Savage Love

Judgment Day

Comments

102
@91 - What's ethical about BDSM? I'm sorry, but what the hell kind of question is that?

Consensual power play can be a HUGE turn on for some people. It's negotiated before. Limits are set. If some limits are to be pushed, it's discussed beforehand and the submissive always has a safe word to use for when things are pressing their buttons too hard.

It's something that both parties want to do, is a turn on for both parties and in some cases is a deeper emotional / psychological need than just sexual / turn on.

There's nothing unethical about it.
103
A bit of revisionist history here, sheldon; take a look at your first post (#20). You were quick to assign "blame" to TOAD when no blame need exist. Only a person who believes that her refusing to proceed forward with the man is "unfair" [as you've made clear you do] will perceive the negative comments about his response to TOAD's question as "attempting to blame the man for having been honest" & drawing a line between "right" and "wrong."

I had hoped my preceding post might prompt you to reconsider the whole notion of "fairness" that you seem so invested in. It obviously didn't -- but unlike you, I won't "repeat [myself] until people accept it" [insert eyeball roll here].



104
I haven't read all the comments, so apologies if this is a repeat. Umm, isn't there already a sign people can use if they are typically considered gay/lesbian? Isn't it a rainbow and/or upside down triangle?

Just sayin', it's more subtle than the t-shirt idea and ubiquitous enough to also keep the heteros at bay.
105
Some gay men don't take it in the ass. Also, some bisexual men don't take it in the ass. That's the dumbest criterion I've ever heard. "You don't take it in the ass? You're not a bisexual." Women aren't expected to take it in the ass just because they can; neither should bisexual men be. As a gay man who loves shoving all kinds of things up my ass, I proudly defend this married bisexual man's right to be "exit only" if he damn well chooses and still proudly carry the bisexual flag.
106
See, for me, if a 'non-stereotypical' lesbian were to waltz into a bar, I would be overjoyed.

It's really hard to find girls that are my type. I hope the green button catches on. Only problem is if it catches on too well it opens us up for discrimination.
107
Post didn't make it, will try again - thank you Jem, I see about the consent issue, but that raises another ? for me: we (healthy rational society) do not consider consent to be a get-outta-immorality-free card in cases of abuse ("She loves it when I punch her teeth out" "Yeah, I really do, you can go, officer"). I'm struggling to figure out why it makes so much otherwise-unconscionable behavior okay in sex play. Is it, as some posters here suggest, okay if you're pretending to abuse/be abused, but not really invested in it as real, actual abuse? And how do you know whether a person is really giving consent and pretending versus, say, re-enacting abuse in an unhealthy way? And how far does consent go? If he likes getting beaten hard enough to leave bruises, is that okay? I see what everyone's saying about being very very careful, but is everyone really that careful? I am trying to understand a loved one who's into kink, and I am very respectful while I'm trying to learn about this, but I also don't want to be dishonest about my sincere questions. And no, I can't ask the person these questions, even very respectfully.
108
whups, sorry for the essentially-double posting -
109
@107, as a kinkster, my own personal ethos is that consent goes as far as *both* parties are comfortable with it going, and as long as both parties have the capacity to understand the risks involved.

I realize that sounds opaque, so I'll break it down a little -

Let's say Alice and Bob both like flogging. Flogging, then, is on the table. Alice likes humiliation, but Bob doesn't. Humiliation is off the table, unless Bob changes his mind of his own accord (including agreeing with stipulations in the name of being GGG, which he may do, but he has a right to make it as conditional as he so chooses). Neither of them like bondage, so bondage is off the table.

Notice anything? I didn't tell you who's topping and who's bottoming, or whether it's a dominant/submissive dynamic. That's because in this context, it doesn't matter. Both Alice and Bob have equal "right of refusal", and a refusal by one party takes an activity off the table for the other.

Now let's say Bob wants to be flogged, but Alice doesn't feel right about doing it at this particular moment. Something feels off about Bob's mood/behavior/headspace, or her own. She doesn't like flogging any less, but she has a right to say, "Not tonight, something doesn't feel right." The same applies if Alice were the floggee.

There are countless complications to this basic idea - if two people have an existing D/s relationship, they may (or may not) have an understanding that the submissive cannot in fact refuse a given activity... but the submissive still doesn't waive the right to say "wait, I need a time out, stop the dynamics, I need to talk to you about this as an equal."

This is, of course, just how I personally handle things. I don't like bloodplay, so I don't do it. I'm a rope top, so I don't play with people who can't handle bondage. If someone's never been in bondage before, I don't start out with a hogtie (that falls under "they don't know what they're in for.") Etc, etc. BDSM has an element of "live and let live" to it, and if you try to negotiate your way through every hypothetical "what about," you'll never wrap your head around the actualities... because most people aren't going to *want* to be caged for 24 hours, or ask you to consume their liver.
110
Okay, 109, that is helpful. Do you just keep your intuition on to help you decide whether it's *not* just a game with a potential partner, as in the letter today? In the lifestyle, would it be considered unethical to play with someone if you had reason to think they were not really coming from a healthy place about it, even if they *said* they were? I try to read about this online but so many people, especially those into D/s, emphatically don't write about it as if it were a game, and I find myself wondering how one reliably knows where playing ends and real serious psychological trouble and/or abuse begins.
111
@107, what 109 said.

Yes, people really are that careful. Going to swinger's parties, alcohol is a much welcomed lubricant. Go to a bdsm club and alcohol is very much off limits. If you are going to be flogging, or beating someone hard, you really, really have to be cognizant of what you are doing and how it is affecting the person.

Likewise, when you play and there's been the power exchange it's very important to not only know what's going on in the scene, but also how it affects the person down the road and whether it's working on them.

There's a tremendous amount of give and take in a good D/s relationship. Seeing what works, what doesn't work...

Yes consent goes to the very core of everything. You don't start off hard-core. You work your way up to it, feeling along the way. There are a number of bdsm websites out there. Read up on it. There are a lot of good books out there. Like 'Screw the Roses, Give me the Thorns'.
112
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http://www.stepheneinhorn.co.uk/gay_and_…
113
Belleweather, there's a pretty good introductory page on BDSM at xeromag, here http://www.xeromag.com/fvbdsm.html

I was going to try to discuss the difference between BDSM and abuse (it's huge, I practice consensual BDSM with my partner and have never been abused) here, but this guy does it better.
114
@Belleweather,

The watchword of ethical BDSM is "safe, sane and consensual." I talked about the consensual first, but then there is also the safe and sane parts. You don't take unnecessary risks, you don't do something to appeal to a particular psychological kink that has the potential to go disastrously wrong and cause permanent physical damage. Some requests, such as, say, cannibalism or snuff scenes, are not at all possible to fit into "safe" or "sane" in any way, EVEN IF the "consent" is there.

The difference between BDSM and abuse where the abused partner won't leave is when the "excuse" or "consent" is given, in BDSM, it is negotiated before hand, and BOTH parties express by their actions, that consent is important and they are unwilling to proceed without obtaining it. Abuse doesn't do that. Abuse has one partner do whatever the heck they want, and then the other partner might 'excuse' it for whatever reason. But that's NOT actually 'consent.' Abuse also doesn't have the "safe" or "sane" watchwords applied carefully.

But it seems you are personally more invested in the psychological part, rather than physical damage. That one is much tougher, because psychological damage is much harder to see, and you can never tell externally and objectively if someone is working to fix an existing psychological damage, or causing more. You don't know that, BUT, in a close relationship with good communication, people are more likely to be able to read a partner's momentary psychological state, and care to pull the plug on a scene if they believe it is going badly. BDSM as a community works harder to promote healthy communication than pretty much any other relationship community I know of, and everybody is thus primed to care very much whether or not their partner is in the right "headspace" and willing to stop the action if they suspect something is off.

There are assholes in every group, but other groups generally "assume" a lot instead of actually communicating, actually working out issues, and figuring out the intricacies of the particular person you are with at that moment. In that sense, less assuming and more actual communication, seems to me that it would lead to *safer* situations psychologically than otherwise.
115
@ #58... i totally agree with your post! As an adult female who chats online, i can attest to the fact that there seems to be a trend of too much information being imparted way too soon. I have no clue if i'm going to meet the person i'm chatting with, but to start a conversation off with how he wants to ass-fuck me and hear me scream till i'm hoarse, well, that just scares the bejeezus out of me and i sometimes don't even say goodbye to idiots like this, i just move on.

Then i wonder ...there must be women out there who LIKE this kind of overt sexuality in the first conversation! I don't know, just guessing.

