Online Poke Her

I found this interesting:

[An] experiment with Tinder that claimed that that “the bottom 80% of men (in terms of attractiveness) are competing for the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are competing for the top 20% of men.”

A couple of years back I saw another analysis of one of the big dating sites which showed that most men considered something like 70% of the women to be attractive enough to date, whereas most women saw only 20% of the men the same way. The two studies suggest women who go on dating sites are unrealistically fussy, especially considering they’re on a dating site in the first place. Men, being men, appear to be more open to compromise on looks if it means getting laid and (possibly) having a relationship. None of this will be new to those of us who are over thirty and walk around with our eyes open.

The trouble is, I’m not sure women quite understand the dynamics of dating sites, which the statistics above confirm. I recently had occasion to watch a couple of young women swiping away on one of the dating apps, and they got all giddy over a dashingly handsome young Italian complete with a tailored suit and designer stubble. I expect they imagined the possibility of a romantic relationship, but what I saw was a chap who’s probably having a whale of a time ploughing through those 78% of women dumb enough to think he’s boyfriend material. Unfortunately, anyone who didn’t match this guy’s looks got immediately discarded. What’s even more unfortunate is one of the girls was about hot enough to attract a guy like that. I suspect this has always been a problem for pretty girls, but it’s likely to be accentuated in the era of dating apps: they’ll attract the attention of the best looking guys, who will find them average rather than special and have few qualms about ditching them in favour of the next one. While many women talk about their disappointment with dating apps, I’d imagine for good looking women it’s a rollercoaster of flattery followed by inexplicable rejection.

I’m not sure even those who run dating apps quite know what’s going on, or if they do they pretend they don’t. One of the biggest problems is men who sit there all day carpet bombing women with “hi how r u sexy?” messages or dick pics. Any woman will tell you that within weeks of joining a dating site in London or Paris, her inbox is full of vulgar messages written in atrocious English from manual labourers in Turkey, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. Tinder attempted to deal with this by limiting “swipe-rights” to 100 per day, or something. Bumble took it one step further and made it such that only women could initiate a conversation, but as the statistics above show, all that does is fill up the inboxes of the top 20% of men while the other 80% wait in vain for the slightest interest, unable to chance their arm even with the biggest hound on the whole platform. In other words, they’ve sold rejection to the already rejected. The simple solution is to restrict men to initiating two or three contacts per day, but the business model is to get men using it for hours at a time and pestering them with ads, so they’re not going to do that. But if they were serious about hooking people up, which they’re not, that’s what they’d do.

I also get the impression women like their inboxes full of unsuitable proposals because it gives them an excuse for not making an effort. Every woman I’ve spoken to about her experience on dating sites says “Oh, I don’t have time, I get so many messages I can’t be bothered to go through them all.” From what I’ve read on blogs which cover this stuff, the sort of women who go on dating sites have a habit of not responding to genuine proposals for days or weeks, and only then grudgingly agreeing to a date because their days are crammed full of work, weekend breaks, yoga sessions, or after work drinks with the girls. One of the most peculiar aspects of modern dating is middle aged, professional women citing as a priority their desire to find a lifetime partner, but refusing to make the slightest effort to find and accommodate one. If women joined dating sites and found one or two serious, well-written introductions dropping into their inbox each week, they might be forced to accept their reasons for not responding were shallow indeed. Better to hide behind the avalanche of dick picks and conclude they’re above all that. By contrast, even the most eligible, suitable men who fall outside the top 20% must spend considerable effort writing thoughtful introductions only to receive a response once in every fifty or hundred attempts (I’m not exaggerating here).

If we are to believe dating sites aren’t the best way of showcasing your suitability as a mate, let alone finding one, the problem is compounded by the fact that most people below a certain age don’t know any other way. A few weeks ago on the recommendation of William of Ockham I listened to a Spectator Radio podcast which discussed the impact dating apps are having, and they speculated that da yoof spend all their time building online personalities at the expense of those they display in real life. This not only makes them reluctant to meet people in the flesh, but also pretty useless when they do, i.e. they have no idea how to flirt and interact romantically in the offline world. I can’t claim to understand the younger generation but I do meet a few of them these days, and I occasionally wonder if they put as much effort into developing communication skills and an interesting personality as they do their Instagram feeds, they may not need dating apps at all. One of the more amusing aspects of this era is when you hear a couple say they met in real life and they make it sound like a freak occurrence. Unfortunately, you more often hear a girl say she met her last five boyfriends on Tinder, without any idea of what she ought to deduce from that statement.

Me, I’m kinda glad I was born in 1977.

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Polyamor-Me

Back in 2015 The Federalist ran an article by a Sara Burrows on her new-found polyamorous lifestyle. Titled Polyamory Is Next, And I’m One Reason Why, we learned:

Four years into our relationship, we found ourselves in the typical rut of co-dependence, resentment, boredom, and fighting over the grocery bill. We’d had an unplanned baby, I’d quit my job to do attachment parenting full-time, and Brad was working long hours in a dungeon of a warehouse. I was stuck at home washing dishes, folding laundry and talking to a two-year-old, bored out of my mind. If we didn’t have anything to fight about, we’d find something, just to make life a little more interesting.

People who complain of a dull life rarely consider that they, not their circumstances, are the problem.

I had freed myself from the grips of government, religion, and parents.

As everyone knows, self-fulfillment is dependent on external forces and cannot be derived from within.

Enter polyamory. Polyamory means “many loves.” It is the practice of engaging in several emotionally and possibly sexually intimate relationships simultaneously, with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

If polyamory is the answer, you’ve not understood the question.

We’re both nervous and don’t know what to expect. I’ve pushed Brad to “go first” in dating and sexually exploring other women. He’s been on two dates so far, and we even arranged a crazy one-night stand to sort of break the ice and test our feelings.

Nothing screams maturity and responsibility like arranging a crazy one-night stand.

Since we’ve discovered polyamory, we don’t care about new houses or new cars or vacations.

As we’ve learned, polyamorists consider themselves on a higher spiritual plane to the rest of us.

