Re: Emotional Withdrawal

1

::boggle::

I can't even bring myself to click through to the link.

I'm not on board with shaming, precisely, but if I were in conversation with such a person I would be hard pressed not to stare at them hard and ask a few questions to see if we share an understanding of basic human biology.

(Prior experience indicates not: I can't believe the number of conversations I've had with people who don't actually understand, e.g., what ovulation is. I blame abstinence-based education! Seriously.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:36 PM
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1: You should read the article. It's interesting. I would not have thought this:

More realistic estimates suggest that with "typical use," 18% of couples relying on withdrawal will become pregnant within a year, compared with 17% of those using the male condom.

So, yes. Not the most effective, especially not compared to hormonal birth control, but not a total disaster. If used perfectly, the article indicates that you have a 4% chance of pregnancy if you use withdrawal.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:49 PM
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I think it's important to remember that the pressure to use withdrawal comes almost exclusively from men, and that it's largely about privilege and power. Don't you trust me? I'm clean, not like those other kinds of guys. Why no, I haven't been tested recently, but I only sleep with respectable girls. These tend to be the same kinds of guys who think being white and bourgeois means doing drugs casually is OK because they're not like "those" people who do drugs.

I am fairly confident that I'm hard to get pregnant, for a lot of reasons, so I'm not particularly paranoid about pregnancy. So for me, the problem with withdrawal is that it becomes a game of "Do you trust me not to have a disease?" It's not only dangerous; it's also rude to ask that much of someone you're not in a LTR with.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:51 PM
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I'm with Witt, except I actually don't have any problem with shaming. It's so mind-bogglingly stupid I see no reason to pretend like it's okay.

(Presuming we're talking about people over 18. Teenagers don't deserve to be shamed, they should just be put straight.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:51 PM
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It seems like such an unnecessary and stupid choice, though. It's like saying, "Well..." (long pause) Actually, no, we have an analogy ban for a reason. At any rate, it just seems dumb to me.

I'm tempted to declare that it is, off the cuff, a risky behavior engaged in as an antidote to or rebellion against the constant state of paranoia our society has chosen at almost every turn this decade. I suspect there are people who say, "Fuck it, the dirty bombs could go off tomorrow, I am going to live for one night," but then they say that every night. I don't really have a defense of that, though, and would probably roll my eyes if I saw someone else say it.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:55 PM
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Given the data, do those that advocate shaming for using withdrawal do so on the basis of disease risk, or on the risk of pregnancy? Given the similarity to pregnancy rates for condom use and the fact that not all women want to be - or can be - on hormonal birth control, I only see shaming for the first reason.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:56 PM
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Addendum - Well, ok, I can understand shaming for the second reason too, but it seems slightly less justified given the data.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:59 PM
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There's something so irritatingly triumphal about that title. Yes, indeed, it is a great victory for feminism to debunk the withdrawal shamers.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:02 PM
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It wasn't clear from the link in what contexts withdrawal was being used; I'd expect that "56% at some point in the life" might include quite a lot of couples-playing-Russian-roulette, or as a back up to the pill.

I think it's more sensible to tell someone what the actual risks are (no disease prevention, not great pregnancy prevention) than shaming for it. Schools should stress the use of condoms, because of the protection against STIs.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:03 PM
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What a weird article. It's never even occurred to me that women who practice withdrawal are subject to shaming. And I'm more than a little skeptical of the claim that such women are "utterly stigmatiz[ed]."


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:05 PM
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Plus my pipes leak all over the place now.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:06 PM
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9.2: Cala speaks much sense.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:06 PM
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There's a bit of the old "have you stopped beating your wife" about it. Especially considering AWB's 3. It's good to know that it's an effective method of birth control, but the purpose of Condomania! is to prevent the spread of disease.

For god's sake, the article even proposes using withdrawal in concert with condoms. Maybe I just missed the shame campaign?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:07 PM
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That article had some weird points. If you're using condoms, I see little point to withdrawal as a supplement [as suggested in the quote "However, only 5% of women at risk of unintended pregnancy currently use the method (11% when those who use it in conjunction with another method are included)."].

I just don't really get it though. Coming inside someone is fun, and with properly used condoms, it's pretty safe. Plus, assuming even a fairly heroic 4-5 rounds taking a couple hours with foreplay and in-between time, sex with condoms is a cheaper pastime than an afternoon movie or evening at the bar. If there's any excuse for withdrawal, it's certainly not economic.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:09 PM
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Or is it just that people I know getting older and in monogamous relationships?

I suspect that's it right there.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:10 PM
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assuming even a fairly heroic 4-5 rounds taking a couple hours with foreplay and in-between time,

I hope you mean over the course of a week.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:11 PM
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As for the people who just want to go without condoms for the fun factor, yeah, that's where disease becomes an obvious concern. If you're tested and/or in a committed relationship, then hey, go nuts, but it still seems like withdrawal should be an occasional something fun to mix it up but very odd to rely on for sole birth control for the reasons in 14.2.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:12 PM
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14: I had figured that it was pill + withdrawal, or diaphragm + withdrawal.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:13 PM
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(Prior experience indicates not: I can't believe the number of conversations I've had with people who don't actually understand, e.g., what ovulation is. I blame abstinence-based education! Seriously.)

Why would the average person understand what ovulation is? Does the average person understand what lymph nodes do?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:13 PM
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Further thoughts:

1. It's from a Guttenmacher Institute study. Hm. Their stuff has always been rigorous and reliable in the past when I've checked.

2. On the other hand, the mass-media write-ups do not define "perfect use," and I wonder whether that means withdrawal in combination with avoiding intercourse near fertile times.

3. Hunting for the underlying study, the PDF on the GI website downloads to my desktop as blank. The copy in the journal turns out to be published by Elsiver (boo! hiss! Time for the Crooked Timber-suggested boilerplate disclaimer for mendacious publishing empires.)

4. Success! Copy of paper found on conference website. Hmmm....reading....excellent analysis of the failure of previous studies to carefully account for the use or nonuse of withdrawal...strong methodological critiques...interesting suggestions for gathering better data in future research...gentle reminder to healthcare professionals not to stigmatize withdrawal if patient confides she is using it....downright bizarre quote from male study participant about liking to "see the yield"....absolutely insane use of the "protection" to mean "protected against pregnancy" rather than pregnancy and disease.

Hm. On balance, not a horrible study. Still, perplexing.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:14 PM
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Influence from porn?

Has there been an uptick in bashful offerings?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:14 PM
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downright bizarre quote from male study participant about liking to "see the yield"

Whaddya know, 21 was paper-pwned.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:16 PM
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Wait, since when do we need scientific evidence to shame women for having sex?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:18 PM
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Why would the average person understand what ovulation is? Does the average person understand what lymph nodes do?

Because the average person has far more of a stake in understanding the practicalities of reproductive biology than they do of lymph function.

Oh, you weren't serious, right?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:20 PM
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Why would the average person understand what ovulation is?

I am talking at the level of: Women's bodies have two ovaries. Every month, one ovary releases an egg.* The egg travels down a little tube called the Fallopian tube. There is a window of time during which the woman is much more likely to get pregnant if she has sex. If she does have sex, the sperm left behind in her body may or may not fertilize the egg.** If the egg is not fertilized,*** it will be flushed out of her body during her next menstrual period.

I have this possibly-idealistic notion that we all learned this fairly early on, perhaps in sixth grade health class. It is a source of continuing disilluisionment to me that many of my peers apparently did not.


*Note how I am glossing over the follicle ripening, etc., not to mention special cases such as twins.
**Note how I am glossing over the whole saga of sperm.
***Note how I am skipping the whole fertilized-eggs-that-fail-to-implant thing.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:22 PM
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The Saga of Sperm!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:23 PM
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I just completed exactly the same process that Witt outlines in 20. "Hmm, what is perfect use?" and then finding that the actual study on which all of this hoopla is based is rather more narrow and pedestrian. More than anything, its thesis seemed to be, "hey, a whole lot more people are using withdrawal than shows up in most surveys, and we should design better studies of withdrawal as a birth control method."


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:23 PM
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The article is pretty clear that their focus on withdrawal as a contraceptive method.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:23 PM
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The Saga of Sperm!

By John Barth.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:24 PM
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In the right circumstances, emotional withdrawal can be a pretty effective contraceptive method I've heard. Snarky comments may help, too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:24 PM
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Now I feel glossed over.

Or glossy.

One or the other.


Posted by: The Saga Of Sperm | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:25 PM
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25: I was rather amused (and horrified) to find out that in the 19th century the contemporary rhythm method was predicated on an incorrect understanding of exactly when a woman ovulated, which led to couples being told that it was safe to have sex at precisely the moment that the woman was the most fertile.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:26 PM
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32: Serves 'em right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:28 PM
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16: Oh, I'm just pointing out that condoms are pretty cost-effective means to a good time even if you assume that people bump prodigious amounts of uglies. In other words, "But when you fuck as much as we do..." would never be an excuse to use withdrawal as contraception.

18: Huh. The first seems a bit paranoid, but vaguely understandable.

Seriously though, who the hell uses a diaphragm? I've never had a girl suggest a female condom or diaphragm in my life, and I think I've only seen the former for sale once or twice, in one make, ever. I'm pretty sure I've only seen the diaphragm in contraception pamphlets. If it weren't for those same pamphlets and an inexplicably commonly-referred-to Seinfeld episode, I'd never have known that a glorified sponge apparently served as acceptable contraception at some point.

Are these just the methods that committed couples use when hormonal birth control is a no-go and they want to skip on condoms?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:28 PM
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32: sneaky buggers, the catholic church.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:28 PM
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I know someone who eventually successfully conceived, who did not seem to have realized at the beginning of the process that some days of the month are better than others. I figured everyone, or at least everyone trying, would have that basic knowledge.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:29 PM
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Also, I feel honor-bound to note that if Dsquared were here, he'd probably be relating a horror story about a scornful healthcare practitioner ridiculing adult women in stable relationships who confide that they use withdrawal as [a] method, and pointing out that it's useful to get those folks off their high horses and into a common-sense acknowledgement that couples might make perfectly rational choices in light of their willingness to risk pregnancy and their concerns about other birth control methods.

And to him, I would say: See comment 3 in this thread, and also see the study's allegation that withdrawal is more widely practiced in cultures where men "prefer to control pregnancy prevention."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:30 PM
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35: Heh.

Though, really, that had to suck, given how few options they had other than abstinence, withdrawal, the rhythm method, and super expensive, rather disgusting natural skin condoms. Not that they didn't try many, many other methods.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:32 PM
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I figured everyone, or at least everyone trying, would have that basic knowledge's bodies would signal them at the optimum time whether they noticed or not.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:33 PM
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Seriously though, who the hell uses a diaphragm? I've never had a girl suggest a female condom or diaphragm in my life, and I think I've only seen the former for sale once or twice, in one make, ever. I'm pretty sure I've only seen the diaphragm in contraception pamphlets.

Same here. It's like "barbiturates". Every "health class" I ever had contained a list of types of drugs that are commonly abused, one of which was always barbiturates.

I know someone who eventually successfully conceived, who did not seem to have realized at the beginning of the process that some days of the month are better than others. I figured everyone, or at least everyone trying, would have that basic knowledge.

I feel like a lot of people know this, but figure that the most fertile day of the cycle is maybe twice as fertile as the least fertile day, so it isn't really worth bothering.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:36 PM
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French nineteenth century birth rates show that in the aggregate withdrawal used on a consistent basis does drastically reduce the chances of pregnancy. Flashback to scene in Maupassant's Une Vie where the wife, desperate for another kid, gets advice from her priest on sexual techniques to entice her husband into coming inside her. (French Victorian era fiction, not very 'victorian')


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:36 PM
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38: I remember learning that the drop in birth rates at the end of the 19th century (or whenever it was precisely, I don't remember) is still sort of a mystery - that the documentary evidence hasn't turned up enough evidence of people talking about what they were doing differently but that it seems clear people were doing something. Is that still true?

It's possible that there were alternative explanations I've forgotten about, like no changes in birth control methods, but changes like education or working more and having sex less.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:37 PM
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And in 42 I was referring only to the U.S.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:38 PM
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42: For the middle class, I thought the drop really was largely about having much, much less sex, which was enforced by cultural norms.

But now I feel the urge to go and look this up.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:40 PM
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now I feel the urge

Have some graham crackers.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:42 PM
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A long-term partner and I used a diaphragm for a while, because she didn't like the side-hormonal effects of the pill (as opposed to the primary hormonal effects...you know what I mean. please?). Then we went back to condoms, because she felt better about sex when it wasn't full contact.


Posted by: James Buchanan | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:43 PM
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which was is enforced by cultural norms. i.e., 75 hr work weeks.


Posted by: soup biscuite | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:43 PM
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45: I should have left the Graham reference in 44, clearly.

I'm not finding what I want - the only book I have on the history of contraception starts with 1873. Oh, but wait! There's another place I can look....


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:46 PM
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40.1: So you're saying they were only used in the 60s and 70s?

46: Ok, second question: Where does one even find diaphragms? It just sort of surprises me that I've never stumbled upon them when picking up other accoutrements at convenience stores or sex shops.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:48 PM
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49.2: The doctor's office. They have to be fitted. (Well, they don't have to be, but they work better if they are).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:49 PM
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The economics argument isn't always out to lunch. For a while I had a partner with adverse reaction to HBC and a nasty latex allergy. We were spending something like $100/month on non-latex condoms....


Posted by: John F. Kennedy | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:50 PM
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sex with condoms is a cheaper pastime than an afternoon movie or evening at the bar.

Some people's budgets don't regularly stretch to movies or nights out, either.

Unrelatedly (because not having $18 for the movies also means being unable to stock up on condomns), I am amused to remember that I know someone who went in with his roommates on a (very) bulk purchase. That's one way to save money.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:55 PM
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OK, three spelling errors in three posts means it's time for bed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:56 PM
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For a prime example of the withdrawal/hipster link, check out the Vice Guide To STDs.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:56 PM
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Back to the question at hand in 42:

Birth rates in the 19th century:
1800 - slightly over seven children per family
1825 - slightly under six
1850 - 5.42 children per married woman
1880 - 4.24 children per married woman

This is the overall American birth rate, which of course masks a lot of regional, race, and class differentiation. Fertility rates dropped most sharply for the Northern white middle class.

According to Intimate Matters, it is indeed really hard to tell how family limitation occurred in the 19th century, but it seems most likely to have been a combination of abstinence and withdrawal. I feel like more recent historical research has delved into this, but can't recall it at the moment.

In Devices and Desires, you find that there was a large variety of methods available and discussed, but beyond condoms and abortifacents, almost none of them were effective, and condoms were not widely distributed or used before the end of the 19th century (and really not until well into the 20th century).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:57 PM
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IIRC the drop in birth rates was true across all social classes and was attributed to a sharp rise in the withdrawal method. Slightly related, in the plus ca change department, were the moral panics about anal sex by girls wanting to avoid pregnancies and losing their virginity.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:04 PM
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Thanks. I approve of conducting research for comments.

According to Intimate Matters,

I suspect this is what the lecturer was working from when I learned that.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:05 PM
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I actually think withdrawal sounds fairly sensible under the right circumstances. like, committer relationship where both parties have been tested, and if I had a regular menstrual cycle (I dont.). Then, i'd use withdrawal 3 weeks out of the month and condoms during the week surrounding ovulation. As it is, my boyfriend's too paranoid and my cycle is fucked up, so condoms it is.

But I'm seriousky considering getting fitted for a diaphragm. Condoms are fine, but they can get annoying. Not annoying enough to do hormonal birth control, though.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:07 PM
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3. You sure about that?

IME it is not unknown for women to suggest no condom sex even when not on birth control, most often non-verbally, so to speak. Also, I'd say the main reasons why guys suggest it are that it feels better and that they worry about losing an erection while hunting around for and putting on the condom.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:07 PM
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I also really enjoy that for the first time, I am dating someone who doesn't feel automatically entitled to barrier-free access to my vagina after x number of months.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:09 PM
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This is the overall American birth rate, which of course masks a lot of regional, race, and class differentiation. Fertility rates dropped most sharply for the Northern white middle class.

The goal was one child per coitus, and they were really annoyed when that had to keep trying and trying.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:10 PM
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57.2: More than likely, yes. It remains the only/best synthetic survey on the history of sexuality in America.

You know, I really wish the dissertations didn't have to be original research. I'm better suited to synthetic history.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:11 PM
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More realistic estimates suggest that with "typical use," 18% of couples relying on withdrawal will become pregnant within a year, compared with 17% of those using the male condom.

17%? Really? UR DOIN IT RONG.

Also, 4-5 times is heroic? I also find that surprising (...laydeez).


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:15 PM
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Agreement on 58. In fact, if you're regular and you're monitoring things closely enough, you don't even have to withdraw during those three weeks.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:16 PM
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For a prime example of the withdrawal/hipster link, check out the Vice Guide To STDs.

I look forward to an even-more-objectionable-than-usual photo on latfh.com.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:17 PM
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55.---Also, women may have been leaving the farm for cities over that period. It makes more sense to have loads of kids on a farm; maybe women knew some ways of limiting their fertility and chose not to. Alternatively, maybe women's food resources or general health were worse towards the end of the century.

Lastly, I will never forget the grim early 1900s Russian play about poverty and infanticide. The scene where they bash the skull in---obviously I've totally blanked on the title and author. It's a famous play? Someone? Help me out? Anyway, "whoops, the baby didn't make it" stories must have been fairly common.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:18 PM
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you don't even have to withdraw during those three weeks.

It does make getting out of the house awkward, though, and gives you funny looks at work.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:19 PM
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remains the only/best synthetic survey

Yeah, but it's what, 20 years old now? That's why I was wondering if there was anything new. (I've actually never read it, except for a few chapters before I took my exams.)

I'm better suited to synthetic history.

It should serve you well for lectures, at least. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to do original research, but to tell (hopefully) entertaining stories that, while they could support analysis and argument, were not aimed at doing either.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:20 PM
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17%? Really? UR DOIN IT RONG.

"Typical use" in contraceptive studies includes everyone who tells the researchers they are using the method for contraception. (I don't know what happens if they report multiple simultaneous methods.) So some of the typical users of condoms, are, for example, not using them every time or even most times.

This would account for some proportion of the withdrawal failures too though.


Posted by: Pineapple | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:21 PM
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67: pretend I'm a hunch.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:22 PM
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50: I learned something today!

51 is just plain rough. Latex allergies suck, and are yet another reason that we really need male hormonal/mechanical birth control to at least increase the chances that one of the people in a couple can do something to stop pregnancy without horrendous side effects.

52: I dunno. Even when I was on $1000 a month post-tax ($7.50 an hour sales job), it was pretty easy to buy condoms when necessary. It's a higher priority and cheaper than movies or drinks.

But in Illinois, there's a program called the Pink Card with decently high income eligibility limits that supplies free contraception. If this wasn't available, I can see some hypothetical situations involving people with larger families and little income where condoms become unaffordable, but that's why we need more public health programs like the aforementioned.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:23 PM
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It does make getting out of the house awkward, though, and gives you funny looks at work.

They're just jealous.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:23 PM
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66.1: Definitely, on the idea that it is the decline of the farm family that leads to desire to start limiting children rather than encouraging large families. That's the standard reason given for why there is decline in the first place - the question just generally revolves around how exactly they managed to achieve it. I don't think that the hypothesis about poorer health stands - life expectancy is increasing throughout this period - but it is definitely something to think about.

Infanticide in England and America seems to have been more common in the 17th and early 18th century, if I recall correctly. Or at least, that was the height of hysteria about it. (I can so tell that I'm procrastinating actual work, as I'm two steps from finding the relevant book).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:24 PM
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67: So you withdraw from society for those three weeks.

This reminds me of a family feud where the question was "Name something you do when you're alone" and a guy answered "have sex."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:25 PM
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68: They updated in the '90s, but I'm not sure how thorough the overhaul was. It's a good book but given the way the study of sexuality has boomed it's time for another update.

