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.


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.


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)


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.


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.


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.


A pimp’s view of romance

Via little Billy Ockham comes this article, which needs a complete fisking. So here we go:

Emily was an ambitious woman with a high-powered career in finance


when she met the man who would become her husband. But when she and Richard started a family together, they decided that she would give up her job to raise their three young children.


At first, the arrangement worked well: Richard continued in his role as a partner in a leading accountancy firm, while Emily remained at home. But, as time went on, they began to fall out over little things – he was spending too much time at work…

Providing for his family, or was he there just for fun?

they disagreed over an issue with one of the children’s schools, and so on.

Whether to send him to one which charges £45,000 per year or a mere £39,000?

One day, shortly after a fierce row between them, Emily went to do the weekly grocery shop but was told her credit card had been declined. She phoned her husband to find out what was going on, only to learn that this was his “revenge” for their recent tiff.

Hmmm. I’d like his side of the story. Was she spending cash like a sailor on shore leave, demanding he maintain the lifestyle she was accustomed to when she had her high-powered job in finance? It wouldn’t be the first time, and it may explain arguments over schools and why he was spending so much time at work.

He wanted her to beg him each time she needed cash, and revelled in his power to control exactly what she did and how she spent her money.

Again, we’re only getting one side here. For all we know he merely said “Watch what you’re spending love, we’ve only got one income now, remember?”

She felt humiliated and became increasingly isolated. When she eventually decided to leave the marriage, her husband laughed and told her she would walk away with nothing: he could hire the best lawyers and she had no way to afford representation.

If this is what he said he’s an idiot, and he clearly doesn’t live in the UK, US, or any other country where you can drink the tap water. So I suspect it wasn’t.

(In fact, she came to my firm, and we secured lending for her to fight her case.)

Oh, so we’re getting her lawyer’s side of the story! And what a surprise that she secured loans for her to pay the fees she’d be charging her. How altruistic!

Behaviour like Richard’s is far more common than you might think. In my many years of work as a divorce lawyer at Vardags, I’ve met countless people who feel they are trapped in relationships or marriages marred by financial conflict.

I imagine a divorce lawyer’s views on marriage are a little like a prostitute’s view of sex. Let’s just depart from the article for a second and look at what Wikipedia says about the author, one Ayesha Vardag:

She has gained notoriety for representing in divorce proceedings high net worth individuals, such members of the Royal Family, heiresses, international footballers, artists, professionals, entrepreneurs and celebrities.

In other words, she specialises in divorce among societies most narcissistic, selfish individuals. Let’s bear that in mind as we continue:

When this takes the form of one partner forcing the other to be dependent on them for housing, food, clothes, transport or money, it can tip over into economic abuse, which occurs across the social spectrum.

The institution of marriage is so utterly wrecked that mutual dependency – which is the whole damned point – is now seen as a problem.

A study in 2015 of more than 4,000 people showed that one in five experienced such abuse in a current or former relationship.

It’s odd that access to unlimited housing, food, clothes, transport and money are considered “rights” in a marriage, but not the one thing men surrender all this in exchange for: sex. A woman can withdraw access permanently, and he’s not even allowed to seek it elsewhere.

In the UK government’s forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill, due to be published in the coming months, this will, for the first time, be identified as a form of domestic abuse – thus exerting control over someone’s personal finances would be recognised as a criminal act.

Can the money earned by someone else really be considered one’s personal finances? Not for the first time this week we’re seeing people’s ludicrous sense of entitlement enshrined in law. Chalk that up as another reason not to bother voting Conservative.

The culprits are not only male, though more often than not it’s the man who has more money in a heterosexual relationship. It is particularly rife in instances where one spouse has a high net worth on which the other is financially dependent, and is often cited as unreasonable behaviour on divorce petitions.

If material dependency on one’s spouse is grounds for divorce, I think we can put a fork in the institute of marriage.

I’ve seen women who live in palatial mansions with tennis courts and swimming pools, yet can’t even buy a bar of chocolate or box of tampons without pleading and justifying the expenditure to their controlling husband.

Normal people agree a monthly allowance befitting the husband’s salary and the wife’s needs. By contrast, celebrities, and those who marry them, are sociopaths.

