Morning Ed: Relationships {2018.06.08.Th}


Will Truman

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

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100 Responses

  1. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    [Re0] I wish Abraham Lincoln (or internet explorer) had been invented when I was a younger man.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      If I were a more ambitious and literary sort, i would rewrite the Lincoln- Douglas debates as a Twitter fight.

      With emojis.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine says: should; but only part of one, that would be funny.

        Doing all of them? That would be troubling.

        Its like one of Marchmaine’s rules for dining: Sweetbreads, only as an appetizer… never an entree.

        {I’m sad to say that rule is made from experience}Report

  2. Avatar LTL FTC says:

    Re3: Solnit goes from men who use violence to get the sex they want in antiquity to those who do it now and then reaches the conclusion that the problem is … capitalism?

    No, that’s not it. Men have used violence to get what they wanted without input from their victims for all of human history. The difference now is the rise of romantic love and the fact that the offense is against the woman, not her father or husband. Progress to be sure, but also… not.

    I’d also reject the notion that there is a whole lot of distance, in the practical sense, between the creepy thought-experiment-but-not-really sex partner allocation advocates among men and the “its society’s fault enough people won’t f*** the intersectionally worthy” feminism of Srivasanan. In both cases, the status quo is found wanting and the goal is for more people the speaker cares about get the sex they want. The difference is that Srivasanan believes this should come about by men interrogating their preferences until they come out acceptable to her, whereas the male allocators skip this step because it’s transprently some unrealistic New Soviet Man claptrap used to paper over consent issues, and goes straight to state coercion. In both cases, people can’t be trusted with their own desires; it’s just gender-flipped based on who the speaker considers worthy of sympathy.

    The great hope for society is that both sides of that particular coin are quite small in number. The only tool for “fairer sex allocation” that society seems poised to accept is monogamy, and even that isn’t as popular as it used to be.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      To be slightly fair to Srivasnan, I think she would include men with disabilities in her thought experiment. Otherwise, I agree with you. There is little practical difference between what she writes and what incels writes other than that Srivasnan is fluent in academicese. You your going to be sympathetic to will entirely depend on your politics.

      On a Crooked Timber post on Hanson’s thought experiment, one of the posters noted that progressives can be mean towards people with bad sex lives. John Holbo admitted this is true. I think this is inevitable for the same reason that many free market capitalists are mean towards poor people, they are living demonstrations that their theory has some serious wholes. The free love advocates have argued that once we get rid of our Abrahamic restraints on sex, we would live in some sort of paradise. When you have large numbers of people not able to do this, it might mean that sexuality doesn’t come as naturally as they think. They need to be mean to buttress their theory.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      Re3: Obviously the problem with men regarding women as property is the existence of property in the first place. /snark

      The corollary to that is that in a property-less world in which everything is held in common and the problem of scarcity is solved, women too will be held in common and be abundantly available for men’s use.

      Socialism/communism is not any less concerned with people having stuff than capitalism. The problem is in treating women as things to be had in the first place, not in whether men have rights against other men using their women. Between socialism and capitalism, only one of them notionally places primacy on the rights of individuals not to be interfered with. And if anything is an interference, surely rape is.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        This is where I would asks about the causality of economic systems and injustice, that socialism causes this while capitalism causes that.

        Did white people in the South truly want to treat their black fellow Americans with dignity and respect, but were forced by their economic system to enslave them?
        Did the Russians want to deliver food to the Ukranians but somehow were restricted by a passage in the Communist Manifesto?Report

        • Avatar Murali says:

          Well, this is the Hegel-Marx debate. What drives the shape of history, the ideas people hold or their material/economic circumstances?Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

      You know, I have a different reading of Srivasanan, who ultimately concluded “there is no such thing as a right to be desired”. I think she is uncomfortable with some of her fellow lefties, who might actually believe the things you say, and is trying to redirect them, using the language of her tribe – academese, etc.

      But, you know, I haven’t read all that much. It’s just “there is no such thing as a right to be desired” is kind of a big stake in the ground.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Srivasanan also stated that the idea of who is attractive is a political decision though. Its a bit of trying to have it both ways.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC says:

        You’re right, and I just missed adding that in during the editing period. That said, this “just asking questions” format isn’t given much leeway in the other directions. We also have a long history of demands to “interrogate your preferences” when they don’t evince woke desires.

        “There is no such thing as a right to be desired” means a whole lot less when it comes served with a side of, “but look at all these people with wrong desires failing to desire the worthy.”Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      If this sort of thing comes across, in practice, like someone saying: “Your dating pool should include me. My dating pool should only include people that I am attracted to and arguments that I should find attractive things that I do not find attractive are offensive.”

      Well, back when I played poker with a group of guys, we passed a deck around the table. When the old man got the deck, he always told the same damn joke: “We’re going to play a little game called ‘Me Win’.”Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        “You have to accept me with all my flaws but I get to reject you for whatever reason I want” seems to be how many people perceive how dating should work.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          @leeesq — That’s pettiness.

          In good relationships, emotionally mature people work very hard to understand their own flaws and correct them. For example, my current primary partner, who I have dated off and on for a few years now, once told me that I was too “stubborn.” At first I did not like this, of course not. No one wants to be called “stubborn.”

