Another Profile of a Modern American Woman

This story appears in the New York Times:

I was 37, single, unemployed and depressed because in a couple of months I was going to be moving out of my studio apartment on East 23rd Street in Manhattan and in with my mother in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Since taking a buyout at my Wall Street firm, I had devoted myself to two activities: searching for a new job and working out. And I spent a lot of time in my apartment.

One day historians will come up with a term for the cohort of women who thought Sex and the City was a documentary providing lifestyle advice.

My 23rd Street building was near three colleges. When I signed the lease, I didn’t realize the place had so many student renters, people who understandably liked to party. Yet it was the least social time in my life. Most of my friends were married. I had no income, and rent was almost $3,000 a month. I wasn’t dating because I hadn’t figured out how to positively spin my unemployment story.

That’s why you weren’t dating? Uh-huh. Sure.

One afternoon in the elevator, I saw one of the guys from next door in jeans and a T-shirt, his dark hair slightly receding.

“How old are you guys?” I said. “Like, 23?”

“Yeah, well, I’m 23,” he said.

“I’m 37. So I hope you get a younger neighbor the next go-round.”

“I never would have guessed 37,” he said. “I thought you were, like, 26.”

Was he sweet-talking me? I looked the same age as my friends, but maybe the dormlike context had fooled him.

37-year old doesn’t know when a young shitlord is dishing out flattering comments about her age in order to see if she’d be up for a shag. Later, we’ll find out this woman worked in HR and has a Masters in Psychology.

Two weeks later, my friend Diana and I were sitting at a nearby bar, drinking vodka sodas and looking at her Tinder app, when my 23-year-old neighbor popped up.

“Swipe right!” I said. “Tell him you’re out with me.”

She swiped, they matched, and she told him I was with her. I followed up with a text, proud to be out on a Saturday night. Here was proof that I, too, was fun.

Growing old is compulsory. Growing old with dignity is very much optional.

We messaged back and forth; he was on his way home. When I asked if he wanted to join us back at my apartment, he said yes.

I bet he did.

Twenty minutes later Diana and I arrived, and he showed up with a bottle of vodka and cans of Diet Coke.

Some women get given flowers.

Soon he was laughing, saying, “My roommates can’t stand you. And I was always so confused why a 26-year-old was upset about our parties. I thought you were just an old soul.”

As if a 26-year old working in New York doesn’t need to get their head down at night.

Diana and I danced to “Jump” by the Pointer Sisters, a song he didn’t recognize. Before Diana left at 4 a.m., she whispered to me, “He likes you. Hook up.”

Ah, where would women be without the advice of their best friend?

I offered a hushed protest, insisting he was too young. But apparently the neighborly tension had been building, because he and I started kissing right after she left.

When we woke up, hung over, a few hours later, I begged him not to tell his roommates. My transformation from puritanical noise warden to Mrs. Robinson embarrassed me; my dulled brain screamed, “What just happened?”

But I won’t lie: It was also an ego boost. I may not have had a job, a husband or a boyfriend, but at least I could attract an adorable 23-year-old.

Doesn’t take much to boost the ego of a woman pushing forty in New York, does it? Flatter her by lying about her age, match with her mate on Tinder, then turn up at her door with a bottle of vodka. Frankly, most women who aren’t utterly hideous could attract a 23-year old, even an adorable one. What is more difficult is encouraging them to stick around afterwards.

Over the next few weeks, we texted constantly and kept getting together to talk about our dating and employment searches and to fool around. When I asked him if I seemed older, he said, “Not really. Mostly because you aren’t working and you’re around all of the time.”

Not only did she believe him, she recounted it in the New York Times.

I said: “When I graduated high school, you were 4.”

Okay, so…

With him, my usual romantic anxiety disappeared. Instead of projecting my insecurities onto him…

By, for instance, constantly bringing up the age gap?

…and wondering if I was enough, I just had fun because I knew our age gap made a future impossible. And I was moving out soon.

Not that my mind was entirely free of concerns. I worried people would think we were ridiculous. But when I told my coupled-up girlfriends, they said I was living a fantasy.

The first paragraph is rather inconsistent with the first. Was she really having fun, or pouring out her anxiety to everyone she met?

“At least you’re having fun,” a soon-to-be-divorced friend said. “None of us are. I didn’t even want to touch my husband at the end.”

Can we hear from the husband?

Even so, the chasm between my new friend and me was no more glaring than when he said, “Dating is fun. I get to meet lots of people.”

Here’s a tip, ladies: trawling through Tinder looking for a shag is a lot more fun for a 23-year old man than a 37-year old woman.

Dating, for me, was about as fun as my job search. And that was because I approached both in almost exactly the same way: with a strategy, spreadsheets and a lot of anxiety about presenting my best self and hiding my weaknesses.

Including a 277 bullet-point list of requirements every partner must satisfy.

Our honest exchange was so refreshing. Dates my age disguised their fears with arrogance. Within an hour of meeting me, one had boasted about the amount of sex he’d had, and another, on our second date, gave me a heads-up that his large size had caused many of his relationships to end. How considerate of him to warn me!

