A gentleman always calls girls sluts on the Internet. April 7, 2007 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Am I wrong to thing that this is way out of line?
posted by myeviltwin to Etiquette/Policy at 9:25 AM (288 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

1. Non-relevant.

2. Personal attack on another poster.

3. Overall creepy tone.

Seriously, WTF?
posted by myeviltwin at 9:27 AM on April 7, 2007


I agree, and you've reminded me that I meant to flag that.

Though I actually thought Smilla did an awesome job of shutting him down.
posted by occhiblu at 9:31 AM on April 7, 2007


Since Smilla had responded, I figured it was better to leave both responses in. I deleted some follow-up to it though.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:34 AM on April 7, 2007


Oh, and obviously "thing" above should be "think." Stupid brain.
posted by myeviltwin at 9:35 AM on April 7, 2007


I had flagged it, and I think it should be deleted.
posted by Methylviolet at 9:53 AM on April 7, 2007


I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that it was more ill-conceived than truly out of line. He was trying to make a point, but conflated the rhetorical "you" and "I" with the literal "you" and "I." The result was a mismash that looked an awful lot like chauvinism.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:54 AM on April 7, 2007


Not chauvinism -- misogyny. Wa-a-ay different.
posted by Methylviolet at 9:57 AM on April 7, 2007


Oh ewwwww. Whatever it was, me no likey. His comment made him sound exactly like the kind of smarmy guy women wear fake wedding rings hoping to avoid ever running into.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:06 AM on April 7, 2007


I think Smilla's sense of snark is pretty good actually.
posted by peacay at 10:25 AM on April 7, 2007


Her response is thorough and schools him verily, but his comment is just so nasty I think it should be deleted.

I don't think I like the idea it is okay to personally attack someone as long as they reply suitably in thread. Kind of makes the moderators take on the role of protecting those of us that may not be so eloquent in our defensive replies. Whereas deleting all personal attacks in AskMe across the board sits better with me.

Here's a case where moderation was helpful.
posted by ztdavis at 10:30 AM on April 7, 2007


My concern in this case is that deleting the very eloquent reply by Smilla seems to be punishing her as well for a doofus remark by bruce. She took the time to make a reply and explained herself well, but her comment can't stay if bruce's goes. I'll drop her a note and get her read on things, maybe she wouldn't mind. Generally if whoever is the object of the attack hasn't responded, we'll remove stuff like that no problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:38 AM on April 7, 2007


His comment isn't communicable. We won't catch misogyny cooties just by reading it. Also - it illustrates exactly why Smilla's strategy works - sure it was kind of a creepy comment, but he also explicitely states that the ring would hold him at bay - ergo, Smilla's strategy is successful, and the point is validated. On the other hand, the whole conversation about wearing rings to ward off horndog vampires is a bit of a derail, anyway, as the question acknowledges the practice, but isn't asking about it. So no great loss either way.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:51 AM on April 7, 2007


I also think that beyond the elegant response from Smilla, the exchange is worthwhile keeping because a substantial part of the thread and (some of the) answer to the question revolves around the justifications for behaviour undertaken to protect women from unwanted advances or at least so as to allow women more control.

Bruce's dickish trolling acts as a fine contemporaneous example advancing the argument that precautionary behaviour on the part of women is in fact justified.
posted by peacay at 10:54 AM on April 7, 2007


I deleted it (sorry jessamyn, I didn't see your response here) because it's all about another answer and questions the motives behind the other member, and has nothing to do with the answer. I suppose I should delete smila's response as well, but she did write a lot there.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:55 AM on April 7, 2007


Pretty foul comment by Bruce. Sounds like he needs a timeout.

Both comments should be deleted. They're both offtopic for the thread.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:56 AM on April 7, 2007


Yeah, I don't know...clearly Smilla has no problem taking this creep to school, and it's a pity to lose her well-written retort. On the other, the original comment just leaves such a bad taste in my mouth that my personal preference would be to delete it from the thread.

Maybe copy the exchange here, thus preserving it for posterity, and then nuke the originals?

On preview...I guess whatever happens the originals are getting nuked.
posted by myeviltwin at 10:56 AM on April 7, 2007


I was thinking that too, myeviltwin. If we care about preserving the asshole comment and the excellent reply, they'd fit better in a MeTa thread than in AskMe.
posted by ztdavis at 11:01 AM on April 7, 2007


For posterity then...

----------------------------
The Bait
----------------------------

oh, and smilla, you're wrong. even your usage "unwanted come-ons" suggests that there's a second class "wanted come-ons". i'm guessing you signal for those from below your waist. the ring doesn't stop a perv from hitting on you, but it will stop a gentleman dead in his tracks from offering an intriguing overture to an attractive woman, assuming that you are an attractive woman. i'm a little old-fashioned, i respect that symbol and what it stands for, i've never committed adultery in my life. you need to find somebody other than me to waste your time with for a quickie.
posted by bruce at 4:23 PM on April 7 [+][!]


---------------------------
The Response
---------------------------

Wow, make assumptions much, bruce?

Yes, there is such a category as "wanted come-ons". They'd be ones happening when I'm single, in a relaxed social setting, and coming after a modicum of polite conversation; guys who are putting the moves on before they even know my name give me a definite impression that they're only interested in my body, not my mind, and that sort of guy really doesn't interest me.

If I were seeing someone, advances in that same sort of social setting would be unwanted, but still not too dreadfully annoying to deal with. But there are times and places where I just didn't want to deal with any come-ons whatsoever, regardless of my current relationship status. Since I like to keep my personal life and my professional life separated, the office was tops on that list. And the bleary-eyed, time-pressured morning commute, and the tired, stressed rush hour ride back home would be a close second...especially since the average subway come-on I kept getting was of the instant-sleazy-macking kind.

It's rather amusing to me that you seem to wish to paint yourself as an old-fashioned gentleman, yet are perfectly willing to brand me a slut who was seeking faux-adulterous quickies simply because I wanted to avoid harassment on the subway and an uncomfortable meat-market atmosphere in the workplace. I suppose that must mean that in your book, a lady who is not clearly marked as the property of a man should be ready to cheerfully accept being subject to male advances at any time or place whatsoever he chooses to approach her.

Fortunately for me, despite your pronouncements to the contrary, the fake ring worked admirably to filter out people with just that sort of attitude. When I wore it, the skeezy subway-and-office-elevator come-ons stopped cold, yet there was still no lack of polite, friendly chit-chat with strangers who clearly weren't trying to get in my pants. That's the mark of a true gentleman, to my eyes -- someone who enjoys the company and conversation of women for its own sake. Anyone who thinks I'm only worth talking to if I'm available to be hit on is ipso facto not the sort of guy I want approaching me in the first place.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 8:49 PM on April 7 [5 favorites +][!]
posted by peacay at 11:10 AM on April 7, 2007


Maybe copy the exchange here, thus preserving it for posterity, and then nuke the originals?

Seems like a good solution all around, thanks peacay.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:17 AM on April 7, 2007


Could someone explain for me, if you have any idea, what exactly Bruce meant this bit ...

i'm guessing you signal for those [i.e., "wanted come-ons," in Bruce's words]from below your waist.

Maybe his meaning is ridiculously obvious, but I can't figure it out. Is there some sort of pelvic maneuver that horny, slutty women have been making toward old-fashioned gentleman Bruce? Are randy women dropping trou to earn his courtly attentions?
posted by jayder at 11:31 AM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I deleted it (sorry jessamyn, I didn't see your response here) because it's all about another answer and questions the motives behind the other member, and has nothing to do with the answer. I suppose I should delete smila's response as well, but she did write a lot there.

Huh? I can still see it.
posted by delmoi at 11:44 AM on April 7, 2007


He's very tuned into his chakras and can tell when a woman is beaming out impulses from her sacral chakra, the slut.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:45 AM on April 7, 2007


It's the snail trail, Jayder.
posted by Methylviolet at 11:46 AM on April 7, 2007


He deleted you, too, delmoi. And me, apparently. So we can still see it. But nobody else can read our comments. Except bruce can read our bylines and guess what we were thinking.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:49 AM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


The below-the-waist signals are Morse code toe-taps, obviously.
posted by CKmtl at 11:50 AM on April 7, 2007


The below-the-waist signals are Morse code toe-taps, obviously.

That's disappointing. I was expecting something like the bar and traffic lights at railroad crossings.
posted by jonmc at 12:04 PM on April 7, 2007


Maybe there's a little guy down there who does semaphore.
posted by myeviltwin at 12:07 PM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


no, smoke signals.
posted by jonmc at 12:11 PM on April 7, 2007


no, smoke signals.

That brings a whole new meaning to the expression "hot in the pants."
posted by myeviltwin at 12:12 PM on April 7, 2007


*looks down, checks*
posted by gomichild at 12:13 PM on April 7, 2007


I can still read it too... am I deleted as well? OMG sixth sense. And cheers to Smilla.
posted by Mister_A at 12:23 PM on April 7, 2007


I couldn't figure out how to signal from below my waist either, at least until I discovered digital belt buckles. It's really easy now.
posted by iconomy at 12:30 PM on April 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Methylviolet typed "Not chauvinism -- misogyny. Wa-a-ay different."

Hrm, I just checked the dictionary. I meant chauvinism.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:44 PM on April 7, 2007


I see deleted people.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:51 PM on April 7, 2007


Maybe there's a little guy down there who does semaphore.

You've never met the little man in the boat?
posted by vetiver at 1:02 PM on April 7, 2007


The boat's in the water.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:04 PM on April 7, 2007


yet are perfectly willing to brand me a slut

Wow. Talk about making assumptions. I'm scratching my head over most of this. The only possible thing that's remotely questionable is the way 'me' and 'you' are used. I seem to remember awhile back a similar complaint about creepiness and stalking. Maybe I just don't know what's going on. But unless he's really stalking her and some of you know this for a fact, I find the censoring really creepy.
posted by sluglicker at 1:10 PM on April 7, 2007


A guy who refers to himself as a gentleman in the course of casting weird aspersions about a woman's sexuality is just-- ew. Ew, ew, ew.

Ew.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:21 PM on April 7, 2007


Yeah, gentlemen tend to be misogynists. They also apparently struggle with the distinction between restrictive and nonrestrictive modifiers.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:23 PM on April 7, 2007


Doris likes the speedboats.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:27 PM on April 7, 2007


Ladies, don't be cruel! bruce only wants what is best for you:

i (unmarried hetero male) have no problem with it. it's no more unethical than waitresses leaving their rings off to get more tips (and as a frequent diner, i salute the women who serve me, and would support them going topless if they thought they could get more tips that way).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:28 PM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Like a few others, I can still read it too.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:44 PM on April 7, 2007


Well sluglicker, when someone insinuates that a woman on a subway is busy signaling men from below her waist? And that smilla needs to find somebody other than (him) to waste (her) time with for a quickie? I'd say he's speaking to her with a lack of respect and apparently he assumes she's probably a slut. I don't see how that's jumping to conclusions. Seems pretty clear he's being a misogynistic (sp) asswipe.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:46 PM on April 7, 2007


Thanks, peacay, and I now like Smilla even better than I did before.
posted by languagehat at 1:52 PM on April 7, 2007


‘Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we’re not far from that point. But the process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there’s no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It’s merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won’t be any need even for that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak,’ he added with a sort of mystical satisfaction.

The aim of the Party was not merely to prevent men and women from forming loyalties which it might not be able to control. Its real, undeclared purpose was to remove all pleasure from the sexual act. Not love so much as eroticism was the enemy, inside marriage as well as outside it. All marriages between Party members had to be approved by a committee appointed for the purpose, and—though the principle was never clearly stated—permission was always refused if the couple concerned gave the impression of being physically attracted to one another. The only recognized purpose of marriage was to beget children for the service of the Party. Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema.


He re-adjusted his spectacles on his nose, sighed, and drew the next batch of work towards him, with the scrap of paper on top of it. He flattened it out. On it was written, in a large unformed handwriting:

I LOVE YOU.
posted by sluglicker at 2:00 PM on April 7, 2007


as a frequent diner, i salute the women who serve me, and would support them going topless if they thought they could get more tips that way

I hear wedding bells, ladies!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:03 PM on April 7, 2007


sluglicker, I'm not quite seeing how mocking people who display their madonna-whore complex is going to set us on the path toward an Orwellian nightmare.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:05 PM on April 7, 2007


Oh PinkSuperhero I so wish I hadn't read that. Like I wasn't icked out enough already.

P.S. -- Thanks to bruce's magnanimous support I have decided that I would like to start making all of my posts while topless. I think I can get more favorites that way. I hope that's all right with everyone.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:06 PM on April 7, 2007 [10 favorites]


miss lynnster, I don't really understand myself why I'm asking this... but do you have a PayPal account? I'd like to send you a few bucks.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:09 PM on April 7, 2007


If you want a vision of the future, imagine a stiletto heel stamping on a human face—forever.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:12 PM on April 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


I would like to start making all of my posts while topless.

me too.

*removes hat*
posted by jonmc at 2:16 PM on April 7, 2007


I undid mathowie's deletion pending hearing from Smilla. I talked to her and decided to remove it from AskMe but leave it in the thread here (thanks peacay).
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:25 PM on April 7, 2007


Frankly, I have always believed that miss lynnster did some of her posting topless and felt that I could figure out what she was wearing for each one. For example, Wing? Fully dressed, possibly layered. Frank Zappa? Topless. Bob Clark? Totally nude and in the shower, in tribute. AmIWrong.com? Dressed like the Weakest Link lady, plus a whip. Army men? Bra and panties. Sopranos, Hemingway & Deitrich, Peter Falk? All topless. Evolution of Homer Simpson? Strapless green dress and pearls. Traffic Police of Mumbai? A bright orange vest, of course. Am I right? Am I right?
posted by wendell at 2:52 PM on April 7, 2007


Wow, pass out for a few hours in a Nyquil coma and you miss all the fun!

FWIW, folks, I just got done chatting with Jessamyn, and leaving the exchange archived but taking it out of the green is A-OK by me. That seems like a fine compromise here, as both the questionable behavior and real-life demonstration of how the presence or absence of a ring can affect the way a woman gets treated are still available to those who want to look for it, without derailing the original poster's question from "is this ethical and do rings or their lack really lead to different treatment?" into "OMG CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS JERK?".

(And clearly, I need to make up some faux-JuicyCouture pants with "NOT INTERESTED, KTHXBYE" plastered across the ass in big letters, to ensure that my below-the-waist signals aren't somehow conflicting with the ring and the opened newspaper and the earphones and the lack of eye contact and the oh-so-ambiguous verbal "No thanks, please go away")

I do have one silly little question for the mods, though -- my "Favorited by Others" tally has nearly doubled since I staggered off for a nap, but all those new favorites aren't actually reflected on the "My Comments" page, which I'm presuming must be related to the deletion. Is there any way to satisfy my idle curiosity as to who was faving me, or is that info all vanished into the ether?

*sniffles* You like me! You really like me! I'm getting all verklempt...

posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 2:57 PM on April 7, 2007


"But unless he's really stalking her and some of you know this for a fact, I find the censoring really creepy."

Oh, you scamp. You're delicious.
posted by klangklangston at 3:04 PM on April 7, 2007


Oh PinkSuperhero I so wish I hadn't read that. Like I wasn't icked out enough already.

On the misogyny scale, I found the comment ThePinkSuperhero linked to be much worse than the deleted one.
It was an answer to the question though, so..

On the logic scale, I found the deleted one to be unratable. Smilla said: "I've done this many times in the past, when single or partnered-but-not-married, and found it really did help to filter out unwanted come-ons." Which is exactly what bruce was claiming to respect. Bizarre.
posted by Chuckles at 3:13 PM on April 7, 2007


Bruce's comment was so much worse than I had imagined.

'They are living among us, unremarked and unnoticed, until....'
posted by jamjam at 3:20 PM on April 7, 2007


Well, obviously, if I wasn't actually OMG LEGALLY MARRIED FOR EVAR AND EVAR at the time, I should have been ready and willing to gleefully accept "intriguing advances" like his! Never mind if I had a steady boyfriend at the time, or was single but just not in the mood. Nope, in the absence of a clearly staked prior claim, I should have been ripe for the picking! What a prince. I'm astonished he's still single -- ladies, what are you waiting for? Chivalry is not dead...it just smells funny.

imagine a stiletto heel stamping on a human face

No need to imagine it: there are any number of adult sites full of foot-fetish crush videos...
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 3:23 PM on April 7, 2007


I find the censoring really creepy.

I feel like perhaps we need to spell this out again. It is not censorship when a comment that breaks the guidelines is removed, according to most conventional definitions of the term. You may not like it when comments or post are removed, but the site has guidelines which result in the occasional removal of content. The site is lightly moderated which is to say almost everything people write here stays here.

Ask MetaFilter is somewhat more heavily moderated, but the guidelines are written down, discussed often, and as transparent as we can make them. Every time a post or comment is removed it's always acceptable to ask why; every time a comment isn't removed it's always acceptable to ask, as in this case, why not.

Mathowie and cortex and I are not the government. All the site users including us are not the public. We are a voluntary association of people communicating on a website. It's our little society with our little community norms and everyone works to make them, uphold them, and enforce them. If you don't like them, start a MeTa thread about it and we'll talk about it, but I find the ongoing anklebiting "censorship!" digs tiresome and disingenuous.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:27 PM on April 7, 2007 [7 favorites]


Mathowie and cortex and I are not the government.

Of course not. You are the Holy Trinity.

/lapsed Catholic
posted by jonmc at 4:12 PM on April 7, 2007


Just let's stay away from 'troika', anyway.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:18 PM on April 7, 2007


"Mathowie and cortex and I are not the government. All the site users including us are not the public."