And yeah, liking synthetic history does work well for lectures. And I like original research, I'm just clearly better at synthetic work. Alas.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:27 PM
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74: To be fair, like many parents, they were only alone 5 1/2 times in a year. You've got you make hay when the sun shines.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:28 PM
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55 Wasn't the problem in France that people weren't leaving for the city? You had relatively low urbanization rates coupled with significant net immigration (unlike pretty much everywhere else in Europe) that was almost entirely urban. The birth rate decline began in the second half of the eighteenth century, IIRC largely through later marriage, but it continued on through birth control, i.e. withdrawal. Again, regardless of what the bourgeoisie might have (not) been doing in the bedroom, their numbers were way too small to cause that sort of overall impact on national birthrates. We're talking on the order of two births per woman in the second half of the nineteenth century. What population growth existed, a cumulative ten percent or so over fifty years was pretty much all due to immigration and life expectancy.

The explanation I've always seen is that it was a reaction to a combination of land shortage, inheritance laws, and the fact that post Revolutionary France was a country of small commercial family farms - i.e. unlike the big estate dominated agricultural industry in much of Europe where people lived as serfs, rural proletarian wage labourers, or tenant farmers.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:36 PM
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77: I've no idea what was happening in France, beyond a vague understanding that the late age of marriage in Europe broadly was indeed a reason for lowered fertility. (And, according to some historians, for everything from industrialization to imperialism).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:38 PM
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I started to realize the wwithdrawalmethod made more sense when I really started thinking about what goes on with hormonal birth control. For example, they tell you that if you start the first pack on the first day of your period, they tell you you're protected agst preg right away. Even though you JUST started. That's because you basically cant get preg on yr period. Same thing with the "placebo" week. You're not really doing anything besides having prevented ovulation some weeks before.

Like I said, I don't use it, but if my cycle were more regular iand I wasn't in an open relationship, i'd put the full ct press on my primary partner.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:38 PM
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Sorry for the poorly written comments. Phone commenting.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:40 PM
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regardless of what the bourgeoisie might have (not) been doing in the bedroom

According to Philosophie dans le boudoir a lot of what they were doing was sodomy.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:40 PM
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when it seemed to become a big trend among the hipsters in Brooklyn.

Ah well, the hipsters in Brooklyn are all nouveau-artisanal and such (organic vegetable gardens and freshly cured meat and so on), so resistance to/refusal of medico-technical interventions doesn't really surprise me.

Some women really are very well attuned to their cycles, and don't need doctors or devices to tell them what's what. Others not so much, of course.

Most of my 19th-century female ancestrals had boat-loads of children. My initial impression is that a very few died early and tragically (in their early 20s, and of complications from childbirth), but that if they could make it past 35 with ten children or so, but who's counting?, they had a fair chance of living past 90. I'm enough of a genealogy geek that I'd like to someday run these numbers.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:41 PM
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This discussion reminds me of a classic, highbrow academic dispute that led to this exchange of letters in the NYRB.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:44 PM
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Others not so much, of course.

E.G. sluts, frigid women, bad mothers, bitches, and so one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:46 PM
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anyway, I think it would be cool to become well attuned to when I'm ovulating in case I decide to actually become pregnant on purpose.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:47 PM
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I wonder how much venereal disease contributed to miscarriage. Everyone in France seems to have had syphilis by 1820 or so.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:47 PM
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81. Not really sure if that's the best source on what was really going on. Sort of like using the collected Ron Jeremy oeuvre for what folks are doing today.

82.2 There's a Polish children's game/rhyme where you cup a handful of gravel and say 'the lady had this many babies' flip your hands so some of the gravel remains on the top of your hands and say 'and this many remained' (miala baba tyle dzieci/ i tyle jej zostalo)


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:49 PM
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83: That's quite fantastic. And it does make me wonder why I've never really come across mention of sodomy as a birth control method in the American context (and I would have thought that I would have).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:50 PM
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and I would have thought that I would haveif it were there.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:51 PM
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88: Also, the author of the first letter was actually Hugh Trevor-Roper behind a pseudonym.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:52 PM
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And on infant mortality and fertility rates in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, my family anecdata suggest huge differences between peasants and the bourgeoisie in Galicia. The former seemed to all have on the order between a half dozen and a dozen kids, about half of whom made it to adulthood, while the latter had two to four of which some ninety percent survived.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:53 PM
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The other very real possibility is that women had some knowledge of abortifacients which they used in combination with the rhythm method and withdrawal. I seem to remember reading about some rudimentary (and somewhat terrifying) discussions of family planning within some of those Mother Hubbards's Praktikal Compendium of Householdde Receipts books.

Or maybe I just had a dream about that, or read about something like it in a novel. This is why I was a useless researcher.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:53 PM
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87.1--Mostly kidding---although de Sade explicitly argues that sodomy is a really awesome way to thwart god and nature.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:55 PM
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73 -- I thought that the limitations on the number of children -- or is that simply the rich-world levelling-off of population growth? -- showed up first in France around 1800 and then later in other Western countries. Since France didn't industrialize until much later than England or the US, that would suggest that something else was going on besides folks leaving the farm. But I am way, way too lazy to research this one.

Note that I'm probably misremembering some book I read 10-12 years ago.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:56 PM
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Wow, while I was composing that, the thread moved up by 20 comments and aleady talked about 19th Cent. France. This place never ceases to amaze, or to pwn.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:00 PM
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92: It would seem most definite in the American context that they are using abortifacents with some regularity, at least until about mid-century and probably beyond.

94: 73 is really only true of the American context, which played out differently than Europe for many reasons.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:04 PM
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It's a famous play? Someone? Help me out?

A bit of searching suggests. Also turned up a Chekhov story, but with a plot that doesn't match your description.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:08 PM
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Thesis: On Unfogged, the lawyers and philosophers rule the day, but historians, Europeans, and Tweety rule the night. 9pm PCT is the best time to bulk up on random empircal knowledge.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:16 PM
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97.--Oh God, yes, horrible. There are two versions of the baby-whacking scene, one just off-stage and one related through narrative. Hard to say which is more harrowing.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:23 PM
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98: 85% of the world's Yaks live in Tibet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:27 PM
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I will be glad to be back on Pacific time.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:29 PM
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98 is so true.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:52 PM
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The nights are prone to long, unpredictable periods of downtime, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:56 PM
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You rule the night, teo. Do you count as a historian?

Interpretive guides to historical sites rule the night.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:56 PM
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Do you count as a historian?

I was just wondering about that. I don't think so, really, ari's best efforts notwithstanding.

Interpretive guides to historical sites rule the night.

Now that's more like it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:57 PM
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And right here, on our left, you'll see some empirical knowledge, dating back many thousands of year. Sadly, the native empiricists responsible for this knowledge were driven to extinctions by lawyers and philosophers, whose mastery of the technology of "being awake in the daytime" gave them a critical advantage.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:59 PM
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It's so true. Damn those pesky lawyers and philosophers.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:01 AM
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It's never even occurred to me that women who practice withdrawal are subject to shaming.

(From way above.) Agreed. I can see looking askance, or finding it foolish, but shaming is more than either of those.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:01 AM
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Speaking of tours, doing two tours a day (which I have done for the past two days on account of us being a bit short-staffed right now) is exhausting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:03 AM
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109: how come you never tell stories about irritating and/or clueless tourists?

Or uh, unless you do that on your own blog, in which case I meant the previous ironically.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:07 AM
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We don't actually get all that many people who are entertainingly irritating or clueless. One of my colleagues seems to end up with all the crazies on her tours (she's been keeping a journal of them), but mine are generally pretty tame.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:16 AM
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Well, darn.

I went to Winchester Mystery House one time with a couple of my friends, to take the tour. Our tour guide was cute, and in her early 20s (a couple years younger than us, at the time). Needless to say, we were big smartasses, cracking jokes throughout the whole tour. She kept it together pretty well for probably the first three-fifths of the way through, but then we started to crack her up a little bit. She tried being stern with us, but that didn't work. Anyhoo, we were at (if I recall) the second to last room, and one of us said something -- I remember it being particularly funny, but who knows -- and she just lost it, totally doubled over, put her hands over her face, and said "oh god, I'm so high."

Great tour.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:20 AM
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How long do your tours take, teo? Do you take people off the beaten path? Are there spirit interventions?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:24 AM
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I have another really good tour-taking story, but I'm saving it, because I ain't fuckin' talkin' to myself, here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:24 AM
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How long do your tours take, teo?

They're supposed to be an hour and fifteen minutes, but it's very difficult to keep them that short. I try to keep mine within an hour and a half, and I usually succeed in that. Many of my colleagues don't really try to keep theirs short, and they can easily be out there close to two hours. It can be kind of annoying, because the schedule is very precisely calibrated in terms of lunch times and when to be back at the visitor center to cover the desk, and having the tours go long can screw that up pretty bad.

Do you take people off the beaten path?

No, we don't go anywhere people couldn't go on their own. It actually makes it kind of nice, because for the most part people are on the tours because they want to be, not because it's the only way to see the stuff. Some people like guided tours, while others like the see things on their own. I'm the latter type myself, so I sympathize with people who don't want to do the tour.

Are there spirit interventions?

Not on my tours. We do get some visitors with some rather screwy ideas. New age stuff, mostly.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:36 AM
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Am I missing something here? Who actually argues *for* something like that---that such-and-such bad thing calls for shaming? Seeing as how shame is a basically non-rational means of regulating behavior, I don't get how justification could enter into it, at least not in any specific instance. "Let's not shame people over X" amounts to saying "X is not such a bad thing."


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:39 AM
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I have been writing a bit about my experiences in this job on my own blog, but mostly in a more abstract way. I did write about some visitors here.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:43 AM
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I've done a few tours recently [round my place of work]. It's quite fun taking people round, and everyone is impressed by the stacks and the sekrit tunnels. Also, when you show them the cameras -- "How many megapixels is that?" - "Oh, that? About 40".


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:52 AM
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It's a pretty fun job. Doing it all the time can start to get a bit tedious, but it also offers the opportunity to become very knowledgeable about the area and skilled at presenting it, which is both fun and worthwhile in itself.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:59 AM
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You coulda been a historian, teo.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:02 AM
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I know.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:03 AM
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And Jetpack, if you're still around, I wonder if this will amuse you.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:03 AM
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122: I told them I'd sue if they used my picture.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:19 AM
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Not wanting to use condoms isn't necessarily just male caprice. Obviously if he pressures his female partner into it, that's an exercise of privilege, but it isn't ipso facto an exercise of privilege if both partners think sex would be better without them. Some men's penises just aren't as sensitive as others, some men have trouble reaching orgasm during intercourse, some men have trouble reaching orgasm even when masturbating, some men have a penis size mismatch with their partner that prevents a lot of sensation during intercourse, and any of these things can make condoms the difference between intercourse feeling good and intercourse feeling like almost nothing at all. In any case, I use withdrawal as a birth control method, and frankly would find being boggled at pretty insulting, especially considering there's no lack of knowledge about biology even close to implied by using withdrawal; the principles of withdrawal and barrier methods are the same. I don't keep track of my ovulation cycle either; that's the rhythm method, not withdrawal. Probably a perfect use combination of rhythm and withdrawal would be more effective than withdrawal alone. Anyway, people might be informed about risks and benefits and calculate them differently than you do.


Posted by: Martha Washington | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 5:25 AM
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I don't keep track of my ovulation cycle either; that's the rhythm method

NO. Rhythm method counts days, whereas keeping track of ovulation charts basal body temperature and cervical fluid. The former can be disastrously off, given variations between cycles, whereas the latter keeps track of what your body is actually doing.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 5:46 AM
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Okay fine, but just so you understand: my point was that keeping track of your ovulation cycle isn't part of the withdrawal method. I don't know the terminology for calendar methods; I don't use them.


Posted by: Martha Washington | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 6:16 AM
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"Natural family planning"!

Seriously though, who the hell uses a diaphragm?

I did, for a while. My body stopped tolerating the pill, and it was preferable to condoms. They have to be fitted, so they're a prescription item.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 6:19 AM
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I've gone through periods of using withdrawal as my sole BC method inside monogamous relationships. IME, it correlates pretty highly with pregnancy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 6:26 AM
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Seriously though, who the hell uses a diaphragm?

I think it's a generational thing. Mrs OFE used one before I got snipped, because she couldn't tolerate the pill and she didn't like condoms. That was 1980, and it was quite common, at least here. I don't consciously know anybody much younger who uses them.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 6:34 AM
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My in laws had three kids in the first four years of marriage (1947-50). My father-in-law claimed that this was scientific proof that condoms are better than 99% effective.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 6:44 AM
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I'll go back and read the comments here, and surely this has already been said, but, uh, women don't practice withdrawal; women can only trust their partners to practice withdrawal.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 6:59 AM
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women can only trust their partners to practice withdrawal.

I wasn't cheating! I was *practicing*!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:02 AM
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I have this possibly-idealistic notion that we all learned this fairly early on, perhaps in sixth grade health class. It is a source of continuing disilluisionment to me that many of my peers apparently did not.

My second grade teacher stopped me from trying to example the fallopian tubes to my classmates.

I tried to do my part.

Most recently, I told Di that my son could explain all of these concepts to Rory. Di apparently doesnt want the next generation to understand these things.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:03 AM
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My second grade teacher stopped me from trying to example the fallopian tubes

Were you trying to example *her* fallopian tubes?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:08 AM
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One of my colleagues seems to end up with all the crazies on her tours (she's been keeping a journal of them)

She can compare them with these.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:13 AM
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sez you, 131


Posted by: practicing withdrawal | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:16 AM
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I had a girlfriend who used diaphragms. They were a net plus during her period, because they would stop the flow.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:26 AM
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I'm coming late to the discussion, but I haven't yet seen mention of the fact that preejaculate often contains sperm, which probably contributes to the lousy success rate for withdrawal.

What we really need is easy and reliably reversible vasectomy (like put in a valve instead of just snipping the tubes) that's also independently verifiable by ones' partner. There are enough dicks out there who will claim to be snipped when they aren't that IMO trust but verify is probably a good plan.

Also, if you are using withdrawal, consider backing it up by having the male wear snug underwear and take a really hot bath before sex. Cooks the tadpoles, it does. I know someone who tried hard to have kids with no luck for over a year until a fertility specialist told him to switch to loose undies and stop his routine of taking a scalding hot bath every day when he got home from work. His wife was pregnant within a month after he made the changes. Anecdata.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:32 AM
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example s/b explain


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:33 AM
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Silly will. Rory's understood this stuff for years! (Who do you think explained it to *me*?)

On diaphragm use... I did shortly after Rory was born. Didn't like condoms, didn't want to go back to hornonal bc.). Before anyone goes to get fitted, I would recommend trying out the spermicidal lube on its own. Sensitivity to that can rule out diaphragm use.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:34 AM
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||

Edmund, Patty and Bob were all interviewed on the NewsHour. Bob was described as a *former* mortgage broker. My favorite question was: "Would you have even written this book, if you didn't desperately need the money?"

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:39 AM
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This part of the Jezebel article is kinda bizarre:

But there is often a lot of finger-pointing at women who practice withdrawal, as though they're just playing Russian roulette with their reproductive systems, despite this fact: "A smaller study, the Women's Well-Being and Sexuality Study, found that 21% of younger and more educated women were using withdrawal."

So if smart and educated people do it, it can't be wrong?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:42 AM
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What we really need is easy and reliably reversible vasectomy (like put in a valve instead of just snipping the tubes) that's also independently verifiable by ones' partner.

I think that there is a plug which is used a lot in India but is not available in the U.S. I don't know whether it's verifiable by a partner.

There was a cool website dedicated to male methods of birth control which I can't find. Somebody did research on a pill which didn't cut sperm production but made it impossible for the sperm to fertilize the egg.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:45 AM
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131: Di pwned me on this one -- I can see saying that a couple is using withdrawal as birth control, or that a man is, but it seems off to me to say that a woman is using withdrawal, rather than requesting that her partners do so. It's like saying that a man is on the pill. Within a committed relationship, that might not be much more than a linguistic issue, but if we're talking about sex with even slightly less serious partners, that opens up a huge trust and vulnerability issue for the woman, given that she can't verify use of the method until it's too late.

Also, I'm another (short term) diaphragm user -- I used one between Sally and Newt. I've told the story before here, but Newt is a month older than he would have been without diaphragm failure; I got pregnant the month before we'd decided to start trying.

And finally, I'm with Martha Washington on pointing out that distaste for condoms isn't only a male thing. I don't know if I have a mild latex sensitivity, or if it's a purely mechanical issue, but sex with latex condoms makes me seriously sore unless I use a whole lot of lube and the sex doesn't last too long. Polyurethane is much better, but also pricier and not always easy to find.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:50 AM
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142: Yeah, that was weird. It reminded me of a lot of political discourse -- Democrats say a given policy is stupid, and Republicans get huffy because latte-sipping elitists aren't any smarter than anyone else. And of course no one cares how smart someone doing a dumb thing is, the question is whether or not the dumb thing is dumb.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:54 AM
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I can see saying that a couple is using withdrawal as birth control,

I still don't understand the way that people talk about couples being pregnant. "We're pregnant" or "They're pregnant." I've never been pregnant, and of course people should get to refer to themselves as they want, but I still find it strange. I told my boyfriend that if we ever have kids, I'll kill him if he says that. I'm the one who would have to carry the kid, and I'm the one who would have to go through the pain of childbirth.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:55 AM
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As LB points out, there are some reasons that women might be the one requesting withdrawal.

Moreover, women are certainly capable of being the one who performs the actual act of removing the coupling.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:57 AM
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BG prefers "Yeah, I knocked her up!"


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:57 AM
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144.3, interesting. Presumably in the new world where people may have never had sex without a condom, there are people who don't realize that they would enjoy sex if they weren't always using condoms.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 7:58 AM
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What's with the sudden surge of Americans who no longer want to practice actually-working medicine? This withdrawal stuff, the anti-vaccine people, the "traditional medicine" crowd, those idiots who were going to let their kid die without chemo - it's like science has become suddenly unfashionable.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:00 AM
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Moreover, women are certainly capable of being the one who performs the actual act of removing the coupling.

Well, if they reliably know when the guy is going to come and are in a position from which they can disengage quickly without cooperation. I don't think it makes sense to think that a woman could reliably use withdrawal as contraception without active cooperation from her partner of a kind that can't be verified ahead of time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:00 AM
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Also, what's with me using the word "surge" unironically?


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:00 AM
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152: Dude, I've come uncomfortably close to saying 'misunderestimate' straightfaced.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:02 AM
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Lawyers like LB and I use hot words like disengage and coupling bc we are passionate like that.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:04 AM
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153: George Bush plus post-ironic hipsterhood equals all language is dead.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:04 AM
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So if smart and educated people do it, it can't be wrong?

I think the implication is not that it can't be wrong, but instead that it's not something that only the stupid and uneducated would do. (Which is the common prejudice. See, e.g., early comments in this thread.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:04 AM
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My college was paid for bc of withdrawal!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:05 AM
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OK, 150 comments is too many for me to catch up on, but, FWIW, Bad Old GF & I relied primarily on withdrawal for most of the 6 years we were together. There were no disease concerns starting out (I was a virgin and she'd just been tested), but we did use rubbers. Then, for some reason, we didn't, or hardly ever did. We both would have readily acknowledged that we were being dumb about it. I really don't know what the hell was going on.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:06 AM
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I really don't know what the hell was going on.

This does seem as if it could be appended to most of your comments about BOGF.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:09 AM
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154: And because, on some deep, subconscious level, we associate sex with trains.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:10 AM
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I really don't know what the hell was going on.

I always pegged JRoth for a porn-style degrader!

Wait, maybe that was Bad Old GF. I forget.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:10 AM
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Seriously though, who the hell uses a diaphragm?

I think it's a generational thing.

In particular, it's an HIV-related thing. You young'uns may not realize how much HIV and safe sex ed changed straight attitudes toward condoms and women's ability to/desire to insist on them. Once upon a time, "no glove, no love" wasn't axiomatic.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:11 AM
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I have a hard time believing that the newfound popularity of a method of birth control which can be summed up as "pulling out and coming somewhere else, possibly somewhere on your partner," is not largely attributable to porn.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:13 AM
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162: So how do you explain barbiturates?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:13 AM
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Right -- while there are other diseases, 'disease risk' as a driver of condom use is mostly about HIV.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:13 AM
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And because, on some deep, subconscious level, we associate sex with trains.