If a man is really interested in learning more about the woman he's talking to, he'd be better to temper his words and be patient. Facial and tonal cues make a difference too, when it's a face-to-face conversation, and perhaps TOAD picked up on these non-verbal cues, which could have also given her that creepy feeling. Who is to judge? If you are creeped-out, it's your call, and i'm all for trusting your gut.
116
@ 110, oh, absolutely. Intuition is a *huge* part of BDSM, second only to consent in my mind. Intuition is what *keeps* things "safe" and "sane", because safe isn't just about "is this physically safe," but "does it *feel* safe, for me and my partner, at this particular moment," and sane isn't just about "are we both sober and stable," but "Am I feeling stressed out today? Is my partner? Can we play stressed, or would things take a bad turn? If they do, will I be able to notice/listen/watch? Will *they* be able to give me some kind of signal?" and so on. Intuition is honed via experience, which is why it's to the benefit of both people to start slowly, whether first entering kink or just doing it with a new partner - everyone has different signals, and it's a lot easier to abort a hand spanking scene or untie someone's wrists than to try to undo a full body harness or pack up a bunch of impact gear.

An example of how intuition plays into safe and sane even in the case of two experienced people: I'm physically disabled, as was/is one of my first subs. I was in the middle of some pretty intricate bondage, and he was standing up. About halfway through, something just felt *wrong*. I looked him over... he looked fine. I asked if he was okay, he said he was, and sounded like he meant it. I did a circulation check - all okay. I asked him again: "Are you sure you're okay? Do I need to get you on the bed? Anything hurting/tingling?" He assured me again that he was fine... giving me a funny look at this point. I thought about it for a half second, then started undoing the knots that were restricting his movement. "Sorry babe, I think you need to come out of this." He got a little upset... for about thirty seconds, before he suddenly trailed off and passed out. At that point I was anticipating something along those lines, so I was able to catch him, push him onto the bed, and get a pulseox probe on his finger... turned out, his oxygen saturation had taken a sudden drop. He hadn't been breathing shallowly, his breathing wasn't restricted, he wasn't uncomfortable, he wasn't unwell, he hadn't gone pale/blue, wasn't sweating... there were absolutely no concrete outward signs. But he did have a chronic lung disease, of which I was aware, so when *something* seemed off, I knew to stop (and how to deal with it). Which also illustrates the importance of disclosing any medical conditions to anyone you play with.

You ask, "In the lifestyle, would it be considered unethical to play with someone if you had reason to think they were not really coming from a healthy place about it, even if they *said* they were?"

I would say most kinksters in the lifestyle would find that unethical, yes. I certainly would and do... if someone says something that pings my "this person is not in a healthy place" radar, I will tell them so (gently), explain what about what they said sounds unhealthy to me, and, while I will *talk* to them about kinky things all they would like, in an academic/identity sort of way - because to me, kink is an identity issue, and I have had periods in my life where I knew I was not healthy enough for play/power dynamics, but needed to talk about *why* I needed what I needed - I won't allow conversations like that to stray toward fueling of fantasies (that just causes frustration), or lead to actual play.
117
The letter from TOAD and the responses to it remind me of this recent post over at Shapely Prose - "Schroedinger's Rapist." (And no, I'm in no way saying TOAD's date is a rapist - see here for an explanation: http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-…). The basic gist of the article is that when you first meet someone, there is a possibility that person is a wonderful human being, but there's also a possibility they really aren't. If that person says or does something that creeps you out, their "right" to receive the benefit of the doubt (that they misspoke, that they were awkward, that you misheard) is trumped by your own right to protect your personal safety and comfort in the way that seems best.

Of course it's possible that this guy is a nice, harmless kinkster who simply was drunk and blurted something out accidentally, that he misread the situation and thought they were ready to share on that level. It's possible. It's also possible that he's NOT a nice, harmless kinkster, and that his misreading of (or disregard for) what was appropriate in that situation might signal a creepy disregard for a partner's comfort later on. That's also possible.

The point is, TOAD doesn't know. If she makes a mistake in dumping the guy (because he's actually a really sweet and considerate kinkster), the worst that happens is that she misses out on a potentially satisfying relationship. If she makes a mistake in keeping the guy around (because he's actually a creep), the worst that happens is a lot worse.
118
Thanks, Sean, Jem, Mysti, Dave - all good information and I feel I have a better understanding and clearer picture of how it works now.
119
@117 - very true, and thanks for linking to that post, it's very applicable to this situation.
120
As a straight man who has hit on his fair share of very fun n' cute lesbians, and who has also been hit on by a bunch of real nice fella's-- I think that we should all just lighten up!
121
@97

Not a god-damned thing, obviously.

@103

Um... You seem to have missed the post I was replying to. #15 very directly placed the blame on TOAD's date, rather than simply being neutral and saying "yep, they weren't compatible".

The revisionist history seems to be on your side, dear.

I have no qualms with her having decided not to see him again. What I take issue with is the idea that she has a justifiable reason for it, or that the man did something to deserve her reaction. She does not, and he did not.

Don't mistake a belief that her reaction is illogical and unreasonable with a belief that she has some duty to continue seeing him
122
@smys: forget the buttons. go to different places and parties, there are so many different (stereo)types of lesbians out there, some places are so crowded with girliegirls you`ll be missing your all-dyke/butch bar in no time.
ps:most of them propably stare at you because youre hot or because they'd stare at anyone "new" coming to "their" bar ...try to make some friends there, best way of meeting someone to date or so is beeing introduced to them
123
BRAVO to you, once again, Dan, for your excellent advice to TOAD, and to TOAD: BRAVO to you, too, for trusting your gut and bolting when you felt unsafe with the "out there" kinks of a guy you barely knew.

I agree: he could be inexperienced; he could be a totally abusive asshole, or nice and decent enough but just not subtle enough yet to keep from creeping out prospective GFs about his sexual preferences.

Good call to trust your gut!
124
wow.......... if you are TOAD and are drunk and your date is drunk, and you ask them what kind of porn they like and get a straight answer (alcohol diminishes your inhibitions) ... well, you might not like the answer, ok, but I def don't agree that the date should have 'lied' or 'covered up' his taste in porn. maybe deflect the topic like #28 suggests, all good and playful answers, if he did not want to say because he knows his taste is a bit extreme... but again, if you are a bit drunk.........you have no judgement to do so!!

If she has a bad feeling, then just don't see him again, but really, you don't go around asking about what porn people like and expect to hear that they love romantic sex porn movies or something. people don't watch porn for that, people watch porn to see things they usually don't get to experience, like we watch star wars or friday 13th movies... because, do not forget it, porn are just movies -fake- tales .
125
I'm not into BDSM at all, but in the past Dan has mentioned meetings called munches for such folks; would it be appropriate for Belleweather to go to one to get her questions answered?

And yes, TOAD did the right thing. Creepy is so subjective that it really isn't possible to say one way or another that this was a bad guy, but even if he wasn't, he creeped her out, so she left. She doesn't owe him any benefit of the doubt. Even if there is only a small chance he was a bad guy, it's entirely her call as to whether it is worth the risk of ignoring her antennae.
126
Somehow, somewhere, and I don't remember how or when or where, I got the idea that "softball" was the code word for lesbians. Well, what do I know? I'm a straight guy, 61 years old.
127
whenever I meet someone new and begin that conversation about sexual activity, especially if the other person brings it up first, my response is ALWAYS something that includes my role as a Dominant Top and the mantra 'safe, sane, and consensual'. Those 'in the know' immediately understand and let me know by their response (Yes, Sir!). It allows for the conversation to include HIV status, what each one considers 'safe' and opens the door for sharing experiences, preferences, and interests. When their response is more along the lines of 'that's an interesting phrase, what does it mean?' I get to have talk about all 3 of those dimensions. If someone's gut tells them to run as fast as possible from me because I'm a freak, that's as real as it gets for them and I respect it. he is simply not the right guy for me. Otherwise I'm lying about that mantra.
128
Seldon:

Semantics. Pure semantics.

That's like saying there's a difference between me saying "I'm an atheist", and me saying "I think religion is completely incorrect, and that god can't possibly exist"


There *is* a difference. Just like there's a difference between saying "I am a fundamentalist Christian" and "I believe everyone who isn't a Christian is going to hell". Or a difference between saying "Many young women are employed as prostitutes" and "A lot of girls are whores." Or, for that matter, calling someone "black" vs calling them "a nigger", or "Hispanic" vs "spic". One of these statements is an assertion of a fact (at least, when true), and the other is confrontational and rude.

Semantics should not be dismissed as some sort of obscure academic discipline, nuance can carry a lot of meaning.

I guess stubborn, because I'm unwilling to accept that honestly answering a question should be considered creepy.