I disagree with this definition of censorship; surely, the Pope can censor or a writer can self-censor.

But where I recognize more gradations in the word, I still find it fairly hilarious when applied here. I have a feeling that Sluglicker calls every editor a censor.
posted by klangklangston at 4:25 PM on April 7, 2007


Mathowie and cortex and I are not the government. All the site users including us are not the public. We are a voluntary association of people communicating on a website. It's our little society with our little community norms and everyone works to make them, uphold them, and enforce them. If you don't like them, start a MeTa thread about it and we'll talk about it, but I find the ongoing anklebiting "censorship!" digs tiresome and disingenuous.

I don't think they're disingenous... occasionally ill-thought out, or over-reactive, perhaps. Whether or not the 3 of you are the government and the rest of us are the public is irrelevant to the issue of censorship on every ground except a narrow American legal definition. And that definition is not what people are complaining about.

The "ankle-biting" of which you speak is just as much a part of this community as the rest, and is a good gauge as to the overall community's happiness with the state of moderation. At this point, the censorship claims seem to the fairly largely outweighed by the moderation-as-it-is-is-good support. Overall then, we can see that, in general, the community is happy with how the site is run. If in the future that was to change, a dramatic increase in the number of complaints of censorship were to arise, then that would be a pretty good indicator that a growing part of the community was distasfied with the moderation.

Again, as it stands, the community overall (and I include myself in that) seems satisfied. But keeping an eye out for those that are unsatisfied, and why, and whether they are growing in numbers, is a wise policy for any moderator to follow, not trying to shut them down or shunt them off to the side.
posted by modernnomad at 4:29 PM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


No need to imagine it: there are any number of adult sites full of foot-fetish crush videos...

At least you can fast-forward to the credits.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:42 PM on April 7, 2007


MetaFilter: extend the possibility of fun.
posted by loquacious at 4:52 PM on April 7, 2007


BTW, languagehat -- did you know your blog's been cited on the comics-crack community Scans_Daily?
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 4:58 PM on April 7, 2007


The "ankle-biting" of which you speak is just as much a part of this community as the rest

True enough. I think I'm just conflating this admin-callout with the you delete things because you don't like them allegations from the other day. There are some people here for whom every deletion is seen as censorship. While folks are welcome to come to MetaTalk and gripe about it, it's also important to point out that such an outlier position is unlikely to gain solid traction here and result in a change in policies. It's also relevant to note that -- not just in the narrow American definition of the word -- the censor generally works in secret and from some position of authority. I find the moderator/censor semantic difference not so totally different from the chauvinist/misogynist distinction explained above. One to me is a description of a behavior and the other implies some sort of unclean mind.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:51 PM on April 7, 2007


implies some sort of unclean mind.

*makes with the brainwashing*
posted by jonmc at 5:53 PM on April 7, 2007


I bet jonmc washes brains in hot tubs. [NOT JACUZZIST]
posted by cgc373 at 6:06 PM on April 7, 2007


It's also relevant to note that -- not just in the narrow American definition of the word -- the censor generally works in secret and from some position of authority.

Jessamyn, I don't want to harp on this too much because I don't want to give off the impression I think the admins are pushing a particular agenda, but this is simply not true. The whole govt/public thing is not problematic because it is American, but because it is a legal definition.

Beyond the "legal" world (hell, even within it), censors are often very public about what is and what is not allowed -- it is a far more efficient way of censoring a public to make it clear what they can and cannot say, rather than to have arbitrary guidelines that people aren't clear on. The fact that you give reasons (post deleted for x) does in no way negate the fact that you have decided that something does not belong.

Recognizing the power and control you and the others can and (importantly) do exercise over this community, intentionally or otherwise, is a step in the right direction of understanding how the exercise of that power can rub some people the wrong way. Even if that seems unfair to you, its part of being a good moderator.

Second, you and the admins *are* in a position of authority on this site -- it is you who get to choose to delete off-topic responses, determine site policies etc. How often do we have to read users calling for "a one week timeout"? Who are they asking? Why do they ask for that? They are obviously appealing to the "authorities" to dole out the "punishment" they see as appropriate for content that does not meet what they believe to be standards.
posted by modernnomad at 6:08 PM on April 7, 2007


I find the censoring really creepy.

answers.yahoo.com to see what unmoderated Q&A looks like. Not really something to emulate.

It's also relevant to note that -- not just in the narrow American definition of the word -- the censor generally works in secret and from some position of authority.

Actually, Yahoo! Answers is sort of "moderated," insofar as questions -- and all their answers -- are sometimes seemingly arbitrarily deleted by people who don't normally provide any explanation, much less make public commentary on their deletion choices. That's a creepy way to run things.

Quite agreed that the two are entirely different.

Second, you and the admins *are* in a position of authority on this site...

So what?
posted by kmennie at 6:19 PM on April 7, 2007


Second, you and the admins *are* in a position of authority on this site...

So what?


So nothing. In distinguishing what the admins do from censorship, Jessamyn had implied that a key feature of censorship was censoring from a position of authority. I was simply pointing out that this is not a secure basis on which to suggest that the admins don't censor. There are others, but that is not one of them.
posted by modernnomad at 6:28 PM on April 7, 2007


I bet jonmc washes brains in hot tubs.

whiskey glasses, actually.
posted by jonmc at 6:40 PM on April 7, 2007


I understand the need for moderation and the occasional need to delete things for various reasons at this particular site. I understand and accept the guidelines here, but they appear to me to be applied arbitrarily. I've seen countless instances where there have been personal attacks that are not dealt with according to the guidelines and in this instance. And I conclude that it was done because of the personal views of the moderators and possibly personal relationships.

It seems that bruce was reacting or responding to Smilla's earlier comment which he disagreed with. My personal feeling is that both of them hold extreme views, neither of which are my own. bruce did not imply Smilla was a slut. Smilla considers women who behave in the manner bruce described to be sluts. He said what he did, she expressed her beliefs and that should have been that. Now I have expressed my opinions and anyone may disagree with me or not. But don't respond by attacking me and calling me an asswipe, asshole, etc. That would violate the guidelines.
posted by sluglicker at 7:10 PM on April 7, 2007


It'd violate the guidelines in AskMe to attack you, sluglicker, and it would violate the explicit guidelines at the bottom of the comment box in the blue, where we're reminded to focus on the arguments and not on the persons arguing; but here in the gray, it's pretty accepted to call out another person and worse (or more, or whatever). Site norms vary from subsite to subsite, and here, it's pretty acceptable to stick it to people. I just wanted to warn you, in case you thought you'd be safe. You're kinda not. Not here, anyway.
posted by cgc373 at 7:27 PM on April 7, 2007


but they appear to me to be applied arbitrarily.

No shit, huh? Deal with it.
posted by puke & cry at 7:31 PM on April 7, 2007


No shit, huh? Deal with it.

That was a thoughtful, concise response. And you've made me rethink my position. Hmmm. Nope.

I didn't think I was safe, cgc373. But thanks for the warning. It's pretty rare that anything I've posted here anywhere isn't met with at least a few pretty nasty comments and personal attacks. God, I love this place.
posted by sluglicker at 8:00 PM on April 7, 2007


I've seen countless instances where there have been personal attacks that are not dealt with according to the guidelines and in this instance.

Dude, it's run by humans and we can't read every single thread and every single answer so stuff slips through, it happens.

And I conclude that it was done because of the personal views of the moderators and possibly personal relationships

Wow. Pretty ballsy accusation to throw out there, to say the moderators are a petty self-serving bunch that only clean up messes when it helps their pals.

Got any examples to back up this ridiculous conclusion?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:01 PM on April 7, 2007


"But don't respond by attacking me and calling me an asswipe, asshole, etc. That would violate the guidelines."

Do you realize what an incredible weenie you sound like? I mean, c'mon, Martin Prince, you're acting like the kid who reminds the teacher to assign homework.

"It's pretty rare that anything I've posted here anywhere isn't met with at least a few pretty nasty comments and personal attacks. God, I love this place."

In the words of seminal girl pop-punkers Dolly Mixture— Baby, it's you (la la-la-la la-la la-la).
posted by klangklangston at 8:10 PM on April 7, 2007


Yeah, here.

The key word in the second instance is possibly. I'm saying that it might be an explanation. I don't know that it in fact is. And this is the third time, I'm asking if people understand the English language? It doesn't appear so.

this ridiculous conclusion

Now I might be wrong, but really; is it ridiculous?
posted by sluglicker at 8:16 PM on April 7, 2007


sluglicker, I asked for examples to back up your claims and you give me... semantics.

If you have nothing to back up your claims and they sound outlandish to me (and they do), then yes, I would say they are in fact ridiculous.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:21 PM on April 7, 2007


But don't respond by attacking me and calling me an asswipe, asshole, etc. That would violate the guidelines.

Actually, it doesn't. Or it does, but it depends.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:26 PM on April 7, 2007


I'm asking if people understand the English language? It doesn't appear so.

Do you understand the weaselly nature of making an accusation, and attempting to shield yourself from shrapnel by using "might" and "possibly"?
posted by CKmtl at 8:28 PM on April 7, 2007


Backpedal harder, sluglicker!
posted by puke & cry at 8:33 PM on April 7, 2007


You know that link doesn't go anywhere, right?
posted by klangklangston at 8:34 PM on April 7, 2007


I undid mathowie's deletion pending hearing from Smilla. I talked to her and decided to remove it from AskMe but leave it in the thread here

FWIW, folks, I just got done chatting with Jessamyn, and leaving the exchange archived but taking it out of the green is A-OK by me.

No one has ever contacted me when my comment was deleted. Is that the usual way of handling this? Are all or most people contacted under similar circumstances? Again, I might be wrong in my conclusion, but it isn't ridiculous.
posted by sluglicker at 8:35 PM on April 7, 2007


Forgive the tautology, but as I ridicule, you become ridiculous.
posted by klangklangston at 8:37 PM on April 7, 2007


Do you understand the weaselly nature of making an accusation

Do you understand that calling me a weasel is no argument at all?
posted by sluglicker at 8:40 PM on April 7, 2007


sluglicker, nobody asked bruce if he wanted his comment deleted.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:41 PM on April 7, 2007


Wanting to minimize my exposure to sexual advances in certain circumstances is an "extreme" view? Fine, then, I'm a dirty, dirty extremist.

He could have said merely "wear a fake ring when you're single and you'll discourage gentlemen from approaching you", and there would have been little to no brouhaha. I'd still disagree to an extent -- I'd think a real gentleman would be willing to make polite, non-sexual conversation with a lady even if she appeared to be married or engaged, which is more extremism on my part I'm sure. But I'd agree that his point that said hypothetical gentleman wouldn't express romantic interest to someone who appears to be taken is perfectly valid. The point he missed was that fake-ring-wearing isn't meant to discourage only the "pervs" -- it was worn in situations where I didn't want to be hit on at all, by ANYONE, pervy, gentlemanly, or otherwise.

He seems to have trouble with the idea that a single woman might object to a "non-perv" overture in some settings, yet welcome them in others. And since he is convinced that the "pervs" will not be discouraged by sight of a ring, he then makes the stunning leap of logic that wearing a ring must be meant to discourage gentlemen with honorable intentions, whilst giving some sort of mysterious below-the-belt "Hello, Sailor!" sign that pervs looking for a "quickie" are welcome to call for a good time.

Smilla considers women who behave in the manner bruce described to be sluts.

No. Smilla thinks that his remarks here were meant to shame her by implying that she is a slut, yet evade censure by not actually using the term.

Again, I'd be willing to give him more the benefit of the doubt for just muddy use of personal v. general pronouns if he'd kept things at the "this will discourage gentlemanly advances too" level. But his repeated use of asides:

...i'm guessing you signal for those from below your waist...
...assuming that you are an attractive woman...
...you need to find somebody other than me to waste your time with for a quickie...


...read to me like personal digs, not badly-phrased generalities. And judging by the comments in this thread, many of the folks objecting to his comments read those remarks in much the same way. The message seems to be that I'm a slut sending mixed signals, and probably not that hot to boot. Oh snap!

Perhaps I, and the other posters who interpreted those remarks similarly, am reading too much into things. But while I can't read his mind and deduce his true intentions, I can look at those remarks from the prism of my own experiences. And the vitriol with which he seems to view the subject of an unmarried woman trying to deflect advances feels very, very similar to the attitudes copped by all too many of the aggressive subway pickup artists. Time and again, as soon as they heard "Sorry, I'm not interested right now" or "Sorry, I'm seeing somebody. No, that doesn't mean I want to hook up with you on the side", those guys would instantly drop the "hey baby" smoothness, and begin cussing me out for being a stuck-up bitch.

That sort of hostility is PRECISELY why, even when I was completely single and unattached, there were settings where I just didn't want to deal with ANY advances whatsoever. When the earphones and the lack of eye contact and the unsmiling expression and the opened book or newspaper just weren't enough to convey the message that I wasn't inviting any sort of flirtation, slipping on a fake ring before hitting the train station finally did the trick.

Was that deceptive? Well, sure, folks would obviously interpret that cheap CZ as meaning I was really engaged or married, which I wasn't. But from that false premise they were clearly reaching the conclusion that I was not interested in being hit on, which was true. So I'd regard that sort of deception as being on a par with not flashing about expensive jewelry, wads of cash, or costly electronic gadgets on the street. It was a survival strategy, a way of making myself less of a target. And it worked.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 8:42 PM on April 7, 2007 [7 favorites]


No one has ever contacted me when my comment was deleted.

After you sent us the email in June that said you weren't going to be contributing to the site anymore and also added, and I quote, "fuck you" there was some discussion about how much courtesy would be appropriate to extend to you. And I mean YOU, not you guys, not "you people of metafilter" but you, username sluglicker. I think we have a difference of opinion on matters such as these, and others, and I don't understand why you're so surly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:47 PM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


If anyone doubts what Smilla is saying, I would encourage them to talk to a close female friend or significant other about women's experience as sexual "prey," basically. Might be an eye-opener.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:48 PM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


And I conclude that it was done because of the personal views of the moderators and possibly personal relationships


I can't speak for anyone else in this thread, but I have never met any of the moderators. And prior to Jessamyn contacting me to ask my opinion, the closest I've come to direct personal contact with any of the mods was on my only visit so far to #mefi, when cortex and I exchanged a couple of snarky lines regarding the relative levels of suckiness of two recent Halle Berry films.

If there's a cabal, I'm not in it, and I'm not sure who is.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 8:48 PM on April 7, 2007


Smilla, I have no issue with you stating your opinion and I also have no issue with bruce stating his. I have different opinions about what was discussed but have not commented on them because it doesn't contribute to the original question. It's not important to me. I respect your opinion, it's just not mine. The issue for me was the deletion and that is what I commented on.
posted by sluglicker at 8:53 PM on April 7, 2007


So, I gather this entire thing is based on sluglicker having inane comments deleted and getting a big chip on his shoulder about about that led to his (frankly, retarded) argument that the admins are petty, vindictive children?
posted by puke & cry at 8:53 PM on April 7, 2007


Do you understand that calling me a weasel is no argument at all?

If you want to get all linguistically technical, I called your methods weaselly. Not you.

I was addressing your snide attempt to cover your ass. I wasn't addressing your 'concerns' about moderator impartiality. So, there's no argument to dismiss.

"Klangklangston might be a rapist" is technically correct. He either is a rapist or isn't, and since I don't know for sure... he might be one. However, it would be weaselly of me to throw out such an assertion/accusation, and then hide behind the dictionary differences between 'might' and 'is' when he takes understandable offense.
posted by CKmtl at 8:53 PM on April 7, 2007


jessamyn, I'm surprised you remember that! I don't remember saying FU, but it's something I might do so I'll trust your memory. I think I was fairly new here then, maybe a month or so. I was surprised and angered by the deletion, but looking back I agree it was a crappy FFP. In this thread, I don't seem to be surly. I thought I've been fairly well-behaved.
posted by sluglicker at 9:02 PM on April 7, 2007


I have different opinions about what was discussed but have not commented on them because it doesn't contribute to the original question.

So what do call noting that you think we both have "extreme" views? Or stating that I must be considering other women who act in a particular way to be sluts? Because those both like comments regarding your opinions of the original subject, not the deletion issue.

And that's fine, while I obviously disagree with you on both, I don't object to you expressing those opinions. I'm just a little baffled as to why you are saying that you're not going to talk about your opinions as your real interest is the deletion, when you've...already talked about your opinions. That just doesn't seem to make much sense.

As for me, I am going to go with the zeitgeist now by trying not to think about an elephant.

Nope. No elephants on my mind whatsoever.

This is me, still not thinking of elephants.

Grey wrinkly hides, trunks, ivory, Jumbo, Dumbo, none of these things are even a faint blip on my consciousness.

What's an elephant?

posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 9:05 PM on April 7, 2007


I thought I've been fairly well-behaved.

