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Co-Workers of the World

November 19, 2009

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I am a happily married, happily nonmonogamous male. We are not wild swinger types. For us it's more about the fact that monogamy does not work than about nailing everything that walks by. Anyway, I have encountered an odd situation a few times now, and again last night, where I'll be flirting with a potential fling and she knows I'm married and she's very interested. But when she finds out my marriage is nonmonogamous, she suddenly backs out. Case in point, a coworker: We have been flirting since I started my new job a few months ago. Today she asked me what my wife would do if she found out I was sneaking around on her. Good time to make a full disclosure! But when I told her my situation, that was the end of our flirtation.

Any idea why women find the idea of cheating with me okay, but once they find out I have a free go of things, they walk?

No Figuring Women

This woman didn't find the idea of cheating with you "okay," NFW, she wanted to fuck you because you're married and presumably monogamous. Try to look at it from her perspective: When she thought you were willing to cheat on your wife to be with her, NFW, that meant you found her so attractive, so utterly irresistible, that you would break your marriage vows and risk everything to get into her pants. Sleeping with her with your wife's permission? Meh, where's the ego boost in that?


I am a 40-ish married straight woman living in New York. I have been happily married in a monogamous relationship for 11 years. My husband and I met when we were in our early 20s. After listening to all of the Savage Lovecasts together, we started to talk about the idea of "some degree of openness," as you put it.

In the past year, I have had a crush on a coworker. My husband is okay with me having something on the side with this coworker. This coworker is single (last I heard) and 17 years younger (yikes!), and he knows I am married. We had a great working relationship while we were assigned to a project together, but now he's in another department. My question is, how to go from here? After having a few good talks with my husband, I am excited about this idea and terrified. I'm having a private lunch with my coworker soon. This is fine with my husband. What can you tell me to calm me the hell down and not be so stressed? After being conditioned my whole life that monogamy is the only way to go, I am having a hard time shifting!

Newly Open Couple Lacks Understanding & Education

Have that lunch, and tell your coworker/crush that you and the husband are just beginning to explore the idea of openness. For all you know now, your much younger coworker may not be interested in being your piece on the side. If it turns out that he is interested, take things very, very slowly and keep your husband fully informed. But even if I could relieve you of your stress and anxiety with a few words, NOCLUE, I wouldn't. You should be anxious and stressed out; it's appropriate to be anxious and stressed out. Your nervousness is prompting you to take things slowly and to be careful and conscientious about your husband's feelings. If this works out—for you, for your coworker, for your husband—it will be in large part thanks to the stress, NOCLUE, not despite it. Enjoy.


I am in a strange situation. I work in the corporate sector in marketing and sales. It is a high-stress, fast-paced job, and everyone has a short fuse. I have a coworker who is losing business to a competitor who happens to be gay. In her fits of anger, she keeps calling him a faggot. I hate it. The thing is, I am not gay. And if anyone in our office is, they are in the closet. She has used the word in front of other coworkers and even our boss, and no one seems to be bothered.

I am torn about what I should do. I am black, and if she were using the word "nigger," I would call her on it and raise issue with our HR department. Can I file a complaint on behalf of a group I do not belong to? If she found out I complained, she would see it as a threat to her own job, which could lead to a decidedly hostile workplace. But if it were a racial slur, I would not let that deter me. I want to do the right thing. How would you handle the situation?

Not My Problem?

If someone at my office were tossing the word "nigger" around, NMP, I would lodge a complaint. I would resent the assumption on my coworker's part that since I'm white she can use racist speech in my presence, because, hey, all us white people are racist POS, right? And I would complain because a workplace that tolerates racist remarks is a workplace that tolerates homophobic remarks. If people are using "nigger" when there aren't any black people in the room, they're doubtless using "faggot" when there aren't any gay people in the room. And vice versa. Have a word with HR.


I have a new coworker, a young man who is gay and quite effeminate. He's slim, wears makeup, has boyish/feminine features, and has done some modeling work as a woman. He said in a lunchroom discussion today that he prefers to wear women's clothes. He said he had worn women's clothes at a previous workplace, and no one had been offended. I suggested he talk to HR to protect his job before coming to work dressed in women's clothing. Good advice or should I just mind my own business? One coworker suggested that he work up to it, while another said he should just do it and let the chips fall where they may. The question of what restroom he should use when dressed as a woman came up. I'm not 100 percent comfortable sharing the ladies' room with him. Though I am certain most of the men won't be comfortable sharing the men's room with him either.

Do you have any suggestions on how to handle situations where I might find myself in the same restroom as my newest coworker?

She Knows It's Really Trivial

If your coworker identifies as female, she should use the women's room. If he identifies as male, he should use the men's room. And seeing as he's using the men's room now—despite his wearing makeup and being openly gay—I don't see how the addition of a dress should change things for his male coworkers. And from the way you describe that lunchroom conversation, SKIRT, it sounds like your effeminate new coworker has at least some support at work—but yes, he should have a talk with HR.

As for "handling situations" where you find yourself in the same restroom with your newest coworker, SKIRT, unless you routinely offer to zip up your coworkers or wipe their asses for them, I don't see how his presence—or his attire or the particular brand of genitalia tucked into his panties—really impacts you at all. recommended


mail@savagelove.net

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1
Yayeah! nothing like some good work place advice!
Posted by ascot on November 17, 2009 at 8:55 PM · Report this
2
good selection of letters. I really liked your answer for NOCLUE.
Posted by downyonder on November 17, 2009 at 8:59 PM · Report this
3 Comment Pulled (OffTopic) Comment Policy
kim in portland 4
NMP should definitely say something. Not only is is just plain wrong to be silent, it's also bringing everyone else down and reducing the creative output of the entire department.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on November 17, 2009 at 9:00 PM · Report this
5
there's lots of alt answers for NFW, but most likely, the coworker he's flirting with is HELLO! FLIRTING. Not trying to get laid--flirting. As long as he's putatively monogamous, that's safe enough, but once it becomes a serious possibility, she's out of there.
Posted by red-headed cubs fan wife on November 17, 2009 at 9:11 PM · Report this
6
Whatever happened to good ol' Ally McBeal-style co-ed "gender neutral" bathrooms? That would ease some of these gender-bending growing pains.
Posted by holmgren on November 17, 2009 at 9:18 PM · Report this
7
the theme seems to be people unable to seize (squeeze?) the moment; to say something on behalf of others or for oneself. Boring! That's 90% of the population. And as for the first guy who's trying to seize his own moment, well he's boring too.
Posted by oolongtee on November 17, 2009 at 10:02 PM · Report this
8
I agree with 5 - I don't think NFW or NOCLUE's piece on the side is actually interested. Maybe they should hook up.
Posted by melbzig on November 17, 2009 at 10:18 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 9
Great advice Dan!

For NOCLUE, isn't part of the thrill of "cheating" the anxiety and stress of it all? I think when it's no longer stressful, it'll also be no longer interesting, right? Yeah, human behavior is fucking weird, just go with it.

SKIRT's coworker should definitely inform HR before just showing up dressed as female. Let people know ahead of time so no one mistakes it for a punk'd episode or is left confused or something.

Posted by Urgutha Forka on November 17, 2009 at 10:42 PM · Report this
smartpizzagirl 10
As usual, spot-on advice! It saddens me that NMP needs someone to tell him to speak up. Hate speech is hate speech. Period.
Posted by smartpizzagirl on November 17, 2009 at 10:58 PM · Report this
11
I'd think of it more as what a man has to offer a woman, what he brings to the table. All women should really know this already, that married men are never going to leave their wives, but for some reason hope springs eternal. That is, unless you make totally clear that they will never be anything but a fling, a meaningless piece on the side to be used sexually and then thrown away. Such as when you're in a nonmonogamous marriage thats going to stay that way. Then as Dan says, the women go, meh. Even the ones who sleep with married men think they're worthy of the possibility of something more. When its made clear that thats not where they rank, they're not interested. This of course doesn't make it ethical for you to stop disclosing and pretend otherwise, so as to get your flings. I totally respect people who have the OK from their spouses. But no one's obligated to sleep with them. Its just the tough break that is life.
Posted by Karey on November 17, 2009 at 11:12 PM · Report this
12
Does not seem to be legal grounds for discrimation complaint if HR vetos the male cross dresser from wearing skirts - and more so if the guy identifies with males. This would not be discrimation based on gender, and would be hard to make an arguement for discrimination based on sexual orientation. Company could argue to allow it would cause disruption to the workplace and potential loss of clients. I dont think the HR tribunals in 2009 would support this complaint.
Posted by bagel on November 17, 2009 at 11:34 PM · Report this
13
NMP really should say something, and I'm surprised he hasn't. Dan, I'm glad you pointed out that they would want a white person to say something should the N word be used in their presence.

Also, sounds like SKIRT's got a serious "I don't want a penis touching my public toilet seat" complex. What is she so worried about happening?
Posted by hlr on November 17, 2009 at 11:49 PM · Report this
14
The advice regarding which bathroom to use seems a little off. Why are the coworkers obliged to feel uncomfortable because some gender fucktard can't make up his mind? You have male anatomy - use the Men's Room -- female parts - use the Ladies Room. Christ, it is not rocket science, and this system has worked for millions of years, why make it fucking confusing now? When Janie boy goes under the knife THEN he can change restrooms.

Posted by JimmyBoy on November 17, 2009 at 11:58 PM · Report this
15 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
16
I'm always sad when I finish the last letter... no more til next week. But I just found a hilarious advice column written by a foppish scoundrel born in 1578 or something... check it out. Google Ask Rodger Goodwyn and you'll find it. You can even write him a letter and he'll answer! http://askrodgergoodwyn.blogspot.com/
Posted by ggg on November 18, 2009 at 12:40 AM · Report this
17
Google Ask Rodger Goodwyn for advice from a bawdy, Shakespearian dude from the 15th century. HILARIOUS!
Posted by ggg on November 18, 2009 at 12:43 AM · Report this
18
Is anyone else having trouble accessing the rest of the comments beyond the first 5?

I've tried the link immediately above the "add a comment" window, which shows there are 17 comments at this point, and also the "all comments" link at the top of the comments section.

I don't see an opportunity to sign in w/o posting a comment. Am I missing something?

Oh yeah! Great stuff this week, Dan.
Posted by gbrooks on November 18, 2009 at 1:13 AM · Report this
19
@5: Yeah, I didn't read it as the co-worker getting a bigger ego boost when she assumed it was cheating.

But that she was FLIRTING. With the safety that nothing would happen. And if something started to happen, or more than she wanted, she could always threaten to tell his wife.

But as a free-range husband he's just as "risky" as most other guys. And she only wanted to flirt when options were limited and greater control was hers.
Posted by DavidinKenai on November 18, 2009 at 2:16 AM · Report this
20
really silly answers this week. why do you suggest in your answer to skirt that her coworker could use the women's toilet? just because he's gay? he's a man, and what if he wears a dress? why should he use the women's toilet???

and to the people with open marriages. flirt, etc... but a full disclosure of your marital status and your deal with your wife/husband is not necessary to flirt., even to fuck someone. as long as you let them know that you are committed to someone elkse, I don't really see why you sould explain which are exactly the rules of your commitment.. .5 is right on the spot.
Posted by bitch boy on November 18, 2009 at 3:00 AM · Report this
21
What if the coworker had a bad habit of calling people names like Ligger, or Gigger because the N word was offensive?

Dan, when you changed from calling people "retards" to calling people LeoTards you did not change much.

Would you give advice to cut bigots a break if their hate speech changed to shouting insults that sounded like "Fagot" but did not start with "F".

Dan, you can't stand the hypocrisy of Santorm, nor can I. But will you please do what you say and clean up the hate sppech, aka use other adjectives than "retard". Nobody is forcing me to listen to your podcasts, but you sliped in "Tard" recently. barf.

