An interesting article could be written that summarizes the history of Viagra spam. Not specifically that product, but just the general onslaught of “pills to make your dick work better/bigger” spam emails. I have every sort of email spam filter in place, but still get fairly regular junk mails, mostly sent via my various Flux@incgamers/diii.net/diabloii.net old emails. Which aren’t linked anywhere recently, but which live on as contact emails on articles that are now 6 and 8 and 10 years old.
And which, thanks to Google caching and such, will never die.
Anyway, years ago the emails were straight up. “Buy Cialis here!” type titles. No idea if the links were legit ways to obtain such drugs, and in fact I think not, since such pills were prescription-only? So maybe the spam was offering a way to get prescription drugs without a doctor? Which is illegal, AFAIK.
Anyway, people soon got tired of such spam and all of the actual drug names got added to spam filters, which ushered in the grand era of “vi4gra” and other such atrocities upon the English language. (I blogged on such in 2007.) When I saw such emails or the like in spam comments I was always reminded of those studies that show people are able to comprehend borderline gibberish, so long as the initial letters are correct.
I suppose spam filters caught up with those as well, since the ones I’m getting lately are in proper English and don’t mention any drugs at all. Screenshot from my junk folder this morning, with duplicate titles deleted.
The titles are 90% of the emails; if you open one the body is just a short line of semi-nonsense text with a link. Quote:
http://tascq.dreamhosters.com/lake.html No amorous malfunctoon risk
I haven’t clicked the link and I wouldn’t recommend that you do so either. I assume it’s just malware, and probably has nothing to do with actually trying to sell anyone $50 bottles of M&Ms that are labeled “penis enlargement pills” or whatever.
Recursive digression #1: It’s weird how online scams mutate; in the early days scams were about well… scamming. Selling people fake bullshit, like penis enlargement pills. The scams then became more meta, with the Nigerian 419s at the forefront. I still get amusing emails of that nature, always themed to the world news. Whatever third-world hellhole is currently descending into chaos, barbarian, anarchy, and cannibalism gets inserted into the standard “I have $10m USD in a bank I can not access from my country and will give you 25% if you will cover some of the upfront fees.” So I see emails from Gaddafi’s wife or son, the widow of a general or prime minister from Liberia/Syria, Hugo Chavez’s mistress, Kim Jong-il’s finance minister, etc.
Such scams still exist, but quite a few these days aren’t actually selling anything, or even directly targeting the recipient. They’re purely inducements to get computer noobs to infect their machines with malware, in order to facilitate Google-bombing or to add the machine to the zombie ranks for DDoS attacks or other online mischief. Many of which are more profitable, more successful, and far less effort/risk than actually scamming some individual person.
It’s weirdly recursive. The scammers appear to be selling a fake product (usually related to penile function) to draw in the marks, but they aren’t actually selling anything. Or if they are that’s not the main point, which is to contaminate your computer with malware. Basically, clicking such a link is akin to three-card monte against someone who picks your pocket and gives you herpes at the same time.
Recursive digression #2: Women love to flirt and joke about sex and tease… when it’s safe. Ideally (for the women) they do it with their boyfriend/husband. That sort of banter engages the mind in a sexual theme (or flows forth once the mind is horny), and women love that sort of thing. It’s why women don’t get so much out of porn; since they don’t have the direct visual “I see something sexy and get horny” reaction that men do. Women get horny from their brains, which then activates the body. That works on men also, but men also work backwards, where visual can instantly arouse the body, which leads the mind along.
The willingness to engage in such banter, teasing, joking, flirting, etc, is another big diff between the genders. Women are much less willing to do so, since they need to be in the mood, and to feel safe when they’re doing it. So sure, sometimes women get drunk at a party and start sassing and being sexy, but not as often as men do. And they’re very unlikely to do that on say, a first date. They enjoy the banter and teasing, but they have to be careful since men take them seriously and read too much into the joking.
And men take them seriously because women seldom joke or flirt like that unless they’re really interested.
Because women don’t often joke around like that since they know guys will take them seriously, rather than being content to just joke back and see where the conversation leads.
Because men really want it to be true, and because it usually is true, since women seldom flirt and joke about sex unless they’re actually interested.
Because they know men will take it seriously and go right past flirting and joking into like, trying to kiss them.
Because women don’t often joke about sex unless they’re flirting and they don’t often do that unless they actually are into the guy, because they know men take it seriously.
Which is a shame, since banter and witty conversation is supremely fun and mentally-engaging, and it’s a great way to lead to knowing each other better and finding mutual attraction. I also enjoy it since women have very interesting thoughts and observations on the topic, which are often surprising since they come from a very different perspective and angle than those of men. But they hardly ever show them off early on, such as on a first date, for the recursive reasoning I detailed above. Which leads to another recursion I’ve noticed on a number of my first dates in the Portland area over the past year.
- I’ve gone out with a lot of women who were really boring and plain (personality-wise) on first date.
- But in many cases (I suspect) they were only that way since it was a first date and they felt they had to remain reserved and cautious, since they didn’t know me, or know if they could joke and be themselves.
- Which led me to not want to date them again, since they seemed boring and lacking in personality.
- But they were only that way since it was the first date.
- But there was never a second date because they were boring in the first date.
Thus does cat ownership multiply.
Amazing series of videos by a Clayton Cubit, a New York filmmaker. There are seven so far, all classy black and white videos of a fully-dressed (at least above the table) woman reading from a work of literature, while someone unseen uses a vibrator to bring them to orgasm.
Watch any of the videos for a better explanation, but basically the women are being stimulated to orgasm in an entirely asexual atmosphere. They’re dressed and reading aloud from various fine books. Not erotica, not porn, not even sexual content in the books, and they’re not “reading it sexy” or anything. Which is what makes the videos interesting to me; the odd dichotomy of the visuals and the reaction.
Hysterical Literature: Session Seven: Amanda
Hysterical Literature: Session Five: Teresa
One of the things I find most annoying and stupid in porn is how relentlessly and obviously fake most of the female reactions are. It’s worst in Japanese porn, where the actresses often spend the entire video panting in a sort of squeaky, cat-is-coming kind of, “eh, eh, eh, eh, eh.” And they’ll keep that up no matter what, if they’re being stimulated, if they’re doing the stimulation, if they’re lubing up a dildo, etc. It’s laughable, literally so stupid that I can’t find such videos sexy no matter what the visuals are.
I was reminded of such traditional cinematic depictions of female pleasure while watching these “Hysterical Literature” videos (like a seasoned porn viewer, I mostly skipped to the end) since their realistic depiction of female orgasm resonated with me. I’ve been fortunate enough to induce that reaction from a number of women on a number of occasions, and the reactions of these women really resonated with me.
There’s usually a lot more panting and verbal expressions of building pleasure, but the way the women look during and especially after orgasm is so awesome, and so universal. There’s almost always that giddy laughter, and the clear-eyed, alert, rapturous expression on their faces, then the slightly-amazed expression during the afterglow. They make very direct eye contact and seem 1000% honest and pure at that point, as if the misdirection and artifice and subterfuge we all use to pad out our personalities and mask our real feelings and emotions is stripped away by the orgasm, and for a moment they’re just honestly astonished by the turn of events, and completely open to their companion(s).
I’ve long assumed (and been told by women) that part of the amazement they show to me at that moment is at least partially due to how surprising and atypical the event is. Women so very seldom achieve orgasm from the ministrations of a man, (note that I said achieve, not pretend) that they’re always kind of shocked when it happens, even if it’s happened with the same man many times. I might have to reconsider that theory a bit after these videos though, since all of the women have much the same amazed expression here, and no exceptional moment of male sexual competence was involved. (Then again, they probably are amazed to have just come as they did, in such an odd circumstance and situation.)05.14.13
Not to distract from the fascinating medical and sociological and cultural aspects of Angelina Jolie’s awesome editorial about undergoing a preemptive double mastectomy, but…
My own process began on Feb. 2 with a procedure known as a “nipple delay,” which rules out disease in the breast ducts behind the nipple and draws extra blood flow to the area. This causes some pain and a lot of bruising, but it increases the chance of saving the nipple.
Two weeks later I had the major surgery, where the breast tissue is removed and temporary fillers are put in place. The operation can take eight hours. You wake up with drain tubes and expanders in your breasts. It does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film. But days after surgery you can be back to a normal life.
Nine weeks later, the final surgery is completed with the reconstruction of the breasts with an implant. There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful.
I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.
…do I need to feel guilty about my desire to see bikini photo before/after comparisons?
A few “before” images I gathered with about 10 seconds labor via Google Images.
You know that every tabloid on earth is currently scrambling to assemble a retrospective, and that the woman’s new boobs will be relentlessly scrutinized at every public appearance for the foreseeable future. But do we need to feel guilty about our salacious nature to see and compare and contrast?
Probably not. In fact, I’m expecting that after this opening serious, medical, informative news coverage, she’ll get dishy. After all, before she turned into Saint Angie, Angelina was the best sort of dirty slut with scandalous tattoos, knife advocacy, blood fetishization, sleazy boyfriends, etc. You know that Angie is still in there somewhere, and she would *love* to talk about picking out her new breast shape/size/perkiness, and if she aimed for her own 20 y/o perfection, offsetting the ravages of time, gravity, and nursing. If she resists it’s only to preserve her saintly, mothering, UN-ambassador image. Alas.02.14.13
That’s not me, BTW. Not in actuality, and certainly not in current temperament. I’m not dating anyone now and haven’t made any online dating efforts for a week or so, after 2 lame dates last week and a general decline in motivation or time for dating. I’ll probably get back to it in March, refreshed by another visit to California since I’m down in San Francisco next weekend for a friend’s wedding. (Much of my motivation to get back to dating in January was stirred by my visit to San Diego in early January, since I saw so many more attractive women there in a week than I do in two months in Portland, and I always much preferred the women in the SF area to those in the SD area.)
