Savage Love






Secnod! Congrats on the firdt, madtowncalmguy @1.


Regarding SNS - first I LOLed. Then I wondered if it was serious.
In any event, as someone who has had an unpleasant reaction to some lubes (I'm looking at you, Astroglide), SNS, yes different lubes will behave differently on your body, but you're going to have to experiment on yourself to figure out what you like best. There's no shortcut here.

Aside: since we had a nice segue into toys in a recent commentary, what lubes do people prefer here, Commentariat?

I've enjoyed: sliquid (current favorite), maximus and something called I can't believe it's not boy butter 😂 (it had a strange vanilla scent?). I kind of like silicone better, but don't end up using it as much because I have to remember to avoid my toys.


"Would it be wrong to let my boyfriend come sit, anonymously, in a bar where I'm meeting a date?"
Yes. It would be wrong. If somebody did that to me I'd stop seeing them and rightly call them an asshole. Don't invite your boyfriend on your dates without the woman agreeing to it.

"I have no intention of trying to leverage these dates into threesomes with me and my boyfriend."
So don't leverage these dates into voyeur/exhibitionist threesomes without agreement from all parties.


"We use commercial sex lube at our place, SNS, and our cocks aren't shedding dead skin cells at noticeable/clumpable rates or making our asses feel like they're packed with sand." It's nuggets of gold like these that have kept me reading SL for twenty years.

Lulu @3 - excellent aside! My favorite lube is Good Clean Fun company's "Almost Naked" lube. Like the one Dan suggested, it's not a chemical stew, and is mostly organic (largely aloe based). It has a nice, slightly vanilla scent and taste. Kind of spendy, but well worth it (I find the scent alone of crappy lube to be an absolute mood-killer).


OOPS: I suspect that many women will respond to your "needs to take sex slowly" profile quite favourably.


A1 seems okay.

A2: It seems that they've been dating more than a couple of months, LW2 gets dinged for calling her a "girl", and credit for picking up on the point about whether or not he's made declarations she can hold against him. But that conclusion, especially after essentially telling LW2 to Man Up and Wear the Scarlet A Without Complaining... why the flip is LW2 supposed to care more about whether she doesn't put up with jerks in future than about how to get out unsinged?

A3: I gave up thinking that hope reasonable years ago, but good for Mr Savage.

A4: Theoretically okay, though trying to push YM4 into one-sided monogamy as a point of fairness doesn't seem too nice. LW4's approach seems to show more of the extra concern that a much younger partner probably merits; I'd suggest presenting her intentions in a way that accepts that they will probably result in a breakup.

A5: Neatly played. I'll side with the Should myself.

A6: Okay.

I just hope this is a good June for the rising generation. Signs are not propitious this year.


Hey SNS, all we are saying is 'give Spunk a chance.'


Yes, approaching someone in a park and offering sex out of the blue based on vaccination status is creepy despite the hardship this pandemic inflicted on all of us. And while I’m glad to know young people like yourself are reading SL and even send questions, I take offense with your perceived assumption that grandparents don’t engage in sex.
I take this opportunity to come out as one myself as of few weeks ago and let me assure you and everyone else that I’m still as pervy as ever. I believe I’m a good parent as well as a grand, and some of my preferences and activities should not be viewed as a contradiction.

Be aware that cooking oils often have some additives that are not required to be listed. Olive oil for example, especially the Italian one sold in the US, is a mix of olive and canola oils with added chlorophyll to make it appear green. Chlorophyll was and possibly still is an ingredient in some tooth pastes due to its cleansing properties and somewhat abrasive feel.

Regardless, cooking oils are not necessarily good for your skin. If you want to check out an oil rub some on your hands and see how they feel after 30 minutes or so without washing them. Some cooking oils will dry your skin, and if you add constant friction like you would with your erected penis, which is wrapped in super sensitive skin, then dryness and peeling may follow.


I should have written "some oils labled as olive oil." Rest assured, there are plenty good olive oils out there, which admittedly I only use with food. I highly recommend those imported from Lebanon if you can find them where you live.


Speaking of edibles as lube, I’m reminded of a scene from Bertolucci’s 1972 Last Tango in Paris in which Marlon Brando is anally raping Maria Schneider while using butter as lube.

An otherwise well-done film got plenty publicity if only for that scene, and very sadly few years later it became known that indeed it was a rape. Brando and Bertolluci came up with the idea during breakfast, spreading butter on their croissants, while young and talented Schneider who viewed Brando as her mentor wasn’t aware of what’s going to happen.
Sadly, the incident caused her some mental hardship in the following years. Here in SL she should get an honorary mention for being a proud openly bi pioneer.


Mazel Tov, CMD!


Thanks nocute. And I promise this is my last post tonight.

As for your late comment on last week’s thread…
I hope those vintage cars gatherings are not a nuisance. In any case, I’d like to suggest participants and everyone else this vintage-inspired lingerie company:

Admittedly, some of their products are indeed overpriced, based on few panties and slips I got over the years. And yet their garter belts are the best and also stay where they need to stay in all kinds of activities, regardless of one having an hourglass shape or not. Tell the vintagers that in order to achieve that stay-on effect they’re likely to do better with a belt one size smaller than their usual one.


Bad news for SPIED - ethically you should also let your sex partners know ahead of time that you like to tell your bf about your adventures.

Not everyone will be okay with that, and hiding a material fact that might make some prospects reject you is not very nice.


I'm LW3, and not a woman but rather a transman, but ok. And my questions were actually: am I treating myself poorly by not breaking it off (bc I am sacrificing his needs above mine), and by "hoping that he'll change his mind against all reality" am I being too presumptuous about my experience over his? We've definitely had the discussion more than once. He's been clear and communitive about his feelings towards non-monogamy, and not in a defensive manner. I'm trying to do the right thing because I am the one with more experience and am trying to abide by the campsite rule.


Cooking oil and latex condoms don't mix, so if you want to put yourself and your partner at risk, by all means carry on - assuming you believe that avoiding chemicals is more important than avoiding pregnancy and STDs.

Letting your boyfriend spy on you chatting up a woman who's unaware she is being spied on, so he can wank over it later, is really not OK by me. YMMV.


