Morning Ed: Valentine {2018.02.14.VD}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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103 Responses

  1. Avatar pillsy says:

    Since we’re doing Black Wednesday links, I was sort of fascinated by this one by Laurie Penny about the benefits of being single for women in their 20s [1]. It mostly argues that men in their 20s are bad to date, due to the expectations everybody has about what men should get out of relationships compared to what women should get out of relationships. I’m a dude who’s just barely on the wrong side of 40, so I have no direct experience, but my memories of my relationships from that time… kind of make me wince at my own behavior.

    Sometimes stuff that goes into gender politics gets me a little annoyed because it makes generalizations that really don’t seem like they apply to me.[2] This one is different.

    [1] In this case “single” seems to mean “avoiding romantic entanglements with men”; if there was a segment about women dating women, or non-binary people, I didn’t see it. But it’s a long piece and I am often a not-terribly-attentive reader.

    [2] This is even more true of stuff that seems to be speaking for men from a more anti-feminist perspective, where someone tells me a ton of things bother me when actually they don’t.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to pillsy says:

      Single is a pretty indecisive term because includes people who are entirely celibate with no dating or sex and people dating and having sex to different degrees but with no consistent partner. The word incel is generally used to describe the celibate single, especially if they are lonely heterosexual men, but has some pretty loaded connotations.

      I propose that we call celibate singles secular monks or nuns and find another term for the dating/having sex singles so we can discuss with greater particularity.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I’ve used the term “secular nun” about myself.

        I gave up on dating some years back because dating is terrible, and it seemed the men people wanted to fix me up with were multiply-divorced guys who were looking for the next in a string of live-in housekeepers and stepmoms to their kids. And while I would not object to being a stepmom or carrying my share of household chores, I also don’t want that to be my raison d’ être in the whole relationship.

        I also had a friend about the same time as I gave up who acquired a live-in boyfriend who took the stance of “You have a good job, so that means I can quit mine” and until she threw him out, he spent his days on the couch, watching bad daytime tv and eating her out of house and home.

        Yes, I know there are good men out there but by the time you reach my age, most of them are long-taken.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I’ve been cracking my share of haha only serious jokes about monastic orders lately.

        Also, some people have taken up “volcel” as an alternative to “incel”. Both of them sound like the names of aliens from second rate Star Trek episodes. And of course “incel” is associated with an Internet community so toxic the EPA has declared it a Superfund site.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to pillsy says:

          Vol stands for voluntary I guess. Calling yourself volcel makes sense if your celibacy is a deliberate, voluntary choice. It isn’t for most people even if most incels aren’t associated with Internet incels or know the term.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

      Link? @pillsyReport

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to pillsy says:

      People in their 20s are often terrible. All genders. I was terrible in some ways when I was in my 20s.

      People in their 30s, 40s, and 50s can be pretty terrible too.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to fillyjonk says:

        I get really bristly when people post a video of kids on a schoolbus being awful to one another and comment on what monsters kids are… completely oblivious to the monstrousness of posting videos of kids online and judging their behavior in public and unproductive ways.

        Yes, kids can be monsters sometimes. They also have only quasi-developed brains, which makes their monstrousness at least understandable. You know who else can be monsters? Adults. What’s our excuse?Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to pillsy says:

      I don’t think that Laurie Penny is necessarily wrong about anything in that article, but I do think that what’s written is effectively useless as advice.

      You can split the population of people in their 20s into two groups: (1) people who are presently in successful relationships or who generally have successful relationships and (2) people who don’t tend to have successful relationships. For the first group, there’s no reason to choose being single on general principle. Whatever they’re presently doing is mostly working fine. Almost all of my close friends met their significant others in their 20s and went on to get married and are still married. I know some folks in my extended group of friends who have gotten divorced, but all of my closest friends are in 5 to 15 years into marriages that are still going strong.

