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

Yeah?

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.

Okay.

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Heteroflexible pansexual solo polyamorous relationship anarchist

Via Blue Burmese on Twitter, this from the Guardian:

Sanson is polyamorous, meaning that she has multiple romantic and sexual partners, all of whom are aware of the others’ existence. Currently, the 28-year-old is in a “polycule” with three other people: William, Mike and Laura, all of whom are also dating the other members of the polycule.

I’ve read about these arrangements. One of the men will be getting all the sex while the other has to sit there for hours listening to the women’s problems.

Dinner-party jitters aside, things are going swimmingly for Sansonwho works in marketing. “There’s so much joy in being poly,” she says. “It’s lovely not to burden one person with all your stuff. You just spread it all out.”

Well yes, shagging multiple people at once is fun. What you lose, though, are the benefits which come from a stable, monogamous relationship. Chief among these are being taken seriously by functioning adults.

Polyamory, also known as consensual non-monogamy, seems to be growing in popularity among young people, though with no definitive figures it’s hard to know how much of this is a matter of increased visibility.

No, it’s always been around. What changed is degeneracy is now something to be celebrated in the pages of national newspapers.

solo polyamory, where you identify as polyamorous, but are not currently in multiple relationships.

This like saying you prefer blondes but you’re currently not dating one.

But all those involved reject monogamy as stifling, or oppressive, or simply not to their taste.

Or, thanks to deep character flaws on their part, unobtainable.

“I’ve had people saying to me, ‘You just want to fuck about!’” says 29-year-old Calum James, who identifies as a heteroflexible pansexual solo polyamorous relationship anarchist.

What?

What this basically means is that James, who is mostly straight, is not currently in a polyamorous relationship with a person or persons.

So he’s bisexual and single.

If he were, he would regard it as no more important than non-intimate friendships, because relationship anarchists treat romantic and non-romantic relationships the same.

Which implies the difference between romantic and non-romantic relationship is purely one of sex. This confirms what I’m fond of pointing out, that polyamorous relationships are defined by sex and all the guff that surrounds them are merely attempts to apply a veneer of respectability to a deviant lifestyle.

“But people don’t understand it’s not just about meeting women and having sex with them. I want to build deep connections with people and see them regularly. I just don’t want those connections to follow the same rules as traditional relationships.”

Yes, you want all the benefits of an intimate, sexual relationship without the commitment. This is something most functional adults realise is unobtainable.

James tried monogamy, but found it “suffocating”. “I never understood monogamy, even when I was a kid. I’d think, ‘I fancy three people in my class.’”

And most functional adults understand such concepts as compromise, impulse control, and delayed gratification.

“What I love about polyamory is that I’m my own person and no one owns me. I don’t own any of you, either. We’re all free.”

Woman discovers being single.

Polyamory is having a cultural moment right now, with celebrities such as Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith speaking about being non-monogamous, and the BBC drama Wanderlust depicting a middle-class couple as they open up their relationship.

Yet nobody seems able to find polyamorists on which to base an article who don’t come across as perpetual adolescents, incredibly selfish, or mentally ill.

As polyamory becomes more visible, it won’t be seen as such a tear in our social fabric, but as an ordinary and unremarkable thing. This will be down to the efforts of a new generation who are normalising their freedom to live and love how they want, without nose-wrinkling or head-shaking.

Until they wind up approaching middle age alone, craving the benefits of a stable, monogamous relationship which will forever elude them. The only people who are going to benefit from the normalisation of polyamory are distillers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and cat merchants.

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Padma Lakshmi and Trump

From the BBC, who report this on their front page purely because it’s anti-Trump:

US television host Padma Lakshmi has explained why she kept silent after allegedly being raped as a teenager.

In a piece for the New York Times, Ms Lakshmi, 48, says she was raped by a man over 30 years ago.

Okay.

But she said she began to feel the alleged attack was her fault, and that she understands why women might not disclose sexual assaults.