OOPS: Yes, of course this is something you'll want to bring up before sex. What's the alternative -- disappointing her in bed, but NOT giving her any background as to why, that may make her disappointment turn to sympathy and patience? No, this won't kill the mood, it will increase the intimacy. That's what women want, far more than a hard cock: communication. (And oral sex.) I'm sorry your ex was so heartless, but most women aren't -- and you actually do want to scare away the ones like your ex before you bed them. And, like Dan said, give your dates realistic expectations which you'll then exceed. Good luck, OOPS.

AHOLE: "Apparently cooking dinner, occasional flowers, and returning texts puts me head and shoulders above everyone else?" Yup. Men are rubbish. That said, there are only two options: pity dating this woman forever and letting her down kindly. You have a great built-in excuse: You're still processing your divorce and not ready to get involved with anyone. Apologise profusely; do NOT ghost; do NOT tell her she's unattractive. This will happen to you -- and you'll be on the other side of it -- many times to come, so hone your kindness skills. Dan's right -- this will be disappointing to her, but she will move on.

PARKS, what's with the ageism? Grandmothers can still be sexual beings. Men desperate enough to try these tactics aren't only going to go after the supermodels. I'm glad your friend's grandmother is safe; what a scary experience.

ROTBAN: Agree with Dan. You told him you're not monogamous, and he dated you anyway. Be ethically non-monogamous with him -- tell him before you take any non-monogamous steps, ie, reactivating your OKCupid profile or going on a date -- and let him decide whether he wants to continue to date you despite your non-exclusivity. In other words, remember the three rules of ethical non-monogamy -- communicate, communicate, communicate. If he gets too jealous of your seeing others, he can end the relationship. If he sees how well it works for you, he can date others too. And you have to be a big girl about that, too.

SPIED, ooh. I think I'd feel creeped out if I found out a woman I met on an app had invited her boyfriend to be a fly on the wall at our first date. Casual fun can sometimes turn into long-term friends with benefits. Are you okay with dating/banging someone long term, knowing that you brought your boyfriend to spy on her without her knowledge, and that she probably wouldn't be okay with that if she knew? Would this just be on date one, or subsequent dates -- and if so, what if she sees the same dude hanging around? I don't think this passes the ENM test. I'd go with being honest about your partnered situation, since most of us will assume you'll be telling your primary partner about your other sexual experiences, and perhaps on date three, suggesting that she meet your boyfriend socially. Then you could conduct these relationships without guilt.


Fubar @6, yes.

Venn @7: "why the flip is LW2 supposed to care more about whether she doesn't put up with jerks in future than about how to get out unsinged?" How the flip did you read that from Dan's answer? He's neither looking to "get out unsinged" -- he's looking to get out without hurting HER feelings -- nor should he care MORE that he's raised the bar for her future dates. That's just an aside Dan included to assure AHOLE that he may be a good campsite-rule observer, which is the best he can hope to be in this situation.

CMD @13, thanks for the lingerie tips!

EricaP @14, yes. It can be reasonably assumed that someone will tell their existing partner(s) about whom they are shagging. It shouldn't be assumed that they'll be sharing the details, so SPIED should negotiate that with her lovers. (Though, we all know men well enough to know they'll be pressing for said details. Sigh.)

ROTBAN @15, thanks for checking in. To avoid being misgendered, perhaps don't use phrases like "I am not a monogamous woman" or "big girl panties." I am also not a monogamous woman (though I am a woman) and to your questions I would say:
No, you are not treating yourself poorly by not breaking it off.
No, you are not sacrificing your needs to his if you pursue non-monogamy once it is Covid safe to do so.
No, you are not being presumptuous by "hoping" he will embrace non-monogamy. You'd be presumptuous if you "expected" he would, but "hoping" means just that -- looking for the positive, but being aware that your ideal outcome may not happen. Many people do in fact become non-monogamous by dating someone non-monogamous, so your hopes are not unrealistic.
"He's been clear and communitive about his feelings towards non-monogamy." And what are those? If he's adamant that it isn't for him, then you probably should stop hoping he'll get on the ENM train. What are his feelings towards YOUR non-monogamy? If he can accept you dating others, you could possibly enjoy a relationship where you date others and he doesn't, and that works for you both. It looks from here like you are doing everything right. One question is how young is young? Whether you can trust your partner to know his own mind depends in large part on whether he's 22 or 38. Either way, keep communicating and keep your mind open to whatever may happen next. Good luck to you both.


@SNS everything is made of chemicals!
Guess what olive oil is? Right, chemicals!
So you can either use chemicals that have been formulated into a product that is specifically designed for this purpose or you can use chemicals that have been sitting on your kitchen counter for who knows how long


Mr Ban - Good for you. It sounds as if you've both been clear all along. As someone who has dated other men both younger and older, I'd suggest that you don't just break it off yourself but that you essentially Invite the No. State your intentions when you're ready to begin looking, make it clear you understand it probably means a breakup and that doesn't make him in any way a bad person, and let him decide for himself without any pushing.

If he's young, chances are that, should he embrace non-monogamy later, it will do him good to have not sacrificed monogamy for the sake of a relationship.


@15 / ROTBAN: I'm so sorry I misgendered you — I read "big girl pants" and assumed. Should've checked. It'll be corrected.

@18 / BiDanFan: I wrote "I am not a monogamous woman" when I was trying—ironically enough—to edit ROTBAN's letter down for clarity. He used "big girl pants" but that's definitely an expression I've used and I'm not a woman and so, yeah, I shouldn't have made that assumption and should've checked in with ROTBAN about the edit. It's on me.


Thanks for the responses @20 and @18, good stuff to think about. I guess I felt responsible for ending it bc I feel responsible in general being the more experienced person. He's 27, I'm 40 if anyone cares. Fwiw I didn't state my gender in my original letter, it was added in. Dan sent an email to me about it afterward and was very gracious and will edit it.


Venn - I'm very curious about your "should" judgment for SPIED. Would you feel the same if it were a bisexual man in a relationship with a woman and the woman surreptitiously monitored her boyfriend's first dates with other men?


