Columns Sep 4, 2013 at 4:00 am



@99: Did EricaP really say that?? Wow, her belfry has more bats than a Christopher Nolan trilogy.

Nurse, get me 200 mg of Thorozine and a straight jacket. And a paddle. And a kitty outfit, medical grade. Stat!
@103, I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree on what I used to think. Let's just say that I have always supported Dan's GGG approach, which does involve people being "giving" (of activities which aren't their favorite) and "game" to try things they were new to & unsure they might like.

FWIW, I apologize for having at some point written so badly as to give you drastically erroneous view of my beliefs.
@20 (Yeah, I'm late): After that comment I started to be creative on your profile pic, with GIMP. You'd make a nice drag queen.
@95 seandr: Ohhh, YEAH!!! That's my kind of catsuit!!

@96 sissoucat: Sorry--no, I'm not familiar with Chi's Sweet Home.
It's a book series? What is it about?
@lolorhone : I used "fast" because it's the translation of the word I would have used in my native French - a filthy lazy habit. It seems I got lucky ! Thanks for the explanation, I really appreciate it.

@seandr 101 : reading Jane Austen has been strange, many words were not used, nor written, in a familiar way...

@seandr & Grizelda : I know Chi as a manga targetting a young audience. One gets to follow the adventures of a kitten from her point of view. I've had the luck of raising kittens as a child, and reading the manga is just like having the kitty in one's house, except there's no litter to empty at the end of the day. Chi is a pretty good fictional cat, not overly humanized ; it's something I only found in Simon's Cat ( Chi has no superfeline abilities though, she doesn't use baseball bats) and in Terry Pratchett's Greebo, fiend from Hell.
sissoucat: The way you used "fast" made perfect sense. It is also an older usage. Substituting "quickly" or "shortly" would have worked, too. I think your English is remarkably good. I couldn't do the same in French, that's sure.
@nocutename I'm blushing. Thanks... Good night !
@sissoucat: @98, I said the same thing as nocutename about "fast" being just fine. And, for the record, my French is terrible.
Dear Doc and Fixing to Explode: Sometimes people are gay / lesbian because they are genetically one gender but physiologically the other. I experimented around in my younger years (I'm 45 now), I even dated a woman once. When I learned she was genetically male, I realized I wasn't lesbian or even bi. I was attracted to her because of her male personality qualities and still found her very attractive because of her female physical qualities, but I didn't enjoy going down on her the way she enjoyed going down on me. I don't know you so I can't say definitively, but consider the possibility that you are physiologically female / genetically male. There is a test called a karyotype to discern this. In which case your girlfriend is being sincere in her attraction to you, but not being honest with herself about her sexual preference for men. For me, it explained a lot.
@lolorhone you did, and I thanked you @108 for your explanation of the subtleties.

Learning a foreign langage when one's first language is the current lingua franca is a true effort - many of my (educated) compatriots didn't care to learn foreign languages in the 19th century. So even if your French is terrible, your past efforts to learn it commend you.

And, for the record, French is pretty hard even for a native learner. Most French people suck at writing French, and many suck at speaking it.

French's set of writing rules are erratic at best. I've been taught as a child : "a rule without exceptions is not a rule". Then teachers wonder why maths don't come too easily to most French kids.

Any effort to correct the worst absurdities are immediately shot down by the Academiciens and the ruling TV-intelligentsia - who probably can't follow all of the rules themselves - either in the name of the Genie of the Language of Voltaire, or of the Protection of the Intrinsic Poetry of Silly Spellings. These higher intellects take much care not to remember that Voltaire himself faced much controversy when he simplified the writing rules, and that both writing and grammatical rules have widely evolved until they were stuck in their current state around 1900.

No wonder German native speakers are better learners in school, they write what they hear and it's correct - no such luck in French.
FTE: I once dated a woman only to find out she was genetically male. This sealed the deal for me, clearly I was attracted to men. Is it possible you are genetically male? Many (most?) gays / lesbians are physiologically one gender but genetically the other. This would certainly explain a lot about your girlfriend's behavior and probably answer your questions.

In German, spelling and pronounciation are much closer together than in French or English (how many ways are there to pronounce -ough in English?).

Still, it took years to reform the spelling rules amidst huge controversy.
@108 sissoucat,

English is a difficult language, and to spell, in part because it is (at least) two-faced: coming from both Germanic and Latin roots.

I really liked your use of fast (@43) because (due to the Germanic root) it also meant "to hold to" or rigidly. An unintended benefit, no doubt. Quickly would have worked as well.

