SL Letter of the Day: OKStupid

Comments

1
You never know. I met the love of my life by taking just such a chance. A long time later, not only are we still nuts about each other but have a slightly wicked love story.
2
So on the one hand, I am completely sympathetic to getting fed up with the river of cut-and-paste wannafucks (with the inevitable headless selfie if not dickpic) that any female gets on OKCupid, and I absolutely don't blame the letter-writer for reaching the end of her rope and snapping at whoever had the ill fortune to be the most recent perp.

On the other hand, this particular letter on its own merits? Meh. By the standard of the breed, it's almost tolerable: no horrible spelling or grammatical errors, no mention of his cock size or alleged prowess at oral sex, even a hint of an admission of nervousness. Is our annoying sex trolls learning?!

(Dear venture capitalists of the world: whoever comes up with a dating sight that uses machine learning to automatically filter out this crap will win everything forever. Just a thought.)
3
I think that her response is actually more asshole-y than his initial email. Not saying his was that smooth, but nothing stood out as particularly upsetting. Perhaps his next response revealed himself to be an asshole misogynist, but her response to his reasonable email solicitation was rude and unnecessarily condescending.
4
@3,

If there's nothing in her profile that indicates she's interested in a hook up with a stranger, then, no, his e-mail wasn't reasonable, in the same way that going up to a stranger in a bar and saying "Hey, wanna fuck?" also isn't reasonable.
5
I don't understand why she was so upset. The guy's message seems to be a decent beginner attempt at starting online hookups. Maybe it was cut-and-pasted, but he probably anticipated that he would get fifty rejections for every one woman who would accept. So perhaps he browsed for women that seemed interesting to him and then he reached out to them - which might have been difficult enough for him (as it is for many of us guys), particularly if he's a little shy and socially awkward.

So I think this woman overreacted a bit. I would have laughed it off and not responded. That gets the message across. I'm guessing the woman was upset because this was so counter to her OK Cupid expectations. She's looking for a meaningful relationship, something more than being somebody else's number, and here's this guy fishing for a one night stand. Maybe she's been frustrated with men or relationships before and she took it out on this poor sap. I don't know. But still, I don't think the guy's proposal was worth the raise of blood pressure and a letter to Dan Savage.
6
I'm as bad as sleazy guy.Worse, even. Never hurts to ask.Have messaged people after seeing a hot photo of them. Thankfully, most were cool and I was politely rejected by one.

Shallow....sure. But also honest

7
As a woman with an OKC profile, (I get 5-10 letters a day; not tooting my horn, but that's just how it goes for women on OKC) I think she way overreacted. I don't see any misogyny at all. Dude just wants casual sex, nothing misogynist about that! I think her response was mean spirited and totally unnecessary.
8
1. This guy needs to go to Craigslist casual encounters.
2. Apparently if I am a woman wanting to get laid, I need to get on OKCupid.
9
Cut and paste-y annoying, sure. But I also think her reaction is way over the top. And now I wonder how bad his reply really was, if this initial message is painted as so horrible.
10
I bet that shit never happens on Christian Mingle. Nope. Not ever.
11
I used to do AFF a few years back, and I would have counted myself lucky to get a message like that. (Not that I would have assented to a hookup, either.) Most messages are truly nasty or disgusting or even physically impossible. The only thing I could read as offensive were if he was married/attached and asking for a hookup after she made it plain she only wanted an LTR with a single male.

Overreaction. If she thinks this message is bad, she hasn't seen anything yet!
12
Her response is kinda brilliant though.
13
How do uptight feminists get dates? Maybe she should pull that stick out of her ass if she wants to get laid.
14
I agree with @2. The woman had probably just been spammed with unwanted responses and this one probably wouldn't have put anyone over the top on its own.

This letter had me thinking, "Okay, skanky request, but how is he going to find women who are down with meeting him for a hookup if he doesn't ask?" then I saw the part about there being a box that users can check. Good job OKCupid!
15
@5,

It's clear from the fact that he's only looking for a hook up and from the fact that he plainly stated he was only interested in her for her looks, that he was not searching for someone who seemed "interesting" to him.

@7,

It's shitty behavior if her profile doesn't indicate an interest in casual sex. She even mentioned in her response the fact that you can indicate in your profile if you're up for that or not. I've gotten propositions like that in regular social media (MySpace for example, back when it was relevant). How is it okay for women to have to field completely out of the blue propositions from randoms?
16
Yeah, if you want to see REALLY bad letters you need to go to Fetlife's Return to Sender threads.

To clarify, though, she didn't say that the first message was misogynist, just the return one which we haven't seen.