Yeah, well-behaved in saying the admins are petty, inconsistent, and might! delete stuff on behalf of friends, with zero examples to back it up. You're a real model citizen here.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:08 PM on April 7, 2007


(And ugh, I miss words good now! Sorry folks...sinus pain and cold meds and a bit of sleepdep are not doing me any favors right now.)
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 9:08 PM on April 7, 2007


Well, whatever else sluglicker's done, the Bunch of Dudes Sitting Around Singing thread was good stuff. Swearing at the mods, not so good, but "Hallelujah" covers I'm gonna say are all right. Way out on this limb, me. Yep.
posted by cgc373 at 9:16 PM on April 7, 2007


and might! delete stuff on behalf of friends, with zero examples

Actually, I gave you two examples, Matt. The question was, are all or most people contacted when a mod deletes a post or comment? If so, them I'm wrong. If not, then it would be reasonable (though still possibly wrong) to conclude what I did. Not ridiculous.
posted by sluglicker at 9:18 PM on April 7, 2007


And a small bit of advice in <small> tags: Antagonizing mathowie, jessamyn, or, now, cortex, doesn't seem like a good way to get along hereabouts. It's a house party, and it's mathowie's house, sluglicker. And he—and jessamyn—sound none too pleased with you tonight. I would say, uh, chill, dude.
posted by cgc373 at 9:20 PM on April 7, 2007


Or I guess you could flame out for languagehat. I can email him if you're gonna keep digging.
posted by cgc373 at 9:21 PM on April 7, 2007


After you sent us the email in June that said you weren't going to be contributing to the site anymore and also added, and I quote, "fuck you" there was some discussion about how much courtesy would be appropriate to extend to you.

This reminds me of the story of a friend who took the est training. During the second session of her training, one really stubborn woman got into a heated argument with the trainer and in the midst of the argument, the trainer waved her hand and dramatically requested that one of the minions bring up the application file for the woman and then looked inside, clucked her tongue and then said Ooh! Mm hmm, Mmmhmm, I can see why you are so obstinate. And this all was after the trainer had just hammered everyone with the primordial est-ian lecture about how You Make Yourself Right By Making Other People Wrong! It came across as a really underhanded way to top dog and shame the other woman into silence.

I'm not taking sluglicker's side here. I just don't like seeing this sort of thing from one of the moderators. And it's not the first time. It's not supposed to be fair to drag private correspondence into an argument, is it ? I thought that what happens in email was supposed to stay in email.

Dressed like the Weakest Link lady, plus a whip.

What is the weakest link here is making an indirect attack on a member by divulging what should be private information in order to make that person look bad. It smells like an abuse of privilege. At least, that's how it comes across here. Stick to the your guns, yes, but please don't demean the other person by dragging in a private conversation. It really makes for a bad example.
posted by y2karl at 9:23 PM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


... for languagehat. I can email him if you're gonna keep digging.

Sorry, I don't understand. Would you explain?
posted by sluglicker at 9:25 PM on April 7, 2007


""Klangklangston might be a rapist" is technically correct. He either is a rapist or isn't, and since I don't know for sure... he might be one. However, it would be weaselly of me to throw out such an assertion/accusation, and then hide behind the dictionary differences between 'might' and 'is' when he takes understandable offense."

Aww, c'mon, I love black people.

Oh, rapist!
posted by klangklangston at 9:28 PM on April 7, 2007


The question was, are all or most people contacted when a mod deletes a post or comment?

sluglicker, you're deeply confused about what happened.

1) bruce's post was deleted by mathowie, with no email to anyone. Smilla's post remained, and it now looked absurd.

2) jessamyn than reinstated the post, pending a discussion with Smilla, because Smilla had made an eloquent reply to bruce's comment that would look stupid if left dangling without bruce's comment to give it context. Deleting Smilla's comment without discussing it with Smilla would be inappropriate, because Smilla's comment didn't violate any guidelines.

3) Finally, after everything was cleared up and everyone was on the same page, both comments were deleted.

As I hope you can now see, this situation was unusual, and thus warranted unusual action on the part of the admins, because they were deleting a comment that didn't violate the guidelines--namely, Smilla's.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:30 PM on April 7, 2007


It's possible Bruce did receive an email, if he listed contact info on his profile page.
posted by moira at 9:41 PM on April 7, 2007


sluglicker, among languagehat's proclivities on the site, he's known to lust after spectacular, gruesome, horrific behavior on the parts of aggrieved users, which behavior is known popularly around here as "flaming out." It's an in-joke at MetaTalk. People say stuff like "paging languagehat" when it looks as if somebody is getting aggravated enough to start writing nasty stuff and saying they're never gonna come back here to this nasty place where nasty stuff is always happening to them. I was just playing to the crowd, pretending to be an insider.
posted by cgc373 at 9:59 PM on April 7, 2007


*wields the dictionary definition of Might; slays dragon*
posted by Kwine at 10:03 PM on April 7, 2007


Thanks, Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America. I did say:
it would be reasonable (though still possibly wrong) to conclude what I did and I was wrong on that particular point.
posted by sluglicker at 10:04 PM on April 7, 2007


y2karl, you don't have any right to abuse the admins over email and then come to MeTa acting like you don't understand why they might be ornery. Other than that, yeah private email is private.

I'm all for handing out olive branches all around, personally (and epsecially for sluglicker who has 33 MeFi posts and 3 each to MeTa, AskMe, and MeFiMu here on Easter Eve which is pretty freaking amazing) so maybe we can call it a night?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:08 PM on April 7, 2007


The question was, are all or most people contacted when a mod deletes a post or comment?

Since you're into semantics, I'll pick carefully here, but I'd say that "many" people are contacted when stuff is deleted. Since it is not automated (different things are deleted for different reasons and we can't just send a canned response to all -- they have to be each done by hand for each situation), we usually send an email for a variety of reasons. Often it's when someone is new and could use a little direction and guidance, or if the infraction is way over the line and we need to be clear about the guidelines with someone that isn't getting it, or like in this case something unusual happens and some lame comment sparks a detailed intelligent takedown that might merit keeping around.

I'm not taking sluglicker's side here. I just don't like seeing this sort of thing from one of the moderators. And it's not the first time. It's not supposed to be fair to drag private correspondence into an argument, is it ? I thought that what happens in email was supposed to stay in email.

y2karl, I don't think the point was to drag a skeleton out of a private closet to embarrass the person (which is stepping over a line) but for jessamyn to remind the person complaining about the inconsistency of mefi that they had already said they were quitting mefi and that we sucked because we deleted their stuff. While it was in a private venue, it's worth mentioning that hey, you have complained before and reached the conclusion that you wanted to leave so why are we arguing about the same thing again?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:12 PM on April 7, 2007


so maybe we can call it a night?

Deal!
posted by sluglicker at 10:18 PM on April 7, 2007


While it was in a private venue, it's worth mentioning that hey, you have complained before and reached the conclusion that you wanted to leave so why are we arguing about the same thing again?

I respectfully disagree. She could have written him instead of using it for a public shaming. You are disclosing privileged information when you do that. What happens in email should stay in email. I realize you all have each other's back but in at least two of three cases the following is a fair description of that remark:

1. Non-relevant.

2. Personal attack on another poster.

3. Overall creepy tone.

posted by y2karl at 10:27 PM on April 7, 2007


What a bizarre witchhunt.
posted by Firas at 10:33 PM on April 7, 2007


heh. i frankly don't give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut whether my stuff is deleted or not, whether i am advised in advance or not, or whether i am favored/disfavored by various internet cliques. to those of you who supported me, my thanks, to those who think i'm a creep, here's one in your eye. as chairman mao observed, "it is good that we are being attacked, for it means that we have successfully established a distinction between our attackers and ourselves."

i really feel for the plight of women who attract so much male attention they have to wear fake wedding rings. i'm wondering what kind of subliminal messages they're sending out. i'm wondering when and how an expression of male interest, as long as it isn't crude, suddenly became a bad thing. would the communication problem between men and women have been avoided if women had evolved conspicuous estrus, as in certain monkey species? off to my tax return.
'
posted by bruce at 10:39 PM on April 7, 2007


But of course. All human females possess a gland on their left ring finger which constantly generates pulses of electromagnetic radiation specifically attenuated to stimulate the part of the human male brain responsible for the behavior known as "hitting on chicks". Thus humans have developed the practice of wearing "wedding rings" which inhibits the radiation emanating from a female's ring finger by means of metallic shielding. The radiation can no longer reach the brains of males in her vicinity and therefore she becomes invisible to their attentions.
posted by casarkos at 11:05 PM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


i really feel for the plight of women who attract so much male attention they have to wear fake wedding rings. i'm wondering what kind of subliminal messages they're sending out.

You're making two errors. First, "so much" is a different amount for every woman. Some women are comfortable with lots of attention, and some women aren't. The fact that a woman feels that she needs to take special precautions to avoid male attention doesn't mean that you or I would think she's getting a lot of attention, but what you or I think is irrelevant. Every woman has a right to do what she feels is necessary to assure her own sexual autonomy and freedom from unwanted sexual advances.

Second, there is no "subliminal message" being sent out. Some women are perceived by many men as having pretty faces, or big breasts, or an appealing hip-to-waist ratio. Some women are considered appealing due to their ethnicity, their personal sense of fashion, or any number of other reasons. The point is simply that a woman may draw unwanted sexual attention for any number of reasons, and your tendency to assume that the women must be doing something specific and unnecessary in order to evoke this attention is completely misguided.

You keep coming back to this distinction between "crude" and proper attention, and you are skeptical of women's aversion to attention that you think isn't "crude." It doesn't matter what you think, though, because you're not the recipient of the unwanted sexual attention. If the crude/not crude dichotomy doesn't have any intuitive appeal to a woman, she is under no obligation to give it any weight simply because you think it's meaningful.

The fact is, even attention that isn't "crude" can still be highly sexualized, and in many contexts many women find this completely unwanted. If a man approaches a woman in a professional context and expresses obvious, non-professional interest, the woman may quite justifiably feel degraded, since she can recognize that she is being viewed as a sexual person (object, even) in a context in which she is trying to project a professional person.

Beyond this, many women are exposed to an endless stream of unwanted sexual advances, and women in general are not well-prepared to deal with them. Women are instructed as they're growing up to always be polite and docile in the face of men's sexual advances, and while many women later in life thankfully buck these oppressive norms, dealing with unwanted sexual advances can be stressful and tiring.

The bottom line is that any advance may be unwelcome, and only an individual woman knows for herself what she wants to deal with. She is perfectly justified taking what measures she needs to in order to avoid such unwanted encounters.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:12 PM on April 7, 2007 [9 favorites]

MPDSEA: The fact is, even attention that isn't "crude" can still be highly sexualized, and in many contexts many women find this completely unwanted. If a man approaches a woman in a professional context and expresses obvious, non-professional interest, the woman may quite justifiably feel degraded, since she can recognize that she is being viewed as a sexual person (object, even) in a context in which she is trying to project a professional person.
I equate this to the "if you're a celebrity, paparazzi are the price you must pay for your disproportionate wealth" situation. Being a movie star = making huge gobs of cash for appearing in a movie = popular and well enough to get those huge gobs of cash = being in public eye, even/especially through tabloids, to get that name recognition and fascination and huge gobs of cash. If you're going to buy that 10,000 sq. ft. house in the nicer parts of LA just down the street from Jack Nicholson, you might have to put up with nosy photographers and slanderous tabloids since it is their perpetuation of your recognizability that pays for that home.

If you have the perqs of being attractive, then that means you may be hit on when you aren't seeking it out, or from people you don't seek it from. It is the cost of having your pick of the litter when it comes to mates. "Professional" is an artificial concept, anyway: how many people are dating or married to people they meet at work? Clearly in those cases and others, someone made a move, and that was desired. So... what's the magic way you know when you're affections will be returned- since obviously someone's taking a chance in asking? Aren't all advances unwanted when they're not wanted, but the only way to find out is by making that advance?

Really, all you will ever need to know about male/female relations relating to "unwanted advances" can be found in this handy video guide. Or this, if you're feeling especially cynical.

In regards to the rest... well, it is technically censorship, but that doesn't mean all censorship is bad (although I've never understood why anything not breaking the law or exposing the site to litigation, a la the Celebrity Who Shall Not Be Named, would need to be deleted; this site gets too many comments to worry about ones that are just pointless). Sluglicker isn't really winning any contests by pushing the matter, but y2karl is right that outing a private email is still bad form no matter who does it, and especially from a position of authority.
posted by hincandenza at 11:24 PM on April 7, 2007


popular and well enough to get those huge gobs of cash = being in public eye, even/especially through tabloids, to get that name recognition and fascination and huge gobs of cash

this is a pretty good metaphor to bring up. the idea that tabloids make movie stars famous is total bullshit of course -- as Homer Simpson once memorably put it: "if they didn't want people pawing through their garbage or calling them gay, they shouldn't have tried to express themselves artistically."

But it's relevant because movie stars are like attractive women in that they make a lot of people feel bitter, insecure and inferior, to the point where they'll make up any convoluted excuse to justify treating them shittily.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:44 PM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


hincandenza, with respect to your paparazzi analogy, I can't tell if you're making a normative or descriptive statement. If the latter, then I agree, attractive women do in fact receive more unwanted sexual attention than less attractive women, but I don't think anyone would argue with this. If, on the other hand, you're saying that attractive women are obligated to accept more unwanted sexual advances due to the fact that they are attractive, then I strongly disagree.

It's unfortunate as well that you're so quick to disregard the "professional" enclave that women have worked so hard to try to create. Yes, the distinction is artificial, but it is important for there to be areas of life where women and men can together pursue professional, academic, and political goals as equals. Traditional sexual roles are not conducive to such an environment, and many men unfortunately have trouble viewing a woman as both a sexual being and a competent professional peer. The best interim solution is to discourage sexual advances in certain realms.

It's true that women and men often form sexual relationships with coworkers, and if you're happy making people feel uncomfortable and marginalized just because you think they're hot and might be willing to hook up with you, then I suppose not much of what I have to say is going to be meaningful to you. I would at least ask, though, that before you make overtly sexual advances on a coworker you try to develop enough of your relationship that when the advance does come it will seem more like "you seem like a great person" and less like "I like your tits."
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:45 PM on April 7, 2007


If you have the perqs of being attractive, then that means you may be hit on when you aren't seeking it out, or from people you don't seek it from. It is the cost of having your pick of the litter when it comes to mates.

This, of course, A) presumes that the only women who receive unwanted advances are those who look like models and movie stars, and B) they deserve said advances (even if they make women uncomfortable, angry, frightened, humiliated, etc.), because it's naturally the fair price to pay for magically getting to "mate" with anyone they like (a situation which automatically and necessarily flows from the aforementioned state of looking like a model or movie star).

Life on Mars sounds fascinating. Please tell us more.
posted by scody at 11:52 PM on April 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you have the perqs of being attractive, then that means you may be hit on when you aren't seeking it out, or from people you don't seek it from. It is the cost of having your pick of the litter when it comes to mates.

I propose that instead of wearing fake wedding rings, attractive women should instead wear fake hook noses and fat suits in public to avoid drawing unwanted attention. That way, they wouldn't be getting any of those great "perks" that make getting hit on by annoying strangers worth it.

In case my sarcasm wasn't clear enough, it's completely absurd to suggest that due to physical characteristics over which she has little or no control, a woman (or anyone, for that matter) should accept being harassed as a normal part of life. Whether she has good luck in romance is irrelevant to the question of whether she has the right to be free from unwanted attention while trying to live her life.
posted by decathecting at 12:00 AM on April 8, 2007

drjimmy11: But it's relevant because movie stars are like attractive women in that they make a lot of people feel bitter, insecure and inferior, to the point where they'll make up any convoluted excuse to justify treating them shittily.
What the hell are you talking about?

If you want to be an actor, you can be an actor on the smallest stage. Ah, but that ego rears its head, doesn't it? If you want to be a RICH actor in internationally viewed movies watched by MILLIONS- well, THEN you can't really complain about the downside to being very famous and wealthy.

For the billions and billions of dollars women- AND MEN- spend on trying to be more attractive, I find it hard to believe that people are walking around saying "I hope only one person in the entire world is ever attracted to me, but that it happens to be my soul mate." No, everyone wants to be as attractive to as many people as possible, so when that great catch comes along they know they can find the love of their lives.

The point, since you obviously missed it by a freakin' mile, is that you can't expect to get the benefits of something without the tradeoffs. Movie stars make huge gobs of cash because they are "stars", meaning that the public knows their name and thus they are more easily marketable. Being able to have a big opening weekend is a lot easier when you can hype "the latest Tom Cruise movie" versus "Hey, this movie is well-written and well-acted by people you've never heard of. Give us money!" The tabloid-ed celebrities are those starring in movies whose express and greatest purpose is profit; those celebrities are free to do summer stock or Shakespeare in the Park if they don't wish to be on the hamster wheel of fame- celebrity- tabloid- E! tv. It's incredibly stupid to think that you can get the 'good' publicity including interviews on E! or the late night talk show circuit, but it's "unfair" to get also talked about in a manner that you and your PR agency can't minutely control.

So yes- if you want to be an attractive person, and it's clear from behaviors that most everyone does do, then you can't be upset if in your pursuit of attracting all the people you can in hopes of finding the one that you really click with... that you attract a lot of attention. Like I said before, disregarding "creepy" advances, even the normal act of asking someone out can be an "unwanted" advance- the reason we "ask" someone out is because we don't know for sure if they'll say yes. We as a species would cease to exist if we didn't take that chance! The appropriate way to handle this as the recipient of such affection is a polite and respectful "no", not to fly off the handle like somehow you're a regular Jesus McBuddha to suffer the indignity and unimaginable burden of the unwanted advance!!! Oh heavens me oh my!
posted by hincandenza at 12:19 AM on April 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you go citing quotes from Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow.
posted by Abiezer at 12:27 AM on April 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


hincandenza, you keep casting this in terms of the species, and what "we" do, but let's be honest for a moment. You want sex, and you don't much care how the women who you subject to your sexual advances feel about them, and you're not all that interested in finding out.

You don't see any reason to give women a space where they can pursue personal and professional goals free from sexual advances, and the only standard you impose is your own subjective notion of "creepy." Let me tell you something; damn few people think that they themselves are creepy. Excluding "creepy" advances, but allowing "normal" ones is just a ticket to do whatever you damn well please.

