The Power Of The Wrong Stories

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*This MIGHT be a blast from the past.  It was in my draft folders from 2012, but I can’t find it published either here or at Mad Genius Club.  I suspect it might have been too hot to handle while still semi-in-the-political-closet.  It is weirdly relevant. (I have about twenty of these in the drafts folder, from before I dared speak frankly.  I see no reason you guys shouldn’t read them.)*

Gentlemen don’t hit those weaker than them.  Gentlemen don’t get in fights in public.  Gentlemen don’t brag.  Gentlemen remain polite even when those around them don’t.  Gentlemen protect the weak and root for the underdog.  Gentlemen don’t complain about being hit or hurt.  Gentlemen never admit they’re sick or weak.  Gentlemen don’t tell tales. Gentlemen never – ever ever ever ever ever – hit a woman.  Ever.

Did you grow up with those rules?  I did.  And if you’re going to ask why I didn’t grow up with rules for ladies… It’s because I never really wanted to be a lady.  Being a lady involved dressing the part, not taking place in public life, and letting yourself be protected.  I wasn’t any good at that.  It wasn’t a feminist thing.  I don’t think back when my image of things was being formed that I much cared one way or another for feminism.  It was a Sarah thing.

I read mostly boy books, and of course, imagined myself going on adventures and doing daring things.  This was way before sexual awareness set in, so I didn’t know women were subjected to other dangers than men – mostly through our being physically smaller and weaker on average.  A lot of smaller men who aren’t bottle coveys (Pratchett reference – the sob who doesn’t know when he’s beat and will come after you with a broken bottle in a bar fight.  The ur-bottle covey is of course Inigo Montoya) are in exactly the same risk as women.  (I have a fondness for slim, small men who ARE bottle coveys.  They try harder.)

Also, I wasn’t pretty enough to be a lady.  I was pretty enough to be a girl, because I WAS a girl, but not to be a lady.  Ladies have to be very beautiful so that guys will do everything for them.  Also, I really wasn’t good at pretending to be dumber than the local boys.  And er… I have a tendency to say what I mean.  Holding your tongue is for ladies.  I wasn’t a lady.  And that was before we got into the hand-to-eye coordination that made my young years living hell particularly when it came to sewing, embroidery and other “ladylike” pursuits.  I eventually came to enjoy crochet and embroidery, but not as a young kid.  EVER.  Back then I’d bring a book out during “crafts” lessons.  Or write poetry.

So, because I read a lot of the books for boys, I internalized gentlemen’s rules and tried to live by them.  The way each of us has an internal compass?  Mine was formed by trying to be a gentleman.

It has some advantages.  I have a lot of male friends, particularly those of British or old fashioned upbringing.

It has one huge disadvantage: I don’t get women.  Most women are a complete puzzle to me.  Yes, even though I am one.  Yes, even though I spent a lifetime sitting in kitchens, listening to women talk.  It took me till my ninth book – DST – to be able to write a woman convincingly.  Even when my main character is a woman, my books still tend to have more men.  No, it’s not on purpose, no, I’m not a self-hating woman (rolls eyes) – it’s just that I understand men’s “internal compass” better.  Oh, I know where it’s different than mine, but I can take that into account.

As far as I can tell, I’ll define things this way: men are dogs.  I mean, they’re disciplined, they follow rules.  They’re pack oriented.  Women are cats.  They’re individual-advantage-seeking, rule bending and devious.  They can be part of a group, sure, and they will viciously enforce the rules on others, but they don’t REALLY believe the rules apply to each of them.  Not really.

Now keep in mind I like cats.  Keep in mind too I admit to a lot of the characteristics of cats.  Like, “I won’t be told.”  But with the exception of my female friends (the finest bunch of females in the world, of course) most women are just baffling.  It is not just that they don’t follow rules, it’s what they think it’s to their advantage doesn’t make any sense.  This is particularly true of American women, because I think most of them haven’t been taught gentlemen’s rules at all and aren’t even aware gentlemen’s rules are the rules on the other side.

By my generation a lot of their mothers worked.  They didn’t get the advantage of sitting in the kitchen, listening to mom and grandma and aunt.  The stuff aimed directly at girls and women was aimed at “empowering” them and because it was – inevitably – written by the people who cared the most about what we’ll call “the war between men and women” (which is real to an extent, like the “war” for reproduction is real between birds and bees, each side always seeking an advantage) and who often cared most because they had scars and not-normal experiences, was achieved by putting men down.

I know in the seventies as I was coming of age, I was completely baffled by the endless – ENDLESS – books about the cruel father, the cruel uncles, the cruel brothers.  I found it mind boggling that in all this there was never a cruel mother, a cruel step mother, cruel sisters or cruel classmates.

Look, I know at this point those older women among you are rolling your eyes and going “you’re one of the young ones.  Second generation feminism.  You don’t know the true oppression.”

You forgot I grew up in Portugal.  The first time I heard the WORD feminism was in the seventies.  Guys, suffragettes were a relevant movement in Portugal in the sixties.  Women needed their husband’s permission to work.  A woman couldn’t get a passport if the man in charge of her didn’t sign off on it.

Do I approve of those restrictions?  Well, no.  So what was my plan if others, older than I hadn’t removed them?  Why, to subvert them at every turn of course.  And get away with murder.  It’s my most feminine characteristic.

BUT even so the books coming out of the states in the seventies – particularly those written by female authors – drove me nuts.  I had a perfectly good relationship with my grandfathers (both of them) my father and my brother.  The only relationship better than with the males in the family was with my paternal grandmother, and my relationship with my own mother (partly because we’re too much alike) came somewhere below the one with my brother.  The idea that mom and I were somehow oppressed for being women was laughable.  Both mom and my paternal grandmother couldn’t be oppressed.  They weren’t about to give anyone the time to oppress them.  In fact, I’d have paid to see someone try.  I’d have sold tickets and popcorn and soda.

All these sweet helpless female victims and all these male villains stuck in my craw.  Particularly when you then combined them with “woman with the sword” plotting.  You know what I mean.  Give a girl a sword and she immediately becomes a war leader and better at it than all the guys.

The problem is that a lot of the women growing up in the US with two working parents were getting their ideas not from extended family, but from books.  And books were being written in a very biased way.

Which is how we arrive at where we are today.  And it’s ugly.

Humans are creatures of culture and story.  We believe stories even when we made them up.  (Seriously.  It explains the collapse of most dictatorships and how shocked the dictators were because by then they’d convinced themselves they were the good guys.  Same, btw, with the way trad. publishing is going.)  Women who read ALL stories about evil males believe the most stupid crap.  My favorite is the “mother goddess” primeval paradise where everyone was happy, even the guys, and which was subverted by… lasers!  Cheese!  Or rather because men were evil, moustache twirling villains and would destroy paradise so they could enslave and oppress women because … lasers!  Cheese!

There is no reputable evidence for this.  NONE.  There are a few deranged “feminist narrative” historians who push it.  BUT I bet you a majority of American women believe it without even realizing it, at the back of their minds.  Part of it is because it’s a survival from the story of Eden, of course, but part of it is because they read so many stories with male villains this rings true to them.

Then there’s the women who think ALL men are in a conspiracy to keep women down.  Most will reject it if you tell it to them like that, but they act as though it were true.  Hence all the whining about more male bestsellers, or how boys MUST be exposed to female heroes, but girls shouldn’t have to read male heroes, or…

Egads, it’s dumb.  For one, it assumes males are females.  No.  Listen to me.  We really are different, and it isn’t just the way we’re brought up.  Gender is not a social construct.  HOW YOU EXPRESS IT is.  (The same as far as I’m concerned goes for orientation.  And that’s about it.)   But men are wired differently from women in a few ways – a few of which are clearly evolution oriented.  Now, as always, when I talk about males and females, I’m not talking about individuals.  Some individuals will be closer to the other gender.  This is a continuum.  But on average we know a few things about men: they’re more visual.  They’re more cohesive and less improvisational.  They have better eye-hand coordination.  They are better spatial thinkers.  They are brawnier, stronger and more competitive in the male-butts-heads-with-other-males way. (This is not an exhaustive list.)

Women, OTOH, are better at verbal, multi-processing, noticing detail, innovative solutions while in a group (In certain circumstances and absent peer pressure to integrate) They’re also usually better at following social cues and enforcing social conformity.  They are competitive but in an underhanded, back stabbing kind of way and will compete against both males and females for status and safety.

Let me lay it on the line for you, okay?  I’m a woman but I really GET men.  Most men are gentlemen.  Some have a slightly more tarnished coat of arms, but most are more bound by rules than we are.  They obey what they view as “group rules.”  A few of them are pirates.  They will break all rules, come in from the underside, do and say what they have to do to win.  Those few are the only ones who would even consider competing with a woman or cutting a woman out.  Most men instinctively, at a level that’s pre-verbal, protect women.  All women.  Even an ugly one.  Even their mortal enemy.  They can’t help it.  It’s built in.

That whole idea of men subverting paradise to torture and oppress women?  Bullsh*t.  The majority of men couldn’t allow it.

Now, can this be subverted by culture.  Oh, sure it can.  See the Arab world.  But the Arab world has its roots in “pirate culture” – in a desert culture of raiding tribes.  Under it, men’s protective instinct became perverted into keeping the women prisoner.  That’s because at the heart of the culture they view women as about like sheep.  They need to be penned up for their own good.

There are instances, of course, in western society, of the same issue.  And the further back you go, the more you see that.  Because we’re smaller and weaker, it’s easier for men to overprotect us to the point of penning us in and intimidating us.  And some pirates actually become heads of families.  Things get ugly then, because they do not follow rules.  And they’re still bigger and stronger than us.

Throughout history there’s been an unspoken pact.  Women are smaller, weaker, but have what most men will die for.  (If you don’t get, you don’t get it.)  They use that to get men to protect it.  Does it turn poisonous?  Oh, sure.  At times.  And also, civilization is a millennial project.  I wouldn’t care to live in the Middle Ages as a woman.  That said, even then in most cases, it wasn’t as wretched as in the female-victimhood books of the seventies.

Even I, who was raised watching women in action in traditional roles was shocked, recently, in watching an older friend wrap my husband around her finger.  It wasn’t a sexual thing.  He has no interest in her.  And it wasn’t conscious on her part.  But she needed help, and she gave off signals that had him working for her to the detriment of his own work.  I could see it, I could watch her do it, I could recognize stuff I’d read, and I was in awe.  This, ladies, is a birth right we’ve lost.  Yes, part of it is admitting we’re weak, which frankly, even I can’t do.  But it totally got men doing what she wanted when she wanted it.  I have read enough to tell you women have done this throughout history.  Men could have the power, but women had the other power.

So, what is this all about?  I want us to go back to women having no civil rights?  Are you kidding me?  Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are individual and I don’t care what the sex of the individual is.

I think by and large equality before the law is important.  Not equality of outcomes – which is already in our law and I don’t like – but equality before the law.  Going forward, it gives both sexes the right and duty to behave like civilized people.

BUT what I’m seeing is more than equality for women – mandated equality of outcomes under the law; mandated superiority – of testimony, etc – before the law (divorce cases, paternity cases, harassment cases.  In all of them the woman’s word counts for more than the man’s) and… paranoia about evil men.  And horrible clawing unhappiness at not being able to find “a good man.”

What I’m seeing are women coming onto the public arena, ignoring all rules, while men are bound by “gentlemen’s rules” which are the equivalent of fighting with their foot in a bucket of cement.

What I’m seeing are women winning – sometimes with the help of the law, sometimes for other reasons – in family law and many professions – writing for instance – and yet screaming they’re victims.

They remind me of my cat Miranda, who chases the boy cats around, beats them, and screams as if she were hurt.

Yes, I think a great part of the fault lies in the stories they grew up with.  BUT those stories are just stories.  They’re wrong.  Reality always wins… and victory can be terrible.

One thing I noticed is how many young women fall for the pirates, mistaking that for status and strength – then complain they’re mistreated.  The pirates mistreated EVERYONE dearies.  If he has no internal compass, he won’t have one for you.

And if you want to complain in business or politics?  You have to learn to be a gentleman.  You can win for a while otherwise.  The law gives you advantages.  But in the end, the long game?

You’re making pirates out of every gentleman.  If they can’t survive and thrive as gentlemen they’ll hoist the jolly roger.  When they do, they won’t be bound to treat you nicely.  And they won’t.  And they’re stronger.  And bigger.  Yes, it still counts for something, even in the civilized world.

