Columns Sep 11, 2013 at 4:00 am

Sheathe That Thing


Upon reflection,

As bad as being told your equipment isn't up to snuff (is), how soul crushing would it be to see your partner getting off (better? Otherwise why ask?) with this enhanced(-ing?)(for her, only) device attached to your body.

Nah, I'd go for the dildo.

@104: That should have said "you guys." I wasn't just addressing men.
@104 cute,

Italics are from HTML tags: <em>your text here</em>...




P.S.: white space (space or tab) won't show up altered in the bold and emphasis tags, but will with something that underlines (like a hyperlink).

The slash (/) in the second tag CLOSES the effect. If you forget or err, all the text following, even in other people's posts, will end up altered till someone adds the proper closing tag. Seen it before...

So to italicize I do this? Holy Cow! It worked. Thanks!
no more putting asterisks or using cap lock. I can hardly wait . . .
Thank you, Married in MA
Ms Cute - Which was the thread in which someone said "the sex is okay" and you responded basically that okay was too low a standard, and yours was mind-blowing? I almost asked for a clarification at the time as to how often you expected mind-blowing, as the post left the inference open that you might require it every time or perhaps just however often would be satisfactory. Anyway, that was what put the vague idea of Mr Darcy into my head, so that, when you provided a list that was about the same length as that of Miss Bingley, the Accomplished Woman popped into mind.

While the best Austenian references have better accuracy, one must occasionally dance with John Thorpe. The alternative would lead to a great reduction in mentions of Miss Austen, which would be a loss for which even a ten pound note would be inadequate compensation.

And I still think, given how rare it is for me to like two LWs in the same month, that, "I have to like him," would be a standard that would be highly problematic for ME. You like more people than I do, and, I assume, for various reasons receive offers of superiour quality and quantity. Fortunately, I am quite content to have gone out on a winner, and wish you equal satisfaction with your lot.
For the gal wanting her boyfriend to wear a sheath, but is concerned for his feelings, perhaps she'd be willing to level the playing field by donning something he might desire, like a wig, bigger fake boobs, a strap-on, or a bag over her head. Do you think she'd have her feelings hurt by going that distance?
I think the second letter writer went wrong back when she was upfront about her kinks, the sex was blah and didn't improve, and she didn't proceed to break up with him. Honey, you're barely an adult and appear to never have been single: exploring what you're like when it's just you, no partner to accommodate, no partner to rely on, would be an outstanding learning experience. It will make you much better at both negotiating what you want and recognizing that it's not worth putting up with bad sex (or a variety of other things) so you won't be single.

I'm very down on people who don't disclose their kinks until after marriage, so their partner will feel trapped when they spring the adult baby or cuckoldry thing as a new requirement; I'm also down on those who complain that an incompatibility present throughout several years of courtship followed by several years of marriage is, astoundingly, still an issue. You're supposed to spend dating learning about each other, and sometimes what you learn is that you aren't well-matched. The fact that dating is a pain shouldn't be a reason to never break up with someone who's a bad match but hasn't left you.

I think it helps to view aversion to X (causing pain, receiving pain, yelling 'daddy/mommy', whatever) as similar to finding X a turn-on: it's probably not going to respond to logic, it's just how someone is wired. Some people are in the middle for a given X, and some are on the "absolutely turns me on like nothing else" or "dials my libido instantly to zero, with staying power." If you're at the extreme, you may be able to work things out with someone for whom that's in the neutral to mild-turn-on/off range if you're both awesome elsewhere. It won't work if you and your would-be partner are at two different extremes.
nocute & vennominon @101/103/111, is it possible that Mr. Ven is confusing nocutename with mydriasis, who said @35 : “I think that mind-blowingly amazing sex should be a given - not something that requires outside intervention”
Sometimes while fucking, my husband will use his fingers in me with his penis. Adds size/girth, he can hit my g-spot (or whatever it's called these days)and it makes me feel tighter to him. Win for all, and could be a step in the right direction for SLAM.
@EricaP: I think that must be it. Thanks for doing the research.
@29 - you need to give the name of that scene O.O

I don't think the sheath is the answer. If a couple comes to "discover" these together while shopping and the guy is into it/suggests it- that's great. I do not think that one partner should tell another that a body part (or feature) is bad and needs fixing- even temporarily- in order to find them sexy. That does not count mutual play, I mean strictly one-sided.