Speaking to the other lawyers in my firm, I gathered hundreds of stories; they told me of husbands tapping phones and paying for private detectives and bodyguards to spy on their wives, and sometimes their grown-up children, whenever they left the house.

Did they have reason to? Are we to believe that of all these hundreds of instances, not one man caught his wife cheating and his children snorting lines of coke? And how many wives spy on their husbands?

One retail magnate sent bodyguards to his adult daughter’s university. When they reported back that she had been on a date with a fellow student, he decreed that she leave her studies and return home, where he could keep a closer eye on her.

Do we get details of the date? Who it was with, where they went, and what she got up to? Or, perhaps, the father’s religion?

A member of the Silicon Valley “brotopia” would force his wife to beg him whenever she needed anything. His home was a fortress of hi-tech security, cameras watching every move, fingerprint locks, electronic gates and 24/7 security staff. Every “transgression” on his wife’s part led to financial penalties.

I suspect this guy was a complete sociopath when she met him, but the sound of the cash register in her head repeatedly opening and closing masked it.

Another husband, an oil magnate, installed secret cameras in the bedroom and bathroom of his wife, a full-time mother of two young children, so as to monitor her fidelity.

When wealthy women do this in order to monitor their third-world peasant nannies, nobody says a word. On the contrary, most think it’s a good idea.

When she started divorce proceedings, we had to take him to court to make him support her and the children even during the process.

Was she fulfilling her obligations towards him during this period? Or didn’t she have any?

As long as she toed the line, she received, quite literally, castles and Ferraris. Once she crossed it, there was a complete shutdown.

Perhaps the man feels that, given he’s literally buying her castles and Ferraris, he can expect certain standards of behaviour. Now he might be unreasonable in what those expectations are, but then he is paying in castles and Ferraris. Frankly, if someone was going to buy me a castle he could put me in a dress and call me Susan.

Often it is staff who are delegated to exercise the control. Housekeepers are instructed that only certain sorts of food are allowed, and drivers are the only means of exit from the home, tasked with either reporting back or chauffeuring their employers’ wives to pre-approved destinations.

If these women had married more humble men, they’d not be spied on by a veritable army of housekeepers and chauffeurs. I’m not excusing the behaviour of the men, but why should we absolve women of their poor decisions?

Nannies act as spies, too. The controlling spouse locks the victim in a gilded cage – try even getting to see a lawyer in those circumstances, let alone friends.

Don’t these people have phones or email?

When I told one woman who was trapped in such a marriage what award she was likely to receive in divorce, she was terrified by the idea of actually having her own funds. Of Middle Eastern origin, she had married a Britain-based multi-millionaire businessman at a relatively young age and had never had financial independence.

British-based? So we have multi-millionaire foreigners being beastly to one another. Why does anyone in Britain care, let alone think it’s a problem so severe we need another slew of laws which will wreck marriage further?

She was dripping with designer clothes and handbags, but withdrawing money from a cash point was a totally alien concept to her.

Arabs, I expect. Why the hell is this our problem?

Elsewhere, I have met with countless individuals, usually women, who have found that access to the family finances is used as a tool to control, manipulate or punish them within a relationship.

And how many men have you met who found access to the children was used as a tool to control, manipulate, or punish them? Or access to sex?

These women have quite often been married for many years, and have not only sacrificed their own careers to look after the children and the home, but have also channelled their energies into helping their husband reach the top of his profession.

Yes, this is what a partnership means: sacrifice for the common good.

Frequently, they have no earnings, savings or pension themselves, having trusted the person they love to manage their finances for them. When the relationship is healthy, this arrangement can work very well; if it sours, however, the power imbalance usually fosters a sinister turn. And this can work both ways.

Once upon a time couples were encouraged to maintain the relationship at all costs for this precise reason. Now they’re encouraged to run to the nearest divorce lawyer at the first sign of trouble, and here we are.

One man came to me after his wife, a farming heiress, got him sacked from his job on the family estate when she – not he – started an affair. She then tried to turn him out of their home, which was also part of her domain, and refused him contact with their three small children, in whose care he had played a very active role.

Note there’s no defiant statement of how justice was served attached to this particular tale. I expect the man got shafted and stayed that way, thanks to a lawyer who was a carbon copy of the one writing this article.

