Savage Love May 25, 2016 at 4:00 am

Identity Cards



Possibly the most boring SL column I have ever read. It doesn't help that the recycled Letter of the Day was published less than two weeks ago...and I didn't find it that interesting the first time around. What little there is to be said about it has already been said.
@1. Lol.

@2. Ooh, I find that lw will be ripe for a lively discussion.
BLECH has a tricky problem. She has a partner she likes whose choice in friends leaves her effectively isolated.
She could tell him to leave her out of that social scene completely and almost certainly be labelled a cold bitch by most of them. She could drag herself out and constantly fight the misery of being stuck in a social scene that gives her nothing and will slowly kill her soul - believe me, it will.

Either she or he needs to move in their outlook. His family isn't going to change so she will have to learn to deal with that if she wants to be part of his life in the long term but the friends is the problem.
If this is a serious relationship BLECH has to confront one of two things. Either change her outlook and find a way of enjoying these people, or tell him the truth.

If it was a case of one night out per week she should make excuses and say - "I know they are your good friends but it just isn't my scene, go out and have fun" - she is in a relationship, not joined at the hip.
If she is constantly expected to fit into that group four times a week then she is being forced to compromise who she is; that isn't fair. He needs to explain how he can be all feminist and wonderful but hang around with asshole friends all the time.

BLECH needs to work out which one of them, or both, needs to adjust.
@4: yes, indeed. But it's hard to tell from the letter whether the LW's friends are assholes, or whether Dan's snark is justified and the LW is a snob. Having cis het male friends doesn't mean having to put up with being talked over or patronised - if most of the boyfriend's friends are like that, the LW has an asshole problem (and perhaps a boyfriend problem).

On the other hand, I side-eye the LW's implication that the women freeze her out because she loves equality so much. Could it be that the ladies see she's making unfounded assumptions about them, and resent it? Been there, on both sides. Making a bit more of an effort would be advisable before she gives up completely.
Dan, @1 and @3: Ditto LOL--manmuggles! I love it! I'm adding this to my dictionary right
Dan: excellent advice, too, for MHL about refraining from discussing or mentioning her ex.
I have duly noted this, haven't brought it up for a long while and won't again. Thanks!
Freedom--and closure--really do rock.
BLECH: if you are monologuing, people will indeed interrupt you. Consider greater brevity and wit, and your problem disappears.
LW2: "I'm in a monogamous relationship and I want to have sex with other people. Here is my excellent fully-justified very-good reason to be a cheating piece of shit: I, like, really want to have sex with other people. That's the only choice here, right?"
Dan: "Yeah, pretty much. Here are some other options but let's not embarrass ourselves by pretending you'll choose one of them instead."
The NOT letter is so odd. What's with "putting myself about" -- is that a standard way to say sleeping around? And why bring up the "disastrous" threesome, twice? Either give us more information about how it went bad, so we understand why you think it's relevant, or drop it. Furthermore, if Mr. P. described our marital sex life as "loving and good mostly" -- I'd consider that damning with faint praise.

It doesn't sound to me like they've been married that long or have children together. So it's especially odd that NOT completely ignored the option of divorce, in leaping to cheating is "the only answer."
My leftist-hippie-queer friends allow all people space to talk.

Even boring, hostile, opinionated people who think they're better than everyone else?
BLECH-- You're confusing 2 different things, your leftist queer/bi feminist hippie status and what to do when people are rude and mansplaining. I'll address the latter.

First, stop keeping to a corner and avoiding starting an argument. That doesn't mean you get to walk in with a chip on your shoulder, but if someone starts mansplaining, quietly and unemotionally point out that he's lecturing you in your area of expertise. Say things like "yes, I know; I studied this for years," "no, you're wrong; you haven't done the research." You don't want to contradict. You do want to back up what you say with facts.

When someone interrupts you, stop short, make scant eye contact, let him finish, wait while he becomes uncomfortable because he's expecting you to say something in return so he can interrupt again, look at him again, wait some more, look at him some more, let him become more uncomfortable, and when he finally asks you something, shrug and say "oh nevermind." Then act bored before moving on to someone else in the room. Nothing takes the wind out of a blowhard's sails than realizing that he's been talking loud and long to someone who doesn't care and isn't listening. (Give the asshole another chance the next time you see him. When he asks something, you might begin with "are you really interested? Last time we spoke you interrupted me so I was pretty sure you didn't care.")

Don't hide in a corner. Do try to find common ground. Surely there's something you can relate to even if it's vapid. If they're fundamentally good people, then they're familiar with the concept of sticking to non-controversial subjects. Mention a restaurant you liked-- or some silly television show, or complain about traffic or the weather.

As for the gender roles, don't try to change them in someone else's house or right away. If all the women get up to do the dishes after a meal while the men congregate around the television, it will be tempting to watch the game with the guys. Don't. Help with the housework because that's what a polite guest does. Then on the way home with your boyfriend, tell him that next time, he'll help with the dishes. After the next meal, just say that you and he are switching off dishes duty like you do at home.

Sexual experience is unlikely to come up with these folks, but if it does, talk about whatever you're comfortable talking about in normal neutral tones. If one of the women says something about running into someone she used to date, and others share stories about exes, you can too by bringing up something about a woman you were involved with. Don't hide; don't flaunt. They may be less judgmental than you give them credit for.

My read of NOT: she is thrown for a loop by her spouse transitioning, but fears being a bad spouse/ally by admitting this. She'd rather be a cheat.
BLECH – maybe the problem is you...?
Fresh @12, In contrast, my read is that they met after NOT's wife's first marriage ended over the transgender issue. My guess is due to NOT not bringing up the transgender stuff as an issue -- she knew about it when she married her wife, I'm guessing.
@11. Oh is that mansplaining. I thought that was being a bore. I've run into men and women who do that crud.

Despite being a female bi-libber, lw sets my teeth on edge a little. Why would equal rights or lgbq stuff be coming up all the time? I mean, haven't you ever had friends who don't see eye to eye with you, or have you always been surrounded by people who think exactly like you all the time? Haven't you learned the art of conversation where you avoid sex, religion, and politics? Fichu has given excellent examples of conversational subjects, but think about the concept - something we sorely lack in political discourse in this age - finding common ground to establish the foundations of a relationship.