As for CASD, I'm in agreement with those who said she needs to get out and experience life. Two long-term relationships with people who do not match you sexually is a bummer. BTDT
@29 - you need to give the name of that scene O.O

I don't think the sheath is the answer. If a couple comes to "discover" these together while shopping and the guy is into it/suggests it- that's great. I do not think that one partner should tell another that a body part (or feature) is bad and needs fixing- even temporarily- in order to find them sexy. That does not count mutual play, I mean strictly one-sided.

As for CASD, I'm in agreement with those who said she needs to get out and experience life. Two long-term relationships with people who do not match you sexually is a bummer. BTDT
@EricaP: I think that must be it. Thanks for doing the research.
nocute@118/121 happy to help out.
Sorry for the double post. I got so carried away by my new italics-making capabilities I must have forgotten everything else.
I'm being overworked this week and I'm late for preparing supper, so I'm just stopping by for a YOU GO GIRL ! for Grizelda and heartfelt thanks for the very interesting conversation on Jane Austen and languages. Now on to my kitchen... so long, y'all !
I am stunned at the people commenting that SLAM should dump her boyfriend of 5 years for a more endowed guy.. 5 years people, with someone she LOVES. Yes, no question, sex is important, but it isn't the only thing in a relationship. There may be a guy out there with a bigger dick, but may not have the other attributes she is looking for in a partner. There is nothing wrong with Dan's advice to go gentle but express her desire to experiment.
Thanks, Vennominon (way back there @42), for one of the things I was thinking - how are we sure SLAM is female? For some reason, all the way through the letter I thought it was a guy, and re-reading it I don't see any real clue either way.
If SLAM is actually reading these or has gotten this far, I had another thought - if it's feeling fuller you want, another thing to consider is a vibrator that is designed to be used along with penetration. The one I have is kind of a U shape, and stays put pretty well. It adds sensation and tightness, and doesn't reduce sensation for the penis. (Actually, it rather increases it, what with the vibrating - which may be a challenge, but it's a fun challenge...) I'm not sure if this works as well anally as it does vaginally,so depending on who you are and where it's going you may want to research that part.
Ms Erica - Well spotted. My apologies to Ms Cute for attributing to her somebody else's sentiments.

Well done to Ms Grizelda for realizing that she herself was top of the list of people who should be taking care of her.

M? Samp - I think your view is sideways. The people who want the first LW and BF to split aren't all longing for LW to find someone with the desired number of inches/millimetres. They want BF to be cut loose so that he can find a partner who doesn't think he's inadequate. I suspect that many of them don't care two figs about whether LW ever finds a $5 footlong, and only hope it happens (if they do) to keep LW from making some future BF feel insufficiently endowed.

One can agree or disagree with their point of view. What they are really doing, to provide Ms Sissou with some prime Austensplaining once she has finished making her dinner, is taking the role of Fanny Price and declaring SLAM to be Mary Crawford as Fanny contemplates matters just after the Crawfords have gone to London and before she herself visits her parents in Portsmouth. Fanny notes with dismay that Edmund's scruples and Mary's ambitions have been gotten over, which could only be imputed to increasing attachment:

"His good and her bad feelings yielded to love, and such love must unite them...

She might love, but she did not deserve Edmund by any other sentiment." (The italics are mine.)
I thought the big-dick LW was a man, but the expert advice assumed a woman so perhaps the letter was edited. Anyway, if it's a woman -- anal + vibrating dildo could do the trick. They should be doing anal anyway :-)

If it was me, I'd talk up anal stimulation, and clitoral tissue (it's enormous!) and vaginal expansion post orgasm, and that kind of nerdy technical stuff. Or nerdy sexy -- depends on your partner, I guess. The "filled up" feeling is part and parcel with the rest of female physiology. That's a conversation that can be about her anatomy instead of his.
@74 Glad to cast a brightening ray, lolorhone!

@117 is cooking with gas with the fingers + penis idea! Couldn't you do that with a small dildo, too? I imagine a fair number of porn-fed All-American boyfriends, straight or gay, would see simulated DP as kinky fun, not threatening size-queenery.
If someone even indirectly suggested that I wear a sheath, I would dump her immediately on the grounds of rudeness.


I suppose it is possible for the LW to work around the subject by expressing the idea that she sometimes feels too loose, especially after she has orgasms. She might be able to get away with suggesting her boyfriend fuck her with a big dildo after she comes because she could at the same time claim he is the perfect size for her, it's just that he makes her come so hard that she gets too relaxed. Even better if she says it doesn't happen when she makes herself come, just when he does it.

If that worked, she could later say she wished the dildo could be attached to him when he fucked her with it (because she wants it to feel more like it's really him) and go from there.
"Austinian references"... Wow. Vennominion, please just get your own column rather than spraying the place with your pompous jive.
@125 I think you're absolutely right. If this were a five-month relationship, the right advice is "Hey, you're a size queen, and you should know that's totally okay! You should politely end this relationship and find someone who fits your specific needs better."

