/tch on board with that, nor with any other 2-person card games.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:09 PM
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We haven't played it, but a friend has recommended Caeser and Cleopatra to us.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:10 PM
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CA and I adore cribbage, but he tries to take my points for his nibs nobs whatevs and then I whine like nobody's business.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:10 PM
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I also agree with ttaM at 88 - I've always had lots of female friends, and there is usually a mild flirting stage at the outset. I've been more or less serially monogamous, so, from my standpoint, there hasn't been a big "are we headed for luuuuv?" stage.

I realize that this contradicts, to an extent, my 86, but 86 describes me when I'm not involved with anyone (less than 12 months of my life since I was 16.5 y.o.). It also described me to an extent while I was with Bad Old GF.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:11 PM
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We play cribbage without muggins, because I can't add and it would kill all my fun.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:16 PM
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even beautiful women are human beings

CERTAINMENT!!


Posted by: OPINIONATED CATHERINE DENEUVE | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:19 PM
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105: That is it! Muggins! Yes. We ought to play without muggins because neither can I add and CA makes me cry.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:19 PM
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Repulsion is one of the most glisteningly horrible movies ever, Catherine. Loved you in it!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:25 PM
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Catherine, do you smell of No. 5 on the inside as well as the outside?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:26 PM
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Now I will Lost Cities in detail! The deck of cards you get is as follows: one each of 2-10 in five colors, plus 3 "backer" cards in each color. There is also a board with spots for each color. The board comes into play, but mostly it's just there because in Germany there is some tax difference or something between board games and card games, I believe.

The premise is that you are mounting expeditions in a sort of Indiana-Jones mode, so the cards have pictures of different parts of an expedition in, say, the jungle (green) or the arctic (white). 2 portrays outset of the expedition and 10 portrays its culmination. The "backer" cards are un-numbered and represent your getting funders for your expeditions, and serve as multipliers for the points you have in an expedition.

You start with 8 cards. Then you just take turns drawing, and after each draw, you either play a card in front of you or discard one onto the board, so you see what the other person has discarded. The trick is that you can only play the cards in order. so once you've played a 2, you can no longer play the backer of that color. If you play a 4, you can't play the 3 anymore, and so on. Once you start an expedition, you are twenty points in the hole, so you don't want to jump into them willy-nilly -- and yet you can't wait too long to start them, or you won't have time to play enough cards into each one to make it worth your while.

Once the cards run out, the round is over. So you are playing a waiting game, and in the meantime having to decide to jettison certain possibilities: by discarding cards, by letting time run out, or by playing higher-value cards early and cutting off the possibility of playing the lower-value ones as well, if you got them in your hand later.

It works out to be simple but elegant gameplay, with a very nice balance of luck and skill, and it moves quickly. The cards are attractive, too.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:26 PM
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Repulsion and Belle de Jour would be a great Deneuve double feature. Maybe not for everyone.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:31 PM
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Thanks rfts--that sounds like fun! I might get it for my family for Christmas this year.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:47 PM
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It works out to be simple but elegant gameplay,

Read this as "simple but elephant gameplay". That does sound fun!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:53 PM
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CA and I adore cribbage, but he tries to take my points for his nibs nobs whatevs and then I whine like nobody's business.

Taking the other guy's points is half the fun of cribbage!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:56 PM
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German board game nights

Does Ticket To Ride count as a German board game? Because it is the best game.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 8:57 PM
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I was going to make the joke in 90, but I thought it would be in bad taste. I'm not as uninhibited as Adam.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:00 PM
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the other guy's points

Sexist.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:02 PM
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108
easily can last for 45-60 min
it's a series, you have to score until 108, each card has a score, like 7 is 7, 10 is 10, valet is 4, kings is 6 etc
if you draw 7, you have to pick three more cards from the ground
have to put off your cards on the ground, the same colours to the same colours, the same figures to the same figures, for example if you have 3 9s you put it off at once, the next player should put on the last card either 9 or the same colour card
one who finishes all his cards first wins
the one who still have cards in the hand, have to add the cards' values and when his score exceeds 108, looses
if it's exactly 108 - the score becomes 0
queens are very risky cards to hold, coz if you lose with them you'll add 30xn to your score, if you finish putting queens last you'll subtract -30xn ( n=number of queens) points from your score, so have to calculate your chances when to have it or get rid of them
do you play this card game?
hopefully i explained it recognisably


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:08 PM
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I just popped into this thread, read 118 first, and now I don't think I can read any of the rest of it. I hope it wasn't interesting.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:10 PM
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forget, queen also can change the colour of the last card, if you don't have the same colour or value card or you have to pick one card from the ground
well, now all is set, i guess


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:17 PM
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Gimpsee Doodle!


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:19 PM
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do you call the game that?
we call it just 108


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:23 PM
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I was wondering how that was a response to 108. Don't remember Catherine Deneuve playing any complex card games in that film.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:24 PM
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Sorry read--it's just a joke about complicated card games that ordinarily I wouldn't expect anyone to get, but around here someone may.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:29 PM
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Does Ticket To Ride count as a German board game?

It's totally a German-style board game (and great fun), but I believe the designer is actually British.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:38 PM
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Weird! I thought, remembering the box, that it won German Game of the Year! Or something! I guess you don't need to be German to win that award. I always said their standards had gone WAY downhill.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:39 PM
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Befriending the foxy laydeez . . . for the children.

Hey, we all do our part.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:41 PM
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it's not complicated, it must be my explanation
so in the beginning both players have 7 cards, all other cards are facing down in the same pool on the ground, one card is facing up and on that card the players put their cards as i explained
ace is 11 and it has power to pause the game, i mean the player who draw?(pull out) the ace will not do the next move and the other player will have an advantage to move next
the players start to draw the cards as usual in other card games, i don't know how the card figures and colours called, ranks etc, so it's maybe incomprehensible, sorry
well, good night


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 9:57 PM
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126: Nope, you don't need to be German to win the Spiel des Jahres, just like you don't need to be American to win an Oscar. You just need to have a product that is well-received in the relevant market. Germany has been the center of the serious board game market for the last couple of decades or so, so their top award is particularly prestigious.


Posted by: DaveW | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 11:29 PM
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124: Sorry read--it's just a joke about complicated card games that ordinarily I wouldn't expect anyone to get, but around here someone may.

Wondering if it is something like TEGWAR (The Exciting Game Without Any Rules) that I think Mark Harris invented for his Henry Wiggen baseball books (best known is Bang the Drum Slowly). It is a depicted as a card game where the ballplayers lure hangers-on into joining and then taking their money. (Ballplayer salaries and inaccessibility ain't always been what they are today.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 8-08 11:36 PM
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re: 104

Yeah, that's almost exactly me, too. I've only been single for eight or nine months since I was about 22. The mild flirting that can lubricate the initial stages of a friendship isn't flirting with intent, so I've never really had to think much about what is or is not 'going on'.

I have a friend who is brilliant at making friends -- male or female. We became friends because after talking at a party, he tracked me down as I was leaving, stopped me, gave me his email address and said "It was really cool talking to you this evening, we should meet up, go for a pint next week or something?". That kind of directness isn't that common and he does it all the time. As a result it sometimes seems like this guy is friends with just about everyone in the known world. It's quite an impressive skill.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 12:22 AM
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131: Guys like that are so cool in my book. It's disarming. Girls like that are awesome. Everyone should do this. Why is it so hard to be honest that you like someone and would like to be their friend?

However, I've also been on the other end, where a seemingly nice, cool person is too quickly intimate, and suddenly want to be your BFF. I am of the quickly friend infatuated, but arms-length, let this friendship progress sort. So I don't like hanging out all the time immediately, calling every day, or having sudden unexpected drop-ins. This happened with a girl who was in my program and who also lived on my floor. It was a bit too much. I like to see my friends about once a week or so, now that I'm older and prefer living alone and working from home rather than hanging out on campus all day. This probably explains how the last quick-and-awesome friend I made was TC, since we were able to conduct our friendship mostly by email after my extended visit to DC and thus did not exhaust each other (although I can't imagine tiring of her).


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 12:32 AM
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ttaM and I are inverses.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 12:35 AM
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I have an epistolary friendship which is wholly unmediated by the internet

Usenet doesn't count.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 12:35 AM
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Usenet is part of the internet, Martin.

The internet is more than just the web.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 12:37 AM
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re: 133

You'll be pleased to know, rubbing it in, that (historically, at least)* I was pretty good at the 'flirting with intent' bit too, when required.

* One of the crappy things about graduate school is that it's quite an effective process for turning a socially outgoing gregarious person into an insular misanthrope.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 12:45 AM
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This is kind of the reverse of the OP: After months of socializing not-too-frequently, enjoyably, and non-awkwardly with someone, and after a recent drunken cuddling session interrupted by a trip to the vomitorium, I finally managed to lay my cards on the table and explain that I was in fact attracted to her, but not in a huge-bright-sparks kind of way, and given our particular situations, that while it might be interesting to suck face and see what happens, I thought it was probably best if we didn't, and yet in spite of all that I wouldn't mind if our relationship expanded into slightly more physical affection, like cuddling while watching tv together, but most of all I don't want things to get weird between us. She said that basically mirrored her feelings on the matter, and that she had been keeping physical distance for fear I would freak out, and had thought that I didn't like her like that, but that she was not cuddle averse. The rest of the evening was nice and only a wee bit awkward and weird.


Posted by: Jimmy Carter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 12:45 AM
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Oh yeah. I also asserted my intent to flirt with her at unpredictable intervals, drunk or sober, until such time as she told me to stop.


Posted by: Jimmy Carter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 12:48 AM
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137/138: Yeah, see, I don't even interpret that as being the reverse of the OP, but being part of the problem addressed in the OP. You meet someone, establish what you think is a really great friendship only to discover that your "friend" has "intentions," then wind up questioning what you did to make him think things were heading in that direction and get all awkward about the next guy you make friends with by trying to make doubly extra clear that you are not at all interested in him in that way, which winds up being sort of presumptuous and insulting because, dude, why would you even think he was interested in you that way or that you needed to preemptively reject him when he never even put it out there, but what the hell are you supposed to do when the last guy you were friends, just friends, with and really sort of cherished in that role unceremoniously dropped you when he realized that you would not be engaging in sexual relations?

Yeah, the easy answer is "some people are just going to be dicks." Period. And trying to figure out what you did to make them dicks or responding to new people as if they were all going to be dicks is ultimately stupid. If you think it through. More and more, I'm charmed by the idea of just stealing the quote from the last sentence of Becks' post.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:57 AM
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I've got to say I can't really relate to the post or much of the thread. I can relate to the awkwardness of maintaining but not going further than a friendship with someone you're attracted to and/or is attracted to you. But, in all but one case where there's a lot of history, I/we just deal with it. It's not something that materially affects the friendship. Even in that one case, we deal with it and are close friends, but awkwardness is always around the corner (usually when drunk, of course).

I'm not so sure what's wrong with saying: "You are an interesting person and I would like to converse with you again socially on a not-too-frequent, yet enjoyable, basis. I hope we can spend some non-awkward time together that is not misinterpreted." Perhaps not in those exact words, but the same sentiment clearly expressed.

As for what to do, I suppose it depends on what your mutual interests are, but there are plenty of things that aren't really open to misinterpretation. Art galleries, museums, sport, comedy and music gigs, lectures, piss-ups with mutual friends etc. If you spot something interestnig that you think they'd be into, ask them. That's what I do.


By the way, you can now get Ticket to Ride on Xbox Live Arcade, or there's a free-ish version at www.daysofwonder.com.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:08 AM
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re: 139

Hate to sound a bit like Emerson, and a stuck record, but this whole problem would be avoided if people just stopped thinking of friends as people they could potentially have sex with.*

I've been tediously vocal about this on threads-past, though. Basically, if it [fucking] doesn't happen or if the intent that it [fucking] will happen some time in the future isn't made clear within a very very short-time frame then the window is closed.**

* this is possibly just a personal hang-up but I do just find the whole 'friends becoming lovers' thing fucked up. About 80% of the Unfogged dating threads would be solved in a flash. All that 'how do I know if he/she likes me in that way?' stuff. Those worries about mixed signals, possibly ruining friendships, etc. Gone.

** and this window is short. Hours or days, not weeks or months.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:10 AM
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141. Agreed, with the proviso that at any subsequent point, if peoples' feelings change, the conversation that goes:

"What do you think about taking this thing upstairs?"
"Nah, thanks but no thanks."
"Ok then."

... should not lead to subsequent awkwardness between adults. If you're 16, yes, because everything leads to awkwardness, but ffs we're all grown up.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:26 AM
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but ffs we're all grown up.

Oh would that this were true...

I agree with ttaM 100%, too (except maybe the narrowness of the open window -- some of us do sometimes need more than a couple of hours). The problem lies in knowing that a substantial portion of the population think differently and figuring out how to figure out what your new potential friend is going to think without getting all awkward and dorky.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:52 AM
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re: 143

The couple of hours or days isn't for anything to actually happen. Everyone has different time-scales for going to bed, or kissing or whatever. But it should generally be pretty clear very early on that you/they want it to.*

Once you've gone part of the way down the road to being friends ... too late.

* mixed or absent signals are basically no signals at all.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:28 AM
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awb: could you explain 17 to me? no, seriously. I've run into it in various forms with straight and mostly-straight and 'I say I'm bi but actually am 99% straight' women, and I swear, I don't get it. I've been with the same partner (entirely monogamous & no secret about that) for 16 years. But STILL. One form of what you're talking about is the straight chick who assumes I want her, bad; which I usually don't figure out (I'm daft that way) until a maximally awkward moment wherein I am inevitably left staring with a "what? huh?" look on my face. The other, closely related form, imho is where straight chick assumes I want her not in the sexual sense, but in the 'everything but sex intimate/romantic relationship' sense. This is much worse, because it leads to situations in which I feel like I'm fucking being stalked by some weird woman who is trying to spend 12 hrs a day with me, and my repeated invocations of spouse and married life with spouse, and actually, you know, wanting to spend time with spouse, don't do anything to stop stalking. I've often thought this a form of heterosexism--if I were attached to some MAN these chicks would never assume I would be available to them in this way, but married to another woman? feh, never mind her.
still. whole thing is just so weird. i don't get it.


Posted by: academic lesbian | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:43 AM
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sorry with my card game again
i just recalled two things wrong
7 has no value, it's a very good card to keep b/c if you finish having them it won't add any points to your score, but you can make your opponent to pick 3 more cards from the ground
so it's best if you put 7s last, so that the other player would pick up more cards and lose with a higher score
and ace's pausing power works for the self, not for the other player
really, a different world, people not knowing the game
but i've tried to read the cribbage rules, it's complicated for me too


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:09 AM
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Usenet is part of the internet, Martin.

Gotcha.

It isn't. It can be propogated through the internet, to be sure, but it isn't dependent on it and can function quite well without it. Usenet doesn't need tcp/ip, unlike the web.



Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:24 AM
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141.2 has really not been true at all in my book. 142 has.

I'm kind of a manwhore, but I'm one who keeps friendships going for long periods, is easily friends with all my exes, has a fair number of close female friends, and is generally flirtatious. As a result, I've ended up sleeping with a decent number of my female friends because at some point they mention an attraction to me, and I to them. Then at yet a later point, a dryspell hits for one or the other of us and we think "Hey, so who might be totally down for this who won't get all weird afterward?", and apparently my name comes up with some frequency. Hasn't really led to any problems yet, but I think that's also because I generally feel no particular need to have sex with any of my friends, it's just a pleasant bonus when it comes up.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:30 AM
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I do not think that I could ever do what Po-Mo seems to do easily.

Hell, for myself, I'm not even really comfortable with sex outside of a relationship.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:46 AM
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re: 148

One of my ex g/friends was like that. She'd slept with [and remained friends with] quite a few of her male friends in quite similar circumstances.

It's just not a situation I'd be comfortable with for me personally, though.

It's different with exes. I've remained friends with several of mine. But that's different as it's a relationship that starts out romantic/sexual and then becomes friendship. It's the converse situation that has no attraction for me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:53 AM
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BG, see, you've got it wrong. It's relationships that cause all the problems.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:53 AM
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Laydeez, ttaM has told you the game plan. Bang first, say hi later.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:57 AM
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I have no problem with Po-Mo's MO, but that wasn't quite what I was suggesting. Basically, I tend to agree with ttaM, most of the time (It went thus with me and Mrs OFE). But there are other reasons to decide you want to sleep with somebody than immediate chemical magnetism, and these tend to grow over time. Also, relationship statuses change. And plenty of people are a lot hotter at 30 than at 20, if you want to be crude about it.

So you can't just bang the door on sexual possibilities forever, just because you didn't rip each others' kit off the first time you met. Months or years later, when you both acknowledge that the world has moved on, you have to be able to re-address the situation without getting upset about it.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 7:16 AM
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I don't have a problem with Po-Mo's MO, if it works for him. I just can't imagine doing it myself.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 7:21 AM
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re: 153

So you can't just bang the door on sexual possibilities forever, just because you didn't rip each others' kit off the first time you met.

Well, yeah. These are just crude rules of thumb. Of course circumstances and people change; people who are mature enough to know who and what they want and to recognize when that changes, in themselves and others, aren't really the people in need of rules of thumb anyway.

I'm just saying this as a corrective to the other sort of view, which seems amazingly prevalent on this site and elsewhere, where people's first instinct is to look within the pool of people they already know well for potential partners.

Which seems crazy. Then the endless agonizing about whether X likes them, and whether X will still respect them if they ask them out and get turned down, or if they have sex but it isn't great, or, if they go out but it doesn't work out, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:06 AM
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153 lets me know that I pretty substantially misinterpreted 142, and that I've considerably overshared. Oops.

155 has it right in that, once you start getting neurotic over a friendship, you're doing it wrong. Early dating is something that's worth getting nervous over, but friendships are supposed to be the one time you can really relax. If it helps to forget all possibility of sex, then do that. Friendships are better, and last longer than half an hour anyway.

Plus, friends have their single friends! Who they're happy to introduce you to so long as you don't blow it by trying to mack on the original friend instead! So it all works for the best.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:18 AM
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I pretty substantially misinterpreted 142, and that I've considerably overshared. Oops.

Wouldn't get your knickers in a twist about it. Nobody cares. Does anybody know if you exist? This is what I love about blogs.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:23 AM
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Oversharing is condoned at Unfogged, up to a point. Continue to overshare and I'll explain to you if you've gone over the line.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:32 AM
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Backs,

All you need to do is tell me you want to get to know me better.

You needn't create a whole blog post about it.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:23 AM
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Arg, Becks not Backs!

So much for the smooth approach.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:23 AM
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Without really wanting to get into an argument about it, I thought I'd mention that not everyone who fails to conform to the approach to relationships and friendships outlined in 141 is a big ball of neurosis and interpersonal floundering.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 12:58 PM
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Merganser, I'm sure you're right. There's just a small problem of sample bias. Most of us here are neurotic.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 1:08 PM
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Most of us here are neurotic.

I'm not!

Am I?

Oh shit....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 1:16 PM
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145: I wish I could, but I know exactly what you mean. I'm only sorta queer, but I give off enough of a queer vibe that I think a lot of my girlfriends treat me like the "man" in our relationship, specifically like the man-friend who they want to be dominant and quasi-romantic-but-not-sexual with. I dunno. I think there are women who really like being the "girl" with their non-sexual friends, whether they're men or women, perhaps because it's a role they know how to fit into well. And it's really hard for me to clarify for myself. (Like, does this girl actually want to have sex with me? Is she trying to get me into bed by treating me like a "boyfriend"?) Sometimes, they do want to sleep with me. More often, it seems they want a woman they can tease sexually (drunk making out, cuddling, etc.) without actually having sex and having to rethink their whole identity or whatever. It's mostly straight-girl experimentation, I think, or maybe just a response to not knowing how to react to somewhat who acts more "masculine" than they're used to in their girlfriends. I don't think they mean any harm by it, but of course it's obnoxious in practice.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 1:51 PM
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Your first mistake was self-reflection, JRoth!

BG, maybe I should say instead that some of us have neuroses largely unrelated to relationships, or even have relationship neuroses unrelated to the fact that we sometimes or frequently date people we've already known for a while.

Signing off to go see Hancock.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 1:52 PM
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That is, I think it's not that different from what some guys talk about, their girl friends being all affectionate and flirty, but not wanting to actually have sex or date or anything. It's just more obnoxious (a) because of the assumption that any bi or lesbian woman must be interested in fucking any girl who comes near them, and (b) because of the feeling it creates that I exist as someone for them to "practice" with and feel all virtuously open-minded with. I guess (a) and (b) both apply to male-female teasing relationships, too.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 1:55 PM
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Yeah, and also that "let's be friends 12 hours a day" thing. I haven't experienced that since college, but good God, I was stalked by girls in college. If I didn't want to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner with her, and then spend the night in her dorm room every night, this one girl would accuse me of being "disgusted" by her. Sigh.