Posted by dan has limp tongue on November 18, 2009 at 3:10 AM · Report this
22
That is right for NMP: In most state civil rights laws, you may complain if you are offended by a discriminatory slur even if you are not in the "protected category." --Employment Discrimination Attorney.
Posted by SG9 on November 18, 2009 at 3:26 AM · Report this
23
"a workplace that tolerates racist remarks is a workplace that tolerates homophobic remarks. "

Likewise....Newspapers are justified if they have a problem with people who use remarks that rhyme with the N word, and they should not tolerate Dan or anyone who frequently and recently uses remarks like "Tard" and "Leotard".

Please Dan, check yourself. offer a real apology to people with mental disabilities and their friends. Open up your Thesaurus and avoid your history of bigoted adjectives.
Posted by another idea on November 18, 2009 at 3:41 AM · Report this
24
NFW - I agree with the red-headed cubs etc.: the woman wanted to flirt, as many women (and men) do. Actually, I give her props: once she found out that for NFW consummation was actually a possibility and he was seriously pursuing her, she didn't continue to "lead him on," but withdrew completely. 'Cause she wasn't interested in sex - just in flirting.
Posted by Gillian on November 18, 2009 at 3:42 AM · Report this
25
To No Clue: Theory and fantasy are one thing, reality may be something entirely different. Things may work out fine, but they could also turn out to be disaster for you and/or husband. You (plural) may think you're fine with an open life style, but realize after the fact that you're not. Once fantasy becomes reality, there is no going back and you will have to deal with the consequences. This will forever change your relationship with your husband, you will no longer be the same people, and your (plural) commitment to your relationship and each other may well change. So think long and hard about what you are risking and whether sex is really worth it?
Posted by beentheredonethatgotthetshirt on November 18, 2009 at 4:47 AM · Report this
26
I agree with Kim. If she is offended, there is a good chance others are, as well, and are just afraid of speaking up. If she doesn't feel comfortable with pulling this co-worker aside and saying, "hey, cool it with the slurs; it's making me uncomfortable", that's fine, but someone needs to have a talk with her. She needs to grow up.
Posted by Nikki in MN on November 18, 2009 at 5:29 AM · Report this
27
The co-worker and the writer, both. I'm so tired of this PC bull-shit. Why is everyone so afraid of offending everyone else? Speak up! That's the only way people like this are going to know they need to behave themselves. Not everyone is OK with hearing homophobic slurs every single day at work.
Posted by Nikki in MN on November 18, 2009 at 5:33 AM · Report this
28
I think another issue with the flirty co-worker is that as long as she thinks the guy's cheating, then she is in the position of power - she's in on the secret.

But when she learns that his wife knows and approves - then the wife still has primacy in the relationship and flirty co-worker is just his piece on the side - not so powerful.

I believe flirting is often as much about power dynamics as about sex.
Posted by alice in canada-land on November 18, 2009 at 5:53 AM · Report this
29
I have two questions about Dan's response to NMP:

1. What does POS stand for? Pieces of Shit? Plenty of Sex? Penises Off Site? Please Offer Service?

and

2. When he says "And vice versa" what exactly is he referring to here?

Thanks, folks!
Posted by wayne on November 18, 2009 at 5:55 AM · Report this
30
All you workplace people, some advice from a corporate-cubicle veteran: be a boring stiff who does not make waves at work. These letters evidence way to much concern about this or that personal choice or concern intruding into the workplace. Need something exciting in your daily life? Fine, get as freaky as you want at 5:01 pm. until 8 am the next day. Wear beige at work, though.

When you start involving yourself in dramatic scenes others are creating at work, or worse yet, start making your own scenes, bosses start to see you as one of the headaches in the office.

Guess who is first to go in downsizings? If others are creating problems, let them stay other people's problems.

so, Dan says, "If someone at my office were tossing the word 'nigger' around, NMP, I would lodge a complaint."

Stupid advice. At most go talk to the person, tell them others may react like you do, and that would be bad for the hater. If that doesn't end the behavior, and the company actually gives a rat's ass about "faggot"-epithet slingers, that person is slitting their own throat. Let the person keep slitting their own throat and stay well clear in the meantime of that walking corpse. If the company does *not* care about such epithets, lodging a complaint will be taking a piss in the punch bowl around the office. If you care about the job much, don't do that--you may end up looking for a new job 6 mos. from now because of some other alleged reason.

Oh, and that middle aged woman about to hit on a coworker 17 years younger than you? Eeeek. I was that late twenties something guy with tight abs in a corporate office working with women old enough to be my mom. When gals old enough to be my mom cougared up on me, it usually creeped me out. To be really blunt, most of them were not women I did want to have sex with. Even if I found them attractive enough to sleep with, I would rather not have had them bring their mid-life crisis into my work-life. I am sure you gals who had to deal with paunchy, bald guys hitting on you at work know what I am saying. Why do you think it is different for guys that same age facing the advances of older women?

And for both the guy and the gal looking for a bit on the side and doing so at work, you have absolutely no one to blame but yourself if the office gossip becomes you are involved in a swinging, deviant marriage and you hunt for new meat at work. The workplace rumor mill will most likely turn your discrete advances into slobberingly aggressive overtures. That is why people always say keep that stuff well away from the office. Ever heard of Craigslist?
More...
Posted by Analymous on November 18, 2009 at 6:20 AM · Report this
31
@29: Dan means if a workplace tolerates homophobic remarks, it'll probably tolerate racist remarks; and if it tolerated racist remarks, it'd probably tolerate homophobic remarks. Hence: "vice versa."

Really great collection this week, Dan, and loving the workplace theme.
Posted by Gloria on November 18, 2009 at 6:25 AM · Report this
32
@29: "Why do you think it is different for guys that same age facing the advances of older women?"

Who says it's different? But who says older, paunchy guys aren't allowed to make a pass for younger women? Just be nice, not too pushy, and if she's clearly not interested, back off immediately and don't pursue it.

More often than not, it's the manner that offends, not a person's age or appearance.
Posted by Gloria on November 18, 2009 at 6:29 AM · Report this
33
Oops, sorry, my last remakrs are for @30.
Posted by Gloria on November 18, 2009 at 6:30 AM · Report this
34
There was some study or another about how married men are more attractive because they're a proven product. In other words, some woman has taken the guy out for a test drive and likes him enough to keep him so he must be desirable.

here we go:
http://www.infoniac.com/offbeat-news/sin…

So according to that skeeviness, those women wanted to get the whole new wife package not just to be an add-on
Posted by kate r http://katerothwell.blogspot.com on November 18, 2009 at 6:48 AM · Report this
35
My wonderful university is making all the bathrooms unisex. Yay for post-genderism!
Posted by gmanb on November 18, 2009 at 6:52 AM · Report this
36
So if I start identifying as female, I can go sit in the women's room and jerk of to them peeing?
Posted by Male DNA=Men's room. on November 18, 2009 at 7:21 AM · Report this
37
Re: NFW... I suspect that 5 and the rest of the "it was only flirting" theorists have the highest likelihood of having gotten it right. (DS's answer presupposes that most women who fuck married men do so because they're surreptitiously competing with the wife, and my experience is that that's only true of a small and particularly skanky subset.) I'd like to suggest an alternative theory, though. It is admittedly low-probability, but if correct for at least some cases, it could increase NFW's chances. It is this: they're guarding against a three-way with the wife. It's unfortunate, but the "open marriage, happily non-monogamous" approach has been used more than once as a foot-in-the-door technique to get a third for the guy and his wife. There are a lot more women looking to get laid than there are looking to be a third for an established couple, NFW. Tell them from the start that it'll just be the two of you, with no chance that the wife will join in later, and you might have better luck.
Posted by MTS on November 18, 2009 at 7:23 AM · Report this
violet 38
NFW.. This may be a 'duh' moment, but women usually abhor interaction with emotionally unavailable males (unless you want that guy to go away... quickly) much less emotionally unavailable married males whose wives encourage them use other women like playthings. The world doesn't revolve around what makes you and your spouse happy, sorry.
Posted by violet on November 18, 2009 at 8:08 AM · Report this
singing cynic 39
Holy moley, there's a troll on the loose! One post cannot contain his outrage! There must be MANY two-sentence, gramatically questionable posts under different names in rapid succession! WAAAHHH!
Posted by singing cynic on November 18, 2009 at 8:08 AM · Report this
40
Small addition to the response to NFW: a woman looking to sleep with a married man usually harbors some wish that he would eventually leave his wife for her. The fact that the man has his wife's permission to fool around on the side drastically diminishes the possibility, so the woman decides not to bother.
Posted by Erato on November 18, 2009 at 8:13 AM · Report this
41
@38: Where does it say that his wife encourages him to "use" other women like "playthings"?

"women usually abhor interaction with emotionally unavailable males"

He SAYS the women who flirt with him are interested in him at first *because* he's married.
Posted by Gloria on November 18, 2009 at 8:39 AM · Report this
42
I think most guys, married or not, get turned down when all they're offering a woman is a fling. Its the eternal problem for guys who are just wanting to get laid. It doesn't make women incomprehensible creatures. I think we have another polyamorous person drumming up some trite faux-confusion.
Posted by Karey on November 18, 2009 at 8:39 AM · Report this
43
To all the people saying this woman "just wanted to flirt," I think Dan did well to pick up on this part of the situation described:

"Today she asked me what my wife would do if she found out I was sneaking around on her."

This makes me believe she has an investment in what the wife thinks. It doesn't sound like she was just flirting for fun.
Posted by Gloria on November 18, 2009 at 8:42 AM · Report this
44
Nothing says "You're just a piece of ass" more than revealing you're in an open relationship. Insist all all you want that you're not a "wild swinger type", but as soon as you share that info, it's all gold medallions and chest hair.
Posted by mint chocolate chip on November 18, 2009 at 9:11 AM · Report this
45
I found the last letter slightly annoying. What's so freaking scary about sharing a restroom with a cross dresser? I get why men might be uncomfortable with a woman coming into their restroom since they are pissing in the open, but as far as I know, ladies' restrooms have stalls and I doubt this guy will be waving his penis outside a stall, so don't go and share a stall with him, for heaven's sakes.
Posted by sadini on November 18, 2009 at 9:11 AM · Report this
46
I have some advice for all of these people thinking about hitting on their co-workers. Please consult your HR department's sexual harassment policy first. (Something Dan never seems to bring up whenever this situation arises.) Sometimes even the most benign behavior can have ugly repercussions. You don't want to lose your job in this economy (and have to explain in future job interviews why you were fired). Food for thought.
Posted by Kevin-94 on November 18, 2009 at 9:23 AM · Report this
47
Sorry, but that advice to NOCLUE is clueless. Starting an extramarital relationship at work with someone much younger (and probably much lower in rank) is a recipe for disaster. Sexual harrassment complaints from the young man, other complaints and resentment from men and women who do not receive the favoritism this young guy will get, and just plain unprofessional drama when it comes to break up time. Not a wise move in this economy.
Posted by jssmbdy on November 18, 2009 at 9:30 AM · Report this
48
karey (@11 and @42)

i think you're making some dangerous assumptions about what sex means to people.