@15 ROTBAN, recommend you do a variety of checkins:
1. Checkin with yourself: are you still having fun? Is the fun to not fun ratio that every relationship seems to entail leaning onto the Fun side?
2. Checkin verbally with him: ask him how things are right now, and talk to him about your thoughts on what you're planning or want to do post-pandemic. Flat out ask him what he thinks about all that.
3. Now treat him as an adult. Be clear about what you are going to do. Be kind if that is disappointing to him. Do not try to interfere with him making his own decisions about the situation.
If the relationship had a built-in end date, that's sad, but ok. Things end, that doesn't mean you did anything wrong. You got to spend some lovely time with this person. He got to spend some lovely time with you. Feel your feelings, let him and his feelings be his. And carry on with your messy delightful life! Good luck!


Ms Fan - You gave LW2 a much better answer than Mr Savage did; Mr Savage didn't even attempt to answer the question but just coddled W2. By the way, I meant to ding LW2 twice, both for calling her a girl and also for his question being about appearances rather than what he may actually be. (Perhaps he thinks he's an A just for breaking up with her; I can't tell.)

A2 was - as always, barring editing - sloppy, assuming they'd only been dating for a couple of months when she's been telling him in the last couple of months that he treats her better than any of his predecessors. As she appears to put forth appreciated effort, I'll say she seems to merit similar effort. But I wish she were on the witness stand, as it would be nice to establish whether she's clingy or not. "Better than everyone else she's dated," could just be a somewhat awkward expression of appreciation.

I'm not all that far from thinking one or both deserve a CMY.


Thanks for clarifying, Dan @21! It wasn't inaccurate -- ROTBAN is not, in fact, a monogamous woman. :)

ROTBAN @22, it is indeed a strong possibility that once you start dating others, he will feel jealous, it will be a source of conflict, and the relationship will have to end. But that's not a given. 27 is a Proper Adult, he's had enough experience to be treated like one. If you've been together for 15 months and weathered this pandemic together, your relationship may be strong enough to withstand the challenges of opening up on your side. Seems to me like it would be worth giving it a chance, rather than breaking up pre-emptively.


Additional advice to AHOLE: If you're not attracted to a woman, maybe don't send her flowers. This is what many people would consider a "mixed message." Good on you for trying, but now you know.


Luluisme @24 - Solid advice and lovely sentiments about the relationship. They enjoyed each other for a time, but they want fundamentally different things - so ideally be kind to one another and cherish the memories.


"I'm LW3"

Actually LW4.

"big girl pants"

My bad too. I'd not run across that phrase cross-gendered.

""I am not a monogamous woman" when I was trying—ironically enough—to edit ROTBAN's letter down for clarity."

Speaking of ironic editing, I think that since Dan didn't edit it to "I'm a non-monogamous woman", it technically worked.

Because most things are not a monogamous woman. Me, a man, is not a monogamous woman. The tree in my backyard is not a monogamous woman.


Coconut oil! Just straight coconut oil. There is no better lube. I can't count the number of people I've converted...


@29 p.s.
Ooops, sorry, I see I was just repeating what BDF already wrote @26


@BiDanFan 18: I think ROTBAN's feelings are somewhere between "hoping" and "expecting." He says "my lizard brain tells me that if he would explore non-monogamy he'd come to the conclusion that it's a good approach." If he'd just try it, he'd like it. That tone could perhaps come across as presumptuous to ROTBAN's fella, which I think is why ROTBAN expressed the concern.


LW2 AHOLE here... there was a bit of editing in the published version of the letter. Mostly, it has to do with the fact that we're on different "wavelengths" sexually. Also, I am attracted to her, but she's not my usual "type" (whatever that means). Also, she's kind and affectionate and a great mother to her kids and deserves flowers and dinner and all of that... the sexual incompatibility is the issue. I have no issue holding her hand or kissing her in public, I just have issues when we get naked & think we'd be better of as friends than lovers.


There's an ethical dimension to the Boyfriend Listening Letter but also a practical one - there's no way you can make sure the person won't know. I know that I notice when someone at a nearby table is listening to my conversation. I might remember that person and I might run into you and that person at a bookstore or school function. And that would be creepy.

To the extent that you could do this and be almost 100% sure that no one would find out, you'd have to do it while out of town.

That ignores the whole ethical thing. I'd be upset if someone was getting their rocks off while listening to me talk on a first date. Sometimes first dates can get personal, how is your boyfriend gonna know when that happens?


@AHOLE: She will be hurt, but her life will go on, and unless you want to stay with her for the rest of your life, you should end things sooner rather than later. I wouldn't use the "I just got out of a relationship, and I'm not looking to settle down" line, because it may allow her to hope that in time, you'll be "ready" to have a relationship with her, and also because if you two are able to salvage a friendship, if you end up in a serious relationship "too soon" for her to be able to believe your earlier reason, she'll be hurt al over again, as she comes to terms with the fact that you just weren't that attracted to her. I typically tell men that I'm just not feeling what I need to feel for us to be a couple. It's true, and while it hints at the fact you aren't attracted (enough) to the other person, it doesn't blame their looks or imply that there's anything /wrong/ with /them/.

(Webmaster, PLEASE can't you give us back our ability to make italics?)

Your previous niceness (flowers, cooking, etc.) have nothing to do with anything in this case. Nor is telling her that she's not your usual "type." She probably already will have intuited that you're not all that attracted to her and there's nothing she can do about not being your type, so that would be salting her wounds.

You can tell her you'd like to still be friends, but be prepared for her to tell you that it hurts her too much to be friends. But in a year or so, who knows? You may end up with a good friend.
Good luck.


ROTBAN @15: You wrote that they had an "explicit understanding that we won't work out in the long term". With the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel (assuming you're located somewhere so fortunate), it's time to have the conversation about that understanding.

I had a similar (albeit not as definitive) conversation with my monogamous girlfriend before she moved in at the start of the plague. Fifteen months later, I hope she'll stick around, and I find myself somewhat "meh" about the monogamy. On the other hand, once things open up and I can leave the house and actually encounter other women, I may feel differently.

Good luck with it!


jack chandelier @30: So when someone smells of coconut, they must be a wanker!


@37: fubar: Would that connotation help or hurt the suntan-lotion/sunscreen industry?


I'm reading the lube suggestions with interest. Post-menopause, I could use a good lube.
I've used one I like well enough for years for playing with a dildo or having anal sex, but I think it has a sweetish taste. This has not been an issue, but now that I think I'll be using it more generally, I don't want my partner to have to taste anything artificial.

I'm fine with having separate lubes for silicone toys and only-human-body-parts, but I'm curious as to what is the most tasteless lube anyone's tried.


