Podcasts Feb 12, 2013 at 1:00 am


wow...a war on birth control? those right wing creeps are NUTS!
The parents' answer isn't, "Yes," it's, "Yes, if." If the caller wants to agree to take the Yes separated from the If, okay. But the Savage advice to walk is starting to look like, "Walk and they'll come running after you," which is largely the flip side of, "Express regret and you can win her back to God." It comes off as being a stratagem rather than a legitimate response. "Walk and be prepared to keep walking," feels better.

As for the parenting calls, they gave me a Machiavellian idea. Combine the stress thread comment, the Equal Treatment call and the Wistful Mamma, and we get a beautiful way to foster mutual empathy across the yawning Kinsey gulf. It is too late in the case of Mr Savage fils, but there are many other same-sexer parents who can tell their probably straight sons that they'll love them ANYWAY.

To treat, after all, like most verbs, has a subject and an object. It's all very well and good for Mr Savage to point out to the adolescent that she's receiving equal treatment as an object, but that's only half equality. Match the proportion of opposite-sexer parents providing the same talk, and it sets similar ground for the processing of sexuality.

The Wistful Mamma call was really well handled. I could have written something serious about raising straight children to unpack privilege, but my cold seems finally to be lifting and I'm in a halfway-good mood for once.
Boy I'd like a closer look at the "studies" that found fetuses embedded in the uteri of women who took birth control. That ain't how the pill works, dumbass.
can I just say I love you dan and I hope I am reincarnated as the second ejaculation of you!
One of the reasons my daughter told me it was easy to come out to me was all the years of gay-themed discussions coming up in the home, the way discussions on *all* kinds of political and social issues came up, and my showing her who I was and what I believed while we talked it all out. You don't have to say "I will love you anyway if you end up being gay" if your kid has seen you having gay friends, sending cheques, signing petitions, regarding the neighbours who threw their gay son out as assholes - just being the person you are as transparently as you can be.

Be an open and accepting person, or an ambivalent person who comes around when it really matters, or a nervous person who means well, or .... Be the person you are, any kind except douchbag asshole, and your kid will know how you feel. Just talk talk talk, discuss discuss discuss, and your kid will see your heart, without you ever having to make a pointed "If you do this, I will do that" statement.

Oh, and if you ARE a doucebag asshole, they'll know that too.
One thing though - maybe she is saying she doesn't want to get married and have kids because she doesn't want to get married and have kids, for reasons other than sexual orientation. Not all straight women want marriage and children.
Dan, I don't think the anti-birth control movement is just about controlling women and keeping them home, having and raising kids. I suspect there is also an element of racial fear -- fear that the white majority should not become just another minority.
The rant made me furious-- furious!! Did you see these asshole's commentary on feminism? http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pla…

Can we find a mailing address? Send them pictures of hot feminist in academia with long rambling letters about how they are never, ever going to get laid by one of us? I swear that these dudes are lurking in Pacific Northwest food co ops and going home to fantasize about the girl using gender neutral pronouns.
Wouldn't dead babies turn septic? Why haven't I died of septicemia?

Stupid douche.
So at 11, not wanting marriage/children and having male friends means you're lesbian... I guess I should probably recheck my preferences then?
I need to offer an alternate possibility to the mother of the 11-year-old who is voicing plans to not marry and not have children, and whose tight group of male friends made you exclaim "oh yeah, your daughter is a lesbian!"

She might be a tomboy. Coming up on puberty can be really hard for us tomboys: we grew up as boys and kind of planned on growing into men - and then tits come up and there's bra shopping and people smile at you and think you're going to be happy because now you can attract boys! - which, according to the media is the whole point of life.

And to make matters worse, everyone around you notices that you're not into doing your hair and make up, and jumps to the conclusion that you're gay, even your parents. My father thought I was a lesbian until 18 - which was weird because I didn't even like girls. They were a totally alien species to me.