This is a useful illustration of the dating pool which 37-year old New York women can expect to swim around in. What, there’s no Mr Big in his limousine?

With appropriate romantic prospects, I had been overly polished and protective. Just like the men, I spun stories broadcasting fake confidence.

Those with genuine confidence got their lives in order a decade previously.

But I confided in my neighbor about how hard the year had been and how worried I was about finding a job and a man to love.

Can we check with Manhattan hospitals whether a 23-year old male was admitted over the past year having gnawed off his own arm and survived a three-storey jump from a window?

With nothing at stake, I was charmingly vulnerable.

Or, more accurately, desperate.

One evening as we cuddled in my apartment, with me droning on about my man troubles and career fears, he said, “We get so fixated on the job we want or the person we’re dating because we don’t think there will be another. But there’s always another.”

Sounds as though he had one lined up already.

I thought that was so true. Even wise. But it’s easier to have that attitude, about jobs or love, at 23 than at 37.

I suspect the reason you’re in this predicament at 37 is because you blithely assumed “there will always be another” when you were in your 20s. Wise? Hardly.

Then one night I came home a little too drunk…

Such larks! Only she’s 37 and miserably single. Any idea why?

…and encountered him in the hallway. He was the one who almost always decided when we would hang out, and I complained it wasn’t fair that everything seemed to be on his terms. I was pressuring him, reverting to my worst dating default behavior, and he fled into his apartment.

I’d love to hear the conversation that transpired with his mates after this.

The next day he texted: “maybe we should chill with this. you’ve been a good friend … we complicated it a little though haha.”

This is what’s known as being dumped. By text. How’s that ego holding up?

I knew “haha” was just his millennial way of keeping it light, but here’s the thing: In our “light” relationship, I had let myself be fully known, revealing all of my imperfections, in a way I normally didn’t. With him I was my true self, and it was a revelation.

Is that how you’re gonna spin it? Okay, but recall that the woman who shagged her way around Europe ended her article by saying how much she’d learned from each one-night stand and how it taught her she didn’t need a partner to be happy. I’m about as convinced this time around.

And a conundrum. Because I can’t seem to be my true self when I’m seriously looking for love, when all I’m thinking about is the future. To win the person (or the job, for that matter), we think we have to be the most perfect version of ourselves. When our hearts are on the line, vulnerability can feel impossible.

No wonder sonny-boy scarpered and locked himself in his flat if this is what he had to listen to after each sweaty, drink-fuelled romp. I expect he’s using the fire escape for general egress these days.

I followed up this article by doing some research on the author, and her career history is illuminating:

– English Degree

– Masters in Clinical Psychology

– 5 years in HR, holding onto a position for a maximum of 2 years and 5 months

– 4 years Vice President Equities COO, including “Led projects in business strategy, communications, morale building, hiring, placement, and training”

In short, she’s an HR power-skirt who hopped from one job to another and somehow ended up as a VP in Equities leading projects in business strategy at a major bank. One can imagine what the real bankers thought of her elevation to this post.

What’s amusing, at least to me, is that the car-crash of an article coupled with her career history ticks just about every stereotype I can think of. All that’s missing is a few more years and a bunch of cats.


Workplace Romance

Over what could loosely be described as my professional career I have encountered the following situations (European also includes Britain):

1. A lead engineer in a giant European company reporting directly to his long-term partner, who was in a very senior position.

2. An HR manager in a smallish European/American/Russian JV reporting directly to her husband, who was the company General Director. When an employee had a serious row with her over his terms and conditions, it was escalated to her husband for arbitration.

3. A lead engineer in a giant European company reporting directly to her husband, who was in a reasonably senior position.

4. A woman working in a giant European company who was tasked with managing a subcontractor on behalf of her husband, who was the actual contract holder. Any disputes between the subcontractor and her would be escalated to her husband to resolve.

5. A very senior site manager working overseas for a giant European company got his (local) secretary pregnant. He sent his family back home and moved his new mistress into his company-provided house. His boss couldn’t complain too much because he’d done much the same thing several years earlier.

6. A lead engineer working in a large European company embarked on a relationship with one of his trainee engineers, who was about 30 years his junior.

All of the above situations were not only allowed to continue, but some were even known at the outset. The excuse given was that the company had to find positions for both partners and this was difficult at the best of times. Others didn’t want to lose an experienced staff member, so turned a blind eye.

By contrast, I once met a man working for ExxonMobil who managed a team of translators and began a relationship with one of his direct reports. They declared the relationship in short order and they were told one of them would have to resign. The woman got a job elsewhere, they married, and had kids.

It is perhaps significant that all of these happened outside the country where the respective companies were based. Whether this is also permitted in their HQ I don’t know. What this taught me is that a lot of management is simply individuals doing whatever is most convenient to them at the time, principles and ethics be damned. The Americans seem to be a little more professional in this regard, and I don’t think it comes as a surprise that the sole exception came from ExxonMobil.

For my part, I was told early in my career never to “poke the payroll”. It was good advice.


Has one done one’s due diligence?

So Prince Harry intends to marry an actress from a television drama, eh? Somehow I get the impression that this is rather apt, because this has every chance of becoming a reality TV show in short order.