"unless you make totally clear that they will never be anything but a fling, a meaningless piece on the side to be used sexually and then thrown away."

as a woman in a very stable, successful and happy polyamorous relationship, i take issue with this characterization of sex. i have several relationships that are primarily sexual, and i wouldn't define any of them as "meaningless." they are fun, casual and each is extremely fulfilling in its own way. no one is "using" anyone in these relationships, and we all have far too much respect for each other to "throw [anyone] away" when the relationship reaches its conclusion.

and as for my male partner and his other female lovers (and male lovers, for that matter), he has yet to become involved with anyone who wants to usurp my position in his life. you see, we don't respect these gender norms that dictate sexual ownership, entitlement, conquest or manipulation, and we don't get involved with people who buy into that bullshit.

i will agree with you that the perspectives you discuss are very prevalent. however, i think it's a tragedy that many people subscribe to these beliefs, and i choose to live my life without them. it's ignorant and presumptuous of you to characterize casual sex for others as it is for you.
Posted by offfwhite on November 18, 2009 at 9:47 AM · Report this
49
Re: People puzzled by SKIRT:

I don't think it's the issue of sharing a bathroom with a crossdresser so much as it is an issue with sharing a bathroom with a man.

For most women, the societal understanding is that if a man you don't know or don't know well is in the women's public restroom, he's a pervert or he's trying to rape you. Women are socialized to think of dudes in there as something that should trigger a fight-or-flight kind of response.

Which, maybe is something that needs to change, but I can understand why someone would be made uncomfortable by it without being especially conservative or a homophobe.
Posted by Dire Mongoose on November 18, 2009 at 9:52 AM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 50
I agree that NFW's co-worker was most likely doing some innocent flirting, expecting it would never lead anywhere since he was married. But I also agree with @15 that it's possible she thought there was an opportunity for a "no strings" one-time-only fling since he'd keep it quiet, but felt intimidated when she found out that he wouldn't be sneaking around. Dan's answer was fun, and a take I hadn't considered, but seems somewhat less likely IMO.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH http://biggayfrathouse.typepad.com/blog/ on November 18, 2009 at 10:09 AM · Report this
51
Damn, how did I post a response almost like the one right before mine? Sorry, Kevin-94.

As to the outrage over hate speech towards retards, this is getting to be too much.

"Please Dan, check yourself. offer a real apology to people with mental disabilities and their friends."

I understand that using the word or words that refer to another group is insulting to that group, and that calling them "leotards" doesn't fool anything.

But suddenly making a perfectly respectable word like "retarded" off limits because it used as an insult is ridiculous. It's not like the words "faggot" and "nigger" which are used to insult because their connotations. "Retard" is used for it's denotations, and is usually reserved for people who the speaker knows perfectly well are *not* retarded. Nobody over the age of 13 calls retarded people "retards". Change the rules about what words are permissible, and people 10 year olds will just switch to other words or phrases like "short bus" (and also people who think it's cute to use playground insults from when they were 10 year olds). You're not going to accomplish anything that way.

Did the retarded people manufacture this outrage themselves? Most retarded people wouldn't have known any differently, unless some unretarded person is coaching them to be offended. And "retarded" is itself a euphemism for the old words people called them, like "idiots" and "fools". Are those words off limits now too, or has the statute of limitations run out? If we agree to say "mentally disabled", why can't we use "retarded" the same way those other words are now used? Just recently lots of people got offended because Sarah Palin referred to her child as retarded. Then she had to pretend she would never use such an offensive word (because lying is her first reaction to anything).
More...
Posted by jssmbdy on November 18, 2009 at 10:18 AM · Report this
52
The reaction of women to the married gentleman in the open relationship sadly confirms my worst suspicions about the female mind. Many (though not all) women feel "empowered" by sabotaging a relationship, whereas in reality they are human cum buckets for these attached men. Don't think I'm letting off men who cheat on their spouses - instead of seeking therapy for their insecurities they effectively whack off into some hapless chick who is equally insecure.

In an ideal universe we'd all be well-adjusted and secure, yet in reality most of us make stupid decisions because of unresolved fear, anger, etc. To be perfectly clear, I'm perilously insecure, yet instead of hurting innocent spouses/girlfriends my wounds tend to be self-inflicted. Smart? Nope, but I feel better knowing that I haven't left too many victims in my wake.
Posted by effedupandknowsit on November 18, 2009 at 10:22 AM · Report this
53
Thanks Dan! I work in the HR group and I alawys welcome people to come and let me know what's on their minds and what needs they have. Thanks for the nod that it's perfectly ok to come here. Only in rare circumstances do I take a big permanent marker and write the word "fink" on their foreheads when they leave my office. ;-) just kidding...but there are certainly those, like the foul mouthed woman listed here, who would earn "POS" for all to see...sigh, if only I had that much leeway and power. Someday...lol
Posted by Rockin' HR Chick on November 18, 2009 at 10:23 AM · Report this
54
The reaction of women to the married gentleman in the open relationship sadly confirms my worst suspicions about the female mind. Many (though not all) women feel "empowered" by sabotaging a relationship, whereas in reality they are human cum buckets for these attached men. Don't think I'm letting off men who cheat on their spouses - instead of seeking therapy for their insecurities they effectively whack off into some hapless chick who is equally insecure.

In an ideal universe we'd all be well-adjusted and secure, yet in reality most of us make stupid decisions because of unresolved fear, anger, etc. To be perfectly clear, I'm perilously insecure, yet instead of hurting innocent spouses/girlfriends my wounds tend to be self-inflicted. Smart? Nope, but I feel better knowing that I haven't left too many victims in my wake.
Posted by effedupandknowsit on November 18, 2009 at 10:25 AM · Report this
55
No unisex bathrooms! I've already had to deal with pissy toilet seats at home, at least keep some public ones free from the guys!

As to NFW, maybe the women think he's lying. Of course, if they're flirting with married men, you'd think they'd be OK with a guy who lies. However, maybe once he says "My wife's OK with it," they think he's a delusional liar, and change their minds.
Posted by NSA on November 18, 2009 at 10:31 AM · Report this
56
@43: I am not sure that comment necessarily meant anything. Could just be part of the flirtation.

And just for the record, it's not just women...men do this too. I can't tell you how many times guys flirted hardcore with me only to reject me once I expressed that I was actually interested in them (I was a bit of an Ugly Betty back then and they smelled the desperation). Some were nice about it, and we stayed friends, some were not so nice and it was a bit painful. But such is life...
Posted by Gina CP on November 18, 2009 at 11:47 AM · Report this
57
offwhite (@48)

Will you marry me? Oh wait, I forgot, I'm gay!

Oh wait, that's okay! Can I join your co-op?

I LOVE reading postings from evolved individuals,
or groups even... Many blessings!

BTW... My question from last night, (#18) has resolved its self.
Today, all postings are showing at first access, as usual.
Posted by gbrooks on November 18, 2009 at 12:06 PM · Report this
58
As a lifelong homophobe, I am extremely upset by the accusation of being a racist. You have no right to judge my prejudices with your ill-conceived notion of what goes on in a homophobic mind. It's actually very easy to maintain a single-minded approach to hate and not to jump all over the place with loosey-goosey, limp-wristed, typical liberalism while complaining about the "injustice" of hate. What a bunch of hooey
Posted by johnny23times on November 18, 2009 at 12:06 PM · Report this
59
"As for 'handling situations' where you find yourself in the same restroom with your newest coworker, SKIRT, unless you routinely offer to zip up your coworkers or wipe their asses for them, I don't see how his presence—or his attire or the particular brand of genitalia tucked into his panties—really impacts you at all."

Damn, that's brilliant.
Posted by My Name Here on November 18, 2009 at 12:14 PM · Report this
60
Great advice to all the people this week Dan. I must take issue with the last letter though - not the person writing it, but the person she's writing about.

Yes, I believe that we all should be free to be who we really are, regardless of what that is, but this is about the WORKPLACE.

Most people in the workplace have enough sense to either not display their whole lifestyle, or tone down who they are in the workplace. It's a professional environment, so why does this guy feel the need to put his personal business on display? That should be reserved for when he goes out AFTER work to the tranny bars, or places where others like him congregate.

This whole situation brings the recent controversy at Morehouse to mind.
Posted by MT3 on November 18, 2009 at 12:16 PM · Report this
61
#5, are you a sensible Cubs fan (a rare human being, in my opinion), or the sensible wife of a Cubs fan? This female Chicagoan and sort-of sensible Cubs fan wants to know!
Posted by My Name Here on November 18, 2009 at 12:21 PM · Report this
62
Oh, and for the posters who've wondered about problems with posting/viewing comments: The Stranger appears to be using a third-party comment application now.

If your comment doesn't appear right after you've posted it, give the app a few minutes to make your comment appear. If you can't link to the comments at all, you might need to wait an hour or two and try back.

If a link Dan's included in a post doesn't work, email him directly with a link and the address of the page on which it appears, and he'll take care of the problem quickly.
Posted by My Name Here on November 18, 2009 at 12:27 PM · Report this
63
@55: you've never been in a ladies' room after someone hovered? You get pissy seats either way.
Posted by Puddles Everywhere! on November 18, 2009 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Farley Granger 64
Gay is not a race. Even in the workplace. You want her job and you're trying to save face. An excuse to talk to DS, and get a little taste. Of attention to you and your sensitive, worldly embrace. To me, you are just full of s - and your letter was a waste (of column space).
Posted by Farley Granger on November 18, 2009 at 12:30 PM · Report this
65
#30, your advice is terrific. The coworkers will want to be "discreet" rather than "discrete," though.
Posted by My Name Here on November 18, 2009 at 12:35 PM · Report this
66
Goodness. The first letter is easy to answer. The woman may have only been flirting. Hello--she works with him! She was probably never serious about it past that point. Lots of people flirt, esp when it's with someone equally coupled. When he made it clear that he'd like it to be more than innocent flirting, he was no longer safe.

Or perhaps she was actually interested and would have been willing to cheat with him, but only if it could turn into something more. Knowing from the outset that it would never be more than purely sexual--i.e. no possiblity for great love--then game over.

No matter how good a man might be in bed, most women want at least the hope of something emotional/something meaningful to be part of the deal.

Or it could be what Dan said. In any event, I do applaud this guy's honesty about his intentions. That kind of frankness will be rewarded when karma sends the right candidate along his path. Good luck to him.
Posted by Lj on November 18, 2009 at 12:35 PM · Report this
67
@56: Possible too. Still, I don't think we'd really know without asking the co-worker herself.

@55: #63 is right. Hovering is definitely a problem with a lot of women.
Posted by Gloria on November 18, 2009 at 1:04 PM · Report this
68
@48, that's great but there's also a lot of people who are just looking to get laid. Its just as presumptuous to assume anyone wants to be your fling, as it is to presume someone is flirting with you because they're interested in you as a person or might want you to be their primary. When the op discloses, the women stop flirting because the fling is not what they want. This does not make the women ignorant crazies. They just aren't signing up for it. The reason you don't get involved with people who buy into all that, is because they don't want to be involved with you either. This is the phenomenon NFW is experiencing and complaining about, and who I think is just pretending to play dumb to point out he's morally superior to these monogamists who seem ok with cheating. He's right I'm sure, but its still transparent and obnoxious.
Posted by Karey on November 18, 2009 at 1:12 PM · Report this
69
A person considering a fling with someone in a monogamous relationship views him/her like a dog on a chain: you can control how close you get; you know he/she cannot run free and invade your life. This is probably most appealing to those who tend to feel crowded/suffocated in a standard relationship; either finding it hard to set boundaries and enforce them, or maybe tending to feel most attracted to fuckups who won't ever respect reasonable boundaries.
Posted by Sanctuary!! on November 18, 2009 at 1:15 PM · Report this
70
NFW: maybe when she found out that you & your wife swing, she realized that her risk of going home with an STD cocktail between her legs just went up exponentially. HIV & herpes can ruin your whole day.

NMP: I would print out an anonymous letter as follows:

"Dear Carole: I work with you. I am not gay but that's no reason I should have to listen to you use the epithet "faggot" when you are upset about your competitor Hank. If I EVER hear that word in the workplace again, I will file a complaint with H.R. I am writing anonymously to allow you to save face but do NOT mistake that as fear. If getting you to stop means keeping a record of incidents, gathering witnesses and getting you fired, I'll do it. It is 2009. I will not tolerate intolerance.