Here’s what happened according to the BBC:

The Top Chef host says she dated the man while still a teen.

In her account, she said they went to his apartment where she fell asleep, and woke up with him on top of her.

This article has been stealth-edited. The earlier version made clear she was 16 years old, her boyfriend 23, and the incident occurred on New Year’s eve after they’d been partying all night. Indeed, when you read the account she gave to the New York Times, this is the case. So why did the BBC change it? Perhaps because including such details will make people ask, “What the hell were you doing in his apartment?”

She explains how she started to feel it was her fault: “We had no language in the 1980s for date rape. I imagined that adults would say: ‘What the hell were you doing in his apartment?'”

Ahem.

“I didn’t report it. Not to my mother, not to my friends and certainly not to the police.”

Did your mother know you were dating a 23 year old man you’d met in a shopping mall? Apparently yes:

When we went out, he would park the car and come in and sit on our couch and talk to my mother.

I’m curious as to the ethnicity of her alleged attacker. Was he an all-American white boy who liked baseball and waffles, or was he another Indian (perhaps of the right caste) who would feel quite comfortable talking to her mother? Now 23 isn’t old, but 16 fails the “half age plus 7”  rule. I’d guess there was a strong cultural element to all this we’re not being told. Wikipedia gives us a clue:

Lakshmi grew up shuttling between her grandparents in Chennai and her mother in New York. She was sexually assaulted as a small girl. She wrote in the New York Times, “When I was 7 years old, my stepfather’s relative touched me between my legs and put my hand on his erect penis. Shortly after I told my mother and stepfather, they sent me to India for a year to live with my grandparents. The lesson was: If you speak up, you will be cast out.” 

So she’d been raised in a household with an absent father where family members sexually abused her, and the prevailing culture forced her into silence. That she ended up in bed aged 16 with an older man is therefore unsurprising: I expect the entire relationship was a giant cry for help.

The entire purpose of this article is to counter Trump’s questioning why Christine Blasey Ford didn’t report her alleged assault to the police at the time. From where I’m standing, it answers the question rather well: many of these rapes we’re hearing about from decades before may not have been rapes, and the women involved seriously messed up in the head. It’s indicative of the progressive mindset that the bad people in this article are the white patriarchs Trump and Kavanaugh, while Lakshmi’s Indian family who sexually abused her and then forced her into silence get a free pass.

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Polyamory and Mental Illness

Via David Thompson, an article in Everyday Feminism on how difficult it is to be polyamorous when disabled:

As someone who’s disabled and non-monogamous, it’s hard for me to relate to most of them.

Back when I used to trawl through the Twitter feeds of polyamorists in an effort to understand who they were, I noticed a lot of them are self-described as disabled in some way. Now when ordinary people hear the term “disabled” they think of some poor soul confined to a wheelchair, or perhaps blind or deaf. But when the sort of people who get into polyamory talk about being disabled they mean:

For example, for scent sensitive people this can mean partners not wearing any scented products.

Scent sensitivity is a disability? Who knew? The article continues:

It can be hard enough to find one partner, let alone more than one.

One of the great ironies about polyamory is it is often practised by people who are manifestly incapable of holding down one stable relationship, let alone several concurrently.

That’s even more difficult when you’re disabled.

Then why do it?

Not through any fault of our own, but ableism can paint disabled people as inherently sexless or undesirable.

If a potential partner starts wittering on about scent sensitivities, I can believe it.

One friend I spoke to who did not want to be named explained her experience, “as a disabled-since-birth superfat genderqueer femme, it’s not always possible to find partners who I trust and am able to be open with.”

Or anyone who wants to be with you.

Another friend who wanted to remain anonymous mentioned that a big hurdle for her is the impossibility of meeting people when you spend most of your time in bed.

Whilst I am sure this is true and a genuine problem, if finding one partner is impossible it’s rather difficult to see how polyamory is even on the horizon here.

