SL 702

Caitlin Flanagan joins the ranks of women who say that #MeToo has gone too far.

The NYT’s 52 places to visit in 2018 is pretty cool.

After we get Jonah off to college and then after I edit the two articles that are sitting with editors at two different journals and after I decide on the quartz v. granite countertop debate, I’m definitely going to organize the photos on my hard drive.

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74 thoughts on “SL 702

  1. It used to be that handlers warned male celebrities that there were young women out there who would try to get pregnant and sock them for large damages, or concoct rape stories as revenge for being jilted. Now it seems like there’s no need to concoct anything: just agree to a one-night stand, then write about how you didn’t like it, and watch the guy’s career go down in flames. Fortunately, only celebrities are vulnerable to this type of malicious behavior. Anyone who had a one night stand with me (which by this time has to have happened more than 25 years ago) can publish and be damned. No one will be interested.

      1. “That was the year I was born.”

        Infant.

        Also, I think the words “hot” and “singles” and “1975” have no business being in the same sentence. Oh man, that list is painful.

      2. Wendy said,

        “Infant.”

        I know!

        But (seeing as I have a 5-year-old) I hang out with a lot of 30-something moms now who seem to live in their exercise clothes and are busy having babies. In that context, I feel plenty old.

        It also helps to spend as much time as I do telling stories to the big kids that start, “When I was your age, there was no blah blah blah.”

        “Also, I think the words “hot” and “singles” and “1975” have no business being in the same sentence. Oh man, that list is painful.”

        I listen to a lot of that stuff on the radio, and it has led to many discoveries–for example, exactly what a huge plagiarist Vanilla Ice was or that songs glorifying statutory rape are a whole musical genre.

  2. I just bought a new external hard drive and backed up all our photos since 2003. They’ve always been meticulously organized, though, I just need to continue keeping up with them — including those from our phones. I don’t feel like reading Flanagan’s piece… maybe I will. Sigh…

  3. I took a quick look on twitter and at least half of the tweets are pretty much in agreement with Flanagan. The digging in on the “bad date = assault” side made my head hurt, though.

    I really hate the argument that women can’t ever be expected to say no or get up and walk away, because what if that makes the dude so mad he rapes or kills them? The part I don’t understand is, if you know you are personally unable to say no or to walk away from any man without fear of being raped or killed, why on earth are you going to the apartment/hotel room/whatever in the first place? It seems to me that women that are that afraid should not be in hook-up situations and probably need counseling and lawyers involved before becoming intimate with anyone. I’m not being sarcastic, that level of needing to have every one of one’s signals read and carefully heeded without being able to express one’s own needs and desires without fear requires a much more formal and structured negotiation than most people are up to.

    1. ” And if I did –. Senator McCarthy: No –. Mr. Welch: — I beg your pardon. Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. Senator McCarthy: Let’s, let’s –. Mr. Welch: You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency? Senator …”
      There’s a common theme I think in a number of out-of-control horrors going on – people are looking for the ‘decency sir at long last’ line for defending awkward schlubs against the harpies of MeToo, for somehow getting Trump off the stage, for getting public pensions/union demands in line with what’s going to be possible for the taxpayers of NJ, CA, IL, for enabling open and free discourse for a wide variety of opinions on college campuses.
      All of the out-of-controls respond to real problems – that rapist swimmer at Stanford and Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer and Hillary’s disdain for the white working class and civil servants retiring in penury in the long past. Except maybe the college thought control, that seems to me to be in response to imagined problems. But we have a common problem to all of these that we aren’t modulating our response, things are not proportionate.

      1. dave s.,

        “Except maybe the college thought control, that seems to me to be in response to imagined problems. But we have a common problem to all of these that we aren’t modulating our response, things are not proportionate.”

        Weeell, it is true that colleges in the past (and many up to the present) weren’t awesome about doing something when students (particularly student athletes) were accused of rape and there have been a lot of college coverups. (Try googling “student athlete rape” or “college rape coverup” and see what pops up.) Consider also Penn and Sandusky.

        However far the pendulum has swung at some colleges, other colleges have different situations. I’ve heard some recent stories about problems at small conservative religious colleges and how they deal with accusations of rape. Sometimes there may not be any ill will, but they bumble through dealing with it, and the institutional bias is obviously “keep it quiet”/”must not have happened.”

        https://www.simchafisher.com/2018/01/16/are-women-safe-in-christendoms-bubble-part-i/

        https://www.simchafisher.com/2018/01/16/are-women-safe-in-christendoms-bubble-part-ii/

        (For context, there are under 500 undergraduates at Christendom, so you’d keep bumping into the same people over and over and over again.)

