I'm not asking if you think I am skewed, but you will tell me anyway September 24, 2013 6:42 AM   Subscribe

I thought that this question went rather poorly for the OP.

The OP asked, "What's a non-US city that might be especially good for a 38-year old divorced straight male looking to meet a woman and settle down?" with the proviso of "I'm not looking for feedback about why my perspective might be wrong or skewed. Just recommendations from people have experienced places firsthand that might fit the criteria."

This is exactly what he didn't get. Rather, most answers were to the tune of, "You should try Portland or DC. By the way, we think you are dating college girls. Date women your age or older. You're probably some kind of colonialist racist, too."

I don't understand why so many of those answers are there. Previously discussed, if a question seeks metaphysical answers, comments stating that metaphysical answers are nonsense are generally not going to stand. But for some reason, OP has a received a lot of unresponsive shaming answers that are left standing. As Decani noted, the OP asked for non-US cities. Telling him to go to San Francisco is not a responsive answer to that question.
posted by Tanizaki to Etiquette/Policy at 6:42 AM (84 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Honestly, I think that question was pretty much doomed out of the gate, because I really suspect that the city and country in which the OP lives is not the root of the OP's problem.

However, it was for that reason that I didn't comment in the thread, because you are correct that off-topic responses aren't helpful. But the temptation was very great.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:49 AM on September 24, 2013 [13 favorites]


AskMetafilter boils down to basically two types of questions: questions with a tangible answer and questions that are relationship questions.

OP starts out being all "question with a tangible answer, plz" and then immediately more-insides to "I like good fiction" and "frat boy sexing amirite" and "I miss my wife," which have basically nothing to do with the question he asked above the fold.

He has crafted a relationship question behind a wall of tangible. I wasn't following that thread, but now having gone through the answers, it looks like that's pretty much how the question is being answered. Some people are giving him tangible answers. Some other people are trying to divine out his real question, which is that he is not finding what he wants while dating, and trying to solve that problem. Trying to solve the problem he has presented in his more inside.

Maybe you don't see that. Maybe that's just a difference in how you, Tanizaki, read a question and how I do. But I read that question and I see someone who is probably not being successful in what he's looking for due to Reasons, and those Reasons are going to keep being a problem for him no matter where he looks for dates. THAT is the problem those other answers are trying to solve. That is the problem I would try to solve.

As always, you are free to flag any answers you take issue with, and send an email to the mods to bring up your concerns with them.
posted by phunniemee at 6:53 AM on September 24, 2013 [20 favorites]


Huh, that went a little south after the last time I saw it. Most of the comments you mention which I do think are decently off-topic weren't flagged by anyone. We'd appreciate people's help if they see stuff that's veering off course because we might not see them in a decent-sounding AskMe question.

That said, I don't really think your paraphrasing of what people were saying was helpful or accurate and this stuff tends to go better if we can try to not put things in quotes that are actually how things are sounding in our heads.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:53 AM on September 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


Previously discussed, if a question seeks metaphysical answers, comments stating that metaphysical answers are nonsense are generally not going to stand.

As has been previously hashed to death, the comments that were deleted in that thread were the ones that were arguing with other posters, not the question.
posted by Etrigan at 6:53 AM on September 24, 2013


Yeah, that didn't go well. I would have been flagging some answers if I'd seen the thread.
posted by gaspode at 6:56 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


We'd appreciate people's help if they see stuff that's veering off course because we might not see them in a decent-sounding AskMe question.

I feel like this sort of misses the point. To take one example, "Don't date college girls" is, like, pretty wildly not-answering-the-question. The problem isn't that nobody saw it so it didn't get flagged. People saw it, and they favorited it. That's a more systemic problem than just, "Make sure you use the flagging mechanism."
posted by cribcage at 7:02 AM on September 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


The problem isn't that nobody saw it so it didn't get flagged. People saw it, and they favorited it.

Sure, there are a pair of problems. One is how the people in the community responded. The other is "Why weren't these deleted?" Both are the subject of this MeTa thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:07 AM on September 24, 2013


The problem isn't that nobody saw it so it didn't get flagged. People saw it, and they favorited it. That's a more systemic problem than just, "Make sure you use the flagging mechanism."

Yeah, and I think the reason for that is that people generally have a harder time sticking to the rules if the poster is asking for [foo] when it is screamingly obvious that what they really need is [baz]. We all know that you're supposed to stick to answering the actually-asked question and flag the ones that don't do that, but in a situation like this a lot of people all wanna be like Cher in Moonstruck slapping an OP upside the head and hollering "Snap out of it!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:09 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a tendency in a lot of the "I want to move to change my life" threads where the most popular answer is some variation of "learn to be happy where you are." A well-intentioned statement, sure, but I think insulting to the OP, as if they really hadn't considered it.
posted by girlmightlive at 7:10 AM on September 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah, and I think the reason for that is that people generally have a harder time sticking to the rules if [...]

Yes, but they also have an easier time breaking the rules when they see other people breaking the rules. It's like speeding on the highway: you might be afraid to be the only one driving like a maniac but you might happily join in if everyone else is zooming past you. Bad answers have to be pulled over and ticketed or they'll just encourage similarly bad answers from others.
posted by pracowity at 7:17 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a tendency in a lot of the "I want to move to change my life" threads where the most popular answer is some variation of "learn to be happy where you are." A well-intentioned statement, sure, but I think insulting to the OP, as if they really hadn't considered it.

