Savage Love Nov 2, 2021 at 12:06 pm

Female Trouble

JOE NEWTON

Comments

102

CMD @99: "The new format may prove more suitable for some of our in-house trolls. I hear one of them is already there, eager as ever to boast his moral superiority.”

Now who’s trolling?

103

fun at
Someone who comes here every now and then, often attempting to make fun of others with a sentence or two, was chastising others for using hookup apps.
It appeared on Dan’s fb page earlier this week, which seems to be tied to the new setup.
Rest assured, not you nor any of the other respected regs.

104

Oops, fubar

105

I want to clarify that my decision to leave the comments section is not because of the new format (though I HATE it: there's a reason I'm not on Reddit), nor is it because of the numbers game (which I don't especially like, but which is harmless enough and played in a spirit of fun that would never cause me to decamp a site I've been on since roughly 2009, and quit a practice I've obviously enjoyed participating in), nor is it that I am following, lemming-like, in the footsteps of Ens. Pulver and Fantastic Mrs. Fox. And it's not because I can't figure out how to make the move to Disqus, so much as I decided it wasn't worth my while to sign up for it. I'll probably still read the column from time to time, and I may even comment if this original format is available--old habits die hard--but this just seems like the right time to take my leave.

I've been thinking for a while that this column isn't what it once was: the letters have become boring and repetitive (really: two "to shave or not to shave" letters in less than a month?), and Dan seems to either not read the letters carefully or to simply advocate for whatever he's currently into more often than he used to. Then there's the (at best) bickering and sometimes outright trolling that goes on between regulars. I'm trying to minimize conflict and anger in my life--there's far too much of it in the world these days, and I would prefer not to seek it out as a form of entertainment or enjoyment. I have always viewed this space as a place where I learned a lot about sexual practices, and/or relationship models I was unfamiliar with, identities I hadn't thought too hard about, and (crucially, for me), how many men view and respond to sex and sexual/romantic situations. I will always be grateful to both Dan and many, many of the people who comment here, both those long-departed folks, the stalwarts, and the newbies for their help in expanding my knowledge, mind, and attitudes.

But I may simply have gotten all I can from this space, and if it habitually causes me boredom or irritation and the letters fail to elicit conversations about something new or important, it's time for me to move along and let others make it their space. Everything changes and all things come to an end, and I've had a good long run of entertainment and education here, but I think for me, it's time for the next thing, whatever that will be.

I merely used the new format and the resignations of others to act as a catalyst to do something I've been contemplating for a while. I was intending to just slip away, but I appreciated Ens. Pulver's announcement, as I still wonder what happened to people who disappeared around the beginning of Covid and who lived in hot spots, like Emma Liz in Texas and Calliope Muse in NYC, and thought I'd say goodbye and thanks for all the fish, myself.

106

FAVE - First, people lie. You've lied. So did this guy lie and say he was straight when he was bisexual? Or did he lie about being monogamous when he was actually cheating? The second is breaking a promise, which is far worse than lying. It is sad if he lied about his orientation, something fundamental about himself, but it might mean that he was uncomfortable with himself rather than that you were untrustworthy. Except that you are untrustworthy because you disparage people and spread your negative judgements about them and believe in revenge and judge that some people "deserve" to be treated badly.

I think it's usually disrespectfully inaccurate to call people gay if they are having heterosexual sex. But it's respectfully inaccurate if they identify as gay!

You are not superior to anyone because you refuse to have sex with women. Why are you so proud of your limited attractions that you can justify disparaging homosexuality?

Second, everyone hides things as well as lies, and hiding things to maintain privacy is often appropriate. If you want absolute honesty and openness, you have to be absolutely trustworthy, and then sometimes people will still feel too embarrassed or vulnerable to be completely honest and open. No harm, no foul; breaking a monogamous promise is harm.

Dan can be really nasty to women and I think that's pitiful. It's pitiful he calls anyone a terrible person, as if he's never done anything terrible. The only good part was telling her to leave people who aren't good in bed rather than staying until she flips out. That was her big mistake of hurting herself; but yes it was also a mistake to hurt him.

LIMP- You probably wouldn't bother a person with requests to change their appearance beyond hygiene, so it's annoying to you that he's not the same. But there is no perfect match or identical partner. If it makes you feel significantly unloved that he isn't completely pleased with your appearance, or like he's too critical or needy to treat very lovingly, perhaps you should suggest starting to see others. I think askers and guessers can work things out if they want. He'd need to reassure you of his love even though he's asking you to change, that's very subjective, trust your gut, wait for him to earn your trust rather than going love crazy and trusting blindly.

Again, Dan, just because he wasn't so critical as to ask her to remove a limb doesn't mean the guy was great to be critical and needy. Perhaps pretend the LW was a guy first before writing dismissively of their discomfort? It's not about who you judge is an asshole, I judge that it's about helping people.

PADD- You seem to think there is some objective standard about how a good sub behaves. There's not. There might be a majority consensus that only matters to people who need the approval of the majority. You could try to discover this through research if you need majority approval. If you don't care how most people want a sub to behave, the only thing that matters is how you like to sub and how your husband would like you to sub. Work through conflicts with honest negotiation, ask what he wants and tell him what you want and learn to talk it out.. or just always do what your husband wants if you want realistic slavery.

SINGLE - Too bad there aren't safe male prostitutes. You could try to get regular sex from someone younger or more conventionally attractive by offering financial compensation anyway, it could work, though not as likely as if you were a man.

Dan, she doesn't need to hook up with a married guy to have a non-cohabitating relationship. Most unmarried couples do not live together, she can easily have a monogamous non-cohabitating partner. There are plenty of people who are married to each other and have their own houses.. no I'm not saying it's a majority but I know one happy ten+ year marriage with separate housing personally and at least one frequent commenter who had this sort of marriage for decades. Women who want their own home and sex have far better options than hoping to be the mistress of a married man, what century is this?

107

NoCute, I'm so sorry that this place is too uncomfortable for you now. I'm not completely surprised. I probably feel a little the same, it used to be quite novel to listen to a man stick up for equal sexual rights, that women "deserve" oral sex and consideration in the sack just as much as men, even if he was loudly judging women as personally sexually distasteful. It was really nice to hear less negative judgements about harmless kink, to see kink treated publicly and compassionately. I liked that minority sexuality issues were treated with empathy and compassion. Now it seems to be a game of "who's the asshole" (which is ironic because it's a game about judging others (negatively)!). Strong threads of "cheating is ok" and "women shouldn't complain" and "men's complaints are important especially sexual complaints" appear often, which makes this column feel really trashy/bigoted/unethical. There's just enough of the old "every gender and orientation and kink deserves empathy and compassion" for me to keep reading sometimes, so I can't say I'll drop off forever. I hope you come back to say hi sometimes anyway, that you know that your comments here are appreciated.

108

The only regret I remember one friend making is that he asked his girlfriend to sell her house and move into his until she dumped him. If non-cohabitation does ruin one of her relationships, at least he'll probably regret it later.

109

I had that thought too, Philo @106, why doesn’t SINGLE pay for sex, seeing she’s doing well in life financially. Then I remembered how different Laws are around sex work in different countries, so it’s not an easy solution.
Perhaps she could try different dating sites, etc etc etc, because finding sex can be easy for most women, just drop by any bar alone late in the evening, it’s the quality of the sex that may be lacking. Then the LW doesn’t want complications. Good sex without complications, that is what one pays for, and high end sex workers must slip thru, they even portrayed in the Netflix show, Grace & Frankie.

110

Oh, FAVE is saying that he lied about being attracted to her, and her evidence is that he is attracted to other men.

He can be attracted to you and to other men. Bisexuality is real.

If he was having sex with you, it is safe to assume he was attracted to you, and if you spent more time and energy trying to please him than vice versa, maybe he was most attracted to that part of you. Maybe you don't want men who are attracted to people-pleasers without being a people-pleaser, maybe a bisexual man who was noticeably trying to be great in bed for you too would be a lavish prize in comparison? Maybe the unattractive part of him had nothing to do with his attraction to men?

111

EmmaLiz did said goodbye, nocute, feeling it was too rough & ready here.
Geez everyone, show your old ways, freaking out about multiple Dan outlets. Dan has been on Twitter/fb forever & people chat away to him in those places. He jumped on this site several times last week. And obviously pubic hair is an issue for people, sure glad it wasn’t in my youth.
Nocute, you can’t leave. Though of course you do you. And take care & stay fabulous.

112

Dan’s head must swim in these Letters. So he picks representatives of issues people are having, are living.
CMD, last week a woman thinking of embarking on a pretty intense sexual adventure, with a one year old child in tow, can’t get more real than that. Dan leaves it to us to tease out the stories. And how does he stay so light, with all this woe turning up in his emails. Obviously a Libra.