But five years is a different beast, and one that (hopefully) implies a deeper connection, an ability to weather challenges together, and a good deal of experience talking through sensitive issues. I think that there's a lot of "unknowns" behind that letter, and I don't know if there's much merit to the predictions that bringing this up will inevitably be a shitstorm that could kill the relationship.
SLAM, I think you should avoid the whole cock sheath/insufficiency argument by slapping a couple ben wa balls in there and letting him go to town. They'll fill up some volume and add quite a bit of sensation, and they're not a cock-surrogate!
@132: I think that when the LW writes "But my boyfriend is a sensitive guy, and I feel like I'm going to permanently fuck up our sex life if I ask for one" the LW is indicating that they've put out feelers and think that this is likely to start a relationship-killing shitstorm.

For relationships in general this sort of thing certainly doesn't have to be a big deal.
I really have to chime in and say, I love my boyfriend completely and i'm satisfied with him in every way. I wouldn't change him or trade him for a larger man. The cock sheath/strap on were his idea, not mine. Toys have been a super fun addition to an already awesome sex life. I feel lucky to be with such a confident, open-minded guy, we can experiment together without feeling judged or insecure. Plus I still enjoy the advantages of being with a smaller man;) I bet if they visit a toy shop together they can find items of interest for both him and her. I would say a strap on is the best option, many more sizes, colors and shapes to choose from as most dildos with a flared base are strap on compatible. We got a cool looking cock sheath, but found it wasn't very functional. My hot pink strap on, however, has been wildly successful. I get a nice big fuck, my man looks hot wearing it, and he loves fucking me with it. We don't use it every single time and it hasn't made me loose or sloppy which sounds like something an insecure man would say to intentionally make me feel bad about myself. Not nice, the LW isn't trying to hurt her boyfriend. And by the way, I don't look like a VS model, but that doesn't keep me from wearing lingerie does it? Lastly, dicks are only one of many things used to please women, a man's worth as a lover shouldn't be inextricably linked to his size. Saying I enjoy fingers, tongues, vibrators, as well as your cock, doesn't mean that your cock isn't enough for me, or you aren't enough for me.
@Hotpink: I really have to chime in and say, I love my boyfriend completely and i'm satisfied with him in every way. I wouldn't change him or trade him for a larger man.

If LW had prefaced her letter with anything vaguely resembling your statement, I'd be singing a different tune.

The thing is, most LWs do open with some affirmation that things are peachy -- "My boyfriend is a wonderful lover, but..." -- even in cases where it becomes clear three sentences later that the boyfriend is a terrible lover.

The absence of any positive statements about the boyfriend or their sex life along with the reference to past lovers is telling, in my opinion, and puts this in a different category than your relationship.
@124 sissoucat: Thanks so much!! Great to hear from you!
I'm flying by the seat of my pants catching up on computer work, myself, so I know how it is to be running late!

@127 vennominon: Thanks so much, too, for your supportive comment! It's so true, isn't it?
@94 seandr: I second that! Wow!
@95 nocutename re: @87 robi (or rob! ?): I was so mesmerized by the dragon sheath (and I agree with you, nocute--it does look uncomfortable for the wearer and receiver both using it!) that I didn't even see the dragon ball! Yowza!
@63 Married in MA
'Having experienced the (me) average size in an extra large sized vagina, kegels won't do it. '

@76 avast2006
'Nice try, but no. Doing Kegels is the true equivalent of an exercise to make his dick bigger '

I'm sorry you gentlemen are not convinced of the power of Kegels. Actually, they can make a tremendous difference in the tightness/snugness of a vaginal canal. And can help with bring on orgasms for the woman.

I'm going to assume the women you know who have 'tried' Kegels have children or maybe aren't 25. As with any muscle, strength and elasticity lessen with age. The problem is: most women, when they 'do' Kegels, only do 4 or 5. And they don't hold it very long. And very infrequently. They forget about it. And they forget to do it regularly. Well guess what, that isn't going to do anything.

Having practiced yoga for awhile, I practice Kegels regularly. During class, every breath I take in I pull up my pelvic floor/Kegels. And every exhale: pull up pelvic floor. And I hold it. I don't even think about it now; it's automatic. It's known as Uddiyana Banda in Sanskrit.

Trust me. It's notable.
For SLAM: I don't know if there are any videos of guys wearing a sheath and working their woman, but would watching such a thing together with him, if available, perhaps allow him to see that 'others are doing this' and it's okay for him to as well?

