Columns May 4, 2011 at 4:00 am

The Ex Files


What kind of caretaking did FOFS think she owed the guy she just broke up with? I think calling her vindictive is a little much, but certainly she seems to relish controlling people by "caring" for them.
There's a petition on the wesaygay website. They're looking for 2500 signatures, they're almost at 2300 now. Please go check it out!

Thank you!
I don't think a guy like the one in CL's letter has any right to know about her decision to abort. The fetus is not his. This is about her body and it's her choice alone. She would be seriously mistaken to tell him about it unless she honestly needed for herself to know what his wishes were. By all means tell him afterwards if you feel that would be safe for you and you want to educate him as Dan describes.

Yes, after the baby is born then it's his responsibility. But he already made his choice when he came in her so he can't complain.
"It's only fair that the same guy who would be on the hook for child support payments if you decide to go through with the pregnancy be heard out before you follow through on your decision to end it."

No, it's not. Of course some men think this. And I can see why their puny man brains think this is a logical argument. But it's not. You know why? Because men and women aren't equal and they're not the same. A baby in a woman's body is IN HER BODY. All a man had to do to was blow a load once. This is not an equal contribution, no matter how "good," "decent" and "non-abusive" the man is.

Life isn't fair and it's not even. Women don't get to make as much money as men. They don't get to be as physically strong. They don't get to wave dicks around. And men don't get to decide whether a woman should get an abortion, and they certainly don't 'deserve' to know what a woman's choice is.

Would I tell my boyfriend, who I love? Sure. But not because I think it's moral or "fair." Because I love him and he's my partner. Following this reasoning, I get the argument that it might be smart to tell a guy to scare the shit out of him, and maybe make him think he should have safer sex. But do I think Dan is right to say that "it's only fair" and that a woman SHOULD tell a man, so he can "make a case for keeping the baby?" Hell the fuck no.

(ESPECIALLY because his reason for this is that "men have to pay child support." Ah, so familiar: another law being used to tell me what I can and can't do with my body! How progressive.)
"It's only fair that the same guy who would be on the hook for child support payments if you decide to go through with the pregnancy be heard out before you follow through on your decision to end it."

No, it's not. Of course some men think this. And I can see why their puny man brains think this is a logical argument. But it's not. You know why? Because men and women aren't equal and they're not the same. A baby in a woman's body is IN HER BODY. All a man had to do to was blow a load once. This is not an equal contribution, no matter how "good," "decent" and "non-abusive" the man is.

Life isn't fair and it's not even. Women don't get to make as much money as men. They don't get to be as physically strong. They don't get to wave dicks around. And men don't get to decide whether a woman should get an abortion, and they certainly don't 'deserve' to know what a woman's choice is.

Would I tell my boyfriend, who I love? Sure. But not because I think it's moral or "fair." Because I love him and he's my partner. Following this reasoning, I get the argument that it might be smart to tell a guy to scare the shit out of him, and maybe make him think he should have safer sex. But do I think Dan is right to say that "it's only fair" and that a woman SHOULD tell a man, so he can "make a case for keeping the baby?" Hell the fuck no.

(ESPECIALLY because his reason for this is that "men have to pay child support." Ah, so familiar: another law being used to tell me what I can and can't do with my body! How progressive.)
Did anyone else notice that the woman in the first letter, if her version of the story is to be believed, was RAPED? C'mon, Dan, how'd you miss that?
Did anyone notice that the woman in the first letter, if her version of the story is to be believed, was RAPED?!?! I'd be more concerned about having been violated than about whether the rapist's right to know whether he impregnated you...
6 This letter was a letter of the day and there was disagreement then about this being a rape. She doesn't seem to think it was rape or be worried about it being rape. So, if it seems like rape to you, I think it's that her sparse description left room for you to fit that reading into it.
@6 ppaatt

The language of the letter is certainly a condensed and confusing account of events. It just sounds like hurried, bad sex. The letter writer doesn't talk about it like she was raped.
I don't get it. What's the point of preventing teachers from using the word "gay"? How does that help the anti-gay movement? Maybe the teacher could be saying "gays suck" or something. Wouldn't the nazis want that? I'm confused.

And don't they know gay also means "happy"? And isn't there an NBA player named Rudy Gay? Didn't he play for Memphis for a while? Isn't that ironic?
I don't get it. How does it help to prevent teachers from saying the word "gay". What if the teachers want to say something like "gay people are evil" or some other shit like that? Would they get in trouble too? Wouldn't the Tennessee nazis want that though?

And also, don't they know gay means "happy". Or are they all at 4th grade level in the South and simply can't speak English good?

And isn't there an NBA player named Rudy Gay? Doesn't he play for Memphis? Is he now going to be de-facto illegal?

I'm very confused.
I'm not sure who is crazier, FOFS or her hateful ex. How much post-breakup processing does one need to do? She says that they broke up and the day after the break up, she found out about the death of another ex, which so unsettled her that she "was a total mess for months and completely incapable of dealing with the breakup, which was hard for the guy I'd just broken up with. We wound up ending things on a really bad note." But wait: weren't they already broken up? It sounds like the ex (the crazy, manipulative one who is still alive) is very good at controlling her.

I can hear the conversation: He: "You need to help me deal with our breakup. You've neglected your duty to deal with the break up, so I hate you. Since I had sex with you under the assumption we would be together forever and then you acted in such a way as to change that outcome, I retroactively rescind my consent to have sex with you. You raped me. Take me back or I'll tell the world (via Facebook) that you are a rapist."
She: "Oh, I feel so guilty that I was mourning the death of an old boyfriend so I was incapable of showing you the love and support you needed to get over being with me. I must be to blame for your insanity, and if I don't let you blackmail me I will suffer horrible pangs of guilt when you die as you surely will, because I am cursed and all my ex-boyfriends die, plunging me into emotional trauma."

Sweet Mary's afterbirth, as Canuck would say.

These two should write for the soaps. Too bad ABC just cancelled All My Children.
I did not get the impression that CL was raped, and she did not seem to have that impression, either. Crappy hurried back seat sex, yes; rape, no. I personally believe that the only reason for telling the guy about the pregnancy would be so that he could pay his fair half of the bill, which she should have no doubt that he SHOULD. Dan didn't address that question (there were lots of others to be addressed, and he couldn't get to it all). IMHO, IF her mind was made up to have the abortion, AND she did not need his financial support (and he seemed unlikely to give emotional support), she had no reason to tell him for one of two reasons: 1) he would be the opposite of supportive, or 2)this news would burden him in a way that did not burden her and would leave him scarred for a long time just because of her need for him to know.
@13 - she didn't lie about being on BC. But BC doesn't always work 100%. Guys should use a second method (ie condom) if they really don't want to be a dad.