Thank you."
Posted by The Happily Married Gay Guy on November 18, 2009 at 1:20 PM · Report this
71
SKIRT's co-worker is right to bring this up with co-workers openly, *before* he decides to go for it and come to work in a skirt. Yes, this is the workplace - but this isn't about his sex life, it's about his lifestyle. I would be the first to agree that bedroom activities shouldn't come into play at the workplace (that includes the kind of flirting the first two letter-writers were doing) - but wearing a skirt has nothing to do with sex.

By floating the idea out there, SKIRT's co-worker is giving the management a chance to quietly tell him there will be a problem, *before* he bites the bullet and shows up in feminine apparel. Any issues would be relatively minor as long as the idea is hypothetical - but once he shows up to work in a dress, then everything is official and HR and lawyers and who knows who else may be dragged in. Even if the immediate co-workers don't have an issue with it, it could turn into an HR nightmare.
Posted by Slartibartfast on November 18, 2009 at 1:20 PM · Report this
72
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me. (by Martin Niemöller)

Posted by Helen on November 18, 2009 at 1:30 PM · Report this
73
Wow, 64 is a shitty poet and he doesn't know it.
Posted by scb on November 18, 2009 at 2:08 PM · Report this
robt vesco, jr. 74
Re Not My Problem:

Don't have a word with HR ... yet.

You owe it to yourself to have a word with the co-worker before you go to HR. You don't need to mention your orientation, which has nothing to do with this. All you need say is, "Look, you keep saying 'faggot' and I find it highly offensive and unprofessional. I'd like you to stop. I don't want to go to HR because maybe you haven't thought about how offensive that word is."

You'll atone for your sin of silence and you might even help her understand that she is being hurtful and stupid. If she's a deep bigot and keeps using it, THEN go to HR.
Posted by robt vesco, jr. on November 18, 2009 at 2:08 PM · Report this
Sea Otter 75
NFW: I am a single woman, and I have a married male friend with whom I share an acknowledged mutual attraction. I would be deliriously happy and consider myself very lucky if his wife gave him permission to fuck me (unfortunately for me, they are monogamous and it's not open for discussion). Being the second to someone in an open marriage has some points in its favour: the lack of strings, the relative safety, the relatively low drama factor. I'm sure there are other women out there who feel the same.

@74: totally agree.
Posted by Sea Otter on November 18, 2009 at 2:45 PM · Report this
robt vesco, jr. 76
Oops missed this one, from MT3:

"It's a professional environment, so why does this guy feel the need to put his personal business on display? That should be reserved for when he goes out AFTER work to the tranny bars, or places where others like him congregate."

His personal business? Like, say, the pictures of your wife on your desk? (Why do people need to advertise their sex lives?) Like, your photo of Kirk Gibson after he hit the homer for the Dodgers? (How do your hobbies have any place in the workplace?) Like, say, any mention around the water cooler of what you're doing after work or on the weekend? (Stop wasting work time!)

No straight person ever thinks they're putting their personal business on display when they talk about their spouses. No man who identifies as male and wants to dress as a male ever thinks he's advertising that fact when he wears a pair of pants in public.

MT3, shut up unless you're willing to wear a unisex smock to work. How could it possibly matter to you how your coworker dresses, so long as it's a professional skirt or professional pants?


Posted by robt vesco, jr. on November 18, 2009 at 2:48 PM · Report this
77
I just went through every comment to see if Dan's last sentence offended anyone else, other than me. That is not the correct use of "impact." And Dan show know that.

See:

http://books.google.com/books?id=z_VmtjA…

To use "impact" improperly is leotarded, Dan.
Posted by belovedlovett http:// on November 18, 2009 at 3:09 PM · Report this
78
I have a coworker that uses the word gay to describe things she dislikes or thinks are stupid. She's aware that I'm gay, she seems to have no problem with it. She has even asked to come to the gay bars on several occasions. Imagine my shock when she hollers, and I mean hollers loud while we're in the middle of a conversation standing in a parking lot. Literally hollered GAY to her friend across the lot to tell her how ridiculous she thought the outfit on her daughter was. This has turned into a trend which I cut short by telling her that I don't give a shit if she doesn't understand why I find that incredibly offensive but I expect her to respect the way I feel about it. Haven't heard it since but frankly I certainly wouldn't be surprised that someone that self involved still uses it when i'm not around. sad...
Posted by Davidicus on November 18, 2009 at 5:31 PM · Report this
Loveschild 79
NMP is none other than Savage himself. All slurs are inappropriate and on those grounds none should be used in the workplace. But there's is no comparison to be made between the slur that 'NMP' has supposedly heard and the one Savage used in the 'response' to 'her'. There's a long clear history of murder and all imaginable atrocities associated with the N word that bears no historical nor social comparison whatsoever in this country with any other slur that can be uttered. All African Americans know this all too painfully well.

SKIRT's coworkers shouldn't have to be the ones dealing with this problem, this matter should be taken head-on by the his employer as soon as possible cause this has the potential of creating a very uncomfortable work environment. Based on the fact that SKIRT as a male in his previous job did the same thing and remained as a male, his intentions are not of someone who identifies with any clear gender. This is a very frequent behavior expressed by people like him and coworkers of his both male and female have every reason to feel uncomfortable and talk with HR if they don't address this matter with SKIRT and he decides to present himself in women's clothing and make use of the restrooms. Because the freedoms of expression we all enjoy are not a green light to inconvenience and disrupt upon the lives and work of those around.
Posted by Loveschild http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/responding_to_haiti_earthquake/ on November 18, 2009 at 6:27 PM · Report this
80
"There's a long clear history of murder and all imaginable atrocities associated with the N word that bears no historical nor social comparison whatsoever in this country with any other slur that can be uttered"

@79 and several others:
You're suggesting that the word "faggot" has not been used in association with oppression or murder? Or that it still isn't? What if someone said that "The N Word" can't be compared to "faggot", and that "faggot" is the more oppressive one because it is used against people who still don't have their civil rights.
Posted by belovedlovett http:// on November 18, 2009 at 6:45 PM · Report this
81
@ 79 again.

I'm not done. I can think of other terms that stand a chance against "The N Word", in regards to your statement that no other slur can compare. What about "The G Word" and "The J Word", used against Asians or Asian-Americans. Consider that the Chinese were banned from entering the US for decades, and the Japanese were put in internment camps during World War II.

I could come up with more examples if you require them.
Posted by belovedlovett http:// on November 18, 2009 at 6:52 PM · Report this
82
ooh, thanks ggg@17, that was amusing.
Posted by ellarosa on November 18, 2009 at 6:59 PM · Report this
TheGoddessMaria 83
re:NFW (the suddenly disinterested female at work) Be grateful! I actually gave permission to a woman to fool around with my husband, and she fell for him SO HARD that she tried to fuck with his head and get him to leave me! Sheesh! FWIW, I think flirting at work is fun, but bringing someone from work into a non-monogamous situation takes just too much work with boundary issues. Thankfully, we're back to sane, reasonable extra lovers, not insanely jealous ones!
Posted by TheGoddessMaria http://thegoddessmaria.com on November 18, 2009 at 8:27 PM · Report this
84
To Not My Problem:

Homosexuals are not a protected class under the constitution (yet), so you will likely not get the same reaction from HR that you would if your coworker was using a racial slur. The outcome will likely depend on how liberal your company is, so perhaps you should raise the issue with your coworker first. If she knows you are offended, she may stop using the offensive language. If she overreacts to your suggestion, that may be more evidence to take to HR.

Posted by eaglecrowgirl on November 18, 2009 at 8:57 PM · Report this
85
I agree with eaglecrowgirl.

Before running to HR, I'd suggest just telling the coworker you're uncomfortable with how she's talking. Ask her not to use that kind of language in the workplace, straight out.

Sometimes, peer pressure is enough to get people behaving the right way.
Posted by Flame on November 18, 2009 at 9:58 PM · Report this
86
Dan: 'This woman didn't find the idea of cheating with you "okay," NFW, she wanted to fuck you because you're married and presumably monogamous.'

This is along the same lines of that phenomenon that every guy is familiar with: many women find you more appealing when you're involved with another woman than when you're single and available.
Posted by Roma on November 18, 2009 at 10:15 PM · Report this
87
#42/Karey: "I think most guys, married or not, get turned down when all they're offering a woman is a fling. Its the eternal problem for guys who are just wanting to get laid."

Absolutely. It's much harder for a typical man to find a woman for casual sex than it is for a typical woman to find a man for that. Men like an emotional connection but they don't require it in order to fuck to the degree that women do.

I'm not excusing lying in order to get laid but the reason men do it is that most women require some profession of feelings from a guy before they're willing to get naked with him. Women don't have to lie in order to get laid because if a woman is honest with a guy and says, "I just wanna have sex", his response is "No problem!"
Posted by Roma on November 18, 2009 at 10:47 PM · Report this
88
The words "nigger" and "faggot" are completely inappropriate in the work place, as is the word "tard" and "retarded" for any publication with a modicum of integrity. Dan and The Stranger, I'm looking at you. See Slog posting: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive….
Posted by EricC_DC on November 18, 2009 at 10:57 PM · Report this
89
*applauds #76*

I worked with a woman once who talked endlessly at work about her ex-husband and her troubled son. One time, when I'd heard enough from her about how gays "should keep their personal lives private," I turned to her and asked, as sweetly as possible, "Nancy, do you leave your personal life at home?"

I never heard her use the "gays should keep their personal lives private" line again.
Posted by My Name Here on November 19, 2009 at 5:11 AM · Report this
90
#77: To say "show" when you mean "should" is leotarded!

People in glass houses, bitch. Ya know?
Posted by wayne on November 19, 2009 at 5:54 AM · Report this
Confluence 91
@40, 42, 44

You're all spot on about what's happening here. Not exactly sexy for her to find out that she really is just a piece of ass for him. Woman can get laid any day of the week. No thanks - she's gone. Either that, or this chick really *was* just flirting and had no intention of making it a reality.

@57

Oh wow, you're both just soooooo "evolved" from the rest of the lower species of monogamous people. STFU, dickwad. Accept the fact that people are all different when it comes to what they want/can handle in love and relationships and most people are just comfortable with monogamy. Are bisexuals "evolved" because they can have sex with both genders? Are gay people "evolved" because they can have sex with people of their same gender? Of course not. They're just different. You ain't better than nobody, asshole, and it's pathetic you've led yourself to believe that. Get a life.
Posted by Confluence on November 19, 2009 at 5:54 AM · Report this
92
@91: I still find that sentiment ironic. When you're the woman a man is cheating with on his wife, she's generally a "piece of ass."

I mean, sure, there could be an emotional connection there, and it'd be a full-blown affair, but we've heard so many cases of women who hope that a husband would leave his wife for her after fucking around for a while -- and he doesn't, because he'd be risking kids, his bank account, whatever, etc., and he was just looking for some fun.
Posted by Gloria on November 19, 2009 at 7:39 AM · Report this
93
"If your coworker is female, she should use the women’s room. If he is male, he should use the men’s room."

FIFY.
Posted by Red on November 19, 2009 at 8:06 AM · Report this
94
@5 "there's lots of alt answers for NFW, but most likely, the coworker he's flirting with is HELLO! FLIRTING. Not trying to get laid--flirting. As long as he's putatively monogamous, that's safe enough, but once it becomes a serious possibility, she's out of there."