I just had the best idea ever.


Let's allow the idiotic advice of someone who is incapable of having sex with a woman lead us off of an evolutionary cliff.

En masse.

Hi Dan. The only reason I wouldn't hurt you is because it is not in my self interest.

And the fact that if I hurt you and the mass extinction of somehow literate individuals you have nudged off of a cliff it would somehow be misconstrued as a greater crime than the inverse.

In physical reality, you go extinct.

Care to debate?
Does Miley Cyrus lick the tears off of your cheeks?
@140: In cultural reality, you become irrelevant.
You mean in that imaginary land where you pretend that you are my equal, and that you would have a roof over your head if not for.. me?
I'll take physical reality over cultural reality every day.

Only one of them is real.
Adobe, Brah!
Where ever you go, there you are.

The last time I checked, there's no land called "gay" yet.

All I'm wondering is if they needed help getting the magical stick upright.

What do you think?
bitch, i'm a gangsta.
np, i got a degree in paintin
@143: And you are...?
@144: Man got out of Darwin's shitstorm quite some time ago. Evolutionary arguments against gay folks are- wait for it- irrelevant. There are plenty of relevant pro-gay evolutionary arguments however, the first and simplest being that gay people have existed in every generation of recorded history and yet the planet teeters on catastrophic overpopulation. The "cliff" ain't extinction by homo. Sorry.
@145: Tourette's, dawg!
@146: You clearly haven't been to the Castro District.
@147-149: Not sure what happened here. Not sure you know what happened here.
I am sure you are lovely in your own way. But I doubt anyone here wants to be your equal in any way. People's aspirations are a tad higher nowadays...

I am not dismissing kegels, just in this case. Her next boyfriend happened to be as big around as her wrists, and she was happy with it (me, big tall guy, he shortish buff correlation to body size). I presume that means she really is extra large. She could do kegels the whole time, but it wasn't better for me than...nice.

OTOH, my perfectly sized for me wife can be painfully exuberant at times. I really do get the wonderfulness of kegel, and am grateful for all the benefits (especially that gleam in her eye). It just didn't work that way for the ex.


And by painfully exuberant I mean having to ask her to stop because I'm already getting sore.

@136 seandr

You make a good point, I guess I assumed the LW was saying everything else was great, except this one little thing. But she doesn't, and the length of the relationship probably isn't a very accurate indicator, which is what I was thinking at first.
Maybe she really won't be happy with anything less than the real thing? I don't think a cock sheath is going to do the trick in this case.
I love it when ignorant, smug, religious nutcases try to make evolutionary arguments. It's very Wile E. Coyote.
@you_are_stupid_no_really: Let's allow the idiotic advice of someone who is incapable of having sex with a woman lead us off of an evolutionary cliff.

Let me guess - you arrived at this page after googling "help, my penis is too small!"

If you're having trouble procreating, it's not Dan's fault. I've been reading him for 500 years and somehow still managed to have 2 kids of my own, along with an unknown number via the sperm bank, which is a service you may want to look into (sorry, my donations from 20 years ago are probably gone, although I might be convinced to make a few deposits directly into your wife if the price is right).
@ 156: Are you sure that's what he's doing? I can't figure out what's going on with the guy. Maybe it's performance art, and I'm too unsophisticated to get the joke.

Anyone know what the "Adobe" thing is about?
@158: His rural middle school probably just got its first computer and he's still mesmerized by how he can make words appear like magic on the big bright screen!
@138: In Married in Ma's case, it isn't trust, it's experience. (I notice also you are speaking of your experience, not your partner's.)

In any case, until such time as Kegels involve adding an eighth-inch or more of rigid padding between the biological moving parts, it will continue to be a poor analogy to a cock sheath. Improving her sensitivity by eliminating his is a poor trade, and the few folks who say they've tried one seem to agree they are functionally a joke.

If Kegels are as wonderful as you say (and I'm not disputing they are wonderful; the ability to exert a grip is pretty nice), perhaps Letter Writer ought to concentrate on improving herself with them, rather than improving her boyfriend with a hunk of hard vinyl.
@159: It is pretty magical, come to think of it.
@127 Thanks, vennominon. My favorite part of Mansfield Park is the theater rehearsal, where Henry Crawford and Maria Bertram needlessly and endlessly rehearse their love scene, while Maria's idiotic fiance M. Rushworth concentrates on his blue dress and pink satin cloak, on his three entrances and on his two-and-forty lines.

