A Middle-Aged Sex Cult

Via commentator David Moore, this:

Koh Phangan is a small tropical island famous for its laid-back hippie vibe, healing workshops and full-moon parties. Cafés serve magic mushroom shakes and detox clinics offer colonics with organic coffee enemas.

The latest toxin that’s being flushed out is not a psychedelic drug, but a so-called “sex cult”.

Agama, one of the world’s largest yoga training centres that was a business magnet on the island for 15 years, is closed as it addresses sexual abuse allegations.

Its guru Swami Vivekananda Saraswati, a Romanian native born as Narcis Tarcau, is understood to have left Koh Pangan.

In July, 31 women publicly alleged sexual abuse at Agama. Fourteen women told the Guardian last week they were sexually assaulted by Tarcau, three of them said they were raped.

Hundreds of Kiwis have passed through the school.

One, a 36-year-old woman, did about 12 months total of yoga teacher training at Agama over five years.

She tells the Herald on Sunday of going to Tarcau’s house for a “healing meditation”.

“Afterwards, he kissed me and started taking off my clothes without asking,” she says.

“There was a lot of pressure for sex, even though I said no.”

She managed to leave before anything happened but what really disturbed her was a senior teacher’s reaction.

“[He said] ‘Like wow, how did you manage to leave without making love.’ I felt really naïve.

“Swami is very aggressive and manipulative. There was all this subtle pressure to sleep with him and other teachers the higher you go in the school. Men are told that women want to be ‘taken’.”

Women were also encouraged to have sex with other women in threesomes “because yin and yin together are good” but gay male sex was not encouraged.

“The brainwashing is subtle but relentless. If unwanted sexual advances or worse happened, and the woman wanted to bring it up, she was told either that she needs to be more open and work on her heart chakra, or that she is attracting this kind of experience. It’s her karma to work through this, especially if it happens more than once.”

A weirdo running a cult and persuading daft women to have sex with him is nothing new, and I imagine such men have existed since the dawn of time. But what differentiates this from, say, the Manson Family is the age of the women: one is 36, another mentioned in the article is 42, another in her 30s. These are not naive teenagers but women approaching middle age, yet some stayed in this place for years. I can’t help but think this Saraswati chap was exploiting the deep insecurity I wrote about here:

For most people, “travelling” – as opposed to simply going on holiday – is something you do in your twenties before settling down into a proper job and/or family life. But for single women, it’s something they do well into middle-age and perhaps beyond, usually going to exotic locations where they talk in lofty terms about spirituality (while scoffing at anything which even hints at formal religion). There must be a pretty big market for this: reasonably wealthy women who have nothing else to do during their annual holidays but jet off somewhere exotic for a few weeks or months of “finding themselves”. I don’t think they’re going abroad to get laid, but they do seem a bit lost, as if going to a nice location will help fill the gigantic hole in their lives back home.

In short, there is very little in this story – not the location, the retreat’s claimed purpose, the cult leader, the profile of the women who attended, nor what took place – which I find very surprising. I’m half-minded to think the reputation of the centre was well known and that served as an attraction, to some women at least.

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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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Driven to suicide by bullies, or his mother?

There’s something missing from this story:

A nine-year-old boy has killed himself after enduring four days of homophobic bullying at school in Denver, Colorado, his mother says.

Leia Pierce told KDVR-TV that her son, Jamel Myles, revealed to her over the summer that he was gay.

She said Jamel wanted to go to school and tell his classmates because he was “proud” to be gay.

I’ve spent a good portion of this summer staying with families, and the thing that always amuses me about children under ten is how hopelessly, wonderfully innocent they are. They really have no concept of adult life and its vices, and that includes sex and sexuality. Now children can feel attractions of one sort of another, and homosexuals when they reach adulthood say they always knew they felt “different”, but they don’t have the faintest understanding why. This is why sex crimes against children are so abhorrent, they are incapable of understanding what is being done to them. The only way a child of nine can possibly be “proud” to be gay is if his parents, or others around him, have exposed him to sex or drummed sexuality into him long before he’s capable of grasping the concept.