We’re actually looking forward to the rest of our lives together now. When we were monogamous, our future seemed pretty mapped out: have a baby, get a better job, buy a house, get a promotion, buy a better car, start our own business, buy a better house, make more money, go on vacation, make more money, buy an even better house… grow old in it together.

All because of being able to shag around? Who knew something so simple could deliver such wide-reaching benefits?

We’ve gotten a lot of warnings and admonitions from well-intentioned friends and family members that we’re going to destroy our relationship and hurt our daughter, but we feel exactly the opposite.

Pah! What do they know?

For us, this is the perfect opportunity to save our relationship, spare our daughter from the heartbreak of a broken family, and give her the blessing of happy parents and extended family.

Quite. There is absolutely no reason to believe psychological issues such as loneliness, boredom, and detachment can’t be addressed through meaningless sex with strangers.

In her spare time, she blogs about their new journey into polyamory at polyamorydiaries.com.

So let’s have a look at the entry for the 11th January 2019, shall we?

It’s time to set the record straight. Most of this blog is bullshit.

Oh.

I was no longer in love with the father of my child/partner of 4 years, and he was clearly not in love with me.

The newfangled concept of “polyamory” was just a trendy excuse to play the field and see if I could find any better offers.

As many have observed, polyamory is often used as cover for people who lack the courage to get divorced.

Either I’d find someone who’d love me better… or Brad, out of fear of losing me, would shape up and start meeting my needs for emotional and sexual intimacy. Either way, I win, I thought.

But my subconscious plan backfired.

The only thing missing from a plan this bad is an appearance by Roadrunner at the end.

I didn’t find a man who loved me more than Brad did, I just found a man who was more excited to put his penis in my vagina because I was novel and he’d gone without sex a lot longer than Brad had.

This is someone who, in a fit of childish pique, bragged of throwing off the shackles of family and religion. She’s now learned the hard way what her granny could have told her aged 16.

I was “in love” in a way, but it was the kind of love you fall into, like a trap, not the kind of love that you rise into, that has the potential to last and grow.

Is she a grown woman, or a high-schooler lamenting a one-night stand with the captain of the football team?

Because I couldn’t empathize with Brad’s pain over this betrayal, because I couldn’t even fathom it, he subconsciously set out to teach me a lesson.

Subconsciously?

He had to make me feel the pain he’d felt firsthand, so I could know it. So I could have sympathy and compassion for what I put him through.

So he went out and fell just as hard in love as I had, and rubbed it right in my face, until my soul was bloody and bruised and begging him to stop.

This doesn’t sound very subconscious.

Someway, somehow, we made it through the  two most awful experiences of our lives, and came out a million times stronger on the other side.

Maybe you’ll want to hold off on the grand pronouncements for a while, eh?

I think society should encourage and celebrate sexual freedom and exploration among teenagers.

I think because society does not do this, and instead represses our sexuality, we wander around still starving for that kind of passion as adults.

Someone whose life is an utter trainwreck thinks society should encourage teenagers to be more promiscuous? Should we ask the drunk sleeping under the railway bridge what he thinks of trade tariffs while we’re at it?

Now you’re caught between a rock and a hard place.

You’re in love with two people.

By now, they are both jealous of your affection and wanting you to choose.

Apparently this is a drawback of polyamory. Who would have guessed?

But you have more history, trust and deeper friendship with the old partner, not to mention a child or two.

Ah yes, the children. Let’s include them in a flippant afterthought.

As Osho says, it is the one we develop a spiritual friendship with who becomes our lasting soulmate.

As I’ve noted before, there’s a peculiar habit of modern, western women to loudly declare they’re rejecting Christianity before plunging headlong into the nearest weirdo cult.

The good news is there can be healing and deeper intimacy on the other side. Brad and I have been more in love in the last 6 months of monogamy than in our entire 8 years before that,

There’s nothing like 8 years of meaningless sex with a succession of insincere strangers to shore up a failing marriage.

and I KNOW it’s only going to get better from here.

Presumably on the grounds things can’t get a whole lot worse.

I don’t know if he’s 100% there yet, but I dream of the day Osho talks about, when we rise so high in love with each other that everyone else disappears.

She’s mentioned Osho 3 times, whereas all she says about her child is:

The sad part about option B is that children’s hearts are often needlessly torn apart along with their parents.

Which is why mature, responsible, functioning adults don’t engage in polyamory. From start to finish, this entire story can be condensed to “me me me”. Everyone else’s concerns are just a side-issue, to be ignored or reclaimed as necessary at her own convenience. And in case anyone thinks such selfishness is limited to female practitioners of polyamory, here’s a post on Reddit:

I’m a 34 year old man who is married to a 33 year old woman and we have a 13 year old boy. I recently went poly with an 18 year old girl, primarily for sex, but we have become increasingly close and she will be moving in soon. My son is very close to his mom, my wife, and I’m not sure how he will react to this. How can I introduce my girlfriend to my son?

What’s the betting this 18 year old has severe mental problems, possibly caused by an absent father and/or sexual abuse at the hands of an adult? Remember people, polyamorists are perfectly normal, just like you and me.

(Burrows story via Michael Story and several readers on Twitter. Reddit post via Robert Mariani.)

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Angel of Harem

A disturbing shadow falls across the world of polyamory:

Franklin Veaux’s work has shed light. His writings about polyamory have been valuable resources that have helped countless people find their way to happier, more fulfilling polyamorous relationships.

But:

Six women have come forward with stories of experiences with Franklin that do not align with his public persona, his self-described stories of his relationships, or the values stated in his writing.

How odd. Men who hang out at the intersection of unconstrained sex, feminism, and lefty politics are usually such genuine people.

The women’s experiences indicate that Franklin has patterns of manipulation, gaslighting, and lying; leverages his multiple partners against one another; tests or ignores boundaries; pathologizes his partners’ normal emotions and weaponizes their mental illnesses; exploits women financially; uses women’s ideas and experiences in his work without permission or credit; grooms significantly younger, less experienced, or vulnerable women; lacks awareness of power dynamics and consent; has involved women in group sex and other sexual activities that they experienced as coercive; and accepts no responsibility for the harm he causes by engaging in these behaviors — often blaming other women, or the harmed women themselves, for that harm.