  4. I haven’t read the gory details, but I thought this from Osita Nwanevu made sense:

    “Maybe this is my own reading habits, but the reaction to Ansari, apart from the takes in his defense, hasn’t been anything like the reactions to Weinstein, CK, Lauer, Rose, etc. Which suggests precisely the proportionality #metoo critics pretend doesn’t exist.”

    I think it would be nice to have charts for this sort of thing, with little colored dots for each accuser, and a different color-coding for different levels of accusation (yellow/orange/red?). That way it would be easier to tell the difference between photo-op gropers, flashers, serial rapists and people in positions of authority who take advantage of minors, as well as to be able to visually gauge the weight of evidence.

    1. Which suggests precisely the proportionality #metoo critics pretend doesn’t exist.”

      Yes, this.

      What happened here, exactly? Ansari was a cad and was exposed as a cad. Who, exactly, is complaining, or should be? Only those who wish do live in a world where one can be a bounder and a cad and experience no risk that this behavior might be exposed and become part of your reputation.

      I liked Valenti’s quote in the article, where she points out that the terms of the relationship are being renegotiated. It reminded me of the scene in Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader tells Lando Calrissian that he is altering the terms of the deal, except that I am on Vader’s side on this one.

      It’s not like Ansari couldn’t have avoided his fate. He was a jerk, he is being called out on it, and the defense being put forward by him and his defenders is that this isn’t something that someone should be held accountable for. I disagree.

      1. What do you mean by cad? There doesn’t appear to have been any deception or dishonesty involved. He was apparently up for a one night stand, and the woman initially seemed to be willing to participate in the same. But it turned out she wasn’t, and she left. (Unless the cad part consists of not asking her what kind of wine she wanted?)

        Any woman who expects a long, respectful courtship from a celebrity (unless she herself is a celebrity) is a fool and a narcissist. If that’s what you want, find a banker boy who is ready to get married. Don’t give your phone number to celebrities you meet at parties.

      2. I agree with Jay.

        The first date is not the time to live out porn-fueled fantasies.

        If it were a trial, I (old lady) would have no problem seeing it as rape.

        Silence does not mean consent.

  5. Earlier generations have relied upon women not talking about what happened on “bad dates.” The current crop of young adults have grown up talking about everything at length–with ocular proof.

    This story is what happens when someone from an older generation who assumes it’s ok to try to get a “one night stand” on the first date goes out with someone from the younger generation who has been raised on the principle of affirmative consent. There is also the assumption that women will keep quiet. THAT IS NO LONGER THE CASE. Everyone is also carrying around tracking devices that allow them to prove where they were, and what they were doing at the time (think Fitbit.)

    She doesn’t have to scream “no” and run out the door. He is obliged to stop if it makes her uncomfortable. He is obliged to get an enthusiastic “yes.”

    That’s what they’re teaching young college educated people. The reported large response from other young women is evidence the younger generation has a different understanding of the “deal.”

    By the way, it wasn’t a Tinder date. If “Grace” had wanted a one night stand, I gather there’s there’s an app for that.

    1. She doesn’t have to scream No and run out the door, but she really does need to use her words. By her own account, she didn’t. She mumbled and maybe he didn’t understand. I was uncomfortable and he should have known can’t be the standard.

      She should have left out the detail about the wine as well. I don’t think this is her intent, but it kinda comes across as though she thinks that is almost as bad as the rest.

      1. By her account, she really did clearly express herself. First she said ‘Next time” when he asked to have sex with her. Which doesn’t include the syllable ‘no’, but is a completely unambiguous way of saying ‘not now’ in standard English. He kept on sticking his fingers down her throat, trying to finger her, and putting her hand on his dick, so she went and hid in the bathroom for a while. Then she came out and said “Don’t make me feel forced, because I’ll hate you if you do, and I don’t want to hate you” (I didn’t check the quote, but this is pretty close). Again, that is a perfectly comprehensible way of saying that she is unhappy with what he’s doing and doesn’t want to have sex. And then he ignored her clear verbal communication and kept on pestering her, and she said “no” again. When she talks about mumbling unclearly, it’s in addition to those clear statements.

        She could have been more forceful, she could have fled faster, she could have screamed or gotten violent. But taking her account at face value, she did use her words, and she was clear that she was unhappy with what he was doing.