Here’s the piece of Meghan Markle’s biography I find most interesting:

Markle was in a relationship with actor and producer Trevor Engelson from 2004 until 2011. They married on September 10, 2011, and divorced in August 2013.

So we can assume that Markle has a good working relationship with a divorce lawyer she keeps on speed-dial. Being an American celebrity, this is hardly surprising. Looking at those dates, she was in a seven-year relationship before she got married aged 30, and threw in the towel two years later. This is not a good sign, although to be fair with a background like that she’s joining the right family.

I really hope that Harry has done his due-diligence here. At the very least, he ought to have gone for a quiet beer with this Engelson chap and got the straight skinny from him. The last thing he wants to do is listen to Meghan’s version of how the relationship broke down. In my experience, divorced women talk about their ex-husbands as if they were sacrificing children on the living room floor every night. The men are equally bitter, but their anger is normally directed towards the divorce proceedings and her behaviour during this period rather than her conduct during the marriage itself.

I met a woman once who claimed over and over that her marriage failed solely because her husband was a lying alcoholic who mistreated her. But the more I learned, the more I got the impression a portion of the blame lay with her. When I put this to her she went mental, and shouted at me for suggesting she “deserved” her ill-treatment. The idea that she ought take some responsibility for her predicament was met with apoplectic anger.

Later, just out of curiosity, I dropped the ex-husband an email. He was surprisingly receptive and gave me a brief overview of their marriage. He said there was blame on both sides, and admitted fault on his own part. Without any prompting he then described his ex-wife’s behaviour which by then was all-too familiar to me. In fact, he had her down to a T. He said she’d started slandering his name about town as soon as the divorce was initiated, and he was disappointed to hear that she was still doing it. For his part, he said he’d moved on, made peace with himself, and put the whole episode behind him.

Now he could have been bullshitting. But if you have a guy saying there was blame on  both sides and admitting to fault on his part, and saying it’s water under the bridge and he’s moved on; and a woman saying it was 100% his fault and continuing, years later, to portray him as a monster and flying into a rage at the mere suggestion she takes at least some responsibility, who do you believe?

Yeah, me too. If Harry or one of his mates hasn’t sat down with this Engelson fellow and got his view on why and how the marriage fell apart, I fear Meghan’s plan to quit being a star in a TV drama may remain unrealised.


But he doesn’t look the type!

After reading my post about Lindsay Shepherd, my research assistant (the small one) said something to the effect of:

“Those guys look like complete weirdos! The one on the left looks like the sort of person who appears in your posts on polyamory!”

She is referring to Nathan Rambukkana, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University:

Let’s take a look at his biography:

My book, Fraught Intimacies: Non/Monogamy in the Public Sphere (UBC Press, 2015) explores the increased mediation of non-monogamies since the early nineties—in every medium from television, to film, to self-help books, to the Internet—and how such convergent mediation opens these discourses up to societal scrutiny, as well as transformation. By exploring the privileged logics that frame our conceptions of intimacy, I explore the political and cultural implications of how we frame non-monogamy broadly in sexual discourse, as well as how the public sphere presences of three major forms of non-monogamy (adultery, polygamy and polyamory) display a complex relationship with “intimate privilege,” an emergent state in which one’s intimacies are read as viable, ethical or even real.

Now there’s a surprise, eh? If the media wants us to buy the line that polyamory is now mainstream, we’re going to have to overlook the fact that most people involved with it are complete weirdos and many of them have serious issues which urgently need addressing.


Polyamorists of Yore

Well, whaddya know? Another article – this time in The Guardian – telling us how perfectly normal and mainstream polyamory is (thanks to my research assistant for pointing me towards it. No, not that one. Nor the other one. This one is, erm, heavier.)

How movies brought polyamory into the mainstream

Why, it’s so mainstream you get a free extra partner with every third box of washing powder!

Non-monogamous relationships used to be portrayed as disastrous in film.

Thank goodness for audiences’ ability to suspend belief, eh?

Last week, a very different period drama hit cinemas. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women concerns a real-life love story between a professor and his academic wife – and their teaching student, Olive. From the late 1920s onwards, they begin sharing a workplace, a bed, a home and eventually a family.

Angela Robinson’s biopic of the creator of Wonder Woman, American psychologist William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), may be the most positive depiction of polyamory – the state of being in love with more than one person – in mainstream film to date. It posits that the comic-book superheroine was inspired by a happy, long-term union between the feminist Marston, his brilliant, acerbic wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and bright young student Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), as well as their dalliances with S&M, a theme that worked its way into the comics. Despite the controversy the latter caused at the time, it is an accessible, occasionally moving film that treats the three-way relationship much like a typical movie coupling. This makes it decidedly atypical in the history of cinema.

Now I’ve had a brief look at the story behind this chap and his two lovers and unless what I could find online has been sanitised, it seems the three of them made a proper go of it. Well, good for them. I’ve never said polyamory can’t work, I’ve just said that it is very unusual and most examples I’ve heard of are based mainly in sex/shagging around and end in disaster after a very short time. In fact, I think it’s telling that in order to make a film about a polyamorous relationship that didn’t end in disaster they’ve had to go all the way back to 1930 to find an example of one. If this was so mainstream one would have thought they’d have used a more modern example – or not bothered to make a film of it at all.