CMD, congrats on the grand bebe! And the vintage vehicles gentlemen are no bother at all. They just hang out in the bank parking lot in the evening and admire each other's vehicles and shoot the shit. I find it adorable AF and inspiring.

BDF @17 - can we amend that to "men * can * be rubbish"? I don't like the blanket statement "are." Other than that, your advice has been fire so far!

Nocute @39 - I'm going to continue to say how awesome Good Clean Fun's "Almost Naked" is. It's the only lube I've used that I don't mind tasting on my partner. It has a really light vanilla smell and taste, but it not at all sweet (none of that weird, lingering fake sugar taste of every damn scented lube ever). It's a barely-there flavor and the texture is nicely similar to a body's natural lubrication. Seriously, highly recommended.


@9: It wasn't an assumption that grandparents don’t engage in sex, but that typically older people are solicited for sex than less frequently older people.


This is why I should never read Amazon's customer reviews: I looked up Spunk (Dan's preference), Almost Naked (Mrs. Fox's favorite), and Sliquid (Luluisme's recommendation). Almost everyone hated them.

It seems that as its name suggests, Spunk is meant to simulate the look and texture of semen. Do y'all think it would be weird for a cis straight woman to use it when the person likeliest to encounter it on me would be a cis straight man?


I bet you could write some great erotica about using it.


@42 nocutename I just went upstairs to check the silicone lube I like (I couldn't remember the name off the top of my head). It's Wet Platinum. It has absolutely no smell or taste. It's great as long as any silicone toys have the night off.


AHOLE @33, thanks for checking in. It's likely your soon-to-be-ex is aware of the sexual mismatch. You don't have to read much Dan to know that sexual incompatibility should kill a lot of relationships at exactly this point! Just level with her and be as kind as you can. She probably wants someone who's better (for her) in bed, too.

Larry @34, another good point. Imagine that you meet someone, you go home with them, you wake up in the morning and go to the bathroom and run into... the guy who was at the next table when you were having dinner!? SPIED, bad idea for many reasons.

Fantastic @40, you can if you don't understand humour. :)


@45 Bi "run into... the guy who was at the next table when you were having dinner!?"
Ha. When you put it like that, sounds like the "bad internet date" scene at the beginning of a romcom


Mrs Fox - I think your amendment would get killed by filibuster. It's really rather sad, as my personal experience has been almost totally to the contrary.


It seems as if Mr Hole's letter has received substantive editing. Mr Hole, if you're still here, perhaps you should post what you actually wrote.


BDF @45, I saw your humor and where you were coming from, but I think it's safe to say that if someone made a comment here to the effect of "women are rubbish" or "queer people are rubbish," we'd be losing our collective shit. It's a blanket statement easily tempered by "can" or "some are," and I don't think it's an unreasonable level of sensitivity to ask for here.

Mr. Venn @47 - I think there are more than a few of us here who love men, have had lovely experiences with them, or may indeed be raising future men. I have zero interest in seeing men being blanket disparaged on this board. We're all better than that here (I think, I hope).


Hey Venn. Are you purposely avoiding my question? I would love for you to elaborate on the logic pretzels you had to twist to come to that verdict. Especially when we all know (or maybe it’s just me!) that if the genders were reversed you would have gone to great pains to express your revulsion at the proposition with some Austen or Brody or QAF references that no one but perhaps nocute could follow.

FWIW I agree with Luluisme yet again. BDF’s “rubbish”throw away comment was rubbish.


FMF @48: I'm going to throw my vote behind BDF's comment @17 "Yup. Men are rubbish" which was clearly a comedic generalization.

Speaking as a man, yup, we are kinda rubbish. Rubbish by default. It takes some training and life experience for men to upgrade from rubbish. Most of the rubbish people I know are men. As a younger man, I was pretty rubbish. Some might say I'm rubbish now, but I'm not asking.

I've apologized to several women about being rubbish, including one or two I bought flowers for in order to get laid, but didn't want to commit to. Many years and a shitty former marriage later, it's clear that some of those women were keepers.

I hope AHOLE isn't just looking to "do better".


I'm lowering the gavel down hard with a 'no' for the unwitting spying on the date. Not only would the possibility of discovery be disastrous (though comically described in the potential scenario above; I can see the date clambering bedheaded toward the bathroom in the morning only to run into The Dude Alone At the Next 2-Top from the night before, with a toothbrush in his mouth. Horror), I suspect that many women would rightfully feel that they were being used for spank fodder/to spice up the primary couple's sex life, as opposed to SPIED being interested in them in their own right. It's simply not on, SPIED. I'd suggest as you seek out potential dates, asking some if they'd be open to satisfying this kink of the boyfriend's, with the knowledge that no threesome would be on the table. But get the consent.


I'm ashamed to admit that I once planned to do something similar to what SPIED has suggested. My boyfriend accidentally "replied all" and the guy whom I was supposed to hook up with saw it. He was horrified and furious and despite my several apologies, I never heard from him again. Which is to say, SPIED, that I disagree with Dan. This is wrong. This is unethical. This has the capacity to hurt people. Don't do it.


@44: Thanks, Luluisme. This product had more positive reviews, so I decided to try it first.
I really appreciate all the feedback.


@52, that was very candid of you to admit, and I hope SPIED sees your comment.
I also can't help but wonder if something like this went down and a letter was sent to Dan from the date's perspective; i.e., "I met someone in an open relationship online that seemed like a sexy match, only to find out that their partner was watching and listening to us the whole date, I feel grossed-out and betrayed. I only wanted to be intimate/share information with the person who I went on the date with, etc.," what the advice would be there.


@1 madtowncalmguy: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Congratulations on scoring the hotly sought after FIRDT! honors for this week's edition of Savage Love! Savor your envied accolades and bask in the glory of leading the comment thread for SL: Quickies. :)

@2 fubar: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Congratulatioins on scoring this week's SECNOD honors in joining madtownguy @1 in leading this week's comment thread! Bask in the glory and savor the glow. :)

We're getting close to this week's luscious @69 Award, next up for grabs.

A little late into the game, Griz has some Quickie catch-up reading to do.


Venn @47, Dan does appear zero-for-two on the editing this week (though I, too, would have read "big girl pants" as being indicative of an LW being female, unless specified otherwise). I noticed his re-edit leaves out the word woman but leaves ROTBAN's gender unspoken, which means many readers will do just what Dan did and read him as female.