113

Griz @90 - you are one of the reasons I love coming back here. I always found the lucky numbers game to be quirky and fun, and is not the reason I'm feeling "meh" about the SL comments board. I turned my attentions to the comments section during the process of moving past a very painful time in my marriage, after gleaning all that was useful from an infidelity recovery blog. At the time I found the letters to Dan and the commentary they would generate to be 1, a welcome, fun distraction and 2, really useful and healing perspectives that further helped me along in the recovery aspect of my relationship. There used to be more regulars who would comment here; there are fewer of us now and that's been a bummer. And for a while I have found the SL letters to be either kind of boring (inasmuch as there wasn't a lot of nuance to parse out among the commentariat) or downright awful and triggering for seemingly no reason. Also I have just been really busy, though I do still glance through even if I'm not saying much. That was a long rambly-pamble to say that I've been feeling for a while that, like aforementioned infidelity recovery blog, I have gleaned from this board what I could, and that it's no longer really serving me in a really beneficial way. Other than I feel a silly internet attachment to all you regulars. Y'all have been an important internet community to me for a few years now (even when I was just lurking) and I am loathe to lose that aspect of it.

114

"EmmaLiz did said goodbye, nocute, feeling it was too rough & ready here."

I wish that were true. I've only told this story once since, and I'm reluctant to again because the truth hurt because I care about EL. But that makes me want to set the story straight.

I think that LG might have mixed up the characters in EL's final goodbye.

LG and I were both minor participants in a conversation between EmmaLiz and Philophile.

Bottom line, EmmaLiz said she said goodbye for nearly the opposite of what LG said. EmmaLiz said she was shocked 'to see that people here treated our relationships with each other as real relationships, when she said she didn't' (FYI, I think she did, she just didn't realize she did).

In other words, LG's characterization that EL was "feeling it was too rough & ready here" would righly be LG characterizing how Philophile felt about that conversation, and nearly the opposite of how EL felt about and acted (quite assertively) in it.

But again let me repeat: I think EL simply didn't realize she was having real relationships here, so I hope no one is hurt by her parting words.

115

NoCute, "Dan seems to either not read the letters carefully or to simply advocate for whatever he's currently into more often than he used to."
Idk, I think he's always relied on sincere personal emotional appeal, with ethics analysis a secondary consideration, and it works best when he is advocating harmless but minority sexual preferences. It is problematic when he advocates cheating or monosexuality or dismisses women's feelings. I just hope he can find some happily monogamous and/or ethical female friends, or editors.. or gravitate more toward nonmonogamous gay men's letters..

Dan, "That said, I don’t think trimming your pubic hair to please even a new partner amounts to “changing your body.”"
You don't think too logically and you want to advertise that? Strange. That's why they call this the Stranger?
This quote is an example of dismissing a woman's completely reasonable sexual feelings.
Obviously this is a cry for help.

LIMP, What has he changed that is personal to himself in order to appeal to you? Could he be bending over backwards for you and you don't notice, maybe he is being ineffective, maybe you are being obtuse, maybe 50-50? I agree with Dan that it shouldn't hurt to ask. I also think that asking for personal changes can sound a lot like we aren't attracted to the person, just what we can get from them. It's a trait of users, a red flag. But sometimes it means we feel our own changes and adaptations are unappreciated, it could be an ask for reciprocation. Or perhaps that we are sharing a sincere private preference and thus making ourselves vulnerable, albeit in a particularly dimwitted and aggressive way. Not everyone is nice or fair-minded and one way to identify users is when they ask you to change for them without adapting to you, so shady of Dan to pretend otherwise. Watch out for users who feel entitled to ask for a lot and don't value reciprocation.. or you'll become one.. Boo!

"keeps making requests"
I didn't notice the multiple asks.. He didn't take "no" for an answer? Blood red flag. Ask him for what you need from him to feel comfortable trying a shave/trim for him or tell him that you're never going to shave/trim and it's annoying or scary that he can't take "no" for an answer. And if he asks again and you can't bring yourself to distance from a confirmed user, just sign up for therapy.

116

While I’m sad to see the departure of a few of my favorite “regulars”, such has always been the case, and the loss has been offset by new, equally fun to read personalities. I’m more concerned about the lackluster letters as of late… I don’t know if it’s a “been there, done that” thing where letters similar to ones run in the past are culled, or Dan being bored with the more silly problems, or a general lack of imagination in the world in general, but I miss the general craziness of the “Hey faggot” days. I wouldn’t be opposed to an occasional “classic” rerun, if only to see how the world/attitudes have changed. It does seem like the world has got a whole lot less fun due to all the Trumpsanity.

All that said, I’ll still be hanging around, as I it’s less time-consuming to chip in when inspired rather than get involved in extended conversations after I’ve made my position known.

Carry on Commentariat, and remember:

“Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.”
- Robert C. Gallagher

117

EmmaLiz' last appearances on this comment board can be seen at https://www.thestranger.com/savage-love/2020/05/26/43768860/savage-love/comments/

118

@94 Harriet_by_the_Bulrushes: Many thanks for your kind words of reassurance. I am grateful that this had nothing to do with me or my crazy numbers game, originated by my play on numbers when I first landed on @69 in a Savage Love column thread years ago. For a sex advice column I bemusedly considered "69" an aptly lucky number, and voila!----a comment thread numbers game was born. :)
We have had some past weeks here in the Savage Love comment threads where I felt like The Lucky Numbers game had become too big a distraction to the conversations regarding LWs and Dan's responses, and that its overall non-LW issue annoyance level had reached a Rotten Tomatoes score.

@96 & @98 delta35: Thank you, delta35, and bless you! I read in the Terms of Agreement about the open monetizing of personal information, which I don't like either. I already have too much spam in my Inbox and junk mail. I plan on reading the letters to Dan, his responses, and comments (other than trolling) only if I can no longer login to Savage Love via DISQUS. And it's in a "most popular" comments format? Slurrrrrrrrrrrrrrp...there went the fun down the drain.
Unless I am proven wrong about the pending death of this Savage Love column's comment threads, The Lucky Numbers game is sadly destined to die along with it to be eaten up by DISQUS. At least you have my email address. Please keep in touch. :)

@99 CMD wannabe: Shabbat Shalom. You have my email address. Let's please keep in touch. :)

@100 curious2: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Congratulations on scoring what has to be the last and final Big Hunsky @100 honors in Savage Love Land! Bask in the glory and savor your newfound envied riches, now a rarity indeed!
You have my email address. Please let's keep in touch. :)

@100 curious2, re @99 CMD wannabe: I'll bet I know who that resident troll is, too. It would not surprise me if it was raindrop (who I refer to as Elmer because he is so often as slow as old, hardening glue, and, like Warner Bros' stumbling idiot, Elmer Fudd, an ultra maroon).

119

@105 nocutename: Thank you and bless you for sharing so much consistently spot on viewpoints as well as your own experiences. I have always valued your contributions to the SL comment threads. I think you have my email address (I posted it earlier). Please let's keep in touch.
All the best, hugs, positrons, and VW beeps,
Griz

@107 Philophile: Thank you and bless you for all your wonderful comments adding to the Savage Love thread. I have posted my email address. Hugs, positrons, and VW beeps! Please let's keep in touch. :)

@113 fantastic_mrs_fox: Many thanks! I love it when you comment too, and appreciate your shared experience and points of view. Hugs, positrons, and VW beeps. Please let's keep in touch. :)

@116: DonnyKlicious: You are among the many wonderful regulars I have come to love here in Savage Love Land! I enjoy your comments, I think largely because so often you have proven to be as quirky as I am. My email address is wendyworkx@gmail.com. Please let's keep in touch.
A big "Aaack--oop!", hugs, positrons, and VW beeps! :)

120

Ms Phile - Clever of you; I could see Mr Savage doing something along the line of reviving the old Ashley Madison site - the motto might be, "To Stay Married and Stay Sane" or some such.

I don't know how familiar you are with outing. My experience has been that outers often or even usually take the line that it hurts them more than it will hurt the victim. That has its own degree of nausea, but taking malicious pleasure in outing with intent to cause maximum harm reaches such heights that I can see why it set Mr Savage off. Perhaps it was not much more than BF1 deserved, but, even if so, it's like Cards on the Table and Poirot's agreeing with Mr Shaitana that perhaps some people deserve to be murdered, but the problem is the effect on the character of the murderer.

120

Griz@119~ I'm not going anywhere :-)

121

Lava @ 112
Yes, that letter was different, mainly because a woman in an os marriage is the one initiating the cuckin’ scene in order to be cucked herself. She also has a one year old child, which she thought was important enough to mention.
That both Dan and the guest expert neglected to even acknowledge the child is the reason I wrote, “followed by thoughtful and properly researched official/s response” in the post you referred to.

Aunt Zelda
Seconding Donny @ 120

122

Mr Venn, Best wishes to your health.. I hope you keep trying out things until you find something that helps your balance return to normal, or at least a human average.

I didn't say that she harmed herself by outing him. I said that she harmed herself by staying with someone who wasn't good for her in bed. Why was she so sexually and romantically drawn to someone she judged as a bad lover, who didn't really do it for her? Can she find anyone to date, without complaining about them? Self harm is the realm of therapy.

I'm not sure what I said that you were complimenting, or if your compliment was sarcastic or sincere. I haven't thought too much about Ashley Madison, it's not the place I'd want to get a date. But I do value oath keeping highly. Both keeping monogamous promises and marital vows. I prefer to spend the most time with people who think our word is our bond. It would take a great threat to coerce me into giving an empty promise. I try to find ways not to lie as well, but it's a moderate defense when I feel too vulnerable to share the information they want, or I'm unable to find a better way to tell them I value them even though I'm not going to do what they want.