Remember: the majority of transgender boys grow up to be gay, but the majority of transgender girls (which severe tomboy-hood definitely is) do not.

Your advice can be the same, but I would caution that mother about jumping to conclusions about her sexual preference. We deal with our gender identity before we deal with our sexual identity.

Anyway, if a young person said "I don't want to get married and have children" with an unsaid "because I think I am gay" hanging in the air, wouldn't the answer be something about "you're 11 now, kiddo, and hopefully you won't be getting married and having children this week or this decade - and if it's never, that's great too. Luckily we're living in a day and age where everyone can make that decision - straight people and gay people can marry or not marry, straight people and gay people can have children or not have children. We're really lucky to have these options! And back in the day, people had to make those decisions early - but now medical science is making it possible to put off those choices for a long, long time."
This was one of the most entertaining and humane shows there's been in a while. Good job, Dan! Or it could just be that I agree with most of the advice.

Sucks to be a queer teenager. No sleepovers for you. You can't have same-sex friends stay over because, uh, the sex, and you can't have opposite-sex friends stay over because of, uh, the culture and maybe the sex.

Wistful Mom was so sweet. Can you be my mom, too? Even though I'm older than you are by quite a bit. Although melanie.is #11's point about being a tomboy is quite well taken. Also, if the 11-year-old has friends with younger sibs, she's probably really very, very conscious of what a pain in the ass little kids and babies can be, and that may be what she's reacting to.

Dan was absolutely right to tell the lesbian to meet her conservative parents halfway but not put up with attempts to change her. Very thoughtful and kind.

I'm a little confused about the poly girl who doesn't want to have sex with her good guy friend. What? When I was single, I had lots of female friends. Many of them probably wouldn't have been girlfriend possibilities, but there was not one that I would have kicked out of bed. Not one. It doesn't sound like either of them want a romantic relationship and she's really into this guy as a friend, and he wants to fuck her. What is so bad about him? She didn't say he was crazy ugly, or stinks, or emotionally needy, or drunk, or any of the usual disqualifiers. Is he such a tremendously poor lay that he hurts her soul? If so, she needs to help him work on that. I mean, seriously, I'm not sure that if we're talking about an occasional, long-distance, friends with benefits situation that "I'm just not that into you" has the resonance that it would in declining a romantic partnership offer.

I'm guessing the single and happy girl is just a bit introverted and doesn't like expending the emotional energy that even the best relationships take. Let alone the drama of a poor fit or a new relationship. Guys can really be needy pains in the ass, sometimes, even compatible guys you love. I actually think this kind of singleness is quite common for men and has been for a long time, if you remember how universal the bachelor stereotype used to be.
I think that single girl was actually asking for advice on how to re-enter the dating world, not looking for permission to be alone forever. Being single is fantastic, I did it for 4 years. I was celebate too. But when the time came for me get back out there to get laid, it was really really hard!! I struggled to find the guts for ages until one night i just got really fucking drunk and went home with a stranger. Not pretty or romantic but it got the job done. It woke my confidence up to some extent. After that I farted around until I met a nice dude and fell in love. No big deal.
I agree with most of the other commentors here;Just because you don't want to get married and have kids doesn't mean your gay.Sheesh!People thought the same thing about me when I was an adolescent.Truth was I was a tomboy and quite a bit more open minded and progressive then my peers.Not to mention,and I think most have overlooked this fact,that kids are pretty observant and what what is the divorce rate on this continent? 40%?50%? Just going by my experience.
I think #14 is probably right, and the single girl, while a bit defensive about being perceived as unhappy, wanted to start dating again. My advice: Stay out of bars. Go to things you like: museums, concerts, theatre, sports, specialty shopping. Flirt with the single guys. If you click with one, ask him out or ask for his number. Chances are that might actually work out, but even if he's not interested, he will most likely be flattered and gracious about it. If not, he's a jerk and you didn't want to date him anyway. Or do the online dating thing. It used to be a joke but now it's gotten to the point where I know several successful couples who met that way.
let her have her sleepover. it's not "equality" dan. it's offensive. it's based on the old stereotype that gay people have no self control and just fuck anything they see. just because they're both lesbians doesn't mean they're going to fuck each other. it is possible to be gay and have gay friends you don't ever want to have sex with.