  6. One more thing. Has everyone had a chance to read the Vanity Fair excerpt from the book about Silicon Valley? https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/01/brotopia-silicon-valley-secretive-orgiastic-inner-sanctum

    The paragraph for this discussion: Another female entrepreneur described the unfair power dynamic that’s created. “There is this undercurrent of a feeling like you’re prostituting yourself in order to get ahead because, let’s be real, if you’re dating someone powerful, it can open doors for you. And that’s what women who make the calculation to play the game want, but they don’t know all the risks associated with it,” she said. “If you do participate in these sex parties, don’t ever think about starting a company or having someone invest in you. Those doors get shut. But if you don’t participate, you’re shut out. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

    The young ’20s (millenials?) women have not (by and large) been raised to be Marilyn Monroe. They’ve been raised to be Sheryl Sandberg. They have not been raised to “catch” a husband and spend their lives deferring to his wishes.

    I don’t think the young women I know are ok with the role older people would assign to them, of eye candy sex kittens. I see MeToo as marking a shift in gender roles.

    As I see it, neither party comes out well from the story. The most damaged, though, is Caitlyn Flanagan, who clings to an outdated understanding of how women should behave. The younger generation is not going to give the man a pass. And really, really, if you think it’s a one night stand, say it up front or use Tinder. Because the younger generation (and let’s be real, this is something they face, and older women don’t) compartmentalizes their lives, often through apps.

  7. I have no problem with her telling her account of it – my issue is with calling it assault and publishing it in hopes of wrecking his career.

    I know it’s what some college aged people are being taught and it worries me, because it’s unrealistic and disempowering and unfair and unhealthy. (According to my son, a lot of students are pushing back as well. RA trainings are exciting these days.)

    It places an enormous and disproportionate burden on men to check in constantly and read subtle cues and predict when ambivalence will become discomfort.

    And it absolves women of any responsibility to read men’s signals or hell, even their own, or exercise any judgment about the guy or the situation, or clearly communicate their wishes, or to roll over and walk away from a situation that isn’t working for them. In fact, it actively discourages women from communicating or acting in their own interest, because what if he gets mad and rapes or kills you? And at the same time, it tells women they are entitled to go to the home of a potential rapist/killer and emerge feeling loved and respected, and if they don’t, it’s completely the man’s fault and he’s a rapist and should be shamed publicly.

    Beyond the sexual arena, it tells young women that if they don’t emerge from a situation feeling great, it’s someone else’s fault. And that is not a healthy message. Sex is complicated and sometimes something you want and seek out ends up feeling bad; being junior at work can be difficult and may not feel empowering or immediately rewarding; dating even without sex factored in, being married, moving to another city, changing jobs, having children, living life ….all of these can be messy and difficult, and come with some bad feelings. The healthy reaction is to wrestle with these things, figure out what you can control, what you can’t, and learn from it. Instead, we’re teaching young women to cry helplessly, blame someone, anyone, seek revenge if you can.

    I get the impulse to say, women have carried an enormous and disproportionate burden for years, it’s men’s turn, but creating a culture that’s just as unfair, only flipped, isn’t good for any of us and is not a goal shared by all of us.

    1. She wrote an account of what he did. It’s either true or false. If she’s lying, she shouldn’t do that and I’m completely opposed to people telling lies about each other, but I don’t think he’s called her a liar.

      If she’s telling the truth, and his behavior isn’t anything unexpected or particularly bad, why should telling the story in public an undeserved injury to him? I think the way he behaved is pretty awful, although not criminal, and not as bad as it would have been if he was exploiting power in the workplace, so I think less of him. But maybe my standards are weird, and the behavior he exhibited in her story was just fine by a normal person’s standards. At which point what does he have to complain about, having his perfectly normal, not wrong at all, behavior described in public?

  8. There’s another article in the Times today that’s related … https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/opinion/aziz-ansari-babe-sexual-harassment.html

    I’m uncomfortable with where this movement is going. I am. The gap between Weinstein and Ansari is too huge.

    In my twenties, I was in situations where I consented but things were muddy. It happens when you aren’t mature or confident and are drunk. And part of the dating process is figuring out who you click with and who you don’t. I would tell my nieces to take dating slowly, so you aren’t immediately naked on a kitchen counter, like Ansari’s date, when she realized that she didn’t like him. It doesn’t even sound like Ansari was particularly an asshole. He thought she liked him.

    On a facebook group over the weekend, a parent said that she was very upset because the waiter in an Italian restaurant hugged her five year old son. She exposed him on a very public facebook page to everyone in town and was upset when people told her that Italians are very demonstrative. She wanted to get this waiter publicly shamed and fired from his job.

    1. I’m uncomfortable with the discomfort about this movement. I’m not willing to look at one-time events as examples of larger trends (the woman with the son in the Italian restaurant). My feeling is that people overreact all the time and try to get people fired. They may even do so in certain kinds of patterns with certain kinds of justifications based on current events. People grasping for some kind of power or control will latch on to whatever is available to them, and stuff in the news is one of those things. To compare that to the absolute misogyny that permeates pretty much the entire working world and, in this case, Hollywood, is ridiculous.