Who said "Rule #1: don't hurt people" It's so simple? Ha!
Except in self defense.
Or in defense of your friend.
Or other people.
Or if they killed your pet.
Or if they were bad in bed.
Or if they looked at you cross-eyed.
It's actually not that simple once you start making exceptions. There is a lot of leeway for hurting others. No one stopped Hitler, no one is stopping Kim Jong, they routinely hurt others for looking at them cross-eyed or because they have a personally distasteful appearance or genetics. I think the higher priority, Rule #0 is "Don't hurt oneself", which includes getting bogged down by hatred and bitterness and insecurity. This rule is so universal as to generally be left unstated and assumed.

It does seem clear that the more exceptions you make to Rule #1, the more you hurt others, the more dangerous you are and the more "evil" you are likely to be labeled. I don't want to argue if it's more harmful to use people uncaringly or to spread uncomfortable truths about them, I think that's subjective.

SINGLE is a weird letter. What changed since she was happy with her sex life? Or why hasn't she been actively working on it? If she has lots of friends, why is she not attracted to any of them, or why is she holding herself back from telling them? I'd say the first step is to play to her strengths of making friends, make friends with attractive people, suggest being friends with benefits with them. Or take out an ad as a sugarmomma.

I'm probably always going to stop by this place so long as the server is running. I am still hanging out on servers I liked decades ago. If it's tossed for a new server, I'll check it out if it seems cool.

Hallo Lava and Griz!

123

Dan used to intentionally try to speak respectfully to every letter writer, he thanked them for being an integral part of his job, remind them that he was on their side. It was beautiful. I wish he'd try to do it again.

I understand that getting outed may be very personal hurtful to him or family or friends, but then just don't publish letters when he's unable to speak respectfully to the letter writer, right?

124

Hey Philo, hope you go well. Grizelda, the numbers game doesn’t finish, it was all a false alarm. This column doesn’t change, we all got in a panic over nothing, so all good. Though the farewells continue. All we got to share with others is life experience, ring a few warning bells if someone going down a path that looks more work than it’s worth. That’s my position now, though I do see the young have way more energy than I do.

125

CMD, I was pointing out that question showing that the letters coming thru do deal with real, but yes, Dan & his guest moving past the baby’s existence is problematic. Yet so Dan. That’s the beauty of how he sees his place, he’s no moral arbiter except as a general be kind to others & help them find a little fun. This is decades for him of people’s problems, their age related health related love related sex related gender related money related lives. Big bloody job he does.
I think Dan publishes letters like LW1, Philo, and he was restrained in his response, that LW is twisted, because he must get so many nasty ones like that.

126

As to the married men as a back up for single women not wanting any problems, I’m guessing Dan hears from many of those men. Stuck in sexless marriages because ‘family’ roles took his wife/lover away from him. Marriage binds people thru other humans, children, & material goods, houses etc. Too hard basket though for a single woman, because complications are built into that one.

127

I'm sad that it seems like the suggestion by our dear departing fantastic_mrs_fox@85 didn't achieve critical mass. But I didn't want to just give up and lose track of those departing.

So in hopes of either modelling a solution or sparking any other solution, I have implemented my suggestion @89 to create an (email) mailing list. I did so on Google Groups, but note that one does not need a google account to use a google groups mailing list. (Though @100 I provided some links advising how to create, and lock down the privacy settings, of a Gmail account.)

A mailing list works simply: it comes to your email Inbox, and you sent email to it that all subscribers get.

Obviously I think the mailing list should be run by someone everyone likes, such as fantastic_mrs_fox for example. I consider I.T. a sacred trust, and am trustworthy, so I am happy to have or to /not/ have any role that is desired (for example, I would be very happy to completely turn over all administration of and permissions on the list).

The name can always be changed, but the name "The Savage Lounge" is it's interim name.

I have made it:
So Join requests must be approved by the Admin(s).
So only Members can see and participate in the discussion.
So only the Admin(s) can see the member list.

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It is possible to make it impossible to find without the link, but then the /only/ way to join would be by emailing the Admin.

Other privacy options are available (and could be discussed by those who join or want to):
1) It can be restricted to "Adults Only"; and maybe we should, I don't know.
2) Emails to the mailing list can appear to only be from the Group (which I think means we'd have no idea who sent them); seems to me that this kinda spoils the idea of extending the community.

You might want to avoid making a YahooMail account, since they've had many breaches.

128

@95. Bi. There is all the difference in the world between paraphrasing someone's words and revealing personal details. I have never repeated personal details and don't know any personal details to repeat (how could I?). Please do not recycle slurs.

129

Curious @117: Thanks for the link. Somehow I missed that week. Quite educational.

Curious @127: It looks like Google Groups sets the display name to the first part of the email address (in my case, ahoyfubar). Not sure if that can be changed later, but folks who want to remain anonymous should take note.

Harriett @128: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! The slurs, the slurs. They burn!

130

Fair enough Harriet. Savage Lounge may need mother pouring tea but The Stranger SL doesn’t.

131

fubar@129
I did a little test with changing a setting, and (fubar please correct me if I'm wrong) but it looks like if people only post from the Group's web interface, they can hide their email address. Otherwise, it looks like the full email address goes out on messages regardless of what I do with that setting.

So people will probably want to use an email address that hides their real identity.

132

@131 p.s
"regardless of what I do with that setting"

And, to be clear, right now we haven't made it so that even posting from the Group's web interface will hide the email address one uses.

133

@120 DonnyKlicious and @121 CMDwannabe: I'm glad that you're both among the commenters staying here in Savage Love Land. I will be, too, as will the Lucky Numbers game. :)

@124 LavaGirl: I'm so glad that you, Donny, CMD, fubar, curious2, BiDanFan, and others are staying, and that the Lucky Numbers game can indeed continue on here! :)

@127 curious2: Yikes! Thanks for the warning about YahooMail accounts.

134

FAVE's letter is a stroke story, no? A (homophobic?) sadist who gets off on the idea of humiliating people, especially cruelly outing closeted gay men? Because that's the only way I can make sense of it - it starts out purporting to correct something about bisexual men but immediately pivots to talking about closeted gay men, who are by definition not bisexual (and the "bi" in the word tends to suggest someone who wouldn't fail to initiate sex or not enjoy sex with a partner of either binary gender).

On the other hand, the last letter was the only one for whom writing to Dan (or anyone) for advice makes sense to me (LIMP needs a search engine, PADD is asking a question only she and her boyfriend can answer), so maybe it was an off week all around for some reason.

135

@35 BiDanFan: You'd really avoid dating someone who was otherwise great and compatible instead of asking if ze minded wearing a different haircut (be it crown, face, armpit, chest, back, arms, legs, or pubis)? You wouldn't want to at least find out if ze was perhaps indifferent (or even preferred an alternative but was following some perceived convention, perhaps in service of trying to attract sexual partners)? I find that odd, maybe tragic, especially since you recognize some scenarios where humoring the request wouldn't be a problem in the next comment. I grew up with plenty of passive-aggressive assholes in my family - we're known for that here in the US Midwest - so I can understand interpreting questions as statements, but only for people who have a demonstrated pattern of passive aggression. I try to assume good faith until I have evidence to the contrary.

@72 cbu: I see it as basically the same as asking a datefriend if ze would consider a wardrobe update, something that happens in non-abusive contexts all the time (people who like to look good generally also like their partners to look their definition of good, and people who are indiffetent about their own style and/or like a partner's style likely wouldn't mind or would actively enjoy a partner suggesting outfits).

Is the disconnect here the result of an availability bias, where we tend to hear more about cases where people exploit normal relationship dynamics as vectors of abuse than non-abusive cases because the latter aren't really notable? There's a difference between, "Would you consider shaving or trimming your pubic hair?" and, "Shave your disgusting hair now!" and in the general case, we don't have evidence to inform a working assumption.

Abusers can/will use whatever approach is fruitful to abuse, which doesn't make the general-case behavior automatically abusive; for example, most abusers compliment their targets sometimes (without showing a "good side," few to no people would tolerate escalating abuse and stick around), but that doesn't make compliments inherently abusive. Coercion is the magic ingredient that makes something abusive - it's not the preferences about a partner's appearance or the expression of them per se that are problems, but the manner and context of expressing those preferences (if the manner/context is coercive).

All that said, in this PARTICULAR case, multiple requests certainly reads to me as not taking "no" for an answer, though given the popularity of deflections over refusals*, I can't rule out the possibility that LIMP hasn't actually given "no" for an answer. But assuming she has, I say DTMFA.

*There are good-faith actors who don't read deflections as refusal among the bad-faith actors who only claim to not; I, for example, was raised in an environment where the rape prevention strategy de jour was to tell boys to always listen to what a girl actually said regarding sex rather than reading into body language, as an overcorrection for the bad-faith rape culture trope, "She said no, but her [whatever] said yes!" - the "no means no" era, which thankfully is giving/has given way to "(only an uncoerced) yes means yes" - and I took that lesson seriously right up until I read interweb feminist critiques noting the frequency with which people use deflections instead of clear refusal. And that only happened because I actively sought out feminist analyses of sexual norms; had I not, I might still not see why not interpreting deflections as refusals can be a problem. I still encourage clear, direct communication in order to remove the ambiguity in which manipulative people like to hide; clearly setting boundaries makes it a lot easier to determine intent and decide how to respond if someone violates one.