Thank you, Fubar @50. I'm glad you can see the difference between an obvious joke made (a) about a privileged group versus punching down at a non-privileged one, (b) by a person who has also made it quite obvious that she is very fond of a great many men, on a variety of levels, and (c) to man who is in fact not rubbish, and who was being addressed with respect and kindness. Jokes like "men are rubbish" often lend people in Facebook jail; I'd like to think SL readers are better at understanding tone.

"I hope AHOLE isn't just looking to "do better"." -- Can you explain this? I hope AHOLE is looking to do better, by this woman and hopefully future women he dates.

Nocute @55, thanks for admitting that. We've all made mistakes and misjudgements and I hope SPIED can learn from yours.


Note to self, use winkyface icon when making jokes you think are obvious.


If I was on a date with another woman and I noticed a man staring at us from across the bar, I'd think one of two things. Either we were about to get gay-bashed, or that he was a sleaze who was getting his rocks off by perving on us. And actually, that second one would be more or less true. Either way I'd be very put off. Don't do it, LW.


@15 & @22 ROTBAN: Thank you for checking in and further clarifying your situation. I hope all works out for you.

@21 Dan the Man: Thank you, too, for joining the conversation re ROTBAN and helping clarify.

@56 BiDanFan, re @17 on AHOLE: Like fubar @50, I could see the humor in your "men are rubbish" comment, too. I've seen MUCH worse on Facebook.


Thanks, Griz @59. If I'd said "men can be rubbish," it wouldn't have been a joke, but a statement of fact. Yawn! Hope you're enjoying the sunshine!


Mrs Fox - Well, one would hope so. I mainly just feel that it's tragic when someone's dating preferences are exclusive to a gender or genders that one dislikes.


Ms Jibe - I didn't see your question. As tempting as it is to make a comparison to Elinor Dashwood's agreeing with everything Robert Ferrars said about cottages because she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition, I shall do you the favour of omitting it.

By "I'll go with the should," I was agreeing with Mr Savage's point that this is something one shouldn't do even if one could. I don't think I agree with his portion of the answer that LW probably could get away with it.


Mr Bar - Men are no more inherently rubbish than women, and vice versa. You make me want to inaugurate a Bingley (Ca) Award. I'll let Ms Cute elaborate on the conclusion of the Accomplished Woman conversation.


Venn @62, Fubar wasn't claiming women AREN'T rubbish. ;)
(See? A winkyface! It's a joke!)


AHOLE - Honesty is the best policy. You'll be an asshole for a minute but not like a grade a asshole. You're degree of assholeness will be the inverse of how happy your partner is regardless of anything, so there's no avoiding it. But how many more months of your own time do you really wanna spend on your futureless relationship?

Big girl: big girls use their words and say what they want. Absolutely must fuck other dudes as a condition of your relationship (side note: I doubt this. Everyone wants to fuck hella people, most of us just accept that not doing it is the price of having someone committed to us)? Tell him. Like and want to stay with your boyfriend? Tell him. Maybe he'll be good with it. Probably not, but if he is, there you go.


@4 women do this all the time. If you've been on an app based first date, there's a good chance the roommate or other close friends will also be elsewhere at the bar. I personally don't like that (who wants to feel watched?) and I don't like the ritual retelling of how I do sex stuff to the girlfriends at brunch, but I guess that's life.


BiDanFan @56: I hope AHOLE isn't just looking to "do better". I meant that he isn't, like many people new to the apps, beguiled by the apparent abundance of attractive people, and wanting simply to land an upgrade.

He says he doesn't find his girlfriend attractive. Why didn't he just swipe left? Perhaps her profile pictures were flattering, but why send her flowers after they met? I have a feeling that internet dating and all the shiny, happy people are too tempting. Hence his concern about being seen as an asshole, rather than about her feelings.


Oh, sorry Mr. Venn @62: I meant straight men are rubbish. Gay men are, obviously, fabulous ;)


Ork @65, sure, but the reason women have a "wingman" at the venue where she's meeting a man for the first time is for safety, not for titillation. As for "girl talk," that may be ethically debatable, but it is still not for titillation. I can guarantee none of your dates' friends has ever wanked over a story she told them about what sex with you was like.
Also, if you don't want the women you date gossiping about what you're like in bed, date women over 30. We're way over that by then.

Fubar @66, ah, I see. Well, I hope he can do better than someone he's sexually incompatible with! And I hope she can, as well. AHOLE has clarified in the comments that he didn't find her unattractive, she just wasn't his usual "type." Lots of us end up happily dating people who aren't our type. Why didn't he swipe left? Because he's recently separated. I don't know if you've ever come out of a long, especially monogamous, relationship, but the whole idea of dating is so foreign to you that you've forgotten how to do it. The relationship you thought would last forever has crumbled and you wonder whether you'll ever meet anyone else. Then someone expresses an interest. Yay! What a miracle! You're so pleasantly surprised to get attention you never expected to get -- realistically or not -- that you dive in, and perhaps only later you realise that this person isn't the only fish in the sea, that you can probably find someone more to your liking. In other words, I'm reading this opposite to the way you did -- he's not a flake drooling at the smorgasbord of potential women, he's a naif surprised he landed even one. This is why "rebounds" get a bad rep, and this is where AHOLE is in this oh-so-familiar process. Hopefully AHOLE has learned the valuable lesson that he shouldn't just hop on the first bus that comes along, and hopefully his attractive but incompatible ex will also find someone she clicks better with. And who can cook.


Ack. Last I'm saying anything about this. I know it was meant as a joke. I know people say way worse things on FB (one of my BFFs, who is a gay man, has been put in FB jail on more than one occasion for saying "men are rubbish." And I don't like it when he does it either). But "punching up" and "people say worse things on FB" are pretty damn low bars to clear. Almost as low a bar as a date returning your texts. * winkyface *


Let me sincerely apologise to the women whose feelings were hurt by my joke about men.
Winkyface. Moving on.


Ack. I somehow missed AHOLE @33. I hereby rescind my comment @66.

As BiDanFan said @45, readers of this column know to prioritize sexual compatibility. And nocutenasme's advice @35 is excellent, as always. I'd just add that there's no easy way to break the news; it's not you, it's me, or I'm not feeling it are cliche, but probably the best option.


