Savage Love

Clueless and Clitorless

Comments

1
Agreed, at least the LW didn't say how much more attractive he is than most other gay men.
2
Lofd may have won at the school-intelligence lottery, but he lost big time at the social-intelligence one. Great answer on that one.

Although I do wonder how we can trust Andrew Sullivan's assertion that he's not scared of "generic black guys" when he sees them as generic black guys, and also considering his past positions on the race issue.
3
Lofd may have won at the school-intelligence lottery, but he lost big time at the social-intelligence one. Great answer on that one.

Although I do wonder how we can trust Andrew Sullivan's assertion that he's not scared of "generic black guys" when he sees them as generic black guys, and also considering his past positions on the race issue. And quite frankly, could he really have been so much worse of a human being if he'd been straight?
4
sorry about the double post, the first one wasn't meant to be sent
5
BABE, you need to figure out what you actually believe about abortion, something notably missing in your letter. Right now it seems to be a weird amalgam of 'some other people told me it was wrong' and 'if I want to have sex I feel I should be in favor'. Have you even talked this out with your patient girlfriend--do you know what she would want to do, at least in the abstract, if she accidentally became pregnant--or do you just feel guilty and hope nothing happens? Have you thought about the biology of it? The theology? (The fact that very few fertilizations go on to a successful 9 month pregnancy certainly informs my comfort with first trimester abortion, and knowledge about the really horrible things that can go wrong informs my comfort with later abortion if a woman and her doctor decide that way.)

God is totally cool with ectopic pregnancies (which will kill the mother in many cases if not aborted) and anencephaly (in which the child has no brain). Or biology is. One's view of rational medical options should acknowledge that.
6
@2: Lofd may have won at the school-intelligence lottery, but he lost big time at the social-intelligence one.

My brother-in-law, a successful businessman with a PhD from a school you've heard of, has concluded over the years that if you want to succeed in business, and you have a choice between standing in the line for book smarts or the line for getting along well with other people, you should stand in the second line.
7
I think LOFD is generally full of it, but definitely has a point when in comes to intelligence. You don't have to be equals, but you have to be roughly in the same neighbourhood. After a year or so (or decade in my case) you spend much more time talking than anything else. Still, opposites attract and some make it work. I couldn't. I have tried and failed spectacularly. I got lucky and scored a hyper intelligent cutie.
What the hell he sees in me is another mystery.
8
LOFD:

"Next one up, a contemptible snob.
He lived to put things in their place.
He did a commendable job
He put himself so low,
he could hardly even look me in the face."

-Fiona Apple, "Get Him Back"
9
I love it when Dan Savage has to talk about vags or clits and whatnot cause it's so icky to him. (which is cool, he admits it, etc... If you haven't read "Things I learned from women who dumped me," go find it this very second and read his description of first touching a lady down there:

"It felt like I'd slipped my hand into a large, lukewarm piece of lasagna that had been stood on its side. Only this lasagna had a pulse.

And hair, this lasagna was covered in hair."

Gah, hairy lasagna with a pulse--so visceral!

jill
http://www.inbedwithmarriedwomen.com
10
I think that LOFD raises a point: how do you know when you should go on a second date with someone if some or several circumstances lead you to the "eh" conclusion about someone after a first date? Sometimes it seems that you shouldn't go out with someone unless your response was an unequivocally enthusiastic one. But we've all heard stories of people who didn't experience "love at first sight," yet who discovered more gradually and through repeated interactions that love "grew on them."

Sometimes I think I should always and only trust my gut and my original, immediate response: if I don't want to kiss someone at the end of the first date (or within the first 20 minutes), I'm never going to want to; other times, I think about the man I ended up madly in love with, the man with whom I had scorching hot sex, but whom I didn't feel attracted to the first time we met. I don't even know why I agreed to that second date.

LOFD, I think that the decision to go on a second date depends on the reasons you were "bummed" in the first place: if the guy seems like he's in a transient phase of life, but you otherwise are hitting it off, why not go on a second date (unless you're afraid you'll fall hard for him and then after a few weeks/months of bliss, he's off to new experiences or cities or graduate programs, leaving you clutching the tattered remains of your broken heart); if he doesn't seem smart enough to keep a conversation going or interesting . . . well, that depends on you, but that is the number one reason I wouldn't want to waste my time on a second date with someone. If, however, you think that the discrepancy in your backgrounds is too great to allow for a second date, I wonder why that is.

It sounds like an excuse. You are boxing yourself into a corner--there won't be many 23-year-old gay men who share your background of privilege and intelligence who aren't moving on to a new location, job, or degree program

You don't need to "round someone up" to a mate at 23. A second date is not a lifetime commitment. I'm not talking of course, of those guys who make your skin crawl, or those absolute nos; I'm talking about the ehs. Think about it less and go on more second dates. What have you got to lose?

Dan: Gloria Upson!!! my favorite snob.
11
I kind of understand LOFD, sort of. I live in a coastal community that is notorious for surfers/hippies, and a large chunk of the people here (especially in their 20's and early 30's) are between jobs or they're only working to fund their passion, not they're working AT their passion.
I can totally respect that and do enjoy talking to everyone, but I find it very difficult to relate to people on a deeper level that aren't as driven and career-oriented as myself.
That being said, upbringing, social status, and income levels are not something you should use as a rubric for friends or dating.
12
LOFD, just eww.