      The folks in the second group? Yeah, they could probably use some single time, but the single time isn’t really the thing that they need. They probably need to spend time doing some version of what the kids are calling “self care.” If there is a pattern to your bad relationships, it’s likely that pattern is a reflection of something internal. That was certainly the case with me.

      As I said above, I don’t think Penny is necessarily wrong. All young people should probably make a concerted effort to spend more time working on themselves and and cultivating good mental health and less time chasing external markers of success, relationships included. but that article is written in the style of here’s why that thing in your life is wrong is really the fault of the patriarchy. And that’s going to make a lot of people feel better, but it’s not going to foster any real, positive life changes. And that is unfortunate.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to j r says:

        @j-r — I think you’re missing a key part of the article, namely that this is a gendered issue. Her point is that, even among people who make feminist noises, women are still expected to sacrifice their own development and accomplishments for their relationships with men, and in a way that men do not need to sacrifice their development and accomplishments for women. She speaks from experience on this. In fact, it is something she has written about before. The work to make herself a “good girlfriend” required her to become less than.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to j r says:

        On the one hand, as a 40 year old straight male, what the fuck do I know about good dating advice for women in their 20s who want to date men. I mostly was struck by her descriptions of the dynamics within heterosexual relationships between people in their 20s.

        On the other hand, it seems to do most of the things I think of as important for useful advice, in that it lays out a course of action that’s reasonably specific, it isn’t impossible to follow, and it presents a plausible mechanism for why that advice might help.

        As for making positive life choices, I think pursuing self-sufficiency and focusing on your professional (artistic, et c.) goals is, at least potentially, that.Report

  2. Avatar pillsy says:

    [@trumwill’s comment on SS1] One thing that stands out to me about the “intersectional left” or “SJWs” [1] or whatever we’re calling them is that they seem to have a perspective on the function of culture that’s much closer to that of social conservatives. There’s a shared belief that creating a just society depends on having a culture that promulgates proper values, it’s just that there’s very little overlap in the values that they want to see and SoCons want to see.

    I’m pretty firmly in the anti-anti-SJW camp, and this understanding has mostly made me a tiny bit more social conservatives.

    [1] I would like a blanket term that isn’t unwieldy and isn’t an insult, though quite a few people have rather gleefully tried to reclaim “Social Justice Warrior”, often with D&D references. Hell, on another forum I have “Social Justice Worrier” as a handle.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

      I like Social Justice AdvocateReport

    • Avatar North in reply to pillsy says:

      Control Left?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

      “Social Justice Calvinist” is a good one.

      All of the pleasure, none of the guilt.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

        @jaybird @north @kazzy

        Are you guys *aware* that @pillsy is specifically looking to name NOT that section of the SJW crowd, but the OTHER folks who are not like that and/or the group as a whole?? As in he spelled out already that that isn’t what he’s looking for?

        I mean, are you razzing him, harassing him, or just having reading comprehension issues?

        It’s kinda hard to tell.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Maribou says:

          You mean Catherine?

          We just call her “Catherine”.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Maribou says:

          My apologies… I was just riffing off the puns. Isn’t “Command and Conquer” a D&D like game?Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Kazzy says:

            Sort of. It’s a real time strategy computer game from the good old days. (I always preferred StarCraft myself.)

            In somewhat related news I’ve just found a regular D&D game to join. It’s remarkable how much that’s cheered me up.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

            Command and Conquer is of the genre known as “Real Time Strategy” and one of the earliest successes (yes, they stole from the Dune game). Basically gameplay is a mix of resource strategy (gathering one or two “resources” needed to build units), base management (creating a base, creating factories, armories, etc to produce units for warfare — and increasing the power of those units), and strategy — defending your resources and obliterating your enemies base.

            As the name indicates, it’s done in real time — no individual turns, etc. There’s a lot of multi-tasking and frantic clicking.