          However, I thought about it over time. I examined my own behavior. She was correct. I could be very stubborn, far more than she. So I have been working to be less stubborn.

          Likewise, there are things she does that I do not like. We talk about them. Some I have to accept, just as she has to accept certain things that I do. But the key: we have love and commitment, and we make real compromises. We both do the work.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Eh, it’s like buying a house. If you put your house on the market and you immediately have 20 offers, you have room to raise your asking price.

          Or, wait. It’s like having a job opening. You put your placard in the window “Help Wanted” and you hope for resumes. If you get 20 resumes, you get to sorting. If you get 2 resumes, you read both of them. If you get one resume, you read it and you have a y/n question in front of you knowing that they probably lied on their resume but you probably lied about the job requirements and so maybe they cancel each other out?

          And I suppose that I can understand feeling like more resumes should have been dropped off than actually were (“hey! This would be a nice place to work!”) but you deal with the job market you have, not the job market you wish you had, etc.Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Re1: I’m not buying this one bit.

    Re2: Most heterosexual men who can’t have sex don’t kill anybody either. Testosterone might be one reason for the difference. Another reason for the difference is that it’s more socially acceptable for heterosexual women having troubles in this area of life to moan about it. Any sort of forum where heterosexual men talk about this issue is seen as a conspiracy against women. Men as the pursuing gender in heterosexuality are expected to shut up and self improve until they find somebody. When you take away the ability to healthy bewail your situation, you create a pressure box sort of thing.

    Re3: I’m not buying this either. A frequent feminist critique of sex is that women are treated as gate keepers and puzzle boxes for sex. From my perspective, women seem to actively embrace their role as gate keepers and puzzle boxes. If you want to get rid of the notion that women are prizes to be earned than this mode of dating should be gotten rid of. Even feminist dating advice sites like Doctor Nerd Love tell men to prove their value. That seems really capitalist and exactly like what Snolit is complaining about. Women have agency here.

    Re6: my fantasy involves the perfect dancer body. I used to have one particular dancer in mind.

    Re9: I’ve also heard that that water doesn’t help with sex because it washes away the lubrication. You also get it in your mouth.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      @leeesq — On Re2, bullshit.

      It is not that women are “allowed” to talk about things you are not. It is more that we talk about these things very differently. From the article:

      Yet despite the universal experience of loneliness and sexual failure, there appears to be one fairly significant difference between men and women: “I’ve never gotten anything from a woman blaming men for [their loneliness],” Shechter says. “But men, yes.” Of course, not all men blame their sexual woes on women’s failure to appreciate their value, nor on a female fixation on bad boy alpha males rather than more deserving “nice guys.” But, Shechter reiterates, “women have never said that.”

      Men (too many men) blame women when they cannot find love. Women do not blame men when they cannot. That is the difference. But more, this stems from entitlement.

      Yes, it is entitlement, full on. Feminists are correct about this. Men feel entitled to our bodies and our emotional lives, without any sense that our needs matter. This is widespread and monstrous.

      Men who have been participating in this conversation for a while might learn to deny feeling entitled, just as racists learn to deny being racist. Just as a racist might say, “I’m not racist, but…”, an entitled man might utter the words “I don’t feel entitled.” But still, they (too many) show massive entitlement in how they behave and what they say. As these men churn out paragraphs, their entitlement is plain to see.

      Short version: when men blame women, we notice.

      Women are done with this shit. Yes men are angry. They are getting angrier. But women are humans with dignity. We will not be cowed by angry, emotionally stunted men.Report

      • Avatar Mark Van H says:

        Women do not blame men when they cannot.

        Are single women who are complaining that there are no decent men anymore or that all the decent men already are taken not blaming men? Because it sounds to me like they are. Obviously in a less toxic way then the incel creeps or some of the men rights activists, but it’s still laying the blame for the lack of relationship outside of yourself.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          The language might be different but anybody who believes that heterosexual women never blame their lack of partner on exterior forces really needs to examine themselves. The entire who needs men when you have cats cartoons that I see on Facebook is an example of blaming outside forces.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          @mark-van-h — There are billions of women in the world, so sure, somewhere some woman has blamed men. On this:

          Are single women who are complaining that there are no decent men anymore or that all the decent men already are taken not blaming men?

          That is not blaming men. Saying, “These people do not like me and I wish they did,” is not blame.

          Blame is saying, “These people do not like me, but they should like me. I am owed being liked. They have wronged me.”

          That is blame. Men do it a lot. Women do it very seldom. It is about entitlement. It is about how one handles an absence.

          (Women blame men for other things, such as sexual harassment.)Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC says:

        Eeh, it’s clear to me that women blame men, but they are much more careful with language. They blame beauty standards, for example. And we all know whose fault those are. Others can blame the list of -isms available for their individual situation. And we all know who is responsible for all the -isms. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with nightcisheteropatriarchy. Women can blame systems instead of men because any system we don’t like is just men behind the curtain .

        I do see a lot less blaming individual men for rejecting them, but that has a lot more to do with that stubborn gatekeeper mentality.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          @ltl-ftc — Women do not blame men for not dating us. Did you read the article?