Though I identify as non-monogamous and occasionally have other sexual partners, I currently don’t have the energy to maintain other serious romantic relationships.

I’m low on energy, so I have to settle for shagging around. I’ve got to try that one.

Sometimes I am too sick to make my own food and rely on my partner to feed me.

According to her bio she has four kids and “an amazing partner”. If she’s so unwell she sometimes can’t feed herself, yet she has time and energy to go sleeping with other people, where do her children sit on her list of priorities?

Non-monogamy can work great for this as the more people you have for support, the easier the workload is on any one individual.

Being disabled and polyamorous is good because there are more people to shoulder the enormous burden which is me.

So, if my partner needs a break from that responsibility then someone else can take over.

Lucky him.

Conversely, sometimes we may need so much care that our partners don’t have anything left over to give to other partners.

Which – again – raises the question: why are you practising polyamory? Frankly, if you’ve got the time and energy to run around sleeping with multiple partners, you’re probably not that disabled.

My partner has agoraphobia and get stressed out in social situations, and as his primary mental health support, I need to be available to help him with his anxiety.

Remember, polyamorists are perfectly normal.

So if he is going to go on a date, part of my emotional caretaking means being available before and after his date to help him relax and and process and deal with the anxiety.

Should this man-child really be having dates, other than with a shrink?

Practically, this means that we cannot be on dates at the same time…

A bloke can’t bring his wife along on a date. Imagine.

…and I need to make sure I have the emotional energy for that support.

I’m going to assume while daddy is on his date and mummy is trying to cope with the emotional stress of it all, the kids are parked in front of the telly with a gallon jug of Sunny Delight and a family pack of Monster Munch.

One friend, Demi Simon, says that her mental health issues have made it easier for her to be polyamorous because she already needs to navigate the world in a different way due to her mental health issues, so adding non-monogamy on top of it makes sense to her.

A point I make often when discussion polyamory – which I originally got from commenter Daniel Ream and now shamelessly cite as if it’s my own – is that it’s a coping mechanism for people with severe personality disorders. In many cases, polyamory is a form of self-medication via the medium of meaningless sex with strangers. Paragraphs like the one above go a long way to reinforce this view.

Sometimes the need for open relationships is directly related to mental health.

Well, yes. It’s refreshing to finally see this so honestly stated.

My friend Bear identifies as someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder (often erroneously referred to as multiple personality disorder) which is integral to how and why they practice polyamory.

They say, “I don’t have any illusion one person could meet all my personalities needs. We are very different. Different tastes, different hobbies, different things which make us happy.” Diverse brains can be an asset!

As I said, it’s a coping mechanism. Keep this in mind next time the BBC or NYT runs a puff-piece on polyamory.

While there doesn’t necessarily need to be any sex involved in romantic or other kinds of relationships, for lots of people sex is an important part of how they practice polyamory.

As I’ve said before, sex defines a polyamorous relationship. Absent the sex with more than one person, you’ve got a normal, monogamous relationship.

As a concrete example, some people’s bodies may prefer sex that involves pain, others may have to work hard to reduce the amount of pain during sex in order for it to work for them.

I’m just going to throw this out there, but do disabled people really go seeking additional pain during sex?

As disabled people, we are twice as likely to have been victims of sexual trauma. This will often affect the ways we do sex and relationships. One disabled friend shared that her (also disabled) partner is generally unable to have sex due to trauma issues and she looks to other partners to meet those needs.

So let’s fix this by having multiple sexual relations running concurrently in a setup which even the most robust people find extremely stressful. Yeah, that’ll work.

This is just the beginning of the conversations we need to have and resources we need to develop to make polyamory as much of a possibility for us as it is for non-disabled people.

Well, insofar as polyamory is a route to successful and happy relationships, you’re on an exact par with your non-disabled peers. But I’m a bit concerned about this demand for “resources”. What exactly do you mean by that? What you need is psychiatric help, not taxpayers’ money spent furthering your delusions.