Do you really want to keep telling yourself pretty stories and thinking all men are villains and all women victims?  Come on, stop and think rationally.  You know better.  If you make it impossible for them to be gentlemen they WILL be pirates.

Take advantage of civilization, but behave in a civilized manner.  Stop imagining you’re a lady while trying to compete in gentlemen’s business.  Civilization is a thing of rules.  While in their world, play by their rules.  When you get home be your lady-like best.

Out in public?  Stop crying when you hit.  Stop coming out swinging, then crying you’re not treated “like a lady.”  You want to compete with men?  Well, then, you’re playing with the big boys now.  Give as good as you take and play fair.

Keep on this way and you won’t like the result.  Just don’t come crying to me.  Gentlemen don’t tell tales, and I have no inner chivalry.  I’m a woman.  I learned the rules, but I’m not wired as they are.  When they hit back and it hurts, I’ll be in the corner.  With popcorn and a beer.

349 responses to “The Power Of The Wrong Stories

  1. Wrong stories, AND even how you spin stories. But you already know that because you have read Pratchett.

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Thinking about Sarah’s comment about “men being stronger/larger than women”, I heard a story about an argument between a woman and a man.

    It got to the point where the woman claimed that she could “take on the man” physically.

    Well, the man gently but firmly picked her up and took her out of the room.

    Didn’t hurt her, just got her out of the room and left her out of the room.

    But of course saying that men are stronger/larger than women is sexist. 👿

    • She can. Comes back with two or three other men with guns who will kill you if you resist and suffer no consequences other than a paid vacation.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Nod.

        But she thought that she could “punch out” the man. 😉

        • Just takes an extra step or two.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            True, but she was “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar” and thus “Men will fall before me”.

            IE She didn’t know what it’d really take.

            • Ya. Just looking at it holistically. No different than saying that perhaps she shouldn’t take the shortcut through the dark alleyway.

              I’m just a cynic, especially recently. One of reasons I stopped bothering to carry. Even if you are 120% in right you’ll still be convicted if any of the cretins in media or politics pick up.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Years back I saw a youtube video. Female (teen to young adult) wants to fight the guy, and he isn’t compliant. Finally she starts it, it goes on, she goes for the ball crush and succeeds. Then he is hurting from it. She laughs.
      That crosses a lot of lines, but the laughter especially.

      • And sometimes the woman will find the ball crush only makes the guy mad.

        • There is no more shocked and outraged Feminist than one who has used her social advantage to attack a male, fought dirty enough to get him genuinely angry, and gotten a beatdown in consequence.

          • That’s because another expression of the rule for gentlemen is “A gentleman NEVER hits a lady” — which definitely leaves room for “she’s just proven she’s no lady; game on.”

        • Pain response does differ. I make NO claims to high pain tolerance. So it was quite jarring when ‘lost’ waiting at hospital once to be approached by the doc, who stated, after identifying me as his patient, “I’m not used to seeing my patients walking.”

        • Had something smash me hard there, and found that the pain was in my abdomen, and that it was not debilitating. Oh, it hurt, just not something that dropped me in my tracks. OTOH, there is a spot on your knee that will have you turn white and double with pain.

          • The self-defense class I took in high school (focused on “guy who wants to rape you,” which gives more specific options, actually) taught to scrape down the shin, since it’s harder to block, easy to hit without specific targeting, and pretty painful.

            • My former taekwondo teacher taught us a number of different things, pointing out that men *expect* you to go for the nuts. But that certain other things–particular joints, even the hair–will make someone of *either* gender a lot more likely to comply/back off/collapse in pain.

              And having had occasion to actually USE the finger bend technique, I can vouch that it does work. (Not actually a truly threatening situation, though it was scary. Crazy elderly man threatening me and a companion with what amounted to a club. He *was* elderly, and about a foot shorter than me and probably twenty to thirty pounds lighter…but all the same if he’d managed to bring the club down on the arm I had up to block it, I’d probably have had a cracked bone. But then he stopped threatening with the club and tried to tear my nametag off my chest, at which point I discovered that a finger bend–even when I wasn’t applying full pressure or trying to actively hurt him (because elderly, and I was a missionary, for crying out loud) DID make him back up. I have no doubt it would have been a good deal harder and possibly not even have worked had he been younger/larger/stronger, but all the same…)

              • Eyes, fingers, hair, and the phrase “grab and twist.”

                • Rah rah ree, kick ’em in the knee!
                  Rah rah rass, kick em’ in the other knee!

                  If nothing more, it makes them far easier to outrun.

                • Eyes and fingers, knees and toes, knees and toes!

                • That news story I saw several times a few years back of an old woman who encountered a strange man in her home, he forced her face down on a chair and attempted to rape her, but she managed to reach back and grab him by certain part of his anatomy and twisted, hard.

    • My first wife thought that… until the day she got mad enough and actually hit me. I saw it coming and didn’t even bother getting out of the way. She balled up her fist, really put everything she had into it and hit me square in the chest. Then proceeded to dance around shaking her hand crying because her hand hurt. I was actually surprised she didn’t break something, woman really didn’t know how to make a proper fist.

      Me, I didn’t hit back, I did something much worse, I laughed… A LOT. Yea… that marriage didn’t last long.

      • Heh, hear you on that last bit. Have an ex-wife that would push me around physically. I would let her because, reasons. Anyway marriage was falling apart and we were in separate sleeping arrangements. I had to get to work the next day and she was standing in my room refusing to leave. There was a step down from the hallway into my room of about four inches. I physically picked her up, moved her into the hallway and set her down before saying good night and closing the door. The look on her face was priceless. Oh, and she weighed a great deal more than I did at the time.
        I think she realized in that one moment that everything she got away with up until that point was because I let her.

  3. I read books of manners when I was growing up. They were public library books, probably dated to the 1950s-60s. Boy howdy was I in for a surprise becoming a teen in the 1980s-90s! I liked those manners and stories better than what I had to endure. Much better.

    One thing some of the history reading I’ve been doing has helped with is writing womanly female characters. Published diaries are also good, within certain limits.

    I think it was in the novel _Touch Not the Cat_ I first realized that the protagonist (F) was serious about not being strong enough to get out of a predicament and really did need her husband [fiance? it’s been a while] to find her and save her.

    • If it was the Mary Stewart Touch Not the Cat, it was the proto-boyfriend/husband/telepathic lover (but they hadn’t actually officially met in person and/or been revealed as such. I found that a frustrating book, lol…)

      • I like most of her others (her romantic suspense ones, specifically–I haven’t read her Arthur trilogy), but that one was just…ugh. For all that she’s most well known (or seems to me, anyway) for her King Arthur fantasy trilogy, she did not seem very comfortable with supernatural/fantasy trappings in her more usual romantic suspense setting. (I got “creepy as hell” and “kill it with fire” out of most of the ‘telepathic lover’ thing rather that “oh, that’s so sexy.”) I wonder if her publisher pressured her into it, because that was the ‘in thing’ when it was published?

        • She does the fantasy trappings very well in the Merlin trilogy. I also like how she sets it up, as a post-Roman Britain with a lot of Roman influence and traditions. (The fourth book, which focuses on Mordred, has a postscript in which she reveals how when she was researching for it, she found an ambiguity in the history that could have meant Mordred and Arthur were fighting on the same side, and how tempting it was to write that… only she had already set up the doom aspect in the other books, so she had to go with it.)

          It’s still my favorite Arthurian version. Very historical feel, even though it’s obviously ahistorical.

        • I think she was pressured to do “Gothic, but different, try this” and did her best to shoe-horn the ESP stuff into a romance plot. It was not her best by a very long shot.

          • Terry Sanders

            The only ESP romance I ever was impressed by was Kipling’s “The Brushwood Boy.” And that worked because he (and both parties) freely admitted it was weird.

        • In one bookstore I frequented, ALL of Stewart’s books were shelved in the Fantasy section, because of the Merlin trilogy (the last volume came later IIRC).
          The employees never even looked at the blurbs for content.
          Sigh.

  4. I do not recall reading this ere now, and I am sure I would if you had published previously.

  5. John Prigent

    Hmm – interesting. I grew up with books in the 40s and 50s in a house full of women, raiding the public library for anything that looked interesting. And a lot of the stories I enjoyed had strong leading girls – Swallows and Amazons was hardly a male-led example, and there were many others beside the male-oriented adventures that I enjoyed just as much. I’d probable fit you definition of a ‘gentleman’ because I treat everybody the same way and expect them to do the same for me. Maybe that’s why I have no problem relating to some of your own characters! And I can still work well with a female Chair in a local charity – 4 women Trustees and only 2 other men beside me.

    • Remember where I grew up when you think of girls’ books. Even 20 years later, when I was teaching, most parents confined girls to reading lives of saints.
      Mind you I read books with female characters but they were adventure-slanted. Yes, they were written by a female. Thank Heavens for Enid Blyton.

      • “reading lives of saints”

        Heavy dose of Fatima, then?

        • No. Mostly really crazy medieval stories. I think most saints (mostly virgins and martyrs) aren’t even in the Catholic pantheon anymore.

          • There are some great ones from Central Europe who either 1) aren’t officially saints any more but the locals don’t want to change the church or 2) have been embroidered to the point of flabbergast. Like the elaborate Romance of St. George where he’s killed three times and comes back twice before his final martyrdom. Great medieval art, amazingly well preserved (is in a castle in Hungary, IIRC) but theologically… awkward.

            • If believing in the historicity of St. Salsa is wrong, I don’t want to be right. 🙂

              The deal is this: several prominent saints got removed from the Latin Rite universal calendar for not having much verifiable history info. But most of them are still in the Roman Martyrology, which makes them okay for optional celebrations. It is also okay to use saints, in most cases, if some Catholic bishop somewhere ever had them on the diocesan calendar.

              So they are still around. But under the radar.

              Also, there is a tendency to suppress fun saint facts in modern accounts, especially in saints supposedly all about social justice. God forbid the kiddies learn that St. Vincent de Paul was kidnapped and enslaved by Muslim pirates, or that St. Martin de Porres mass-teleported people.

              I believe in telling everyone! (Not as an evangelical tool. Just as a cool thing.)

              • St. Unencumber of England, who helped dissolve unwanted marriages and engagements. Never recognized by the Church, but a very popular folk saint.

              • When they do the Saints parade for the after-school Catholic faith classes, I once saw a kid in a cassock with a bunch of balloons. Turns out he had them to hand out, not that he was being St. Joseph of Cupertino. (Who could fly.)

  6. One thing I noticed is how many young women fall for the pirates, mistaking that for status and strength – then complain they’re mistreated. The pirates mistreated EVERYONE dearies. If he has no internal compass, he won’t have one for you.

    I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the reason why many women fall for the “bad-boy” type is because his behaviors mimic the actions of a good man, at least enough to get the hindbrain interested. Heck with it, I’ll just repost what I wrote last October in response to Foxfier saying “I think the “bad boy” thing is a defect in the “dangerous guy” search perimeter– and that is only because anything strong enough to help you is strong enough to hurt.” This is what I wrote in response to that:

    A good man will say, “To hell with what the world thinks I should do; I’m going to do what’s right!” A bad boy will say, “To hell with what the world thinks I should do; I’m going to do what I want!” But the woman’s hindbrain only sees the “To hell with what the world thinks” part, and persuades her that he’s attractive because he has the qualities of a good man. If she’s smart, she’ll let her forebrain have its say, and realize that the bad bay’s attitude and the good man’s attitude are not at all the same, even if they look superficially similar. But many women don’t (or won’t) listen to their forebrains, and let their hindbrains do the deciding. And then, when her “bad boy” is beating her up, she exhibits classic battered-woman syndrome and says “But he loves me” and all that.

    The male side of this looks a little different, but it’s the same thing in the end. Men’s hindbrains tend towards the visual: when a man sees a women with a generous chest, a narrow waist, long hair, and so on, his hindbrain goes “Wow, she’s hot”. It’s his forebrain that will tell him “She just divorced her fourth husband, who was richer than you; what are the odds that she’d stay married to you?” Or, conversely, “And not only is she hot, she’s a faithful Christian who has committed to waiting for marriage; if she does fall in love with you, the odds are good that you’ll have a good marriage.” (The latter, of course, assumes that the man himself is a Christian who agrees with those values; if he isn’t, then that woman won’t be a good marriage prospect for him, even though she would be an excellent marriage prospect for someone else.)