      I don’t want Aziz Ansari* to be fired from everything because of his jerk behavior. But I want it called out so that he will change his behavior. We need a serious culture change, and just getting rid of the Weinstein’s and the Singers and the Kramers (the guy who molested Eliza Dushku) is not enough.
      *Note, I love Aziz Ansari’s work and have even assigned one episode of Master of None in one of my classes this term. I think his work is very thoughtful and interesting, though of course not without flaws. The account of his creepy behavior is not fun for me to read.

      I don’t care that this is just a “bad date.” I care that men think for once about how they’re interacting with people they like well enough to have sex with. They need to stop living in the fantasy world* where every woman (or man, for that matter) automatically wants to fuck them and start talking about whether they actually want to.
      *Hollywood makes this worse because people who are celebrities do have a status/identity that does make more people want to fuck them, but still, just because more people want to fuck them doesn’t mean that all people automatically want to fuck them.

  9. My experiences mirrored Laura’s, but with the genders reversed. I had plenty of dates with girls who were klutzy in bed and whom I didn’t even like that much. I didn’t brood for days and then redefine the experience as sexual assault, and I didn’t post on the internet (or even discuss with my friends) detailed descriptions of what klutzes they were. Even today, with the terms renegotiated, I would not think that having sex with a woman gave me a license to write detailed descriptions afterwards of what she did wrong and how much I didn’t enjoy it. (That would be true caddishness.)

    Sex is better in a long-term relationship, because (among other things) you can discuss with the other person what each person likes and doesn’t like. But on a first date, you take your chances.

    1. I’ve got ten years on you, I think, Y81. And when I was on the hustings, the idea was still out there that you waited several dates before you thought there was something wrong if sex hadn’t happened. There was a chance to decide if you actually, well, liked each other. Still seems like a good idea to me, and I recommend it to my children.

      1. I’m younger than both of you and still think you should know someone for months before you have sex with them. And that gives you lots of time to know if you like each other. That’s what I tell my kids.

      2. I agree with that. I hope you also tell your daughters that, if you go out to dinner with a boy, and then go to his apartment, take off all your clothes, and allow him to perform cunnilingus, he will expect to have intercourse (or at least some orgasm-producing activity). That’s the way boys are. Also, if you tell him to slow down, but continue to hang out with him in his apartment, naked, he will slow down for a while, but will then infer, from your continued naked presence, that you wish to recommence physical activities leading to intercourse (or whatever). That is the semiotics of our culture. There may be cultures where a naked girl hanging out in a guy’s apartment is not interpreted as interested in having sex, but you have to live in the culture where you are.

    2. If you had plenty of dates with girls who kept aggressively touching you after you’d tried to get them to back off, both through clear verbal statements and trying to physically evade them, why on earth wouldn’t you post on the internet or discuss with your friends what had happened? That seems like the sort of bad behavior you’d want to know about a mutual acquaintance.

  10. I’ve said before on 11d, I think we’re going through a shift into some sort of neo-Victorianism. It’s not subject to conscious steering by anyone. The Baby Boomers set the cultural stage for a long time, but they’re retiring now.

    I would not call the actions described in the Babe piece as “subtle.”

    I think the shift was created by all the techno gadgets, and there’s no going back. Lots of things have been upended. The Millennial generation grew up with computers, smartphones and social media. Their newsfeed is curated by their friends, so they’re not being manipulated by media trends, unless those trends feed into their friends’ biases. (They live in a different world.) It is of interest perhaps that the editorial staff are all 25 and younger.

    Women are no longer keeping quiet about things. Remember Grace’s friends knew about her plans before the date, and her reaction after. At least in the Babe story, she didn’t intend to make a public accusation until she saw him with a “Time’s Up” pin at the Globes.

    As to dating, it’s not something that’s often practiced on college campuses. https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2014/05/16/boston-college-professor-assigns-students-dates/jHXENWsdmp7cFlRPPwf0UJ/story.html

    Sorry to break the news, but the focus of sexual attention these days is on people in their 20s. So while people in their 40s and up may have opinions, they’re not experiencing the same things the younger generations are. Note that many more people (mostly men) are watching p * * n online. It has to influence their behavior. The claw thing is apparently straight from p ** n. (The logical thing for AA to do at this point would be to announce treatment for internet p ** n addiction.)