Ms Sissou - I could once write reasonable French for a native English speaker. Speaking it was never my strong point, though I was at least better than Mary Pierce.

I think I'm just about from the last era when French was the general choice for a second language. Rudimentary French was a part of the curriculum for everybody for a bit. Then the A classes kept on in French when the B classes started Spanish. Finally, we reached a point when we had some choice in the matter. In my school, Greek had died out about five years before, and it just happened that I was part of the first class that didn't get enough of us to sign up for Latin.

As far as Miss Austen, I don't think she'd have won any Spelling Bees, but I'm curious as to how one of her particular habits comes across to English-nonfirst readers. She was particular about the grammar she assigned to characters to the point of such a deficiency tending to coincide with mental or moral deficiency. It would be interesting to know how much of that came through to you reading in a non-native language (a lesser point than that of how the language has changed so that even native English speakers can often benefit from a glossary).
More word fun:

The Queen has Balls

Ball as in sphere comes from old English/Norse maybe from old German.

Ball as in a formal dancing party comes from French from Latin.

He tied it fast

I looked and was corrected: fast as in high rate of speed, fixed tightly, and to have a period of abstention from food comes from Old English.  The German word fest (festhalten) seems like it would be similar to fast (to hold fast), but that is part of the fun of trying to understand the foundations of English.

sissoucat @113: Ah, I thought that you thought you were wrong in your usage. I was just saying you weren't really wrong at all.
Help a long-time reader out. I need to reference the (or one of the) column in which Dan explicitly associates the belief that one HAS to have anal sex to be a real gay man with "use a condom every time" harm reduction campaigns (implying that all sex is acts that require condoms, ie anal). But the archives are vast, my friends. Vast. Anyone have better recall as to when the column came out?
Many (most?) gays / lesbians are physiologically one gender but genetically the other.

Long-exploded theory alert.
@120: Hapless Researcher, you can use Google to search the archives by including in the search terms. Perhaps start with: "anal sex" "gay man"
"explicitly associates the belief that one HAS to have anal sex to be a real gay man with "use a condom every time" harm reduction campaigns".

The advice to "use a condom every time" is no explicit association of gayness with anal sex. If at all, it is a very implicit one.

Dan explicitly (!) has said over and over again that one does not have to have anal sex to be gay, that about a hird of gay men don't have anal sex.

STIs can be transmitted via different sex acts as well, especially oral sex can be a risk for the person who gives a blow job(increased throat and neck cancer in gay men due to HPV is an example).
@EricaP: FWIW, I apologize

No need. You're among the sanest, most reasonable people who hang around these parts.
@sissoucat: A few years ago I went on an Evelyn Waugh reading binge, in part because I fell in love with the English language as it was spoken there and then.

I haven't yet given Jane Austen her due, mostly because her writing has always seemed too prim and repressed to hold the interest of a coarse and debauched libertine such as myself. Although she predates Waugh by some decades, you have me thinking the language alone might compel me to keep turning the pages.
@ lolorhone #97 - ah, I asked about meeting one (or more) of your NSA lovin' girlfriends, NOT about talking about her ...

My little attempt at encouraging the flirtation between you and Mr. Ophian by referencing the three-way also backfired, spawning a spate of misunderstandings, misinterpretations and crankiness.

Mr. Vennominon, Ms. EricaP, and everyone else - sorry about that!
@108 sissoucat: Chi sounds like fascinating reading!
@migrationist: In German, spelling and pronounciation are much closer together than in French or English

True, but as a native English speaker who could at one time hold up his end of a conversation in a German pub, I have to give English credit for its refusal to assign arbitrary gender to nouns. I always struggled with German gendered articles and their various declensions. (Why is Mädchen neuter rather than feminine? Why is a Hund masculine, even if it's a female Hund?)

Sadly, the Germans have given the rest of the world little cause to learn their language, so my understanding of it has mostly receded to a dusty filing cabinet deep in the cellars of my parietal lobe.
@seandr: Jane Austen is vicious in her satire of contemporary mores and manners and takes down stupid people and pretentious asses with verve and flair. She's funny as hell. I used to recommend her to a male friend of mine who thought about her syntax and subject matter and had concluded (without reading her) that her novels would be the literary equivalent of drinking tea with one's pinky finger held aloft. Then he had to read one of her novels. He said to me, in delight: "That woman is great: she hates everyone!" I said, "Of course she does."

My father, a man whose favorite reading material is cold war espionage novels, used to have a long commute and listened to audio books (on cassette--this was before mp3s) which he got out from the library. There was one Austen novel, "Northanger Abbey," which he kept postponing, seeing it as a last resort. Finally he had listened to everything else. He was out of choices. So he resigned himself to it. He said to me, in amazement: "It's FUNNY! Is it supposed to be funny?" I assured him it was.