She said that when he had told her he was gay, he looked “so scared”, but she reassured him she still loved him.

If your nine year old son is telling you he’s gay, you should perhaps ask yourself what environment he’s grown up in. Now there is no mention of a father here; what’s the betting this woman raised her children in an ultra-woke environment where they were exposed to swathes of adult sexuality and encouraged to indirectly participate, i.e. talking about it, seeing naked adults, or declaring pride in one’s supposed orientation? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a single mother has forced her son to adopt feminine traits at an age where he cannot possibly understand, let alone object.

“My son told my oldest daughter the kids at school told him to kill himself,” Ms Pierce said.

“I’m just sad he didn’t come to me. I’m so upset that he thought that was his option.”

It sounds as though the child had serious mental problems, probably as a result of his upbringing. What does the mother have to say about that, I wonder?

But there’s another issue here. Supposing it’s true that this child went to school boasting he’s gay and the other kids bullied him so much he committed suicide. What are we going to do about it? That young children can be notoriously cruel is hardly new; most of us read Lord of the Flies at school. Either schools attempt the impossible task of getting under tens to not bully the odd kid, or they start locking up nine year olds for homophobic bullying (or at least sending them home, and perhaps jailing their parents).

There is another option, of course: stop sexualising children so much they are proudly gay at age nine and bragging about it in the school yard. If we let children be children instead of extensions of their parents’ deep insecurities and unwilling participants in their political activism, this wouldn’t be a problem. However, I don’t hold out much hope. The way we’re heading under our current rulers, paedophilia will soon be celebrated (unless the perpetrator is Catholic) and normal parents locked up if their child so much as teases someone in an unapproved manner.

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Power Balance

A reader sends me a link to this article discussing sex and consent in the modern era. The author is making the case that the sexual revolution has been a failure for women and, in their own words, made them less safe. It’s an interesting hypothesis, but undermined considerably by this statement:

Most importantly, we have learned that men almost always hold power in sexual situations with women and the subsequent narratives about those situations.

Anyone who thinks women don’t hold power in sexual situations probably shouldn’t be writing on the subject.

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Sex and the City didn’t air on Discovery

I often remark on here that rather too many women thought Sex and the City was a documentary. I’ve now found an article that shows I wasn’t exaggerating:

When the last episode of “Sex and the City” aired in February 2004, I hosted a viewing party for 200 guests. It was my swan song as well: Eight months later, I would move to New York, where, armed with my “Sex and the City” DVDs, my transformation really began.

Based on what I knew from “SATC,” I expected the city to sweep me off my feet. I envisioned nonstop brunching and shopping.

What always surprises me about these stories is the lack of friends and family who try to talk some sense into them.

I lived on food bought for me on dates and the occasional bodega tuna sandwich. For clothes, it was wrap dresses from Diane von Furstenberg sample sales combined with loans from designers who took pity on me — like Betsey Johnson, whom I’d interviewed at Fashion Week. Different men I dated gave me YSL shoes and status purses, just like Big did for Carrie on “SATC.”

She’s relying on “dates” for food and clothes. Yay for female empowerment!

I also subscribed to Carrie’s ethos when it came to men. There was no such thing as a bad date — only a good date or a good brunch story. In my writing, I gave my boyfriends nicknames (one was “Prom King”) just like Carrie and her friends did.

I went out with a prince: Lorenzo Borghese from “The Bachelor.” I even dated the British ex-boyfriend of “Sex and the City” creator Candace Bushnell — the original Carrie. He was one of a few men who comprised the composite character Mr. Big.

A common feature among women who spent a decade sleeping around is their belief that anyone is in the slightest bit interested in their exploits. Seriously, does anyone care who she was shagging in New York a decade ago? She didn’t even manage to screw a household name.

Between 2004 and 2011, I filmed nine TV pilots — many of which were reality shows, and all of which were a derivation of some kind of “SATC” role for me. I was always the Carrie. In one pilot, I hosted for Animal Planet; the premise was that your dog would choose whom you’d go out with.