Do you really think the underlying issue here is that women just need to learn to say "no" politely and respectfully? Are you honestly that incredibly naive? If it was that simple, don't you think women would have figured that out by now?

Let me ask you some questions. What do you think happens when, in a professional environment, a man who needs to have an ongoing productive professional relationship with a woman asks her out and she rejects him? Do you think he always gives it up? Do you think his pride is never stung, he never starts acting like a jackass? He never makes her life just that much harder?

It's shocking that you scoff at the idea that unwanted sexual advances might be damaging and humiliating. Do you just not believe the people who are telling you that they are? Do you think they're lying? Do you think that they're being unreasonable, even though you will never, ever know what it is like to be in their shoes?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:35 AM on April 8, 2007

MPDSEA: If, on the other hand, you're saying that attractive women are obligated to accept more unwanted sexual advances due to the fact that they are attractive, then I strongly disagree.
And you would be wrong. Congrats! Again, the point is that more attractive people get more attention, and more sexual advances- wanted and unwanted. The price of knowing you can more easily find a mate, and the best mate you want (as sex columnist Dan Savage puts it, we all want to "fuck up", meaning to bed the best possible person we can get), is that you will also have to politely rebuff more those advances you didn't want. Those of us who are- like myself- so grotesquely ugly that we get basically no advances, and our advances are always unwanted, find it a little more than irritating when people who are attractive bemoan getting unwanted advances- yeah, that's some cross to bear!
It's unfortunate as well that you're so quick to disregard the "professional" enclave that women have worked so hard to try to create. Yes, the distinction is artificial, but it is important for there to be areas of life where women and men can together pursue professional, academic, and political goals as equals. Traditional sexual roles are not conducive to such an environment, and many men unfortunately have trouble viewing a woman as both a sexual being and a competent professional peer. The best interim solution is to discourage sexual advances in certain realms.
So your interim solution is celibacy?!? No one is saying that every workplace should be a male-dominated sexfest of a brothel, but thanks for the straw man. What I am saying is that people can be professional and non-sexual, and mostly are, but the idea that people have no libido, and no desire to find a mate, is simply retarded. The "workplace" as some sacred inhuman machine where we discard all desire, emotion, belief and sense of self is a scary and frightening one. I'm sorry if you've adopted this notion that a good interim solution is absolute chastity.

People are attracted to each other, and the relatively high number of friends, and eventual partners in dating or marriage, that come from the workplace underscores that people do fill their social circles with co-workers. So... "unwanted"? As that satirical but not entirely inaccurate Tom Brady video showed, the definition of "unwanted" has nothing whatsoever to do with place and time. A perfectly respectful and normal act of asking someone out can be rebuffed because it's not returned- that doesn't mean the asking was some sort of crime against humanity.

Christ, it's times like these I wish jonmc was here to chime in with his usual "You agoraphobic internet idiots are incredibly unaware of how the real people out in the world are actually living their lives", because in this case he'd be unbelievably spot-on.
It's true that women and men often form sexual relationships with coworkers, and if you're happy making people feel uncomfortable and marginalized just because you think they're hot and might be willing to hook up with you, then I suppose not much of what I have to say is going to be meaningful to you.
Oh, okay, this is where I get to say that you're simply a fucking shitbag of a human being. What the fuck kind of comment is that? Yes, because it's a straight and short line between what I said and some Caligula-esque orgy in the cubicle farm. How about "Go to hell", and thanks for insulting me.
I would at least ask, though, that before you make overtly sexual advances on a coworker you try to develop enough of your relationship that when the advance does come it will seem more like "you seem like a great person" and less like "I like your tits."
First, why do you people keep confusing "unwanted advances" with "Hey baby I wanna fuck you up the ass!!!"? And what happened in the two minutes between your typing "The best interim solution is to discourage sexual advances in certain realms" and the above comment? So now sexual advances are okay, but only if there's some more established relationship? And that is different than what I said how exactly? Isn't this scenario played out all the time: "Hey the gang is going out for drinks after work friday" evolving into "Hey suzie I had a really good time talking with you when we were all out on Friday, I was thinking it would be fun if we went out for dinner this Wednesday..."? If the latter is "unwanted", that doesn't mean it was evil or sexist or dehumanizing or marginalzing, it meant it was human beings doing what they do, which is establishing social connections and looking for love. Suzie politiely declined a more intimate relationship, end of story. Suzie isn't exactly undergoing some epic tragedy by being asked out, no matter what they said in your classes at Smith College.
posted by hincandenza at 12:37 AM on April 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


So your interim solution is celibacy?

You're not being serious at this point. I suggest that sexual advances in professional areas is a bad idea, and you interpret that as calling for celibacy? You're not even trying to communicate.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:43 AM on April 8, 2007


And after posting and seeing MPDSEA's latest armchair psychoanalysis declaring that I am, apparently, a rapist sexist misogynistic creep, I can principally say "I fucking hate your soul, dude". I am certainly trying to communicate, but you are apparently so hell-bent on posturing your post-feminist street cred, presumably in the hopes of bedding some Lillith fair type, you aren't even reading what I write.

I think if there's any sexism here, it's in your obsession with the idea that only women get unwanted advances, or that you're protecting the sanctity of the flower of womanhood with your psuedo feminist stance. Yes, you're a regular catcher in the rye for womenkind everywhere, MPDSEA.
It's shocking that you scoff at the idea that unwanted sexual advances might be damaging and humiliating.
Of course I scoff at it- seriously dude, have you ever actually asked someone out on a date? It's normal to get rejected, it happens to everyone. That doesn't mean the asker or askee has been a horrible rapist pervert or long-suffering victim. Harassment might be damaging, but it's more telling that you can't seem to see that there IS a difference between unwanted advances and harassment. If someone asks you out, and you're just not attracted or into them, but they aren't crossing weird lines (they're respectful and 'normal', it isn't obvious you aren't available, etc), that's an "unwanted advance", but something that happens all the time.

And anyone who's dating anyone right now, or married, had to start with an advance of some kind; one of them had to ask the other out, or escalate the relationship into something romantic. These things don't just happen in an instant, someone makes the first move and does so with the knowledge that it might not work out. And since lots of people are dating or married to co-workers, clearly they aren't as hung up as you are about those boundaries, and somehow the sky has not fallen, nor civilization descended into chaos.

Now, on the other hand, if you have some magical device that will tell us who's attracted to us or would be interested in pursuing a relationship, so we never have to risk asking someone out who isn't interested, well please let me know: I'll gladly be your first customer.


Oh, and to re-quote you:
Yes, the distinction is artificial, but it is important for there to be areas of life where women and men can together pursue professional, academic, and political goals as equals.
See, I guess this is the difference between you and I. I'd say "all areas of life" are the ones where they should be able to pursue goals as equals; you apparently don't feel women deserve that, and that there should be areas where they are not able to be seen as equals. And being able to respect one's co-workers, male and female, based on their merit and accomplishments, doesn't mean that people aren't attracted to other people, and job or no job will pursue the heart's calling.
posted by hincandenza at 12:51 AM on April 8, 2007 [2 favorites]

scody: This, of course, A) presumes that the only women who receive unwanted advances are those who look like models and movie stars, and B) they deserve said advances (even if they make women uncomfortable, angry, frightened, humiliated, etc.), because it's naturally the fair price to pay for magically getting to "mate" with anyone they like (a situation which automatically and necessarily flows from the aforementioned state of looking like a model or movie star).
Scody, you're an idiot. I can't imagine a proper rebuff to your point, as it is so ham-fisted and tangential to anything I actually said, that I'm left with only saying "you're an idiot". Seriously, that's a hell of a strawman.

Wait, who am I kidding? I can't "only" say anything, I'm too verbose. But certainly I've not made the case that this is a woman-only thing (when did I say that? WHEN, you ignorant illiterate motherfuckers?!), but rather that things that most of us consider a benefit to life- wealth, popularity, intelligence, beauty, etc- do have their downsides, but usually those downsides aren't enough to offset the good points. People don't (intentionally) get plastic surgery to look uglier after all, nor do they get lobotomies to become stupider, nor do they throw away their money to get poorer (well, with some exceptions of course). Intelligence and learning might carry with it a predisposition to overthinking and existential angst, but it's still better than being dumb and uneducated. Beauty might carry with it a disproportionate focus on ones looks, but that doesn't mean it's better than being ugly and alone- I'd rather look like a young Paul Newman than Paul Giamatti.

Again, apparently you all are unbelievably creepy social misfits, since you can't seem to recognize that there is a difference between an "unwanted advance" and an advance that makes "women uncomfortable, angry, frightened, humiliated".
posted by hincandenza at 1:02 AM on April 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Read the sentence following the second one you quoted. Clearly I believe that traditional sexual roles make true equality impossible. Since I'm not actually suggesting celibacy, despite what you claimed, and I can't reasonably believe that traditional sexual roles can just be done away with altogether, clearly an enclave is the only way to make progress in my view.

Making the unfounded inference--which runs contrary to everything I've said--that I believe that women shouldn't be equal in other areas simply shows that you're not trying to communicate.

As for everything else you say, your naivety is unfortunately all too typical. Women do in fact feel degraded and humiliated by the constant sexual barrage they experience, and your scoffing doesn't change that.

I maintain that you don't actually care, though, and belong firmly to that disingenuous group that think "equality" involves ignoring the fact that different people are differently situated.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:06 AM on April 8, 2007


You keep coming back to this distinction between "crude" and proper attention, and you are skeptical of women's aversion to attention that you think isn't "crude."

Also, per one of my earlier comments, just because an advance doesn't start out as crude, threatening or hostile doesn't mean it won't end that way. Some men do not seem to take rejection well, no matter how politely you try to phrase it. And if you're not a particularly physically imposing woman, it's hard not to be reminded of your potential vulnerability when a guy who is considerably larger and presumably stronger than you is spitting abuse because you won't do what he wants.

If a man approaches a woman in a professional context and expresses obvious, non-professional interest, the woman may quite justifiably feel degraded, since she can recognize that she is being viewed as a sexual person (object, even) in a context in which she is trying to project a professional person.

In a workplace setting there's also often the added complication of power imbalances. If the person hitting on you has a much more powerful position in the company, or is even in a supervisory position over you, that's all sort of awkwardness even in the absence of overt threats to use that position of power to get you to say yes. And if the positions are reversed, the woman's in a management position and the guy doing the propositioning is much lower on the pecking order -- that's still a situation she might want to avoid so as not to make her love life matter for office gossip. Add in any company policies on fraternization, hostile work environments and sexual harassment, and there are plenty of reasons why some people might consider office romances too uncomfortable, awkward, or risky to get involved with.

Beyond this, many women are exposed to an endless stream of unwanted sexual advances

And in my experience, after living in some very diferent places throughout my teens and twenties, the depth and breadth of that stream can vary hugely depending on where you live and work. In my teens and early twenties back in Hawai'i, living in a suburban area and working in a mid-sized mall in a mid-sized urban area, I'd get the occasional drive-by car horn or wolf-whistle, but it wasn't a constant occurrence and wasn't accompanied by any sort of threatening behavior. All of my coworkers and bosses were female, and our customer base was predominantly female, so I really wasn't getting hit on during work hours. And even outside of work, the guys who'd chat me up at the bus stop or such were never crude or menacing, and if I turned them down they accepted my answer without getting hostile.

Then I moved to downtown Philadelphia, and some years after that to downtown DC. And that's when I started encountering guys whose interest in me didn't always seem so benign -- I got followed at a slow crawl by a motorist when I was trying to walk to the train station, got stalked by a gang of teenage boys walking home from the grocery store, and yes, the come-ons were now more numerous and frequent than I'd ever previously dealt with, some of them quite crude, and some of them downright menacing.

It's not that everyone in Hawai'i was wonderful and everyone in the mainland cities was horrible, of course; it's just a simple matter of scale. Living in big cities, taking public transit and working for big companies, I was simply rubbing elbows with many, many more people on a daily basis. The ratio of bad apples in a bushel wasn't necessarily any higher, there were just so many more bushels that the chances of running into a bad one on any given day were much higher.

If you have the perqs of being attractive, then that means you may be hit on when you aren't seeking it out, or from people you don't seek it from.

But you don't have to be exceptionally attractive to be subject to frequent come-ons. I've got a few good features, I can clean up tolerably well, but I certainly wouldn't consider myself any more than average-looking at best. And I certainly wasn't dressing provocatively when I was doing the 9-to-5 gig and getting frequent subway come-ons; I was wearing business formal stuff back then, deliberately pitched a bit towards the conservative -- hair pulled back or pinned up tightly, glasses instead of contacts. Nothing was particularly tight, or short, or low-cut, or frilly: the look was just neat and polished, not fashion-forward or sexy...much more "schoolmarm" than "supermodel". But I still got hit on, a lot. I really don't think that's any particular reflection on my attractiveness: it seems more likely that simply being youngish, female, and unaccompanied was enough to make some guys see me as a good target.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 1:34 AM on April 8, 2007

But you don't have to be exceptionally attractive to be subject to frequent come-ons. I've got a few good features, I can clean up tolerably well, but I certainly wouldn't consider myself any more than average-looking at best.
My understanding is that neither the mean- or median-attractive woman gets the attention you describe—ask a woman over 50 how often she gets wolf whistles, or someone noticeably overweight. You seem to be an outlier in this, in a positive way.

Thanks for the background—it makes your earlier comments much easier to understand.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 5:04 AM on April 8, 2007


Speaking as someone who's not trying to prove his feminist cred so he can bed a Lilith Fair-type, hincandenza, I can see where you're coming from, but you've missed a crucial point.

Whether or not being attractive comes with the cost of more attention is immaterial. We all have the right to be free of whatever we define as unwanted advances, and rebuff them as we see fit. I know you're a guy, and I'm pretty certain you're straight, so I don't think you've experienced the kind of blatant sexual objectification that men inflict on those they desire.

And yes, of course, it goes without saying that 99% of the time an 'unwanted' advance--whether you're male, female, or other--means 'an advance from someone I don't want to be hit on by'. Of course, 'someone I don't want' is a definition extremely subject to context.

In many--even most--cases, that objectification is welcome, and returned. But a large percentage of the time, it's not. When I was younger (and, let's be honest, skinnier) I worked in a gaybar. And there was a definite subset of men there who thought I was a free service that came with the drinks. The occasional flirting was fine; slightly risque comments, the odd compliment. That's totally okay in a way that wouldn't be in a more formal workplace, given that bars are a strange blend of work and socializing. But the really blatant stuff--men simply asking me how much I cost, men grabbing various parts of my body, one guy trying to pin me against the wall so he could shove his hands down my pants--is totally unacceptable. I had some power in the situation; I could have people thrown out. Most women in most situations don't have, or don't feel they have, the power to react.

And women every day must contend with advances like this. I won't go so far as to say being beautiful is a curse for all people, but it can be for some. And--please note, I'm not putting myself on the 'beautiful' list--sometimes, you just want to get through your day without anyone going "hurf durf let me in your pants." Whether or not that's the actual subtext of the advance is immaterial; the vast majority of inappropriate advances are possessed of that subtext, and so it's not entirely unreasonable to attempt to forestall all advances.

I strongly suggest, though I don't know how you can do it, that you try spending a day or two being objectified by a large percentage of people you see. I further suggest that you do so with the full awareness that for the most part there is a serious power imbalance--not only in terms of societal power, but in many cases actual physical power.

As a minor side note, I think all of this is a large cause of why so many heterosexual men get so uncomfortable if a gay man expresses interest: you're being objectified, reduced to a sexual commodity, in precisely the same way that many heterosexual men objectify women. Realizing that would push some very uncomfortable conclusions. Pet theory, YMMV.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:22 AM on April 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


when it happens to me, i'm usually flattered but then it only happens rarely so I imagine it would get old after awhile. But, a week ago I was walking to the store and a pretty girl looked at me and smiled. I walked away, ego a-buzzin'. Then I looked and noticed my fly was open. *sigh*
posted by jonmc at 6:31 AM on April 8, 2007


I find this thread fascinating, but very heavy on the absolutism, and low on the realism.

I do think playing games with rings in order to project something that isn't true (they do have sins of omission, let's not split hairs) smacks of deceptive behavior, and when you couple deception with someone who uses anything in a sexual arena for, well, sales counts as material gain, you can imagine that you might get some fairly hostile responses out of that.

"Unwanted advances" are any advances that someone will have to spurn. Speaking as someone who has gotten rejected, a lot, I guess that makes most of my attempts to date unwanted advances. The idea that women should be magically free of "whatever they define" as unwanted advances would relegate me to second-class citizen. Must look at the floor, DON'T MAKE EYE CONTACT SHE'LL FEEL THREATENED. Can't talk to women, it might be perceived as an "advance." Am I within the ten foot contact zone? Must flee! That's patently absurd.

None of this "your rights end where my feelings begin" mumbo-jumbo. I feel degraded and humiliated by the total absence of sexual advances I could receive - when do I get a turn in the outrage box? I'm not kidding, either, for the sake of making a point. It hurts, a lot. Well, boo-hoo for me. You get some plastic surgery and you toughen up.