I know, I am a near atheist blue living in a sea of religious red. However, I have found common ground and forged relationships with several people. And I've looked for my own friends who are lonely blues like me.

And learn the power of discretion and put a curb on your disrepect. You act like these women areally stephford wives. I am quite sure they can feel your condescension. You don't need to convert the world through blunt force argument. Sometimes listening is more effective to get your message across. Hold your fire until you really think it needs to be dropped.

Now, I say this assuming these are your general chitty chatting social groups. If people are actually calling on gays to die or that women must be subservient to men.... well what is your boyfriend doing as friends to such people.

Good luck!
am I the only one who feels that NOT is not particularly attracted to her wife but doesn't want to admit it because she fears that it would make her a "bad queer"?. Some folks, even bi, are attracted to stereotypical men and women. I know I'm like that. I like stereotypically feminine girls and stereotypically masculine men (ok, maybe with a little leeway). I'm not sure if I could date someone whose genitals don't match their gender presentation. Just my 2 cents.
And regarding BLECH: she sounds sooo smug, maybe his friends are reacting to THAT, not her politics. if she comes across as holier-than-thou in real life as she does in this letter, that's likely to be the main issue, not feminism.

Blackwood @ 16
"am I the only one who feels that NOT is not particularly attracted to her wife… “

Well, Fresh @ 12 was the first one to express such sentiment, while I’m taking a more EP line of thinking.
The case could be quite universal had we not learned about the newly transitioned wife. And while there must be a reason behind bringing it up, the word used is “transitioned” as opposed to “transitioning,” assuming they’ve known each other for some time and must have worked out some emotional and practical issues.
That said, transitioning can take an emotional toll on all sides involved so who knows.

As for attraction to corresponding genitalia, this is really personal and preferences may vary. For example, one would assume that most couples engaged in pegging are het male-female.
Much to my delight some find me attractive while in my female persona. Many more should follow their lead.
@17 CMD,
pegging with a strap-on is one thing, having sex with an actual dick is another. a lot of straight guys who are into pegging would actually be squicked out by the real thing. Just like being fucked by a butch girl with a strap on is not the same as being fucked by an actual man.
So my advice to the blackmail victim has caught on.


I've seen other sites implode over accusations of transmisogyny; LW2 could quite possibly be motivated in part by desire to keep a pristine Ally Card. They seem rather mismatched. I wish there had been specifics provided about the duration of the marriage and the transition.


L3 is in a number of ways a beautiful letter because there are just so many directions in which one could go. LW could be more than 90% accurate, in which case the appropriate response might be a crash course taught by Ms Cute on how to be the equivalent of Mr Elliot in Persuasion.

The first thing that stood out, though, and I suspect it will for Ms Fan as well, is why the men in whom LW began exploring her interest had to be straight. Why would she not wish to pursue Mr Ophian? Should the assembled company like and support such a LW? With that to consider, and the reiteration of cisgender status, and a sense that LW3 wants to be the most special snowflake in (or at) the ball, a number of possibilities are floating into mind. LW was perhaps pursued by a trans woman, or man, or both, for whom she did not recipropcate the interest. Or perhaps she was with a bi man and quite pleased with his bisexuality as long as it remained theoretical. But then he actually did something MM, she flipped, and their social circle didn't immediately Burn the Warlock. (I think there really could be a novel in this, although, in a way, I'm almost getting a sense that, like Warrender Chase, I've already read the novel and it's coming true in real life.) I'm getting a bit of a sense that LW felt very highly evolved, only then found out that she wasn't so highly evolved as a lot of the rest of her social circle, and therefore she left that circle to be the most evolved person in the room, only nobody gives her credit for it.

As for the BF, I have to wonder whether he's really a feminist, or whether he's compliant. After all, a good feminist would surely be standing up to all his mansplaining friends at parties as well as when they're just all men together without women present. It's potentially interesting that LW chooses not to mention what he does or doesn't do in these social situations. We've seen numerous letters from people about what their partners did or didn't do in such a scene. Compliance would also explain BF's not being the source of any trouble in her circle if she has retained any of it and the couple socializes.

I'm tempted to take LW's side on the mansplaining, as it makes me think that perhaps LW at these parties is rather like Mr Pope in Orlando, when he says something actually witty and it completely disconcerts the entire assembled company. But I want to delve a little deeper into LW's Utopian-sounding former(?) circle. Were their gatherings truly blissful occasion full of expression of diverse ideas? Or were their gatherings reminiscent of a couple of places I once mentioned where one person, usually a woman, makes a cogent (if sometimes threadbare) observation and the next thirty people chime in with QFT (I recall how my account of such a group provided Ms Cummins with some amusement - last year, I believe)? If LW is used to hivemind gatherings, then it's quite possible that any response other than giving her the QFTs she'd gotten for years could appear to be mansplaining.

A specific or two of her "views on feminism and equality" would have been helpful. Plenty of feminist's ideas are reasonable, and plenty of ideas presented by feminists are a bit out there; is LW running into the sort of opposition mentioned by Ms Horse, or has she been pushing the sorts of ideas Ms Cute would disown and expecting agreement? More simply put, is she a member of the progressive left or the regressive left? It's not clear.

"Weird heterosexual world"? LW seems almost to be fetishizing or objectifying heterosexuality here. And her partner's being and being raised as a striaght cis male doesn't seem something that would be such a stumbling block to his being able to understand, especially if he's such a feminist. Does he not Listen and Believe? And I do hope Ms Fan has something to say about LW's description of the relationship as a heterosexual romantic partnership.

I really could go in about a dozen directions here. I think I'll close for the night by noticing that LW never uses the word "straight". Significant?
Of course he Listens and Believes, Venn.
It's his friends that don't or can't or won't. His family too. Boring old farts, the lot of them.
Leave him LW. Walk tall, but walk. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
@10 was that a quote from the letter? I'm honestly puzzled because I thought maybe I missed another paragraph of that, went back to check and couldn't find it.
@10 Oops, I reloaded the page and now I see it.
MissPiggy @5: "it's hard to tell from the letter whether the LW's friends are assholes, or whether Dan's snark is justified and the LW is a snob"
Why does it have to be "or"?