And judging someone's intelligence in a single date isn't just rude, distasteful and callous- it's stupid. Someone can be incredibly intelligent in a specific subject or subjects, or just never gave a damn enough about anything in particular enough to do anything more than meet the standards required of them. My brother was one of the didn't give a fuck, but he's doing awesome in the service in a very mentally challenging career.

Personally I'm so dumbstruck by my own ignorance that I'm not even sure where to begin correcting it. I just figure time, patience and effort will sort things out. So to have someone in my age bracket just off offhandedly assert their knowledge is so astoundingly out of this world as to have people quaking in horror of their own inferiority seems beyond laughable. Obviously, he hasn't heard about this yet; http://madamenoire.com/286571/14-year-ol…
13
CLIT should ask his gf if she's on any medication that would shrink the clit. Anti-depressants are notorious for this.
14
what? am i the first one to get the 'auntie mame' references?
15
@14: No; I made a comment about it @10.
16
Andrew is wrong. I say this as a descendant of Black women who had no choice.

Fucking =/= humanity. See, sex toys.
18
I like that Mr. Savage leads with the birth control methods (including non-vaginal intercourse and vasectomy) and follows with the "just get over it." Even when he does, he provides some actions that this guy could perform to facilitate said getting over of it—which is said guy's expressed goal.

I'd like to add that the beliefs that the guy absorbed during childhood aren't necessarily wrong in the sense that science cannot prove that fetuses are not people. We can weigh the pros and cons and determine that society is better off with legal abortion, but writing off people's beliefs tends to make it harder to deal with them.
19
@9,

And yet there are so many people that crave hairy pulsing lasagna...

Peace
20
I can sympathize with part of LOFD's issues. My last partner was not as intellectual as I am, and it caused problems in our relationship. He was a sweet, kind, and caring man, but it could not be ignored that we had different interests based on our intellectual levels. I would advise making intellectual compatibility a priority, since it seems to affect LOFD's ability to connect with potential partners, but don't worry about the rest. Socioeconomic status in the past or present are not reliable indicators of a person's intellect or interests. As for wanting to settle down? Dan is spot on; older men are going to be more settled than 20 year olds.
21
@11 -- I actually maybe have too much sympathy for LOFD. I lived in a town for too many years where no one was going anywhere. I had dreams of a nice home, a stable place to create memories and I had ideas of what I needed to do int the next five-ten years to get there, and I had big plans for myself. I was briefly amused by my peer's easy-come, easy-go lifestyles, but when you want to build a home with roots and be industrious and stuff it quickly loses charm, IMO. At that time in my life I could have written that letter. I was dismayed by the attitude I saw on dates. It was completely disheartening.

My advice to LOFD is to try match.com or OkCupid! and look far afield.
22
I don't understand why Dan sometimes chooses a letter just to berate the writer and show off his talent for scorn and contempt. Wouldn't it be better to run a letter from someone he actually wants to help?

I do agree with LOFD about the importance of intellectual compatibility; a guy I can't get excited about talking politics or books with is not a guy I'll be successful dating. That doesn't mean I look down on such a guy (which is just rude), but I know what kind of common ground is necessary for things to click.

And dating between two guys can be very tricky if there's serious income disparity, because dates usually entail bills that need to be paid at the end of the evening, weekend, vacation, etc. The less financially flush guy shouldn't have to charge up his credit cards to pay his half, but it's also awkward for the substantially better-paid guy to be constantly conscious and considerate of the other guy's budget without embarrassing him. Income disparity can be complicated enough when a couple is committed to a life together, but during the dating phase it can be even worse.
23
LOFD is certainly full of himself, but I get where he's coming from. Some people mature faster than others. Personally, I couldn't care less if someone has a fancy job/car/house, or is 'settled', but there was a time in my life when I despaired of meeting women with intellectual interests who weren't too busy to date or too sheltered to be of any interest to me. (Yeah, I know, I'm picky. I like old dead white man literature AND biker warehouse parties)

The answer? Suck it up, find the other rebellious intellectual types, and most of all, wait a few years/date older people. Most 23-year olds are too insecure and scared to be forthright about their own intellects and personalities, so they dumb themselves down to find a date/mate. LOFD may have the *opposite* problem...
24
Hey LOFD,

First off, you are very, very young as an adult. According to some of the brain studies I've seen, your brain is just finished/finishing your adolescent rewiring growth; you are just becoming you. In my case I experienced a profound sense of becoming comfortable in my own skin (at that age). So, don't panic if your world isn't complete already.

Secondly, if academic standards are where you find yourself best measured, stay in academia. After I left college, I had one intense relationship that, in the middle of my burnout phase, encapsulated a lot of your concerns. The answer to a lot of those problems ended up being back with the people most like me: working in academic research labs. Nothing cures one of delusions of genius like working with/for the real thing, or at least you can be unguardedly yourself. Academia is also somewhat sexual orientation blind (though depressingly not as much gender neutral), so even if you can't find dates, you can be yourself.

Try to find the kind of place you fit as yourself, grow to love yourself, and then you'll see what is and is not truly crucial in the one's you love.

Peace
25
Who is offering LOFD all these second dates?

People in one of the top intellectual drawers rarely make such a meal of requiring a partner from the same drawer.

Between degrees? How many does he have at age 23 that he can be contemptuous of those still acquiring them?