People want it all their way, every which way they want it - too bad, not gonna happen. I'm not saying you have to like it, but get real. Everything worthwhile comes with a price attached to it. If you are wise, people besiege you asking for advice with their problems. If you are smart, help me do my homework. Thus, too, beauty, which a long line of studies indicate possession of which can be a great help in life, comes with some advances that may or may not be wanted. If I hear one more person complain about the hell of being attractive, well, I'll go looking for a half a dozen capable Draculas to haunt them.
posted by adipocere at 7:39 AM on April 8, 2007


Actually, adipocere, I think that every person has the right to be free of unwanted advances, or at the very least try to forestall them as much as possible. Gender is irrelevant in that sense.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:48 AM on April 8, 2007


When I had dreadlocks, people would ask me why. I explained that I was a young woman, with long red hair, living in Seattle, taking public transportation every day. While only maybe one in ten unwanted advances (and I'm talking random men trying to touch me or asking me if I was married and/or happily married and/or had a boyfriend, not "how about this weather" type of chat) would turn into a "Well fuck YOU, you stuck up bitch" interaction, that was one too many. For whatever reason, the ratty hairstyle pretty much made it stop. It wasn't my main reason for doing it, but it was a pleasant and noticable side effect.

Now I'm at an age and living in a place where my interactions with the opposite sex seem to have normalized somewhat, but my sister who is about my age and about the same in the looks department, maybe dresses a little better, still gets followed home from the subway from time to time and accosted by guys when she's outside on her porch. I think there is a huge difference between breaking the ice and talking to someone you notice may have something in common with you (you're reading the same book, you work in the same place, you go to the same shows) and having the very first thing you say to a total stranger be "are you married... happily married?"

There are always people who will overreact to the first scenario as well, so it complicates the matter of unwanted vs. inappropriate attention as dnab said above. I think another complicating factor is that these "well fuck YOU" interactions often don't happen in public settings where other people observe them, frequently. So a lot of men who would never act that way with women also say that they've never even seen anyone act that way and then it becomes sort of a he said/she said type of thing (see what bruce says re "subliminal signals" and Aidan Kehoe thinking Smilla is an outlier which, in my experience, she's not) where the frequency or "out of the blue" nature of these encounters is called into question.

I don't think I have the right to go out in public and have everyone pretend I don't exist, but I'd like to think I had the right to go out in public and not have a total stranger get angry with me because I don't want to talk to him or date him. Being reasonably attractive may have some negative consequences that offset the positive ones, but it flat out shouldn't be dangerous, and it often is.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:04 AM on April 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


On the original topic, I worked sales for 4 years (retail commisioned) and I wasn't above a little low level flirtation if it would close a deal, even though I'd never have acted on it. It was just another tool in the arsenal, like noticing a sports team t-shirt or hat and talking about that day's game (though oddly, the flirtation mainly came from women over 50). I was unmarried but cohabitating at the time, but my married colleagues reported similar experiences. FWIW.
posted by jonmc at 8:11 AM on April 8, 2007


I do not believe everyone should be free of unwanted advances. Hell, I'm not even sure how that would work, aside from magic. I would require premonition to know if my advances would, in fact, be successful or not. So, until everyone on the planet develops psychic abilities, this particular right you're trying to push isn't feasible. Unless you bar all advances, period. That doesn't seem very likely, either.

Can you honestly tell me that you have never made a pass, flirted with, approached, asked out on a date, or made eye contact with someone who didn't end up sleeping with you? If not, then you've made an advance that wasn't reciprocated. It was an unwanted advance.
posted by adipocere at 8:20 AM on April 8, 2007


i'm just agog. i came back here to the demonstration to get my fair share of abuse, and y'all started in on each other overnight.
smilla, we need some quantification, do you get an "unwanted advance" about once a week, or once every 15 minutes, because if it's once a week, you doth protest too much, and if it's once every 15 minutes, you doth dress like courtney love's lost weekend.
hincandenza, you're the brightest bulb on the string.
mr. president, you've swallowed too much feminist cant. you say "what you or i think is irrelevant." this is bullshit. what we think is just as relevant as what the woman is thinking. men and women are biologically complementary, but they are not biologically equal, and the differences come with different roles, responsibilities and privileges. if a hazard presents, i have the responsibility of standing up between it and the woman, but i also have the privilege of picking up a lot of restaurant checks (because my closest female friends are all ex-gf's, this privilege goes on long after the sex is over). then there's the burden of social initiative, only slightly attenuated nowadays, that the onus is on a guy who is interested in a girl to make the first contact and overture, which she has the privilege of accepting or rejecting. i have no problem with women wearing fake wedding rings to deter advances (go back to the green where i said i don't recognize any obligation to disclose one's status on one's finger) but i do have a problem with exalting the woman to a higher moral plane than the poor schnook who is asking her out, characterizing the authors of unsuccessful advances as "skeezy" and abdicating all moral judgment to the woman, as if what we think is irrelevant. i hope i'm wrong, but you sound like the kind of guy who urinates sitting down out of sympathy with his "oppressed" sisters.
men are bees, women are flowers. it is inevitable that flowers will occasionally hear a buzz they don't like; when this happens, a simple "no, but thank you for your interest" is best. now here's a joke:

"will you go out with me?"

"do you want the long answer or the short answer?"

"well, what's the short answer?"

"the short answer is no."

"i'm awfully sorry to hear that. just out of historical curiosity, what was the long answer?"

"oh dear sweet merciful jesus in heaven, no."
posted by bruce at 8:21 AM on April 8, 2007


you sound like the kind of guy who urinates sitting down out of sympathy with his "oppressed" sisters.

I urinate siting down a lot, mainly for the rest (and to avoid drunkenly missing the bowl), if that helps you in your quest for truth.
posted by jonmc at 8:28 AM on April 8, 2007


men are bees, women are flowers.

All those bees flying around are females. The male bees are kept for sex with the queen. When winter comes, the female worker bees push the males out, 'cause they need the space and it's more important to keep the queen and hive alive, then those pesky sex slaves.

Flowers (not women) are slutty, taking any and all in the pollination process, which is only needed because the male and female parts of the a single flower can't get a their own separate room, so they they bees to get around from place to place. Mind you, the bees aren't doing this on purpose, it's all just happy accident that works out well for the flowers and the eco system.

This is very sexy, yes?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:09 AM on April 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


*offers Brandon Blatcher some Honey Nut Cheerios*
posted by jonmc at 9:15 AM on April 8, 2007


Seconding the whole sitting down thing.
posted by Dizzy at 9:18 AM on April 8, 2007


adipocere and bruce: I think you're misunderstanding the use of "unwanted". Jessamyn and Smilla seem to be using it as "unwanted styles / circumstances of attention" whereas you two are reading it as "attention from unwanted persons".

There's bound to be some overlap between the two, in that crude wolf-whistling construction workers (probably) aren't Jessamyn's or Smilla's type.

The hypothetical "poor schmuck" might not be Smilla's type, but that doesn't mean that she'd necessarily be affronted by a polite offer of a date. His attention may be 'unwanted' in that she doesn't want to go out with him, but he's not going about it in an unwanted manner.

I'm not a castrated feminist-indoctrinated male; I don't go for girls. But I do sit down to pee.
posted by CKmtl at 9:30 AM on April 8, 2007


Oh noes! A toileting derail!
posted by cgc373 at 9:45 AM on April 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


y2karl, you don't have any right to abuse the admins over email and then come to MeTa acting like you don't understand why they might be ornery.

Seeing as how the admins can get their hair up as fast as anyone here when someone says something other than the usual sycophantic gush about them, you might think they might have a longer fuse. On the other hand, as they most likely get more criticism daily off and on site than all but the select few hereabouts do even on occasion, you probably would not. Well, we're all human here.

I don't recall abusing anyone admin via email, or so I should hope. I try to keep that here. But memory is so selective.

But, at any rate, when you stop wearing dreadlocks, what do you do ? Shave your head or get industrial strength hair rinse and an atomic detangler ? Do you have to iron out the beeswax on paper towels first ? Inquiring minds want to know.
posted by y2karl at 9:56 AM on April 8, 2007


Wow, this thread is full of assholery, and I stopped reading the long comments a while back. But:

BTW, languagehat -- did you know your blog's been cited on the comics-crack community Scans_Daily?

No, I didn't. I didn't even know there was such a thing as the comics-crack community. But I'm glad I'm serving as a resource for people who need to know what a gazabo is!

Or I guess you could flame out for languagehat.

Yeah, it would be nice if one (or more!) of you loudmouths would flame out and justify this thread's excessive length. I've got the popcorn waiting, and I think jonmc's got beer.
posted by languagehat at 9:57 AM on April 8, 2007


Yeah, listen, I don't think this is rocket science.

Most reasonably attractive women have to deal with creepy come-ons of the "So...got a boyfriend?" variety on a semi-regular basis. At best, these interactions are awkward or annoying. At worst, they can be frightening, when the guy won't take no for an answer or gets angry that "bitch is too stuck up to talk to me."

(Incidentally, bruce's comment, which sparked this whole mess, is an excellent example of this "Why don't you want to talk to me you WHORE!!!" style of interaction.)

Anyway, it's no surprise that women would be motivated to avoid this sort of thing, hence the CZ or dreadlocks.

I'm male, married, and usually pee standing up.

Also, sorry that some of you are apparently incredibly ugly. That must be rough.

posted by myeviltwin at 10:00 AM on April 8, 2007


y2karl: short haircut + massive detangler. I didn't have beeswax in mine, or any wax. The time before I just got a crewcut, but if you want to talk unwanted attention (and not from the fellas) it's me + crewcut in rural Vermont.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:02 AM on April 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, sorry that some of you are apparently incredibly ugly.

well, somebody's gotta live the dream for them. might as well be me..
posted by jonmc at 10:14 AM on April 8, 2007


I was such an ugly child that I stopped clocks.
Now I'm all hunky.
posted by Dizzy at 10:26 AM on April 8, 2007


same here diz: pimple-encrusted teenager turned international sex symbol. lucky me.

*gazes at mirror in rapture*
posted by jonmc at 10:27 AM on April 8, 2007


jonmc--
we should tour as the white Milli-Vanilli.
Call us Wackee-Blackee.
posted by Dizzy at 10:29 AM on April 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh dear.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:31 AM on April 8, 2007


nononononooooo....
see, they're a coupla good-looking African-American guys with a white-sounding name, and me and jonmc are a...
never mind.
except I think one of them died, whereas my understanding is that mr. jonmc is living (sort of) in NYC.
posted by Dizzy at 10:35 AM on April 8, 2007


(is it safe to come back out now?)
posted by Dizzy at 10:48 AM on April 8, 2007


ckmtl, the unwanted "circumstances of attention" you cited completely, 100% embrace the "attention from unwanted persons" you attempted to distinguish. your crude, wolf-whistling construction worker is a crude, hoary cliche exhibiting unconscious classism; i understand where the resentment is coming from but i don't acknowledge its legitimacy. he's just a horny handed (and horny minded) son of toil carpentering or plumbing the new building, who forgot his place with the wimmen on his side a town and exhibited the temerity to intrude upon the attention of your ladyship. guess what? we still have freedom of speech in this country, there is no exception for gauche or distateful speech, for which i am grateful. he does not yet legally owe you a polite silence and downcast gaze (or anything else) when you walk by, even though you're a pioneer of tomorrow who wouldn't be caught dead rolling up to a dairy queen in a wage stiff's ten year old saturn. you can't unilaterally impose a new social convention on him just by arguing your moral superiority, you're either gonna have to negotiate with him (offer something in exchange for no whistles) or shaddup and keep walking.

live out in the country, pee outside a lot!
posted by bruce at 10:50 AM on April 8, 2007


*blink*

What?

This has nothing to do with classism... oh nevermind. You're trolling again.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:54 AM on April 8, 2007


Seconding the whole sitting down thing.

My present cat, who spent at least three or four declawed years outdoors before her rescue, will not come within one yard and an arms length when I'm standing or even sitting up straight. And that's when I'm alone--anyone else comes in the apartment and she's under the futon for the duration. But let me sit on the toilet and she's beamed up in a nanosecond, purring and rubbing my ankles.
posted by y2karl at 11:14 AM on April 8, 2007


uh... no, see.

Unwanted style of attention would be wolf-whistling, "hey baby!"ing, or (at worst) ass-grabbing. The construction worker thing may be a cliché scenario, but I only used it as an example because it was the first thing that came to mind after "wolf-whistling". That style of attention isn't limited to manual labour or blue-collar workers; white-collar folk do it too. Unwanted circumstances of attention would be the work-place scenarios that have been mentioned way upthread.

And no, there isn't a 100% overlap between unwanted style/circumstance and unwanted people. A guy that the woman isn't immediately attracted to could approach her in a way such that he might have a chance. A guy that, on first sight, makes the woman's hormones race could approach her in a vile way that completely obliterates any chance he had.

Nowhere did I say anything about 'lower-class' guys having to mind their place, or anything about the callous-handed and uggos having to be legally censured into silent reverence of their betters. WTF?
posted by CKmtl at 11:14 AM on April 8, 2007


Actually, I think the classism is an important angle, which has been brought up in past discussions of this nature. Namely, that the stereotype is the blue-collar guy offering catcalls and wolf whistles, and with no concept of personal boundaries. It's telling that the stereotype as expressed in hypotheticals doesn't involve that "Handsome millionaire son of a political or economic dynasty who was hitting on me in a bar! How dare he?!?!" The idea that people get to live in a plastic bubble at their own convenience, so that the untouchable caste does not bother them, has a tinge of classism to it.

Barring any inappropriate touching or offensive comments or insults- and from both sexes that's just not okay for completely unrelated reasons- the latter scenario is always flattering, to both sexes. Who doesn't want to feel they've still "got it", even if like jonmc they are already happily married?

Since I think the vast majority of unwanted advances are not grotesque ogrish behavior (and the ones that are simply support confirmation bias- and hey, maybe jessamyn's right and that's because I don't see the one-on-one scenarios where the inner beast apparently rears its head), the difference between unwanted and wanted boils down to "Is this a person I'd actually consider going out with?" And since none of us are mind readers, we are by definition going to make countless unwanted advances in the course of our lives- all of us, because guys very much turn down women as well.

I'm basically with adipocere in terms of the "Why do you deserve the magic forcefield that repels any people you wouldn't want hitting on you, and only letting through the ones who you do like?" He just said it with less cursing than I usually do. And that being more attractive than normal means getting hit on, politely hopefully, more than normal; that's a nice perq to have, since the cost of saying "no" in a similarly respectful manner is very low, while the benefit- meeting a person who makes your heart soar and drives your hormones wild, and knowing you have a better than average chance of at least trying a relationship- is very high. The occasional poorly prepared truffle or less-than-stellar veal stock is the quite tolerable cost of being able to dine at the French Laundry every day.
posted by hincandenza at 11:30 AM on April 8, 2007


hincandenza: I respectfully suggest that you ask some actual women about the kinds of unwanted advances they typically encounter. You may be inclined to revise your theory afterward.
posted by myeviltwin at 11:38 AM on April 8, 2007


Look, sometimes people just want to be left alone, so leave'em alone. It's that simple.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:50 AM on April 8, 2007


The occasional poorly prepared truffle or less-than-stellar veal stock

You've never eaten at the French Laundry, have you?

is the quite tolerable cost of being able to dine at the French Laundry every day.

No, this would be the cost of dining there every day.

I'm just sayin'...
posted by dersins at 11:56 AM on April 8, 2007


smilla, we need some quantification, do you get an "unwanted advance" about once a week, or once every 15 minutes, because if it's once a week, you doth protest too much, and if it's once every 15 minutes, you doth dress like courtney love's lost weekend.

So it's a strict slut-or-whiner dichotomy. Fascinating.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:02 PM on April 8, 2007

myeviltwin: hincandenza: I respectfully suggest that you ask some actual women about the kinds of unwanted advances they typically encounter. You may be inclined to revise your theory afterward.
Um, not likely. I'm still Venn diagramming "unwanted advances" as the circle containing the much smaller circle "advances that are creepy and probably legally actionable". At least CKmtl recognized that there is a semantic confusion here among some posters; my point all along is that you shouldn't ever expect to be free of unwanted advances, and that being more attractive means getting likely more advances, which is generally speaking a 'good thing'., even if it means a majority of those advances will be unwanted.

The smaller circle of "seriously, that's stalker-creepy and psychotic" unwanted advances is so obviously something no one should have to deal with, it wasn't worthy of including in the discussion. But I think- hope?- it's a fairly small percentage of guys who are doing that, and only an occasional experience for most women; I don't feel it's fair to label all guys with that brush, since most of us do not ever act that way.
dersins: You've never eaten at the French Laundry, have you?
No, this would be the cost of dining there every day.
Heh, that's actually funny. But yeah, of course I haven't ever eaten at the French Laundry- have you ever TRIED to get a reservation?!?!? I did meet Thomas Keller when he spoke in the Building 113 cafeteria at Microsoft a couple of years ago, and have eaten that the surely inferior but still pretty good Bouchon in the Venetian a couple of times.

And while I don't even have to click that link to know it's the overeating scene from Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life", I actually think that the Thomas Keller menu would not be too horribly fattening: the food is top quality hand-picked and as he puts it "cleanly prepared" and less impure and 'bad' than processed and fast foods, and the portions especially in a prix fixe tasting menu would not be enormous in and of themselves. I mean, you'd have to make that your main meal, with light breakfasts and that as a six-hour lunch/dinner, but I think you'd not be too badly suited eating there regularly.
posted by hincandenza at 12:07 PM on April 8, 2007


Two anecdotes—

1: I was walking to the Florence train station with my family, briskly as I was a little late for my trip to Amsterdam. As we were trotting along, a man started up alongside us, saying "Hey, hey."

"Yeah?" I said.

"Uh... I just wanted to tell you," he said, matching pace with us, "that you are a very attractive man."

"OK. Thank you," I said, still walking. He matched our pace for a few more meters, and then dropped off, looking vaguely disappionted.