          If we blame men for (as an example) being emotionally closed off, that is a very different thing. I will say it bluntly, I am entitled to choose partners who meet my emotional and sexual needs. That is a different thing from saying I am entitled to a partner full stop.

          Those differences are critical.

          Anecdote time, I went through a very difficult breakup in late January for exactly this reason. I was dating this woman. I loved her, quite deeply. However, she did not love me back — which, relationships are subtle things. She claimed that she loved me. I wanted to believe it, but her continued behavior showed otherwise.

          It took me way too long to really understand this. Finally, I accepted the truth. I broke up with her, which it turns out, that was far more painful for me than for her. I grieved, so much I cannot express. It was easily the most painful experience of my life.

          She, by contrast, was upset that another of her ex girlfriends blew her off, which happened during the same time period as our breakup. Really. That stung.

          So it goes. Do I blame her?

          Yeah I do. She is an emotional minefield who misled me. She stayed with me because it was convenient. She said the words I wanted to hear.

          But more, I blame myself.

          Read that again. I blame myself.

          I blame myself for not seeing this sooner, for not accepting the plain evidence. I deluded myself at least as much as she deluded me.

          I broke up with her. If I am in a relationship, I deserve for it to be a real relationship with real love. Those are my standards. I am entitled to my standards.

          Have standards.Report

          • Avatar LTL FTC says:

            I’m not sure how your experience with dating scenario A (you were sad but mature about breaking up with someone) has anything to do with scenario B (the un****ables of Re2 or the political backdoor-entitlement gambit of Srivasanan in Re3).Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              @ltl-ftc — It is the degree that these feelings fuel unjustified resentment and anger. No one owes anyone sex. No one is a thing. No one belongs to other people to the degree that we must submit our deepest emotional and physical intimacy to some other person who does not inspire us.

              Women are not things.

              And dammit just because many people (but actually men) are capable of connecting the “woman” symbol to the “human” symbol in their minds, just because they can draw a correct Venn diagram, that does not mean they accept our humanity at a deep level. Cognitive dissonance is real.

              We are not here for men.

              Virtually everyone will say, “Sure, I get that. Totally agree.”

              But then just wait a bit, and soon enough that man is expressing bitterness toward women-in-general for rejecting him, as if we failed to play the role of token girlfriends or manic pixie whatever. Fuck that. Learn to deal with rejection.

              Disappointment is not bitterness. Sadness is not blame. I am not talking about the former things. Nor am I talking about the statement “People should be willing to examine their attractions to see if they meet their own values.” I do that. You should too. This is not that.

              I am not asking for perfection. I am not claiming that no women ever has turned into a bitter little shit. Of course that happens. There are billions of people. Everything happens. I am saying, you will not find a female equivalent of an “incel” site that looks anything like male oriented incel site. You will not find women shooting up schools or hating men because they will not date us. You will not find this as a cultural force. You will find women angry at men for other reasons, but not these reasons.

              At its root this is entitlement. Men (#notallmen, but dammit too many) feel entitled to posses women, despite our inner lives. Men wants us as status objects, as brood mares, as maids, as many things that do nothing to satisfy our yearning for love.

              We have our yearnings. To that we are entitled.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          What I’ve noticed is that women get rejected by a particular man is that they are more likely to blame the woman who got the man for stealing him. This is based on real life observation. I’ve also noticed via Facebook that women do blame individual men for not dating them but they use language to suggest that the man is cowardly for not dating them. They also seem to get replies of support on how the woman is too cute or good for that particular man. I’ve never seen or heard men do this for other men. The best is a shrug and there are plenty of fish in the sea type response.Report

          • Avatar LTL FTC says:

            True story: there was a woman in college who shared a similar orbit with me but we weren’t exactly close friends. I thought she was really cute and took the opportunity of a shared class to sit next to her for a semester. We chatted amiably before class started each day. I wanted to ask her out but was clumsy and shy. Twice, I asked what she was doing later that day as a prelude to proposing we grab a drink or a bite. Twice, she told me precisely what she was doing – could have fit in that drink, but I read the situation as, “anything but a ‘not much, you?’ is a polite dodge.” So I dropped it. For the rest of the semester, we were chatty, we looked at each other in a certain way, but I never pressed the issue.

            Fast forward a decade, we’ve moved to different cities, I got married, she is still single and Facebook shows no signs of a BF in the picture. Ever. We go to a mutual friend’s wedding. She spends the entire time staring daggers at my wife, someone she’s never met. Not at me, at my wife! There was no possible way that my relationship with my wife bore any relation to my not dating her. None. But she made my wife very uncomfortable and other people noticed it too.

            Had she read the signals a little differently, had I been more aggressive, or if she took the smallest scintilla of initiative, I would have dated her and felt lucky to have the opportunity. But she hated my wife. I’ll never understand that.

            This was a few years ago she’s still single, FWIW.Report

        • Avatar Kristin Holmes says:

          IMHO the convenience of blaming “feminism” for stuff is a dodge that ~some~ guys are using to avoid listening to what reasonable, every day women are actually attempting to tell them. Yes, ~some~ feminists are wackadoo and some things feminism calls for are impractical/impossible/borderline evil in real life application. I have serious concerns about the direction feminism is headed too. But one can’t use the far out, wackadoo elements of feminism to excuse oneself or the gender oneself belongs to, from the reasonable (well, I think it’s reasonable) request to not grope, harass, or rape us.