AskMe is full of questions where the acknowledged-by-the-poster Best Answers are variations on "No, you're asking the wrong question," because a lot of posters haven't considered all of their options. Yes, there's a lot of "Well, I know what you want better than you do" sort of answers, but there are also a lot of "Hey, this thing you're dealing with might not be so horrible."

Sometimes, people really do just need to be told, "Hey, learn to be happy with what you've got."
posted by Etrigan at 7:25 AM on September 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


Yeah, I think there's at least four different type of non-answers appearing in that thread (sometimes more than one combined within a single comment):

1. Suggesting US cities when the OP explicitly asked for OUS. Some of these, at least, are just garden-variety-not-reading-the-question-carefully. I try to assume those are due merely to carelessness, not malice. Those used to bug me quite a bit—they still do, but less so since I have to remind myself I've done it twice that I know of (self-flagged once I realized it—one deleted; one not, to my shame). FIAMO. Usually deleted.

2. Gently questioning the OP's premises. This is usually allowed, especially if the premise may be based on a misconception. (Classic example: "Don't tell me to see a lawyer, because I can't afford one." "See a lawyer. Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation.") The "reconsider how you are meeting women" answers mostly fall into this category. These will likely (and probably should) stand.

3. The "you are a horrible person" type answers. OP says he lives in a college town and "The women I'm meeting almost have what I'd call a frat-boy approach to pursuing (mostly physical) relationships," from which empath apparently concludes OP is dating college "girls," as if older women aren't capable of pursuing mostly physical relationships if that's what they want. Should be deleted.

4. Arguing with other posters. (The whole Roosh derail, complaints about those who even suggest there may be an answer to the question as posed.) Should be deleted.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:27 AM on September 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


I didn't answer that question because it was basically impossible to tell what the OP actually wanted out of an answer. Yes, he begins with a pretty straightforward question, but his definition of an 'especially good' town for dating quickly became really difficult to pin down. He wants liberal, cultured atheist women who abhor casual sex and are looking to settle down, as if there were a city somewhere just brimming with such people, and he hates 'jaded' people yet is looking to leave the country because he's completely jaded by trying to date here? Everything in his question suggested to me "I am totally not over my ex and am baffled by dating and resent modern American women and just want to be married again, but MOVING will fix those problems right?"
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:29 AM on September 24, 2013 [53 favorites]


A well-intentioned statement, sure, but I think insulting to the OP, as if they really hadn't considered it.

I think it's pretty common for threads that involve living abroad in general to contain a lot of back and forth about the practicalities and the logistics of it, if the OP doesn't appear to have considered that side of it. Moving abroad for most people in most careers is a huge issue, and there is often a "grass is greener" side to it, whether it's someone asking for advice on their JYA or the prospective romantic partners. We've had a number of threads about academics abroad, doing software coding abroad, and gap years that have, I think, contained similar amounts of dissent or "hey, your impression of X place is off, and here's why." Tanizaki noted that his move to Japan involved a lot of Japanese training and past experiences with Japan, which I find similar to pointing out that finding love in a foreign country often involves a lot of cultural discussion, language training, etc.-- all of which the OP does not mention or appear to have considered.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:33 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Everything in his question suggested to me "I am totally not over my ex and am baffled by dating and just want to be married again, but MOVING will fix those problems right?"

Interesting. It sounded to me as though he wasn't having much success in dating, had always wanted to live abroad and figured why not move where there's a larger community of the type of women he is looking for. Plus, it'll get him the hell out of the town where he spent so much with his e-xwife.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:33 AM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think Brandon Blatcher helped me finalize my thoughts. There were multiple ways to read the question. I read it pretty unfavorably, which is why I didn't touch it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:35 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have an acquaintance who is moving city for partly the same reasons, and like EC, I don't think geography is necessarily the problem.

Aside from that, though, the question reminded me of those flyers that have been around London suggesting that Russian women are 'untouched by feminism' and make great brides. Not that the OP seems to be looking for someone traditionally subservient, but if you're choosing a foreign city to move to based on the 'personality' of 'local women', you're touching on some awkward stereotypes.
posted by mippy at 7:39 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I actually DID answer the question, and did sort of stray off the direct centerline of his question, largely because I don't think there is a reasonable answer to the question he actually asked. (I think showbiz_liz kind of nails what's really going on above.)

I thought my attempt to get him to sort of untangle all those threads and consider which ones can be answered by moving and which can't was what he really needed to hear, based on my own post-divorce life reboot. And I still think it's a pretty good answer having had some time to think back about it and having read the comments here.

Sometimes the reason you're asking for help is because you're too close to the situation to fully understand it and someone watching from a distance can offer the perspective to help you reframe the question to your benefit. Whether OP will do that or not is of course out of our hands, but I think that's the best outcome for him and I think it's not inappropriate to try to gently guide him in that direction.
posted by Naberius at 7:42 AM on September 24, 2013


Sometimes, people really do just need to be told, "Hey, learn to be happy with what you've got."

Sure. But I don't think that's so blazingly obvious in the aforementioned thread, especially the idea that because he's having issues with monogamy, he must be dating college-aged women.