I so wish he were bi, because I suspect that what he really needs is exposure to one of those feminists who collects degrees as if they were Pokemon cards (to use the description of an actual feminist) while coping with multiple invisible disabilities.
26
LOFD: Intelligence beyond a certain point is a statistical liability in just about any area of life. That's because a lot of high-IQ types are fucking weird, and to be honest, I find nothing in your letter to suggest you are bucking that trend.

I recommend drinking and drugs (pot, mdma, psychedelics). It just might make you and the world more appealing to each other.
27
Dan, a couple of things about the last letter:

1. Abortion is a terrible, terrible thing - to some people. It's worth accepting that, even if you disagree, and the advice was sound in any case. If you can't bear certain consequences, avoid them.

2. Using "I was brought up to believe" as your argument is a total cop out. I hope the LW is very young (despite all those complicated relationships) and at some point will learn to think for himself.
28
@Married in MA: The answer to a lot of those problems ended up being back with the people most like me

I'll add that if LW hasn't been humbled by the intelligence of some of his college classmates and coworkers, then he's swimming in some very small ponds.
29
@22: One of the reasons for an advice column is for entertainment. Most likely Dan chooses the letters that he runs based on their potential to be entertaining in themselves and/or to provide him the opportunity to take the lw down in a wag that showcases his virtuosity.

I'm sure he wants to be helpful, too, but that may not be his primary concern as the publisher of the paper and columnist.
30
@BABE

I would recommend your girlfriend get an IUD.

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-…|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=planned%20parenthood&__utmv=-&__utmk=61242284

An IUD is 99.9% effective after 120 hours after insertion (5 days). They are good for 10 years. I pay $400 out of pocket ( even though I have REALLY good insurance that doesn't cover it, but I am be happy to pay), So bottom line: it's 9 pennies a day. You can't beat that.

I have never had a 'scare'. I have never missed a period. I have never bought a pregnancy test. Ever. I have never had a problem with insertion. Or removal. Which I have had several. My lovers have never felt the 'string'. I have never felt the need to check the 'string'.

I have read many discussions over at Jezebel where women have had less that positive reactions with IUDs. This is due to poor/painful insertions (I never used pain medications) and hormonal IUDs (mine is non-hormonal due to my horrible reactions to birth control pills).

YMMV, but friends I have recommended IUDs have been very pleased.

31
i would like to know just out of curiosity who can make a 6 figure annual income at 23 .....
32
@9, not to be rude, but, I'm curious: do you come to Slog mainly to promote your own blog? I'm a writer as well, & I'll sometimes link to my FB is a topic is being discussed here & there or if I want my fellow Sloggers to get my back about something.

But you sign consistently w/ your site, every week, & I was just wondering if your Slogging was a promotional thing, or what.

Yes, Dan sometimes gets over his "ewww" feelings & talk about lady parts. Which is damn good of him since he's a sex columnist, & not just for dudes or gay dudes. ;) I haven't read that piece by him. I will check that out.
33
Shoot! Above, @32, 2nd line should read: "sometimes link to my FB *IF* a topic is being discussed here & there *at the same time*.

I'm too quick to hit "save". :(

LOFD/LW #1 sure sounds like he knows he's such a great catch. But few of us remain the people that we are at 23. Be curious to see if he winds up with someone he feels matches his pedigree.
34
Dan is way too harsh on LOFD. It's good that he realizes what he wants from a partner. If he's carrier-oriented and wants his partner to be the same way, it just won't work otherwise. I've seen relationships crumble over that. Would you also berate someone for only dating people of a certain age range and appearance? I thought it was generally agreed that you get to choose who you date based on whatever criteria that you find important, and, sorry, but background and intelligence level can be pretty damn important. I, for instance, would never be comfortable in a relationship with someone coming from a very privileged background and unlimited finances. There's of course nothing wrong with them (most of my friends are like that) but I know that relating to each other on a level required for a relationship would be very hard. Likewise, dating someone with vastly different levels of intelligence can be trying. From both sides. You either have to dumb yourself down or constantly feel like you are missing something.
35
Am I the only one who finds it super-creepy that a guy writes to a syndicated newspaper column about his girlfriend's genitalia? Not only does she not seem bothered by her body, he doesn't seem concerned about possible medical complications. It just comes across like he wants to talk about how weird her body is.
36
@35 He just comes off as curious to me, not creepy at all.
37
@35:
I was wondering about his reason to write in. She is orgamic, doesn't seem to have any pain: why fix something that doesn't need fixing?
38
@35 Just in case you're irritated because you share this trait and don't want it widely discussed I'll put this here:

I was surprised myself the first time I ran into this IRL, but columns like this can make men and women aware that different body types are common enough and clearly don't interfere with sexual function. Or funktion.
Or conjunction-junction . . .

tl/dr: sex ed is good
39
@31: some engineering students right out of college are hired w 6 figure saleries. Not sure I know any other job that pays $$ w/o an advanced degree.
40
I think LOFD's issue is very different than the snobbishness - this snobbishness is just an excuse not to go on a second date and expose yourself to a different person.
Even if he meets the love of his life, he's gonna be so scared of it that he will use the excuse that the hair color is not right.

BABE, you afraid of leaving a project unfinished? Is there any chaos or something that you don't control in your life? I believe the answer is no, and abortion fear is just the very specific symbolic way this manifests in your life.
41
"None of her gynecologists has ever brought it to her attention."