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Whatever the question, polyamory isn’t the answer

Regular commenter Theophrastus sends me the link to this article about – what else? – polyamory:

Sam and I have been together for almost a year now, and I don’t think he took me seriously when I first, briefly, mentioned that perhaps monogamy wasn’t for me.

One of the things which strikes me about polyamory is how soon its practitioners get into it. I could perhaps imagine a couple who’ve been together twenty or thirty years wanting to spice things up a bit, but these articles seem to feature people who, in relationship terms, have barely got out of the starting blocks. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that in many cases polyamory is an option taken by those who are bored in a relationship but lack the courage to end it. That seems to be the case here, at any rate.

But as time has worn on, we’ve butted up against my resolve like rubber ducks against an iceberg.

They’ve been together a year, and time has worn on since she first mentioned she wanted to sleep around. When did she originally bring it up, the first week?

Non-monogamy seems to be having a moment.

Among lefties with mental illnesses, yes.

I’ve never been a hardline monogamist. In my last (monogamous) relationship, I always contended that if my partner slept with someone else, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that it was, y’know, done.

In what way was this a relationship, I wonder? There doesn’t seem to have been much by way of mutual respect: he was shagging around, and she didn’t care.

It seemed reductive to boil down the suppers, red-wine-stained kisses, whispered secrets, adventures and grievances and confidences we shared…

Is she referring to her own relationship, or one she’s read about in Jane Austen book? Because I can’t imagine her relationship had much by way of shared confidences.

…the sheer everything of a relationship, to a shag.

On the contrary, the one thing which defines a polyamorous relationship as distinct from a normal one is, as she puts it, a shag.

If our relationship existed on so many levels – friends, teammates, confidantes, lovers – then it couldn’t be undone by one act; and that’s quite a noble thought, isn’t it?

I suspect the “if” which starts that sentence is doing a lot of heavy lifting.

Polyamory has been getting a lot of press.

Oh, I know.

It basically means having concurrent relationships with more than one person. You might have one primary, but everyone you choose to be with is more or less equal in your affections. My preferred configuration isn’t actually that radical: ethical non-monogamy is basically a good old-fashioned open relationship.

Or shagging around, as it’s otherwise known.

There would only ever be two of us in it, but I’d like to trust that person so implicitly, and value them so wholeheartedly, that if they slept with someone else it wouldn’t damage us. I’d like for the other person to trust and value me just as much so that if I did the same…

Let me stop you there: any man who is happy to let you sleep with someone else doesn’t value you much at all.

…we’d be able to look at it for what it is: a banal act that is fun or weird or intimate or exciting, but ultimately not a threat to our harmony.

If it’s that banal, why construct your entire romantic life around it?

“A sort of flexitarian approach to relationships,” I said to Sam. “You have a primary partner, and they’re the important one… ” He rolled his eyes, and I told him he was being too middle class about it.

A freelance writer wittering on about sex in The Guardian thinks someone else is being too middle class. The barriers to entry into the world of polyamory may be low, but a complete lack of self-awareness is most certainly among them.

Finally, he admitted to me: “Maybe because of the traditional expectations that are put on men, it’s more difficult for us to be open about it. There’s something a bit embarrassing about the woman you’re dating wanting to sleep with other people; as if maybe you’re inadequate.”

Well, yes. Perhaps if you grew a pair you’d not find yourself in this situation.

Earlier this year we’d reached something of an impasse…

Meaning, she was bored, assuming she was ever interested in the first place.

Because we don’t like the idea of our partner being with someone else. But generally, it’s because we’ve been taught to believe this means that our partner will leave us.

Well they have left you, of a sort. If they’re not with you, and are with someone else, how else would you describe it?

Of course,” she continued, “the key point of non-monogamy is that even though your partner might be with another lover, they’re actually coming back to you.