Also, some people are less cautious about moving overseas. I've known several people with an "I'll figure it out when I get there" attitude about it.

Again, there are some AskMe's where I think it's very obvious that the poster is asking the wrong question, but I don't think the one we're discussing is one of them.
posted by girlmightlive at 7:43 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, but they also have an easier time breaking the rules when they see other people breaking the rules. It's like speeding on the highway: you might be afraid to be the only one driving like a maniac but you might happily join in if everyone else is zooming past you. Bad answers have to be pulled over and ticketed or they'll just encourage similarly bad answers from others.

My point is that there are questions for which resisting "bad" answers is like resisting jaywalking - everyone knows that it's wrong and illegal, and everyone knows the right thing to do, but everyone does it anyway because it's human nature.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:44 AM on September 24, 2013


I think the answers to this question got a bit judgy because the OP stated up front that he was on the traditional side and looking for a traditional relationship. It seems like people were reading him as sexist and/or being defensive about whether or not it's OK for women to play the field. He never said it wasn't OK, he just said he's looking for something different. I didn't see it at all as being about how to find a woman from another culture who might be more submissive or something like that. It seemed like people were reading between the lines there.

Our culture values independence above everything, and when someone admits to wanting to be in a relationship--especially a marriage--there are always going to be those who immediately categorize that person as needy. Or if a man wants to be married, there are those who will read him as a sexist looking for a built-in servant.

We're a largely progressive bunch of folks here on Metafilter, but if we want to practice the tolerance we preach, we ought to extend it to those who have a more traditional mindset than the average Mefite. I'm not saying that the PUA culture shouldn't be chastised or that the "mail-order bride" concept should be condoned, but the OP didn't present himself as veering toward those ideas.

(I didn't answer the question because I don't know anything about non-US cities, but if he were to consider one stateside, I vouch for Austin as being full of women in their early to mid 30s who are marriage-minded).
posted by xenophile at 7:46 AM on September 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


Sometimes, people really do just need to be told, "Hey, learn to be happy with what you've got."

Few people need to be told that, most need it suggested so they can work it out for themselves.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:02 AM on September 24, 2013


jaywalking - everyone knows that it's wrong and illegal

No. Maybe illegal, but rarely wrong.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:06 AM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


No. Maybe illegal, but rarely wrong.

See, this is proving my point.

I've jaywalked myself, but when I'm biking I have an unspeakable hatred of jaywalkers because for fuck's sake I'm a vehicle too you looked right at me why did you still get into the street dammit, so hell yeah if you are jaywalking in front of a bike then that is the wrongest wrong to ever wrong. But put me on the sidewalk and in the position to be a jaywalker, and....yeah.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:13 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


It appears you've had bad experiences with a few incompetent jaywalkers. Now you think we're all inconsiderate and dangerous. This is understandable and unfortunate.

They're doing it wrong if they're risking a collision with any kind of vehicle. People should train themselves and their children to be better jaywalkers.

I think, instead of outlawry and shame, the answer is more education regarding the perception and skill necessary to be an effective jaywalker.

Traffic is as traffic does.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:24 AM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh no you said the B word now we are all doomed.
posted by elizardbits at 8:24 AM on September 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


It appears you've had bad experiences with a few incompetent jaywalkers. Now you think we're all inconsiderate and dangerous.

You're making a joke riffing on the bike/jaywalker thing, but you've also kind of gotten away from my point - which was that we all have the hubris to cheat on the rules on occasion when we know that "but this one situation is a special exception and I am smart enough to know better because obviously". Sometimes, we are correct. Sometimes we're not as correct.

But none of us is wholly immune to this (as I thought I was making clear when it got to the situation where I'm the jaywalker). So even though prawocity is right that it's easier for people to break rules if we see other people breaking them, we all have a little bit of rule-breaking in our own personal makeup anyway because we're people and people just do this shit.

And this has been entirely too serious and scholarly on my part so I want you all to imagine that when I sit back down, that someone's left a whoopie cushion on my chair.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:34 AM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


I've jaywalked myself, but when I'm biking I have an unspeakable hatred of jaywalkers

My brother once yelled at a driver in another car "you drive like an idiot," then there was a pause and he added, "I'm the only one allowed to do that."
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:37 AM on September 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


Sometimes I see questions that I think of as 'garbage in, garbage out.' This was one of those questions. It seemed damn near impossible that the OP was going to get any decent answer out of the question, given what he asked. I do agree that a lot of the answers were off-topic and delete-worthy, though. It's just hard for me to get riled up about it; I know this reflects my own judgment on the OP of the Ask, but...I guess I'm just saving my concern for a better question, maybe.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:39 AM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


"What's a non-US city that might be especially good for a 38-year old divorced straight male looking to meet a woman and settle down?"

Everyone knows the correct answer is "Funkytown".

But you MeFites - well! You talk about it, talk about it, talk about it, talk about it ...
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:46 AM on September 24, 2013 [46 favorites]


jessamyn : this stuff tends to go better if we can try to not put things in quotes that are actually how things are sounding in our heads.

Seriously, because if I paraphrased how I read the world it would look something like "No quin, You're wrong, now it's up to you to correct this! Only the cleansing fire will suffice, teach them all a lesson. Also, root-beer is awesome."