One can’t honestly say at this point that getting the dog’s input is a bad idea.

Their core complaint about me was that I was a quote-unquote “fame whore.”

I suspect many of your female contemporaries thought that description contained one word too many.

Finally, I cut my ties to New York and moved to San Francisco full-time in 2013. I tried being a tech columnist and writing a personal-growth book called “Experiments in Happiness.”

Which sits on my shelf beside Paul Gascoigne’s book “Experiments in Sobriety”.

These days I work as a change activist, mounting summits for world leaders and serving as an adviser to startups and entrepreneurs looking to better the planet.

So she’s found religion. Sadly she’s not locked herself away in a convent.

I’m finally living a life of integrity, and I’m attuned to my values. I never heard about values on “Sex and the City.”

Well, no.

I dated a woman for a while, a beautiful entrepreneur who was also jilted by New York — that’s definitely not something you saw Carrie do.

How edgy. No sign of mental disorder here at all, oh no.

But dating is not front and center in my life anymore, although it was all I talked about in my 20s. That’s pretty one-dimensional.

You think?

Last year, I ended a two-year relationship with a man who ultimately couldn’t commit and wanted to be polyamorous.

Heh! I suspect he could commit, only not with someone who spent a decade shagging random men in New York in return for food and clothes. And why wait two years? Desperation much?

Again, “SATC” and the “lessons” it taught me is the culprit.

It wasn’t supposed to be a lifestyle manual. And as Daniel Ream often points out, the book was far more realistic in its portrayal of single life in New York than the TV series was, and ought to have served as a warning.

The show wasn’t a rubric on how to find a lifelong partnership.

You don’t say!

If I was more grounded and had honestly assessed whether this man was a good partner for me, I don’t think we ever would have dated.

So it’s the fault of a TV show which concluded in her early twenties that she dated an unsuitable man in her mid-thirties? For all the talk of female empowerment, a lot of these modern women don’t seem to have quite grasped the whole personal responsibility thing, have they? Nor do they seem to understand that the choices you make in your twenties stay with you for life.

Crushed and needing to regroup, I took a sabbatical and lived in Bali for eight months on a healing journey.

Heh.

I was also celibate during my time there.

Much to the disappointment of knuckle-dragging Australian youths in beer singlets.

I do wonder what my life would have looked like if “Sex and the City” had never come across my consciousness.

I don’t know, but I’m confident if you got lost in the Arctic wilderness you’d blame Ice Road Truckers.

Perhaps I’d be married with children now?

Given your appalling judgement, immaturity, and lack of impulse control I’d say that’s highly unlikely.

Who knows, but I can say for sure that, as clever and aesthetically pleasing as the show was — and, as much as I agree with its value of female friendships — it showed too much consumerism and fear of intimacy disguised as empowerment.

Modern feminism is rather good at disguising all manner of vices and self-destructive behaviour as empowerment.

Whom you’re dating, what you’re wearing, or how good you look at that premiere — none of that s–t matters unless you genuinely love yourself. Solid relationships are what really matter.

Who knew?

Truth be told, I wish I had never heard of “SATC.” I’m sure there are worse role models but, for me, it did permanent and measurable damage to my psyche that I’m still cleaning up.

As useful a description of the effects of modern feminism as you’re likely to find.

Two months ago, I started seeing someone I never would have dated 10 years earlier.

A whole two months? How long to you think she can hide the disgust?

Back then, I wasn’t looking to get married or seek a lifelong partner, and that was a mistake. This man is a very reasonable choice, and I’m at a place in my life where reasonable is very sexy.

Two. Months.

Now, I feel like genuine me — I’m no longer a Carrie Bradshaw knockoff.

No, you’re now Samantha. Congratulations!

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More Progressive Sex Pests

I’ve written several posts (1, 2, 3, 4) on the subject of how sex pests hide among the ranks of progressive movements, and how supposed feminists either unwittingly or deliberately provide cover for their misbehaviour.