As for Valentine’s Day, I’m like a lot of men in this one regard; it’s kind of a relief to *not* be in a relationship on this day. No pressure to come up with some fun date activity, no need to squander money on romantic nonsense, etc. (I’m actually a big fan of romantic nonsense, but the good kind that’s mostly free.) I’ve often cynically and semi-jokingly thought that the ideal time to meet a woman would be in late February or early Match, so you’d have 8 months before you had to suffer through any family events for Thanksgiving, or any gift-giving dilemmas on Xmas, or any New Year’s Eve party bullshit. And 10 or 11 months before Valentine’s Day complications.
Ironically, my last LTR, whose wedding I’m attending next week, had her B-day on V-day, and we got to that point about 6 months into our relationship. And it was fine. Nice dinner at one of those wallet-emptying four course gourmet type things restaurants throw together at double their normal prices, but that’s just sort of expected. And in fact it was kind of nice having both of the big romantic events coming on the same day, since I only had to think of one thing to do, and could just tack on another present and card. (To put it in very mercenary, retrospective terms. I didn’t have such thoughts at the time and have always enjoyed doing/buying things for women when I’m in relationships with them.)
As for tonight, no plans. No dating, no urge for dating, and no vodka rendezvous planned or needed. I don’t care. (I do care in general, and I’d rather be in a relationship than not which is why I’ve been dating for the past weeks, but none of those thoughts come forth in any special depth or nature on Valentine’s Day.) I haven’t given the day any real thought, which is a benefit of being male and not feeling societal pressure to be in a relationship or in love, and my just generally not giving a shit about holidays.
Plus I’m busy working the past week, since I’m trying to finish up a big writing project before next weekend, and there’s a lot of stuff going on with the Diablo site, and I’ve been putting ever non-working minute into
playing testing the new Diablo 3 patch. I actually wasn’t sure what day of the week it was, much less the date, until I saw today’s Google doodle bestiality dating game simulator, and realized the 14th had arrived. I’ve been off of the 24-hour cycle, and went very off yesterday. Well, I guess it was Tuesday actually. Like I said, I’ve been oblivious to the day/date. Anyway, I’d been up like 12 hours, but had a bunch of work to do and the D3 v1.07 patch was about to go live. So I took a caffeine pill and worked and played some and wrote an article, and it was like 4 in the morning and I’d been up for almost 24 hours straight, and I wasn’t tired. Not at all. So I kept working, doing fiction for a while, then gaming some more, then wiki stuff, and the hours just ticked past. At some point I realized I’d been awake for 30 straight hours, that the caffeine pill had worn off 12 hours ago, and I still wasn’t sleepy. It felt weird.
I lost track of the actual time and hours eventually (it’s hard to count back in your memory when you get well past 24 hours and haven’t been on any regular cycle for days before then), but it was up around 34 or 36 of straight waking… and I still didn’t feel that tired. I finally just figured I had to go to bed before I had some kind of mental breakdown and that once I was lying down in a dark room I’d fall asleep. And I did, but it took a while to doze off. I woke up 7 hours later, took a piss and drank a glass of water, hoped I could sleep some more, and woke up 5 hours later.
So basically one “day,” in terms of a wake/sleep cycle, ran more than 48 hours in real time. Hence my confusion about what day of the week or month it was. Is. I kind of feel like doing it again, but I worry that two days in a row would fuck me up somehow. As it is I’ve been awake like 14 hours, it’s 5 in the evening, and I’m not tired. I actually want to take a caffeine pill and work all night again, since I’ve been very productive lately, but like I said, two “days” in a row of 30 hours straight waking seems like tempting fate.
As for dating, I had 2 first dates last week, neither of them any good. Not so bad that they turned me off of the whole process, but I figured it was too late to meet someone and click to the point that she’d want to come down to SF to the wedding with me. And that was kind of a motivation in late Jan and early Feb, so once the time was past I stopped thinking about dating and concentrated on work. And I still am, with a week to go.
The second of the two dates, which was last Thursday I believe, was the first real lie I’ve seen in online dating. The reputation for online dating is more deception than an off-line resume application, but I haven’t seen that. Obviously everyone pads their resume a bit, and people almost always look more like their bad pictures than their good ones, but generally the online dating site profile matches reality.
I’ve met maybe 50 women via online dating over the years, and only 2 or 3 leap out as “more attractive than their pics” in my memory. Maybe 6 or 8 were a lot less attractive, but in almost all of those cases it was mostly my fault for expecting them to be as good or better than their best pictures. This one, last week, was the first who was really a deception. Her profile listed her as 42 y/o and she had a lot of pics of her in shorts and tanktops on vacations in sunny places, but others in Portland looking locales. She had some other pics that seemed new, but they were only face shots, and usually from odd angles. Like one she was kneeling beside her big white wolf-looking dog with her neck resting on the dog’s back, and another she was looking up at an angle while wearing a hood and a scarf. Not suspicious or weird pics, but in retrospect… I can see why she chose those.
Even in the other pics she wasn’t a knockout or anything, but fairly slim/fit and she sounded smart and we had common interests and really, as I’ve stressed many times in these blog posts, you can’t judge much from the online profile. You have to meet to see if there’s chemistry or whatever.
So I get to the bar we’re meeting at on time, and she’s not there. No reply to my text and not until like 10 minutes later does she reply to say she’s running late. I say I’m at the end of the bar in a striped shirt, and a few minutes later while I’m sipping my weird drink this short figure appears beside me. “Hi, you’re Eric?”
I look and have no idea who it is. I hadn’t viewed the date’s pics that recently, and didn’t remember much more than her height (short, like 5’2″) and that she had dark reddish hair. But this woman was squat like a human fireplug, all in black, very greasy looking, thin hair, carrying a suitcase-sized purse, raccoon eye makeup… I honestly wouldn’t have considered that she was my date had she not known my name. I wasn’t real happy to consider it once she did, and spent a few minutes glancing past her, hoping some other woman might come in looking for a guy at the end of the bar in a striped shirt.
She was very heavy, but it wasn’t curvy, or any other euphemism. At least 40 or 50 pounds heavier than any of her photos, and she was short so there was no carrying it well. She was just squat and bulgy, and heavy enough that her face had gotten all wide, and one side of her neck was swollen like a goiter (hence her hiding it on her dog’s back in her one recent profile photo). I wasn’t like, disgusted, but she was obviously presenting a very false front via her dating site profile, and when I got home I looked up her profile to try to figure WTF. In retrospect, most of her photos looked old, like 10 or 15 years old, and the newer ones showed nothing of her body or neck. That was fishy, on her part, but the worst was her checking the “fit and toned” box for body type. That was an outright blatant lie, and gave me the wish, which I’ve only felt 2 or 3 other times after a first date, that there was some way to post Yelp type date feedback on the dating site profile. I wouldn’t have said mean things or given her a bad review, but I would have reported honestly on her body size and the fact that most of her pictures were at least 10 years old and very misleading.
To be honest, it was over at first sight. There was no personality or charm or character she could have exhibited that would have made me want to date her, given how she looked. I didn’t think that consciously… mostly I felt baffled by her appearance and tried to remember her profile and how I could have expected something so completely different. (Because she lied, I realized later.) So we talked and she was the same person I’d traded some emails with, but much less interesting in person. Not a good conversationalist; talked very quickly and interrupted a lot and was really obsessed with brand names and money and prices and such. Constantly mentioned how much she earned as a consultant (bragged about it, basically, which did her no good in my eyes since a woman’s income is almost entirely irrelevant to me on a first date, but a woman who is obsessed with money is a big turn off), talked about her brand name clothing, etc.
I cared little for her looks and less for her personality, so I spent most of the fairly short date wondering about her psychology. Why did she do it? What was the point? There’s no way any guy who meets her like I did, after seeing her old pics and false body size info, who isn’t going to be shocked, disappointed, and feel lied to.
There are lots of fat women going on dates, meeting guys they click with, and forming happy relationships. But I think very, very few of those begin with the woman blatantly lying to the guy about how she looks.
I’d ponder further, but even an hour talking over a drink was enough to make very clear that this woman had issues, so trying to analyze her actions on some logical continuum is pointless. Aside from her money and brand name obsessions, she made a number of weird remarks about sex. Like just out of the blue started talking about an ex that took her to a strip club and then got angry when weird guys hit on her while he was off getting lap dances. And other remarks about guys just wanting sex, but she said it with an angry, vulgar tone, like, “They just want some girl to squirt their come on.”
I assure you, I did not introduce any topic even faintly bordering on sex; that was all her and I had very little to say or add to anything she said, both since I wasn’t real into the conversation and because she was just weird. Probably the best part was towards the end she said she wanted to show me a picture of her cat and dog being cute. So she gets her iphone and she’s scrolling over the thumbnails in some picture gallery. The pics are tiny, literally thumbnail sized. I couldn’t tell what any of them were other than very vague shape or color, and besides, I didn’t care.