            It’s very not DnD. 🙂Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Maribou says:

          @maribou I’m sorry Maribou, but reading over Pillsy’s original comment to which I replied I got that they were looking for a blanket term for the ” the “intersectional left” or “SJWs” [1] or whatever we’re calling them” not some other group. No razzing was intended.Report

          • Avatar Maribou in reply to North says:

            @north it’s the footnote

            “I would like a blanket term that isn’t unwieldy and isn’t an insult, ”

            that seems to have been missed.

            We’ve also had extensive discussions on lo this very website about how useful the term Control Left is to designate JUST the extremely annoying portion of the SJWs is.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

        I’m not sure you’re right about “none of the guilt”. A lot of people seem to take privilege theory as a source of real guilt. There was even a piece about it here a couple years back.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to pillsy says:

      Arrrrrgh! A tiny bit more sympathetic to social conservatives.Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    So many traps for me to fall into. Just a note that many of Herr Professor Wolfinger’s links do not work.

    WT2: When Queen Victoria got engaged to Prince Albert, there were debates in parliament about who should propose to who. It was eventually decided that Vicky would do the proposing.

    WT3: IIRC, one of the scandals about Ashley Madison was that there weren’t that many real, actual woman on the site and it was a big con. That might be a good thing considering its selling point.

    WT6: I still think Saul is right and your really overestimating how much cross-class dating and marriage occurred in the past. It just seemed that more cross class dating occurred because fewer career options were available to women in living memory. This means that young upper class women became teachers, store clerks, nurses, and secretaries just like young middle class or working class women.

    WT8: I’ve read somewhere that inviting more people to the wedding leads to a lower divorce rate because it creates a community of interest in the marriage. There was also a brief clip that I saw years ago about a young woman, who was also an economist, doing a little study on why wedding dresses cost so much. The main reason is that they tend to be worn once and even if you have more than one marriage, chances are your getting a different dress for each one. The materials used are chintzy though. The young bride in question seemed positively shocked to learn how much polyester was in her expensive dress.

    SS1: From an educational standpoint it is possible to teach teens and kids to watch porn more critically. From a political standpoint it isn’t. American sex education is going to have to go in a more European direction and your going need a teacher to deconstruct porn with examples to students. I’m pretty sure that even the more broad-minded American parents would be aghast at this. Since the Internet makes porn more widely available than previously, we might not have an option about this though unless we want to go down a particularly dangerous rabbit hole.

    SS2, NW1: There seems to be something of a 20/80 thing happening with sex. A relatively small number of people are having most of the sex while most other people, unmarried or married, aren’t having that much sex. As a bachelor, I’m not sure whether to be happy that other people are in the same boat as I am or even more depressed.

    SS3: There might be a lot of willful blindness going on here.

    NW6: I think this makes a lot of intuitive sense, disclaimer I didn’t read the study and I’m just hypothesizing. Less educated people are socialized into expecting traditional gender norms. There have been studies that shown that working class or lower middle class women really don’t want universal pre-k while more educated women want universal pre-k so they can have kids and maintain their career. What they want is to be able to be stay at home moms. More educated people tend to be socialized into more egalitarian gender roles.

    This means that more egalitarian gender roles makes marriage a more attractive proposition for educated women because it means they won’t be forced into a traditional wife role that they don’t want. For less educated women, it means they might be with a husband, assuming heterosexuality, who doesn’t act the way they were socialized to expect.

    NW7: Does this take into account that younger people are more likely describe themselves as polyamorous and have agreements about seeing other people? I think a broader definition of adultery to include open marriages is necessary because of changing social standards to determine how many people are really seeing other people besides their spouse/primary partner.

    NW8: Yeh?Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

      SS3: There might be a lot of willful blindness going on here.

      They always said you’ll go blind if you do too much of that sort of thing.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq says:

      WT8 I don’t understand why it is common here for men to rent the suit for their wedding, but not for women to rent the dress. A suit is something you’re more likely to have repeat uses for than a wedding dress.