    I’ve started summing this up as, “The hindbrain is stupid.” The attraction generated by the hindbrain is an important part of looking for a spouse, of course. But if people only listen to the hindbrain, they’ll often screw themselves up.

    In other words, when women fall for the bad boy who says “To heck with what the world thinks,” what they’re actually looking for is this:

    • Have I mentioned how hard it is to disagree with Cap being all…well… Captain America?

      • I am Canadian male who tried to quit high school when I was fifteen and my plan was to join American army and become next Capt America, but from Canada. My mom was killjoy and nixed that plan.

      • That’s who I fell in love with. Maybe I watched too many military shows, I never understood the appeal of the bad boy. I always liked a clean shaven man. Who had a well-paying job..

        • I think some of us just learned to recognize predators earlier than others; I don’t see the appeal of wolves, either.

          • They figure they can domesticate the wolves and turn them into dogs.

            • *grumbles* Not a full growth, you can’t. *grumble*

            • Regrettably, their methods tend to leave the dogs feral.

            • Yup. “Good Girl Reforms Bad Boy” is a recurring theme in fiction of the last 50 years or so. Unfortunately for the Good Girls, that story is entirely fiction.

              • I think you are underestimating the time scale. And the story isn’t entirely fiction, but it’s near enough to make no difference.

                • Terry Sanders

                  How many Real Women does it take to change a light bulb?

                  Only one. But the light bulb must *want* to change.

            • Problem with “domesticating” wolves: a wolf who decides to bond with you makes a much better hunting partner than does a fluffy purse-dog (which seems to be the model the domesticators are aiming for.)
              Of course, being the kind of person a wolf will choose to fully bond with is harder work than just training a puppy…

              • An appallingly small quantity of those folk possess the attributes required to train a small puppy, despite their widely held conviction that it “will be easy!”

            • Only if the wolf wants to change.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Nod.

                Love can change the Bad Boy, but it is always His Love for the Good Girl not Her Love for the Bad Boy.

      • Which is why he’s never allowed to be Captain America, as demonstrated by Nick Spencer.

      • I love the Captain (pre-SJW-version), but the flaw in his Maxim is that the Bad Guys also think they are the ones who are right.

        • Not usually, no.

          It makes a better story when they do it that way, but the bad guys usually don’t care about doing wrong.

          They’ll insist they wrong they do doesn’t matter, not that it’s right, and usually declare their goal is good.

          • That’s a setup that can be heartbreaking if done right – the villains are absolutely sympathetic characters who are trying the best they can to do what they see is right. Flip the POV, and they are the heroes, but the story still requires that they and all their works be brought down.

            I thought Weber did very well with this in Robert Stanton Pierre and Oscar St Just.

    • I wonder how many at Marvel would agree with that platitude today.

      That said, it was a word I needed on something that’s absolutely legal, but which I’m hesitant to do (though probably will). This gets into another issue. See, if I have to think about something, I have a hard time distinguishing prudence from cowardice. Never taking a stand on what you think is right is cowardice, but choosing your hill to stand on is prudence. How do we tell the difference between the two?

      • No different than how the Nazi fights are called to their side as support while ignoring the fight against the communists. And the latter are just erased from history.

      • How do we tell the difference? Ultimately, only by whether you do, sometimes, choose a hill and stand. Not very predictive, requires having a history of choices made, which is what reputation is all about.
        Prudence may also involve choosing a hill you have some chance of defending… or a cause worth losing for.

      • Oh, I’m quite sure that they would agree with it. You see, the SJW mobs are convinced that they’re the brave ones standing for what’s right against a world that refuses to recognize it.

        (The one possible exception would be that bit about “no matter the consequences.” They would CLAIM that they believe it, but that would only last until they discovered there actually were consequences, at which point it would become, “Waaaaah. That’s not fair.”)

    • “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. ”
      “So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
      “who wishes to fight must first count the cost”
      ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

      “Don’t start a fight you can’t win, boy. Sure, it hurts to be called craven, coward, and yellow. But that beats being a loser, or dead. Wait for it. Attack when you’re ready and he’s not. That’s the best way to win.”
      — Unknown

    • My own take on the matter largely agrees with yours, but I have to admit it’s a little simpler (possibly simplistic) and a little more cynical: Men are wired to respond to the markers of fertility; women are wired to respond to the markers of power; and both sexes are wired to respond to the markers of valuation, i.e. the behavioural indicators that this other person finds you important enough to invest time and effort in, so that each sex is more likely to realize the benefits of what it values in the other. These responses are then ideally mitigated by the forebrain’s evaluation of other applicable benefit/cost/requirement/dealbreaker conditions as appropriate, leading to the final decision concerning the formation of a relationship and its expected type and duration.

      The difficulty is that civilized culture, in order to be civilized, must quite often define the forebrain’s conditions in a way that confuses, diverges from or even flatly contradicts the hindbrain’s, and that the ways the markers are expressed can also be culturally separated by sex or even deliberately confused. A man expressing how he values a woman can easily slip into possessiveness or objectification; a woman expressing how she values a man can easily slip into obsession or self-abnegation. A man’s body can react to a lush female physique while never considering that the mind within it hates children; a woman’s body can react to a strong man eager to use force without considering whether that eagerness might extend to her or not; and a culture that condemns these reactions will feel stifling, but a culture that encourages them will eventually self-destruct.

  7. Terry Sanders

    Ever hear of REAL MEN DON’T EAT QUICHE? It was a humorous look at male thinking from the Seventies. Think Tim Allen, but a little more macho.

    Several attempts were made to write a female answer to it. Mostly Properly Feminist. The only one that got any traction was called REAL WOMEN DON’T PUMP GAS. The author claimed to have gotten her epiphany by watching a friend getting the (male) clerk at a self-service gas station to fill her tank for her. She expressed her newfound wisdom by talking the poor guy into checking their oil…

    • ‘Course, Real Men eat whatever they want to eat. And a well-made quiche can be mighty tasty. Just, as with most things, consume in moderation.

      • Gallagher had a bit where he responded real men could make quiche and had the patience to stir slowly and not say “F#@& it, we’re having scrambled eggs.”

      • As long as it has plenty of bacon in it!

      • And catsup, everything tastes better with ketchup.

      • Real men don’t eat quiche but they do enjoy a nice egg pie.

      • My dad explained that a man doesn’t eat quiche, he eats egg pie. Spinach, mushroom and egg pie is delightful.

        • I’ve been doing homemade hash browns with a mushroom omelet. Have to skip the spinach because warfarin (sniff, miss it), but it’ll do.

          • Warfarin?  You have my sympathies.

            After my initial surgeries I was put on a course of warfarin.  At the time The Spouse was extremely limited on carbs.  The vegetables which I was allowed and the vegetables he was allowed were NOT the same.  All those lovely greens that we both loved he could have, but not me.  All those nice root veggies I could have he could not.  (Did you know that a tablespoon of fresh ginger has four carbs?  Well, now you do.) 

            Well, we both could eat cucumbers … however pleasant they may be cucumbers get old after a while.

            • I think the AFIB is getting to the point where ablation is going to be a really good idea. I don’t know if I’d be able to drop the warfarin, but one can hope. We had to give up a large batch of home-grown Swiss Chard when I started. That hurt.

        • Of course he eats pie. “Woman, get in the kitchen and make me some quiche!” just doesn’t have the same ring…. 😎

    • Real men eat whatever we damn well feel like.

      and some of us even know how to cook it!

      • Terry Sanders

        REAL MEN DON’T EAT QUICHE included recipes–apparently to disprove the “Real Men don’t cook” myth. One was for a “Morning After Omelette.” Because Real Men don’t make her do the cooking unless they were at *her* place.

    • released in 1982.

  8. Also, I really wasn’t good at pretending to be dumber than the local boys.

    Could you respect a man that to attract would require that you lie? Would you really want to live with a man you could not respect? And he wouldn’t be choosing you, he would be choosing the illusion you were creating. Would that be fair to him?

    Remember, John Adams was attracted to Abigail Smith because of her intelligence and the fact that she was very widely read, even for males of the time. 

    • No, but again, remember I grew up in Portugal. I get very tired of people claiming the US was/is also like that. The difference was palpable. Portugal was more like… oh, regency England in respect to the positions of women and men.
      I did get VERY tired of scaring boys away with my vocabulary. Someday I should write an essay called I Was A Teenaged Blue Stocking.

      • Scaring boys away with vocabulary?

        I became acquainted with a particular fellow parent when The Daughter was in elementary school. She moved here from France when she was 8. We served together on the PTA and on a group working to see gifted children’s educational needs met.

        She had that kind of physique that attracted the men. They would cluster around her, watching her chest the whole time. Once she began to speak they would listen, as her accent was exotic and it added to the immediate charm. Then, as they started to grasp the content level, their eyes would glaze over they would all start to wander off.

        • *Snort* I’ve been told the reason I’ve yet to find a husband is because I’m too smart. This from a well meaning woman, the mother of a high-school friend. *Shrug*

          • Huh. I had you figured as married, somehow.

          • True, to an extent. The smarter you are, the harder it is to find a man you can respect. And if you don’t respect your husband, you know in advance marriage will be bad. or at least I did.

            • I had to go hundreds of miles away to find mine!

              • Thousands, in my case.

                • 2,544.7 miles (as the car drives on I-40).

                  One underappreciated benefit of the modern age; you are not limited to the potential spouses in the village (or the next village over). Thank goodness – if one potential had been limited in such a way, I might not have been thrown over when I made an ass of myself in high school. (At the 20 year reunion, my first thought on meeting the “old flame” again was “There but for the grace of God…”)

                  It is very rare, mind you, but utter stupidity can on occasion result in great rewards.

                  • If you drove it you must have seen the Cadillac Henge outside of Amarillo. I live off of I-40 in the Piedmont of NC. I have been on I-40 down to Wilmington NC and across to the edge of New Mexico near Arizona. (That leaves the bit more 500 miles to Barstow I have not been on.) Was this before or after the monumental cross was raised?

                    • Well, that is only the shortest route. My travel tends more to the “oooh, shiny!” trip planning.

                      The one time I have driven the full distance in a single trip (bringing back the hunting trophy future spouse), we wandered quite a bit. Niagara Falls, Amish country, relatives in Kansas, Carlsbad Caverns, etc. Probably well over 3,000 miles, although I didn’t track them.

              • My husband grew up the next valley over from where I lived for about 10 years during college and the immediate time after, but we didn’t meet until we’d both separately moved to Upstate NY.

            • This is a serious bias inculcated by our society, the idea that “brighter is better.” There are qualities far more important than intellect which merit respect, the trick is to keep those on mind in the relationship.

              I daresay there is not one woman on this blog who wouldn’t choose decent man of average intelligence but high integrity and mechanical competence over a bastard genius.

              • Somewhere along the line we were sold a bill of goods. There are many kinds of intelligence, and not all of them are related to the accumulation of abstract knowledge.

                • We’ve run into the opposite, actually. My husband is very intelligent but due to some interesting congenital issues and a later snow tubing accident, he has physical limitations that means he can’t just go pick up the other end of that heavy pipe, or get down and lay sod for hours without spending days in bed afterwards. I have family who thinks he’s just a slacker and faking it. Because “people in our family get things done”. We have lots of family stories about work. So his limitations don’t fit.

              • Me, for one. (Sigh) I tend to adore guys who can fix things … cars, especially. I had an unrequited crush for several years on the garage guy who maintained the VEV (the Very Elderly Volvo) at a location which shall not be named. Grab the toolkit and go sort out whatever it is? *sigh* I’m in woove!

                • Competency has a value immeasurable by IQ tests. Average IQ and high competence beats high IQ and low competence any day.

                  • Of all of the “good qualities” that you are supposed to look for in someone (potential spouse, close friend, whatever) – intelligence is the only one that the person didn’t have to work for.

                    The problem with all too many these days – particularly the children in college – is not that they are unintelligent. A great number of them would be accepted to Mensa (actually, that organization is riddled with SJWs these days). The problem is that they never had to work to gain competence, to garner common sense, to build their reputation for integrity. They have been able to get along to this point without such labor, and will not do the hard work in the future, unless forced to by cold reality.