FWIW, I don't think it was rape either - but I think she should learn who her friends are, and avoid drinking with assholes.
It sounds like TN conservatives are setting-up the gay-taboo law to be struck-down by the courts, and to use that as a precedent to also strike-down the prohibition against practicing religion in public school.
Well, JFTR, just because a woman gets drunk and into a backseat with someone to "make out and touch" doesn't grant cart blanch for the guy to, after asking if she's on birth control ("Why, yes, I am, why do you a...OOOOMPH!") suddenly penetrate her w/o explicit consent and void his nuts.

And just because a woman doesn't CONSIDER it rape(blames herself and/or the situation instead of the guy who penetrated her w/o her overt consent) doesn't mean it's not.

Not arguing for or against in this particular case, just saying.

There can be a very thin line between two generally consenting adults just getting carried away and rape. And many grey areas involved, incl. intoxication levels of each/both. And it's not as if she had TIME to object between him penetrating her and him ejaculating into her.

But in my general experience, even my HUSBAND/LOVER sticking his dick into me w/o clear consent, either via SOBER body language or other expressed willingness to play that game, is a no-no. Much less say some otherwise involved acquaintance
in a backseat.

I signed the petition.

another flying monkey
The fetus may partly belong to the father, but the pregnancy is all the woman's. The day that he can pull the baby out of her womb and pit it into his is the day that he gets a say on whether or not the pregnancy is terminated.
Mike @16
That sounds much too clever.
are y'all watching Glee? there was just a commercial for Google Chrome featuring the It Gets Better Project and Dan and Terry. great googly moogly!
CL - I'm going to call shenanigans on this one. I think she wants to tell him about the abortion because she wants to break-up or cause drama in his relationship. If you've already made the decision, and it's to abort, there really is no reason to tell the guy unless you're asking for financial or emotional support. "Hey, here's this decision that involves/affects you to some extent, but you have no power to affect or persuade me regarding it, but I just wanted to let you know anyway..." WTF?

Either she's looking for some sort of assurance for her decision, looking for him to persuade her otherwise (perhaps if he was really into having a kid, she'd rethink her decision to abort, especially if he made promises of undying love and to leave his relationship), hoping for emotional support through the procedure, looking to him to help pay or wants to cause drama in his relationship.

I think it's the drama issue because she says that she got all emotional about the sex the next day "in relation to his relationship" and was worried about "what kind of girl does he think I am now" --- sounds like a homewrecker in the making. Not that he's any prize either for cheating on his gf, but I just find her whole letter very odd and likely to create drama more than anything.
@22: If I got someone pregnant, and she miscarried or had an abortion, I'd want her to tell me. I'd just like to know.
Okay, maybe this is just my own bitter experience talking, but... why do guys even want a say when the woman has decided to terminate? Isn't the stereotype that particularly those men who are not planning for it are TERRIFIED of becoming a dad?

I guess I have just never heard of a woman deciding to terminate, and the guy going "No no I want this responsibility!" but I've heard plenty of women deciding to keep it, and then men endlessly bitching about child support payments.
My impression from CL's letter was that she was really just asking the question "should a woman tell a random hookup that he got her pregnant?" I think all the other details were fairly irrelevant. She seems to think that if she had gotten pregnant, she would have had a moral obligation to tell him.
@22 it's even more removed than that, she isn't pregnant and never was. This is entirely hypothetical to her, more of a "should a woman inform a man when she's about to abort a fetus created with his help"

I think, as Dan said, if you're sure it puts you in no danger, you should inform a guy. But I think you should inform him afterward. More of a "in the future, wrap it up because the next girl might not take care of things like I just did"

but then, as a lesbian, this conversation is even more hypothetical to me than it ever could be to CL
Wow Dan nailed it with FOFS. Precisely the right mixture of wisdom, firmness, and even a little assholery.

Wisdom because we are all going to die. I always say: Tell me a story with a happy ending. There is no such thing.

Firmness because this guy needs to be cut off last week. This would border on stalking if she wasn't egging him on the whole way.

Assholery because she really has some latent batshitcraziness that is helping to perpetuate this thing. The girl has not even defriended the ex on Facebook. I call flowersand.

As for CL, I had a similar question come up in one of my classes. What are the moral and legal duties of a pregnant woman to father? Dan gets an "A".

He gets right to the nut in 333 words! Not as fast as the one thump thunder but pretty fast: "Guys need to know when they have dodged a bullet." Brilliant argument!
w/r/t the TN bill: obviously it's bigoted in the saddest, grossest way, and obviously it would prevent teachers from helping protect bullied students.

Besides, that, however, it is unworkable, bad policy written by someone who hasn't seen in the inside of a K-12 classroom in decades. Kids call each other "gay" CONSTANTLY. This is unacceptable, disruptive behavior. If teachers are not allowed to explain what the word means and why its pejorative use is unacceptable, the behavior will continue. If students see that teachers condone homophobic teasing (by not engaging with it for fear of running afoul of the law), the behavior will escalate. This is bad for gender non-conforming students, clearly, but it's also bad for classroom management, something you'd think TN legislators might give the slightest shit about (unlike, say, those bullied kids).
Everyone's assuming that CL actually had an abortion, and she didn't - she had a "scare," which makes her all the more batshit for obsessing about this.
FOFS, you need to cut all contacts with your ex NOW. Do not try to convince him that you are not a rapist. Do not argue with him at all. He has you exactly where he wants you: feeling guilty. And he will continue to manipulate you with his twisted logic, feeding on your guilt and sympathy, until you do everything he wants. Please, please, leave.
Turn about is fair play. FOFS manipulated the live-ex into a long distance relationship he didn't want by making promises she couldn't or more likely didn't want to keep. He took a chance on her, possibly against his better judgment, relying/trustjng her assurances/commitments and got badly burned because of it. I find it interesting that she got more bent out of shape by the death of a former boyfriend than by the break up with what the day had been current boyfriend. WTF
Sounds more like she had already moved on and finally got around to giving the news to the live exBF. I think a lot of people would be bitter and bewildered by her actions. The live exBF can't get closure because a former boyfriend dies (just how may boyfriends ago was he) and he finds out just how little he meant to her. Either she truly messed him up or he's getting some payback for the pain she inflicted on him. I call BS on FOFS.
Screw "gay," us queers are good at making up new words. We picked "partner" in place of "husband" and "wife" and the straights liked it so much they stole it. Tennessee doesn't "gay" they can just start a new trend instead. I vote for "crooked."
@10 - the bill isn't so much about the word "gay" as it would be prohibiting teachers to discuss homosexuality at all. And that's for 9th grade and lower. They could talk about straight sex in health class, but not anything else.
I'm not sure I understand the mindset of people who want to read rape into the first letter. Could it have been rape? Sure. All you have to do is read in that she withheld consent but that he did it anyways.