I have a few long-term friends now who I can spend a lot of time with, but those are committed friendships I've been in for years.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 2:00 PM
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I guess (a) and (b) both apply to male-female teasing relationships, too.

I was going to say. Esp. (a).

I understand the reality that explains why we can't use the "girls get it whenever they want" cliche around here, but, certainly, for a woman who's used to getting it on demand, there's no expectations of limits or rebuffs.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 2:00 PM
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for a woman who's used to getting it on demand, there's no expectations of limits or rebuffs.

I'd say most of the men I've dated have been this way too, but there's a sampling problem there, since I apparently only date arrogant pricks.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 2:02 PM
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This is just an observation but it sure seems like being female is complicated. Or maybe I mean that for females relationships are complicated.

Am I stating the obvious here?


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 2:11 PM
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Since what you're saying is wrong, "obvious" isn't the word I would use.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 2:19 PM
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I've been tediously vocal about this on threads-past, though. Basically, if it [fucking] doesn't happen or if the intent that it [fucking] will happen some time in the future isn't made clear within a very very short-time frame then the window is closed.**

** and this window is short. Hours or days, not weeks or months.

Completely disagree. I am not impulsive enough to make decisions that quickly on virtually any issue, let alone one so emotional with so many potential consequences. Some people are less impulsive than others.

(statements only apply when I am sober.)


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 2:22 PM
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What you're stating is the premise for a 500-comment thread. Ready, set . . .


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 2:23 PM
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||
DJ Shadow Wed 16 July in DC. Anyone planning to go? Every last one of my 3-D friends copped out, helpfully explaining that it was a Wednesday. I hope we can spend some non-awkward time together that is not misinterpreted.
|>


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 2:24 PM
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No advice, Becks. I usually had the opposite problem (well, not really a problem to have male friends, but you know what I mean.) Perhaps I can patent my Frigid vibe and sell it to you in a convenient spray perfume.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 2:29 PM
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175: Hott.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 2:32 PM
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I'd say most of the men I've dated have been this way too, but there's a sampling problem there, since I apparently only date arrogant pricks.

Yeah, I was thinking about how symmetrical it might be; my impression is that the male population that presumes success with the laydeez is smaller than its counterpart, if only due wholly to societal pressures - more women who'll say No to avoid being "sluts," plus presumptions about chaser and chasee.

_____

Cala!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 2:43 PM
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Walt someguy,

Since what you're saying is wrong,

And you know this how exactly?

I hope I'm being clear about this. I'm not judging. I'm stating that my observation is that the females here discuss nuances of their relationships to a great degree.

This was new information to me.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 2:55 PM
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The behavior of men is as bizarre and complicated as the behavior of women. (If this weren't true, straight women wouldn't have any nuances to talk about.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:00 PM
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Human behavior isn't complicated, it's just stupid.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:10 PM
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Back on the veldt . . . oh, never mind.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:11 PM
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I cannot comprehend in what way Walt Someguy thinks he disagrees with Tripp the Crazed. But this isn't something anyone wants to discuss anyway.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:13 PM
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Tripp, while I will grant that there is a certain amount of ladies-talking-about-relationships that can be stereotyped as homosocial bonding, like some men endlessly discussing sports statistics, most of what I've seen here is women doing the necessary labor of trying to figure out what the hell is going on in their personal lives. For someone like me, that emotional labor often feels like a huge burden, one that is placed on me as the woman in heterosexual relationships because a lot of men lack the outlets or language to do that labor themselves. (The caveat, I'd say, is that many of the men here seem to do really well at talking about the complexities of relationships, and this thread is a good example.) The point is, just as there are default-gendered kinds of labor around the heterosexual home to be done, labor which neither partner recognizes the other doing because they don't feel the need to do it themselves, the emotional work of figuring out what is happening in relationships does often fall to women.

Like when Abigail Adams was talking about her boyfriend having no idea what he wants from their relationship while she's pretty clear about what she wants, and then she ends up trying to do some of that emotional labor for him because he seems to be making no progress on his own, a lot of women get stuck in this unpleasant role of trying to divine what a guy wants from his actions since he hasn't spent much time talking and figuring it out with his friends. If you imagine it's fun for us to have to guess what dudes want because they keep saying they don't know, well, it's not.

Yes, one can overanalyze relationships, and men and women both do. But some of us repeatedly get stuck in relationships with guys who have done little or no thinking about what their desires or limits are. They come on really strong when they feel desire, they drop us suddenly when they stop feeling it, while a different kind of guy will stay in relationships they hate because they don't know how to leave, or they never figure out how to explain their feelings to someone they like. Certainly, not all men are like this, because some of them have at least spent a little time thinking and talking about their emotional lives, and it helps a lot. Having conversations with thoughtful friends about relationships helps one figure out how to negotiate relationships with care and kindness.

As someone who was raised without that kind of emotional discourse at all, and almost always thrust into male homosocial spheres where talking about sports and fucking was the limit of my casual conversation, I've found my adult life greatly enriched by having emotionally intelligent friends who can help me figure out what I want so that I can stop hurting people in the ways I've been hurt.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:13 PM
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I suppose in the sense of first-order predicate calculus (which is the only legitimate sense), I did not disagree with Tripp at all.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:15 PM
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183 rings pretty true. Though I have to say there are a lot of times when I'll try to work through my emotions and what I want, yet still end up confused because I want multiple, sometimes contradictory, things.

So, in other words, 180 is pretty true as well (though our stupidity makes us no less complicated, it just explains the complications and their lack of overruling logic)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:18 PM
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183: AWB, I love you.

And I mean that in a totally non-sexual and yet non-awkward way, one that joyfully appreciates having another person explain so clearly a challenge that we all face.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:19 PM
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To sort of take Tripp's side, I think he was saying that he just hasn't been exposed to this kind of conversation and his observation of this thread led him to see women doing more nuanced analysis than men. Which isn't a reason to generalize to all women, nor all men, of course.

AWB's 183 is quite eloquent, and I second her appreciation for the thoughtful male participation in Unfogged discussions. (They're articulate! And clean! I don't mean to condescend, but it is too rare IME.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:20 PM
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Though I have to say there are a lot of times when I'll try to work through my emotions and what I want, yet still end up confused because I want multiple, sometimes contradictory, things.

You and me both, PMP. Doing the work doesn't mean you get answers, but at least it gives you a heads-up that you might be giving mixed signals.

I should also add, of course, that there are plenty of women for whom the extent of emotional labor consists of evoking sexist stereotypes (he didn't buy dinner?? kick him to the curb!). It's hard work, and it's been difficult for me sometimes to find friends who can talk complexly and compassionately about relationships. But I have to admit that most of the people I know IRL who are really good at it are women and gay dudes. Even my awesomest straight guy friends, who are very good and compassionate listeners, don't have much in the way of suggestions or analysis.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:25 PM
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186: (blush)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:32 PM
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Wouldn't it work for AWB to find an sensitive emo boi and let him do the relationship stuff she's not so good at?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:33 PM
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I have always appreciate how AWB lays her soul bare. Sometimes it is painful to read. Sometimes it is enlightening to read. Sometimes I want to hug her. Sometimes I want to throttle her.

But, her comments are one of the many enjoyable parts of unfogged.

Group hug?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:35 PM
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Sadly, Emerson, my experience with guys who seem really direct and clear about what they want tend to change their minds extremely quickly and without notice. It's very hard to tell, at the outset, who is a guy who knows what he wants and who is just really easily carried away in the moment. Also, guys who are super-clear-eyed about relationships tend to be the marrying-and-babying sort, which I am not. (I assume that's what you meant by "emo"---IME, actual "emo" boys are just really moody and easily offended, not caring or thoughtful about other people's feelings at all.) I'd rather be stuck doing the emotional labor of a relationship, as difficult as it is for me, than to trust someone who only knows what he wants for a few days at a time.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:41 PM
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191: Group throttle!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:42 PM
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Even my awesomest straight guy friends, who are very good and compassionate listeners, don't have much in the way of suggestions or analysis.

I used to be quite an enthusiastic (and analytical) participant in these conversations, but as I get older, I find that that kind of analysis is much more sterile and much less productive than I once thought it was. I wouldn't say I've retreated head-long into some crude 'instinctualism' but I do tend to suspect that people get much less out of it than the promise of that analysis originally holds.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:42 PM
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Also, guys who are super-clear-eyed about relationships tend to be the marrying-and-babying sort, which I am not.

The great thing is that every year a new batch comes back on the market after their baby-making and subsequent divorce.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:52 PM
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Will, if you become a Universal Life Church minister you can be a one-stop resource. Also, you could brush up on criminal law or hire a criminal lawyer and do the resulting domestic abuse and homicide cases too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 3:55 PM
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I wouldn't say I've retreated head-long into some crude 'instinctualism' but I do tend to suspect that people get much less out of it than the promise of that analysis originally holds.

Not sure that I agree. I mean, there's overthinking and everything, and definitely situations where the simple explanation/gut reaction is the right one, but I think that, an awful lot of the time, if neither side clearly thinks out what it wants, then nothing fruitful happens.

I guess the way I visualize it is that you often have to talk for awhile to clear out the chaff and get to the "true" instinct (if you will). The problem is that all the talk in the world won't help if you refuse to admit (to yourself or your interlocutor) what the "true" instinct is. Bad Old GF admitted to me, less than a month before the Final Breakup, that she wanted to have my babies - after 6 years of insisting that she didn't want her own children at all! I doubt that she had ever told any of her friends this, and suspect that she was doing all sorts of mental gymnastics to get around that central but hidden truth.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:05 PM
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I will say this: the "thinking for the both of us" that AWB describes above can be deadly dangerous, because your guesses about the other persons mental state are so tied up with your own. Bad Old GF always used to complain that she was "doing all the work," when, in reality, she was fighting like hell to convince herself (and subsequently me) that my repeated and clear indications that I just wasn't all that interested (once super-explicit, twice super-implicit) weren't what was really going on.

If you find yourself asking a friend, "but what does it mean that he fooled around with my best friend*?", you're probably not heading in a useful direction.

* [ahem]


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:11 PM
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Some of us have untrustworthy gut reactions, JRoth. Believe me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:19 PM
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Yeah, I think a lot of emotional work is about figuring out what is really negotiable for you and what's not, what of your feelings about relationships are either false gendered expectations or false avoidance of sounding like you have gendered expectations, figuring out how to communicate a complex desire clearly and compassionately, and deciding whether you have ethical principles w/r/t relationships.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:22 PM
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198: Agreed, and I hate being put in that position. In fact, I just plain refuse to do it, even when I'm expected to. I'd far rather break up with someone than try to imagine what they want. For the most part, I'm totally fine with a partner not knowing what he wants, as long as it doesn't involve being cruel to me or putting me in danger. When it crosses either of those lines, I'm out of there.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:26 PM
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I'd far rather break up with someone than try to imagine what they want.

Whereas, for Bad Old GF and I suspect a lot of women (and some men), the imagining is a way of keeping the relationship on life support.

Men are certainly not immune to fruitless guessing about the other's state of mind, but I think it's mostly restricted to the universal "She loves me, she loves me not" rather than serious consideration.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:30 PM
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AWB,

I get that you don't want any babies, but what would be so bad about marrying--if one did it the right way. You could even keep your own apartment.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:39 PM
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Like when Abigail Adams was talking about her boyfriend having no idea what he wants from their relationship

This reminded me of that:

What we forget is a simple truism: certainty is rarely a predicate to action, but rather a consequence. Put simply, we frequently only become certain about a relationship as a result of making the commitment. If we wait for certainty as a condition for making a commitment, we may wait in vain.

I don't read much Hugo anymore, but it was a good little ponder. You there, Abby?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:47 PM
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Careful, AWB, Bostoniangirl's trying to make a move!

First it's married with separate apartments, then living together, then she's "forgetting" to take the pill so that you knock her up.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:48 PM
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1) It's an institution whose history is largely describable as God-sanctioned concubinism. (Patriarchy)
2) There are too many people I love who can't get legally married where I live. (Hypocrisy)
3) I hate and fear commitment because I despise the idea of someone staying in a relationship with me out of a sense of obligation. (Personal squickiness)
4) I would never force someone I really love to feel an obligation to spend time with my family. (Religion, bigotry, insanity)

I can see nothing that marriage has that I want. If I ever did get married, the only reason would be so that my partner and I needed access to the legal benefits conferred by a state-recognized relationship. "Marrying for love" sounds as weird to me as "bowling for fear" or "sewing for lust." The two things are not connected for me, emotionally.

For other people, marrying for love sounds like something that makes sense, and good on them! I support my friends who choose to get married, just as I congratulate my friends who get pregnant. They're getting something they want out of life. But it doesn't mean it's something that would make me happy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:53 PM
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I deeply apologize if 206 is offensive. Someday, I may eat my words, but that's how I feel about marriage right now, and it's how I've felt about marriage since I was very young, with some different reasons thrown in. I've never fantasized about weddings, proposals or contracts, though I realize a lot of people feel marriage as an imperative for "taking a relationship to the next level." I don't hate marriage because of monogamy---I'm a very monogamous person---or because I can't imagine being with someone in a very long-term relationship. I guess I don't want to get married because I've never heard a single benefit offered by marriage that I wanted, aside from hospital visitation rights and a tax break.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 4:59 PM
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re: 197

I'm not completely anti-analysis -- I mean, everyone thinks about their personal relationships reflectively at least some of the time. I'm just a bit more fatalistic about people's ability to change themselves and others and also about their ability to act upon any analysis that goes on. Which is just another way of being wary of overanalysis, I suppose.

I don't really think the ability to be perceptive about relationships and to verbalize those perceptions is particularly correlated with being a good partner.*

* Perhaps this is my own crapness speaking, though, because I'm pretty sure I am good at the analysis/verbalization bit but crap at the effectively acting upon it bit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:02 PM
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WB clearly hasn't thought out the benefits of marriage.

Here, let me make it simple for you: Go to SWPL. Everything you see there can be placed on a wedding registry, and your friends and family will be obligated to buy them for you. Instant Happiness!

You could take the alternate route to material happiness, but most people aren't willing to get cancer just so they can have a stand mixer.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:02 PM
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Ack!. "AWB"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:02 PM
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4 sounds pretty random.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:02 PM
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I really like relationship talk, almost for its own sake -- I just enjoy analyzing motivations and psychology, including my own.

But I do think that often when someone appears to be profoundly evasive of relationship talk or uncomfortable with it, it's not because they are incapable of understanding their own emotions or needs, it's because they're afraid of what might come up during such a conversation. E.g. they don't really like you enough to make it work, or perhaps you don't like them enough. It's no fun facing up to a fundamental flaw in a relationship you're not quite ready to exit yet. In contrast, relationship talk when everything is going great can be really fun -- let's parse the glory of Us! In painstaking detail!

Of course there's also that intermediate segment of manageable problems.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:04 PM
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Everything you see there can be placed on a wedding registry, and your friends and family will be obligated to buy them for you. Instant Happiness!

I've told this story here before, but Buck claims that before we had otherwise discussed marriage, I came home somewhat lit up from my poker game, woke him up, and said "If we get married, we get gifts!" and promptly fell asleep. I do not remember this conversation.

As it happened, we didn't register anywhere, and the gifts were unmemorable (most people, stymied by the lack of registry, gave cash.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:07 PM
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208: I've also come to agree with this in many ways, but it's a very individual-specific thing. I think it's a place you get to if you're rather good at analysis, verbally gifted, perhaps susceptible to analysis paralysis. If you know that you're the sort of person who can be impressively self-aware about a problem without necessarily going out and fixing it. Then you tend to discount conversation / communication as the easy part and look to action as the best indicator of where you are emotionally. While for some people the awareness part can really be critical and transformative. It varies a lot.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:09 PM
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If you know that you're the sort of person who can be impressively self-aware about a problem without necessarily going out and fixing it. Then you tend to discount conversation / communication as the easy part and look to action as the best indicator of where you are emotionally.

Yup. Pretty much exactly that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:11 PM
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209: I know, I know. Most of the reasons for getting married, if you don't have a point to prove and don't believe in God, are financial. As I've mentioned here before, I have asked my parents to think about contributing to buying me a really nice tailored suit for my job interviews in lieu of a wedding gown. As their friends' kids demand increasingly expensive weddings, they're starting to realize that having a career-oriented un-marriagey daughter has its benefits.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:12 PM
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207 - I believe you, shug. And if your views ever change, I'll believe that they changed for cause and because you reconciled them with your previous understanding of yourself with integrity.

(Also, I haven't told you before, but a year ago or whenever that was, when my post on wanting kids was going around, you said something that meant a lot to me. I think it was fairly offhand for you, but I was so glad that fuss was helpful in ways that weren't about me.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:13 PM
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I don't read much Hugo anymore, but it was a good little ponder.

Of course, Mr. Schw/yzer has been married like, what, four times? He always rubbed me a tiny bit the wrong way, for some indefinable reason.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:15 PM
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Reading 183, I am unclear as to whether you're talking about the "Are we a couple or not?" conversation, or the "Now that we are a couple, what do you want out of the relationship?" coversation. The first is sometihng I'm always happy to clarify. The second is something I usually see as very undesirable, following up what Nattarcgm is saying. It seems like an attempt to take a shortcut to get the answer of "are we compatible or not?", without actually experiencing the things that would provide that answer.

If a woman asks, "What do you want out of this relationship?", it also means "What do you want out of me?" does it not?

and when you get to that point, you're basically telling me "Describe your dream girl, so I can see if you think I'm something I'm not." I'd rather we tried to be compatible, and then if we find out we aren't in some important way, then we discuss whether this is something that can be improved.

It's not like having this conversation about "what we want from each other" is going to make us change in order to meet each other's needs. it seems more like a search for reasons to end the relationship before anything has actually happened that would end the relationship.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:24 PM
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If you know that you're the sort of person who can be impressively self-aware about a problem without necessarily going out and fixing it. Then you tend to discount conversation / communication as the easy part and look to action as the best indicator of where you are emotionally.

While I understand this, I think it misses, or just elides, the crucial point that communication is, or can be, a form of "fixing it." Very often the problem in question is exacerbated by confusion on the part of one or both parties which becomes a feedback loop producing further confusion and perhaps alienation.

It may very well be that one party really, simply, wants to understand, but not necessarily change, the other's behavior, or the way the relationship is proceeding. "Fixing it" may mean breaking things off, or changing one's own expectations. But frankly, nothing is worse than being left in the dark.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:31 PM
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Relationship talk is best when it's like sex -- a form of communication that opens you up to each other, makes you more present and known, without being narrowly instrumentally focused on solving some particular problem.

Of course, maybe everything is best when it's like sex.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:36 PM
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208 - I tend to feel such deep analysis is over-rated because most of the people I personally know who do it are single and miserable. I think getting on with things and not thinking about them too much probably makes you happier.

When C asked me to marry him it was a bit soon after we'd got together and my most introspective friend said to me, "A, you can't marry someone just because you want the same things out of life!" Well, we were married a couple of months after that and are still very happy, whilst she's still single and happyish but wanting more. And can give you a half hour lecture on the ins and outs, costs and benefits of each of her friendships or relationships. (Granted, I don't have the time or the mental energy to do that shit nowadays, but I didn't when I was childfree either.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:40 PM
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219: This is different for everyone, of course, as everyone is flexible in different ways. I find the men in my life don't have the words to explain things they want from me, so they manipulate me instead. Like, for example, my ex, who wanted a relationship in which I was never supposed to call him or ask to see him, or he else he felt like I was a horrible burden to him. So instead of being clear about how he needed the relationship to work, he just accused me of being "clingy" or "needy" whenever I asked to see him until I stopped asking. Did he have any self-awareness about the fact that he "needed" me quite often (several times a week) but that my desire was gross to him? I don't think he did. If he had thought about it, which I asked him to do, he might have either tried to be more flexible or at least tried to communicate his desire in a way that wasn't so personally offensive.

That is, it's not all about "WHERE DO YOU SEE THIS RELATIONSHIP GOING?" which is not a question I've ever been able to answer, either. There's a lot of nuanced stuff about how a person desires to be treated that goes unsaid.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:40 PM
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I think getting on with things and not thinking about them too much probably makes you happier.

This is probably good advice about most things.