Also, none of the accounts I have read of this particular case indicated there was any sex going on outside the trio, i.e. it was a locked-down version of polyamory. Most other accounts involved one or more of the partner being free to go off and have sex with someone else, provided the ground rules are followed (and they’re often not), which isn’t quite the same thing. The relationship depicted in this film seems to differ from contemporary accounts of polyamory by virtue of it not, at least on the surface, being centred wholly around sex and shagging around.

This line in the article amuses me somewhat:

It posits that the comic-book superheroine was inspired by a happy, long-term union between the feminist Marston, his brilliant, acerbic wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and bright young student Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), as well as their dalliances with S&M, a theme that worked its way into the comics.

An alpha-male with a wife and a mistress who are into threesomes and S&M is a feminist, is he? Wikipedia goes further:

Marston had 2 children each with both his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston and his live-in mistress Olive Byrne. Elizabeth supported the family financially while Byrne stayed home to take care of all four children. Both Olive and Elizabeth “embodied the feminism of the day.”

Now I have no reason to think this Marston chap was a bad ‘un, and his women appear to be happy with the arrangement so good for all three of them. But two women agreeing to be part of a harem is an embodiment of feminism? Are the multiple wives of Mormons feminists too?

In my previous post I wrote about how modern-day feminists seem happy to let all sorts of weirdos and scumbags into their circles provided they are on-message with the latest progressive pronouncements. We can add to that a bizarre habit of calling anyone a feminist if their lifestyle meets with their approval. No wonder so many of them come across as barking mad.


The Feminists who Enable Sex-Pests

I’ve written before about my theory that many feminists take a dim view of men because those they choose to associate with are low-grade scumbags. Only recently we had a woman saying that all men were sex-pests and a few minutes later labelling men who weren’t sex-pests as “boring”, and I have written several posts on how Laurie Penny’s views of men tell us more about who she befriends than it does about men in general. Just in case one or two of you were thinking this theory doesn’t hold water, let me share this tweet from Laurie herself:

Now there’s a surprise, eh? But let’s just bask in the irony of someone who befriends and partners-up with a serial rapist presuming to lecture the world on the dangers of men and The Patriarchy.

So did our gal know what was going on? Did she cover for him? Alas, we don’t know and she isn’t saying:

Frankly, I’mm not surprised in the least that at least one of Laurie’s friends have turned out to be a rapist. She already told us this:

So, I’ve got this friend with a shady past. He’s a clever and conscientious person who grew up in the patriarchy, and he knows that he’s done things which may not have been criminal but have hurt people, and by people he means women. My friend has hurt women, and he doesn’t know what to do about that now, and from time to time we talk about it. That’s how it happened that, a few weeks ago, halfway through an effervescent confession in a coffee shop, the following words came out of his mouth: “Technically, I don’t think I’ve raped anyone.”

And as I said about another former friend of hers:

Why do I get the impression that this individual is not half as normal and decent as Penny is letting us believe. At a guess, I would say he is a slimy fucker of the first water who hangs around lefty circles hoping to get into the knickers of women, usually much younger and with low self-esteem and few morals, throwing out leftist and feminist platitudes to get himself accepted with no further scrutiny. Penny, at nineteen years of age, ought to have stayed well away from him even if she didn’t think he was a rapist.

For a self-declared feminist warrior who pops up in the national media to denounce misogyny and demonise men in general, she seems to befriend an awful lot of rapists and serial abusers. But as I say in the paragraph above, these types will gravitate towards people like her. Consider this tweet I read today:

Erika makes a good point. Abusive people deliberately target dysfunctional communities – such as hardcore leftists and polyamorists – knowing they won’t be turfed out on their ear. Instead, by spouting the right political platitudes, they’ll be liked and respected and can count on the support of the rest of the group if anyone lodges a complaint against them.

All of this is obvious, none of it should be a surprise. It seems a lot of these people complaining about sexually-abusive men are enabling and protecting them. For now I’ll charitably assume they are doing so unwittingly.


Don’t be that guy

I bring to your attention this tweet from Iowahawk and two responses, one of which is mine:

On the one hand, you have this batshit insane idea pushed by deranged feminists that unwanted attention such as catcalling, suggestive remarks, or flirting constitutes sexual harassment or even assault, and that all such interactions should be eliminated from the workplace and greater society. If that were to happen, men and women would never get together.

On the other hand, you have this idea that middle-aged men ought to be trying it on with women half their age because a tiny minority of men in highly unusual circumstances manage to do so. In this post, Chateau Heartiste quotes one of his commenters thusly:

[A father] would be delighted with his mid-teens daughter marrying a proper 30-year old man.

Uh-huh. This is a major problem with the red-pilled, manosphere, PUA blogs: the authors may have some experience with women worth sharing, but they induce in their commenters delusions no less idiotic than those of their feminist counterparts.