Like all good ideas, it’s obvious once explained.

And that extra joy and love and happiness might even fuel and rekindle the relationship they have with you.

This is the kind of thing blokes say to their wives when they’ve been caught shagging the secretary. It’s rather odd to hear a bunch of enlightened feminists coming out with it, though.

We’ve been conditioned to believe other people are a threat to our relationships, but what if they aren’t?”

We’ve been conditioned to believe turds taste awful, but what if they don’t?

I soon put this to the test, when Sam failed to meet me one night as promised and instead went home with another woman.

These people deserve each other.

A little scab developed over the wound of not being chosen over a nameless woman in a shitty bar.

Say what you like about the guys on Jackass, at least their self-beatings are funny.

And we have had the conversation, over and over with each other, but also with others – incredulous friends who can’t quite believe that it’s “a thing”. We field the questions in turn: no, it’s not perfect; yes, we do row sometimes; yes, there are rules; no, we don’t know how long it’ll last.

I get the impression this is another reason why dull individuals get into polyamory: it makes them look edgy in front of their friends, and gives them an identity in the absence of any other.

And, yes, sometimes I get tense and irritable when we sit down to eat and he’s too tired to talk because he spent half the night with someone else.

Can’t you just feel the love?

As far as I’m concerned, hardline monogamy is a recipe for disappointment…

As far as you’re concerned, I’m sure I agree.

…because even if you manage it, there will always be a part of you – that bit that has crushes on colleagues, and fantasises about handsome strangers – that your partner cannot share.

That’s why functional adults have such a thing called impulse control, and learn not to sacrifice long-term happiness for short-term gratification.

Maybe we should just burn them all down, these narrow streets that we’ve paved so that our desires move in straight lines.

I have severe personality disorders which prevent me from building lasting relationships, so we should burn everything to the ground.

Maybe it’s not committed relationships that non-monogamists are rejecting, but the idea that those relationships have to end when the romantic part does.

If relationships ended when the romantic part does, the divorce rates would be around 100% following the birth of the first child.

And isn’t that desire – to keep those crucial people in your life – deeply romantic in its own way?

Crucial for what? Paying the rent? How romantic.

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A sacred act within hours of meeting

Via reader Robert Harries, this article:

For our first date, he took an Uber to my apartment through a winter storm. As the snow fell outside, we sat close on my couch while he talked touchingly about poetry. Two hours in, I was hoping he would kiss me, and he did.

Woman invites stranger to her home and within two hours things get physical. Why do I get the impression we’ll shortly learn the man doesn’t consider her marriage material?

We had met on Tinder. I was nearly 30 and he was 24, but our age gap somehow seemed a lot larger than five years.

She’s 30 and this is her approach to dating?

Not because he acted especially young. It was more that when it came to sex and foreplay, he acted so differently from guys my age, asking for my consent about nearly everything.

“Is it O.K. if we go to the bedroom?” he said.

Erm, that’s not asking for consent, it’s a suggestion you stop fooling around on the sofa and get down to business on a bed somewhere.

I smiled and led him there.

Of course.

He tugged at the hem of my sweater and said, “Is it O.K. if I take this off?”

I nodded. Underneath I was wearing a thin tank top.

“Can I take this off, too?” he said.

I laughed. “Of course!”

Jesus wept. Is this how Americans have sex nowadays?

He kissed my collarbone. I breathed into his neck and pulled off his shirt. He fingered the clasp of my bra.

“Is it O.K. if I take this off?” he said.

I think I snorted. “When you asked about the sweater, that was my yes from the waist up.”

“Just answer the question, ma’am,” said his lawyer, standing at the end of the bed holding a video camera.

He looked scared. Somewhere in our five-year age gap, a dramatic shift must have taken place in sexual training. I sensed this would be a different kind of hookup than I was used to, but I couldn’t predict how.