EricaP @9: I too thought the phrase "putting myself about" was rather quaint. This woman is my age, but she's using slang that sounds like it comes straight out of the 1950s.
Well done to Dan for not giving her the endorsement of cheating that was the clear reason she wrote. Why did they get married in the first damn place? This woman isn't a teenager. She's old enough to know she wants a lot and a variety of sex, so why did she commit to monogamy with someone with a lower sex drive? She's old enough to know better. No sympathy here; DTMFA (the MF in this case being LW herself).

Fresh @12: I disagree. Unlike most "thrown by their spouses transitioning" LWs, this one is bi, so happy with whatever genital configuration a partner might possess. Sounds like a classic case of mismatched drives to me.

CMD @17: "one would assume that most couples engaged in pegging are het male-female"
Actually, I'd assume that most couples engaged in pegging would be BI male/female. I guess we are both applying confirmation bias.

Venn @20: "I wish there had been specifics provided about the duration of the marriage and the transition."
Me too; it doesn't make sense that such a mismatched couple would get married. But if the relationship, and possibly the marriage, predated the wife's transition, it's possible her low sex drive is a recent development due to female hormones. I'd have expected words like "Ever since she transitioned, my wife has no sex drive"; perhaps they were edited out. Even so, knowing that you like to "put yourself about," it's a good sign you're a mismatch for someone who's had only one partner in her life.

"The first thing that stood out, though, and I suspect it will for Ms Fan as well, is why the men in whom LW began exploring her interest had to be straight."
Nope! I was on OKC for a while, limited my choices to the bisexuals, and didn't have a lot of luck. Reluctantly broadened my search to include straight dudes and the selection increased by a factor of 100.

In light of last week's discussion on (some) straight women preferring dishonest non-monogamy to the honest type, I'll agree with BLECH's "weird heterosexual world" analysis. As for a queer person describing herself as being in a "heterosexual" relationship, I guess she is rounding his 100% hetero and her some% hetero up to a combined hetero for the relationship itself, which I assume is 100% monogamous. Or she's just immersing herself in this "hetero" world to the point of adopting the label.
I was going back to Solnit's original meaning of mansplaining. She'd written the book on a subject. A man in the cocktail part of the evening began explaining the subject to her. She told him that yes, she knew, she wrote the book he was condescendingly explaining to her. He didn't seem to hear her and continued. It was such a useful word. I remember the phenomena from the 80s. I'd say conversationally that I was researching X and had read 5 books on the subject. The man I was talking to would say "oh, you're interested in X? Well ..." and then he'd tell me some basic information, the sort of thing you learn on the first page or that everyone knows. After the word caught on, I began hearing it used to mean any time a man lectures on subjects of particular interest to women. Here's Slate:…
'Is cheating the only answer here? '
I don't think so. You can't put a trans* person thru that sort of pain.. my guess is she has had enough.
why has Joe drawn a shit flower with a fly buzzing around? I do not compute that image with any of the questions.

Mansplaining, I've never taken to the word. People of all genders can be rude in conversations.

I suspect, based on your comments about yourself and your other social group, that this is just a standard group of people being regular old people. But she sees them through the warped and distorted lens of trigger warnings and safe spaces and everything else that exists on the regressive left. It is also, probably, the only topic of conversation she wants to have and it wouldn't surprise me if she's playing the role of hall monitor and being a nuisance because the conversation didn't start with asking the new entrant what pronouns they would like to be called.
BLECH'S partner is everything she ever wanted. He's sexy, funny, feminist and smart. But does he stick up for her when they're with his friends and family? He might, in which case the rest of my comment can be ignored, but as I reread the letter, I realize that BLECH might be describing a problem that even she doesn't know she has. This could be a situation where she's thinking she's in good relationship where her boyfriend loves everything about her including her past because hot and because it's in their future too. Meanwhile, it could also be a situation where her boyfriend has FORGIVEN her for her past while thinking that she'll now settle down into the traditional gender roles he's used to and expects. Again, even he might not know that's what he's doing.

When his buddies do the mansplaining thing, does he step in with "Why are you telling my girlfriend that? You do know she's the expert, don't you?" When they interrupt, does he glare at them and say "Hold on, I was interested in what BLECH was saying"?

I have to wonder if he's tacitly, passively, agreeing with his friend set. He might love the hot sex in the bedroom where it benefits him while ignoring the dynamic she has with his friends-- where it benefits him.

(And good for Dan for recognizing that there can be many authentic expressions of gender identities even people choose the boring conventional ones.)
Ms Fan - You included straight men; you didn't rule out bi men. LW is very careful about language applied to herself and her (former?) circle; she doesn't seem the type to indulge in casual bi erasure. Now, she may be indulging in deliberate bi erasure (which might support my vague mental picture of unfortunate past relations with a bi man). Or it's possible that she might really mean that she began exploring her interest in those men (who happened all to be straight) who reciprocated her interest. A little clunky, but one sees worse.

As to your conclusion, while I can agree that the OS world could look rather weird, I don't know that your point would be the best choice. I don't see why honestly open versus dishonestly cheating would be restricted to Team Wainthropp. But I'll suppose that was just the first thing that came to mind and you can easily come up with a dozen others.

I like your opening point that it could be "and" instead of "or".

Having slept on the letter, I'm just as struck now, if not more so, that LW uses "het" twice and "heterosexual" five times, but never "straight" or any other designation. Along with her emphasis on how weird she finds everything, I'm starting to incline to call her attitude colonial. The vibrations are forming of the European settler come to bring civilization to the savages and to reform their strange customs.
Venn @29: Perhaps the ultra-PC crowd avoid the word "straight" because it implies queer people are "bent" -- in other words, for similar reasons to why the word "cis" was invented.

Yeah, not 100% sure why she said she want looking for straight men (I'll use the word, so there) rather than just looking for "men." Perhaps you're right -- she wanted to sample hetero culture, and a bi man wouldn't have proved sufficiently deviant from her queer lifestyle.