It's not about gay or straight. It's about teenagers, who are capable of making poor decisions in the soup of hormones, attraction, and opportunity. For what it's worth, most parents probably wouldn't want a gay boy sleeping over with their lesbian daughter. While it's certainly admirable and desirable to be as relaxed about it as the Dutch example Dan cited, and provide a safe, supportive place for your child's sexual exploration, in this culture that's not a battle worth fighting. Even if you are completely comfortable with the sleepover situation, whatever the combination might be, the perception and opinion of other parents, the kid's schoolmates, and the wider community are things you have to take into account for the greater welfare of your kid.
I loved the going solo portion of this podcast, and I totally agree that the feeling of loneliness while being with someone is very painful. You're left feeling empty and full of doubt about the future of the relationship. This constant doubting can drive you nuts to the point that you become frustrated and miserable. This happened to me, and I ended up calling the relationship off. It was hard and painful to do, because I had feelings for him and he had that "future potential" quality, but after the pain began to subside I found I had my peace of mind and sense of self back. This not having to wonder if I'm in an unmatched relationship or having to compromise what's important to me, just to be in a relationship, is a wonderful thing. I've come to the conclusion that peace of mind equals happiness. I've also come to the conclusion that people with high libidos should be together and people with low libidos should be together and the two should NEVER be mixed, but that's another story.

Love your podcast Dan, keep up the GREAT work!! :)
I loved the going solo portion of this podcast, and I totally agree that the feeling of loneliness while being with someone is very painful. You're left feeling empty and full of doubt about the future of the relationship. This constant doubting can drive you nuts to the point that you become frustrated and miserable. This happened to me, and I ended up calling the relationship off. It was hard and painful to do, because I had feelings for him and he had that "future potential" quality, but after the pain began to subside I found I had my peace of mind and self support back. This not having to wonder if I'm in an unmatched relationship or having to compromise what's important to me, just to be in a relationship, is a wonderful thing. I've come to the conclusion that peace of mind equals happiness. I've also come to the conclusion that people with high libidos should be together and people with low libidos should be together and the two should NEVER be mixed, but that's another story.

Love your podcasts Dan; you're doing a GREAT job!! :)
On the 11 year old, yeah, I too felt like everyone was jumping to conclusions. I was strongly against getting married or having kids well into college, and I liked boys and sex with them just fine. I wound up getting married, but never have wanted kids. Most kids think marriage looks like a bad deal, why not take that at face value?

As to the last commenter on the podcast, I thought Dan passed up the opportunity to repeat the best thing he ever said about heterosexuality - that it is a damn shame that cultural conditioning makes men and women sexually incompatible! I love that observation, and think it ought to be repeated every week.
My heroes are the people that are brave enough to be themselves and, in doing so, pave the way for others to be themselves with more acceptance/awareness in society.

Rock on, heroes, and for everyone that questions whether they can summon the courage to risk acceptance from their peers: DO IT! Take that risk. Find your community. Pave the way for easier times for younger versions of yourself and others that don't fit in with society's perceived "norms". Thanks.

I'm puzzled and almost shocked that no one has picked up on the word "bullying". The 11-year-old's mother says her daughter gets mercilessly bullied, and all the advice revolves around getting across that her mother loves her even if she's a lesbian? Hello?

I don't know what the "bullying" involves in this case - some people think they've been bullied if someone calls them an asshole once for an assholey thing they did, others will call routine unprovoked physical violence "just boys being boys". The mother sounded to me a bit like a hand-wringing sort of person who might easily call one jokey name-calling episode "merciless bullying". But if her daughter's truly getting bullied, not just occasionally teased or something, then I'd say you want the school to be aware of it and something to be done about it, ESPECIALLY if any of the bullying involves her hypothetical sexual preferences.