      In Brazil, it was the other way around – wedding dresses were commonly rented.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to dragonfrog says:

        I think there is a lot of alteration that goes into a wedding dress but lots of guys are schlubs who don’t understand proper tailoring.

        A good suit or tuxedo is expensive at retail. A decent suit from Barney’s in house brand costs about 1500 dollars at full retail. If you are going up to brands like Isaia and Kiton, those suits costs 3000-5000 dollars. These are off the rack and pre tailoring.

        Lots of guys don’t like spending that kind of money. Women have told me their husbands don’t even like spend 150 at Men’s Warehouse. This is all still pre-tailoring.Report

        • Yep. Granted my experience is with middle-class and up weddings — mine, friends, relatives, my daughter — but I don’t recall a single case where there was a formal wedding that the dress wasn’t altered, both for fit and appearance. I suspect that the dresses aren’t going to stand up to too many add lace, remove lace, shorten the hem, let out the hem, let out the waist, take in the bust adjustments. At least without showing the wear and tear. White fabric’s not real forgiving in that sense.

          Buying suits was fun in my younger days, when I had the build for it. Less so now that I’m old.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I can’t imagine buying a suit and not having it tailored. It’s just about fifty times more comfortable, for starters. Looks a lot better, but let me again point out — so much more comfortable.

          Admittedly, I don’t buy 1500 dollar suits. I buy about 300 to 500 dollar suits, and they last for years. (They, in fact, last long enough that I have to be sure that I am very careful to pick a style, color, etc, that’s more “classic” than “fashionable”.).

          Funerals, weddings, and the opera is about the only times I wear one, so I can get away with that. 🙂

          Men’s Warehouse and it’s associated competitors are really more 300 to 500 than 150, pre-tailoring. These days you can’t get a decent dress shirt for less than 50. 🙁Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Morat20 says:

            It seems to me that guys seemingly fall into two categories:

            1. They really care about sartorial matters; or

            2. They don’t care at all and make a big point about how much of their identity is wrapped up in not caring.

            There are all sorts of regional and socio-economic class things that go into this. The Northeast is more formal than the West/Northwest but also more fashion forward than the Midwest. I’ve gotten into arguments with Midwesteners about whether you can combine brown shoes/boots with grey suits/dress pants (spoiler: you can, grey goes with everything).

            The Oatmeal Cartoon is generally on this is generally true though. In SF to Seattle, wearing a suit is a sign of a more subservient position (unless you are a lawyer going to court). If you wear a hoodie and jeans everywhere, people will just assume you are in tech. It is even okay to wear your company logo here and not get the side-eye like you are wearing a work-uniform. People love the tech company swag because it shows your place in the tech hierarchy.

            My experience with suits in the 300-500 range is that the seam work done on them is often not very good.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Yeah, the rental cost included alteration I think. At least, alteration took place, I wasn’t paying the bills so I don’t know if they were a separate line item.

          When you buy a wedding dress, you have to cover 1x manufacturing and 1x alteration cost.

          If a rental dress gets to be worn by half a dozen brides before it’s been altered too many times and has to come out of circulation, then each bride only has to cover 1/6x manufacturing and 1x alteration costs. I don’t know if that’s an over- or under-estimate for how many times it really can be used.

          I guess a large enough rental shop with a big enough stock might be able to have a good selection of dresses for most body shapes that still wouldn’t require too extensive modifications.

          I think how clothes are built has a role too – if a dress is built with alteration in mind, it might be able to go through more alterations without showing it much.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          “…guys are schlubs who don’t understand proper tailoring.”

          You’re doing that thing again where you’re offending a whole bunch of people without even realizing it.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to dragonfrog says:

        I think the technical terms are Material and Labor (or Labour in the commonwealth).

        I mean, you could get married in a dress off the rack, but who gets married in their little black dress? What are we, farmers?

        {oops misthreaded, meant in response to Pillsy/BB}Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Hey now, my mom married my dad wearing a long skirt over a minidress. My dad wore a wonderfully pirates-of-penzance-y puffy sleeved shirt. I think all of those articles were ones they already owned.