I am not going to touch that one.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:14 AM
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164: I think they were much more commonly prescribed as sleeping pills in the 70s, and so available for abuse. I'm not really up on prescription drug trends, but I don't think they're common any more.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:15 AM
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I think the implication is not that it can't be wrong, but instead that it's not something that only the stupid and uneducated would do. (Which is the common prejudice. See, e.g., early comments in this thread.)

Right. This idea of 'wrong' is where the shaming comes in. Let's talk about relative risk levels. Which is what the article is saying, right? Withdrawal isn't the most effective BC method, but to say that it doesn't work at all is just untrue.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:15 AM
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160: Yes, because of sex, I now have a living room decorated in Thomas the Tank Engine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:16 AM
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170

While we are on this topic...

The rhythm method means that if the couple is really in sync, the woman wont get pregnant, right?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:18 AM
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I am not going to touch that one.

Homophobe.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:18 AM
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Fine. I will play chicken with m/tch.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:19 AM
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170: No, it means that if the couple listen to 'N Sync during sex the woman won't get pregnant.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:19 AM
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||

ZOMG. The college kid across the hall from me is blogging on the Huffington Post. He was ten or so when we moved into the building.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:20 AM
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newfound popularity

I doubt rates have really changed that much, as opposed to now having an article written about it on a highly trafficked website. I would guess that it has been among the top methods used for centuries.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:20 AM
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172: You really don't want to play chicken on train tracks -- that final swerve is a bitch to orchestrate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:20 AM
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142: Exactly. They're not, you know, "urban." Thanks, Vice, for reminding me that people my age still say "But I'm *white*!" as a way of escaping judgment for self-destructive behavior.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:21 AM
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No, it means that if the couple listen to 'N Sync during sex the woman won't get pregnant.

Mainly due to difficulties maintaining an erection while that is on?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:23 AM
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swerve s/b switch


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:24 AM
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That Vice article has a lot of advice that is perfect for creating multi-drug resistant strains of STDs.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:25 AM
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163: Where else would you come? It's not like you want it all over the bed. The partner's body is convenient and easily cleaned.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:25 AM
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176: especially if you're heavy enough to bring a runaway train to a rapid halt.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:27 AM
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What we really need is easy and reliably reversible vasectomy (like put in a valve instead of just snipping the tubes) that's also independently verifiable by ones' partner.

I find it impossible to think of a way of doing this that wouldn't be potentially ludicrous*. Little LEDs just under the skin, perhaps? Green for go, red for stop? A sort of mini engine-room telegraph sticking out of your back with a brass handle and dial marked FULL AHEAD, STOP, etc? Or, being modern, you could presumably handle it all by just giving the valve a Twitter feed.


*... ladies.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:28 AM
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182 to 181.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:28 AM
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Where else would you come?

Fish tank.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:30 AM
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183: Paper test (like a pregnancy test) for the presence of sperm in the guy's come?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:30 AM
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You young'uns may not realize how much HIV and safe sex ed changed straight attitudes toward condoms and women's ability to/desire to insist on them.

I had a residential tutor when I was in college who was in her late 30's early 40's who made this point to me. She would have been in college in the late 70's or early 80's before HIV/AIDS had really spread beyond the gay community. She said that back then the really terrible thing was getting herpes.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:31 AM
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Further to 181, it's not as though you have a lot of time to do it anywhere else. It's never seemed at all porn-inspired to me.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:33 AM
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The link in 122 is pretty funnily-written.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:34 AM
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Where else would you come?

Well, there's always inside the partner, in combination with another form of birth control.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:37 AM
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Little LEDs just under the skin, perhaps? Green for go, red for stop? A sort of mini engine-room telegraph sticking out of your back with a brass handle and dial marked FULL AHEAD, STOP, etc? Or, being modern, you could presumably handle it all by just giving the valve a Twitter feed.

RFID!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:38 AM
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You could also keep a towel or rag handy. But really the fish tank is the best idea. I don't know why I never thought of that.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:39 AM
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it's not as though you have a lot of time to do it anywhere else. It's never seemed at all porn-inspired to me.

Says Jesus "Toe-Nail decorator" McQueen


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:39 AM
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186: somewhat impractical; ideally, you'd want to know before doing the deed rather than after...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:40 AM
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Well, there's always inside the partner, in combination with another form of birth control.

there are some legitimate cleaning-up reasons to prefer one's stomach over inside


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:40 AM
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Comment 8. Also, there was a time here when a post about dating might only get eight comments.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:41 AM
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187: Yes, it makes this dialogue from The Big Chill (1983) a perfect time capsule:

Karen: [smoking a joint, passes it to Harold] No... I know that Richard will always be faithful to me.
Harold: [takes the joint, about to smoke it] That's nice. Trust.
Karen: Fear of herpes


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:41 AM
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191: no, I'd go with the steampunk thing. Brass handwheel, like you have on a steam engine or a U-boat. RFID is too prone to hacking by naughty people with directional antennas.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:43 AM
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Says Jesus "Toe-Nail decorator" McQueen

At the moment in question, it tends to be pointed in the other direction.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:43 AM
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there are some legitimate cleaning-up reasons to prefer one's stomach over inside

True. A virtue of condoms is their tidiness.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:45 AM
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200:

True.

Related, I think Apo posted this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOwTnxL4S8Q


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:53 AM
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Further to 158: I think we both suspected that one or both of us might be less-than-fertile based on our 100% success rate with withdrawal, but that has proved to be not at all the case. In light of 196, I'll note that I never suffered from withdrawal failure.

Laydeez.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:53 AM
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So how do you explain barbiturates?

fun! fun! fun! But in the long run, probably a bad idea.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:59 AM
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Purely as a contraceptive, withdrawal seems like idea a dumb idea for women with multiple partners; men's fertility can vary quite widely. I've induced at least one, maybe two, pregnancies using it (in the proper fashion). You could be going along happily for many years before encountering nasty super sperm.


Posted by: John Tyler | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:00 AM
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At the moment in question, it tends to be pointed in the other direction.

Victorian.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:03 AM
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I've never understood "withdrawal failure" either. I assume it's a legitimate medical issue, but I've wondered how much of it is simply "didn't feel like pulling out on time"--i.e., withdrawal refusal, not failure. I mean, even as an inexperienced teenager, when ejaculation sometimes happened, um, before I'd have otherwise intended, it's not like it ever completely surprised me. "Holy shit--what was that!?"

I guess someone could be trying to run right up against the physical limit (and so accidentally mis-time things), but that honestly seems closer to deliberately-not-pulling-out than accidentally not doing so. That's not truly intentional, but it's certainly acting with a reckless disregard of the constraints. If you're relying on pulling out, you'd got to do so.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:03 AM
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204: the same could of course be said for men with multiple partners; women's fertility is also variable.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:06 AM
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True. A virtue of condoms is their tidiness.


Snippet of a conversation:

She: "Oh, damn, don't let me forget to make sure we didn't leave any sperm bags in [wastepaper basket in bedroom] before my mom comes over"


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:06 AM
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So how do you explain barbiturates?

More seriously though, the amytal/seconal etc. ab(use) was largely replaced by benzo (i.e valium) ab(use). So some of it is really about availability


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:11 AM
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206: The above mentioned pre-come issue? I don't know what the odds are -- all my information is from high school sex-ed, which was understandably alarmist -- but it seems possible that pregnancy could result from intercourse even if the man successfully withdrew before coming.

But for most of the rest of 206, yeah, that seems exactly right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:17 AM
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138.1 to 124.

My first regular sex partner used a diaphragm, I think due to concerns over side effects of hormonal BC.

146: She's pregnant, they're expecting.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:19 AM
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that honestly seems closer to deliberately-not-pulling-out than accidentally not doing so

Precisely my feeling the very first and very last time this happened.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:20 AM
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That's not truly intentional, but it's certainly acting with a reckless disregard of the constraints.

To be fair, this isn't exactly a moment when people are at thinking super-clearly.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:21 AM
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She's pregnant knocked up, they're expecting no fun anymore.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:22 AM
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She's pregnant knocked up, they're expecting no fun anymore.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:22 AM
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whups


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:22 AM
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To be fair, this isn't exactly a moment when people are at thinking super-clearly.

And the incentives to remember to think clearly are certainly very different for a woman than for a man.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:24 AM
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From the Contraception article:

The best available estimates indicate that with "perfect use," 4% of couples relying on withdrawal will become pregnant within a year, compared with 2% of couples relying on the male condom.

This is "perfect use" as reported by the study particpants; the actual use is unobserved. From the point of view of public policy it's these average outcomes that matter and the accuracy of the reportage is unimportant. But from the point of view of someone thinking about adopting condoms as your main method of contraception, it's worth noting that if you are organized enough to actually use them perfectly, then you can do probably do better than that 2% figure. (The same observation applies to withdrawal, but the discipline involved is rather different.)

In a context where perfect use is somewhat more critical, the WHO reports the results of "studies undertaken on serodiscordant couples, when one partner is infected with HIV and the other is not. These studies show that, with consistent condom use, the HIV infection rate among uninfected partners was less than 1 percent per year".


Posted by: Gdr | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:26 AM
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closer to deliberately-not-pulling-out than accidentally not doing so

Let's keep the Iraq commentary in the proper threads.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:29 AM
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And the incentives to remember to think clearly are certainly very different for a woman than for a man.

I wonder if porn has changed the incentives. The kind of selfish guy who might have not bothered to pull out previously would now want to, because ejaculating on someone is seen as a cool dominance move.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:30 AM
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"If you love her, you'll pull out and come on the bedspread"

Brought to you by America's dry cleaners.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:32 AM
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220: I don't know much re: porn. But somehow "I can be dominant studboy just like my porn heroes!" still doesn't really compete with "I can not accidentally become pregnant and not have to deal with all of the emotional and physical repercussions attendant thereto!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:36 AM
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ejaculating on someone is seen as a cool dominance move

Eh, I'm not convinced that really translates for most one-on-one PIV sex. Pulling out and ejaculating on someone's stomach (or back, depending) doesn't really pack the same symbolism as the SOP porn facial.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:36 AM
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222: Yep.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:38 AM
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210: I'd think of fertile pre-come as part of the failure rate inherent in the withdrawal method, not as a failure-to-withdraw.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:38 AM
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I have used withdrawal my entire life, with every girlfriend I've been tested for STDs with, many hundreds of times by now, and I've never had a problem.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:41 AM
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I don't know much re: porn.

You're never too old to learn, Di.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:42 AM
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Not all of us have a wooden vas deferens.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:42 AM
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Or thirty goddamn dicks.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:43 AM
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227: I'm sure I've said this here before, but as with baseball, I'd rather play than watch.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:44 AM
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as with baseball, I'd rather play than watch.

"Over the past two decades, video has become common throughout the league, as it is with football. Teams have tons of film to help players study their opponents and their own quirks. In the last few years, players have been able to take home DVDs to watch on their laptops. Now, all that information is in the palm of their hands."

You'll never make the big leagues if you don't study film.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:48 AM
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I don't know if I have a mild latex sensitivity, or if it's a purely mechanical issue, but sex with latex condoms makes me seriously sore unless I use a whole lot of lube and the sex doesn't last too long. Polyurethane is much better, but also pricier and not always easy to find.


These new condoms have an absolutely fantastic feel, are widely available, and not latex or allergenic.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:51 AM
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Overall, I feel I am annoyed at the level of shaming that goes into women's birth control choices, when so many of those choices are inherently shitty. If one believed any of my gynecologists, it is basically mandatory that every woman should use hormonal BC, condoms, spermicide, and the rhythm method all at once, and to fail to do so is to hate yourself and long for death. I avoided going on oral BC for many years, and when I finally gave in, I thought my gynecologist was going to throw a party, like I'd finally agreed to get baptized or something. When I complained that it was having some pretty horrible side effects, including deep depression and anxiety, but also a bit of weight gain (probably due more to the deep depression than anything), her only response was "Have you tried eating less?" Thanks, bitch. Apparently my crying at school and threatening to kill people on the subway was not a "health problem." I ended up in the emergency room of the local psychiatric hospital.

But while I have no beef with people who choose to use withdrawal as a method, I don't like that it's somehow become a part of the optional repertoire for casual sex. When there is a general understanding that two people who are not exclusively involved with one another will use condoms, unless there is some discussion about why not, then you don't have to have a conversation about it. It's just SOP. If there is some other socially acceptable way to have casual sex, then suddenly you're put in the position of having to ask for something that should come with the territory. The people who are into withdrawal might think they're making casual sex easier and less shameful, but, by increasing the number of socially acceptable options, making casual sex harder by making those of us who really feel a lot safer with condoms defend our choice and sound like prigs.

People who have casual sex should have condoms around, or be willing to go to the store on the way home. Once you're already in someone's apartment and he says, "Oh, you aren't into that whole condom-paranoia, are you?" one is put in an awkward spot. Do what you want with your own risk-level, but don't try to guilt-trip me into it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:56 AM
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Everyone who tries to get pregnant has the same experience: "Wait, health class led me to believe this was going to be so easy. I thought if you sneezed wrong you could get pregnant."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:58 AM
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Everyone who triesMany people who try to get pregnant hashave the same experience: "Wait, health class led me to believe this was going to be so easy. I thought if you sneezed wrong you could get pregnant."

Others, of course, have the experience of: "Huh, I thought we'd be at this for a few months."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:01 AM
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I don't like that it's somehow become a part of the optional repertoire for casual sex

"[S]omehow become" strikes me as an odd way to look at it, given that the condom standard is a really, really recent development. It might not seem that way to folks under 35, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:03 AM
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233: This sounds exactly right. Really, I'm astonished at the idea that withdrawal is becoming acceptable in casual, rather than committed-relationship, sex, both for the disease and the trust/verifiablity reasons I mentioned above.

234: Not everyone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:03 AM
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Not everyone.

Yes, definitely not my experience.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:05 AM
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236: I wasn't having sex before HIV hit, but I have the impression that withdrawal as a means of birthcontrol in casual sex was generally recognized as for chumps even then. Isn't "I'll pull out" on those lists of classic lies like "The check is in the mail"?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:06 AM
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239: So I've been watching the mail for nothing?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:09 AM
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Isn't "I'll pull out" on those lists of classic lies like "The check is in the mail"?

Sure, but it only gets there by virtue of lots of people mailing checks and promising to withdraw. I've got no data to back any of this, but I'd be surprised if it hasn't always been the top BC method for teenagers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:11 AM
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"Oh, you aren't into that whole condom-paranoia, are you?"

"Not paranoia, common sense. You aren't into the whole not-getting-laid-tonight thing, are you?"


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:12 AM
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So I've been watching the mail for nothing?

If the woman doesn't have a fish tank, I usually pull out and come in her mailbox.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:12 AM
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243: That's a federal offense.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:13 AM
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I was being kind of cutesy, and now I also feel compelled to join 235, 237, and 238, and mention that we actually had no trouble, either. But I've still heard that jokey observation a bunch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:13 AM
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235: Yeah, people vary. Some women will get pregnant if they walk downwind from a men's locker room.

Ok, I didn't really have a point. I just like saying "Some women will get pregnant if they walk downwind from a men's locker room."



Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:15 AM
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Re: Proper withdrawal method technique

The person who was very vocal about the withdrawal method in another thread said that the man is supposed to urinate before sex, BTW.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:16 AM
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"Not paranoia, common sense. You aren't into the whole not-getting-laid-tonight thing, are you?"

I am trying to imagine myself saying something like this and can't. I don't mean to say that I'm a weenie, but if I'm at that point with someone, (a) I am extremely aroused, and (b) not at all bossy. Being aroused turns me into a total pussycat. It's not a fair fight at that point. That's why condom-usage pretty much has to be SOP; no one likes being in the position of making ultimatums while clearly dying to fuck.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:17 AM
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Condoms had a weird pop culture fetish for a while in the 90's, when there were all those R&B songs about safe sex, and TLC's eye-condom, etc. I remember some kids in high school with condoms safety pinned to their shoes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:17 AM
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241: I think Bear is bemoaning the fact that it's (apparently -- I don't know from personal experience myself) becoming socially acceptable in casual sex as not for chumps.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:17 AM
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I mean, pop culture had a weird fetish for condoms. Condoms were probably pretty pleased themselves, but I doubt it neared fetish.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:18 AM
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There's the stuff at the end of Goodbye, Columbus (1959) where the protagonist keeps bugging his girlfriend to go get fitted for a diaphragm because, basically, he wants to be able to come inside her, right? The narrative makes it sound like withdrawal was SOP for sexually active young adults at the time.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:20 AM
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no one likes being in the position of making ultimatums while clearly dying to fuck

True, but I still prefer making the ultimatum to an unwanted pregnancy or STD. Willingness to make the ultimatum winds up being a crucial step in making condom-usage SOP.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:21 AM
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Others, of course, have the experience of: "Huh, I thought we'd be at this for a few months."

And still others say "Dammit, I thought we'd be at this for a few months."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:22 AM
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condoms safety pinned to their shoes

Safety pins and condoms really don't belong anywhere near each other.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:22 AM
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What we really need is easy and reliably reversible vasectomy (like put in a valve instead of just snipping the tubes) ...

stopcock


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:23 AM
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248: I can't imagine myself saying it either, but because it's so adversarial. I just come off like an asshole whenever I try banter that has that adversary edge. I'd be more wheedling or cutesy if I wanted to make that point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:23 AM
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254: It really does seem unfair, given that the other side of the equation is several years of poverty and exhaustion.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:25 AM
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just come off like an asshole

If you can't make it to the fish tank or the mailbox, I guess that's another option.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:26 AM
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254: well, that's sort of what I meant. My wife got pregnant the second time pretty much simultaneously with our decision to maybe start trying over the upcoming few months.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:26 AM
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253: Sure, but life is a lot easier if you're starting from a sensible set of widely shared assumptions (condoms as default, to be departed from only after explicit negotiation), than if you have to explain and enforce your desires in every encounter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:26 AM
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261: Agreed, and I don't think we're at odds on this one. But like alot of things, SOP and widely shared assumptions derive from the willingness of individuals to enforce SOP in every encounter.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:28 AM
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257: It's sort of like saying no to drugs. Just a couple of days ago, I was offered a lovely little packet of cocaine by my friend as I headed to the bathroom. People don't often offer me cocaine, so I thought it was a really nice gesture. But all the language around saying no to drugs always sounded so over-the-top adversarial to me, and therefore actually not useful. Remember how they taught us in school to say things like, "Uh, no, I actually like my brain, loser!" or the "broken record": "NO NO NO NO NO."

I know that I can't do coke because I would fucking love it and I don't have the benjamins to keep it up as a habit. So I said, "Oh, my dear, my heart says yes, but my brain says I cannot. Thank you though!"

With saying no to condomless casual sex, the problem is that the person asking for it actually has quite a large investment in you saying yes, while the drug-offerer usually doesn't give a shit whether you accept. So if you soft-pedal it at all ("God, I would love that but..."), you're going to end up doing it. I just wish there was a way of saying it that didn't sound pretty much exactly like a slogan from a 1993 hip-hop song.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:30 AM
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Plus, SOP doesnt carry with it the perceived confrontational statement "You are probably a dirty bird."

If it is something that you negotiate, then insisting on a condom carries the implication that this person is more likely to have a STD than someone else.

Better to have the SOP speech ready.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:34 AM
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Yea, I'd love to not use a condom, but you are not on the approved list.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:35 AM
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Fall back on corporatespeak: "I'm sorry, but our policy disallows insertional sexual encounters without a condom. There's really nothing I can do."


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:36 AM
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There's really nothing I can do.

"Well, there are some things I can do. But you'll like the ones I can do if you put the condom on better."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:37 AM
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232: LifeStyles SKYN is better than the Kimono?

233: I discussed getting an IUD with my women's health specialist PCP. She thought that they were a great option for a lot of women, asked me if I had a gynecologist and referred me to one. She also thought that my concern about the number of psych meds which interfere with hormonal contraception was a good one. I'd never seen one before.