@137 Heya, Grizelda ! Most days I haven't even had the time to check my mail on the computer. There will be slower days later...
Hmmm, "dick sheath." I'll have to remember that next time the strip club request comes up ("Hey, at least I still want to be with you and not someone half your age!")

I had no idea we weren't allowed to make each other feel insecure. Maybe I'll stop wearing make up, shaving, wearing expensive lingerie, and letting my hair go grey, too. Life just got super simple. But I guess he'll have to give up porn, so...
Ms Sissou - Ah yes, the two-and-forty speeches. An excellent choice. I shall stick with Sir Thomas Bertram finding a polite way to prevent his wife from partnering him at whist. In fact, he might well serve as a role model for the LW.

One doesn't often think of it, but I believe I should rank Sir Thomas third best of Miss Austen's husbands.
Mr. Ven: I have to ask: whom do you rank as numbers one and two in Austenhusbandry? (I assume you refer to couples who are already married when the novel begins). I'm all for the Admiral and Mrs. Croft as number one. Actually, I think that Persuasion sports the highest number of happily married couples, if you include the Musgroves and the Harvilles.
Overpopulation doesn't count against the literate, viable, and functional. You know that, I know that, Apu knows that.

@156 I'm still wondering what the most blatant display of atheism you have ever been so unfortunate to witness has to do with religion.

Pray tell.

@157 6.4 inches. That's only before I bought the cock pump. I can probably round up to 7 now. You can't use lube though, the vacuum might pull in a nut.

Cut. You fucking heathen. I hope you're washed. Go look at porn and tell me what's what.

@166: Okay, I may have had two glasses of wine, but you are making absolutely no sense whatsoever. I mean, I get that you don't like Dan or this column (so I don't know why you'd want to hang out here, but maybe you fancy yourself some kind of counter-intelligence agent, getting to know the enemy and sabotaging from within), but maybe you want to drop by your local college's writing center and pick up a handout or two about logic and coherence.

Or maybe it's a simple matter of upping the dosage on your anti-psychotic meds.

I look forward to reading your hate/derision when it makes more sense.
@166: "Overpopulation doesn't count against the literate, viable, and functional. You know that, I know that, Apu knows that."

Good luck with that little article of faith. That was Reagan levels of ignorant hubris followed by several sentences of pure unadulterated what the fuck?

Adjust those meds and pick a subject you like.
@virginia_mason : Excellent point !

Sure nowadays I don't let myself be bullied into wearing makeup or shaving, and my hair will go grey without any interference, but I wasn't such a rock once, and I always felt like a traitor for giving in to expectations I didn't find fair.

@nocutename : I'm curious too. Mr and Mrs Gardiner ? They are just lovely. But not overly developped. Hm. Tough spot. Oh, no, I know : it must be Mr Weston !

@venomminon Sir Thomas may be an excellent husband, but isn't he a poor father as a consequence ?
Ms Cute - Almost exactly so. I think it's safe to evaluate Mr Collins and Mr Elton. Mr Rushworth is a trickier case, but we did see so much of him going in and have enough of an inference about how little changed during the course of the marriage that I won't insist on his joining the Insufficient Data column.

Persuasion certainly does seem to have happier and better-suited couples than the other novels. You can even add Dr and Mrs Shirley.

I view Husbands (or Wives) and Couples as somewhat different.

While the Harvilles are certainly in the top drawer of Couples, I'll solve the difficulty of Captain Harville by awarding him Best (Male) Lover.

Insufficient Data to Mr Vernon, Mr Morland, Mr Dashwood, Sir William Lucas, Colonel Forster, Mr Norris, Mr Perry and perhaps Mr Woodhouse as well.

Sir Reginald de Courcy seems somewhat similar to Sir Thomas, only he's the sort of husband that has to be "managed". Mr Allen, who doesn't have to be managed, also seems similar to Sir Thomas, but isn't tested as much.

General Tilney and Sir Walter Elliot seem about equally horrific. Mr Price, being as neglectful as he is unpleasant, ends up a tick less bad. And, however much sympathy one may feel for Mr Bennet, his only virtue as a husband appears quite early in his profession that his wife is as handsome as any of her daughters. Mr Palmer seems just Mr Bennet in training, but he has the additional annoyance of a living mother-in-law. Mr Elliot, despite Mrs Smith's biased testimony, can probably be put into the unsatisfactory group as well.

Sir John Middleton seems a bit oblivious, but at least bears up well under all the gentle reprimands his wife offers him five or six times every day on one subject. John Dashwood is compliant, but the Bad Influence rules that marriage. John Knightley is tricky, being a bit luckier as a husband than he may strictly deserve.