So you can imagine I wasn’t tremendously surprised by this story last week:

During [Clay] Johnson’s first job in politics, on Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, Schacht and a fellow campaign worker separately accused Johnson of sexual assault. Word of both women’s complaints reached several of Dean’s top deputies. But Johnson kept his job, and his work on the campaign became his ticket to a high-profile career.

He went on to co-found a pathbreaking political consulting firm. Powerful groups and people sought his thoughts on the future of tech in politics; his Twitter banner shows him cracking a joke to a roomful of government officials including President Barack Obama. Despite Schacht’s warning about his behavior, the Sunlight Foundation chose him to head its flagship technology division. He left amid a staff insurrection over his lewd and menacing behavior. And still, he rose higher.

His reputation seemed to be an open secret.

Like Harvey Weinstein, everyone knew he was a sex pest but because he was a good progressive type, the feminists didn’t mind. Then yesterday I read this story:

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has resigned following allegations of assault by four women.

The New Yorker magazine published a report quoting the women, two of them ex-girlfriends, who accused Mr Schneiderman, 63, of hitting them.

Mr Schneiderman has been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and a fierce opponent of President Donald Trump.

Now there’s a surprise, eh? But let’s don pussyhats and protest Mike Pence’s misogyny because he doesn’t eat dinner alone with any woman other than his wife.

This is what happens when politics are used as the sole judge of one’s character, and people turn a blind eye to bad behavior provided the perpetrator has the correct politics. If lefty women want to reduce the rate at which they’re being sexually assaulted, they could perhaps try avoiding lefty men claiming to be feminists. It’s starting to become a clear warning sign.

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Incels: a lot like modern feminists

In the past week or so a new term has entered into the mainstream lexicon: incel, which is an abbreviation of involuntarily celibate. It is the word used to describe angry young men who can’t get laid and then go onto commit acts of violence, often describing their lack of success with women as motivation for their crimes. The term has come to prominence because someone fitting this description drove a van into a bunch of people in Toronto, killing 10.

There is no doubt that the Toronto van driver and others like him display deep-rooted misogyny and hate women, but nevertheless it’s worth trying to understand how and why they became so alienated. However, feminist Twitter is having none of it, believing social ostracism and mental illness is something to be disregarded entirely insofar as men are concerned. As usual, feminist bellwether Natalia Antonova provides a neat example:

Firstly, allow me to mention the irony that a journalist and playwright is seemingly unaware of the term “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.

Secondly, what else is the third-wave feminist movement but a planet-sized temper tantrum that the sexual revolution didn’t deliver as promised in terms of power, prestige – and romantic partners? It sure as hell isn’t about rights, given the movement’s roots in American academia and its proponents overwhelmingly coming from coastal, metropolitan liberal arts circles where women enjoy more rights than at any point in human history. Modern, western feminism is largely about self-entitled, privileged, middle-class women demanding nice things in life they are not prepared to earn, preferring to believe it’s the unreasonableness of men that is preventing them attaining what they so richly deserve.

In terms of dealing with rejection – something all of us must face throughout our lives – feminists are no better than incels. True, they don’t go around murdering people with vans but their effect on society has been equally if not more destructive. And say what you like about deranged, homicidal incels but they at least refrain from giving self-righteous lectures about how virtuous they are when the full extent of the carnage is known. The feminist reaction to incels is that of a self-declared victim group protecting its turf and ensuring they have a monopoly on gender-based suffering; any and all sympathy or understanding for those confused, angry, and ostracised by the opposite sex must go to feminists and nobody else. Either that, or they’re simply upset because, amid all the hysterical screeching and yelling, some men are trying to get a word in edgeways.

Whatever the case, there’s not a whole lot of difference that I can see between lunatic incels and deranged, third-wave feminists.

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A Product of Modern Feminism

What is it with modern women living in New York (it’s always New York) boasting about having meaningless, indiscriminate sex with strangers? Do they think it makes them sound edgy and cool, or do they think people might find it interesting? Here’s the latest that came to my attention by somebody going by the name of Mandy Stadtmiller:

I met two hot Italian pilots on the street, bummed a cigarette, and took them home for a night of sex, debauchery, and, well, the opposite of a marriage proposal.