          I now have the piratey shirt. Apparently my dad was pretty thin in the 70s, because that shirt is getting snug on me, and I’m fairly slender myself.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to dragonfrog says:

        I totally agree in a contrarian sense… so I bought my Tux. Not getting married in another man’s suit.

        Hopefully I’ll shrink enough before I die that they can bury me in it too.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

        My guess is that it is mainly cultural combined with the affluence of the developed world. People have it drilled into their heads that the wedding is really the bride’s day from a very young age. Culture combined with the advertising might of the wedding-industrial complex will make it seem that renting a wedding dress will make it seem less special. The bridal gown is supposed to be at least somewhat unique and customized for each bride while outside some very special themed weddings, what the groom wears will not really stand out that much. A nice suit, tuxedo, or even full morning dress for the couples that want to get really fancy will be a uniform.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq says:

      There was also a brief clip that I saw years ago about a young woman, who was also an economist, doing a little study on why wedding dresses cost so much. The main reason is that they tend to be worn once and even if you have more than one marriage, chances are your getting a different dress for each one.

      How is that a reason for them to be expensive? I’m guessing that it’s probably a signalling/emotional thing. Getting married in a cheap dress sounds bad, which makes it easier for saleswomen to guilt their customers into paying more.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Maybe it’s one of those things where you’re already paying eleventy-thousand dollars for your wedding, so dropping a couple grand on a dress doesn’t seem like such a big incremental expense.

        I’m sure that economists must have a name for this.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I think it’s related to the concept of why some scientific equipment is so expensive: specialized use so market is small so there are no economies of scale in manufacturing.

        I mean, I suspect 100x the number of pairs of jeans are sold in a month than wedding dresses are sold.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I’d look at the age of the bride, as well as the number of previous marriages. Anecdotally, it seems the younger and/or fewer marriages a woman has, the more likely she’ll want the expensive dress. Age and experience tempers that.Report

        • Avatar Maribou in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          @oscar-gordon Not that I necessarily disagree with you, but just to plonk an anecdote into your pool that shifts the correlation a tiny bit:

          I got married at 21 and my dress cost less than $100.

          That’s the only marriage I’ve had.

          (Honestly I suspect to some degree the whole wedding industry is one big instance of confirmation bias running amuck and deforming the market. Did I talk much about my cheap quick and incredibly happy wedding? No! That was part of the reason I went the way I did, so I didn’t have to talk about it endlessly. Did my s-i-l talk a lot about her big fancy and incredibly happy wedding? OH YES. That was part of the reason she went the way she did. So decades of people hearing all about the latter type, nothing about the former type, and (young, inexperienced) folks start to think there’s only one way to get married….)Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Maribou says:

            Exceptions to prove the rule.

            I’m just going of anecdata, so it could be my own confirmation bias at work here.

            My wife had a wedding dress that I thought was beautiful and cost us (in the mid 90’s) about $500, plus $200 for alterations. We were smart and budgeted the purchase (dress plus alterations) at $1000. We were upfront with the dress shop with that, and they appreciated the honesty and were happy to help her find something within our budget.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Maribou says:

            That makes sense.

            A while after our marriage, we went to the wedding of some friends with whom Fledermaus was close enough to be in on some of the costs involved.

            Individually, each of that wedding’s:
            – dress
            – photographer
            – venue
            – food
            cost more than our entire wedding.

            We didn’t talk a lot about our wedding to others, and I doubt the guests did much either – not that it wasn’t enjoyable, but it was a fairly low-key thing. “And then there were fireworks, and a big band, and then we all went on a paddleboat steamer” is a lot more exciting to discuss than “A nice short ceremony, good food, good company.” Also there were of course far fewer guests at our wedding to do however much talking they did.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        It is exactly a signaling/emotional thing. The culture of the wedding gets drilled into people’s heads and people believe that the dress must always make the bridge look resplendent to everybody. Its also supposed to be the happiest day of your life according to the culture. This allows merchants to charge what the market can bear.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to LeeEsq says:

      WT8: I’ve read somewhere that inviting more people to the wedding leads to a lower divorce rate because it creates a community of interest in the marriage.