Mr Collins is more of a success than he deserves to be. Dr Grant is similar to John Knightley, but perhaps a tick worse, as his ill temper is more often directed towards his wife. The Eltons are such an unpleasant pair that it's almost surprising that neither individually rates all that badly as a spouse.

Less clever than either Mr Bennet or Mr Palmer, Charles Musgrove makes rather a better husband. His parents are as well matched as the Eltons but more amiable, and Mr Musgrove gets a perfectly good solid mark.

Arriving at the podium, it would seem difficult to deny Admiral Croft the top step (and Mrs Croft in the Wife division, the bigger difficulty being choosing which of them wins by a wider margin). That leaves second place to Mr Weston. He and Sir Thomas both made the best of a less than wholly desirable initial lot, and Mr Weston went on to make an unexceptionable second choice.

I did omit Mr Gardiner, a solid runner-up along with Mr Musgrove, possibly better if we saw more of the couple in action.

Ms Sissou - Well done picking up on Mr Weston.

As far as parenting, I have seen one literary critic make an argument she knew to be controversial for Sir Thomas as Best Father despite the less than ideal results. Her line was that, although he'd be incapable of getting his daughters to discuss their feelings with him, he was careful and painstaking, genuinely concerned for his children's welfare, and willing to forego a good deal of worldly advantage for their benefit. Besides, who's the competition? Mr Bennet has abdicated, Mr Woodhouse is more child than parent, and the other widowers are a good deal worse. The Musgroves, though a bit permissive, may be better as a unit, but Sir Thomas has no practical support.
I must start reading Austen!
Btw, why isn't there any Brontesplaining?

I went grey after my bf and I separated. I felt it was the perfect time to stop the stupid dyeing. But re shaving I have found that being unshaved always upsets me much more than any potential or actual partners.
Oh, I think I've figured it out. Should've realized sooner. The "stupid" guy is a computer program like Eliza that simulates an ignorant, hate-spewing religious nut. That's why he can't get within a bowshot of coherence.

I quite agree with your analysis. The Eltons are the couple one would like to fail, but they seem rather pleased with one another... Shouldn't Mr Wickham make the list of the very bad husbands, although he marries quite late in the novel ?


I find grey hair to look rather good. Dyed hair makes the wrinkles much more apparent, whereas grey hair gives softness to the face, when it most needs it.

As for shaving, my mother never did it, so I didn't pick the habit young. As a young adult I tried my legs with and without hair and I disliked the pain of hair growing inside the skin layers, and the infections that can result from cutting oneself in the armpits. I also found clothes chafe without hairs, and my legs seem dehydrated. So on the whole I decided that shaving was more painful and more unhygienic than not shaving - not to mention silly. Then I stopped.
I completely agree about the grey hair! I also was told that I look younger with grey hair- I think that's because of the softer look.

I wish I could give up shaving. Can't do it, especially not in the summer. But as I said, men don't seem to mind stubbly legs or arm-pits- I am scared of other women's looks when I wear a short skirt.
I just can't put Mr. Weston up there in the top echelon. I am quite in agreement with Mr. Woodhouse that he doesn't deserve Miss Taylor. He seems to appreciate her, but we see him more as a besotted father than anything else, and a foolish one at that.

But I forgot the admirable Gardiners. I think it is interesting that the last of Austen's novels had so many good marriages and good husbands in it.
Ms Sissou - It would feel too much like hindsight to rank Wickham very badly. He's a hideous human being, but as a husband we only see him when he is reaping the modest reward he demanded to undertake the marriage. He's still on his good behaviour. I think I may add him to the Insufficient Data pile as a Husband, though he certainly goes near the bottom of the table as a Fiance.
Ms Cute - I should not rate him highly as a Father either, but Husband is his strongest category. Mrs Weston's cheerful enjoyment of her situation testifies in his favour (as does her joining in his hopes for a stronger Randalls-Hartfield alliance), and he's been tested by his first venture. He has flaws, but his defects aren't matrimonial. He'd have been a disastrous husband for Emma, certainly.

In some ways, he seems the most foresighted character of the lot. The only other person I can think of who's been married twice is Mr Dashwood, and he dies in the first chapter. But Mr Weston is a forerunner of the modern single father who isn't raising his child due to a difficult family situation. He's blinded by affection to his child's flaws.

I think I may tend to move characters into different categories to suit their strengths. The Gardiners I'd mainly consider as Uncle and Aunt, the Musgroves as Parents and Captain Harville, as evidenced earlier, as a Lover.

