Columns Apr 8, 2015 at 4:00 am

Kinky Boys


Erica, you're behaving a little crazed, I hope you have some friends nearby to look after you.
Did my words imply I think it a moral imperative that Trans people disclose their status before a first date?
Do I think that? Are morals the guideline here? Not sure they are.
More just human honesty. One human to another.
Disclosing STDs, that would be a moral issue.
@318: What I mean is that, if you're a woman who's been married to a man for 20 years, and he's in an accident that makes him 2 inches shorter, you're almost certainly not going to divorce him over that. But, had he been 2 inches shorter 25 years previously, his dating prospects would've been much more limited.

The pool of women who'd be interesting in dating you if they somehow were unaware of your height until after the third month of dating is a great deal larger than your current dating pool. They don't need you to be taller, their initial interest would just be higher if you were.

It doesn't matter whether you're personally interested in them; they're there nonetheless.

Similarly, I doubt there are many women who would stop dating you if you suddenly grew 4 inches. Almost all of them would see it as a positive development; that doesn't mean those women "need" you to be taller either. They'd just like it better that way.

Similarly, they might not resent you for not having enough money, but I can't imagine many of them would be unhappy if they were dating you and you suddenly got a 20% raise. Someone can be happy with you who would be happier if you were taller without constantly thinking "if only he were taller," and even without consciously knowing that about themselves.
@319, I can't tell what you're saying in that post. Which returns us to situation normal, since I can never make heads or tails of your posts.

So let's assume that I completely misinterpreted you earlier in the thread due to my poor reading skills and that in fact we have no major disagreement about the ethics of dating while trans. I apologize for my poor reading skills and am delighted to find that we agree.

And I'll go back to ignoring your posts.
MrE@316. Good guidelines.
And the asexual story, the ten year wait, you gonna fall for it for another ten years? Or was that just an example, not your story.
For someone who ignores my posts Erica, you sure got some magic power of knowing what's in them.
Feeling like a petulant child today?
My position re disclosing Trans status, still the same. I'd like to know that, up front. On the dating site, wherever. I'd like to know that before a first date is arranged. Because for me, no first date would occur.
@320 - Eud... i understood. Its just that your post makes it sound desirable to have a larger pool that includes people who would've overlooked me(there are many short puns)... and i don't see it that way... I am being dense from a personal standpoint...not a philosophical one.
@322: It's not my story. Wow. I'd fall for it for about two hours, I think.

It's an example, though, that seems to be far more widely accepted than it should be, even though they're my go-to example for a situation in which failure to disclose constitutes abuse.
@324: I'm taking it as a given that larger pools are superior to smaller pools, because there are no downsides and numerous and significant advantages. That's the closest to an objective meaning of "desirable" that can exist.
and yet that goes against the quality over quantity concept. There are also downsides.... namely the idea that the grass is greener is one that is VERY common in larger dating pools and not nearly as much in smaller ones. I moved from Los Angeles to Port Townsend nearly a decade i have firsthand experience with this very thing... :)

I dont disgree with you... just pointing out other aspects... but since i know we can go round and round on this...i'll drop it....
Becoming less attractive (and attractive to fewer people) doesn't increase the quality of your dating pool, because it doesn't add anyone new to it. Becoming attractive to more people can't decrease the quality of your dating pool, because it does not typically remove anyone from it. Adding ten people to your dating pool in no way reduces the quality. Being 4 inches taller (and thus adding ten--or fifty-- million people to your dating pool) wouldn't reduce the quality either, because if there was anyone high-quality in it before, there will be after. If you're so ugly that only ten people will date you, you lose nothing by becoming more attractive; all ten of those people will still date you; the exceptions round to zero.

Moving to a small town isn't anything like this, because the small-town people weren't in your dating pool before; you replaced a dating pool, as opposed to adding to or subtracting from one.
I've been on the dating website OkCupid for the past 4+ years (I recently--and hopefully permanently--turned my profile off: YAY!, but that's another post). As it happens, I've come across several trans men's profiles. And I know they're trans because they identified themselves thus. (For all I know, I have also come across trans men who didn't identify themselves on their profile.) I'm not interested in a non-cis-gender man, but I was able to either say no thanks politely (the exact phrase: "Thank you for the nice message. I don't think we're a match, but I wish you the best in your search."---This is the same thing I write when I'm not interested for any reason) when approached, or to simply not reach out and send an introductory message to someone who looked otherwise like a great guy, but whom I wasn't interested in dating for what is a completely valid reason.