But if we're reading things in, then it's equally easy to read in a story where both consented, both were into it, both wanted it, and then both woke up in the morning a little chagrined. That's not rape -- that's college.

Hell, if we're reading things in, why not read in that she initiated the sex? It's every bit as likely as the "rape" interpretation -- and I've known more than a few girls who get horny and aggressive when they've had a few. That's not rape -- if anything it's the opposite.

All we really know is that the sex was bad. One pump? That's some rotten sex. But rotten sex, while regrettable, isn't rape. He doesn't owe her an apology for rape, or deserve 20 years in the slammer. He owes her some head.

As to why men should know about the pregnancy? Because he might want to know. Reproductive choices are important -- but they're important for everyone. Yes, it's true that men are non-voting members when it comes to abortion -- and that's as it should be.

But non-voting doesn't mean that your feelings shouldn't be taken into consideration, or that you should be treated like some sort of cum-soaked rag that happened to float by. He was involved with making the fetus, and he would be involved in raising it -- so he should at least be allowed the courtesy of knowing about its existence, so that he can deal with the situation in whatever way is right for him personally. (For many men, that's a big sigh of relief -- but for some, it may even be a little grieving, as odd as that may sound.)

That right is not absolute -- it's perhaps a courtesy, even. And if the man is likely to be abusive, then it's a courtesy that can't be extended. But when it can, it's important to allow the man to be at least some type of participant in the reproductive choices that affect his life. It's not something that you have to do -- but it's something I think decent people should do.
Your advice here is shit, Dan. A woman should tell the guy who got her pregnant that she wants to get an abortion so that he has the chance to argue with her and try to talk her out of it because he wants a baby? NO. Why do you think she should subject herself to such arguments after she's already made the choice to have an abortion? Why should she give the guy a chance to guilt her into something as major as having a child when she doesn't want to? Why should she give him the chance to blackmail her in any way- to threaten to tell her family or friends that she did something that she has every legal right to do, for example? Just to be fair to the guy? Oh shit, those poor oppressed men. Those poor, poor, oppressed men being denied the rights to fetuses (and thus the uteri they're in).
I don't think I've ever been pissed off by one of your columns. But this, this is seriously bullshit. AS LONG AS THE FETUS IS INSIDE THE WOMAN, IT ISN'T SOMETHING THE MAN HAS ANY CLAIM TO. It isn't a born child he has any parental custody of. Just because he contributed the sperm that led to it's existence doesn't mean he owns part of it. Jesus fucking christ.
@35: read 29.
I'm not really commenting on her situation, just Dan's advice to her. Where he says that he thinks a fetus inside a pregnant woman partially belongs to the man who contributed the sperm that made it, and where he says that he thinks it's only fair to the men for women to tell them they're decided to have an abortion so that the guy ,"should be told about an impending abortion so he can, if he feels the abortion is a mistake, make a case for keeping the baby."

Dan need to pull his head out of his ass and realize that it doesn't FUCKING MATTER if the guy thinks the woman is 'making a mistake'. HER OPINION IS THE ONLY ONE THAT MATTERS. IF she decides she wants to go ahead and share information with that guy- private information about her choices about HER BODY- it should be because she wants to, not because someone else thinks she needs to give him an opportunity to 'make a case' and argue that he knows what's best for her, all in the name of 'being fair' to the guy.
@ FOFS, what a shitty situation. I think anyone who takes those kind of promises seriously after a few months is either delusional or very inexperienced, or both. Break ups are never pretty, especially a situation that you described. Difficult shit happens to us and we make mistakes, sucks, but don't put up with this guys bullshit. Cut him off, let him get over you, and add that if he can ever just be friends in the distant future that he can contact you via email.

I do find it very strange that you have such an issue with keeping all exes. Exes are just people, each one is only a good as he is, be careful about evaluating someone to a higher status just because you dated them. If they are an asshole why do you want to keep in contact with them?
FOFS: Your ex is seriously batshit.

I say call his bluff, let him call you a rapist on Facebook so long as he posts his entire line of reasoning. He will be laughed off the face of the planet, and maybe he will learn to not be such an insane drama queen.

Cut him off. You have been entirely too nice for entirely too long, particularly in the face of him being verbally abusive.
I think people are being too hard on FOFS. She was traumatized by the death of someone who'd been very close to her -- shit, I've felt pretty messed up about deaths of people I barely knew, especially if they were young and it was sudden. Not to mention that she's being emotionally abused by this ex, which just makes the trauma worse.

That's not to say that everyone isn't right that she needs to cut the guy off immediately. I just think calling her "batshit" is a little harsh.
Good advice to FOFS, harsh but true, she needs to let go for her own good and her ex's. I just have one thing to add, if she doesn't want him posting crazy accusations on her facebook wall she can simply remove him from her friends list, block him and set her page to friends only. I have never understood why people carry on these ridiculous facebook fights, block the motherfucker already!
Classy Lady, your lucky you didn't get AIDS instead of a pregnancy scare, pretty foolish move to have unprotected sex
Good advice to FOFS, harsh but true, she needs to let go for her sake and her ex's. I just have one thing to add, if she doesn't want him to post crazy accusations on her facebook wall all she needs to do is remove him from her friends list, block him and and set her facebook to friends only, which is a good idea to avoid everyone from crazy ex-boyfriends to curious new employers. I've never understood why people carry on these ridiculous facebook arguments, block the motherfucker already!
Did someone else write this week's column? Dan's answers to both letters are thoughtful, balanced, thorough, and highly logical. There wasn't one sentence from him that struck me as batshit crazy. Nice to know Dan isn't always off his rocker. Kudos, dude!
Actual life-revering cultures, like the Buddhists and Hindus, don't have reservations against abortion like in the US, because they are still patriarchies, and abortion is just another freedom for men.