(I agree with others that at 11 it's too soon to tell whether she's a lesbian or will eventually become one. I hate it when people jump to conclusions about me.)

Here's a book that might help broach the subject at the school:
(one of the authors is a friend - no, I haven't read Dan's book either, so I don't know whether they overlap or whether Dan cites this book - I'm European and live in a different planet)
I also didn't want kids or marriage at 11! Like @21, I ended up getting married and totally want children now, but I think at 11 I was starting to feel the gender roles expected of me and was feeling some cognitive dissonance between only viewing myself as a human while the whole world fixated on me being a girl. I wasn't a tomboy, but I was def trying to distance myself from the gendered life story society was trying to write for me.
In regards to the call from the mom who is worried about her daughter who is being ridiculed at school and saying she doesn't want to get married and all that. I am a lesbian and was also horribly ridiculed in middle school and high school but I was able to handle it. I know that's not a majority but you say you feel so bad that she is being ridiculed and it feels like you are coddling her because of this fact. I know a parents instinct is to protect their kids but you also need to tell her and instill in her that she can handle it. At the end of the day when all the ridiculing is over the people that loved and cared about your daughter before the ridicule still love and care about her afterward. Those people that are ridiculing her have no affect on the people that are important in her life. It is more important that the people that know who she is and love her and all of her qualities and attributes are there all the time no matter what names she is called or what anyone can do to her. I was able to laugh in the face of my bullies every time they would say something to me or throw gum or change at me, or shove me to the ground. The bullying never got worse, it didn't necessarily get better but i never allowed it to have a negative affect on my life or my friendships. My parents wanted to go to the principal and have the school put a stop to it but that wouldn't have taught me anything about putting up with the people that will put you down for the rest of your life. Teach your daughter that she is strong enough to laugh in her bullies faces and that she has a group of people that love her standing behind her every time she does. If your daughter can gain that strength or has that strength and has it confirmed by her mom it will help her for the rest of her life. If she really is a lesbian this is only the beginning and her strength will get her through the rest of her life.
Long time listener, first time commenter...

Just needed to share that the Straight Rights Watch on birth control cracked me up so hard that I was scared I would wake up my roommate... Dan, if you were straight, I would totally be your fetus graveyard so that I wouldn't have to shit out babies.

... just kidding.

Seriously though. I really enjoy the podcast, and the column and your eloquence. Rock on.
I also took great offense at the assumption the 11 year old girl must be a lesbian because she doesn't want kids or a husband. I was a little girl (and a 36 year old woman) that didn't want any of that because I never saw a relationship that I would want to be a part of, or wanted to give up my freedom to raise ungrateful brats. Maybe the 11 year old just wants to get as far away as possible from the people bullying her, and go explore the world without the pressure of a man to take care of. Her mother would do her a great service by encouraging her individuality without the chains of sex attached.
I rejected parenthood and marriage when I was an adolescent, and I think it was because I didn't want to go hurtling headlong into adulthood like so many girls seemed to. I never doubted my sexual orientation. I did eventually get married (though it was never a high priority), but kids will never happen. I still don't want to be a parent. And I am still straight.

Gay folks can have kids, and straight folks can opt out of parenthood entirely. The caller needs to accept that this is how the world works now.

Nothing the mother of the 11 year old said gave any clues that her kid is any queerer than the average 11 year old tomboy.