2: I am lucky enough to be dating a woman who I consider fantastically attractive, though she's not necessarily part of the dominant body image for attractiveness in America. Not much make up, broad shoulders, etc. She gets hit on everywhere, from bus stops to grocery stores. She gets told things like "You've got pretty nice tits for a young chick," and followed by men when I'm not around. In discussions with her female friends, it's not just her. It happens all the time.
And, sure, she seemed OK with me asking her out. But she was obviously smitten with me (I am, noted internationally, a very attractive man). But this happens to her all the time. My mother had a man shove his hands down her pants on a crowded bus (in Rome, granted, but still). Unwanted advances are like double plays in baseball— rare, but regular.
Further, there are a couple of false dichotomies being presented in this thread. The first is that the choices are between no advances and a Viking rape party. The second, and more pernicious (and wrongly presented as more reasonable) is that the choice is between no advances and some advances.
Context matters, and in this case we've got both the historical context of power imbalance between genders, and the interpersonal context between people. In some ways, I'm reminded of the recent AskMe about a three-year age difference in high school dating. Sometimes it's fine, sometimes it's not, but the man involved (and let's be blunt— that's the context we're talking about) is rarely an accurate judge of his actions. They always seem OK to them.
So what's the solution? Well, it's to err on the side of not hitting on strangers. Which should be so blatantly fucking obvious that it should go unstated, but somehow there's been a rally of the few, proud cockholders who feel that their penises are magical rods of intending, and that any consideration given past their dowsing is either castrating feminism or somehow a curtailment of their freedom (and likely to end the human race, besides).
That's called thinking with the dick, fellas, and though you have every right to do it, you'll likely be called a dipshit for admitting it.
posted by klangklangston at 12:09 PM on April 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Why would anyone want to eat at a laundry? food woud be starchy, I think.
posted by jonmc at 12:13 PM on April 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


With the right French cream sauces, jon, even a pair of bermuda shorts can be delicious.
posted by klangklangston at 12:16 PM on April 8, 2007


The smaller circle of "seriously, that's stalker-creepy and psychotic" unwanted advances is so obviously something no one should have to deal with, it wasn't worthy of including in the discussion. But I think- hope?- it's a fairly small percentage of guys who are doing that, and only an occasional experience for most women

I am suggesting that talking to an actual woman (or, hell, just reading the responses from jessamyn, smilla, and others in this thread) will show that you are wrong about this. But hey, if you'd rather just speculate without any data...
posted by myeviltwin at 12:18 PM on April 8, 2007


So what's the solution? Well, it's to err on the side of not hitting on strangers.

Who are they supposed to hit on then, relatives? (I'm playing devils advocate, but that does kind of put lonely less-than-matinee-idol guys in a lousy position. The obvious answer is like you said, context. There are certain places where it's something of a given that the whole mating dance is taking place: some bars, nightclubs, etc. NTM, maybe starting with lewd comments and grabassery is a bad idea, guys. maybe try eye contact and 'hello,' first.)
posted by jonmc at 12:20 PM on April 8, 2007


With the right French cream sauces, jon, even a pair of bermuda shorts can be delicious.

Heh. Actually, I was watching Iron Chef America last night and there was this Spaniard chef using this creamy cheese that looked absolutely delicious. wish I could remember the name of it.
posted by jonmc at 12:21 PM on April 8, 2007


What I find so amazing about your response here, hincandenza -- both your increasingly stubborn insistence that you know something the rest of us (men and women alike) don't, and your total hostilty in the face of anyone who disagrees with you -- is that you're the same fellow who once said:
We do try to understand what's going on inside your heads and figure out what makes women tick, so it's always nice if you return the courtesy.

For all their pop psych silliness, the "Mars/Venus" type books do stress one very important point: we as genders are a little different in ways beyond the merely physical, and that each of us should try to understand and respect how others operate, and expect the same courtsey in return.
Funnily enough, most of us seem to have missed your sincere, courteous efforts to understand and respect how women feel about being hit on (and perhaps the distinctions we make between "wanted" and "unwanted" advances); could you point them out? (I mean, if such a query isn't too presumptous, coming from an idiotic, illiterate motherfucker -- not to mention creepy social misfit! -- like me.)
posted by scody at 12:35 PM on April 8, 2007


Well, this has been more fun than a topless rodeo, really.
posted by jonmc at 12:39 PM on April 8, 2007


topless rodeo

youtube link plz!!!
posted by myeviltwin at 12:42 PM on April 8, 2007


the cost of saying "no" in a similarly respectful manner is very low, while the benefit- meeting a person who makes your heart soar and drives your hormones wild, and knowing you have a better than average chance of at least trying a relationship- is very high

I know I'm going to regret further involvement in this thread, but:

(1) In my experience, the sort of people who proposition a person on the street often take a polite "no," as an opening and not as a rebuff. They are like telemarketers in this regard. The only "no," these people will take as a true "no" is one that involves yelling, storming away, or mace.

IRL, I am generally a very polite person. I have been known to say, brightly, "no, but thank you!" to sketchy people attempting to sell me crack. It takes a lot of energy to be rude to someone, and rudeness is exactly what is required, in order to repulse some of these street pick-ups. It is, in sum, a hateful thing to experience.

(2) I do not recieve offers on the street because I am transcendently beautiful. I am not transcendently beautiful. I was hawt as a twenty-year-old, apparently, but those days are long past. When I was younger, beauty actually kept some of these folks at bay. I didn't look "gettable," I looked like a long-shot. Now that I look like a more reasonable risk, the creeps have come out of the woodwork. Party!

(3) Back to the telemarketing realm: I actually had a telemarketing job for about 45 minutes, when I was in college. While there, I learned several things about their approach. I learned, for instance, that prompt hang-ups are generally welcome, for salespeople working on commission, because it means you don't waste time trying to sell something to a person who was never going to buy. I can't help but think, therefore, that by wearing a fake (or real) ring, a person does a potential pick-up artist a favor: it's essentially a prompt hang-up. The skeeves should rejoice when a woman dons a fake wedding ring.

(4) Re: Classism: The most obnoxious, most prolonged, most awful street pick-up attempt I have been subjected to in the last few years came from a self-identified Microsoft developer, who (at two a.m.) took advantage of the fact that my dog was mid-BM to talk to me about the possibility of "rumpy-pumpy" (his words), despite my repeated assertions that I was married and that I wanted him to go away. The least obnoxious and funniest was when two ragged street drunks, to whom I had given my leftovers, sang "Do-wah-diddy" to me as I was walking away. (I froze in my tracks without turning around and said "you've got to be kidding." Then they cracked up. It was all pretty friendly and o.k.) Wanting to minimize pick-up attempts isn't about wanting to avoid contact with the laboring (or Cisco-drinking) classes. It's about not wanting to feel drained after a five-block walk to the grocery store.

(5) Mr. Microsoft aside, the ring works. My ring is a real one, but it has stopped people who were following me up the street, and who were yelling at me from the porches of bars. I never wore a fake one, but knowing what I know now, were my circumstances different, I sure as hell would.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:53 PM on April 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Wow. Spend a day driving down the coast of California & you miss ALL kindsa stuff.

In regards to Smilla's post about women wanting to be left alone... I can relate to that more than words can say. More than anyone needs to know, but I'm kinda curvy. Didn't start out that way, but suddenly when I was 19 years old... poof. I went from looking like an 11 year old to looking like Jayne Mansfield or something. And it scared the hell out of me, I wanted NOTHING to do with it. Guys went from complimenting me on my sense of humor, my brains, my personality, my eyes, my legs... to not caring if I even had eyes. Hell, I coul'dve had both of them poked out and my brain removed & I doubt they'd have even noticed. If anything, for a lot of the pervs who hit on me back then it seemed that my pesky brain was what they didn't like about me.

When I was 20, I was living in LA and every creepy "producer" in town tried to hit on me. I felt very much like a target, like I couldn't trust any men at all because I got paranoid that every guy who was nice to me was probably just trying to get into my pants. It took a lot of the fun out of being curvy let me tell you, because I always had my guard up. Sometimes you just want to walk down a street and not feel like there are men staring at you. You want to smile at someone and have a nice conversation and enjoy someone's company without feeling like they're only doing it to get you into bed. You want people to just enjoy talking to you without thinking about whether or not they can get their rocks off.

If someone feels that wearing a fake wedding ring helps people to have those moments, then whatever works. I'd be lying to say that I never tried it myself.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:58 PM on April 8, 2007


Frankly, I have always believed that miss lynnster did some of her posting topless and felt that I could figure out what she was wearing for each one. For example, Wing? Fully dressed, possibly layered. Frank Zappa? Topless. Bob Clark? Totally nude and in the shower, in tribute. AmIWrong.com? Dressed like the Weakest Link lady, plus a whip. Army men? Bra and panties. Sopranos, Hemingway & Deitrich, Peter Falk? All topless. Evolution of Homer Simpson? Strapless green dress and pearls. Traffic Police of Mumbai? A bright orange vest, of course. Am I right? Am I right?

Oh my God... it's like you have a webcam into my home. Creeeeepy.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:00 PM on April 8, 2007


hincandenza, I'm curious: why do you think you have a better idea of what it's like to be hit on by men than those who, y'know, actually get hit on by men?

oh, and klangklangston? Well said.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:09 PM on April 8, 2007


dnab: you don't have to be a woman or a gay guy to get hit on by men, trust me.
posted by jonmc at 1:16 PM on April 8, 2007


Of course not, jonmc. But far, far fewer straight men get hit on by men than women or gay men do. And while I will absolutely grant that many gay men can be, um, unrelenting--especially after finding out that the object of their, uh, affections doesn't swing their way--it's far less of a day-to-day experience. So it's occasional blips on the radar that don't really mean much, versus near-constant attention.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:20 PM on April 8, 2007


I will absolutely grant that many gay men can be, um, unrelenting--

which is why I say that every straight man should go to a gay bar at least once. He'll get a good idea of his place in the attractiveness hierarchy if nothing else.
posted by jonmc at 1:23 PM on April 8, 2007


Well, yeah, but you gotta admit that your numbers are probably significantly lower, jon. I mean, I used to get hit on when I was working at a Mexican restaurant by a bunch of gay runners. I was in high school, and sometimes it got a little creepy (they were in their 40s and a bit letchy), but mostly it was about them being flamboyant with their friends, making a show out of hitting on me, and tipping me well. I didn't mind it, and if I had I would have said something. But having that happen day in and day out for years would probably lead me to have a very short fuse, or want some way of showing them that I wasn't available without having to even go through the act.
I can also look back fondly on my naivete when I worked near a gay bar and couldn't figure out why all these guys had just started hitting on me (and drunk gay guys are just as shameless and tactless as drunk straight ones). I asked a couple of gay buddies about it, and apparently my almost-Caeser haircut was what was "in" in gay circles that season. The only moment I've been fashionable in life, so far as I know.
But now? Well, I'm chubby and fiercely bearded, so apparently I'm a "bear," and get hit on as such. Which still seems vaguely silly, but again, that's because of the novelty and not because I'm particularly receptive, y'know? (I mean, c'mon gay guys, a hairy slob? You could do so much better! Why don't gay guys all want guys that I'd find attractive?)
posted by klangklangston at 1:27 PM on April 8, 2007


But now? Well, I'm chubby and fiercely bearded, so apparently I'm a "bear,"

I'm scrawny and bearded which makes me what, a squirrel?

I'm not disagreeing with you just going off on a tangent. My theory that I offered to DNAB was in that Nick Hornby 'You've got to punch your weight," sense. Gay guys may be gay, but they still have male sex drives, so it's a good place to find out what division you're in. For four years I worked in a heavily gay neighborhood and ocasionally stopped in some of the bars nearby. I got cruised and hit on a lot. Didn't bother me much, but I could see how it would get old after while.
posted by jonmc at 1:35 PM on April 8, 2007



But more to the point: unless I've misread her, Smilla's Sense of Snark wasn't railing against people who speak to her on the subway, but distinguishing between people who wanted to chat and people who were blatantly hitting on her, as in the original posting salvaged
here by peacay.

... the fake ring worked admirably to filter out people with just that sort of attitude. When I wore it, the skeezy subway-and-office-elevator come-ons stopped cold, yet there was still no lack of polite, friendly chit-chat with strangers who clearly weren't trying to get in my pants. That's the mark of a true gentleman, to my eyes -- someone who enjoys the company and conversation of women for its own sake. Anyone who thinks I'm only worth talking to if I'm available to be hit on is ipso facto not the sort of guy I want approaching me in the first place.

klangklangston, am I right that this encounter ( "Uh... I just wanted to tell you," he said, matching pace with us, "that you are a very attractive man." stands out in your mind as unusual?

I ask because such an encounter would not be unusual for me or most of my female friends. Indeed, if it stood out at all in my memory, it would be as a remarkably innocuous interaction, not as an upsetting advance.

For the record, I'm over 35, of average-ish attractiveness, a little overweight, and I dress modestly and sport a full head of gray hair. And still I get much more aggressive come-ons than the remark you describe, and my civil demurrals often lead to hostile responses*. It was significantly worse when I was younger, slimmer, and less adept at deflecting the attention.

*By civil demurrals, I mean remarks like "No, thank you" or "I really can't talk [gesture toward book I'm reading]; I'm studying for an exam" and by hostile responses I mean everything from "Jeez, if you're gonna be that way about it..." to "Well, FUCK YOU THEN."

Compared to these interactions, which still happen to me maybe ten times a year, having a man give a disapponited look as you walk away from his (intended) compliment strikes me as mild.
posted by Elsa at 1:48 PM on April 8, 2007


jonmc, I think there's a subtle difference between being a woman receiving unwanted male attention and a man doing so though. Besides to obvious 'women are much more likely to end up in danger from sexual interest' part, there's an element of taunting/humiliation to catcalls. I guess it's all in your internal response though, I've seen a lot of women just take it in (literal) stride.
posted by Firas at 1:50 PM on April 8, 2007


Oops --- that "but more to the point" was aimed at myself, not any of you --- it's a phrase left over from an editing splice.
posted by Elsa at 1:50 PM on April 8, 2007


jonmc: The obvious answer is like you said, context. There are certain places where it's something of a given that the whole mating dance is taking place: some bars, nightclubs, etc. NTM, maybe starting with lewd comments and grabassery is a bad idea, guys. maybe try eye contact and 'hello,' first.

I think this is absolutely right. The human race isn't going to die out if men give women a little space in certain contexts where they've worked very hard to be taken seriously as peers.

klangklangston: Well, it's to err on the side of not hitting on strangers.

I read this as suggesting if a man isn't confident a strange woman would welcome his advances, he should either: 1) not hit on her or 2) get to know her first. It's quite possible to get to know someone without making sexual overtures--instead of asking her out to dinner alone after work, invite her to lunch with the gang.

hincandenza: being more attractive means getting likely more advances, which is generally speaking a 'good thing'.

This statement leads me to conclude that you're not being intellectually honest. You've made no effort to understand how people who actually get hit on actually feel about it, but your theory says it should be good, so that's what you're sticking to. This is simply unacceptable. If you don't care how women feel, just come out and say it. That would be much more ingenuous than abstractly arriving at what they must feel, ignoring the actual women in this thread who are telling you how they actually do feel.

hincandenza: Since I think the vast majority of unwanted advances are not grotesque ogrish behavior (and the ones that are simply support confirmation bias- and hey, maybe jessamyn's right and that's because I don't see the one-on-one scenarios where the inner beast apparently rears its head), the difference between unwanted and wanted boils down to "Is this a person I'd actually consider going out with?"

Again, you're approaching this from a theoretical perspective when you should be talking to actual women about their experiences. The question isn't simply "Is this a person I'd actually consider going out with?" The issue is much more complicated than that. Women--particularly women from certain parts of the country--are indoctrinated from childhood to adopt a subservient role. They are taught that a good woman supports her husband and cares for the home. Some women don't want this role, though, and decide to pursue success in traditionally male-dominated spheres (e.g. politics, law, business, finance). Many women feel that their efforts are undermined by constant sexual attention, no matter how benign it might seem to you. The issue isn't "does this guy seem too ugly/creepy," it's "can I be taken seriously as a executive, banker, lawyer, not just a nice set of tits."

Men simply do not deal with this problem, so it's understandable that it might not be intuitive for a man. That's why I urge you to talk to actual women about their experiences, and not merely theorize.

bruce: we still have freedom of speech in this country, there is no exception for gauche or distateful speech, for which i am grateful.

The fact that someone's words aren't legally actionable doesn't mean they aren't hurting people and shouldn't consider stopping. Of course you're free to say what you will to whoever you wish, and if you think there should be no constraints on your behavior but the law (i.e. no self-imposed ethical constraints whatsoever), none of what I'm saying will be very convincing to you.

bruce: smilla, we need some quantification, do you get an "unwanted advance" about once a week, or once every 15 minutes, because if it's once a week, you doth protest too much, and if it's once every 15 minutes, you doth dress like courtney love's lost weekend.

Yes, your Madonna-whore complex is just charming. It might surprise you, but "decent" women are made uncomfortable by sexual advances too.

bruce you say "what you or i think is irrelevant." this is bullshit. what we think is just as relevant as what the woman is thinking. men and women are biologically complementary, but they are not biologically equal, and the differences come with different roles, responsibilities and privileges.

This is an all-out assault on individual self-determination, and as such I find it abhorrent. People's roles, responsibilities, and privileges should be determined by their own desires and abilities, not their sex.

I stand by what I said originally. You and I are not women, we have not lived as women, and we will never (I expect) live as women. Consequently, our opinion about how women should feel about their experiences are irrelevant next to women's actual feelings about their experiences. It is the height of arrogance to suggest otherwise.