That's how pretty much every single comment reads to me. Fortunately, I like root-beer, so I tend to agree.
posted by quin at 8:46 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it bugged me that the OP very specifically stated non-US cities and this was widely ignored. OP did not say, "hey, but maybe you can persuade me I should be asking for US cities. Please feel free to suggest those too." There's really no excuse for flagrantly ignoring an unambiguously stated criterion like that.

I thought the OP's background re dating choices was a little too confused to be usefully taken into account so I didn't really factor that into my response. That seems like the best way to go in such situations, to me. Or perhaps asking for further clarification.
posted by Decani at 9:04 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


You're making a joke riffing on the bike/jaywalker thing, but you've also kind of gotten away from my point - which was that we all have the hubris to cheat on the rules on occasion when we know that "but this one situation is a special exception and I am smart enough to know better because obviously". Sometimes, we are correct. Sometimes we're not as correct.

Absolutely, and I apologize if my derail was too much for the thread to handle. I think your point is a good one, and we all justify tiny hypocrisies every day.

But I just couldn't resist taking exception to the jaywalking example, as it included an assumption that everyone agrees jaywalking is wrong (obviously we do not).

Of course jaywalking is worse once the goalposts are moved from simple "jaywalking" to "jaywalking in front of a bike." If the scope and meaning hadn't so drastically changed, I wouldn't have felt the need to stick up for the great mass of competent jaywalkers, of which you are no doubt occasionally a part.

But that did happen, and I did say that, and if that got in the way of the point-making or the thread-flowing then I am truly sorry to have been so disruptive.

I, too, seem to be sitting on some sort of novelty item.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:07 AM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sometimes, people really do just need to be told, "Hey, learn to be happy with what you've got."

Hey, people, learn to be happy with the thread you got.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:08 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jesus, some of those replies are such gotchas. "Ah ah ah! You didn't specifically state that you aren't looking for 18-year-olds! Now I'm gonna call you out for it as if you'd admitted you were looking for 18-year-olds!"

It's like how sometimes, someone posting a relationship question will fail to use the magic phrase "I love my [SPOUSE]," and then inevitably people come in to say "Ah ah ah! You didn't say you love them! So clearly you don't!"
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:19 AM on September 24, 2013 [17 favorites]


Hey, people, learn to be happy with the thread you got.

Diamond in the back
Sunroof top
Platin' some beans with a gangster lean, woo-ooh...
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:28 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jaywalking? Illegal? Is there a funnier crime in all the world?
posted by marienbad at 9:29 AM on September 24, 2013


Is there a funnier crime in all the world?

I think you're thinking of jive walking.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:30 AM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


jive walking.

Going in my list of business card titles.
posted by quin at 9:36 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it bugged me that the OP very specifically stated non-US cities and this was widely ignored.

Huh, I read that question several times, and somehow skipped right over that detail.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:37 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Has the OP considered wearing a fedora?
posted by Nomyte at 9:44 AM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


I didn't answer that question, because the OP didn't give enough information and didn't stop in to clarify. If the OP is looking for people in his age cohort, that's a very different question than if he's looking for people who are substantially younger than he is, with very different answers -- and the way he phrased that question really did give ambiguity. If he's looking for a sophisticated, soignee 41 year old who's ready to partner up and head into a exciting life full of cultural events and charity balls, he needs to look in a different place than if he wants a young, traditionally minded woman who is interested in starting a family soon.

And either way, it is definitely appropriate to say "What problem do you think being abroad will solve that would be harder to solve in the US? Have you considered the logistics of what that involves; how much cultural and language study are you planning on undertaking? Have you thought of what it will take to find employment, given that a work visa is much harder to get than a tourist visa?" or even "This process is a lot of hard work; think very hard about whether it is worth going through when you can probably solve your problem without leaving the country, and leaving the country might not solve your problem."

Either way, the framing of the question made it clear that the OP has either some unstated requirements and assumptions, a flawed perspective, or both. The question was impossible to answer without addressing one or both of those problems.
posted by KathrynT at 9:57 AM on September 24, 2013 [15 favorites]


I notice that a lot of answers don't address specific details - maybe answerer misunderstood the question, whatever. Nicer when the answers are specific to the actual question, but answerers are people trying to help, and don't have a throne of infallibility. The question was very broad on the specific issue - where to live, which didn't help.
posted by theora55 at 10:01 AM on September 24, 2013


Either way, the framing of the question made it clear that the OP has either some unstated requirements and assumptions, a flawed perspective, or both. The question was impossible to answer without addressing one or both of those problems.

I wouldn't agree with that. Name a non-US city, suggest why it might be a good place to meet women (I thought the Sydney answer did well with that, but even just a 'they're not all married in Borneo!' would suffice) and you've pretty much covered the question as asked. It only becomes a problem if you insist on trying to tease out the problem behind the question, something several posters did by making massive leaps to reach conclusions about the OP that were hardly charitable.