Just don't start with "Mansfield Park."
Still Thinking @127: I took no part in the post-threesome inquiry crankiness that transpired; I was just relaying the facts. I fully appreciate the flirt bait though.

As for my NSA-lovin' friends, I need your location: within 48 hours, they will deploy to your general neighborhood, execute a precision strike and effect a swift evac, leaving nothing behind but smoldering craters in the ground and a strange admixture of confusion and satisfaction. You only think you've called for them, but really it is they who decide on you. You don't choose them. They choose you. Don't be caught unprepared.
@92, that is a perfect description of Ankylosaur.

You chose one word with "Mädchen" where it grammatically makes sense that the gender is neuter. The word derives from "Maid" which is feminine, and the ending "-chen" has been added to indicate smallness. Every word with a diminutive ending (-chen or -lein) is neuter in German.

Why "Weib" (an older word for woman, from the same root as wife)is neuter, eludes me.
@129 sean,

Hündin f (genitive Hündin, plural Hündinnen)
female dog (or short for Wolfshündin, Fuchshündin, etc.)

Hund m

@134 Married in MA

"(or short for Wolfshündin, Fuchshündin, etc.)"

I have never heard anyone use the words "Wolfshündin" or "Fuchshündin". The former is "eine Wölfin", the latter "eine Füchsin" or "eine Fähe".
Okay, everyone 'fess up: How many of us were too afraid to click Seandr's link at 95?
@ 136: For the fearful: it was Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, in a sleek catsuit. Not (to me) as interesting a choice as Julie Newmar or Ertha Kitt would have been, but I like my Batman kitschy.
@nocutename: Either would have been a hipper choice, but I'm sticking with Anne for her sense of humor (I love her SNL appearances) and depth of character she brought to the role of Catwoman.
A quick sampler(not guaranteed 100% accurate):

Lady Susan: "Artlessness will never do in love matters, and that girl is a simpleton who has it either by nature or affectation."

Northanger Abbey: "No-one can think more highly of the understanding of women than I do. In my opinion, Nature has given them so much that they never find it necessary to use more than half."

Sense and Sensibility: "You are merely more noble in your ideas. Pray, what is your competence?" "Only eighteen hundred or two thousand a year, nothing more." "Two thousand a year! One is my wealth. I thought it would end thus."

Pride and Prejudice: "To yield readily - easily - to the persuasion of a friend is no merit with you." "To yield without conviction is no compliment to the understanding of either."

Mansfield Park: "Whist and speculation, Sir Thomas; which will amuse me most?" Sir Thomas, after a moment's thought, recommended speculation. He was a whist player himself, and perhaps might feel that it would not much amuse him to have her for a partner.

Emma: "Three things very dull indeed. That will just do for me, you know. I shall be sure to say three dull things as soon as ever I open my mouth. Do not you all think I shall?" "Ah, ma'am, but there may be a difficulty. Pardon me, but you will be limited as to number - only three at once."

Persuasion: "If I loved a man, as she loves the Admiral, we should be always together, nothing would ever separate us, and I would rather be overturned by him than driven safely by anybody else."
@migrationist: Every word with a diminutive ending (-chen or -lein) is neuter in German.

Ja ja, aber warum?? Es ist richtig Wahnsinn.

@135 migrationist,

What you've accented is the result of cut and paste from a minute of Google.

I freely confess (these days) a vacationer's level of Deutsch. Once apron a time, a failed minor. (Biochemistry was kicking my ass well enough to let "distractions" fall to the wayside. Outside of the pitiful salads, Deutschland is a wonderful place to visit in autumn: zwiebelkuchen and neuwein and Oktoberfest, oh my!)

@seandr: I wasn't thinking "hip" so much as "nostalgic." I grew up with the Adam West Batman, and for me the character and the venue shouldn't be too serious or too action-spectacular. I liked the camp--even if I was too young to appreciate that that's what it was.

To me as a child, Julie Newmar's Catwoman was the sine qua non of beauty and sexiness (even if I was too young to articulate the notion of "sexiness"). Kitt was more feline, maybe even more feral, but Newmar more kittenish. I like Hathaway (in general, having not seen her as Catwoman because see my earlier comment on not liking buff, all-dark-and-serious, action-y and special-effects-heavy "Batman"), and I'm sure she's great. You really can't go too wrong with a bombshell in a catsuit. Think Diana Rigg as Emma Peel.