The US has historically been hostile to the Catholics. But the rise of feminism was time to go easy on them, and observe their sanctity of life. In the US, abortion is a faux issue to undercut the freedom of women.

Telling the potential father is going to give him the opportunity to give the baby a name, and for that reason think it's ok to abort without telling the father. Giving the baby a name is a shitty thing to do, but I still actually think that it's fair game to do to the pregnant woman. But I also think it's fair game that if it isn't born and it doesn't have a name, it isn't murder.
seems to be some man-hating going on in regards to whether or not the sperm-donor should be informed about impending abortions and whatnot. I can't really complain about it, though, because I don't really understand the kinds of shit women have to deal with growing up and living in a man's world. I mean, I'm aware of it, but I can never really understand it. So rage on, ladies, it's a small price for us men to pay, I guess.
oh yeah, and even trying to call what happened in the first letter "rape" is ridiculous and reactionary. at the risk of busting out a sexist cliche, she obviously wanted it.
I can't be the only one who sees why Dan put these letters back-to-back. At least I hope I'm not.

Spot-on advice for the both of these, with one footnote. The whole point of Facebook is to keep tabs on somebody without all the time and energy requirements of a full-blown friendship. That's an ideal place to keep exes. One who needs constant contact under the guise of "further processing" should be seen for exactly what it is.
You can be pretty sure that once the time comes that human technology allows us to pull a fetus out of a womans body (if she wishes an abortion) and bring it to term in a test tube (if the father wishes to keep it) that a large part of the population will be strongly against this.

Even though it would be a perfectly fair and we are almost there with our technology, say 25-50 years. The woman gets all the choice as long as it is in her body, but if she doesn't want to have a baby the father gets to veto it (and the woman can then ignore it completely and just pay child support like men do today if that is her wish).

But I have a strong suspicion that even when we have the technology and the means all the religious fanatics and women who are not too keen on losing their power over deciding everything regarding if they will children or not when they get pregnant will strongly protest it.

Anyway I agree with Dan on his view that it is only fair to tell the father. It is not his right to know, nor is it the woman obliged to tell him. However it would be fair and it is the decent thing to do, kind of like it's only fair for a guy to at the very least leave contact details after having sex with a girl so she can reach him in the event that she gets pregnant and she doesn't get stuck with a child with no father.
@27... flowersand?
Was it rape? Who knows...but even if they were having some hot and heavy makeouts, it's damn creepy that this guy only asked "are you using birth control" instead of, say, "what's your STI status" or "would it be OK if I put my penis in you now". Echoes of the Julian Assange accusations here: even consent to sex isn't necessarily consent to unprotected sex.
FOFS's letter rather amazes me. What must it be like to be Dan and to wake up every morning to an in-box full of examples of the ABSOLUTELY CRAZY ways people find to make themselves miserable? Human beings really do have far too much brain power for their own good.
great response to the first letter. men have a right to know (with the abovementioned caveats, of course) and a right to be heard. this doesn't mean that they should have the last word in decision-making. not being able to see the difference between these two things is being willfully obtuse.
#3) the fetus is his, in the sense that it was made by him. babies are not made by women alone. and #14) burden him? leave him scarred? you mean, in the same way she was by worrying that she was pregnant? great. he ought to know what it's like.
@6 How is this rape? It sounds like there was a good bit of pre-meditated (even if inebriated) discussion about BC - so again, how is this rape? Sounds like she kept on nursing her crush despite the "no action" policy, and then changed her mind about that too. The guy does sound like douche, and of course, women being as bad as men about wanting what they 'can't have', she is drawn like a moth to the flame, but he's still just a douche.
@34 Well-reasoned and thoughtful response. Thanks.
"Life isn't fair and it's not even. Women don't get to make as much money as men."

Because they don't work as long. Look it up, dear. You are about two decades behind the research. (I know, dear, you really *don't* want to know, but then you are no better than the Darwin-denying fundamentalists.)

"[Women] don't get to be as physically strong."

Blame nature. But men don't get to have lower centers of gravity. Your oint?

"[Women] don't get to wave dicks around."

Again, nature. And men have no uteri.

"And men don't get to decide whether a woman should get an abortion, and they certainly don't 'deserve' to know what a woman's choice is."

This is entirely and completely a construct of laws passed, unlike all the foregoing.

If anything is "unfair" in that list, dear, it would most likely be the one thing imposed by regulatory fiat, as opposed to either market transactions or millions of years of evolution.

But you keep preaching the faith, sister. I am sure dad's money spent on those Womyn's Studies classes is well spent.
In no way does asking about someone's hormonal birth control status constitute negotiating consent for vaginal penetration, protected or not. CL, you may have "freaked" because the CPOS (the way you describe him as "in a relationship" and not "in an open relationship" makes me think he doesn't have the okay to fool around with people who are not his girlfriend) you've been hanging out with raped you (assuming you're not leaving a whole lot out of the narrative between him asking about your use of hormonal birth control and him penetrating you, like a conversation about whether you want to have penis-in-vagina intercourse, whether you're going to use additional protection like condoms or withdrawal, etc.). Consenting to making out and manual sex does not mean you consented to vaginal penetration or that you were asking for that particular kind of sex. For everyone who doesn't think this is rape: if I ask a random stranger on the street if shes on birth control, an answer of "Yes" does not mean she wants to fuck. I know the context is radically different, but unless CL left out an important question like, "Do you want to fuck?" or, "Can I enter you?" her consent was not obtained, and based on her freak-out reaction, I'd hazard a guess that she experienced it as a violation. CPOS raped her, and the fact that anyone thinks that this is normal and especially okay is why we talk about "rape culture"; rape is normalized in our society.

@17: Yes yes yes!

@34: Based on what we know, that is, what was in the letter, the guy penetrated CL without consent and immediately came. That "penetrated CL without consent" part = rape (see #17). Could she be leaving an intervening conversation (even a few words back and forth) out of the story? Absolutely. But that requires reading in to the letter; if one takes it at face value, it was rape. And her reaction suggests that she processed it as rape.

@47: From what is it obvious that she wanted it? Being drunk (I don't actually think that this categorically precludes consent, but it's part of the consideration)? Answering the question, "Are you on birth control?" Freaking out the next day? I agree she wanted to make-out and get fingered and feel him up/jerk him off. In no way do any of those mean she wanted to be penetrated and ejaculated-in.