              • Depends on the context. For instance, a friendship where whenever one friend talks about what he’s interested in at the point and the other one’s eyes glaze over is probably not doomed.

            • I met mine in college, in the Honors Program. Where we were encouraged to have long geeky discussions with other students by virtue of having a house to hang out in. The class above mine warned us that “Honors Incest,” that is, dating within the program, was dangerous due to the fact that you were going to be taking classes with these people for several years, and bad breakups could lead to bad after-effects.

              Naturally, our two classes set some record for number of in-program marriages, four each (out of twenty per class, so a good 20%.) Three between our two classes, even. (Mine is one of those.) There’s at least one more in the year ahead of ours, too, and one below (though they were dating even before they came to college; tried to hide it for a bit so that they wouldn’t be seen as a couple before they were seen as individuals.) You get a bunch of geeky types who aren’t afraid of showing intelligence around a bunch of other geeks who aren’t afraid of people showing intelligence, and the chances of relationship jumps…

            • When I finally got engaged, my fiance was in the math PhD program and our best friends who were engaged to each other were in aerospace engineering and pharmaceutical school respectively. I was the only non-STEM person but I could follow logical conversation. We had some very interesting conversations.

          • I was told this, in high school. By a teacher. I replied that a really good man would want an intelligent woman.

          • What is this with the idea that a man is to be ‘found’ or ‘gotten’, as if he were a commodity?

            • Waiting doesn’t work, signaling doesn’t work, that pretty much leaves hunting.

              • For certain values of hunting.

                It doesn’t matter how “liberated” my female friends are, they still almost universally refuse to make the first open move where a guy is involved. They might try to catch a guy’s attention. But if the guy is oblivious for some reason, they won’t ever go so far as to *gasp* ask him out.

                • Probably because they have, and know how freaking brutal guys are in response.

                  Simply saying “no” isn’t enough. Nope. Gotta pile the humiliation on top of it, mean girl style, in that way that guys can be so catty about “only” girls doing– but hur hur hur, it’s just sharing a funny story, bro.

                  It tends to teach you that if he’s interested at all, he’ll make the first move. Quite effectively.

                  Thank God the military has duty station changes, I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had a normal job in the area type situation.

                  • I have no clue what you’re talking about. Never seen it. The circles that I run in don’t typically engage in humiliation-style behavior unless there’s a reason that it’s specifically called for.

                    • There is a certain sort of male juvenile (in spirit) that is easily threatened, and hence reacts viciously to unexpected things or people. Be glad you don’t know such men.

                    • The guys I saw doing it would assure you of the same thing.

                      They weren’t humiliating anyone, they were just sharing a really funny story.

                      Doesn’t take it happening very often to make sure that no sane woman is going to do it.

                  • Yeah, there are dogs – & bitches – who shouldn’t be approached, ’cause they’ll bite, like as not. And sometimes they’re hiding behind an apparently approachable persona.
                    Guys get bit by this kind of brutality, too — but because of the “have to make the first move” rule, can’t do anything but toughen up and/or pick a different kind of girl to approach.

                    • Thing is, a guy’s reputation isn’t destroyed by the bitch.

                      A gal who asks first, and gets turned down– is. Any guy who accepts her “wanna go out for coffee or something?” is now doing a step lower than dating the gal that the first guy dumped– he’s willing to date someone that the first guy wouldn’t even date.

                    • The reason a guy’s reputation isn’t destroyed is two-fold:

                      1. He has complied with a cultural norm. It may seem unfair, but life is unfair. Females have far greater license, for example, in initiating physical contact (as many a guy has learned in the post-Weinstein universe) and may even give a hug or bestow a kiss without the penalties experienced by … well, let’s not pursue that, eh? There are good reasons for many such cultural lines and scant reason to spend time in online discussion of them.

                      2. Were it so, no guy would have a bad reputation because all guys would. #NotYouToo!

                      BTW, this is why the High School game of having intermediaries convey such information as “Griselda thinks you’re really hot!” or “I overheard Velma say she thought you too cute for words.” Sure, people sometimes abuse such systems to convey false messages, setting up the recipient for humiliation and abuse, but nobody gets out of life undamaged.

                    • I know, and can even justify that biological norm– doesn’t mean I don’t get tired of being told gals need to ask guys out more, as if it was an identical situation.

                    • There is a surprisingly simple solution to the (inexcusable) behaviour of the boor asked. The lass who made the inquiry can turn and call out to her friends companions, “I win the bet! He is as much an a-hole as he looks!”

                    • Only works if they’re an ass immediately, and you’re dumb enough to ask in public.

                      Also takes a major mental gear shift, and the gal is still someone that another guy wouldn’t even accept a free coffee from.

                    • “Thing is, a guy’s reputation isn’t destroyed by the bitch.”
                      Well, until she decides to call HR / the cops / the Women’s Studies Department. He doesn’t have NEARLY the destructive power she does, and he hasn’t had it for 20 years plus.

                    • 1) Those aren’t his reputation, those are current forms of harassment from authority structures for fairly limited areas that happen to currently popular in some areas. (And “he asked me to coffee, once” is unlikely to get the cops to do anything but laugh at you.)

                      2) Shifting the goalposts away from “why women don’t ask guys out” into yet more worn out complaints about why guys hesitate is not cool.

                      Go peddle it to someone who hasn’t lived it and watched it happen in normal, general society WITHOUT any appeal to college or job; maybe it will sell better than the “guys don’t gossip” baloney.

                    • Foxfier, that’s specious.
                      Yes, you’re right on why TRADITIONALLY women didn’t ask men out, particularly in societies with a Latin base (I’ve never seen that here, except in paranoid women’s heads)
                      You’re wrong on right now. And yeah, a lot of guys no longer ask girls out.
                      Sure, it’s not their “reputation” — are you listening to yourself? Have you followed the whisper campaigns in my field? And the not so whisper ones? — it’s their livelihood and their professional record. Slow clap. You’re right, much less concerning. Again, listen to what you type, please.

                    • Sorry, Sarah, but I’m not believing your encounters with it only being the paranoid twits over my not only seeing it, but living it.

                      It only takes one nasty burn to make dang sure that a gal won’t do it again, especially if she is following the good advice to look for someone in a group with similar interests. It’s the same way that the nasty can ruin any social club.

                    • Foxfier, I was horrifiedly afraid of it when I was young. I’ve since then come to the conclusion EVEN IN A LATIN COUNTRY I was being paranoid. (This comes from having known these people.)
                      The guys who would do that (there are a few) are utter scumbags, and the other guys don’t believe them.
                      But you’re missing the point with what Steve said: Right now any man making an unwanted advance, which can be as simple as “wanna grab coffee” can get #metooed, have his reputation ruined and get kicked out of work/school. Which is way worse than “guys made fun of her.”

                    • Being horrible and cruel does kind of go with the whole “young” thing– I wasn’t afraid of it, because I was young and dumb and idealistic enough to actually believe what folks claimed.

                      I understood Steve’s point perfectly fine. I pointed out it was irrelevant to answering the question of why girls don’t ask guys out.

                      That in some places, some women can get enough of a lynch mob to help them abuse people– some of whom are guys who they don’t want to have noticed them, or they want to hurt for other reasons– doesn’t change that.

                    • Do not, ever, underestimate the level of hysteria an SJW is capable of attaining:

                      Not the Onion: Sign Honoring Civil War Hero Is Sexual Harassment, Mass. State Rep. Says
                      A Democratic lawmaker in Massachusetts adopted the “Me Too” slogan, suggesting that a sign honoring a Civil War hero above the entrance to the Massachusetts State House constitutes an act of sexual harassment.

                      “R U a ‘General Hooker’? Of course not! Yet the main entrance of the Mass State House says otherwise. #MeToo,” State Rep. Michelle Du Bois (D-Brockton) tweeted Wednesday. She suggested that the #MeToo movement is “not all about rape & harassment but also women’s dignity. A ‘funny’ double entendres misrepresented as respect for a long dead general?”

                      [SNIP]

                      The entrance takes its name from General Joseph Hooker (1814-1879), a Civil War Union general who reorganized the Army of the Potomac between January and May 1863. He won many victories, but lost to Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville. He resigned his generalship mere days before the more famous Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

                      [SNIP]

                      While the current version of the sign Du Bois found so offensive dates from 2009, the entrance has been referred to as the “General Hooker entrance” at least since the 1990s, due to the fact that this entrance faces the statue of General Hooker, which dates back to 1903. Multiple entrances were open to the public before the September 11, 2001 attacks, but security measures have restricted public access to the General Hooker entrance.

                    • headdeskheaddeskheaddesk

                    • Given the length of time this thread has been going on, and the lack of agreement, has it occurred to you that perhaps your personal experience has been an outlier? This is something *I* live with all the time – I hardly EVER directly see any of the behavior and other things that I see reported on here (not just this about reputations/asking people out, but all kinds of bad behaviors and such that people talk about here), or many other places. I have a serious uphill battle to convince my coworkers that some of this stuff (for a recent example, the VA has a horrible reputation here and elsewhere, but in my neck of the woods, the experiences are generally not bad, so when I tried to use it as an example about the dangers of government-run health care, I got blank stares).

                      Other examples: I have met precisely ONE woman, in 50 years, who was the type of rude, in-your-face feminist that I see people talk about running into all the time. I’ve never met an evangelical vegan. I’ve met only one radical anti-vaxxer. If I didn’t have numerous, reliable people telling me these stories, I would believe they were the stuff of urban legends, and not a pernicious blight on the culture. Now some of this can be explained by my being as obtuse as straight line, but even *I* can’t miss what’s in front of my eyes that much. It has to simply not be there in the quantities that other people are seeing.

                    • Now admittedly, I went to a film school in CA… but there was one fellow student who was literally both the militant feminist and evangelical vegan, and her best friend was the rabid anti-vaxxer. (She also believed that a director would never have to explain their vision or a character’s motivations to an actor…) Btw, she was originally from PA, so ‘that’s just CA’ isn’t quite valid in this case.

                      As I am getting sick of being single again, i have been looking around dating sites- and even here in VA, it isnt hard to find either of the first two by reading their dating profiles.

                    • I can believe that coming from PA, too. When my brother was working in Pittsburgh, his wife couldn’t wait for him to retire so they could move back here.

                    • I pointed out why that was so quite early on– it’s based on a reaction to someone’s behavior, and the only person dumb enough to do it is a pretty tiny sub-section of the group and doesn’t stay in the sample like, say, predatory jerks.

                      I only saw it twice because I was in the Navy, thus having a very big sample size of “18-19 year old girls who haven’t the sense to not do it.”

                      Two possible reactions: accept the ostracism, or undermine it.
                      Undermining it consisted of changing the question to direct no-strings propositioning, which does effectively destroy any “oh, don’t date her” thing, but not in a constructive way.

                      Sarah pointed out that she had the same worry but hadn’t seen it; the “hey, don’t do this” story is common– I don’t personally know anybody who has walked down a dark alley and been mugged, either.

                      But I listened to that warning.

                    • Foxfier — I’m older. I’ve come to the conclusion this is one of those stories older women tell that aren’t necessarily true, but are a way of keeping young women from doing what was perceived as dangerous at one time.
                      The danger to men is REAL, and yet the poor bastards must take the plunge. And then we wonder why we have MGTOW

                • Terry Sanders

                  For some of us, this is a real problem.

                  My utter cluelessness was a source of perpetual amusement to my family. I literally didn’t notice when I was being hit on–a Louisville Slugger Cluebat was required. And even then, I might not believe it.

                  In my late wife’s case, she simply walked up to me (across a DragonCon dealer’s room floor, and I knew something was up–she looked like she was looking at a firing squad) and asked if we could talk. When we were in private, she told me her husband was divorcing her and she wondered if there were any chance…

                  I thought about it. Decided if she had that kind of guts I couldn’t just blow it off, and said all right, let’s get better acquainted and see what happens.

                  I was in my late forties at the time. So I think you’ll understand when I say I’m not sure anything less direct would have worked.

                  • Terry Sanders

                    Okay, *early* forties. I was still hopeless…

                  • My utter cluelessness was a source of perpetual amusement to my family. I literally didn’t notice when I was being hit on–a Louisville Slugger Cluebat was required. And even then, I might not believe it.