I'm not pretending that my situation is analogous, but my dating profile lists my age, height, and body type accurately, and the pictures I post are always within the most recent 6 months. There's always a full body shot and one close up enough to see my face clearly, wrinkles (not too many; I'm lucky there) and all.

I don't give my income, but I make it pretty clear that if you're looking for a sugar mama, I'm not your girl (unfortunately). You can tell from the profile that I have kids, one of whom is still at home and that I have joint custody, so I'm not available 24/7 or for a longish getaway without some significant planning and rescheduling.

If someone doesn't want me, because I don't meet his physical or lifestyle needs, I don't want to waste my time. I'd prefer not to hear or read a rejection, based on my physical presence either,* so I see that disclosure and honest representation as doing what I can to head that off. I would much rather limit my pool of dates than see a look of horror or disappointment in someone's eyes when we meet in person, or have to either hear him make some lame excuse to get out of the date early, or write a mean follow-up email. In short, I disclose about myself as much as possible before meeting so as to spare myself more painful or awkward rejection and to avoid wasting my time.

I don't understand people who give a false age or post old photos or in any way try to manipulate someone who would otherwise be uninterested into dating them. i suppose they think that once someone gets to know them and see how great they are, the fact that they're 15 years older or 50 pounds heavier than they said they were will either not matter or be unnoticed.

I guarantee the difference between what they advertised themselves as and what they really are will be noticed. And while a few people may decide that it doesn't matter, most would be irritated at having been lied to and having met under false pretenses. And those original objections to the age or body type or what-have-you will still stand.

If I see someone who doesn't appeal to me, I don't contact him; if he contacts me, I turn him down tactfully. If I meet someone in person who has misrepresented himself, I'll be polite--I won't make up some stupid excuse to leave. But I won't go out with him a second time, and I'll be annoyed that he wasted my time.

*Obviously, rejections happen. There are all sorts of reasons that two people don't click, and sometimes even when everything's good on paper and the photos are honest, current, and realistic, there's just no chemistry in person. But I want to minimize that "ugh!" reaction.
I noticed the same on OKC when i had a profile. Namely: transwoman identifying as such. And i agree with all you said nocute.

And eud: "Becoming less attractive (and attractive to fewer people) doesn't increase the quality of your dating pool, because it doesn't add anyone new to it." I'm not suggesting one should make themselves LESS attractive for any reason. Nor am i saying a smaller dating pool is better. I am saying one should not go out of their way to make themselves MORE attractive simply to attract more the "more" people will be attracted to a "you" that may or may not exist. But it depends on what it is that one is doing to make themselves more attractive.... if it is something that is intrinsically good for you (exercise, education, taking a more positive approach, allowing yourself to look past previous physical requirements) then you are expanding your dating pool as a result of positive opposed to making those changes strictly to increase your dating pool....which is almost never a net gain in my personal experience... and i would add "withholding to attract more people" as something that doesn't appeal to me personally. (not telling them my height, or something along those lines)

but like i said, i agree with you... at least philosophically and mathematically... I just fall through some of the holes practically speaking
and don't tell my mom... but if i could magically be a bit taller... i would do it... just would never TELL someone i was taller than i am...or let them believe that
Erica, Id want info up front re kinks, as well.
Someone like LW1, his kink would catch my eye, like a man who's handy with knots.
Pissing on or in me, Er, no thanks.
@329: "i suppose they think that once someone gets to know them and see how great they are, the fact that they're 15 years older or 50 pounds heavier than they said they were will either not matter or be unnoticed."

I notice that this sort of person often thinks that some forms of preference are somehow illegitimate, and that this changes the calculus. Sort of like the practice of using a gender-ambiguous pen name, if you believe that people won't buy books written by women--only applied to dating. I can understand the mindset of thinking that other people's mating preferences are merely ignorant prejudices that they'll reconsider if called to; it's common enough, in a certain kind of personality.

@330: "I am saying one should not go out of their way..."

Oh; should. I misunderstood, earlier, and thought you were talking about "is." In that case, I've no quibble. I've a lot of people who think becoming more attractive won't bring them anything better, so it's a pet peeve of mine--the belief that if you make yourself more attractive, the newly-interested people won't like you for "you." As if the people in your current dating pool do "like you for you."