For his part, he was surprised they’d not discussed money.

I lay down on my bed, and he lay beside me.

“Is this O.K.?” he said.

“I invited a guy from Tinder to my empty apartment on a snow day,” I said. “Let’s just assume you have blanket consent.”

So where does this leave the feminist argument that consent is an ongoing process and can be withdrawn at any time?

“I’m not comfortable with that.”

I looked at his earnest eyes, hair flopping into his face,

Unsolicited advice for women: if you want a man to behave like one, don’t pick someone with floppy hair.

Hadn’t I already said yes several times? Wasn’t I lying there with him, my leg tossed over his, my whole body arcing toward him?

Maybe he was having second thoughts? Most sensible blokes would be wondering, with things being this easy, what the catch was.

Then he raised my arm above my head, put his lips to the soft skin of my inner arm, and licked me from armpit to elbow.

This is what happens get when you invite floppy-haired man-children into your bed.

I pulled my arm away.

See?

I had been single and sexually active for more than a decade and considered myself to be sexually liberated,

Single for more than a decade? Colour me surprised.

but I could not remember anyone having done that to me. “It’s just really intimate,” I said.

She sounds as though she’s more used to being bent over a dumpster in a back alley.

Now he was the one who laughed. “That’s intimate?” he said.

“Yes,” I said. “It is.”

He and I seemed to have such different understandings of which acts were assumed to be acceptable and which required voiced consent.

It’s almost as if getting to know one another a little before having sex might be a good idea.

At one point, he put his hand on my throat and asked if the pressure was O.K.

WTF? This on a first date? Perhaps things have changed since my day after all.

“I’ll tell you if I die,” I joked.

There’s a strange man in my bed with his hand on my throat. Time for a joke!

At another point he kissed me from forehead to toe and said, “I think that’s everywhere.”

He’d grown tired of his choking-the-new-date routine when you started joking instead of getting wide-eyed with terror.

At the end of the night, he said, “See you soon,” and took an Uber back to his apartment through the snow.

He didn’t even stay the night? Oh dear.

I just wasn’t used to being taken care of in that way.

There are low bars, and then there’s this.

Sex makes me feel unsafe, not because of the act itself but because my partners so often disappear afterward, whether I waited hours or months before the first time.

Imagine my shock.

Yet something else about his asking also made me uneasy. It seemed legalistic and self-protective, imported more from the courtroom than from a true sense of caretaking. And each time he asked, it was as if he assumed I lacked the agency to say no on my own — as if he expected me to say no, not believing that a woman would have the desire to keep saying yes.

Well, yes. Feminist have set about to destroy the relations between men and women and this is the result. Take it up with Laurie Penny and her ilk.

Still, I liked that he was trying to keep from hurting me unawares. He texted that night, reassuringly. I decided I would call his asking lovely. I decided I would try to learn.

Reminder: this is a 30 year old woman.

The second time he was in my bedroom

You almost whooped for joy?

“Because I’m the one who could make you do something you don’t want to do,” he said. “Not vice versa.”

But that wasn’t what he was trying to do. He and I were enjoying a mutually desired sexual experience, and by making that distinction he was importing the language of coercion and assault into sex that was healthy.

There’s something very Darwinian about this, isn’t there? I think we can safely assume neither of these two are going to reproduce.

While he was waiting for his Uber to arrive…

…having wiped his knob on my curtains…

I did not see him soon. I texted him a few times in the days that followed, playfully at first, then more pressing. He ignored me.

Facepalm.

At first I couldn’t believe he didn’t answer, and then I was devastated. My roommates didn’t understand why I was so much more hurt than usual.

“Because he kissed the soft part of my arm,” I said. “And then he disappeared.”

What?

They looked at me blankly.

Yeah, I’m with them.

“Because he asked for my consent, over and over. So sex felt like a sacred act, and then he disappeared.”