    The women in the younger generations are serving notice that they are not willing to play by the rules the older generations observed. They are not giving men a pass for not noticing “subtle” things like “I don’t want to hate you.” I’ve mentioned in the pass discussing the #MeToo issues gets a strong reaction. This is not a passing thing. There is no privacy anymore. There is no discretion. The Millennials grew up under those conditions.

    Instead of this: https://www.artsy.net/article/matthew-the-first-modern-painting

    They are pushing for this: https://www.pinterest.fr/pin/356277020504898923/.

  11. Don’t you think that it’s interesting that we live in a world of extreme online porn/hookup culture and the almost Victorian sensibilities of the MeToo movement at the same time? It has to be very confusing to be a 20-something right now. Suddenly, “Girls” feels really outdated.

    1. I think it’s just a different mindset. It is not confusing for them. It centers around consent, I think.

      Someone could hook up on Sunday. That doesn’t mean they are “that type of girl/boy/person.” It doesn’t mean they want to hook up ever again, or that they don’t have a right to decide what they want to do.

      Speaking broadly, in comparison to my age peers, they do not judge their peers for consensual behaviors. There is much, much less slut shaming than there used to be. (and isn’t it peculiar that there isn’t a male equivalent?) They are more tolerant of differences in their peers (trans, furries, gay, questioning, etc.) (I am only basing this on the young people I know.)

      They run a lot of their reactions through group texts. That used to be Facebook, now it’s more Instagram and whatever the social media successors are. If they are in trouble, they can call for help from everyone in their address book. They are never really alone, unless their phone is discharged.

      1. Cranberry said,

        “They are never really alone, unless their phone is discharged.”

        And at the same time, there are a lot of lonely, friendless Millennials pressing their noses to the window of the party that everybody else seems to be having.

      2. Wow, I wouldn’t describe a culture in which managers at Google announce that people with the wrong political opinions can’t work on their projects as tolerant. Or in which professors are sent to the emergency room for being in the presence of Charles Murray.

      3. The iPhone has only been around for 10 years. Millennials who grew up with smart phones from the beginning would have been in middle school 10 years ago. So the oldest of this group are 24.

        Are all the people employed at Google 24 and younger?

        Are 24 year olds calling the shots at Google?

    2. OK, one more quibble: p ** n. Lots of women look at it, not just men. And hell, I’ve been in fandoms, so I know lots of women read it. And draw it. (Yeah, I have a Reylo Tumblr now, so sue me.) Porn in and of itself does not lead to questionable sexual behaviors. I read Catherine Coulter romances as a teenager, and yet somehow I did not assume that meant that a man who raped or tried to rape me must love me.
      https://allaboutromance.com/book-review/devils-embrace/ FYI

      1. There’s the issue of the dose, though. You do other things as well. You have had family, education, work, social interactions outside of reading romances. Most people don’t use it as a guide to interpersonal behavior.

        However, reading romances is not the same thing as watching. Humans learn behaviors by watching. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/uclacaltech-study-identifies-brain-cells-that-help-people-learn-by-watching-others

        Until very recently, it would have been difficult to immerse oneself in such videos. Now apparently people can do it at will. What counts as P ** n is subject to definition. I know I draw the line at a different place than many Christian churches, judging from a quick search to try to discover rough stats about the prevalence of its use. The churches are very concerned about it.

        There is a distinction between fiction and real life. However, just as role play can be a way to learn new behaviors, such as how to deal with bullies in school, consuming too much unhelpful visual information about how to behave on a first date could normalize the wrong behaviors.

      2. Cranberry said,

        “There is a distinction between fiction and real life. However, just as role play can be a way to learn new behaviors, such as how to deal with bullies in school, consuming too much unhelpful visual information about how to behave on a first date could normalize the wrong behaviors.”

        Guys also pick up a lot of false information about human female anatomy and physiology from porn and from peers that are immersed in porn. We’re talking WEIRD, stupid ideas. I want to keep this PG, but young men do seem to wind up with bizarre ideas about the mechanics of female arousal.

        For obvious reasons, women are more likely to have realistic ideas about how their bodies work.

        A lot of these ideas would hopefully be corrected in the course of a long term relationship, but outside of a long term relationship, it would be easy to stay ignorant and keep doing dumb things over and over again with different women.

  12. Victorian? I can hardly think of a less Victorian position than that a woman should be able to go home with a man, get naked, engage in some sexual foreplay, and then expect to have her decision that she doesn’t want to go further with him and would prefer to continue to socialize with him non-sexually understood and respected. You can call that position unrealistic, but it is the farthest possible thing from being Victorian.

    What kind of Victorians are you thinking of?

      1. No, not at all. You think anyone’s judging him for wanting to have casual sex? He made a fictionalized-but-kind-of-autobiographical TV show that started out with him breaking a condom in a one-night-stand. No one’s calling him slutty for having consensual sex.