If you troll for casual sex disrespectfully (no profile filled out, nothing specific to the person you're messaging, especially messaging people who say they don't want hookups) you can't complain when you get a not-completely-respectful response.
17
@15, if you're putting yourself out there as available for dates, it has to be "okay" to get messages that aren't appealing to you. This guy's message wasn't obscene or threatening or pushy, it was just not something the receiver was interested in. Being "safe" doesn't mean being free from all interaction that doesn't please you, if people are respectful...just as it would be "okay" for someone to message a hook-up profile with a personal, chatty message. Maybe not desired on either side, but not some kind of violation either.
18
@5-9 Um, but her profile clearly does NOT have the casual sex box checked which means she had made it clear that this wasn't the kind of offer she was interested in. Taking a swing when you don't know whether or not the other person is interested is one thing (though with that kind of offer you better be prepared to back off fast and graciously if there's any sign the attention isn't wanted or is interpreted as threatening during an in-person encounter). It's another when the person has indicated they aren't interested (either in you or in what you're proposing) and you just ignore what they want. That's called harassment. Somewhere around the 900th harassing email from some random jackass I could certainly see someone loosing their temper and laying the snark down, even if the poor widdle harasser went through all the trouble of using spellcheck and didn't even use any swear words.
19
@17,

Yes, you have to be willing to field messages from people you're not interested in; you shouldn't have to be willing to field messages from people who only want to fuck you when you've plainly indicated that you're not interested in that. What he did was shitty. Her response was expect-able in that circumstance. The fact that he responded with vitriol indicates that he wasn't just looking for some harmless fun.

It is a violation in a culture where a woman simply being out in public is an invitation for propositions and where she's assumed to be out looking for dates or a quick fuck as long as she doesn't already have an owner, oops, I mean husband or boyfriend.
20
I was thinking this was an overreaction until I read @15. Why indeed, are women supposed to tolerate endless propositions (despite making it clear they aren't interested)? Does the guy being polite make it okay? Is polite catcalling a compliment? I can see the argument that "alls fair in love and online dating", but unfortunately this behavior is not limited to OkC.

Probably she did overreact to this letter. Reminds me of a recent podcast where Dan lectured straight men on harassment and slut shaming because it made it harder for them to get laid. This guy got bitten by that spider.
21
he's married.
22
@10,

On ChristianMingle, I'd expect more proposals for saddlebacking (engaging in heterosexual anal sex instead of vaginal sex to preserve her virginity).
23
What box someone checks on a profile, though, isn't necessarily indicative of every inclination they have. Someone could rightly think that someone might not check that box because checking it would result in them getting 500 graphic and obscene messages a day. It seems possible (although, yeah, not likely) that a politely-worded inquiry to someone like that might be appropriate. We don't know what kind of vitriol he actually responded with, though...the response he got to his message was vitriolic itself, so, although he should have just shrugged it off, it could be that she caught him in a bad moment instead of that he's automatically a predator, or proof that he wasn't "just looking for some harmless fun" - which would mean what, that he's automatically a rapist because he vented at someone who was rude to him (even though he arguably was rude to begin with?).

Men who have successful dating lives and relationships still often can go an entire lifetime without being propositioned as such. I imagine it isn't pleasant to get unwanted attention in public, but the reverse isn't ideal either. There are real gender differences, and respect is paramount. But it almost sounds like you're saying any attention from a man is predatory. Sorry, but in heterosexual interactions, the vast majority of the time, men have to be the ones to express overt interest for any kind of interaction to proceed. This should be respectful, of course, and ideally be based on more than appearance, but people of all genders and orientations are sometimes interested in someone initially or in total just because of their appearance. But gender differences don't mean one gender is inherently evil and one is forever victim, do they?
24
Yeah I'm not sure why the LW needed to escalate things in this case. The okcupid forums are filled with worse examples.

Personally, when I was active on okcupid I occasionally got messages unsolicited from women. I know these were two different subsets, but as much as women complain about the quality of messages they receive, the ones I got from women were Stone Cold Pathetic. Thankfully, they weren't obnoxious, just exceedingly dull and uninspired
25
That last post was in response to @19, forgot to include that. And about this situation, of course she was justified to write back a snarky response if she'd been fielding too many of these unwanted propositions. But that doesn't (to me, anyway) mean we should completely vilify the guy for writing his skeezy message, or assume he's a rapist rather than just someone without good social skills, or a general-type asshat.
26
@24,

Do you think women don't get those messages too? Cry me a fucking river.

@23,

You think her message was vitriolic? What a delicate flower you are.
27
@24, I got those too. Not in volume, because of how straight-dating folks tend to behave on online dating sites (men do the messaging for the most part, and women extremely selectively respond). But I got plenty from women who seemed to have not AT ALL read my profile, were out of my age range (and no, I didn't have it set at 18 to oneyearyoungerthanme), etc. I didn't take offense to any of them, even though they were ignoring most of my profile. The fact that they didn't proposition me I think has more to do with the way men vs. women behave than that they were inherently better people than this propositioning guy is (based on the little we know).
28
@23,

No, I don't think he's a rapist, just one of a substantial minority of men who think nothing of sexually harassing women. And, indeed, think nothing of women, period.
29
@26 - "cry me a fucking river"? When did that poster say women don't also receive those kinds of messages? Everyone seems to agree that women receive more of ALL kinds of messages on online dating sites. And why call me a delicate flower? I thought it was a snarky response, kind of rude, and probably qualifies as mildly vitriolic. I don't think me characterizing it thusly makes me any more a delicate flower than people objecting to the guy's come-on as if it's one hair away from date rape.
30
Folks keep not noticing this little turd in the punchbowl:

I was hoping maybe we could chat, I could show you my face (I assure you it matches/exceeds the body) and we could go from there?