It is well known that women, in general, like men who are a bit older. How much older? It depends, but not that much older. 18 year old girls like 24 year old men, 25 year old girls like 30 year old men, something like that. There are some exceptions: ageing rock stars, politicians, and other high-status individuals do okay with young women; teenage hookers seem happy to accept customers of any age; there are an abundance of emotionally-scarred girls with deep-rooted daddy issues attracted to men twice their age; and occasionally you come across a genuine relationship with a big age-gap that seems normal. And there’s nothing wrong with any of this.

But that doesn’t mean the average young girl you meet in a bar or on the street is interested in a bloke miles older than them. Sure, they might be interested in a particular guy who’s much older than them, but it is highly unlikely to be you. Whereas it is true that it’s a man’s right and prerogative to try it on with any woman he fancies, the flip side of that is a man really ought to know who’s in his league and who isn’t. That some men don’t ever figure this out is why the category “creep” exists. It gets overused for sure, particularly by women, but it also applies to deeply average guys in their 30s or 40s thinking they’re in with half a chance with the teenage intern. As Iowahawk says, best wait until you’re flirted at before you make a fool of yourself and get branded a creep. I saw a lot of this on Sakhalin, middle-aged men thinking every pretty young Russian girl found them desirable, leading to some excruciating advances which the women didn’t like very much. And a lot did what Carl Gustav warns of, i.e. they interpreted a girl being nice as flirting.

Of course, most men find much younger women attractive and desirable, but this is a big step away from the idea that they should therefore hit on them. Frankly, I don’t know who the hell would want a relationship with a much younger woman anyway, except for obvious physical reasons. I know women of 23 now, and I occasionally meet 18 year olds: they come across as annoying kids. Who the hell would want to hang around them? I’ve often suspected older guys who go for naive, immature women do so because their females peers can see right through them.

There’s a caveat in here, though. The age gap ceases to matter once a woman has passed 28 or 30 or so because she’s probably mature and experienced enough to know what she’s doing. Anyone who thinks a woman of 18 or 20 is mature enough to know what she’s doing in the company of a 40 year old man probably doesn’t know many 18 year old women. Perhaps in the past this was common, but I’d be interested to get the perspective from the women on what their marriages were like. The general rule of thumb, which I think is sensible, is the “half age plus seven” rule, e.g. 27 is the approximate lower limit for a 40 year old man, 22 for a 30 year old.

Exceptions abound in all of this of course, and I’m writing this post mainly to make the point that, while we all roll our eyes at feminists complaining about the natural attraction women have to older, powerful men the other side of the internet is filled with bro’d-up wannabe-alphas thinking young women are just waiting to be “gamed” by much older men. We should roll our eyes at them, too. Knowing your market and avoiding the creep label ought to be top priorities of any man entering middle-age with an intention of dating women.


Why Some Women Take a Dim View of Men

As I was saying, gently mocking feminists can be fun:

This conversation was worthwhile – not because I expect this woman to change her mind – but because I got out of her a partial admission of what the root cause of the problem is.

She starts off by complaining that all men are abusive and have little concept of consent, seduction and respect. She ends by saying any men who attempt to demonstrate otherwise, or any women who try to find this out before sleeping with them, are “boring”.

Well, my friends and acquaintances might be boring, but the men aren’t sex-pests and the women aren’t routinely abused by people they are close to. My guess is in their quest for excitement over boredom, many women end up surrounded by low-grade men who, one way or another, hurt them. The reasons they do this are likely varied, but poor parenting is certainly one of them. It is also imperative for any man, when he meets a woman, to ascertain what sort of men she’s been hanging out with over the past few years because this will tell you a lot about the person. For the remaining few who are still interested in my blurb-less book, I cover this subject in quite some detail.


When Feminists Set Homework

The following picture was posted on Twitter yesterday by a British dad who said his kid’s school had handed it out as homework:

This surprised me a little because the narrative last week was that men were all-powerful sex-predators who use their patriarchal powers to force women into submission, which is why The Handmaid’s Tale documentary was so popular. But if denigrating and undermining men using any means to hand is the goal, the first casualty will be consistency.

To begin with, I should point out that I have come across men who’ve been utterly feckless, loafing around and going to parties while their women do all the chores as well as take care of him and the children. But they didn’t look much like the chap in the picture. None of them wore a v-neck sweater, for example. In fact, the men who look like the chap in the picture generally spend their days working their arses off to provide a home and secure future for their wives and kids.

But don’t you just love it? The husband is a shambling man-child while the wife is an all-powerful superwoman who does things like unblocks sinks and builds sheds on top of her womanly chores. Because yeah, every woman is just like that. Does anyone know of any woman who’s built a shed on her own? Or unblocked a sink when there was a man around who could have done it? Shortly after I left university I sort of moved myself into a house of five girls, four of whom hated me on sight. I won them ’round in short order by stopping the doors squeaking, bleeding the radiators so the place warmed up, and taking off the sink-trap to remove a lump of rotting hair the size of a golf ball with an ear bud through its centre. One of them was so impressed she even reads my blog almost twenty years later (*waves*).

