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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Disappointment and Sadness

From The Telegraph:

A premium dating agency has been ordered to refund a client almost £13,000 after it failed to find the woman the “man of my dreams”.

Tereza Burki, 47, paid Seventy Thirty Ltd £12,600 after she was assured they only dealt in “creme de la creme” matches, the High Court heard.

But Judge Richard Parkes QC today ordered the agency to repay her fee, ruling that she had been “deceived” by Seventy Thirty’s then managing director.

Upholding Ms Burki’s claim, he ruled the agency’s then managing director, Lemarc Thomas, was guilty of “deceit” after misleading her about the number of suitors on the site.

The divorced mum-of-three was also awarded £500 for the “disappointment and sadness” she suffered.

I think this says less about the delusions ageing, single women subject themselves to than a British justice system which appears, at least to me, to increasingly view grown women as being rather dim and having no agency. Now it could be the judge simply thought charging gullible fools £12k was not on and made an example of them, in which case I hope he feels equally strongly about fifth-rate universities charging thousands for useless degrees (listen to James Delingpole’s latest podcast for more on that). But I suspect he’s decided this is a special case because she’s a woman; the £500 for “disappointment and sadness” certainly points in that direction. Would he have ruled the same way had a man sued any of the dozens of dating sites which use bots with half-naked avatars to send messages to men which they need to pay to read? And isn’t the bulk of marketing aimed at men men based around claims the product will help them get laid? Can I sue because I discovered some years ago, much to my disappointment, that “the Lynx effect” is a figment of a marketing guru’s imagination? A reader on Twitter sends me this link with some details of her complaint:

What she wanted in a partner was a ‘sophisticated gentleman’, ideally employed in the finance industry. It was important to her that her partner should lead a ‘wealthy lifestyle’, and that he should be ‘open to travelling internationally’. For that reason, it would also have been appealing to her that he should have ‘multiple residences’.

Why is she more deserving of sympathy than a man of similar age who blows all his money on a motorbike in order to impress hot young barmaids?

Ms Burki was shown profiles of men who were said to meet her criteria and be actively seeking a romantic partner like her. For example, one who she found attractive “was pictured perched on the bonnet of an expensive car in front of what appeared to be a substantial house” and she was told that his profile fitted her criteria.

Okay, here’s a picture from OKCupid’s front page:

Does anyone in their right mind think these are representative of lesbians you might meet on a dating site, and that any of those featured on the marketing blurb are from real profiles? I’ve played around on dating sites, and sometimes I wondered if I was looking at a selection of extras from The Lord of the Rings. It seems either judges are as prone to white knighting as the most craven beta, or caveat emptor no longer applies to grown women.

That said, the link does include an instance of an Australian man getting his (substantially smaller) membership fee refunded in 2004 for similar reasons:

The judgment consists of twelve terse paragraphs, each one sentence long, and including one: “The majority of the women in Mudgee and Dubbo did not meet the criteria required by the applicant”, which, read alone, no doubt casts the female population of Dubbo and Mudgee in an unfair light, and concluding with a finding that the conduct of the agency was misleading and deceptive and ordering repayment of Mr Galletti’s AUD 770 membership fee.

If getting people to part with their cash by implying they can score out of their league are grounds for being sued, the advertising industry’s going to get hit pretty hard, isn’t it?

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Round and round the Mulvey bush

A few months ago I blogged about the travails of Kate Mulvey, a 50 year old woman who believed her 2:1 in Italian from the University of Kent intimidated men. Well, she’s  back:

A couple of years ago, I too joined an expensive matchmaking agency. I had just come out of a seven year relationship, and was on the wrong side of 50.

Ah yes, this was the seven year relationship during which you never got so much as engaged.

I soon tired of online dating and receiving messages from over weight baldies who peppered their emails with childish emojis.

Readers may recall this is how Miss Mulvey looked when she was 31:

Fast forward two decades and she’s disparaging men for being overweight and bald. I wonder what they thought of her?

I hankered to find Mr Right-for-me, a man who was suitably educated and a successful professional.

Like a 2:1 from the University of Kent? Now these fat, bald men she’s meeting might litter their emails with childish emojis, but Mulvey’s approach to dating is scarcely more mature.

And so this is how I found myself, throwing money (my entire savings to be precise) to an upmarket matchmaking agency in central London. The agency claimed to filter out the undesirables, the mediocre and give clients the personal touch, so I handed over the hefty sum of £6,000.