So, a bare chest pic isn't nearly the same as a dick pic, but the intent is the same. He's pushing a boundary here....is it okay to send this total stranger a picture of my body parts in a sexualised context? Yes? Okay, here's the dick pic next.

I would bet you dollars to donuts that an unsolicited dick pic would show up before the picture of this dude's face ever did. If he were going to send/show a picture of his face, he would have done so.

Altogether: unsolicited request for sex, unasked-for showing of unclothed body, and absolutely NO information about himself, right down to he's in some random hotel in Chicago? This dude is just en fuego with the "how do I make women think I'm an unsafe creeper?" schtick.

31
First thought - this is why a grindr for females doesn't exist.

Second thought - there is nothing "threatening" about this. Unless you put your home address with OKCupid he wasn't about to meet you.

Third thought - I get it - you are an attractive 28 year old female, in a big city, so you have no trouble getting opposite sex attention. Easy to mock people, especially for their physical appearance. But don't worry, time is the great equalizer.

Fourth - would love to know if this "you go girl" would be similar if the sexes were reversed. Surely we would feel squeamish if an attractive 28 year old "successful" male mocked a fat chick for introducing herself for the prospect of a casual night of fun.
32
I'm going to reference Mad Men, and the episode in which Sally gets Gene to fight off her nasty (but not yet actually rapey) wannebe date Rolo, and Roger gets punched in the dick after tormenting little Danny Segal.

Both Rolo and Roger imagined that they were in charge of the situation, and that they could escalate at will. That their target was permitted to respond within the parameters they established, but could not escalate in return. Rolo probably learned a valuable lesson once he cools down; Roger admittedly is not a learning lessons kind of old guy.

So yeah, she escalated with a sharp putdown--understandable when you consider that this is probably the 100th guy to ignore her "no casual sex" marker and try to lure her with his chest shot and copy-and-paste "golly I never do this, and am certainly not married..." bit. He escalated first, by ignoring her stated lack of interest in banging random guys in hotel rooms. Sometimes the target of your harassment doesn't just duck their head and feel dirty and keep their mouth shut.
33
This woman think this guy is a misogynist because he says she is pretty and asks about sex. But then she makes a comment as if Terry is a piece of meat.
Yes, women have gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to sexism, but it goes both ways sweetie. A simple, polite "no thanks, this is not what I am looking for" would have been the decent thing to do. Even no response would have been more humane.
34
Huh?
35
@30: This dude is just en fuego with the "how do I make women think I'm an unsafe creeper?" schtick.

This, exactly.
36
@33,

No, she thinks he's a misogynist because of the reply he sent her after she told him to fuck off. Some asshole propositioning a stranger who has not indicated she's interested doesn't deserve a "humane" response, sweetie.

@29,

When did that poster say women don't also receive those kinds of messages?


I know these were two different subsets, but as much as women complain about the quality of messages they receive, the ones I got from women were Stone Cold Pathetic


No one has characterized it as date rape. Some have characterized it as shitty and deserving of a response in kind.
37
wow. what a bitch.
38
I think his "hey, I'm bored and want to get laid" BS deserved a much stronger response than she sent. I'd have just said, "Go fuck yourself..."
39
I see nothing wrong with holding up a mirror. The guy isn’t coming off well but has no idea what the problem is except that women are bitter, prudish snobs who reject him out of spite.

So she tells him how his message appears to her and why. That’s feedback. I’ve done that. Usually with less energy, just being very firm about not responding to anyone without a profile.

If he responded with vitriol (which is sulfuric acid and is used in south asia and elsewhere to burn women’s faces off, sometimes killing them directly by burning through the flesh to the heart) he’s being the delicate flower.

No, her letter was not at all vitriolic. It was snarky and not particularly nasty. She was asking Dan if the fact that he reacted with the email equivalent of a vial of sulfuric acid was evidence that she shouldn't’ have said anything, if *his* verbal attack was *her* fault.

It wasn’t and Dan backed her up.
40
On vitriolage:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_throwi…

Pictures:
https://www.google.ca/search?q=acid+atta…

This wasn’t their fault. They didn’t bring it on themselves.
41
my god this is boring.
42
@25 your response makes no logical sense. Why should what's-his-name be responsible for the messages that other people have sent? That line of thought gets you to LW reaction being understandable, but doesn't especially justify taking it out on some random dude who made an ill-advised by more or less benign hookup request. We don't see his reply, but then again ,neither did she at the time
43
@23 is right that many people mark that they're not interested in casual sex so they don't look like sluts. If they're browsing OKC at 11pm,, they might still say yes to a quick adventure.
44
The LW needs to develop a tougher skin. I was on OKC and one really gets all kinds. Everything from the ridiculous to a serious eew factor. Guys are out there trying, hoping at after 25 messages there's a response from a warm body.

I blocked and flagged a guy after a couple of messages that were way more hostile. You put yourself out there and you're gonna hear from the weirdos and the creeps.
45
@44: and you think he doesn’t need to develop a thicker skin? Her response to his lack of effort made her lack of interest clear but it wan’t nasty. The last paragraph is actual good and useful advice.

He was the one who flipped out, not her.
46
Anyone who thinks OKCupid is anything other than a meat market is fooling themselves.

It's totally fucking free... you get what you pay for.