The abuse customarily worsens when the financially vulnerable party takes steps to leave the marriage. With depressing regularity, we see clients whose access to bank accounts has been blocked, so they cannot even afford to take public transport to seek advice. They borrow cash from friends to reach us, terrified of being found out.

This is true of all relationships, be they commercial, social, or romantic: if someone tries to leave, they can no longer access the benefits the relationship brings. Only where marriage is concerned do people think they can walk out and still collect the benefits.

Others feel they have no choice but to stay in an unhappy, sometimes even physically abusive, marriage – not least when faced with the sheer scale and potential cost of their divorce.

Well, yes. Financial concerns drive many decisions in life, why should this be different? Especially as a lot of these cases sound as though the decision to get married in the first place was purely financial.

According to the charity Women’s Aid, victims are often unable to recognise the abuse until it has escalated to the point at which the barriers to leaving appear insurmountable.

When the supply of castles and Ferraris dries up, the writing’s on the wall.

We can only hope that now this abuse is beginning to gain public recognition as a potentially criminal offence, things will begin to change.

Because Britain is desperately short of criminal charges which can be brought by vindictive types and which disproportionately affect men. And let’s not concern ourselves that divorce lawyers are lobbying to criminalise mutual dependency in a marriage, I’m sure everything will work out fine.


Problematic Personal Preferences

I’ve written before about how dating sites and apps are one of the few remaining places where people are free to discriminate, and gay men appear to be particularly unenlightened. Here’s an article addressing the same thing:

Dating applications can allow users to fall into their own racial biases while searching for a partner, a new study says.

Meaning, people have dating preferences. What a revelation.

But in their study, researchers from schools like Cornell University say the “sexual racism” that plagues apps like Grindr, Tinder and Bumble can be stamped out with a few simple changes.

User preferences can be stamped out by not giving people any choice.

The end goal, the study says, is to promote more diverse pairings on the dating sites.

The ultimate goal of dating sites is miscegenation, eh? And there was me thinking they were there to make money for the owners by giving users a service they want.

Jevan Hutson, lead author of the study, said …“Intimacy is very private, and rightly so, but our private lives have impacts on larger socioeconomic patterns that are systemic.”

Your love lives must contribute towards the greater good of a mixed-race society.

Take the case of Sinakhone Keodara for example. He threatened to sue Grindr, a dating app for gay, bi and trans men, because of “sexual racism” he faced on the site, NBC reported. More specifically, Keodara says some users on the site had captions like “Not interested in Asians.”

So what’s the alternative? You meet with a guy who doesn’t like Asians? How does that end well?

As noted by the study — which compiled data from prior research — white people are ten times more likely to receive a message from a black person on a dating app than they are to message the black user themselves. That suggests a hierarchy of attention on racial lines.

Okay, but we can add that to the long list of other factors in the hierarchy of attention: height, beauty, wealth, intelligence, social status, breast size, hair colour, sense of humour, etc.

The study found other examples of inequalty in dating apps, including:

Asian men and black women have the lowest chance of receiving a message or a response.

Right, but are these people living in majority white countries? It would seem odd indeed if Asian men in China or black women in Nigeria weren’t getting many responses , but in the US or UK? What do they expect?

White people of “all ages” prefer to go on dates with other white people.

Isn’t this true generally of all races?

College students are most likely to avoid going on dates with black women.

Does this include black male college students? If so, maybe someone could ask them why?

Stephanie Yeboah, a blogger, said that she has experienced racism as a black woman on online dating apps even when people are open to meeting up, according to The Independent. She said that some people ask offensive questions like if they can “get a taste of jungle fever” — and say they want to see if black women are “as aggressive in bed as they’ve heard.”

Well, yes. Manners and politeness tend to disappear altogether when strangers communicate electronically while hiding their true identity. Take a look at Twitter, for example. This isn’t unique to dating apps.

“Comments such as these are extremely dehumanizing to myself and other black women who are only looking for companionship,” she told The Independent. “It seems to suggest that black women are only good for one thing, and cites back to previous ideologies of black people being compared to primates; as primal and feral, hyper-sexualized creatures. It’s very hurtful.”