There's a lot to be said for a fairly Stoic attitude to life.*

* that said, personally I'm a bit whiny ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:42 PM
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223: So as not to totally shit on my communication with my ex, we did have some really fruitful conversations about some procedural things. Like, I have this need to be greeted warmly by the person I'm dating, while my ex had a hard time warming up if we hadn't seen each other in a while. He'd go on a two-week vacation, and I'd be missing the hell out of him, and I'd come over and he'd barely answer the door before rushing off to the kitchen or something.

So we talked about it. He explained that he's bad at "transitions" like going from being loner-dad-Max to hot-blooded-lover-Max. I explained that I just want someone who loves me to be happy to see me. It was a helpful conversation, because he imagined that I needed something much more demanding (like instant hot sex on the couch) and I imagined that he was truly unhappy to see me. Both of us were wrong, and it made the rest of the relationship a lot easier.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:48 PM
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217: am i the last person to learn you have a new blog?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:49 PM
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221.1: Agreed.

But further to 220: It strikes me that some of the sort of communication I'm trying to describe is really a matter of practice, and that many people find it very difficult to make declarative statements about themselves.

It shouldn't be terrifying, for example, to say something like "This relationship is becoming something I didn't envision between us [in that it's ...], and I think I'm resisting it."

B. raised a good point in the recent thread about the guy AWB was seeing suddenly disappearing on her: that people sometimes do this disappearing act out of guilt. I assume this means: because you will think I'm a bad person if I come clean!

But actually, very few people are bad people, and coming clean, as it were, just explaining what's going on, is the way to knowing that nah, nobody's a bad guy here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:52 PM
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217: am i the last person to learn you have a new blog?

No, I am. I saw Megan commenting at Eric and Ari's place with that URL, and assumed it was a different Megan.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:56 PM
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226 - No, today is the very first day we're telling people about it. You're, like, first wave. Putting it under my name here and at EotAW was all the announcing I planned on doing for a while.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 5:59 PM
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Damn, Megan, ogged has out-quit you now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:10 PM
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227 is true. I also think people don't communicate because they don't necessarily know why they feel the way they do. Like, I held off explaining my "greeting" problem with Max for a long time because I needed time to figure out why I was feeling so bad. I'm not very smart about figuring out why I feel the way I do, and it took time. Once I named it to myself and it made sense (I wish Max wasn't so cold to me when I haven't seen him for a while), I could say it clearly to him.

The May Gentleman issue ended up being a combination of "guilt" (about still having feelings for an ex) and lack of clarity. According to him, he kept putting off calling me until he felt he could say clearly and strongly that he was ready to have a committed relationship with me, and the day hadn't come yet when he was settled about what he wanted. I'm glad to know he was actually thinking about what he wanted, though (a) I was disappointed that he felt the need for that much "clarity" before continuing to see me, especially since I have no such clarity myself, and (b) I was hurt that it didn't occur to him that the last thing he told me was that he was really excited to get together when he got the chance. At any rate, the whole thing made him realize he needs to spend some time totally single for a while. I don't know if he'll manage it, and I'm sort of afraid that he'll start pursuing me again and I'll go along with it and he'll leave me hanging again and I'll feel like a sucker. (And no, due to certain circumstances, I can't avoid him. I also don't know if I can hold a grudge enough to resist him. I'm bad at grudges and very easily charmed.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:12 PM
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As it happened, we didn't register anywhere, and the gifts were unmemorable (most people, stymied by the lack of registry, gave cash.)

We had a registry, and people gave cash. I think they didn't like my tastes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:12 PM
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232: The only thing I wanted to get you was a magazine rack, but I took one look at that magazine rack you listed -- oh girl, I cannot have that on my credit history.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:14 PM
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The magazines are just for display purposes. You didn't have to get her OMNI.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:19 PM
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AWB: (going way back up, I don't even remember the #) Oh yeah! college! boy, I'd forgotten how common that '12/hr marathon friend' desire-thing was in college!! Somewhat more excusable then, however, than now when all parties concerned are (cough) almost twice college age. The last time it happened it was extremely difficult to manage-- the woman in question was (is) colleague at new job. I got glimmers that I might have to deal with something in this territory immediately before moving (after accepting job, mind you), but wow, on my arrival... It blew up very quickly; after I'd been at new place for only a few days. "You must be w/me all waking hrs" woman had wanted to get together "as soon as" I arrived, and I'd offered coffee or drinks, but said spouse and I were going to be way too tied up unpacking, finding way around town, etc for much more than that. She wouldn't hear it; just didn't. Called several times a day to propose massive 8-9 hour 'outings' involving meal, activity,second meal, and then my (possible) release. On the 3rd or 4th day after my arrival, I went out to get some stuff for new house and get my keys to new office. When I got home, I had received in my 3hr absence more than 10 emails from "her", the last of which was to the effect of "do you hate me? you have to tell me? why aren't you answering me??" jesus fucking christ.
Anyway-let me know if you ever figure out that f-d up kind of thing. As for emotionally aware men--well, I've been really lucky as far as friendships of that sort go (I suppose being a real live certified gold-star lesbian might help by removing the kind of worries Becks has to deal with).
I mention this now not to suggest you-AWB- transform yourself into gold-star lesbian, but because when I sat here and reflected on what all the nice-straight guy friends I have (a fairly disparate group) in common, I came up with the perfect screening question for you (applicable both for potential friendships and romantic partners, though vital for the latter). You ready?
here it is:
"How many years of therapy have you had, when did you have it, and of what kind was it?"
Exclude anyone who doesn't already have at least 2 years of therapy under their belt, and also exclude anyone who didn't do something fairly hard-core--e.g. people who have had analysis, good. People who've done some kind of touchy-feely warm huggs resident-advisor-ish "I hear where you're coming from"--OUT. [you'll forever be their mama]
--I'm sure we can add other rules about acceptable answers to this question. But that's a start.


Posted by: academic lesbian | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:26 PM
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217: am i the last person to learn you have a new blog?

What's pathetic is that you didn't get my obvious reference to it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:31 PM
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231.1: Once I named it to myself and it made sense (I wish Max wasn't so cold to me when I haven't seen him for a while), I could say it clearly to him.

Your example is funny (endearing) to me if only because I once found myself writing a letter to my then-partner including the plaintive statement: I wish you would smile sometimes when I get home. Eventually we had that conversation.

But really I'm just trying to tease something out here, and shouldn't use unfogged to do it, about the difference between a relationship in which people tell each other such things without fear (apprehension, yes), and one in which they don't. It's so striking, and I've had both. The latter just kills me.

I think what happens when that sort of plain communication breaks down is disintegration of trust -- open communication doesn't just require, but builds, trust. There's no replacing it. Those who are very happily coupled up will, of course, know this, and be chuckling at me. It's not like I didn't know it!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:33 PM
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I'm bad at grudges and very easily charmed.

This is not a bad thing. Within reasonable limits, fairness is overrated.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:38 PM
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236: I don't read the swimming threads.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:41 PM
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235: Jeez, AL, that's terrifying. What did she want from you? Might it be something like validation in some weird way, like, hey, this gold-star lesbian spent all day with me and that makes her like my best friend and so I can talk about my awesome gold-star lesbian best friend? I only suggest it because, as I recall from college, a lot of the women who latched onto me were always talking about something about my identity that made me a friend they were proud to wear around like a badge. They were also always asking for the "as an X, how do you feel about Y?" opinion. (Yes, I realize it's absurd to have a "token" friend who is not that interesting or radical in any way, but apparently I blew their minds.) And some of those friendships ended, similarly, when they started getting really creepy and angry about my not being able to devote all my time and energy to their friendship.

Unfortunately, I don't pass your test, AL, since my stint in therapy was eight weeks with a pretty inept "Aren't you so strong?!?" therapist, but I know what you mean. I guess that, although I'm complaining about having to do so much emotional labor in my het relationships here, probably the main reason I've never had a long-term romantic relationship with a woman is that every time I'm about to, I discover that she's far, far more emotionally intelligent than me and has a really clear idea about what she wants, and I don't. I feel like I'm not emotionally prepared for the kinds of relationships I could have with women, though I'm frustrated by the complete lack of preparation I find in men. Is there a dating club for people who don't know what they want but have at least reached a solid plateau of knowing what they don't want?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:43 PM
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Is there a dating club for people who don't know what they want but have at least reached a solid plateau of knowing what they don't want?

Will's waiting room.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 6:46 PM
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They were also always asking for the "as an X, how do you feel about Y?" opinion.

Are you an X? I didn't think you had any good token characteristics.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 7:35 PM
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Depends on the community I'm in, but those communities were really easy to find at my Uni.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 7:42 PM
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Non-X-hag.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 7:45 PM
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244 is funny.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 7:49 PM
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Aw, fuck. Appropos this thread, my friend just called and mentioned she's out with this guy I had drinks with a couple weeks ago. Who apparently is under the impression that we are dating. And apparently is "crazy about" me. And who I think is a nice guy, but...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 7:57 PM
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A divorced Di is a dangerous Di. Breaking hearts throughout the midwest.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:07 PM
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244 is true of college me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:08 PM
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Just tossing this out, on the "nice guy" question.

This neighbor of mine, retired military, just told me how he married his wife. When they were single he found out that she needed her house roofed and had got a $6000 estimate (30 years ago, a lot). He said, "That's way too much! I'll do it for $2,000." He drove 1000 miles and roofed her house in 95 degree heat. Her mom and dad liked him and the got married.

OK, now. If "nice guys" expressed their niceness by roofing your house (literally, not in some smutty young people code language) rather than by moping about and whimpering, would they be more attractive?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:09 PM
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Come on people! Marriage is fabulous. Stop thinking about it so much.

Free gifts when you get married. Reduced health insurance costs. Economies of scale with groceries and wine glasses.

Plus, you get to lose all that weight when you get divorced.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:12 PM
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249: Yes. Also, mold remediation in my basement would be hott!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:13 PM
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Is this a serious question, John?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:13 PM
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Is there a dating club for people who don't know what they want but have at least reached a solid plateau of knowing what they don't want?


Try dating divorced people in their 40s.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:14 PM
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Di, that is just dirty.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:15 PM
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It would be very attractive to me if a nice girl expressed her niceness by coming over, cleaning my house, doing my laundry, and cooking an excellent meal.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:16 PM
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I think the number one cause of inexplicably poor communication and seeming emotional deafness in relationships is that one partner doesn't really want to be there. If everyone restricted themselves to dating people who was crazy about them then all would go well. But instead all us 6s are looking for 8s, the 8s want 10s, and the 10s are looking in the mirror.

God, now I sound just like John.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:19 PM
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I don't read the swimming threads.

Can't blame you there, but it turned out not to be about swimming, besides, christ, it was slow around here today. Had to take the conversation where it happened.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:20 PM
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253: The above Max was 43 and not-yet-divorced. Was that my mistake? The sex was hot, but he was psychotic.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:21 PM
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258: How many years of therapy had he had and what kind?

(I'll be at the 2 year mark in Sept.! I expect my dating and non-awkward friendship prospects to vastly improve.)


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:22 PM
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256: IME, the 9s are looking for 6s, for a month, before they go back to dating 10s.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:22 PM
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259: Five years?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:24 PM
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This thread slightly creeps me out; more so than other unfogged relationship threads. I'm trying to figure out why.

It makes me feel like "people should not date introverts and, therefore, should not date me." I'm trying to figure out what's triggering that reaction.

Some of that is, I'm sure, a lingering sense of crankiness over PMP's comment I've found the key that let me make new friends was just to spend a lot of time outside the house.. That's a fine observation, but it does remind one of how much of a disadvantage being an introvert is.

More specifically, the talk about distribution of "emotional work" has touched on a sensitive spot for me. In addition to being an introvert I also tend to avoid doing things that make me feel incompetent.

One of the hardest things that I have experienced in a relationship is the moment when you realize that someone else has emotional needs/desires that you, for whatever reason, cannot fulfill.

The simplest response to that situation would be to say, "you seem to desire X, I don't know if I can provide that. You should think about whether your desire for X is negotiable (refer back to the Abigail Addams thread), or whether you can think of some way for me to provide X."

I cannot handle that situation that simply. For me, that is just an intensely frustration situation, and one that triggers my feelings of incompetence and by association, avoidance.

I recognize this about myself, but I think that's the sore spot that this thread touched. Why it triggered that association, I don't know.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:26 PM
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But instead all us 6s are looking for 8s, the 8s want 10s, and the 10s are looking in the mirror.

I'm afraid this is about as silly as John's question. You don't really, at age 40, keep on grading people like this, do you?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:26 PM
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260: PRECISELY. That's exactly the problem, that's what drives the 6s mad with ambiguious signals. What could I do differently to fix it! Talk to me! But there's nothing to be done, they're just absent-mindedly dabbling.

But I'm tired of it all now and of a mind to curl up with another 6. As soon as I recover from my last breakup. (Which was not of the 6 dating 9 variety...it was another sort, where two 6s have just accumulated too much unique-itude over the years and can't compatibilize it).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:27 PM
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263: not really, that way of thinking is more relevant in your 20s and a little silly anyway. By 40 everyone is grateful to be a 6.

I'm just venting / procrastinating because I'm frustrated trying to write something. I need to go home. I'm meeting with a Canadian bureaucrat early tomorrow morning, it's going to be very exciting and I need to be at my best.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:30 PM
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I suspect that long term relationship success is the result of some odd combination of good communication and/or and inability or unwillingness to look too closely at the other's faults.

Kind of like those horrible mirrors that show you how horrible your skin looks.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:31 PM
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264: Other 6s find me repulsive. It's weird.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:32 PM
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I should add that 262 isn't a complaint about the thread, just noting my reaction, which is probably completely idiosyncratic.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:32 PM
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How can anyone find AWG repulsive?

I'm finding that hard to believe.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:34 PM
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"people should not date introverts and, therefore, should not date me."

This could be my non-relationship motto.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:35 PM
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269: I'm overweight, Will (if you mean me). That means a lot to guys who are slightly self-conscious about their looks. It means very little to guys who think they're gods. Therefore, I date a lot of arrogant great-looking assholes.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:37 PM
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I agree with NickS. The comments from PMP and nattarGcm in particular have an underlying implication of "what's the big deal? If I meet an awesome girl and she's not into me, who cares because I'm going to meet lots of other awesome girls soon enough".

Good for you, I say, but that's because of your personality or some other sort of luck.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:38 PM
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268: my reaction, which is probably completely idiosyncratic.

Probably not. People wouldn't be dragging it on otherwise.

The aversive reaction to confusion and feelings of inadequacy (to the task) is probably pretty common not just to introverts but to intellectuals.

Though that actually sounds rather stupid, since we know quite well that many many people avoid those feelings. Scratch that, then.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:40 PM
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I'm afraid this is about as silly as John's question. You don't really, at age 40, keep on grading people like this, do you?

OK, I'm out of the pool, and I'm only 35, but: it's not about consciously grading people; it's that people are what they are (physical attractiveness-wise)*, and even once they're older, it still has formed how they relate to other people in dating/mating circumstances.

IOW, take what I was saying above about people who are unused to ever being rebuffed. Even when they're all grown up and out of the casual dating/sex lifestyle, their whole conception of how to relate to potential romantic partners is skewed by this decade(s)-long experience of getting what they want through raw attractiveness. The inverse is obviously true with ugly people.

Even in the finer gradations, I would imagine that 5s (who aren't obviously unattractive, but also aren't attractive enough ever to succeed on looks alone) approach their 40s with different partnering assumptions from 8s (who maybe can't have just anyone, but aren't really attractiveness-limited in youthful dating).

All that said, I don't think that relative attractiveness ever played any big role in any of my relationships, except for the one woman who wasn't super-hot, but was hot enough that she got distracted from me (she had enough choice that she could decide not to be bothered, although it turned out we were super-compatible).

* Please don't take this to be a simplistic statement; I know that some people transcend their objective appearance through inner vitality, and that others go from plain to gorgeous as they age, or the reverse. I'm taking this somewhere else.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:40 PM
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You are totally setting me up AWB, you tricky vixen!
Now, I cannot say anything.

Oh well. I will anyway, despite your sneaky efforts.

I've seen you. I've hugged you. There are lots of people who could lose weight. Me among them. But, repulsive????


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:41 PM
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275: Well, at least, not attractive enough to date. Unattractive enough to reject pointedly. I get no such treatment from arrogant great-looking assholes, which is what keeps driving me into their arms. I have too much pride to go around trying to convince guys who are more appropriate for me that I'm cute enough to date.

I am totally Becks-style right now.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:46 PM
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I agree with NickS. The comments from PMP and nattarGcm in particular have an underlying implication of . . .

I'm going to disagree with this somewhat. I thought PMP and ttaM's comments were reasonable (and, as B has said in the past, there's nothing wrong with encouraging introverts to occasionally pretend to be extroverts).

But, for me, it did put me in a state of mind to be thinking about the moments when the demands of a relationship do not correspond to one's natural personality, when reading the rest of the thread.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:47 PM
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I'm confused.

Becks-style means not wearing underwear, right?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:48 PM
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wow these threads move fast. I feel lke such a slow child.
AWB-- I don't know what the hell she wanted (going way back to 240 or so) My best guess based on limited info is that she was in mode of not-dealing with longstanding and deep relationship problems with her husband, and I was supposed to provide deflection object, enable denial through distraction, and simultaneously reassure (implicitly, of course) that really, she didn't have relationship problems with her husband--it was all just 'cause, he's a boy and she's a girl and see she can get along just fine intimately w/other women (me) so really it's all about him,, and and. yeah, I know, that's really bitchy. But she was (is) pretty psycho.

as for knowing what one doesn't vs. does really want. Well, of course the former is easier & the latter almost impossible--b/c the latter actually changes more. For me, anyway. The things I really, really didn't want at 20, 25 & 30-still don't. But there were things I really did want as part of my life at 25 (and not just in the 'want this b/c I haven't yet had enough therapy' sense) that I didn't at 30, and those changes haven't stopped. For me, anyway, the biggest thing about approaching middle-age has been just letting go of the 'myth of figuring it all out'.

anyway awb, I didn't say *you* had to pass the therapy test, I said the people you date had to. :)
and congrats otto pancakes guy! (really, the 2yr mark is a big deal)


Posted by: academic lesbian | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:48 PM
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One's natural personality evolves as one interacts with others.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:48 PM
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280 to 277.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:49 PM
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Unattractive enough to reject pointedly. I get no such treatment from arrogant great-looking assholes

Pointed rejection is actually better than getting played. It stings, but it's less of an extended mindfuck and frees you up to look elsewhere.

Not trying to be patronizing (maybe I am being), I've been there. Although I think women are far less likely than men are to play the opposite sex out of temporary curiousity, which is related to some previous threads here.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:51 PM
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For me, anyway, the biggest thing about approaching middle-age has been just letting go of the 'myth of figuring it all out'.

Wow, AL. This really rings true for me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:52 PM
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One's natural personality evolves as one interacts with others.

Yes. Sometimes in helpful ways, sometimes not.

Less sarcastically, I chose that phrase because it's an inadequate phrase. To my ear, adding "natural" highlights the problems in appealing to "personality" as an explanation.

It's easy to say "I can't do X" but more accurate to say, "my habits and inclinations steer me away from X' which isn't a comment that's likely to satisfy anyone.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:56 PM
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Pointed rejection is actually better than getting played.

You may be right, but it's very hard to feel sympathetic with people who openly treat me like shit when people who are being really genuinely nice to me just aren't able to handle it in the long term.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 8:58 PM
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274: I acknowledge everything you say, JRoth, and was just trying to frame a way to say it, actually. Yeah, I know. Early experience shapes self-confidence, if nothing else, even as we age.

I suppose I want to say that into your late 30s, 40s and later, attractiveness of the sort that might still be called in terms of 6's or 8's is a function of affect, behavior. As you say.

But still there's something wrong here: I am most attracted to people roughly in my own vicinity, but it's not even remotely a requirement. Eh. I think it was the reference upthread to trying to trade up, as it were, that made little sense to me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:02 PM
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||

Picture of newborn elephant! At my zoo!

We'll be there soon, Unnamed Female!

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:04 PM
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It's easy to say "I can't do X" but more accurate to say, "my habits and inclinations steer me away from X' which isn't a comment that's likely to satisfy anyone.

Very true, but when you're steering yourself to somewhere you don't want to be, something has to give. (In my case, catalyzed by a drunken conversation with a classmate that started a chain of events and decisions that reshaped my life in ways I wouldn't have expected at the time; life is weird.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:05 PM
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I am most attracted to people roughly in my own vicinity, but it's not even remotely a requirement.

Not to be all New Agey, but I think that the compression of attractiveness as we age, combined with people getting their inner shit more together (relative to their 20s, not nec. Big Picture) means that we intuit better who is in our own vicinity.