“A sacred act?” one roommate said, laughing. “Girl, you sure don’t treat it like one.”

Heh, I’m beginning to like her friends.

When he asked so many times about my desires, when he checked to be sure he was honoring and respecting me, then sex, however short-lived, became a reciprocal offering. But the moment we pulled on our jeansthat spell of reciprocal honor and respect was broken.

He was covering his arse, my dear, making sure you weren’t going to cry rape and go running to the police. No respect was broken because there was never any in the first place.

And she was right, in a way. Asking about my feelings during sex didn’t extend to caring about them after sex. Consent is not a contract of continuation.

Nor is any relationship according to some feminists, even a marriage. Should we therefore be surprised that men aren’t showing much interest in commitment once the sex is over?

But in the days and weeks after, I was left thinking that our culture’s current approach to consent is too narrow. A culture of consent should be a culture of care for the other person, of seeing and honoring another’s humanity and finding ways to engage in sex while keeping our humanity intact. It should be a culture of making each other feel good, not bad.

Oh, so there are benefits to entering into relationships with mutual obligations after all? How does this square with feminists who thinks “nobody owes anyone shit” and that women have the right to abandon a relationship on the spot and cut off all communications with their former partner for any reason, or even none at all?

And if that’s the goal, then consent doesn’t work if we relegate it exclusively to the sexual realm.

I wish we could view consent as something that’s less about caution and more about care for the other person, the entire person, both during an encounter and after, when we’re often at our most vulnerable.

Well, yes. There was a time when men were expected to demonstrate good character, compassion, and a willingness to engage in a long-term commitment before women slept with them, but feminists decided that was too oppressive.

Because I don’t think many of us would say yes to the question “Is it O.K. if I act like I care about you and then disappear?”

Which is why it’s not a good idea to have sex with strange men before you’ve ascertained their intentions. As Rob Harries remarks, the author of this piece went to Yale; I’d be willing to bet her grandma was much, much wiser.

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Renegades? More like desperados

Via a reader on Twitter, this:

I’ve had so many bad dates in the last five years I thought I’d rather set my hair alight than meet another stranger for a disappointing drink.

This reminds me of something an Elmore Leonard character once said:

“If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.”

It never seems to occur to these women who’ve had hundreds of terrible dates that they might be the problem. So what’s this particular woman going to do instead?

But it’s Friday night and I’m with a gang of women buzzing around East London hitting on hotties IRL and I’m conscious I’ve not had such a fun night out in months. Sure it feels mad to be striding up to a man in a blazer to tell him ‘you look hot in that’ (which he does – in more ways than one) but it beats the hell out of messaging some chap on an app for the umpteenth time who never replies at all.

She’s basically formed a hen party, only nobody’s getting married.

Going Renegade, for the uninitiated, is a new dating movement led by dating guru Hayley Quinn, designed to help us wrest back control from the dating apps that oppress us and meeting men we fancy IRL.

Dating apps, even oppressive ones, do nothing to stop people meeting each other in real life. What might be preventing you finding offline love, however, is your age, your looks, your expectations, your personality, your morals, the decisions you’ve made in the past and what you think of those decisions now.

It helps that we’re several bottles of prosecco down and have one to one support from Hayley’s three-strong team of male dating coaches.

I should have added degree of self-respect to the list above.

We’ve undergone an hour-long crash course in chat up lines and the importance of VEP – ‘visibility, eye contact, proximity’. We’re single and we’re mingling. We’re learning to identify the men who are interested in us and we aren’t waiting for them to make the first move.

So basically, pickup-artistry for women.

Hayley explains that – thanks to so much bogus dating wisdom – while men get to play ‘The Game’ women feel bullied into following ‘The Rules.’ And that’s just ridiculous, outdated, un-feminist nonsense, according to her.

Yes, the reason modern women can’t form stable relationships is because they’re too traditional. Uh-huh.