Things spiraled out of control after that.

When I was at my most self-destructive, I was hooking up with drug dealers and answering ads on the Craigslist’s Casual Encounters section posted by strange men looking for “snow bunnies” (girls who did cocaine). All told, I fooled around in some form with a dozen men from the site. All told sexually, my number is not too far off from other New York women I’ve met — under 100, over 50 — but it wasn’t so much about quantity and more about total lack of quality.

One time, I posted online that I was looking for something akin to a sugar daddy. The first few guys that responded — before the ad was taken down because it probably sounded like blatant prostitution — all sounded like cops, and I chickened out. Another night I considered taking “100 roses” from a sad little man who posted that he was “looking for a girl to show off.” (One rose is code on Craigslist for one dollar.) I didn’t take the money he had laid out. Instead, we sat uncomfortably on the couch together watching “Apollo 13.” Before I got up to leave, I asked if he’d tell me his real name. He refused. What if someone found out?

A friend of mine, the notorious and often shocking comedian Jim Norton, once listened to me patiently as I described a night of doing coke and fooling around with an S&M couple before later meeting and sleeping with another stranger at 5 in the morning who had responded to my incredibly subtle posting on Craigslist entitled: “Need to get f–ked right now.”

Of course, modern feminism compels its adherents to not show the slightest bit of shame over this. For all men’s supposed promiscuity and penchant for endless one-night stands, how many over 30 ever talk about their past conquests, let alone write about them? They grow up and move on, but certain women carry their sexual history around like a badge of honour, only bizarrely the more shameful it is the more proud they are of it. And the point to this woman’s story?

I met a man at a comedy club who caught my eye. He looked like a private detective wearing a trim gray suit and a scowl.

At the very start of our date, I handed him a piece of paper with a list detailing all of my “Relationship Expectations.” I spelled out what I wanted, really forcing myself to think about it: I didn’t want to be cheated on. I didn’t want to be insulted. I wanted to be treasured and loved.

I expected the date to last two minutes because he was being given a list of emotional demands right away — like, before we even ordered. Instead, he read it over carefully and quietly while I sat in the coffee shop sweating bullets.

“I don’t know,” he said, and then a smile broke through, “this all seems fairly reasonable.”

A stand-up comic (of course), my husband Pat Dixon proposed to me in under seven months. I got engaged on the last day of my thirties on the steps of Times Square.
This unlikely redemption tale is what led me to write the most difficult story of my life — my memoir, “Unwifeable” — as a tribute to anyone who feels trapped: in their past or the present, as the hero or the villain, as the wifeable or the unwifeable.

She found some omega male to marry her, and now she’s happy. That’s it. That’s the story, and she now thinks she’s in a position to give advice. The title of the post is:

My epic bender of drugs, booze and sex led to a happy marriage

Only she says her husband proposed in September 2015. This means she’s been married less than 2 1/2 years, a rather short time for someone who considers herself an authority on the subject, especially considering:

My first marriage in 2000 at the age of 25 ended in a messy divorce in 2005 (weeks before starting at The Post). And a lot of my self-hatred (and subsequent addiction) came from trying to suppress myself for other people.

What are the odds on another divorce and a subsequent relapse? What’s particularly weird is this woman isn’t some millennial, brainwashed by people who know only dating apps and online porn; she’s around 43, which is older than me. Something’s gone badly wrong somewhere, hasn’t it?

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Train Wrecked, Woman Blames Brain

A reader alerts me to this Daily Mail article which asks the following question:

I’m single at 50. Why?

The author, one Kate Mulvey, believes it’s because:

Men hate me being brainier than them

Which may be true. However, I suspect there are other factors at play which will become apparent as the article goes on. Let’s take a look.

Three months ago I went to Italy with my then boyfriend, Philip. As we were checking into the hotel, I struck up a conversation with the receptionist in Italian (just one of the five languages I speak). But while I was enjoying myself, chatting away, it became clear that Philip most certainly was not.

Well, were you having a quick chat with a local or showing off? I know the difference because I regularly do both, and if I’m doing the latter I need to make sure I’m impressing the person I’m with, not pissing them off.