                    Not believe it…or not trust it. In the course of my life, when (if?) someone “hit on” me I didn’t notice unless they were utterly blatant about it. But in the latter case, there was a catch. With three exceptions, every time someone was blatant about coming on to me it was because I was being set up as the butt of a joke. (Yes, I was “that guy”, the butt of everyone’s jokes.) The three exceptions, for various reasons, tuned out to be disastrous.

                    Issues? I have whole multi-year collections.

                    • Terry Sanders

                      I wasn’t in *quite* that position. But yes, I did mean “trust it” also. I never got burned that way, but I was painfully aware of the possibility.

              • I think that for a woman, fishing is a better comparison. It’s the nature of men and women that men pursue, and women are the pursued. But a wise woman understands where the desirable fish are, what bait to use, and how to land them. 🙂

              • Hunting is a very specialized set of skills. First one is being able to identify where the game is. Hunting for potential mates in a funeral home isn’t really the best place in the world, unless you’re looking to prey on the now available spouse of the deceased; and that strikes me a being a bit TOO predatory. Church singles groups are often good places, assuming you’re a member of that religion and in good standing with them. Local dance halls might work. Any activity groups for things you like to do, that have good numbers of interesting and potentially available partners works too. Don’t forget the value of friends who know what you like and may be able for hook you up with someone with similar interests. What I have found is that hanging around bars and nightclubs may enable you to find a one-night stand, but the odds are not good for a lasting relationship that way; not enough common interests. Which brings us to the on-line dating/match-making services. Good range of possibilities, but caveat emptor!

                • If only I could get your advice through the head of various sad-and-alone friends who keep hunting in the same places and keep catching the same problems.

                  (I got success by giving up and deciding I’d just be career Navy and geek out; dear husband had to be pretty dang blunt to get me to figure out he was interested.)

            • No idea. Apparently there are husband-trees, or mines, or something, where one goes to locate eligible males. I have yet to find one of these things. I have, however, met several wonderful gentlemen who I would like to get to know better, and who are either already happily married, or who are otherwise not interested in seeking female company.

              • No such orchards or mines that I know about. If there were… well, even many men not interested in marriage per se would be lurking there, while some others would have guides on to how avoid such.

              • I think this Olde English folk song offers tips, but I am not sure whether they’re of much use:


                Young women they run like hares on the mountain
                And if I was a young man I’d soon go a-hunting

                Young women they sing like birds in the bushes
                If I was a young man I’d go beat them bushes

                Young women they swim like ducks in the water
                If I was a young man I’d soon go swim after

                Young women they run like hares on the mountain
                And if I was a young man I’d soon go a-hunting

              • Were I a woman looking for eligible gentlemen, I’d try the following places:

                1. The areas around military bases. Aviation-oriented bases in particular, acquisition-oriented bases doubly so (due to the civilian engineering workforce).
                2. Areas with businesses that do major engineering work.
                3. Fencing classes. Martial enough to attract men, low-impact enough that men and women can train together. And most of the experienced fencers are college-educated.
                4. Martial arts classes. Look for the hole-in-the-wall clubs, not the big commercial dojos.

              • [Chuckle]. $SPOUSE and I met at a get-together called Trellis. It was a for-profit meeting setup (once a month), with a verrrry quiet sideline in matching rich tech men with beautiful Eastern European/Russian women.

                We met, and eventually got married (about 7 years later). Results might be faster for others, your mileage may vary, your money returned if it’s counterfeit. 🙂

              • I should clarify that this is over the course of 20+ years. I have a gift for meeting really nice guys who 1) just got engaged or 2) have been married to wonderful women for at least 5+ years. It’s almost uncanny. *wry chuckle*

                • There was a woman in my circles at college who expressed a preference for men who displayed manners and knew how to wear a suit well. She discovered that, at the time, this meant that the men she found attractive were either gay or had gone to military school (or both). When she met the man she later married she was greatly relieved to discover that he had spent two years at a military school, which lead her to believe she had half a chance.

                • My high school (unrequited) crush told me that after I left for college all the men in Wichita were either married, gay, or assholes.

              • Sorry about the “already taken” thing. In terms of finding a husband, the only advice I’ve ever seen of any value is to to group things that align with your interests and values, and the people also doing those things are good prospects.

          • Where are you looking?

            One Dirty Little Secret about the Spouse Hunt is that there are Dating Deserts. Places where there’s a surplus of quality members of one sex or the other. Example: Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD. About 70 miles SE of Washington DC. Infamous in the Navy as one of the worst locations in the continental United States for a single man…because the supply of eligible women is so poor. But if you’re an educated, cultured, reasonably attractive woman – this is the Husband Store! Twenty thousand engineers of various stripes, plus a leavening of test pilots! Intelligent, reliable men with six-figure incomes!

          • Some of us guys appreciate smart women.

          • I hear you, I have the same problem. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. But I was raised to NOT hide the intelligence (because my mother was more or less bullied by HER mother to hide her intelligence, and hated every minute of it).

            I like how Sarah put it–you have to be able to respect him, and vice versa. And it’s damned hard to respect a man who is intimidated by another person’s brains. :/

            • Sure, it’s hard to respect somebody intimidated by another’s intelligence …


              … but it’s better to be a Gina than a Margaret.

              BTW: apologies for not finding a better illustration but there is an appalling amount of NSFW cartoons that turn up when you search for “dennis the menace with margaret and gina” and let’s simply say some people ought be ashamed!

        • I literally cannot imagine that response. Quite frankly my reaction on finding such women when I was young was the almost overpowering urge to blurt, “Will you marry me?”

          Of course, the fact that they could probably sense this was no doubt why said girls immediately started looking uncomfortable and took the first excuse they could to wander off. Women like a man to find them fascinating, but they don’t respect a man who’ll throw himself at their feet on first meeting.

          • At this stage of my life, I’d almost appreciate that…but no, you’re right. It would be a trifle alarming. Flattering, but alarming. 😀

        • My sister’s mom’s friend was literally scared of my vocabulary– I wasn’t even trying to use big words, I just got so tired of people misunderstanding what I was saying that I became incredibly careful about using precise language, and she’s still scared of me. Just not as bad as when I was 16.

          Apparently a lot of folks had minor versions of the same reaction. I was “supposed” to be a fat, dumb slob.

          • “It’s great shopping at night. Well, early morning, that is. At 3 AM you aren’t likely to have to endure a cacophony of screaming toddlers.”

            “Wait. I just heard someone actually use the word ‘cacophony’… and it sounds like it was used correctly.” “I was about remark on that myself.”

            “It’s the right word, so that’s what I used.”

            [NOTE: This conversation/exchange actually happened.]

            • Now that would be something I’d be proud of– mostly because I’d know the word from reading, not hearing it, so I’d probably mangle it!

              • I mutilate so many words that I only know from reading. Then there’s the coinage and the Odd Malapropism. (Yes, Frand and Ernest was a favorite comic when I took a newspaper.)

                $SPOUSE objects to the term “automagic”, but it makes sense to me. It just seems more precise than saying “It’s automatic, but doesn’t always work, and the process is poorly understood, so to heck with it, I’ll use automagic.”

                • Argh: Frank and Ernest.

                • Automatic, but to many it does seem magic. There have been times even Ma accused me of magic, such as when I was getting around some problem by changing settings remotely (to make ftp work) via a couple ssh links.

                • Thank goodness for the internet… I apparently pronounce it “American” (go figure). Not the British, nor the French, which are different.

                  Strange thing – the “mentions” graph shows the word only gaining wide currency starting about 1960 or so, and a sharp rise until about 2010 (Google NGram). Not that six millionths of one percent of words makes it all that common…

              • I struggle with pronunciation. It’s not as bad as it used to be but…I taught myself to read, and never learned phonetics, and so even to this day I frequently mispronounce some words.

                I had an English teacher in high school who, bless her, didn’t manage to NOT burst out laughing when I did it in front of her one time, but she was kind about it and gently corrected me. (And it wasn’t in front of other kids, so that helped.)

            • Is it weird that I wouldn’t even think it weird to hear someone use that?

          • I know that feeling. I look like either a brute or an out of shape brute, tend towards terseness and being laconic, and have a flat, monotone-ish speaking voice (due to my hearing loss over the years), so folks tend to assume that I’m dim until the proper topics come up.

      • The definition of intelligence is vastly different be my guess. Intelligence such as math, reading, etc is seen as superfluous by those who mistake status or position in aristocrisy for intelligence. Just as how the “I won states with 66% of us GDP” will be treated as Gospel regardless of what the bls says. (Something like 55/44 Trump)

        • The “Some obsequious moron told me a statistic, and I’m just repeating it without any due diligence, ’cause that’s the way I roll” defense is only effective in urban coastal California, the Island of the Manhatt, and inside the DC beltway.

          • Except those oblivious morons have festered elsewhere and are bred by the supremacy of the former in the methods of cultural communication such as media and the schools. Ask the average person if Trump colluded with Russia and the answer will be ‘yeah. There’s been indictments’. The fact that majority of country thought their taxes would increase from the tax cut shows the same thing.

            For an example, write a report and pull items verbatim from Brady and it’s been cited. Pull the info from BLS yourself or from someone like Lott or Kleck (iirc) and that’s not a valid source. So it’s been beat into heads that only the credentialed can provide true info. And this includes vapid newsreaders who both willfully and unintentionally like every other word.

            • Only the credentialed? They got those credentials by conforming to the required opinions (see: Climate Psience) and can be relied upon to propagate those opinions without examination. An expert only got recognized by giving the expected answers to those invested in the conventional wisdom.


              Finch: When they want brilliant thinking
              From employees
              Twimble: That is no concern of mine.
              Finch: Suppose a man of genius
              Makes suggestions?
              Twimble: Watch that genius get suggested to resign.

            • Yes; Lott, Kleck, and Mauser. (Which last is a professor emeritus of Simon Fraser University in Canada.) The pro-victim disarmament side goes nonlinear trying to debunk all of them.

              • I don’t remember offhand which one was reporting against their desire. I thought one thought it would be a disarmament argument.

                But any argument that doesn’t coincide with narrative is questionable. Huffpo is news, federalist or caller is opinion or propaganda etc

      • scaring boys away with my vocabulary
        Well, some women have scared me away with their vocabulary. And I spent more than 3 years riding ships with the US Navy! 😉

        Then, there’s the way you meant that. Never been scared that way. *grin*

    • Conversely, i always hated the idea of a woman who would pretend incompetence at something merely to attract the attention of a man. I’d prefer she show her competence in something I am familiar with, so we could have an interesting conversation.

      • I’m reminded of the scene in Firefly where Kaylee goes to the ball and is eventually surrounded by a crowd of admirers listening to her talk about engines.

      • black flag corsair

        Speaking of her competence, my wife can do just about anything. We had a Chevrolet van years ago, 70’s model with a V8. A mechanic left the fuel line under the hood loose just enough for it to leak. There was a fire, burned all the wiring under the hood. She couldn’t find any shop to replace the wiring. So she went to a recycling yard, got all of the underhood harnesses, and spent three days doing it herself.Our eldest son helped; he was in his early teens.

        She was cleaning the church we attended on a Saturday when several of the men came up to repair a plumbing leak. They looked at it, talked about it, decided they needed more tools, and left. She took a look, went Lowes, got the parts, and had it finished when they got back. That was years ago, and we still laugh about it.

        She makes a cheesecake, too. You would fight to get the last piece.
        Married to her 46 years this April 1st.

    • I was actually advised, as a teen, to pretend not to know how to do something so a certain boy could be able to teach me (and I’d be such a fast learner because he was such a wonderful teacher!) This was something I actually knew how to do better than the boy in question. I just rolled my eyes, I knew I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to. But I didn’t attract the boy, either. (I confess, I wasn’t all that interested in the boy, but if it had been a boy I had a crush on, that might have been different.)

      • Interesting how often it seems that we aren’t so much interested in attracting a specific person so much as we are in being attractive. Of course, being attractive to someone grants a sort of power, does it not?

        • Those teen crushes are pretty intense – I’m not sure I wouldn’t have done some really stupid things if I thought it might work (and that I could pull it off).

  9. The “lady” rules I grew up with were a bit different– more to do with not yelling in public, and being at least publicly supportive of the team you’d made when you married. (Even if that meant you were howling like crazy when it wasn’t public, and you had to do some quick undermining to keep Teammate who had screwed up from being REALLY screwed.)