He's sending out spam fuck requests, and why not? It's free! One in a billion will actually respond to his lame approach.

She's way overreacting... holy shit. It's a free dating site. Chill the fuck out lady. Just ignore it, it's painfully obvious to everyone except yourself that it's not personal.
47
I'm so thankful to be gay.
48
I personally like her "lay your intentions out after a few cocktails."

Which is practically screaming, "get me drunk and I'll say yes."

Seriously? Ew. Maybe I'm misreading that, but...ew.
49
I liked her response, though it might have been a little on the demure side. I don't care as much for the letter to Mr Savage, though. I can appreciate her not wanting to be a target - I've been a target when I objected to inappropriate attention. But anyone is justified in telling off anyone, which she did with some degree of skill. She can be respected for that, but the way she tries at the end to get bonus points designed for beginners undercuts herself.

Mainly, her reference to Mr Miller struck me as offputting, though its being the sort of reference Mr Savage seems to approve goes some way in mitigation. For one thing, it's very marginalizing, even if there isn't the same level of systemic oppression as when opposite-sexer men drool over lesbians. I've noticed, though, that quite a few comments posted about Mr Miller seem to treat him as Mr Savage's (male) wife, a subordinate in the common old sense of his being the supportive spouse behind the man. I'm probably overreacting to the decisive straw, but the LW's sense that Mr Savage being the one bringing in the large income means he's automatically the top in the bedroom irked me on multiple levels.
50
As for vitriol, it always makes me think of Witness for the Prosecution.
51
@5: He sounds like he can barely conceal being a prick.

@48: What? She's suggesting he try later on after more interaction has happened. She's not literally saying get the girl shitfaced.
52
Mr. Ven: I agree and it's been bugging me for some time: the way people seem to be trying to curry favor with Dan by complimenting his husband's looks. It reduces Terry to a sex object and assumes he is Dan's possession, so a compliment about his hotness is something Dan can take pride in.
53
@31--

First thought - this is why a grindr for females doesn't exist.
Second thought - there is nothing "threatening" about this.

Third thought - I get it - you are an attractive 28 year old female, in a big city, so you have no trouble getting opposite sex attention.


You wrote that this is why grindr for women doesn't exist--and yet you don't manage to tie that to point #2 and point #3. The key is UNWANTED sexual attention. If she doesn't want men paging her for sex, men paging her for sex is unwanted.

I'm a middle-aged fat lady with not a lot to recommend me and even I get tons of unwanted sexual attention from strange men. Dealing with unwanted sexual attention from men has been part of my life since before puberty. It's tiring. It grinds down on you. I have been groped on the bus, groped in elevators, groped on the city street, hooted at, hollered at, told "Baby, you have a great ass, what's your number?" or the equivalent more than once. I've been propositioned by coworkers and sexually assaulted in my workplace. I gave up on online dating because I just got tired of married dudes looking for extracurricular activities and guys who played like they were interested in me when all they were really interested in is my cooch.

The LW is younger than I am, and probably prettier than I am. That means that she's probably dealing with at least the same amount of unwanted sexual attention from men that I am, perhaps more.

As for being a threat?

If I have a personal ad up and it says, do not contact me for casual sex? It means, do not contact me for casual sex, and somebody who ignores that specific request and messages me is a threat. That is a person who thinks that his boner is more important than actually paying any attention at all to what I say. All the more so a person who doesn't have an ad with pictures up....meaning, this could be a person that requested me earlier and I blocked, and he's trying again via a different route.

Oh, and that picture of a bare chest? Like I said earlier, it's not in the same league as a dick-pic, but it's not far off, either. He's sending pictures of his body in a sexualised context, to test her boundaries. He's only interested in sex--he said so himself. If she doesn't slam down those boundaries, he's going to send another picture of his body parts in a sexualised context and it will NOT be his face. That's creepy, and it's threatening. Deliberately testing the boundaries of somebody who has already said NO is a threat, full stop.

Fourth - would love to know if this "you go girl" would be similar if the sexes were reversed. Surely we would feel squeamish if an attractive 28 year old "successful" male mocked a fat chick for introducing herself for the prospect of a casual night of fun.

Speaking as a fat chick, if a dude clearly had up Do Not Contact Me For Casual Sex and I pinged him for casual sex, yeah, it's Not Okay. If I sent an unsolicited tit-shot to a stranger who said no casual hookups, that's not okay.
54
As far as the OkCupid! stuff goes, I've gotten worse letters, but she has every right to respond any way she wants. It probably won't make a whit of difference and this guy will continue to carry on as he has been, but if it made her feel better to write it, then it was time and effort well spent. She wasn't offensive or out of line. As to the "it is free; what do you expect" line of reasoning Urgutha Forka espouses @46, I've never understood that. There's no reason that paying money should suggest you have better manners. I've been on Match.com, which is a paid site, and gotten the same kinds of come ons.
55
I don't think a lot of people actually read the profiles on OkCupid! I mean, I'm quite clear about what I'm looking for and what I'm not looking for, and still 22-year-olds write, as do conservative Christians, or men just looking to hook up when they're in town on business, and just today, a 72-year-old married man who wants to "make new friends."
It's not what I would do; I read the whole profile and only send a message to someone who interests me who seems like he would be open to me contacting him.
56
Not seeing what the big deal with the guy's letter was here. He wanted a hookup. She didn't.