Nocute @52 - thanks for being brave and sharing your experience.

I'm pretty surprised by Dan's advice to SPIED. Yeah, he couches it in a * could * at the very end, but Dan usually champions the idea of treating Special Guest Stars to a pre-existing couple's sex life with respect, dignity, and ethics. This scenario is treating SPIED's dates as unwitting Special Guest Stars, which is clearly not okay. It's treating people like a prop. I'm sure it makes for a fun fantasy and great sexy talk between the LW and Mr. SPIED, but maybe this is one of those ideas that just needs to stay in fantasyland. Or, they need to be ethical and open about it (although I imagine this would massively hinder SPIED's dating prospects).


BDF @27 - seriously, this. Maybe I'm an ice queen, but I for one don't like overt romantic gestures too early. I kind of feel bad because I know some men have been brought up to have exceptional manners and to follow a certain dating etiquette, but showy gestures early on raise red flags for me. It at least puts me on alert that it's possible my attention is being "purchased." It feels disingenuous early on, when you don't know someone very well (for me). I would rather, say, date and get to know someone long and well enough for them to buy me my favorite lillies for my birthday instead of them showing up with red roses on a first date. Which is a long-winded way of saying that AHOLE should maybe slow his roll while he's still in the early, BDF-certified 90-day money back guarantee, getting-to-know you phase?


spunk lube gave us a several months case of "jock itch" that made our various parts unusable


Showing up with flowers on a first date would be a bit much. I've had it happen 3 times and I was annoyed by it each time (for what it's worth, I didn't want to go out with any of the men again, though all asked me out a second time). It always seems up there with bringing a woman a stuffed animal on a first or second date. (Dude, if you don't know her, don't assume she wants a sawdust-filled stuffed bear clutching a heart.). But I recognize the gesture to be one of courtship, so whatever.

But if I were dating someone for a couple of months and he bought me flowers, I'd just think that was nice.

However, it gets to BiDanFan's point about sending mixed signals, and I don't know if that alone sends them. I have to have time to think about this and write about it properly.


I think that straight men need to swim upstream against a current of testosterone poisoning to not be RUBBISH. So I actually think that it honors our challenge to say that men are rubbish (as long as one doesn't specify that /all/ men are.)

In college I remember a group of us were all having a great time on some strong drug one night. Then another group in our wider crowd that we all loved came by; they were all on a very different strong drug. It turned out that the different spaces the groups were in didn't mix well at all. Each group was very happy, but in a way that didn't harmonize at all well with the other group's vibe. End of reminiscence.

If everyone were on testosterone, or if everyone were not on testosterone, that would be one thing. But it's a pretty big challenge in the straight world that some are and some aren't.

Not that it isn't a situation I absolutely love. And not that I don't embrace testosterone as healthy and normal for me.

But it's also a situation that I think every straight finds kind of frustrating. Kind of rubbish in a way. I think it's not just cool but healthy to celebrate that this thing we love is also frustrating. I don't see any contradiction in that. And I think that pointing it out, so as to release the frustration of it so we can be light about it, can be very healthy.


Skr Curious/Mr Bar - No; between the S on one side and the Q on the other, the G fabulousness is being temporarily assimilated out of us. I am losing hope for the rising generation, but look like Laura Collins for the G to regenerate in another century or two.

Skr Curious is close to the mark in its being the mixture that is the difficulty - rather like how Charles Ryder met Sebastian Flyte when Sebastian vomited on his floor through the window and one of Sebastian's companions explained it was neither the quality nor the quantity of what Sebastian had drunk that caused his sickness.

As Ms Cute passed on the opportunity, I remind the assembled company of how the Accomplished Woman conversation began with the innocuous wonder of Mr Bingley at how "all" young women were so accomplished. Mr Darcy challenged the assertion, with Miss Bingley's full agreement, and went on to claim he knew only six women he would call accomplished. Elizabeth Bennett supposed that he comprehended a good deal in his definition of an accomplished woman. Miss Bingley reeled off a laundry list of a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, modern languages, along with a something in her walk and the tone of her voice. Mr Darcy added a mind improved through extensive reading. Elizabeth then no longer wondered at Mr Darcy's knowing only six accomplished women, but was shocked he knew any. Once Elizabeth left the room, Miss Bingley, who had been aiming witty barbs in Elizabeth's direction ever since Mr Darcy had begun to upgrade his original opinion of Elizabeth from "tolerable," opined that Elizabeth sought to recommend herself to the other sex by undervaluing her own, a mean and paltry art, even if it often succeeded. Mr Darcy neatly stymied Miss Bingley by expressing there being meanness in all the arts to which ladies occasionally condescended for captivation.


Luluisme @44, thank you for the silicone lube recommendation! I've been meaning to try one and there are too many options. I'd also like to second fantastic_mrs_fox's recommendation @5 and @40 of Good Clean Love's "Almost Naked" lube. My partner and I have been using it for several years and both prefer it to all the other water-based lubes we've tried.

Briefly, fantastic_mrs_fox @48, "men are rubbish" and "women/queer people are rubbish" are false equivalents. A direct comparison ignores the reality of our oppressive society and weakens your argument. I'm personally of the opinion that BiDanFan's statement @17 was fine, but we all have different sensitivities and I have no interest an argument about the statement. I just find these kinds of comparisons particularly grating.


@60 BiDanFan: Many thanks! My beloved Love Beetle and I have been getting a lot of sunshine lately, indeed. It's wonderful to have the good weather and more daylight back again at long last. Big hugs, positrons, and VW beeps! :)

@69 fantastic_mrs_fox: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Congratulations to you on scoring this week's higly sought after LUcky @69 Award honors! Savor the luscious benefits and bask in your newfound numerical glory.:)


@70 BiDanFan: I certainly didn't take offense. I was once married to rubbish.


Nocute @75: "But if I were dating someone for a couple of months and he bought me flowers, I'd just think that was nice."