Good call. An old friend recently put an abrupt end to the 'dirtier' aspect of our now long-distance friendship when I suggested we hook up when he comes to town. He'll flirt - hell, he'll talk dirty and send homemade porn - but the thought of actually fucking a married woman apparently did him in.
Posted by I was Bella before the fucking books. on November 19, 2009 at 8:49 AM · Report this
95
I have an observation along the same lines as Dan's to NFW. I traveled a lot in my job and was away from home weeks and months at a time. I eventually had to stop wearing my wedding ring so that women would quit hitting on me. I guess in their minds the fact some woman, my wife, wanted me, I was worth persuing. Without the ring I was just another single guy .
Posted by CyndiGuy on November 19, 2009 at 9:37 AM · Report this
96
@90

Fuck, you're right. Whoops. But I was right too.
Posted by belovedlovett http:// on November 19, 2009 at 9:52 AM · Report this
97
I am in a strange situation. I work in the corporate sector in marketing and sales. It is a high-stress, fast-paced job, and everyone has a short fuse. I have a coworker who is losing business to a competitor who happens to HAVE A MENTAL DISABILITY. In her fits of anger, she keeps calling him a RETARD. I hate it. The thing is, I am not MENTALLY DISABLED. And if anyone in our office is, they are in the closet. She has used the word in front of other coworkers and even our boss, and no one seems to be bothered.

I am torn about what I should do. I am black, and if she were using the word "nigger," I would call her on it and raise issue with our HR department. Can I file a complaint on behalf of a group I do not belong to? If she found out I complained, she would see it as a threat to her own job, which could lead to a decidedly hostile workplace. But if it were a racial slur, I would not let that deter me. I want to do the right thing. How would you handle the situation?

Not My Problem?

If someone at my office were tossing the word "RETARD" around, NMP, I would lodge a complaint. I would resent the assumption on my coworker's part that since I'm NOT MENTALLY DISABLED she can use HATE speech in my presence, because, hey, all us NOT MENTALLY DISABLED people THINK IT'S FUNNY, right? And I would complain because a workplace that tolerates HATEFUL remarks is a workplace that tolerates homophobic remarks. If people are using "nigger" when there aren't any black people in the room, they're doubtless using "RETARD" when there aren't any MENTALLY DISABLED people in the room. And vice versa. Have a word with HR.

Awesome advice, Dan Savage. You hypocrite.

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…
More...
Posted by Oz Squad Alpha on November 19, 2009 at 10:00 AM · Report this
98
Re: #95 and others who've made similar comments about married men being more attractive.

Sure, maybe it's some unconscious female competition, or maybe it's just harmless flirting...

But, maybe? Maybe married men are more attractive because they're not trying so hard. One of the things I hate about being single is that so few single men just "talk" to me. They're always working an angle, trying a pitch--and I feel manipulated and, on occasion, repulsed by them. I often wonder, "If they have to go to such lengths to present such an orchestrated script/scenario/line, is it because they've got nothing real to offer?"

With married men, they interact more naturally cuz they're not trying to score with you. That leaves you more of an opportunity to get to know them...and, surprise surprise, feelings can develop.

I also find that I'm less guarded about myself with men that I know to be taken... so maybe that's part of it too.
Posted by maddy811 on November 19, 2009 at 10:05 AM · Report this
99
Following the track that a number of other folks have picked up on, if you substituted "retard" for "nigger" or "faggot," though, that would be okay in Dan Savage's world, right? Just a different kind of discriminatory and hate-filled word based on someone's genetic makeup (hey, kind of like having a different skin color or being gay!) that's okay to throw around without regard for the consequences. 'Cause "if people are using "retard" when there aren't any disabled people in the room, they're doubtless using "faggot" when there aren't any gay people in the room", right?
Posted by jonashpdx on November 19, 2009 at 10:10 AM · Report this
100
Well, damn. I think OSA just made a fantastic point there, Dan.

Care to respond? How is this different, exactly?

Posted by Chrystal on November 19, 2009 at 10:25 AM · Report this
101
Regarding the first letter about the married man in open relationship. I think Dan hits the nail on the head, but don't forget about the fact that in your open relationship you could possibly be spreading cooties from one woman to another instead of being a married guy with one outside relationship and a lower possiblility of cooties.
Posted by the other woman on November 19, 2009 at 10:32 AM · Report this
102
Regarding the first letter about the married man in open relationship. I think Dan hit the nail on the head, but don't forget about the fact that in your open relationship you could possibly be spreading cooties from one woman to another instead of being a married guy with one outside relationship and a lower possiblility of cooties.
Posted by The Other One "TOO" on November 19, 2009 at 10:42 AM · Report this
103
I find it rather odd that the word "faggot" is somehow offensive to Mr. Savage but he has no problem calling people with mental disabilities "tard" or "retard". I can only assume that he doesn't really mean it and that calling gay people "faggot" is perfectly acceptable in his world.

So to the letter writer I would suggest that you do what Mr. Savage does rather than what he says and simply go along with your co-worker's use of the word. Use it yourself!
Posted by A Concerned Friend on November 19, 2009 at 10:42 AM · Report this
104
People who preferentially seek out the mates of others are known as "mate-poachers" in the research literature. they are shown to often be untrustworthy, selfish, arrogant and generally not nice. I recently published a book, Insatiable Wives, Women who Stray and the Men Who Love Them, that explores the dynamics and issues of both the first two letters. And, it includes several nice references to Savage Love!
Posted by David Ley on November 19, 2009 at 10:58 AM · Report this
105
@97: I completely agree that Dan's response to NMP is inconsistent and hypocritical given his recent use of the word "Tard" to refer to men with Down syndrome. Dan Savage can claim the f-word for himself, but he does not get to decide
whether or not the word "Tard" is offensive. And neither do you, @51. As the mother of a child with Down syndrome who is not yet old enough yet to advocate for himself, I do.
Posted by Susan Carson on November 19, 2009 at 11:44 AM · Report this
106
So sad. Who are you Mr. Savage, to decide that "n**ger" and "f*gg*t" are unacceptable words, yet the word "tard" is perfectly fine. I've got news for you; THEY ARE ALL UNACCEPTABLE! You may find humor in the word "tard", but it is a word that has inflicted pain and shame on millions of people with mental disabilities because ignorant people like you like to yak it up as "funny". Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion. You are a hypocrite, Mr. Savage; and a mean one at that.
Posted by Nickelpicklemama on November 19, 2009 at 12:46 PM · Report this
107
#105: I don't see the hypocracy. "Retard" does is just plain not the same as "Nigger" or "Faggot". You can't deny a guy a job because he's black. You shouldn't be able to deny a guy a job because he's gay. But you can definitely deny a guy a job because he's retarded.

Black people should not have to be treated like less-capable human beings just because they are black. Gay people should not have to be treated like less-capable human beings just because they are gay. Retarded people are less-capable human beings my definition.

So implying someone is incompetent because they are black or gay is offensive. Implying someone is incompetent because they are retarded is, well, true.
Posted by biggie on November 19, 2009 at 12:49 PM · Report this
108
RE: NMP. I asked once and I'll ask you again Dan, just what are you thinking? Oz Squad Alpha's comment is rational and correct, as are the others who have commented on your hypocrisy. Surely you "get it" by now. Your silence does not surprise me, but it does speak volumes. We are left to draw our own conclusions. Perhaps you won't apologize for your use of the word tard, retard, etc. because you are unable to admit when you are wrong. If you did, it would damage your ego, change the way your readers think of you, hurt your standing or lose you 'cool points'? Or, maybe you simply disregard people with intellectual disabilities because you see them as less than worthy of respect and having little value. They just don't matter to you? If any of these are your reasons, let me just say, that's a bag of BS. It's not to late Dan. Admit your hypocrisy and apologize, or, watch as parents of children with disabilities (like me) take you to school and hand you your own back end. Then again, maybe you just love the attention.
---JRS
Posted by JRS on November 19, 2009 at 12:52 PM · Report this
109
#51 jssmbdy: So what you are saying is that it is OK to use a word to insult someone as long as you don't use it to insult someone who it actually applies to. So it would be wrong to call Mr. Savage a faggot but it would be OK to call a person who acts like the stereotype of a gay person but who isn't gay, a faggot. Don't you worry that doing so would create a hostile environment for gay people even if the word wasn't directed at them? And, of course, in this case Mr. Savage did direct the word at people with Down syndrome so your argument seems to not apply.

And I should add that most people with Down syndrome are perfectly aware they are being insulted when they are called "retard" or when that word is used around them.
Posted by A Concerned Friend on November 19, 2009 at 12:55 PM · Report this
110
You're such a retard, Dan.
Posted by LifeMovesForward on November 19, 2009 at 1:06 PM · Report this
111
Too many comments here already but here`s my 2 cents. Regarding NWP, I think she should talk to the person throwing the word faggot around herself. She can start the conversation with: I know you are pissed off with X, but...

The offender doesn`t even necessarily have a particular problem with gays, just the one that she is in competition with and she needs to know that NWP doesn`t find her speech acceptable. Talking to HR before talking to her escalates the situation when this may not be necessary. HR are always there for backup if the direct approach fails.
Posted by Eurotopia on November 19, 2009 at 1:20 PM · Report this
112
perhaps the coworker in NMP's office just watched the recent south park that suggests the word 'fag' should no longer be used as a derogatory term for gay, and instead is a non-sexual insult similar to asshole or fuckwad. if so, it would be irrelevant that the competitor is gay; he might simply be an asshole.
Posted by spf on November 19, 2009 at 1:46 PM · Report this
113
Right on advice as always, Dan!!
Keep up your great column!
Posted by wileEcoyote on November 19, 2009 at 1:58 PM · Report this
114
@110: Gee---for someone who signs his /her name "forward thinking", it doesn't sound like you are.

Get a grip!
Posted by witch hazel on November 19, 2009 at 2:01 PM · Report this
115
@73: Wow--you're right: @64 IS a shitty poet and doesn't know it!
Posted by baba yaga on November 19, 2009 at 2:05 PM · Report this
116
In relation to NMP, here in Maryland the law is such that if someone uses a term and a third party overhears it and is offended, that person can sue the enterprise for sexual harassment. That is, one doesn't have to be involved at all, one could just be overhearing something in another cubicle.
Posted by lkhoihbag on November 19, 2009 at 2:55 PM · Report this
117
Are you EFFIN kiddin' me, Dan?

1. You have the balls to argue that somebody should lodge an HR or legal complaint when using the f- or n-word in a derogatory manner (which, in fact, I agree that they should), but at the same time you use "retard" or "tard" or "retarded" or "leotarded" (long list, huh?) in a derogatory manner all the time???

2. Is your argument based solely on the idea that discrimination against Black people and gays/lesbians is illegal under U.S. anti-discrimination law? Hmmmm... that doesn't quite work given that all people with disabilities (including INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES) are afforded the same exact legal rights (and in some cases MORE protection) under Federal and State laws.

3. You argue that you would "resent the assumption... that since [you're] white she can use racist speech" in your presence. So, is it just RACIST speech that offends you because you're not a racist POS (your words, not mine)? Does that mean that you are just a POS that thinks it's okay to demean, belittle, ostracize, offend, patronize, and trample on the rights of people with a mental disability?

4. Is your argument that racist and anti-gay language is not okay because if a workplace tolerates one, they must tolerate the other? That doesn't seem to be the case in your workplace. Obviously, you don't tolerate racist or anti-gay language (except when you "claim" the f-word for yourself) in your workplace, but advocate for using the word "retard" as synonymous with "dumbass," "lame," and "stupid," or simply to poke fun at people with an intellectual disability. So, if you don't tolerate some, why do tolerate (and yourself use!) the word retard in a similar fashion? Although I do not know for sure, I'm willing to put money on the fact that no person with an intellectual disability would claim the word "retard" like you choose to claim the f-word.