So I wasn’t really looking, beyond some vague curiosity of the technology, but as she scrolls down I notice like 8 or 10 thumbs in a row are all pink fleshy color. So I focus my eyes and it appears to be a human torso in closeup, but I can’t tell from what angle. The woman taps one so it goes full screen for an instant, and then she pulls the phone away and sticks it into her purse and stars saying things like, “Oh that was me. You saw me naked. That was embarrassing. There’s a first date story for you.”
But she sounds calm and matter-of-fact. Not actually embarrassed. I had no real reaction, as I recall. Surprised a bit, but mostly bemused at how poorly she was playing it, and more curious why she did it. I don’t believe for a second she’d forgotten that there were a bunch of pics of her tits on her phone, so clearly she knew I was going to see them as she scrolled through the gallery. We’d been talking for at least 30m by that point and I’m sure she could tell I had no interest in her, so maybe this was her attempt to be flirty or to see if I was interested in sex? (I wasn’t, and if possible I would have grown even less so after seeing a recent nude photo of her.)
Who knows… like I said, she was weird. Thus logic and reason and rationality aren’t necessarily useful tools in attempting to explain her behavior. I will have to bounce an abbreviated version of that story off some female friends when I see them next week in SF though, just to hear their insight into the woman’s motivations in dating deception and boob flashing.
Anyway, happy Valentine’s Day, whether you’re doing something or nothing or something in between.02.5.13
For the first time in my adult life I attended a Super Bowl viewing party on Sunday. The invite came about oddly; a woman named Tina was my first date in this online dating session, a couple of weeks ago. We had an okay date (that was the night before the great date that turned weird, as recently blogged about) but no real sparks or chemistry (as the girls say) and when I gave her a fairly neutral “so do you want to do a 2nd date?” email a couple of days later, she said no, but that she wanted to stay friends.
I’ve never bothered to take any of the women up on that offer previously, but this time, probably since I wasn’t very attracted to Tina and figured I’d have no trouble with “what could have been” yearning thoughts, I said okay. We met for dinner last week and it was nice; decent conversation, zero flirting or regret over lost potential romance on my part, and she even paid for the meal. And when she invited me to a Super Bowl party at a friend’s house and said that numerous of her single female friends would probably be in attendance, I figured why not try it?
So I did, and it was… adequate. Nothing unpleasant or lame about it, other than a lack of good seating in their tiny living room and the endless power outage delay in the third quarter. I talked to a bunch of people at the event (though none were interesting single women), I took lots of booze and frozen fruit and ice and made about 20 margaritas for people during halftime and the third quarter (which made me feel less guilty about pigging out on all the food other people brought). Tina showed up just before gametime and we talked a little, which was useful to confirm to me that I just do not feel any attraction towards her (she’s slim and has boobs and is far from ugly, but she has a rat’s nest of tangled hair and dresses terribly in baggy clothing and mismatched layers and such — basically the female version of how poorly most slovenly Portland men dress).
Plus I was able to stand outside and talk to people during the national anthem and the halftime show, so I didn’t have to hear any of the lip-synched cat strangulation that passes for diva-style pop music these days.
The main thing I took away from the event was a reminder of why I don’t do group events. I just don’t get anything out of them. I don’t consider watching TV much of a group/social activity anyway; I watch very little of it and when I do I want to concentrate on the program (or movie, ideally) and not talk or interact much, during it. Afterwards, it’s time for conversation and analysis and debate, but during I’m watching. This is, of course, hard to do with sports, especially live sports, since such events are at least 75% downtime, and more like 90% when you factor in commercials. Which is why I hardly ever watch live sports, and when I do at home I’m usually doing housework or ironing shirts or watering plants, always with music playing and the TV on mute.
None of those options were available during the Superbowl party, and if I got up I lost my seat, so I had to stick it out and spent a lot of time trying to shut out the sound or look away during the terrible commercials. And yeah, the Super Bowl has become this amazing, top-dollar commercial showcase, but 90% of them are still terrible.
Or so I thought.
What I found out, watching most of the game in a room with 10-25 people (guests began to trickle away post-halftime) is that most people really enjoy commercials, and laugh constantly at things I find very stupid. I saw most of the commercials during the game (for probably the first time since I was about 15 and hadn’t yet honed a proper aversion to insipid crap) and don’t recall a single one I found entertaining. I certainly didn’t consider laughing, and was repeatedly amazed when one obvious, telegraphed, lowest-common-denominator idiocy was vomited forth from the TV, and met with gales of laughter from my fellow viewers. And no one was that drunk or crazy or anything; these people, sensible and functional as far as I could tell on short acquaintance, actually found the “jokes” and sight gags funny.
One thing I’ve learned, repeatedly, since attempting online dating in Oregon, is how poor a predictor my own reactions or opinions are. I really have no idea how most people (men or women) will react to things, and more often than not, what I think of something is very different than what other people think of it. But not so often that I can just assume the opposite of my take will be true for most. This isn’t some overarching thing; I share reactions to happiness or sadness or triumph, etc, or at least know that that’s how most people will react. But especially when it comes to humor, I find zero amusement in things that many people seem to eat up.
One example that leaps to mind from the Super Bowl telecast is this cell phone commercial.
I don’t remember what it’s for and don’t care, and I don’t know who either of the actors is and don’t care about that either. The commercial acts as though they’re big stars and clearly expects the viewer to be interested in their potential as celebrity cell phone pitchmen, but I honestly didn’t know if they actually were famous, or if it was an entirely fictional scenario in the commercial and these guys were just actors playing fictitious characters modeled after oh…. Ben Stiller and Mike Myers, just to throw out the names of 2 commedians I would have actually recognized. (Though probably still not found funny.)
While looking up the commercial on You Tube to embed it here, I saw that one of the guys was Seth Rogen, which is a name I recognize as a contemporary comedy actor I’ve vaguely heard of, but if I’ve ever seen him in anything he made no impression on me and I don’t know which of the guys he is. (Not that it matters, since they’re playing identical rolls.)
So the commercial starts and one guy is on the couch and the other guy is talking to him and they’re clearly acquaintances and both think they’re doing some cell phone ad for Samsung. Five seconds in, the entire arc of the commercial was obvious to me. They’ll find some rivalry over who gets the part, start to feud, get called in and find that they’re supposed to work together, fake that, and then get ultimately humiliated or upstaged by a bigger celebrity.
I’m not saying that entire scenario ran through my head five seconds into the commercial, but everything that happened was so telegraphed and obvious that I felt zero involvement in the “plot” and just mused on how I had no idea who either of them were, and wondered why they were both so poorly dressed and slovenly. My immediate mental joke, which I did not speak aloud for the room, was that I wasn’t sure which cellphone they were pitching, but it clearly wasn’t the Motorola Razor.
Incidentally, I’m all for the current trend of men in their 20s and 30s dressing like hobos, shaving once a week, wearing terrible hair styles, etc. (Even growing full beards, a fashion statement that instantly adds 15 years to the face. Great if you’re 25, tired of getting carded, and eager to date MiLFs. Terrible if you’re 30 and don’t want to look like you’re on the edge of retirement.) As a sadly-aging single man clinging to his 30s and trying to date women who should know better, let me thank whichever trend setters decreed that men should dress terribly, waddle around with pot bellies, and give up scraping that shit off of their faces for days at a time. I feel sorry for the women who have to put up with it, but if every other guy in Portland wants to add 15 years to his face and dress like an eight year old who got up late for school, that’s fine with me.
The irony is that I dressed like a fashion-oblivious idiot all through my teens an twenties, wearing all black, baggy XL t-shirts, weird patterned pants, hardly bothering to shave, etc. That was largely since I was lazy and stupid, but was also in some part a reaction against the dominant fashion trends of the time, which were often preppy and big-haired and superficial in the Beverly Hills 90210 type sideburns and Polo shirts. (Both of which I assiduously avoided, and largely still do. Polo shirts especially.) So now I’m dressing in opposition to the dominant trends, which are basically to look like a modern version of John Belushi circa Animal House.
I’m ranging typically far afield, but the Super Bowl party reminded me that I have very little in common in mentality with most people, and that I get nothing out of group activities. I felt no greater excitement or intrigue in the game watching it as part of a group, I had to sit through unmuted commercials, I couldn’t just play music in the background the whole time, and while the pot luck selection of food was vastly more varied than anything I’d have had at home by myself, it didn’t make up for the comfort I’d have felt on my own couch, with the fire going and Jinxie on my lap.
I enjoy being with other people, sometimes, but I don’t think viewing a sporting event with others improves the experience, and by “other people” I mean one or two people I actually know and like and care about and share some common interests with. My Dad and other friends often suggest that I do some real life activities to meet women, rather than just trying with the online dating. That I join some hobbyist organization, or volunteer at a public nature park, or find some other common interest type thing that would let me meet people in real life, outside of just the one-on-one dating roulette stuff. And those are probably wise suggestions for most, and lots of people undoubtedly enjoy that sort of activity. But I’m not one of them, and I don’t want the potential end result (a relationship) enough to put up with the annoying bullshit I’d have to endure on the way to maybe (probably not) meeting someone through such a venue.
It reminds me of this recent Yahoo news article about what women want (in a man) changes as they age. I didn’t blog about it since I’ve beaten that horse often enough, but it’s kind of interesting. It’s wildly overgeneralizing based on info provided by females in surveys, but here’s a quote:
Women’s main concern in their late teens and early twenties is that their partner gets along with their friends. “47 percent said they would look for a relationship with someone their friends would approve of.”