I'm just disappointed that someone even as lefty-feminist-queer as BLECH has, yet again, ended up partnered with a straight man. Do straight guys have to get all the women!? Sheesh :(
EricaP @14 and BiDanFan @24: if the transition is "new" and yet predates the relationship, and they are already married, this is yet another case of people not knowing each other enough before marrying.

Regardless, why not divorce? I still think NOT is worried that divorcing one trans person will mean she is intolerant or a bad ally.
Ms Crinoline - We're on similar tracks. It was the "feminist" boyfriend that inclined me in part to want some cross-examination into the details of the mansplaining. A good feminist boyfriend would not sit idly by during incidents of his girlfriend's being the recipient of clear mansplaining.

This would be a wonderful time to have a useful study of how often accusations of mansplaining are accurate. LW certainly seems to be the type most likely to see and define as mansplaining a man, say, trying to get a word in edgewise after she's been the only one talking for five minutes. Perhaps she both jumps the gun and occasionally it is mansplaining (but then I was just rewatching Columbo Cries Wolf the other day).
@venn: The vibrations are forming of the European settler come to bring civilization to the savages and to reform their strange customs.

Funny, that was exactly the metaphor that came to my mind.

As for why she suddenly became interested in het men when she "entered her 30s", it could be for reasons similar to BiDanFan - they're easier to find and attract.

On the other hand, I know a number of former radical feminists who settled comfortably into traditional gender roles once they hit their late 20s/early 30s and decided having a career was overrated and they wanted to have kids. I wouldn't be surprised if LW is on that same track.

For me, the most worrisome thing about this letter and some of the comments above is the implicit suggestion that the boyfriend should abandon his friends and family for LW. I don't care what the circumstances, when a partner seeks to isolate his/her partner from his/her community, that is a form of abuse. She hasn't yet crossed that line, but I suspect that's because she doesn't believe she has the power (yet) to pull it off.
Ms Fan - I think I'll let Mr O respond to that one; he and Mr Alan are the most qualified. They've both been conspicuously absent of late, as has (now that the quest for Sr Nadal's Numero Dix has begun again) Ms Sissou.
Loved the response to BLECH especially, but a good job by Dan throughout.

BLECH's letter really needs context and examples. Does her awesome boyfriend take her to parties where "Young Male Republicans for Trump" are the dominant guests or is she trying to turn the conversation to gender issues then declaring disagreements the result of male privilege and rounding discussion down to "mansplaining?"
In a Venn diagram, there's often an overlap between "bores" and "mansplainers," but the terms are neither synonymous nor mutually exclusive.

Here you go, for some good mansplaining.
@13 I know, right? As much as I may agree with her politics, perhaps she needs to work on her people skills.
The column is titled "Identity Cards," but it might equally accurately (to me, at least) be titled "Letters written by unpleasant-sounding people whose problems are boring and self-created."
Also, The Stranger needs a better filter for spam. Last week, a ton got through and it appears to be starting again.
Maybe the webmaster needs an assistant.
Someone needs to edit NOT's letter - she's NOT happily married.

"I'm happily married, except the sex his horrible" = "Not Happily Married".
Men are no longer allowed to give their opions on issues. If we do we're mansplaining. What bullshit.
Fichu has great answers to BLECH. Examine the boyfriend.

Detail, but one thing that jumped out to me, as a reason to think part of the problem is her "my kind" and "not my kind" identification -- the backstory that queer SJW circles were so heavenly and mansplaining-free. Have to say I don't buy that. LW is rounding them up and rounding current circles down, I think.
@44. Yes. It has all become a little over analysed. I've been at the end of as many women telling me how it is, as men.
The LW married to the trans* woman, presents an interesting dilemma for bi people. Being married monogamously, to one sex, how often is the desire there for the other sex.
Not to say @44, that men don't impose energy into women, language being one of the ways used. Women impose as well, it's just not sanctioned as much by the state.
JF@ 47, who is Russell Wilson.
Freudian slip there, I meant to say
' impose energy onto women'
Imposing energy into women is true as well. That's what rape is.
I'm a woman and I'm somewhere on the feminist spectrum, but I hate the term mansplaining. If someone interrupts you, interrupt them back. Or ask them not to interrupt. When you're outside of your safe liberal hippie college circle, you have to be assertive or you won't survive the winter. If you tell them not to interrupt without bringing up gender norms they won't be confused. Het males respect basic politeness and fairness.
MHL - I think it depends if you are telling a story about yourself, or about Mike's transition. If you are trying to describe yourself, it seems more accurate to refer to M as "she"; your experiences until his transition were with M, and M's womanhood was important to you. If you are describing the transition for some reason, or his stalking after transitioning, then I think you should stick with the polite pronoun if you need pronouns... "I don't respond to him".

NOT - I am curious whether Ms NOT transitioned before they met, or while they were together. How long have they been together? Why did they get married if the sex wasn't good enough? It was nice that Dan covered all the options instead of defaulting to cheating. I think NOT should get her shit together and divorce. If Ms NOT is very deadset against the idea, then give her the option to open the marriage instead. But they sound like they weren't ever really on fire for each other, but more friends with benefits.

BLECH - How do I keep from losing my cool when someone starts to mansplain to me?
Google "anger management". Yes, it's good to be nice and be around agreeable people. But it's also good to skillfully resolve differences, manage conflict, mediate, express yourself, assert your needs, etc. Don't let your other people skills atrophy.

I may be in a heterosexual romantic partnership, but I am still a queer lady at heart.
If you feel like your queer side is not being expressed well, but you are more interested in guys at this time, have you thought about dating a bi guy? Or building more connections with queer friends? Oh... Venn lasered this apart much better.

I thought Dan's answers were excellent this week.
#36 says it all! Is BLECH an expert in all things? Maybe some things do need to be explained to her. Context is all.
Attraction to corresponding genitalia (or not)- Part 2

Blackwood @ 18
“a lot of straight guys who are into pegging would actually be squicked out by the real thing.
Just like being fucked by a butch girl with a strap on is not the same as being fucked by an actual man.”

BDF @ 24
“I'd assume that most couples engaged in pegging would be BI male/female.”

I suspect Blackwood points to the phenomenon of guys who like to be pegged but need to assert their straightness, which might as well be true.
Bi or not, it is not only “a butch girl with a strap on” who might strap it on for her dude. And “queer” has a wide range of identities with corresponding genitalia or not.

