Dating advice from the New York Times

A letter to the New York Times from a “justifiably angry feminist”:

How do I deal with my anger toward men? I go to therapy, I’m on anti-depressants and I’m trying to practice self-care. But I’m still angry. I don’t think it’s unwarranted.

You sound like a lunatic, but let’s see where this goes.

I’ve been sexually assaulted at least twice. We live in a time where women have more rights than ever, but our president is an alleged sexual predator.

If your chief concern, having been sexually assaulted twice, is Donald Trump’s womanising then you have issues which I suspect the New York Times cannot address.

Men are socialized to be condescending toward women, and even the few who check themselves often fail.

As is often the case with feminists, I suspect this says more about how the men she chooses to hang out with treat her than about men and women in general.

The only way to tell if a man is a sexual assaulter is to say no, and once you’re in that position, it’s too late.

Yes, there is absolutely no method of gauging a man’s character before a sexual assault occurs. At this point I’m wondering if women choose to become feminists, or they simply end up that way. It seems to take a certain lack of understanding of how people behave, leaving them hopelessly unable to deal with the simplest of societal interactions.

I have male friends who care about me — some who’ve even been sexually assaulted themselves — but they still don’t understand my pain.

Perhaps they tried, but you started going on about Donald Trump and lost focus?

In my observation, there are elements of sexism in even the healthiest relationships, and that makes me angry.

Are you angry at other people’s healthy relationships, or the fact you’re unable to have one of your own (with or without sexism)?

I don’t want to be emotionally unavailable to the entire sex that I am attracted to. How am I supposed to find a life partner if I can’t even find many men who treat women like equals?

My advice is to do a Google search for “single men seeking train wrecks”, but that’s just me. Let’s take a look at what the NYT offers instead:

You have every right to be angry with men who have harmed you, in word or deed. No man can understand how it feels to grow up female in this culture, especially not an affluent white man like myself.

Erm mate…you’re supposed to be giving the advice this week, not seeking it.

Having said that, your essential beef here really isn’t with men, individually or as a population. It’s with patriarchal thought and behavior, those monstrous forms of privilege by which men control women. The deeper question we need to reckon with is why boys and men are socialized to derive their self-worth from the denigration and domination of women. The symptoms of this mindset — discrimination, abusive behavior, rape — are infuriating. But beneath this rage lurks a deep sorrow that belongs to all of us.

Oh well done. You’ve only just gone and validated her self-destructive, delusional behavior. Can the next person do any better? Alas, no:

Your rage is justified, Angry Feminist. I won’t list all the reasons why because you already did that quite well. We both know the list of injustices goes on. It stretches around the globe and dates back through all time.

What’s the betting the woman’s therapist told her something similar? It would explain why it hasn’t worked. It also guarantees repeat visits.

I know your most immediate fury is rooted in the specific problem you have in your own life — the question of how you can love (or even find) a man when so many have wronged or disappointed you.

Hang out with better men? Look at your own behaviour? Hire a better therapist?

The reasons you cite for your anger — the high incidence of sexual assault, the misogyny of our president and the nation that elected him, the sexism that even enlightened men (and women) enact — aren’t topics being discussed on the margins anymore.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that virtue-signaling over Trump will not help this woman find a partner with whom she can enjoy a healthy, stable relationship.

And many of our most powerful institutions and assumptions about men and woman are being rocked, if not yet toppled, by that discussion. Take heart in that.

Never mind that you’re insane, paranoid, and unable to have a functional relationship; take heart in the fact that people are creating a moral panic to further their political objectives. Onto the next guru:

Abusive men are beginning to be held to account, which is to say: Women are being believed. But there’s still a vast segment of our population that refuses to confront the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault. They’ve chosen, instead, to normalize and even lionize cruel and predatory behavior.

Are we talking about the Clintons?

Men are indoctrinated to associate power with predation, and women with seduction and submission.

Bill?

This paradigm, epitomized in the simulated pleasure of hetero-normative pornography, will only begin to diminish in force as we reject the dishonesty of a sexual discourse founded on misogynistic myths.

A deeply disturbed woman writes to the NYT asking for help, and instead gets an unsolicited glimpse into some bloke’s porn habits. Next!

I can’t predict if you’ll ever find a man who treats you like an equal, but I can say you’re more likely to find one if you seek love from a place of personal power rather than desolation.

This could be as small as speaking up rather than remaining silent when you observe sexism

That’ll land her a man for sure.

or as big as getting involved with an organization or cause whose mission is gender equity (and you might even meet some good guys there).