136

John @135: "BiDanFan: You'd really avoid dating someone who was otherwise great and compatible instead of asking if ze minded wearing a different haircut (be it crown, face, armpit, chest, back, arms, legs, or pubis)?"

Yes!

"You wouldn't want to at least find out if ze was perhaps indifferent (or even preferred an alternative but was following some perceived convention, perhaps in service of trying to attract sexual partners)?"

No! How rude would that be? If someone said to me, "I'd date you if you changed your hair," I'd say "well you've just convinced me to keep this hairstyle forever." This person gets to choose how they dress, whether they shave (face/body/whatever), what they wear. If they're sporting a moustache because they think women dig moustaches, they'll soon find out whether that's true or not, and they can change on their own if they want. I would never presume that anyone is making their own physical choices for any reason but their own self-confidence (unlike Hunter), and I'm not going to undermine that self-confidence by telling them (unsolicited) that their hair, clothes, tattoos etc aren't to my taste. There are people out there for whom that look IS to their taste, and surely these people are more inherently compatible?

Also, let's say someone asked me out, and I said "I'll date you but only if you shave that moustache," and instead of saying "wow, you're judgmental and controlling, bye," he actually did it? I'd feel obligated to continue dating him even if it turned out we weren't a great fit for other reasons.

I have, for instance, told someone who pressed me for a "why aren't you into me" (which in itself is a bit rude) that I don't like hairy men, but that was in answer to a direct question. My preferences shouldn't influence anyone else. There are plenty of people who do like hairy men, and better for this guy to find someone who does than to commit to a lifetime of maintenance in order to date me.

"I find that odd, maybe tragic, especially since you recognize some scenarios where humoring the request wouldn't be a problem in the next comment."

I hope my explanation has convinced you it's not odd at all and certainly not tragic to respect the way people choose to look! My next comment was not concerned with whether it's okay to ask someone to change their appearance as a condition of dating them, but whether it's okay for LIMP to consider the request that her new beau has already made. IMO, he shouldn't have made this request, unless one of my two caveats applied (fetish or oblivious jungle). Pubic hair is different from a moustache because you can't know how someone maintains it until you know them well enough to get intimate -- similar to penis size. You have to accept in advance of sex that someone's genitalia might not be exactly the way you pictured them, and to gracefully take what you get, and if they're really unacceptable to let them down kindly soon afterwards. If you get to the stage of having sex (which is far more committed than saying yes or no to a date request), and this person really is 99% of what you're looking for, then perhaps you can make that ask. But I think Mr LIMP should have first tried to enjoy the pussy LIMP does have. And he certainly shouldn't "keep making requests" if she's obviously reluctant to change.

137

John @135, I agree it's more likely LIMP has deflected these requests than said no and that he's asked again, which I agree is a DTMFA. In his mind, she hasn't said no, so he'll press her until he gets an answer. Mr LIMP, if she hasn't said yes, and if she hasn't shown up to your next date having done some lady garden maintenance, she HAS said no. Drop it -- and her if you must.

Harriet @128, there is not as much difference as you think, the common ground being a person's autonomy over their own words and personal information (18th May 2021 column, AHEM), neither of which you recognise. If Venn didn't post his comment here, he had his own reason for not doing so; to presume your reason for wanting to see his words here is better than his reason for not doing so is disrespectful and a consent violation.
Slur? Where did I ever use a slur?

138

John, the flipside is, why would you refuse to date a person who was otherwise amazing unless they changed their hairstyle?

I'm sorry you're used to people who ask you to buzzcut, or to grow long hair, so that they can feel sufficiently attracted to you. It is a way of calling you insufficiently attractive as you are, and I think that's rude, you are entitled to whatever hairstyle you like.

139

"Coercion is the magic ingredient that makes something abusive - it's not the preferences about a partner's appearance or the expression of them per se that are problems, but the manner and context of expressing those preferences (if the manner/context is coercive)."

Nope. Telling someone they are ugly or disgusting or a jerk is abusive and involves no coercion. The cliche is, "keep your negative judgements to yourself". Punching dinnertime involves no coercion and is clearly abuse.

The magic ingredient of abuse is painful/uncomfortable/disrespectful interaction, and some people say that words aren't harmful enough to be "real" abuse, some people like me consider any disparagement to be abusive, "reasonable" harm is subjective.

140

"Punching someone involves no coercion but is abusive." Abuse is not only about underhanded persuasion.

Autofill got me again..

141

//////////////////////////////////////////////
Admin note:
I've discovered that it is possible to send messages to "The Savage Lounge" without anyone seeing your email address.

But not, as far as I know, from your email client.

It is possible only from the web interface of "The Savage Lounge". There, when creating a new message or replying to an existing one, one gets to choose whether to send the message as From your own email, or as From the Group.

Here's what those choices for the "From" line looks like: https://i.imgur.com/KNyRSc8.jpeg

I've set it so the Default will be the Group's address, but it doesn't seem like that's working consistently, so you may need to make sure each message to set it to the group if you wish that.

So I recommend that you think of this as an extra layer of protection, and, just in case you forget, make sure you have configured the email account you will subscribe to "The Savage Lounge" with, with full privacy.

In testing to ensure that sending as the Group from the web interface provides complete privacy, I have of course examined the full email headers of the messages recipients receive both in their email clients, and on the Group's web interface.

This presents a possible issue. It means that someone might intentionally make it a practice to post anonymously. In other words, no one will know who sent a message you have made anonymous unless you type your username into the message. And because the intent of this mailing list is to provide a place for us to continue our relationships, I recommend making it policy that posts be self-identified.

142

I dunno whether I'm sticking around or not, but...

JohnH@135
"You'd really avoid dating someone who was otherwise great and compatible instead of asking if ze minded wearing a different haircut...You wouldn't want to at least find out if ze was perhaps indifferent"

As someone who is completely indifferent to how I wear my hair, I would love and have loved to hear that a partner prefers a different one.

(Of course if one were lucky enough to have multiple partners with conflicting preferences, that would complicate the matter, but that would be a relatively minor poly hurdle I imagine.)

When I read Dan's "I don’t think trimming your pubic hair to please even a new partner amounts to “changing your body.”" it resonated with me, because to me calling hair cutting 'changing ones body' does feel like an overly dramatic exaggeration.

143

Phi @138, yes, exactly. If you really like someone, you should be able to accept that their hair style or body hair patterns aren't your preference. Look at Steeeverino's wife. For 23 years she accepted his shaved pubes even though she didn't like them. If someone's look is a dealbreaker, don't date them; if it doesn't rise to a dealbreaker, accept that nobody is "perfect" and you have to take the good with the bad.

Phi @139, I agree it doesn't take coercion to make constant criticism and erosion of someone's self-esteem abusive.

Curious @142, seems a bit of a gender divide here. How about if the people who are happy to change their hairstyle, shave, not shave etc, take it upon themselves to make this offer to their partners? Of course I'm happy to share my opinion if asked. "Honey, should I grow a moustache, what do you think?" "Nah, I'm not a fan of moustaches." "I'm thinking of changing my hair, what style would you suggest?" It's OK to opine on someone else's choices if they ask you! (Steeeverino, if you're still reading, can you tell us what prompted your wife to disclose, after 23 years, that she's been tolerating your shaved pubes?)

The thing with polyamorous people is, we're already living in a framework where our partners don't have to be perfect, since we can (in theory) find another partner with the qualities the others lack. So, if I like bald beavers and my girlfriend is happily bushy, I have the option to find another girlfriend who likes to shave. So partners with conflicting preferences shouldn't be a big issue with polyamorous folks.

144

Also, as usual, people are taking one situation (whether it's okay to repeatedly ask someone you've been dating for a month to make a change they're clearly reluctant to make) and extrapolating it to all possible situations (including whether it's okay to ask someone you're in a long-term relationship with, or who you know well enough to know they don't have strong preferences). As always the answer differs depending on the circumstances. In LIMP's case, the guy is out of line, because if pubes are a dealbreaker which it seems as if they are for him, the best thing to do this early on is accept she has no interest in removing her pubic hair and that therefore they're incompatible, and walk away. Whereas, let's say, if I've been dating someone for three years and they suddenly decide to get a mullet, it might be within my rights to tell them (once) that they look stupid. ;) But having expressed that, it's up to them to take that into consideration when deciding how to wear their hair. If they decide they like the mullet more than they like my approval, I just have to get used to their new look.

145

@115. Philophile. I think Dan's maxim has always been 'do as you would be done by'--he's said that; he's said that sexual ethics isn't more complicated than that for him. I guess his more controversial advice in the gray ethical areas, like 'do what you have to do to stay married and stay sane', comes about because he thinks that the monog but celibacy-enforcing partner / spouse is no longer doing as (s)he would be done by. She (I'm only saying 'she' because that is the more easily imaginable way round) has sort-of put herself beyond the pale of consideration in being unreasonable first.

Maybe a commentator or ethical philosopher or moralist or whoever can have a rule and find it doesn't measure well up to actual cases. But I don't think Dan has ever been a purely emotional responder or someone without principles.

146

@116. Donny. I think a rerun (esp. from a time when I was not reading SL, from a selfish point of view, so say fifteen years ago) would be an excellent idea!