The number of times American cities were listed even though they were specifically excluded added to a subtle vibe of indignant 'What's wrong with American women, then?' that I kinda got from the thread, as well, though that may just be me.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:21 AM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


The problem with the question is all the vague assumptions implicit in it- they aren't specific enough for people to respond to without using their own interpretation of what the OP means. "Frat-boy approach" -does that mean they get partners drunk before molesting them? Does it mean they just want to party? Don't return calls the next day? What? There's a lot of ugly stereotypes associated with that phrase, and the poster would have done better to say "they don't seem interested in commitment" or "they only want to get with undergrads" or whatever it was he really meant to say. The assumption that there's some city outside the U.S. where the women are generally less "self indulgent" is also problematic. Having unfortunately known people who went overseas looking for brides that would supposedly be compliant and less independent than American women I stayed the hell out of that question because it rang some ugly bells, and it was a mess. I don't know if the poster really thinks there's some place he can go live abroad without language skills or a job, and several people brought that up as well. It's entirely possible that this man has the best of intentions, but I don't think the question highlights that at all.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:26 AM on September 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


It would also have been nice if responders could remember that English is the primary language in more than just the US, as well. But I suppose that should be thrown on the heaping pile of misconceptions hiding in the OP's question.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:40 AM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I stupidly didn't notice the "Non-US" part until after I had posted. Could I have flagged my own answer? (I bet the answer to this is yes, isn't it? D'oh). :-(
posted by janey47 at 10:47 AM on September 24, 2013


I would just like to thank the quidnunc kid for assuring that song will be in my head for the rest of the day.
posted by 4ster at 10:49 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


It sounded to me like he was seriously disillusioned with his life, and wanted to move as far away from it as possible, while moving into a situation where he wouldn't be a fish out of water.

1) Cultured and progressive but not libertine, and definitely not a college town (I'm guessing Rio or Ibiza would be out)

2) Good for raising a family (slower pace of life than a World City like London or Hong Kong)

3) Abroad, because, again, he's rejecting his old life in searching for something new. (Portland should totally count, but doesn't.)

I didn't answer, as I don't have any experience with places like that. I did really like Barcelona, Malta and Rome when I visited, tho... but that was, like, one day each. Maybe Quebec City?
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:49 AM on September 24, 2013


I read the question and it seemed like the OP didn't really know exactly what it was he wanted to ask - this is a frequent cause of messy askmes, and the main reason that I work out any messy askmes I might have in my head, right through to the meTa they inevitably spawn, and then hey! I don't have to ask the question anymore!
posted by rtha at 11:05 AM on September 24, 2013 [15 favorites]


I work out any messy askmes I might have in my head, right through to the meTa they inevitably spawn

Oh yes. This is the main reason I've never got round to asking AskMe about my neighbours (question title: "Do Not Tell Me To Bake These Bastards A Plate Of Cookies") - I can picture the MeTa in my head right now...
posted by Catseye at 12:08 PM on September 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


Either way, the framing of the question made it clear that the OP has either some unstated requirements and assumptions, a flawed perspective, or both. The question was impossible to answer without addressing one or both of those problems.

Huh. I didn't get that reading at all. I got this, "I have some liberal views, but sexually am not as liberal as the women I am meeting in this college town. I am not interested in sexual encounters that have no possibility of leading to serious relationships. This is not the norm here. I like travelling. Maybe if I go somewhere, I will not have this problem, as the norms will be different. Where should I go?"

He stated his assumptions. You may not agree with them, but they are there.

As for a flawed perspective, how do you know? We have only the vaguest description of where the OP is living. If you cannot accept even the possibility that he is more conservative sexually than the women there, than you will see his perspective as flawed. That does not make it impossible to answer. That makes it a question for you not to answer.
posted by misha at 12:09 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have to admit I answered about DC having missed the single word in the OP (non-, before US) that required he was looking outside the US. I wouldn't have answered if I didn't miss it. But I only the replies as well before posting. I still think my answer was useful since it's an alternative to DC. Still, mea culpa.

However, I also think the questioning of the question's premise in other answers was useful in the thread as well--this is a situation where the OP's thinking about how women work and what differences between cultures exist seem off-kilter from reality and some thoughtful disagreement was called for.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:09 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


But I only the replies

I the whole thread now.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:25 PM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I didn't get that reading at all.

The assumptions I'm talking about aren't in the part of the post you're talking about. I'm talking about the idea that the problems he's having are due to the pool of women available, and not to his searching and selection methods.
I live in a small town in the mid-Atlantic US. It's a progressive college town and every woman I've met for the purpose of dating is much more into sex and self-discovery / indulgence than relationships. The women I'm meeting almost have what I'd call a frat-boy approach to pursuing (mostly physical) relationships. Even as a younger man, that wasn't really something I pursued, nor did any female friends for that matter. When I got divorced a couple years back, it felt like a lot had changed.
As someone who was a college student in a progressive college town 20 years ago, I can tell you that what he's talking about isn't new; that's very much the atmosphere I remember. In fact, my husband (whom I met at the age of 20, I'm hardly opposed to settling down early) was someone with whom I initially expected I would have a relationship whose timeline was measured in hours. I suspect that if the OP feels that a lot has changed, he's probably right, but it's not the women who have changed -- it's him. Not in what he wants, but in who he's meeting, and how he's looking for partners. But without more information, it's impossible to say what is different, or even if that's accurate.

I also feel like there's a lot to unpack in the phrase "a frat boy approach to pursuing (mostly physical) relationships." That can mean a lot of different things, and without knowing what it is specifically he objects to, it's hard to formulate suggestions for alternatives. This is what I mean by unstated assumptions and/or a flawed perspective.