This belief only exists as long as you don't think about what would happen to your dating prospects if you became 4 inches shorter, and found out the truth about why the people who are currently interested are.
being disinterested in self-improvement is definitely a pet-peeve of mine too. Its defeatist in nature. Too many people ask "why should I?" instead of "why shouldn't I?" It took me awhile in life to embrace that I needed to BE the kind of person i wanted...if I ever had any hope of attracting the kind of person I wanted...
@LavaGirl, I don't know about all people on all dating websites, but it's been my experience that certain sites are made to attract more vanilla people and certain ones are meant to appeal more to kinky people. Fet Life is where the really kinky people hang out online, and if you don't want to deal with kinks, simple: just don't go there. OkCupid allows for people to get as specific as they want, either in their free-written profile, where you can say whatever you want, or in the answers to the thousands of questions, many of which are about sex. There is always room to write an explanation to go with your multiple choice answer.

So not only can you check to see what others are into and/or consider beyond the pale, you can also say upfront what you like and what you don't.

Typically, if someone has a fairly extreme fetish or kink, they are pretty upfront about it or they allude pretty strongly to it. They know it's not everyone's cup of tea. A more mild or common or less-needed kink is less likely to be mentioned or alluded to in the profile, but it's also less likely to be objected to.

And then of course, there's good old flirtation . . .
@EricaP - Can you tell me how to identify the line between using discretion to approach sensitive topics and using deception to develop an attachment?
I'm not sure my wording was the greatest but this is what I meant:
The former happens when you're acting primarily in your partner's best interest, and the latter when you are valuing your own interest above your partner's. I can't identify which side others are operating on, for sure, when they hide things. From inside it looks like you expect a "thank you" should your partner find out you were discreet, while manipulation can seem appealing when you believe that what you want from your partner is more important than your partner's feelings. I don't think this happened with NoCute. She sounds like she thought it was smart for him to wait because she would have made some incorrect assumptions if it had been rolled out earlier. I'd love to hear more about why this apparent deal breaker of hers changed.

As far as judging which side another is on, I think arguing the relevance and informed consent is key. If it is a one night stand, only anything unusual planned for that night would be relevant; any kinks or drugs required or unusual genitals. Also once you see long term potential, I do think that possible deal breakers should be disclosed up front to show respect for a potential partner's time and energy. I'd say a trans person has reason to get to know someone before trusting them with their status. But I don't think they should offer sexual invitations to someone before they can trust their partner with a conversation about unusual circumstances that apply to their sex (not being able to produce semen or have vanilla sex or whatever). And I think that even kissing someone can be a sexual invitation. So I can see Lava's viewpoint although I don't like how it's been presented so insultingly in this column, comparing trans status to contagious disease. Glad she took that back. People are also imperfect and can get into egotistical, dismissive, selfish, or desperate moods and act the asshole so...
Ms Phile - Not a typo, but emphasize the *perhaps*. I am open to modifying my view.

I spend a fair amount of time on sites more feminist than this, and less feminist than this as well. Offering "virtual hugs if welcome" or something of that ilk is entirely unremarkable in feminist spaces, probably only slightly less common from the men there than from the women. Mr Monic's offering the same to Ms Erica was the first time I have ever seen such an offer from an anti-feminist. Now, obviously there could be thousands of sites on which anti-feminists offer each other "virtual hugs if welcome", but it seems unlikely to me, as I have seen many feminist posts on the need to respect autonomy (an emphasis which has done much good in the world, particularly not forcing five-year-olds to kiss their grandmothers, one thing which I seriously think improves the world).

I'll agree with you that "most *clearly* feminist" would have been better phrasing, conveying that I did not mean the offer of VHIW to embody the very quintessence of feminism more than any other gesture in existence, but that I meant to call it perhaps the gesture whose practitioners contain the highest proportion of feminists.

If it were not past my bedtime, I'd be tempted to go into why I found Ms Lava's offer of cuddles to Ms Cute to be borderline creepy.
Venn, I find your characterization as an "anti-feminist" more than a little offensive, in both senses of "offensive." I'm not an "anti-Christian" either, even though I think gay people should obviously have the same rights the rest of us do, and that murdering brown people in the desert for no reason is really not what Jesus would do.

Aside from that, I think you and Philophile have wildly differing ideas about what feminism is and isn't. To use the Christians as a metaphor, I get the impression Philophile is the kind of Christian who thinks that Christianity is just being kind to the poor and loving your enemies, and that therefore gay marriage must never be allowed if you think gay marriage should be legal then you hate the poor and are sinful.

If that last sentence is at all confusing, it might be worth reading up on the motte and bailey fallacy. It's a common pattern, and has always been the standard doctrine for the foot soldiers in any faith-based movement.