I called to make an appointment, and the receptionist asked me if I didn't want the Mirena. I said that that was something that I'd discuss during my consultation.

I guess that one of the doctor's specialties was adolescent medicine, and I just felt like I was being talked down to. I realize that I'm likely to be more sophisticated than most patients, but she didn't even ask me what I knew.

She proceeded to tell me about every method of birth control with a flip chart. She also maintained that her patients never experienced nuva rings coming out. She liked the Implanon a lot,especially for 16 year-olds who can't remember to take a pill every day.

Then she pointed to all of the non-hormonal methods and said that most of them don't work well. (No discussion, BTW, of STD prevention.) I said, "The Copper IUD doesn't ...?" ( I have a serious problem with interrupting people.) She said, "I said most," and then proceeded to continue her lecture. I had really been hoping for a more personalized discussion about my individual health needs.

I asked her whether she'd ever used copper IUDs with the progestin-only mini-pill to cut down with cramping and heavy periods. Her immediate response was, "Why wouldn't you just go with the Mirena then? You get morehormones with the mini pill, if hormones are what you're concerned about" Well, what I'm concerned about is that I might take a drug like provigil which will cut down its efficacy as birth control but I'm not otherwise that concerned. I wish that they had a combo IUD, and there is one being developed in Belgium, but our options are more limited in the US.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:38 AM
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I just wish there was a way of saying it that didn't sound pretty much exactly like a slogan from a 1993 hip-hop song.

Better there should be SOP, but the tactic I'd head for in your shoes is to regretfully overstate my fear of pregnancy: "Damn, I get knocked up at the drop of a hat; I can't possibly. Non-penetrative sex, anyone?" Won't work with anyone you've previously overlooked the risk for, but on new partners it avoids the "I think I'm likely to catch something from you" difficulty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:38 AM
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There is a better way to put on condoms?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:38 AM
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There are certainly worse ways...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:41 AM
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"You are probably a dirty bird."

Exactly. This is what bothers me about it. No one should feel the right to demand that much trust from me if we're not already in a relationship, and probably not even then.

I have been with guys who were way, way too paranoid about STDs and germs and whatnot. And that is really fucking annoying, and also probably not really about STDs. One guy, after sleeping with me, fooled around with another girl and later discovered he had a cut on his finger. He was instantly sure he was dying of AIDS and refused to have sex with me again because he might give me AIDS. I later sort of figured out he just wasn't that attracted to me and was using AIDS as an excuse. It was kinda psycho.

But come on. Condoms, people. The ones in 232 sound great, though I have found LifeStyles to be notoriously tight and uncomfortable for the dude in general.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:43 AM
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269: That's one approach, sure, but chances are it leads to pressure to get on the pill (if this isn't just a one-night-stand thing) or "Don't worry baby, I'll pull out in time."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:43 AM
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Hah! 266 is so something I'd say.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:43 AM
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I have found LifeStyles to be notoriously tight and uncomfortable for the dude in general.

YMan'sMMV...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:44 AM
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"You are probably a dirty bird."

Well, you can always resort to, "Hey, I'm sure you're> fine, but I have my doubts about that last little hussy you were with."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:46 AM
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275: I don't think it's the size, exactly. They're just less stretchy, more tense, or something.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:47 AM
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Brock: I guess someone could be trying to run right up against the physical limit (and so accidentally mis-time things), but that honestly seems closer to deliberately-not-pulling-out than accidentally not doing so.

So what we really need is like a sperm-detecting wireless device, that sends a signal to one of those old movie 'cowboy just got shot off his horse' stunt devices. Slams the guy right back into the wall at ay hint of the swimmers. Plus, he won't have to worry about not coming because he'll be unconscious.

max
['Did the earth move?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:47 AM
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277: Encourage them to try yoga...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:47 AM
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There are certainly worse ways...


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:49 AM
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276: "Listen, if tonight is any indicator, you obviously like to screw total sluts and not ask them about their sexual history..."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:49 AM
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The above mentioned pre-come issue?

The pdf of the study profiled in the article mentioned that there isn't good evidence for viable sperm being in pre-cum fluids. That wasn't what I learned in school, but they might have been trying to scare us into using condoms rather than explaining what worked, so...


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:52 AM
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280: In googling for a version of that joke, my first search string returned four hits, all apparently copied from the same source, where the protagonist is described as a pollock. An unlikely condom user, I'd think.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:52 AM
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cum

Deprecated.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:53 AM
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283: Huh. I wonder if the teller was a Brit who can't spell pillock, or an American who can't spell Polack.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:54 AM
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I've often been one of the withdrawal-users. Worked solidly for many years (High School onward) and through multiple relationships. It eventually did result in an unwanted pregnancy... but that was because we got lax in our discipline and stopped withdrawing, so blaming the withdrawal method would be oversimplifying. But over the previous years I wasn't exactly indifferent to the risks involved, and it could easily have resulted in an unplanned pregnancy with the most psychotic woman I ever met. That would have been bad. It's not like I go around recommending it.

I think there are, actually, a fair number of people who don't use condoms, pills or IUDs for various reasons, but are somewhat "on the QT" about it because they know they're taking what are socially regarded as outlandish risks.


Posted by: Ulysses S. Grant | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:55 AM
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277: 275: I don't think it's the size, exactly. They're just less stretchy, more tense, or something.

Are those the ones you can pull over your forearm?

max
['Did they change the formula or something?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:55 AM
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284: Prior discussion.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:55 AM
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287: I know this is true, which is why I don't think it's actually a "size" problem. But just because it *can* stretch to be super-huge doesn't mean it does so with the comfort of other condoms. (My college BF used to complain about LS, and I thought he was being all "boo hoo I have a huge cock" until we did some comparison between brands. LS really does "feel" tighter, even if they're the same size.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:02 AM
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Are those the ones you can pull over your forearm?

Why, yes! Yes, they are! Now that I've checked.

max
['It's a little hatd to type with a condom over your hand. But possible!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:02 AM
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"Listen, if tonight is any indicator, you obviously like to screw total sluts and not ask them about their sexual history..."

This is so true and really the best way to go.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:02 AM
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I agree completely with Bear about SOP, but Di's 262 is also important.

For me, having a partner push for something I was very much not into would kill the mood right quick. It's one thing to ask (I encourage it, in fact), but one "no" is all you get before we're no longer headed for bed, but talking about boundaries and the like instead.

The right point for negotiation about non-SOP activities is in the postcoital glow, while you're both still sexed up, feeling comfortable with intimate talk, and the pressure is off. First-time barebacking is dumb unless you've had The Talk beforehand.

And again, that Vice article is a how-to for creating multi-drug resistant STDs. When we have syphilis as robust as MRSA perhaps people will stop being so goddamn irresponsible. Yeah, fat chance. On the plus side, once more people have encountered someone with syphilitic dementia, condoms as SOP will return to popularity.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:04 AM
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If it isnt SOP, you end up grinding like a pair of high schoolers. From there is it just a slippery slope.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:04 AM
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Anecdotal evidence is pretty worthless in birth control, since some couples are much less fertile than others. When my ex and I wanted a child it took 2 or 3 months of diligent effort. Sometimes it takes forever. The combination of relative infertility and withdrawal might stretch things out for years, whereas it wouldn't work for a fertile couple.

In HS I assumed that pregnancy occurred between 50% and 100% of the time. If I'd known how wrong that was I might have been a little more adventurous. As it was, I saved my sister's best friend from an unwanted pregnancy, since she had a terrible crush on me but I ignored her. Most of my sister's other best friends did get knocked up.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:07 AM
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252: Yeah, but it could also be about not wanting to have to use a condom.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:09 AM
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From there is it just a slippery slope

If you're doin' it right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:09 AM
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289: (My college BF used to complain about LS, and I thought he was being all "boo hoo I have a huge cock" until we did some comparison between brands. LS really does "feel" tighter, even if they're the same size.)

See, I had the same problem with Teh Trojanz. That shit was fucking painful. I complained to the lady at the STD clinic (very lean, thank you) and she whipped one out and pulled it over her entire forearm down to the elbow.

I was all ✋ and AWESOME! Those worked way better, particularly in the large size. That was more than a decde ago tho.

So, not really following here (but I believe you saying he said it).

max
['Lubricant, maybe?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:10 AM
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270: I've read that there's a trick involving your partner warming the condom in her mouth and then putting it on using a combination of mouth and hands. They should teach that in sex ed, IMO. The taste is probably not that great, though.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:10 AM
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Another interesting issue is whether anybody takes the time to use the morning after pill after a withdrawal episode.

That is the second risky behavior. It isnt that difficult.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:10 AM
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298: Yuck. Also, teeth + condoms is usually not a good plan. IIRC, the problem isn't that you'll bite through it, but you'll make weak spots.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:12 AM
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Isn't "I'll pull out" on those lists of classic lies like "The check is in the mail"?

Bobby said he'd pull out/ Bobby stayed in/ Janey had a baby/ wasn't any sin

Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:13 AM
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The taste is probably not that great, though.

On nearly every condom machine I have ever seen, somebody has written "Don't buy this gum. It tastes terrible." Almost as ubiquitous as "Push butt. Dry hands on pants."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:17 AM
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300: Good point.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:17 AM
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BTW, I wonder if the Lifestyles situation had something to do with the behavior described in 159. I seem to recall occasional discomfort (although it's completely overshadowed by the harrowing memory of my one experience with an unlubricated condom, evidently marketed by a branch of the Catholic Church), and I know we used LS.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:23 AM
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Another interesting issue is whether anybody takes the time to use the morning after pill after a withdrawal episode. That is the second risky behavior. It isnt that difficult.

Logistically, maybe not. But it can be emotionally/psychologically... a hurdle.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:28 AM
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"cum" is deprecated, Cala.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:29 AM
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306 is pwned, nosflow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:33 AM
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307: some guys just take longer than others.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:37 AM
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nosflow seems much faster in person.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:41 AM
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301: according to that site it's "Booby said he'd pull out".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:42 AM
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I don't know much re: porn. But somehow "I can be dominant studboy just like my porn heroes!" still doesn't really compete with "I can not accidentally become pregnant and not have to deal with all of the emotional and physical repercussions attendant thereto!"

But notice, the latter is an incentive for the woman, the former is an incentive for the man. The guy in this picture isn't as concerned about pregnancy as his partner is, although he might have some visceral desire to get off in the same manner as various porn people he's jacked off to.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:46 AM
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311: Oh! I hadn't realized that the incentives were different for men and women! Thanks so much for the clarification!!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:48 AM
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307: some guys just take longer than others.

I commented a lot as a kid.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:49 AM
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Condoms, people. The ones in 232 sound great, though I have found LifeStyles to be notoriously tight and uncomfortable for the dude in general.

We had issues with a number of condom brands - got sore too quickly, not stretchy enough - and then started using these and they were great. I think LifeStyles also makes plain old regular latex condoms, too; maybe those are the ones you've used?


Posted by: John Wilkes Booth | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:49 AM
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312: You're welcome!!!


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:50 AM
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Beneath the possible first appropriation of the phrase adapted in 313 is a comment relevant to the condom discussion.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:51 AM
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316: See, it's cool that you provide your own footnotes like that.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:55 AM
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310: Yeah, I decided to edit that for reproduction.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:55 AM
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311: But notice, the latter is an incentive for the woman, the former is an incentive for the man.

Not really true. I mean, it's the woman who deals with the physical repercussions, but unplanned pregnancies do not come without emotional repercussions for the guy. ("Ejaculating on someone is seen as a cool dominance move" also seems pretty much like horseshit, come to think of it.)

I do find it hard to understand objections to this or that practice along the lines of "why weren't you soberly reasoning from X through Y to Z in the heat of the sexual moment?"


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:55 AM
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I know that I can't do coke because I would fucking love it and I don't have the benjamins to keep it up as a habit. So I said, "Oh, my dear, my heart says yes, but my brain says I cannot. Thank you though!"

You're smart, AWB. I tried it once, and I was like, yup, I can never ever do that again. Too bad, really, but the smart thing to do.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:57 AM
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I don't think it's "Ejaculating on someone is seen as a cool dominance move", but I do think it's about control, that it's a way of saying "I'm in control of what happens in bed," with a dash of "You don't make me come; I make me come." Will seems to think it's easy for the woman to know when the guy's about to come and to disengage, but I have most certainly not found that to be the case. In withdrawal situations, it means that I might start out on top, but when the move toward orgasm happens, the "real" fucking, I have to be on bottom.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:59 AM
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I do find it hard to understand objections to this or that practice along the lines of "why weren't you soberly reasoning from X through Y to Z in the heat of the sexual moment?"

If I understand the application of this to the withdrawal conversation, you're saying "You can't really judge someone for failing to withdraw in the heat of the moment." (If you're not saying that, I don't follow you at all.) And, maybe, but at that point I'd judge the hypothetical non-withdrawer for, at a time before the 'heat of the moment', deciding that he would be able to rely on himself to withdraw. If it's not a reasonable behavior to expect, it's not a reasonable behavior to claim to be able to reliably carry out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:00 PM
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Will seems to think it's easy for the woman to know when the guy's about to come and to disengage

Yes, that's usually true when you've fucked someone already ten, twenty, fifty times. But a casual partner? No way.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:02 PM
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If it's not a reasonable behavior to expect, it's not a reasonable behavior to claim to be able to reliably carry out.

Cf. Annette Baier, "Act and Intent", and when you confer, confer creatively.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:02 PM
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And w/r/t "You don't make me come; I make me come," I don't actually mean to be judgmental about this. I've found myself thinking that more than a few times. It's just that what I do with my orgasm doesn't have the potential to impregnate someone else.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:04 PM
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"why weren't you soberly reasoning from X through Y to Z in the heat of the sexual moment?"

Which was kind of my whole point in noting the difference in incentives for men and women. Consciousness of the potential for becoming pregnant is really remarkably effective in sobering one up. At least it is for me. IIRC, that is.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:05 PM
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when you've fucked someone already ten, twenty, fifty times

Leblanc is insatiable.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:06 PM
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"You don't make me come; I make me come" …

AWB casts her lot with Chisholm.

But another gets one into the position of being able to make oneself come.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:06 PM
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322: If I understand the application of this to the withdrawal conversation

It's a response to 222, which I now see I was misreading -- yes, obviously you plan to withdraw because you want to avoid pregnancy, not because you want to be Captain Porn Star, Di is 100% right -- on account of I'm being hasty because I actually shouldn't be reading this thread right now.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:06 PM
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Consciousness of the potential for becoming pregnant is really remarkably effective in sobering one up.

Yep. Also wildly detrimental to actually enjoying the sex, I'd expect. I've never relied on withdrawal as birth control (I love my IUD), but I figure nervously trying to anticipate the guy's orgasm and wriggle away from him before it hits really can't be conducive to joyfully abandoned engagement.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:08 PM
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on account of I'm being hasty because I actually shouldn't be reading this thread right now.

Let me guess: you're currently having sex and you want to make sure you withdraw at the kairotic moment.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:08 PM
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I should note that I've actually used a modified form of withdrawal in several previous relationships. As in, we'd fuck for a while, then eventually put on the condom for the, as AWB put it, "real fucking."

As someone who didn't even dare tell her doctor this, and got endless amounts of shit for it from her friends, let me tell you, shaming for this matter is alive and well.

Of course, it was stupid, but b/c of the disease risk and b/c I didn't know shit about when I was ovulating. But not for the reasons I was shamed for it.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:09 PM
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Leblanc is insatiable.

True, although this ain't really evidence for it.. we're talking about over a period of several years.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:10 PM
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I've never had any trouble doing only coke infrequently. I only have one or two friends who ever offer me some. I always have a great time, but it hurts my sinuses, and I'm never in a hurry to have some more very soon.


Posted by: Martha Washington | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:11 PM
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I don't think it's "Ejaculating on someone is seen as a cool dominance move", but I do think it's about control, that it's a way of saying "I'm in control of what happens in bed," with a dash of "You don't make me come; I make me come." Will seems to think it's easy for the woman to know when the guy's about to come and to disengage, but I have most certainly not found that to be the case.

1. Will doesnt think it is easy for a woman to know precisely when a man is going to come. I suspect many men dont have the timing exactly down. (ie I can hold off another couple seconds and continue...)

But, a woman can certainly stop the intercourse by any number of means. That was my only point. That might not be the withdrawal method exactly, but a woman can certainly participate sex for a period of time and then stop it as it gets heated to avoid having the guy come in her.

2. Sex often has to do with power, control, dominance, teasing, withholding, etc. That isnt always bad or degrading.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:12 PM
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I should note that I've actually used a modified form of withdrawal in several previous relationships. As in, we'd fuck for a while, then eventually put on the condom for the, as AWB put it, "real fucking."

Yes. And it is precisely such an approach which leads to my conclusion that women don't practice withdrawal but only consent to trusting their partner to practice withdrawal.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:14 PM
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I figure nervously trying to anticipate the guy's orgasm and wriggle away from him before it hits

Yea, I think this happens all the time.

Or the version like m leblanc mentions. Do it the fun way for a while. then, switch to the safe way.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:14 PM
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But, a woman can certainly stop the intercourse by any number of means.

Not as easy as you think it is.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:15 PM
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So maybe you should better-align the incentives.

"Listen, I'm happy to have sex with you, but if you come in me I'll slit your throat. So be mindful of that."

Seems easy enough. Of course you have to make it credible.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:17 PM
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286: but that was because we got lax in our discipline and stopped withdrawing

"We"? "Our"?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:18 PM
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||

Lines you really don't want to overhear from the chairman of the State U economics department while getting your coffee: "Did you see the David Brooks column on health care?"

|>


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:18 PM
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stop it as it gets heated to avoid having the guy come in her

The problem, as I've discovered several times, is that especially if it's with a relatively new partner and/or someone young, it really can seem like it's not that "heated" at all and..wait.. what just happened? Did you? Oh.

This is why it is rather important to use the condom with anyone you haven't boned a bunch of times already.

Or just fuck older guys. Whichever.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:19 PM
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On the coke thing. 1. Don't do it, for the reasons stated, but 2. I had this friend who tried it once and got about as high as if he'd drunk a cup of instant coffee, so I guess it affects people differently.

On topic, I just don't understand how anybody could get near orgasm if the plan was for the guy to pull out, because of the sheer distracting anxiety. Or maybe I'm too imaginative.


Posted by: George W Bush | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:19 PM
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341: But a good potential line for stopping intercourse.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:21 PM
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343.2: Yeah, that was what I meant in 330. Short of a situation where the woman has total faith in the man's self-control and reliability (which I think boils down to either long-term relationship or she's a complete chump) it sounds like a recipe for terrible sex.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:22 PM
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Or just fuck older guys

Like guys in their 40s? Maybe slightly overweight, lawyer guys? Who live with their gfs? And have kids?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:24 PM
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331: Past tense that shit, bro. And I'm out!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:24 PM
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You do have to watch out for the ones prone to unexpectedly snapping their hips, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:24 PM
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Not as easy as you think it is.

Assumes facts not in evidence!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:25 PM
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Not as easy as you think it is.

no? just laugh.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:26 PM
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Yea, I think this happens all the time.

You do?! God, that sounds fucking awful. I do not want to be responsible for intuiting when someone else is about to come. Even with the partners I've done this with, it was always them being like "ok, let's stop now", or me saying "don't you think we should stop?" Not me "wriggling" away. Jesus.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:26 PM
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349: In retrospect, I'm glad I went with that formulation rather than, "It's harder than you might think."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:27 PM
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340: Describing the exact mechanics would get porny.


Posted by: Ulysses S. Grant | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:27 PM
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You do?! God, that sounds fucking awful. I do not want to be responsible for intuiting when someone else is about to come. Even with the partners I've done this with, it was always them being like "ok, let's stop now", or me saying "don't you think we should stop?" Not me "wriggling" away. Jesus.

wriggling wasnt the important word there.

Just the starting without a condom part.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:28 PM
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353: "There I was, advancing through the Wilderness, on my trusty steed Cinncinnati..."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:29 PM
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no? just laugh.