And I don't see how not responding to someone on a dating site who you aren't interested in is "suffering in silence" or "demurring to some shit".
57
@51 I still think it sounds get the girl a bit tipsy first, and she might say yes if you were interesting enough.
58
Jesus, I hate to imagine what the other messages must have been like that didn't quite warrant that response AND A LETTER TO DAN SAVAGE... Did they say "hey lady, wanna hook up?" or something really super shocking and vulgar like that?
59
@54,
Yeah, match is a meat market too, but at least it forces a person to put up an ante before they spam away.

It's like gmail vs. U.S. post office mail. If it's free, what's to prevent someone from simply sending the same tacky come-on to everyone on the site?

Shit... I could create an okcupid profile right now and send that exact same message to everyone.

Actually, that might be an interesting experiment...
60
I'm 63 and have been receiving unwanted and unwarranted sexual invitations from complete strangers for a half century (and as late as last month.)

A portion of which was also threatening;

All from men who felt entitled to my time, attention, and sex for no good reason other than they were assholes who felt entitled to me because I'm a walking vagina.

My experience is by no means unique, I don't know a woman who hasn't been through the same harassment.

And no, not one of you entitled assholes is the special snowflake who deserves a break, even though there have been a dozens of you before.

Frankly, that woman was nicer than the entitled asshole deserved in her reply, that he responded with vitriol says more about him than her response.

Don't give me that bullshit, "but maybe she would be that one woman who didn't ask for a hook up, but secretly might want one!"

Your psychic powers don't impress me, it's just another "I'm entitled to hit on every vagina, even if the vagina package says she doesn't want it" bullshit argument.

There are women who say they want hookups, there are hookers, there are fleshlights aplenty.

Please go fuck yourselves.

61
Team keshmeshi.
62
She shouldn't have responded. Not because she should just suck up unwanted attention, but because responding often brings down the same sort of rage she saw. If she wanted to vent, there are approximately a bajillionty other places on the internet devoted to that sort of thing.

As to the message we do see, meh. It's tasteless, but not exceptionally so. Online dating is based off random people messaging you. Not all those people will be to your taste, some will be particularly bad matches. So long as they're not outright hostile, a guy looking for some casual sex isn't worth any more thought than deleting his message. If they are outright hostile, they're doing it for a reaction and you're best not giving them one.

Specific to TFTWE, if you're thinking about putting a big disclaimer in your profile to discourage those people, don't do it. Google the OKC forums and ask there, smart people whose opinions are valid because they have vaginas will tell you why that doesn't work.
63
@54: I've gotten worse letters, but she has every right to respond any way she wants.

This. How come her snarky response warrants all this "Whoa, lady, it wasn't that bad, who are you to hurt this guy's special delicate fee-fees after he went to all the trouble of cutting and pasting a request that you come bang him in his hotel room"? But his just warrants "Hey, a dude wants to get laid, you're a female person within the radius of his internet. Totally a reasonable thing to send a stranger who explicitly doesn't want casual sex, and the important thing is not to say anything that might hurt his feelings here."
64
oh man, I have so many of these, only worse.

Sorry but, this is the rule. It's called The Bar Rule. I didn't invent it, but I'm naming it. Goes like this.

"If you wouldn't/couldn't/shouldn't say something to a woman in a bar, don't try it online."
65
@63, maybe it's not just because she responded to it but because she wrote a letter to Dan Savage about it too - a columnist who ordinarily addresses a whole host of serious issues - and when his regular readers clicked through to find this serious, break-the-camel's-back kind of message, they were just met with a painfully-obvious standard-issue "hey, wanna hook up?" e-mail that didn't warrant any more than being ignored or deleted by even the most delicate flower who ever visited the internet. Nobody's "defending" him, or criticizing her for not being even remotely interested, for crying out loud -- maybe we just expect people who sign up to internet dating sites to make a minimal effort to act like adults and anticipate the range of responses they might receive on the wild webs, even if -- god forbid! -- many of those turn out to be blindingly obviously ignorable.
66
I'm not on okc currently, but isn't it the case that you say what you are looking for, such as a relationship, but there's no button to say "don't ask me for casual sex"?
67
Look, the guy sent a generic cut-and-paste hook-up request to a woman who specified that she did not want such attention. Responses ranging from "I'm not interested and I already indicated that" to "Fuck off, asshole" can be reasonably expected. A whining/raging response from the guy is a sign of entitlement and immaturity- it reminds of a guy who came into my favorite gay bar in Oakland and aggressively hit on a lesbian seated by the pool table. When she finally said "Get the fuck out of my face" (and it took longer than I thought it would, and it came after she had politely told him her orientation), he responded with "What the fuck is wrong with you?" She then said "Look where you are" and he said "So what? Doesn't mean you have to be a cunt." At this point, the lesbian's friends got involved and suffice to say he left before shit got grisly. My point is he was already being an oblivious asshole when he gracelessly, aggressively attempted to pick up a lesbian in a gay bar- just as the LW's guy was being an oblivious asshole when he sent her the chest pic and the form letter despite her profile's description of her as not interested in anything casual. And when you're being an oblivious asshole to someone, sometimes that someone gets pissy.
68
@DJSauvage: I'm so thankful to be gay.