Cats are inherently sexier than dogs. I don't understand the "puppy play" thing at all (I mean, to each his own). Think of a cat sinuously rubbing itself against you, weaving in and out between your legs, purring. So much seduction.
@122: I'm assuming that's a joke. The reason that I'm asking is because the keywords associated with what I'm looking for make it effectively ungoogleable, for obvious reasons, and I don't really feel like going through the entire archive looking for it.

@124: U-duh. Thanks for the factoids't actually in response to anything I actually wrote and that I clearly already know. I'm not looking for information on risk levels of various sex acts, nor the real prevalence of anal sex among MSMs, nor did I say that I was. Though this seemed an irrelevant detail at the time, I'll bother to specify now: as part of a larger point, I am mentioning (in passing) that the observation made in the mid 90s by AIDS discourse theorists such as Cindy Patton about safer sex campaingns' implicit message as to what "sex" is has achieved such mainstream currency that it now appears in places like Dan's column. Thus, it would behoove me to be able to specify which specific column it appears in.

As to the explicit/implicit thing, I'll help you to read what I wrote, since you're having some trouble: "Dan explicitly associates the belief that one HAS to have anal sex to be a real gay man with 'use a condom every time' harm reduction campaigns (implying that all sex is acts that require condoms, ie anal)." So, Dan EXPLICITLY makes an association between the IMPLICIT message of "use a condom every time" campaigns and the (false) belief that one must have anal sex to be a real gay man. Or, in other words, thanks for echoing exactly what I had just written back to me, but at greater length. I will give you that the antecedent for "implying" is somewhat unclear in the above, but the first half of the sentence (in which the "mandatory" nature of anal sex for gay men is framed as a "belief" rather than a "fact," for eg, should have helped clear that one up.

Is "safe search" disabled under your google preferences? If so, then those search terms should work in a 'site:------ "search" "terms" ' google search. If not, try resetting your preferences.

Don't be such a smart-ass!
I misunderstood you, that's all.

And it took me re-reading your second paragraph three times to get what you are getting at. So maybe, you might want to express yourself a bit more clearly if you are easily offended by being misunderstood (especially by non-native speakers such as me).
@140 seandr:
Because little things such as children, kittens, piglets etc are non-gendered, of course. (Not puppies, though, they are masculine even if females.)

But French is much more difficults: they don't even have neuter, so you always need to decide if something is feminine or masculine and can't just add a -chen to be on the safe, neuter-side. And they got the genders of sun and moon just the wrong way round! ;-) (Pardonnez-moi, sissou-cat!)
@141 Married in MA:

Pitiful salads? I admit in Northern Germany, they are a bit bland, and in Central Germany they are a bit too sweet, but in Southern Germany, they are just perfectly vinegary!

(Salad dressing is usually not store-bought but made for every salad freshly.)

Ok, I gotta stop posting on German and Germany, unless there is kink involved!
Good night.
@ 137: Thanks. I had hoped I wasn't the only one thinking "damn, no way am I checking out this link at work."

Seandr, it's not that I don't trust you not to link something spectacularly NSFW, it's just that... no, actually, that's exactly what it was. Just looking at Savage Love at work is probably already pushing the boundaries as much as I can get away with.

You're right, though. And I was shamefully ignorant of the lovely Ms. Hathaway prior to her star turn in the catsuit. Shamefully.
@144, I did some hunting through the archives, and I found many places where Dan could have said what you want him to have said, but didn't. He certainly says that gay men don't have to like anal, and he certainly says that condom-pushing do-gooders made many mistakes in their outreach. But I didn't find any examples of him connecting those things. Good luck.
nocute @143 & migrationist @147, in my experience, most people who present themselves as puppies are indeed male. It can be fun if you like sexy roughhousing.
@nocutename: Jane Austen

Well, it seems it's time for me to set aside my preconceptions and give her a whirl.

I recall having seen and enjoyed at least one of her film adaptations, although I can't remember if it was Price and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Carriages and Marriages, or Spring Break II: Going All the Way.
@Euaemonic: Go on, click it. I dare you.
@153: Oooh! Sexy!
@EricaP, @nocutename: I suspect the sexiness of cat or dog play is indeed related to the gender of the person in that role.

It's not entirely clear to me whether it's actually sexy for a man to act like a cat. I think I'd probably be more convincing as a wolf than a feline ("All the better to ______ you with, my dear"). When it comes to judging male sexiness, however, my opinions are of little consequence.