If you don't find his actual fetishes creepy, the fact that he explained them bluntly shouldn't be creepy. It's a pretty simple syllogism.


It's not necessarily that they're inherently creepy, it is that they're... risky. You need a lot of trust to let someone do something like that to you; and if you're not stupid, crazy, or emotionally damaged, that trust needs a sturdy foundation that he hadn't built yet. It's a little bit like the difference between a stranger groping you on the bus, and your significant other groping you on the bus. One of those is kind of hot, the other is just plain creepy--I'll let you work out which is which.

It's not just that "he told her the truth". He must be inexperienced, he must be socially unaware, he must be an actual misogynist.

Thing is, if TOAD was reporting his responses at all accurately, he pretty much has to be either clueless in some way, or pretty f'ed up. Because I believe every female who is commenting about this--and this is the Savage Love readership, not Sunday bible school--is saying "Yeah, that'd creep me out too." Which means that either he's not aware that he's being creepy (due to inexperience or lack of cluon receptors), or he doesn't *care* that he's being creepy. And... someone being intentionally creepy is generally a creep.

And it can't possibly be TOAD's fault for asking a question she didn't want the answer to? You keep forgetting (or ignoring purposefully, I'll leave it up to you to decide which) that he didn't bring it up out of the blue. She asked him. So, I accept that 'charged language' is only acceptable in certain contexts. Answering a direct question is one of them.

You're assuming that she didn't want an honest answer. You're assuming she's some kind of wilting flower (or something) who shouldn't have brought the topic up if his answer was going to bother her. But, thing is, if I ask a guy about his sexual interests/tastes (which is essentially what asking "what kind of porn do you like" is) on a get-to-know-you date, that just means I want to know what *kind* of thing he's interested in (vanilla vs bdsm, top vs bottom, light vs heavy, insert potentially problematic fetish here), I'm not asking for a guided tour of his psyche.

Now, it'd be somewhat different if his answer had been "My favorite titles are 'Dirty Whores 11', 'Rapeapalooza', and 'The Gang Bang Gang'". Again, stating facts, not judgments. Difference in nuance between "I like this film that has offensive language in the title", and using the offensive language as a descriptor.

Let me rephrase TOAD's date's interests in a way that I think we can agree is honest, *and* probably wouldn't have creeped her out.

Her: "What kind of porn do you like?"
him: "Well, some kind of heavy stuff. How much do you want to know?"
her: "Just hit the high points."
him: "Well--I like stuff where the women are being humiliated, I like rape scenarios, and I'm particularly fond of rape scenarios with multiple men."

And someone who's not socially deficient like me could probably say it even better. No lies necessary, just a little tact and courtesy.

The end result is the same, and it just takes more time to get there? That seems like a bad deal for me. She still leaves, and all I've done is waste more time on a girl who can't accept honesty, and is clearly (despite calling herself GGG), quite unable to distinguish between the level of fantasy one has, and the level of fantasy one wants to engage in.

And the 15 extra seconds to say it in a way that doesn't creep out even *women who are into that kind of thing* isn't worth it to you? There are creepy and non-creepy ways to convey *exactly the same information*.

Yeah, unless D/S relationships are inherently less healthy than normal relationships, the difference in this case is meaningless. If a prospective girlfriend asked me a question, I would answer it honestly.

Like I implied above... not inherently less healthy, but very much inherently more risky. The main differences between a d/s relationship and an abusive one are consent, trust, and boundaries. He didn't really have the first yet, hadn't built the second, and seems to have a fuzzy idea of the third.
129
The world would be a much better place with more dudes like #120!
130
TOAD: This generally open minded young woman was squicked by the TONE of the fellow's response to the porn question, not so much the substance of the answer- I, too, being generally open minded and almost twice her age, would have been quite put off by that choice of wording so early in a relationship.... There's a huge gulf between "dirty whores, rape scenarios, and gang bangs." and "Well, I get off on some sort of extreme stuff, rape scenes and gang bangs, stuff like that. Isn't it funny the way people can be so turned on by scenarios they'd NEVER really take part in in real life? I mean, rape is just plain wrong but the *idea* of just taking control is kind of sexy."
The key factors are, to me, acknowleging up front that the preferences are not mainstream and that there is a BIG difference between fantasy and the real world....and to baldly and crudely state those preferences when an acquaintence is too new to have developed a comfortable trust, is a big red flag that a person is either oblivious about boundaries or likes to push them- neither is an appealing trait. also, in my experience, the phrase "dirty whores" seldom refers to prostitutes but to women who are sexually experienced and "easy" (Never quite understood the virtue of being difficult).... One should never fuck anyone who will look down on you for enjoying sex and a guy who uses the phrase "dirty whores" is more likely to hold such views than a fellow who does not..... and no one, male or female, should ever fuck anyone that sqicks them out, whatever the reason they feel squicked.
131
@128: Nice job, Melissa.

I've conversed with people who don't get similar differences between telling a woman (who isn't their wife/girlfriend or a *really* good friend) "that's a cute skirt" and "that skirt makes me hot."

Uh. Creepy? But thanks for being really "honest" with me.
132
@94: "If I ask my date whether she's ever cheated, I don't want a response of 'well, what really counts as cheating'. I want a direct, honest, complete, answer. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

The problem is with cheating, everybody does have their own definition (see: how we define virginity). Your definition of "truth" then might not match hers. Assuming that everyone is talking to you in your vocabulary is actually a bit dangerous, because misinterpretation and miscommunication could be rampant.

Defining the terms is not a bad thing. It ensures both parties are on the same page. I see that the way you mean it, it certainly can be and is used as an evasive tactic, but sometimes people just want to make sure that they're being understood.

I ask that question all the time -- "What do you mean by [xxx]?" -- not because I don't want to answer your question, but I want to make sure I'm answering it as truthfully and accurately as I can.

And really, if somebody responds "what *really* counts as cheating" -- as I read it, as if they don't really think *any* form of cheating exists -- that tells you just as much as a "straight-up" answer. A conversation and learning about someone goes far beyond just a sterile Q&A.
133
Melissa,

First, how did you include italics? That would make my life so much easier, and I'm not sure how to do it on this site.

But, moving on:

"
There *is* a difference. Just like there's a difference between saying "I am a fundamentalist Christian" and "I believe everyone who isn't a Christian is going to hell". Or a difference between saying "Many young women are employed as prostitutes" and "A lot of girls are whores." Or, for that matter, calling someone "black" vs calling them "a nigger", or "Hispanic" vs "spic". One of these statements is an assertion of a fact (at least, when true), and the other is confrontational and rude.

Semantics should not be dismissed as some sort of obscure academic discipline, nuance can carry a lot of meaning."

The difference between a pejorative and not is significant. The difference between saying a word, and saying its meaning, is not significant.

If I am an atheist, it means I believe that all religion is false (by definition). If I say I'm Jewish, I'm saying I'm not Christian. A fundamentalist Christian does believe everyone else is going to hell. The word itself carries with it the definition (both denotative and connotative). But, calling someone black is a description, calling someone a nigger is a pejorative. That's the difference.

Saying I like degradation, verbal abuse, and humiliation is substantively only marginally different from saying "I like calling women dirty whores, and watching them act like it", which (in turn) is only slightly different from saying that my pornography tends toward watching "dirty whores".

To anyone with an understanding of the words involved, me saying that I like degradation, verbal abuse, and humiliation is saying "I enjoy, in sex, those things". Saying I like those things in pornography isn't all that different.

"
It's not necessarily that they're inherently creepy, it is that they're... risky. You need a lot of trust to let someone do something like that to you; and if you're not stupid, crazy, or emotionally damaged, that trust needs a sturdy foundation that he hadn't built yet. It's a little bit like the difference between a stranger groping you on the bus, and your significant other groping you on the bus. One of those is kind of hot, the other is just plain creepy--I'll let you work out which is which."

Except he didn't actually do anything to her. We're assuming he has poor impulse control, or can't distinguish between fantasy and reality, but that's without factual foundation. Unless you consider simply hearing the word "whore" to be abusive (in which case, damn but I have been abusive here), his statement is nothing akin to molesting anyone.

Nor does it prove him untrustworthy. She can dump him if she chooses, but he didn't actually give her a reason to.

"Thing is, if TOAD was reporting his responses at all accurately, he pretty much has to be either clueless in some way, or pretty f'ed up. Because I believe every female who is commenting about this--and this is the Savage Love readership, not Sunday bible school--is saying "Yeah, that'd creep me out too." Which means that either he's not aware that he's being creepy (due to inexperience or lack of cluon receptors), or he doesn't *care* that he's being creepy. And... someone being intentionally creepy is generally a creep."