Let me be clear: there's nothing wrong with preferring a sexually conservative partner. That is absolutely a preference which needs to be respected and honored; nobody should feel like they're obligated to have sex on a different timeline than they want to! However, I think that unless the OP spends a lot of time in self-reflection and examination, these problems are likely to follow him wherever he goes -- because I think they're HIS problems, not his environment's.
posted by KathrynT at 12:27 PM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


i don't think the question was helped by roosh being suggested, especially so early - there was already the question mark of, "are you combining traditional and subservient for the women you'd like?" and then just a couple comments in someone was like "roosh says poland!" but, since roosh also gives advice on how to rape women internationally and how to avoid being held accountable for raping american women, he seems an unethical source.
posted by nadawi at 1:04 PM on September 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


Sure, there are a pair of problems. One is how the people in the community responded. The other is "Why weren't these deleted?" Both are the subject of this MeTa thread.

So, answering the only question that only a mod can answer...

Why weren't these deleted?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:29 PM on September 24, 2013


Which comments are you referring to? empath's wasn't deleted because we didn't see it until this thread was opened (and there's a long discursive discussion about strategies and tactics for deleting not totally-awful comments that are being actively discussed versus axing them and having people be like "What was there??"). Many of the other comments were at least partly answering the question (weird Poland answer for example). We deleted a lot of comments but most we didn't even see until this MeTa was opened which limits our options slightly. Do you have a specific comment in mind?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:33 PM on September 24, 2013


KathrynT, I think you make a good point about making assumptions about the people you meet. The OP's perspective has probably changed some since he last dated. He is very clear that his opinion on sex has not changed, though, so I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I don't think it is helpful to assume the OP is not truthful.

As you point out, the OP was clear that the women he has met don't line up with what he is looking for. I think we agree that the problem is how he is meeting women. The OP agrees this is the issue, too. He thinks he may need to travel to find what he wants.

So an answer could include suggestions of how to meet different women, I think, that the OP might not have considered, instead of leaving the country. I'm good with someone saying, hey, have you tried just looking outside of your college town for someone instead? If not, try that first. But there is no reason to imply the OP is a creeper preying on 18 year-old girls in an answer. That stuff should be flagged, not favorited.

And just look at this crap:
Please don't move to another country because of racist crap about "the women here are so much traditional and submissive, unlike slutty American women." I can guarantee that A) the women there are unimpressed by men with that attitude, B) you are projecting some weird stuff from your ex-wife on entire groups of people, and C) moving to another country is far more difficult than you think.

So here's a better idea: Move to a city in the South."


WTF!? That's a whole 'nother level of assumption. It is NOT okay to say the OP is projecting weird stuff, and then go right ahead and do all of that yourself. People in the South are not racist chauvinists (yes, I flagged that one. It is still up, AND it has five favorites).
posted by misha at 1:33 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


misha - i think that gets into how people read things and how different interpretations can be gleaned - from that comment i read, "don't listen to people who say the stuff about submissive international women - the women in those places have seen that before, and maybe you need to get over your ex wife, and moving to another country is hard. if you want women with a more traditional and settling down outlook, move to the southern us." i didn't read it as the commenter saying the OP was projecting weird stuff, but that some advice he was getting had that weird stuff, and that his goals might be better met closer to home. as a southerner i didn't take that at all as calling us all racist chauvinists.
posted by nadawi at 1:42 PM on September 24, 2013


However, I think that unless the OP spends a lot of time in self-reflection and examination, these problems are likely to follow him wherever he goes -- because I think they're HIS problems, not his environment's.

Can you please explain, like, show your work how this isn't 100% at odds with everything else you just said in your post?

You acknowledge that what he's talking about is A Real Thing and then turn-and-burn at the very end saying he really needs to do some self reflection and the true problem is him.

I'm just completely baffled here.

And as a side note, i'm not defending the post linked by this meta at all. I think the phrasing is a bit odd and understand how it could ruffle some feathers, especially the frat boy comment. I just feel like some bizarre thing is going on where people are afraid to be painted as agreeing with it too much or being too close to it because it's A Thing To Be Hated.
posted by emptythought at 1:59 PM on September 24, 2013


Could I have flagged my own answer? (I bet the answer to this is yes, isn't it? D'oh).

The answer is indeed yes! You can always also drop us a note at the contact form if you want to explain or get an opinion on a "I'm not sure I did this right" situation with something on the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:00 PM on September 24, 2013


AskMetafilter boils down to basically two types of questions: questions with a tangible answer and questions that are relationship questions.

So, is "name my pet" a relationship question? I always suspected as much.
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:03 PM on September 24, 2013


Can you please explain, like, show your work how this isn't 100% at odds with everything else you just said in your post?

er, sorry? what I mean is that if he's meeting people that aren't the kind of people he wants to pursue a relationship with in his own city, then he is likely to do so no matter where he happens to be if he doesn't change his methods. But if he does change his methods, then he is likely to be able to solve his problem without having to emigrate.
posted by KathrynT at 2:04 PM on September 24, 2013


I didn't really assume he was looking much younger, just that he wasn't finding women who were both interesting to him and interested in the same stuff he was. Which can be a problem for both genders past 30 when a lot of people your own age have settled down, especially when you aren't in a major urban area. The usual response to this general problem is that one needs to meet more of a variety of people, and I think travel can help accomplish that one way or another.