Or cry.

Or shout out "I want your baby!"


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:30 PM
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357

"It's harder than you might think."

Di: A man will probably never complain if you say that.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:31 PM
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Even with the partners I've done this with, it was always them being like "ok, let's stop now", or me saying "don't you think we should stop?"

My experience as well -- which of course requires a good bit of reliance on the guy to say, "okay," rather than "don't worry... " "Wriggling away" seem possibly feasible in a woman-on-top situation. But when you've got someone on top of and inside you "disengaging" is going to require cooperation.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:32 PM
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356: None of those beats the David Brooks line.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:32 PM
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353: You say that like it's a bad thing.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:34 PM
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The David Brooks line? Is that something one uses in the moment?

"Honey, I find myself considering David Brook's latest column on..."

I suppose that would also work.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:35 PM
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But when you've got someone on top of and inside you "disengaging" is going to require cooperation.

Isn't that why women have teeth down there?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:36 PM
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||

I am completely unable to make myself write this goddamned brief. I'm going to go to the gym, and see if maybe I can get it done after I get back. @#$#@#!!! client and its bizarre recordkeeping and mailing practices.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:37 PM
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358: But when you've got someone on top of and inside you "disengaging" is going to require cooperation.

That's why you need an air ramp! ("a pneumatic catapult device used to toss a body through the air. Activation is either by touch or trigger.")

For that woo hoo experience!

max
['Remote trigger!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:37 PM
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My experience as well -- which of course requires a good bit of reliance on the guy to say, "okay," rather than "don't worry... " "Wriggling away" seem possibly feasible in a woman-on-top situation. But when you've got someone on top of and inside you "disengaging" is going to require cooperation

Well, sure. But, rape is an entirely different conversation.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:37 PM
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361 see 344. I was envisioning it exactly as stated by the econ chair: "Did you see the David Brooks column on health care?"

Specifying that the column was on health care would be an extra bonus bonekiller.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:38 PM
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363: You know it's bad when you switch back to the draft brief and hit F5 hoping to see new paragraphs magically appear.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:39 PM
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I hadnt thought about that. Maybe my divorce complaint will be done when I hit refresh.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:40 PM
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365: But, rape is an entirely different conversation.

Not really.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:40 PM
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365: Sure. But there is at least the potential here for blurring the line. If you've agreed on a withdrawal method, and you say "Hey, do you think it's time to put on the condom now?" and he says he thinks "not yet," is that clearly rape? If you say, get out, now, and he doesn't comply, of course. This is much like Bear's 248 where using highly directive language is difficult.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:46 PM
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366 - Right. Thanks for keeping me current.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:50 PM
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Or shout out "I want your baby!"


http://www.fmylife.com/sex/253938

Today, I had drunk sex with a girl that I barely know. I didn't have a condom and was nervous about getting her pregnant, but she assured me that I could pull out. Right when I was about to pull out, she wrapped her legs around me and yelled : "BE MY BABY'S DADDY!" I couldn't get out in time. FML

Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:54 PM
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"Did you see the David Brooks column on health care?" seems like it would be a great safe word. Can you use a whole sentence as a safe word, or is it better to stick to short words that you can blurt out when you get scared?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:54 PM
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@#$#@#!!! client and its bizarre recordkeeping and mailing practices.

"Hey, the statute says that [the people client deals with] have to keep records and mail stuff timely, not that [client] does."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 12:57 PM
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332: So they weren't shaming about disease or pregnancy, but they shamed nonetheless? What was the issue? Style, maybe?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:00 PM
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I think shouting "David Brooks!" would be enough. But you might not ever get to have sex again.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:02 PM
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I have to guess they were shaming someone for being willing to entertain a higher level of risk than the shamer would choose.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:03 PM
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If 370 is rape, then is 372 also rape? I think it must be.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:09 PM
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379

Wait, nevermind, I misread.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:09 PM
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I have to guess they were shaming someone for being willing to entertain a higher level of risk than the shamer would choose.

Which seems to me to be very strange. I can see being worried that someone doesn't understand the risks, or being worried about disease but "in my judgment, the risk of pregnancy you are incurring is too high" seems like a strange thing to think about another adult.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:21 PM
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378: I think it would be.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:24 PM
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380: it doesn't seem completely strange if, like the people Becks mentions in the post, the other adult is simultaneously openly affirming that she really, really, really doesn't want to get pregnant.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:25 PM
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It runs counter to so many norms that I find it amusing instead of upsetting, but yeah, it's forcing someone to have sex against their will and was probably upsetting to him.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:26 PM
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381: wait, nevermind, I misread before posting 379. I agree. I think.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:28 PM
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I am nearly 100% against shaming, but I do feel bitchy about the creation of new casual-sex SOPs, for which I don't feel I can blame any one individual. It annoys me more that Jezebel and Vice are promoting the idea that condom users are whiny germaphobes who are overprotective of the health of their genitals. If a friend of mine has unprotected sex, I'm not going to bitch them out about it; it's their risk to manage, and we've all made mistakes. But the Jezebel "Please understand that withdrawal is a perfectly excellent way to have casual sex" line is really obnoxious. Because when it comes down to it, when you're with someone and they try to have sex without protection, they're shaming you for being so precious about your privates that you don't want chlamydia.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:29 PM
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Cala, I agree that it is strange, but I think that is the mechanism behind shock that others would use withdrawal method. (Except AWB, who has articulated the way that increasing popularity of withdrawal damages the assumption that condoms are standard for casual sex.)

When said outloud, it sounds weird, but I think it is the same thing as:

How could be so dumb as to live in a floodplain?
How could you be so negligent about your credit?

How could you take on a level of risk that is higher than mine?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:35 PM
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Also, the herpes thing is very weird in that Vice article. I find most discussions of herpes sort of baffling. The message is somehow "you can only transfer it during a breakout," "no, you can get it anyway," "condoms offer some protection," "condoms offer no protection," "you have to spend the rest of your life telling all your partners," "breakouts are hell," "it's no big whoop," "you're not really going to get it," and "everyone has it, basically." I have friends who have it, and I know we've talked about it here, but, well, I know this is not cool and stuff, but no, I really don't want herpes and would take great pains to avoid getting it, probably more because it would greatly reduce my confidence about entering sexual relationships not to be able to say I'm clean. Am I a bad person? I don't mean to be judgmental. And I don't think people who have it are "dirty" or anything. I just think it would make me feel really awkward and I'd prefer not to feel awkward.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:37 PM
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387 is really not meant to start some kind of fight. I sort of instantly regret it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:39 PM
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Am I a bad person? I don't mean to be judgmental.

I feel confident that anybody who has contracted it would prefer they hadn't, all things being equal.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:43 PM
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Dude, it's ok to have a position of "I would really really rather not have herpes." That doesn't mean you think people with herpes are gross and should off themselves.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:43 PM
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And in fact, I think my comment comes off as a bit bigoted. It's a latent thing I've been trying to work out for a long time. It's only by luck that I don't have it, and I don't judge people who do. But if I did have the knowledge at hand that I was exposing myself to any STD, I think I would have a hard time staying interested, whereas, for the Vice girl, being told you're about to have unprotected sex with someone with a disease just means putting a visit to the clinic on the schedule for the following week. There is a vast ground of reasonable room between those two positions.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:46 PM
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387: The whole of that article is weird in a way that I can only make sense of as someone who doesn't use condoms rationalizing like hell about having multiple partners without taking basic precautions. It's just a big pile of bad advice backed by a near magical understanding of medicine. As I said above: look for multiple drug resistant strains of those "no big deal" STDs to start showing up in the population of people taking that incredibly bad advice.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:48 PM
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385: I completely agree that it is easier on everyone if the norm for casual sex is no-party-hat-no-party.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:49 PM
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ANALOGY WARNING: I get on planes without thinking much about it. I don't research how old the plane I'm on is, or when its last maintenance was done. I know there is a risk it will crash into a field and I will die. But mostly, that doesn't happen and I do like to go places. But if I was looking out the window and I saw part of the wing falling off and the captain looked obviously dizzy, I don't think I'd want to take the trip.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:50 PM
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the harrowing memory of my one experience with an unlubricated condom, evidently marketed by a branch of the Catholic Church

I prefer unlubricated. I'm plenty juicy enough all on my own.


Posted by: Elizabeth R. | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:50 PM
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I don't see how you would come off as bigoted, AWB. If someone I know has the flu, I take what precautions I can until they are no longer contagious. If I have the flu, I stay home from work so I don't infect everyone in my office and on my train. Not wanting to contract or pass along an illness is perfectly reasonable, no less so if the illness is in your nether parts.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:51 PM
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394 doesn't work, of course, bc STDs =! death, consequence-wise.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:51 PM
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It annoys me more that Jezebel and Vice are promoting the idea that condom users are whiny germaphobes who are overprotective of the health of their genitals. If a friend of mine has unprotected sex, I'm not going to bitch them out about it; it's their risk to manage, and we've all made mistakes. But the Jezebel "Please understand that withdrawal is a perfectly excellent way to have casual sex" line is really obnoxious.

Ditto, ditto!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:53 PM
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399

I REALLY WISH PEOPLE WOULD STOP SHAMING THOSE OF US WHO LIKE TO WALLOW IN OUR OWN FILTH AND EFFLUENCE.


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:57 PM
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400

How could be so dumb as to live in a floodplain?

Hey!

(Technically, we're above the floodplain, since our house is on 3 foot stilts, which is the exact water height of the Big Flood of '98. So my nightmare is that when it floods, all our neighbors are up shit creek except us, and we're stuck saying "AHHH Put your cat in this closet and your couch on the porch and your kid over here and AHHHHH!?")


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 1:59 PM
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I mean, it all depends, right? I think I would probably not have sex with someone I'd just met who said they had herpes, for the reason AWB states. But, for example, there was this guy I had a huge crush on that I really really wanted to fuck, and I later found out, b/c my friend had sex with him, that he had herpes (he told her about it before they did, obv.) I was intrigued by the thought of what I woulda done in her position had I gotten the chance, and I think my crush was strong enough that I almost certainly would've gone for it, given that a) condoms b) not having a breakout.

But I think that you can acknowledge that it's only by luck that you don't have it, while simultaneously not wanting to contract it. I mean, I know a lot of people who have HPV, and in the vast majority of cases it's No Big Deal, and there are no breakouts like herpes, but all things being equal I'll still do what I can to avoid getting it.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:10 PM
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Worse: we're technically in the flood channel. Except that we're on the inside of a bend and high enough that our lot pretty much stayed dry in the big flood five years ago (I forget if it was supposedly 100-yr or 500-yr), so mostly it's just a hassle if we ever want to rebuild the house. And we're probably fucked in a hurricane, but the place is flimsy enough that we're fucked in a hurricane anyway.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:11 PM
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I live in a floodplain too. But inundation should only be a foot or so and my house is three feet up. Everyone who lives in an area with higher flood heights is nuts and should be shamed.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:11 PM
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Yeah, 401.1 makes sense. I think if I was really super-keen on someone, I'd at least think about whether it was worth it. But not for stranger-sex.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:15 PM
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405

People who do things I wouldn't do are idiots. People who won't do things I do are wimps.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:22 PM
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360: I come from a more prudish era, pf. Luckily, gswift has done the work for me: just imagine a version of the scene in 372 with more limbs involved, and without the over-the-top exclamation or the dude claiming to have been deceived.


Posted by: Ulysses S. Grant | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:35 PM
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407

People more religious than me are loony fanatics; people less religious than me are ammoral hooligans.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:38 PM
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408

People who think they're smarter than I am are pretentious and wrong; people who think they're dumber than I am have self-esteem problems and are wrong.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:40 PM
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ammoral

Apropos of the other thread, the religion of bullets.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:41 PM
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410

People more competitive than me are cutthroats; people less competitive than me are lazy.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:41 PM
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386: I think part of the negative reaction is not wanting to be in a position of having to sympathize while stifling "I told you so" later on. Saying "What kind of idiot lives in a floodplain?" is completely inappropriate and awful if you're talking to someone who's homeless because their house just got washed away. But still. And so it's tempting to be snippy before the bad thing happens, because snippiness isn't a humanely available reaction after the bad thing happens.

That still doesn't legitimize it -- if someone else's risk tolerance isn't any of your business, it really isn't any of your business -- but I think that's part of what drives the reaction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:42 PM
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412

People who don't know how to spell are amoral. People who know how to spell but wilfully refuse to do so are immoral. The spell-checker that's trying to get me to change "wilfully" to the incorrect "willfully" is evil.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:43 PM
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413

I am precisely as competitve as Brock, as smart as AWB, as religious as heebie and as risk tolerant/averse as NPH. Anyone who deviates from this profile is unbalanced.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:43 PM
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414

People who think they're dumber than I am are usually correct.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:44 PM
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413: Dave borrowed my copy of The Phantom Tollbooth last night, so I can't help but think of Canby.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:46 PM
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416

Anyone who is stronger than me is a goddam BEAST. Anyone who is weaker than me is everyone.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:48 PM
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417

People who have more copies of The Phantom Tollbooth than me are Davey; people who have fewer are White Beary.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:49 PM
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418

Women who are weaker than me should get with the times and realize that a modern man wants a strong, sassy, confident woman. Women who are stronger than me should realize that Amazons are total turn-off.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:50 PM
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419

417: You have 0


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:51 PM
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420

Oh poop. I hate you, html.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:51 PM
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421

hey!

I'm having enough trouble without the hating. It's not easy being stateless you know.


Posted by: HTML | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:52 PM
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422

People with worse writers block than mine are truly pitiable. People who write more easily than I do are loathsome and despicable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:55 PM
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423

Women who are stronger than me should realize that Amazons are total turn-off.

So so wrong.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:56 PM
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424

I'm going to karaoke tonight. People who sing better than I do are showoffs; people who sing worse than I do are embarrassing.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 2:59 PM
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422: Just try writing the brief in-character as a Muppet baby. Clears that shit right up.

424: Karaoke is one of the really tough ones, since people who are good at karaoke have no lives, people who are bad at karaoke have no talent, and people who cultivate an ironic indifference to karaoke have no sense of fun and spontaneity.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:04 PM
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426

People who are articulate about karaoke are glib.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:06 PM
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427

422: Wanna swap briefs for the weekend?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:07 PM
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428

Christ, that Vice article is gross.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:08 PM
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429

Small people who fuss for long stretches are wearying.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:09 PM
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430

425.1 made me giggle. I'll have to try this with the dissertation.

425.2 I KNOW. And it's Manhattan karaoke, which is full of each of those three, but I think we have a private room. This is work-related karaoke. In Brooklyn, we have an amazing place, a total dive, where it's all public, and the no-lives people there are fucking incredible. They're not like the Manhattan no-lives people, who are all waiting for audition season to roll around and hoping to score with a powerful agent. In Brooklyn, they're nerds, goths, old dorky dudes, fat girls, guys with bad 70's hair. And they're awesome. I don't mind them at all. They can be awesome all night.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:09 PM
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431

Comments prior to this one have not fully fleshed out the concept; comments after it will be belaboring the point.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:09 PM
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432

Wanna swap briefs

That's how unwanted pregnancies happen.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:09 PM
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433

"The next morning I had no idea whose skid marks these were..."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:11 PM
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434

432, 433: You really shouldn't believe everything your older brother told you when you were a kid, Heebie.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:14 PM
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435

430: This is work-related karaoke.

Oh, honey. I am so sorry.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:15 PM
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436

434: I remember seeing a Weekly World News headline about a nine-year-old grandmother and it freaked me out because I'd just been kissed by my boyfriend (this is kindergarten) for the first time, and I just knew I was gonna end up like her. Babies having babies; I'll tell ya. (via M LeBlanc, this is hilarious)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:16 PM
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434: It turns out the bottom of the pool does not smell like roses.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:16 PM
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435: I know. I know. Our department secretary where I teach is awesome and wanted to hang out with her fav faculty members, so it's kind of a random group. But I like most of them. It will be fine.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:17 PM
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439

437: But my briefs do. Wanna swap?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:19 PM
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440

Your brother (cousin?) lied to you apostropher. That's not what roses smell like.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:52 PM
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441

brother (cousin?)

It's often a fuzzy line down here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 3:55 PM
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442

Ugh, I can't bear to read anything from Jezebel anymore, and I actually Leechblocked it 24/7 just so that I couldn't give into temptation or click through a TP link, because it usually makes me so angry. As in, it made me fume, and I made a conscious decision to stop reading things that made me angry or negative in my Great Negativity Purge of 2009.

I read the original article though, because Hanna Rosin linked to it on Double X. If this has been mentioned already, I'm sorry, I only spottily read this thread. Anyway, I'm jumping in to say that I agree with Witt and AWB's early comments re STDs and "trust," and do not think that AWB is at all bigoted!! At all!


Posted by: belle lettre | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 4:35 PM
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443

Do you ever get PMS, like, all of a sudden? Like you think everything's fine and you get dressed to go out and then suddenly glllllllllll? I DO NOT WANT TO GO OUT NOW. But I will. Because I have to.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 4:50 PM
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444

Do you ever get PMS, like, all of a sudden?

No.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 4:52 PM
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445

apo's is more gradual (and lasts 3 1/2 weeks)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 4:54 PM
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446

I completely agree that it is easier on everyone awesome if the norm for casual sex parties is no-party-hat-no-party.

Fixed!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 4:56 PM
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447

norm [...] is no-party-hat-no-party.

Man, these safe sex standards are getting pretty tough - you gotta wear a party hat, gloves AND a condom.

max
['Which makes me think there really ought to be some super-condom that looks likes a old-fashioned diving suit.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 5:59 PM
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448

AWB's SOP stuff is dead on, and I would further add that keeping condoms de rigueur for casual and early-in-the-relationship sex makes it easier to have important follow-up conversations about testing and exclusivity.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 6:02 PM
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449

"Hey, do you think it's time to put on the condom now?" and he says he thinks "not yet," is that clearly rape? If you say, get out, now, and he doesn't comply, of course.

That's so lawyerly of you, Di. It;s like all those cases when a suspect says repeatedly, "Do you think I should get a lawyer?" and everything's still admissible, because they never affirmatively stated, "I WANT A LAWYER NOW." Even though, any normal person knows that's what they mean.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 6:21 PM
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450

449: That reminds me of a question I've always had. How do you get a lawyer when you need one for more acute legal needs (i.e. you are in custody before you realize you need a lawyer)? As I understand it, you only get one phone call, so what if the first lawyer you call says no. Should I have a criminal defense lawyer's number in my wallet just in case?

I know many lawyers, but not one who does defense work and I have no idea who to call.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 6:38 PM
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451

450: You call your closest relative/friend/life partner, and they call lawyers, the press, forensic accountants and whoever else is needed.

Also, I think the one phone call thing is an urban legend or TV cliche. The lawyers and cop who hang out here can fill in details, but different jurisdictions are bound to have different policies. Personally, I bet that the exact number of calls you get varies by your skin color, but again, I defer to those with firsthand knowledge.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:31 PM
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452

That's so lawyerly of you, Di.

Wasn't my intent. You see no ambiguity there?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:41 PM
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453

I made plenty of calls when I was arrested.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:52 PM
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454

Or was I just on the phone for a long time while my mom used her other line? I actually can't remember.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 8:53 PM
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455

If I contracted even treatable syphilis, I would freak the fuck out. I think I'm scareder of syphilis than I am of the black plague.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:31 PM
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456

How scard are you of improperly forming the comparative of adjectives?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:32 PM
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457

Not just scard, scarred!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:41 PM
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458

Dammit.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:43 PM
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459

>;-}


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:46 PM
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460

451: I suppose I should have put it in the question, but I'd sort of like to avoid calling nearby relatives. My wife wouldn't be happy and my side of the family are hundreds of miles away and mostly involved on the prosecuting side of the law.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:49 PM
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461

Thesis:

1. The irritating thing that the Guttmacher study and the subsequent media coverage were reacting against was a population-level truth (withdrawal is a dumb idea) being applied in individual cases (where the individuals in question might be making wise and appropriate choices given their personal contexts).