Perhaps. Though, my argument would still come down to "your assessment of his actions is incorrect". You're begging the question, using the fact that you and *some* of the women posting here find him creepy as confirmation that you are correct to find him creepy.

You have every right to find his actions objectionable, but that doesn't make that assessment anything other than a subjective belief.

"You're assuming that she didn't want an honest answer. You're assuming she's some kind of wilting flower (or something) who shouldn't have brought the topic up if his answer was going to bother her. But, thing is, if I ask a guy about his sexual interests/tastes (which is essentially what asking "what kind of porn do you like" is) on a get-to-know-you date, that just means I want to know what *kind* of thing he's interested in (vanilla vs bdsm, top vs bottom, light vs heavy, insert potentially problematic fetish here), I'm not asking for a guided tour of his psyche."

Then she's not really asking what kind of porn he likes. She's asking what kind of porn he likes *and which wouldn't freak her out*. If you ask me what my favorite porn is, explaining it requires a tour of my psyche (all porn is a reflection of our desires, after all). If you want to talk about the importance of semantics, talk about the importance of semantics.

She failed to accurately inform him of the response she desired. There's a world of nuance between "what porn do you like" and "generally speaking, what are you into"

"Now, it'd be somewhat different if his answer had been "My favorite titles are 'Dirty Whores 11', 'Rapeapalooza', and 'The Gang Bang Gang'". Again, stating facts, not judgments. Difference in nuance between "I like this film that has offensive language in the title", and using the offensive language as a descriptor."

Only a mild difference, and even then only if you're really looking for it. A prima-facie analysis of "Rapeapalooza" would yield a conclusion that the person whose favorite porn it is indeed likes rape fantasies. How is saying "I like a porn in which a dirty whore gets raped" sufficiently different from "I like seeing a dirty whore get raped [in porn]"? Is the fact that he didn't say "my favorite pornography includes elements of..." before reciting his kinks really what we're arguing about?

"him: "Well--I like stuff where the women are being humiliated, I like rape scenarios, and I'm particularly fond of rape scenarios with multiple men.""

Aside from the use of the word "scenario" (which, again, might be our entire argument), your phrasing isn't all that different. If the argument really is in whether he was vocal about the fact that he knows (and I believe he does) that it's a scene, rather than reality, then we're going to have to agree to disagree (however vehemently)

"And the 15 extra seconds to say it in a way that doesn't creep out even *women who are into that kind of thing* isn't worth it to you? There are creepy and non-creepy ways to convey *exactly the same information*."

If she asked me a direct question, I'm not going to sugar-coat my reaction. If she asks me whether I go to church, the difference between saying "I'm an atheist" and "I think religion is wrong" is very minimal. The more "polite" way to convey that I don't go to church is to say "I'm not very religious", but that'd be misleading.

He respected her enough to give her a directly honest answer. That's tact, or at least it should be.

"Like I implied above... not inherently less healthy, but very much inherently more risky. The main differences between a d/s relationship and an abusive one are consent, trust, and boundaries. He didn't really have the first yet, hadn't built the second, and seems to have a fuzzy idea of the third."

This is where I may be confused, but:

Consent for what? To use the word 'whore' in her presence? To answer her question to the most honest of his ability? She asked him a question, didn't she consent to hear the goddamned answer?

True, he didn't have her trust, but did he require her 'trust' for what he did? Namely answering her question?

The only thing he could be guilty of was overstepping his bounds, but boy is that a fuzzy line when someone asks me a question. Unless you're prepared to give out little cue-cards of where the line is when you ask a question, the boundaries thing is something you discuss before doing something at all dangerous.

Words are not dangerous. Never have been, never will be.
134
@132

True, and that wasn't the best example (I've since refined my analogy to be about atheism, rather than cheating).

Still, if I did ask "have you ever cheated", I'd rather my date say "I was in a bad relationship, and slept with the guy who would become my next boyfriend before we'd broken up", rather than "no".

My point was that giving a more specific (and hence, more honest) answer is always preferable when we're talking about trying to forge a relationship with someone.
135
@121 "I have no qualms with her having decided not to see him again. What I take issue with is the idea that she has a justifiable reason for it, or that the man did something to deserve her reaction. She does not, and he did not."

Her "reason" is her gut feeling. And that's perfectly justifiable. It doesn't matter what she asked, or how he answered, really. Her stomach twisted, her brain said "ick", and that was enough.
136
Seldon @121 -- ditch the "dear"; it's phony affection, which undermines your self-portrayal here as someone who is always honest. And here's a tip for a "lawyer-in-training" [just noticed that]: that comes across as patronizing, never a winning tactic.

137
@136

I respond to what I'm given. Courtrooms have rules (especially evidentiary ones), and you're generally not permitted to "insert eyeroll" anywhere in a pleading.

If you're impolite and condescending to me, I'm impolite and condescending to you. Fair, eh?
138
Seldon

It does not surprise me that you have "lawyer training." A lawyer can win by refusing to see the point of his opponent and arguing around and around and around an issue.

Pretend you're at a speech and debate tournament instead. Slog has some good debaters. You are currently not one of them.

I am going to employ some honesty that you like so much. In my opinion, either you are a smart but competitive guy who is refusing to back down when shown that an opinion formed on too little thought is untenable, or you are really, really thick. Really thick. I think the former, because you don't talk like someone who is really, really thick.

(See, now, I could have omitted saying that, but that would be a lie! A lie of omission.)

Once more:

Would you tell a police officer that a girl was batshit crazy, or would you use grown-up words so as not to give the nice officer the wrong impression?

Would you tell a nice homosexual man who came up and asked if you were gay "no, sorry!" or would you say "no, way, I like pussy! I like hot wet pussy right in my face!" ("Just saying "no" is a lie of omission! I might be asexual!")

Would you say, at a job interview, when asked about what you dislike at a job "Oh, man, I hate it when nosy micromanaging fucktards are up in my business" or would you phrase it in a more appropriate way? ("So you say the same thing, but you take more time to get there? No, thanks. I don't want to work at a place with annoying fucktard managers, and it's better if we just get it out in the open right away! Besides, she asked. She asked. She asked!")

Are you, in short, going to admit that different words are appropriate in different contexts? This is the crux of it. Answer yes or no, and then we can proceed.
139
This is not a courtroom. And "Dear" won't get you any further there than in real life or on an 'net forum

[insert eyeball roll] -- in response to a vow to keep beating a dead horse -- is "impolite and condescending"? I can live with that.

140
someone took a vow to beat a dead horse? or is that next weeks column? :)
141
SMYS should move to Ithaca, NY. There seem to be quite a LOT of lesbians in this town (not that there's anything wrong with that).
142
@138

Nice debating trick. First, let's cut out the ad hominem attacks. If the best you can pull off is to insult both my chosen profession, as well as me personally, we might ought to simply cease conversing.

See, polite.

But, the fact that you can't distinguish between "answering a question fully and honestly" and "giving a negative opinion unbidden" makes me think that either you're simply incapable of the very distinction between appropriate and inappropriate statements that you're saying is a categorical imperative, or you're really, really, bad at analogies.

If I'd asked you what you thought of me, your response (no matter what it was) would be appropriate. I would have solicited your honest opinion. Save for that, you have gone out of your way to make a pejorative judgment of me. That's the difference.

And, by the way, if you don't see a one-time interaction with a gay man hitting on me, or the police, or even a boss, as being no different from a conversation with a prospective SO, I don't think we'll ever find common ground.

Would I tell a police officer the most explicit truth I can, of course not (I would also only answer direct questions as tersely as possible under questioning, and giving testimony). I'd be fine answering politely and simply to a homosexual man I have no intention of seeing again, or a boss I don't really need to have respect or a relationship with.

But not to a prospective girlfriend. I have more respect for the girls I date than that. Do you not respect your boyfriends (or prospective boyfriends) enough to give them the benefit of a complete and honest answer to their questions?

That's the disagreement here. So, yes, I accept the contextuality of the appropriateness of any statement, just not the implication that what TOAD's date said was inappropriate given the context.

@139

I completely agree. The fact that there are no rules for decorum does make it more difficult to maintain a civil (much less accurate and reasonable) discussion.

But, I assure you, that rolling your eyes at someone doesn't really prove you to be the more mature or competent debater.
143
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

"I'd be fine answering politely and simply to a homosexual man...but not to a prospective girlfriend. I have more respect for the girls I date."

he he he. That says it all, right there. You have too much "respect" for a prospective girlfriend to answer her politely. You think I took you out of context by taking out part of one sentence? Look again. I really didn't.

And really, that's the point. You wouldn't be polite to a prospective girlfriend. Just like the original guy didn't know enough/didn't care enough to be polite to a potential girlfriend.