Preferences may shift too. It’s only few years ago that I started expressing interest in butches and trans men.
Feminine cis women who like strapping it on do exist, and of course they are still welcome.

In other news: Looks like "manspalaining" is becoming the genitalia battle ground for this week.
@CMD, with the "butch with a strap on" I was actually referring to lesbian sex as an example (I should have clarified that). Many people who think that a sex act in itself is gay or straight would think that having sex with a masculine woman using a strap on is a sign that the girl getting fucked is not gay (ask any lesbian who dates butch girls how many times she's been asked why doesn't she just date men instead). Which you seem to think as well, hence calling straight guys who like to be pegged but don't want a real dick as "trying to assert their straightness. which might as well be true", as if they're "trying too hard" to be straight, instead of accepting that just because someone likes a penis shaped object in their orifices, it doesn't mean that they like or want actual dick.
"Put myself about..." love it. That's a new one on me!
Wow. Letters 1 & 3...egads. Lighten up, smile once in awhile. Get a fucking life.

Blackwood @ 58
"(ask any lesbian who dates butch girls how many times she's been asked why doesn't she just date men instead). Which you seem to think as well, hence calling straight guys who like to be pegged but don't want a real dick as "trying to assert their straightness."

I was responding to what you wrote. I didn’t mention ff nor mm sex since I was referring to your “non corresponding genitalia” in its extreme way (though agree that same sex acts may certainly qualify.)

I’m likely to be with you on the label-free sex acts. But I still wonder why mentioning the fact that some guys who enjoy being pegged by women need to assert their straightness leads you to a line like, “which you seem to think as well,” in regards to a totally different issue.

Lets not distract the public from the emerging mansplaining debate.

JF @47: I think a key ingredient of "mansplaining" is that the victim is actually right.
Blackwood @58: "calling straight guys who like to be pegged but don't want a real dick as "trying to assert their straightness"

CMD called straight guys nothing of the sort. CMD was referring to the tendency of some straight guys who like being pegged to feel they need to explicitly, and repeatedly, clarify that they don't like cock. Because of the same tendency you identified with regards to lesbians who like butch dykes, having to constantly explain that no, it's not the same as liking men.

Being pegged is not an act of "asserting straightness." Some men, and some women, like being anally penetrated; sexual orientation has little to do with whether one finds this pleasurable.
@61 CMD, the line "which might as well be true", sounded a little dismissive to me, but tone of voice is difficult to read. Sorry I misinterpreted you, it seems like we are on the same page.

@65 Bi. I agree with sex acts not defining sexual orientation. I thought you were implying otherwise when you stated "Actually, I'd assume that most couples engaged in pegging would be BI male/female. I guess we are both applying confirmation bias". Why does being pegged strikes you as a likely-to-be-bi thing? That's what confused me. to me, it sounded like you thought that for a male-female couple to engage in pegging, they would have to be somewhere along the not-straight spectrum. And no, of course I don't believe pegging (or any other sex act) is about "asserting straightness" or whatever sexual orientation. I'm not sure how you got that from what I wrote, it seems we're not reading each other in our respective intended tones.

As for the whole Mansplaining debate: the term "mansplain" doesn't exist in my country, so I won't debate as to what it means exactly. I mean, the phenomenon the word describes is everywhere and most of us seemed to have experienced it one way or another, but since I don't encounter the term in everyday life I'll guide myself by how other people use it. All I can say is that I see a tendency of labeling everyting a guy does as "man-something" or "guy-something", which may have a point in a lot of cases, but seems quite stupid in others, i.e "guyliner", "manscaping" which are things that don't differ in anything when a woman does/uses them. Sometimes it seems like a defensive misogynist thing, like "yeah I trim my pubes but it's MANSCAPING, not the same thing that women do", which honestly is ridiculous.
64-- Yes. The first key point in mansplaining is that the guy is explaining something he knows nothing about to a woman who is an expert in the subject. The 2nd key point is that he's explaining to a woman when he would never do that to a man. This is different from the benign activity of thinking out loud to someone who knows that's what you're doing. It's helpful to follow an idea to its logical conclusion, realize the flaws in what you're saying, back up, organize thoughts again, and do so in a manner that's not condescending.
[I'm not sure how serious this post is.]

Shades of Mr Carroll's White Knight - there's what the term was coined to describe, and then there are other things that have the label applied to them incorrectly (what mansplaining is vs what's called mansplaining).

Or there's Lady Middleton, who, despite being perfectly polite to the Miss Dashwoods, didn't really like them. Because they were fond of reading, she fancied them satirical - perhaps without knowing exactly what it was to be satirical, but that did not signify. It was censure in common use at the time, and easily given.

Although I agree with the spirit of Ms Fan's #74, I cannot resist the opportunity to delight Ms Cute by emulating Henry Tilney. Ms Cute will of course recall her favourite's saying, after Catherine declares that she will no longer pity the writers of history, whom she had previously imagined to be labouring only for the torment of little boys and girls, "That little boys and girls should be tormented... is what no one at all acquainted with human nature in a civilised state can deny... I use the verb 'to torment', as I observed to be your own method, instead of 'to instruct', supposing them to be now admitted as synonymous."

In the spirit of that quote, I shall add from the same work that the same hero also opines that talent in letter-writing is about equally divided between men and victims. I use the noun "victim", as I observed to be Ms Fan's method, instead of "woman", supposing them to be now admitted as synonymous.

(I could add a ba-dump-bump, but I won't.)
[correction - #64, not #74]

I do have a serious question for Ms Cute about terminology. My take differs slightly from that of Ms Crinoline, as I also include in -splaining cases in which the -splainer just assumes that no member of the recipient group has proper knowledge of the subject, or (some might not think this fits) a statement with implied authority for which the speaker clearly lacks standing. I hope Ms Cute can assist on an example of the latter.

A straight male professor recently was giving reasons that had nothing to do with politics why Mr Trudeau was elected PM of Canada. He came across as particularly aggrieved not so much that there were so many reasons having nothing to do with politics, but that they didn't properly apply. His crowning complaint was the definitive statement, "He's not really attractive."