@51: And consent to one kind of sex isn't consent to any/all kinds of sex.
@53,54 mmw1

"it was made by him"
So the fuck what? How does that give him any rights during the pregnancy? Men have a right to be heard? That's an entitled thing to say. You seriously think that the guy in this letter, the guy who basically spilled some bodily fluid in this woman by accident and without a care in the world except his momentary desire, that that guy deserves even a second thought from this woman?
@58 et al: Can you conclusively prove that FOFS obtained explicit verbal consent to every step of every sexual encounter she ever had with her ex? If not, she'd better wear that rapist label her ex wants to pin on her with pride.
@4 I am one of those puny-man-brained individuals--complete with the dick-waving capability--of which you wrote. I am also a staunch 3rd wave feminist [with a hint of misandry even], so I hope that you will take the following to heart:

You are a ridiculous, reactionary twat.
Guys, if you want to lessen the chances of ever hearing "I may be pregnant," do everybody a favor and take responsibility for your own fertility. It is not fair that the burden of birth control lay so completely on the woman's shoulders. Man up, gentlemen, and use a condom, get snipped, or dig yourself into this website
If only there was some way for men and women to plan families together. That way men could be "heard" in the decision making process. They could discuss whether to have a child in the first place. After the baby is born they could have parental "rights."
@58: in context, asking about BC is a shorthand way of saying "I would like to fuck you, is that all right with you?" That's what he's asking; why else would someone ask like that in that situation? If she didn't want to have sex, or didn't want to have sex without a condom, she could easily have said so. It does take a minute to remove the clothing and get lined up and put some spit on your dick and her pussy.

Maybe she regretted it afterwards, or maybe there was a misunderstanding, but honest misunderstandings happen. They're not the same as rape.
I agree with Dan that a guy who gets a woman pregnant and who is not a bully/jerk/threat should have a chance to talk to the woman about what he wants her to do with the pregnancy. I see no contradiction between saying that it is 100% her decision because it's her body and saying that it would be good for her to listen to what he has to say.

As for FOFS, she not only absolutely needs to cut off contact with this asshole, but she also ought to speak to a lawyer about what to do if he really does try to accuse her of rape. I mean, there is no question at all that what happened is NOT rape, but that doesn't mean that he can't cause trouble for her, and there's no guarantee that he won't change his story and make up an even worse accusation.
#46, it can't hurt you to try to understand it. You have to realize that it wasn't long ago that women were pretty much considered property, a husband could rape his wife if he felt like it with no legal actions taken against him, etc... There's a whole ugly (and recent) history behind these feelings, it isn't just 'man-hating'.
It isn't much to ask to be in control of your own body and what happens in it.
You (and Dan) just need to appreciate how women are being treated even today. There are a lot of people in this country actively trying to chip away at the right we have over our own bodies. You need to appreciate that, and you need to realize how women who dare to get abortions are treated- despite the fact that it is our legal right. Dan doesn't seem to get that women can/ are treated like shit, lose relationships with their friends and families, and often subjected to abuse if they dare to disclose they're considering an abortion. He doesn't seem to appreciate how many women are abused by their significant others- especially during a pregnancy- because those assholes think they have some kind of ownership over the woman's body.
To say it's only fair to the man to disclose the pregnancy is to ignore all the facts, and ignore the way women are treated in society.
It isn't much to ask that you realize that a traditionally oppressed group doesn't owe shit to those who have traditionally oppressed them in the name of 'being fair'.
"Void his nuts", nice. Hey 17, thanks for my new favorite term!
CL hadn't wanted sex with him when she was sober; if she had stayed sober, she would never have wanted sex with him. But: it is not legally rape to use alcohol or drugs to get a girl to consent. Since she was able to answer questions, she was not incapacitated. I don't see how you persuade a jury that it's rape.

It's scummy to press the advantage when the other person isn't thinking clearly. But quite common. See: "Candy is dandy / But liquor is quicker" (Ogden Nash).

On the other hand, the great Mignon McLaughlin wrote: "The chief reason for drinking is the desire to behave in a certain way, and to be able to blame it on alcohol." So there you go.
The Tennessee legislation does not prohibit the word gay being spoken, and it does not prohibit any student of any age from discussing their sexual orientation, the orientation of their parents, etc. It doesn't prohibit teaching about / talking of someone who was/is gay. In a literal sense, it prohibits a [public] elemantary or middle school from “instruct[ing] or provid[ing] materials referencing any sexuality other than heterosexuality”

It's a largely meaningless bill (my middle or elementary schools never "instructed" me about homosexuality or provided me any materials discussing the matter) but the real intention is to move the center of the debate over gay rights further to the right. The R's may end up conceding on this one in order to make a gain somewhere else. This is part of the republican game plan (essentially, legislation in bad faith).

I know we all take Dan's word as higher than any gospel, but for gawd's sake, read the bill. Nothing hurts protestation of a bad bill like ignorance of the same.
Oh.My.God. A highly politically correct, intolerant leftist telling women that they should inform the father of a baby of its existence, rather than trotting out that old "MY BODY MY CHOICE" argument? Actual thought and consideration for the father, pointing out that if a woman chooses to keep the baby the father is fucked for support for 18 years regardless of his wants, BUT if he wants to keep the kid and Mother Uterus wants to abort it the daddy has NO FUCKING SAY WHATSOEVER? Jesus...I need to lie down...I didn't think the bigoted left had the ability to think logically beyond all the rhetoric...

the "freakout" the next day wasn't because they had sex, it was because he was in a relationship and she was worried about his opinion of her.

and i say she wanted it because she was in the fucking car with him, most of their clothes were off (if not she would have had to remove her pants after he asked about the birth control), and they had already progressed pretty far sexually when he asked "Are you on birth control?"

that question, in that context, is so FUCKING OBVIOUSLY asking to take things to the next level (i.e. penetration). nutting in her after one pump was a shitty thing to do, but guess what? those are the risks she's taking by being sexually active and getting half naked with a guy in a fucking car and then saying "Yes i'm on birth control" when sex is the obvious next step in the situation.

If men don't get any say in the pregnancy discussion because "they knew what they were getting into when they had sex", then this woman sure as FUCK wasn't raped. she knew there was an inherent risk of this guy being a one-pump chump when she decided to get sexual with him in the car. she knew what he meant when he asked about birth control.

she decided the pleasure of the situation was more important than the risks, and she had worries about her reputation the morning after. it's part of being an adult and accepting responsibility for the situations that you chose to put yourself in.
@69 (heh): You're totally right about moving the Overton window.