        People are calling him a shithead for conducting himself in a way that left his date for the evening crying in a cab. That’s not sluttiness, that’s being aggressive and inconsiderate.

      2. Of course, people are judging him. In this comment thread and in the article, there was a long discussion of the finger thing. What’s it called? The claw? All the unnecessarily graphic details of what his sexual behavior were totally judge-y.

      3. He’s getting judged for the finger thing because he was putting his fingers down her throat _and she didn’t want him to and was trying to get away from him_. That’s not judging him for sluttiness, it’s judging him for aggression.

        If someone wrote a graphic account of a consensual sexual encounter that made fun of his sexual tastes, I’d be joining you in decrying the slut-shaming. But describing what he was doing to a woman who had said she was unwilling to have sex with him that night, in an attempt to bully her into changing her mind, is really, really, completely different from slut shaming.

      4. Cranberry said, “Note that many more people (mostly men) are watching p * * n online. It has to influence their behavior. The claw thing is apparently straight from p ** n. (The logical thing for AA to do at this point would be to announce treatment for internet p ** n addiction.)”

      5. The specifics of the claw thing aren’t relevant, and they aren’t what anyone gives a damn about. It’s that she had already told him she didn’t want to have sex, and was physically moving away from him, and he was following her around the apartment sticking his fingers in her orifices.

        If they’d been having consensual sex and she wrote an article making fun of his p*rn-influenced technique, that’d be shitty of her. But that’s not what her story was about.

    1. I introduced the concept of Victorianism a while back, trying to explain the sudden public insistence on a change in expectations regarding interpersonal interactions. A new etiquette is forming. I don’t know what it will be called, as Modern, post-modern, nuclear age, information age, etc, are all taken.

      I’d welcome suggestions.

      But do consider that there was an active demi-monde during the Victorian era, at a time when there was also a great deal of public effort placed on setting and maintaining standards for decency.

  13. Alright, I just read the whole thing for myself. Ugh. Grace clearly wanted a different kind of relationship with Ansari. Which is fine. I would have been just as grossed out as she was by that experience.

    I did wonder if she would have stormed out of the apartment sooner, if he wasn’t famous. I wonder if she would have agreed to go on a date with him if he wasn’t famous. But that’s neither here nor there. Just random thoughts.

    Look, I’m all good with rewriting the terms of dating. I think guys shouldn’t immediately jump on girls on a first date. I think guys should be super nice to their dates and ask them about their wine preferences and take them to museums and wait a suitable amount of time before getting serious. Guys who don’t do those things are pigs. But they are not rapists.

    If we get outraged at bad dates, then we lose focus on horrific behavior.

    1. The wine thing is interesting, because it seems to spur a reaction in readers.

      I’d rather each diner be able to order their own wine. There’s no requirement for people to drink the same beverage. For him to order wine for both is a high-handed thing. It’s an annoyance.

      1. O, I hate that. When you come to my house, eat the food I serve, and drink the wine I have chosen. I will do the same when I come to your house. If I genuinely detest something you have served, I will push it around the plate, or swirl it in the glass, and continue the conversation, with a smile. Stop acting like a five year old, who needs spaghetti-o’s when the rest of the family is having chicken.

        I’ve been to plenty of girls’ houses where she didn’t have a selection of wines, and I didn’t turn it into sexual assault.

      2. They were in a restaurant. Remember, they left wine sitting on the table?

        Ordering for a date without inquiring as to whether she wants to drink white wine is emblematic of the problem.

        It’s the sort of thing I will tolerate from a friend who’s really into wine. With near strangers, it’s presumptive. In a restaurant. With more than one beverage on offer.

      3. I think you got crossed up? They met at his apartment, which is where she was poured the white wine that she would have preferred to have been red. And then they went to a restaurant and had more wine there.

        I don’t really know what to make of the wine thing — I think it may have been an attempt at literary foreshadowing? Like, an incident that happened that wasn’t a big thing, but the writer left it in the story because she liked it for literary effect?

      4. cranberry said,

        “It’s the sort of thing I will tolerate from a friend who’s really into wine. With near strangers, it’s presumptive. In a restaurant. With more than one beverage on offer.”

        I’ve been reading a lot of Red Pill stuff the last couple years. I was wondering where an invasion of a favorite forum was coming from and whooosh! fell down a rabbit hole.

        So, I can confidently say that there is a whole school of dating advice that says that it’s “alpha” for a guy to make a lot of decisions for his date.

        Whether this is possible to pull off as a self-deprecating, 5’6″ Indian-American comic actor is an open question.