Hang on a minute. Your entire shtick is you’re a successful, educated single woman who’s over 50, yet your entire savings were a mere £6,000? And what the hell were you thinking in handing over this sort of cash to a dating agency? Does this sound like a suitable life partner for any man, let alone a smart, successful one?

As I waited to be matched with someone from their ‘extensive database’, I idly imagined my handsome date, cashmere polo neck, a bit academic and kind. We’d eat steak tartare and swap notes on our latest clever box-set find and favourite novels.

What’s in it for him?

How could I have got it so wrong?

Because you have an unreasonably high opinion of yourself, unrealistic expectations, and you appear not to learn from mistakes.

The reality was an array of terrible matches, a growing sense of alarm and a flaming row in a flash restaurant in Chelsea.

Did he ask to split the bill, but you’d spent all your cash just getting to this point?

The first indication that all was not as I had expected came when I met personal matchmaker at a Park Lane hotel for ‘tea and an interview’.

Personal matchmaker? That sounds like something I might be good at. I’d direct Mulvey to the nearest pet shop which offers bulk discounts on cats.

“So, are you a psychologist?” I asked, eager to press her on her method of assessment.

“Oooh no, I’m just a people person. I love people,” she trilled.

Six grand.

I told her how I loved folk music, my favourite film was The Deer Hunter, and enjoyed weekends in the countryside. So far so banal.

Women seem to think sharing a hobby or having similar opinions about books or films is the key to meeting the right man. Did she say anything which might indicate her character, in the manner her Telegraph article does? Or did she wisely keep that hidden? If I were doing the job of the matchmaker, I’d start by asking who she last dated and what went wrong.

A few days later she emailed me with the details of W, “a successful entrepeneur who had travelled extensively and also liked folk music”.

Could this woman get any more shallow? This obsession with “travel”, as if that makes you more cultured.

When I met him at a pub in Richmond, I was shocked. I was expecting a cultured and dynamic man, instead I got a man in a pair of jeans, a moth eaten jumper and the table manners of a modern day Baldrick.

Why would you expect someone cultured and dynamic? Because he’s well-travelled? And can we get his view on expectations versus reality?

And therein lies the rub. These agencies trade on their exclusivity, yet the men I met were far from the international super elite they promised.

Why would the international super elite be on dating sites? That the whole thing was a con ought to be obvious to anyone with half a brain; didn’t the Ashley Madison leak show there were virtually no women on the site, and those that were were hookers?

And the so called experts were a group of ex pr girls with swishy hair and ability to write up a nifty ‘press release’.

And the ability to persuade gullible fools to part with what amounts to their entire savings.

It wasn’t too much of a surprise then that they rarely got it right. For the next few months, I dated up and down the eligibility scale. Some men were pleasant but dull, others who said they wanted to be in a relationship but were burdened with so much baggage they were toxic.

So you’re over 50, spending thousands on a dating site, but you rule out anyone who’s pleasant but dull and anyone with baggage. Well, good luck with that. Remember, this is the woman who thinks men find her intelligence intimidating.

There was the 65 year-old American with a stunning property portfolio who broke the rules and googled me, only to inform me that I was too old for him.

Heh! By how many decades?

The funny looking barrister, who invited me to his St James’s club, and turned out to be prickly and aggressive

A minute ago you were complaining they were pleasant but dull.

I was about to call it a day and demand my money back, when my matchmaker sent through the detail a publisher from Oxford. We met at a pub near his home.

But very quickly the debonair man who had seemed laid-back in London had morphed into a raging chauvinist in the countryside. When I started to chat to waiter in Italian, it became clear that my date was not happy. He muttered something under his breath and rolled his eyes like a stroppy teenager.

“I WAS WONDERING when you were going to let me join your conversation,” he boomed. I tried to laugh it off but clocked this was a man with a fragile ego.

Okay, if you’re going to recycle old stories at least try to maintain consistency. According to her earlier article, this happened in Italy not the Cotswolds, and it was with a guy she’d been with a year. I suspect this whole thing is unalloyed fabrication.

It is a tough time for midlife dating today, and there are a lot vulnerable educated women like me who are so desperate for love they are willing to try anything whatever the price.

Except be with a pleasant but dull man, or refrain from having conversations with other people in a language your date doesn’t know.

Yet, the quality of men were, I no different to those on online dating sites.

And the quality of women is just stellar, I suppose?

I learnt the hard way, but my advice when it comes to dating is: trust your instinct and meet through friends of friends.

Firstly, I suspect her friends are few indeed. Secondly, I’d bet her acquaintances learned not to introduce her to anyone the hard way a long time ago.

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