          I think things have been by and large pretty darn good for the fratboys since the sexual revolution and there are ~some!~ guys who want to eat their cake and have it too. (not saying it’s anyone on this lovely site of course) ~Some~ guys seem to want every freedom of the sexual revolution but they also expect the full benefits of the patriarchy as well. Sexual freedom to the nth degree but with men still in charge of everything. “Dudes, we can totally grope EVERYTHING!!! With impunity!!! YOLOOOOOO”

          I’m not sure menfolk get to have it both ways. Either ya live up to the male responsibilities that once came with patriarchy (monogamy, protecting women rather than exploiting them as disposable sex objects, less sexual freedom and indulgence, responsibility for being primary wage earner, act like an adult rather than an oversexed boor) or embrace the freewheelin’ world of tomorrow in which women have the right to say “nope I’m not sleeping with you unless you agree to my terms and you have to respect that”.

          Just seems like there are a lot of men who are fully ok with the endless bounty of Internet porn, swiping on Tinder, and crossing off every item on their sexual bucket list, but have now become outraged MRA when women stop to think “hmm maybe this system is really not serving our needs particularly well and the ability to give an enthusiastic yes to sex also means I have the ability to say no”.

          Women may, and indeed will still choose to have sex for jobs/grades/money/fleeting moments of affection/other personal reasons like getting someone to kill spiders for them in this post-metoo scenario but the difference is that it’s not a prerequisite that you HAVE to have sex for jobs/grades/money/etc.Report

      • Avatar Iron Tum says:

        This is going to turn into a cotton ceiling debate, isn’t it?Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Re7 – I agree that thinking marriage is inherently patriarchal is bull. Marriage is whatever you make it.

    I became against civil unions (and pro, vice neutral, on same sex marriage) after my father passed away and my mother had to deal with the estate on ‘easy mode’ (only had been married to each other, he was always the primary income earner, kids that were both of theirs, already adults, that were their only kids and none of them had nor desired a claim on the estate) – and yet it was still a royal pain. I couldn’t imagine going through all that mess *without* the marriage ‘easy mode’ and default assumptions.Report

  5. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    [Re2] I do not accept the idea that spree killing is causally linked with any ideology. After all, there have been so many different ideologies involved with them over time. Spree killers often study other spree killers who do not share their ideology.

    They want to spout the ideology for sure, but it seems to me like they are searching for a script to follow, for some words to attach.

    What is common is that the perps are young men, and they have powerful feelings of humiliation. We need to think about this in a different way. Not in any sense that blames the victims.Report

  6. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    Re5: I am confused. My understanding of the term “sugar daddy,” and by extension “sugar baby,” is that the entire relationship is based on the one party financially supporting the second party in return for favors, particularly, though not exclusively, sexual. Essentially it is somewhat formalized serial acts of prostitution–the sugar baby role is a modern equivalent of anciens regime courtesans.

    Yet here the term seems to be used as the gimmick for yet another online dating site: couples looking for a deep, meaningful relationship where one of them is rich. Sure, the courtesan relationship always was more than just sex, if only because its ongoing character means the parties will be spending time together while not making the beast with two backs. I suppose this gives the opening to claim that it isn’t really about sex. But even if not *just* about sex, that is always a big part of it, and it is transactional sex we are talking about here. I am surprised that anyone is surprised.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      @richard-hershberger — I know a few of women who play the “sugar baby” game. (Actually, one of them was maybe kinda my sugar baby for a while, although we never really called it that and we were already sexual before it developed that way.) Anyway, it is complicated. Different women want different things. Different men want different things. If you sign up on a site like that expecting the other people on the site to entirely match your preconceptions, then you will likely be disappointed.

      (All but one of the women I know who do this also do occasional sex work. They really just want the $$$.)Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      I HATE how these made up labels suddenly become real things. Now we have “sugar babies” and they’re a thing, now we have “betas” and “incels” and “Stacies” and “Beckies” and it’s like reality (which is complex) goes away and we’re left with people fulfilling made up roles that never were really that true/accurate to begin with.Report

      • Avatar veronica d says:

        “Sugar daddy/momma” with “sugar baby” is an actual relationship structure that people choose. Sure, every relationship varies, but this is a real thing.

        “Incel” was, believe it or not, a label created by a LGBT woman to name a support group she formed for those who struggle with intimacy. Since its creation, it has changed to name a specific male-dominated misogynistic hate community.

        Those all seem to name real things.

        Terms such as “beta” and “Stacy” seem like bullshit.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        From what I understand, the movie Clueless introduced the terms “Betty” and “Barney” (think Flintstones) to refer to hot chicks and less attractive guys.

        I don’t know that those terms are still around (though hot chicks and less attractive guys still are).

        We will have dumb terms 20 years hence and we will be able to complain about… I don’t know… Chowders and Paninis or something.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          Most of the terms she used are all slurs used by incels (who named themselves). She missed Chads, Roasties, and a few other fun and informative slurs incels like to use.