IOW, you can be a perfectly decent-looking person who's nice inside in your 20s, but if you're still caught up in childish insecurity, you're going to be in, and be looking in, the wrong vicinity. But by their mid-30s, I think most people have enough of an idea of themselves that their "true" beauty becomes more apparent. And others who match up can recognize it.

The weirdest thing to me is that I look at pics of AB when she was in her early 20s and think she looks so much better now, at almost 40, as well as when we met and she was ~30. Some people age well, obvs., but I think it's that she has her shit together now (and when we met - I'm not taking credit here) in a way she didn't then, and it shines through. As I say, almost New Agey, but true, IME.

None of this explains 40-y.o.s, attractive inside and out-, who can't find anyone.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:13 PM
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Now here's a guy - 46 - whose inner ugliness presumably shines forth like a beacon of shittiness:

A North Side man charged with vehicular homicide and drunken driving last month told police that the victim "had no business" sitting on the side of the street when his truck struck him, according to testimony in a preliminary hearing at City Court today.
Jesus.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:17 PM
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I have a hard time with these threads. I've been very lucky in my dating life, having dated a lot of great women and living with a fabulous woman now.

I read these threads and think, "AWB is great! Or NickS is really interesting." I think "I have pluses, but I've got lots of negatives, yet I find people to date so they should too."

So I have a very difficult time wrapping my head around how some people might find dating difficult. Is it my lack of imagination? Or is it something else? (Sorry, just blathering here.)


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:17 PM
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The sex was hot, but [?] he was psychotic.

a. and
b. because
c. and even better,
d. and like me,


Parsimon, with your attitude, you'll never get your house roofed.

I just assume status hierarchies. 6s and 10s aren't necessarily just looks, but the whole package. By and large, people dream of someone better than themselves.

Except for nice, affectionate, non-judgmental, accepting, status-indifferent people completely unlike the Unfoggetariat.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:18 PM
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290:

That guy wasn't driving an ice cream truck, was he?


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:19 PM
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289: That's why I've largely dated older dudes, because it's one way of getting out of this "attractiveness" game, but dating older people has its own risks and problems.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:21 PM
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291: You sexy dog, you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:21 PM
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So I have a very difficult time wrapping my head around how some people might find dating difficult. Is it my lack of imagination? Or is it something else?

My guess is that it is a personality difference. I find interacting with other people in non-structured situations to be extremely stressful so dating is pretty much a no go for me.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:24 PM
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So I have a very difficult time wrapping my head around how some people might find dating difficult

I was thinking recently that there are some skills that, once acquired, make it very difficult to project oneself imaginatively backwards to a state when one didn't have the skill.

For me, I was thinking that, at the moments when I can hear something new in a piece of music, it becomes almost impossible for me to remember what that pieces sounded like to me before I had that perception.

There are people who can easily pay attention to more things then I can when listening to music and people who pay attention to less elements, but it's really hard to imagine myself in either of those states of listening.

I suspect that similar things happen in the process of one's dating life.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:25 PM
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That is my point, John. Not to get too personal with AWB, but I think AWB and I are on the same level. Is it a gender thing? Have I just been luckier than AWB?

(I'm starting to feel gloomy that I am jinxing myself and that BR is going to dump me and i will never have a date again.)


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:27 PM
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Another thought:

Have AWB and I had the same experiences, but I look at them positively and she looks at them negatively?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:28 PM
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293: No, just a regular drunk driver. Blew a .214.*

* Coincidentally, Freddy Sanchez (2B) is also blowing a .214 this season.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:28 PM
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289: Agreed completely, except for why it's New Agey at all.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:30 PM
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Have AWB and I had the same experiences, but I look at them positively and she looks at them negatively?

Well, we have established that AWB runs in the most assholish circles of one of the more asshole-y places in America. Whatever the hell is going on, it's not just POV.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:30 PM
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except for why it's New Agey at all.

Oh, I just felt a little silly writing about people's inner selves shining through and revealing their true beauty.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:32 PM
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Hey, wait a sec. I roofed my house, and I didn't get what John suggests I should have gotten. Maybe my wife turned someone away at the door while I was up on the roof.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:33 PM
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298: Yeah, I think it's a gender thing. You and I are both reasonably attractive, with nice eyes and an engaging personality, and that's exactly what women are looking for, and they're happy to find a guy who's not only attractive to them but also nice and smart. Most of the guys who are about as attractive (given parsimon's complaint about the bullshit of such measurements) as I am fit more into JE's idea of people who are looking to date "up" into some more standardly attractive social atmosphere. Whereas the guys who actively pursue me are, yes, genuinely attracted to me, but also easily distractable because everyone is attracted to them.

The "attractiveness" bullshit that PGD introduced is total bullshit, but, unfortunately, has a lot to do with how sex relates to status. I've been in quite a few situations in which someone was obviously physically attracted to me, but torn away by the promise of someone whose "attractiveness" was more status-y. Yes, they're assholes, but what is a woman to do except accept the possibility that she can't compete against someone who, no matter how stupid or mean, looks better than she does in a photo?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:35 PM
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Interesting. I was starting to suspect that might be the difference.

I want to be a fly on the wall when AWB dates.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:39 PM
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292:

I just assume status hierarchies. 6s and 10s aren't necessarily just looks, but the whole package. By and large, people dream of someone better than themselves.

John, you're confusing me. Of course people are a whole package: you don't dub the whole package a 6 or a 10, unless you're incredibly ... weird. How's that work, you average the handiman aspect with the hotness aspect? Throw in some compatibility aspect? How on earth would you dream of someone better than yourself in these multiple regards? These things are specific to the two of you in tandem!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:39 PM
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Musing: two years of therapy is surely a proxy, but I doubt it's a proxy for mental health. (Probably does a good job of selecting for age, income, class, education, and attitudes.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:40 PM
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How's that work, you average the handiman aspect with the hotness aspect?

Yes.

Throw in some compatibility aspect?

Compatibility being based partly on similarity, partly on other factors, yes.

How on earth would you dream of someone better than yourself in these multiple regards?

I assumed everyone did.

These things are specific to the two of you in tandem!

Sure, if you know each other really well.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:41 PM
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299: I never said I viewed them negatively. I'm very good at compartmentalizing memories. I'm extremely lucky to have had a lot of the experiences I've had, in part because they invalidate the "attractiveness" bullshit that gets implemented on women. I know it's ridiculous when someone rejects me for not being attractive enough, not because I'm so fucking hot or something, but because I'm a really special person who transcends those categories for anyone who cares to look. I'm giving, caring, ethical, intelligent, sexually attentive, a good cook, emotionally flexible, etc. I have no doubts about my ability to be a good partner, because I feel like I've had lots of experiences that have shown that is true. The only reason I feel I've been rejected is because I'm not excruciatingly beautiful. Does that say something shitty about guys? Sure. But I have had so many great experiences within my experience that I'm willing to keep trying.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:42 PM
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297 is really insightful. For me it's like a ladder, but as you go up the rungs they disappear behind you and you can't really remember all the intermediate steps. I notice this most acutely when I'm trying to teach a younger colleague something that didn't come naturally to me, and I realize I have to consciously think to recall all the particular steps I took to develop the skill.

looks better than she does in a photo

Hey! Just yesterday I was told that I have fishbelly-white skin. In a non-romantic context and everything! Unfortunately, it was also a racist context. Not much of a compliment, then.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:44 PM
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The only reason I feel I've been rejected is because I'm not excruciatingly beautiful.

This comment is what I meant about negatively, I guess.

If I got dumped, I wouldnt ever think that it was because of my looks. So my questions are:

Is that your paranoia?
Is it a gender issue?
Should I think the same thing?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:44 PM
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OT:
Witt has great skin. Of course, since my significant other is a ginger, maybe I am unduly favorably to those with fishy-belly white skin.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:46 PM
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you average the handiman aspect with the hotness aspect?

Dude, parsimon, this was definitely a typo right? Handyman skills are hot. I am completely serious. Didn't Ogged (PBUH) have, like, eleventy-two posts on the hotness of competence and skill?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:47 PM
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308: no doubt mostly true, & I should have thought of that. though I do think that within the class/age/education slice about which we're speaking here, 2yrs of therapy as a rule of thumb is better than not--esp if it's decent non-wimpy type therapy. Also, I wasn't so mich thinking of mental health broadly ( though that'd be nice)-- I was thinking specifically about the kind of emotional articulateness AWB has found sorely lacking in men she's dated.


Posted by: academic lesbian | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:49 PM
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You have to learn to think like an economist, parsimon. Imagine different people with varying tastes who each prefer different baskets of relationship goods -- looks, sexiness, money, roofing abilities, tolerance of bad smells, attitude toward cats, etc. Then imagine the baskets of relationship goods being priced on the dating market according to the laws of supply and demand. Each individual basket of traits will get its dating-market price. While it's true that individuals often differ from the mean in their tastes, nonetheless they'll still be bidding in a market with a given price structure based on everyone's tastes. And to the extent that tastes are similar, as they tend to be (few positively value bad smells, for example), to that degree each individual's value will be objectively set by the market.

And in general, people do tend to aspire upward, one way or another.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:50 PM
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Handyman skills are hot. I am completely serious.

Agreed. But that is true for any skills. Anytime someone does something skillful, it is attractive.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:52 PM
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This is the bizarrest advice I've ever read. And I used to read Ann Landers every day:

"How many years of therapy have you had, when did you have it, and of what kind was it?" Exclude anyone who doesn't already have at least 2 years of therapy under their belt, and also exclude anyone who didn't do something fairly hard-core--e.g. people who have had analysis, good. People who've done some kind of touchy-feely warm huggs resident-advisor-ish "I hear where you're coming from"--OUT. [you'll forever be their mama]

I'll say it, since no one else has the courage to: introverts should be shunned, and possibly hunted for sport.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:52 PM
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312: Yes, I think it's a gender thing. Women, IME, have an acceptability attitude toward attractiveness, in that what matters is whether that person is kind and caring. I have dated men who had no problem with my attractiveness until they were offered the prospect of being with a more physically appealing woman. It's not anyone's fault; I blame the patriarchy, of course.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:52 PM
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I was thinking recently that there are some skills that, once acquired, make it very difficult to project oneself imaginatively backwards to a state when one didn't have the skill. [...] I suspect that similar things happen in the process of one's dating life.

"But what is the soul nourished on, Socrates?

Teachings, I would say. And watch, or the sophist might deceive us in advertising what he sells, the way merchants who market food for the body do. In general, those who market provisions don't know what is good or bad for the body—they just recommend everything they sell—nor do those who buy … when you buy food and drink from the merchant you can take each item back home from the store in its own container and before you ingest it into your body you can lay it all out and call in an expert for conslutation as to waht should be eaten or drunk and what not, and how much and when. So there's not much risk in your purchase. But you cannot carry teachings away in a separate container. You put down your money and take the teaching away in your soul by having learned it, and off you go, either helped or injured. (Protagoras, 313c–d; 314a–b)

Thus we should be suspicious of Millian "true judges". Cf. the so-called (by some, anyway!) "brute force" account of metaphor (Davidson, Cohen), and Nehamas maybe in his most recent book and maybe just in an example in a talk on the Symposium he gave at Stanford a while back.

Of course, this also arises with rather plebeian "being in the world"ish examples; one that used to crop up with me was the ability to open my knife one-handed (it's designed to be so openable, but there's a knack), though there I'm not sure if it's a matter of projecting oneself imaginatively back to before one could do it, so much as not really having a clear idea how one does it in the first place.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:54 PM
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Will's being butt-ugly is not necessarily a detriment, since he's sexily butt-ugly.

You're welcome, will.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:54 PM
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Hey! Just yesterday I was told that I have fishbelly-white skin. In a non-romantic context and everything!

Wait, is that ordinarily a compliment? In a world in which "ox-eyed" is complimentary, I suppose it's possible.

I saw someone on the street a few hours ago who looked like a 90% scale version of you, Witt.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:55 PM
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||

Man, the Olbermann show is really tilting. Big questions today (paraphrased):

"How badly did the TV interview of Obama, his wife, and his adorable kids hurt him?"

and:

"How badly did it hurt Obama when Jesse Jackson Sister Souljahed himself so that Obama could forgive him?

My questions on #2: Was Jesse in on the Obama game this time? Was Fox?

|>

Sorry, guys, but the other thread was dead.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:55 PM
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Insert quotation marks as necessary into 320.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:56 PM
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Also amend "conslutation" and "waht", or, if you prefer not doing so, don't.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:57 PM
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Fish-belly white is from Huck Finn, and elsewhere of course. Not a compliment, and not accurate. Though I would not call you "olive-skinned" or "sultry".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:57 PM
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I saw someone on the street a few hours ago who looked like a 90% scale version of you, Witt.

I think Ben just called you fat.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 9:59 PM
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Dude, parsimon, this was definitely a typo right?

You mean aside from my spelling of "handiman"?

Handyman skills are -- well, I know a lot of people who have them. I'm glad. If I had a line of otherwise equal potential partners lined up and one of them had handyman skills that were especially complementary to my own shortcomings and desires, I guess I would be positively inclined.

But honestly, I'm not going to rule someone out because he's not handy, nor -- more importantly -- am I going to favor someone who's mightily handy, but about whom I'm lukewarm sexually or intellectually.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:00 PM
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322: I dunno, sounds odd to me, but was quite clearly intended as a compliment in this case.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:01 PM
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If I got dumped, I wouldnt ever think that it was because of my looks. So my questions are: Is that your paranoia? Is it a gender issue? Should I think the same thing?

Doesn't this depend completely and totally on the people you try to date? If you don't date people who are very into how physically attractive their partner is, it's unlikely you'll be dumped for not looking hot enough. Same goes for money, smarts, ambition, what have you. I generally try to date successful intelligent alpha chicks, so I get dumped for being lazy and accomodating.

Also, people are notoriously unreliable self-reporters, even to themselves, particularly when it comes to relationships.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:02 PM
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I was just thinking that it would help weed out the emo nice guys from the actually useful nice guys.

I asked the guy's wife if she also had a plumber and an electrician on trial during the dating period.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:04 PM
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328.3: Agreed. I'm not saying it's a deciding factor, just that it's part of the package. So to speak.

Emerson, you've clearly never heard me with laryngitis. Sultry doesn't begin to describe it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:04 PM
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I find handyman skills to be an attractiveness multiplier. If the man is already nice and kind and attractive, that he can fix things is really great. If he's a dick, then chances are he's going to be using his handyman skills..condescendingly. Let me handle that for ya, little lady, sort of thing. (My sister seems to attract these clowns.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:04 PM
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Something I have realized is different between the real world and the TV world is that white-whiteness (as well as black-blackness and brown-brownness) are really attractive. When do we see any of these things on TV? It's usually unnaturally tan white girls, and light-skinned black and brown girls. Same thing with non-standard-sized girls.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:05 PM
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people are notoriously unreliable self-reporters, even to themselves, particularly when it comes to relationships.

Agreed. I guess I am trying to figure out whether it is me or AWB who is being more inaccurate. Not that it is a competition.

I keep coming back to my question of whether I am being naive or whether she is projecting.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:06 PM
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330, I grant you. It's the only reason I've ever been explicitly given. No one has ever dumped me for not being kind, or generous, or thoughtful, or good enough in bed. I've only been dumped for not being hot, as far as I know.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:09 PM
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It is true that if neither of you can fix anything, you're going to need money to compensate for it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:12 PM
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337 to the handyman topic.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:13 PM
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AWB, I have the solution to your dating problem. I realize that since 90% of my comments are jokes, it sounds like I'm joking, but I'm not. I'm only going on how you describe yourself here, but different aspects of your personality overlap with different women I've known, all of whom have happy dating lives. For a while, I was puzzled why things turned on so differently for them than it has for you -- I attributed it to either a) because you lived in New York, or b) you were somhow an unusually bad judge of men. But I thought about it some more, and I realized what all of those women did differently: they all date software developers. (One of them dates two software developers at once; I guess they run small.) Many software developers are incredible sexist assholes, of course, but many of them are nice and socially conscious. They also tend to view relationships less in status terms and more in instrumentalist terms. They have less rigid ideas about how relationships are supposed to work, too. They're shitty at opening jars and killing bugs, though.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:14 PM
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339: I happily open my own jars and kill my own bugs! I've been rejected by quite a few software developers, though. Should I maintain hope?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:17 PM
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Our houseguests -- leaving Friday -- took the opportunity to show us some (many!) of the zillion photos they've taken on this trip. I don't feature very prominently, correctly so, but I have to say that they've probably taken the most unflattering pictures of me ever.

God I'm lucking not to be dating.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:22 PM
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Agreed. I guess I am trying to figure out whether it is me or AWB who is being more inaccurate. Not that it is a competition.

The two of you seem to have remarkably different outlooks on life. I'd guess that your daughter has instilled a sense of pragmatism and raised the bar for what you consider "hard to deal with", which can't help but lead to higher perceived success in dating...

339: I think dating software engineers only works if your parent of the appropriate gender was also tech-y/science-y.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:23 PM
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340: Yes. I was sure you were going to say that you've dated software developers and they were all assholes too...


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:25 PM
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Also, I'm not sure where Walt Someguy is, but there's a certain sort of software developer that is present in places like the SFBA or Boston that is not present (or very thin on the ground) in NYC.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:26 PM
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They're shitty at opening jars

Heh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:27 PM
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.I'd guess that your daughter has instilled a sense of pragmatism and raised the bar for what you consider "hard to deal with", which can't help but lead to higher perceived success in dating...

What are you suggesting here? That I'm picky or hard to get along with? I'll agree that Will has dealt with much harder things than I've ever had to, but I'm not going to say that I should have put up with the people who've been particularly cruel to me, even those who've been dealing with emotional problems. The equation is a false one, or at least one that I'm not comfortable with. Having a child who is autistic is very different from dating someone who is physically and sexually abusive.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:28 PM
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344: You're probably right about that. In the Bay Area, AWB would be knee-deep in software developer cock right now. Though of the women I'm thinking about, they met their lovers all over: Albany, Philadelphia, etc.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:30 PM
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I'm not liking the images brought to mind by 344. Fortunately Apo isn't around to give us links.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:32 PM
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347, that is.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:33 PM
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the most unflattering pictures of me ever

This is one reason I doubt I'll ever attempt to date via the interwebs: I'm so unphotogenic it's not funny. Painful, actually.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:34 PM
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What are you suggesting here? That I'm picky or hard to get along with? I'll agree that Will has dealt with much harder things than I've ever had to, but I'm not going to say that I should have put up with the people who've been particularly cruel to me, even those who've been dealing with emotional problems. The equation is a false one, or at least one that I'm not comfortable with. Having a child who is autistic is very different from dating someone who is physically and sexually abusive.

Not picky; demanding in the sense of knowing what you want and not wanting to settle for less. As near as I can tell, no one becomes a successful academic without being like that. The field is just too cutthroat.

I'm also not giving will martyr points of any sort, just wondering if he is more prone to the "you know what, this isn't so bad" behavior pattern.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:38 PM
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And not in regards to dating someone who is emotionally or physically abusive - no one should have to or should put up with that.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:40 PM
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I've only been dumped for not being hot, as far as I know.

Hmm. To argue that this might not exactly be the case, after I told Bad Old GF that I just wasn't that attracted to her, she insisted that I had told her that she was fat. She was not, and her body was more attractive to me than her face (or her dark, dark soul). Nonetheless, she heard what she wanted to (and proceeded to starve herself during the subsequent interregnum).

But I wasn't judging her less attractive on some objective scale; she was just less attractive (in the narrow, physical sense) to me.

Again, AWB may be exactly correct in her assessment, but I'm suggesting that she may be presuming overly in this direction. OTOH, she apparently dates hot arrogant guys, and I can't even conceive how they see the world, so it may be exactly as she says.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:40 PM
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Also, my authority for giving out dating advice is minimal. The only relationships I've been in for any length of time (like more than two weeks) have been with women whose fathers were emotionally unavailable technical types, or emotionally unavailable due to dying prematurely.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:44 PM
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He's still available, ladies! Water moccasin sounds like a real catch!

emotionally unavailable due to dying prematurely.

In some ways this sucks, but it makes the inevitable breakup talk easier.*

* Intentional misreading


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:54 PM
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It's worth noting in passing that, in our society, being overweight is a very different thing for women than for men. It wouldn't be surprising if AWB finds it impacts on her differently than it might for will.

