html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Batting .500.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Batting .500.

On Tia's blog they’re talking about the troubles you can run into while looking for affectionate casual sex, and that reminded me of something I’ve wanted to write up for a long time. Here, my friends, is a long overdue ode to very slutty men.

There is a certain type of very promiscuous men that is just wonderful to be around. I don’t mean “players”, and I certainly don’t mean those guys consciously following techniques to score with women. But I’ve run across a few promiscuous men who simply love women; they respect women, and want to sleep with lots of them, and are easy and open about all of that. Those guys are cheerful great company, sleep with them or not*.

I’ve met maybe four of those guys in my life, and they have all shared three characteristics. First, they love women. Love to be around them, love to talk to them, love how they look and smell. They love women. Second, they pay a kind of attention that I have never seen in any other context. No matter what they are doing, they are also always keeping track of me and ready to help. At a wedding a couple summers ago, I had finished my drink and was starting to think of another when the slutty groomsman brought me another of what I’d had the first time. We weren’t there together and he hadn’t gotten me my first drink. He wasn’t even working on me; he was after the hot bisexual bridesmaid. But I was a fuckable woman in the room, and that meant that he knew, all night long, what I was drinking and whether I was due for a refill. In college, I was at a medium-size party, talking to a group of friends. I asked some question out loud, but my group didn’t have an answer. From across the room, the slutty guy looked up over his pool cue, mouthed the answer to me and returned to his game. I wouldn’t even have thought he could hear us, but he was paying attention to me at every moment.

The third thing those guys do that other men don’t is that they ask to have sex. They ask straight, and they ask nice. They know that women want to have sex, and they know that women want to have fun casual sex. They would rather have sex, but they don’t mind if they don’t, because they’re just happy to be around you, a woman.

I don’t meet these guys often, but I always like them when I do. They are great in bed, because they are paying attention and have a lot of experience. I’ve seen them stay faithful in long relationships, but they are completely straightforward about sleeping around when that isn’t in the picture. They make every part of casual sex (saying yes, saying no, trying things, staying over**, leaving in the morning) easy and nice. I think they’re great, and want to send out big props to all of them.





*I was talking about this with Sean, and he said that he would say exactly all those things about promiscuous women. Great company, like men, like sex, easy and fun to be around.

**One slutty guy in my old co-op kept an entire drawer full of unused toothbrushes, travel contact kits and saline, and condoms. None of those would be the reason an evening got cut short. We counted one time. He slept with nine (9) of the twenty-seven (27) women in the house. (Not me, actually.) Respect.

78 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, this is all very interesting, but what does it have to do with "Batting .500."?

Baseball, after all, is horrible at sex, even if it might be potent. How can a man with four balls walk?

Embarrassed pause: Were you expecting a thoughtful response are a playful one?

4:28 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

You know, I'm surprised more people don't ask me what the titles mean. They are often some tangential thought I can't fit in the post. I can't figure out whether you guys understand my tangential thoughts, or whether you don't care enough to ask about them.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I anonymously care. How far does an engineer take tangents? I'm not good at math.

So is this your batting average -- a very good one if the glass is half-full.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, that first anonymous post was supposed to be "... or a playful one?"

Not good at math or writing comments.

4:51 PM  
Blogger ScottM said...

It's an attitude to envy. I've seen it executed well-- even other guys can do little more than shrug as we get bumped off the consideration list again.

I think it's every 12-15 year old's dream to become this person.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous jens said...

Apparently, not all the girls feel that way. One of my friends who no longer lives in town fits that description pretty well. He has many female friends, whether or not he is sleeping with them. But other women find him repellent. I'd say he gets about half favorable, half unfavorable reactions.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"they respect women and want to sleep with lots of them"

How old are you again, Megan?

At the risk of sounding like JMPP-and my blood curdles at the thought- do you think someone thinking of another person exclusively in terms of fuckable/nonF is a sign of respect!

12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I usually get your tangential titles, I still don't get the Batting .500 thing.