5. Interestingly, you told NMP that if people use the n-word when no Black people are around they are likely using the f-word when no gay people are in the room. I claim this is interesting because you clearly use "retard" regardless of who hears it, including people who themselves have, or are family members of somebody who has, an intellectual disability. Hell, you even call people with these disabilities "retards"!!!!

6. Clearly you wouldn't claim using "retard" is your First Amendment right while arguing that people shouldn't be afforded the same First Amendment rights to use other hateful and hurtful speech (f- and n-words are you most recent examples in this blog post). Honestly, that was probably the only argument I would have bought from you. Just because speech is protected by the First Amendment doesn't make it right or good, but at least the First Amendment affords me the right to tell somebody who uses hurtful speech what I think of it. And trust me, I'm trying REAL hard to use my protected speech in an effective and meaningful way right now instead of using a long list of ad hominem attacks.

7. Maybe you simply don't value people with intellectual disabilities... People who use the f- and n-words clearly don't respect and value Black people or gays/lesbians. So maybe that's it. Maybe you don't value people with mental disabilities. But wait. That doesn't work either, does it, Dan? Because you were ready to embrace your child back when you thought FAS was a possibility.

I can't figure it out on my own, Dan. I need your help, and your silence begs too many questions...

So, back to my original question: Are you effin kiddin' me? Either you are a hypocrite, or you're a dumbass that can't see when his own logic has failed him.

I WILL ASK YOU AGAIN, PLEASE DO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

1. CHANGE THE TITLE OF YOUR "TARD SUPPER" BLOG POST AND ISSUE A PUBLIC APOLOGY

OR

2. EXPLAIN WHY YOU REFUSE TO DO SO

The people with intellectual disabilities - and their friends and family who love them - weren't in the room when you wrote "Tard Supper" so just help us understand why all people should embrace such labels.
More...
Posted by Genetically Enhanced on November 19, 2009 at 3:18 PM · Report this
Confluence 118
@98

Excellent point! I hadn't thought of that, but it's so true. Always being "pitched to" all the time really is unattractive and a buzz kill. And it reeks of desperation. Women are sooooo used to the pathetic pitches all day long that it's refreshing to be around someone that's not playing any game, just being himself. And it draws her in. Makes perfect sense.
Posted by Confluence on November 19, 2009 at 3:36 PM · Report this
119
Not My Problem needs to first address the offending co-worker directly. If the use of "faggot" persists after that, then it would be appropriate to go to management or HR.
Posted by DAA on November 19, 2009 at 4:24 PM · Report this
120
@107, there are a lot of folks out there with mental retardation who hold jobs and contribute to society. In offices, even. I know a local fellow with Down syndrome who works in a law office preparing case files for court.

As long as they meet the job requirements, folks with retardation should have the exact same opportunity to work a job as anyone else. Denying someone a job for which they are qualified just because they have retardation is also blatant discrimination.

And besides, I think the point is more about the vocabulary in this case, isn't it?

I think it's all been said, but I will throw out there that I am sick of the hypocrisy, Dan.
Posted by JenMN on November 19, 2009 at 4:36 PM · Report this
121
I agree with the commenters about Dan's double-standard; a slur is a slur, and I'm still ticked that Dan Savage, whose columns I love and read every week, would think that writing "tard" or "retarded" is okay.

jssmbdy (comment #51) makes an interesting point, and it's true that the word "retarded" began with a non-pejorative meaning, but so did "negro," and people tend to avoid that word today, because its context has changed. I believe "retarded" is the same way.

Regardless: come on, Dan, explain yourself!
Posted by jimw on November 19, 2009 at 7:07 PM · Report this
BradS 122
I am not a lawyer but it is my belief that harassment is illegal - and use of the terms 'nigger' and 'faggot' DO fall under the definition of harassment. This co-worker may find herself in a lot of unexpected hot water for what might seem to her like a small thing. Workplaces are still fearful of harassment suits.

I worked in a DNA sequencing lab for a few months which was managed by a man who lost his previous job because he had a kitschy postcard of a girl in a swim suit from Florida - totally as a joke, the guy is gay. One of the women who worked for him saw it, took him to court, she won, he was out the door and was unable to find another job because once HR sees a sexual harassment suit on your record they won't touch you with a 10 foot pole.

I would talk to the co-worker 1 to 1, point out that the use of the word is offensive, and remind her of exactly what she is jumping into.
Posted by BradS on November 19, 2009 at 7:13 PM · Report this
123
I wonder when all the people clogging this forum with comments about Dan's misuse of the word "retarded" are going to figure out that Dan doesn't read these comments. You'll be far more likely to get the results you crave if you fill his email inbox instead, folks.
Posted by My Name Here on November 19, 2009 at 8:02 PM · Report this
124
Dear Jesus God, where do you people come from? You are talking about your workplace here! Married people - stop looking for a piece on the side at work! Do you know what adultery does to your workplace rep? Even the most tolerant of bosses will place you in the "drama generation" column when assessing employee value for that one. NOCLUE, your name is perfect, really! What if your co-worker's not at all interested and goes around telling everybody "EEEECCCH, that old married lady in Documentation (or whatever) hit on me"? Do you know what it does to your career to have that be "the word" on you? Excellent advice from the Olivia Dukakis character in Moonstruck: Don't shit where you eat. Get your tail elsewhere!
Posted by GG1000 on November 20, 2009 at 6:09 AM · Report this
125
For the 'faggot' cunt: Just take a shit in her desk drawer, and forget about it.
Posted by power of one on November 20, 2009 at 6:49 AM · Report this
126
Oh, and instead of 'retarded', can we just say 'brain-damaged'?
Posted by power of one on November 20, 2009 at 6:54 AM · Report this
Texas10R 127
So...have we officially banned the use of the words "nigger" and "faggot" in all workplaces, public places, and all media except cable TV stand-up comedy, hip-hop and/or gay comic performances?

Or are we still in that amorphous world in which the acceptability of slang terminology depends on the context and intent, depending on the comfort level of all those persons in the universe, and in perpetuity.

Personally, as a VERY gay-friendly guy, I hear the words "faggot" and "queer" used by gay and straight alike; the insinuated intent and context of the usage seems to be the determining factor as to whether the terms are to be interpreted as slang or as cultural slurs. The same is true with the term "nigger" (niggah). I find the term generally distasteful and insulting, but it is a slang term widely used by my black friends, but with a potent exclusion for "white folk." Should it not be subject to the same context-related criteria?

The main difference seems to be an implied threat of violent retribution for a misused reference. Both terms carry an identical penalty for malicious harassment (and penalties therefore.) Shouldn't the social implications be uniform?
Posted by Texas10R on November 20, 2009 at 8:10 AM · Report this
128
I read NMP's letter yesterday and thought "Wow, what a jerk you should totally say something" Dan's advice was spot on. Then later in the day I found myself standing by quietly while someone made derogatory comments about a transgendered person. Now I'm the jerk and I feel like scum...
Posted by Bones on November 20, 2009 at 1:12 PM · Report this
Toast 129
"Smile when you say that."

My momma likes to use the Gary Cooper for perspective when it comes to words.

That's not that line. Cooper and the book both said, "When you call me that, SMILE."

The Virginian hadn't paid attention to someone earlier calling him a son of a bitch. The narrator was shocked. It was a time and place where men have killed each other for less.

When the villain says it...

Therefore Trampas spoke. "Your bet, you son-of-a--."

The Virginian's pistol came out, and his hand lay on the table, holding it unaimed. And with a voice as gentle as ever, the voice that sounded almost like a caress, but drawling a very little more than usual, so that there was almost a space between each word, he issued his orders to the man Trampas: "When you call me that, SMILE." And he looked at Trampas across the table.
Posted by Toast on November 20, 2009 at 1:24 PM · Report this
130
@Loveschild: Have you never heard of queerbashing? @belovedlovett: Fuck the haters, you're awesome! @Oz Squad Alpha (#97): This is a cyberspace advice column, not a meatspace office, and you're not Dan's coworker. Grow a spine and get over your bad self, you whiny retarded piece of shit. Or just get in line behind biggie's better opinion in 107. ;-P

@ "Male DNA=Men's room" (#36):
That would be exactly as inappropriate as a lesbian diddling herself to the same thing in the same place, or a gay male jerking off to you peeing right next to you. And in case you can't do the math, the degree of inappropriateness here is "entirely." If you want to jerk off, use the internet at home. The workplace is, whadday fuckin' know, a place for work.

As for the rest of you, who ever said that casual non-commitment-related sex was "meaningless?" Maybe it's not your cup of tea, and that's fine. But keep in mind that there are plenty of people who find your silly matrimonial song and dance to be meaningless, too. And that's OK. People are different and value different things; the problem here, as I see it, is that NFW is asking a stranger (albeit an intelligent and experienced and witty one) what another individual is thinking, and wanting to generalize from there. I call bullshit. If NFW really wants to know what's going on in this chick's head, he ought to ask her - and he also ought to be OK with the prospect that even she might not know, or might not be willing to share. But at the end of the day, arbitrary social conventions are arbitrary. The important part is to find a way to play the games you like with a number of people you're comfortable with, and then everybody wins because the point is playing in the first place.
Posted by Deedlydee on November 20, 2009 at 2:05 PM · Report this
131
Savage's column used to be titled "Hey Faggot."
Posted by hellsbelles on November 21, 2009 at 12:13 AM · Report this
132
Savage's column used to be titled "Hey Faggot."
Posted by hellsbelles on November 21, 2009 at 12:17 AM · Report this
Robin8 133
NFW, take it from me: It's a bad idea to sleep with coworkers. Bad. Plus, maybe she unconsciously backed off once she realized that you have more than one source of STD's to share with her.

I can't tell from the letter whether he said to her what he said to Dan and us about "it's not about nailing everything that walks by," but maybe that's what she thought.
Posted by Robin8 http://shutyoureverlovingpiehole.wordpress.com on November 21, 2009 at 6:56 AM · Report this
Robin8 134
BTW, without reading all the other comments, Dan, your advice to NOCLUE is some of the finest columnar advice I have ever read anywhere, any time, in my 51 years on this planet.

http://shutyoureverlovingpiehole.wordpre…
Posted by Robin8 http://shutyoureverlovingpiehole.wordpress.com on November 21, 2009 at 7:09 AM · Report this
135
@11 Hate to burst the bubble, but my married boyfriend did divorce his wife to be with me. Like you, I didn't believe it (that never happens, right?) until he did. Go figure.
Posted by lizvocal on November 21, 2009 at 10:07 AM · Report this
136
This is NFW (really it is) Thanks for the additional advice, my wife and I have enjoyed reading them.
A little clarification, the letter was not so much about this particular co-worker as it was about this happening in general. One small point that I didn't make in the letter was that this only happens with straight women. Bi women, transgendered people, and men never get caught up on my arrangement (Dan edited out the part about my being Bi but that is ok).

Posted by NFW on November 21, 2009 at 10:59 AM · Report this
137
How do you nonmonogamous people do it? I barely have the time and energy to juggle the demands of my job, marriage,and children without trying to find other partners. Trying to balance their emotional needs/demands with those of a third party is daunting. Casual sex is unappealing and investing the time and effort to develop a satisfying extra marital relationship doesn't seem possible.
Posted by a skeptic and a cynic on November 21, 2009 at 12:06 PM · Report this
138
#95/CyndiGuy: "I have an observation along the same lines as Dan's to NFW. I traveled a lot in my job and was away from home weeks and months at a time. I eventually had to stop wearing my wedding ring so that women would quit hitting on me. I guess in their minds the fact some woman, my wife, wanted me, I was worth persuing. Without the ring I was just another single guy."