          I’m honestly surprised there haven’t been more papers on incels. In addition to being a rather incredible look at how an insulated group can go totally toxic and enter a self-reinforcing spiral, it’s all pretty much out there to view — it’s all post-internet age, available via the Wayback machine and other archives.

          It’s like being able to study the formation and radicalization of a cult in real-time, listening to their own words and charting their mental state as it changes.

          Maybe there are papers. I haven’t honestly looked that hard. I’ve just taken advantage of that accessibility to read what they’re saying themselves. And then wanting to take a scalding shower.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            I don’t know about “stacies” but “sugar babies” and “betas” and “incels” and “Beckies” are all things that predate the modern internet. (Well, “Sugar Daddies” are… it’s not a huge leap to get to the babies variant to the point where it only makes sense to wander through inceldom.)

            The reference to “Beckies” goes back at least to the intro to Baby Got Back and “betas” strikes me as following from “alphas” (and my first experience with “alpha”, as it tends to get used these days, was Grand Theft Auto 4’s Brucie Kibbutz).

            None of which argues *AGAINST* these terms rising in the incel community, but, even if they did, they certainly seem to be useful enough terms to bleed over into normieland.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              “Alpha-beta” predates the incels, but I’m pretty sure its modern usage arises from the manosphere. But then, all these groups share a common vocabulary of misogyny.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                Oh and just to make the Internet a perfect hellscape, evidently “fuck you veronica” has become something of a meme, although I don’t really understand it:

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                Then we have this:

                Meme culture is somewhat odd. It is funny tho.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Yeah, but its modern usage was seen as useful for deniably misogynistic normies. I’m remembering the scene in Jurassic World where Burt Macklin, Dinosaur Trainer, introduces Blue, Charlie, Delta, and Echo to some kid and the kid asks “Where’s Alpha?” and Burt Macklin answers “You’re lookin’ at him.”Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                @jaybird – The Venn diagram of “guys who have at least dabbled in manosphere-adjacent spaces” and “screenwriters” is what shape?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                We don’t have to make insinuations. We can look up who wrote the screenplay. (At the time, the movie had the biggest opening weekend, like, *EVER*.)

                Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver (according to Wikipedia, anyway).

                Derek Connolly is also responsible for Safety Not Guaranteed (I don’t know whether to categorize that as manosphere-adjacent… it certainly had a manosphere-type at the center of the story). Other screenplays include Monster Trucks, Kong: Skull Island, and it looks like he’s been included on Star Wars: Episode IX.

                So… yeah. Monster Trucks. We can conclude that he’s hip-deep in the manosphere.

                Colin Trevorrow doesn’t have anything recent. He wrote a tv movie in 2005 and then disappeared for 10 years.

                Came back with Jurassic World. (He’s also on Star Wars Ep IX. Not a good indicator.)

                The last two are a Husband/Wife team who wrote Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes together. They also both worked together and wrote The Relic (which I don’t remember) back in the late 90’s and the Sally Field revenge thriller “Eye for an Eye” (which I do remember).

                And that’s more than a decade between The Relic and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

                I don’t really know if they’re manosphere adjacent. Planet of the Apes movies might technically count as such.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              I got Beckies and Stacies confused (Stacies, roasties, Chads, are straight incel slang) — beta has been heavily appropriated by the incel community, because they’re very keen on the faux pack dynamics view of human social interaction.

              Of course, the incel view of human social relationships reads like an enthusiastic alien observer, working on his first undergrad paper, tried to extrapolate human social customs strictly from watching porn and interviewing people who fall in love with their real dolls.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        Well, to be fair “betas, stacies, beckies, roasties” and a host of others are all terms from one particular community — the incels. They’re all slurs, in fact.

        The incels named themselves, which I think is just the polite thing to do so that unaware people don’t accidentally step into the toxic waste. I find that a service to humanity — like soverign citizens, or flat earthers, or blackpills and redpills — it’s really nice when someone tells me up front they’re totally crazy, so I can find a reason to be somewhere else.

        Mostly, though, people like to define things and name them. We’ve been doing that a long time. Humans like to classify things, and it’s certainly easier to rattle off “poly femdom into 24/7” than it is to spend about 30 minutes explaining just how you like your sex life.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          “Becky,” btw, is often used by black women to label a certain type of white women. Myself, I don’t get the contours of “Becky,” but black women seem to.

          Similarly, it can be hard to explain to cis folks what a “chaser” precisely is. Similarly, from poly space, the term “unicorn hunter” is often vague.

          These are things that, if experience the actual social conditions, you learn why these words exist.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 says:

            I had beckie confused with Stacie.

            I would imagine unicorn hunter to be someone looking for something ridiculously specific or otherwise rare. I’ve heard it in context of couples looking for another girl (mff threesome) since, you know, bisexual women looking to hook up with a couple aren’t exactly thick on the ground.

            And I’ve certainly met people whose list of particulars for a relationship have gone beyond “I know my type” to “I’m really dictating a real doll and it’s accompanying sexbot AI”. (“She must be between 5’3′ and 5’5″, no more than 105 lbs, red hair — natural — blue eyes, virginal, speak three languages including English, me a master chef and massuese, be into these five specific kinks, and be willing to find and bring other hot women into this relationship. Also, can’t abide knobby knees.”)Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              I’ve heard that people can get that particular in the wild but it even strikes me weird that people can get that particular in reality. The number of people able to make those specific demands and achieve them can be counted on one hand.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              @morat20 — Yeah, “unicorn hunters” are mf couples looking for an f third.