Man who is best known for running harems turns out to be a bit of a cad. Who would have guessed?

These behaviors escalate when Franklin lives with a partner, and he becomes verbally abusive when his nesting relationships end. The severity of this pattern is illustrated by the fact that none of his former nesting partners will be alone with him. Two of them, over a decade apart, fled the homes they shared with him at the end of the relationships. Their written records from the time of leaving him show evidence of trauma.

This chap is best known for his book which argues the case for “ethical polyamory”. That would be like me writing a book called The Case for Holding One’s Counsel.

The women who have told their stories describe effects on them that range from lingering confusion and self-doubt all the way to self-harm, suicidal ideation, lasting trauma requiring years or decades to repair, and long-lasting or permanent damage to their ability to trust others, enjoy intimacy, or enter into healthy romantic relationships.

Well yes, that’s what polyamory does. Although I’d not like to be the psychiatrist picking through the rubble trying to separate the damage inflicted by polyamory from that which was the reason for attempting it in the first place.

Many people throughout many polyamorous scenes — including every member of this group, and some of the harmed women themselves — have played a role in amplifying Franklin’s narrative and expanding his reach.

Indeed, whereas those who consistently rail against polyamory are the true heroes. Time for a self-portrait:

Ahem, where were we?

Moreover, Franklin is far from the only person with social capital to have wielded it in harmful ways,

Social capital = a sizeable store of woke lefty political boilerplate automatically deployed immediately on sighting a dim feminist with daddy issues.

nor are his former partners the only people to have experienced this particular kind of harm in polyamorous relationships.

I don’t suppose any of these woman are going to take some responsibility for their predicament, are they?

We hope that this moment can be used to propel forward the hard conversations that will lead to collective healing, accountability and transformation.

Or you could just quit obviously harmful, self-destructive, impulsive behaviour.

Polyamory is not an organized movement. We have no governing body to which we can petition for a process of justice.

What would you name a body set up to regulate polyamory? Offmeds?

We must rely on a loose network of organizers, spokespeople and other “leaders” to hear the women’s voices and take action that moves us all toward greater healing and safety.

Leaders like Franklin Veaux with his theories on ethical polyamory?

We therefore must ask our fellow activists, speakers, organizers and leaders, as individuals, to support our call for justice.

I thought polyamory was all about free love and transcending jealousy. This author sounds like hubby died and left her out of the will.

Franklin can be charming and kind. He has helped many people, and many people — especially people who have never been romantically involved with him, or who have spent only short periods of time with him — have had nothing but good experiences with him. Many of the women he’s harmed also experienced idyllic early relationships with him.

In that fleeting period where she was, being new, at the head of his roster.

Idyllic “vacation” relationships are especially easy to sustain over many years when a partner is long-distance.

Relationship are easy to sustain when it’s not actually a relationship.

His long-distance partners, and partners who have not been through the end of an invested relationship with him, may never have experienced the kinds of harm from him experienced by those who became more entwined.

It sounds as though this chap was running a cult. Which now I think about it, he was.

It is, as Franklin himself has written, possible for him to be simultaneously easy to love and dangerous to love.

This is consistent with the theory that a handful of men who get into polyamory are just regular, a-hole alpha males who’ve found a way to shag lots of women. A lot of polyamorist groups feature one man who gets all the sex while everyone else gets all the headaches.

Many people have tried many times over many years to explain to Franklin the harm he has caused and offer him a chance to change, with no effect.

And why should he, if women are queuing up to sleep with him?

He has been offered, and refused, a community accountability process at least once.

Sensible chap. Can you imagine what that would look like?

Nevertheless, we, and the women themselves, believe strongly that no one is disposable, and that a path to accountability — separate from the process of supporting the survivors — should be open to Franklin.

I think they’ve inadvertently founded a church.

Therefore, as a final gesture of goodwill, we have sent Franklin a call-in letter naming the harm done, asking that he initiate his own accountability process, and outlining what accountability would look like to the survivors. He has indicated via a public Quora post that he declines, but we stand ready to liaise with his accountability team should he change his mind.

If your sex life is such that you need to maintain an accountability team to deal with complaints, you may have gone off the deep end some time ago. Remember, folks: polyamory is perfectly normal and we mustn’t judge.

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Food for Thought

Consider this tweet by Israeli journalist Lahav Harkov, who is sound on a lot of issues:


Now I know there’s a whole swathe of the alt-right who believe women should never leave the kitchen, and I know the expectation that a woman is obliged to cook for her husband every night is old-fashioned. But that said, if a woman does cook for her husband that will go some way to defining her worth, both in his eyes and those of outsiders. Imagine the roles were switched, and Harry was cooking for Meghan every night: his stock would soar in the eyes of most women.

I know a lot of men my age and younger who can cook, and part of this is because feminists told recent generations of women they ought not to learn. “If he wants dinner he can cook it himself,” was the prevailing attitude. Well, that’s what they did and I know several families in which the man is the main cook (and enjoys doing it). The problem with that is it removes a valuable tool women of my mother’s and grandmother’s generations used to attract and retain a husband. Men of that era couldn’t boil an egg, so it was a huge incentive to settle down with someone if you wanted to eat properly the rest of your life. The phrase “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” isn’t repeated across languages and cultures for nothing. Of course it placed a burden on the woman, but having a stable job (that was often dangerous) placed a burden on the man. A marriage is a partnership in which mutually beneficial tasks are divided between the couple, each doing what they’re best at. If women decide they don’t want to cook, the man will either find someone who can or learn to feed himself. He isn’t going to starve. The standard feminist response to this would be: “Well, if all he wants me for is to be his slave, he can get stuffed.” And quite right too. But as I’ve just said, a relationship is a partnership. If she’s not cooking, what is she offering? Sex? That’s not enough, especially in the Tinder age. Sassy feminism? No thanks.