I don't recall a gynecologist ever examining my clitoris in either an overt way or even in passing. They just insert the speculum, and begin the internal exam. I'm asking myself how I'd feel if a doctor took a careful look at my clitoris, and I don't think I'd like it-- though I find everything about pelvic exams to be uncomfortable so it's possible that if a doctor did make that part of the exam, it wouldn't be extra-icky.

I can understand the girlfriend assuming she was normal enough. I'm a straight woman and assume that other straight women, like me, don't spend a lot of time thinking about other women's clitorises.
42
"or bummed because they are not as smart as I am"

http://www.theonion.com/articles/area-ma…
43
Does anybody else get the feeling that LOFD is actually Pretty Little Hippie, now officially out of the closet? Just sayin'...
44
I'm surprised that no one has suggested the more direct route for BABE. If you feel strongly about something, seek to date people who feel the same way. Be clear with your girlfriend that you'd never want a fetus you'd fathered to be aborted and that you'd gladly step up to take full responsibly for the child in the case of an unplanned pregnancy. Ask her to marry you. If she balks and says she's not ready, look to date women you meet at fundamentalist churches.

It's hard for me to put myself in his shoes, and I'm tempted to tell him that his thoughts on this matter are wrong, but as long as this is a personal opinion for BABE and not a political campaign for him, it's not my place to try to change his mind. As someone who thinks abortion should be choice, it's not up to me to tell a woman that she should have an abortion if she doesn't want one. All BABE is saying is that he's a man who feels the same way.
45
@26, 28 sean,

I tend to put it as the professors/researchers @ MIT/Harvard/unfuckingbelievably-competitive academic institutions are NOT NORMAL (and you can take that in a smarmy statistical way too). And I mean that in a good, OMFG kind of way. They may not be the kind of people you want to work for/ be in competition with, but they sure can make life interesting...

Peace
46
Thank you for that last one Dan
47
@31 "who can make a 6 figure annual income at 23" -- probably LOFD's from a wealthy family, a born-on-3rd-base republican type who doesn't realize his achievement comes in large part from the privilege of being born to the lucky sperm club, as warren buffet says

didn't get the Gloria Upson reference -- is this the right clip? any better ones?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezpirYFXZ…
48
love the Auntie Mame references!
49
LOFD, heaven forbid that you should meet one of your superior beings and fall in love with him only to have either him or you suffer a brain injury, or perhaps lose a six-figure job, or perhaps fall off the social register, or something that alters the circumstances in a substantial way. You will have fallen in love with something other than the guy inside, and once those externals go away, so will the love. I am permanently mated to a brilliant man who has suffered a brain injury, and frankly, I love him for who he is, not because of his ability to engage in deep intellectual conversations (which he can't) or because he still makes my A-list, which in many ways he doesn't. I love him because he is a great guy who deserves to be loved, and I am grateful everyday that he allows me to be one of the people who loves him, and who generously gives me love in return. What he lost in his injury from a brain tumor is tragic and also minor compared to what we have gained as a couple. Please, LOFD, don't partner with anyone. People change over time, and you are bound to be sorely disappointed if your checklist for who they are supposed to be ends up being incomplete.
50
@44: I don't think BABE does feel strongly either way, so much as he feels whatever the people he's with feel. As 27 suggests, he needs to think for himself and work out what he believes, and what actions logically flow from that. (Not only a good idea regarding his position on abortion.)

He's writing about a serious long-term girlfriend, not one-night-stands: 'what if' is a conversation they should have had, since the topic is important to him. (Probably to her.) Part of "pro-choice" encompasses being opposed to abortion for oneself personally in certain circumstances--the choice part means we don't climb into other people's OBGYN offices and insist on inserting our very special feelings into a situation which is conveniently abstract for us.
51
@47: Yep, that's the one! If you haven't seen the movie 'Auntie Mame', give it whirl. The book is fun, too, but different, of course.
52
For CLIT:
Send pictures or it didn't happen! Best to send the photos directly to Dan's inbox, subject line: "Lasagna (no onions)"
53
Is CLIT just reaching for the acronym, or is he actually "in torment" because his girlfriend doesn't have a clit? In any case, I don't think anyone has pointed out yet that lots of women (and quite a few men) don't like receiving oral, regardless of the state of their clit.
54
Messasge to LOFD:

When I met my hubby, I had a Ph.D. and he had a B.A. (he now has a master's).
I'm from a wealthier family.
I was making more money(still do).
We're very happy.
Get over yourself.

55
Wow. Could not agree more with Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan. If - especially if you're a gay guy - you feel you "can't date" people who aren't of the same socio-economic class, job status, background, and educational qualification as you, because "they just won't understand" you... You should be hung from a gibbet and fed to the poor.

Look, I can understand being wary of people using you for your money... But have you considered maybe not flaunting it so such a degree that everyone you meet is instantly aware of how well-off you are? I can understand not wanting to date someone you can't have a conversation with... But have you ever considered that real intelligence isn't measured by degrees and test scores, but by curiosity, diversity of interest, and a love of learning? And if you're worried that you can only date people who share in the same absolute disconnect from the reality of 99.9% of the human race, that's YOUR goddamn fault, not everyone else's.