“This is a very relationally social time in a female’s life. I refer to it as the ‘fit into me’ stage. Women want men who will fit in to their lives,” Dr. Karen Ruskin, a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, told Yahoo! Shine. “A key way to fit in is to be viewed positively by one’s social network, and to have shared interests. It is less about future and more about what feels good right now.”
My main complaint about most of the 20-something women I knew in 2006-2007 while finishing up my degree was that they just weren’t real people yet. Like, humans differentiated from their friends. So few of them did anything by themselves, or had any real individual or independent thoughts. And they traveled in packs and always did social things in groups (with guys and girls). I had a number of offers to “just come over and hang out in my dorm room” from women in my classes, and while that was entirely friendly on their part and probably very enticing to a lot of guys, for me it was like, “I’m going to sit in a tiny chair in your dorm room which you share with 4 other girls and make small talk with them and anyone else wandering down the hallway?”
To me that seems like a total annoying waste of time. Why just “hang out” when you could be doing something more interesting; going somewhere on purpose, or spending time one-on-one and really getting to know someone. The casual hanging out type thing is really just a SuperBowl party with worse food, and most people seem to find that quite enjoyable, or at least they think they’re supposed to so they just go along with it since they don’t know how to be alone.
I didn’t really appreciate it at the time, but in retrospect the solitary and unusual character of the girls I did spend time with in those days is pretty clear. My girlfriends who were in their 20s and 30s (which is all of them, thus far) have tended to be less social than most women, not real prone to hanging out with large groups, have never had a big bunch of “girlfriends,” etc. Never by me consciously selecting against those traits, though. More likely the selection came from their end; women who were into social hanging out type stuff didn’t click with me since I was very not into that, or just never had any chance to get to know me since all their boyfriends they met via hanging out group activities.
So it’s destiny, kind of. Or at least self-reinforcing selection, or something like that.
The question, I guess, is how many other people hate that group hanging out type stuff also, but put up with it since it’s all they know, or it’s how they think they can meet someone for one-on-one interaction? I’ve considered that — I’m not very fond of first date bullshit either but I endure it since it’s necessary to meet via online dating — but it seems perverse. So you do X that you hate in order to meet someone, but aren’t the odds pretty good that that someone enjoys X, and thus your matching potential is hindered right from the start? Seems like you’re hoping to meet someone else who hates X and is just doing it to meet someone else who hates X too.
And yes, it’s fun to overthink this kind of thing. Introspection is a river that can not simply be turned off.01.27.13
I’ve had no time/interest in blogging since I returned from my post-Xmas visit to San Diego, which is no doubt a keen disappointment to the vast hordes of readers who had just gotten used to my return to posting more than once a month. It’s unlikely the pace will accelerate since I have a semi-paying job updating a gaming site, and a potentially-paying job editing a novel, and an occasionally paying job doing SAT test-prep editing. Which puts blogging for free a ways down the list.Worse yet, I’ve gotten back on the online dating over the past week. I was largely spurred to do it by my experiences in San Diego, and by “experiences” I mean the fact that I was out and about every day with one parent or the other, which brought other living humans into my sight, many of them females who were not 1) buried in multiple layers of heavy clothing as they are here in Oregon, and 2) not padded by multiple layers of fat as most of the people are here in Oregon.
Of course my online dating is merely an automated way to meet women in the Portland area, but with some vigilance in searching and contacting it’s possible to find viable candidates. (Thus far I’m usually the ostrich in the animation, though a few of my incoming winks have made me feel more like the giraffe.)
I’ve only rejoined the service on Tuesday, but that was still long enough to arrange dates Thursday and Friday night, and both felt pretty good at the time. Friday seemed to be great, actually, but things turned the next day. More on those in a minute.
That Baffling “Gut Feeling”
The dates and especially their aftermaths reminded me of what I find most vexing about the whole online dating thing… that I never know if the women are interested or not in real time. And that they seem to decide whether or not a guy is suitable on such an intuitive, gut-feeling level of irrationality. I’ve complained/explained about that in the past so I shan’t go into it again. At this point I don’t even find it vexing, since it’s expected.
It feels kind of like driving on an eternal freeway where there are always cops watching and everyone is always speeding… so you know you could get pulled over a given a ticket at any time, and you couldn’t really complain when it happens since you knew you were speeding. The dates work like that, where I feel like I’m doing more or less the same thing all the time, and once in a while I get a ticket (but in a good way) and I have no real idea what the cop (date) saw that made her decide to single me out this time, but not other times, and not other people.
So both dates this week were dinner, and both were nice women, looking for relationships, not biological clock madness ticking, etc. One had contacted me first, the other had immediately replied to my email and both seemed to like me in advance. I was less sure about either of them, but I’m really looking for personality and smarts and such (on a slender body) so the first impression, which is usually face/beauty, wasn’t either of their strongest suits.
They were good conversationalists though, and both communicated well, had a sense of humor, weren’t uptight or superficial, etc. Prety good dates, basically. And over the 2 hours of so both dates spent at dinner eating and drinking and talking, I’d have rated them both about a 7 on 1-10 fun/positivity scale. I was not smitten by either, but was certainly willing to do a 2nd date to see if they grew on me.
However, as you’ll have guessed already from my past posts, both of them had already formed opinions on more dates with me. Thursday said no and Friday said yes. At the time, at least. My point is that I had no idea, ~2 hours into the date, if either was a yes or no about me, and I wasn’t even close to forming any solid opinion on LTR potential for either of them. While they’d long since made their choice.
The narrative changed about 2 hours in, since Thursday night ended there while Friday underwent a change of venue, when she left the restaurant and drove a few blocks and parked near her apt, then walked to a bar. Which was packed, so we walked a few blocks to a different bar that wasn’t packed and spent 3 more hours there, talking and sharing dessert and a couple of more drinks. And over that time the conversation became more personal and interesting, with us both feeling a little buzzed and growing uninhibited.
Talk wasn’t only about sex, and it wasn’t exactly flirty talk (other than her several times jokingly-caressing her breasts and insisting that she had very nice ones but that the tight stretchy top she was wearing was flattening them), but it was very uninhibited and entertaining and informative, and reminded me of why I really miss having an intelligent and articulate woman in my life. We wound up walking around the restaurant a bit at the end, her sort of sitting on my lap while we waited for the restroom, hugging there, arm-in-arm walking to her car, and then when she stood very close and very still at her door it wasn’t hard to guess what she’d say when I asked if she’d like a kiss goodnight.
I was surprised to find her tongue in my mouth a few seconds into the kiss, and while I’d have much preferred our first kiss to be indoors, in private, sitting down, etc, rather than standing in the street beside her car in 40 degree midnight misty weather, it was still pretty nice. We made tentative plans to get together Saturday night or else Sunday, and she once again said how sorry she was that she had to attend a wedding on Saturday, and that she’d long since asked a GF to go with her since otherwise she’d have asked me.
So that seemed pretty awesome, and I drove home with many happy thoughts, already considering stuff we might do together, wondering if she might want to come with me when I head down to SF for a wedding in late Feb, etc. And sure, there were some thoughts of more kissing and other pleasantly fleshy activities that kissing leads to. When I got home there was a text from her, too.
Thanks for the great date. Cant’ wait to see you again! Hope your drive home was safe.
I replied in kind, wished her well at her wedding the next day, apologized for putting my cold fingers on her neck while were kissing, etc. Jokingly, in the tone she’d been enjoying all night. I was up late working, and when I woke up in the morning I checked my phone and was disappointed not to see any morning texts from her. But I dozed on for a while, thinking about what we might do on Sunday, how I needed to clean up the apartment and get to some long-postponed bedroom redecoration since there was a possibility I might have a guest coming over fairly soon, etc.
The Worm Turns
When I got up there was still no text from her, but I was energized and started doing some housework and tapestry renovation in my bedroom, then had some quick breakfast, before finally heading upstairs to my computer to check email. And there I found this, quoted in its entirety:
Thanks again for a fun night. That was definitely the best first Match date that I have had. That being said, this morning, as I think about last night, I don’t think that we would be a good match in the long run. I’m sorry that I’m doing that female thing and dumping opportunity so quickly, but I don’t want to do something that I’m not feeling 100% about. I know it takes more time, than just one date to get to know a person, but my gut tells me to not go out with you again. In the past I have ignored my instincts and more often than not, I end up in a bad place, or somewhere I’d rather not be. I hope you understand.
There are many ironies about this, coming 9 hours after her eager kissing, talking about another date the next day, etc. Chief amongst them is the fact that she’d talked about her last two boyfriends, and laughed about how lame those first dates had been, and how she hadn’t really liked them at all, and had only gone out with them again weeks later after some random meeting, and had been surprised when she found herself growing to like them over time. I could make a joke about how our first date going so well doomed “us” to failure, but it wouldn’t be funny.
Reading that email, and another brief explanation she offered to my “WTF?” reply, I actually considered that she was doing this as a ploy. Like it was a game she was playing; a test to see if I was *really* interested and would push through her rejection to keep pursuing her. If so I failed the test, since I’ve bid her farewell.