BUT...if that girls turns out to be lesbian, it's nice to know that she has a mom who's totally in her corner and loves her no matter what!
I should also add that at the beginning of your podcast you went on a rant about us ladies taking a break from crapping out babies, yet a child that doesn't express interest in doing such a thing is somehow questionable? Seems a little hypocritical to me.
I really enjoyed the conversation with Eric Klinenberg about his book and research. I know that the program is about relationship and some might think it a stretch it single people are treated unfairly in society. I think I remember Dan talking about this on some distant podcast. Why do married couple get extra special society goodies like tax breaks and reduced housing costs? The incentives for marriage are from a bygone era that believed in stability at all costs. The present and future will not be shaped and built by those married to stability. There is injustice here.
In regard to the mother with the possibly lesbian daughter:

I'm a guy and when I was younger, for some reason I was really nervous about admitting crushes/attractions etc I had for girls. My mother would ask me if there were any girls I liked and I'd say, "nope, not interested". There were plenty, actually, but I was just really shy about it. She dropped the "it's okay to be gay" conversation on me over dinner with my brother. It was very awkward and embarrassing.

In retrospect, had I been gay it probably would have been helpful to have that conversation... but not that way! So, to that mom, have some tact and keep in mind that even if the signs point to it in your eyes, she may not be a lesbian.
Yeah, I'm a straight woman who was married at the relatively young age of 25, and now have a 2 year old at 29 - and when I was fifteen I made an actual BET with my mom that I would never have kids. "I wouldn't want my whole life to be about someone else," I reasoned, "I'm too selfish." Which, incidentally, is exactly how you're supposed to feel when you're 15. This kid isn't *definitely* a lesbian.
the caller who called in to say that the reason gay guys are less stressed out than straight guys was because gay guys have grindr among other things made me laugh. I'm a woman and sometimes i wish i was a gay guy too because of grindr. I wish we had something similar that it was SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE for us to hook up like that with no judgement (and also where it's safe).
@14: Let me guess: are you a guy? Because all this:

"What is so bad about him? She didn't say he was crazy ugly, or stinks, or emotionally needy, or drunk, or any of the usual disqualifiers. Is he such a tremendously poor lay that he hurts her soul? If so, she needs to help him work on that"

...just seems like it couldn't have been written by a woman. Perhaps my observation isn't accurate for everyone in the universe, but it seems to me that sex that's somewhere on the okay-to-bad spectrum is much better for men than it is for women.

Seriously though, if a friend is hot, clean, not smelly and sober, and still not a very good lay, that is not enough to make me want to take him on as a project. I certainly don't NEED to help him work on that, because it's really not my problem, it's his. Also, helping him work on that is a lot more work than I think you realize, and the fact is, it probably means a lot more mediocre sex for me until he learns to be better, which isn't even guaranteed. The fact is, I'd rather not have sex than have lots of mediocre sex with a person I'm not really into romantically, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of women feel the same way.

As for the might be queer 11-year-old: I think the mom should have the lesbian sex conversation, but not because the girl is so definitely a lesbian, but because she might be and that's useful information. Also, the mom mentioned she was getting hassled at school, and I wonder if she's talking about normal middle school drama or more intense bullying. If she's seriously getting bullied, that's a problem that needs to be addressed. If it's just normal middle school meanness though, it's probably not really a problem.
Well, by Dan's definition of my behavior at 11, apparently I'm a lesbian. All 12 of my previous boyfriends will be very surprised.

Dan I still love you, but I don't think you understand little girls.
JFC I am afraid of the M Atwood future too, I join you in your shudderworthy foresight(or paranoia). Uterine Archeology...JFC too.
Some of us end up single because the right opportunities don't happen; it is a kind of choice but feels less like one. Then poof 30 years go by and you notice...hey...I am alone here. Oh well, I am the cat lady I was probably destined to be.
I have a M.S. in medicine and have no idea what the preacher is screaming about. Trying give him the benefit of the doubt but dead babies? No infections? This is not how the pill works which prevents ovulation so no eggs, and no babies. IUD's don't work like this either, they prevent attachment of the 'dead babies' so they would no, ahem, hang around. I wonder if he is talking about Plan-B? Abortoficient drugs might leave behind microscopic products of conception.

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