2. The irritating thing that the Vice article promotes is an individual semi-truth (a big dose of antibiotics will cure a lot of diseases that you are scared of) being applied on a population level (where, as noted by 180 etc., it is actively anti-social behavior).

I don't know where I'm going with this. Just an observation.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:49 PM
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462

How do you get a lawyer when you need one for more acute legal needs

I don't know if this helps, Moby, but for the most part when you have the potential for really acute legal needs, you have the number(s) already.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:51 PM
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463

460: Um, Moby... Any specific reason you are thinking this through quite so thoroughly?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:51 PM
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464

463: Completely OT, but we lucked into the tour at Alinea. Holy crap.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:52 PM
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465

No reason. Just one of those questions that sits in the back of my head along with trying to remember if I need to change transmission fluid this summer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:53 PM
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466

Awww. Just a couple of hours ago I tried to talk Rory into the meet-up by pointing out that you guys were going. It was amazing, wasn't it?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:54 PM
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467

Moby's question is making me think of a poignant scene from the movie Sin Nombre:
S
P
O
I
L
E
R

The Honduran father leading his teenage daughter on a dangerous journey through Mexico to the US makes her repeat the phone number of his NJ home over and over, despite her boredom and annoyance. After a harrowing journey, the movie concludes with the girl alone in a parking lot, dialing the number to reach help and safety.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:55 PM
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468

Er, 466 to 464. I don't think transmission fluid would be at all persuasive.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:55 PM
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469

466: Oh hell yes. Not the absolute best meal I've ever had in my life, but very close, and certainly the most inventive.

Tell Rory we want to compare meals!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:56 PM
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470

Ok, I finally read that Vice article, and what the fuck is this about itchy ankles meaning you have syphilis?

Please someone tell me there's no relationship between itchy ankles and syphilis? Is "ankle" a euphemism for penis?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:57 PM
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Now if you really screw-up, there's only one lawyer everyone in Pittsburgh uses. I can't think of his name, but I'm sure every cop knows. The problem is, as soon as you hire him, everybody assumes you're guilty.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:58 PM
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472

Okay, so where was the absolute best meal?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 9:58 PM
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473

Blahblajoou won't be there? Maybe next year.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:01 PM
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474

The problem is, as soon as you hire him

No, that's the wrong one. If you've got any pull at all, there will be better options.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:01 PM
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475

473: I got her so far as, "Well, that sounds like it would be fun for you... "


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:02 PM
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470: If your ankle ever itches, it means you have syphilis. So, if you're in a relationship and your ankle itches, the first thing you should do is accuse your partner of cheating on you. And don't believe them when they talk about made-up things like mosquitoes or poison oak. Then go to the doctor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:03 PM
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472: Best meal ever was at (now-defunct) Elisabeth Daniel in SF. If you ever find yourself in SF again, the chef there has a new restaurant called Coi; we've eaten there a couple of times, and while it's not quite at the level Elisabeth Daniel was it's pretty damn close. The food's not quite as innovative as Alinea, but the chef is one of the few in the Bay Area working the molecular gastronomy thing.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:04 PM
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478

470: Secondary syphilis lesions. Worry or not, depending on what you've doing and who you've been doing it with.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:05 PM
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479

My ankle itches RIGHT NOW!!!11!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:05 PM
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480

Better find a horse to embrace, then, because it's all downhill from here.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:09 PM
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481

Don't worry, you can treat it with antibiotics. For now while, anyway.

I remember reading a paper about syphilis and I-95. Apparently, if you plot the incidence, it radiates out from I-95.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:12 PM
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482

otoh, but pretty much everything radiates from I-95.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:16 PM
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483

The three greatest lieder composers all died of syphilis. True fact.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:18 PM
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484

You people are so cruel.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:20 PM
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485

You people are so cruel.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:20 PM
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486

Whereas the fourth, Mussorgsky, led a chaste life.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:22 PM
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487

One the fifth wound-up owning a muffler shop just outside Milwaukee.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:24 PM
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488

Do you compose lieder, JM?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:24 PM
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489

Apparently I get typos when I try to mock somebody I've never heard of.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:26 PM
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490

Apparently I get typos when I type.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:27 PM
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491

I wrote a couple of verses for a pirate shanty once. I hope that doesn't count.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:30 PM
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492

Were they in German?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:39 PM
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493

Regarding 443: It wasn't PMS! I just had a big sandwich and then put on an ugly sweater! I changed, and then digested, and no more PMS. I should do laundry.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 10:52 PM
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494

Okay, so where was the absolute best meal?

That's a tricky one. I can't imagine it being at a restaurant though, for most people. And I don't say that for lack of trying.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:16 PM
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481: There was an article (long ago and far away) on the incidence of depression and skin cancer (possibly melanoma?) in Norway, relating the incidence of both to the Norwegian coast line. Of course, it appeared in The Journal of Irreproducible Results, which my boss at the time, a big-time skin cancer researcher, made a bee-line toward each time it appeared in his mail. I made a lot of copies of that article, which he delighted in sharing w/ his international colleagues.

I used a diaphragm for many years (8 to 10?) after a brief stint w/ BC which caused a 20-lb weight gain w/in one month, general bitchiness, and a permanent significant increase in breast size, but it was an and/or condoms situation with casual encounters. But this was in the mid-70s / early 80s when herpes was the main scare (during the latter part of that era). Did use withdrawal - idiotically - w/ a monogamous partner when I was instinctively sure that I had reached menopause before it was confrmed w/ my ob/gyn. Party hats in between!


Posted by: paan daya | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:21 PM
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496

Whereas the fourth, Mussorgsky, led a chaste life.

Four of the five greatest lieder composers were alcoholics. Maybe five of five; Wolf might have been a closet drinker, for all I know.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 11:26 PM
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497

Who is #5?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:09 AM
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498

Also, I think the one phone call thing is an urban legend

Yeah, here you have access to a phone all day. Collect calls only, but you can make loads of calls.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 1:36 AM
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499

Well, somebody can.

I knew a guy that lost most of his teeth trying to use the phone at the lockup he was in.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 1:55 AM
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500

As I understand it, you only get one phone call, so what if the first lawyer you call says no.

I'm here to answer all your telephone questions as they relate to arrest, interrogation, detention, AND incarceration! Because this is what I do.

gswift is right that you have access to a phone all day. But that's usually when you're in detention (i.e. jail, pre-trial). In small counties in illinois, every cell has a phone that you can use to make collect calls. In Cook County, there are phones in the "day room" which is a room you get to hang out in somewhere between 4-8 hours per day. Of course, if you're in segregation, protective custody, or a mental health unit usually they don't just let you out and about in the day room so your use of the telephone is controlled by a policy. (i.e. on Wednesdays only, 4 times a week between 4-6, whatever).

The "one phone call" thing is usually what they give you when you're being interrogated, but haven't been charged yet. And they don't have to give it to you, I don't think. Although my knowledge is from Cook County where they routinely violate people's civil rights so what do I know. So the idea is that you can have a chance to call someone so you can get an attorney there during the interrogation and/or before they charge you.

If you're smart, you don't call a lawyer directly. You call your closest family member or friend, the person who's the most likely to do stuff for you, and you give them your location. Then that person starts contacting lawyers and etc and, when he or she finds one, just sends them to your location.

This is nice.. I get becks-style and talk about jail telephone policy. Lovely.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:58 AM
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501

By midcentury such products had become big business in America. During a single week in 1845, the Boston Daily Times advertised Madame Restell's Female Pill, Madame Drunette's Lunar Pills, Dr. Monroe's French Periodical Pills, and Dr. Melveau's Portuguese Female Pills. In addition to disingenuous warnings against taking the cure if pregnant, code words were also common. "Portuguese" pills signified an abortifacient while "French letter" or "French remedy" usually meant a contraceptive device, which was also illegal.

What I read somewhere I can't remember is that when the marriage announcements were made in the newspaper the brides got advertisements for these kinds of products in the mail. I think it was Wendy Kline's Building a Better Race, but I can't swear to it.

Everyone has moved on from the question, but oh well.


Posted by: winna | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 3:05 AM
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502

I really don't know, MH, because I've never dealt with the situation, but, once you invoke your right to counsel, they can't continue to interrogate you. If there is only one call, that probably refers to non-lawyer calls. They could probably get you a public defender who would then contact others on your behalf.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 5:42 AM
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503

Who is #5?

Brahms. High-functioning alcoholic.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 8:15 AM
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504

m leblanc is correct. As a practical matter, you call a friend who gets in touch with a lawyer. Then keep your mouth shut. telephone calls are recorded.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 10:07 AM
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505

I think Mailer claimed that withdrawal causes neuroticism. He also had interesting notions about plastic.


Posted by: Jonathan | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 10:21 AM
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506

Re: The phone call question, it's been different every time I've been a client of the criminal justice system. In one instance, there was a phone sitting in the big holding cell, that you could use as much as you wanted for local calls. Alternately, I've been held for 24 hours without access to a phone or toilet paper. That's really pleasant in a 1-person cell with 4 other guys. One thing that is obvious from the start when you're incarcerated, even briefly, is that there are no "rules" -- it's whatever the asshole with the gun wants, no questions asked. If at all possible, my best advice is to use your cellphone to call for help before you are in custody if it looks like they might grab you. Obviously, that's not always possible, but if you do have the chance, take it.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 10:58 AM
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507

Also, if you are at a big demo, do write the legal aid number on some part of your person (I'd advise the calf, personally, as the pigs will see it on your arm). It's easy to wind up being rounded up for no reason, even at a big, legally permitted march.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:00 AM
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508

||

AWB made good on her poetry prize.

|>


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:13 AM
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509

508:

I was certain that she spent it on new breasts.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:16 AM
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510

Wow. That sorbet looks ridiculously good.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:17 AM
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511

I was told it's a recipe from "possibly the best restaurant in the world" and is one of the rare sorbet recipes that uses no water at all -- it's all flavor. It was truly decadent.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:22 AM
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512

I didn't want to eat anything yesterday. I had all those veggies in the fridge, but I kept thinking, yuck, what I want is MORE YASAI SOBA.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:23 AM
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513

Make it yourself!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:23 AM
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514

Here's the sorbet recipe. The thing is, there's no water in it. Usually, with a sorbet, you'll make a simple syrup to mix with the fruit. In this, you just foodmill the strawberries, stir in some sugar and citrus juice, and freeze it, so it's absurdly strong.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:25 AM
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515

Oh shit, nosflow, can you delete my 514? You already have the link and mine I copied from FB, which has some identifying numbers in it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:26 AM
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516

I have not made coffee yet, which, considering it's almost 2pm, is pathetic. I was at work-related karaoke, you see.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:27 AM
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517

I cannot delete for fear of altering the very fabric of this thread. But I can alter it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:27 AM
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518

Thanks, muffin.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:29 AM
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519

Is there a special term for when you're pwned by two different people on two different aspects of your comment?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:30 AM
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520

!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:30 AM
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521

519: iambic pwntameter?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:37 AM
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522

I wonder if you could make sorbet with lardo?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:40 AM
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523

Lord Vader, we only use this facility for sorbet freezing. If you put him in there it might kill him.


Posted by: Lardo Calrissian | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:44 AM
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524

Brahms. High-functioning alcoholic.

And a hottie in his youner days.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:07 PM
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525

g


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:07 PM
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526

524: Wow. Seriously.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:08 PM
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527

I love this kind of manifestation of fandom that pops up in Wikipedia and other places: "Carbonite is also a fictional ionic compound in the Star Wars universe, the full properties of which have never been satisfactorily defined."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:09 PM
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528

The thing is, there's no water in it. Usually, with a sorbet, you'll make a simple syrup to mix with the fruit. In this, you just foodmill the strawberries, stir in some sugar and citrus juice, and freeze it, so it's absurdly strong.

Huh, I guess this is what I get for not using recipes. I've never put water in sorbet. Occasionally some alcohol, but you can't put too much of that in before the freezing gets affected.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:10 PM
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529

524 raises the question, is it OK to masturbate to people who have been dead since long before you were alive? Is there a statute of limitations on the masturbation ban? Because there's something about some of those mid-19th-century photos of young men...


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:10 PM
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530

Makes it so much more disappointing that the love affair with Clara was probably never consummated


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:11 PM
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531

529: And what about fictional characters? (I seem to recall this being discussed here maybe.) Does it matter if the fictional character dies in the fictional world? Can you masturbate to them until you get to that part in the book where they die?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:13 PM
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532

530: Yes, I think it's some combination of film stock, the intensely fixed gaze, and sexual frustration.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:13 PM
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533

you can't put too much of that in before the freezing gets affected.

On the other hand, this is often a tolerable outcome. (And some affecting of the freezing can be helpful if you're freezing without the benefit of a dedicated device.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:13 PM
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534

Oh that was before film. I'm silly.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:14 PM
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535

Looks as if Brahms is wearing lip gloss.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:14 PM
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536

Booze and fruit slushie!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:15 PM
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537

Yes, I think it's some combination of film stock, the intensely fixed gaze, and sexual frustration.

I'm in like Flynn, posthumously.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:16 PM
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538

Just be sure to pull out in time, neb.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:19 PM
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539

Dead men are the safest possible sexual partners. Tell your friends.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:21 PM
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540

"Climate Threat: Thawing Tundra Releases Infected Corpses". Some scientists fear that frozen bodies, such as this one uncovered in Siberia, will transmit preserved smallpox virus.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:25 PM
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541

If that is an oblique way of warning people not to sleep with those corpses, JP, I invite you to consider that they probably lack that mental whateverness anyway.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:28 PM
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542

Oh yay! I got the mouseover!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:32 PM
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543

Yeah, they probably would be slow to open doors and the like.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:33 PM
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544

545: But fear needs perspective. "These things don't cough anymore," says the CDC's Regnery. Short of people wiping a newly exposed cadaver across their eye, it is hard for him to see how the virus could transfer.

Put the condoms over your eyeballs. That should do it.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 12:57 PM
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545

A local restaurant just started frying my favorite appetizer in (mixed!) animal fat, just because. Fashion victims. Sigh.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 1:03 PM
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546

545: Goddamn it. Vegetarianism is really uncool these days. I was out with a friend last night who, when he found out I was a vegetarian, gave that annoying "Meat is magical! You're missing out on life!" speech. Apparently he used to be veg for eight years and gave it up and has turned into a meat evangelist. When I explained that my vegetarianism isn't really a choice, and that I respect meat-eaters and the aesthetic properties of it all, he made a vow to do whatever it takes to convert me. I was all, Can you understand this isn't fun for me?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 1:08 PM
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547

I keep thinking that the pendulum will swing back, surely, when people say, "Well, that was fun, but maybe it's a little boring when everything tastes like bacon."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 1:11 PM
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548

Yep.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 1:13 PM
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549

I love that post.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 1:15 PM
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550

As do I. I'd forgotten the expertly placed "and owner of a fucking ball pit".


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 1:19 PM
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551

one of the rare sorbet recipes that uses no water at all.

I'll mention again, that my brother owns a very good ice cream shop (web site available soon), and if any of you are in the area (greater Seattle area generally) it's well worth trying.

Many of the non-dairy ices that they make do not have water added, and they are very intense.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 1:40 PM
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552

551 cont'd. Remembering it now, the golden plum ice that they did a couple of years ago was really one of the best things ever. I wonder if they'll be able to get the plums again this year.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 1:44 PM
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553

I'm planning to make some strawberry basil ice cream this afternoon. If anyone has advice on what to do with the strawberries and basil other than "chop 'em up and throw 'em in the ice cream maker with the cream and milk" I would love to hear it.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:05 PM
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554

The only thing I can tell you is that the basil will eventually turn brown. So if you don't eat it in the first couple of days it will be less pretty (but that probably isn't a problem).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:10 PM
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555

they never affirmatively stated, "I WANT A LAWYER NOW." Even though, any normal person knows that's what they mean.

This is why the prisons are full of valley girls. I think I should have, like, a lawyer?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:10 PM
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556

You could lightly bruise the basil and let it steep in the cream and milk. That might get a simultaneously subtler and more pervasive flavor.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:11 PM
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557

If you're going to make a custard first, you could of course include the basil in that and filter it out. Since it will become unsightly and partially-frozen leaves don't promise toothsomeness in any case, I think some method of cruelly extracting the flavor and then tossing the basil aside like so many green dishrags is the right way to go.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:12 PM
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558

544 exhibits a happy conjunction of content and author.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:13 PM
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559

What would be appropriate attire for Jerry Springer, the Opera? I'm thinking one of those jeweled sweatshirts.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:16 PM
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560

A taxicab taking you somewhere else.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:16 PM
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561

subtler and more pervasive

Like oppression, or racism.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:17 PM
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562

Molly and I are seeing Evil Dead: The Musical tonight. I was going to wear clothing I don't mind getting fake blood on.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:18 PM
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563

What would be appropriate attire for Jerry Springer, the Opera?

Why, I was just contemplating the same question.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:23 PM
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564

559/563: I knew some folks in Chicago who were intent on being the Springer "fans" shown before and after commercial breaks. They wore lots of America-themed clothing and chanted "U!S!A! U!S!A!" Worked like a charm. So maybe a jeweled American flag sweatshirt?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:29 PM
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So is this a proper opera or a musical or what, and what's the difference anyway?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:31 PM
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What ben said about the basil. Let it steep in the milk & cream & sugar, strain out the leaves, and then make a custard out of the basil-flavored mixture.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:43 PM
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It is an opera. I think a musical is a play in which people occasionally burst into song, and an opera is singing with (possibly) a little speaking thrown in.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:49 PM
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I think a jeweled American flag sweatshirt would be ideal. But probably it's too late to drive to Indiana and get one.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 2:52 PM
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567 is the popular way to make the distinction, but it has counterexamples on both sides. Carmen and other comic operas feature dialogue, but are still considered "opera." A lot of Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber have little or no dialogue, but are still considered "musicals"

If you really want to define any genre, you have to do it historically, talking about lines of influence from one artist to another. You can also talk about continuities in production infrastructure. One thing that makes the American musical theater tradition what it is is a long lived theater circuit based around broadway.

Using historical criteria (and really most ideas need to be defined this way) Evil Dead and Springer are both musicals.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 3:23 PM
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I was going to ask if they were perhaps operettas, but 569 has convinced me that no modern operetta could be written.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 3:24 PM
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Sondheim's attempt at a definition has been to say that operas are performed in opera houses. Therefore what he wrote were musicals. Of course now Sweeney Todd is routinely performed in opera houses.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 3:29 PM
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571: proving at most that these are not timeless categories.

The last time but one I saw Sweeney Todd, not counting the movie, it was in an opera house and Bryn Terfel was Sweeney. There was, of course, an orchestra. The last time I saw it it was performed in a small theater and there were a total of four (4) musicians.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 3:33 PM
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Actually, the ontological shift would only have taken place if exclusively operas are performed in opera houses.

There is also the possibility that as soon as Sweeney Todd is performed in a house in which operas have previously been put on, that house is rendered no longer an opera house.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 3:38 PM
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Operas is when they sing funny, musicals is when they sing normal.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 3:42 PM
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Jerry Springer--a charismatic Progressive Populist we could really use in Washington. Hell of a life story to boot. But born in London (in a subway station during the Blitz of Jewish refugee parents), not eligible to be President.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 3:45 PM
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Symphonies is when you only applaud at the places dictated by the culture Nazis.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 3:47 PM
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Ok, Weman, what are lieder?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 3:52 PM
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575: I guess the moral of that story is pay cash if you're buying something illegal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 3:55 PM
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578: He did come back after that nearly as popular as ever, but it most certainly did hurt any statewide ambitions.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 4:04 PM
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577: Well-cultivated strophic ditties.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 4:15 PM
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My aunt and her husband were opera singers. He was a solo baritone, not altogether unsuccesful, though frequently weighing 170 kg was an impediment to getting roles. (One of his career highlights was playing the title role in JE's favorite opera).

Despite the familial connection, I've never been able to appreciate opera. The uncle may have put me off it by always singing the requisite drinking songs opera style and at ear splitting volumes whenever we saw him.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 4:23 PM
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Well-cultivated strophic ditties.