Think of how often you hear people say that a guy is "overchicked" versus how often you'd hear the counterpart said of a woman in a relationship.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 9-08 10:57 PM
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knee-deep in software developer cock

Sounds like an eel fisherman. I'm not sure that this is AWB's goal.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 6:10 AM
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Something I have realized is different between the real world and the TV world is that white-whiteness (as well as black-blackness and brown-brownness) are really attractive

This just made me think of this couple I know. He is the blackest man I have ever met. She is about as white as fresh fallen snow. They are about the most gorgeous couple ever. Pretty unbelievably beautiful babies, too.

I've only been dumped for not being hot, as far as I know.

It's been said, I guess, but this may be more perception than reality. I think lots of us instinctively look for the fault in ourselves when we've been dumped (I'm not attractive enough, smart enough, organized enough, together enough... ) Sometimes it really is not you, it's them.

It's worth noting in passing that, in our society, being overweight is a very different thing for women than for men.

This is true. The libertarian is a little on the heavy side, but I only rarely even notice. On the other hand, UNG's gf is quite heavy and though I think she has a pretty face, and my daughter likes her, and she seems like a nice person based on my limited interactions, my gut reaction is consistently, "He's dating a fat girl!" I get pissed at myself for thinking that way, but there it is.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 6:10 AM
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I agree that "I am not attracted to you" is very easily interpreted as "You are not pretty (or handsome) enough."

The thin woman in her upper 30s is the exception, not the rule. At 40, I suspect that most people realize that neither their weight nor a potential partner's weight is the same as a 20 yr olds.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 6:54 AM
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t's worth noting in passing that, in our society, being overweight is a very different thing for women than for men.

I think this is right on one level and wrong on another. I think the perception that the schlubby guy will be with a supermodel is enforced through media and TV, but in my experience, that isn't usually the case in real life, especially as people get older.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 7:28 AM
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Reaching back into the depths of this thread:

The comments from PMP and nattarGcm in particular have an underlying implication of "what's the big deal? If I meet an awesome girl and she's not into me, who cares because I'm going to meet lots of other awesome girls soon enough there's not a fat fucking lot I can do about it, is there?".

I mean, I'm hardly a massive extrovert. My dryspells outside relationships are too frequent and long for my liking (it doesn't help when some of my cute friends bitch about "I know what you mean! It's been like a month for me!"). But I am super-fatalistic, which I think helps a lot. People don't like or dislike you for reasons that reflect on how inherently awesome you are, they like or dislike you for a combination of their own idiosyncratic preferences and whatever chance-driven situation you've gotten to interact with them in.

I guess that's what makes it hurt a lot less, and really prevents me from ever holding rejection against someone. Now, this attitude needs to be leavened with a healthy dose of self-criticism, so one doesn't ignore actual signals of your own jerkitude that people are trying to send you (and I'll admit I'm probably currently deficient on this front), but y'all seem quite nice as it is.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 8:02 AM
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People actually go to "therapy"? I thought it was just a device in movies and TV shows.

You're lucky you live in a city where academiclesbian's advice would allow you more than zero people to date, AWB.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 8:09 AM
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It's the only reason I've ever been explicitly given. No one has ever dumped me for not being kind, or generous, or thoughtful, or good enough in bed. I've only been dumped for not being hot, as far as I know.

Someone actually said that you weren't hot enough?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 8:12 AM
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People don't like or dislike you for reasons that reflect on how inherently awesome you are, they like or dislike you for a combination of their own idiosyncratic preferences and whatever chance-driven situation you've gotten to interact with them in.

This is so true, but also something that took me a fair amount of therapy and a good many years of experience to figure out. And still takes some effort to remember and internalize in the heat of rejection. Some of us are just more self-blaming than others, I guess.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 8:17 AM
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I've only been dumped for not being hot, as far as I know.

This is something you should be able to check for up front, before getting involved with someone. Sounds silly, but I think it really is important to hook up with someone who is highly physically attracted from the start.

People don't like or dislike you for reasons that reflect on how inherently awesome you are, they like or dislike you for a combination of their own idiosyncratic preferences and whatever chance-driven situation you've gotten to interact with them in.

Agreed with Di that this took me a long time to learn. It may be the single most important lesson in maintaining your romantic sanity. PMP is wise!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 8:37 AM
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One of the reasons I quit the relationship game was that there seemed to be such a wide gap between the idiosyncratric preferences of a series of key women and what I was and wanted to be, that I decided that it was not my game. Mostly rejection, but also a case or two when I was liked for the wrong reasons.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 8:42 AM
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what i recalled reading about 10s
1st s/he: honey, do you love me?
2d s/he: yes, i so love you! and you?
1st s/he: sure, i love me too


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 8:43 AM
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I've been in quite a few situations in which someone was obviously physically attracted to me, but torn away by the promise of someone whose "attractiveness" was more status-y.
I've had stuff along these lines happen to me. And I think Megan and LB have both remarked about somewhat similar things (LB was particularly good with scorn for dodgy "evolutionary" explanations) .


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 9:26 AM
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Status is attractive. To some people anyway. Like personality, status or lack thereof can make a person more or less attractive than they are if rated on physical appearance alone.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 9:34 AM
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A White Bear,

Yes, one can overanalyze relationships, and men and women both do. But some of us repeatedly get stuck in relationships with guys who have done little or no thinking about what their desires or limits are. They come on really strong when they feel desire, they drop us suddenly when they stop feeling it, while a different kind of guy will stay in relationships they hate because they don't know how to leave, or they never figure out how to explain their feelings to someone they like. Certainly, not all men are like this, because some of them have at least spent a little time thinking and talking about their emotional lives, and it helps a lot. Having conversations with thoughtful friends about relationships helps one figure out how to negotiate relationships with care and kindness.

Thanks. I know my observation could easily be taken as a general "The problem with women is . . ." diatribe and I know it is a sensitive topic, because it easily falls into the "who is better" question which is pretty meaningless and totally irrelevant when discussing relationships.

And I agree that typically it is the women who do the "heavy lifting" when it comes to keeping relationships healthy.

Personally I think it is because, in general, women care more about keeping the relationship healthy and women have good reasons for caring more.

To generalize I think from a woman's perspective the problem with men is that they are not women and the reverse is true from a man's perspective, and yet we need and desire each other so here we are.

Mostly my observation was about me and the fact that I had not really known how much women care about relationships and how much of their energy that caring takes.

Again, please do not take this observation as criticism of any kind. Usually if I criticize I am pretty blunt about it subtlety in criticism is not my style.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 9:51 AM
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This thread is useless without pictures.

We need an ex's dating history comparison set out in a photo lineup.

Another thought. Perhaps those people who think that their ex's left them for someone who is less physically attractive are sadly mistaken.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 9:51 AM
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For what it is worth, I don't agree with the prior comments about my daughter.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 9:53 AM
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To generalize I think from a woman's perspective the problem with men is that they are not women and the reverse is true from a man's perspective, and yet we need and desire each other so here we are.

How does this have any more explanatory value than the ever popular "Men are from Mars and women are from Venus" bullshit?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 9:59 AM
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Status is attractive. To some people anyway. Like personality, status or lack thereof can make a person more or less attractive than they are if rated on physical appearance alone.

Yes. And there is a lot of truth in evolutionary explanations but they do not excuse boorish behavior.

Interesting to me is this kind of conversation I have repeatedly had:

"I denounce evolutionary explanations because certainly they do not apply to me. I do *not* desire people because of their status."

"Really? Then why do you desire so and so?"

"I am attracted to this person, that's why."

"And why are you attracted to this person?"

"I don't know, but not because of this person's status."

"Oh, so if so and so was a street bum who was also an addict who bummed money for drugs you would still find this person equally attractive?"

"Well. . . "


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:00 AM
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No, it's true, Will. I dumped your daughter because she wasn't hot enough. I know that's hard for a father to hear.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:00 AM
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373: trick question! It doesn't!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:00 AM
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Ack, 375 to 372, of course.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:01 AM
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Bave,

How does this have any more explanatory value than the ever popular "Men are from Mars and women are from Venus" bullshit?

Accepting that there is a difference and that is OK is the first step. The next step is understanding the differences.

The problem with the Planetary book is he went way too far and made way too many sweeping generalities, presumably to sell more books. He took a nugget of truth and made a complete frigging Bible out of it.

Separating the wheat from the chaff and not throwing the baby out with the bath water are difficult things to do, but they can be done.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:04 AM
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Damn you, Sifu, you gave away the answer!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:05 AM
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Separating the wheat from the chaff and not throwing the baby out with the bath water are difficult things to do, but they can be done.

And worthwhile, since a rolling stone gathers taxes and horseshoes in the bush of fools.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:07 AM
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But I like chaff in my bathwater!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:07 AM
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The problem with the Planetary book is he went way too far and made way too many sweeping generalities

see

Personally I think it is because, in general, women care more about keeping the relationship healthy and women have good reasons for caring more.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:07 AM
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But I like chaff in my bathwater!

That's like looking a dead horse up the ass.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:10 AM
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Of course there are differences between men as a group and women as a group, some no doubt innate, others so deeply socialized that we're stuck with them for a while, at least. But the differences among men and among women are at least as great. And since gay relationships have the same problems as hetero relationships, I'd guess that "the problem" isn't the difference between the sexes, but that people are complicated and often damaged in various ways, yet we still need each other.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:11 AM
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I was dumped once by someone who said he didn't find me physically attractive any more, and that really hurt, but years later, as we're now still friends, we determined that a) he was depressed and b) it was assholish of him to take it out on me. So I suspect most 'I just don't find you hot' explanations are c) easy to say, but probably not true and d) have the advantage, if you're trying to dump someone, of being hurtful and kind of final in a way that 'I'm just not into this any more' isn't.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:14 AM
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Deborah Tannen's You Just Don't Understand was interesting reading on gender differences in styles of speech.

Other than that, it's pretty hard for both men and women to know what they want, I think. Wants depend on what your partner's like, but you never really know what's in another person's heart, so really on your idea of what your partner is. And of course on self-image, which is also unreliable.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:18 AM
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385:

Telling a woman she is not physically attractive is like telling a man he doesn't make enough money.

Both hit to the very core of our evolutionary feelings and are very very cruel.

Even if we discard those evolutionary inclinations and fight against them they still give us innate vulnerabilities.

I'm not saying we *should* be sensitive about these things. To function in today's world we should not be sensitive about them.

But just like the difficulty of maintaining healthy eating when there is a surplus of food, overcoming our innate inclinations is difficult. Not impossible, but difficult.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:29 AM
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telling a man he doesn't make enough money.... hit to the very core of our evolutionary feelings

This would be on the savannah with checking accounts and salaries? Or the one where women didn't generate a significant amount of nutritional resources?

You really can't reasonably call anything having to do with money at the "core" of our evolutionary feelings, Tripp. Not without making a real argument about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:40 AM
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re: handiman/handyman

I'm someone who manifests this trait to an unusual degree, and it's part of my identity. I'm very gratified when asked for help, particularly in emergencies and some of my happiest memories flow out of these encounters. My first date with my wife—things developed rapidly a la ttaM—had the pretext of my investigating why her brake light would stay on and drain her battery.

But I am annoyed by the word, for a host of reasons. Longstanding, visceral dislike of James Taylor is probably only a small part of it, although it gives the word a sound in my memory.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:47 AM
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Not without making a real argument about it.

Good luck with that, LB.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:48 AM
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It's ok, LB, Tripp is just (again) following the playbook of take my personal idiosyncratic experience and selection bias and generalize as much as possible to heterogeneous populations a the same time as asserting that this is fundamental.

So don't expect it to make too much sense.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:49 AM
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388: Hasn't this traditionally been glossed as "providing?"

Pa with his gun and ax developed into the checking account and salary?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:49 AM
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from a woman's perspective the problem with men is that they are not women and the reverse is true from a man's perspective

Tripp, that's called "being gay and/or a lesbian." No, don't thank me, I'm happy to help.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:50 AM
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LizardBreath,

The root is power. The power to rebuke rivals. The power to obtain and keep resources.

Nowadays "power," real power, seems to be something most people are uncomfortable talking about. I suspect that is because we don't want to realize how little of it we have. Also, in general, in our capitalistic society the traditional non-monetary sources of power - law, government, spiritual leaders, have been devalued.

In modern US culture money talks and everything else walks. Put crudely, money can buy everything.

So we talk about money instead, which is the modern euphemism for power.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:51 AM
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391: I thought it was the "impart vague, second-generation hypotheses as received wisdom from on high" playbook?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:53 AM
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Tripp, that's called "being gay and/or a lesbian." No, don't thank me, I'm happy to help.

Proof, I think, that sexual orientation is *not* a choice.

Seriously, one can soberly claim that if all people were gay life would be a lot simpler. Our species would die out after one generation, but we would not really have to deal with gender issues during relationships.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:55 AM
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I've stated the source of my claims.

Refute them if you can but simply belittling me or misstating my claims doesn't cut it.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:57 AM
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392, 394: And a desire for power and competition over resources is an evolutionary difference between the sexes because? Back on the savannah women didn't generate and exploit resources or compete over them? The evolutionary argument that women are not motivated by power is? I can't spend the day commenting, but honestly Tripp. Go read something about baboons.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:57 AM
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if all people were gay life would be a lot simpler

Not IME.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:58 AM
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That was me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:58 AM
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397: the "source"? What? Vague declamations about "evolution" and "power"? You'll have to do better than that. Or, you won't, because I'm not interested in engaging with you in the Battle Of The Vague Platitudes. Just consider yourself lucky LB doesn't have a job she hates anymore.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:59 AM
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In modern US culture money talks and everything else walks. Put crudely, money can buy everything.

The main problem with this is that it's empirically false. There is a strong tendency to it and a huge advertizing/propoganda effort to encouraging this particularly narrow view. But at the same time there is a very broad spectrum of Americans who reject (or are rejected by) it.

(the crude summary is offbase too, money notably fails to buy a lot of important things, the trick is to distract people so they don't notice this and focus instead on what it can buy. There has been quite a lot of success at performing this distraction in the last 50-60 years particularly)

391: They overlap quite a bit. Could be either, I guess.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 10:59 AM
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The thing that burns me about these arguments is that 'back on the veldt' does absolutely no work at all besides a bit of rhetoric flourish for 'this is a fact that is hard to change, and since I won't invoke God, I'll invoke mitochondria. I barely can understand the attitudes of 1900, let alone 10,000 B.C.

But in my culture right now, there's a lot of emphasis on the man being the breadwinner, and that right now is what is having the effect (hypothetically) on my relationship. Who cares about some dude on the savannah? He's been dead a long time and didn't write anything down. And don't hand me something about writing it in his genes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:00 AM
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We didn't descend from baboons, so LB's opinions on this topic probably shouldn't be considered credible.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:02 AM
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Hey, Tripp, you're ugly!

I know that won't bother you since your self-worth is in your credit limit.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:02 AM
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#396 One can soberly claim that life would be simpler if we all budded asexually, too, but since you will sound drunk to everyone listening, anyway, why not have a few drinks first?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:03 AM
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403: Besides which, the claims that do trot this out (non-ironically) are typically false, or at least oversimplified to the point of uselessness. IIRC Savannah man trotting out with his spear to meet the nutritional needs of his family is largely mythological according to best research.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:03 AM
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IDP understands the roofing ploy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:03 AM
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How do you feel about steamrollers, IDP?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:06 AM
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The root is power. The power to rebuke rivals. The power to obtain and keep resources.

Young Man Blues


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:07 AM
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404 is far too strong. There is every reason to believe primate studies are informative about proto-/early human behaviour. Which isn't at all to say that you can just assume everything carries over.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:10 AM
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407: That goes without saying. Especially since so many of the theories somehow postulate that the imagined veldt was like the popular picture of 1950 in America. We have actual things written down in history that are a weird point of view to the modern American; we have data about modern hunter-gatherer tribes. We have to know that so many truths that we take to be self-evident would be absurd to our ancestors. (Not to mention how often they seem absurd to other contemporary cultures who presumably came out of the same damn veldt.)

But, no, the Pleistocene was exactly like 1950, without the threat of spacemen and Russians.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:10 AM
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Oh, it's sad, but I'm not really reading Tripp's comments any more.

389: Regarding "handyman", yes, I know. It's patronizing.

359: The thin woman in her upper 30s is the exception, not the rule.

will, I'm glad you said this. It's true, but the pressure's there, of course, very much so, and those in their 20s and 30s who obsess over hotness are setting us all up. It's very possible to remain trim into one's 40s, but the work involved has to become prioritized -- for men and women alike.

See how measured I am in these statements.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:12 AM
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412: Remember Rules, Cala!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:12 AM
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My first date with my wife--things developed rapidly a la ttaM--had the pretext of my investigating why her brake light would stay on and drain her battery.

Emerson, I think you meant "roofie."

IDP, was this "first date" a blind date by the side on a dark, dark, lonely road?

Was the brake light staying on because of something you did to her car?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:12 AM
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If it went without saying, it wouldn't come up so much I think.

You have to admit though, the Pleistocene with actual spacemen and Russians would have kicked many kinds of ass.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:13 AM
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sorry about the open tag.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:14 AM
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And we could settle the important question of caveman.. or astronaut?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:15 AM
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will, I'm glad you said this. It's true, but the pressure's there, of course, very much so, and those in their 20s and 30s who obsess over hotness are setting us all up. It's very possible to remain trim into one's 40s, but the work involved has to become prioritized -- for men and women alike.

I meant to say the "thin person."

The average person in their 30s and 40s simply doesn't look like the average person in their teens and 20s.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:16 AM
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416: if Devil Dinosaur never fought Russian commies I'll eat my hat (or, not having a hat handy, the next hat I see).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:17 AM
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418: indeed!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:17 AM
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And we could settle the important question of caveman.. or astronaut?

Darn it, Cala. I stopped reading Nerve. Which one is better for the woman?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:19 AM
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The average person in their 30s and 40s simply doesn't look like the average person in their teens and 20s.

news at 11.

fwiw, though, the majority of the people I know who've had a really notable shift in body shape/ conditioning have been men. Might be sampling bias.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:19 AM
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I meant to say the "thin person."

Oh, nevermind then.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:22 AM
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423 etc: Two different things there. Many teenage guy aren't full grown and will be heavier, in a good way, at 25. But most 25 year olds will slow down and put on fat by 40.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:24 AM
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So I suspect most 'I just don't find you hot' explanations are c) easy to say, but probably not true

OK, but I just want to clarify that it was totally true for me - Bad Old GF and I had a mediocre sex life because she just didn't turn me on that much. When things were going well, that would change, but it was the emotional overcoming the physical. Obviously, there were other ways in which we weren't compatible, but it was pretty hard to get around the fact that I would see her and think, Eh.

I think that chemistry easily overcomes theoretical beauty (ie, how would you rate that person based on a photo), but if the chemistry is only so-so, physical attraction becomes pickier.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:25 AM
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Tripp is just (again) following the playbook of take my personal idiosyncratic experience and selection bias and generalize as much as possible to heterogeneous populations a the same time as asserting that this is fundamental.

That is going to be very hard to attach to his handle.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:30 AM
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414: God, that thread got funny.
426: I think that's compatible with my point. I mean, it wasn't her physical attractiveness changing, if I'm reading your right.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:31 AM
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her brake light would stay on and drain her battery.

IYKWIM

Sorry these comments are lagging, folks - someone claiming to be my "client" called and insisted on blathering about some sort of house thing.

But now the unpleasantness is past.

Passed?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:32 AM
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Has passed, and thus is past.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:36 AM
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Has passed and is now past.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:38 AM
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I'm surprised those timestamps are that far apart.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:39 AM
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I comment in the passed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:40 AM
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Way upthread, I think my point about "the only explicit reason I've ever gotten for being dumped was that I'm not excruciatingly hot" was exactly what several of you have suggested, which is that I'm sure there are actually complex feelings or experiences going on with the men I've dated; they're just incapable, for some reason, of explaining them, so they either give no reason at all for ending a relationship or they give the most backhandedly stupid and bizarre reason possible. (I'm not saying I'm actually hot, just that these are guys who were very obviously sexually attracted to me. Do they mean "hot" in a status-y sense, rather than a sexual one? Possibly, but one never gets an explanation.) I totally disagree that men are "innately" one thing or another. I think it's an obvious case of particular kinds of socialization, and that one can choose to improve one's communication skills. I say that as someone who had grunting, unfeeling dude levels of communication skills and emotional awareness until I made a damn effort.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:41 AM
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it was pretty hard to get around the fact that I would see her and think, Eh.

Painful as it is to say, yeah, this happens in some relationships. It usually doesn't reveal itself until some time has passed, and then it's a question of how you want to deal with the revelation. Sex isn't everything, after all. I wind up having to end it.