      Isn’t this pretty clearly a reverse correlation (or whatever the statistical term might be)… you can’t lower your divorce rate by inviting more people, but more people in your marriage network might be an indicator of a network that will help you navigate marriage in the long term?Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

      The Wolfinger links have (I think) all been fixed.,Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

      WT2: If that ain’t the definition of romance, I don’t know what is.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Re WT3:

      My own hot take is that Ashley Madison actually *PREVENTED* adultery. In providing an outlet for LARPing somebody’s own infidelitous inclinations, it allowed for that someone to get the transgressive endorphins from adultery without any of the side-effects of emotional affairs, STIs, and so on.

      It might have facilitated a handful of affairs among some minuscule number of people, but these people would have cheated anyway at a bar or something.

      It was those on the borderline of cheating in real life and not doing so that had a virtual sinkhole to spill their wild oats into.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Frequency of sex: Here is my observation. It is very easy to have lots of sex when you are young and have lots of energy and time. The time being the biggest factor. If it is 10 pm or later by the time you are done for the workday and you need to start again tomorrow at 6 am, sex is hard.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Stop depressing this late-bloomer.Report

    • Avatar Veronica Straszheim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      @saul-degraw — There is also a notable libido drop as you get older. Which actually, it’s kind of nice, less pressure, and more time for emotional connection and gentle intimacy.

      Past a certain base level, frequency of sex becomes more about shallow bragging rights (which, fuck that) instead of real life satisfaction.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    [WT2] Please. My ex proposed. It was clear she wanted to get married–I was perfectly happy living together. Finally she worked up the courage to ask me. I still don’t know why I had to buy her an engagement ring though. This happened in the 90s. I don’t see this as “empowering” to women. Women can be pretty clear what they want even if they don’t come out directly as ask.

    [WT3] Other than the whole “married” thing, the site sounds like almost every other dating site I’ve used.

    [WT6] Maybe…but not likely for AA women. They get the short end of the one wants to date them.

    [WT8] Yeah, hell no. I eloped the first time. Not having a big thing next time. Maybe dinner for 20 friends at a nice restaurant.Report

  6. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    WT8: As I point out every time the subject of the average cost of weddings comes up, these numbers are almost certainly bullshit. I have never seen a description of the methodology. This is itself strongly suggestive. Even more so is that they seem to always come from a wedding industry trade group, which has an interest in creating a perception of perpetually higher costs if you don’t want to humiliate yourself with a crappy wedding.

    Also, weddings are cheap. It is the reception that sucks up most of the money. These are not the same thing.

    SS2: As I point out every time some study like this comes out, it is not in fact studying sexual behavior. It is studying how people self-report their sexual behavior. That the kids are reporting less sex than previous generations is interesting, but how it relates to actual behavior is not immediately obvious. That it is treated as if it were the same thing is part of a larger phenomenon within some social sciences, where the researcher wants to study something that turns out not to be amenable to whatever techniques are available, so the researcher instead studies something else that is arguably related to the original something, and pretends that this is the same thing.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Yeah. It’s pretty common (for example) for the total number of female sex partners that men report is much higher than the total number of male sex partners that women report.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to pillsy says:

        My go-to example of silly social science studies is the one where we learn that adults without kids are happier than adults with kids. The methodology typically is some version of asking Dad as he scrapes poop of his kid’s butt if he would rather right now be at a bar with his friends.Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          Asking parents this at different periods of their married life makes a huge difference also. Once the kids are grown, we look back fondly, when cleaning up the messes of youth (legal, educational, fecal) not so much.Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Aaron David says:

            Yup: having kids is a long-term happiness investment, while going to a bar with your buddies is short-term. Comparing them as if they were the same thing is jsut silly.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Aaron David says:

            It is easy to have lots of sex when you are young, have lots of energy, lots of time, and not much money to do anything else.