He shuffled from foot to foot, muttered something under his breath and rolled his eyes like a stroppy teenager.

Then in the lift he turned on me. ‘I was wondering when you were going to let me join your conversation,’ he snapped. I tried to laugh it off but I knew this was the beginning of yet another argument.

It sounds as though you were showing off, Philip knew it, and didn’t like it.

‘You always have to be the star of the show,’ he continued in our bedroom, as he began to systematically work his way through the mini-bar. Apparently I was argumentative, a know-all and an intellectual snob.

I’m only a few paragraphs in, but I’m already thinking Phil might have been onto something.

What had I done? It should be depressingly obvious. I had dared to dent his fragile male ego. By speaking in a language Philip didn’t know, I had managed to make him – a successful writer, ten years my senior – feel small. How selfish of me to embarrass him in public with my linguistic prowess!

Well, yes. Most sensible men could appreciate the difference between having a quick chat with a local and showing off. I wasn’t there but Philip was, and the body-language would have said it all. It sounds to me as though this woman knows it makes him uncomfortable but went ahead and did it anyway, then made sneering remarks about his “fragile male ego”. Well, we all have an ego and we all have our insecurities. What if Philip had engaged in a lengthy conversation with the hot young waitress with the nice ass, complete with little jokes that made her laugh? Could he complain about Kate’s “fragile female ego” or would he stand accused of being pretty damned rude?

Like so many of the men I’ve dated, it was clear he expected me to play second fiddle to him at all times. It wasn’t the first time we had rowed about such things. One night, we ended up arguing over a BBC4 documentary on the origins of jazz. When he became annoyed that his attempts to outsmart my knowledge on the subject failed, he started singing loudly, to drown me out altogether.

This is a slightly separate issue, but related to the other. The truth is, most men couldn’t care less about a woman’s intellect provided she’s not dumb as a box of rocks. They’d rather date a pretty young waitress than a haggard old professor. The other truth is that women are attracted to a man’s intelligence, very much so. This is why the men of equal intelligence to Kate Marvey were married off long ago, leaving her scraping the metaphorical barrel of relative dumbasses. Not that I think Phil’s a dumbass:

But the pointless fight over the receptionist was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Needless to say, our year-long romance didn’t last long beyond the flight home.

Wise move, Phil.

I was reminded of our contretemps last week, when research in the APA Journal of Personality and Social Psychology confirmed what I’d always suspected – that men simply can’t handle it if a woman outshines them. According to the study, rather than bask in the reflected glory of a partner’s success, men feel worse about themselves.

Yes, which is why it is not a good idea for women to upstage their male partner in public.

‘A lot of men feel threatened if a woman outshines them,’ says Professor Sandi Mann, psychologist and author of Hiding What We Feel and Saying What We Don’t Feel. ‘It harks back to cavemen days, when men had to provide the resources. If a woman is too intelligent, a man subconsciously thinks she’s taking over his role.’

Yes, it’s a normal, natural way to feel – just as women feel threatened by younger, more attractive women.

For me, this is stating the blindingly obvious. I’ve lost count of the times men have rejected or insulted me simply because I was brighter, wittier or cleverer than they are.

So it’s blindingly obvious, yet you put your partner in an uncomfortable position in Italy knowing full well how it would make him feel? That was nice of you.

They have called me ‘intimidating’, ‘scary’, ‘difficult’ and ‘opinionated’. Translated, that means: ‘You are too clever and I don’t like it.’

I expect they also find you rather unpleasant. Not all men mind being with a more intelligent woman, especially if the man is pretty smart himself. Possibly the cleverest person I ever met was a female engineer in the year below me at university, and we dated for about 6 months. She didn’t intimidate me partly because I was perfectly happy with how smart I was, but more importantly she didn’t make the difference an issue in our relationship. If she’d gone out of her way to demonstrate her superior intellect every five minutes, going so far as to embarrass me in public, we’d have split up pretty quickly. Being smart, she knew not to. What excuse this Mulvey woman?