              But it’s not just that. There are aspects that are hard to summarize.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            Becky seems roughly to be the cis-heterosexual female equivalent of Chad. The first time I encountered the term was in the essay about that 46 year old leftist grad student that got into a conflict with a 19year old white conservative woman. It suggests a sort of obliviousness to anything beyond their immediate self.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              “Stacies” are the female equivilant of chads. (Think bimbo-slut archtype). Becky’s are feminists (ie, not as hot, don’t wear makeup, think they’re smart but aren’t) who want to have sex with Chads, but lie about it, and they’re often worse because they clearly string alone a bunch of guys by pretending to be friends with them. Think….Daria, perhaps.

              Stacy’s are more defined by relentless sexual promisicuty and a total emphasis on surface appearance (hers and mens).

              Stacy sleeps with any Chad, and of course Becky wants Chad but can’t have him, so leads on guys she has no intention of sleeping with. (because all women want Chad).

              Or to put it another way, Stacy is a porn star (well endowed, curvy, sleeps with any hot guy, bimbo) and Becky is most women they know. Chad’s are also porn stars (big, dumb, muscled, well-endowed, in shape jocks, who sleep with any Stacy they see).

              Although Chad is also any guy getting laid, regardless of looks, because incels don’t really have a coherent taxonomy of non-incels males — it really breaks down there. (They tend to refer to Chads like they’re all chiseled gym rats, yet then call anyone in a relationship Chad. )

              It’s a damn weird rabbit hole, and I’m gonna be blunt: They’re just getting started with the violence.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                I can’t keep all these terms organized. Urban dictionary defines Becky as (1) the act of fellatio and (2) a white girl into Starbucks, ugg boots, and trying to get her rear bigger. Becky seems to be a more insulting and demeaning term for what they called basic two or three years ago, which makes sense considering the context I learned it. You make it seem like becky is involving into a female incel of sorts.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Interestingly enough, if you Google Stacy on the Internet you find out that its’ a girl’s name of Greek origin that means fruitful or productive. That makes the slang definition of Stacy surprisingly appropriate. Urban Dictionary gives a more positive definition of Stacy than you do.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I pretty much only hear “Stacy” and “Becky” used by the incel community, at least in the last five or six years. So those are the definitions and usages I’m familiar with (because honestly, it takes about 20 seconds of reading their crap to run into them).Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Blame the internet. It allows concepts to solidify and spread faster than previous medium did. Its not like humans didn’t like to simplify how society worked before the Internet. We had frat boys, jocks, nerds, preppies, and others. People like archetypes. It makes everything so much simpler. Real life is a bad comedia del arte.Report

  7. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Re9: Had sex once in a pine forest. Not a blanket in the world big enough to prevent fallen pine needles from finding their way into uncomfortable places.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      @oscar-gordon — Oh gawd this bring back memories of high school.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Same here, given that I was in High School at the time (only a teenager would be so determined to have sex that they’d ignore pine needles and mosquitoes).Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          * frozen faraway gaze *

          * monotone *

          “The pine needles. The pine needles.”

          * long pause *

          “The pine needles.”Report

    • Mark Kruger Mark Kruger says:

      I did it in a forest by myself once. No one heard it.Report

      • Avatar veronica d says:

        But you are now a legend among squirrels.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          Maybe I should clarify. This was meant as a joke, to suggest that the squirrels observed you, and in turn that you became a legend, as elder squirrels told younger squirrels tales of you amazing feats.

          I realized it could be read to suggest other (shall we say) less pleasant scenarios. Nothing of the (unstated) latter sort of scenario was intended.Report

  8. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Since living together without marriage became common in the 70’s I have seen essays asking why there isn’t a good word for that live-in partner, akin to “wife” or “husband”.

    I finally realized that the word for this person can’t be defined, because the very essence of living together, is that it is undefined.

    Are we living together for a week, a month, a year or a lifetime? Have we co-mingled our finances? Taken out a joint 30 year mortgage? Raising children together?

    Or is there always a lingering uncertainty, one foot that is not completely inside the door? Its hard to come up with a word for someone, when I myself don’t know what they are to me.

    Oh, I got a letter on a lonesome day
    It was from his ship a-sailing
    Saying, I don’t know when I’ll be coming back again
    It depends on how I’m feeling

    If you, my love, must think that away
    I’m sure your mind is a-roaming
    I’m sure your thoughts are not with me
    But with the country where you’re going

    • Avatar greginak says:

      Significant other works. So does snugglebunny.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

        Provided it’s an opposite-sex relationship, there’s also the allegedly-invented-by-the-US-Census term “POSSLQ” (“possel-q”): Person Of The Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters, though apparently it does not necessarily imply that a sexual relationship exists; they are merely unrelated people sharing a dwelling.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:


      ETA: fornicator/fornicatrix?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:


    • Avatar Maribou says:

      @chip-daniels The people I know who are in this situation long-term (and they are many) seem to like “life partner”.

      I’ve caught Jaybird using that one unironically for me as well, more now than when we first got married these many years ago.