Because he made the statement as if there were nobody with naturally higher standing, I count that as a sort of -splaining, but am not quite sure what label to apply. He was a straight man presuming to declare without consideration OS women and SS men, people who might be attracted to Mr Trudeau and therefore have considerably more important say on the question. But what to call it? It's not really mansplaining or straightsplaining, or even, though one could say his intent was to merge the two, such a merger, as the statement would be basically equally objectionable coming from a lesbian. (This isn't to say that only members of the in group can express an opinion, but that an opinion expressed by someone from the out group should imply subjectivity and/or relative lack of standing.)
Mr. Ven, I'm flattered that you think I'm in a position to contribute meaningfully on the definition of "mansplain." I'm no more of an expert than anyone else. It seems to me that there are bores of all genders and orientations who regale all people they come in contact with with lots of facts or correct their misunderstandings or their form when doing something.

I've also observed men who feel the need to explain literally everything, but only to women, and don't stop even when the woman makes it clear she already knows whatever it is. I would consider them to be mansplainers. I don't know if you have to be a straight man to qualify, but I think you have to hold all women a little bit in contempt.

I've also known women who have a lot of contempt for men. Often, this contempt seems to apply to straight men only, but maybe that's not always the case. These women reserve the explaining--often spoken in a weary or markedly irritated way--for their romantic partners.
I don't like being around them.
This comment is more about language than about boors. A new cool word comes into the lexicon to describe a very particular phenomenon (mansplaining, see: Rebecca Solnit). The term is insulting to those who deserve to be insulted (a particular subset of male boors). In time, others jump on the term and begin using it to mean more than it originally meant (men pontificating, men speaking authoritatively, men having a legitimate opinion), and people who were not in the original insulted group feel a need to defend themselves. (I was only voicing my opinion, and besides she was wrong.)

At least in this example, the perpetrator realizes what he's done and goes ashen:…
Black(and white thinking)wood @66: Where do you extrapolate a claim that pegging precludes heterosexuality from my theory -- which I immediately stated, and which I know you read because you copypasted it, that I believed to be coloured by personal experience -- were more likely to be bisexual?

Why do I believe that bisexuals are more likely to engage in female-on-male anal than straight people? Well, personal experience -- the guys I've been with who were into pegging were generally at least a bit bi. (I suppose for the sake of not having my words twisted yet again, I'll also say that not all bi men enjoy receiving anal, in my experience or in general.) It's also my opinion that bisexuals are less constrained by male/female roles during sex, because not all the sex they have is, in fact, male/female sex. A bi man who's missing dick is more likely to ask his girlfriend to peg him than a straight guy who's never experienced dick. But I would emphasise the "more likelies." Enjoying being pegged does not make one queer, any more than enjoying hip hop makes one black. Or vice versa.
Whoops, ignore the terrible grammar in that convoluted first paragraph! Hope you get my meaning.
@74: Except that no one uses "clitzpah," and as noted, "mansplain" is in wide use.
@72 Bi, ok, I get what you were saying and that you were extrapolating from personal experience now. My apologies.
I wonder if leftie-feminist-hippie friends have any problems giving people space to talk if someone disagreed with them.
@25 The example you showed sounds exactly like someone trying to engage in a subject of common interest. Well, I mean, if George RR Martin walked in, I'd want to talk Game of Thrones with him, you know?
Blech; I can't see how you giving your point of view has to cause an argument with these people. It depends on your delivery.
You have a front seat converting the masses. Get out from the corner at parties and mingle. Move around so you cause less trouble, join a conversation and share your views. Carefully. Just a few well chosen sentences, then let it go. They stand stunned and are happy to forget it happened.
You sow the seeds, slowly.
As for the men, dear things explaining the world to you, you can't confront them, at the time? Again carefully. It's a slow process of drip feeding new ideas, so do it very gently.
The women, good luck there. Men might get into whatever, women can sure freeze the waters and not have to say a word. Find some common ground with the women, must be something.. cooking , gardening ..... and slowly develop emotional connections.
it's a long way to the top when you're a hippy feminist.
If I was dating a woman who became a man years later, why would I be "required" to tell people that my then-girlfriend is now a man? How is it disrespectful if I "misgender" someone whom I never identify by name? What if my ex was an alcoholic but then years later worked hard to get clean? If I'm telling a story about her do I need to say, "My ex was a mean drunk, and this one time... WAIT! I NEED TO TELL YOU THAT SHE'S SOBER NOW!" What difference does it make? It's not the same as saying "My ex, Mary Smith, who was a woman and still is because I don't think she's a real man now..."
@nocute: I've also observed men who feel the need to explain literally everything

A very witty and smart friend of mine once quipped about "male expert syndrome", which compels its victims to respond to whatever conversational topic arises with a brief lecture, which may or may not be complete bullshit, intended to establish him as the resident expert in the subject matter. It was hilarious because all of us (men) could immediately think of guys who fit this description. It seemed to be common in fields that fetishize intelligence such as academia and tech.

My brother-in-law (professor in computational genetics, super nice guy, married to a former hardcore feminist turned stay-at-home-mom) used to suffered from it years ago, although middle age seems to have beaten all that pretentiousness out of him.
Bernie is getting into much mansplaining. It's like Marxist Lite Philosophy lectures all over the US. Great. Just how in hell does he think all these ideas will be implemented.
Hilary, she's been in a top
Job in the White House administration. She knows the real parameters of power.
Trump, what you call his noodle speech?
The difference right in front of us in the contenders for the US Presidency. And the woman keeps herself looking very presentable.
Shambles 1 & 2, they don't give a toss how they look. It's their words and male power that matters.
LavaGirl: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

@83 Not sure it really helps to reduce the complexity of the US current political situation into trite stereotypes ("mansplainers" vs. "you go girl!").

And as for Hilary and power... well, of course she knows "the parameters of power," she has loyally and creatively served the interests of the powerful for the last 40 years. And will continue to do so. Compared with that, whatever "male power" Sanders can muster... is kind of small change.
I wonder if BLECH's boyfriend has as many challenges navigating her friend circle as she has navigating his? Has she observed to see how he manages it?
@85. thanks for your imput. Just describing what I see, should I have put my opinions by you first?
JF @76: I think it's absolutely hilarious that you're correcting me on what mansplaining means. Classic!