@126. Lava. At a certain level I believe that if a couple (and let's take the most standard couple, the het monogamous married couple) have a good enough marriage, they can keep the sex going. And probably or on average, both will want and welcome this. My view of the kind of marriage you are describing--where the wife doesn't necessarily think the husband has done anything wrong, has failed or let her down in some way, but where she sees him as a provider and father, not as a lover for herself--is that it's a partial marriage, that it's less than perfect in how the spouses communicate to each other and care for each other. (This is not to say it can't be a strong marriage in many respects). If I thought something like 'well, sometimes the sex can die, and it's just one of those things', then I would be more sympathetic to a position like Dan's, where a husband not getting laid can look to cheat with moral impunity.

@129. Fubar. Do you have your blocker turned on or off? No one is talking about whether supposed 'slurs' 'burn' i.e. are personally painful or not. I am asking someone to desist from character defamation. Please join in any substantive discussion I am having if you are so minded.

Apropos curious @127. I think your Savage Lounge a wonderful idea. Of course a group of readers who get on, and/or are virtual friends, should be encouraged to start your own invitation-only chat community. The Lounge is a much better idea than running a software tool like the Slogblocker on this site, where the column ethos is that everyone is open to everyone else, and people of different backgrounds, life-experiences, nationalities, sexualities and genders mix. (I was, in fact, the person who suggested you founded a gated site, rather than encouraging readers of the comments to screen out voices that challenged them). Of course nothing prevents someone who's a member of the invitation-only community popping up on the SL or Disqus or public columns. But I would think the condition on which (or rather the state of mind in which) they do so should be of granting that people unlike them, even unimaginable to them, have something to say and may sometimes have the better of the argument.

147

@137. Bi. And would it be a breach of privacy if I summarised the plot of a Pulitzer-winning novel? Material in the public sphere is available for repetition, recirculation and interpretation in most instances. There are, of course, cases where this assumption should be suspended, such as when a person on this comments board asks for information they have volunteered in the past to be 'forgotten' or not brought up again; and when this information is only personally revealing, where maintaining anonymity is the only plausible motive to draw a line under the comment, then of course--again--I believe it good manners to comply with this request and not repeat information submitted to a public sphere on a one-time basis. You would be painting me as a bad character in implying I thought anything else.

I have no at-my-fingertips recollection of what was said in the 18 May 2001 comments (if it wasn't threats of violence, accusations of inexcusable prejudice or the story of some very significant life-event it tends to be obscured in the mists of time). You put me in a difficult position in that, if it is what I think it is, my remembering might attract the charge of revealing personal details--the unethical action (I agree) about which you're suggesting I'm insufficiently sensitive. But if it was when I said you were an 'expat' and you suggested this was personally revealing, then I don't think this could plausibly have been taken as an attempt to reveal personal identity.

I don't actually believe you thought it was, either--or that it was a goad or a dig. What I believe (though this may of course be wrong) was that you made out you did, as part of a way of remaining on good terms, or establishing solidarity with, curious and Fubar, who have signed up to an absurd theory that I prey on people's insecurities. Surely you could carry on talking to those other two commenters without dragging me, or their attitudes towards me, into it?

148

Harriet @146, laughing out loud. How is it "character defamation" to state that you did a thing which you did, and provide evidence that you did the thing you did?
If you think that my citing what you did was "defamation," then you're finally admitting that the thing you are being accused of is inherently bad.
Also, you have failed to cite any "slurs" so it's clear you have to retract your accusation that I used slurs.
And I don't see a request from you to "desist from character defamation." You have asked me to stop "recycling slurs," whatever that means. I guess you must mean "please do not cite my previously expressed views when discussing my currently expressed views." As you seem to have reluctantly agreed, after far more badgering than should have been necessary, to stop sharing my personal details, I will attempt to argue current points without making reference to related points you've made in the past. I felt these were pertinent when I simply stated that copying and pasting Venn's comments without his consent is unacceptable, and you argued that it wasn't. I won't make reference to your privacy violations again.

149

Harriet @147, I am obviously not quoting what you said in those comments because then you'd say "see? You're revealing that about yourself!" You are perfectly capable of looking up those comments. What you said went far beyond "expat." Obviously, I'm not repeating it now and don't want you to repeat it now, since it shouldn't have been said in the first place. I am over this argument. You don't get it, you never will, no wonder people aren't coming back to this comments section. This has nothing to do with Fubar or Curious. It has to do with your violating MY privacy, which you've somehow contrived to make yourself the victim? And your suggesting a similar privacy violation when it comes to Venn's words, which, surprise surprise, you couldn't see the similarities.
SIGH.

150

BDF@143
"seems a bit of a gender divide here."

Thank you for your response, which clears up a lot of confusion I had. (I hadn't followed the thread, I just saw your reply to JohnH.)

Can I ask a question? I'd been speculating that some might prefer partners who cared about how they wear their hair. Was that crazy speculation?

"How about if the people who are happy to change their hairstyle, shave, not shave etc, take it upon themselves to make this offer to their partners?"

That makes sense. I'm terrible at imagining what people might prefer, but I'll try to remember should the opportunity arise to present an open willingness.

('How about a Mohawk, honey?')

"It's OK to opine on someone else's choices if they ask you"

That certainly resonates. Yes sometimes one still might best tread carefully (they say that 'does this make me look fat?' isn't easy to answer).

BDF@144
"repeatedly ask"

Ah yes, I missed the part where the LW was asked more than once!

151

Not up on this current argument, though not sure how anything people write here can ever be seen as ‘private.’
Or that cutting & pasting is an issue, if points are being made.

152

@151 LavaGirl: The only issue I have with cutting and pasting is with the sites that stupidly still insist on using it to connect to links or services (like healthcare). I suck at cutting and pasting, always have and and always will. It's like checking your mail and finding that someone sent you a chain letter.

All right--It's Monday and Griz is fired up. Who wants that highly coveted Double Whammy (@169)? Or is everyone ready for FIRDT! honors at the start of Dan's November 9th Savage Love column?
Tick...tick...tick....

153

I like long hair.

I've never asked a partner to grow their hair long. I've complimented when they've grown it out. I may have even complimented that trait in other men. But I've never wanted them to feel like I wasn't attracted to them as they presently looked.

I had a boyfriend who would shave his hair completely during the summer at least once. He didn't warn me the first time it happened. He noticed I wasn't as attracted to him. I told him the look was weird for me. He thought I was shallow that I was less attracted to him, he acted angry and uncomfortable, unfortunately taking my preferences personally.

Because he noticed that I wasn't that attracted to his change of hairstyle. I didn't even tell that guy not to shave his head anymore, or even that I wanted him to grow it back, but he was mad.

So I really don't see a guy taking kindly that I told them to grow in their hair before I would date them, or directly asking a partner to change their hair, let alone repeatedly.

The polite way to state this preference is to say "I like long hair" or to show that we like long hair ("I liked your hair a lot when it was long." or "That guy (with long hair) has awesome hair."). The dimwitted/aggressive way is
"Will you grow your hair out for me?"
"Please will you grow out your hair for me?"
"Why won't you try growing out your hair for me, you might like it"
"You don't love me unless you grow out your hair for me!"
"I'm not going to date you anymore unless you grow out your hair for me!"
...That's the pushy or abusive way to announce this preference. Offering some quid pro quo when we ask is the least pushy way of directly asking, as Fubar pointed out. To show that we understand a) not everyone has this preference, b) we don't want to coerce or assume authority over a partner's choices, because c) we value reciprocation, we're not just out to get as much as we can out of other people, we care about their happiness too. It's hard to tell if Mr LIMP doesn't understand these basics and is a user, or if he's showing some extra dimness or aggressiveness.

154

When you shave the pubic bone, "bumping uglies" becomes quite literal, red rashy bumpiness. I dislike it when men shave because I don't like the effect on sex, it's somewhat less sexy. But I really dislike shaving my own pubic bone completely because it makes sex painful. Not in a good way, in a very unsexy, "my skin is going to erupt in pus with rough sex" sort of way. Hair serves a purpose, yes head hair is just protection, the rest is more about letting us tolerate friction without spreading lube everywhere and then reapplying it every few minutes.

Harriet. If you find something gendered, it's preferable to switch the genders to make sure it's not gender-bigoted. So if he cut off sex, she might be within her rights to dump/divorce him, or to say that she's going to sleep with others if he's not going to sleep with her, but it's escalating to break an important marital promise/premise AND lie about it. I don't even believe revenge is ethical, let alone escalating the offenses. So why try to stay married to someone you think is so unfair and unworthy of respect, what is the value in that sort of marriage, why are you acting like divorce is more unfair than breaking promises and lying?

155

With summer coming on Grizelda, I’ve been getting into the vibe listening to The Beach Boys. Do people still go steady?

156

Economics & effort that is needed, Philo, in breaking up a marriage. Years of rearing children & combining assets, then the fall out. I get it that some sneak off to get sex if the marriage has become purely pragmatic. People need to have this talk upfront; what if the sex dies? How do we deal with that outcome?