Shall we move on to the Wife category? There are some really interesting cases among the wives, in particular Mrs Collins and Mrs Knightley. I don't think Mrs Croft gets a serious challenge, but then what?
Charlotte Lucas/Mrs. Collins? I admit I don't know what to think of her. Am I supposed to say, well, she knew what she was getting into? Am I supposed to admire her or look down on her?
@87 rob!: While Dragon Ball Sheath is indeed visually mesmerizing, I'm pretty certain that the actual physical insertion of such a device would be excruciating (for me, anyway)!

@162 sissoucat: Hey, girl!! I just caught up with my emails, too!
But back to work after out soliciting some of my business cards.
Hooray---my north side of town co-op offers delectable gluten and sugarfree cakes! Their on-site baked Tiramisu is as sinful as rob!'s @87 Dragon Ball Sheath!!
Now all I need is another "J.D."!!
Mrs. Collins, Mrs. Collins...
Did she need so badly to be a wife
That she'd tolerate Collins
The rest of her life?
She has the skills to manage him
Into minimal time spent together,
Yet has to jump at his petty whim
And Lady C. makes for stormy weather.

On another topic, I used to highlight my hair with red or purple to give the grey some competition, but stopped after I adopted, by which time there wasn't really a competition anymore.
Ms Cute - That's the point. Is her total lack of esteem for her husband a defect or an asset? A wife who arranges to see as little of her husband as possible sounds rather grim, but Mr Collins seems incapable of appreciating what he isn't given, at least from how he takes what he is given. What can a man capable of meeting and proposing to two women in the same fortnight solely to please Lady Catherine de Bourgh be said to deserve in a wife? We can probably all agree with Elizabeth's assessment that Charlotte was the only sensible woman who would have accepted Mr Collins or made him happy if she had. How much do we go by results?

I love Joe Newton.
@181 (Still Thinking): You made my morning! Loved that.

My hair is naturally blonde--was very light through my 20s, and then became that ashy, blondish/greyish hair-colored hair color. I started making it red in my mid 30s--nature clearly got it wrong--and have kept going since. I think the real color has a fair amount of grey in it now, but since the grey is sort of close to the color itself (and since the red fades out and I re-redden about every 4-6 weeks), I'm not sure what the look would be. I would love white, white, glossy white hair. If I see the roots coming in that way, I will stop with the red and become some sort of snowy eagle. Until then, I'm the wacky redhead.

Shaving? Yes. I tried to adopt Tim Minchin's ideal of neck-down alopecia. But only because I like me like that.
re: cock sheath
I have been married to a man with a smaller than average cock for 40 years. We have tried cock sheaths and strap ons but there is a quality missing- it feels like getting banged and somehow the erotic element dissapears. I guess he can't feel me. Anyway, I wanted you to know for us this was not a solution.
I knew he had a small cock when we married and married him anyway. - Fortunately he gives great head and most of our sex life has always been oral. So I get lots of satisfaction but little entertainment. I admit missing good fucking and occasionally take a lover. Our marriage is very happy but our sex life has always bored me.
So what I am saying is rather than DTMF I suggest weighing how much does this really matter to you? Particularly if you have children. Can you compromise for the long run? I am satisfied with the life choice I made as my life with him has been very good but my sex life is not the one I would have liked it to be.
@87 rob!: Okay, now I've become hypnotized from gazing wide-eyed Dragon Ball Sheath too long!
Want that "filled up" feeling? Give birth.
Ms Tantra - As you provide very one-sided testimony, this will come off as a cross-examination, but is not intended as adversarial. It's just that there are so many ways to paint the other half of your picture.

Is your husband okay with knowing your sex life is boring for you? How good is it for him? Does he have outside adventures?

What did he make of your "marrying him anyway"? Did he have a similarly major "anyway" about marrying you?

This all reminds me of an episode of Ally McBeal dealing with romantic settling rather than sexual. The person being settled for was presented with the notion of being entitled to a partner madly in love, but dismissed it. There are many possible permutations.

I'd add to the question of whether the LW can compromise the aspect of whether, if she can, she has to do it openly. This obviously forces the partner's reaction to the open compromise into the picture, but spares the question of whether an unspoken settling is fair to the other party.
@187: No need. Gluten-and-sugarfree and a little red wine already provide me with a good fill.
Re: SLAM: Totally agree with @11 that following this advice could damage the relationship. I also think @21 was spot-on. Know what would happen if it were the other way around? She'd think her partner felt like having sex with her was like throwing a hot dog down a hallway. Men aren't the only ones who can have insecurities about their sexy bits. SLAM should just buy the monster cock to play with by herself, and keep it to herself. And maybe do some Kegels (she might already, but Dan never asked that question--FAIL).
@187: Too much lead time and too much post-care.
@188 vennominion,

Is any LTR anything but a compromise?