I do find it interesting that some people immediately read what he was asking for as 'where are some places where the women are not horrible American women' kind of thing, and I don't see anything wrong with pointing out in context that some sources referenced are not as good as advertised. I mean, we're talking about a guy who has written about how no shouldn't always mean no, that it's dumb to care about your partner's needs in bed, etc, etc. He's a bad person to take advice from re: how to end up in a happy long-term relationship, specifically, because he does not fundamentally like women very much at all. The OP seems to like women just fine, so I don't see any reason to attribute any particular misogyny to *him*, so I picture him instead as the sort of person who would like to know that.

I think the OP could have gotten better results with more info about what exactly he was looking for in a lifestyle/culture, but. He's at least gotten some starting points for thinking about the issue, you know? It's not like the sort of question where one person was going to come up with an answer and he was going to be moved by Friday.
posted by Sequence at 2:05 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


emptythought - didn't you just do the same thing you were accusing KathrynT of with your small print there at the end? like you distance yourself and then say that you're uncomfortable with how everyone is distancing themselves.
posted by nadawi at 2:06 PM on September 24, 2013


....Yes, kinda instinctively because i didn't want to engage on whether this guy was a worthwhile person and whether anyone who supported him was a misogynist or really anything with relation to that post or his character, simply that i thought that was a weird reaction.

I think i kinda answered my own question there, by as you said doing the same thing.

also thanks for the clarification kathryn.
posted by emptythought at 2:41 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I felt sorry for that dude, and I thought a lot of responses were lacking in a bit of sympathy, really.

The vast number of answers that completely ignored non-US locations was weird, but even weirder for me was the certainty that a lot of people had that he was dating college-age girls when there is absolutely nothing like that in the question.

I mean, really, it's certainly possible for women over 30 or whatever to want short-term relationships - I thought it was really uncharitable for people to assume to that he was dating young students and wanted to move to some developing country for Pick Up Artist purposes.

Dude sounded like he was sad about his marriage ending, missed the companionship and depth it provided, had been burnt by a couple of dating experiences, and thought that moving away might give him the fresh start he needed. A lot of people move away after a bad break up, and I think it's pretty natural for people who haven't dated for a long time to feel insecure, to not enjoy the dating experience, and to overgeneralise a few experiences onto the dating population at large.

Also, I dunno if it's an median mefite age thing or something, but it is harder to date when you are around forty and most of your friends have coupled up etc. The dating pool is undeniably smaller, and I know lots of people who entered into it only to struggle with what they felt were mismatches in expectations etc.
posted by smoke at 3:32 PM on September 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'd just like to clarify that when I asked my question of the asker, it wasn't meant as "because college women are horrible/sleep with everyone/whatever" it was "...because if you are a 38-year-old, you should not be trying to date people who are literally teenagers" (or a year or two older).
posted by blueberry at 4:59 PM on September 24, 2013


Setting aside whether there's any merit to that pronouncement, what's the difference? The problem with that answer isn't what you might have been implying about college students aged 19–24, but rather that it didn't suggest a non-US city where the OP could live.
posted by cribcage at 5:07 PM on September 24, 2013


I'm a little surprised by some of the answers - honestly, I didn't answer because I don't know the answer, but definitely there are some cities where there are more sexually conservative people and some where there are less. If he's looking for a different cultural perspective, finding a place that has it is not crazy. The "Don't go to another city where women will fawn over you because you are an American" thread was a little weird.

For example, I seem to recall an AskMe from a younger gay guy in a rural area posting about how he couldn't meet men where he was and could only find them in cities where he didn't live - I think there were a lot more suggestions of "move to a more friendly city" which were totally useful.
posted by corb at 5:09 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The vast number of answers that completely ignored non-US locations was weird, but even weirder for me was the certainty that a lot of people had that he was dating college-age girls when there is absolutely nothing like that in the question.

I didn't think it was that weird. He said he lived in a college town and described the women's behavior as "frat boy." College age women sounded like a possibility.
posted by sweetkid at 5:10 PM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't know, I felt it assumed the worst of the asker, which is something to be avoided I think. Why would someone looking to settle down be dating college students in their early twenties? That would be an... un-average level of cluelessness, I think, and I didn't get that from the question.

I dunno, maybe I'm prejudiced as I've known people that age from both genders who struggled with dating after a break-up, felt there were a lot of players etc. I don't think the feelings evinced are necessarily linked to dating kids.
posted by smoke at 5:28 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Setting aside whether there's any merit to that pronouncement, what's the difference? The problem with that answer isn't what you might have been implying about college students aged 19–24, but rather that it didn't suggest a non-US city where the OP could live.
I guess I was trying to rule out a possible cause before going on to other things.

That is, if he was looking for a relationship with the "closeness" of a marriage, I wanted to first clarify that he wasn't blaming his lack of success on someone who can't drink until her next birthday—akin to a tech support person making sure someone is actually in front of their computer before saying "Okay, go to System Preferences and open up..."
posted by blueberry at 6:48 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Feel free to delete my answer, I don't mind. But I'm about 90% sure that's what his problem is. Or that he's not over his wife. Or that he's got weird ideas about women in other cultures.
posted by empath at 7:46 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am notorious for answering Human Relations questions, yet I chose to skip that one.