157

@148. Bi. Well, you push me to saying you did write out the n-word in full, albeit quotationally, so I am not sure you would qualify as the board's most cogent authority on slurs. If a 'slur' means, in the narrow sense, a prejudicial typecasting of someone's social identity group, then I don't believe you engaged in slurs against anyone; if it means making false or deceptive imputations about someone's moral character, you would be slurring me now in suggesting I would be the sort of person to breach confidences.

You don't seem to see any difference between copy-pasting and 'paraphras[ing]', which is what I suggested re Fubar. If paraphrasing what Venn appears to have said on another site is suspect and flirts with being a privacy violation, then how is Fubar reporting the comment not also something like a privacy violation? Of course, neither the report nor the paraphrase is any more a privacy violation than is e.g. literary criticism.

As I recall, nothing I said was more specific or revealing than 'expat'. The original context was that an infrequent commenter had suggested the board were all birds of one feather; and I enjoined that, of people of the same mind, there was a lot of e.g. gender and sexual orientation variety: one--me--was bigendered, another--you--was an expat and bi, and a third, Fubar, took up a certain role in sex, which I will not now repeat, in the possibly unlikely case (!) any reader is entirely new to the comments, and it is again taken as the disclosure of a confidence. I was then so surprised and frankly incredulous that you should allege this as a breach of privacy that I riffed on the word 'expat', but no more information was offered. (I also said 'scenester', but this would have said nothing to the passing reader: it may have meant no more than bisexuality; it could have been the rope scene, a fetish scene, any kind of sexual subculture). I do not know myself what scene(s) you are on; I know only what you have volunteered on a public forum, don't know you irl and could not, as well as would be unwilling to, identify you personally. I understand you may have particular concerns about your identity being revealed; or that e.g. these concerns could have been heightened in the particular week at issue for reasons we can't know--e.g. or ex hypothesi you were starting dating someone from whom you wanted to conceal your SL comments history. For me, these concerns are completely valid, and should be upheld by commenters to a reasonable standard. In the week in question, I did not dredge up material from years past but said no more than you had said of yourself in the preceding (say) three weeks. Anyway, as you say, the difference of view between us is, one would hope, over; and anyone with a mind to (maybe with a masochistic streak) can look up the comments themselves.

158

@149. Bi. None of the people who have said they are leaving the comments section (or are leaving off making regular comments) have suggested it is anything to do with the inappropriate or hamfisted or malicious recycling of personal information. Nocute has said 'bickering', hinting this is a kind word for it; this is nothing to do with me, as I would gladly never mention e.g. Curious if he did not take it upon himself repeatedly to mention me. My feeling is that Nocute's reflections will be missed, as they are consistently wholehearted, fair-minded and humane; people respond positively to them, and on the basic moral issues, they have a tendency to be unerringly right (I know nocute and I have clashed on more refined issues, like the philosophy of gender and re trans--maybe there are ways in which these are also basic issues, but they're not basic in the different sense of dealing primarily with problems in letters, and I would think my commendation stands to one side of the past clashes). I hope she will carry on commenting, more infrequently, sure, but as the spirit moves her; and hope, as seems to me likely, that the Stranger forum stays up, and people keep their established relations with their interlocutors.

@151. Lava. No, I don't particularly understand it either.

159

@154. Philo. I agree with you that the lying necessary for cheating is wrong in principle. It would be better to end the marriage--if sex is such a big deal--or to seek a hall pass to bust out of a sexual drought. But I think we both know the reasons that this doesn't always happen in conventional het marriages--that there are other prudential reasons for the marriage to keep going, to do with financial dependence, security, respectability and the 'sake of the children'--and this just for starters. It seems to be easier in straight marriages than in longterm gay relationships to get stuck with the presumption of monogamy, even as the sex thins out to an intolerable infrequency for one partner. I think Lava is right that spouses should go into this forearmed, as it were, but it's understandable to me that they don't.

I'm not with you, incidentally, about the desirability of switching the genders to avoid clichés, banalities or coarse views of the world. If you do (switch), you end up with something strained and unrecognisable. If a 28yo high school teacher has sex with an 18yo student, I think what we say about it turns on the parties' genders.

160

Ei Naaaaaaaa, SINGLE.

Regardless of anything else, if you have self-confidence and body image problems, please don’t fuck married/LTR partnered men. In other words, no matter how badly you want a good fuck, don’t fuck people whose life situation will mean you get into your own head and fuck with sense of self-worth (that you’re somehow too unattractive to pull a man who isn’t married and desperate for sex).

If you are physically able, find a woman-friendly gym for serious weightlifting training. Start lifting. The curves you have for being thicc get the added bonus of curves from muscle (plus bonus last-minute bone density additions before menopause). You may find that it’s a lot easier to be confident in your appearance when you’re in good physical condition, which is not the same as the number on a scale or number on a dress tag.

Finding a munch with the local BDSM crowd might be a useful way to find partners, if that’s something that interests you. While meeting people in a clothes-on group environment isn’t a sure guarantee of safety, it’s less dangerous up-front than meeting a total stranger while you’re naked.

161

@155 LavaGirl: I have a bunch of Beach Boys CDs, and am really missing the welcome automotive company of my beloved Love Beetle and the beach weather. Lucky you!
April 2022 will be when my VW and I next venture out again.

I can't imagine going steady. Such a romantic idea was permanently destroyed by fall, 1982 when I had first started college. The only time I was ever asked to go steady was just out of the blue by the one guy who kept insisting I was supposed to be his wife whom I had met initially at age 18 (I had shared a lengthy story about him as I'm sure you remember). No romantic dinner out, no flowers, no moonlight stroll, nothing. Of course I said no. And I was not physically attracted to him, either. I kept stressing that we were friends. We never had sex, slept together or shared living space. And yet he didn't believe me one bit that upon my divorce from an abusive spouse that no, I DIDN'T really "want [him] all along". Sadly, it turned out that he could not be trusted as a friend, either, after hatching a ludicrous plot to make me his beard and live an atrocious lie of his appearing to be a happily married heterosexual with a wife and children, merely to appease his doting widowed mother, siblings, and clergymen.
And of all things that had gotten ridiculouser and ridiculouser --- he was insanely jealous of my Volkswagen!

164

Curious @150: "Can I ask a question? I'd been speculating that some might prefer partners who cared about how they wear their hair. Was that crazy speculation?"

I'm trying to wrap my head around this... some people might be clueless about style and want someone to guide them? Or they might just be subby in all areas, including being told how to wear their hair? Or they put a lot of effort into their hair and want a partner who appreciates that -- which I see as the opposite of asking them to change. I mean if someone I was dating said to me, "Your hair is one of the things that attracted me to you," that would make me feel good about myself, so does that fall under "preferring a partner who cares about how I wear my hair"?

Sure, some solicited opinions require a tactful answer! But that shouldn't be impossible. If the answer to "does this make me look fat" is "yes," you could say, "It's not the most flattering cut, your blue dress suits your figure better."
Also, re John's hypothetical of someone whose style choices you don't like is asking you out, and my opinion that it would be rude and entitled to say "I'll go out with you if you shave your moustache," a reasonable middle ground -- presuming I was attracted to everything except the moustache -- might be to say, "Sorry, I'm not into men with moustaches." That makes it about me having a preference, not about his choices being wrong -- does that make sense? And it would leave the door open to his saying either, "Ah well, nice meeting you" or "Oh, I just grew it as an experiment, I'm happy to get rid of it."

Phi @153, agree 100%. I also like long hair, by coincidence! And yes I show this by dating guys who have long hair, and telling them how much I like their hair, and encouraging them when they ponder growing it longer/discourage them if they say they are thinking of cutting it. I don't think your ex should have been angry with you when he made a big change and you didn't like it. I doubt you were any more shallow than he was, I am sure he liked the look of you too. If you'd shaved YOUR head, he might have been equally disappointed, hey?

Harriet @157, you absolute fucknut, does this refresh your memory?
https://www.thestranger.com/savage-love/2021/05/18/57473742/savage-love/comments/80
Well done! The N-word is a slur, which you admit I did not in fact use against anyone. You do know the definition and you also know I don't use them, like I said. Now please stop replying to me forever.

Slinky @160, thank you for citing yet another reason getting involved with a married man is terrible advice. She needs to boost her self-confidence, not destroy it.

165

So much outrage! After all the put downs etc you’ve dished out, and stood by while others did the same, Fan, /not that I’ve read thru the bile I’ve copped/ also, public thread here, people can respond to any comment.
Wild story Grizelda. Jealous of a car, that guy sure had issues.

166

BDF@164
"I'm trying to wrap my head around this"

I find our mutual perplexity interesting; maybe it's that gender gap you mentioned earlier.

My situation isn't any of those things, it's simply that I'm indifferent to how I cut my hair. I mean, I do pick a way that I like, that I think is optimal...it's just that I'd be equally happy to pick another way (which, er, I guess says that 'optimal' doesn't mean that much to me). So when I was

"speculating that some might prefer partners who cared about how they wear their hair"

I was wondering whether /this/ indifference was, to some, a turnoff.

Of course I'd be happy if someone else dug my hair. But I was more wondering whether some would want /me/ to dig my hair(cut).

But I was also happy to grow a beard for someone who liked them. (In fact I then stuck with it until the pandemic made having a beard stone stupid [since even stubble makes a mask ineffective; now if we see someone wearing a beard it's like they're advertising their foolishness].)