And, eventually, every movement is faith-based.
My dear Venn - The actions that really scream feminism to me are defending a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy, voting for leaders compassionate to each gender, considering how society currently meets the needs of its men and women, researching and spreading information about gender bias, speaking out against sexual violence, etc. This is one of the more feminist places I haunt, Dan has always seemed to attempt equal regard for men and women instead of using gender roles. And sending virtual hugs just reminds me of video games. I'd expect someone who'd been raped recently to place this distorted importance on consensual virtual hugging, maybe your sites are more geared toward ending sexual violence than other forms of feminism.

Eud - What the fuck are you doing? Why do you speak to me? If you're curious, no you don't know me at all, I'm sure I see things to value in feminism and christianity and foreign countries and irritating people, that you would completely dismiss as dangerous. I disagree with most of your posts involving courtesy. Don't bother to wonder why, go back to dismissing me.
@339: Thanks for providing an example of exactly what I mean. Your idea of feminism is based on how feminists say they act, and Venn's is based on how people like you act in real life. And you're completely, sadly, hilariously unable to see that, just like the anti-gay crusaders are totally unable to see that loving their neighbors is the opposite of what they're really about.

I know you better than you know yourself, because I've interacted with hundreds of you. Sadly, knowing you better than you know yourselves is by no means an accomplishment. I'm not curious; I am the opposite of curious, and I was not speaking to you.

For the record, none of your ideas seem "dangerous" to me; that's laughable. The choices you make, which are completely incompatible with the ideals you pretend to believe in? Different story.
Eud - I know you better than you know yourself
Do you listen to yourself? (rhetorical)
Phil, almost everyone knows you better than you know yourself. That's what happens when you're at the very bottom of the self-knowledge scale.
@Ven: Are we sufficiently non-hugboxy yet?
Yes yes, I think you're an idiot, you think I'm an animal. It's so fun to write bullshit emotional crap that means absolutely nothing to anyone. Who needs reason when you have juicy drama, that's truly all that matters in life ;)
Mr Monic - My apologies. As you had not made a formal identification, I had to guess between anti-feminist and non-feminist. Your lengthy and bitter (on both sides) arguments in the recent past with self-identified feminists suggested Anti. (I also thought you reported an approving opinion of Ms Straughan, but might have misremembered that part.) I am content to adjust my assessment to Non.


Ms Phile - Very likely true. I'll give you an (outdated) analogy. If, three or four decades ago, I'd seen two men conversing, one asking the other, "What's wrong?" and the other replying, "Oh, Mary, don't ask!" in a voice reminiscent of Mr Lynde in the centre box of Hollywood Squares, I'd think that not an affectation that summed up all of male homosexuality or an affectation common to more than a small number of SS men, but an affectation marking it as highly probable, perhaps beyond a reasonable doubt, that the man wasn't straight.

I did not imply that my seeing VHIW being done almost exclusively by feminists carried any attached criticism on that account. I think that five-year-olds being allowed to choose whether or not to kiss Grandma is an improvement, and I mainly credit feminism for it. Numerous women whose writings I have seen on the big issues you list have also addressed the question specifically. I also thought the two offerings of VHIW to Ms Erica were at least reasonable, but am quite prepared to take down, "Cuddles, sister, cuddles".
@Phil: At least you can admit it, love.

@345: When someone believes in the Gospels, and tries to live their lives the way Jesus said to, do you call them a non-Christian?

Re: 346 to Venn: To clarify, if someone is a Christian in every way, and also supports the right of equal marriage--as Jesus would almost certainly intend--do you call them non-Christian?
@Venn - I'm glad you clarified, but I don't think feminists see the need to identify each other that gay men in the 50s did. For one, feminism is pretty common, now radical feminists/mras seem to represent extremists. I think the most useful feminism is politically oriented, and it's not hard to find NOW's website. I'm not sure behavioral stereotypes serve any purpose, and the one in question isolates those like me who aren't into virtual hugging. It is often difficult for me to switch gears from debate to expressing feelings and I would not like to feel excluded from the big issues on the basis of my personality. You give me interesting exercises in expressing my feelings and I do appreciate it, but this is difficult. While I'm at it and since everyone is on a new column. I wish CMD could have felt comfortable speaking up here, I missed his voice and opinions on disclosure and trans courtesy. I think he is incredibly brave and kind to share his genderfluid experiences and helps others in similar situations accept and communicate their feelings. And I know I don't understand parts of NoCute one bit, but I really appreciated her posts, they were mostly so patient and soothing. She is capable of communicating in a way that I am not and I envy it sometimes.