Yes. You really do have something to be thankful for, and knowing that some men have that is a source of happiness for me. There is a lot a straight man can learn about himself from gay men.

Personally, I'm thankful that the women in my real life seem to hold men in slightly higher regard than so much of what shows up here on SLOG. For the lucky guy, women can be unbelievably generous and nurturing and soft and beautiful and fun and make you feel so thankful to be straight man.
69
You know, I think she wrote what she did BECAUSE this guy was so "polite."

I too was surprised to read his letter after her description -- I was expecting much worse.

Which is why her response was so perfect -- the guy was being polite. She responded with -- yes, read it again -- HUMOR. Snarky humor, but humor.

He had a choice to respond in kind or to ignore her or to appreciate the craft of her response and become a human being in interaction with another human being.

Here's the thing about email -- it doesn't come with a tone of voice. As I read her response, I heard nothing but amusement and intelligence and wryness. I suspect those here who are scolding her read what she wrote in a very different tone of voice -- cutting and sarcastic, for example.

How did she actually mean it? I don't know. I would bet I am correct though. It reads beautifully funny when read with a light touch.
70
@62 ChiTodd:
“She shouldn't have responded. Not because she should just suck up unwanted attention, but because responding often brings down the same sort of rage she saw.”

Ok, so you’re saying it *is* her fault? That she caused him to attack her?
71
@69 Actually, I re-read it and it reads still reads as angry, cutting and sarcastic. There was nothing "light" about her response. Calling his photo a "creepy" shot is not light.

I'm not commenting on whether or not it was called for, but it does seem she responded to a pellet gun with an Uzi, IMHO. Whether it not he was rude or uncalled for, whatever. But, she not only chose to engage, she escalated. He probably escalated right back. And, blech.
72
An

Uzi? More like she responded to a catcall with a slingshot. Theat’s when he came back with the Uzi.
73
Aiff @65
“@63, maybe it's not just because she responded to it but because she wrote a letter to Dan Savage about it too”

aiff @ 58:
“Jesus, I hate to imagine what the other messages must have been like that didn't quite warrant that response AND A LETTER TO DAN SAVAGE..”

No, the message we saw is not what what she wrote to Dan Savage about. The message he replied with — that we did not see — is the one that had her questioning herself.
74
@72 you have no proof of what he responded with.
75
Well, I've received much worse, so the message in an of itself is not offensive, just gag-reflex-inducing-level stupid but at least the grammar is okay. But combined with an empty profile without any face pics (and the amazingly original username!) the guy totally deserves it. If you don't have the balls to upload a fucking face pic and the willpower to write a few words about yourself, you don't deserve any "adult" fun.
I'm curious about his reply.
76
Please don't write back to those guys. Every time a woman writes back explaining how his spam irritated her, he gets tips on how to write better spam. Eventually he'll come up with a cut and paste that doesn't sound cut and pasted and some poor woman might actually waste time interacting. Let him expose himself for what he is in his first letter. Don't feed the trolls.
77
@66 (EricaP): You are correct. When you get to the question of what you're looking for, one of the choices is "casual sex," but there is no pre-chosen "don't contact me" thing at all. If you're not looking for casual hookups, you don't list them as one of the things you're "interested in," and of course, you can always be completely explicit in what you are and aren't looking for in your summary. I've read lots of summaries that make it clear that the person either is or isn't looking for casual sex.
78
@Aiff (#s58, 65): People write to Dan Savage with all sorts of stuff. He is free to publish whatever he wants. Lots of times they want affirmation. This week's column has a letter from a guy wanting permission to continue lying by omission. People almost always want to be told to DTMFA--they know that their partner is an MF who needs D'ing A, but they want to be given permission.

TFTWE wants approval for her response to a letter she got on a dating site that gets a fair amount of press from Dan both here and on the podcast. She has every right to respond to letters she gets any way she wants, whether you or I or anyone else thinks her reaction is warranted or will be effective. The letter she got was not the most offensive missive ever penned, but it could well be the straw that broke her back, along with the fact that the guy who sent it has no profile and no face photo posted and sent her a body shot.

I think though, that since the response she got from him after she sent her letter was apparently "filled with the scariest misogynist assholery you've ever seen," it should have been included, if only to shut up those people who don't see what she found so upsetting about the original come-on she got.
79
@31 - On each point you make, I can only say: exactly.
80
Ugh. This is why I'd rather jerk off. You want to meet people? Then don't act like an ass when somebody responds. You can't blame a guy for trying. He dodged a bullet.
81
His message is clueless and clumsy, hers is actively mean and rude. Yet another situation with no clear hero, though she comes off decisively worse than he does. Life is filled with situations where basically well-meaning people unintentionally give offense. Most people who aren't jerks give others the benefit of the doubt, laugh it off, and move on with their day. If you blow it up with a nasty, angry response, you ARE inviting the person to vent back at you. (Not get violent with you, not assault/rape you obviously, but if you tell someone off don't be surprised if you get told off in return)

Of course, actually reading his response could change the way I see this, but it seems doubtful that the tone of it is as she describes. Not only does she come off as an unreliable narrator, but if it were THAT bad and THAT much of an escalation, you would send it along with the rest -- it would clearly prove you were in the right!
82
@ 78 I think though, that since the response she got from him after she sent her letter was apparently "filled with the scariest misogynist assholery you've ever seen," it should have been included, if only to shut up those people who don't see what she found so upsetting about the original come-on she got.