Also, I have a close friend who was recently widowed, leaving her to raise a couple of kids alone. Among the long list of things she misses about her late husband is the moral support: when told of a problem he would make cool-headed, pragmatic suggestions which cut through the emotional nonsense surrounding it, allowing her to see the issue more clearly and in a different light. This had a valuable calming effect, which she badly misses. She’s mentioned missing this aspect of their relationship more times than she has anything to do with fixing stuff or carrying heavy items about. Do you think this ludicrous cartoon captures this contribution to a woman’s well-being which men so often provide?

Whoever came up with it obviously doesn’t know much about men or relationship dynamics, and it is fun to speculate on the relationship status of the women (for it was surely women) who are responsible. Do they belong to:

Group 1: Young women who complain incessantly that men don’t want a relationship, they just want an easy shag off Tinder. All of them will have Tinder accounts, and all will have provided said easy shag more than once in the past six months.

Group 2: Bitter older women who look forward to reading the cat-buying guides with each new issue of Modern Spinster magazine?

Group 3: Middle-aged women who were busy shagging shitlords in their twenties when they should have been securing themselves a decent partner, and chose to settle with some bumbling omega male nobody else wanted to avoid joining the women in Group 2 (look at the body-language of the woman in the picture). The divorce papers will be served on him once she’s in possession of her anniversary diamonds, and the Group 2 sisterhood will welcome her with open arms and one of these.

Whatever the case, you can be damned sure the brainchild behind this was not a woman enjoying a functioning relationship with a man she loves and respects. I’m not too worried about this because rather than driving a wedge between men and women as they hope, I think these deranged feminists are only succeeding in driving a wedge between them and ordinary, sane men and women. The comments beneath the original tweet are encouraging, suggesting men are wise to the game being played:

The best way to deal with this is to mock it mercilessly. Feminists like a fight, but they don’t like being laughed at. If I had a kid who was handed homework like this, I’d complete the assignment myself being sure to include sentences like “Mummy is brilliant, she does everything, including bringing Daddy a beer when he calls out for one”.

What desirable outcome feminists hope to achieve with stuff like this is anyone’s guess.


A Profile of a Modern American Woman

Via Twitter I came across this charming story of a young woman who whored her way across Europe for the summer. There is an awful lot to say, so let’s begin:

This summer, just two days after my divorce, I left for a 10-week solo trip through Europe, visiting 11 countries and dating in most of them.

Note the use of the term “dating”. As we’ll soon find out, that’s not quite the word she’s looking for.

My ex and I eloped to Hawaii when we were 25. But shortly after we started arguing more, and with more intensity. Despite counseling, neither of us was happy, so I moved back in with my family. That was last winter.

So we’ve established she’s emotionally immature (eloping at 25?), makes rash decisions she’s unable to see through, and quite possibly unable to build a lasting relationship. Counseling? If you need that, the relationship is already doomed.

By summer, I was feeling like myself again, but I was falling for a guy I met on Tinder. Will* was a passionate, outgoing PhD student who wasn’t looking for commitment and who was leaving for a summer internship across the country.

Tinder. Classy.

So at 26, single for the first time in my adult life, I decided to spend the summer traveling.

As more evidence of her emotional immaturity, she deals with her marital failure by going traveling rather than engaging in serious self-reflection over her past choices and where her life is going.

And dating men abroad.


In mid-June, I landed in Edinburgh and started swiping.

I matched with Nicholas* on Bumble, who was 29 and a pianist.

On my last day, we hiked to the top of Arthur’s Seat, a hill overlooking the city. I asked for his opinion about Will from home…Nicholas said Will sounded like a prolific dater who’s been moving through girls for years — and that I was too sensitive for quick, casual dating. He might be right about Will, but I didn’t agree with his assessment of me; I’ve dated other guys before and since Will, and I haven’t cared about anyone else.

Hang on. You were single for the first time in your adult life when you got divorced in the winter. You met Will in the summer, then you went traveling and met this Nicholas guy first up. Yet you dated other guys before and since Will? Again, her definition of “dating” is probably not the same as everyone else’s.

Will and I had an instant connection; we’d lie on the couch talking for hours and text daily. I couldn’t get enough of him, and it seemed like he felt the same way.

But when he left for the summer, I asked if he’d want to keep seeing each other in the fall. He responded: “The fall is a long way away, but I can’t immediately think of a reason I wouldn’t want to hang out again.” Ouch.

I’ll save you some time: he sees you as a fuck-buddy, not girlfriend material. At this point we get a pic of the author – one Elise Linscott, a freelance writer – in a bikini:

Okay, she’s young with a good body. Pretty much just the sort of girl anyone looking for a quick, meaningless shag on Tinder would go for, which explains her success. But anyone who thinks this is all that’s necessary to get a decent man to commit to a relationship is delusional.

I was in the city of Faro in the Algarve Region for one night and not expecting any dates. But on Tinder, a guy named João invited me for a motorcycle ride and coffee by the beach; we had a lot in common, and being with him felt easy.

After sunset, we went back to the city and hung out on the roof of my Airbnb apartment — until we got chased off by my host, who was furious I’d brought a strange man there (oops).

The host probably thought you were a prostitute. I’m being quite serious here. You might want to say a little more than “oops”.