I never read the thread linked in 414, but Cala is a damsel in distress?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:43 AM
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430, 431: Thanks. I hadn't given it any thought, but I couldn't immediately figure which one made sense.

I think that's compatible with my point. I mean, it wasn't her physical attractiveness changing, if I'm reading your right.

Ah yes, exactly. Indeed, there was never even a passing phase where I was physically attracted to her - she was fun to be around, and sexually aggressive, and - voila! - six years wasted.

When I think about it, I have to focus really hard on the "otherwise, you might never have met AB, or been available to date her when you did."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:44 AM
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AWB. I am confused.

Have boys said "I'm dumping you because you are not hot enough for me."?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:54 AM
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436: Jeez. If I ever get even the slightest whiff that someone who's dating me thinks anything like that, JRoth (that I'm fun and sexually aggressive, but fundamentally unattractive), I am GONE. How humiliating. And she was fine with this state of affairs?

I have been in a relationship with someone I grew less and less attracted to, but not because he ceased to be (or never was) good-looking. He just started phoning in the sex after a few months and couldn't do anything about it. I realize this is something that LTRs seem to accept as part of what happens, but man, that's intolerable to me. See above where I drunkenly explain why I will never get married. Even the threat of being obligated to stay in a relationship with someone who's no longer excited to be with me makes my skin crawl.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:55 AM
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This may be the finest logic the human mind has ever produced:

One can soberly claim that life would be simpler if we all budded asexually, too, but since you will sound drunk to everyone listening, anyway, why not have a few drinks first?

I hope somebody says something sufficiently silly to me in real life, so that I can use that on them.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:55 AM
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Remember, Will, AWB dates aliens. To try and understand them using our normal human framework is a fool's errand.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:56 AM
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I realize this is something that LTRs seem to accept as part of what happens, but man, that's intolerable to me.

Yeah, this is really crazy.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:56 AM
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437: Once or twice. The rest of my dumpers never gave a reason at all. I can't say that I used to be much more helpful or informative when I did the dumping, but I'm a lot better now.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:57 AM
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From way back in thread:

OK, now. If "nice guys" expressed their niceness by roofing your house (literally, not in some smutty young people code language) rather than by moping about and whimpering, would they be more attractive?

This seems to assume "nice guys" don't do things like this too. Assumes facts not in evidence, I think.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 11:59 AM
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Once or twice. The rest of my dumpers never gave a reason at all. I can't say that I used to be much more helpful or informative when I did the dumping, but I'm a lot better now.

So it is your conclusion that they must have dump you because of physical appearance?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:02 PM
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If you've ever read any of the original evolutionary psychology papers, something that's completely clear from them (but effaced from the media accounts) is that while they find statistically significant differences, that how small they are compared to the total variation. For example, the study that found that across 4 different countries that men were more bothered by sexual infidelity and that women were more bothered by emotional infidelity did find a statistically significant difference, even when controlling for country effects. But, for example, the differences in the extent that men cared about sexual infidelity between countries was gigantic.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:02 PM
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No, I what I meant is that if "nice guy" was defined by actually doing nice things, instead of by whining about how bad boys get all the hott chix, would nice guys be more popular.?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:03 PM
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||

Fuck a bunch of brownies in the break room, you office bastards.

|>

443: I've always thought the fundamental answer to that puzzle is that nice guys aren't, actually, but are instead self-involved neurotics. Not, I guess, that revelatory, but we can easily imagine somebody roofing a house for self-involved, neurotic reasons.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:03 PM
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Wouldn't you want to take the brownies out for dinner first?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:04 PM
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Yeah, but: nice roof!

This couple was very happily married after 20-30 years, and the relationship was caused by roofing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:05 PM
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448: well I would, but my parents were married.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:05 PM
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Wouldn't you want to take the brownies out for dinner first?

And be seen out in public? Hell no! Brownies are for late, late night desperation.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:05 PM
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Racist.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:07 PM
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444: No, I was just drunkenly bitching above, and I don't really know what my point was. I usually figure it's something that is neither as complex or as unknowable as they seem to assume it is, and is probably not even a big deal, but they're emotionally stunted and have no way of expressing themselves except by either ceasing to speak to me or suddenly emailing to say they can never see me face-to-face again.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:07 PM
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449: see I think you're misunderstanding "nice guy" as it gets self-applied. Or at least, you're optimistically imagining it being self-applied by a whole different type of person. If you do nice things for a person because, hey, they'd appreciate it and you're fond of them, rather than because you're feeding a self-image as the kind of person who does that kind of thing, who then gets to feel trod on and so forth, you're probably not overanalyzing the jerkitude of competing suitors.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:08 PM
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No, I what I meant is that if "nice guy" was defined by actually doing nice things, instead of by whining about how bad boys get all the hott chix, would nice guys be more popular.?

Ah, ok. But I think this isn't how it works. You're defining `nice guy' by someone who whines about how `bad boys' get all the girls, and I don't think that's accurate either. That's `whiny guy'.

More to the point, I think people nice or otherwise often do elaborate things for other people, but how the receiver interprets the effort (in quality, and amount) is highly colored by how they already feel about the person.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:14 PM
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Yeah, I think "Nice Guy" as it is used on the internet seems to mean "someone who thinks a particular woman owes him romantic love or sex in exchange for his failure to exercise masculine dominance over her." That can come in the form of anything from "I didn't rape you when you were drunk, so you should be in love with me" to "I got you coffee every day at the office and you never wanted to sleep with me."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:19 PM
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And she was fine with this state of affairs?

The whole thing was her idea! And she wouldn't take "No" for an answer! It was crazy! She was crazy. I was weak and wrong, no doubt, but fundamentally she didn't want to let me go, and I didn't have it in me to do whatever it would have taken to get out.

In the first 12 months of our relationship, I cheated twice (once with her best friend, once with my HS GF)* and told her I wasn't attracted to her. Once that failed to do the trick, I just rolled along with things until she finally gave up. I think that she convinced herself that she'd be foolish to let me go, and was too stubborn to face reality.

Bad Old GF

* I'm otherwise very faithful, honest. In my 12 relationship-years with others, I've been tempted precisely twice, and both were extremely fleeting moments.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:21 PM
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We already had the 'nice guy' discussion several times, but usually when it's in scare quotes, it doesn't mean a guy who is nice, but a guy who thinks of himself as nice, is usually shy and a little socially awkward, and thinks of getting women sort of like leveling up in a video game, fails to get women or women hot enough, and then concludes something like "women must like to be abused, because they're never attracted to nice guys like me, but always to assholes."

With luck, the guy gets out of this stage pretty quickly.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:24 PM
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once with her best friend, once with my HS GF

Yea, but neither one was her sister, right? So hardly capital offenses.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:25 PM
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454, 455: See, I was trying to reimagine the nice guy. You people are stuck in the second millenium paradigm.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:25 PM
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"I got you coffee every day at the office and you never wanted to sleep with me."

Wait, doesn't daily coffee==sexx for Generation Awesome?

What's so awesome, then?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:25 PM
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With luck, the guy gets out of this stage pretty quickly.

And becomes and MPUA thanks to doubleyourdating.com!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:26 PM
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Reimagine and repurpose, I might add.

If some guy reroofs a house for the prupose of getting decades of free sex, who are we to say that he's wrong? This is an exchange between consenting adults, after all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:27 PM
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Yea, but neither one was her sister, right? So hardly capital offenses.

Her sister was objectively hotter, but in a white trashy way that was ultra-unattractive to me.

Her other best friend's younger sister was also very enticing, but unachievable.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:28 PM
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Speaking of trashy, apparently Daisy Dukes are standard issue in biker bars around here. The one I ran into yesterday was so innocent and wholesome-looking that I decided that she was tending bar to rise money for her church group.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:31 PM
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See, I was trying to reimagine the nice guy.

The point of 455.later was that this guy you imagine already exists, and it's pretty much neutral insofar as success tha laydeez goes


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:34 PM
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Careful John Emerson. Don't be fooled. Daisy can, and given the right motivation will, eat you alive.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:35 PM
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Actually this guy I imagines is 60+ years old now. I was just proposing him as the nice guy of the future. Maybe if those whiny guys reroofed more houses they'd get laid more.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:36 PM
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What's so awesome, then?

Not much, really. Which is why the name hasn't really caught on outside the millennials.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:37 PM
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Maybe if those whiny guys reroofed more houses they'd get laid more.

You might think so, but doesn't seem to work in practice.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:39 PM
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The church group Daisy Duke has double-barreled power. The gospel plus alcohol plus big blue eyes and tight short shorts can turn any man to jelly.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:40 PM
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This whole idea of "getting women" is really obnoxious, actually.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:41 PM
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Would you prefer "attracting a mate"? Same idea. Just different words.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:43 PM
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Maybe, parsimon, but -- great roof!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:43 PM
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472: Well, yes, but that's why so-called nice guys aren't nice.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:45 PM
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It's very possible to remain trim into one's 40s, but the work involved has to become prioritized -- for men and women alike.

I received the following classic email from my mother today:

Successful aging doesn't just happen, it has to be prepared - just like you spent the first 25 years of your life preparing for adulthood - after 35 you have to spend the next 35 years preparing for old age. Those who do not prepare are very, very sorry. As a result, I have decided to write to you my thoughts on the preparation process - now that I am almost at that 70-year mark and until now seem to have negotiated those years somewhat well, reaching this age feeling satisfied with myself, in good health, enthusiastic about the future and in action mode. Since neither of you read or respond to my correspondence, there is certainly no harm in my writing to you with these gems of unused knowledge I walk the earth with.

I love my Mom! I wrote her back to thank her and tell I was awaiting her wisdom eagerly. From previous advice, I think I follow about 20%, ignore about 60%, and am fascinated but weirded out by the remaining 20%.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:46 PM
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As far as I can tell the secret of long life is being temperate in all your habits, being highly social in a low-pressure way (church groups, not hot sex), and keeping busy all the time. I'm willing to give up 10-15 years in order not to do that. I'll still make 75 like my Dad, who had no healthy habits, did.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:50 PM
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Ah, ok. But I think this isn't how it works. You're defining `nice guy' by someone who whines about how `bad boys' get all the girls, and I don't think that's accurate either. That's `whiny guy'.

The way people do it here is that "nice guy" is never referred to outside of the scare quotes which make it mean the opposite of what it actually means. Therefore, it no longer exists except as an ironic insult. Much as "bitch" is now an ironic compliment.

People who actually are nice guys, or bitches, have to find new identifiers, but that hasn't happened yet.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:54 PM
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476: Sweet. But she is not necessarily talking about remaining trim, is she? There's also satisfied with oneself, enthusiastic and engaged, and so on.

Damn right you should write back to a letter like that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:56 PM
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VH1's The Pick-up Artist certainly would have been more amusing had the pencil-necked would-be suitors been required to "open" by engaging in competitive reroofing.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 12:58 PM
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It's very possible to remain trim into one's 40s, but the work involved has to become prioritized -- for men and women alike.

Honestly, I think an awful lot of it is genetics as much as anything. Or at least that there are some people who can stay comfortably trim into their 40's without working all that hard for it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:01 PM
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478: that's the point of the scare quotes in `nice guy'. But emerson wasn't talking about nice guys or `nice guys', he was talking about someone else.

For me, the characterization of `nice guy' --- someone who feels slighted and finds solace in the hopeless old tropes like "nice guys finish last" or "the nice guy never gets the girl" is far more precise as a descriptor of a personality type. By itself, nice is too broad to tell you much.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:02 PM
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I think "nice guy" is not that different from my note on Emerson's use of "emo boy" above. What women mean when they say they want a nice guy or a sensitive man is not the same as what guys mean when they say they're nice or sensitive.

Max was really intensely sensitive, for example, in the sense that if I had a feeling, he experienced it, too. He was deeply compassionate, to an almost freakish extent, and was incapable of dissociating from my feelings. The problem was that he experienced these feelings as his own feelings. Like, if I expressed any dissatisfaction, he experienced it as his own dissatisfaction, or if I was sad, he'd get really upset and get angry at me for making him upset. So yeah, he was really sensitive, and it was annoying.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:03 PM
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she is not necessarily talking about remaining trim, is she? There's also satisfied with oneself, enthusiastic and engaged, and so on.

All one big ball for her. A diet consisting entirely of small amounts of raw and sauteed vegetables and occasionally seafood is critical in all of it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:04 PM
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People who actually are nice guys, or bitches, have to find new identifiers, but that hasn't happened yet.

My friends and I tend to use the term good guy. As in, "What you need is a good guy."


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:04 PM
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"Nice" really should be deprecated. I've heard it used in too many ways and contexts that are puzzling. Not just "nice guy" but "nice time." Sounds like a backhanded compliment to me, even though I'm given to understand that it's not meant so.

Is itthe adjective of default, in the absence of anything more imaginative or articulate to say?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:04 PM
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477 made me smile.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:05 PM
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476: Sweet. But she is not necessarily talking about remaining trim, is she?

I keep misreading this as saying "retaining trim" and thinking "well that certainly doesn't sound like parsimon."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:05 PM
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Emphasis on both words there. Not just emphasizing the 'good', which would make it sound like movie character who's the opposite of the bad guy.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:05 PM
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Insert a space in there, in 486. Writing too fast.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:06 PM
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Gute Mensch!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:07 PM
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You might think so, but doesn't seem to work in practice.

But there are broad classes of things that will get you laid if you do them, unless you do them explicitly to get laid, in which case they don't work. I'd expect house-roofing to fall into this category, with the possible complications due to the social class of professional roofers and the social class of Unfogged commenters.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:09 PM
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ein netter Kerl!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:09 PM
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Heh, I had a friend who had been working as a software developer during the boom, who moved, after the bust, to roofing. He really seemed to enjoy it; definitely got in better shape. I don't know if he got laid more -- he certainly spent less time gambling in Vegas, but on the other hand he was in much better shape. Kind of a wash?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:10 PM
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But there are broad classes of things that will get you laid if you do them, unless you do them explicitly to get laid, in which case they don't work.

This is why societal acceptance of masturbation has been so important in reducing intergender animosity.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:10 PM
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According to an imaginary Francophone friend, "mon bonhomme" in French is like "my old man" in English. It roughly means an exasperating but lovable spouse to whom you have become very well accustomed."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:12 PM
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492: again, 455.

Things don't get you laid, generally.

Usually people decide they might sleep with you, or not. After that, pretty much anything you do can be interpreted by them in ways colored by this pre-condition.

the social class of Unfogged commenters.
is ill defined, except in very broad terms


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:13 PM
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i'm bad about closing tags today.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:14 PM
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497 should have (absent commercial interaction) in there somewhere


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:15 PM
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Bonhomme just sort of means "guy", though. Or "man" in a non-masculine way.

For example, the normal translation of "snowman" is "bonhomme de neige". Poor Richard's Almanac was translated as the almanac of "Bonhomme Richard".


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:16 PM
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When referring to a husband, though, it has that note, she said. Resigned, affectionate familiarity. Not especially "good" in any way.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:23 PM
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I think that "Goodman" was the lowest rank of respectability in the old days, below which there were indentured servants, felons, public charges, etc.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:24 PM
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Heh, I had a friend who had been working as a software developer during the boom, who moved, after the bust, to roofing.

Weird: when I was working as a software developer, whenever we were having a bad day, we'd generally lighten the mood by saying, "Well, this still beats roofing."


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:29 PM
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183 gets it exactly right. Thanks, AWB.

204: Of course I'm still here. Thanks for the tip about the article, which made me feel better for some reason. I just missed this thread (thought it was dead!) because I read all of the food/swimming threads. Damn. I could have written that letter to Hugo. But I didn't. I wish I could forward this to the Senseless Boyfriend. But you know, a no-contact break. Sigh.

Day 11 of the break. I don't think I can go for more than a month. I wish I could tell him that. Can I? It is a daily agony and every night I think, "one more day that I didn't break down and call." I'm not eating much so my friends come to visit on the weekends and make me do stuff and eat, and food actually tastes better with company. I don't bake anymore. For the first week I woke up at 2 pm and lay on the floor in my pajamas till 5 or 6 pm listening to Sheryl Crow. People had to ask me if I had showered or eaten yet. This week I'm back to work. Thank god I'm a grad student and being behind in research feels like normal.

The physiological reactions have been astounding though: sleeplessness, lack of appetite, spontaneously having a period mid-cycle so basically I feel like I'm bleeding to death for three weeks as one cycle goes into another. Like, do dudes suffer like this? I wish, and yet, I don't think so.


Posted by: Abigail Adams | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 1:58 PM
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I have felt like that.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:01 PM
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481: God, is that ever true. Many, many comments on my wedding pictures concerned my mother and her incredible beauty. She just doesn't seem to have aged much (and judging from her parents, will probably start to look fifty when she's 80.) Her secret? Fuck if I know.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:09 PM
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504: Oh man, Abigail, so sorry to hear it. I do hope he's feeling equally crappy, because that would ultimately be a positive thing. (Right??)

505: Really, with the three-week period and everything? You are in touch with your feminine side! (Just teasing, of course -- it is good to hear guys say they feel those depths of crappiness, too.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:10 PM
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Her secret? Fuck if I know.

If her parents were similar in that regard, it seems likely the secret is good genes. Having inherited mom's basic shape and dad's basic structure, I'll look reasonably fit at least into my 60s but be hobbling around like a crippled old lady bitching about my knees by the time... Ow, my aching knees!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:13 PM
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The physiological reactions have been astounding though: sleeplessness, lack of appetite.... Like, do dudes suffer like this?

I've felt like this. No period though. Along with the sadness, I also felt this bottomless rage, real fury, that was a big physical drain for months. Maybe because she cheated on me in a painful way, maybe kind of a testosterone thing.


Posted by: another dude who felt that way | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:19 PM
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Weird: when I was working as a software developer, whenever we were having a bad day, we'd generally lighten the mood by saying, "Well, this still beats roofing."

But making money beats not making money.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:30 PM
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Like, do dudes suffer like this?

Didn't apo say that he lost some ridiculous amount of weight when he was going through his divorce? will certainly seems to think getting a divorce is an excellent way to lose weight, if the archives are any indication.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:33 PM
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divorce is an excellent way to lose weight

It didn't really work for UNG.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:35 PM
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Like, do dudes suffer like this?

In my experience, yes. but we don't tell other people about it.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:37 PM
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A.A. -- Is there a pre-imposed endpoint for the break?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:38 PM
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It didn't really work for UNG.

Well, it does rather depend on the capacity to feel emotion.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:40 PM
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The truth is way harsh, from a friend who is not one of those friends who tells you what you want to hear, and I mean that in a good way:

"do not, repeat, do not, call The Senseless Boyfriend. it is imperative that he make the move, otherwise you are back where you started, with him reaping the benefits of an unstable situation that makes you unhappy."

No pre-imposed end point. I was trying to be as sensitive as possible, saying that there would be neither a ceiling nor a floor, but that he was to come to me and not I to him. But now I feel like reneging. I can't do this longer than a month. I can't figure out a way to convey that other than waiting for a month and mayyybe saying "I can't do this anymore." He did say that if he was taking too long for me, to call him and let him know to hurry it up. That absolves him of the responsibility though. Sigh.


Posted by: Abigail Adams | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:40 PM
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LizardBreath,

392, 394: And a desire for power and competition over resources is an evolutionary difference between the sexes because? Back on the savannah women didn't generate and exploit resources or compete over them? The evolutionary argument that women are not motivated by power is? I can't spend the day commenting, but honestly Tripp. Go read something about baboons.

I love you like a sister and I thought we had gone over this before.

Men and women, as a group, are different. With that said, individual variance is great enough to cause overlap. Thus generalities do not apply to specifics.

We carry within us the remnants of our evolutionary past. As a group we have tendencies and desires and abilities that have been beneficial for our survival.

In general there are differences between the sexes in those tendencies and desires and abilities.

One is not better. One is not worse. They are simply different.

As a generality women are attracted to power and men are attracted to the ability to bear healthy offspring.

This is not ALL that we are. This is not true in every case. This does not apply to everyone.

This is a generality so commonplace that it has become a cliche.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:41 PM
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I can't do this longer than a month.

Sure you can. It won't be easy, but you can do it.

And it does sound like you're quite lucky to have friends like yours.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:43 PM
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517: maybe if you say it again, but this time use smaller words, so it's even more like you're speaking to a child, maybe then she'll get it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:45 PM
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516: I think your friend is smart -- don't call. That's kind of why I asked about the endpoint thing -- queasiness that it was a matter of seeing who cracked first, and hoping it won't be you. Knowing how you have felt for the last 11 days, if he can go a month without coming to you, do you really want him back?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:46 PM
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The point, Tripp, is that because generalizations are generalizations, they are inaccurate, and therefore do more harm than good, and therefore should be suppressed at all costs. Is it a good point? I don't know.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:47 PM
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519: But it won't make it any more true.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:48 PM
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AA:

Are you heroin thin yet?