Hell, I still don't get slutty guy M.O. I understand the loving women thing, the listening to women thing, the paying attention to women thing. But the asking? How do you ask for casual sex? Or more likely, how can you tell when a woman wants sex for companionship and fun, versus the times when it means that start of something big and meaningful? That just seems like a bit of syntax and vocabulary that's not in my dictionary...

--Confused in California

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout out. ;)

There is nothing wrong with understanding that sometimes people simply want to enjoy sex. There is certainly a way to go about it without being hurtful or mean and it helps when you know what you are doing.

Also, I think casting this in the fuckable/non fuckable light is slightly unfair. We all very much have characteristics we find attractive and are allowed to act on those preferences as we see fit. (See Megan's last post) Living Megan's ideal version of la vida slutty is much more involved than just the intercourse part.

5:10 AM  
Anonymous jens said...

> But the asking? How do you ask
> for casual sex?

I think a lot of guys would like to know this...perhaps you could post a handbook of some kind :-)

8:58 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

At the risk of sounding like JMPP-and my blood curdles at the thought-

I seriously do not know how many more ways to say this: affirmative kindness. Say nothing about someone or be kind. Those are your only choices here.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hang on a sec, dubin said some pretty strong stuff in the Disc blog and you didn't say anything to her..or maybe the 'rule' only applies to non-whites?

anyway, I'd rather say nothing if that's your condition.


Keep well,

b.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I explicitly said that the rules were off for the Disc thread, and back on in the next thread. You can still say stuff there, if you must. And I've called Dubin on it, too.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question from a guy's perspective, how do you tell the "slutty guy" from the player? I had a college housemate who exhibited virtually all the traits you mentioned, enjoyed considerable success (and to echo scottm's comment we all wished we could pull it off). But if you asked him, he would firmly put himself in the player category, and sure was not going to get "stuck" too long term with anyone.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Good slutty guy is upfront about his situation and intentions, and fine with it if that costs him getting some. Also, when I've seen these guys commit, they take it very seriously.

Bad player guy places a higher importance on getting some in any encounter, maybe thinks of getting sex as something he wins from women, is slightly more willing to let women get hurt feelings.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

At the risk of sounding like Oprah -- and my blood curdles at the thought -- Right on, girlfriend!

These are the guys who try have sex with you because they would like to have sex with you. As opposed to guys who are trying to score points in some strange game you're not even playing, or otherwise trying to shore up their bloated, wounded egos.

These are the guys who can admit it's about wanting to have sex with a woman, as opposed to trying to con her into thinking they're going to be her boyfriend. These are the guys who care if you have a good time, too. These are the guys who want you to feel good afterward that you slept with them. You'd think that would be all of them, but, sadly, no.

The third thing those guys do that other men don’t is that they ask to have sex. They ask straight, and they ask nice.

Amen to that! I think the reason more guys don't do that is because they don't want to give you an opening for a no. These are the guys who rely on manipulation to get laid, rather than being able to honestly entice a woman.

They'd rather have this awkward period where you wonder, "Is he really trying something?" If you ask what he's doing before it's undeniable, he can act all offended and huffy, and accusing you of thinking everyone's out to sleep with you. If you wait until it's undeniably obvious what he's trying, then it's very awkward and you're accused of leading him on.

I think it's strange how the type of guy you describe is often demonized in movies and TV. From what I've seen, these guys are almost never the ones who really upset women. My theory is that the guys who write those shows aren't that type of guy, so they're jealous. They prefer storylines where the suave, sexy guy is the evil one, and the unpopular, unattractive guys are the ones who treat women the best.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the "Batting .500" title mean that these men can expect to score about half the time?

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like I said, I've got nowt to say.
"states of exception" (as with gitmo, incidentally) make a mockery of the rules. But it's your blog, boss.

So I bow out and wish you well Megan. Hope things work out well for you.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think it's strange how the type of guy you describe is often demonized in movies and TV. From what I've seen, these guys are almost never the ones who really upset women. My theory is that the guys who write those shows aren't that type of guy, so they're jealous. They prefer storylines where the suave, sexy guy is the evil one, and the unpopular, unattractive guys are the ones who treat women the best."