I’m being unfair. There are many women who bring plenty to the table, if you excuse the pun, without cooking for her partner every day. But on the other hand I keep reading articles on how hard it is for modern, middle class women to find a decent man who sticks around. Apparently, they’re only interested in Tinder hookups these days, and many don’t want relationships. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that if these women had cooking skills in their armoury along with a willingness to deploy them regularly, they’d find men a lot less keen to skedaddle as soon as the first ray of sunlight touches her bedroom window on a Sunday morning. I base this on the fact that, if a woman meets a man who can cook well and likes doing it, she brags to all her friends and spends more time at his gaff than her own.

My point is, to find a decent partner you need to maximise what you bring to the relationship, and focus on those skills they might lack. You would be amazed at the degree to which my relationships have been based on an ability to unblock sinks, take down heavy boxes from the top of wardrobes, fit insulation strips to ill-fitting windows, and bleed radiators. Having someone who is willing to cook is a huge asset in a relationship, regardless of who is doing it. Being able to share the duties is even better. But modern feminism has taught women that being able to cook should not contribute to their worth in a relationship, and they ought not to even bother learning. Stripped of one of the most valuable skills they can bring to a relationship, they’re now howling at the lack of men who are interested in one.

As I’m fond of asking: whose fault is that, then?

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Hidden Figures

In the comments under my latest podcast on the subject of sexual promiscuity, Jim makes an interesting point:

I would suggest that in hard numbers a man in later life will still be viewed better by women for X previous partners than a woman would be by men for the same number, assuming a similar quality of partners on both sides.

This is true, and it explains why women lie about the numbers. Recall that my podcast was prompted by this tweet:


If women didn’t think their value in the dating marketplace was devalued by the number of partners they’d had, there would be no reason for them to lie about it. Sure, men lie too, but mainly to inflate the numbers. Then when they settle down and their partner asks them, they deflate the number to avoid looking like a complete fanny-rat.

However, both men and women lie about this stuff in part to avoid hurting the feelings of someone they care about. This is why sensible women who have enjoyed themselves at college learn to shut the f*** up, or lie when asked. A point I made in my book is the truth often doesn’t matter as much as how it’s presented. Most blokes these days know they’re not marrying virgins, but they’d prefer their partner applies some discretion and not mention their sexual history, and the same goes for the man. By being tactful, it’s a sign one partner respects the other and doesn’t want to hurt them unnecessarily.

Unfortunately, modern feminism decrees a woman should openly brag about her promiscuity. Not only does this put potential suitors off for crude biological reasons, it’s also a sign she doesn’t respect her partner nor care much for his feelings. Put simply, having several sexual partners doesn’t in itself devalue a woman, but it does if the bloke gets to hear about it. As I said, sensible women bury this stuff in a vault.

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Ex Boss

A reader sends me a link to this article. Let’s take a look:

I’d had my eye on the biggest company in my field for a couple of years, just waiting for the right role to come up. They had a reputation for staff retention, beautiful offices and great workplace flexibility, and after proving myself and climbing the ladder at the company I joined after I finished uni, I was ready for a new challenge.

Some questions for my readers. Do you think this is a man or a woman writing this? Do you think he or she is in role where outcomes matter, or whether following the process is more important?

A friend had alerted me to the opportunity, which wasn’t being advertised publicly, so I thought I was in with a good chance. I stayed up past midnight one night polishing my resume and ensuring I tailored it to the values of my dream company.

I’ve tailored my CV to a particular role, but never to the values of a company. It sounds as though she just filled it with whatever drivel she found on the corporate website.

So I was thrilled when the HR manager – a guy named Brendan – called to offer me an interview. I told him I’d see him tomorrow, and left work early to go home and prepare. I practised answering curly questions with my housemate and made sure my best corporate outfit was pressed and clean.

I had to look up “curly question”. Apparently it’s Australian slang for a difficult question. In any case, this reads like something from a teenager’s diary.

I felt ready when I walked up the broad white stairs of the building, through the glass doors and up to reception. I told the receptionist my name and who I was there to see, and I waited.

I might have guessed the interview didn’t take place in a porta-cabin at the muddy end of a building site.

He was Brendan. From Bumble. We’d chatted for three solid weeks before I’d decided he was a snoozefest and unmatched with him.

The joy of dating apps like Bumble and Tinder, for those lucky enough to not need them, is that – as long as you haven’t exchanged phone numbers yet – you can unmatch with people on there at any time and they have no way of finding you again.

I use this function to my advantage all the time because I hate telling guys I’m not interested. So I will talk to them for weeks in the app and then either go on a date – at which point I have to offer up my number – or unmatch and disappear forever.

I’ve written before about how the mobile phone has allowed people to dispense with the normal politeness that governed ones behaviour when dating. If she lacks the courage to tell people she’s not interested and simply disappears, it’s hardly surprising she’s on Bumble looking for a boyfriend.

Brendan seemed like the perfect guy for me when I first swiped right on him. He was good looking, fit and had a good career in HR.

People will say that about me soon.

But as we chatted back and forth over the weeks, I realised he’d never really done anything off the expected life plan. He’d never messed up. He’d never travelled or been arrested or even bared his bum in public.

In short, he was too straighty-one-eighty for me.

I like my guys to have a past. Some perspective on life so they know what they’re doing is the right thing for them. I want them to have stories about being arrested in Amsterdam or streaking at the soccer in Rio.

And being convicted of possession with intent to supply and smacking their ex-girlfriend in the eye when she got a bit lippy. I’m reminded of this post.

Brendan had none of that, and he had to go.

I expect she did a backpacker’s trip to Europe with ten thousand other Australians and now considers herself worldly.

And all I could think about in this moment was that I shouldn’t have ghosted him.

Because it’s a cowardly thing to do, or because it might now affect what passes for your career?

I could identify the exact moment, as he reached out and shook me hand, that Brendan realised who I was. There was a flash of recognition in his eyes but it quickly disappeared as his professional face took over, and he ushered me into an office with two of his colleagues.

A penny for Brendan’s thoughts here.

I was rattled, but I tried to shake it off and focus on the interview. I still really wanted this job, and I couldn’t let a failed dating attempt get in my way.

The trio fired question after question at me, and I think I answered pretty well. I even started to think for a moment that perhaps Brendan didn’t realise who I was.