To me, partly because it -is- so unusual in this day and age to give someone flowers, that would send the signal: "I really like you!" AHOLE didn't -really- like this woman. So unless it was her birthday, giving her flowers, to me, professed a higher level of interest and attraction than he actually had. To date someone for a couple of months then have them say, "I'm not really feeling any chemistry" would be disappointing. To date someone who gave me flowers and -then- said they weren't feeling any chemistry would be confusing. I might be angry that they'd gotten my hopes up. That's what I meant by mixed messages. So if AHOLE doesn't want women thinking he's an asshole, ironically, perhaps he should behave like a less perfect date, unless he's more certain the woman is someone he wants to keep dating.

Cooking dinner, on the other hand, is just a nice way to have a date at home. That wouldn't send any above-and-beyond messages, IMO.


Nocute @75, BDF @81 - I think it's certainly telling that between the three of us that the giving of flowers is either seen as annoying, disingenuous, or "you really like me." Mixed signals, Exhibit A. I echo BDF's sentiment of feeling that there had been a bait-and-switch or had one's hopes gotten up; this is why I'm not a fan of gifts early on and why it gives me "Danger, Will Robinson!" feelings.


Fantastic @82, I completely agree with Nocute's view on flowers on the -first- date -- I too would see that as a big red flag. I was thinking about flowers at some point later in the money-back-guarantee period, third or fourth date for instance. How I'd react to that would depend on whether I really liked the person back. Either way I'd interpret it as some pretty strong wooing on the part of the giver.


Flowers were not a dating thing when and where I grew up. I still remember a satiric song I first heard as a child about a man arriving to a date and tells the woman that while flowers may be deemed more acceptable “they have a tendency to die. Here, I got you some peanuts.”

It was only after I moved and got married that I brought or sent my ex flowers on occasion. It always hit me as a gendered role, which is why I was delighted to be on the receiving end at some point after my marriage was over while playfully reversing roles with a trans man.
Ours was a second date playdate and was kept it in that context.

As for “ordinary” dates, I would be reluctant to bring any flowers on the first ones, possibly sometime later when invited for dinner or another event taking place at the opposite camp’s residency.
As a receiver, I’d find it odd to get flowers on any of the first dates, somewhat old fashioned and possibly patronizing, which nocute @ 75 may have alluded to.
It’s likely I would have been pissed and embarrassed if it also meant I’ll end up carrying the bouquet throughout our dinner/walk/drink, things I‘d rather do on a first date or at least the first part of it.


Venn - Thank you for the clarification. I KNEW the issue with your answer had to be that I misunderstood it. When I looked at the "should" from Dan's response, it was meant in the sense of should they do it (have the boyfriend observe that is), so your "should" confused me as it went against all that I've come to know about you and your character in the years that you've been commenting.

So it looks like we agree. They absolutely should NOT subject any potential sexual partners to their creepy behavior (unless they get consent beforehand).


CMD - flowers early on does register as either 1, old-fashioned and possibly patronizing as you pointed out (and think Nocute hinted at too) or 2, as a player trying to con his way into somebody's pants. This particular side conversation has made me realize that receiving gifts is not necessarily my "love language" or at least that I prefer to receive gifts from people who know me well enough to get something meaningful that shows that the person knows me well and cares. Gifts early on ring hollow to me, especially something as catch-all as "I hear ladies like flowers." Good point though @85 that it may have been in the context of a dinner date, in which case flowers or a bottle of wine would just be good manners/thoughtfulness. But also maybe make sure you like seeing someone naked before you bring them flowers on multiple occasions (I get the impression from the letter that it was more than once).

I may be making a mountain out of a molehill, but if AHOLE and the woman he's dating haven't been together very long, I find the "good mother" comment @33 at least potentially concerning (not the comment itself, just that AHOLE may have met this women's kids early in the dating process) . If they have only been dating a few months (that's the read I get from the letter, but I could be misinterpreting what's meant by "the last few months she's said how I treat her better than any man she's ever been with"), then this was a rushed move, IMO. Don't bring new dates around your kids until you're certain of a level of relationship seriousness, unless you don't mind kiddos asking "where's your friend who used to bring you flowers?" every time a dating situation doesn't pan out long term.


Re: flowers
Is /one/ flower any better?

I did that only once and because a woman friend who also knew the woman I went on a first date with suggested it. (I think there were a number of good reasons she did, long story short.) It seemed to work out very well.


Looking at the overall comments, I'm reminded how amazed I am that ENM happens at all.

Re SPIED, as far as I can gather from the comments the only way the boyfriend can be ethical is not be around when the date happens, not ask about it after, and overall do his best not to exist except maybe, maybe in a very limited social capacity.

And people wonder why most guys aren't falling all over themselves to get in on that(and yes, the happiness of the woman is great but it only goes so far to cover for an extremely raw deal).

And re; "men are rubbish". I get that it was a joke but it was a shitty joke that I've been on the bad end of for decades so, not a fan. I know for me the only way to not hear how awful I am as a guy is to go off grid.


Holy shit, this is 100% an aside, but all the talk of flowers reminded me of this completely insane work environment I was in several years ago. The office I worked in went waaaaay over the top on the employee birthday thing in a way that made me feel deeply uncomfortable. At the very beginning after being hired, they had you fill out a card with handy info that would make for a meaningful office birthday party (favorite color and flowers, favorite cake/dessert, hobbies, etc.). My birthday happened to be three months after being hired and it. Was. Insane. A massive bouquet of my favorite flowers, in a massive vase in my favorite color, a whole cake from a fancy-pants local bakery that easily cost $130-$150 (for a party that had about 8 people), and a whole bunch of other gifts that, though I liked them, felt deeply weird in the context of an office party where I hadn't been working very long. It was more than I would expect or want from my own family. I had absolutely stuffed that down the memory hole until the talk of flowers brought it bubbling back up.

Spoiler alert: said office environment turned out to be toxic as all holy hell, and I bounced another three months after they threw that excessive birthday party.


Were the gifts from other employees, or were they like a Birthday Bonus by the company? In any case that's very weird.

I treat my birthday like a state secret, because I'm bugged by the people who make a point of hinting about it and what they expect. And it feels tiresome to me when I'm in some group of like 80 people so that there's a celebration twice a week. Other than my immediate family, I only tell partners when it is. If asked, I might say what part of the year or what month it is. I would dislike being asked by an employer soon after hiring when not answering would be difficult.


So many advisors tell people of all genders to Fake It Until They Make It that I am not all that surprised by Mr Hole's having taken that line.