What's wrong with you people? Here I am, pretending to clean house, so my impulse control is at a low ebb. I'm sure that every one of you has had the same thought, including the quoted author. Will no one rid me of this troublesome low hanging fruit?

Okay, I'll just have to embarrass myself. Again.

Yay! Ditties!


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 5:43 PM
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You mean "Ditties! Hooray!"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 5:51 PM
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Is this the discussion of whether ritual phrases must be repeated in the original language, or may be translated into contemporary colloquial words?


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 6:10 PM
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You read John McWhorter's latest Shakespeare article too, I see. I agree with him fully.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 6:14 PM
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No, I had to google, and came up with this.

But I agree with him, too. I've never been able to make head nor tales of Shakespeare

I'd been thinking of latin, Mass, the Reformation, and All That. Not that I'm drawing any parallel between O--ed and G-d, mind you.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 6:29 PM
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Thank you all for the ice cream advice, or, dare I say, advice cream.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 6:54 PM
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You daren't! You daren't, mischievous rake!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 6:56 PM
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Volume control seems to me to be the great opera/musical divide. Musicals are miked. Operas are not. And Jesus Christ Almighty, when I stood next to a hardcore pro baritone belting one out in a confined space I understood a lot more about the art form. He was car-alarm loud, train-brakes loud. Lovely, but FUCKING LOUD. He wasn't even competing with a Wagner orchestra---just a piano---and I can't imagine how much sheer noise the Bruenhildes must put out at their climaxes.

Once you've got a set-up like that--and the pipe organs in human form that can sing to it---you're in a completely different musical universe.

Yeah, okay, sometimes opera is miked, like when they do opera in the park in the summer. It's really not the same sort of experience, and they mix in a fair amount of twaddle.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 7:00 PM
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OT: The Intellectual Property Asshole Competition.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 7:09 PM
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589: Try living with a soprano opera singer while she's studying at a music conservatory without quite enough practice rooms. Thank god that as soon as she got to start directing herself, she went more for early church and renaissance music; I'm not sure I could have taken it otherwise. A gorgeous voice, but not meant for a small apartment.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 7:21 PM
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I used to live near the Manhattan School of Music. We had three opera singers in the building at one point and could hear them through six walls and three storeys. Also: drunk opera student singers make a lot of noise when carousing. However, I found the french horn and tuba dudes forlornly practicing in the local park totally sweet.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 7:28 PM
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Walking in Griffith Park today, I saw a dude working a full drum kit under a big sun umbrella. It was just over from where a rattlesnake lay across the path, so we were entertained while we pondered how close we could walk to a rattler.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 7:37 PM
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There's an opera singer in an apartment on the same courtyard as my Berlin apartment, and for a while whenever she would start singing, someone would put on Mariah Carey REALLY LOUD.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 8:12 PM
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"I WANT A LAWYER NOW."

I love it when women say that!

Sadly, nobody asked us whether we wanted to sex Mutumbo at Wolf Trap. I had hope.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 9:00 PM
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My uncle has some experience singing opera. I'm sure he can't hold a candle to the pros, but hah! the dude is loud. And he really likes being loud. Have some kind of singalong going on? That tenor in the back in the goofy tie is going to belt one out, baby.

A fact that many surprised guests will presumably be excited to learn at the wedding.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 10:31 PM
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579: Well, Springer got in trouble before ATM machines were common. Maybe people were sympathetic because they know you had to write a check if you forgot to go to the bank.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 10:57 PM
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It really is quiet here in the middle of the night.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:40 PM
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599: shhhhhh.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:57 PM
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599: shut the fuck up, girl.


Posted by: Kobe | Link to this comment | 05-23-09 11:58 PM
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585: so, so very wrong.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 1:07 AM
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||

It looks like Unfogged's Arch-Nemesis has found a real scoop and made cogent point with it. (The link is to Salon, not directly to the the arch-nemesis's lair.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 7:40 AM
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602: I guess it's titillating and all and I guess we can use it to draw nasty conclusions about the character of the wife, but I'm not so sure what it tells us about this man's mortgage since the wife's name was almost certainly not on it. So "Patty is a profligate" -- maybe, but 1. that was more or less available from the original Times article and 2. there is enough hinky stuff about her financial situation with respect to her ex-husband that I am not prepared to chase after her with torch and pitchfork.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 8:05 AM
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602/603: But it is certainly dopey of him not to put it in the book.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 8:17 AM
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602: Andrews gives a bit more context to the "scoop".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 8:19 AM
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Leonard's "outrage" is directly proportional to the degree he let himself get punked by the original story*. The tell is in this line, To leave out a detail so relevant to his tale of debtor's woe smacks of outright dishonesty -- and it's exactly the kind of behavior that you would hope a New York Times reporter would avoid at all costs. It exactly the behavior you would expect from a New York Times reporter. I realize that I am in free-floating cynicism mode, but Jesus, how about a modicum of self-awareness.

*I am not saying the original story was not without merit, it was an interesting piece, if overpraised.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 8:29 AM
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605: Interesting, but seemingly something you would then really want to put in the book, as a prophylactic if nothing else.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 8:32 AM
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I'm with Leonard and McArdle on this one. The missing information undercuts Andrew's basic point that the industry is more to blame than he and his wife are. It doesn't change my opinion of the overall issue, because all we had in the story was a single example, not a full argument that the industry was morally bankrupt. Still, stories have more rhetorical power than arguments, and we just lost this one.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:02 AM
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I don't think it makes the industry less culpable. I also don't think it's any more indicative of poor judgment than the whole "I know how to save my house! I'll write a book!" thing.

Also, Shearer linked to McMegan's post days ago. Poor Shearer, gets no respect.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:09 AM
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Sorry, I'll confess to being Shearer-pwned.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:12 AM
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So the fact that Patty's ex-husband was a tax cheat means that the crazy mortgages Bob was willing to prepare for Edwards alone to sign were . . . swell? The loan from her sister seems various kinds of sad, but it sounds like Patty thought her ex-husband could be forced by the courts to cough up all of the child support money that he owes. Untrue, apparently!
In any event, my takeaway from the story was never that the couple was blameless and hoodwinked by the industry. They were in a hinky (and then hinkier) situation and the industry was aware of this. It is not exactly a secret in the original article that both Edwards and Patty are bad with money -- Who on Earth is so ignorant of their own bank balance that they are shocked to learn it? Not even me, and I am officially bad with money. But the industry was well pleased to keep serving up increasingly wackaloon mortgages that were certain to collapse jenga-style.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:15 AM
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Who on Earth is so ignorant of their own bank balance that they are shocked to learn it? Not even me, and I am officially bad with money.

Heh, heh, heh. Who indeed.

Lucky thing nobody ever gave me a mortgage!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:20 AM
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I definitely find something distasteful about McMegan's whole project. I mean, the idea that an couple who got in financial trouble might be insufficiently blameworthy inspires her first leap into investigative reporting? Of course it does.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:22 AM
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I dont have a lot of sympathy for Andrews in omitting those details.

Her bankruptcy is directly related to their financial woes.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:22 AM
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612: Thanks goodness that the pair of us have chosen mates more sensible than ourselves.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:24 AM
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What is distasteful about her project? He omitted important details.

Because she has not done something correctly before doesnt mean that she did not do it right this time.

If the purpose is to allocate blame for their financial woes, then they need full disclosure. Anything less amounts to an improper allocation of blame.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:24 AM
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Thanks goodness that the pair of us have chosen mates more sensible than ourselves.


I automatically assumed you were talking about me. You should have been!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:25 AM
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615: ain't that the truth.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:26 AM
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616: his purpose is to save his house, I imagine. The ostensible purpose of the book is to explain how people get into financial trouble. McMegan's purpose seems to be to explain that people who get into financial trouble are immoral reprobates who freely choose serial bankruptcy, which certainly doesn't seem to be what happened, but which would definitely make McMegan's worldview more justifiable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:28 AM
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I guess I'm still not clear what the "scoop" is supposed to prove. If anything, it seems to cast the mortgage industry in an even more mendacious light. If the industry had been being run properly, and mortgage underwriters had been doing their due diligence, the two bankruptcies should have been a huge red flag that would have prevented the shady loans from going through. Instead, the various financial workers simply ignored them or didn't even check.
Also, it doesn't necessarily seem to meet the standard of withholding material information in a story. It's not as though the wife was previously convicted of mortgage fraud, or had gotten in too deep with a no-doc loan or something. Nothing in those two bankruptcy narratives seems to relate directly to the purchase of houses. All they would seem to do is underscore the point, made again and again in the article, that this fairly typical upper-middle class couple was used to living beyond their means, just like everybody else they know.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:29 AM
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620: yeah, the really weird thing about this is that he could have worked this information into his story in a way the reinforced his main theme. But he didn't. He hid it, as if he clearly believed that it would hurt his narrative. I don't buy that he left it out because it was simply irrelevant. The bankruptcies are part of their financial problems. They're not an accidental issue like whether they have aluminum siding on the mortgaged house.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:48 AM
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The more I think about McMegan's piece the more it annoys me. She seems to think that it is somehow exculpatory of the banks, but it is exactly the opposite. Her implication, that they were gaming the system by setting up serial bankruptcies, is beyond stupid, and kind of gross.

What a jackass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:51 AM
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McMegan's purpose seems to be to explain that people who get into financial trouble are immoral reprobates who freely choose serial bankruptcy, which certainly doesn't seem to be what happened, but which would definitely make McMegan's worldview more justifiable.

This sounds exactly right to me.

I think he hid it because he, or she, or both of them, was/were ashamed and squeamish. I realize the point of the article was ostensibly to throw shame to the winds, but people aren't good at that.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:52 AM
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621: yeah, the really weird thing about this is that he could have worked this information into his story in a way the reinforced his main theme.

But...

619: his purpose is to save his house, I imagine.

I wish his book was really about people getting screwed by bankers and the like, but the story is that he's actually the NYT's midget Kramer and now he needs the money. Which would be fine, if he wasn't trying to horn in on the stories of people who weren't UMC and ridiculously prolifigate and who got screwed by the system anyways. Hustle, hustle, hustle.

cf. JE's 'cargo-cult moron' remark: that's why Andrews is especially annoying, because he's one of Them. Double down for the fact that he's part of McArdle's (who also happens to be a 'cargo cult moron') crowd. Square the wad for the fact that he's toast because McArdle will treat him as a class traitor.

Contains actual people deserving of sympathy: Vanguard: Lost Vegas (Youtube, HQ, longish, depressing).

max
['Particularly the people evicted with 20 minutes notice.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:05 AM
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cargo-cult moron

Completely unfair to actual cargo cultists, who by my lights ran one of the most effective "religions" ever: sought for results (return of cargo) expedited by the specific actions taken by the cult (the building of likenesses of planes). Our mockery betrays our parochialism.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:21 AM
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prolifigate

The proliferation scandal now has its own name.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:22 AM
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Not really so effective.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:24 AM
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Yeah, you can call cargo cults understandable or the product of a classic mistake in human reasoning. "Effective"? Not so much.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:29 AM
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624: I'm with Max. Andrews goes up against the wall (or to the hogs if feed is needed) along with the rest of them.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:31 AM
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IT FUCKING WORKED!! THE CARGO CAME! YOU SCIENTISTICALLLY-BLINDED FUCKWITS.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:31 AM
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631

Sitting about eight inches away from Rfts is my copy of Road Belong Cargo. Don't make us use the index, Stormcrow.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:31 AM
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It is totally AT LEAST fifteen inches.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:32 AM
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630: the cargo came before the cult started, Stormcrow. Or did you mean they were effective because they reversed the very flow of time itself?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:33 AM
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It is totally AT LEAST fifteen inches.

Snark has just been working a deception on you since you've known him.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:35 AM
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626: prolifigate
The proliferation scandal now has its own name.

Nah. It's what UMC CCMs do in their natural habitat.

max
['Plumage!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:41 AM
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Holy moly, if I were Andrews's friend or lawyer, I would tell him to just stop talking:

When Patty couldn't repay, her sister followed her east and sued her. I offered to pay off the loan by withdrawing money out of my 401k, but I wasn't allowed to because the purpose didn't qualify as a "hardship." Without an alternative, Patty had no choice but to seek bankruptcy protection.

1. IIUC, the 401k is your money. Of course you're "allowed" to withdraw it -- the question is how much penalty you'll have to pay. So he chose not to -- maybe for good reasons, maybe for bad, but the fact that he's lying about it now does not endear him.

2. Who is sufficiently close to their sibling that they accept a substantial loan, but insufficiently close to feel emotionally obligated to work out a revised repayment schedule, or honor-bound not to duck out on paying?

I had a lot more sympathy for Barreiro in the first go-round, where I was willing to cut her some more slack for focusing on being a full-time parent during her first marriage and apparently checking out of making adult financial decisions for herself -- every relationship has its balances, and although it can be risky to have one parter disproportionately in control of the money, it's certainly extremely common.

But the fact that she okayed publication of a book that left so much germane information out says to me that she's either just as mendacious as he is, or sufficiently passive as to draw his ostensible argument -- that they've learned from their mistakes -- out of dubious territory and into incredulity.

If I were the NYT, the next time I picked a flashy book excerpt to run, I'd hire some opposition researchers first. Or maybe they like the free p.r. and extra page hits from the so-caleld scandal.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:44 AM
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636 makes good points. Not that I didn't think they were assholes before, but they really are assholes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:50 AM
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636: apparently checking out of making adult financial decisions for herself
This seems a little harsh. If I gave a partner or spouse the tax forms and they said "Okay, I'll drop these in the mail on the way to work", I would not necessarily expect that they were lying to me and actually concealing the returns without mailing them. Clearly a problematic relationship.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 10:54 AM
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The conservative thing to do about any financial crisis is to blame individuals. At first it was all about minority homebuyers, and now it's all about rich wastrels. Free-market orthodoxy and government policy must not be examined, and by and large financial institutions shouldn't be either.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:00 AM
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This seems a little harsh.

Maybe so. Here's how I got there:
- Sure, I could see signing the tax return and assuming he was going to mail it
- Sure, I could see going along with doing the business taxes together with the personal, if I felt overwhelmed/confused by the details and had confidence in him
- Wouldn't I wonder why there was no entry in the checkbook for a check to the IRS? Not that I would go searching for it specifically, but even months later, what if I were searching for something and flipping through the check register? I wouldn't noice? I wouldn't ask?
- Conversely, wouldn't I wonder why no tax refund ever showed up? If I wanted to use that money for shopping or whatever, wouldn't I ask him when it was coming or how much it was going to be?
- Wouldn't the IRS send letters to the house somewhere during that five-year period? If he and she had filed taxes before, wouldn't they be on the agency's radar screen and unlikely to make it through five tax years without someone catching on that there was unreported income?
- Would I really go five years without EVER having to show a tax return to some authority? (I guess I would show a copy of my completed form and not know that it hadn't been mailed.

Now, all of this can be be covered under "The ex-husband was a lying, scheming dog" and maybe that's true. But if so, if she really didn't catch anything along the way, then either he was a truly world-class deceiver, or she had indeed checked out of making adult financial decisions for herself.

Clearly a problematic relationship.

Quite. And again, we've all done stupid and regrettable things. But writing a book about how much you've learned from your mistakes does open you up to having strangers on the internet discuss said mistakes.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:05 AM
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Wouldn't I wonder why there was no entry in the checkbook for a check to the IRS? Not that I would go searching for it specifically, but even months later, what if I were searching for something and flipping through the check register? I wouldn't noice? I wouldn't ask?

I wouldn't, even if it was just me somehow hiding paying something from myself.

- Conversely, wouldn't I wonder why no tax refund ever showed up? If I wanted to use that money for shopping or whatever, wouldn't I ask him when it was coming or how much it was going to be?

If he lied about sending them in, I'm sure he could lie about where the money went .... and if they were in a relationship where he managed the finances completely... (which does happen).

- Wouldn't the IRS send letters to the house somewhere during that five-year period? If he and she had filed taxes before, wouldn't they be on the agency's radar screen and unlikely to make it through five tax years without someone catching on that there was unreported income?

This seems most likely as the way she should have known about it.

- Would I really go five years without EVER having to show a tax return to some authority? (I guess I would show a copy of my completed form and not know that it hadn't been mailed.

I've gone 11, so, yes.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:12 AM
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Oh, sorry - I forgot the bit at the end where I said I don't overall disagree with you, Witt, but I think you're coming at it from the point of view of someone who is well-versed in household finances and who thinks about money in a very different way than those of us who are bad with money. I will forget if I got a tax refund, a month after using it, and wonder if it's still coming...Of course, because I'm not a total reprobate, I can look it up and do.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:14 AM
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W/r/t the checks or absence thereof, a little bit of shuffling would have made it hard to trace if you weren't looking for it. The ex-husband does in fact sound like a world-class schemer, assuming that there are no other extenuating circumstances.

I'm not saying that things like this shouldn't be discussed, just that being in a bad relationship with a con-artist, which you eventually, painfully extricate yourself from, is perhaps not quite as deserving of opprobrium as your previous comment suggested.

An acquaintance of mine got divorced last year because his wife had managed to secretly run up $30,000+ in credit card debt in about 2 years (and these were not rich people by any stretch of the imagination.) I had been skeptical of that relationship, esp. around trust & honesty issues, right from the start, although I had always assumed the betrayal would run in the other direction.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:16 AM
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I think you're coming at it from the point of view of someone who is well-versed in household finances and who thinks about money in a very different way than those of us who are bad with money.

I think I know substantially less about managing money than you seem to think I do.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:22 AM
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Semi-anecdata from my time in the financial industry: People with some money -- UMC professionals, small business owners, etc. -- are constantly shifting money around to hide their financial situation from someone. Maybe a spouse or a child or a parent, or maybe the IRS. If you spend enough time looking at customer accounts (especially looking at NSF checks) you see all kinds of crazy scheming. Spouses & partners should take more responsibility for their collective finances, but sometimes that's difficult if you haven't had the experience of doing so before.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:22 AM
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National Science Foundation checks?

Not Safe for checks?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:27 AM
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I know, from the the divorces of friends' parents, not a few middle aged women who either initiated divorce proceedings because they discovered husbands' secret bank accounts or discovered secret bank accounts during divorce proceedings. Sometimes even secret other households. These women weren't morons who deserved what they got for their gormlessness. At all.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:30 AM
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644: More likely, I know even less about money than I think I do. (Some of your questions would never have occurred to me). Sorry if there was any offense!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:30 AM
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The other day, a cashier at the grocery store told my SIL* how she spent 3 years extricating herself from her marriage by getting a secret part-time job and saving the money in an out-of-state savings account.

*How does she have such conversations with complete strangers? Superhero-strength powers of sociability.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:32 AM
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The tax return thing is weird. Either they filed or they didn't. If they never filed, then they didn't file jointly, so the IRS should be coming after the husband and not Barreiro, since she's a SAHM and it's entirely his business. Why would she be liable for her no-income years if they didn't file jointly?

All they would seem to do is underscore the point, made again and again in the article, that this fairly typical upper-middle class couple was used to living beyond their means, just like everybody else they know.

But they aren't typical, because Barreiro's financial history isn't typical. The second marriage with 6-7 kids between us and no child support for any of the kids from the wife's first marriage is already somewhat atypical, then this is adding to it.

These kind of stories are all about rhetoric, they're about finding an "everyman" that the reader can identify with and say, hey, that could be me. If you look at it logically, the more bizarre and out-there the Andrews' financial history is, the crazier the financial industry must have been for giving them a loan. But we alreay know the financial sector was crazy. The value-added in this book is the particular story of one couple caught up in the madness, and the weirder that couple's circumstances the more it becomes just about them and not the crisis.