But if your middle and elementary school didn't teach about orientation along with human biology and sex ed, it should have. I don't know if Tennessee schools currently do. Probably most of them don't. But this isn't meaningless: good teachers, in the course of teaching about human sexuality, should talk about sexual orientation, and this bill is a way to get them in trouble.
OK, people who are getting so bent out of shape about a woman's having the sole right to choose:

Yeah, it's the woman's choice, and the woman's choice alone. She has the only vote. That does not mean that the man has no say at all. If a guy gets someone pregnant, he is involved. There are circumstances where the woman has no obligation to inform the father of the child, and it's not an iron-clad law that she must tell the father in any case, but it's his potential kid too, and a man is entitled to his feelings.

@66, Sure, women have been treated like crap for millennia, but I don't see that there's any reason to let this poison our relationships. It's absurd to just abandon ourselves to misandry, and to claim that we are atoning for centuries of inequality by treating men is if they were not entitled to any reproductive rights of their own.

Bottom line, yes, the woman is the only one who gets to decide what happens to a pregnancy, but it's unrealistic and unkind to assert that while the guy has the right to have the sex that creates the pregnancy and the responsibility to pay for the child if it is born, he has no right to express his feelings on the issue or even to know if the issue exists. I guess I'm some kind of stone-age misogynist, but I think that's unfair.
Oh my god this is so dumb! You don't need to ask someone if you can put your penis inside them to obtain consent. You're making out, you ask about birth control, the clothes start coming off... If you don't want to get fucked then say "don't fuck me." If you are on a date and someone leans into kiss you, you don't allow yourself to be kissed and then say you were sexually assaulted, you turn your head.
At no point in time does CL even hint that it could be rape. All of those nuts that are claiming it was rape are reading way too much into the letter. Yes, rape is bad and should never happen, but I refused to get a handwritten notarized letter each time before sex. Stop jumping to conclusions that have nothing to do with the question!

My read on the letter, was that they were friends, and they liked each other, but agreed that nothing sexual would happen between them because he was in a relationship. Then one night during a drunken escapade, they hooked up, briefly, and the next day she regretted it. She freaked because it was against her moral code to screw a guy in a relationship, and she broke that code, and helped him cheat. Later, she thought she might be pregnant as a result and freaked again, but it turned out to be false.

Her question, was again about her questionable morals, and whether she should tell the sperm donor IF she turned out to be pregnant. My answer to that would have been "No", given how she already freaked out in front of him once before.
This is what's wrong with the focus on consent/rape.

It allows 71/74/75 to pretend that since she didn't scream or push him away, this was a fun "hookup", and "she wanted it." No it wasn't, and she didn't. It was bad sex, that she arguably consented to. If that's what you think of as a fun hookup, stay away from my friends.

#70, the man has no say in what goes on with the woman's body. If there is a baby born, then it is a minor in need of parental support.
Until then, there is no separate child, only the fetus inside the woman. It's the woman's body, try to understand that. It isn't somehow shared property just because the man came inside her. His sperm doesn't grant him ANY ownership over her. I think it's rather sick that you think the man should have a say in what sort of medical choices she should make. And then what, if they were to want different things? Force the woman to go through a pregnancy and give birth against her will? Maybe have her go to court and try to argue that she should control what happens in her body, or just default over to what the guy wants because women are lesser in your eyes anyway? Comments like yours just show how much people like you DON'T view women as equals, but rather lesser beings who don't deserve the same rights over their bodies that you do. How would you like the idea of being forced to give up part of your body against your will? How about being forced to donate even blood or bone marrow if you didn't want to? You wouldn't like that, would you? You'd view it as a gross imposition to have others decide on what happens with your body- even if the others had a connection, say the mother of your child demanding you donate your kidney to the kid, and you not wanting to for whatever reason (say a valid health reason, or you wanting to donate that organ to someone else).
Classy lady is a filthy whore. A dirty, dirty whore with a lot of churching up to do. This vile whore needs to be cast out or stoned.

Freaked out has hundreds of ex boyfriends, and is a filthy whore, too. Perhaps this stalker ex will set her on the path to godliness, but my money's on her getting stabbed/slapped around for being a "loose woman" and finding dog after those trials by fire. Whore.

People are creating their own rape narrative for CL's letter. They're assuming she's omitted nothing and given an exhaustive play-by-play of every moment leading up to this guy penetrating her, even though the letter doesn't read that way and she doesn't mention anything about fearing that she was raped or even having felt particularly pressured to consent. I guess people love to write about rape.
#73, chicagogirl, until there is no likely danger to the woman who wants to have an abortion, her right to her privacy is more important than the man's desire to know if the woman he had sex with may be getting an abortion. It is WAY more important. That isn't 'misandry', it is acknowledging the imbalance in power, the way women who get abortions in this society are treated, and so on.
A man is entitled to his reproductive rights, but his reproductive rights end where the woman's start. It isn't reasonable to say, "Well, he could get stuck with child support so he should at least be entitled to inside information about what the woman is doing with her body". Child support is to support a separate little person he helped create. But until there is a pregnancy carried to term, there is no separate little person in need of parental support- there is only the woman and her body. The answer is for men to take more responsibility in using birth control, and to acknowledge that sometimes birth control fails so he should at least have some dialogue going with who he has sex with about what she would do in the event that the birth control failed (and then not engaging in sex if he couldn't bear whatever her choice would be). The answer is NOT for women to give up any of their privacy regarding their medical choices, or any control of their bodies. THAT is what is 'fair', 'fair' is NOT asking the traditionally oppressed group to try to make concessions to try to be 'more fair' to the group who has traditionally oppressed them.
@Erica P/#76

My personal take is that it isn't rape because both parties share equal responsibility. 99% of what happened was entirely shared responsibility, the first/last thrust was the whip cream on the milkshake, as it were.