    Not being rude even when others were– although you could be blunt if they asked– was part of it, and generosity in the being protective mode.

    not very GOOD at it, but I do follow ’em.

    • Again, remember I grew up in a Latin country.

      • What got me thinking on it. 🙂

        Scotland: an entire country of folks that were a lot more like your mom and grandma than is really comfortable!

    • scott2harrison

      I disagree with the not being rude rule. Politeness in response to rudeness just gives the rude a weapon to use. My response to rudeness tends to be either walking away or ordering the rude person to “Go away!” depending on the situation.

      • I have hung up on irate customers before. Keep in mind, though, that politeness is not the same as being a Miliquetoast. Even being told to “Go to H*ll” can be met with a polite “I’ve made other arraignments.”

        • I have visited (the tourist trap known as) Hell, MI and bought a t-shirt there. Now I can, truthfully, tell anyone who tells me to “Go to Hell!” that I’ve “Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.”

        • You think you’ll be convicted?

        • scott2harrison

          I was thinking more of the “I have a right to your time and attention” rude than the “I am going to insult you” rude. Generally for the second sort, I thank them for the complement. Makes their heads explode.

          • I blame Autocorrupt and misbegotten typing, but I am triggered by use of “complement” (“a thing that completes or brings to perfection” or “a number or quantity of something required to make a group complete”) for “compliment.”

            Oh well, at least you haven’t “towed” any lines.

      • BTW, there is a forgotten reason to be polite: Dualing. Even there, you could be polite:

        “Colonel Crane, under the circumstances, I don’t think you should have shot me.”

        – Jim Bowie, after the Vidalia Sandbar Fight, where he had just used his knife to kill Major Norris Wright.

      • Being polite can be more frustrating to someone who is acting rude than being rude in return, as long as you don’t let their rudeness force you into doing something you think is wrong.

        • and as long as you don’t let your determination to be polite keep you from being bluntly honest when the rude antagonist needs it.

        • And thus, “Good day, sir!” is then understood to mean “And don’t let the door hit your [yourself] on the way out!”

        • I’ve gotten rude people on the phone to apologize to me by the end of the call through politeness. Somewhere along the way I managed to learn some form of de-escalation that actually works with my voice. (This is in situations where I had to take the call. If I don’t—like my private phone—I’ll just hang up. No words, no nothing, just end of call.)

      • *grin* The rules I was taught were from when you could weaponize manners— weaponizing rudeness was still a bit in the future.

        I solve the problem by drawing a distinction between being rude as in causing offense, and being rude as in deliberately exploiting manners for an advantage.
        Going back to the original format where pardoning the rudeness was an expression of Christian duty…and remembering the second part of the gentle as doves order!

        • Weaponized manners has been one of the South’s highly developed technologies for centuries. Doesn’t work for beans against Yankees.

          • Different manners.

            I’ve been on the receiving end of weaponized manners in the southern style, and it is generally flat-out rude and nasty in the styles I was brought up with.

            In contrast, I had to read a section of a Sayers novel three times last night to figure out what the heck the English guy was talking about when he said a guy had been incredibly rude.

          • Different game. When we think of politeness as an outgrowth of dueling, it does two things:

            1. Prevent unnecessary bloodshed.
            2. Let you get within striking distance if bloodshed is required.

            Just think of politeness like a gillie suit.

      • I spent enough years in retail and customer service that I am really, *really* good at winding someone up while being perfectly, 100% polite to them. It’s an art, really, and quite a lot of fun. Because at least in a public setting, THEY are the ones who look absolutely horrible.

        Used this skill to great effect as a missionary: we were getting screamed at by a young Orthodox priest, telling us how horrible and evil we were. Companion and I smiled, and were sweet as pie. HE was the one getting the dirty looks from passers-by. It was hilarious, and yes, I ended up feeling like I had to go home and repent for being so evilly polite to the poor, hapless young brute.

        I will grant you that this may have only worked because we were women, and he was not. It may not have worked so well had we been young men ourselves, instead–because I gather that in that situation the politeness may have instead been viewed as weakness.

        But for a woman, at least, politeness is one of those nasty underhanded weapons that can work really, really well on opponents of either gender. 😀

  10. Might be a few years old, still very relevant today.

  11. GrumpyOldProgrammer

    Now the Pirates get the girl without having to change. No need to become a gentleman. So, sparkly vampires are good but gentlemen are part of the oppressive patriarchy.

  12. Christopher M. Chupik

    Idiot on Twitter today:

    “Existential Comics

    @existentialcoms
    Follow
    Follow @existentialcoms

    More
    The weirdest thing about our society is how people find an alternative to capitalism to be literally inconceivably, despite capitalism only existing for like 1% of human history.”

    Which is true. Before capitalism, human economies ran on unicorns. Unfortunately, climate change from the Industrial Revolution killed off the unicorns.

    • Capitalism is just the name for the way people trade. He’s a moron.

    • The (free) market is emergent.
      Distorting it is always some form of swindle.

    • 1%? I’d like to check his math. Did he show his work?

      Just when does he start calculating “Human History”, anyway?

      On a side note, I would say Capitalism/Free Markets correspond to pretty much 80% of human economic development.

      • Not sure if it matters when he thinks human history started.
        If Og gathered firewood to trade to Mog for a piece of meat from his hunting, Og committed capitalism.

      • Eh, if you assume “capitalism” is c. 500 years old (dating from the end of the Middle Ages) and human history goes back 50,000 years (taking the increase in artifact use in the Palaeolithic as your starting point), it’s a marginally plausible claim.

        I’d rather challenge the fellow by asking him if he’d want to have a brain surgery done by somebody who didn’t charge more for his services than a landscaper — and how many brain surgeons we’d have if the government said they couldn’t be paid more than that.

        • Short answer to your speculation, British National Health Service.

          • Agreed, though the problem is that if you don’t live in Britain — and don’t pay attention to the right news stories — you hear only, “Free health care!” (‘Free’ in this context meaning, “Someone else’s taxes are paying for it.”)

          • Thinking of exceptions made for celebrities…. Stephen Hawking died today. Age 76.

        • Except human history goes back, at most, about 5,000 years; beyond that it is pre-history.

          Of course, it is obvious that Capitalism had to evolve after we’d attempted other forms of economic organization (including Socialism, Communism, and their ugly step-sister, Fascism) and that therefore his criticism is actually an attack on Evolution.

          • And since he apparently identifies as a male, the mere fact that he makes any argument is evidence of the overweening hubris and soul-crushing weight of the patriarchy.

            Also, history is imperialism, and stuff.

          • Except human history goes back, at most, about 5,000 years; beyond that it is pre-history.

            And thus 1% of 5,000 = 50 years of capitalism.

            But of course, arithmetic is also imperialism. And the patriarchy.

        • “I’d rather challenge the fellow by asking him if he’d want to have a brain surgery done by somebody who didn’t charge more for his services than a landscaper ”
          ——————–

          That’s actually the way that Cuba works. Everyone there gets the same salary.

          This means that jobs in the tourism industry are the most lucrative ones to have because the Cuban government actually lets those workers keep part of the tips they receive.

          • Terry Sanders

            Only way they can achieve quality service and get the tourists back to support the leaders, um, I mean the economy..

            • Terry Sanders

              Heard a joke somewhere about a Cuban girl who was led up the primrose path. He’d let her think he worked at a tourist resort. Wasn’t until after they were married that she found out he was just a brain surgeon…

      • “Show his work”? Considering where he got that figure, I’d rather not see that.

    • Yeah, for all that I find the comics to be amusing, the man is far more sympathetic to communism than he should be–his reaction to the path the Russian revolution took is “wouldn’t it be great if it hadn’t gone wrong?”

      • Which means there is insane belief that there exists some way it might have gone right. As someone (here?) put it:

        Not real Communism has killed millions and millions.
        Not real Free Markets have brought a world out of poverty.

        Given the failure modes…. Attempt{-ed, -ing} Free Market is the way to go. Imagine what could happen if we ever really got it right! And if we only get almost… hey, that’s still pretty damn good.

  13. When I was young, out of boredom at cocktail parties I would occasionally try the “dumb blond” type. It’s amazing how the men would flock around but then, oops, I would say something bright not meaning to (intelligence, unfortunately, is hard to hide) and the act would be over. Interesting part of this, however, is that the guys would still hang around and the conversations would be much more fun! (My husband, by the way, would be watching the whole scenario with a hidden grin on his face, wondering how long I would be able to keep up the dumb act.) I had read the books of adventure, and I always wanted to be the one having the adventures regardless of the fact that most of the characters were males. I also read lots and lots of books (thank you Andrew Carnegie for the small town library). I find that I am now enjoying the Kindle with reprints from late 1800’s and early 1900’s because of the implied moral codes, and all the history of course. My oldest granddaughter has become a history buff. Karma. Her parents are inculcating high moral codes in their daughters. Sometimes I wonder how this will work out in a world that has thrown out the baby with the bath water. What most people in the US seems to have forgotten is that the cherishing, protective side of the male character is the flip side of dominance. I mean the strong male who is there to protect from harm when needed, while being secure and strong enough to step back and get out of the way most of the time. I wish I had the skill to communicate what I am trying to say. Anyhow, enjoyed all the comments as usual. My husband said that I have a logical male type mind, so I know exactly what Sarah means when she says she gets men. Women used to leave me puzzled. Now I understand them better. With age comes a little wisdom. Now I thank you, universe, for all my dear friends, male and female. Am a lucky lady.

  14. It has one huge disadvantage: I don’t get women.  Most women are a complete puzzle to me.

    I was busy setting up the merch booth at the convention, and had just received numerous boxes of t-shirts that needed to checked, sorted and folded before we opened.  The department head, a woman, came to me during set up and asked, ‘If you don’t mind, you’re not too busy and it isn’t inconvenient could you possibly spare C for a little while?’  Taking her question as conditional I answered that I could not easily spare C at the moment.  She looked shocked, gave me a very sour look and went off in a huff.  

    I let it slide, as there was a lot of work to be done and not much time.  Moments later the male assistant department head came up and said, ‘I need C to help with a vendor.’  I looked at him.  He looked at me.  I nodded, turned to C and told her to go.

    Eventually I cornered the department head and asked her what was wrong.  It became apparent that she was reluctant to deal with ‘confrontation’.  In her view I had shown great disrespect towards her.  I asked her how.  She explained that if she had said no to her supervisor at work under such a circumstance she would have been disciplined or fired.  She told me that she was ‘being polite’ in phrasing it that way.  

    I concluded that if this is an example of woman’s leadership style I was glad not to have it.

    • I get in trouble with that kind of thing. So do most men.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        A minor example.

        My beloved mother would say to me “you may set the table” meaning “Paul, go set the table”.

        While getting mentally ready to go “set the table”, I’d say “yes, I’m able to set the table”. 👿

        Of course, I’d get Mom’s “Dark Brown Look”. 😆

      • If you do not couch it as a direct request it is harder for people to directly refuse you. Of course, it is also harder for them to comply, becauser it has now become a test of their ability to read your mind.


        I think I recently posted this, but it is pertinent here and relatively brief.

    • I get in trouble too- I don’t have the same signals as most females. I prefer having a male boss. On the other hand I have been the boss.

      • Recent studies have found that women bosses are ruder, especially to women working for them. Reasons why were not included in the summary, but at a guess they retain some degree of expectation of needing to be “ladylike” towards men while having no comparable restraints in dealing with female subordinates.

        Women are getting bitchier at work: study
        Allison Gabriel, assistant professor of management, and her co-authors asked 1,440 full-time employed men and women about whether they felt demeaned, ignored or addressed unprofessionally during their previous month of work.

        “We found . . . women [in the workplace] are ruder to each other than they are to men, or than men are to women,” Gabriel says in a press release.

        • The males are the Oppressors, but the other females are their competitors… and with a zero-sum mindset, nobody can get ahead other than someone else’s expense.

        • I suspect that part of it is that on a certain biological level, the women bosses feel an unconscious need to impress the males. And as a result, they’re not as rude toward the men as they are toward their fellow women.

        • I noticed that subordinate women are quite rude to their bosses as well. I could tell you stories. I was very happy to go to my corner and do my work… and then they made me boss under protest. *sigh

        • Interesting that that story ties in so well with a discussion thread one of my friends started on Facebook earlier today.