It sounds as though you have good friends.

They certainly know far more than we can. But, for what it is worth, I am not seeing any reason why you should call him and I see lots of reasons why you should not call me.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:48 PM
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The point, Tripp, is that because generalizations are generalizations, they are inaccurate, and therefore do more harm than good, and therefore should be suppressed at all costs.

I think the point is more that cliched generalizations don't become accurate just by being around long enough to become cliched.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:50 PM
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Knowing how you have felt for the last 11 days, if he can go a month without coming to you, do you really want him back?

Agreed. Why isnt this a permanent break? You've done the hard work already.

Maybe it is time to start your recovery from him?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:50 PM
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However, being cliched does not make something inaccurate.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:51 PM
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I initially misread 519 as to 518.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:51 PM
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Tripp, let's say that on average women prefer the room temperature at 70.03 degrees, and men prefer the room temperature at 69.96 degrees, while the actual range for both men and women was plus or minus 20 degrees. Then in some sense in general women preferred it hotter than men, but in a sense that is completely uninteresting. And yet, that is the sense in which evolutionary psychological statements are true.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:52 PM
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As a broad, crude generalization, 517 would really only be controversial at Unfogged.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:52 PM
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As a broad, crude generalization, 517 would really only be controversial at Unfogged.

That's cuz we're more smarter than everyone else!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:54 PM
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529: Only at Unfogged? Haven't been out much lately, huh?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:54 PM
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I am extremely offended by Abigail Adams's insinuation that men experience less emotional pain that women in similar situations. As if we didn't have enough pernicious stereotypes to contend with.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:55 PM
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In India, it is uncontroversial that fat people are better dancers than thin people. Yet, I imagine this claim would be controversial at Unfogged.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:55 PM
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Go read something about baboons.

Three things:

1. We had a female baboon named Casey. She loved the men in my family and hated the women. I would walk around with her clinging to my leg, as long as no women were around. If a woman came around, she would shreek and grab my leg tighter than I wanted.

2. We had a male baboon that had a permanent erection. Women thought it was more funny than the men. They would nudge their men and whisper, "maybe you can learn something from him."

3. Chimps eat baboons in the wild.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:55 PM
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You had pet baboons? I think that explains your luck with the laydeez right there.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:57 PM
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In India, it is uncontroversial that fat people are better dancers than thin people.

Not so


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 2:59 PM
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Let me get this straight.

Generalities are bad because:

They are inaccurate in specific cases
They may be (are) usually wrong
They are useless

Is that a fair summary?

Well, from an engineering standpoint, if you've got a distribution of attributes then in some cases a generality is useful.

I agree that generalities are inaccurate in specific cases but I rebut the second point and disagree with the third.

Generalities are useful as a starting point. From there you can get to specific cases.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:01 PM
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The generality I suggested in 528 is a useful starting point? No, no it is not.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:07 PM
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Did not mean offense, Fatman. I was just wondering if they experience similar physiological reactions. Not that men wouldn't, but the hormones triggered by the stress has surprised me.


Posted by: Abigail Adams | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:07 PM
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Purple-ass baboons?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:08 PM
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532: The thing is, it is a pretty prevalent stereotype and one that leaves women -- especially in situations like Abigail is dealing with -- really fucking insecure. Indisputably, some men feel less emotional pain. And when some women deal with men like that and get exasperated and say, "God, do you not even care???!" they are told, "Men just don't get all emotional the way you women do." And since we've now learned that cliched generalizations may or may not be accurate, the woman dealing with the stone-hearted man wonders, "Am I being unreasonable expecting some emotion from him? Is this really just the way men are?"

In other words, by all means be offended by the stereotype, but go easy on those of us who have been uncertain about whether it really is broadly accurate or not.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:08 PM
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I was being facetious in 521.

Personally I think that if a generalization is accurate in all civilizations that I am familiar with, I don't care whether it was accurate on the velt or not. but I don't know the difference between "generality" and "generalization", so do n't look at me.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:09 PM
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As a generality women are attracted to power and men are attracted to the ability to bear healthy offspring.

Cmon Tripp ---this isn't even very good as pop evo/evo-psych. The correct version is that humans are attracted by the perception of the ability to produce healthy offspring and protect them [*], and that men and women typically use different proxies for this. This opens the door[**] for thousands of bad arguments about what those proxies actually are.

[*] from an evolutionary point of view, this a mix of uncontrovertable and wrong
[**] see ev-psych lit.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:10 PM
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It makes sense that people spend so much time and energy on mate selection, but it frustrates me that there is so much BS surrounding the whole thing. I suppose much of the BS comes from the tension between our rational sensibilities and unrational drives.

The drives are not-rational and also seem to be difficult to even think about rationally.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:10 PM
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I was only a tiny bit offended. Should not have used that as an opportunity to point out that you were using a generalization slightly similar to Tripp's generalization that is being derided.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:11 PM
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but I rebut the second point

By the power vested in you? I think it's pretty clear that some generalizations are in fact wrong. Not just in specific cases, but generally, too.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:11 PM
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Tripp, were you crazed before your hiatus? I can't remember.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:11 PM
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Sorry-- I feel more sympathy for you than I have ever felt for myself in such a situation. But I don't understand how you could agree to go back with him if he's causing you this much pain anyway.

Quelle thread depressing.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:13 PM
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I'm guessing 532 is a joke.

I was surprised by Abigail's question because in my experience (which is a random sample of the population, and therefore cannot be questioned in any way), it's men who are devastated in these situations, and women who bounce back.

Do women really believe that men are less emotional as a whole? That staggers me, so it's so obviously a self-serving lie. I'm actually beginning to mist up a little...


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:14 PM
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521: I think the point is more that repeating a false generalization doesn't make it true.
--
Aw, Abigail. I'm really sorry that you're going through this. I'm generally with will in 525, but you have to get to that point on your own.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:15 PM
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Personally I think that if a generalization is accurate in all civilizations that I am familiar with

It's hard to underestimate the amount of study it would take to find and validate a statement of this type. In my experience, when people say things based on this sort of generalization, it really means "it matches my particular picture of the world, and that's about as far as I ever bother taking things."


but it frustrates me that there is so much BS surrounding the whole thing.

Why the hell do you produce it then?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:16 PM
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Abigail: That's really lousy. I'm sad to hear you're grinding through this.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:17 PM
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Walt,

The generality I suggested in 528 is a useful starting point? No, no it is not.

Fine. We both know it depends on the distribution. Generalities may or may not be useful depending on the distribution.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:17 PM
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I rebut the second point

You certainly haven't rebutted his point here, and I suspect your particular generality (this thread) is far closer to Walt's case (true only in a useless sense) than you think.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:19 PM
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Yeah, 541 rings pretty true with me, in that the very same men will invoke sexist stereotypes in order to argue that they can't possibly [be monogamous, express emotion, have emotion, control their anger, etc.] and then will later cry sexism when the woman says she doesn't think he's capable of [being monogamous, expressing emotion, having emotion, controlling his anger, etc.]. Sure, there's the more general problem that there are men who defend pernicious anti-masculine stereotypes because they don't like being held responsible for anything and then other men who are sick of being seen as less masculine because they don't fit those stereotypes. But even individual people often seem to want to have it both ways.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:20 PM
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I'm happy with that. Is this comity? I'm not sure. Can we get a ruling from the line judge?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:21 PM
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556 -> 553.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:21 PM
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Do women really believe that men are less emotional as a whole?

I don't know if we believe it per se, but it's a stereotype that's generally out there, and one that is often offered up as an explanation of a man's behavior. There also seem to me to be different culturally accepted ways of expressing that emotion, and sometimes people aren't good at telling whether the person of the opposite sex they're interested in is feeling an emotion because they're not expressing it in the way that they would.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:22 PM
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I know that it's a stereotype, but I just assumed that women all knew it was a self-serving one, like blue balls.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:24 PM
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Di,

I think it's pretty clear that some generalizations are in fact wrong. Not just in specific cases, but generally, too.

We agree on this. Some generalizations are also correct.

soup biscuit,
Why the hell do you produce it then?

I do not think it is BS. I think it is a useful starting point, but I'm willing to learn something better. I've heard about a zillion different explanations of why people behave the way they do, and this is my summary of it all. If you've got something better I'd love to hear it. It's pretty easy to gripe and complain and criticize and not so easy to make sense out of something as complicated as human interaction.

Besides, look at the comment count. Look at our audience. This is fertile ground, man! This gets the juices flowing and the actions going!

People dig this stuff. For good reason. Evolutionary reasons!


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:25 PM
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The chief downside of the "I don't want to speak to you unless you're telling me that you're serious" is that it requires repeatedly crushing that constantly regenerating (if slowly shrinking) hope that even after you've given up on him, he might come back.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:25 PM
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There is a huge literature on male-female differences. Academics study it. Not surprisingly, their findings correspond reasonably well with many centuries of folk cliches. For example, check out this 48-country comparative study on male-female differences in mating strategies:

http://psych.mcmaster.ca/dalywilson/commentary_schmitt.pdf

It has numerous commentaries and author's response to those as well.

let's say that on average women prefer the room temperature at 70.03 degrees, and men prefer the room temperature at 69.96 degrees, while the actual range for both men and women was plus or minus 20 degrees.

True that if the male-female difference is, as you posit, equal to roughly one two-hundredths of a standard deviation, that wouldn't make much difference. However, teh study linked about finds a difference of about three-quarters of a standard deviation across all countries. This would by equivalent to a 15 degree difference in your example above.

Interestingly, sex differences vary significantly based on how egalitarian the culture is. They are half an SD in Germany, one and a quarter SDs in Morocco. That's what one would expect.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:26 PM
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I don't want to speak for anyone else here, but in a situation similar to Abigail's, I think my response was different in that I just didn't think as much about what was going on, since it was out of my control and the only person who could explain her behavior to me was her herself, and she didn't want to. So...I just gave up on trying to understand or control the situation at all, instead of waiting for her to stop trying to have it both ways.

This might have come from a male-associated tendency to give up all hope of understanding the capricious behavior of others, whereas women are more likely to have faith that given time, they will be able to explain why someone behaves the way he does. But it didn't seem like a gendered response at the time.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:28 PM
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I think being bad at thinking about emotions sometimes feels like not having emotions. I used to claim that I didn't have emotions, that I had visceral feelings, because that's how I experienced everything. I didn't "feel" sad; I'd just feel sick to my stomach. It was easier to say I didn't have emotions because I had no idea what they were or what made me feel them. Now that I have a lot better and more helpful friends, and have done some therapy, I am learning that putting something into words can help one to recognize something that really is there so that it can be managed more effectively. So I have some compassion with the Dudespeak that says, "Uh, I don't care/I don't know/I don't feel anything." They just haven't really given it any serious thought, and I believe this is a cultural problem, that it's just too rare for men to find places where they can think and talk openly about stuff.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:29 PM
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I gave 20 as the entire range, not one standard deviation. Shake off the tyranny of the normal distribution!

It's a long way from that study to the veldt, for reasons that I assume are obvious.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:33 PM
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Also, if you want to see a really sophisticated and interesting feminist response to sociobiological theories about male-female mating strategies, check out Alice Eagly and Wendy Wood and their biosocial model -- basically they argue that the differences in size and strength between men and women drive different social roles for the two sexes that then determine differences in mating strategies, which are not directly evolved. In the symposium I linked in comment 562, Eagly and Wood's response to the article is on pp. 281-283, and Schmitt's (the main author) response to their response is on pp. 301-302.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:34 PM
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They are half an SD in Germany, one and a quarter SDs in Morocco. That's what one would expect.

This would speak against the idea that back on the veldt, we were all programmed for X, wouldn't it?

I don't think anyone is arguing that there are no differences between men and women, just that explaining an actual cultural difference by appealing to a story about hunting tigers isn't much better than explaining it by talking about Adam's rib.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:36 PM
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But credulousness for bogus statements about human behavior is and always has been very high. Just as the Bible is a subtle set of writings, but is reduced to a set of moralistic sketches in popularization, so is a lot of science reduced to cartoons applicable to daily life.

That said, IMO the instruments available (surveys, blinded contrived experiments with college student subjects) for assaying behavior are really crude, and not equal to the subtle questions we have. There's better science to be read about less obvious questions.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:36 PM
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As a generality women are attracted to power

It's the powerful men at this site who keep me coming back to Unfogged.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:37 PM
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a self-serving one, like blue balls.

Wait, you're not trying to claim that blue balls is a false stereotype, are you?

The first time I ever experienced it/them, I was absolutely stunned at the discomfortpain. Alas, I was a good Catholic, so the obvious remedy was closed to me.

I think that was the only time it ever hurt like that. But it really, really did hurt. Much more than getting a well-struck volleyball in the crotch, for instance.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:38 PM
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You people are aliens.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:42 PM
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Alice Eagly and Wendy Wood and their biosocial model -- basically they argue that the differences in size and strength between men and women drive different social roles for the two sexes that then determine differences in mating strategies, which are not directly evolved.

Ooh, neat -- I find this very plausible, and have long thought that it made sense as a driver of socialized gender differences, but hadn't ever seen it in academic work. Thanks!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:43 PM
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This would speak against the idea that back on the veldt, we were all programmed for X, wouldn't it?

This argument came up earlier, and it's not logically true at all. Look at sexual dimorphism - it varies by extent among populations, but is always present. It's not always the same % difference, but it's always there - which is exactly what you would expect of a built-in feature that was heavily influenced by environment.

Let's say that the RWA scale showed that men were more likely to be Authoritarian Followers. In TX, it's 35% to 30%, in NYC it's 25 to 20, and in Belgium it's 7 to 4. It would be absurd to look at those data and say that the fact that there's variation in extent - but always in the same direction - is somehow evidence that the tendency isn't innate.

Now of course it may still not be innate - patriarchy is everywhere (and Twisty's back from hiatus, which coincides with my theory that our two favorite cancer-ridden bloggers are one and the same) and is just as likely a culprit as genetics. But as long as the data all point in one direction, varying extents aren't dispositive


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:49 PM
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I know that it's a stereotype, but I just assumed that women all knew it was a self-serving one, like blue balls.

Blue balls is a "stereotype"? More like an "excuse for bad behavior".

It's a real phenomenon too, though obviously no proof can be offered by those who invoke it, and therefore women are right to doubt our claims.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:54 PM
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568: Exactly. It's trivially true that men and women are different, but it's obviously an extremely difficult to extricate particular fundamental differences from simplistic observations on so complex a system as a culture, particular from within.

Making strong claims about universality or the lines between genetical and social/cultural differences based on even the best results from the sorts of blunt tools available to sociologists, etc. is at best naive.

Not surprisingly, their findings correspond reasonably well with many centuries of folk cliches.

There are several reasons this result could be considered `not surprising', some mutually exclusive.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 3:58 PM
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573: Fair enough; I should have clarified what I meant more.

Usually the pop ev-psych arguments aren't the weak claims like 'sexual dimorphism is a built-in feature heavily influenced by environment' or 'more men than women are described as authoritarian followers' but 'more men than women are in philosophy because back on the veldt they needed to develop logical thinking in order to spear tigers, so it's natural that men are better at it.'

It's often something that's way too specific, local to a particular culture or a recent development, that is claimed to be universal, and underlaid by the idea that biology is destiny and there's nothing even an ideal culture can do about it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:07 PM
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IMO the instruments available (surveys, blinded contrived experiments with college student subjects) for assaying behavior are really crude, and not equal to the subtle questions we have. There's better science to be read about less obvious questions.

This could be said about most all social sciences, including economics and psychology. There's a lot of BS in sociobiology, but that's true of social science in general. There's still interesting evidence buried in there, though.

This would speak against the idea that back on the veldt, we were all programmed for X, wouldn't it?

Well, sure, but that's a straw man. Anyone who talks about people like they are simply programmed by the veldt obviously has some axe to grind and is a bore. This is obviously not true; cultural variation is massive and the evidence for it is everywhere.

But part of my point here is that good sociobiology is much more sophisticated than simply opposing nature to culture. The question isn't evolved preferences overriding culture, but how the two interact and influence each other. (As in how the paper above examines how male/female differences change with cultural context -- there are large effects). This is especially true because we are biologically programmed to be responsive to cultural cues. In that sense the whole nature/culture distinction is much too rigid.

I don't think anyone is arguing that there are no differences between men and women, just that explaining an actual cultural difference by appealing to a story about hunting tigers isn't much better than explaining it by talking about Adam's rib.

The sperm cheap/egg expensive thing is much more basic to human biology than hunting tigers, which is just a highly culture-specific vocational role. Eagly and Wood, the feminist critics I mentioned above, actually put much more weight on vocational roles in traditional societies determining sex differences than the reproductive biology factors.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:12 PM
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AWB's 564 about "not having" emotions really meaning not understanding them rings very true to me. That's something I've been working on a lot lately, but have been running low on people to really talk to about it; the person who I have the most time and opportunity to talk to is the person that most of the emotions are about, which makes it harder than having a third party (aside from therapy, which is helpful, but kind of infrequent and expensive). It doesn't really seem sensible to call up old friends I haven't interacted with in years and say "Hi, how are you doing? Want to have an intense conversation about the problems I'm going through and my understanding of them?"


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:14 PM
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Anyone who talks about people like they are simply programmed by the veldt obviously has some axe to grind and is a bore.

I agree, but I'd point out that a position that is held isn't made a straw man by being boring or obviously wrong.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:23 PM
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I arise from my fitful comment-slumber to beat down the "Only at Unfogged" nonsense. I am right now enlisting Zombie B.F. Skinner to strike a gong whenever you type that.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:23 PM
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I agree, but I'd point out that a position that is held isn't made a straw man by being boring or obviously wrong.

A position that is held by people who may exist somewhere in the world, but not any of the people actually in this comment thread, is a straw man.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:26 PM
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That is, to strike a gong in such proximity to your ear as to make you suffer a lifetime of tinnitus, like William Shatner.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:26 PM
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575

"Exactly. It's trivially true that men and women are different, but it's obviously an extremely difficult to extricate particular fundamental differences from simplistic observations on so complex a system as a culture, particular from within."

Aren't the more convincing theories based on observing males and females in numerous species not just humans?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:26 PM
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Standpipe, that was really mean. I'm already a little hard of hearing.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:27 PM
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The tinnitus being just a pleasant side-effect of the desired conditioning.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:27 PM
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needed to develop logical thinking in order to spear tigers

Like with a material conditional? Another reason to shun the horseshoe symbol.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:28 PM
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Standpipe, that was really mean. I'm already a little hard of hearing.

I'M SORRY I WAS MEAN, PGD.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:31 PM
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Aren't the more convincing theories based on observing males and females in numerous species not just humans?

Indeed they are, because of exactly the problems I described. But it's not a panacea, both because of the generalization problem and issues of acceptance (e.g. 404 literally). Beyond that, the closer the population is to human in terms of complexity, etc., the more it has the same sort of problems with social/cultural contexts.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:40 PM
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I think it's a live possibility that by and large social sciences have achieved almost nothing, and that it was all a waste of time. I think the economics, for example, would be healthier if they were more willing to consider that their theories have failed completely.

Evolutionary psychology is a perfect example. We have weak tools for measuring effects, which does not prevent us from indulging in our passion for drawing strong conclusions.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:55 PM
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581: Were we not having a discussion about how making money is at the core of evolutionary feeling for men, just like beauty is for women?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 4:56 PM
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583: Aren't the more convincing theories based on observing males and females in numerous species not just humans?

James B. Shearer: Objectively pro-gay bonobo sex


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 5:19 PM
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Aren't the more convincing theories based on humans' observ ations of males and females in numerous species...?

A fact brought home to me by an astoundingly dreadful and baggage-laden "study" I read years ago. Thankfully most of it is lost in the mists of time, but the gist was the researchers' completely insane attribution of a social and political gay identity to the animals in question, based entirely on the humans' observation of ambiguous sexual behavior. Seldom have I seen such a good example of the caricature of left-wing academic agendas.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 5:30 PM
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This study is really interesting.


Posted by: Abigail Adams | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 5:42 PM
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It is extremely interesting so far (I've only skimmed the first five pages). Too good to be buried 600 comments deep. Blog masters?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 6:34 PM
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594: I'm on the case.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 6:39 PM
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There ya go. Play nice.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 6:48 PM
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That is, to strike a gong in such proximity to your ear as to make you suffer a lifetime of tinnitus, like William Shatner.