My biggest problem with the "woman must explicitly consent" standard for rape is that it strips women of any responsibility - and therefore any agency - for the outcomes. Additionally, in my view "harm" must be done. Physical harm, humiliation, emotional abuse, intimidation/coercion, whatever. Some bad must result. Because otherwise, I and any man I know has been raped several times over when I didn't ask a woman explicitly to have sex with me - and of course that sounds laughable, but the only real difference is the presumption (by you) that man have *inherently* more power - both physically and mentally/emotionally - in sexual negotiations

oh please. I'm not pretending she was enjoying it, I don't have to, because it's pretty obvious from the letter she knew what was going on and she was down for it. the only way the guy could've been MORE obvious would be to have an index card ready with "PENETRATION? YES/NO" written on it and a magic marker for her to circle her answer.

obviously no girl's gonna be happy with a one-pump fuck, but life ain't fair. and don't worry, if i'm in the same situation with one of your friends, i'll make sure to put a condom on before i fuck her. i'll even bring the aformentioned index card so that i can be extra sure i'm not raping her.
Criminey, fetish@81. I'm one of the people saying it's NOT legally rape.

They may have "shared responsibility" in your words, fine. But they did not share fun. He got the fun part. She got the not-fun part. Not the Same As Rape. And Much More Common.

@82, do you think that if he had asked her "Hey, do you want to go back to my place and fuck," she would have said "Hell, yeah!"? No, that question would have "spoiled the mood." He took advantage of her state. Not rape, but not cool.
As a woman and a feminist, I fully agree with Dan's advice to CL. Even though I fully endorse every woman's right to choose whether or not she wants to see a pregnancy through, I think the man who got her pregnant ought to have some say in the matter. I get that it's unfair for a man to be liable for 18 years child support if she choses to have the kid, but has no legal say in the matter before it's born. But in this case I believe a woman's right to chose what happens to her body trumps the unfairness. It's not a perfect system, but it's the best we've got at the moment.
So yes, I think men do have a right to know if they got a woman pregnant, and they do (or should) have the right to voice their opinion on what should be done about the pregnancy. But the pregnant woman does and should have the final say.

I think an exception can be made for a sex worker who was unfortunate enough to get pregnant on the job.
@81 "he penetrated me" = he made the decision.
If she said "I sat on his cock," then she would be the one making the decision. And the guy knew from many conversations that she had decided not to have sex with him. So your analogy to all the times you had sex without explicit consent does not apply, unless your partner was on the record as saying many times that he/she did not want to have sex with you.
@73 chicago girl

I don't think you're a misogynist. It's good that you think enough of men that it's unkind to keep them uninformed of a pregnancy. I think you are overly generous in your estimation of men in general though.

When people refer to a man as having a right to know and a right to be heard before a woman decides whether to terminate then they are going way beyond simple courtesy. This implies some sort of remedy the man would be entitled to if he isn't brought into the decision. I just can't accept that. Her body, her choice. She doesn't have to listen to anything any man has to say. Yes, it would be nice if he was the kind of man whose opinion mattered to her. But don't assume it to be the case.

I'll keep coming back to the guy in this specific case. Here is a guy who mindlessly sprayed his semen out into the world like a salmon. Had it landed on an egg and caused a pregnancy then people are saying he has rights. I think that's bullshit. This is no better than people forcing women to look at fetal sonograms before they can have an abortion.

Men already have reproductive rights. Go out, find a life partner who wants kids, plan to get pregnant together, and have a family. But don't expect much respect or courtesy if you behave like a salmon. Definitely don't expect rights. Just expect to be held responsible. That's fair.
@ 6 - If that description is rape then lawdy, my whole sexual career throughout my 20's was one big rape! Geesh. She told him she wasn't going to do anything with him - and that was NOT in a sexual situation but to keep up the pretense of "being a good girl" - because he was in a relationship and then booze was brought in and inhibitions went down and she got her wish (which was to fuck him - but stupidly didn't use a condom. Stupid, stupid, stupid and the dumbass AND the other dumbass with the penis BOTH need to be frog marched to the nearest STD clinic to make sure loverboy isn't spreading a bit of chlamydia around, or have folks forgotten about THAT one?!).
It sounds like the sex should win the crown for lousy sex of the millenium as well. How old is this kid? 17 or so. He busted a nut after one thrust AND he has a girlfriend as well.
That letter couldn't have been more ridiculous and a non-issue. I understand teenagers have sex all the time but come on, the FIRST piece of advice for BOTH of them is to use a condom! Pregnancy is the least of a teenager's worries nowadays. As mentioned before chlamydia can cause infertility and there is a new strain of gonnorhea that is resisting antibiotics left and right - or does Dan bother to keep up with research in his job as a SEX columnist?

The last letter is infuriating simply because that guy throwing the word rape around as some mealy mouth attempt at manipulation is a dickheaded asshole! That guy needs to be frog marched to the nearest rape support center and sat down and educated on WHAT exactly IS rape. What a little prick. It sounds like she is pretty full of shit herself too. Also, ditto on my sexual career being rape in my 20s again if that dumbass' definition of rape is anything to go by: "she swore she'd be with me forever and I had sex because of that and therefore I've been raped, boo hoo." What a piece of shit! You know, about 98% of American men better start telling the truth when picking up women now because it looks like a hell of a lot of "rape" is going on! The amount of times I've heard the word, "love" thrown at me when what they really meant was "fuck" should have had them arrested for "rape" on the spot.
Where DO these shit heads come from. That letter sounds fake as hell, by the way.

What? Did Dan deliberately choose the most immature, idiotic, asinine, imbecilic letters he could dig up from the bottom of the barrel to post today? Oh, wait, the barrel has to be made of something!
Holy tempest in a teapot, Batman!!! There REALLY isn't enough info in the first letter to be debating consent. The letter writer doesn't seem to be concerned about it and did not give us enough information to debate this point.

The second letter writer might also want to reevaluate her attitude to exes in general. There is this notion in the culture that it's somehow good or noble to be friends with all of your exes. It's nice when it works out that way, but often it doesn't. And if being friends after the break-up doesn't come naturally then both parties should just walk away and not try to force it. Don't forget, they call it a break-up because it's broken!
#77 Oh, would you shut up already? You started out bad and you're just getting worse with every post. Dan explicitly wrote that the woman should feel no obligations to tell if "she sincerely believes—or even legitimately suspects—that the guy is gonna bully, badger, and/or do violence to her in an attempt to prevent her from choosing abortion"
Yet you keep going on and on and on with your stupid straw-men arguments about how Dan and everyone else who does not agree with you wants pregnant women to be locked up in dungeons and have their bonemarrow sold on the black market and blahblahblah.
Only "a good, decent, nonabusive guy" should be told. And there are plenty of those out there, even if you are to blind with rage to see them. And what kind of woman has sex with a guy whom she thinks would take control of her body, in the first place anyway?! You?! You can't have your cake and eat it, you know. You cant have sex with a guy and maybe even be in a relationship with a guy like and equal and then when you get knocked up, treat him like he's some kind of Neanderthal POS who wants nothing more than to continue millennia of abuse and should be treated like a dangerous psycho until the abortion is over afterwards things go back to normal.
"I know this sounds like a typical crazy-ex story, and I should probably just cut him off, but that feels wrong and I'm worried about him."