Nobody is exalting women to a higher moral plane. The questions is simply "what behavior is damaging to women?" This is not a moral question, it is a factual one, and it is one best answered by women themselves. If you don't care what behavior is damaging to women, it will not be an interesting question to you. If you claim to care, but aren't interested in what actual women say about their experiences, you're a hypocrite.

bruce: men are bees, women are flowers.

Do you honestly not know how damaging these dichotomies are to many women? Many women just want to be people, treated as such, and free to pursue whatever end is appropriate for people to pursue. You're not helping.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 3:18 PM on April 8, 2007


Jessamyn and Smilla seem to be using it as "unwanted styles / circumstances of attention" whereas you two are reading it as "attention from unwanted persons".

Bingo. If it was NOTHING but the friendly polite "hi, nice weather today, that's a cute hat" chat-up sort of approach, no starting the conversation with "hey baby, nice ass", no "well, c'mon, you don't have to tell your boyfriend about me" pushiness, no groping or stalking, no direct threats or verbal abuse, then sure, random approaches might still be technically "unwanted" because I was unavailable or just not feeling particularly interested, but they would not be upsetting or scary, and I wouldn't have felt the need to make stronger attempts to avoid them.

Unfortunately, the stalkings, and the menacingly aggressive random come-ons, and the initially-friendly come-ons that flipped the switch to verbal abuse and threats the moment I said no, all poisoned the well. The instant "I just saw you across the room and think you're cute, want to go out?" sort of approach that was initially unwelcome simply because it wasn't my preferred slower get-to-know-each-other style now had an extra layer of discomfort and yes, FEAR associated with it, because while the creeps are a minority subset of the random-quick-comeon, all of the approaches that turned nasty and threatening started out as this sort. Not using the subway wasn't an option for me at that time, and there was no way to prefilter out the guys who were going to be aggressive or threatening, so for the sake of an increased sense of safety I felt better trying to avoid such approaches altogether.

When I had dreadlocks, people would ask me why. I explained that I was a young woman, with long red hair, living in Seattle, taking public transportation every day. While only maybe one in ten unwanted advances (and I'm talking random men trying to touch me or asking me if I was married and/or happily married and/or had a boyfriend, not "how about this weather" type of chat) would turn into a "Well fuck YOU, you stuck up bitch" interaction, that was one too many. For whatever reason, the ratty hairstyle pretty much made it stop. It wasn't my main reason for doing it, but it was a pleasant and noticable side effect.

Extremely long blonde hair, later dyed red, for me in the time period when this was a problem -- and the length and/or color definitely seemed to be a trigger for some guys; when I first started dying it, one chap followed me for a couple of blocks just so he could catch up at a crosswalk and tell me how much he liked it. That felt a bit odd, but since it was midday in a bustling neighborhod, and he spoke politely and went on his way once he'd said his bit, it didn't edge over into anything that felt threatening.

What finally broke the pattern for me was getting a new job in IT, with a much more relaxed dress code and a much different schedule. Instead of having to ride the crowded trains during rush hour in dressy business clothes, makeup, hosiery and heels, I was now riding outside of peak hours, and in very casual clothes -- typically jeans and t-shirts, stompy combat boots and a biker jacket. Sometimes I'd wear no makeup at all, and when I did wear the stuff it was apt to be more dramatic and gothy, like black or purple lipstick. And my hair was just as long and I actually wore it loose more often, but I also started dying it more blatantly unnatural shades. The change in style probably discouraged some folks, but it's hard to tell how much of the effect could be chalked up purely to that, and how much of it was now due to travelling at hours where the trains and platforms would often be empty or close to it, instead of sardine-packed for rush hour.

So what's the solution? Well, it's to err on the side of not hitting on strangers.

Well, with the caveat that jonmc noted, that there are some settings where this behavior IS expected and acceptable. Guys who prefer to take a spot-a-cute-girl-and-make-a-move cold approach will probably stand much less chance of being rejected purely on the basis of the STYLE of their approach if they're going to singles bars, or nightclubs, or speed-dating events, or any other neighborhood gathering spots that are known singles mixers. Folks like me who just aren't interested in that sort of approach are less likely to be hanging out in such places, so why not focus your efforts on a target audience that's self-selected to favor this sort of quicker comeon?

And no, there isn't a 100% overlap between unwanted style/circumstance and unwanted people. A guy that the woman isn't immediately attracted to could approach her in a way such that he might have a chance. A guy that, on first sight, makes the woman's hormones race could approach her in a vile way that completely obliterates any chance he had.

I am half-tempted to bold this and put this in blink tags for the sake of all the guys whining that they are too ugly to get women to give them the time of day. LOOKS, WEALTH, OR STYLE DON'T MAGICALLY MAKE A CREEPY COME-ON ACCEPTABLE TO ALL WOMEN. If I'm uncomfortable with random advances in the workplace due to age/power imbalances, my discomfort does not magically go away just because the guy hitting on me has nice hair and an Armani suit and a Rolex. If I'm uncomfortable with random advances on the subway because too many of them have wound up turning threatening, I'm not going to suddenly lose that sense of wariness and discomfort just because the guy is good-looking.

Some of the scariest, most menacing random-stranger encounters I have had have been with well-dressed, good-looking guys. And many of my past relationships have been with guys that I never would have picked out of a crowd solely based only on their looks or dress sense -- but I got to know them slowly, via real-life friends or online, and thus could feel confident that they found both my mind and body appealing, and in turn they were able to show me their appealing factors of intelligence and personality and wit, things that are much harder to convey in a quick, random approach to a stranger.

This slow, let's-be-friends-first approach can definitely work for guys who aren't good-looking...but it probably helps a lot if they can view women as people and friends as well as sex objects. Guys who resent women because pretty girls aren't throwing themselves at their feet, or because they imagine that any remotely attractive woman's life is an ego-boosting paradise of non-stop unthreatening flattery, perhaps won't do quite so well: such attitudes reek of a person who hasn't spent enough time talking to women to understand what their daily lives can be like, and/or who simply lacks empathy for things outside of their range of experience.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 3:19 PM on April 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


Some of the scariest, most menacing random-stranger encounters I have had have been with well-dressed, good-looking guys.

Dosen't surprise me. Such guys often have an easy time aquiring women and build up a sense of entitlement and then get all spoiled child when they don't get what they think is their birthright. The rest of us just assume any success is the result of effort or a chemical fluke and are disinclined to mess with it.
posted by jonmc at 3:39 PM on April 8, 2007


(1) In my experience, the sort of people who proposition a person on the street often take a polite "no," as an opening and not as a rebuff...

...It takes a lot of energy to be rude to someone, and rudeness is exactly what is required, in order to repulse some of these street pick-ups. It is, in sum, a hateful thing to experience.


Yes, yes, yes. My mama raised me be polite, to smile and say please and thank you, to not lose my temper or cuss people out in public. And even though age and experience have gotten me more in touch with my inner bitch, I still do not enjoy being placed in situations where rude, nasty behavior is a matter of NECESSITY rather than choice. I'm quite capable of being as stubborn, blunt, and downright rude as I need to be if a polite "No thanks" doesn't work -- but it's unpleasant and emotionally draining and I'd rather not have to do it at all.

(4) Re: Classism: The most obnoxious, most prolonged, most awful street pick-up attempt I have been subjected to in the last few years came from a self-identified Microsoft developer, who (at two a.m.) took advantage of the fact that my dog was mid-BM to talk to me about the possibility of "rumpy-pumpy" (his words), despite my repeated assertions that I was married and that I wanted him to go away. The least obnoxious and funniest was when two ragged street drunks, to whom I had given my leftovers, sang "Do-wah-diddy" to me as I was walking away. (I froze in my tracks without turning around and said "you've got to be kidding." Then they cracked up. It was all pretty friendly and o.k.)

Are we long-lost sisters or something?

Some of the most unsettling random approaches I've ever received were from guys whose clothes or cars seemed to indicate they had money, and quite possibly MUCH more of it than me. The guy who pulled up to the curb so he could hiss "hey baby, do you fuck your dog? I wanna watch" when I was walking my malamute, well, let's just say he wasn't exactly driving a rusty beater. And some of the most playful, funny, non-threatening random flirtations I've ever received have been from homeless guys. Back when my hair was plum-colored, the park-bench regulars in Logan Circle singing "Purple Rain" when I walked past? That made me giggle and wave. The Philly panhandler who called me "sugarpickles" during his donation spiel? That was just so random and amusing that I would have totally filled up his tin cup if I had been carrying any cash whatsoever, and I told him so.

Wanting to minimize pick-up attempts isn't about wanting to avoid contact with the laboring (or Cisco-drinking) classes. It's about not wanting to feel drained after a five-block walk to the grocery store.

Amen.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 3:44 PM on April 8, 2007


*By civil demurrals, I mean remarks like "No, thank you" or "I really can't talk [gesture toward book I'm reading]; I'm studying for an exam" and by hostile responses I mean everything from "Jeez, if you're gonna be that way about it..." to "Well, FUCK YOU THEN."

This thread has been very educational for me, but puzzling. Who are all these men who get hostile when a woman declines their advances? I am certain that none of my social circle would ever behave that way. Are they normal-looking sociopaths? I don't doubt that these things happen as frequently as described here, but it baffles me to contemplate who these creeps are, and what went wrong to make them so aggressive.
posted by jayder at 3:45 PM on April 8, 2007


"Well, with the caveat that jonmc noted, that there are some settings where this behavior IS expected and acceptable."

Yeah, of course. But nuance wasn't going to win here today. And if a guy can't come up with that caveat on his own, he's not sophisticated enough to be hitting on anyone.
posted by klangklangston at 3:47 PM on April 8, 2007


"Who are all these men who get hostile when a woman declines their advances? "

They're idiots, and they're EVERYWHERE!
posted by klangklangston at 3:49 PM on April 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am certain that none of my social circle would ever behave that way.

You may be certain, but you're almost certainly not right. It can be quite discouraging what people we think we know get up to when they think nobody's looking (nobody who matters, that is). For an extreme example, see the standard "He was such a nice boy!" quotes about serial killers.

Like the man said:

They're idiots, and they're EVERYWHERE!
posted by languagehat at 3:53 PM on April 8, 2007


The guy who pulled up to the curb so he could hiss "hey baby, do you fuck your dog? I wanna watch" when I was walking my malamute...

...

Wow.
posted by CKmtl at 3:53 PM on April 8, 2007


Who are all these men who get hostile when a woman declines their advances? I am certain that none of my social circle would ever behave that way.

Maybe nobody you know will follow a woman home screaming obscenities at her (or maybe somebody you know will, since it can be hard to tell what your friends will do--imagine how hard it is for the strange woman), but a lot of men will act like a dick to a woman who just rejected them.

In a club, this might be unpleasant but not a big deal. In the subway, it might be scary. In the workplace, it might be a huge fucking headache.

It's not hard to see why some women would prefer to reduce the number of times they risk a bad outcome.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 4:00 PM on April 8, 2007


Well for the record I'll tell you this... boob men? ARE NOT SUBTLE. Leg men are much classier about how they treat women, but boob men have a tendency to be the ones who make women feel the most violated. Lordy, the things strange men have walked up to me and said without any provocation just because I'm stacked... it blows my mind that they actually a) think they have any right to say them to me & b) think that they're acting cool when they try. It's amazing.

I once had a waiter come up to me in a restaurant, very clearly a gay man, and ask me if he could get my opinion on something. He marched another waiter over & said, "I really need for this guy to hear a woman's opinion on this." The other waiter proceeded to tell me that he likes to walk up to women and say "Nice tits" because while 9 out of 10 women will be offended, he might get lucky with that one woman that wasn't. He was very earnest about this, he felt it was a really great strategy to meet girls.

There are a lot of men out there who use this same strategy.

I tried to explain my take to him. See, if I'm wearing a skirt and showing my legs and a man says "Nice legs" I feel very complimented -- I am CONSCIOUSLY showing them off. And if I'm wearing a low cut outfit and someone tells me I look pretty, that's a compliment. But when a man walks up to me and says "Nice tits" when I'm wearing a sweater and shopping at the supermarket? Wow... as a woman I can't even describe how those men make you feel really really icky.

Just because a woman HAS them doesn't mean that they're trying to show them off. Especially when she didn't pay for them, they're just a part of her body. Functionality aside, they're lumps of fat that we have to strap up & lug around (despite the complaints of many of our backs). That we own them doesn't mean we want to be stared at & doesn't mean we want attention. They're just part of who we are, we had no say in the matter. Sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes not.

YMMV. And generally the women that paid for them feel differently than the women who have big boobs naturally.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:01 PM on April 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Who are all these men who get hostile when a woman declines their advances? I am certain that none of my social circle would ever behave that way. Are they normal-looking sociopaths?

They're a minority of the male population, thank heavens, but they seem to be present in all races and all social classes. They really are everywhere, as klangklangston notes, and there's just no way to tell which ones they are until they go off on you. So if a woman seems to be a little wary and uncomfortable around a random come-on, it's not necessarily because she finds the guy unattractive, or beneath her class/wealth standards, or thinks all men are sexist pigs or potential rapists -- it could just be that cold hard voice of experience reminding her "sure, he's acting nice now, but is he going to turn creepy when I say no?"
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 4:07 PM on April 8, 2007


"it could just be that cold hard voice of experience reminding her "sure, he's acting nice now, but is he going to turn creepy when I say no?""

Just another reason to call out your buddies when they do get stupid— their bad behavior makes it harder for ALL of us to get laid.
posted by klangklangston at 4:15 PM on April 8, 2007


boob men? ARE NOT SUBTLE.

well, that's becuse boobs themselves are not subtle. They're very visible...and they're everywhere. (Not that it's an excuse for a guy to be an asshole, just noting the omnipresence of the bazoom).
posted by jonmc at 4:34 PM on April 8, 2007


Well for the record I'll tell you this... boob men? ARE NOT SUBTLE. Leg men are much classier about how they treat women, but boob men have a tendency to be the ones who make women feel the most violated.

I've heard similar stories about constant crude tit comments and lack of eye contact from all my well-endowed friends, which makes me oddly grateful to have a pretty modest chest. For me, other than long hair, it's been legs, waist/hip ratio, and butt that seem to get the most attention, and those are all somewhat easier to downplay with clothing on days when you really feel the need to go all-out in trying to fly under the radar. But as the hapless owner of a booty that would meet all of Sir Mix-A-Lot's criteria, let me tell you that ass men may not seem to comment quite as much as boob men, but many of them don't seem to even TRY to be subtle about the staring. And I figured out very, very quickly that bike shorts, for all their utility as comfortable athletic wear well-suited for summertime dogwalking, just COULD NOT be worn outside of the house: it didn't matter that the rest of me was all sloppy-looking, no makeup and beat-up sneakers and messy hair and sloppy old t-shirts, nothing else even seemed to register next to a big ol' butt in spandex. Stare City.

The other waiter proceeded to tell me that he likes to walk up to women and say "Nice tits" because while 9 out of 10 women will be offended, he might get lucky with that one woman that wasn't. He was very earnest about this, he felt it was a really great strategy to meet girls.

My last boss had a similar story about a guy he knew back in his college days whose favored introductory line was "Hi there. Wanna fuck?". Dude didn't care about the slaps and storming-off and offended reactions, because every once in a blue moon he got a "Sure, why not?".
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 4:37 PM on April 8, 2007


Some men in the presence of breasts are so moved by their silent siren call that they forget all sense of decorum and behave in an entirely infantile manner. Go figure.
posted by y2karl at 4:39 PM on April 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


ass men may not seem to comment quite as much as boob men, but many of them don't seem to even TRY to be subtle about the staring.

that's cause they're usually behind you. (I'm not trying to defend anything, just give a deep in the male lizard-brain POV)
posted by jonmc at 4:42 PM on April 8, 2007


Some men in the presence of breasts are so moved by their silent siren call that they forget all sense of decorum and behave in an entirely infantile manner.

It works in the other direction, too. I have a buddy (on the right, next to me here) who I've scene go literally days without bathing and dress like a wino and still reduce the most erudite mature women to giggling schoolgirls with just a glance, must be some hormone scent he gives off. Made me feel like Ralph Malph. If he wasn't a great guy I would've had to kill him.
posted by jonmc at 4:52 PM on April 8, 2007


Well, just going by the pics, jonmc, I'd say both of y'all seem to be perfectly conventionally-attractive dudes. Your buddy definitely looks like he's got that tall-dark-square-jawed thing going for him, which seems to be a pretty popular look, and he has a nice smile, but given that fireman-turned-cop bio in the first article, I have to wonder if it might be body language and an air of self-confidence that's got so many women swooning even when he's in shabby clothes? And when he's not dressing scuzzy, well, that fireman/policeman thing might also be working in his favor; some women really like a man in uniform.

that's cause they're usually behind you.

Fair enough -- but to any ass-men reading this, just remember that being behind a gal doesn't mean she might not turn around and notice; if the non-lizardy parts of your brain can click into gear enough to make eye contact and maybe give a little sheepish smile when this happens, that can go a long way to tip the balance in your favor towards "flattering" instead of "objectifying and potentially creepy". Acknowledging that there's a person hauling that ass around will help make you look less like that body part is your only point of interest.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 5:29 PM on April 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Your buddy definitely looks like he's got that tall-dark-square-jawed thing going for him, which seems to be a pretty popular look, and he has a nice smile, but given that fireman-turned-cop bio in the first article, I have to wonder if it might be body language and an air of self-confidence that's got so many women swooning even when he's in shabby clothes? And when he's not dressing scuzzy, well, that fireman/policeman thing might also be working in his favor; some women really like a man in uniform.