Oh dear Lord. What’s the betting the two sexual assaults she experienced were at the hands of men who quoted chapter and verse from the bible of gender equity? Can the last contributor provide something that might help? It’s not looking good:

Anger is a proper response to injustice. But so is empowerment, as Cheryl suggests. Place your faith in the feminist philosopher bell hooks. “Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion,” she observes. “A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving.”

Erm, I don’t mean to be overly cynical but this person you’re supposed to be helping has already said she needs a relationship in which she is treated as an equal. Your telling her what she already knows, wrapped up pretentiously in a quote, suggests you’ve not even read her letter properly.

Any man worth your time will recognize this, and will come to see that the forces seeking to control women seek to control him, too.

So any man worth her time will subscribe to the warblings of a feminist philosopher? Good luck with that.

But there are men in this world capable of owning their self-doubt rather than turning it against women. You deserve such a man. We all do.

And there are women in this world capable of owning their self-doubt rather than turning it against men. They’re the ones who married the sort of guy you’re looking for.

Conclusion: if you’re a crazed feminist angry at the world, hopelessly single, and probably insane don’t turn to the New York Times for advice.

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31 thoughts on “Dating advice from the New York Times

  1. My advice: Get the fuck out of dodge. She’ll find nothing in NY, it’s full to brimming with angry, lefty, lesbian rage. Go to live somewhere normal people live. Get a normal job and learn to enjoy normal pleasures and pastimes (plinking tin cans with a .22 is top entertainment). Meet a bloke and be nice to him. How fucking hard can it be?

  2. “Meet a bloke and be nice to him. ”

    What a concept! I can’t see it catching on in those circles…..

  3. How do I deal with my anger toward men? I go to therapy, I’m on anti-depressants and I’m trying to practice self-care. But I’m still angry.

    I think there needs to be more entries like this into the Darwin awards. Having your chances of adding to the human gene pool, already limited given your terrible personality, being thoroughly extinguished by NYT dating advice

  4. One should hold doors open for such women – the joy of watching them synthesise a micro-agression out of a simple courtesy is priceless.

  5. Does anyone have experience of therapists?

    The realist/cynic in me thinks it has value in limited situations but in the main is designed to make therapists money and keep narcissistic people being narcissistic.

  6. I personally could not help her with her issues but I am way to patriarchal to observe her deep despair without attempting to assist. As a result I have forwarded her plight to The Sun and received a response that soon there will be a Dear Deidre photo casebook that will address exactly the problem she is highlighting.

  7. Go to live somewhere normal people live.

    Why!? What have normal people done to deserve an angry, narcissistic nutjob in their midst?

  8. Meh #firstworldwhitewimmensissues.

    I suggest she decamps from the good old US of A to a 3rd world shithole and see how she gets treated as a woman there. She may change her tune.

  9. The reasons you cite for your anger — the high incidence of sexual assault, the misogyny of our president and the nation that elected him, the sexism that even enlightened men (and women) enact — aren’t topics being discussed on the margins anymore.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that virtue-signaling over Trump will not help this woman find a partner with whom she can enjoy a healthy, stable relationship.

    Question: Did women moan about this misogyny when Billy-Bob Clinton was President?

  10. I bet you’re right that she’ll have been assaulted (or at least had a sexual encounter that lay somewhere on the modern Feminist spectrum of sexual assault) by some “male feminist” who mouthed platitudes to get into her knickers.

  11. clem – no, but I am shortly to start training as one. Having, at work, been informal in-house counsellor for ages, and left a trail of destruction, oops, happy, motivated, and productive employees in my wake, I’m doing it for career enhancement purposes, rather than as a whole new career.

    Yes, its uses are quite limited. Some techniques need careful deployment in the mentally ill (preferably, referral to a proper psychologist) – this case looks potentially delusional to me, with a good dose of baby rabies and princess syndrome. Life is hard on those who expect a perfect world to be presented to them for zero effort.

    As the psychologist lightbulb joke goes, the client has to want to change. And do it. Those that spend years in therapy tend to lack strong tools to keep to their resolutions, and I agree their therapists should fire them. The goal should be to get people independent, not dependent.

    Effective therapy is partly about recognising, and, where necessary, changing your own behaviour. Being able to change the behaviour of others is a rare privilege (find a man, be nice to him, maybe you can change his behaviour – and not always through provision/withholding of pussy), but she seems to see it as a right to be given a man whose behaviour already (or ever will) meet 100% of her expectations 100% of the time.

    Of course, as she’s expecting a chiselled prince with wealthy parents and six-figure salary into the bargain, she will have to do more compromising than she seems ready for. It’s easier to complain about the misogyny of the world’s failure to deliver Christian Grey to her (minus the bits she doesn’t like), and use that as an explanation to self for the lack of wealthy stud husband.