But to be fair, you did answer my question. You admit that different words are acceptable in different contexts. Fantastic. You just think that it was peachy-keen for the guy TOAD wrote in about to use the words he used in that context, yes?

But why? You have made a few points about this. If I mis-summarize them, please let me know, briefly.

1. Telling her using non-charged language is the same thing as lying.

2. Giving a complete and honest answer to questions is not possible without the use of charged language. (subset of point one)

3. If you tell someone about your kinks in non-charged language, they will freak out later because you didn't tell the truth (also a subset of point one)

4. It's faster (and therefore better; after all, your time is valuable) to say it using the most charged language possible, thereby saving yourself from having to engage in conversation with someone you (presumably) like enough to go out for drinks with.

5. "Nigger" and "spic" are pejorative, but "dirty whores" isn't.

If you disagree with my summary, of if you think I've missed something, let me know. Briefly.
144
Whoops! I missed one:

6. People I have only briefly known who I am not interested in dating should be treated in a different way than people I have only briefly known who I AM interested in dating, because...
(now I'm inferring, so let me know if I go wrong)
...because the relationship I might have with a potential girlfriend is much more important and intimate than a relationship with a potential boss or friend or what-have-you.
145
Seldon (@134, etc.),

Consider another "how much is too much to disclose" situation that often arises when you start dating someone: relationship history. Just because you start swapping stories about exes and breakups, that doesn't mean you should vent all your anger about what an asshole your ex was and everything that happened. Sure, it'd be honest. And maybe it's important for you to be able to tell your prospective partner something about it, but there are better ways to convey the same information ("Things ended pretty badly, and it still upsets me to talk about it," for example). That's not dishonest.

Wanting to be in a relationship with someone and being able to share some of your deepest, darkest, most intimate feelings & desires with them is fine. But sharing those feelings and desires *before* you have that kind of relationship isn't always the best way to *get* said relationship. It's not about tricking someone into a relationship with you on false pretenses, it's about considering another person's desires and comfort as well as your own.
146
'"I'd be fine answering politely and simply to a homosexual man...but not to a prospective girlfriend. I have more respect for the girls I date."

he he he. That says it all, right there. You have too much "respect" for a prospective girlfriend to answer her politely.'

Ok, Bon, I don't really care who wins this fight, but I think you're willfully misunderstanding Seldon on this point. Politeness with strangers is one thing, candor on an important subject with your SO is another. Surely you see that.
147
#94:

"But, the line between acceptable explanation of kink, and bedroom talk is a pretty fine one. He didn't say "I like to see women call themselves dirty whores while gagging themselves on dicks", he simply said he liked dirty whores, gang-bangs, ect."

Right - and the first thing you said there is marginally MORE ACCEPTABLE than the second because it implies he likes it when women call themselves whores, not that women (or at least women who enjoy sex, or women he would have sex with) are whores.

If you can't see the difference between "I like dirty whores and gang bangs" and "I like to call women dirty whores while I play-rape them" then there's no point in continuing this discussion. You're not going to get it; you're never going to get it. Perhaps you're a high-functioning autistic dude who doesn't understand the subtleties of human interaction. Whatever.

"I'd say his response is pretty close to your statement that you like pegging."

No, seriously, there's no hope for you. Really. Go have a nice cup of cocoa and forget this whole thread ever happened.
148
What about a shirt that says "I Like Boobs"?
149
@143

"You have too much "respect" for a prospective girlfriend to answer her politely. You think I took you out of context by taking out part of one sentence? Look again. I really didn't."

You took it in context, but you're using slanted language to describe the disagreement we're having. By characterizing the tempered, measured, and (I would argue) misleading response as being "polite" inherently skews what you're saying. You're using inherent charged language, which is somewhat ironic given your earlier admonitions of such behavior.

So, here's the debate:

TOAD's date said something. You consider it impolite, and that a more polite response would have been more appropriate. I consider his language direct, and honest, and hence appropriate. So, for the purposes of this discussion, let us dispense with the language that begs the question (if you say the language is impolite to begin with, it's easy to "prove" it was impolite).

So, to answer your question: no, it's not that I respect my date too much to be polite. I respect my date too much to use language with in any way misrepresents my interests. The question of whether his statement is 'impolite' or 'honest' is what we're trying to answer. Assuming from the outset one or the other precludes the discussion (which, I'll admit, I was guilty of as well).

And, please, before you jump down my throat about "you said you wouldn't be polite", please accept my retraction of that statement. I misstatted my position. What I should have said is that I would be fine answering simply and "white-lying" to someone with whom I cannot anticipate having a relationship, but I have more respect for a girl I would hope to forge a relationship with.

But, let me address your summary:

1. For a given definition of "charged-language", I'll accept your summary. I don't believe that "dirty slut" is inherently charged when discussing kinks (any more than "facial" should be), but I'll accept your statement arguendo.
2. Admit
3. Admit
4. Deny. If we assume my purpose is conversation and drinks, my argument is invalid. My point is true if and only if we're discussing someone I'm attempting to have a relationship with. If it's someone I wouldn't want to have a LTR with, then it makes perfect sense to prevaricate, obfuscate, and misrepresent my actual desires in order to maintain friendly relations.
5. Interesting point. Would I feel the same way if he had said "I like seeing ugly niggers raped"? I probably would feel differently. But, given that one can have a fantasy of "dirty whores" without being misogynistic, while I've yet to meet someone with a "nigger fantasy" who wasn't a racist, in this context, I will affirm that I'm distinguishing between "nigger" and "spic" and "dirty whore"

@144

"...because the relationship I might have with a potential girlfriend is much more important and intimate than a relationship with a potential boss or friend or what-have-you."

Exclude "potential friend", and you're absolutely right. Given that I don't anticipate forging a relationship with a guy I just shot down, nor with my boss, I agree with that completely.

@145

But, if we're talking about something that would reflect (or could reflect) poorly on the person saying it, would you rather know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, or have a partial answer?

I think it's more respectful to say 'my ex girlfriend cheated on me, so I'm kind of paranoid about infidelity, and have trust issues' than to say 'she cheated on me, so I broke up with her'. True, both are accurate representations of reality, but the more complete one gives the girl some indication of what she'd be getting herself into.

If I ask 'are you still close to your ex?'. I don't want to hear 'oh, we talk from time to time' if the reality is 'when we do talk, I'm still crazy about him, and we only broke up because he moved away'.
150
@147

Seriously, the personal attacks really have to stop. It doesn't add to the discussion, and only serves to inflame tempers. Especially if you have to resort to accusations of mental illness, that's only a step or two above reductio ad hitlerum in a debate.

If you honestly think that a guy saying "I like porn which shows dirty whores getting gangbanged" actually by definition thinks women (writ large) are whores, to the point where he would need to disclaim his enjoyment of that by making it clear that he doesn't think all women are whores, that's really very paranoid.

If you wrote to me that you enjoyed watching porn with sissy boysluts, I wouldn't assume you thought all men were sissy boysluts. Why doesn't TOAD's date rate the same presumption of innocence?

See, most normal people can distinguish the fact that if someone says (in reference to a fantasy) "I like dirty whores and gangbangs", that they enjoy the fantasy of a woman pretending to be a dirty whore, and the fantasy of a gang-bang/rape scene.

Kind of like how I can talk about a character in a movie in the third-person, and people don't assume I think it's real. When I talk about books I like, I say

"I love Karrin Murphy, she's so badass". I don't say "I love the character Karrin Murphy, from the fictional, fantasy, series The Dresden Files, written by Jim Butcher, in which she pretends to be a badass".

Or if I say "god, Mal Reynolds is so awesome". I don't honestly confuse Nathan Fillion for being a smuggler in space.

The fact that you can't seem to make the same leap that everyone else does in assuming that our fellow men (and women) can distinguish from fantasy and reality says more about you than about me, no?
151
Seldon@149: I absolutely would want to know the truth about a potential partner, just as I would want a potential partner to know the truth about me - obviously.

The thing is, when I *tell* this person something about myself that I think they should know (because I want to be fair to them, because if we don't see eye to eye on this point then we won't be compatible, etc.), I recognize that the *way* I communicate with them tells them something about me too, sometimes more than the substance of whatever I'm saying. Using what others here have called "charged language" may communicate directness to you, but to me it might suggest aggression or insensitivity. Of course I'm not saying people should be untruthful - rather, that people who are genuinely good, well-intentioned, considerate, etc. have the best chance of being seen as such if they reveal truths about themselves in considerate, appropriate ways.
152
Seldon:

You are an embarrassment to the legal community (that is, if you really are in fact an attorney-in-training). More likely, you are a 1L gunner who doesn't know when to stop talking. Please stop making all of the real attorneys out there look bad with your vomit-inducing legalese and overuse of obscure adjectives. It is a pathetic attempt at looking brilliant that, if your argument was truly that brilliant, is truly unnecessary.
153
Seldon, I'm not trying to win a debate with you. I've simply been seeking to present viewpoints, different than your own, for your consideration... to expand your own horizons.