"Sorry, I'm not into men with moustaches."

Yes, I like that.

"Oh, I just grew it as an experiment, I'm happy to get rid of it."

I'm happy to get rid of it too; I might just say that and leave off the bit about an experiment if it wasn't.

/Break/
Today's column has been up at the new site for about 24 hours already.

167

Curious @166, I think I see now what you meant about preferring partners who do or don't have a preference about their hair.

I think someone who has preferences about their own hair, probably has preferences about their style generally, which would appeal to those who like their partners to be stylish. Others might see "stylish" people as being vain or shallow, for instance if they themself take little interest in their own appearance. So not caring about one's hair or fashion choices may appeal to this person. Hmm, I actually know a couple who's kind of like this. She's a fashion plate, he was a bookish nerd, they got together and she took the opportunity to choose a new wardrobe for him so that they're now a glamour couple. Clearly his being open to wardrobe suggestions made him a much better match for her than their mutual friends thought in the beginning. Though I presume this was a process that started with her saying, "You'd look really great in this," and him saying, "Sure, I'm happy to wear that" -- and realising that he did indeed look better in her suggested outfits.

That said, this is clearly an exception -- most of the people I know who are very stylish ended up dating partners who are also very stylish, as they share a pre-existing interest in fashion.

Is this kind of what you meant?

"I'm happy to get rid of it too; I might just say that and leave off the bit about an experiment if it wasn't." -- See, to me that might come across as too desperate. "You don't like my moustache? I'll get rid of it! What else can I do to make you date me? Anything you want, I'll do!" Eeek, red flag. Whereas stating some form of "I'm not really attached to this," would reassure me that they actually didn't care either way. I truly wouldn't want someone who was happily bearded/mustachoied/etc to change for me. So I guess yeah, the fact that they were willing to change their style for a partner would be a minus for me, unless it wasn't really "their style," if that makes sense.

168

BDF@167
"Is this kind of what you meant?"

Yes, precisely. Thanks, that was all interestingly well-considered and well-articulated.

"Anything you want, I'll do!"

LOL.

169

Harriet. "If a 28yo high school teacher has sex with an 18yo student, I think what we say about it turns on the parties' genders."
I realize that gender bigotry exists, and apparently you don't mind, but I think it hurts both genders. It focuses on "who's better" rather than working together, but I realize that some people don't want the genders to work together so misogyny is good for men and misandry good for women. It's sad for me.

Why can't you identify when you are bickering, or writing a lot about your disagreements with others? It's a skill to agree to disagree, to let some disagreements go, to acknowledge that you can't please everyone, this skill can be improved.

Yes I do disagree that keeping the respect and status of being married, or trying to save money by avoiding separate housing, justifies treating your spouse with increasing disrespect. Sure people can be users but I for one am not going to condone that behavior. Please stop trying to convince me to accept or condone disrespectful behavior.

Lava, please be clear, are you saying you would have preferred a cheating husband to divorce, when things got rough? Are you saying you could love, respect, or feel happy with a man who couldn't be honest about his sex life? Or that you would just use him for financial help? Or that cheating spouses are just fine for others but not you?

I would prefer an honestly nonmonogamous marriage over a monogamous marriage or divorce, but a husband who can't keep his word.. a trustless marriage seems far worse than divorce or sexlessness. The people who are trying to convince me otherwise are relying on emotional appeal rather than logic and ethics, so pushy. If someone told me how their spouse's cheating was good, that would be worth paying attention, otherwise it's sadly justifying mean behavior.

Hi BiDanFan, always nice to see you around..

170

@169 Philophile: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's highly envied Double Whammy (Lucky @69 + Big Hunsky @100 = Double Whammy @169) honors! Bask in the glory of double numeric prizes and savor your vast newfound good fortune. :)

@165 LavaGirl: It gets even wilder. BiDanFan, in a previous comment thread, had summed it up best: what a fantasist. He died young--at age 40 of a heart attack compounded by other equally serious health issues, largely from heavy drinking and a poor diet. To his dying day he would practically throw himself on any woman who gave him the time of day, in desperate attempts to cover up his sexual identity because of conflicting religious views enforced by his family and church. Disinterested and unavailable women made the thrill of the chase all the more exciting to him. Forever preaching, he felt he could "fix" me on a miserly budget, insisting I cut my hair short, sell my car that has brought me so my joy and freedom (as IF!!!), give up cats, family and friends, and all my musical hopes and dreams, to instead teach Sunday school and be his little "wifey". He couldn't wait for me "to file a paternity suit"! He went behind my back, calling my father long distance claiming to have $70,000.00 in the bank (for what, a down payment? As if I was a Holstein cow to be bought and sold at a livestock auction?). Apparently he believed that if he could get my parents' blessings he had the green light for an arranged marriage, and come for me at nightfall, dragging me (most likely unconscious) by my hair to the Justice of the Peace before over-enthusiastically starting a new race.

I had once compared him to French Romantic-era composer Hector Berlioz, likening his obsessive behavior toward me to Berlioz's fixation ("idee fixe") upon Irish actress, Harriett Smithson, to the plot of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique (c.1830), particularly movement V, Dream of the Witches' Sabbath. This of course went right over his head.('Do you understand why I am bringing this up?' I had said to him, only months before his sudden death. 'NO!' he pouted through the phone like a sulking five year old who was being sent to bed without dessert).
Soon he started calling me repeatedly to "check up on me", testily demanding to know if I followed through on carrying out his allegedly "brilliant ideas" (mainly, half a ream of useless so-called "job leads", none of which had anything to do with my actual skills or aspirations, stuffed in a big yellow manila folder and mailed to me. I was supposed to be enraptured at the idea of working at a dry cleaners for minimum wage, or wearing out my car on Interstate-5 commuting 50 miles up to Sumas to be a border guard). Then he'd fly into a rage when I didn't. He insisted that I move back to Seattle. I said if I was to move anywhere two years after my divorce it was to Bellingham. I planned on transferring from community college to Western Washington University to study music. He went apeshit. I finally had to scream back him that we WEREN'T GETTING MARRIED!!! I told him what my plans were, asking him if he really wanted to destroy a friendship of over twenty years.
The ensuing long silence before he finally responded again was deafening.
Instantly he was reduced to softly weeping inconsolably, "Okay," was all he said repeatedly before hanging up. That was the last I heard from him.

171

The new column is up on both sites now, and both sites are using Disqus comments now. However (as I have emailed The Stranger webmaster) the new (Nov. 9) column on The Stranger is mistakenly linked to last week's (Nov. 2) column on the new site.

So the place to make this week's columns is only available at the moment at https://savage.love/savagelove/2021/11/08/backlot-access/

172

@171 edits. make:
"is mistakenly linked to THE DISQUS COMMENTS ON last week's"
"the place to make COMMENTS ON this week's columns"

173

What is going on, Dan? Now The Stranger has gone over to the disqus side too!?! NO…
Ok then. Change is upon us.

174

@172 curious2: Oh, NOOOOOOO!!!!! So DISQUS has indeed taken over. I am uncomfortable with the monetizing (I believe as nocutename had said in an earlier comment in this week's thread) of personal information, and saddened that the Savage Love comment thread has come to this.

Please, Dan, and everyone, keep in touch, as you have my email address.
Take care, stay healthy and safe, and bless you all. This has been highly educational and I have learned a lot.
XO,
Griz

175

I’ll stay in touch, Grizelda. And yes, this new format is not pleasant. You take care & talk soon. Love

176

@172 LavaGirl: I look forward to hearing from you. I'm so glad we have our email addresses.
Big hugs, positrons, and VW beeps,
XO,
Griz :)

177

Oh, Grizelda. Sad story.
And Philo, congratulations on the last magic number.

178

Looks like this is the last old-school comment section, seeing that the new column (11 nov. 2021) now uses Disqus.

It's time for me to say goodbye also. Not going to bother with Disqus. I was never very active here, and even less so in the last two years. Still, I've been around for more than ten years, and read everyhing.

Goodbye to all the regluars and thanks for the inspiring discussions and insights.

179

Well darn, guess all good things must come to an end. There is no comments link on the new column, it's DISQUS or nothing. So long to everyone who doesn't migrate, and a warm farewell to one of the best comments sections I've ever been privileged to be a part of.
Curious, I've sent a request to join the Savage Lounge.

180

griz@174
"uncomfortable with the monetizing...of personal information"

Again, everyone, YOU CAN TURN THAT OFF at
https://disqus.com/data-sharing-settings/

/Break/
Seems to me the worst thing about Disqus' functionality is (something people told The Stranger in the Survey that we wished for,) threading. Because:

1) I don't see any easy way to see what content is new in all the threads, and,
2) The threads themselves aren't all that useful since if they don't remain short, it looks like they'll become impractically narrow.

/Break/
Goodbye to dear RE and everyone else that's leaving. (Personally, I left weeks before the Disqus thing was even mentioned; one needn't be Sherlock Holmes to guess why.)

For anyone wanting to continue this thing, @127 I announced an email mailing list called "The Savage Lounge". People like Fantastic.Mrs.Fox@84 (and Nocutename) have suggested we could "communally still chat and keep in touch and bring tidbits from advice columns to discuss". I hope y'all show up!