This would be an easy place for a rant about how women are crazy, and her going from “yes yes yes please” to “no thanks” overnight is pretty indefensible. But up until the last 2 minutes of the date, I’d have had no surprise at all about her rejection the next morning. The date was great, with better conversation and more lingering embrace than most, but I still had no real sense of whether the woman liked me as a friend or a potential boyfriend, and I’ve long since learned never to expect good news in any venue, especially not the romantic one.
I talked about it to Tina, Thursday night’s date (Who said she wants to be friends and hang out, just not romance, which is a sadly-common result for my online dates. I’ve never taken any of the others up on it, but this one I might since she was good conversation but low enough on my attractiveness scale that I think we can be friends without me lamenting the lack of benefits.) and told her that. That right up until the end of the Friday night date with Megan I felt about equally copacetic to her as I had to Tina on Thursday night. And she did that “girls can’t believe how emotionally obtuse boys are” thing.
Not Crazy, Just Different
What I’ve come to realize is that women aren’t crazy; just very different in how they process potential romance type interactions. (Quite possibly most men are different than me also, since I seem to be way more objective and analytical than almost everyone on this issue.) Women get this vibe, or gut feeling, or spark-o-meter, or whatever they call it, and that’s what decides for them. They factor in concrete realities of course — looks, personalty, temperament, career, etc — but all those go into some romance CPU which sorts, seemingly by magic, men into “friend” or “boyfriend.” And that designation happens quite quickly, often within a few minutes of the start of the date, and it’s virtually unchangeable. Or so they (women) have represented the process to me, and I’ve had this conversation with literally two dozen women in the past year, and they were all in very close agreement on how the process works for them.
So I know all about it… but I still find it utterly baffling and incomprehensible, not just because I’m half-Vulcan, but because I’m a man. I think a lot of it is the whole “pursuer vs. pursuee” thing, where women always had a surplus of suitors and have to sort between them. Men pursue a vastly higher number of women than they ever catch, so men keep an open mind and if she’s attractive (enough) we’re happy to keep after her unless/until she says yes or no. We don’t have to decide or make a specific precise LTR yes/no determination (at least not early on) since that’s what the woman does and her decision basically decides the issue. (In modern Western societies without child brides and polygamy, where women have rights and can make their own choices, etc.)
The whole thing reminds me of something I heard Christopher Hitchens say in a number of his anti-theist debates. Often when some lamb would wax poetic about the power of God’s Loving Grace, or talk about how everything changed after he “took Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior,” Hitch would rebut by pointing out that those words were white noise. That they had no meaning to him, or to anyone who didn’t share a similar experience/state or mind about religion with the speaker.
I agreed completely with Hitch on that point, and that’s how I feel when women talk about how they get a vibe or a gut feeling or they just *know* if a guy is Mr. Right or not. Especially when they decide that five minutes into a date. It’s not just because that determination almost always goes against me (and almost every other guy too, I guess, at least when dealing with the monogamous relationship-seeking women I’m interacting with) it’s that it can be made at all, on such limited data.
In the same way I can’t make any sense of the idea that a human can feel a close personal connection to the largely-mythical legends that have grown and evolved to surround a quasi-historical, eccentric Jewish prophet who has been dead for 2000 years, I can’t understand what women mean when they talk about their gut decision about LTR or not with a guy they’ve known for five minutes. I don’t doubt that those feelings and reactions are completely real and important and valuable to the people experiencing them… I just don’t have any way of sharing their experience or fitting them into my attempted-to-be rational world view.
Thus I date and hope for the best, but try to put no real expectation on anything, and always assume every date will end in rejection unless/until one doesn’t. Friday’s Megan date threw me a bit more than most (Thursday’s “friend no boyfriend” rejection via email the next day was not even a 1 on the 1-10 surprise-o-meter) since she seemed so into me and the idea of “us” during and even after the date. In the end though, it’s just another inexplicable rejection after one date. I can’t chalk it up to a learning experience since it’s the same every time (until it’s not) and there’s no way to learn from inexplicable and illogical events, but I enjoyed the events at the time, she paid for the dessert and drinks after I paid for dinner so it wasn’t real expensive, and it gave me more data for my M/F psychological studies. Plus I have 4 or 5 other potential dates in the next week or two via ongoing email exchanges, so life goes on and hope springs eternal. Or something like that.12.21.12
Interesting news today that a former Olympic long distance runner has been working as a prostitute in Las Vegas. That’s not exactly how the news reported it, of course.
Suzy Favor Hamilton, a 44-year-old married mother of a seven-year-old girl, said while she found the work “exciting” she now has major regrets over that period of her life.
“I take full responsibility for my mistakes. I’m not the victim and I’m not going that route,” Favor Hamilton said, according to a report on The Smoking Gun website. “I’m owning up to what I did. I would not blame anybody except myself. Everybody in this world makes mistakes. I made a huge mistake. Huge.”
Favor Hamilton runs her own real estate brokerage with her husband, while also delivering motivational speeches and doing various bits of promotional work. She considered the escort work as an escape from the routine of normal life and said her husband Mark, 44, was the only person aware of it. “He tried, he tried to get me to stop. He wasn’t supportive of this at all,” Favor Hamilton said.
It’s totally unclear from the news when she was doing it, for ow long, etc. So I went to the Smoking Gun where their news item is 50x longer than I care enough to read, but it’s clear that she was doing it until she got caught, very recently. So that “period in her life” ended like, Monday. Which means that the “huge mistake” was that she got caught, and that had someone not snitched you could have been in Vegas this weekend with her riding your arm for drinks at Caesar’s, and then riding something else in your room afterwards.
And why not? She had a valuable service to sell and men were willing to pay for it. She was doing it in Nevada, with a regulated and registered and legal business, it wasn’t against the law, her husband knew about it but wasn’t opposed enough to stop her or leave her, etc. Obviously there’s some short term embarrassment and such, but she can easily turn this into a huge career boost. Drop out of sight for a year or so, then return with an inspirational ghost-written book about the scandal, play up the depression and secret life aspect, talk about how she’s reformed and it’s made her a stronger person, etc. American culture *loves* sex scandals and public shaming, but redemption and resurrection are just as popular, and one of the best routes to public success in this country is to hit rock bottom in a very public fashion.
Really, she’s got a Lifetime movie all but under production already. Child runner prodigy turned Olympian turned housewife and new mother bored after years of fitness training turned high class escort. Yes, this was the best career move she could ever have made.
Quote from TSG gives more details.
Sitting on an outdoor bench off the Las Vegas Strip earlier this month, Favor Hamilton referenced her athletic career when a reporter asked why she thought her identity could remain cloaked–especially since she spoke openly with certain johns about her real name, running career, and business pursuits.
Favor Hamilton answered that as a world-class athlete she was conditioned to believe she was invincible, and that doubts and concerns were counterproductive thoughts. During a subsequent conversation she brought up Tiger Woods’s tumultuous fall, saying that, “I mean, he’s the biggest athlete ever. He obviously thought he could never get caught.”
Favor Hamilton also blamed herself for being “too trusting.” She expected other participants in the insular escort business–where men seeking sex are called “hobbyists” and women selling it are “providers”–to honor a code of silence. Though she seemed entirely sincere, it was nonetheless a credulous notion that client and escort were morally bound by some implicit pledge of omerta.
Maybe her big comeback will play up her naievity or her innocence, or how she secretly wanted to get caught and exposed so the nightmare could finally end! She was telling johns her real name, her past history, etc. She’s not exactly Zhang Ziyi, but she’s still a celebrity of sorts; of course some guy was going to brag or slip the word. It’s kind of amazing it took a year for that to happen.
As for this second career… not to sound snarky and rude, but I’m a little surprised Favor’s favors qualify as “high class” and command $600/hour. I’ve done a lot of first dating (and some 2nd and 3rd dating) since I moved to Portland last year, with women mostly in the 32-42 range, and I’d say that at least half of them were more attractive than Mrs. Hamilton is in her public photos. (Though I doubt any had her former runner’s body.) And that’s even considering the fact that I have *not* been dating or selecting by looks; obviously that factors in, but I’ve been seeking a relationship rather than a hook-up, so I’ve been putting much more importance on personality, intellect, sense of humor, etc.
Admittedly, I have less than zero idea of what Vegas “escorts” cost or what they look like, but for that much money I’d expect prettier and younger. Perhaps “high clsss” is an expansive term and there are 25 y/o’s it it who cost $2000/hour? Or maybe the agencies need to cater to all client preferences, and while a guy in my age range would probably want the gorgeous twenty-something, a man in his sixties wouldn’t want to give off a creepy Hugh Hefner vibe while leading his slutty granddaughter around the casino. So he’d be more comfortable with an attractive cougar-y forty-something.
Probably the “escort” part matter too, since they’re not just going to a hotel room for sex. So they need to be good company for an evening out, able to make conversation, etc, and probably that factors into thee price? Alas, there’s so much I don’t know about prostitution. And am unlikely to ever learn.
The Smoking Gun lists her escort agency, and I Googled them, but uselessly. They are the HH Private Collection, but you have to have a membership to enter the site. TSG does include a few thumbs from her escort profile and she looks very good in them, though her face is hidden. I do hope the site listed her age since she looks 25 in the pics, and it would be a shock if a guy expected Anna Kournikova and got Favor Hamilton. I know they have low lighting in casinos and nightclubs, but still; she’s not at all bad for 44, but her face looks like that of a woman who spent most of her time from 15-35 running outdoors and getting sunburned and wind-scored.
Finally, on the larger issues of prostitution… who cares. Seriously, who cares? And if you do care, why do you think you have the right to do so?