And to completely contradict everything I've said in this thread, I do love this song.
Puppies are sexy only in that they're enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is good. But puppies are equal-opportunity enthusiasm machines. They'll play with whoever tosses a ball to them and they'll give the same enthusiastic response to a new person and a well-known one. A puppy will get it up for anyone and everyone. They don't discriminate.

When a cat wants me to stroke it, I feel a bit special, a bit chosen. Cats don't want everyone, and they don't want just anyone. (I really wish I could figure out how to make italics on my mac. I can't do it in the dialog box. I write a comment in Word, italicize the key words, cut and paste into this box, and the italicizing or bolding goes away.) That sense of being desired for ME, as ME, is crucial to me.

It's like the difference between a fast food french fry and a home-cooked dish. The french fry is consistently tasty, but you can get it from any of a zillion fast food franchises. It's cheap and not nutritious. The home-cooked item was made just for me. The taste may not be better, but there's more to eating than just taste.

I think cats can be male or female. They are deliberate. They choose you to be the recipient of their attentions. They are sensual and they go deep. They are soft but they have sharp claws. And often, just as you have been petting them and everyone's all relaxed and calm, they bite--not too hard, but hard enough for you to take them seriously. They aren't sloppy or galumphing or kind of dumb. They don't trip over their own paws. Puppies can be adorable, and cute, but to me, who likes a healthy helping of cerebral activity mixed in with the physical for the sex to be really hot, puppy sex will never do it.

Wolves are also sexy. But that's a different thing.

@seandr, re: Jane Austen film adaptations: so few of them do justice to the humor. I like the 1985 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice starting Elizabeth Garvey.
The 1993 Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet is one of my favorites, even though it loses a lot of the humor; it's so visually gorgeous.
I also like the 1995 Persuasion.

equal-opportunity enthusiasm machines
get it up for anyone
sloppy or galumphing or kind of dumb

Wait, are we talking about puppies or men?

Seriously, though, I hear what you're saying.

I would imagine those into human dogs/puppies are turned on by the enthusiasm, the rolly-pollying, the indiscriminate licking, the tail-wagging, the loyalty, the submissiveness. I found this page on the subject to be enlightening. (@Eudaemonic - probably not a good idea to click.)
Thanks for the warning. My wife is our company's help desk manager, which has upsides and downsides when it comes to looking at naughty pictures (less likely to catch a firing; more likely to catch some mockery).

I'll second (third?) the developing consensus on Austen, but it's very easy to read the books and miss the satire completely, which takes all the fun out of it.

Of course, most of us had to read it in high school, when we weren't yet alert enough to catch things like that.
Ms Cute - That S&S got some back, though, from Hugh Laurie and Imelda Staunton. Gemma Jones as Mrs Dashwood, though, was a serious casting fault.

I'm in agreement in a preference for the Garvie/Rintoul P&P to the Ehle/Firth version or the shorter film, even though the last had the best Bennet sisters as a group. And I can forgive the 1995 Persuasion for wasting Phoebe Nicholls on Elizabeth Elliot (she really belongs in Mansfield Park, being one of a small handful of women who could likely succeed as Fanny Price even to Miss Austen's hopes).

I am forcing myself to stop now, but I shall probably not sleep devising lists of those Best and Worst Cast.
Mr. Ven: Yes, Hugh Laurie and Imelda Staunton were funny, as were Elizabeth Spriggs and Robert Hardy, and I do love Harriet Walters' Fanny. Plus, Alan Rickman is an absolutely dreamy Colonel Brandon and so perfect I get mad at Marianne for not being instantly in love with him--which is one of the film's problems. I don't think we should be able to tell so early who the hero of the story will be.
how can anyone miss the satire in Austen? It's practically what she's all about!

The BBC Pride and Prejudice is, of course, meticulously well done.
@131 lolorhone - your description of your NSA friends' superpowers leads me to believe that they'd have found me already if I deserved to be found ...

I'm not sure about the smoking craters - they might make it hard for my ex to mow the lawn. And yes, I do mean the real lawn.
@164: It's like Peter Pan, my friend. You gotta BELIEVE they're coming.
Still Thinking @163, obviously
Ms Cute - True, Mr Rickman seems even more miscast than Mr Grant (or Mr Stephens in the most recent version), but S&S runs into a tendency to make too many allowances for modern tastes, I suppose. Harriet Walter strikes me as clearly the best Fanny (and is in equally good form in the audio book reading as Lady Susan, though alas I only have it on cassette and my last working cassette player is on its last legs).

Quite a little group of people have been in two. I think Samantha Bond would be my first choice to break through and make it a trio.
@136: Not I, said this cat!! Meowrrrr!!
I want that catsuit!!

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