No one's holding a gun to your head, forcing you to go to Soho House New York or little soirees at Hamptons estates or Fire Island vacation palaces with infinity pools. Believe it or not, those of us down here amongst the hoi-polloi won't be upset and offended if you join us at a bar, or at a party in a cramped studio apartment, or take the Staten Island Ferry to enjoy some time on the water rather than a yacht. No, that's YOUR choice to separate yourself from the rest of us. And no one's going to fault you for enjoying what luxuries you can have, but it's your own damn fault if wallowing in those luxuries is such a central part of your being that you can't imagine relating to someone who doesn't do the same.
56
No one seems to be giving BABE much attention, so I'll point out that men still have relatively few options for birth control. We can pull out (such fun), use condoms (not as bad as everyone thinks, but still frustrating), or get a vasectomy (sucks if you want kids later but not now). We have no options like the pill, IUD, diaphragm, or other birth-control that can be easily stopped and started. That puts an unreasonable burden on women to prevent pregnancy.
57
I had a long-time relationship with a woman who got nothing out of getting oral. She nearly always had an orgasm or more from intercourse. She said she had never had an orgasm any other way.
58
A fun idea:

Sitting here wondering when Mr Savage will add "MUST have slept with people of at least three different races" to his list of qualifiers that make someone fit to hold public office (it will fit in nicely with "MUST have experimented with pot", won't it?), it has occurred to me to up the ante - how about "MUST have had at least one abortion"? I'm torn between trying to select some male-specific procedure or combination of multiple such that could count as an equivalent, or just to leave it as is and consign government to women and trans men in perpetuity.
59
@Married in MA: I meant "fucking weird" as a saltier, home-cooked substitute for "eccentric" that suggests why, for example, those with IQs above 140 tend to earn less than those in the 120-130 range.

Wasn't meant as a pejorative. Might help to know that this statistic pretty much sums up the 9 mostly horrible years I spent working at a giant corporation.
60
Sully is apparently still in need of a right good rogering :-ϸ
62
@CLIT: Have you checked the back of her throat?

RE LOFD: I'm surprised no one has mentioned the possibility that this guy is on the spectrum. His obvious lack of empathy and the detached manner in which he describes his predicament reminds me of a guy I knew--young, thin, relatively good looking finance major who, though intelligent, always seemed off-putting and unintentionally confrontational.
63
This will sound like a whine -- honestly, I am not trying to say that anyone in the world owes me a fuck.

However. The idea of an "egalitarianism of getting laid" among gay men is a load of crap.

It is a perception born of life inside a small, exclusive bubble - the bubble of those who are or have been "cute, twinky English schoolboys" or cute-something-else.

Having been a less-than-cute young lad at those same gay clubs that Andrew Sullivan experienced as boundary-busting celebrations of blowjob-brotherhood, I am able to report that from outside the cuteness bubble, they are experienced as enforcing a fixed and impermeable boundary.

Which -- Really! No, really! -- is perfectly fine with me. Like the letter-writer Dan bitched out, I select and reject sex partners according to certain criteria, including their intelligence, professionalism and social circle. And yes, I also -- to the best of my limited ability -- select and reject them according to how physically hot they are, although this process necessarily involves a degree of realism.

I am simply saying that the utopian view of gay sex as bringing us all together as one is a foolish fantasy. And unfortunately this fantasy has led Dan to adopt a weirdly moralistic stance toward the young man in the letter for selecting his sex partners on any criteria other than hotness. This is a layer of bullshit layered on top of other bullshit.
64
Albeit @30...I am also a huge fan of intrauterine contraception but please don't oversell the effectiveness of the copper IUD (Paraguard in the US). The statistic you quoted (99.9% effective) was for the rather uncommon situation in which an IUD is used as emergency contraception. For ongoing contraception the failure rate is 0.8% (not 0.1%) in the first year. I think Dan had it right that BABE and his GF either need to avoid PIV or use multiple methods of contraception (potentially including the IUD).
65
With regards to LOFD:

While it's certainly true that the average coming out age of gay men and women decreases every year, it remains a difficult process for many and can often prevent the exploratory dating phase most straight individuals experience in high school. At 23, LOFD is young by any standard, but in "gay years" he's practically a newborn. As a fellow gay man (who grew up with similar blessings), I can very much attest that ideas I had about what mattered to me most in a guy greatly shifted once I actually got out there and started dating people seriously, beyond a first date. Until you collect empirical evidence, it's hard to know for certain both how you best function in the context of a relationship, and the difference between traits that can be written off as quirks and those that constitute personal deal-breakers.

I'd agree with many other commenters that, of LOFD's listed standards, intelligence should be the most highly emphasized. Given LOFD's remark about status, though, I worry he may be evaluating this solely on the basis of academic pedigree. As a former offender, it's best to realize early on that intelligence is often best evaluated by an individual's curiosity and willingness to learn, rather than by the names of colleges and universities they've attended. It's certainly something to consider, but I can say with authority that I have met some very dull individuals at some very good schools, and a few of the smartest people I've met did not attend college in the first place.

With regards to the income issue, I'd stress that it is far more important that a potential partner is financially independent and able to live within his means than the magnitude of income disparity. So long as basic living and social expenses aren't causing undue strain, LOFD can recognize his fortunate position and spring for the check when he wants to do something more upscale.

Given LOFD's age and income, I can only assume he works in some division of the finance industry, and accordingly knows something about portfolio theory and age adjusted risk profiles. While it is certainly true that there is always some degree of rounding required, I'd advise him to take a similar approach to dating and calibrate his ceiling function accordingly. At 23, it's okay to pass over a .75 to wait for a .91, so long as it's with the understanding that opportunities skipped now may not be available later, and that he may have to round more later if his bets don't pay off now.
66
@63: Well said and thanks for sharing. I too read the letter with a bit of disgust but it takes only a very short period of self-reflection and honesty to admit that, to a degree, we're all snobs when it comes to choosing whom we are willing to date.