To be honest, I’m surprised more black women don’t feel that way after watching a rap video.

The study’s authors noted that OK Cupid itself experimented with pairing up users and saying they were “highly compatible” — even though they weren’t considered good matches — and found that the conversation between the two people often went well.

And if it didn’t? Well, that terrible date you’ve just been on is the result of an experiment you were unwittingly forced to take part in. How the hell is this ethical?

In other words, it appeared that just the mere suggestion that two people were compatible made both users more likely to give the connection a chance.

Anyone who’s used online dating sites will tell you the compatibility ratings are a load of nonsense.

The study’s authors wrote in a press release that it proves “the strong power of suggestion” that can be used to bridge the gap between people of different races.

Why is this even desirable?

Another potential solution could come from 9Monsters, a gay dating app from Japan, that allows people to describe themselves without explicitly revealing their race, according to the study’s authors.

Another gay dating app, called Hornet, prevents people from using their profile to mention race at all.

This might work well for pen-pals, but I’m not sure it’ll work for people who eventually want to have sex with one another. It’s just delaying the inevitable to a point where time and effort have been expended.

The study’s authors concede that sexual racism is a hard thing to conquer — but Keodara, who threatened to sue Grindr, said fixing the problem would improve the mental well-being of people of color looking for a chance at love on dating apps, according to The Guardian.

So we should treat people of colour as mentally-ill and unable to navigate dating preferences? Could this be any more patronising?

“Over the years I’ve had some pretty harrowing experiences,” Keodara told The Guardian. “You run across these profiles that say ‘no Asians’ or ‘I’m not attracted to Asians’. Seeing that all the time is grating; it affects your self-esteem.”

Imagine how short, bald men have felt for decades.

This whole nonsense about sexual racism is the illogical endpoint of anti-discrimination laws which force people to associate with those they’d rather avoid. Give it a few years and there’ll be legislation being passed forbidding you from not dating in a state-approved manner. I kid, but not by much.

Incidentally, I’ve seen a few articles and tweets here and there which suggest one of the freest web forums is the one on Pr0nHub, simply because busybodies and the perpetually offended would never contemplate using the site. You think people just talk about sex on there? Think again:

One day we’ll all be Pr0nHub users, sneaking under the ever-pinging radar of the SJWs roving overhead.


Go long on cat stocks

Via David Thompson, a remarkably stupid article even by the standards of today’s media:

It’s no secret that there are so many incredible single women in the world. We’re smart, funny and basically total catches…

According to whom?

so where are all the great guys?

With women who posses some sense of self-awareness?

The real reason so many of us are still rolling solo is much simpler: most guys aren’t worth dating.

Right, but what about the guys who are worth dating? Oddly, they’re not interested in you.

We have so much to offer a potential partner and the world at large — we’re strong, ambitious and totally self-sufficient.

Erm yeah, men aren’t interested in that.

Meanwhile, guys seem to have thrown chivalry and romance out the window…

Around the same time ladylike behaviour disappeared.

…and assume they can get away with the bare minimum. No thanks — they can take that laziness elsewhere.

They do, they take it to Tinder where, if the reports I’ve read are correct, such laziness is no obstacle to a guy getting 90% of what he wants from a date: sex.

Sure, we could have a relationship if we were willing to look the other way when immature liars and players pull their crap with us, but why should we? We’ve seen all the same stuff and heard all the same excuses time and time again and we respect ourselves too much to accept them for the sake of being in a relationship. We’d much rather be on our own.

I’m glad you’re not bitter or anything.

Since we know our worth, we won’t accept anything less than what we deserve from guys.

You’re worth only what someone else is willing to part with for you. If that’s a quick meal in a Harvester’s on a wet Tuesday evening where you split the bill, so be it.

They need to be on our level in every sense of the word and if they’re not prepared to do that, we’re not prepared to date them.

By definition, the guys in your dating pool are on your level. Those guys who you won’t date you are by definition above your level.

Part of the problem with modern dating is that guys think all it takes to move on to the next woman is a quick right swipe on their phone screens.

Which it does, but go on.

Ghosting and benching are par for the course, but if so we much as get a glimpse of loser tendencies, we’re out of there before he can open Tinder.