An older male friend – supposedly tired of me dominating dinner-party conversation – even wagged his podgy finger and told me I would never get married because I was too confident and demanding.

And he was right, although I’d bet he never used the word “confident”.

Then there was my dalliance with the criminal lawyer who, whenever we went to a party, criticised my hair, weight and choice of outfit before we set off. He was so terrified I might outshine him socially, he made sure I felt as bad as possible before I’d even got out of the door.

You sound made for each other.

I’m convinced that the reason I’m still booking a table for one instead of settling down with a significant other is not because I’m a year off turning 50, but because men are so threatened by my intelligence.

It’s mainly because you’re turning 50. It’s also because you are quite likely an awful person to be around. Those who are put off solely by your intelligence are robust fellows indeed.

I might have a successful career as an author and broadcaster, but I have never been engaged, let alone married, and my longest relationship lasted just seven years.

She was in a 7-year relationship but never got engaged or married? So much for her being a confident, assertive type. Women with half her IQ points would have told the man to put a ring on it or pack his things within 2 years, tops.

Sometimes I wonder if isn’t all my father’s fault

Aaaaand here come the Daddy Issues.

ever since I could talk, he encouraged me to hold my own in an argument. But little did he know, as he exhorted me to ‘get a good degree’ or add yet another language to my repertoire, he was reducing my chances of getting hitched altogether.

Okay, go on.

As a child, I went to one of Britain’s most academic girls’ schools, Godolphin & Latymer, where I got three top A-levels, then breezed through an Italian and French degree at the University of Kent, getting a 2:1, while keeping up conversational German on the side.

If you’re going to hold up your father’s advice to “get a good degree” as the reason for your lifelong failings with the opposite sex, I’d expect something a bit better than a 2:1 in Italian and French from the University of Kent. I’d also have expected more impressive credentials from someone who thinks their entire problem is being too clever.

I grew into a bright and confident young woman, keen to flex my intellectual muscles and to never let a man get the last word just because of his sex.

So you deliberately set out to put men off?

My bedside table has always buckled beneath the weight of substantial, intellectually challenging books. I devour cultural documentaries and love nothing more than taking another evening class (Spanish, the most recent; philosophy set to be the next).

Which is great, but none of this is the slightest bit interesting to men. It’s the equivalent of a man citing his love of football in a screed about why he’s single.

The backlash against my brainpower began in earnest in my 20s, when I was a struggling writer going out with Sebastian, a high-flying City trader. Initially he loved dating a writer – even (or, perhaps, particularly) a constantly broke one, and he had to rescue me by paying for everything. But as my career and social life suddenly took off, his affection turned to resentment.

My career entailed a round of seminars, high-profile dinners and exciting parties. Sebastian might have made million-pound deals but he couldn’t handle being my ‘plus one’. After three years he told me he’d met someone who ‘needed’ him.

This might be true. Alternatively, he might have found your success made you awfully big-headed and a pain to be around. It might come as a surprise to Ms Mulvey, but not all successful women are hopeless, lonely wrecks.

One boyfriend told my father he hated the way I never used short words, when a lengthy one would do.

So he found you so pretentious he felt the need to mention it to your father?

My boyfriends would speak over me at dinner parties, put me down in public, tell me my books – of which I have published eight – were just stocking-fillers,

This is unfair, given she’s written such weighty tomes as “How to Date a Younger Man: The Cougar’s Guide to Cubhunting” and “1920s Style: How to Get the Look of the Decade”.

In my late 30s, I decided this would be easily remedied by dating older men.

Heh! Yeah, I’m sure the men your own age and younger were just queuing up, weren’t they?

Surely, I thought, an ageing alpha male, secure in his achievements, would not be jealous of his girlfriend’s accomplishments? Sadly, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Julian, a handsome 61-year-old lawyer, was a case in point. One night he invited me to meet some of his old friends in Geneva. As I sat there tucking into fondue bourguignonne and making jokes in French, he lashed out, jealous at not being the one getting the laughs.

I find it rather hard to believe this 61-year old alpha-male lawyer was angered by her intelligence.