            It is harder to have sex when you both have demanding jobs and might not be getting home until between 7:30 and 8:00 PM and by the time dinner and cleaning up is done, it is 9:00 PM and you have to prepare for tomorrow’s meeting.Report

    • @richard-hershberger

      I understand that teen pregnancy rates are also falling, which supports the idea that young people are actually having less sex.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:


      The phrase I heard is that a lot of people had their 1960s in the 1970s but very few people (if anyone) had their 60s in the 1980s.*

      I suspect people around my age (born 1976-1982) grew up in the backlash to the 1960s. We were the generation that always knew about AIDS and had Reagan and “Just say No” (this was about drugs but it applied to other areas of life.)

      I was in college from 1998-2002 and my college was largely forward thinking about sex things. Our most popular dance was the HomoHop and we had a sex mag on campus that was talking about a lot of the things you see on the Internet today including poly and queer-gender identity. DOMA received much hatred on campus. Yet SPIN magazine published an “expose” on how my campus was a wild den of inequity right before I got there and I must say it was not true for me and was probably only true for a small part of the population at the school. I saw people do the Walk of Shame but not so much to make the campus look like an orgy.

      *A friend born in the late 1960s reported told me that “key parties” were indeed a thing for her parents generation. I remain somewhat skeptical because the whole idea of a key party seems so corny to me. I suspect that Lee is right on the power dynamics.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I was in college in Santa Barbara in the early 1980s. I watched the ’60s (which in any case really was the very late ’60s into the mid-’70s) die before my eyes. When I first arrived there was a hippie culture, including an honest-to-God head shop, an excellent pre-Starbucks coffee house[1], and a hippie supply store where you could buy stuff like kerosene for living off the grid. That stuff was nearly all gone by the time I left, replaced by preppie clothing stores. It was sad to watch. For all the shortcomings of hippie culture, and they were legion, it was a lot more interesting than what replaced it.

        [1] One day I heard there was going to be an Irish band there that was reputed to be really good. I was up for that until I saw the crowd, so I bailed. I’m not a crowd person, and usually skipping an event because of this is the right decision for me. In this case I later learned that the band was The Chieftains. I have been kicking myself ever since.Report

  7. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    In an effort to teach inclusiveness, a middle school has told it’s students that if someone asks them to dance, they have to say yes.


    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Yes, it goes directly against partner dance etiquette. If you ask somebody to dance and you say know than you take know as an answer.

      I can kind of see where the school is going with this. They imagine that this being middle school, there is going to be a lot of cruel and arbitrary treatment of kids having a rough puberty. Sort of how none of the girls wanted to dance with one of the kids from Stranger Things at the dance at the end of Season 2. The administrators believe that by forcing socialization, kids will learn that the bullied kids aren’t that bad and are kind of neat. They just happened to choose the least effective and most offensive way to do this on a middle school level, one against the spirit of the times.Report

    • We had that for middle school PE class. It worked out better (or less bad) than one might imagine because if you overstepped you could be in a world of social trouble. And people like me were still scared out of our minds of that, if not a willingness to say no.

      Anyway, yeah, it’s still a bad idea.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Will Truman says:

        I can kind of see it for a PE class like that. I remember PE and Dancing and you had to dance with your partner. Thing was, you were partnered randomly and everyone was OK with it because it wasn’t about the person, it was about the mechanics of the dance. In a way, it was better because there was not pressure. You could talk to the person as you worked on the movements and no one would think you were trying to be romantic or anything.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          The politics of who you have to dance with in the partner dance world is really interesting. Most studios do round robin during group classes with either the leaders or followers rotating. They generally insist you dance with the person your paired with if you voluntary decided to take a class. Couples that would prefer to stay together for the entire class tend to be discouraged.