Then, after I had asked a few questions about the role, and we were winding up the interview, Brendan said, “What about challenging conversations? How are you at having those?”

This is the kind of thing HR people ask at interviews for a job requiring complete and utter obedience.

I could see amusement in his eyes as he asked and I could tell he was toying with me. But the others didn’t know that so I knew I had to be careful how I answered.

“I’m comfortable dealing with people at all levels and I’m not afraid to have difficult conversations,” I lied. “I believe if I conduct myself professionally and communicate openly, that will foster respectful and clear conversations with others, so everyone can get on with executing their roles to the best of their ability.”

She lied then, and she’s lying now. There is no way on earth she said that.

The other interviewers seemed pleased with my answer and Brendan smirked as he said, “Thanks Sophie, we’ll be in touch.”

I was so relieved to get out of that office, and was surprised when one of the other interviewers called me later that day to offer me the job.

I don’t know how I’ll handle things with Brendan now that we’ll be working in the same office but I do know I’m about to become an expert on having challenging conversations.

I expect it will end in your very own MeToo moment. At least you should be able to get another article out of it.

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Polyamory bingo

I’ll not ask my readers to accompany me as I wade through yet another article explaining how polyamorists are so radical, so I’ll keep it brief:

To find polyamorists today, head to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn – check!

Attendees can choose to sketch drawings of posed models, but most people opt to stand around, mingling and talking.

Polyamorists masquerading as artists – check!

But the attendees of Tableaux fit in with the rest of privileged, gentrified Brooklyn.

Polyamory being a pursuit of the privileged middle classes – check!

I had coffee in Manhattan with Leon Feingold, an exceptionally tall, friendly polyamorist, eager to talk about his high IQ and his sexual philosophies.

Polyamorists think they exist on a higher plane than ordinary people – check!

Feingold, who wore a red Hawaiian shirt and two necklaces, one featuring a Chinese star with flamed tips (designed at Burning Man in commemoration of his late wife)

Burning Man – check!

Feingold, who works as a real-estate broker and helped to establish a sex-positive, three-story, 15-bedroom apartment building in the Bushwick neighborhood

Bushwick – check!

believes polyamory reflects high intelligence.

Polyamorist suffering from delusion – check!

But, at minimum, these surveys suggest that the number of polyamorous Americans is in the hundreds of thousands, and perhaps in the millions.

Attempts to convince polyamory is normal – check!

“What’s happening now is so much more healthy, because it’s deciding for yourself,” says Jessica*, a 34-year-old

Over thirty and unable to build lasting relationships – check!

describes polyamorous politics as a mixture of socialism—a respect for a non-hierarchical society that values collective, community decision-making

Lefty politics – check!

a polyamorous friend who recently lost her housing soon after becoming pregnant, but was able to live comfortably with friends and lovers for several months before finding a new place of her own.

Degeneracy – check!

Elise* is 14 years old and lives in Springfield, Virginia, not too far south of Washington, DC, with her mom, her mother’s boyfriend, and her mother’s boyfriend’s wife.

Child abuse – check!

Weirdos – check!

This is probably the only interesting sentence in the whole piece:

For example, Jessica and other polyamorists I speak with say there’s very little discussion about the right for polyamorous marriage, because few in today’s poly community believe government recognition of a union is a worthwhile goal.

That’s how gays used to view marriage; look how quickly it became a fundamental human right and questioning it moved beyond the pale.

(via Ben Sixsmith)

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Louis Theroux’s Altered States – Episode 1

After receiving several impatient emails from readers, I finally got around to watching the first episode of Louis Theroux’s Altered States BBC series, which was about polyamorists. It’s a very interesting hour of television, particularly if you knew nothing about polyamory before. But if you’ve been following my blog for a while you’d find it interesting in a different way thanks to all the small details which indicate what’s going on behind the facade.

Theroux moves between three groups of polyamorists, all living in or around Portland, Oregan, which appears to be a city full of complete weirdos – and commentator Howard Roark (readers are invited to ask him to explain himself in the comments). I’ll structure this post differently from the program, and describe each group in succession.

The first is made up of two men and two women, all in their fifties. Jerry is an IT analyst who is married to Heidi, a therapist. Between them they have a daughter who looks about 9. Twelve years ago they “opened up their marriage” because Heidi felt depressed and, to put it bluntly, shagged some fella she knew back in college. So we’re not 5 minutes in and already we learn the underlying reason for this polyamorous lifestyle is mental health problems on the part of the woman. For the past 5 years, Heidi has been with a fellow called Joe, who is big, bald, and bearded. He comes over to Jerry and Heidi’s house once a week and sleeps downstairs in a bed with Heidi while Jerry stays upstairs. The daughter seems fine with all of this – for now, anyway.

Later on we meet Joe’s wife Gretchen, who doesn’t have purple hair but she has dyed the front few strands lilac. She’s fifty years old, and has two kids with Joe, both under ten. When Theroux turns up at her house, Heidi and Joe are in bed together. Heidi is wearing a t-shirt with a reference to polyamory, and you see a lot of objects advertising their lifestyles throughout the program. Theroux has a serious discussion with Gretchen in the kitchen which is revealing. Gretchen seems to resent that she is responsible for her husband’s happiness, and think it’s his issue to deal with. Perhaps unintentionally, she gives the viewer the impression that the only form of happiness she recognises is that derived from sex. She doesn’t like sleeping with Joe and is happy to let someone else “take a turn at the wheel”, and we soon learn why. Gretchen has been going to sex clubs since she was 20 and living in San Francisco, and is still into bisexual orgies with strangers. It quickly becomes obvious that Gretchen doesn’t give a damn, Joe loves Heidi because she gives him attention, and Jerry looks as though he’s about to kill himself. Jerry is not seeing anyone else and isn’t ever likely to: he’s just the poor schmuck who agreed to polyamory because he didn’t want to lose the only women he’s ever loved (one suspects). Heidi sees how much it’s hurting him but is too damned selfish to either set him loose or quit polyamory. He cuts a pitiful figure throughout, but he and his wife deny he’s unhappy even when Theroux presses them. Jerry’s responses sound as though he’s been brainwashed by a cult, and I suppose he has.