A good and hard-working writer would have gone out and gathered a real range of stories across class lines and situations, and presented his story as just one of many. I don't know if he actually did this, haven't read the book. But focusing on his story is Oprah-esque and invites this kind of collapse into the purely personal.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:33 AM
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But the collapse into the purely personal is so much fun! Judging other people's financial decisions is almost as good as judging their sex lives or parenting style. This is the sort of thing the internet was made for! (Well, that, and porn.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:40 AM
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Non-Sufficient Funds checks. I.e. overdrafts which may or may not be cleared. If you overdraw your account, there are generally at least 5 individual human beings who will look at that information. Several of them will handle either your physical check, or the legal copy of it. The institution I worked at had about 4 people who did nothing but NSF checks, plus their supervisors and dozens of other people (like me) who would get involved if specific outcomes resulted from the check not being covered.
My point being, lots of people are aware of the amount of chicanery that goes on with people's finances, but most of the time they're not really empowered to do anything about it.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:41 AM
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This whole Andrews/McArdle/Mineshaft thing is just a big Rorschach test, I think. I doubt there's even really a book.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:45 AM
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Also, there is a specific category for "innocent spouse" under IRS regulations and the case law, which allows substantial latitude for a spouse to demonstrate that they were unaware of their partner's tax cheating. So I doubt the pure victim explanation of the bankruptcy coming out of Barreiro's first marriage.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:45 AM
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647: Just to be very, very clear: I am not making claims about who "deserved" what. Everybody deserves fundamental respect as a human being, most especially from his or her spouse. Everybody deserves compassion because all of us do screw up in one way or another.

But compassion and respect do not preclude honesty. I am making the relatively narrow claim that people who write a book about their mistakes ought not to get credit for honesty if it turns out they were not honest, and ought not to get credit for acting like responsible, mature people if in fact they were not.

And most emphatically, their story should not be seized upon to illustrate larger structural issues unless it does in fact illustrate them.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:46 AM
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I know what we need: a story about someone who runs up credit card debt and gets upside down in their mortgage, so they turn to prostitution, but they find it empowering in a pro-sex feminist way, and get so into their work that they neglect their child, who happens to identify as something other than their birth gender.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:57 AM
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that they neglect their child

Fathered by John Edwards, of course.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 11:59 AM
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656: Have you not read B's archives?

657: For a few swirling and vertiginous moments, I could only read this as "Fathered by John Emerson."


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 12:09 PM
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657: no, adopted from a Mongolian orphanage.

658: Yes, that is the button I was trying to push.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 12:17 PM
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640, 641: I'm with Parenthetical -- I could easily miss all of that. It's not so much knowledge of household finances, as being of a scatterbrained turn of mind. I could keep track of anything like that if I were feeling suspicious, but if nothing had set me off to worry about it, I could go years without noticing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 12:20 PM
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656, 659.1: Only an asshole would then suggest, "and inadvertently left in a car seat".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 12:21 PM
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631, 632, 634: See, that's what I'm talking about, the elevation of some "objective" measure over the relevant subjective experience.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 12:23 PM
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631:Don't make us use the index, Stormcrow.

OK, so a little bit of research and/or knowledge might help (and they are a more complex phenomenon of course), but still ...

Hypothesis: There exists a case where the artifacts built by a post-WWII "cargo cult" directly led to increased scrutiny and contact by Westerners and therefor increased and/or expedited the availability of "cargo" to the cult members. I suggest the Unfoggedtariat sponsor a 5-year $600,000 grant to investigate.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 12:34 PM
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661: in a Russian orphanage.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 12:34 PM
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Never, ever forget that shaming people in defense of big business is McMegan's entire shtick. However, this thread proves that upper-middle-class smugness stalks Unfogged, as well (oh, to be as smug and certain as Witt).

The moral judgment attached to McMegan's attack on a "serial bankruptcy" is particularly despicable and is precisely the same intellectual reasoning that produces debtors' prisons and the awful 2005 Bankruptcy reform act. Bankruptcy is a legal option that you have, and that can make good financial sense in a number of situations. Discharging a huge tax debt (or, really, and McMegan seems to fail to understand this, discharging your other debts so that you can pay your share of tax liability, which is almost never discharged) is a perfectly reasonable use of the bankruptcy system. So too is discharging a debt your sister incurred -- obviously, taking on the risk of a failure of repayment -- and is now threatening sue you for. More likely than not, it made more sense to file for bankruptcy than to early-withdraw funds from this guy's IRA account. Arguing otherwise is really just shaming people who declare bankruptcy.

Why would she be liable for her no-income years if they didn't file jointly

Because the income she received from her husband would have been, in California, community property, and the failure to pay those taxes would have been community debt.

If you're condemning the wife for not having figured out her ex-husband was cheating on her taxes, you obviously have no experience of dealing with victims of fraud, or much experience with the tax system. According to the author, the husband actively forged joint tax returns, that she signed. If you're not completely obsessed with your finances (and, why would you be, given that the relevant income all comes from your husband's business) it is perfectly easy to see how one could be misled for years. Oh, and Bernie Madoff should be set free because any smart person would have seen through his scam. Fraud works by playing on the victim's human weakness to hear what they want to hear, while creating just enough plausibility to hide the problem.

As for the second bankruptcy, the problem seems to have been that she'd planned on paying back the debt out of spousal support or other income from her ex-husband, who then proved to be a deadbeat, at which point the sister (who sounds like a peach) sued her.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 12:52 PM
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665 wasn't me.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 12:56 PM
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665 was me.

Also

I am not making claims about who "deserved" what. Everybody deserves fundamental respect as a human being

So, you're not making any claims about desert, except for folks who aren't "mature" or "responsible" according to the lights of the all-seeing, all knowing Witt. Come on, this is McMegan-esque shaming in nanny-state drag.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 12:56 PM
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665 makes good points as well, but I'm still inclined to find them to be kind of assholes.

But then, so's McMegan.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 12:59 PM
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precisely the same intellectual reasoning that produces debtors' prisons and the awful 2005 Bankruptcy reform act.

Are there libertarians out there who argue for the return of debtors' prisons, or, even better, debt bondage?

I have an evil fantasy about setting up a fake activist group called "Libertarians for Debt Bondage" which would essentially be making the libertarian argument for slavery.

This seems like the sort of place where mean-spirited parody and reality could collide.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 1:06 PM
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DeLong comes down firmly in the they're assholes, or at least grossly incompetent camp, although he appears to also be in the "McMegan has a positive reputation" camp, which strikes me as a very unhappy place:

At the time when Hoyt wrote he knew or ought to have known that Patrica Berreiro's second bankruptcy discharged $29,000 in family loans, $7997.25 in lawyers' bills, $3604 in telecommunications bills, $9065 in medical bills, $5377 in credit-card debt, $188 in veterinary bills, and $83 in fines from the Los Angeles Public Library. To write that it "involved an old loan from a family member" is remarkably incomplete."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 1:08 PM
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DeLong also knows nothing about the Bankruptcy system. When you file, you discharge (or seek to have discharged) all of your debts, not just the debt that precipitated you into the crisis, so as to treat your creditors equally. It is perfectly possible that she could have afforded the medical bills, credit card debt, etc., in the absence of the need to default on the family loans and outstanding lawyer's bills. In that case, saying that the bankruptcy was precipitated by an "old loan from a family member" is a perfectly reasonable use of language.

Obviously, these people could personally be jerks. What pisses me off is the rush of smug people to condemn them on the internet.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 1:13 PM
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Also, DeLong misses the point of the original article, which was simply that the financial system was perfectly willing to put folks into largely unsustainable situations, and to play on the human weakness for delusional financial management. That claim was amply supported by the article, and the fact that the wife had previously declared bankruptcy twice supports the article -- it doesn't undermine it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 1:17 PM
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DeLong also knows nothing about the Bankruptcy system.

The most financially responsible thing I could do right now is bet you money that you're completely wrong about that, but instead I'll just say that you should probably read DeLong's whole post.

I included that excerpt because of the $83 in library fines. I mean, damn, how much are library fines these days?

Anyhow, DeLong's -- and to his estimation (I don't really disagreee) McMegan's -- is that they were living wildly outside of their means home purchase or no home purchase.

Now, I don't think this particularly changes the relevance of the story to the collapse of the mortgage industry -- the mortgage allowed them (and millions of others) to keep living wildly beyond their means for much longer than would otherwise have been likely possible, but it's certainly true that these people had vast, vast financial problems well beyond their mortgage.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 1:22 PM
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Also, the whole concept of the book is essentially "if you give me ten dollars I'll let you vicariously enjoy my shame", so I don't really see any problem with people joining in the fun on the internet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 1:23 PM
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Just to argue yet another side of this: one problem with his book as a cautionary tale, or even as an illustration of the housing crisis, is the degree to which they are atypical. If the subtitle was "how to go bankrupt by spending way, way more than you earn all the time for years", I don't think anybody would buy the book. But by tying it in to the housing crisis, you sell more. On the other hand, most people who lost their homes were not digging themselves into a hole in such massive and sophisticated ways, they were misled into thinking they were making a sound investment, with a safe way to exit. Andrews, by making himself one of the most prominent public faces of the housing crisis, allows McMegan the broad brush she needs to cast doubt on the fundamental culpability of financial institutions.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 1:41 PM
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Brad DeLong probably does know something about the bankruptcy system, but this excerpt, which he takes from McMegan, is simply bad analysis on both of their parts:

The value of the settlement was $29,000. The total vale of the unsecured claims discharged was $55,313, inclding almost $8,000 for legal services, almost $10,000 in medical bills, $1200 in phone bills, $1100 owed to Comcast, and $5400 in credit card debt.... Andrews is saying that the lawsuit was the driving factor behind the bankruptcy, and that the other unsecured debts are therefore somehow irrelevant. But neither the book nor the bankruptcy filing indicate the means to clear the other unsecured claims without Chapter 7; by her own worksheets, she had very little income and their joint income was exceeded by their allowable expenses.

Well, first of all, the $8000 in legal services is almost certainly related to the lawsuit on the debt, so you're now at $37,000, or roughly 2/3 of the discharged debt being debt incurred by the existence of the lawsuit. That's a very high percentage of debt coming from one source, and obviously the principal cause of the bankruptcy. It's not "remarkably incomplete" to avoid mentioning other outstanding debt. And, of the remaining debt, roughly 1/3 of the total, about 55% relates to the $10,000 in medical expenses (oh, those wild profligates, and those expenses were almost certainly negotiable); the remaining total balance discharged for such luxuries as phone, library, and cable is a whopping $8,313.00, which they presumably could have afforded and/or put over in the absence of the bankruptcy. Finally, the notion that you wouldn't discharge debts to all of your creditors or that it's somehow wrong to say that your bankruptcy was "caused" by a lawsuit is simply ridiculous, and its silly of both McMegan and DeLong to claim that this makes the author's statement somehow improper.

And I really don't get what this is supposed to prove. Yes, this guy married a woman who lived beyond her means and then got deep into mortgage debt. Probably the majority (or did) most Americans. The banks, credit card companies, etc., were perfectly willing to enable them to do so, which is the point of the whole story.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 1:43 PM
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675 gets it exactly right. I don't know how much responsibility they bear for their own situation, but they are far from the typical person at risk in this crisis, and as such, they're not great poster children but will certainly be used as such by people who aren't interested in reform.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 1:45 PM
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Are there libertarians out there who argue for the return of debtors' prisons, or, even better, debt bondage?

Are there any that don't? Freedom to contract seems to be an absolute with these folks.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 1:45 PM
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Well, sure, it would be a more politically appealing story if these were flawless human beings misled by evil mortgage brokers in black hats. But I took the original article to be making a more subtle point, namely, that banks and other financial services companies were perfectly willing to enable what the borrowers knew was a clearly financially unsustainable mode of living. In other words, despite knowing at some level that they were taking on an unbearable amount of risk, they were perfectly willing to do so and their mortgage brokers, etc., were willing to help them, because taking on unsustainable levels of risk became seen as an ordinary part of sustaining a middle class lifestyle.

They're not innocent victims, but they're not really claiming to be innocent victims either. I actually think that this is the more typical story; maybe it's just living in LA, but the pressure during the boom to keep up with the Joneses by taking on really crazy financial arrangements that people knew at some level were crazy was very widespread, and far more common than mortgage "fraud," strictly speaking. But of course the banks were doing the same thing, and were also engaging in magical thinking; the thought of "well, the bank is willing to do this, so it must be OK" was pretty widespread, and the banks bear ultimate responsibility for the crisis.

I dislike the shaming of these folks because it plays directly in to a narrative that gets the banks off the hook for encouraging irresponsibility, and shifts it onto individual consumers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:01 PM
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More people should watch the show Max linked to in 624. Among the other poster children for this crises, it shows a family who rents an apartment being evicted without any advance notification, because the landlord was foreclosed on and didn't inform his tenants.

The show also does a good job of naming and analyzing the cause of the crash. The correspondents use the term "pro-growth economics", which they say was built on the twin pillars of consumerism and asset inflation. I like the term "pro-growth economics" rather than "free-market economics" or "market fundamentalism" because it uses the exact word that the right has been using to put the most positive spin on their economic policies. "We're pro-growth--the Club for Growth!--how can anyone be against growth?"

Now everyone can see that "pro-growth" is really "pro-bubble." If the association catches on, a positive word will become a negative word.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:04 PM
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I dislike the shaming of these folks because it they plays directly in to a narrative that gets the banks off the hook for encouraging irresponsibility, and shifts it onto individual consumers.

We aren't so far apart!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:08 PM
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Meanwhile, people are still idiots:

Mr. Jarvis, 47, the former co-owner of a wood moulding company that thrived in the boom and faltered in the crunch, also made some mistakes. Last spring, he contracted for three new homes in the distant suburb of Copper Basin, convinced that real estate was bottoming.

He was wrong. He managed to get out of two of the contracts but had to buy one of the houses, which is now substantially under water.

"You need to buy when there's blood in the streets," he said with a shrug. "Even if it's your own blood."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:15 PM
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Also, I still can't figure out blockquote.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:16 PM
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In light of Halford's comments, I did go back and re-read my own. I do stand by them. I haven't read the McArdle link, so maybe this is an example in which my judgmentalism (and I'm perfectly willing to call it that) just added to a general piling-on from people whose social and policy views I emphatically don't share.

I am puzzled by the nanny-state comment. I don't believe I suggested government responsibility or regulation (either pro or con) in any of my comments. In case it wasn't clear, I was accepting all of the existing structures as read, and commenting on how individuals chose to act within those structures. I still think the tone and content of Andrews's explanation/apology are deceptive and self-serving, which is why I said that if he were my friend, I would advise him to stop talking.

And on that, I think this thread has had enough of my views on this topic.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:24 PM
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The nanny-state comment was just me being a jerk. But I really do dislike stigmatizing bankruptcy, and I really, really, really dislike McMegan's approach here, which is (typically for her) wrong in both detail and emphasis, as well as being nasty and mean-spirited. Worst blogger in the world.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:33 PM
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Worst blogger in the world.

She's pretty bad, but the worst? That's some mighty terrible company, right there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:36 PM
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I do think she's the worst -- I probably agree with her more, and think she's smarter than, say, TIDOS Yankee or Kim DuToit, but she's also less fun to laugh at. Her particular combination of pompousness, sophistry, annoying-undergraduate attitude, and relentless defense of the wealthy makes her particularly grating to me. Maybe I should say, worst blogger that non-insane people seem to somehow, bizarrely, respect, which is what I think keeps the conversation about her going .


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:45 PM
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Yeah, McArdle can't hold a candle to Pam Gellar in the awful sweepstakes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:45 PM
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Which point 687 addresses.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:46 PM
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Yes, but Pam Gellar's deep insanity is a thing of beauty. I admit I found her less hilarious when I thought she was more of a political threat.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:46 PM
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687 makes sense. I was going to suggest VDH.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:47 PM
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Malkin is pretty fucking offensive, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:48 PM
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Remember this monstrosity?

That's simultaneously the worst and best thing I've ever seen.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 2:52 PM
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Now everyone can see that "pro-growth" is really "pro-bubble." If the association catches on, a positive word will become a negative word.

A wart is a growth. Let's remember that.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 3:26 PM
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Non-insane people respect AS? Can you name 3?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 5:04 PM
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Not AS, McCardle. AS is created by and for the insane.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 5:39 PM
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Pam Gellar had an exclusive interview with Josh Bolton (or do I mean John Bolton? the one with the pornstache) when the dude was the Ambassador to the UN and refusing to talk to the press. He praised her views and they schmoozed together on a vlog. Now, I am hardly going to claim that J. Bolton is sane---clearly, he's a fucking nutcase too extreme even for the Bush administration---but at the time, watching him legitimate Pam, I was afraid.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 5:53 PM
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Yeah, that's John. Josh was Bush's last chief of staff.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 6:36 PM
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Sorta-relevant: This is written in a style I find annoying, but it ties together some important things that I haven't seen adequately discussed in the MSM (for reasons that are obvious). I suspect that at least some of the facts are wildly wrong, but the larger picture of collusion between Wall Street movers and shakers, the financial press, and the regulators hangs together well. Jim Cramer comes off as deserving of time at Club Fed, which surprises me not at all.

Still, gotta be careful about believing stuff that confirms your prejudices. The style of the above-linked site is reminiscent of a lot of conspiratorial writing, which sets off some alarms, but the central point has parsimonious explanatory power, which is attractive. Anyone with more knowledge than I on these matters care to weigh in?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 6:42 PM
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I tried but can't wade through the link in 699. Life is too short.

I can't even tell if this is the problem the article is decrying, but as far as I know, there is no really credible evidence that hedge funds have been successful in talking down stocks that they are shorting, and this was usually just a lame excuse given by CEOs' whose stock price was falling anyway. If anything, the SEC is probably too biased against short sellers. But I haven't followed this issue intensely (or at all for about the past 6 months) so maybe something new has come up

I'm sure that Jim Cramer and Marty Peretz are despicable, though I don't need the article to tell me that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 6:52 PM
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697: [John Bolton] he's a fucking nutcase too extreme even for the Bush administration-

Hardly, seeing that he was the Bush recess appointment as UN Ambassador after his confirmation stalled in 2005 and was put up again in 2006 only to see that fall apart after the mid-term elections.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 7:49 PM
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They cut him off fairly definitively after 2006; he was writing scathing op-eds about Bush's "move to the left," which wasn't the typical trajectory. I think he was part of the Rumsfeld-Cheney wing that lost ascendency after the 2006 midterms.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 7:54 PM
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$83 in fines from the Los Angeles Public Library.

Monster!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-24-09 9:59 PM
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636: IIUC, the 401k is your money. Of course you're "allowed" to withdraw it -- the question is how much penalty you'll have to pay. So he chose not to -- maybe for good reasons, maybe for bad, but the fact that he's lying about it now does not endear him.

A 401k is not an IRA account (though you may be able to convert it into one upon leaving your job). If you don't qualify for a hardship withdrawal under your employer's rules (which in turn are restricted by federal rules), then you can't withdraw the money without quitting your job. You might be able to borrow against the money, but that can lead to other problems. I don't see any reason to accuse him of lying on this point.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 05-25-09 3:40 AM
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665

The moral judgment attached to McMegan's attack on a "serial bankruptcy" is particularly despicable and is precisely the same intellectual reasoning that produces debtors' prisons and the awful 2005 Bankruptcy reform act. ...

FWIW McArdle opposed the 2005 bankruptcy reform act.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-26-09 2:17 PM
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Tom Maguire makes a good point here .

Whether the mortgage broker knew of her previous bankruptcy is left as a mystery - it's hard to believe her credit score was perfect, so I infer that when Andrews claims to have been told that "Your credit scores are almost perfect" it means that he had more than one nearly perfect score. Is that written to be intentionally deceptive? Did the Times editors deliberately let that pass, or were they also in the dark as to the real story? Who knows? It's certainly not clear from the Hoyt defense or Andrews' response to McArdle that the Times editors were apprised of the situation.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-26-09 3:06 PM
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Thanks, Dave W. Obviously I didn't understand it correctly. I appreciate the clarification.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-26-09 3:08 PM
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Back to birth control

I tried those LifeStyle SYKN things, and they were a dud. Not as bad as Trojans or Durex which, I'm told, feel like garbage bags. We're sticking with Kimono microthins.

Just curious if anybody in a monogamous relationship with no fear of STD transmission had ever tried lambskin condoms.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:45 PM
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Yep. Conceptually weird, and seemed slimy in a different way than lube while being put on, which was creepy, but much better than latex.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 4-09 1:47 PM
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