        We’re dealing with a world where a large minority of single men are getting their dating advice from PUA/Red Pill culture, whereas a large minority of single women are taking their cues from campus/online feminist culture. It’s a head on collision.

        Complicating the picture, there’s so much leakage from the Red Pill world into the normal world that people don’t even know where they are getting their ideas from.

      5. Elizardbreath, you’re right. My mistake. I was misled by the photo of the meal. But if she doesn’t want white wine, she should say so.

        I had a relative who detested a common dish. He would gamely eat it whenever anyone served it. He never, ever complained. Only his family knew he loathed it. Distinctly not modern. On the other hand, it definitely interfered with his ability to enjoy the evening.

        I don’t have a problem with a guest asking not to consume something. It’s probably the family experience with food allergies and intolerances. After years of having to explain to people, no, can’t eat that, please don’t worry, etc, I learned that most people would rather their guests were not suffering at the table, let alone liable to have an allergic reaction.

        AmyP, the RedPill stuff sounds terrible. I’ve noticed commenters on other sites coming in with attitudes that are so misogynistic they bear no resemblance to reality at all. I just don’t know how many people think that way.

      6. Cranberry said:

        “AmyP, the RedPill stuff sounds terrible. I’ve noticed commenters on other sites coming in with attitudes that are so misogynistic they bear no resemblance to reality at all. I just don’t know how many people think that way.”

        In the pure form, it’s mainly an internet thing, because the guys who buy it don’t usually get out much.But in dilute form, it’s extremely prevalent. You have probably seen the lingo or some of the ideas in pretty normal online settings.

        I think that we parents of teens/young adults need to make sure that we eventually talk to our kids about Red Pill and PUA ideas and techniques and why they’re not OK.

        https://www.thedailybeast.com/pickup-artists-preyed-on-drunk-women-brought-them-home-and-raped-them

        Once you know about this stuff, it’s extremely transparent, but everything is new to teens and young adults, so they’re on the one hand vulnerable to the techniques, and also (for young men) vulnerable to believing that Red Pill or PUA are magic beans/a magic feather that will allow them to be successful with women if they just follow the formula. And if it doesn’t work for them, that just demonstrates that women who say no are hypergamous sluts. It’s a totally unfalsifiable system–which is a point that I think needs to be pointed out to our sons. Aside from the damage that these ideas do to young women, they also wreak havoc on the self esteem of young men who get sucked in. Guys who embrace these ideas wind up thinking that women are all sluts and golddiggers and that they themselves are unlovable betas and that even if they ever get married (and they’re terrified of marriage), they’re always going to have to be ripped alphas, or their future wife is going to stop having sex with them, cheat and/or leave. (Needless to say, this is a bizarre view of adult life.)

        On a different note, I think it’s very important to emphasize to our young people to pay attention to what the other person wants. If this person doesn’t want what I want, or if I want something completely different than what they want, BAIL! Do not stick around! What they want is unlikely to change.

      7. I like Amy P’s point about a generation of men raised on PUA guidance meeting a generation of women raised on “rape culture” feminism. Definitely not going to work out well for either group. However, I suspect people are reading too much into the wine thing. When I was single, I wouldn’t have had more than a single bottle of wine in the house. (Perhaps freshly purchased, if I was expecting to entertain a young lady.) Back then, the only things I knew how to cook were chicken and hamburgers, and I had beer with the hamburgers, so I wouldn’t have had any use for red wine.

      8. “…people don’t even know where they are getting their ideas from…” I am coming to the view that it’s the Rooskies. Stupid shit floods into our popular culture, whiplash from something being the moral panic of the moment. It’s civil servants in Moscow throwing sand in our gears.

    2. Laura said:

      “If we get outraged at bad dates, then we lose focus on horrific behavior.”

      Is it outrage so much as, “Ewww! Don’t do that stuff!”

  14. What he did wasn’t criminal (or, you could argue about that, but no chance it would be successfully prosecutable, and no one’s suggested criminal prosecution). But does the conversation about sexual bad behavior have to shut down at the boundary of the criminal law?

    And I think characterizing what he did wrong as ‘immediately jump[ing] on [her] on a first date’ is a little off-base. He started moving sexually fast, and she didn’t want that, but someone else might have been fine with that kind of speed. But that wasn’t what made the evening bad enough for her that she thinks of it as one of the worst nights of her life. The problem was that when she clearly, verbally, in comprehensible English words told him not now, maybe next time, he kept pushing her and sticking his fingers in her mouth and trying to put her hand on his dick. And that when she said “If you make me feel forced, I’ll hate you” he still kept on pushing her and pestering her and trying to fuck her.