    • Yeah, it’s a bit of a pain: you have to not only process what they’re asking, but also what they’re doing from a social-interaction standpoint.
      Blunt CAN be better: e.g. focus on the ambiguity in the question, like “for a little while? How bad/how long do you need C for?” MAY open a straightforward discussion of priorities. No guarantee, unfortunately; lots of opportunities for missed signals. But at least you’ve signaled a willingness to consider the request.

    • I am male who was raised by mom, and two grandmothers, and all three would give me direct order phrased as a question so I learned from early age to recognize what they were actually saying.

      I think it ties in with Mrs. Hoyt observation that women are cats who can’t be told, confrontation is avoided when no direct orders are given.

      • “We need to take out the trash” = *YOU* need to take out the trash grates my nerves.

        • Taking out trash is how I ended up married to you.

          I think I will go off by myself to sit quietly for a little while.

    • I would have taken the woman’s request as, If you don’t need him, can I borrow him, and since you said you needed him, she should have said, Okay, I’ll go ask someone else. The fact that she got huffy about it is what floors me (granted, I’m in Texas, and Texas women can be blunt, even young ones).

      But I do get the indirect thing, and the confrontation avoiding thing, too (that probably goes back to Neanderthal days–smaller-weaker is very careful approaching bigger-stronger rather than risk getting a broken arm). And there’s no question I’m way more direct now as an intimidating middle-aged female than I was as a socially awkward 20-something.

      Overall, though, I’d say that now, I get women. I never got teen-age girls, though, even when I was one. I’m not sure even teen-age girls get teen-age girls.

      • I am not sure that any given teenager gets any other teenager — no less themselves.

      • That many modifiers would be me making sure that the person didn’t mistake “if you don’t need them, I could use a hand” for “give me them. Now. But I am asking politely.”

        • Polite to me would have been to use the word Please. I just found myself wishing she had said what she meant. It would have been a shorter and clearer statement, taking less time and it would have saved everyone a lot of angst.

    • My female German friends would also think that was a needlessly roundabout way to ask for assistance. As they will tell you, they’re blunt, and don’t like it when people hide it in needlessly oblique language- just say what you want!

      • In some cases the communications differences are the result male vs. female and in some cases the communications differences can be the result of cultural back grounds.

        (Tomorrow, when we continue the ongoing discussion of Thomas Sowell’s book we will once again be looking at problems created by the cultural model which forms primary influence on a group of people.)

      • “THANK YOU FOR NOT SMOKING”
        vs
        “NO SMOKING”
        vs
        “RAUCHEN VERBOTEN!”

        • Don’t forget they found a way to go lower– the various flat-out rude PSA signs, like “kick your won butts” or “kiss the ash goodbye.”

          Yeah. So glad my money went for THAT in twenty foot tall type.

        • Vs

          “I DON’T FART IN YOUR OFFICE; PLEASE DON’T SMOKE IN MINE.”

          Yes, I had one, and yes, they made me take it down.

          • On one memorable occasion Daddy, when the people at the table next to us in a restaurant all started to light up, loudly pronounced, to no one in particular, ‘Must they smoke, some of us are just starting our dinner?’

          • A friend of mine said, “A No Smoking zone in a restaurant is like a No Peeing zone in a swimming pool.”

            • California banned smoking in restaurants a long time before other states did, so it was really obvious when we were traveling what the difference was in smell/experience.

  15. Geoff Withnell

    I remember an interesting experiment in sexual roles and strength/weakness that took place in the early 1970s. I am a big guy – 6’1″ and about 250 lbs coming out of Parris Island without an ounce of fat on my body. I was a very active lifter, and this is around the time when I was strongest pb bench press of over 400 pounds. One of the ladies of my acquaintance was a catcher in what was billed as the only all girl trapeze act – because all the other catchers in girl flying acts were male. It takes major upper body strength to reliably snatch even a small person out of the air and hold them, using only your hands and arms. We both had had a few beers one afternoon, and she challenged me to arm wrestle. We got it setup, and started. I was shocked that her arm didn’t immediately hit the table, and she felt the same way about mine. 15 minutes later, both of us sweating and straining, our friends called it a draw. She said, sort of out of the blue “I guess since you can’t overpower me, you couldn’t rape me.”
    I replied “You know I prefer active cooperation” (We had been lovers at one time, but still remained good friends) “But I think I could manage it.”
    “Care to demonstrate how?”
    I leap across the table, pulling my boot knife out (leaving it in the sheath), knocking her down and put the point of the sheath under her chin.
    “Men are much more aggressive than women, and better at use of physical force. Had this been a real rape, you would be taking off your panties about now. But I am a gentleman of the old school, and live to protect ladies. Think of this as an educational attempt at protecting you. Even as strong as you are, challenging a man who isn’t a gentleman may have bad consequences”

  16. I loved, loved, loved the ‘boy books’ all through school – they were all adventure! Discovery! Daring Deeds in Far Romantic Places! – whereas the books thought suitable for girls (and which most of my female peers ate up) were all about some dweeby tween or teen with a confidence problem (or some kind of problem) yearning after the handsome alpha-male in her high school, and possibly being routinely humiliated by the then-mean girls. I simply cannot express how deeply those books bored me. Now and again, there was the occasional heroine doing adventures, etc, but they seemed to be few and far between. Like Sarah, I had a good relationship with my father, brothers, and male peers – and got along famously with guys in the military. Logical mind, I guess. I did understand my female peers all the way along, though – just that most of them exasperated me.

    • ‘boy books’

      And if you leave the boy books with the girl books, do you eventually get a litter(ing?) of booklets?

    • Gawd yes! I hated those girl books, especially the award winners! (Sadly, things haven’t changed all that much.)

      • Growing up, I learned that “award winning children’s book” meant that a dog was going to die in it somewhere.
        Now that story about the kid sealing the hole in the ship with his scout uniform- that was awesome.

        • Farmer in the Sky was one of my favorite juveniles, though “Gentlemen, be seated” has a somewhat more earthy approach to a similar problem.

        • You know, when I read that in later years – the real hero is his foster sister. In “adult” language, Peggy said “This place is doing its damndest to kill me, and it very well may succeed – but ‘Here I stand!’ Bring it on!”

          Still get teary when she does die.

        • It’s funny, but when I see “award winning children’s book” on a cover my mind interprets it as “Plague!”

        • Now it means that a main character will die, and there will probably be rather explicit sex.

          (Am I the only one creeped out by how many middle-aged-plus men are writing sex scenes for barely sixteen girls? The women you can at least wave off as wish fulfillment and it’s pathetic, but not so creepy. )

          • No. You’re not the only one. If I had the chops and an illustrator, I’d be tempted to re-do some of the “award winners” the way the story ought to have been.

          • $SPOUSE and I have been noting the creep factor of a 50 year old Kenny Chesney doing “All the Pretty Girls”.

          • Which books are you thinking of, out of curiosity? The last YA books I read with any kind of explicit adolescent erotica were written by Norma Klein and published in the ’80s, when I was a teen. (It’s kind of disquieting, actually, to think that some people would now sincerely call that effectively child p**n.)

            Truthfully, I have to admit that one of the very few things that strained my suspension of disbelief in the later “Harry Potter” books was the realization that none of these teenaged characters in a modern-day society ever once talked about, or thought about, losing their virginity. I can see why Rowling made that artistic choice and I think it was to the books’ ultimate benefit, but it still occasionally takes me aback.

            • I can’t remember the names of books that I like, much less ones that are terrible….

              Good way to find them is to look at the “banned books” stories, and then read what the objecting parents actually said, in their own words. Especially if you have to dig for a while to find out that it was “banned” by not being required reading in middle school.

              ********

              Other than when required by the school, I never talked or thought about losing my virginity. Sure as heck not with an male friends.

            • I allow as I considered the fact that we get no discussion of the effects of polyjuice potion, even to the extent (in the final book) of one of the girls “converting” to Harry mentioning the notable differences in weight distribution (due to different pelvic and knee structures as well as absent mammaries) or other more notable differences (presumably none had to take a leak during their transformation.

              I would think the temptations for young lovers to transform into their partners would be irresistible for some, even if a girl in a boy’s form might experience no desire to “know” herself more directly.

            • Welll…Rowling didn’t entirely avoid it. She did approach it in a very oblique way–as a specific example, in Goblet of Fire at the Yule Ball, when Snape and Filch (and other professors) are going about late in the evening rousting teenagers out of the shrubbery. Mentions were made of looking rumpled/adjusting clothing. So…one can go with the ‘official’ implication that they were just making out…or one can assume that there were at least several teens who were doing rather more than that.

              I can attribute a lack of more direct references/situations to the fact that the books were all from Harry’s POV, and Harry was a bit behind in the hormonal development department, on account of a.) coming from a fairly severely abusive home environment, and b.) being rather more focused on just *surviving* a school year. He had a very small circle of close friends, as well, and didn’t notably pay a ton of attention to what the older kids were up to. (And I love Harry, but he was always very single-focused anyway.) It’s telling that he doesn’t *really* start to notice girls until he’s fifteen, pushing sixteen. And I noticed that things got very vague about exactly how he and Ginny spent their alone time from that point onwards… 😀

  17. I’ve come to think that one of the questions you need to ask to be prudent is “Yes, you can win that fight. Do you want what you’re going to win?” Of course, prudence is a virtue that it takes actual experience to acquire. I sure didn’t have it when I was twenty, and I didn’t have very much when I was thirty.

  18. I liked the adventure books too. Plus Andre Norton although female did write a lot of fantasy and sci-fi adventure. It was a great escape for me. And when I had the resources to make my own escape, I did.

  19. Sarah, you are my sister from another nation.

  20. Do you really want to keep telling yourself pretty stories and thinking all men are villains and all women victims? Come on, stop and think rationally.

    Rationality is a tool of the patriarchy.

    This brought to mind a recent post from Paul Mirengoff of Power Line:

    THE OBAMA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IN ITS TENTH YEAR
    [SNIP]
    Back to statistics. The main abusive practice of the Solis-Perez (and now the Acosta) Labor Department is the aggregation of dissimilar jobs for comparison of pay via statistics.

    When comparing male and female pay rates, it’s vital to compare the pay of people who are performing the same kinds of work. For example, in the tech industry, a prime target of the Solis-Perez-Acosta DOL, it makes sense to see whether male and female engineers performing highly complex work (e.g., on the cloud or on artificial intelligence) are paid about the same. If they aren’t, the contractor should have to explain why.

    But it makes no sense to lump all people holding the title “engineer” together. One would expect engineers performing sophisticated work to be paid significantly more than those performing relatively unsophisticated work, such as tweaking Outlook. Thus, no inference of pay discrimination arises from pay differences within such a broad classification.

    Moreover, it is preposterous to aggregate all “exempt” employees and compare their pay. Of course, the CEO of a tech company will be paid more than engineers, and engineers will be paid more than, say, human resource specialists. Inferring discrimination, or even the hint of it, from gender pay disparities within a group this broad is absurd.

    The Solis-Perez-Acosta DOL has aggressively aggregated people holding the same job title in its statistical analyses of pay. …

    [SNIP]

    Under the Trump administration, the OFCCP is taking its abusive aggregation practice one step further. I’m told that it wants to use an approach that would aggregate employees based on the qualifications, skills, and experience — the “human capital factors” — they possessed when they first applied for work with the contractor. Everything else that might explain pay differences — e.g., what jobs the employees pursued; what additional skills, qualifications, and experience they went on to obtain; whether at some point they chose to work part time — is deemed irrelevant for purposes of finding pay discrimination.

    The notion is that once two comparable individuals apply for work at a company, everything should be the same thereafter. If it isn’t, the theory seems to imply, the company is to blame.

    The OFCCP also wants to discount the market. A federal contractor needs to pay the market rate to engineers working on artificial intelligence; otherwise they will work elsewhere. The going rate will be significantly higher than for an engineer performing mundane work or for an HR coordinator. To the OFCCP, such market variables, and the gender pay differences they produce, are evidence of societal discrimination. Thus, increasingly, it looks askance at reliance on market data to explain gender pay disparities.

    As my first boss at the EEOC, a pioneer female government lawyer, told me, there’s a name for these of approaches to compensation issues: “socialism.”

    [SNIP]

    But the OFCCP will find discrimination based on a showing that a contractor’s numbers are two standard deviations from the expected one — a showing that, assuming the comparisons are apt (and we have seen that they typically are not), means only that there’s a five percent or less probability that the disparities are the result of chance. The OFCCP does not require anecdotal evidence. Its investigators have acknowledged, informally, that such evidence often cannot be found.