I do not understand the religious mentality that trains people to condemn sex. There are so many good reasons to condemn other people, and to hate other people for the things they do… but I don’t see how the fact that “they’re fucking more often than I am” should be one of them. I realize that laws don’t have to make sense, and that plenty of things that should be illegal are not, and vice versa… but I’ve never heard any compelling argument for why prostitution is illegal.
Obviously there are activities related to prostitution that are horrible and should be illegal, like sexual slavery and human trafficking and enforced drug addiction, etc. And forcing someone into sexual acts is rape and wrong, even if they’re getting paid for it. But the evils of prostitution have a real causation vs. correlation issue there, and that sort of thing goes on with illegal workers in many industries that are both better and worse than prostitution. (What percent of the desperately suicidal women working 14 hour shifts making iPads and Wal-Mart clothing in factories in third world countries would happily trade that life in a blink to be free and wear nice clothing and sleep late and enjoy wonderful meals and live entertainment while being paid $600/hour to escort rich men around Las Vegas? One is tempted to say, “All of them.”)
Imagine if we lived in a Taliban-type world where any sort of pleasurable physical contact was illegal to sell. (Rather than just the sexual kind.) When manicures are outlawed, only outlaws will give manicures. How can it be legal to work as a masseuse, when your entire job is rubbing naked skin to give pleasure, and you can rub 99% of the human body, but there’s this one (or two) portions that are illegal to rub, or to rub with. And unlike drugs or other controlled substances or activities, it’s not illegal to use those parts of the body for free.
That’s the thing that always seems so bizarre to me about prostitution being illegal. That something can be legal to give away, but not to sell. It’s cruelly depriving poor but attractive young women of a potentially very valuable commodity, one that they possess for only a few fleeting years. One that steadily depreciates in value.
I’ve never paid for sex, at least not that directly, and don’t have any plans to do so, but as I age I can more and more readily see how and why it can happen, and not just for pathetic loser old men who can’t possibly get or keep a girlfriend. *cough*
During my recent online dating efforts I haven’t contacted any women who were younger than about 28, and the majority of my potentials were 30-40. Partially because those are the age ranges that I thought would be more likely to be interested in me, but as much or more because that’s the age range I was interested in. Young enough to still be attractive to me; old enough to have some personality and character and common interests.
Dating attraction relies on a whole range of issues and everything comes in on a sliding scale, but I hardly liked twenty-something women when I was that age myself. I had a 29 y/o GF when I was 20, and while in college in my early twenties I found very few women my own age of interest. Most weren’t very smart, but even the few that did seem bright enough for me were usually immature, frivolous party girls. Of course those are exactly the traits a lot of guys in that age range are drawn to, but I was not. I never enjoyed spending aimless time at bars or clubs, hanging out with a large group of people, etc. I liked to do specific things with a small number of close friends, or with one girlfriend,
That said, it’s not hard to see the type and age of women that men find most attractive. Here’s a hint; they’re the type of women who work as models, movie stars, porn stars, etc. It’s not a coincidence that they all look 22ish. And sure, there are arguments to be made about cultural biases and imprinting; we all grew up in a Western culture that relentlessly promoted Caucasian-type features and slender bodies and youthful faces as the most attractive, so at this point we can’t really tell our true preferences from our genetic imperatives from our media brainwashing.
That’s largely irrelevant to my purpose in this post. However it came about, men find sexy what men find sexy, and most prefer slender 22 y/os with bright eyes, perky breasts, full lips, long hair, etc. And yet most men are never fortunate enough to have a GF who fits that definition even loosely, and the vast vast majority of men will certainly never have one like that once they’re past the age of about 25. Which means that 99% of men spend 95% of their adult lives pining after a vision of female beauty they’ll never get. At least not without paying a great deal for it, and usually breaking the law to do so. But not in Las Vegas. Favor Hamilton didn’t quite meet that definition of almost unobtainable beauty, but she wasn’t far from it, and thus it’s easy for me to envision men who have the means to pay for that… doing so.
I don’t think there’s anything necessarily morally or ethically wrong about it, and assuming that both individuals are doing it consensually and safely… why not? I don’t understand why this one sort of harmless transaction is banned in most places and condemned, at least publicly, by most people. Humans are so weird about sex.10.18.12
I’ve been doing the online dating thing again for the past couple of months (though I’m about sick of it and will not be renewing my dating site subscription when it expires in a couple of weeks) and I’ve noticed something new, this time.
I was last on the online dating thing early this year, during January and early February, and at that point I was throwing a wide net. I’d done enough online dating in the past to know that any contact before the real life meeting is basically irrelevant, and that you can’t (at least I can’t) at all predict how well you’ll get along from reading the other person’s profile, trading emails and texts, etc. In fact, pre-date communication can be counterproductive, since it builds up expectations that will probably prove misleading. Even good emails can be a problem, since they build anticipation and if you expect a great date and it’s just okay, you’re disappointed.
That said, you can at least get some sense of the person and their interests, intellect, habits, hobbies, etc, from their profiles. I don’t especially care about that stuff, but I do try to discern something about her intellect, ability to write/think, etc. And no, you can’t accurately judge those things in advance, and even if you do it says very little about how well you’ll mesh IRL.
My point is that back in Dec/Jan, I wasn’t paying much mind to their profiles and was going with the “you never know, got to meet, see if there’s chemistry face-to-face, etc” theory. Which proved to be a pretty bad strategy, since I went on like 20 first dates in about two months and only had a really good click with one woman the whole time, and that didn’t work out since she proved to not really be available after all. Plus I sort of screwed it up by getting way too excited about finally meeting someone I really clicked with and coming on too eagerly in post-date email.
So this time, when I rejoined the struggle after seven months of solitude and sporadic reflection upon my past dating techniques, I decided it was all about the personality. I wasn’t going to read everything into female profiles, and I was really not going to get distracted by looks (that lead to amusing problems last time), but I was going to try read them closely for useful clues to things like intellect, sense of irony, creativity, lifestyle, and then realize that almost none of that would matter or provide useful guidance come the face to face meeting.
So how’s it working? I’m glad you asked.
Not very well. At least not very well in terms of finding a girlfriend.
It’s All About the Personality
I’ve been much more selective, so fewer total dates, and I’ve screened out many women based on their lackluster profiles, or their tardy/crappy emails, and one I bailed on after our first phone call since she couldn’t talk, but of the 7 or 8 I have met for a date, none have been a click. Several have been close, and two warranted a second date, and my miss rate is better since I’ve only had 1 that was a total waste of time (I was ready to toss back the rest of my martini, pay the bill, and walk out of the bar after fifteen minutes since I could see it was going nowhere).
And no real hits yet. None I’ve really wanted, none who really wanted me (not that women often reveal their interest on a first date, at least not to non-millionaires), and none where our mild interest coincided well enough that we decided to date more and see if it grew. Naturally, the 2 or 3 I was closest to wanting didn’t care for me, and the 2 who seemed the most into me I didn’t like. The rock-paper-scissors of dating chemistry is never less than amusing.
And then you die alone.
The main observation I wanted to probe in this post though, is how quickly women seem to decide yes/no on romantic potential. Perhaps some of that’s due to the online dating thing, where there are always 500 more singles just a few mouse clicks away, and perhaps they just said it as a nice way to reject me, but two of the women, including the one from my most recent date last weekend, gave me basically the same excuse. I’ll actually quote the last one, since she was fairly concise.
I enjoyed our conversation, but here is when my candid truthfulness comes out… I didn’t get the sense that there was much potential for the romance connection. I enjoyed the conversation; you certainly are a good conversationalist and very smart, and I enjoy that. I just don’t see potential beyond that though…I’m sorry.
Yes, she said “conversation” three times in two sentences. She spoke better in person than she emailed. And she was attractive. Prettier IRL than in her pictures (which is very rare) and she was actually as slender as her profile claimed (which is unicorn rare). We had a decent date, just a lunch that went about two hours of okay (not great) conversation, with a short stroll around a lake afterwards (this was like the last day before Oregon’s fall rains began.) I enjoyed it, at least enough to try a second date and get to know her a bit more, and I said as much (with slightly more positive and flowery language) in an email that evening. She replied the next day, chatty and polite and stuff, but with the bit I quoted above, which is really all that mattered for our purposes.
Here’s the funny part…. I agree with her email, and her appraisal of our date and chemistry.
We had a decent conversation, she had a good sense of humor and could actually make her own jokes rather than just appreciating mine, but I didn’t feel any real connection yet, and had no stirrings of romance/lust. But I don’t expect to, after just one date. Part of that was how she looked. She was objectively pretty, and was easily in the top 10% women in her age range in the Portland area, but she wasn’t really my type so I was less enthused by her beauty than most men would have been. I tend to prefer the more dark skinned, exotic look, and this woman was like 90% of the women in Oregon; half-blonde and very white.
Given her rejection, I’m glad she wasn’t more my type in looks, or it would have hurt. As it was I just felt exasperated and amused, since another woman had said much the same sort of, “we could be friends, but I don’t feel romance potential” thing after a second date, like 6 weeks ago. And in that case I also agreed with her, at least at that point in our “relationship.”