That explains Rocketman. He was pausing to listen to the bells, bells bells.

How I hated the veldt. Everyone wanted me to gather, and I only wanted to hunt.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 7:40 PM
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you were supposed to use your charms to entice antelope within shooting range, mcmc.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 8:14 PM
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How I hated the veldt. Everyone wanted me to gather, and I only wanted to hunt.

Maybe some Veldters had something like that Albanian thing that was in the news a couple of weeks ago; so that if you renounced gathering entirely, and so on, you could wear men's clothes, or spandex or something, and hunt.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 8:20 PM
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I would invite them to play, but they preferred the company of teh deer.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 8:23 PM
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599: Talk about evidence for the social construction of gender differences. That article killed me, because all the women who had made the switch seemed so happy about it. None of them regretted giving up children or marriage.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 8:31 PM
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589

"I think it's a live possibility that by and large social sciences have achieved almost nothing, and that it was all a waste of time. I think the economics, for example, would be healthier if they were more willing to consider that their theories have failed completely."

What are you saying here? That the whole of economics was a waste of time or merely that some economic theories are wrong?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-10-08 8:53 PM
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I'm not saying that the whole of economics of economics is a waste of time. That would be crazy. Just that 98 percent of it is.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:43 AM
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they argue that the differences in size and strength between men and women drive different social roles for the two sexes that then determine differences in mating strategies, which are not directly evolved.

That is a good argument, although without reading the study it seems a bit moot unless they make the following argument. Assuming they are correct, and noting that in modern society physical strength means little because of our use of machines, including guns, we are still left with the vestiges of our evolutionary feelings, no?

But knowing those things, knowing our feelings and where these feelings originate helps us to accept them so we can get on with the business of making rational decisions for the situation we are currently in.

As I have repeatedly said, knowing our feelings and accepting those feelings helps us get beyond them to our rational selves.

I totally agree with this overall point.

Most of the time, though, when I point out that these feelings are real and make sense based on where they come from most people then begin either denouncing those feelings ("Men/women don't feel that!") or label them ("Your feelings are BAD!" or "My feelings give me license to behave as a boor!")

This discussion seems to be endlessly fascinating. I can understand why.

Mary Catherine,

It's the powerful men at this site who keep me coming back to Unfogged.

I know. I like you too! You know I've always had a soft spot for Catholic women.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:47 AM
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Walt,

I'm not saying that the whole of economics of economics is a waste of time. That would be crazy. Just that 98 percent of it is.

To this layman it seems the basic economic theories are totally sound. It is when they get into the quote advanced end-quote stuff that they have a tendency to forget the basics and run into problems.

Put another way, one of the basics is that people will try to optimize their own returns even when it hurts everyone else. Still the economists insist on building structures complicated enough that this basic fact is obscured and then people rig the system.

Put a third way, bastards are always looking for the edge or the loophole and the frigging academic economists are always designing them a way to do it!


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:54 AM
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You're a man who loves first principles, Tripp.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:57 AM
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Assuming they are correct, and noting that in modern society physical strength means little because of our use of machines, including guns, we are still left with the vestiges of our evolutionary feelings, no?

No, you misunderstand. According to that argument, there is no evolved preference for mating strategy. There is only a tendency, based on size and strength differences, for men and women to adopt a sexual division of labor, which then influences their mating strategy. Years of cultural accumulation could make those ingrained strategies difficult to influence on a population level, but they are not evolved in a genetic sense. Modern societies in which there's less (though not zero: only women can bear children) reason for a sexual division of labor might retain the mating strategies, but because of cultural transmission, not because of genetically determined preferences. Over (perhaps a lot) of time, you would expect a change in the distribution of male and female mate selection strategies as the sexual division of labor also changed.


Posted by: Cynique | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:58 AM
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"... Years of cultural accumulation could make those ingrained strategies difficult to influence on a population level, but they are not evolved in a genetic sense. ..."

This doesn't make sense to me. There is a feedback loop between culture and genetics. Given long lasting cultural mating stategies people will change genetically over time to adapt themselves to these strategies. So if men have a cultural preference for women with blonde hair this will favor blonde hair genes and over time increase the fraction of women with blonde hair. This sexual selection process is believed to explain how features like the peacock's tail evolved.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:39 AM
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607

"... Years of cultural accumulation could make those ingrained strategies difficult to influence on a population level, but they are not evolved in a genetic sense. ..."

This doesn't make sense to me. There is a feedback loop between culture and genetics. Given long lasting cultural mating stategies people will change genetically over time to adapt themselves to these strategies. So if men have a cultural preference for women with blonde hair this will favor blonde hair genes and over time increase the fraction of women with blonde hair. This sexual selection process is believed to explain how features like the peacock's tail evolved.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:40 AM
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So if men have a cultural preference for women with blonde hair this will favor blonde hair genes and over time increase the fraction of women with blonde hair.

And then economics kicks in and say that the increase in supply in the absence of a decrease in demand just makes all these blonds cheap!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:44 AM
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605: Tripp is 180 degrees wrong. Econ 101 basics provide a very warped view of reality, but some of the sophisticaed add-ons make economics almost realistic.

Econ 101 true believers are a blight on America.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:47 AM
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From a dead thread:

I just ran into a true story about an alternative family. After a man died his wife ran his wheat farm for ten years or more. She did all of the work that men do. Some or most of that time she had the help of her son-in-law. When her daughter divorced him, the son-in-law stayed and the daughter left. He still runs the farm and will get an inheritance.

Yeah, North Dakota.

Anyway, the practical part of the relationship survived and the kinship and romanti parts were less importan. This isn't the "trading love for money" boogeyman people here fear, just a multi-faceted relationship within which romance, sex, or love did not have hegemony or preponderance. A non-unitary relationship.

With all due respect, sometimes I think that people here (and comparable educated upper middle class swipples everywhere) often a.) take proposed reforms of M/F relations as actual when they're still aspirational prototypes, b.) have an extraordinary lack of understanding and sympathy for people who organize their lives upon entirely different principles than the Unfoggetariat, and c.) are beating their brains out trying to find something that may never have existed anywhere.

That's not quite as negative as it sounds, because every experiment starts out with prototypes and failures. But a lot of talk here seems to be grounded itself on something that may not even exist yet.

Also: Your main source for relationship (and other) cynicism.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:50 AM
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611: So are you saying there is or is not a glut of cheap blonds?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:51 AM
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My blonde sister hasn't known her true hair color since 1965. Blondeness data is very corrupt and unreliable.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:53 AM
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Bright feathers as immunocompetence signals in birds is the current idea. Extrapolating from animals to human culture is boneheaded without applying a lot of care to every transitional statement. At a minimum, a human variation would need to confer an enormous selective advantage to change frequency faster than drift in 50 generations. Culture changes much more quickly than genetics can respond.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:55 AM
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long lasting

Is a statement doing a lot of work.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:57 AM
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Cynique,

Over (perhaps a lot) of time, you would expect a change in the distribution of male and female mate selection strategies as the sexual division of labor also changed.

I don't disagree with you. It seems to me that it takes a LOT of time for evolutionary changes compared to cultural changes. I grant that one of the biggest advantages humans have over other species is our adaptability, and we are able to relatively quickly change our culture to adapt to current conditions.

Our evolutionary remnants will always lag behind. Indeed that is the root of the conflict. In some ways when we chastise someone with "you are behaving like an animal!" we are saying you are letting your evolutionary remnants override the current cultural expectation.

The past is not destiny, especially in we highly adaptable humans. The past still lingers inside us, though, and acknowledging that is the way to better adapt to the present.

It is also a way to manipulate people, for lack of a better word.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:00 AM
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610

"And then economics kicks in and say that the increase in supply in the absence of a decrease in demand just makes all these blonds cheap!"

I believe you mean increase in demand. This can be true. If the trait is more valuable when it is rare and also has a disadvantage then an equilibrium will be reached when the trait is common enough so that the advantage balances the disadvantage.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:25 AM
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615

"... At a minimum, a human variation would need to confer an enormous selective advantage to change frequency faster than drift in 50 generations. ..."

Not really, a 1-2% advantage is enough to change frequency significantly in 50 generations.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:28 AM
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I don't disagree with you. It seems to me that it takes a LOT of time for evolutionary changes compared to cultural changes.

I don't think you can agree or disagree, because I think you still don't understand. I was trying to explain the Eagly/Wood model as I understood it being described by PGD (it's possible that I understand it incorrectly). In that model, as I understand it, the only thing that's genetically evolved is a size/strength differential. The observed differences in population distributions between the sexes in division of labor is a cultural response to a biological fact, and mate selection strategy differences are cultural response to the division of labor. So changing division of labor and mate selection strategies would both be cultural changes.

I'm not taking a particular position on the model. I don't have many opinions on what's genetic and what's cultural. Maybe Shearer is right about the feedback loop; I don't know enough to comment.

My only opinions don't involve the underlying facts. I'm more incensed about how stupid a lot of ev psych research seems to me when I run across it. I see a fair number of papers that announce "evolutionary psychology would predict X difference between the sexes," they administer some surveys or do an experiment, they find what they expected, and announce, "aha, this is consistent with ev psych theory!" when it's also consistent with cultural explanations, and the test they did had no power to discriminate between the validity of one theory or another. Then I put my head in my hands, because research is a very resource-intensive process, and I hate to see scientists pissing money and labor down the drain when psychology is so young, and the breadth and depth of questions to answer about the mind are so great.


Posted by: Cynique | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:31 AM
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You're a man who loves first principles, Tripp.

Walt,

Special cases are interesting and fun to discuss but many times people discard the first principles because they don't like what they say and then people search out the special cases to justify what they want.

Pretty much everyone wants to be a special case so everyone wants to discard the first principles. Many times the simple answer is the correct one. It certainly is a good starting point for understanding things.

Many people don't want to understand, though. They want to get what they want and need.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:32 AM
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It certainly is a good starting point for understanding things.

This is true when the principles you are starting from are solid. Unlike, say, economics, imo.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:36 AM
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Tripp, you're full of it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:36 AM
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616

"Is a statement doing a lot of work."

This was in response to a theory about cultural roles for men and women induced by the fact that men are bigger and stronger which one would expect to be long lasting enough to cause genetic changes.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:38 AM
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Cynique,

Ah. OK.

Well, perhaps their model is correct. Are you saying they do not address the question of mate selection at all? They are only looking at the division of labor?

If so then, yeah, most definitely as automation has leveled the playing field women are getting into the 'heavy lifting' jobs.

I was referring to mate selection, which in my opinion generally involves power and not size, although, for example, tall men still have an advantage over shorter men in gaining power. I do think that is a remnant of evolution.

In my opinion women seek power for themselves, and also seek it in the mate they select.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:40 AM
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624: Yes, I realize that. Sorry I was too brief. It is probable that this is long enough, if only because it predates human existence as far as we can see and would track with ancestors as well. Likewise many of the other issues that come up around gender imbalance are presumably too short in duration, but there is no certainty in this.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:47 AM
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In my opinion women seek power for themselves, and also seek it in the mate they select.

As noted before, this is at best a second order effect from an evolutionary point of view, and like all such can lead to distorted reasoning if you weight it too heavily.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:50 AM
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Are you saying they do not address the question of mate selection at all? They are only looking at the division of labor?

I am not the best person to pose this question to. I've read papers by Eagly, but I'm not sure that I've ever read a paper on this issue. But here's what I understand just from what PGD said: they address mate selection, but they view it as a cultural response to the also cultural division of labor.

I was referring to mate selection, which in my opinion generally involves power and not size, although, for example, tall men still have an advantage over shorter men in gaining power. I do think that is a remnant of evolution.

I presume (though I am only presuming) that the Eagly and Wood argument would go something like this: men, by virtue of being on average stronger and bigger than women, eventually specialized in outside-the-home labor, that involved heavy lifting, fighting with spears, whatever. Women, by virtue of being on average smaller and weaker, and needing to stay home while they were pregnant and nursing, eventually specialized in at-home and around-the-village labor. This eventually led to men having more control over resources, and so women developed a cultural preference for mates who could secure them resources. I don't know what Eagly and Wood say about whether men and women have the same baseline preferences for physically attractive mates, and the difference between the two arises because women must make attractiveness tradeoffs to also secure resources, or whether they think there's a pathway through division of labor by which men developed elevated preferences for physically attractive mates relative to women.

So when you say "I was referring to power and not size" you're missing the point a little. The (in this model presumed cultural) division of labor stems from a size differential, but gives men more power.

As for whether tall men have an advantage over short men in gaining power, it could very well be that we have a genetically encoded heuristic to be afraid of bigger people; many animals seem to know to treat big, mobile things as threatening.

I only hopped it just because I thought you were missing something, and I wanted to clarify it for you. Detailed questions about the Eagly/Wood position are best addressed to PGD.


Posted by: Cynique | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:00 AM
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Tripp, you are a firm believer in Authoritarians as a social group, right? Let me posit for you the existence of another group. This group prefers simple bright-line rules to messy complexities. This group is drawn to engineering, to evolutionary psychology, to Econ 101. This group prefers the average case to the full distribution. This group rejects the wisdom this piece of doggerel poetry from Kurt Vonnegut:

Tiger's got to run
Bird's got to fly
Man's got to ask himself
"Why? Why? Why?"

Tiger's got to rest
Bird's got to land
Man's got to tell himself
He understand.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:26 AM
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Cynique,

Thank you. I did need clarification. I agree with Eagly/Wood.

In my opinion taller men get preference in gaining power for two reasons. Men fear them. Women are attracted to them.

Women are not attracted to all power. Yes, big men could save them from monsters, but that is not good enough if the same men threatened them and their children.

No, women are attracted to power that is controlled and will not harm them or their children.

The male has to fight off rivals and also fight off predators. In evolutionary terms. In the human species.

Obviously this no longer makes sense given modern times but we still carry the remnants with us.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:56 AM
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Walt,

Pretty close. Here's my Myers Briggs ENTP classification:

Quick, ingenious, stimulating, alert, and outspoken. Resourceful in solving new and challenging problems. Adept at generating conceptual possibilities and then analyzing them strategically. Good at reading other people. Bored by routine, will seldom do the same thing the same way, apt to turn to one new interest after another.

Yeah. So what?

Chicks dig me. What can I say? Works for me.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:00 PM
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a 1-2% advantage is

enormous. The alleles responsible for say high cholesterol are orders of magnitude less significant. Malaria protection around the mediterranean conferred by CFTR translates to 15-20%, so the most lethal heritable diseases known are an order of magnitude more significant. Alleles producing such a large advantage wouldn't be invisible, as the hypothetical mate-choice alleles under discussion have been so far.

Making an imaginary past a model for understanding current society is crappy science, ultimately an argument by authority.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:00 PM
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Adept at generating conceptual possibilities and then analyzing them strategically. Good at reading other people.

That's pretty funny.

fwiw, we have the same M-B. Is that an argument for or against?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:04 PM
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632: Could it be, I don't know, that your personality leads to you misunderstand the world in certain characteristic ways? And that you would understand the world better if you kept that in mind?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:05 PM
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Lemme guess Walt. You are an I instead of an E.

Hey, I like to learn. I crave it. You got something better, show me.

C'mon, this statement applies to everyone: your personality leads to you misunderstand the world in certain characteristic ways? And that you would understand the world better if you kept that in mind?

If you want me to shut up just say so. I bother you don't I? What's your problem?


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:11 PM
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I don't want you to shut up. I want you to learn to be a better person.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:14 PM
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soup biscuit,

fwiw, we have the same M-B. Is that an argument for or against?

I dunno. Many times we dislike most in others what we don't embrace in ourselves. But I think you know we'd be good friends in real life. Agreement on everything is boring, don't you think?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:16 PM
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Walt,
I don't want you to shut up. I want you to learn to be a better person.

That sounds nice and all, but are you some kind of do-gooder, saving the planet one person at a time?

I could be wrong, but I wonder if you aren't just a little peeved that despite your brilliance you aren't getting what you want and deserve. It's a pretty common feeling, especially nowadays. I'm thinking maybe instead of fixing me you should be fixing yourself.

But what do I know? I'm crazed. Maybe you really do care about me. sniffle. If so "Thanks man!" I need a lieutenant like you, willing to speak your mind. Join me.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:20 PM
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Oh, I don't dislike you Tripp. I just think you often say things here in a very categorical or authoritative way but that are fuzzy and/or poorly thought out; Things that don't bear scrutiny. It seems a bit like a throw lots of bullshit at the wall and see what sticks methodology. Having only this to go with, there is real cognitive dissonance with your claims that you think you are insightful etc. But how would I know when you're just goofing.

what we don't embrace in ourselves.

I really have no idea what you are thinking of there.

I'll give you that too much agreement is boring (and often counterproductive).

but what the hell, i just procrastinate here.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:25 PM
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Jesus, Tripp. What's your problem?

You bug me too, though only just recently. What I've been seeing is a flood of highly general assertions not backed by either scholarship or personal experience, most of them familiar sorts of conventional sociobiology without much value-added by Tripp. And sometimes compounded with additional personal shit.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:28 PM
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Despite my brilliance I'm not getting what I want and deserve. It's quite shocking, really. For example, Angelina is still with that Brad loser.

I have just noticed that you make what strike me as incredibly simplistic arguments. Which is okay, we all have views that we haven't thought out fully. But then you repeat them, over and over and over again. When you just repeated the Authoritarians point (which struck me as simplistic, but I could be wrong about that one) over and over, it was one thing. But every single argument you have any subject, you have a bright-line rule, and then you repeat that bright-line rule over and over and over and over. And over. So it's not just one specific opinion, it's every opinion you have. It strains credulity that every single vexed question that people argue about endlessly all turn out to be just that simple.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:33 PM
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soup biscuit,

I think we both are easily bored.

John,

I think your assessment is pretty right on. If you find what I say conventional and you agree then say "I agree with you. That is old news. Move on."

If you disagree tell me why.

What I see is, in general in certain areas, I say "there is general truth to the conventional thinking" and then people get upset by it but eventually end up saying something like"well, yeah, but there is this other case too" or something like that.

Regarding feminist thoughts - along with the extremely valid points there are some ideas that don't hold water, such as men and women are really the same. These ideas, coming from feminism or merely strawmen used by the opponents of feminism are used by those who want to throw out all of feminism. So we have a debate about what to keep and what to throw out.

In general I think I have not been mean-spirited about this. Depending on the tone of the responses I respond in kind. I don't think I'm hurting anyone's feelings really.

If you don't like what I write don't read it.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:46 PM
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The "no value-added" is pretty key to me. Most of us have heard that stuff before many times. Some think there might be something there, most are skeptical. As Walt said, you assert this stuff repeatedly, but don't give us much reason to change our already-existing opinion, whatever it was. Basically it's assertions and autobiography, telling us what you think.

Tripp, I don't know I don't like what you write until after I've read it. I've liked much of your earlier stuff, so I read your new stuff. But if you say something I don't like I reserve the right to respond.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:52 PM
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Walt,

So it's not just one specific opinion, it's every opinion you have.

Fair enough. I assure you I have plenty of half-baked opinions that I keep to myself. It is only the fully baked one's I share. In general these are the topics of men and women and also current world events.

Other topics I try to add some humor or support but that is about it.

I agree that I have been droning about Authoritarian followers because the idea made so much sense to me. Also Bave Dee, who comments here now and then, offered the book for discussion on his blog and asked for my participation. So I had gotten some feedback that somebody was interested.

That is neither here nor there though.

Thanks for the feedback.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:53 PM
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If you disagree tell me why.

I think the idea is that the person making the original assertion has the initial burden of saying why.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:57 PM
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"enormous. The alleles responsible for say high cholesterol are orders of magnitude less significant. Malaria protection around the mediterranean conferred by CFTR translates to 15-20%, so the most lethal heritable diseases known are an order of magnitude more significant. Alleles producing such a large advantage wouldn't be invisible, as the hypothetical mate-choice alleles under discussion have been so far."

If an allele gives a significant advantage then it will be driven to fixation quickly and won't be particularly visible. Suppose almost all men have a genetic preference for young healthy women, why would the genes responsible stand out?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:24 PM
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"I think the idea is that the person making the original assertion has the initial burden of saying why."

It depends on how much weight you are willing to give to authority (and whose authority). Some of the unfoggedariat consensus beliefs are rather eccentric in the wider world.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:29 PM
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Are there really meaningful `unfoggedariat consensus beliefs' ?

For that matter, it's a pretty blunt instrument, regardless. You can probably find wider world consensus beliefs as bizarre as you want to look for.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:32 PM
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There is a weakness in the argument, but that isn't it. Maybe start here, which answers your question, and propagate references forward until you spot it.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:35 PM
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