      There are a lot of reasons not to get married, and not all of them are related to a lack of commitment, or even a lack of permanence.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        Oh absolutely.

        But we use the same phrase- “living together” – that means anything from one week to one lifetime, so there isn’t any way to apply a term to it that means anything.Report

        • Avatar J_A says:

          I would strongly recommend a very useful french verb for living together in that space that’s more than boyfriend/girlfriend and is less than buying a house together:

          “se pacser”

          I really don’t know what the normal word people that have pacsed use to describe thelselves. Legal documents talk about partenaires, but that sounds, well, too legal. Hopefully @maribou can help. Her French is orders of magnitude better than mine 🙂

          ETA: I just looked at an internet forum: mon copain/ma copine was the plurality’s choice. Interestly enough, the forum title was “Comment presenter son pacsé?”, but pacsé itself was nowhere near the top of the choicesReport

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        Oddly enough, my wife doesn’t appreciate it when I call her “my first wife” despite its strict factuality. Women!Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          preech it brother….for some reason my wife doesn’t like me referring to her as my former girlfriend…..but that is completely accurate.Report

  9. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    [Re3] I think I read Solnit differently from most responses I’ve read so far. So I might be the one reading her incorrectly. But I don’t take her argument as being that capitalism is to blame for our problems with sex. Really all I think she’s saying is, if you try to understand sex and mating through the metaphor of a capitalist market, like a lot of these incels do, you’re gonna have a screwed up view of mating, and you know, the proof’s kinda in the pudding there.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      I think you’re spot on, I read her the same way.

      I think when you look at a sentence like “Feminism and capitalism are at odds, if under the one women are people and under the other they are property,” it’s important to understand how important the IF is in the sentence.Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      @rufus-f — I’d say that the intellectual models of capitalism certainly don’t help. On the other hand, if you spend much time around young socialist men, who we presume spend some time engaging in counter narratives to capitalism — well I’ll just say that entitled men exists in many political configurations.

      “Incel” beliefs are not new. In fact, they’re as old as dirt. What is new is social media and mass culture.Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        @veronica-d All of what you just said doesn’t contradict (my reading of) the article though. (I thought the comparison of Troy from a woman’s perspective to ISIS among the Yazidi was particularly apt). Her point was “these capitalist models – and incidentally their antecedents – are sucky models for understanding sex”, not “socialism” (or whatever) “is a good model for understanding sex”. I expect Solnit would say that goods-and-services models, regardless of lens, are not a good way to understand sex, period – at least not as a primary method – and that the capitalist one is the one that pervades our (American) culture at the moment.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Oh I don’t doubt it. I just think, as a rule of thumb, economic theories work great if you’re trying to sell a lot of toothpaste. If you’re trying to find love and sex, not so much.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      That is a fair reading of Solnit’s article. Sex and mating aren’t exactly like a market place but they aren’t unlike them either. My unpopular opinion is that just as wealthy people really don’t like to be reminded of the non-wealthy, people with great love and sex lives really don’t like to be reminded that other people have sucky love and sex lives. There isn’t really a policy prescription to solve the latter but the way the loveless are treated doe seem similar to how the ultra free marketers perceive the poor at times.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Well, I definitely think talking about a “dating market” works better than a “dating collective” or whatever the socialist equivalent would be. A polyamorous workers collective?

        But, you know, I’m “low status”, not terribly attractive, and I’m definitely not wealthy and I’ve done fine mainly by not worrying about those things and just taking a genuine interest in lots of different people, and sometimes it gets flirty and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you have lots of friends and that’s okay too.

        I will say that one thing that helped during times when my love life was sucky was just realizing that sexual misery is a central human experience that nearly everyone goes through at some point, unless they’re James Dean and die young. One issue that Solnit might be alluding to is that in consumer cultures it’s standard to think everyone else is happy and getting laid a lot, when really most of them aren’t.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          in consumer cultures it’s standard to think everyone else is happy and getting laid a lot, when really most of them aren’t.


          I was a late bloomer, and found it frustrating in high school to witness movies like Porky’s and Last American Virgin which presented high school as a nonstop orgy by people who looked and acted nothing like the teenagers I actually knew.

          In the same way that commercials and Hollywood movies always portray “typical” middle class people living in impossibly clean and well decorated and spacious houses and apartments driving late model cars.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          @rufus-f — Calling romance a “marketplace” is fine, except if one forgets that it is not actually a marketplace. Each person is unique. Nothing is fungible. Prices do not clear.

          Why do we need bad, reductive modes of relationships when we can just theorize about relationships as they are, made of people with emotional lives?

          The thing is what it is, not some other thing.Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. says:

            Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. Well, it’s what I’ve been saying… I got a little sidetracked riffing on LeeEsq’s comment that it’s not totally unlike a market and saying, sure that’s probably better than thinking of it as a dating kibbutz.