I too wonder at the seeming callousness, but have learned to ask: did she go outside with consent?

Being aware and informed (but not too much) to create compromise and consent works for us. Thankfully TMTOWTDI (there's more than one way to do it).

@185&193 I can't help but wonder the same things vennominion brings up. Still I understand different things make different people happy. An LTR is a compromise, but the things that are crucial to one person can be negotiable to another. Everyone has things that are important or special to them. Being able to recognize what's essential to your own happiness and putting it into practice is something that everyone should be able to do.

It reminds me of a conversation from a movie called "The Beginners";

"Let's say when you're young you dream of a lion, but around comes a come a giraffe. You can be alone or be with the giraffe."

"I'd wait for the lion."

The father compromised continuously and found love. The son waited, refused to compromised and found love. Perhaps it wasn't that either was completely right or justified in their reasons or method, but that both we're able to accept what they needed and the pitfalls associated with it.

Of course, I'm a little biased. I'm a waiting kind of girl. It use to bother me, but it doesn't anymore cause I know with my personality settling would just breed resentment, disillusionment, and etc. I'm not waiting for Mr. Right, just Mr. Right-For-Me.
@194 Really,

The son's compromise was to be available for his as-yet-to-be-determined partner. In that regard the LTR started before they even met.

In my case, I needed a "Ms. Wrong-for-me" to help me understand boundaries and reserve while establishing how a relationship will work. (So to my ex, yet again: Thanks for dumping me!). Each of my prior relationships has experiences that, combined, helped me to be able to start and maintain what became my marriage. Being taught what not to do is almost more important.

Mr Married - I suspect she could get Mr Savage to approve even of going outside without consent by framing it as Necessary for Sanity - "We've tried X,Y,Z, but nothing works, and his ego is too fragile even to discuss it any more, so when I feel on the brink of insanity I get my needs met and we sail along for a while."

I was just more struck by the various combinations, for which I'll use the lion/giraffe model:

* tell the giraffe it's a lion

* let the giraffe infer that it's a lion

* the giraffe is fine with knowing it's a giraffe

* it's a clear giraffe-giraffe relationship

Not that I'm angling for a "right answer", as people can thrive in all sorts of ways.
@195 I understand what you're saying in learning from past experiences. But at the time weren't those relationships important to you in some way? You wouldn't advocate that everyone go out and date someone for the sole purpose of learning the ins and outs of relationships? Perhaps I'm misunderstanding.

I took the son's compromise as more along the lines of recognizing that for him the wrong companionship was worst for him than none at all.
@197 Really,

"Of course, I'm a little biased. I'm a waiting kind of girl. It use to bother me, but it doesn't anymore cause I know with my personality settling would just breed resentment, disillusionment, and etc. I'm not waiting for Mr. Right, just Mr. Right-For-Me."
I'm not the waiting kind (really the passionate in the moment ADHD type), as evidenced by my "Ms. Wrong-for-me" statement.  BUT, if I hadn't had that experience, I wouldn't have been prepared for "Ms. Right" because I needed to learn what the "wrong" relationship taught me.  Am I advocating getting into bad relationships for learning purposes, of course not.  The problem is, as you asked, all my previous relationships were very, very important to me when they started; no one gets married to be divorced.  I wasn't ready for anything serious for most of them, and unsuited for "Ms. Wrong".  "Ms. Right" wasn't when we started, but I approached the relationship with an understanding hard won, and we managed to carry through a lot of painful events external to our relationship because of it.  Because I'd gained an appreciation for boundaries and reserve I earned trust, her body, and her heart.  

No one's life is all good, or all bad.  I've experienced a lot of bad things that I have to admit I wouldn't change, because otherwise I couldn't be where I am.  I work very hard to minimize the lasting damage and maximize the good in the here and now.  And that's part of what makes me "Mr. Right" for my wife.

"I took the son's compromise as more along the lines of recognizing that for him the wrong companionship was worse for him than none at all."
And I chose to interpret that as a compromise of preparation for the LTR with someone he hadn't met yet, supporting my theme of LTRs being derived from compromise.


@198 Thank you for responding to a somewhat rude (completely unintentional, I hope you know) post. I'm glad I misunderstood you on the one point and am also very refreshed by your thoughtful reply. Congratulations. I hope you continue to enjoy the fruit of labors for years to come.
CASD, let me echo what every other single guy here is thinking: call me.

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