Age tempers this snobbishness, but we all draw a line. I've known many a woman whose line involved financial security and quite a few guys who would dismiss a potential partner on not just appearance, but very specific traits.

I imagine Dan wouldn't have any difficulty agreeing with a guy who said he wouldn't date fatties, after he extended the usual disclaimer (at arm's length, holding his nose).
67
I'm with @16 and @63. I found that post by Andrew Sullivan highly annoying. Having sex with someone of another race does not automatically make you racially tolerant. Men who have sex with women don't magically become feminists after all.
68
If LOFD's a snob (*boggle*) then the large majority of straight women I know are snobs. Using the criteria for selecting LTR partners that most straight women use for selecting LTR partners, which is what his behavior is, does not make you a snob.
69
Gahhh,

It's after noon on a work day, and all I can think about is eating lasagna!!!

Peace
70
LOFD reminded me of meeting my wife. She was class president, straight A's could play 6 musical instruments, and did all this with a part - time job. I was a C - student but happen to love words. She THOUGHT I was smart because of my vocabulary, and so she married me.
Years later we are living on my tiny salary trying to pay for life & raise kids, and we both realize SHE is the one who should have had the career.
Still together ater all these years.
SB
71
@16, 63, 67:

Gay black man here. Sullivan's assertion is total bullshit and actually quite offensive. Gay black men will not take you on a boundary-melting, taboo-busting, bigotry-healing, class-leveling Rainbow Coalition-approved sexual journey of self-discovery soundtracked alternately with Miles Davis' On The Corner and Frank Ocean's Channel Orange (well, it is with me, but I can only account for a very limited number of experiences). You will simply have had sex with a gay black man. If you're a bigoted dick, you'll still be a bigoted dick after sex with the object of your ignorance. Ask Strom Thurmond.

72
Oh, LOFD. I feel a touch sorry for you and am a touch irritated by you. I'm going to try to give you advice within your value set: you're ahead of your peers in terms of getting your life settled. If you'd looked around you at school, you would have seen that. Lots of 23-year-olds haven't even finished their college degrees, many of the bright ones are planning on graduate school, and lots of new graduates are struggling to break into the job market.

If you want someone at the same stage of life as you are, you will have to date a bit older. There are a lot more men who are 33 who fit your requirements than ones who are 23.

If you want to find someone very young who you can be very young with, drop the expectation that you'll find someone else who has everything completely together and find a nice, bright student to date. He'll catch up to you eventually, and given how life tends to go, there will probably be a period when you have some bumps and are the less together one.
73
@68: Most straight women find fuckbuddies and boyfriends and husbands. Most straight men are far from geniuses with 6 figure incomes. Somehow, your statement doesn't seem to compute.

That being said, if a 23-year-old woman wrote the same letter, I think her options would be similar. She'd be ridiculous to expect a 23-year-old man to be both wealthy and settled, and if she wanted those traits, she'd be wise to look for someone older.
74
This is the more relevant Auntie Mame clip.

http://youtu.be/kj7i88LQ9DE
75
"I could have been so much worse a human being if I'd been straight."

On this, I have no problem in believing Sullivan absolutely. I've often gotten the same impression from him, and hadn't assumed him capable of such self-awareness.

There are many people exactly like him who don't find themselves in any respect on the receiving end of the conservative engines of hate, and so are never forced to realize that the hate is unfounded.

Some people are able to perceive that injustice targeted at people different from themselves is still injustice; some people are not. The evidence so far is that Sullivan (like all conservatives and many liberals) is one of the latter, and his current dissatisfaction with the Republican party is purely a matter of happenstance, not principle.
76
@74: It might contain the stepping on a ping pong ball, but the earlier clip was closer to the tone LOFD struck.
77
@71 ....but some of my best fucks are black!
78
@8 lolorhone: Spot on, as usual!! I love it!
@9 inbed: Although I fully understand your metaphor, the idea of hairy lasagna with a pulse--and the existing glycemic content of the dish itself--just killed any cravings I might have had for lasagna.
Chicken fettuccine, anyone? Which leads me to....
@69 Married in MA: Yeah--I know, huh? Right now I can't get enough gluten-and-sugarfree chicken fettuccine alfredo, and it's driving me nuts!

Griz watch update: Now my amazing ND will be evaluating the estrogen levels of this crazy lady. So far, the blood tests are encouraging overall. More later.

Thanks, Dan, and everyone, for putting up with this nutty het chick!

79
I liked it until the Andrew Sullivan reference. That guy is a fucking tool
80
@ 53 - You're totally right: as a man, my appreciation of oral sex has absolutely nothing to do with the state of my clit.
81
@ 71 - "If you're a bigoted dick, you'll still be a bigoted dick after sex with the object of your ignorance"

Case in point: Andrew Sullivan. But I guess he'd defend his racist views arguing that they're based on the "scientific evidence" given in The Bell Curve... And now he's written this opinion piece to show that he's not at all bigoted, since he fucked with black guys back in the day. What a pathetic turd.
82
After reading LOFD's letter (and Dan's answer) here's my fantasy. Remember the almost 18 year old who tooled around in the BMW that the 25 year old brother (and guardian) of the 15 year old he was dating didn't approve of? Why not fix him up with LOFD for his 18th birthday? They seem meant for each other.
83
@80 lol, whoops!
84
@43,

Wow, that thread was interesting. Somehow, PLH/DARE coming out would still leave him too feral to sound like detached LOFD (but, what do I know?).