As far as first dates are concerned, I'd have enjoyed being given a tulip, assuming that there had been some mention of Amsterdam and my being a GGGM, but then, perhaps most of my first dates occurred with a great deal more prior conversation than for most people. My favourite example of flowers on a first date comes from Rumpole and the Quacks, when Rumpole defends his doctor on a charge of sexual harassment against a woman patient. The complainant and her friends comprise an escort service called Naughty Marietta which they advertise in Casanova magazine, a copy of which was found in one of the other doctors' rooms at the surgery. Phyllida Erskine Brown, back in London after a case on the circuit, finds another copy of Casanova in her husband Claude's room in Chambers; he appears to be advertising as an opera-going barrister bored to tears with the humdrum of married life. She replies to the advertisement arranging a meeting in the Temple churchyard and suggests they both wear white carnations. Rumpole's client has figured out that his senior partner, who dislikes his refusal to prescribe expensive new drugs, hired Marietta to make the complaint. But since the client likes it at the surgery, he dates Marietta and they arrange to marry once she tells the General Medical Council that he did nothing wrong. Phyllida goes to trap Claude in the churchyard, but the only other person to show up, also wearing a white carnation, is Claude's new pupil, Mrs Whittaker. Rumpole chides Phyllida for lightly skimming the written evidence, asking her if there isn't a small letter in brackets after the word Barrister in the advertisement. Yes, there is; it looks like an f. "It is an F. F for Female. I'm afraid you must have disappointed Mrs Whittaker. Poor Mr Whittaker must be of the humdrum variety."


Curious @90 - it was a birthday fund thing with the company, and it was a small office so birthdays weren't happening every two seconds. The gifts were from "everyone"/the company, but largely spearheaded by a colleague who seemed boundary-crossingly enthusiastic about putting the parties together. I'm not much one for grand displays (BoJack Horseman fans, think Diane-level detestation of parties and big gestures). Again, in a work environment that wound up being very toxic, it felt like my affection/loyalty/whatever was being "purchased," or at least that they were trying to gloss over an otherwise awful place to work with excessive displays of "affection." Like the office equivalent of narcissistic love-bombing. * shudders *


Mrs Fox @89, what a horrifying story (but also kinda hilarious, in a very cringe way)! I'm not surprised you stuffed it down a memory hole.

I once had to report a couple of builders working on my university campus for sexual harassment, after experiencing repeated catcalling on my way to and from work. To our university's credit, the powers that be escalated my complaint very quickly and removed the offenders off campus that same day. But then the site manager and some other dude from Estates showed up at my place work with a big bunch of expensive flowers and a gift card to "apologise in person" and tell me how seriously they were taking this. I appreciated the reassurances n'all, but the flowers were definitely OTT and pretty inappropriate given the circumstances, especially as I was then forced to tell everyone at my office what this was all about.


(And I'm usually all for flowers in a romantic or social context, both giving and receiving. Though I agree with BDF and CMD that it's more of a third/forth date thing.)


@Fan 83 and @Fox86 -- I have several guy friends/acquaintances (mostly former friends, at this point) that seem to buy into the philosophy that dating/sex, etc. is a competition that they win by tricking the woman into thinking that they like her more than they do, so she will sleep with them, or fall in love with them, or whatever. These guys have had a tendency to talk about women in front of me like there were no women present, so I have a lot of intel on this -- (more than any hetero-woman should -- I am a super guarded dater at this point.) So I totally agree that flowers too soon could feel like a trick. And I also totally agree that if a guy gave me flowers after we'd been dating for a little while would either make me think that he liked me a lot, or, if I was feeling wary, pretending to. If I believed the guy was genuine and giving me flowers because he was into me, if he then broke up with me because he wasn't feeling it, I would for sure conclude that he was an a-hole like those aforementioned guys I used to hang out with. Definitely mixed signals and not actually a nice thing to do.


I specifically made that comment @ Fan and Fox because I felt like I was pretty much reiterating points both of you had made. (Not sure if that was clear.)


Here's the thing: sometimes we start off liking someone a lot and over time, we realize that, great as they are, they're not right for us. Or we come to realize that they're not actually all that great. But back when we bought them little gifts or sent cute cards or cooked them a lovely dinner, we DID think they were right for us, or we really wanted SO BADLY for them to be right for us. When we break up with them later because we have had to finally admit that this just isn't working out, are those flowers, gifts, cards, dinners, etc. now filed under the category of "asshole sending mixed signals" or "why were you nice if you didn't want to stay with that person for the rest of your life" or "manipulative schemer who is trying to seduce a reluctant person?"

I mean sure, people are or can be manipulative schemers. People have sent--do send--mixed signals. But I tend to think that nice gestures (not on a first date, which yes, in the case of flowers, seems somewhat patronizing or manipulative) were meant in good faith when they were made.

I once dated a man who showered me with gifts from the outset (he was a generous sort; he was wealthy; he was smitten), including flowers. Once, we were chatting on the phone and he mentioned a singer whose work I was unfamiliar with. I told him I didn't know her stuff. The next day, a cd of hers was delivered to me (this was a decade ago; I wouldn't even have a way of playing a cd today!). I thought these gifts were so thoughtful--and I was crazy about him. But although he was into me, he said repeatedly that he didn't see us working long-term: he thought there were too many incompatibilities in our living situations. Because I liked him so much, I wouldn't "let" him break up with me when he tried several times, but when he finally stuck his dismount, I remember thinking, "why did you give me these gifts if you didn't really like me? Why did you do all these things guaranteed to make me fall for you? I wouldn't have fallen for you so hard had you not swept me off my feet." I was actually angry that he had given me some thoughtful or sweet gifts. But I know that when he gave them to me, he was hoping that our differences wouldn't mean the end of us.

@88: GhostDog, I'm kind of amazed that any TWO humans are able to fall in love with each other and make it work.

When I think of how often one likes everything about a person but isn't sexually attracted to them--and I think we've all been each of these people in different relationships--or I think of all the millions of people to whom we're mutually not attracted, or I think of people who have great sex but are toxic for each other, or all the deceitful, abusive jerks in the world who lure people into relationships and then make their lives miserable, it's kind of stunning that any couple works out.


"'s kind of stunning that any couple works out."

Yes, and I'm an order of magnitude more stunned and awed that some poly people manage to be in many relationships at once.


And this week's Big Hunsky winner IS..........