    The problem isn’t that he violated some general code of civility and moving slow and getting to know people better before you have sex with them. People can have impersonal one-night-stands if both parties want to, no harm done. But when one person is saying not now, don’t make me hate you, no, the other person has to slow down and back off or they are at a minimum an incredible shithead, and risking committing a crom.

    1. He wanted a quickie and she wanted a relationship. She never said that he forced her to do anything. He was just pushing “the fast” and hoping that she would change her mind. She kept pushing “slow” and hoping that he would change his mind. I repeat, she never said that he forced her to do anything. When she said no, he retreated, she stayed, and he tried again.

      Annoying to be sure, but to “slut shame” him in the press and ruin his career seems disproportionate.

      1. dave s. said,

        “Hogamous, Higamous,
        Man is polygamous,
        Higamous, Hogamous,
        Woman monagamous.”

        dave s. is obviously not a Red Pill guy.

  15. It’s really not slut-shaming. And he wasn’t just pushing ‘the fast’ he was pushing ‘the sex with someone who had clearly said they didn’t want to have the sex now’. He didn’t push it hard enough to consummate a rape, which is why no-one’s calling for his arrest, but that’s what he was doing.

    Doesn’t responding to someone who’s said “Don’t make me feel forced or I’ll hate you” by continuing to aggressively sexually touch them seem like horrendously offensive, bad behavior to you? That’s not being sexually loose, or promiscuous, which is why complaining about it isn’t slut-shaming. That’s trying to pressure someone who’s said they’re unwilling, into sex acts that you know they don’t want to perform. Even if it doesn’t get to the point of rape, it’s horrible.

    1. He clearly only wanted to hook up. He should have told her to go when she didn’t want to sleep with him. And she would have ended up crying in the cab anyway.

      He didn’t think he was pressuring her. He thought he was convincing her. She stayed, so he thought she wasn’t having a bad time.

      It was a bad date, no doubt. I wouldn’t have dated him again after that experience. I probably would have told my friends about it and laughed at him. But it’s all about proportionality to the crime. Or the crom.

  16. I’m leaving the debate, because it’s going to snow and I have to buy ingredients for dinner. All this talk about wine is making me think about booze. Need a bottle to ride out the storm.

  17. And she would have ended up crying in the cab anyway.

    This seems like absolute nonsense to me. She might have been a little disappointed that Asari wasn’t a sweet guy she was going to end up dating, but you honestly don’t see anything about the rest of the date that could have upset her?

    He didn’t think he was pressuring her. He thought he was convincing her. She stayed, so he thought she wasn’t having a bad time.

    And this seems insane. Have you ever had a social interaction with anyone where they left to go hide in the bathroom, and then came out and warned you that you were risking making you hate them? I’m pretty sure you haven’t, because that’s pretty fucking extreme. If someone did warn you that you were risking making you hate them, I could imagine thinking that they were overreacting, or that you hadn’t done anything that terrible. I cannot imagine thinking that they weren’t having a bad time, and trying to continue with what I’d been doing with them.

  18. I have to say, even though it seems unpopular here, that I am with Laura on this one. In reading the account the woman posted, she notes how he paid the bill really fast – like not finishing their wine fast. It seems pretty obvious to me that’s a sign that he is interested in/planning on having sex. Why not insist on staying to finish the wine? Why go back to his place at all? I get that I am old and the rules have changed, but if I didn’t want to have sex with the guy, I would have taken that for a sign and made other plans. Look, I don’t want to let him completely off the hook here, but both sides in this incident were clearly not reading the other’s nonverbal signals.

    1. Well, the signals she was missing were things like what you said — he wanted to get back to his apartment fast, so she should have figured out from that, that he was only interested in a one night stand with no further social contact, although of course he was saying and doing things that were also sending opposite messages. He was missing verbal signals like “Next time” as an answer to whether she wanted to have sex now, and “Don’t make me feel forced or I’ll hate you”, and continuing to push for immediate sex.

      I do think you’re holding her to a significantly higher standard in terms of responsibility for interpreting his mixed signals than you are holding him to understanding English sentences like “Don’t make me feel forced or I’ll hate you.”

      1. Also, I do think that there’s a real moral difference between hanging around with someone who’s been sending you mixed signals about whether they want to be friendly or just want to fuck you impersonally, even if a more perceptive person would have given up on the hope of a friendly relationship faster; and pushing aggressively for immediate sex with someone who’s sending you ‘mixed signals’ like saying “Don’t make me feel forced or I’ll hate you” but not fleeing immediately. Her failure to accurately read him seems to me to not involve any real risk of hurting him, and you can’t say the same about his.

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