We broke up soon after and he went on to marry an unthreatening woman with tidy hair and the personality of a wet rag.

I’m glad she’s not bitter. Here’s the photo of her in 2000, aged 31:

Now looks aren’t everything, but if you don’t have ’em, your personality better make up for it.

And that’s the thing. When it comes to love and marriage, I have watched with depressing regularity so many brilliant men choose beautiful but dull women.

Who says they’re dull? You? Because they can’t dominate a dinner table conversation with “the finer points of Ed Miliband taking on the trade unions”?

As a friend of mine said the other week: ‘Kate, you are far more likely to get ahead romantically if you push your cleavage, rather than your opinions, in a man’s face.’

Perhaps she is right. But it’s too late for me to change.

It’s too late for you to be pushing cleavage in their face, too. By about 25 years.

Unlike the canny girls who learnt how to flirt with men from an early age, the brainy ones, like me, were too busy with their books to master the art of flattery. Instead we challenge rather than charm, we control rather than compromise. No wonder men find it hard to like us.

I like the causal assumption that clever women cannot be charming and are incapable of compromise. If you’re a controlling woman who cannot compromise, no man will like you period, and it has nothing to do with your supposed intellect.

I tell myself I shouldn’t have to dumb down my intelligence or omit to mention my achievements just to make myself more attractive.

Maybe try being a bit nicer, and more considerate of the other person? I know a few couples where the woman is smarter than the man, and it works out fine because the woman is, well, nice.

But as I watch a lot of clever women morph into Stepford wives at the merest whiff of testosterone, I wonder whether, by refusing to show any chinks in my intellectual armour, I’m the one who is losing out.

She’s gonna cling to this “I’m too clever for everyone” right until the end, isn’t she?

I was sorely tempted to join the giggly man-pleasers last week as I watched a friend of mine, a 48-year-old, highly educated PR executive, swipe a potential suitor from under my nose with a ‘dumb blonde’ act. While I ribbed and joshed with him, engaging in a battle of equals, she batted her eyelids and told him in a breathy voice how young and attractive he looked. She ended up with a glass of champagne and an invitation to dinner. I stood there glumly nursing an empty glass.

I’m struggling to imagine a sadder scene than two aged women fighting over some bloke who’s probably looking for no more than a quick shag, one playing the slapper and the other desperately trying to show how clever she is.

I reassured myself that I had preserved my dignity. But I couldn’t help but wonder if, once again, my brain might have done too brilliant a job of protecting my heart.

Self-awareness is rarely a strong point among women featured in the Daily Mail, but I think this one breaks all records. She actually has a book out called “Flirting with the Barman: The Big Girl’s Guide to Growing Old Disgracefully”. Yes, really.

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A hunt for a tall, handsome Welshman

This shouldn’t be difficult:

A mother who cannot remember the name of her daughter’s father is trying to track him down 15 years after their one night stand. Terri Reid says that all she knows is that he was tall, dark and handsome, and Welsh.

This narrows it down to, what? A dozen blokes? Half a dozen? Now if she’d said he was short, squat, and looked as though he’d played over a hundred first-grade matches at the front of the scrum then admittedly the options would number in the millions. But tall, dark, and handsome? You sure he wasn’t Italian?

They met in 2003 in a nightclub in Blackpool, but their union that night in a friend’s flat above a Chinese takeaway led to her giving birth to Channell who now wants to know who her dad is.

Like school on a Saturday.*

The morning after their rendezvous above the restaurant they went their separate ways.

Terri, 32, still lives in Blackpool but cannot remember the name of the nightclub they met in as it has since been knocked down.

I’m not sure that would help in any case. And this is a nice touch:

If you think you are Channell’s father, get in touch

adam.smith@metro.co.uk.

If a little optimistic. Any Welshman who was tall, dark, and handsome and having unprotected sex with strangers in 2003 has likely fathered an entire rugby team by now. My advice is to go and watch a few colts games, try to spot any player that looks like you or him, and see who’s cheering him the loudest from the sidelines.

(* No class)

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