Feeling wrong about cutting the crazy ex off and being worried about the crazy ex is part of EVERY crazy ex story. Those are the kinds of feelings crazy exes use to manipulate people.

The dude's verbally abusive and is threatening to defame you. Even if you did hurt him when you broke up, there's not justification for him treating you this way and there's no reason to stay in contact with someone who treats you this way.
@58 - Or maybe the letter writer was leaving out unnecessary/personally embarrassing information. Maybe she kept chanting "put it in me" and he asked about birth control because he was looking for an excuse not to. Maybe she actually raped him, because he's 70 pounds lighter than she is and she was just throwing him around.

The point is, we don't have all the facts. We only have what she wrote us about. And what she wrote us about was concern about how she should handle a pregnancy scare.

So please, don't accuse people of rape when you don't know what actually happened. Because, as Dan has argued before, false accusations of sexual assault is a form of sexual assault. You have one paragraph from a possibly edited letter written about an event that seems to have happened a few weeks to a few months ago and does not bring up the subject of rape. Stop jumping to conclusions and remember that people are innocent until proven guilty.
@86 She did not claim to have told him anything "many times". She said she told him which sounds like once to me.

She didn't say, "I will never want to have sex with you though I may want to snog at some point." She said she told him "nothing could happen". Once they were getting racy in a car, he had every reason to think she had changed her mind that nothing could happen.

I am another who really objects to this easy victimization of women.

Yes, men can and do ply women with alcohol to get what they want. It is also true that women will drink in order to more easily do something they want to do but feel they shouldn't.

For all we know, it could have been her idea that they go out for drinks.

she very well might have, it's obvious her regret is of the morning after variety, worrying after the fact that he might think less of her or whatnot, which sucks. but nowhere did she imply in her letter that she didn't want to have sex with the guy.

but i guarantee she didn't want to have sex so brief and disappointing with an added pregnancy scare. if he had lasted longer and pulled out, the only problem would be regret of a drunken hookup.

in short, it wasn't bad sex because he didn't get a clear, written statement of consent, it was bad sex because he lasted one pump and came inside her.
@ 57, Dear, what is with the over-use of the word, "dear" when responding to another's logically written letter.
Hormones getting to you, dear?
There is no way it was rape.

Clearly, someone should offer an invitation for sexual intercourse before you screw them. They may offer that invitation verbally. Or, they may allow a situation where they put their exposed genitals in close proximity to your exposed genitals.

If you don't want to have sex with someone, at some point before you're waiving your naked genitals in the immediate vicinity of their naked genitals, you should specify the conditions under which you are willing to have sex - with a condom, without a condom, not at all, missionary only, whatever.

Dressing slutty isn't asking for it. Getting drunk isn't asking for it. Going to someone's car or apartment isn't asking for it. Making out isn't asking for it. Getting naked isn't asking for it. Even oral sex isn't asking for (more) it. But god damn, putting your naked genitals next to their naked genitals has to be considered some sort of invitation. Take care of the communication before then!
@93 - I withdraw "many times." Once is enough, since he still was in the relationship, so her explicit condition had not been removed. Even if she invited him out, that's not evidence she had changed her mind.

@97 You might be amazed to learn that you can get from clothed genitals to intercourse with just a little pushing fabric out of the way.
Sounds to me like she was surprised when he penetrated her. Maybe an older, wiser woman wouldn't have been surprised, but I think she was.
#90- Nope, I will not shut up. And you're exaggerating what I said/ trying to put words into my mouth. Give me a fucking break- if you think what I said translates to anyone "who does not agree with you wants pregnant women to be locked up in dungeons and have their bonemarrow sold on the black market..." you need better reading comprehension.
If a woman hesitates to tell the man who got her pregnant that she wants an abortion, she has NO obligation to tell him. She should make her choice based on what she feels is correct, not because people who aren't even involved in her life think it's 'fair'. Just because he's "a good, decent, nonabusive guy" doesn't mean he isn't going to try to talk her out of what she's decided to do with her own body- and indeed that is the reason Dan thinks she should tell him, so he has the opportunity to 'make a case' and argue with her about why he thinks 'the abortion is a mistake'. I don't think women are obligated to subject themselves to that if they don't want to. And just because he's a "a good, decent, nonabusive guy" doesn't mean he won't become at least emotionally abusive upon finding out the woman he's with wants to have an abortion.
Why don't you go back and reread what I posted? And do it without the preconceived notion in your head that I'm a shrieking man-hating harpy. And try to realize that there are women- good decent women- who wouldn't want to tell their partner that they were having an abortion despite the fact that their partners aren't controlling psychopaths.
@98 Once she starts making out with him, she is no longer abiding by her "nothing can happen" rule. Something is happening once they are making out. At that point, she has already changed her mind.

He can't be expected to know that she had undeniably changed her mind about racy backseat make out session but not PIV.

If she invited him out, it's evidence that he wasn't plying her with alcohol to manipulate her into sex.
@ 70 - pointless. If "dad" didn't want to have children then he CAN use birth control just as easily as a woman.
What? Did you not realise that condoms exist? Your "argument" is ridiculous. An accident is different and the two should go from there but if the male has protected himself then what he says "matters" but otherwise, he's given up his choice by not using birth control.
Even if a woman says she uses the pill, has an IUD and uses spermicidal jelly HE has no proof of any of that so he can use birth control just as easily so stop your whining!
Live and learn and stop whinging and moaning with an illogical, full of shit argument.
@ 53, 85, 95 and others, at the risk of sounding willfully obtuse, what does this right to be heard mean? If I can't make up my mind, then sure, talking it through with the baby's father could be beneficial. But if I decided to have an abortion, I'm not going to change my mind, so what's the point in hearing what the father has to say about it? To give him the false hope that he can change my mind, that he's participating in the decision making when he's not? Or are you saying that I shouldn't even make that decision without consulting the man first and hearing his case or whatever? I am at a loss here.

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