In fact, her first act in what is essentially a three-day dating bootcamp, is to insist that we are complete in and of ourselves. ‘Women are repeatedly shamed for being single,’ she explains. ‘But the first thing to remember is – you don’t need a man to make you whole.

So the bootcamp starts off by telling participants they don’t really need to be there, adding to any existing delusions. There may be better ways to spend £897.

This is primarily about making dating what it should be – fun. It’s about rediscovering your playful side.’

A red flag for men looking for a partner is any suggestion a woman “likes to have fun”. Every social group at university includes a girl who is a lot of fun to be around, comes down the pub to watch the rugby, and gets drunk a lot. While she may experience no problem getting laid and have plenty of male friends who genuinely like her company, nobody actually wants to date her. There’s a reason for this, and lest you think I’m being sexist, how many women would be impressed by a single man over 30 who talks about “discovering his playful side”? These women need to grow up, not stay stranded in adolescence.

Men, she insists, are just as shy as we are about making an approach when they fancy us and it is ‘empowering’- not embarrassing – to make the first move.

I thought the common complaint among modern women was that men are overflowing with toxic masculinity and won’t take no for an answer?

‘How will anything ever happen if you see a cute guy and then stare at your phone or your shoes?’ she demands.

Or you could try acting normally.

We spend Saturday in Soho – hitting on men in broad daylight, stone cold sober.

There are videos of women experimenting with this approach on YouTube. Most men assume she’s pulling some kind of scam or she’s a hooker. The ones that don’t look as though they’ve not spoken to a woman in years.

On the Sunday, at the Going Renegade HQ near Hackney Central, we work on our flirting techniques. Hayley’s top trick is to ask men to take photographs of you for Instagram. ‘This is the go-first principle whereby offering information about yourself works as a useful prompt to get him to ask you out,’ she says. ‘If you give him your Instagram information, that could lead to a follow and a date.’

Giving out social media information to complete strangers? What could possibly go wrong?

Hayley’s advice is particularly illuminating when it comes to that handsome stranger you lock eyes with on the tube. When this happens she recommends ‘making a kerfuffle’ – pulling things out of your bag or dropping a book at his feet. When he notices, you then follow up with a friendly, open-ended observation before introducing yourself.

The problem with this is, unlike men you meet on a dating site, there is a good chance the handsome stranger is simply going about his business and isn’t looking for a relationship, let alone one with a stranger he’s met on the tube. Aren’t women forever complaining about men harassing them on the public transport, trying to get their number? Bit of a double-standard there, no? I expect the only thing that would come from such an approach is a lot of embarrassing rejections along the lines of “sorry, I’m seeing someone” and blokes who snap up the chance of an easy lay.

‘You have to give a man time to realise that you really are chatting him up,’ Hayley teaches. ‘We’ve been so well trained in “stranger danger” since we were at school it’ll take him a few minutes to catch up with what’s going on and be able to respond in kind. Be sure to exchange names because that’s very powerful.’

Years of feminists branding all men as dangerous sex-pests have resulted in the criminalisation of ordinary male courtship behaviour. Men have taken note, are giving women a wide berth, and now women have to come up with weird and humiliating methods of getting their attention. Girl power!

Initially, I was very sceptical. Also incredibly nervous. But if you’re courageous enough to try them, Hayley’s techniques certainly work. On the journey home, one member of our group, Poonam, struck up a conversation with a man who’d just run the London marathon. She asked for his email so she could contribute to his JustGiving fund. And several hours later he emailed back – asking her out to dinner.

Right, but your problem wasn’t that you lovely lasses couldn’t get dates, but that they were terrible. Does meeting a man on the way home, even one who’s run the London marathon, give you a better chance of avoiding bad dates than online dating? Not for the first time in articles like this, the conclusion brings us back to where we started. So what’s the point of it? Ah, of course:

Bad Romance by Emily Hill is available to buy in Hardback now.

There’s a book to flog; I might have known.

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