    OFCCP’s view of the use of statistics to prove discrimination is out-of-line with most of the case law. Tellingly, the Agency has refused even to participate in an EEOC-led task force that is considering this subject.

    The other big problem with the OFCCP’s use of statistics is lack of transparency. Not only does the OFCCP refuse to show its statistical findings to contractors it accuses of discriminating, it often refuses even to disclose its methodology.

    [SNIP]

    • “Logic is a tool of the Patriarchy.
      Be logical.
      Be a tool.”

      Err… wait. Can I try that again?

    • Okay, that was a bit long and the point not entirely clear.

      Using statistical massage to generate stories does not produce meaningful explanations. Look at the recent effect of comparable statistical “analysis” in determining the presence of racism because more “students of ethnicity” are being punished by schools. Such statistics tell us nothing of the reason for disparate impacts, utterly fail to address the effects of absentee fathers in boys’ behaviours and the degree such absenteeism correlates with race/ethnicity. (Doctor Sowell has much to say about such abuse in BRaWL, as we shall see.)

      For that matter, doesn’t the fact that school discipline has a distinctly disparate impact on boys than on girls prove the schools are anti-male?

      • But it’s no different than metrics in any business. I’m getting bent over because I’m trying to adapt to a new system that there is no implementation plan or significant training. Every wrong guess I make is treated as an error. So because I am attempting to do my job I’m expecting a below average review for this year. meanwhile someone who sits on job or turfs it stays pristine. No one is interested in root causes, merely that their little checkbox is marked. Oh, and these are for vehicles that are supposed to have the second highest level of scrutiny. But we empower the cheats and lazy.

        • To clarify, disparate impact is no different than any other poor metric. And that issue is not just government.

          • Agreed – which is why disparate impact badly applied is a poor measuring tool. It is employed by those looking for power to compel rather than power to correct. Bad metrics badly employed produce bad results.

            One of the pleasures of the Sabremetric revolution i Baseball has been its demonstration of the importance of accurate, relevant metrics. Thanks to the rigorous analysis we now know that Batting Average is of less value than On Base Percentage and that paying for “Starting Pitcher Wins” is a good way to go broke losing.

            Intelligent management entails identifying what metrics are critical to success and determining how focusing on those warps behaviour.

      • Numbers are like people: torture them enough and they’ll tell you whatever you want to hear.

        • And just like coerced information, tortured numbers are useless at best, and often downright misleading.

  21. “Both mom and my paternal grandmother couldn’t be oppressed. They weren’t about to give anyone the time to oppress them. In fact, I’d have paid to see someone try. I’d have sold tickets and popcorn and soda.”

    Not to mention plastic sheeting for the first three rows, to keep the splatter off.

  22. It explains the collapse of most dictatorships and how shocked the dictators were because by then they’d convinced themselves they were the good guys.

    Reminds me of the scene from the van Damme Street Fighter movie (I know. I know. But it’s a “guilty pleasure” that falls into the “so bad it’s good” category for me):

    Zangief : DEE JAY! Why you aren’t in your uniform? The enemies of peace and freedom are at our halls!
    Dee Jay : Are you totally demented mon? Our boss is the enemy of freedom and peace these people have come all over the world to stop him. If you are smart you save your own ass!
    Zangief : Wait! Bison is a bad guy! If you know why make use of him
    Dee Jay : Because he paid me a freakin’ fortune you moron!
    Zangief : [stupidly] You got…paid?

    • The definition of “peace and freedom” are the cause of that. For some, peace means no one trying to harm us and mutual tolerance. Freedom is the ability to choose. For others peace means no conflict regardless of how it comes about while freedom means just being able to go thru life and not have to make hard decisions and regret them.

      Just like the argument for how universal welfare would make things much more free or how the existence of firearms impinge on someone’s right to life.

      • The existence of Progressives threatens my right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

        • And they feel the same. And have the support of a not insignificant portion of law enforcement, government and media/tech. Choose the form of your destroyer.

          • They can disappear into unmarked graves the same as anyone else.

          • Yet, the Left is working hard at alienating the rank and file of law enforcement and the military. Underbusing the armed people, instituting policies where it’s pretty clear that the cop’s death is preferable to the criminal’s, flat out insults and lies, making soldiers fight with worn out equipment- all that does not tend to build loyalty in the only people they want to have access to weapons.

            • Except you manage to run out those with conscience and increase diversity with those criminals and make sure it is understood that if you follow party line 99% will retire comfortably but stand out and you will be destroyed, government agencies sicced on you etc and the whole calculation shifts. Especially since the targets will be mainly those who are not treated with kid gloves. Cops have done it multiple times already. Even have body bags on both sides. The more cynical may even wonder if the fire was in retaliation for the fact that badges lay in the body bags.

              • Even the crooks in uniform have to play at being cops- someone has to protect the good neighborhoods, and you do have to make arrest to generate revenue. Which leads to more underbusing, more getting called “stupid” and “racist” by the politicians, and more bad treatment by the press and higher-ups.
                Even the crookedest, most unprincipled thug in uniform hears stories about how the manager of an Olive Garden asked a uniform cop to leave because it made a Leftist uncomfortable, or the story about the shop in Cali that is refusing to serve cops.
                My point stands- the Left is working hard, hard, hard to alienate, humiliate, neuter, and disrespect the very people they hope will do all the stuff with guns.

                • Which means you only get Captain America and…whatever that cop from the Batman cartoon, the one who hated his guts but was MOSTLY honest, just an ass… and guys on the take, which tends to be self-ending because it’s cheaper to shoot you than pay you.

                  • That would probably be Dect. Harvey Bullock.
                    Just finished reading the amazing “Gotham Central” comic series.

                    • Thank you!

                      Incidentally, finally realized who the cops on half the interchangable Procedural shows remind me of.

                      Seriously need more Batman.

            • Took me a while to figure out that “UNDERBUSING” appears to mean “throwing someone under the bus”.

  23. Had an interesting discussion regarding Privilege with the high school devotional group I lead on Wednesdays.

    They had watched a yootoob video about a group of people lined up for a race to get $100. The runners were told to take so many steps forward if they had this or that advantage, which was supposed to make some Profound Point about How Privilege Keeps Some People Down, ect.

    I decided to ask a few questions. What if the person in the obvious lead just sat down on the track (which I proceeded to do)? What if they don’t run at all? What if the race was a marathon- would a few steps really make all that much of a difference? What if the person in the front gets turned around and runs the wrong way? I then mentioned quite a few people who were officially “disadvantaged”- Steve Jobs for instance.

    Happily, the realization hit them, as did the moral of “The Tortoise and the Hare”.

    The unspoken message of the video is “if you aren’t already advantaged, you may as well quit (and vote Democrat) because you can’t ever win”.

    • One big flaw in that race analogy is the assumption that there’s only one prize. That once one person “gets it” everyone else is forever shut out.

      • Just one flaw?

      • That’s one of the big lies of the Marxist/progressive movement. A lot of what they say SOUNDS like the truth, but only if you assume that everything is a zero sum game. But that’s the lie, because in reality so little that actually matters in life is zero sum.

    • Good points, but to take the analogy fairly on its own terms, it’s not about whether a person’s good or bad choices, or hard work or lack thereof, can offset his starting advantages or disadvantages; it’s about how many people have to put up with how much disadvantage in the first place, and where those disadvantages come from.

      Remember that each “runner” actually represents millions of people; yes, some advantaged runners will waste their advantage with bad choices, and some disadvantaged runners will overcome their handicap with good choices… but if you’re betting on the group as a whole you still bet with the group in the lead.

      And even if the disadvantages can be overcome, that doesn’t make trying to redress them before the race starts a bad or pointless endeavour. Just because some crabs are able to climb out of the bucket on their own doesn’t mean the other crabs don’t have a legitimate complaint about being put there in the first place.

      • Except nobody is responsible for the circumstances of their birth and most efforts to redress such inequities typically do more to exacerbate trauma than alleviate it.

        Focusing on who is born with advantages or disadvantages is merely one more way of distracting from the real challenges of life.

        • True, but not all disadvantages are created equal. Some arise from conditions we can’t do anything about; some arise from conditions we can do something about — and telling the difference between them is sometimes only a matter of trying. William Wilberforce was no doubt told more than once that his devotion to the “impossible” task of abolishing the “natural condition” of slavery was distracting him from more important or valuable endeavours, and thank God he didn’t listen!

          Now that said, the problem today is that we have an excess of would-be Wilberforces who don’t want to expend the same effort and are more interested in personal acclaim than public benefit, who are doing their best to guilt-trip the rest of us into never asking whether their clients’ disadvantages actually are as unjustly arbitrary and amenable as slavery, who are perfectly willing to stifle individual opportunity and freedom in the name of their own virtue-signaling, and who are constantly fighting for smaller and smaller shares of the Defender-Of-The-Downtrodden pie. So skepticism is certainly merited. I just want to avoid the cynical stance that slides too easily from “I can’t solve all your problems for you” to “I’m not my brother’s keeper”.

          • You might find today’s discussion of Thomas Sowell’s essay, Black Rednecks and White Liberals informative. Sowell’s argument is, in part, that defending dysfunctional cultures as “authentic” does far more to benefit the defenders than the defendants. While it might be very nice for enlightened, generous and understanding people to defend their mascots it is less rewarding for those mascots.

  24. black flag corsair

    Laser cheese is the worst-tasting stuff in the world.

  25. Having grown up on a farm in small-town Illinois, I have found that my attitudes are often a little “behind the times” since I now live in more urban settings. When I first started dating my second wife (now ex #2 sadly), I noticed that she seemed uncomfortable sometimes, particularly when we had just gotten in the car to go somewhere. When I asked what was up, she seriously answered “I’ve never had anyone open a door for me like that. I asked my mom and she said men used to do that sort of thing, but it seems weird to me.”

  26. OT: Apparently DerpPress has decided to stop delivering anything except “likes” to me via e-mail since sometime yesterday. On any of the blogs I follow. So I’ve neither ragequit nor agree with any replies, it’s just another glorious WordPress day.

    WordPress delenda est. From orbit.

  27. “If you make it impossible for them to be gentlemen they WILL be pirates.”

    I have entered this theorem as a cognate with two others that are similar:
    Mark Steyn’s Maxim, and JFK’s warning (which I cribbed from a PJM article I hope you have all seen by now)

    MARK STEYN’S MAXIM OF ELITES AND POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
    The political class has refined Voltaire: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death my right not to have to listen to you say it.
    ….
    If the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain issues, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones.

    JFK’s WARNING
    https://pjmedia.com/trending/amazon-deletes-reviews-conservative-authors-no-explanation/#comment-3810116429

    “Amazon deletes reviews of conservative authors with no explanation”
    Oh, there is an “explanation” alright.
    They are stupid and short sighted enough to think that trying such censorship of ideas works.
    It doesn’t.
    As JFK was once reported to have quipped:
    “Those that make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.”
    The Lefties should be listening.
    Being denied a voice makes people really angry.
    And the Left will have no-one to blame but themselves.

  28. Stories by Sarah and others of the ladies here remind me of a woman I know, who often says, “Female is not my native language.”

  29. A long time ago it hit me that 3 weeks of the month women
    need men to be assistant women and one week they needed
    men to be “bad boys,” in terms of successfully reproducing
    and raising kids. In the old days of more blatant aggression
    between groups (tribes, clans, nations) where men needed to
    forcibly protect their women and children this was not that
    big a dichotomy. Also men had to hunt big and medium game,
    chase away predators, and do heavy muscle work. With
    modern technology obviating the need for male muscle, a dearth
    of wolf packs, leopards, lions, etc., the need for male strength
    declined. Traditional male feistiness became less necessary
    from a woman’s point of view.

    How to maintain traditional male virtues when the need for the
    behaviors they derive from appears to be declining ( I suspect
    this decline is illusory) is a problem. However, I suspect
    that those who hate maleness will discover that destroying
    these virtues is a really stupid idea.

    I do not claim to be a paragon of male virtue. However, a
    woman ca do worse than getting herself a man who is ugly,
    strong, and reliable (“Feo, fuerte, y firme”) even if it means
    putting up with a little machismo during the three weeks.