I think it's unfortunate -- for you, you're not a part of my real life so it's of no consequence to me -- that you perceive disagreement with your opinions and reality checks re: how you come across (e.g., Bon's observations, my gentle "eyeball roll") as "ad hominem" attacks and rude insults.

I don't know how happy you've been in your real life interpersonal relationships (or how long others have been happily in relationship with you), but your posts in this thread alone would be Exhibit A for those who would caution people to avoid getting involved with a lawyer. And I can tell you that your MO won't serve you well as an attorney. A huge part of effective advocacy is knowing when to hold them, when to fold them, when to walk away, and one of the worst things that can be said about a lawyer is that s/he has poor judgment. Lawyers do not win verdicts or appeals
** by yammering at the same things over and over (ignoring jurors' and judges' glazed eyeballs or outright impatience);
** when they are unable to pick up on how they, their clients, their opponents and other witnesses -- and the law -- might be seen through prisms other than the attorney's own. Or sense that but are unable or unable/too stubborn to move off their own schtick;
** when they are not able to see the forest for the trees... think some "gotcha" moments are a predictor of ultimate success or emblematic of their professional prowess.

But guess what? Even the best lawyers lose some cases and some lousy attorneys win some. I hope you'll get past assessing your (and anyone else's) worth by keeping meticulous track of such notches on the belt. And hope you'll develop a thicker skin: if an adversary in oral argument describes your argument as "specious" [more damning than "insert eyeball roll"] because of X,Y,Z, are you going to lead off with a sarcastic "Well, my dear" and protest that you're the victim of ad hominem attacks? The judge for whom I clerked would box your ears for that kind of thing and other traits you've exhibited here & no one else in the courtroom would be impressed.

So the totality of your posts have me wincing at the thought of you sallying into a courtroom. I'm not saying this because I delight in being mean, but rather in the spirit of professional mentoring. Better that you first hear it from me than from a professor, attorney or judge whose assessment could prove to be a real stumbling block for your career.
154
@152

Interesting that you confuse advocacy of a position, even dogged advocacy, with an inability to stop talking. Yeah, I'll admit, the singular use of legalease (arguendo being the one example I can name), was in poor form. So, for that, my bad.

On the other hand, it doesn't take a lawyer to use adjectives, even uncommon ones, but nothing I've said can be taken as obscure. If you have a legitimate argument against my points, make it. If you don't, please don't presume to know anything about me, my work, or any portion of my life outside of messages on this board.

@153

I have a long response to your points, which I'll put after the simpler, shorter version:

If you have a point to make about the actual discussion, I urge you to make it. If you have a response to the valid arguments I've made in response to your arguments, I'd love to read it, contemplate it, and respond to it.

If all we have left is petty playground tiffs, I'd just as soon leave things be.

Longer version:

I'm... A bit confused, truth be told.

If the discussion is of whether the statements made by TOAD's date were in bad form, the question of how I come across, or whether any of my statements deserve an eyeroll is irrelevant. If the discussion is of whether I personally am arguing my points effectively, I've obviously failed to address any of your criticisms on that ground. Since, they're kind of irrelevant to the main question.

Having latched on to a statement made in passing (to which I've not referenced again), about my chosen profession, you're trying to change the subject. That seems... Dishonest. Which, I suppose, is a bit of a recurring theme.

And, no, the worst thing an attorney can do is fail to effectively advocate for his cause. That's... Kind of the job. And, if you've worked in a legal profession, a good lawyer rarely looks at the facts of the case, says "well, we're screwed" and accepts it. Opposing counsel has to prove every element of their claims, defendant's counsel's job is to force them to do that. You don't roll over, or accept defeat. You fight every inch, tooth and nail. And those are words from the managing partners at my firm.

Your asterisks are correct, and I agree with them. That said, "being unable to pick up on how things might be seen through prisms other than the attorney's own" is not the same thing as not lending credence to those viewpoints as the basis for their argument. The job of an attorney is to advocate, not mediate. Again, that's the managing partners of my firm's words.

Incidentally, no lawyer worth his salt would be willing to show any level of personal disrespect, even while disagreeing vehemently. You've been unable to distinguish your personal feelings and beliefs about me as an individual from your ability to argue the points. I promise you, if you had rolled your eyes in a courtroom, or laughed at the position I had posited in court, much less purported me to have a mental illness, or to simply be "thick" every judge I've ever met (clerked for or no) would have you in contempt before you could say 'he started it'. Or do you honestly think that rolling ones eyes is somehow less condescending and disrespectful?

Your opinion of my debating tactics would carry weight with me had I been the first one to devolve to petty name-calling and off-topic criticism. Given that I wasn't, and (indeed) have attempted to wrangle this discussion back to the debate at hand, I'm simply smiling.
155
Seldon:

I DO have a point to make, and it is not about the points you are arguing but rather HOW you are arguing them. I only made an assessment of you based on something you said in an earlier post (i.e. "attorney-in-training" or something to that effect), which implies that you are a law student. Furthermore, law students are famous for abusing legalese in an attempt to strengthen an argument.

If you were taught real advocacy skills, then you would realize that speaking and/or writing in that manner only detracts from your real point which might, in fact, be a very good point. The reason I felt compelled to address you was twofold: first, you stated you had some type of legal training and second, your overuse of legalese and "fluffy" (as my legal writing professor would say) adjectives is so distracting that I was unable to focus on what otherwise may have been a stellar argument on your part. Just saying...
156
@35: argyle, you nailed it!
Spot on!

Great advice as always, Dan!
157
The whole button thing is a good idea, except that you already can buy a small, tasteful rainbow flag pin. I wore one to work for many years, as a show of support for the gay community. You wouldn't believe how many people asked me if I'm a lesbian (I'm not). Or they might ask me why I was wearing it, if they were more tactful. Get a small rainbow flag lapel pin, and wear it around. It's not blatant, but any lesbian checking out a woman would know that they could safely approach that woman and at least ask.
158
Well, I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised, Seldon, but nope... so be it.

159
Let's take one thing at a time...

I wasn't going to mention it, because it's irrelevant, really, but then you got into it with Molly Malone...

An ad hominem attack is not synonymous with an insult. And a law student should know that.

What I said was meant to be insulting and snarky, I admit it. I was a little fed up with you. Nothing I said, however, was an ad hominem attack.

The ad hominem fallacy is
"You are stupid/black/a woman/a nazi/an idiot, AND THEREFORE you are wrong."

which is different than
"You are an idiot. You are also wrong, and here is why."

Not a single one of my arguments against your position is based on you being a law student or a guy who can't back down when he's proven wrong-- and that's all I've said about you personally. Those things are incidental to my arguments, which I have made, and made clearly, and which we will be getting back to once this gets cleared up: I am not engaging in ad hominem attacks. I'm just not.

You can say what I said are insults, and I won't pick a fight. You could say they are incidental to the topic at hand, and I'll agree, although I don't think they are irrelevant. I'll even agree to try to cut it out because it derails the actual debate.

But I haven't engaged in an ad hominem fallacy.

For the record, the reason I mentioned my hypothesis that you really do see the point nearly everyone has been making, but are just refusing to accept it (because it's just not palatable to you that some non-lawyer people on the internet are winning a debate with you) is because I really dislike it when people who are honestly, truly trying to understand a position that's different than one they hold (like the girl earlier who asked about BDSM and ethics) get mocked by people on the internets. It shuts down the chance for honest dialogue. You, however, are clearly not in that camp, so as far as I'm concerned you don't get the same kid gloves. I don't think (I might be wrong!) that you want an honest debate or dialogue. I think you just want to win a rhetorical punching match because your ego demands it. I was making that clear in case anyone was reading who might think I was being mean to someone who just "really wanted to know."

Of course, I could be wrong. I don't think, so, though (obviously), based on your style of rhetorical combat.

Anyway, once you admit that nothing I've said actually qualifies as an ad hominem attack, we can get back to the real debate, and I promise to try to keep the snark to a minimum.
160
feelin' bitchy at 146:

You make me feel, veeery slightly, ashamed.

I do admit that I never thought Seldon meant to say that he isn't polite to his girlfriends. I know he misspoke.