I agree. Right now, we only have her description, and since her description of his initial message was not accurate, we don't really have anything to go on.

There's an interesting thread of cognitive dissonance going through here, though: to all the people who say she has the right to say anything she wants to, and to reply to messages in any manner she pleases: Is this a right that also extends to men?

His "crime" is being (very, very mildly) rude on on a dating site. In response, she decided to be (more) rude on a dating site. Either it's okay to be rude there, or it isn't. None of this "it's okay but only if you're female" bullshit.
83
TheMisanthrope @74: No I don’t have proof of what he wrote back, just as I have no proof that any of this ever happened at all.

The point is just that she wasn’t writing to Dan about the first message. She was writing to Dan for an outside opinion about whether the message she sent back deserved a return message “filled with the scariest misogynist assholery you've ever seen.”

That’s it. “I was snarky about his spam and he threatened to rape me with a broken whiskey bottle. Am I missing something here? Did I deserve that?”

Dan says she didn’t deserve that because she didn’t. None of us need “proof” that he threatened to rape her with a broken whiskey bottle (or whatever). She’s wondering if her letter was really that out of line.

For all those folks telling the letter-writer to just get over it, let’s turn this around. You are spamming a bunch of women whose profiles you haven’t read, whether or not they indicate that they are interested in what you have to offer. One of your spam messages gets a snarky response with advice, explaining why your message doesn’t make her feel flattered.

What do you do now? Ignore it? Tell her that she’s smart and that’s hot? Tell her that she’s ugly and filthy and will die alone? Threaten to kill her dog and stuff it up her ass?
84
Eudaemonic @82: Exactly. He was obnoxious, she was snarky-but-helpful. Tit for tat. If he’s allowed to be obnoxious, surely she’s allowed to be snarky and defend her space.

Apparently he didn’t feel that way though, because he got scary. So what *you* are saying is that he’s allowed to be obnoxious, but if she makes it clear she doesn’t appreciate it then it’s fine for him to get scary — scary enough that she may never stand up for herself to strangers again?
85
82, no, her "crime" is in portraying herself as the heroine of a "men are such pigs" narrative and offering up her rude response for validation and celebration, when, from the evidence she offers, nothing particularly piggish, and nothing particularly celebration-worthy, happened here.

I don't see anything particularly noteworthy about their exchange one way or another - he doesn't come off all that well, but neither does she. To me, her sending all this off to Dan makes me wonder what's wrong with her.

Also makes me wonder what's wrong with Dan, frankly.
86
@54 "I've gotten worse letters, but she has every right to respond any way she wants."

Who has the right-of-way to "respond any way [they] want"? Whatever this guy wrote back after this seems to be covered under this logic. In fact, you'd have to extend that to his original message itself to avoid being a hypocrite. In which case, it's pure Wild West where there are no rules, limits, or moralizing. You can't even make judgement because as you've pointed out, it's all in the game.

@63 This. How come her snarky response warrants all this "Whoa, lady, it wasn't that bad, who are you to hurt this guy's special delicate fee-fees after he went to all the trouble of cutting and pasting a request that you come bang him in his hotel room"? But his just warrants "Hey, a dude wants to get laid, you're a female person within the radius of his internet. Totally a reasonable thing to send a stranger who explicitly doesn't want casual sex, and the important thing is not to say anything that might hurt his feelings here."

It's called intent. As you say "dude tried to get laid". Is that inherently hurtful? Do you find his message *inherently* demeaning? [as others have pointed out, her profile does NOT say "don't contact me for casual sex"; it's just not listed as one of her 'looking fors'. as they say, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.] If so, then I guess you are in the clear. If not, it's just an earnestly lame attempt that should be filed under 'no harm, no foul'. In responding, however, LW intended to belittle/anger/whatever. Negative intent no matter how you slice it. Her response isn't the same in intent or effect.

Anyhow, there's basically no way you can logically excuse her escalation of the issue but not excuse his re-re-escalation later [which we don't read, but whatever, i dont think we'd learn anything meaningful]. It's like playing a trump card then complaining about taking the trick.
87
@26 the difference is, I'm not lighting anyone up in response and publishing their letters/screen names on a website read of hundreds of thousands of people.
88
@71 So TheMisanthrope .... you couldn't possibly find a light way to read her response to him?

Are we living up to our screenname? Because any ugly tone you are hearing, my friend, is generated within your own head. I do hear the snark in her response. I don't hear "angry."

You could be correct, of course. I am, after all, supplying the tone of voice for myself. I can't hear her. However, the fact that you only hear it one way, despite my direct experience that it can be read differently.... well. One does get back to your self-selected screen name, doesn't one?

(By the way, I'm not angry. I am snarky, mildly rude by challenging you personally, and acting annoyingly superior. But I'm not angry. Just so you know. If you read this as angry, please do try again.)