    Men will, of course, run a mile from that attitude – even the nice ones who are prepared to do some changing and compromising.

  12. …but she seems to see it as a right to be given a man whose behaviour already (or ever will) meet 100% of her expectations 100% of the time.

    Anyone who doesn’t understand that relationships involve give and take, and tolerance on both sides, is destined to be disappointed.

    A Mr. Nice would have to be resolutely pussywhipped to fulfil all the expectations all of the time, and sufficiently c*ntstruck to take it. I suspect the latter point would wear off after time and result in such a lady crying in the toilet when Mr. Perfect suddenly decides he’s had enough and is orf.

    In away, those kinds of relationships are based around absolute submission to constant bullying.

  13. abacab – indeed. All women exist in the eyes of men somewhere on the crazy/hot matrix. These angry NY wimmin types mostly look like a hippocrocosaurus / swampdonkey hybrid and have ‘issues’ that put them on the unkind side of the crazy line. So for them men are a constant disappointment and source of anger – and probably confusion too (why is this thing I desire so undesirous of me?). Most normal blokes will tire of Bella Hadid after a few shags if she’s just too much damn hard work.

  14. “I’ve been sexually assaulted at least twice”: ‘at least’ – what does she mean? Was she so drunk a few times that she only suspects that she might have been sexually assaulted? Is she unclear whether a pat on the bum is sexual assault?

  15. Does anyone have experience of therapists?

    I do. Unlike Name Withheld, I come at it from a different angle, as our illustrious host is already aware.

    Let’s take it for granted that this woman has in fact been sexually assaulted, twice, in a non-trivial way. What she’s doing is generalizing her anger and feelings of powerless from those encounters, with those men, to all encounters with all men. It’s a textbook reaction, she’s being triggered (in the real, PTSD sense, not the make-believe outraged sense) by nearly every interaction she has with men and her fight-or-flight instinct is in control. The longer she goes without getting good therapy that convinces her that she has severe and irrational reactions to trivial stimuli and teaches her how to manage her overstimulation and self-destructive responses, the worse it’s going to get.

    Sadly, most therapists are useless. Overwhelmingly people in the psych profession are there because they’re deeply messed up themselves, and they do a lot of damage to their patients by foisting their own neuroses and toxic coping mechanisms on them. What this woman needs is a therapist who will show her how to recalibrate her reactions and get beyond being angry at, and scared of, everything.

  16. Daniel

    Ok. I’m fine with what you say. And, in a sense, I hope that is the situation, because then her ranting makes sense.

    But, what if it was only in a trivial way or only in her imagination/interpretation?

    Is this beyond the realms of possibility?

  17. If you want to change other people’s behaviour, first start by changing yours.

    If you can’t do that, how do you expect to achieve the far harder change?

  18. Am so pleased I married young and disappeared over the horizon before the world as I knew it crashed and burned.

  19. Is this beyond the realms of possibility?

    Oh, hell, no.

    I’ve gotten pretty good at distinguishing between people who were actually traumatized and those who are appropriating the trappings pf PTSD for the purpose of winning victimhood poker. From this remove and in print it’s hard to tell, but the fact that she wrote to a major newspaper and uses the phrase “at least twice” to talk about her sexual assault makes me suspicious. That and the legal weasel words “sexual assault”. The women I know who were actually raped or molested or abused use those words. They’d never use the more anodyne term “sexual assault”.

    Then again, this could be her coping mechanism. I’ve known a number of women whose coping mechanism is to double down on “angry victim”, for all that it mires them in their own trauma for the rest of their life.

  20. Women are all manipulative, back stabbing bitches. Why can’t I find a girlfriend?

    Crickets…

  21. “Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion,” she observes. “A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving.”

    So, no married couple throughout thousands of years of recorded history ever experienced true love, until the feminists came along – but for some reason this feminist can’t get a second date.

    “I’ve been sexually assaulted at least twice. ”

    I also think this sounds a little bit like a victimhood-poker-card-collector displaying her credentials so as to induce a suitable attitude in her listeners.

  22. “Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion,” she observes.

    …while presumably insisting that any man in her life is dominated by her feminist politics and coerced by her into complete compliance.

  23. I don’t think the order phrased as a kind of vague request thing is unique to women but it certainly is common for women to do it and I too have misinterpreted some such intended orders

    I’ve always seen this as the result of the English language not having a formal/polite case. Instructions come across as being too blunt and rude, so they get flowered up with “I say old chap, you wouldn’t mind awfully if you did that, would you, old boy? Provided it’s not too much trouble, of course.” In French and Russian you can, thanks to the polite case, be very direct and polite at the same time.

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