          When it comes to social dancing, the politics are even more interesting. The general assumption is you don’t have to dance with anybody you don’t want to but there is also a lot debate on dance cliques. Many people want the dance community to be a welcoming place and this requires people to be friendly and open with each other. Excluded people doesn’t work.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Lane Findlay with the Weber School District confirmed that it is in fact a rule, but added that it’s meant to teach students how to be inclusive.

      Some ideas are so stupid only intellectuals school boards believe them.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      For the record, I don’t endorse this. And for the same reason that I did not mandate that my children shared their stuff – if it’s mandated, it isn’t sharing. It doesn’t have the right feeling attached. It just becomes a duty, and maybe generates resentment, which I think is probably not going to promote inclusiveness.

      What I insisted that my children do is share something that was mine that I was sharing with them. I bought the Nintendo, and I used it. I let them use it, that’s sharing. I insisted that they share it with each other, too. But the one did not have to share her My Little Pony swag with her sister if she didn’t feel like it.

      Mandated sharing just erodes personal boundaries. I do not endorse that. I think that poor personal boundaries are a problem we see a lot of these days, but more on that is OT.

      But I wonder now, what could a school do in the vein of what I did to promote sharing? More than they already do, that is.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        With my son, I try to encourage empathy. How would you feel if the other kid would not share with you? He is pretty good at sharing, and helping, btw, so it seems to be working.

        I’m not sure how well encouraging empathy would work for middle school kids, but it’s got to be better than forcing the issue like this, where you risk kids being uncomfortable, afraid, or resentful.Report

  8. Avatar pillsy says:

    Not much related to sex or romance, but it happened recently and is the sort of thing we like to discuss around here, so:

    Yesterday The New York Times announced that it was adding Quinn Norton to its editorial staff. Then some dubious stuff (slur-laden Tweets, a long friendship with a Nazi) came up, there was a huge backlash, and the Times dropped her pretty much immediately.

    I am, well, 80% sure that the Times should have dropped her [1] and 20% inclined to think they should have stuck by her because there is a bit of, “You wanted to hire someone who is entangled with these subcultures and what did you expect?”

    In either event, I am 100% sure that the Times made a complete hash of this and either didn’t do any sort of due diligence about Norton or they did the due diligence and then reacted to what they found in an almost unimaginably blinkered fashion.

    Either way, it was complete amateur hour.

    [1] She wasn’t at all apologetic about the slurs, and the Nazi in question has a huge swastika tattoo and likes to rant about murdering Jews, and her explanation of why she was friends with him was, IMO, obnoxious as hell.Report

  9. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    I enjoyed the Ashley Madison article more than I thought I would.

    What particularly stood out was the conclusion:

    This desire for connection doesn’t always look the same, but when you peel away the layers of our psychology, our background, our pain, our hopes and dreams, our fantasies and our kinks and fetishes, the evolutionary drive to survive reigns supreme.

    Over time, as I’ve gotten to know the men behind the masks, I’ve come to a place of compassion. There are douchebags there for sure, but the majority of the men seem sad, desperate and lonely. On Ashley Madison what looks like the worst of humanity is really humanity at its most honest, vulnerable and primal.

    Its disconcerting for us all, I think, when we recognize how intertwined our impulses are. The impulse for a mate and reproduction, our impulse to belong and to be wanted.
    They aren’t separate poles, tugging us this way or that, but sometimes working together, where the desire for an orgasm goes hand in hand with the desire to be loved and adored.

    Like, when men say they want a relationship but are actually lying because they really just want an orgasm, but the orgasm itself is the lie they tell themselves to conceal their hunger for a relationship.

    When I read religious literature, or even feminist literature that earnestly counsels us on respect and honesty and consent in relationships, it always sounds a bit flat and contrived, like it doesn’t acknowledge the seriousness and importance of our primal selves and these multiple overlapping desires.Report