89
@71: "Actually, I re-read it and it reads still reads as angry, cutting and sarcastic. There was nothing "light" about her response. Calling his photo a "creepy" shot is not light."

True, but not an inappropriate response for starting out cold with cock shots.
90
@84: Exactly. He was obnoxious, she was snarky-but-helpful. Tit for tat. If he’s allowed to be obnoxious, surely she’s allowed to be snarky and defend her space.

Yes, except he wasn't actually obnoxious (just clueless), and she was slightly more than snarky. But that's nitpicking--this is just a story about getting bumped into in line at the store, and deciding to respond with a shove. Dumbass meets dumbass.

Apparently he didn’t feel that way though, because he got scary.

Did he? I don't know that, and neither do you. And we have strong reasons to doubt it, given that the LW has demonstrated that she's an unreliable narrator.

So what *you* are saying is that he’s allowed to be obnoxious, but if she makes it clear she doesn’t appreciate it then it’s fine for him to get scary

None of those things happened. You're misstating what I said, what he said, and what she said, and doing it in a context where everyone can actually read all of the statements about which you're prevaricating. Strange.

scary enough that she may never stand up for herself to strangers again?

And now you're making up imaginary harm. Even more strange. Are you okay? Why would you invent harms on someone who has not been harmed?

@ 85: That's a separate issue, though. Which is why 84 is so strange. I'm curious how someone could see the LW boasting of her smackdown of some random guy, and somehow conclude that the LW might have been terrified out of standing up for herself to strangers.

Ms. Cummings, are you the guy in the red sweater from the writer's group? The secret signals you think you're getting are not real.

91
@ 89: True, but not an inappropriate response for starting out cold with cock shots.

He did not do so. Everyone who wants to condemn the guy keeps making up fictional details (and falsely present them as true) in order to do so. That pattern means something.

If your position isn't defensible without lying, your position is not defensible.
92
His message was generic and spooky. If I had been the receiver, I would have deleted it without a peep. Good on her for attempting to educate this weirdo despite already having written him off.
93
@17: Consenting to open yourself up to proposals for DATES is very different than consenting to open yourself up to proposals for CASUAL SEX. It's okay, the d.b. who sent the letters didn't get this either.
94
81 and 82 have it right.

Ugh. It always amazes me how surprised and butthurt people are when they deliberately and unnecessarily escalate an encounter and the other person responds by escalating it even further. What the hell did she expect?

Also, there seems to be a little implicit male slut-shaming going on here.
95
Read the comment stream for any posting about women hating being verbally "interfered with" on the street. It mimics this one exactly.

I'll bet every person here who says -- hey, no harm, no foul, the letter was polite, just ignore it -- says the same thing about a woman walking down the street who gets catcalls on the street.

Despite numerous folks attempting to explain exactly why that is cumulatively a horrifying way to exist, these folks insist on negating their experience.

And all you folks who keep saying that this exchange is unworthy of being chosen as Letter of the Day? You are proving Dan's point in choosing it. Because you just don't have a clue and some of you persist in never catching said clue.

Think it is impossible to learn and grow? Patton Oswalt is proof that is indeed possible.
http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/cultu…
96
I always thought women who automatically say "fuck off" or some equivalent when a man they're not interested in or attracted to attempts to chat them up were unnecessarily rude. The advantage of online dating/hook-ups is that every one self-selects into categories based upon desires, preferences and many other commonalities. It eliminates much of the guess work involved and thus conceivably saves the participants time and the crossed-wires irritation of, say, a singles bar. So I considered the guy's offense not within the proposal (which was clumsy but harmless as written) but that such a proposal was written at all to this specific woman's profile. Her profile did not have the 'casual encounters' box checked, so in essence she had already told him (and anyone else who read her profile) that she wasn't interested in what he was offering. Unless it was sent to her by mistake, he crossed an already set boundary which, in this context, is kind of gross (scary, I presume, is what she hasn't shared yet). I might not have been as cutting as she was, but I understand her getting impolite in response to his impropriety.
97
@ 94: Yup. People seem to have forgotten one of (what should be) the rules: A respectful pass is a complement.

Even from someone you don't want to fuck.

Dan stated this a while ago, and it should become part of an FAQ.
98
And yet @97, Dan still chose to run this exchange. So I would venture to say that you do not understand what Dan means by a "respectful pass."

99
@ 95: Read the comment stream for any posting about women hating being verbally "interfered with" on the street. It mimics this one exactly.

You'd have a point, if this wasn't happening on a dating site. But it is, so you don't.

@ lolorhone: you'd be correct if there was a "Do Not Ever Contact Me For Casual Sex" box, and she'd checked it. There isn't (though perhaps there should be). If it's offensive to ask out someone who has not specifically and explicitly announced to you that they're interested in the type of relationship you're looking for, then the world is too offensive to bear.
100
@90 - 84 hadn't appeared yet when I posted, but I agree it is very strange indeed. Looks like there is a lot of narrative-constructing going on, to make this incident mean more than it really means.

TFTWE's response seemed to me inappropriately snarky, but what the hell, maybe she had a bad day. But sending it off to Dan to boast about it, that just strikes me as very odd. I've torn the heads off a few people on the internet in my day, letting outrage and fascination with my own prose run away with me, and my feeling later is vague discomfort, not "see, see what I did".