Instead, we drove to his beach house and had sex for hours. (And, I learned that, in Portugal, they call spooning the “shell position.”)

We stayed in bed, playing guitar and singing until 6 A.M.

I was sad to leave João, but I couldn’t stop smiling. Those were the kinds of experiences I was hoping to have, and I thought about how much my life has changed over the past year, for the better.

She’s gone from being married to a long-term boyfriend to being shagged on the beach by random Portuguese blokes who ride motorbikes. Apparently this is change for the better.

I texted Will a picture of the view from my terrace and asked if he knew where I was — he guessed right. He said his internship was busy but good, and that he was enjoying Seattle. No sign that he was thinking about me as much as I was about him.

Which is fortunate for Will, given what you’re up to. Sounds as though he has some sense.

There wasn’t much activity on Bumble, but on Tinder I met Pablo*, a biologist from northern Spain with a beard and ponytail and sexy accent. He took me to a hidden “secret bar” for tinto verano (chilled red wine with lemon-lime soda) and vino de pasas (raisin wine) — both were surprisingly good.

That weekend, we went to a music festival with his friends and danced to DJs and bands. His friends were nice, but didn’t really English, and he made little effort to include me in their conversations.

Perhaps you had nothing interesting to say?

His friends seemed more willing to help me translate in restaurants than Pablo, who seemed more interested in flirting with the scantily-clad girl sitting next to him.

So having had sex with you a few times, he’s no longer interested and is giving you every sign he wants you to fuck off and leave him alone. You know, there is a branch of feminism that insists women having meaningless sex with strangers is empowering. Does this woman seem very empowered at this juncture?

My last week in Seville I dated Mario*, who was half Italian and half Spanish. He took me to a rooftop bar with a view of Seville Cathedral and said he’d bring me to the airport Monday morning when I flew to Paris.

Sunday, I texted him. He said he was stuck in Malaga, hours away.

I’m beginning to think this woman has rocks in her head. How dense do you need to be to firstly believe this guy will give you a lift to the airport, secondly actually believe he is stuck in Malaga, and thirdly write about it in a major magazine later?

I was starting to realize I shouldn’t count on men who know they’ll never see me again to keep their word.

This woman is 26 years old.

But, I was still enjoying traveling overall and spending my days sightseeing. And I was optimistic I’d meet more guys like João.

To be honest, they all sound alike to me.

I met Max*, a 28-year-old British Student (a Tinder match), for lunch. The very first thing I noticed was that he not as attractive as his photos.

Can we get Max’s opinion on you?

By dinner, I was out of cash (and the restaurant was cash-only)

Wait, this is in Paris. Where the hell were they eating, the Grand Istanbul Kebab House? Everywhere takes credit cards except the Turkish joints, and even half of them do. I think she’s been taken to dinner at a vending machine.

The next day, he texted, asking if I was free for coffee. I wasn’t interested and didn’t respond.

Because a simple “no thanks” is too much effort.

“We never settled the bill from dinner! And I can’t afford the 22 quid,” he texted. At first, I was confused, until I remembered he paid the bill.

He’s taken you out to dinner and paid the bill, but the next day you can’t even be bothered to respond to an invitation to coffee?

He then asked me to PayPal him the money from my half; I didn’t respond. Funny how he only wanted the money after he knew I wasn’t interested.

It’s equally funny how you only let him know you weren’t interested once he’d paid the bill.

He kept texting, so I blocked him.

Of course you did. I addressed that here.

A few days later, he found me on Facebook and sent me a message: “Is there something wrong with you, or are you just a c*nt? Hahahaha.”

Why, it’s almost as if shitty behaviour from one party brings out the worst in another, isn’t it?

I blocked him again, and started to wonder if the mix of good dates was worth the risk of bad ones.

From what I can tell, her definition of a good date is meaningless sex with a random Latino, and a bad date is when some guy gets understandably upset by being ignored after he’s bought her dinner.

I was in a terrible mood until that night, when I got a notification Will added me on Snapchat.

Obsessed with Will, yet sleeping her way around Europe. In my book there is a character who, separated from her fiance by the cruel demands of the US visa system, addresses her heartache by shagging someone else for several months. I say this because I’m sure there are elements which normal people will think unrealistic or exaggerated.

In Munich, I met Maddin* (from Bumble) near the Isar River. We sat in the grass and watched people wade in. He was 33 and chiseled. We sat with our feet in the water and he moved closer to me and kissed me. He said he had to leave for a wedding in his hometown that evening, but that he had a few hours, and asked if I wanted to go home with him.

Heh! If Maddin had to go for a wedding, I have a bridge to sell Miss Linscott. So did she go? What do you think?

Just as I expected, his apartment was huge and sleek and expensive-looking. And he was amazing in bed.

So, why is someone who is 33, chiseled, and lives in a huge apartment in Munich picking up women on hook-up apps? Answers on a postcard.

He said he’s never been in love and that he’s too picky, and that he finds one flaw and moves on (this seems to be a common pattern in today’s dating-app culture).