Theroux asks Gretchen whether the polyamorous arrangement she has with her husband is not simply “slow divorce”. She denies it, but admits there are problems; like other polyamorists I’ve met, she’s adamant they have nothing to do with their chosen lifestyle. Both Gretchen and Heidi distance themselves from the idea that they have any responsibility towards their respective husbands’ happiness, and that, coupled with shots of them sitting under blankets on the sofa smooching one another, make this group of fifty-somethings come across as incredibly immature.

The second set are a bunch of modern-day hippies who live in a commune consisting of a few houses and a vegetable patch. The main house is stuffed full of books and paraphernalia, almost of all of which has something to do with sex. It’s apparent that sex and polyamory defines them more than anything else, and if those are stripped away they’re unbearably dull and probably not very bright. We are introduced to Mattias, a weedy-looking hipster and his partner AJ, who looks as though she’s just been rescued from a cult. AJ is pregnant with Mattias’ kid (that’s what we’re told, anyway). With them is Joelle, who rents (or owns) the gaff, and first approached AJ for some lovin’ but got passed onto Mattias instead. One gets the impression this bunch aren’t too fussy who they’re with – male or female – provided it’s somebody. Joelle has 4 partners, but she “doesn’t like to use such hierachal terms in her poly-dynamics”. Well, me neither. It turns out AJ was married for ten years in a polyamorous marriage, which is surprising because she looks about thirty. With one eye on the character in my book, I’m half tempted to wonder if she too needed a US residency visa aged 21. Less surprising is the revelation that her husband left her for someone who wanted a monogamous relationship, which made her feel betrayed. Again like my character, it hasn’t occurred to her that polyamorous men might not make the best husbands.

Later on we find out AJ has met someone else, another weedy hipster and software developer called Q. We are told they met at – wait for it – a class she was teaching on how to use sex toys. I swear I’m not making this up. I didn’t even know there were classes on how to use sex toys, but apparently they’re delivered in Portland by pregnant women. Maybe that’s what keeps Mr Roark sticking around? When interviewed, they speak as if they’re on a higher spiritual plane, as if promiscuity has gifted them insight unattainable by lesser, monogamous beings. But I reckon the pretentious language is simply sophistry to avoid admitting they’re hurting each other. Theroux interviews Mattius and asks how he feels about another man shagging the mother of his unborn child and he rambles for a minute or two before admitting that yes, it’s pretty f*****g hard. Like the first group they seem impossibly childish, and matters aren’t helped when they attend a semi-naked costume party and then a soft-porn orgy attended by the sort of fat, ageing, tattooed, ghouls you see in pictures from Burning Man. One of the things I liked about watching this program was how so many of the threads I’d written about on this blog wove neatly together. The physical resemblence of this second group with some of the polyamorist/Burning Man lot I encountered was striking. In the epilogue we learn AJ has given birth to Mattius’ child but “they have decided not to assign the baby a gender”. That meaty slap you can hear as the credits roll is my palm hitting my forehead.

The third group was a woman and two men…sorry, boys…in their late twenties who live together as a threesome. They work in “tech and engineering” and look as though they’ve come straight from an all-night session of Dungeons & Dragons. If these three didn’t lose their virginity to each other on the night they all met, I’d be astounded.

Their relationship started as a threesome, but now Nick and Bob appear to take it in turns with Amanda after finding there were some, ahem, sexual incompatibilities. They all still sleep in the same bed, however. In the beginning they seemed to be fairly happy, but as the program went on it was revealed that Amanda is on medication for depression which she’s had since her teens, when she engaged in self-harm. Both the boys mumbled that they’d prefer to be “enough” for Amanda, but each accepts they never will be. When Theroux remarks that Amanda seems lucky to have a double dose of love and support to help her deal with whatever monsters lurk in her past, it is hard not to conclude it’s attention she craves. She obviously has deeper underlying needs, and whether these can be met over the long term via a threeway relationship with a couple of man-children is doubtful.

In summary, the episode confirmed something I already knew but polyamorists go to great lengths to deny: they are simply not normal. Now I don’t care what polyamorists do, but the idea that these are ordinary, well-adjusted people who simply choose another relationship arrangement is not borne out by the evidence . As I’m fond of saying, for many this is less a lifestyle choice than a coping mechanism, and despite protestations from polyamorists, a lot of them seem to end up hurt or making their existing condition worse. My point is, should you ever encounter a polyamorist on a dating site you should assume they are very, very different from normal people regardless of what they say. And if they used to be polyamorous, they owe you a long and detailed explanation right up front. Even then, you should probably just walk away.

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Lost generations

The other day David Thompson wrote a post on an article in New York magazine featuring various women whose marriages have fallen apart and they’re blaming it on political differences with their spouses. But a perusal of the article and David’s commentary suggests perhaps these women are simply unsuited to long-term relationships, being as they are selfish, deluded, and insistent on making everything in their lives political. There’s also more than a hint of mental illness at work. Consider this from a woman in – you guessed it – Brooklyn:

I’ve been sexually assaulted and raped, but for a long time I didn’t identify in that way. I didn’t like the idea of seeing myself as a victim. It’s only recently, with the amount of coverage [sexual assault has been getting] that I’ve realized, Oh, if I verbally dissented, just because I didn’t fight someone off doesn’t mean I wasn’t assaulted and raped.

You didn’t realise you’d been sexually assaulted and raped until the definition was expanded a year ago by hardcore feminists to include any sexual encounter which is not supervised by two woke lawyers and a (female) high court judge. Now perhaps this woman was raped and assaulted in the traditional sense of the terms, but I rather think if this were the case she’d have realised it immediately, not at the advent of a political movement. And what’s the betting she knew and admired the guy who supposedly assaulted her? Oh, wait:

My husband and I have been together 14 years and I’ve mentioned it vaguely, but I’ve never given him details, partly because one of the guys is still in my life, and they’re kind of friends.

Her husband is “kind of friends” with a guy who raped her? Yeah, Trump’s really the issue here.