He's also independently wealthy, was in a band,a nd there was a picture of him in the paper carrying a baby out of a burning building, plus he's got a great sense of humor (he's also married now). Back in the day, (the house of oldies pic was 5 years ago), I was comedy relief, mainly, when we hung out.
posted by jonmc at 5:35 PM on April 8, 2007


(my point was that it's not just men who get reduced to simpletons in the face of attractivess)
posted by jonmc at 5:48 PM on April 8, 2007


CKmtl: yeah, that drive-by dogfucker remark was particularly mind-blowing...not just for the sheer offensiveness of it all, but because being out and about with a 100-pound wolfish-looking dog otherwise was remarkably effective at keeping creepy guys at bay. I hadn't chosen that dog or that breed with that idea in mind -- malamutes are notoriously too people-friendly to be effective guard dogs -- but it was an awfully pleasant side effect. He was such a friendly, handsome beast that I wound up getting into many, many more pleasant, random conversations on the street during walkies than I did when out by myself -- but his size and appearance really seemed to discourage the more predatory, menacing approaches. (I once saw a couple of guys backing away as we walked by, one muttering to his buddy "bitch has a wolf on a leash!"). Drive-by dude was a definite anomaly: I suppose the lateness of the hour and the protection of his vehicle gave him more courage than if he'd been on foot where I might have "sicced my wolf" onto him.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 5:49 PM on April 8, 2007


Who are all these men who get hostile when a woman declines their advances? I am certain that none of my social circle would ever behave that way. Are they normal-looking sociopaths?

In my experience, they can look like anyone: traditionally handsome or quirky looking, suited or in ripped jeans and a t-shirt, nerdlingers or studly.

I suspect, as often as not, that these guys are painfully shy or otherwise socially challenged men who have worked up some nerve to hit on someone. At the moment, that someone is me, and perhaps they feel that a woman of my age/appearance/bookishness should be glad for the attention. When I'm not, they're angry at the disruption to the expected order of things and they lash out.

Meh, it's a working hypothesis. I've never given it much thought before, except to remind myself to talk to my teenaged neice about deflecting unwanted attention.
posted by Elsa at 5:54 PM on April 8, 2007


(my point was that it's not just men who get reduced to simpletons in the face of attractivess)

Well, my point was about the association of breasts and men acting infantile. I rather suspect that however attractive your friend was to women, unless his experience of their attention included frequent encounters with complete flaming assholes making complete asshole comments about the same part of his anatomy all the other complete flaming assholes made comments about, it's apples and dog turds as far as any experiental comparison goes.
posted by y2karl at 6:08 PM on April 8, 2007


Smilla: that drive-by dogfucker remark was particularly mind-blowing...not just for the sheer offensiveness of it all

Actually, it's not the offensiveness of it that blows my mind... even though it is pretty offensive. It's that he thought it might have worked, assuming he wasn't just trying to freak you out.

"Hi, wanna fuck?", "Nice titties, mind if I press my face into them and blow?"... those things I can understand occasionally working. But asking a random dog-walking woman if you can watch her perform an act of bestiality, in a "Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?" manner... that's an incredible longshot.
posted by CKmtl at 6:08 PM on April 8, 2007


Years ago, I had a guy walk up to me once and say "You're so hot, I'm shocked the other men here aren't trying to rape you." He thought it was a compliment.

Yeah, not so much.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:17 PM on April 8, 2007


It's that he thought it might have worked, assuming he wasn't just trying to freak you out.

Well, in Mister Grey Poupon's ever-so-slight defense, this was fairly late at night in an inner-city DC neighborhood that was in a very transitional state -- some blocks were starting to gentrify, others were still full of boarded-up houses. There was definitely some drug trafficking and street prostitution going on, although there was also enough police presence and cranky Neighborhood Watch residents that the dealers and hos weren't too numerous and seemed to move around a lot and generally not be too blatant about their activities. I certainly wasn't dressed up in hookerwear and wasn't trying to catch his attention, I was totally focused on walkies and making sure I picked up after my dog and kept him away from any yummy splintery chicken bones. But maybe, just maybe, since I was a woman walking around by herself late at night in a slightly iffy neighborhood, he figured it was worth a shot checking to see if I was a pro with an unlikely specialty.

Although frankly, just given the sheer menacing nastiness of his tone of voice, I think the odds are more that he simply wanted to creep me out, because he could.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 6:47 PM on April 8, 2007


y2karl:not a comparison, a tangent. east does it.
posted by jonmc at 6:56 PM on April 8, 2007


easy does it.
posted by jonmc at 6:57 PM on April 8, 2007


I think the reasoning behind that approach for women who might love their dogs a little too much is that it has a proportionally higher rate of success with women who are into that. A friend of mine is seemingly cursed with the ability to get involved with women who spring their canine affections upon him has made comments to the effect that said interspecies-lovin' ladies were freer with their favors. So maybe it's not quite the longshot you'd imagine.
posted by adipocere at 7:17 PM on April 8, 2007


. . . being more attractive means getting likely more advances, which is generally speaking a 'good thing'., even if it means a majority of those advances will be unwanted.

Hincandenza, these cold call-type advances are really not something you would want.

At worst, they amount to:

"Excuse me, but it would make me feel very potent if behaved as though you were afraid of me right now. Would you be so kind?"

At best, it's:

"I happened to notice that no one is using your cooch right now. Do you think I could borrow it for a bit?"
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:49 PM on April 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


*reads adipocere's comment, shudders, and reaches for the brain-bleach*
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 7:54 PM on April 8, 2007


I suppose I should be happy that this thread took 200+ comments to get to the dog-fucking.
posted by myeviltwin at 8:11 PM on April 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: 200+ comments to get to the dog-fucking

oh, like YOU didn't think it....
posted by dersins at 8:47 PM on April 8, 2007


I think the dog-fucking kind of took the fight out of everyone. Maybe there's a lesson in there.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:58 PM on April 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


What with the post-coital tristesse.
posted by Firas at 9:22 PM on April 8, 2007


Awww, does that mean I can't look forward to tactful, sensitive comments about how bestiality-and-voyeurism come-ons are just part of the price I pay for being a non-geriatric female with no obvious deformities, and I should be grateful and flattered for the attention? C'mon, guys, admit it: you're all just bitter and resentful that you aren't good-looking enough to get hot babes approaching you out of the blue to express their desire to watch you bugger a sheep!

Pardon me, is my sarcasm showing?
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 9:32 PM on April 8, 2007


Mmm, sheep-buggery.
That would definitely make me look twice at a guy.
posted by Methylviolet at 10:10 PM on April 8, 2007


you're all just bitter and resentful that you aren't good-looking enough to get hot babes approaching you out of the blue to express their desire to watch you bugger a sheep!

Wait now... I'm supposed to bugger the sheep? Ahh... pronoun trouble...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:41 PM on April 8, 2007


Picky, picky! Fine, the guys and the sheep can trade places.

"DEAR PENTHOUSE LETTERS, I NEVER THOUGHT THIS WOULD HAPPEN TO AN UGLY GUY LIKE ME, BUT LAST WEEK I WAS WALKING MY PET RAM WHEN THIS STACKED BABE CAME UP TO ME AND..."
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 10:57 PM on April 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


MY EYES LIT ON HER WEDDING RING.

"IGNORE THE RING!" FLASHED HER PANTY-MOUNTED LED DISPLAY. . . .
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:07 AM on April 9, 2007 [5 favorites]


HER LIPS WERE SAYING "I'M NOT INTERESTED. PLEASE GO AWAY." BUT HER PELVIS-MOUNTED RADIO TRANSMITTER WAS BEAMING STRAIGHT TO MY FILLINGS THE MESSAGE "YES! YES! I MUST HAVE YOU, YOU SHEEP-LOVING SEX GOD! TAKE ME RIGHT HERE AND NOW! AND KEEP CALLING ME AN UPPITY BITCH, THAT'S SO DAMN HOT IT MAKES MY PANTIES SWEAT!"

I PUT ON MY ROBE AND WIZARD HAT...
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 12:32 AM on April 9, 2007 [6 favorites]


...ALONG WITH MY SIZE 39 CLOWN SHOES, LIGHT-UP BOW-TIE, FAKE-ARROW-THROUGH-HEAD (PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED BY STEVE MARTIN), AND PENIS-SHAPED FAKE NOSE. I WAS READY FOR SOME SEXY SEX SEX.
posted by wendell at 2:08 AM on April 9, 2007 [5 favorites]


..."NOW JUST PUT ON THE BEE OUTFIT," SHE MOANED SEXILY IN A SEXY VOICE THAT MADE ME THINK OF SEX, "AND POLLINATE ME, BABY. POLLINATE ME HARD."
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 2:16 AM on April 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


"BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ," I WENT, MY ABDOMEN THRUMMING WITH INSECTILE LUST.

"BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ," MY FILLINGS WENT, HER PELVIC TRANSMITTER NEARLY SHORTING OUT WITH PASSION.

"THIS SEX," I WHISPERED, "IT VIBR--"

"SHADDUP!" SHE MOANED, GRINDING MY FACE INTO THE SHEEP...
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:38 AM on April 9, 2007 [5 favorites]


In a thread filled with derails and tangents (not to mention the sheep sex going on as I post this) I'm sure this tangent will be forgiven.

Thank you all for that lovely flame war! On a lousy day at work, reading other people vent and rage has a marvelously calming effect [even my headache isn't so bad anymore!]

And thanks to smilla,jessamyn,MPDSEA for the insights.
posted by your mildly obsessive average geek at 3:04 AM on April 9, 2007


This thread ended on a far more entertaining note than I had any right to expect. Kudos to Smilla.
posted by Drop Daedalus at 8:18 AM on April 9, 2007


Hell yeah! I'm tempted to vote for a sidebar for the dog-fuckingest derail of all derails. Excellence in funny places, a local specialty.
posted by cgc373 at 9:44 AM on April 9, 2007


Oh my God. I am away from the computer most of this week and every time I can get on for a few minutes I check this thread... it is killing me! The inside jokes in the bee porn were simply beautiful. I wish you could've heard how hard I laughed.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:59 AM on April 9, 2007


I wish you could've heard how hard I laughed.

We're all happy for ewe.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:22 AM on April 9, 2007


That's a great dog story, Smilla's, I can't say I've seen anything like it in the usual anthologies, though it has occurred to me that deterring rape might have been one of the aboriginal motives for domesticating them in the first place, an act I think it's reasonable to attribute to women (as a probability) because of their role in nurturing children, anyway.

Too bad it would likely only have risked dangerous escalation to reply something like 'I'm just going to the store to buy him some dog food--why don't you get out of your car and save me the trouble?'
posted by jamjam at 12:46 PM on April 9, 2007


flo, that was b-aaa-aa-aad.
posted by jonmc at 12:50 PM on April 9, 2007


Way to ram the joke home, jonmc.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:45 PM on April 9, 2007


Well, this thread was oddly enjoyable to read.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:51 PM on April 9, 2007


*smiles sheepishly*
posted by jonmc at 2:51 PM on April 9, 2007


The sheer audicity! He's pulling the wool over your eyes, people!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:55 PM on April 9, 2007


audicity = Ingolstadt, Bavaria
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:58 PM on April 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree. jonmc is trying to fleece us with that yarn he's spun.

BTW: ITYM "The shear audacity!"

Also, something about "flock."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:02 PM on April 9, 2007


Sex with sheep.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:05 PM on April 9, 2007


BTW: ITYM "The shear audacity!"

I cannot freakin' type, spell, or think today. Tired from the holiday weekend, I guess.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:09 PM on April 9, 2007


I agree. jonmc is trying to fleece us with that yarn he's spun.

That's so funny. I'm in stitches.
posted by jonmc at 3:30 PM on April 9, 2007


Nah, it just seams that way.
posted by scody at 3:35 PM on April 9, 2007


I'm dyeing over here!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:52 PM on April 9, 2007


flo, that was b-aaa-aa-aad.

This yak is now scraping the boar el jonmc. Good bi, son.
posted by Firas at 5:39 PM on April 9, 2007


firas, go to bed, it's pasture bedtime.
posted by jonmc at 5:47 PM on April 9, 2007


Okay I think it's time to stop checking this thread now. These puns are becoming painful...
posted by miss lynnster at 5:50 PM on April 9, 2007


Doggoneit, I was going to join in all the sheep-and-textile jokes but ewe guys beat me to all the good ones. Seriously, I'm in stitches. Don't let Miss L's needling get you down.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 6:30 PM on April 9, 2007


C'mon, SSoS, everybody knows down's a fowl product. Shear nonsense.
posted by cgc373 at 6:42 PM on April 9, 2007


Weave got to get some—elk, a whole… thread without an elk deserves lamb basting.
posted by Firas at 6:51 PM on April 9, 2007


I'm sheeply ashamed about how this turned out.
posted by myeviltwin at 6:54 PM on April 9, 2007


We should do a book of these sheep puns. We'll make a mint. jelly, that is.
posted by jonmc at 6:56 PM on April 9, 2007


I'll roger a mutt-on the mat, but I prefer a sheep on my spit, if you know what I mean?

alright, fine. I'm spent.
posted by Firas at 7:07 PM on April 9, 2007


For the love of god, please stop.

please?

please?

posted by dersins at 8:15 PM on April 9, 2007


Dogs in elk?

Really, though, fish or fowl, most dogs I've known weren't terribly picky. And this thread could very well be book fodder -- get right to it, folks, chop chop!
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 8:23 PM on April 9, 2007


266th!
posted by staggernation at 8:54 PM on April 9, 2007


BUMP 4 GLD!!!1!

I'M QUESTING 4 FAVS - DONATE PLZ?

[insert massive signature graphic here]

posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 9:02 PM on April 9, 2007


Nice tries, both of you, but surely our collective dweebishness can come up with a lamer finale. For example, one that has never failed to leave me running out of the room, with a single hastily-pulled on shoe as pots and pans chase after me, is this one:

So a Hydrogen atom walks into a bar, and says to the bartender, "Hey, I think I lost an electron."

The bartender pauses, looks him up and down. "You sure?"

"Yeah", he says. "I'm positive."
posted by Firas at 9:05 PM on April 9, 2007


surely our collective dweebishness can come up with a lamer finale.

Given the subject matter of this thread, really stupid, offensive pickup lines might be the way to go...

Hey there, hot stuff, nice ASCII. *leers*
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 9:29 PM on April 9, 2007


Other lame jokes include:

A neutron walks into a bar. The bartender puts a beer down and says "No charge for you!"
--------------
What's new?
C over lambda!
--------------
Que hace el pez?
Nada!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:38 PM on April 9, 2007


Do you believe in love at first sight or should I walk by you again?

I'm a fermata... hold me!

I wish I was derivative so I could lie tangent to your curves.

My name is (name)... remember that, you'll be screaming it later.
posted by Firas at 9:52 PM on April 9, 2007


[blatant abuse of administrative power]

posted by cortex (staff) at 10:19 PM on April 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, baby, you know what we like.

That little hottie on the left, giving the come-hither ear to the camera? Hubba hubba, she barely looks legal!

The one on the right, though...pffft. Mutton dressed as lamb.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 10:25 PM on April 9, 2007


You'll be ok, mate. Just remember the first step is to admit you have a problem.

"My name is cortex, and I have an unhealthy fascination for sheep fucking."
posted by Firas at 10:25 PM on April 9, 2007


cortex, this one's for you.

(Apologies to cog_nate. Dinosaur Comics remixes are the new dog macros.)
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 11:19 PM on April 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


And Smilla wins. But we knew that.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:22 PM on April 9, 2007


*sits down crosslegged in the circle, warms hands in the comforting glow of the img tag*
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:22 AM on April 10, 2007


Oh, how we sheep have missed these sweet, sweet pixels! Thanks be to cortex, who images us! And to mathowie for privileging cortex, who passes along his privilege to us all!

p.s. cortex, can you provide more sweet IMG goodness as appropriate, to freak the n00bs, if for no other reason? tia, cgc373
posted by cgc373 at 8:28 AM on April 10, 2007


I suspect that frequently kluging imgs into conversation would merely provoke bitterness and an undesirable sense of disparity or classism or whatever the fuck, and so, no, I'm going to try not to make a habit of it. Revel, now, in the small and precious warmth of this sheep pic, and let us remember long into our days this magical night.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:34 AM on April 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Not a habit, cortex, a benefaction! Nay, a series of benefactions. We needs us some IMG! We has no photobuckets! Don't bereave us, man.
posted by cgc373 at 8:37 AM on April 10, 2007


I suspect that frequently kluging imgs into conversation would merely provoke bitterness and an undesirable sense of disparity or classism or whatever the fuck

plus, I will totally ban your n00b-admin ass, don't forget that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:46 AM on April 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bow before her staff answer!
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 8:49 AM on April 10, 2007


I was totally picturing a resultant admin smackdown when I saw that image there.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:06 AM on April 10, 2007


Heh, IRFH said "picturing."
posted by cgc373 at 9:23 AM on April 10, 2007


oh god not the wire hanger again i'll be good i swear to christ
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:38 AM on April 10, 2007


I heard that when threads get up to 300 comments, half of the screen goes garbled. Just like Pac-Man.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:10 AM on April 10, 2007


"Grandma, tell me again about the time cortex posted a sheep pic on MeTa!"
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 5:44 PM on April 10, 2007


If your comment was a roundabout way of saying "we'll never reach 300," roll truck roll, I'd have to agree with you. But I'm doin' my part, nonetheless.
posted by cgc373 at 12:32 AM on April 18, 2007


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