Peace
85
BRILL-iant responce to LOFD. Especially the references to Gloria Upson and Bunny Bixler. Extra points for throwing in the ping pong comment. "We were in the finals, the verrry finals, of the ping pong tournament at the club...and she stepped on the ball! Well, it was just squashed to bits!"

Hahahahaha!!
86
@77: Laughed like a lunatic. Scared the neighbors.
@78: Thanks, Auntie Griz. Good luck with your estrogen levels and best wishes for your continuing good health!
@81: Every time I'm confronted with Sullivan's overall politics, I'm nauseous. But this is the first time I've seen his solid stance on LGBT identity issues get mixed up with his muddled and not-a-little-ignorant perspective on race. Orgasms are powerful but they do not bear the weight of history.
87
@ 86 - The weird thing is that I kinda agree with his general idea. Getting to know people that are not part of your social group is a good way to lose your prejudices against them, whether it's through sex or any other sort of social interaction. BUT you have to be willing to at least question your prejudices, and Sullivan never was. His experiences were never anything more to him than a chance to check another box on his checklist in order to gain non-racist credentials which he has repeatedly proven he doesn't deserve.

Basically, it was merely something to write the folks back home about (and now, to brag about to the world). As if there weren't any Black men in England that he could have gotten to know... but that wouldn't have been exotic enough, so he didn't bother until he went to the US. His whole attitude reeks of the worst kind of racism, that perfectly encapsulated @ 77. On the one hand, he denies their intelligence and reduces them to sexual objects, but on the other, he claims he's not racist because hey, he did let a few of them actually touch him, you know? As if that was such a big deal and we should all applaud him for that.
88
Lolo - thanks for some good laughs!
Really Now - thanks for registering!

I wonder how LOFD makes friends. Or does he merely have a lot of acquaintances? Because he can't be bothered to spend time with anyone not his mirror image?

LOFD - you are TWENTY-THREE. You have Plenty of Time to go on second dates, and even third dates. Unless you are at risk through some antiquated custom of losing your inheritance if you don't (gay) marry by 25? If not, you could also choose to go on dates only with candidates pre-screened to match your Specifications.

Oy vey!
89
@86: Agreed. It's not a willingness to fuck outside your race or class, it's a willingness to drop contempt, presumption, and preconception w/r/t the person you just fucked- a willingness to be open (try not to giggle, I'm serious). The fucking alone isn't magically restorative to society- many people are well-versed in remaining impermeable and distant, especially during sex.
90
Still Thinking @ 88:
I have been wondering about LOFD's ability to make friends. If he is able to make and maintain friendships, then I don't think he is necessarily as big of a tool as he sounds he is.

When I was that age, I was told many times that my standards were too high because I wasn't interested in the guys who were interested in me and vice versa. I probably also gave silly reasons, like guy A has too much body hair, guy B is blonde, etc.

In hindsight, I think that was just my mechanism to keep from getting into something that I wasn't ready for. Once I was ready, I fell in love with someone who didn't fit my imaginary "dream man" at all.
91
I don't like Andrew Sullivan as a columnist. The guy is very self-centered and so absolutely ignorant of others, he cherishes his own ignorance - although he claims to inform !

Take away his Englishness and his gayness, none of which are personal achievements, but just happened through random chance, and what are his credentials for the pedestal he puts himself on ?

He's gay, so he's different, so his white and male priviledges shouldn't be taken into account when he gives his priviledged-white-male views of politics. Riight. Who did he endorse again ? One of the Pauls ? Sure, they would have helped America - more like they would have filled the pockets of their class peers, and left other Americans out to die...

As an aside, I can't with his cartoonified videos. Don't want to show your face ? Go audio. But show/hide one's face like this, is just ridiculous.

As for his Englishness, his pretense to give an enlightened external view of America, because he's "European", are most laughable. This guy has nothing but utter contempt for continental Europe, and even that is not personal contempt, acquired from experience, but just the contempt of his class of white males for anything not strictly English.

Nobody is less European, nor has a less shallow and uninformed view of Europe than Englishmen. Englanders are only one thing : Englanders, the former masters and main beneficiaries of the Commonwealth.

For so many decades England has used its domineering place in the United Kingdom to get involved in Europe and try to make it fail all along, just because. The result of this traitor activity is mostly nil. Europe sure has its ups and downs, and its downs have a lot to do with unregulated financial wrongdoings tahing place in the City of London, (which is vehemently protected from any European cleaning-up by England) ; but overall Europe is still alive, still going on strong, and living inside it is still much better than living outside it : there is no shortage of candidates willing to join.

So much so that Scotland is now anxious to secede, just to stop being prevented by England to participate more in all things related to Europe. As for Ireland, as of late they haven't yet been seen to run away crying from Europe, back into the smothering arms of England...
92
@16 Thanks for putting Sullivan's shallow reasonings in context - and so sorry for what your ancestress endured...

If having sex could make people more understanding and humane, more tolerant of differences, misogyny wouldn't exist. Nor racism. Nor slavery. And wars would stop the second the infantry set foot on foreign ground ! Raping the local civilians would instantly turn every raving mad warrior, dancing on hormones and fears instilled by his head butchers, into a peace protester.