Because Online Dating is Weird and Unnatural
The thing that bemuses me about it is that women come to that determination so quickly. And sure, some of it’s probably due to the online dating thing where all human interaction and relationship consideration gets compressed into a very short period of time. I’ve mused on this to past dates and friends, but the online dating thing is very weird and unnatural, in that it’s totally unlike almost all other human romantic interactions. In real life, when you start dating someone you almost always know them already. Yes, friends sometimes set up blind dates, but the vast majority of time the two people already know each other from work or school or some other organization. They’re friends, or at least acquaintances, so when they eventually move to a date, they’re not trying to combine the “getting to you know” with “evaluating you for relationship potential” into the same half hour over drinks. That’s quite often what happens with the online dating, and I think it leads to snap decisions based on little valid data.
I’ve made some of those myself, sometimes based on more superficial factors than personality meshing, so I’m certainly not saying it’s only women who do it. But since I don’t date men, I can’t really comment on how other guys handle this sort of thing, and I know that many times, I’ve felt it was much too soon to form any real opinion, while the women have made their decision and set it in stone. That’s how I felt about the one last weekend; that I hardly knew her, but thought there might be potential, and that I really needed another date to form any sort of opinion. The one some weeks ago actually lasted two dates, and after the second one I was warming up to her and thinking that she was funnier and smarter than I’d expected, and that I could get to like her and enjoy spending time with her, even though she was a few years older than my target age range and had a kid and a work schedule so busy she hardly had time for phone calls, much less dates.
(A thought exercise I often propose to the dates. Imagine if some boyfriend from years ago, who you met in real life, had been met through online dating. Construct his hypothetical profile. Would you have winked at him? Would he have seen your profile and liked it? Would you have clicked within 20m on your first date? For me, most of those questions are a no, and most women I pose the exercise to agree that they’d probably not have clicked under those circumstances with men they turned out to match with very well. Which casts the whole online thing in a fairly skeptical light.)
I’m belaboring this with excessive examples, but it does amuse and slightly confuse me that women can be so certain about LTR potential so quickly, while I was not yet even remotely close to forming a definitive yes/no opinion about them, based on exactly the same amount of time spend together.
As I do with everything, I’ve tried to justify or rationalize it. I don’t want to believe that women are just flighty and ruled by their emotions, and that they’re all suffering under adult onset Prince Charming style Love-at-first-sight delusions and fantasies. I can imagine teenagers falling into or out of crushes in a blink, like Sansa deciding that she would love Joffrey and be his perfect wife and make him love her the first time she laid eyes on him. That’s almost expected of hormonal youths. But I expect more than that from grown women in their 30s, most of whom have been married before, all of whom have been in love and in LTRs before. I definitely don’t feel that one date is enough for me to know yes/no on that issue, and tend to distrust my lust when I do feel it that soon into a meeting. I figure I’m just horny for her, and that’s nothing to base LTR considerations on. And since I try not to think with my dick, and try to evaluate potential dates logically, what often happens is that just as I’m starting to feel I know her well enough to lean towards a decision… she’s long since made up her mind. Usually to the negative.
(And yes, I’ve considered that maybe I’m just really unattractive to them and they’re just being nice in the way they reject me. That’s always been my default assumption when it comes to women, but I’ve had enough girlfriends who actually did like me and who argued strongly against my intrinsic self-loathing that I no longer take my repulsiveness entirely for granted.)
But What Are You Basing That Decision On?
My current explanation/sort-of-logic goes as follows. It’s based on sexual attraction and the different ways men and women evaluate their potential lust.
Men, generally speaking, are interested in every woman they find even remotely attractive. (And plenty who they don’t, should that woman ever present an easy opportunity.) We (men) will therefore happily begin dating (sleeping with) woman we don’t feel we know very well or who we might not even like very much (personality wise) simply because we are driven (biologically, culturally, psychologically, etc) to get laid. We figure (correctly) we’ll come to like her more, maybe even love her, over time, and in the meanwhile there’s sex. In fact, it’s often sex that turns a man’s heart towards love, since it’s an inherently emotional experience, focuses intense intimacy on that one person, and it’s difficult not to feel sentimental and caring towards a woman when you’ve just done that with her.
Especially if you hope to do it again in the immediate future.
Women don’t view sex that way. They’re not real interested in friends with benefits, or in dating men they aren’t really hot for. Women make tons of really bad decisions and judgments about romance, especially in terms of being attracted to “bad boys,” (which is one thing that drives a lot of “nice guy” type men crazy, as they see male friends they know are assholes going through one GF after another) but women will very seldom continue dating a man they’re not wild for. They’ll put up with men not (yet) loving them, but they won’t carry on if their hearts aren’t in it. Women fall in love much more readily than men, partially since they so often use lust and love as synonyms, and they very much desire that romantic spark, that giddy sort of chemistry that for them is basically identical to lust. And yes, some men are exceptionally talented at igniting that ember in the heart of a woman, while most men (including me) have no idea how to kindle or create it.
Obviously there are exceptions in every direction; not all women are interested in the same type of man, and even the most boring and plain and sensitive/kind guys tend to find a woman who loves them eventually. But in all cases, women tend to think that they “just know” right away, making their determination based on looks and personality and intangibles. And that’s why women are the choosers and men are the pursuers, since men are generally open to a romance with any woman they find attractive. And maybe it’ll grow to love and probably it won’t, and as soon as he meets another woman who is interested he’ll want to stray (especially if she’s younger/prettier), but in any event it’s the woman’s interest, which is usually a very early and snap decision, that triggers the romance (or not).
The mystery then, to most men, is what gets the woman to like/want/desire you, and how do you create that in the first ten minutes of a date, since if you don’t get it then, you probably never will. And that’s why pick up guides and books and tips and all that other bullshit will always be a growth industry, since men are interested in most women, and are generally baffled why most women don’t like them, and even more baffled by those who do.03.5.12
One of the more entertaining political bloggers around is Roy Edroso, who writes at Alicublog. His main thing is to read some of the craziest of the ring wing blogs and quote their words, while adding corrections, outrage, or astonishment. Mostly ridicule though, stemming from the ancient proposition (often taken up by modern atheists) that it’s the best way to counter truly idiotic ideas.
In addition to his own blog, Edroso contributes a weekly column to the Village Voice, which is a longer form adaptation of his blog style. In it he generally picks the outrage of the week, scans dozens of right wing blogs and editorials about it, and then weaves them into an article with numerous quotes and a deft humorous touch. Reading a new installment is always one of the highlights of my Monday morning (by which I mean late, late Sunday night).
This week’s focused on the latest outrageously sexist/racist/homophobic/etc comment from Rush Limbaugh, in which he slobberingly attacked a young female college student as a “slut” for daring to testify before congress about the shortcomings of her university’s student health insurance. The woman is a law student at Georgetown University, which has a founding connection and is partial subsidized by a Catholic organization, and therefore the student health insurance does not cover birth control pills. This was news because a new extension of “Obamacare” requires employers (and apparently universities?) to offer full health coverage to their employees, and not just treatment for the diseases or conditions they consider acceptable.
I’m not going to get into that issue at this point; I’m just bringing it up since it’s the background of why the law student was testifying in the first place.
Like most “conservatives,” Rush is opposed to every part of Obamacare for a variety of principled reasons. 1) Obama is a Democrat. 2) Obamacare would help poor people. 3) Obamacare would improve the public health. 4) Obamacare would lower health care costs in the US. 5) Obamacare prioritizes basic health care for women and children and prevention of disease, rather than financing hugely expensive treatments mostly of benefit to aging white males. 6) Etc.
That this new wrinkle of Obamacare would force religious institutions to stop depriving their employees and students of health care on religious grounds is just another flag against it, for such people. That part is a bit ironic, since I can’t believe that Rush has any sincere religious belief. He’s far too venal, vile, and selfish to adhere in even the slightest to any philosophy more advanced than Objectivism. And sure, he’s playing the televangelist/carnival barker to some extent, just like other right wing media types like Andrew Breitbart and Glenn Beck — where they make their livings rabble rousing and moralizing, before retiring to penthouse suites full of whores, drugs, and every sort of indulgence they regularly fulminate against.
In Rush’s case that’s not just a metaphor, as he’s a convicted felon and drug abuser, and one of his more humorous arrests came when he was detained at customs while returning, alone, from a short visit to some third world tropical island paradise with a suitcase full of Viagra and condoms. The Viagra was contraband as it was a prescription medication… someone else’s prescription medication.
Anyway, I’ll briefly quote Edroso’s summary of Rush’s remarks, on the moral depravity of a young female law student who wanted her health insurance to cover birth control pills, a prescription medication something like 99% of all adult women in the US have used, at one time or another.
Among Limbaugh’s bon mots on Fluke: “She’s having so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills,” “Essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute,” “If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
That last was almost funny, as you can be sure that since his “detained by customs” adventure, Rush is obtaining the Viagra he requires for his prostitution field trips via his own prescription, and that it’s no doubt subsidized by his health insurance. But since no one on Earth would request a Rush Limbaugh porn video, he surely felt safe in making his rather wacky request.
The other funny thing is something I saw in other right blogger quotes about the matter. To again quote from Edroso’s column:
“Let’s face it, I’m sure most people, including Liberals/progressives, though ‘my goodness, how much sex does she have a day? Does she ever study?’” fantasized William Teach.
I assumed that knowledge of the function of the human female reproductive system, in conjunction with the birth control pill was fairly universal, but perhaps not? I’m not going to explain it all here, but no, the number of pills a woman must take has absolutely nothing to do with how often she has sex. There’s a pill a day for 3 weeks, plus 7 sugar pills for the “time of the month.” Those 7 don’t need to be taken; they’re just included for women who want to stay in the habit of taking a pill every day, so they won’t forget.