As for the cuddles. They seemed to be an expression of affection. I wonder if you were objecting more to the expression, or to how off balance that post was. I'd like to point out that being on the receiving end of abuse, even if accidental, and don't think I've forgotten the rebuke when I tread on your toes... puts people off balance.
Mr Monic - When you have quacked like any of a number of many self-professed ducks I have called you a duck. It would have been proper of me to have asked instead of guessing that you were a goose when you took offence at being called a duck. You have every right to present as a dove instead. But I'd appreciate a suggestion as to how to be able to call you a dove and continue to call other the other self-identified doves doves while still acknowledging that their version of cooing vastly differs from yours and without having to choose a side. Perhaps you are the One True Feminist here, and Ms Cummins, Ms Cute and others are all Doing It Wrong. I would just like to be able to say words that mean something recognizable without looking as if I agree with one of two irreconcilable factions or making every post five thousand words long to avoid offending. I accept what I infer to be your meaning as valid, but welcome suggestions as to a system of terminology.
Ms Phile - I can't give you a percentage, but that was never the point. Even if no non-feminist or anti-feminist ever did X that some feminists do, that doesn't reflect on non-Xing feminists in and of itself. I think there's some conflation of P-implies-Q with not-P-implies-not-Q here, but we just seem to be drifting into murkier areas.

I accept your apparently wanting to end the conversation and do so with an acceptance of "Cuddles, sister, cuddles," as being entirely meant as an expression of affection and without detailing the multiple points I have against it anyway.
Your guest advisor Bailey Jay kept it real with the guy STUNG, pointing out that it was more about embarrassment than betrayal when his new girlfriend found out about the transgender woman he was dating. The fact he started his post by claiming he is straight right off the bat was clearly an indicator of that. A young transgender wrote in recently to my sex advice web site about feeling stressed to make a decision regarding which gender to identify with before having transitional surgery. I briefly went over the pros and cons of being a man and a woman. There was no clear-cut winner between the two, and I advised Confused in Toledo to go experience life and discover who they are and what makes them happy and the answer to their question will eventually come.
Venn - I accept your apparently wanting to end the conversation
That wasn't my intention. I do like reading your thoughts. I didn't think the cuddles were the oddest part of the post in question, is what I meant, I suppose.

I also had a freaked out thought that Eud has potential in bed. He's so easy to rile up. As long as he wouldn't assume he knew better than a partner who says "no" and is good with consent.. he has some passion. And I could believe he's a feminist. You can be an asshole no matter which way you vote. I'd ask him how he feels about voting for Clinton if I wanted to see if he was a "real" feminist.
@352: "I'd ask him how he feels about voting for Clinton..."

Mixed. She's basically guaranteed to be the least-bad option in 2016, unless someone like Warren somehow ends up entering and winning the primary (and both are pretty much impossible). Voting's not much of a litmus test, because the choices are too obvious--any liberal (who can win the general) over Clinton, and (any) Clinton over any Republican.
Eud - She's basically guaranteed to be the least-bad option in 2016 ...
any liberal (who can win the general) over Clinton

This seems a bit contradictory. But you seem feminist. Have a cookie.

You're too much like my boyfriend. I already have one hot drama prone guy with a broken joy buzzer up his asshole to attempt to love right. You're probably mostly charming rather than frothing in person too. Hitler. Go fuck your wife.
Phil: "This seems a bit contradictory."

How much do you know about Clinton beyond her gender? She's a centrist.
That description of your man friend, Philo. Very colourful. Could feel your take on it all.
Philo. Mr E in bed you say? My this thread has taken a turn.
Venn. The virtual cuddles were for
no cute, not you. And if I throw a sister between them, it's because she is my sister. May not always agree.
Sisterhood, still here my friend.
Lava - I think what Venn might have been saying is that cuddling a virtual stranger is awfully forward. While sending non physical gestures like best wishes would have little chance of offending or overstepping boundaries. I think. Apparently I'm not the best at these judgements. Eud thought that guessing he was good and bed and telling him that he reminded me of my boyfriend was offensive. Maybe to my boyfriend :)

I might actually like to talk to Eud if we were both single. Some part of me loves having horribly offensive conversations that descend into giggles. In present circumstances, we don't interact well.
Regarding the Bondage Performer. I'm a 50ish year old man who's "been around"... I live in Chicago... I had no idea there were such things. So when you find your sweet young lass and decide to tell her about your past... well.. first discuss the fact that there are such things and what they entail...

    Please wait...

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