BDF@179
"I've sent a request to join the Savage Lounge."

Welcome!

181

Re: the new set-up and merging of disqus comments, it feels like we just found out that Daddy Dan has a secret family, and now we're all supposed to sit around the breakfast table and play happy family. I'm not into it.

@Curious, I will send a request to join the Savage Lounge when I have the time and wherewithal and can cook up an email that won't synch with my other personal and work emails. Thanks for setting that up for us SL dinosaurs.

It's been lovely, Savagistas, and it was a good run. Hopefully I can catch some of you on the Lounge side.

182

Fantastic_Mrs._Fox@181
I'm so happy that you'll be joining us at The Savage Lounge. I trust that that will entice others (who as yet mostly haven't) to join too.

"can cook up an email that won't synch with my other personal and work emails"

Smart.

FYI, here's what I do: In the Settings of curious784523@gmail.com I have it forward all incoming messages to my real email account, so I only have one Inbox to monitor. When I want to Reply to a message as Curious, I either go to that account, or within my real email account I "Send As" Curious.

(My real email account uses a gmail interface; to set up "Send As" there one goes into Settings|Accounts|"Send mail as". There's a tricky part do doing so which involves an "App password"; details at https://support.google.com/domains/answer/9437157?hl=en

I'll be happy to help. Hope to see you good people in The Savage Lounge.

Thanks for all the fish!

183

Get a life, curious. And try not to be such a nasty person in it.
Dan this new format, is a dud.

184

FYI, the mixup with the Nov. 9 column on TheStranger mirroring the Nov. 2 column's Disqus on the new site has now been fixed (in that it now mirrors the Nov. 9's Disqus on the new site).

185

In the dog days of the Savage Love olde style comments, I turned off the SavageLUBE extension so I could take it all in, unfiltered. Oh boy. SMH.

Curious, your efforts are much appreciated by most of us. It's a brave new commentary world, and hopefully, the interesting people will stick around, new faces will bring fresh perspectives, and the Savage Lounge will let some of the old school regulars stay in touch if the commentary becomes a bit more impersonal.

https://groups.google.com/g/savage-lounge

A number of the assembled company already keep in touch via email. I often use that channel to ask for advice or to share life's ups and downs. I love hearing Auntie Grizelda's compositions.

The format lends itself to a much more respectful and considerate exchange. The Savage Lounge email group could do that too, maybe.

186

curious2 @180 thanks for sharing turning off monetization, and for starting a SL lounge group, not sure if I'll join.

I kinda liked "grazing" here in the old comments thread. Logging in or getting comments to email, seems not quite the same. Disqus also not the same - so exposed and public and the format feels less friendly. Ironically, needing to click once on the comments button to see them was kind of like going into a local bar. Open to the public yet not out on the street, and seeing old familiar faces each time some of whom you sorta know plus a few new ones. So long, and thanks for all the fish!

187

@177 LavaGirl: It really was a sad situation for him, my worst nightmare ever imagined for me (what do you do about the guy from a platonic 20 year relationship since college who won't take "no" for an answer, and who suddenly isn't cool anymore with just staying good friends?), and totally messed up that he felt he had to go so far as to ruin someone else's life to live a lie, just to get his mother, siblings, and clergymen off his back. It was like he went into a desperate mating frenzy by his 40th birthday (channeling Steve Carell?).
I had to agree with my late mother: he was not husband material, and after an abusive marriage I have since had no desire to remarry.

@178 Registered European: I am saddened to say goodbye, too, as DISQUS has proven undoable for me, too. Thank you so much for your wonderful contributions to the comment thread.

@179 BiDanFan: Thank you and many regulars so much for all your consistently spot on comments enriching the SL threads all these years. I have been having difficulty with logging onto DISQUS so I'll have to pass on it. I tried accessing Savage Lounge and got a kickback notice that I'm not authorized (?!?). So I guess I am no longer part of the SL commentary after this last traditionally Lucky Numbered column.
At least we have each others' email addresses and can keep in touch.

@180, @182, and @184 curious2: I have been having difficulty being able to login to DISQUS or Savage Lounge. It looks like I may have to say goodbye the Savage Love column, too. At least we have each others' email addresses.

@181 fantastic_mrs_fox: Thank you and bless you for all your consistently spot on contributions to the Savage Love threads. I must say goodbye, too, as DISQUS has proven unaccessible for me. I may need assistance with Savage Lounge. Please keep in touch--I have posted my email address.

@185 fubar: Thank you for all your gracious contributions and spot on commentary. Please let's keep in touch--you have my email address. I'm glad to know how much you're enjoying my shared mp3 soundtracks. More is to come soon.
Sadly, I got a kickback notice when entering your link to Savage Lounge, and couldn't login to the site. I Google searched on my 2019 iMac and instead ended up getting a temporarily closed bar in New York City! Is this an omen? It appears to be the end of the Lucky Numbers game.
Bless you, fubar, Dan, and so many others, for everything. I hope to hear from you again soon.

@186 delta35: I feel the same way. The new DISQUS format is uninviting, and I have been having trouble logging into new sites and links. Please let's keep in touch. I have posted my email address on this one last traditional thread. I hope to hear from you, Dan, regulars, and newcomers who also have contributed such wonderful insights to the SL threads.

Love and hugs, positrons, and VW beeps to all,
XO,
Griz

188

So the questions on the first week of Dan’s new format/ that’s how a Libra moves people on, they don’t have to say a word, just change the format by which they let people speak/
are both about homosexual men, and Joe surpasses himself with the graphic. That’s funny. And fitting.

189

It seems sterile, Dan, this new format.

190

I hope all stay well & happy & might see you on the other side/ format.

191

Reminder: the directions on how to subscribe to The Savage Lounge are @127. (There are various use cases, everyone can't simply click on a link.)

192

Hint: @127, under "Subscribing to The Savage Lounge", there are three separate paragraphs for the three separate use cases. (That's why the second and third paragraphs start with "If".)

193

@191 @192 p.s. What do I mean I "use cases"? I mean that in @127 under "Subscribing to The Savage Lounge", paragraph one will apply to some people, paragraph two will apply to other people, and paragraph three will apply to everyone else.

194

Here, again (quoting from @127) are The instructions:
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Subscribing to The Savage Lounge

To subscribe, if you have a Google account you wish to use, go to https://groups.google.com/g/savage-lounge and click on "Ask to join group". (If you're not offered "Ask to join group" but are offered "For access, try logging in" click that to log in to Google, after which you should see "Ask to join group").

If you don't already have a Google account you want to use, you can create one (free) at https://accounts.google.com/signup?hl=en
Note that the account creation screen defaults to having you create a new Gmail account, but you can click on "Use my current email address instead" which creates a new Google account associated with your existing non-gmail email address.

If you want to subscribe to The Savage Lounge but also want to /not/ use a Google account (which means you will receive emails but won't be able to use the Web interface to the The Savage Lounge), please send an email to savage-lounge+managers@googlegroups.com with a Subject Line like "Savage Lounge Subscribe Request" from the email address you wish to subscribe.

Unsubscribing from The Savage Lounge

Send a (blank) email to savage-lounge+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com
You don't have to remember this unsubscribe address because it appears at the bottom of every post from The Savage Lounge. Unsubscribing from The Savage Lounge means you will stop receiving The Savage Lounge emails and will lose Web access to it.
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

195

But the three /paragraphs/ aren't separate, since after paragraph two one still needs to do paragraph one.

196

Thanks Dan for these last years. Intense & instructive. 💗

197

fubar and curious2: DISQUS is not working for me. How do I join the Savage Lounge? Do I need specific security access? Is it Mac and Google friendly? Even if I can't be among regular Savage Love commenters anymore I really want to stay in touch.

198

@194 curious2: Thank you for offering helpful login instructions to joining the Savage Lounge. I am still having difficulty with accessing the Savage Lounge.
Please let's keep in touch.

Dan, thank you for all the highly educational, intense, and consistently spot on sex advice and opportunity to be able to communicate online, sharing experience and viewpoints with so many others. Please let's keep in touch.

Does anybody want the Double Hunsky @200 one last time?
Tick...tick...tick...

199

You take it away Grizelda, seeing it was your baby.

200

griz@198
"...helpful login instructions to joining the Savage Lounge. I am still having difficulty..."

If anyone needs clarification or other help with the subscription instructions, please email me directly. My gmail is curious784523

And please be specific; for example:

griz@187
"and got a kickback notice that I'm not authorized (?!?)"

My reaction is also ??? because I have no idea what a "kickback notice" is. And while (as can be seen from my instructions) there are various routes to membership, none of them I'm familiar with result in a message that one is "not authorized".

So it feels like I'm gonna need specifics. Please be precise, tech support is not a fuzzy endeavor. Include a screenshot.

201

I see that I was wrong about Disqus threads becoming impractically narrow (after the third reply, subsequent replies get no more narrow).

OTOH, I see that that further increases the difficulty of finding the new content within multiple threads. So as on other threaded forums, Replies will be seen by fewer people than new Comments will. I think these are reasonable reasons to choose new Comments.

202

@200
"I'm gonna need specifics. Please be precise...Include a screenshot."

Or quote the full exact message (I don't think that the word "authorized" was in it), and let me know what point in the process of following the instructions you were at when you got it.


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