Women typically complain only about husbands cheating, ignoring the fact that, as you experienced, many women go after married men, knowing full well these men are married. These women couldn't care less about the wives. All they want is their ego stroked.
Posted by Roma on November 21, 2009 at 12:37 PM · Report this
139
#98/maddy811: "Maybe married men are more attractive because they're not trying so hard. One of the things I hate about being single is that so few single men just "talk" to me. They're always working an angle, trying a pitch--and I feel manipulated and, on occasion, repulsed by them.

With married men, they interact more naturally cuz they're not trying to score with you. That leaves you more of an opportunity to get to know them...and, surprise surprise, feelings can develop.

I also find that I'm less guarded about myself with men that I know to be taken... so maybe that's part of it too."

------------------------------------------------

I have a feeling you're one of those women who is never going to be satisfied with a single guy's approach to you. If he comes on strong, you'll complain about that. But if he doesn't, if he's willing to just talk to you and get to know you first, then you'll complain that he's not aggressive or sexual enough.

In fact, since you said that "so few" single men just talk to you, there are obviously some single men that do just talk to you. But I'd bet anything you're never interested in those guys.

The reason that single men "try harder" than married men with single women is because -- news flash! -- single men are actually trying to DATE single women. They want to get to know them and, yes, sleep with them too. And because so few single women are willing to take any kind of initiative in dating, that leaves it up to single men. If it wasn't for single men trying, men and women would never go out on dates.
Posted by Roma on November 21, 2009 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Aureal 140
Personally, I have qualms about considering 'retard' to be as insulting as the other words discussed here because it actually IS the descriptor of the target group. Using gay to mean stupid is perverting the word because you are putting an offensive meaning (stupid) onto a word that does not (or should not, rather) have a negative connotation (homosexual). However, being developmentally disabled, mentally handicapped, retarded, or whatever you want to call it, IS a negative thing. The negative connotation does not come from moving a bad thing onto a neutral thing and therefore trying to make it look bad, it comes from simply being a bad thing in the first place.

Therefore it seems to me that retarded became an uncomfortable word because it describes an uncomfortable thing, and in an effort to avoid that feeling new terms were developed to describe the same thing. And those start to become uncomfortable as well, because they describe an uncomfortable thing. So we develop still more terms and start to avoid the old ones, but still the underlying problem remains.

It's a rather tricky situation, because even if someone uses it in a way that would be obviously offensive if they'd said gay instead of retarded ("this new movie is gay/retarded"), there's a somewhat valid defense in that the definition of retarded is loosely similar to that of stupid, whereas it is obviously not the same thing as gay. Try to explain to someone who speaks like that about how retarded people aren't necessarily stupid, just delayed in some aspect, and you'll probably wish you were talking to a brick wall instead, as they'll just brush you off as being a hyper-sensitive loon out to trample their freedom of speech.
Posted by Aureal on November 21, 2009 at 1:10 PM · Report this
141
#118/Confluence: "Excellent point! I hadn't thought of that, but it's so true. Always being "pitched to" all the time really is unattractive and a buzz kill. And it reeks of desperation. Women are sooooo used to the pathetic pitches all day long that it's refreshing to be around someone that's not playing any game, just being himself. And it draws her in. Makes perfect sense."

-----------------------------------------------

Men do what you call "pitching" not out of desperation but because, as I said to Maddy, that's what women expect and require. A man knows that if he doesn't put himself out there and take the initiative, he's probably never going to get a date because very few women are ever going to extend themselves in that way.

Posted by Roma on November 21, 2009 at 1:25 PM · Report this
142
#122..no you're not a lawyer and your story makes no sense. Unless she side stepped HR altogether (if you worked in a DNA lab I'm sure there was an HR)and sought a civil suit, and/or he REFUSED to remove the picture AFTER he was notified that it was deemed offensive there would have been no grounds for a suit or grounds to fire him. Developmental action in terms of a documented discussion perhaps but no lawsuit and no firing.
The manager in the DNA lab either made this up or you misunderstood. This, as described in your post would not get anyone fired. Oh yeah. I'm not a lawyer either just an HR Director for a corporation that covers 14 states.
Posted by what i said on November 21, 2009 at 1:54 PM · Report this
143
Do hot young women/men want to sleep with paunchy old men/women? Probably not. I have been the "cute secretary in the workplace you watch way too much porn about" and it disgusts me the number of men who thought they had some kind of "right" to me. Keep it in your pants.

As for SKIRT, you go girls! Don't let the haters keep you from peeing in a seated position! And for those who think men are naturally less hygenic, you have CLEARLY never met a man who identifies as female. They are probably cleaner than most of you, who leave dirty tampons in the toilet for me to find :S.

I don't know about co-ed washrooms in universities...there are some in mine and there are often uh...questionable biological materials in them.

Finally, for the dude who tells women he has a wife, then tells them the relationship is open, then gets all upset when she leaves, it's not really shocking to me that the women he is hitting on fit the typical slut profile. When it comes to girls who hit on boys who already have girls (and yes I do refer to people who do these silly things as children) they have one of two reasons at heart: money or ego. Dan is right about the "I'm so hot I took him away from his wife, and such a pathetic loser I actually believe that" mentality but he forgets the "this guy will buy me guilt presents and maybe a condo so he has a place to make out with me" mentality.

Frankly I think the rest of the comments are from sluts trying to justify their behaviour. As an ex-slut, I really think a person should just admit it. If you're sleeping with another woman's husband, you're not going to get a gold star for your ability to make pointless excuses about it.

And let's face it, if you could make up anything intelligent, weyl, you might have figured out there are other men on earth.

Then again maybe I'm just bitter. Stop hitting on my hubby, you tramps, and my judgement will be a lot less clouded :).
More...
Posted by humankindiscrazy on November 21, 2009 at 4:32 PM · Report this
144
@ 127 Why shouldn't white people be allowed to call black people "niggers" they call themselves that....

um, the term has hundreds of years of oppression based on skin colour (and degree of pigmentation) to go with it. Namely, whites kept blacks as slaves, then in the 18th century, a person's citizenship status was based on whether they were able to identify as "white", "coloured", or "negro" based on the colour of their skin. The darker, the worse. The more "negro" the more derogatory.

A black man who calls a black man negro, is just calling him black. A white man who does it is calling him a lesser human being.

So can we just put the issue to bed? Obviously it's based on connotation and that applies even if black people did NOT use the n word as a derogatory term, which in fact they do.

"Nigger stole my car, nigger stole my girl, nigger a piece of shit" in rap songs.

"You're my nigger" translation: "you're my bitch/slave/so on"

Doesn't sound like a friendly word to me.
Posted by humankindiscrazy on November 21, 2009 at 4:46 PM · Report this
145
Great advice! Thanks for being one of the few non-dumbasses out there, Dan.
Posted by myfairkatie on November 21, 2009 at 6:29 PM · Report this
146
NFW, Your recent post reinforces my suspicion that the issue is that some of the straight women who flirt with you don't want to have a real sexual relationship with you at all. They were just casually flirting.

I flirt with some men. They are men I like, but not men I want to sleep with. I'm married, and I'm monogamous, and I'm happy that way. If I thought a guy was "safe" to flirt with, and he told me he had his wife's permission to date me, I'd run for the hills. Because I don't want to date him, and if that's a possibility in his mind then I need to stop flirting with him.

I have a friend who is not (to be blunt) very attractive to women. He once commented to me that he didn't understand why married women were so much friendlier than single women. It's the same thing. Women who were afraid he might be interested in an actual relationship with them tended to keep their distance. Women who believed he would respect their marriage (or would at least not be all offended if they said "no" because they were married) weren't afraid to be friendly with him

So I don't think that women are skeeved out by your being in an open relationship, and I don't think they want to "cheat" with you, I think you are just optimistically interpreting signals that are more about "let's be friends" than about "let's hook up".
Posted by Puzzlegal on November 21, 2009 at 7:10 PM · Report this
147
Earlier this week I just happened to finish a book on flirting (The Fine Art of Flirting by Joyce Jillson), and I'm already halfway now through a second book on flirting (How to Flirt: A Practical Guide, by Marty Westerman). Before I read these books I would not have really understood the comments here about flirting. But now I understand flirting has nothing to do with dating, it has to do with making the other person feel good, and flirting only happens when you are already feeling good about yourself and also have no other goal at that moment, otherwise it becomes hunting. After reading these books, my radar for detecting flirting versus hunting is better attuned. It is clear that the letter writer talking about flirting was confused about what flirting is or isn't.

Perhaps if the question had been asked, "are you flirting with me?" had been asked, and BTW this is a perfectly acceptable question to ask during flirting, boundaries would thereafter have been clarified and both parties would have been on the same page. Nobody would have ended up running away from anybody else.
Posted by Dov on November 22, 2009 at 1:54 AM · Report this
GymGoth 148
Your advice to SKIRT was way off. First of all, why does the employee in question keep being referred to as gay? Gay means being attracted to men AS A MAN. I am tired of transvestites, drag queens, and the gender confused always being lumped in with gays.

Second,"identifying as female" should not mean permission to use the female restroom. He is still a man, no matter what he thinks he is and it isn't fair to the women in the workplace. But the men in the workplace shouldn't have to put up with him dressed like a woman in their restroom either.

HR needs to sit down with this employee and ask him what his intentions are. If he is pursuing a sex change, and is in a doctor-supervised program to do so, the company will have to convert a restroom into a unisex one. My previous employer did so for a MTW transexual until the procedure was completed.

If on the other hand, he is letting his Adam Lambert hang out he needs to be told in no uncertain terms that make-up and women's clothes on men are not tolerated in a place of work. What he does in his personal time is his own business.

After all Dan, if he was a middle-age married straight guy who liked to wear his wife's panties, I'm sure no employer would tolerate him expanding his fetish to other women's clothing in their workplace.

Posted by GymGoth on November 22, 2009 at 7:39 AM · Report this
149
Oh, come on. The women's bathroom has stalls. If the person in the stall next to you has something different in their pants than you do, how does that affect you in any way? You can't even tell unless you are spying under or over the stall. Its not like women get naked and hang out touching each other in the public bathroom. If someone harasses you in the bathroom, THEN you have a complaint about them, regardless of their gender or sex. But the mere fact of them not being exactly the same as you does not make it harassment.
Posted by vitaminwater on November 22, 2009 at 11:38 AM · Report this
150
To NMP. Don't be a coward and hide behind HR.

Tell the woman to her face, tactifully, privately. Assure her that you have spoken to nobody about it and that you expect it to stop. If it does not, tell her you will contact HR.

After speaking to her, IMMEDIATELY send an email to yourself documenting your discussion. If she continues with her shit talk, or gives you shit then forward the email in which you documented your discussion to HR, and, cc the woman.

Don't be a pussy. If you want to make a stand, make a stand. Otherwise, keep being a coward.
Posted by words on November 22, 2009 at 1:10 PM · Report this
GymGoth 151
vitaminwater: using your logic, there is nothing wrong with any man using any women's bathroom then right? I mean, like you said it "has stalls".
Posted by GymGoth on November 22, 2009 at 2:57 PM · Report this
onion 152
Re NFW: I think Dan overlooked a different possibility that is a little less uh, fantastically mean.

Sometimes a woman finds a man, falls for him, and wants him for her own. Sometimes, this man is already taken. But, because she believes that he would be better off with her, and she would be better off with him, she pursues him anyway. If she is the monogamous type, she does it in hopes that he will leave the current woman and go with her. And enter into, for the time being, a monogamous relationship.

I've done this. It worked. We are still together after four years.

But if he had said "well I'll leave my current woman for you, but only if I can have other partners too" I might have thought twice about it.

Serial monogamy and...what do we call it? Complete promiscuity? Total non-exclusivity? These are different things. While serial monogamy may not be monogamy in the truest sense, it at least is an agreement not to be screwing multiple partners simultaneously.