Fetish @79: To use your example, mansplaining would be if George R R Martin walked in and you launched into explaining the plot of Game of Thrones to him, assuming you knew more than him.

Still @86: Good point. Are BLECH's queer lefties shaming her boyfriend every time he tries to politely hold a door, or whatever?
Ms Cute - I really thought that you just had a larger vocabulary than I did. The best I can come up with is "gynophilesplaining", which feels not quite right, as "gynophile" seems to be a corollary to "phallophile" while what I want is a corollary to "androphile", or at least that would be a lot closer.

I have another vocabulary question as well. What would you call it when one makes statement P without implying Q and being careful to have a line of defence in case one is accused of implying Q, but actually, if people think the statement P itself means Q (even if the speaker doesn't imply Q), one finds the effect beneficial. (In other words, you're not implying X, but people's inferring X to be true will help you.)
Ms Thinking - One of my favourite parts of the letter is that it's not really clear how much she still sees of her queer circle. There's a vague hint that they don't take after Bahar Mustafa (for those who don't follow culture wars, she's the diversity officer at a London university who became notorious for holding a Diversity Meeting and posting a sign on the door telling cis white men not to enter; there's a circulated selfie of her standing next to the sign and making a crying face right next to a drawing on it of a cup labeled "MALE TEARS"; she also plays up POC status despite her being able to pass for white rather better than many technical Caucasians) in her statement that her circle allows all people to speak, but it doesn't necessarily follow that there have been any cis straight men in attendance to test the limits of that acceptance.

There's such an air of Special Snowflake about LW and her possible fetishization of Normies that my first guess was that she sees a lot less of the Q Crew.
Ms Fan - Would telling Mr Martin what GoT means be "geeksplaining"?

I'm actually inclined to attempt to establish a -Splaining Scale with degrees, to account for varying degrees of presumption, othering and intention. My current example for First Degree Mansplaining would be something like a man's meeting Laura Davies at a party and explaining to her at great length how to drive a golf ball 250 yards, only I'm not sure whether it's worse if he recognizes her or if he doesn't.
FAO Sean: You wanted an example of men being sexualised. I discovered one last night -- sadly, it's unlikely to be sort of environment you'd enjoy: a femdom fetish club. The men were displaying their bodies for the benefit of the women. The looks ranged from nearly naked to transvestites to rubber outfits. The patrons ranged from buff young boys to wrinkly old men, but all presented themselves as objects intended for the female gaze and, if lucky, the opportunity to serve. Despite what I've learned on this board about the prevalence of female subs versus Dommes, the club -- which had four rooms and a smoking area -- was heaving on a Thursday night. So there you go -- if you want women to treat you like a piece of meat, you may need to learn to switch. :)

(PS Lava, there was one beautiful young black man there, wearing little more than a silver Venetian mask on his exquisitely toned frame. I thought of you!)
Nice story Fan. And thanks for including me mentally in your experience.
Well. Fun time for you. And? Is that all we get. No pictures or further details..
Still Thinking, we'll probably get a letter from him soon. ' my hippy feminist gf, whom I dig a lot, just can't seem to ....'
@85. As if anyone would ever look at Hilary Clinton and say 'you go girl.' What a patronizing phrase that is.
And yes, Bernie is mansplaining. Over and over and over again, and that stupid grin on his face is weird.
Is he really pursuing this goal to help others or to satisfy his ego.
Yes. Yes. Hilary has been whatever forever. I get it. What I don't get is I see these intelligent thoughtful people supporting her. Doesn't seem like they are deluded people,and they see things she has done that has benefitted people.
No one thinks she's the messiah.. Not like Trump and Bernie supporters think their guy is.
JF @76,

Interesting — I haven’t seen those data. All the data I’ve seen show men interrupting women at a much greater rate and talking much more than women. Links?
@82. Bingo. I haven't followed the "mainsplaining" meme at all. I am a bit oblivious to it. I am however related to plenty of men who like to pose as experts on everything. And they do it to everyone, male or female, when they can get away with it. My dad was one. And it actually turned me, a fe-mal-e into a bit of one as well, especially during my teen/early twenty years.

But twenty years ago, we just called that being a bore and that is what everyone called my dad, a social bore. It actually is, gawd, kind of sad. He's no fool. But he never learned how conveying confidence doesn't require you to be the know it all in the room. But then, he wasn't ever confident.

Why I think it happens - or seems to happen - more to women than men isn't so much that these bores are targeting women, but that women let them, to a certain extent, get away with it. Yah, I know, I know. Blame the victim, socialization, etc.... yes but.....

My hub and my brother both can get into male expert syndrome. Let me tell you want happens when one does. The other one goes full on and you get a bunch of verbal chest bumping. They knock each other off their little pedestals. Lesson learned? Yes? And hub has done it a time or two to me. I walk away or I shove him (metaphorically) back. But I never pinch my lips or nod my head or "politely" hang on his words. He's mostly stopped. I've watched my aunt, a woman of no mean education, experience, and success, pop a man right back. She's been in academia in science since the sixties - a real trailblazer with a beautiful face and quick mind - who faced it off. She doesn't mince. She doesn't get mad. She's matter of fact and shuts them down. Women need to do that. We here talk about socialization - which works on both sides here. Men are socialized to need to show knowledge as power. They are - to a certain extent - unwitting participants as much as women. The boy who speaks up among his male peers is seen as the leader. The shy nerdy one picked on. Women are socialized to be polite. But as adults, we both need to buck the trend. My husband is much better at listening once I became much better at giving him a firm push to slow down. He isn't a bore and respects me.

This is an art, of course. Cis-men are allowed to have opinions on gay marriage or religion or even abortion. Non-experts can have opinions on the medical system and even raise those opinions to "experts" and even push a little about their view from the outside, if its not boorish and a true give and take. But it'd be ridiculous for me to have too too much of an opinion on gay adoption, and not give DS as an example, a lot of respect and leeway as he's walked it in a way I have not. That I think is the difference between the debate and the boor.