            But, definitely, most of my luck with dating has been in thinking about me and them as me and them and not getting too abstract or comparative.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          I realize on an intellectual level that sexual misery is a central human experience that nearly everyone goes through. I also realize that no everyone else is happy and getting laid a lot, there are many crappy or at best average relationships out there. Yet, I also realize that I am far behind nearly everybody else in my age group and there things that I’ve entirely missed out and will never get to experience. It doesn’t help to be surrounded by preeners. Like advertisements, a lot of the preening might be false or hollow but there seem to be an inordinate amount of people in my life who really lucked out in the relationship and sex departments.Report

          • Avatar Maribou says:

            @leeesq It may or may not help you to think more about the people who are worse off than you (or the parts of other people’s histories that are worse than yours) and less about the “preeners”.

            For instance, I (rightly or wrongly) often feel that you think of me as a “preener”. And it’s true, I did luck out in the relationship and sex department if you look only at my existing primary relationship of half my life. (And to be clear, that is a *damn good* relationship and I can totally see why others would be envious of it and/or use it as a standard for what people can have – I know this.)

            But you could just as accurately look at me and see a person who was raped repeatedly in secret by their male parent in their childhood and adolescence, who has spent most of the last two weeks immersed in trauma work that involves revisiting and purging those memories after a lifetime of being harmed by them – as part of a work that is taking years and still won’t leave me entirely free of those harms at the end – which is all to the good but nonetheless requires *revisiting those memories and many other related but less sexual ones*. Looking at me from that perspective, you might conclude that *you are quite fortunate in the sex department* because (from what I recollect, apologies if this is untrue) you’ve never had anything like those kinds of scars.

            You haven’t had the adventures I’ve had, sexually or romantically, but you haven’t had the harms I’ve had either. I’m not a “preener” at the top of some status pyramid, I am someone who has seen the worst and best of what sexuality can be, and (usually) chooses to celebrate the best rather than dwell in the worst. There’s a balance there, that is very similar to not having had sex at all. I consider myself very fortunate compared to the people who have only or nearly only had overwhelmingly bad experiences of sex.

            Many many people are much worse off than you or me, rather than balanced, in this department, not because they are deprived of sex, but because they’ve had an overwhelming amount of sex forced on them.

            I realize you probably have these things in two separate boxes that don’t live anywhere near each other, but I think that’s mistaken.

            And I think if you look at your sexual history in this broader context, you *may* feel less like you’re at the bottom of some pile. You may find some reasons to be grateful for NOT having had many kinds of negative sexual experience, for not having been torn apart by those.

            It could be a lot worse.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              Your not a preener. The preeners are the people who are in other people’s face about their romantic lives. Preeners believe themselves as having a special sort of enlightenment because of their tastes or experiences. The people who never shut up about this particular subject even if it is clearly causing annoyance or even pain to other people around them are preeners.

              There are people who have it a lot worse than me. I understand this on an intellectual level. This is an emotional subject though. If I could approach from a level of pure intellectualism I’d be more at peace. When I think about people who have it worse than me in this area, my emotions are conflicted. On one hand, I feel more than a little selfish because other people are going through a definitely worse experience. On the other hand, a favorite tactic of preeners when dealing with people like me as a means and method of bullying and control. Just because there are people in worse pain, doesn’t mean that my pain is irrelevant.

              I have no idea what it means too get into a relationship this late in life. People my age are married with kids or maybe even divorced and remarried with kids. Most of the never marrieds seem to be looking for something very different than what I’m looking for. I’m still trying to do things that most people experienced in their teens and twenties, just a little bit. That can be a very big turn off if you don’t do things right. It just feels like your walking on a tight rope. One wrong gesture or word and the fact that your a true single comes out. People freak about that.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                “Just because there are people in worse pain, doesn’t mean that my pain is irrelevant.”

                Of course it doesn’t. And I wasn’t saying you shouldn’t feel bad about your pain, or shouldn’t express your pain.

                I was saying you should quit feeling like you have it worse off than almost everyone, which is a sentiment you express fairly often. Negative comparison is different from just saying something is very hard, very sad, etc. Or, I suppose, since telling someone to quit feeling something is more or less akin to telling them to calm down, I was saying that more compassion for those that you know intellectually are worse off than you (deliberate, chosen efforts toward compassion, toward speaking compassionately about them and including them in your descriptions of the world), might help you stop feeling this thing that you know intellectually is untrue.

                Which I suppose one could argue is selfish of me. Because while I do care about you and want your life to be easier, I mostly want you to get past the negative comparisons of you vs almost everyone, so that I can stop hearing about how SO many people are better off than you and you are on the bottom of the heap (not that you said that in the comment I am currently replying to, though it’s implied – but you often say it explicitly), because it causes me some emotional pain to have you keep asserting things like that, being that I have cause to understand very well, emotionally as well as intellectually, how much worse off both of us could be. I can understand intellectually that when you talk about being on the bottom of the heap, you don’t literally/intellectually mean it, but emotionally it bugs the heck out of me. And despite me asking you in many different ways to stop asserting this, which I keep doing precisely because it causes me a fair amount of emotional pain, you don’t ever stop for long.

                Much like the preeners don’t seem to stop for you, though I still don’t understand exactly how what they are doing is cruel. I appreciate you clarifying that I’m not a preener, but I honestly don’t see much difference between how I act and how you describe preeners as acting. That first paragraph is phrased in such a way that I don’t know how one could be happy and celebratory about one’s relationship and *not* make you feel like one was preening. I get that there’s a difference from your perspective, but I really don’t understand what the difference is.Report