However, I think the mistake is telling. I would never have brought it up, otherwise. And it really did make me laugh aloud, it seemed so appropriate.

But it's a cheap shot, at best, and I hereby revoke it.
161
Seldon said: "If you're impolite and condescending to me, I'm impolite and condescending to you. Fair, eh?"

Perfectly good M.O. If you're three.
162
Can't resist adding that I cannot believe that Seldon felt the need to address all of the previous posters on posting 97. This is precisely why law students are, for the most part, insufferable. They believe that not only must EVERYONE be aware of their opinion on the issue at hand (whether or not it can be supported by the law), but everyone must also be subjected to their long-winded and overly-wordy retorts. Furthermore, Seldon also felt the need to advise everyone of the fact that he was an "attorney-in-training." I would like to communicate two valuable things to him. First, if you are truly have a highly-regarded profession/education/title, you do not need to disclose it without cause because you KNOW you're amazing; you don't need to fish for recognition. Second, I actually thought some of Seldon's arguments regarding the original issue were valid, but were unfortunately so bogged down with extraneous nonsense that they lost their impact. That was my point. Finally, Seldon's remark that I should not presume to know about him is ridiculous. I didn't. I merely commented on his assertion that he had some type of legal background.
163
Green button? what ever happened to the nod? the upwards nod (just lift your chin ladies). if nod you, and you nod back, we know were both dykes. its not even flirting, just acknowledgment. if i nod, and you give a confused smile like, do i know you?, then i give up becasue your straight. its worked for a very long time.
164
You just can't control who makes you wary, and in a lot of cases there's a very good reason why the hairs raise on the back of your head when you discuss sex with one person, and why it doesn't when you discuss it with another.
165
Where I live (Brisbane, Australia) which is by no means a small town, the gay community started to wear rainbow armbands so we could find each other when out and about.

This worked great for a few months until it started to catch on and the straight community thought it was a fashion trend. Now almost everyone between say 16~25 wears them. Sometimes when you're trying to stand out everyone else thinks you're just be cooling and new and original.

Personally I think the best approach is to just chat to people like you normally would. Friends before romance. There seems to be a stigma (within the gay male community anyway) that if you meet someone new your first reaction should be to get in their pants.
166
Another reason that an unfortunate number of law students (and lawyers) are too often exasperating, if not downright insufferable: they insist on framing every conversation/discussion as a "debate"; demand that another person's feelings and emotions be supported by logic; and insist that principles of law, like the presumption of innocence, hold sway outside the courtroom.

Bon, you might enjoy this article on the misuse of ad hominem
http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html

167
Re: TOAD... if she hadn't known him that long, why did she feel the time was right to ask about tastes in porn?
168
Goddammit, stop responding to Seldon! His writing skills are poor, his definitions of words are "unique," and his refusal to see the other side of things is a sign of complete idiocy or douchebaggery. Who cares which?
And yes, that's ad hominem, but I'm being honest! Honesty above ALL!
169
Oh, I suppose I should have stated this explicitly: I AM using these personal attacks to attempt to undermine Seldon's arguments, and thus committing the ad hominem fallacy.
I enjoyed your link @ 166.
170
Molly Malone:

The article made me laugh, but I must confess to being the type of person that likes to turn discussions into debates. In my defense, though, I admit both when I'm wrong and when I've been out-debated. (Sometimes two different things!)

...and I do try to be civil. Sometimes I fail, but I do try.
171
jjzazzy@163:

Heh. I'm bi and would never catch your "upnod" signal. I've got "one of those faces;" people think I'm someone else all the time. I would just assume you were one of them, and when you gave up I'd assume you realized I wasn't who you thought I was.

I hope I never missed out on someone hot because of that...
172
@25: That might offend a lot of people. I don't know who told you that a double-headed axe was a symbol of the Amazons, but they don't know very much about Greek symbols. The double-headed axe is a ritual symbol of the Minoan (Bronze Age Crete) civilizations, and later of the Greek Fascist Party. Yes, Fascists like that.

For an idea of the kinds of designs associated with Amazon women, see:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/co…

The starburst pattern elsewhere appears to be some sort of animal fur, possibly snow leopards. Leopard print is way too over done, but the stripey pattern on her leggings and sleeves could be turned into something. There was an episode of Secrets of the Dead on PBS that discussed the amazons in greater detail, including arguments that they are still around in Central Asia.

(As a side note,"labrys" itself is a retronym, the Greeks would have known it by the name "pelekus".
173
@149:

Would I feel the same way if he had said "I like seeing ugly niggers raped"? I probably would feel differently. But, given that one can have a fantasy of "dirty whores" without being misogynistic, while I've yet to meet someone with a "nigger fantasy" who wasn't a racist, in this context, I will affirm that I'm distinguishing between "nigger" and "spic" and "dirty whore"

This is the heart of the disagreement, I think. Someone who isn't a misogynist will be as careful with the term "dirty whore" as you would be with "nigger". Not being careful with the term "dirty whore", especially since they didn't know each other like Bon pointed out, is a huge red flag for many people. It suggests the speaker is a disrespectful asshole. If you weren't aware of this, now you are.

For what it's worth, there are in fact non-racists who enjoy consensual race play and racial slurs during sex.

BTW: HTML tags work for italics.
174
Oops. Well, they worked in the preview. I meant to italicize the first paragraph of post 173.
175
Sheldon:
don't have time for a full reply, late for work, but...
I did italics [i]like this[/i], only with pointy brackets instead of square.

And, one of the points I was trying to make is that... things like "appropriate" and "acceptable" language are kind of determined by general social consensus (there is, for example, a wide stretch of history where "nigger" would have just been a descriptor, not a pejorative). And the general social consensus is that "dirty whore" is very charged, out-there language, which you should pretty much only use if you either know that the person you're talking to is OK with it, or genuinely don't give a flying f*** about offending them. (and there is a very real, if perhaps small, difference between calling someone a dirty slut, and calling them a dirty whore...)

Also, there is a difference between the statements "I don't believe in God" and "I don't believe in God, and you shouldn't either". Saying "I'm an atheist" is saying the first, saying "I believe all religion is false" is saying the second.

Also... I'm not saying "TOAD's date was a horrible person who should be burnt at the stake", I'm saying "TOAD's date made a mistake that is a sign of either social clumsiness, or a tendency towards misogyny or disrespect"--can you agree with the latter statement, or at least see where a reasonable person would draw that conclusion from the evidence presented?
176
I forget which "gay stuff/rainbow pride" website I saw it on. But, they had a necklace featuring your choice of 2 pink triangles, 2 black triangles or 1 pink & 1 black triangle.

The only problem with it is while alot of people know what a pink triangle means, fewer people know what a black triangle means.
177
Dear LMBLW,

I wish my fiancé would talk more about his ex-boyfriends! I think it is hot and I also trust him not to cheat on me. Sorry that your wife is so bothered by it, because not all of us women are.
178
re "Turned off and Displeased."
If I were a woman, any man who used the words "dirty whore" would turn me off. The words are unpleasant, and so, most likely, is the man speaking them.
179
I'm kind of amazed by the comments re TOAD. I mean, where's the "why do you ask such a question?" Sure, it's a question that can go horribly wrong. But how the f*** could that question ever go right in the context TOAD's letter proposes? I mean, isn't this a lesson not to ask about porn preferences early in dating?
180
@179
a lot of people in the comments posted answers to the porn-question that are cool for early dating (honest and open to more interested questions while still respectful and not "too much information"/too intimate).
So, no, I think asking about porn preferences early in dating is a good idea, actually. You get to hear about some of the things that turn your date on (and make note of it!), you get to share some of your fantasies and by HOW they tell you, you get a lot of useful information, too (ie: comfortable/playful with their kinks?, respectful towards you/your boundaries?, making you want to know more versus too much information?, paying mind to your level of intimacy?).
Why do you think it can only go horribly to ask for porn preferences in TOAD's situation?
181
A green button? Could be a take-off on Oscar Wilde's carnation, or the green light at the end of the pier in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby". I'm thinking it's the latter. Very literate of you, Dan! :)
182
Well - I can't see why someone would possibly be into dirty whores. I mean seriously - an unshowered woman who accepts money for sex? Ewww. Gross.

Green buttons - is that what happens to a G-spot after getting the sensitivation injection?

Pretty Lesbians getting scorned by bull dykes? Egads - that never happens in the male community - I always see widespread cases of muscle boy a - listers chasing small drag queens. Every day - really - even at the supermarket. You can't buy a cucumber without being accosted - maybe I should stop wearing heels?
183
Dear Seldon :

You can't sway people with logic if they have an emotional investment in something. I can easily predict none of the people who disagree with you on TOAD are ever going to agree with you.