My concern is whether LW has spent her life in a hive mind, where different opinions weren't expressed. I don't criticize LW over this. I think this is a truly worrisome part of our culture right now. We hang out on the boards and hive minds. And it's nearly impossible, especially on internet boards, to raise a different opinion and not get shouted down. LW, expressing a different opinion from you, or choosing to live a different life with different values from you is not evil. I don't like the Southern Baptist Convention, which claims I must let my husband be the quarterback in this marriage. So I don't live my life that way. If the women there want to, UG, but fine do it. So long as they don't try and enshrine that in law.

And I've done it here over the Bernie-Hillary stuff, on both sides. And we wonder why Washington is pure poisoned gridlock.

Before declaring that mansplaining doesn't exist, you might want to find out what the people who think it does, think it is.

Before declaring it to be gender-neutral, you might want to investigate the experiences of FtMs and come up with a credible explanation as to why they think it isn't.
I'm trying to wrap my mind around BLECH saying her awesome boyfriend is feminist, yet he doesn't see or understand the mansplaining or other behavior at these events that is making her miserable.

And for the love of pete, WHY would someone marry a person with a vastly different libido who isn't interested in an open relationship. WHY WHY WHY??

Also, "putting myself about". Is that what the kids are calling it these days?
@BiDanFan: Fascinating. This only confirms my suspicion that you'd be a super fun party buddy.

And to be clear, I am a switch. My leather daddy outfit includes a collar, and my female friends are encouraged to grab me by it should they ever need anything.

I've just been fixating on my dom side lately because up until the last year or so that energy had been building up with no outlet.
Re mansplaining: I'm sure the phenomenon exists. However, I've only ever seen the term used as a form of sexism whereby a dissenting point of view is dismissed on the grounds of having been expressed by a male.
How do I keep from losing my cool when someone starts to mansplain to me?

Don't. Lose your cool and call them the fuck out. It's not rude or inappropriate on your part - they're already being rude and inappropriate. If your partner doesn't have your back in these interactions, consider a reevaluation of exactly how Lefty/feminist he truly is. To my mind, he should already be shutting down condescendingly sexist treatment of his girlfriend, and that he isn't is a red flag. He may also be struggling to figure out how to stand up to these people without alienating his entire social group, and that's an understandable concern, but, ultimately, if he's not able to be in your corner, and especially if he insists on continuing to subject you to people who treat you badly, he's not a good partner for you.
Note: my comment in #103, "he should already be shutting down condescendingly sexist treatment of his girlfriend," is not meant to imply that women can't defend themselves in social spaces, but as these are HIS friends/family, he's the insider in the group, so he has more clout with these people, and some responsibility falls to him to make sure members of his social groups aren't mistreating other people.
lavagirl @96, sorry for going in so all-guns-blazing on politics, it was a bit too much.

But surely your use of "mansplaining" here is exactly the kind of dubious slippage which people complained about upthread. For Sanders' "Marxist lectures" to be "mansplaining" in the original sense, he would have to be a) making them to a broadly female audience, who b) had prior and better knowledge of the topic, c) who were silenced by his overbearing speech, etc. etc.

It seems your personal use of "mansplaining" translates as "old guy who talks about stuff in a way I don't like." In which case why not say "Sanders is an old guy who talks in a way I don't like," instead of trying to give your own partisan position a halo of gendered righteousness?
@105. Oodletrend. Apology accepted.
As I said above somewhere, mansplaining isn't a term I would usually use, so in the spirit of this week, I thought I'd give it a go.
Have I misused the term then, perhaps I have. And if I have, then it's my turn to apologize.
@106 thanks for that lavagirl, no real need to apologize though.

Totally by chance, I was just watching a famous debate on Monty Python's "The Life of Brian" and blasphemy etc., from 1979, featuring a couple of Pythons, a bishop and a well-known conservative English journalist.

The old-style old-fashioned bishop gives one of the best performances of male-pomposity-syndrome I've ever seen, made all the more grand and male because he is wearing a purple dress and a jeweled necklace. It's on youtube, the second segment of four. Amazing.
I would suspect Bernie is lecturing more than mansplaining. There's more to mansplaining than being a man and trying to get a point across. It's also: to a woman, who knows more about the subject than he does, but he won't let her get a word in, because he thinks he is naturally more knowledgeable than any woman on whatever the subject is.
It's particularly funny when that subject is feminism, which I see happen a lot.
BDF @ 93
“sadly, it's unlikely to be sort of environment you'd enjoy:”

Don’t worry, I’ll always lend a hand for you (which I actually almost did immediately after reading your post!). And just so you know, I have plenty of pretty lingerie items I’d love to wear for you and your like-minded while NOT compromising my nudity.

Dr Sean, let me know if you find any local brew-ha-ha. I’m trying to arrange something similar myself. On the “artsy” side. Regardless, we should get a drink some time. Not a date neither book clubbing, just a talk about life with a chilled local brew.
Ms Genevieve - She's desperately trying to keep that illusion alive so that she doesn't have to own up to the shame of trading ideological purity for sex with an unenlightened member of the hoi polloi?


Mr Horstman - Given that she doesn't, as Mr Savage picks up, accept "traditional" gendre presentation as being equally valid to what was on offer in her (former?) circle, I see it as equally plausible that she's the one being rude first. As I said earlier, Ms Cute should give her a crash course on how to be as universally agreeable as Mr Elliot in Persuasion. This was not intended as a compliment, by the way. Mr Elliot saw through Mrs Clay's designs on Sir Walter, and had expressed his disapproval of her to Anne on numerous occasions, and yet Mrs Clay found him as agreeable as anybody. Ms Cute is capable of getting along with and actually liking people who are hard right - which is partly why I gave her the first Bennet Award.
@BiDanFan: to a woman, who knows more about the subject than he does... It's particularly funny when that subject is feminism

Given that feminism deals with the broader subject of how men and women should relate to each other, why should women be assumed to have more expertise than men? If feminism is truly about "equality", what am I to make of your statement?

It just seems so obvious to me that men and women should be equally welcomed into these discussions/negotiations (at least in progressive circles), and yet so many women, many of whom are intelligent and fair-minded and wonderful, seem to espouse views that are blatantly exclusionary and sexist.

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