Posted by onion on November 22, 2009 at 3:00 PM · Report this
153
@84: Homosexuals aren't protected under the constitution? Really? I'm an Australian who has never taken a single class to do with American history or politics. I'm not a constitution buff. Still my mind immediately jumped to Amendment 14, section 1:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

No-one needs a new article of the constitution to specially guarantee them their rights. Such a law would be redundant, and furthermore it would be sending a message that amendment 14 didn't already guarantee them equal protection. Such a message is dangerous. it paints people as second class citizens in need of special protection because they're not 'really americans' and therefore 14 doesn't apply.

So yeah, go to HR if you need to. Everyone is guaranteed equal protection under the law in your country, and if you are denied it then get the ACLU on your side. shit like workplace discrimination shouldn't stand.
Posted by guestyman on November 22, 2009 at 3:30 PM · Report this
Helgaleena 154
questyman, in our country there is a difference between federal and state law, whereby individual states often have laws that are not constitutional and the citizenry are expected to move away or go to federal court to challenge the status quo. Sodomy for example is illegal in some states, but not others.
In many states workplace discrimination by sexual orientation is not punishable either. There's a link to the state of the Union at my blog.
http://helgaleena.mylivepage.com/blog/14…

Dan's advice is posed for an ideal world which we have not yet created.
Posted by Helgaleena http://www.darkroastpress.com on November 22, 2009 at 5:26 PM · Report this
155
NOCLUE is delusional. The husband may not thinks he minds, but he WILL mind. The coworker likely isn't the slightest bit interested. There is no Good Idea in her plan anywhere.

Posted by Racing Turtles on November 22, 2009 at 6:18 PM · Report this
156
@145: myfairkatie:

I second that!
Posted by wileEcoyote on November 22, 2009 at 11:09 PM · Report this
157
Some people (married or not) like to flirt. But many don't want to take it any further. Especially if she realized you've had multiple partners while married. All inclusive partners, too. Maybe the straight women you're flirting with have limited sexual experience and you're on a whole different playing field. Maybe she's completely vanilla and she'd be opening herself to something she's not ready for (and probably never will be) but that should be alright. Accept it but my advice would be to apologize. Tell your co-worker you didn't mean to weird her out like that. Don't expect her to be friendly but in the future she might get past it and you could be on 'friendly' terms. I don't mean sleeping with her but just being nice again with some boundaries in place so you don't creep her out.
Posted by Wannabe catholic on November 23, 2009 at 12:22 AM · Report this
158
SKIRT’s bathroom issue is easy: Whatever your sex, you should be able to use the waste receptacle you feel most comfortable using. An establishment’s separation of restrooms by gender is a courtesy to its patrons, offered at their own discretion. People aren’t guaranteed a particular restroom at any public destination. Separate restrooms are a luxury, so I don’t know why someone would tell a person they cannot go into one if they can’t go in the other? As for perverts, I’m sure they go in and do whatever they intend to, regardless of what it says on the door. Could it be that those apposed to SKIRT, or any other genderqueer individuals using certain restrooms, are still under the impression that she and others like her are perverted?
Posted by nahtattoo on November 23, 2009 at 2:27 AM · Report this
159
there are women that literally LIVE for the conquest that fucking/entangling a married/attached man, or even an object of another woman's desire, represents.
these women usually like with a prolific and pandemic sense of envy. they usually NEVER admit to being jealous, EVER (it's not fun for anyone, but let's face it- EVERYONE experiences it once in a while... and in some people it is channeled in really healthy ways!) and like to pretend they are completely beyond desiring what another woman has, even though it's taking/stealing emotionally and sexually is what seems to drive them most.

it just isn't desirable unless it's being missed or desired by another woman. that's the bottom line with these classless ladies...
whether you are a male OR female, looking to date/hook up, or just trying to mind your own life and relationships with passion and integrity- the sooner you can spot these creatures and STAY CLEAR, no matter how tempting their pretty faces or whatever the tempting factors, the sooner you can exterminate the ugliest and most insidious forms of drama from your life.

Posted by a valero sister on November 23, 2009 at 8:47 AM · Report this
160
This woman wasn't interested sexually and the guy is dealing with a bruised EGO!

He's only interested in what he can't have. He should stay with persons that are interested in him and someone he truly desires.

He has a significant other and many other people that are willing to put out. He's only 'pining' for the one that got away simply because she withdrew herself completely. His significant other realizes this. If she was slurry enough to put out then he would sleep with her and move on to his next conquest. She wasn't interested and he's spending a lot of time analyzing this. That's what's bugging his significant other.

Get over it and move on. I'm sure there is a kinky str8t woman out there that will sleep with you and you can forget about your co-worker. Don't dwell on it.
Posted by Wannabe Catholic on November 23, 2009 at 3:32 PM · Report this
161
@ Deedlydee:

Thanks! You're awesome too.
Posted by belovedlovett http:// on November 23, 2009 at 4:53 PM · Report this
162
Hey everyone who is obsessed with Savage saying "retarded": Why don't you take it up with HR?
Posted by belovedlovett http:// on November 23, 2009 at 4:57 PM · Report this
163
I find this discussion very entertaining but I am so proud of the men in Houston, especially those local movers in Houston because most of whom are in monogamous marriages and they are happy about it. I don't see why monogamy should be boring or tiresome. It's clean, fun and you don't spread all kinds of diseases in the universe.
Posted by PepperEvans on November 23, 2009 at 6:03 PM · Report this
164
I think if you are in a relationship or marriage with someone, you need to be straight with your partner, and it's good to see how each couple above tackle this issue of a non monogamous marriage. Personally though, if you're going to be more open sexually, your partner should be part of the experience, and not left out while you sleep around.

On another note, a lot of women I know are in long-term relationships and voice a want to see more people with their partner. It's not just us guys! :P
Posted by unspecified_trend on November 24, 2009 at 2:40 AM · Report this
165
Roger Baldwin isn't much of a Shakespearian when he doesn't understand how to conjugate verbs as the English did in the time of Shakespeare. Man, that's just painful to read.
Posted by Pam on November 24, 2009 at 7:53 AM · Report this
166
why all the problems all the time? personally, i think the europeans are correct with one bathroom and GYMGOTH is an egomaniac
Posted by z9xk5 on November 24, 2009 at 10:56 AM · Report this
167
#139: My, my, I'm sorry that I touched a nerve! Not only did you attack me personally--which I found really over the top--but you really extrapolated from what I said.

"Pitched to" is far more specific and pejorative than "approach." I didn't say that I didn't want to be approached by men who are interested in dating me--that I would reject them out of the gate simply because they're interested. I was referring to a subset of such approaches that are overly canned and scripted--whether overtly aggressive or insecure, they're a turn off, and make it difficult for me to not be on guard.

I was merely offering a hypothesis--that because it's easier to communicate when someone isn't trying to get you into bed, that you may "connect" with that person more quickly or easily. I was thinking aloud, not offering some condemnation of all single men like the condemnation you levied against me.

And, btw? I'd bet it's just as off putting to single men when single woman pile it on too quick, too fast and too perfect. Ever see a gal pretending to be Ms. Perfect Girlfriend on Date #2?
Posted by maddy811 on November 24, 2009 at 1:14 PM · Report this
168
late comment, but here it is,

1. as a single woman who gets hit on by a lot of people in relationships, I would prefer a person who had "permission" from his/her partner. And I might be interested in a 3-some. I do not want to steal anyone's mate, or hurt another person.

1.a. if the person is really hot, though, all bets are off. just being honest.

2. I flirt a lot and most of the time that does not equate to "I want to have sex". It just means I am friendly and flirtatious by nature. If someone responds by upping the ante I will usually clarify that I am only flirting and not interested (unless of course I am).

3. as someone who has had sex with coworkers in the past, it often turns out bad. really bad. same with neighbors.

4. if I come on to someone (more than flirting) and they aren't into it, its up to me to be *graceful* about being rejected!

5. I use a lot of swear words and epithets nowadays and I like it. but if I am told it is offensive, I stop. and I try to only do it around people I am good friends with who know me well and can accurately interpret the context and my intentions.

6. Is there an acceptable epithet that everyone will agree on when we feel the need to name call?

7. girls bathrooms are really gross too. I dont understand why they pee all over the seat! I think we should all of unisex turkish toilets.

thanks, I really enjoy the column and the comments!!!!
Posted by colocha on November 27, 2009 at 11:17 AM · Report this
169
Dan, you fucking FAG, way to stick up for slurs. It's always wrong unless you're bashing the differently abled, in which case its perfectly okay. Your papers could use a boycott.
Posted by Fuck Bigots on November 29, 2009 at 11:34 AM · Report this
170
@51 My 23 year-old sister is retarded. I don't call her a retard, but I do tell people she's retarded (her disability is very rare - less than 1 in a million live births - it has a long, confusing name that doesn't mean much to many people). She's not particularly bright, but she's not deluded either (she has the mental age of an 8 year-old). She understands that that she has an intellectual disability, that one way to describe this is "retarded", and that when people refer to someone as a retard it generally isn't a compliment. There's no coaching that's gone on there. My sister is perhaps not outraged when she hears "retard" or "retarded" used in a derogatory way, but she is saddened. It is also true that she has been called "retarded" in a derogatory, if accurate, way. I don't think it's unfair to ask/demand that people refrain from using "retard" as a slur.
Posted by anon79 on December 4, 2009 at 4:43 PM · Report this
171
@14 I wasn't aware we had gender-segregated restrooms for "millions of years."
Posted by XiaoGui17 on December 12, 2009 at 9:30 PM · Report this
172
@58 I sincerely hope this is a joke... :/
Posted by XiaoGui17 on December 12, 2009 at 10:05 PM · Report this
173
@52 - Sexually abused?
Posted by Frederica Bimble on February 11, 2011 at 4:51 PM · Report this
174
There is another reason many women want nothing to do with open men. Several other actually.

1) They do not want to be sexual entertainment for the couple. Her and him having a "thing" is one thing. Him going home and talking about their sex life to his W, quite another. Not all couples do this. How does she know which he is?

2) In relation to 1, it drives home that the affair is All About Sex. See it's much more tasteful for some women when it's just something that happened and she can believe she's so special and fantastic my god he's willing to break vows for her.

3) There is a more than common strange subset of people who believe if shit happens in your marriage and you cheat, well, shit happens and let's talk about it and it's understandable, but being open is just tacky and dirty and what kind of weirdo does THAT? I have heard many women say they don't want open men because they want to find another man who has unmet needs, not just be with a guy who is interested in having lots of sex with lots of different women.

4) They assume any guy who is open is a complete and total male slut. Many, in fact I would say most, expect the affair to be a side/parallel relationship, not one of many. Yeah I don't get that either but come on how often does Dan get letters where someone says "OMG the CPOS I am screwing became a CPOS on ME too can you BELIEVE IT?!"

5) In relation to 4, if she's married, she often wants someone with as much to lose as she does. If the open dude's wife finds out, it's no BFD, leading to far less reason for him to be discreet in her thinking.

6) Most women really do not like confirmation of their second place status. Nothing confirms second place better than "my wife is so completely non threatened by you she doesn't care if we screw, that's how unimportant you are."

7) If she's had prior experience with open relationships, and it didn't go well, she may prefer cheating. There are a subset of people who tried open or DADT and found it WAY too much drama negotiating this and that and the other and dealing with so and so's issues and so and so's feelings and BLAH in the end keeping everything nice neat and quiet was much more preferable. I could see someone being worried that "oh great so we can fuck but the second wifey says no I'm gone, fabulous, fuck that I'll find someone who chooses on their own merits thanks."

But most of the time it's 1.

Are these assumptions correct? For all open situations? Not always. Just explaining it's NOT about the conquest or keeping one to themselves or anything like that necessarily.
More...
Posted by wendykh on March 6, 2011 at 5:40 AM · Report this

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