So you want to tackle flakiness by being even flakier? Dump before you’re dumped, kind of thing. Which I get, but it’s a little out of whack with your contention that you’re all  great catches, no?

We’ve got busy careers, amazing friends, loving families and passions to pursue. Our schedules are booked solid.

Well, yes. When you’re single, you’ve got to fill your lonely evenings and weekends with something. Although it’s more often meaningless crap like “travelling” when you’re a single woman, rather than amazing friends and loving families.

That means if we’re making room for a guy, he’d better bring something new and worthwhile to the table.

Because nothing is more important than a Wednesday lunchtime body-pump class.

If he’s just looking to get laid or wants to “hang out” until he figures out what he wants to do with his life, he can go elsewhere.

As if men just looking to get laid make demands on a woman’s time. About half an hour normally suffices, does it not?

That doesn’t mean all of us are averse to eventually getting married, but we don’t wake up every day wondering if it’ll be the day that our Prince Charming comes to sweep us off our feet. We don’t need to walk down the aisle to feel as though we’ve reached the pinnacle of womanhood — it’s not the 195os anymore and we’re as committed to our own happiness and excellence as we could ever be to a guy.

Ah yes, a chap called Aesop wrote about this mindset once.

Thanks to feminism and our ability not only to work but to take on positions of leadership in our careers, women are now able to provide ourselves all the benefits husbands used to provide us. We don’t need a guy to spoil us or buy us a house — we’ve got that locked down already.

So this is the main purpose of a woman getting married in the eyes of modern feminists, is it? Being bought a house?

We don’t even need a husband for kids; if we really want to become mothers, there are ways to achieve that without having to tie the knot with someone we’ll just end u divorcing a few years later.

So single motherhood is fun now?

We’re not going to dumb ourselves down or play off our goals and accomplishments as no big deal when we’ve worked our ass off to get where we are. Too many guys can’t handle being with a woman who won’t just sit back and be quiet.

Ah yes, the Kate Mulvey excuse for being single her whole life: I’m just too clever and intimidating.

Those cat merchants are going to be retiring at 45 to sit on their yachts drinking pink gins, aren’t they?


Married once, gelded twice

Imagine if the sexes were reversed in this story:

Some time ago, a friend told me that she was planning to leave her husband but was waiting for him to get a vasectomy. She said she knew she’d have to hold his hand through it to make sure it happened. Once the procedure was done, she planned to break the news that she was going to end the marriage.

Why, I hear you ask?

She felt that he could barely manage to parent the children they had and that she didn’t want him to be distracted by more kids.

She doesn’t want the man she’s leaving to be distracted.

She said that she had been warning him for years that she was planning to leave and so it shouldn’t be a surprise.

Ah, clearly from the “nobody owes anyone s**t” school of relationship behaviour. If  divorce laws were sensible, women wouldn’t be able to repeatedly threaten to leave their husbands while staying in the relationship for years.

She later reported that when she told her husband of her decision to end the marriage for good, he told her that he was upset to learn this after having had the vasectomy and that he believed it would hurt his chances of finding a new partner.

Frankly, this man’s balls were removed long before the vasectomy.

Her response was that she was pretty sure that women weren’t going to be interested in having children with someone his age anyway (he’s middle-aged).

Translation: being sterile means hotter, younger women who want a family won’t be interested in him.

This woman is employed by an organization dedicated to reproductive choice and plans to work as a counselor.

This doesn’t surprise me. From what I’ve seen, the pro-abortion movement in the US is chock-full of lunatic feminists who hate men.

I have been troubled about what she told me for months and have considered disclosing the information to the organization, but I’m unsure: Would I just be “tattling” on what I find to be reprehensible human behavior? Or would this be a reasonable act in response to the highly inappropriate behavior of someone working in the field of reproductive choice? Please advise.

The answer from the NYT on this question amuses me:

There’s a significant body of research in social psychology suggesting that our conduct in one type of situation often doesn’t generalize to others. You can be an honest broker and a dishonest husband. That someone has done something awful in the context of a difficult marriage, then, doesn’t prove her to be an awful person in every other respect; and it certainly doesn’t establish that she’d be unable to discharge her professional obligations.

I look forward to them applying the above standard to Brett Kavanaugh.