Recently we had some friends over for dinner, and we had an argument about whether this kind of trial by mob that’s happened in the press is unfair. My friends, a man and a woman, took the position that a man shouldn’t have his reputation ruined because of an allegation. I disagreed, and as the conversation kept going, I got upset.

There’s a school of thought, held by misogynistic dinosaurs, that women cannot handle robust debate and burst into tears when pressed on a difficult topic. There’s another which says emotionally unstable women make poor dinner party guests.

Finally I said that it’s obvious none of them had been sexually assaulted,

Ah yes, the Natalia Antonova approach to debating.

Later my husband told me he thought my intellectual points were good, but he didn’t respond to the emotional outburst I had.

I imagine he was deeply embarrassed.

But really, I wish he would feel like, Fuck those guysI want to punch them. How dare somebody treat the woman I love like this? I hate that happened to you. That’s what I’m looking for.

You want your husband to start punching dinner guests because they disagree with your view that men aren’t entitled to due process when accused of rape?

I mean, I wrote to the man who assaulted me, the one who’s still in our lives. He said he didn’t remember, and that it turned his stomach to think I’d been carrying around this thought about him, but he fell short of accepting responsibility.

As with so many of these cases, this woman needs psychological help. Instead she’s got pandering journalists from New York magazine.

Sticking with the topic at hand, here’s a letter to an agony aunt:

I feel like a ghost. I’m a 35-year-old woman, and I have nothing to show for it. My 20s and early 30s have been a twisting crisscross of moves all over the West Coast, a couple of brief stints abroad, multiple jobs in a mediocre role with no real upward track. I was also the poster child for serial monogamy. My most hopeful and longest lasting relationship (three and a half years, whoopee) ended two years ago. We moved to a new town (my fourth new city), created a home together, and then nose-dived into a traumatic breakup that launched me to my fifth and current city and who-knows-what-number job.

To be fair to this lady, she’s at least tried to settle down into a normal life. What I suspect is lacking is a serious investigation as to why her relationships have gone wrong, particularly those parts for which she’s responsible.

For all these years of quick changes and rash decisions, which I once rationalized as adventurous, exploratory, and living an “original life,” I have nothing to show for it.

If this describes the period in which she was in her successive relationships, it explains a lot.

I have no wealth, and I’m now saddled with enough debt from all of my moves, poor decisions, and lack of career drive that I may never be able to retire. I have no career milestones and don’t care for my line of work all that much anyway, but now it’s my lifeline, as I only have enough savings to buy a hotel room for two nights. I have no family nearby, no long-term relationship built on years of mutual growth and shared experiences, no children. While I make friends easily, I’ve left most of my friends behind in each city I’ve moved from while they’ve continued to grow deep roots: marriages, homeownership, career growth, community, families, children.

She at least understands she has a problem and, crucially, that her situation is a result of her own poor decisions. This puts her much further down the road to recovery than most women in her position. Now the advice she gets from the agony aunt us beyond useless, which is a shame because she still seems to be living in cloud-cuckoo land:

I used to consider myself creative — a good writer, poetic, passionate, curious. Now, after many years of demanding yet uninspiring jobs, multiple heartbreaks, move after move, financial woes, I’m quite frankly exhausted. I can barely remember to buy dish soap let alone contemplate humanity or be inspired by Anaïs Nin’s diaries.

Sorry, but this sounds like a middle-class whine that your dreams of becoming an artist never came to fruition, probably because of a dearth of talent and an unwillingness to knuckle down and learn a discipline. What this has to do with your relationship status isn’t clear, but my guess is living with anyone with this mindset would become tiresome very quickly.

The thought that pops into my mind increasingly often is that young women have been appallingly advised, and the horrific results of this are now being laid bare. The trouble is they are still being given the same advice, and many of them are listening. I’m sometimes accused of being misogynistic or sexist for what I write on here, or what I say in the classroom. Whenever my motivations are questioned I simply say I believe the advice being dished out to young women will leave them disappointed, bitter, and desperately unhappy later on in life. I’ve got nothing against women, indeed I’m rather  fond of them, and I’d much prefer to see them living happy, fulfilling lives. Unfortunately, they’re having their heads filled with third-wave feminist garbage by people who see them as expendable pawns in a never-ending political battle they can’t win. Even some women seem to be realising the damage the malign influence of modern feminism is causing:

I’m 50 years old with four college degrees. I was raised by a feminist mother with no father in the home. My mother told me get an education to the maximum level so that you can get out in the world, make a lot of money. And that’s the path I followed. I make adequate money. I don’t make a ton of money. But I do make enough to support my own household.

I want to tell women in their 20s: Do not follow the path that I followed. You are leading yourself to a life of loneliness. All of your friends will be getting married and having children, and you’re working to compete in the world, and what you’re doing is competing with men. Men don’t like competitors. Men want a partner. It took me until my late 40s to realize this.

And by the time you have your own household with all your own bills, you can’t get off that track, because now you’ve got to make the money to pay your bills. It’s hard to find a partner in your late 40s to date because you also start losing self-confidence about your looks, your body. It’s not the same as it was in your 20s. You try to do what you can to make your life fulfilling. I have cats and dogs. But it’s lonely when you see your friends having children, going on vacations, planning the lives of their children, and you don’t do anything at night but come home to your cats and dogs. I don’t want other women to do what I have done.

The crucial line?

Men don’t like competitors. Men want a partner.

The sooner young women understand this, and learn to balance their careers with their long-term life goals, the better.

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Persecuted Polyamorists

Several readers have asked me if I’ve watched Louis Theroux’s documentary on a polyamorous community, now showing on BBC Three. Alas I haven’t, mostly due to time constraints and the BBC is wise to my VPN, so I can’t hoodwink them into thinking I’m in Lampeter. But I’ll get around to it at some point. Meanwhile, a reader alerts me to this piece:

A few years ago, my then-wife and I decided to more openly embrace an element of our relationship that had been acknowledged since we got together in college: We liked seeing, and sleeping with, other people.

Polyamorists always cite this as if they’ve broken some sort of taboo. Damned near every married man, and probably quite a few women, have the desire to sleep with someone else but they don’t in order to preserve the integrity of the relationship and the benefits it brings.