A major flaw being a woman’s readiness to go to bed with him almost immediately and falling for stories about weddings in his hometown. Note that her behaviour utterly typifies the dating-app culture, yet she’s too dim to realise it.

He said it was one of the nicest conversations he’d had with someone he just met. I smiled the whole walk back to my hotel, feeling revived and relaxed.

I’m beginning to like this Maddin chap. My guess is he’s made his money selling secondhand cars.

I took an overnight bus to Copenhagen. At a seafood restaurant near the city center, one of the waiters smiled every time he walked past, and I smiled back. I heard him talking to my waitress (in Danish), and shortly after, he took over as my waiter.

Can you imagine that conversation? “Hey Olaf, I’ve got another one of those American airheads on my table. She seems a lot like the one you shagged against the dumpster two nights ago, you want to swap tables?”

After dinner, he made me a cappuccino from the restaurant next door and got my number, then we went out for champagne. He said he was surprised I didn’t mind eating alone, “looking like I got stood up.”

I suspect what he meant was he’s surprised she didn’t mind eating alone and hooking up with the waiter.

I still don’t know what will happen with Will, but we’re seeing each other again. He asked me to come over his first night back in town, and it felt like we picked up right where we left off. We spent the whole night cuddling and telling each other about our summers, and have been seeing each other in the weeks since.

Prediction: Will is going to find someone else shortly and give you the heave-ho.

I think you can learn from every person and every relationship, no matter how brief (or awkward).

Every relationship? She’s only had one, followed by a summer of sex with random strangers.

I’m building a better picture of what I want in a partner, but I’m also learning that I don’t need one to be happy.

This is probably just as well; I see several cats in this woman’s future life.

Okay, this post is already long but I’m going to make it longer because there are some important points here, many of which I make in my book. The first is that feminists will tell you there is a double standard at play: if a man had written this, everyone would admire him for his sexual prowess. This is a myth, and I address it in my book thusly:

Amy took a step towards me. ‘You have such fucking double standards!’ she said, trying to control her anger. ‘If she was a man, nobody would say anything, but she’s a woman so you think you can judge her!’
‘What double standards? If a guy’s lurching from one low-grade woman to another, fucking anything that moves and failing to hold down a proper relationship, you think women won’t judge him?’
‘Not in the same way,’ said Tom.
‘Bullshit! No self-respecting woman would go near him, and rightly so. This whole double-standards thing might apply to young people, but there comes a time when men need to show maturity and restraint, just the same as women, and we’re all way past that point.’

There’s passage from my book which is relevant here, too:

‘Remember when you were younger,’ I said. ‘You’d always ask a girlfriend how many guys she’d been with? The answer would always bother you; if she said two or three you’d be disappointed. But that changes with age; when you’re with a woman over thirty you don’t care how many, but you want to see that they were decent, normal guys and she was with them for the right reasons. You don’t want to hear she’s had one-night stands, or been with a string of losers, or men twice her age. It’s not the number of guys a woman has slept with that matters, it’s the standards she’s kept.’
‘Yes, you need to see she’s applied some sort of filter.’
‘If she’s got no standards, it reflects badly on you. It means either she sees you on the same level, or she’s scoring out of her league – in which case you should probably aim higher yourself. Whereas if she’s maintained her standards, it shows she values you.’

Is this being judgemental? Perhaps, but I address that too:

‘It’s not so much judging as assessing, trying to work out if you’ll be compatible with that person. The thing is, I know guys can be judgemental about women, and sometimes they might react unreasonably to an aspect of their past. But it all depends on what that past looks like, doesn’t it? Where do you draw the line?

You know what? I should be judgemental! I don’t care what people do on their own, but if they try to enter my life I’m entitled to judge what I see of their behaviour and values. If they don’t like the process, it tells you something already.’

If women – or men – are going to behave like Miss Linscott, then they should at least shut up about it afterwards. As one character says to another in my book:

‘Everyone has a history at our age; I don’t expect the women I meet to be virgins, so they’ll have a past, ex-boyfriends, and so on. If an ex was important to them, or they were in a serious relationship, then I’d expect them to tell me about the guy and I’d be okay with it. But I don’t need to know everything. For example, if a girl went on holiday to Mexico and fucked a waiter, I don’t want to know about it. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with it, but she should keep it to herself. This sort of thing isn’t my business.’

This is obviously difficult advice to follow if you’ve bragged about it in Cosmopolitan. Also, I think this point is crucial:

When you start dating someone you want to know the choices they’ve made, but more important is how they view those choices today.

At some point in future, Miss Linscott is going to meet a man who might be interested in forming a relationship with her and this summer of sex is going to come out. If she’s engaged in some self-reflection and is doing everything she can to hide this sordid episode due to the shame it now induces in her, she’ll have half a chance of convincing him to stick around. But if she hits him with a barrage of angry feminist mantra about how she was “empowered” and he’s being “judgemental”, he’ll be off like a shot. Of course, she may still meet someone, but:

‘The only guys who wouldn’t care are those who just wanted a fuck. Or maybe guys who are desperate.’

Finally, what the hell kind of job did her parents do on her? They must read this article and feel so very, very proud. That’s something else I address in my book, too.