Here's the thing, Human Relations gets a ton of "where can I go to meet someone" questions. What made this question so unsettling was the condescending way in which he described the people around him:

...much more into sex and self-discovery / indulgence

...what I'd call a frat-boy approach to pursuing (mostly physical) relationships.

...Sex is fine, but I'm looking for something genuine in which both parties are comfortable being vulnerable, sharing feelings openly, valuing a monogamous partnership, etc


...would like to meet people less jaded or self-indulgent as everyone I seem to be meeting.


I mean, the OP basically alluded that the women in his community are: self-indulgent, frat-boy-esque, ingenuine, women who are jaded and don't value monogamy. That's what makes it hard for me to take the OP in good faith, no matter how eloquently he worded his question. And if I'm unable to take a good faith perspective, I just skip it.

Really, I got the feeling that it was an XY problem:

X: the OP is having a hard time finding a partner do to interpersonal issues. Lacking introspection, he assumes that the problem is with the women around him.

Y: the OP asks where he can go to find women who, as a group, will accept his issues.

I wasn't going to touch that one with a 800ft pole.
posted by Shouraku at 8:49 PM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, wow, Tanizaki's right -- there is a really weird mismatch of answer to question here. My theory is that the mention of PUA in the second answer really ended up poisoning the whole thread. Because as far as I can tell, the OP

a) wants to move abroad because he's always wanted to spend time living abroad, not because he thinks women there will be more submissive;
b) is not against sex or looking for someone who will refuse to have sex with him, but rather is looking for a serious girlfriend and maybe to get married again, as opposed to a one-off;
c) tells us nothing about the age of the women he's dating and is presumably dating women roughly his own age.

I mean, I too think there are surely lots of single/divorced thirty-something women in his progressive college town who are looking for exactly what he's looking for, but, for reasons independent from his romantic situation, he wants to live abroad, and he wants to do that in a way that's compatible with his dreams of getting married again -- e.g., as Tanizaki says, if he doesn't speak Japanese, and he moves to Japan, he's probably gonna be alone.

Seemed like a fine question to me, though not one I have an answer to, and yeah, the answers mostly weren't answers.
posted by escabeche at 6:15 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


For example, I seem to recall an AskMe from a younger gay guy in a rural area posting about how he couldn't meet men where he was and could only find them in cities where he didn't live - I think there were a lot more suggestions of "move to a more friendly city" which were totally useful.

This question.
posted by Melismata at 9:07 AM on September 25, 2013


Oh, yeah, that question - but rereading it, it seems like there's a whole other level of complexity. It isn't just "I can't meet men where I am, and it seems I can only find them in these other cities," it was "I can't meet men where am and it seems I can only find them in these other cities, so I have altered my online dating profile to claim I live where they do to get dates". That's a whole different level than "I can't seem to meet anyone where I am and the best guys all seem to live elsewhere darn heck shoot".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:55 AM on September 25, 2013


phunniemee: OP starts out being all "question with a tangible answer, plz" and then immediately more-insides to "I like good fiction" and "frat boy sexing amirite" and "I miss my wife,"which have basically nothing to do with the question he asked above the fold.

This here 'interpretation' speaks volumes about the things people will do to a question as a way of de-legitimizing the OP.
posted by Kruger5 at 10:12 AM on September 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


girlmightlive: "There's a tendency in a lot of the "I want to move to change my life" threads where the most popular answer is some variation of "learn to be happy where you are." A well-intentioned statement, sure, but I think insulting to the OP, as if they really hadn't considered it."

The answers are often coming from people who thought that moves would change their lives and didn't. The reason people discourage moves as a means of transformation is that the problem is only rarely geographic.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:26 AM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I agree 100% with this call out. Most of the answers were off topic and judgmental. The OP asked for locations outside of the US and got a bunch of crap answers like DC and San Francisco.

Also, OP never said he was dating college students. He said he lived in a college town. Too many people jumped on this as if this was the main point. (It was not).

I found it interesting that the same people who agree that it is wrong to judge a woman for her lifestyle choices have no problem judging a man for his. An American man who decides he wants a traditional wife and wants to look abroad is judged a PUA or sex tourist or racist according to many of the posters here. That is bullshit.

If I were the OP, I would not have asked this question here because it goes against the hive mind conventional wisdom. This is definitely a subject that Metafilter does not handle well.
posted by Gringos Without Borders at 10:55 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The OP spends paragraphs talking about sexual attitudes ("self-discovery/indulgence"), his "value system," and the fact that he misses his wife. He is specifically requesting towns outside the US, but he does not seem at all concerned about his ability to secure a visa, find employment, or speak the local language.

If someone asked "hey I just lost my job, I'm having a hard time finding a new one with a corporate culture that I like, can anyone recommend a non-American city that would be good for finding a workplace that is hierarchical yet supportive of personal freedom," would we really be confused about if he was daft or not?
posted by leopard at 10:49 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, thanks to graduate schools, American college towns are probably relatively good places to meet English-speaking foreign-born women with the OP's requested mix of traditional and liberal values, but whatever.
posted by leopard at 10:57 PM on September 28, 2013


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