People believe what they want to believe. You'll suffer a lot less stress if you just state your opinion, and then let everyone else live with their own consequences.

Unless of course arguing makes you happy, in which case, have fun I guess?
184
Pink Triangle - Based on Weezer's song from Pinkerton, and not living near anywhere with a gay neighborhood I thought this was already the symbol?
185
While I totally agree with Dan's response to TOAD ("trust your gut,") the question itself seems inappropriate for their level of intimacy. Asking what kind of porn someone likes is sort of verbal foreplay. Ask a dirty question, get a dirty answer. It's not a bad thing -- it's just a thing.
186
@167 and others who ask "Why did she even ask what porn he watched?"- Excellent question. I've been wondering that myself. Why *did* she ask a guy that she hasn't had any serious sexual activity with, and hasn't known for very long, what kind of porn he watches? In my mind, the porn you watch is as personal as the fantasies that you keep in your head, i.e. nobody's business. Asking someone about their porn preferences is a very intimate question. Not a question I would ask someone I hadn't known for long (well, not a question I would generally ask at all. I don't care what you watch, or what movies you play in your head when you're getting off). Asking that question implies that you have a right to know the answer, which I don't think she does. I'm sure many will disagree. But, having asked such a personal question, it's my opinion that she should not blanch at the answer she got.
It's like asking someone how they masturbate. It's kinda personal.
I'm wondering now if perhaps TOAD's date answered the way he did because he could not think of any way to respond to such an invasive question without being rude himself, so he just laid it all out. He might have sensed a trap - some women are seriously anti-porn.
Speaking only for myself, I enjoy watching porn (or mentally fantasizing) of things that I would never do in real life, and wouldn't even want to act out in play. I wouldn't even answer the question if some *potential* SO asked me that before we'd gotten very far. Not because I want to be dishonest, but because it's none of their damned business. Being asked about it before I'd even been to bed with them once might just piss me off enough to give a deliberately shocking response.
He could still be a blockhead. But since we have only TOADs point of view to go on, I'd say she erred by asking in the first place.
187
@174 - HTML tags are automatically stripped out of comments that are posted anonymously.
188
@178 - the appropriate use of "dirty whore" is dependent upon the context. For the record, I am a woman. If a man I am talking to refers disparagingly to some ex-gf as a "dirty whore" I'd be offended on her behalf, even if she really was a five-timing bag of tricks. If a man I was in relationship with got angry at me for talking to another guy at a party, and called me a "dirty whore" in the course of the argument, I'd be pissed off. But... when my lover has me face down on the floor and is really giving it to me good, and says "turn over and open your mouth, you dirty whore," well... umm... I kind of like that.
Everyone has different buzzwords that turn them on or off, depending on how they are used. It's not a good idea to generalize based solely on gender.
189
@186:

I'm curious... do you also feel that way about the question "How many people have you had sex with?" I've noticed a lot of people find it strange that people share that information with each other as they get to know each other. Whereas I find it strange that they wouldn't. Why would you not want to know about your date's sexuality and desires? If appropriately and carefully expressed, it seems like a great thing to know and can help set the mood as you get to know someone.

I don't think TOAD erred in asking that question. Of course it's private, but if he felt that way he could have said so politely, which would have been fine. The whole point of getting to know and have sex with someone is that you share private things with each other. Would you really not talk about sex and fantasies with a partner before you have sex?

She asked because she wanted an answer. And she found out (a) that he's into some kinky stuff, which was fine with her, but (b) he has some negative attitudes about women outside the bedroom, which wasn't fine with her. And because she found out, she can determine that they're not compatible. So I think asking was exactly the right thing in this situation.
190
I have a problem with people who say "a fantasy is just a fantasy." Maybe I've taken too many psych classes, but fantasy says a lot about who you are and what you value. Now, I don't think everyone with a rape fantasy what's to be _truly_ raped or _truly_ rape someone. But if a guy told me his fantasy involved killing women, I'd think he was fucked up.
191
I think sex is best without degradation, pain, and humiliation. Why anyone would like that, or want to treat another person that way, is beyond me. Sure, I can see a thrill in domination or submission, but even then it should be done respectfully. Sex is best when it's an expression of love. There are ways to make orgasm last longer without inflicting pain - it's called foreplay. The ultimate goal of sex is to give pleasure through arousal. There are many different and interesting ways to build that (kink, toys, role playing, fetish worship, et cetera...) and make it last without involving pain and humiliation.
192
TOAD made the right move. When I'm asked what I'm into I think it's a necessity to make it extremely clear that everything must be safe, sane, and consensual, and I try to drop that phrase in with the same sentence as bondage, forced sex, or anything else.

Kinky people have a responsibility to let others know that any execution of these kinks will be done responsibly and consensually.

@191: Any girl can tell me she wants me, but if she can go outside her comfort zone and say something horribly mean to me - or allow me to say something horribly mean to her - it sends a message that I can't do without - "I accept you, you accept me, enough so that we can go to the extremes of our emotions and express our worst facets safely and pleasurably." It's a funny way of expressing love, sure - but degradation during play is, for me, my way of saying "I respect you. I couldn't in good conscience say these things to you if I really believed them."
193
To "not" at 191, most people who are fond of BDSM are ALSO fond of foreplay. Just because we like pain (as a sensation during sexual play, not "Oh god I broke my leg ow ow") and enjoy role-playing scenarios of degradation or humiliation doesn't mean we're disrespectful to our partners or ourselves.

Some of the most loving sex I've ever had involved spanking, hair-pulling, and name-calling. If you love someone, don't you want to please them? Those things give me pleasure. Why is the action more important than the context?
194
Maybe this is only in the UK, but the NSPCC has the rule of little green buttons.
195
Seldon2639 nailed it in #39, LadyJay said much the same thing more concisely in #54, both far more eloquently than I could. And then most of you ignored that eloquence and kept on with your own rants.

If she asks "What kind of porn do you like?" and THINKS she asked "How do you treat women?" that says something about her, not him. "I like dirty whores" means one thing in answer to a question about porn scenes, and something different in answer to a question about what you demand of your dates. Those of you who don't get that are truly scary.

That doesn't mean she should go out with him again--if you get a bad vibe, pay attention to it. Maybe he is a creep, but we don't have enough information to make that choice for her. If she chooses based on subtle body language not to go out with him again, then she won't have to feel creeped out and he won't have to waste time trying to learn to communicate with someone who doesn't get language.

A girl chose another guy over me because he told her that he believes in monogamy. Actually, that seems to happen a lot, and given how few people of either sex are naturally monogamous, I can only conclude that women like men who are either ignorant of their own nature or are good liars. Maybe she was right to be creeped out by an honest and self-knowledgeable man.
196
Found this today, thought you'd all enjoy as much as I did!

A News of the Weird Classic (July 1998)
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson told his "700 Club" TV audience in June (1998) that the city of Orlando, Fla., was taking a big risk to sponsor the recent "Gay Days" festival. "I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes," he said, "and I don't think I'd be waving those (Gay Days logo) flags in God's face if I were you." Homosexuality, he said, "will bring about terrorist bombs, it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor." (In fact, 1998's first hurricane, Bonnie, made landfall two months later in North Carolina, near the Virginia Beach, Va., headquarters of Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.) [AP wirecopy, 6-10-98]
197
Obvious answer to Show Me Your Status's problem: a Tshirt whose message other lesbians would recognize, but which would be unrecognizeable to nonlesbians.

"Shane is my Home Girl" comes to mind... except, if you're tasteful, you might want to go with Alice instead. Fans of The L Word knew that reference, but others did not. Follow?
198
"As a "not-stereotypical-looking" lesbian attracted to other "not-stereotypical-looking" lesbians..."

Dan, spare us. This is TOTALLY about the closet. If SMYS was out she would be dating. What the hell is this cloak and dagger bullshit about if not about being closeted? I refuse to fuck any woman who does even if she's hot as hell! Come out and get laid SMYS.
199
@195 Way to take a logical argument with a slightly annoying tone and turn it into utterly useless crap with your last paragraph. If you can't figure out what's wrong with that then you are truly scary.
200
To the Bi husband me amd i husband agree that his wife should walk in on him and her dildo and shee if she believes it then... AT least there is no cheating that way...
201
That might work, but the color wouldn't work at my campus. We have green buttons that the on-campus group against rape gives out (Green means go, get consent first). Way too many people would be lesbians if green was the color.

On the other hand, recently at a drag show on campus, little rainbow ribbons were given out. They were cute, and at least you could tell that the people wearing them were supportive of gay rights. Maybe you could just edge them with gold or something if you identified as gay, lesbian, bi or transgendered?