At any rate, birth control pills are not like condoms; you don’t use one every time you fuck. A woman can have sex with fifty guys or zero guys, and lots of women stay on the pill for a variety of health reasons that have nothing to do with avoiding pregnancy. It’s very useful to establish much more regular, less painful and bloody periods, in my first hand observations. (And that is of as much or more benefit to the man dating the woman as to the woman having the period.)
That said, it’s understandable that someone like Rush Limbaugh would be confused on this issue, as his sex life has undoubtedly been largely conducted on a, shall we say… transactional basis? So naturally he associates sex with the question of, “how much does it cost each time?” I’m just surprised that so many other right bloggers don’t seem to know any better than that. Or assume (perhaps correctly) that their readers don’t.
Incidentally, right up there with the absurdity of allowing elderly male virgins to speak as experts about women’s health issues, is the fact that some heterosexual men oppose wider use of birth control pills. You guys realize that lesbians don’t really need them, right? They might take them, for various health reasons, but you can be pretty sure that a woman on the pill is sexually active, or at least willing to be… with a man! And speaking as a currently single man, I consider that a very good thing. What single man (or even non-single man with a straying eye) doesn’t?
Furthermore… have these guys ever had sex? With a woman, I mean. Not to brag, but I have, on a number of occasions with a variety of volunteers. And let me tell you… having experimented with a wide variety of prophylactics, the pill is far and away the best, from the male perspective. Condoms can be fun for variety once in a while, and I’m sure men who can’t last find them useful for their sensation-deadening effect, but barebacking feels soooooooo much better.
It’s not just better like “more intense” better, but better in so many other ways. Closer, smoother, you can rub and touch and play without worrying about anything falling off, you don’t have to pause between foreplay and intercourse to roll it on, you’re not worried about anything breaking, you don’t have to decide in advance how and where you’re going to “finish,” etc, and most importantly, the sensation of intercourse is vastly improved. It still feels good with a condom on, of course, but then it’s just a sort of squeezing sensation. Even with an extra thin condom, you don’t get to bathe in the delightful smoothness and temperature and texture, and you can’t feel the moisture at all.
Honestly, any heterosexual man who is not all in favor of distributing birth control pills as widely as possible either doesn’t know what he’s missing, or is probably never going to find out. In either case, keep your psychoses and religious absurdities hidden in the closet, where they belong, and stop trying to butt into the public discourse on medical issues that are really none of your business.02.16.12
I so seldom read any popular opinion about celebrity or beauty that I agree with, that I gaped with surprise at this remark. It’s by Victoria’s Secret casting director, Sophia Neophitou.
“We would never use [Kate Upton for a Victoria's Secret show]. She is too obvious. She’s like a Page 3 girl. She’s like a footballer’s wife, with the too-blond hair and that kind of face that anyone with enough money can go out and buy.”
I find that insightful, clever, snarky, and exactly reflecting my own thoughts on the matter. I’m only peripherally aware of who Kate Upton is, and could not pick her out of a lineup (Since
all most blonde women look the same — especially if they’re made up, since they always go for the raccoon eyes.) but whenever I’ve seen her on some gossip blog for swimsuit pics or whatever, I glance and move on quickly, since she doesn’t hold my interest. Not that she’s ugly or whatever, but an unremarkable pretty face, big slightly saggy boobs, and blonde hair. Nothing to make her stand out.
When I thought of writing this post, I was certain that Kate Upton was English, since she’s got the typical body of their Page Three girls (blondish, bland, wide hips and big slightly-saggy tits) and the UK references in that snarky quote confirmed it. However, I just glanced at her wikipedia page and she’s from the US, which kind of screws up my central theory here. Which I shall now elaborate all the same.
Back in the 2006-2008 time frame, I had a very close friend and sometime-girlfriend (who I formerly referred to on this blog as “the I.G.” but who I’ll call Pati in this post, for the sake of convenience). Pati was very pretty and a mixture of interesting ethnicities: her father was a tall, dark skinned man from Northern India, and her mother was a petite brunette Jewish woman from Canada.
Pati emerged from that mixture as a petite, exotic-featured girl with very dark, curly hair, which she straightened mercilessly. She also got a lot more body hair than she wanted, which she mercilessly waxed. But her face fared better, as she was very pretty, and of indeterminate origin. She was constantly being taken for all sorts of ethnicities, including Native American, Indian, Middle Eastern, Persian, Spanish, and even occasionally Hispanic. Interestingly, her younger sister was taller, bigger-boned, of only average attractiveness, and she looked much more Indian, though she had lighter skin tone and straighter hair than Pati.
Our theory, shared and developed at the time, was that mixed racial stock tended to produce more attractive humans. Obviously “attractive” is an entirely relative term, but when you look at the world of models and celebrities these days, there are a great number of beautiful people of no clear ethnic heritage. Plus you see a lot of half-Asian female models and celebrities who are widely-considered to be quite beautiful.
It happens in real life, also. Living in the Bay Area at the time, I saw much the same thing. There’s a high percentage of Asians in that region, and while there are concentrations of people who are obviously Japanese, or Chinese, or Filipino, you see a lot more mixed racial people, who aren’t clearly anything. Kind of like Pati, they’re just vaguely olive-skinned and slightly almond-eyed, but the precise nature of their mixture of Asian/White/Pacific Islander/African/etc blood can’t be ascertained at a glance. Nor a longer look, in many cases. (BTW, I’m missing that sort of racial diversity more and more the longer I’m in Oregon. I get bored going out and seeing restaurants entirely full of white people, especially since the vast majority are ill-groomed, pudgy, and poorly-dressed. Male as well as female. Portland is not full of beautiful people, especially not the white suburbs where I live, which ties neatly into my overall thesis here.)
Thus the half-assed sociological theory, jointly developed by Pati and me, that a lot of ethnic mixing makes for more attractive people. We took the numerous mixed racial models as evidence for, and the plainness of most insular cultures as more evidence against. (Against their beauty, but for the theory.) I don’t remember the names of all the celebrities and models, but Pati could rattle off long lists of half-racial, beautiful people. (Obviously it was an area of interest to her, given her own parentage.) We also noted the prevalence of beautiful (female) models from countries with a lot of race-mixing, like Brazil, the US, and France. Other evidence came from ethnicities such as Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, African, or very White, where the women seem to be improved in beauty by race-mixing, regardless of what race they mix with.
The theory ran into trouble when we looked at areas like Russia and Scandinavia, where there has been very little immigration historically, and yet there are lots of really beautiful female models. And I of course noted that lots of ethnically-pure “Asian girls” were still very beautiful, even if putting some white into them (*cough*) tended to improve their looks, on the aggregate.
The real sticking point, oddly enough, was England. I’d long been surprised at the mediocrity of most of the Page Three girls, thinking their beauty clearly below average, in comparison with amateur models, or even just the typical pretty girl I saw walking around San Francisco or Oakland. For some reason Pati wasn’t that familiar with topless female models, but she’d visited Cambridge for two weeks a few years before (and was still bitter that her dad hadn’t been willing to pay for her to attend that university, after she’d earned admission), and retained vivid memories of how unattractive she found many/most of the women there.This was a problem for our theory, since while it’s easy to think of the UK as very white, its history is anything but racially-pure. The islands were stomping grounds for every sort of European invasion, from Romans to Vikings to Hessians, and while Ireland and to a lesser extent Scotland had a fairly homogenous population in recent centuries (enough to develop distinctive national appearances), that’s much less true for England.
That said, you see negligible traces of Black, Asian, or Hispanic blood in the English… which makes it odd how much less attractive their women are than Russian or Scandinavian women. In retrospect, we’d probably have done better to group England in with most of Western Europe, where there’s been a great deal of racial mixing over the centuries, as people have migrated, wars have emptied out areas and brought conquering armies to settle and interbreed, but almost always the mixing has been with other White people, thus doing very little to diversify the general appearance.
All this said, and probably in fairly racially-insensitive fashion, it’s entirely seat of the pants sociology and ethnography. Not to mention wildly generalizing of the relative appearance of people in cultures and countries, etc. Obviously there are exceptions to all rules, and the whole evaluation is highly-subjective; it just so happened that Pati and me agreed, in general terms, on what made an attractive woman. Obviously some people disagree, such as the photo editors at Sports Illustrated, who presumably have more of a finger on the pulse of what their readers (who I’d bet are chiefly white American men in the 40+ age range) find attractive than I do.
(That was a pretty good guess, actually. I searched on SI reader demographics, and according to this spam price list, they’re 80% male with an average age of 39. Race isn’t given, but the fairly high income correlates well with White Americans.)
Incidentally, check out the Page 360 girls. I only just saw it while finding the link above, and it’s an interesting feature with a script that lets you spin the girls around like your character in an RPG, giving you a full 360 degree view of them in a single pose. I initially assumed they did this in some Matrix-style circle photo thing, with like 30 cameras at once, but apparently it’s just one camera with the girls being rotated on a lazy susan, as their poses change slightly between the pics. Looking over a few of them cemented my opinion that English models are never better than pretty, and despite them only wearing panties and heels, I find zero sex appeal in that presentation, but it’s anatomically-fascinating to study. Try focusing just on their faces; it’s trippy how their expressions change slightly between every shot.