At one point I was invited to a happy hour in Lower Manhattan for the local poly community.

I might have known all this would be happening in New York, a city seemingly stuffed full of people with meaningless lives. My only surprise is the party didn’t take place in Brooklyn, but I’d hazard a guess most of the attendees live there.

Don’t get me wrong, folks definitely got their flirt on, and plenty went home together. But the night drove home my intuition that there was nothing too radical in polyamory. If anything, it seemed to appeal to gentle, sensitive, somewhat geeky types — white-collar hipsters (myself included) of many pleasant backgrounds.

Misfits soy-boys, in other words.

This did not strike me as a group that faced significant oppression. No poly friend or partner of mine has noted a genuine hardship.

That’s because it’s generally practiced by the spoiled offspring of dysfunctional middle-class marriages. But this is a problem, because polyamorists want to be accepted into mainstream society and the best route to achieve that is to claim victimhood of some sort. Hence:

Whereas the poly people I’ve known personally just think of the lifestyle as an arrangement that works for them, the internet’s poly-vangelists are consumed with making it an identity, even claiming it as their sexual orientation, which, again, draws an improper comparison to the struggle for gay rights. They also continue to alienate monogamists, minorities, LGBTQ groups and their fellow polyamorists by indulging in fantasies of persecution.

In other words, the movement is largely formed from a bunch of weirdos inventing persecution complexes in order to gain attention.

The statement also curiously overlooks polyamorists of color.

Probably because polyamory is generally a white person’s pursuit, although I’ve noticed a few western-raised Asian women dabbling in it, probably as a result of identity confusion.

Anti-poly discrimination is “a very first-world problem to complain about,” says Sarah-Louise, a solo poly woman in New York.

For the uninitiated, solo poly is the term to describe someone who has several secondary partners but no primary one. I imagine the term has been invented in order that women can pretend this suits them, having entered polyamory out of desperation to find a partner with the hope they’d at least be someone’s primary. As I wrote in my book:

Despite saying they love each other equally, someone usually ends up being the number two partner of several people, but the number one of nobody.

If, as they often do, women get into polyamory due to low self-esteem, this can’t help very much.

She and I dated there, and she has the most poly connections of anyone I know.

That’s one way of putting it.

She once sublet a room in a Bushwick building expressly renovated for and rented to polyamorous tenants .

My book was partially set in Bushwick, a neighbourhood of Brooklyn. What a coincidence, eh?

Even so, certain poly individuals nurse a sense of victimhood surrounding their romantic life. I was guilty of this when my parents discovered — by an accident of gossip — that my wife and I existed in this mold. I fought with my family a lot, which was unusual, and imagined, for the first and only time, that Mom and Dad were old, recoiling conservatives.

Scratch a polyamorist and underneath you’ll find issues with Mum and Dad bursting to escape. And this tweet by the author – included in the article – made me laugh:


Because the profiles of the polyamorists I’ve written about on here just scream out unusually high intelligence and emotional stability, don’t they?

Some are chafed that non-poly acquaintances see them as oversexed. “Women are low-value sluts, men are misogynist harem builders, etc.,” as one redditor put it. As a result, poly promoters will go out of their way to defend what some would consider mere promiscuity.

I’ve yet to see this accusation successfully defended. When they try, they end up describing an ordinary life with the sole distinguishing feature being that of sex with multiple people. For instance:


With the exception of that last one, this is a description of any adult’s life. A serial killer is defined by his murdering people in succession, not by the fact that he also buys cornflakes and brushes his teeth. For some reason, polyamorists seem to think a list of mundane activities which everyone does is evidence their lifestyles are not defined purely by sex and promiscuity.

Nevertheless, she and many polyamorists point out one of the more severe repercussions of the lifestyle: In isolated cases, poly parents stand to lose custody of children, with their various partners taken into consideration of the home environment.

They have chosen to live a lifestyle which, by any sensible measure, is not a suitable environment in which to raise children. This gives any court charged with making a decision an indication as to where their priorities lie.

In the late 1990s, when a Memphis mom named April Divilbliss appeared on an MTV show that documented her polyamorist home, her young daughter’s paternal grandparents successfully filed for emergency custody of the kid. Back then, Divilbliss — a self-described Wiccan — said her religious and moral freedoms had been infringed. But years later, she had a much different view, writing that she hadn’t been able to materially care for her daughter, that “polyamory was never really the issue with my child’s custody,” and that the decision to leave her in the care of the grandparents was “the best I’ve ever made” as a parent.”

Well, quite.

And more recently, judges have proven willing to assess polyamorist families as stable and loving units that deserve appropriate custody arrangements — even when divorce is involved.

Only in Canada, which is fast becoming a nation beyond parody. I wrote about this case here.

Then there are those who worry that being outed as poly could mean losing a job, especially if they work in a conservative area or industry. The fear is not unfounded; polyamory has made for career setbacks and obstacles, up to and including firing, and generally speaking, there are no legal protections against this.

I rather think it is those with conservative views who run the risk of getting hounded from their jobs by a Twitter mob.

In Australia, a poly woman’s lawsuit against the Catholic social services organization that sacked her was rejected by a federal judge who said the country’s Sex Discrimination Act applied no more to polyamory than to necrophilia or pedophilia — a rather unfair association.

Quite right too: polyamory is a coping mechanism masquerading as a lifestyle choice, but I wonder how long it’ll be before they’re granted protected class status. My guess is they won’t be, simply because of the long queue of grifters ahead of them campaigning for the same privilege.

“I know several people who really believe that they’ll lose their jobs in advertising/graphic design/whatever in NYC if people know they’re poly.”

Whereas in reality it’s probably a requirement. The polyamorist I knew worked for several years in graphic design in NYC. The research I did for my book would have been a lot harder were this movement not made up of walking stereotypes.

To make a long story incredibly short, I’m now separated from my wife and living with a partner I met during the marriage

Why, it’s almost as if the whole polyamory thing was to avoid you and your wife admitting the marriage had got boring and you both wanted out. Imagine my surprise.

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