Actually, the only evil that would still exist were this this theory of "sex the great equalizer" true is... homophobia. The only evil Sullivan ever experienced.
93
Ms Sissou - We'd probably do better not to get started or Ireland. Scotland, though, has plenty of grievances against England without having to look so far as Europe. If only Mary Stewart had married a different Valois brother...
94
oops, ON Ireland, not or.

#92, which crossed mine, appears heterocentric, which may make it a little less effective for clubbing Mr Sullivan. I'm not big on the Great Equalizer theory, but am open to the idea of opposite-sex and same-sex activities possibly having different (widely generalized) effects on their practitioners.
95
sissoucat @91: "Nobody is less European, nor has a less shallow and uninformed view of Europe than Englishmen. Englanders are only one thing : Englanders, the former masters and main beneficiaries of the Commonwealth."

Have you heard PJ Harvey's "The Last Living Rose"? Being English herself, she's plainly mocking her countrymen's entitled self-regard in the first two lines- "Goddamn Europeans!/Take me back to beautiful England"- before poignantly describing a thoroughly compromised empire in decline, on the brink of destruction. A great song, and considering the sentiments you expressed earlier, I thought it might cheer you. : )

Here's a link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWBrWhrKc…
96
@86 lolorhone,

"Orgasms are powerful but they do not bear the weight of history."

Actually, if you look around you and see a human, or a human artifact, and think about how it/they got there...

Peace
97
LW1 is right only generically regarding the intelligence factor. In my single days, I dated some guys who were dumb as stumps but great in the sack. If you're looking for a LTR, it doesn't work. If you just want fun, it's fine.

As for the money thing, while I think LW1 is arrogant, there's A LOT of relationship issues that revolve around money and denying it is asking for trouble down the road. I make 3X what my husband makes and it has caused some friction, but not about what you'd think. More about him feeling like he's not contributing as much and me having to be reassuring.

What worked for us was me saying I'd pay the mortgage and he pays the other bills, then I just pay some of them and don't tell him.

All that said, you should NEVER exclude someone from your life because you think they're beneath you in some way. Everyone has SOMETHING to offer. If you're gay, and you find true love, you're lucky. The rest of it is just noise.
98
@97 sfguy,

Even if you're not gay, if you find true love you're lucky.

Peace
99
I wish Dan would stop saying stupid shit like "gay people are in a tiny, tiny minority" since we've discovered over the past decade or so that that is simply not true.
100
@lolorhone : I just did some catching up and I saw your comment on Ophian, in response to my curiosity.

I had not realized his icon was really him ! He had another icon before... I agree on the looks. Although, he looks more little brother-ly to me, than anything else.

As for "mon chapeau rose", it doesn't sound idiot for a French reader.

I was actually entertaining the thought of several possible meanings. One was some actual pink hat, along with a bilingual (leer) double-entendre about your own hat having risen, in a Mae West situation.

A far-fetched idea was a double-entendre with some respectful salute towards his awesome posting and being. Although, I would have expected your hat to go down in such a salute, rather than up - so that idea had me confused. In French, the phrase "chapeau bas !" was still used 40 years ago by males to convey a strong admiration, so...

Besides, the use of "mon" makes it look like you two did meet, with positive results - "mon" is a lot more intimate for a French speaker than "cher", which is a lot more impersonal, because "cher" is widely used in formal adress. One can object to being called "my", but not to "dear". I expect it's different in English.
101
migrationist@90 - good point. I think people have no idea why they reject most potential partners, but our friends expect us to have reasons. Saying "he just smelled wrong" doesn't help our friends know how to set us up with more likely candidates, but it's probably closer to the truth than the crap reasons we provide ("too much body hair" or whatever).
102
LOFD, while stuck up, speaks from his despair, and has a point. What he doesn't see is that a. Dan is right and people stop being in transition much later in life (30s? never?) and b. that Dan is right and within a certain range of parameters, sexual attraction is a great leveller.

Dan's ignoring a few things.

1. LOFD is not dumb. LOFD probably knows all that. But he's probably looking for something longer term, not for hookups, and he's considering the real option that he'll fall for someone who will then find himself in another job/city/state/country because his whole life is in flux while LOFD is chained into place by his golden cage. To which I'd say that Dan is right and you should give it up. If you have to move because of someone you'll land another 6 figure job somewhere else.

2. The reverse snobbism of the transient/'less' intelligent (or pretend-less-intelligent). I'd bet LOFD is not so much rejecting them (because they are not 'people like us') as afraid of being rejected (because HE is not 'people like us'). He knows that most people are like that and he's afraid he won't fit in with their lives/interests/friends. Maybe he's right. But he won't know until he tries. Which means opening himself up to their lives/interests/friends. So Dan's right again.

3. Sexual attraction is a great leveller only up to a point. Granted, LOFD's point may be too close to the edge of his nose.

PS

I'll wear my Edward Said hat and guess that Andrew Sullivan had more going into and out of those clubs than Democracy and there was probably a healthy dose of romanticizing the exotic/different. Which is awesome if you can make it work for you (Andrew of Arabia? Those English school boys) but what if you can't. In that case you're stuck in your little comfort zone and all you can do is expand it little by little.

Which means LOFD, if you've been on those first dates, those guys are pretty close to the edges of your comfort zone and it's up to YOU to push your envelope. Which you will have to do because what you've been doing so far isn't working.