By "treat women the best" ... are you not counting how they are treated in dating or a relationship? How can the "unpopular, unattractive guys" treat them bad when they're not even on the woman's radar screen. The two will rarely come in contact.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous yoyo said...

The key thing is sex is NO BIG DEAL. If it happens, cool, if not, things are still fun. Equating casual sex as bad (or only respectful if you only want sex with some small portion of people), or getting mad if you get turned down, or whatever means you're putting importance on sex.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

By "treat women the best" ... are you not counting how they are treated in dating or a relationship? How can the "unpopular, unattractive guys" treat them bad when they're not even on the woman's radar screen.

Anon, I disagree with the implication that such guys are necessarily any more likely to date or have a relationship with women they do have sex with. Nor are they likelier to treat them well in bed. Very few guys have no women who will have sex with them, assuming a basic level of social participation where they are in a position to meet women. I was positing that a casual fling with one of Megan's good-slutty guys is probably going to be better than with a guy who feels unattractive and resents women because of it.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Very few guys have no women who will have sex with them, assuming a basic level of social participation where they are in a position to meet women."

I supp

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Very few guys have no women who will have sex with them, assuming a basic level of social participation where they are in a position to meet women."

I suppose most of my friends back in highschool and now in college are exceptions. We were hardly successful with the ladies. In my case, I had a noticeable protruding mole on the center of my forehead which I just recently had removed. Nothing in our behavior suggested that we were any more resentful or angry than anybody else. I suspect most of the resentment that women encounter come from men who have had bad experiences in relationships. Having said that, if a woman is looking for casual sex then the "good, slutty man" is the way to go because he has had more experience. Women are turned off by inexperienced men.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous jens said...

> Women are turned off by
> inexperienced men.

If they are, then they hide it very well!

Of course I have to remember VERY FAR back, but my first said "I suppose you must have been taught by the angels, then..."

9:07 PM  
Blogger Ben Wolfson said...

So, tell us more about this asking thing, Megan.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous yoyo said...

"consciously following techniques to score with women"

i am surprised an fucking engierner woudl be against techniquing/analyzing good interactions/modeling past success. maybe it sjsut what you're talking about is TRYING. ro something.

3:13 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

yoyo, that was fabulous. I want you to comment like that all the time. Umm - I was thinking of the guys I read about in Neil Strauss' The Game, who are following techniques to conquer women.

Wolfson:
For you, honey, anything. I'll write that up next. (And for Jens too, although he was taught by the angels and has a wife and everything.)

9:14 AM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

Billo,

I like your comments. Maybe I just like the constancy of the folks in this thread. It feels a little like the co-ops sometimes. I don't really know where I fit but people basically enjoy each other. There was even a JMPP the year I was at Loth. She had very different values and a distinctly different aesthetic, but she wanted to be there with us crusty hippies, so you had to give her some credit. Some people could deal with her, some people couldn't. She was just part of the mix.

The thing to remember is that JMPP is not an anomaly at all. So you could just rephrase that (and do us all a favor in the process):

"At the risk of sounding like a retrograde anti-feminist ..."

or

"At the risk of sounding like a prude ..."

The favor would be bringing the discussion back to bigger issues of how we all percieve relationships and sex and desire and suitability of partners and behavior. That stuff has nothing to do with JMPP. I am not even necessarily calling JMPP a retrograde anti-feminist (I'm not really sure that phrase means anything.) I'm just saying that there is no need to use JMPP as a stand-in for all things evil. We can have a bigger, better discussion if we think beyond the comments on From the Archives and put real names to things. You are a great writer, Billo. It is worth rising to the challenge.

Meanwhile, (oy, I don't know how we can actually discuss this within the bounds of affirmative kindness, but I do have a blog of my own, as do you ...) I don't really think that JMPP has written much on respect and fuckability. On some level the whole "heels and lipstick" thing would imply that men who think you are fuckable will respect you more, though I don't think JMPP ever put it quite so crassly.

I chafe, too, I want to be able to tear people apart when I don't like their ideas, but it is a much more interesting challenge to skip the ad hominem and argue about idea.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Anon, I certainly wouldn't turn down a guy just for a mole. No matter how big it was, it still couldn't take up much of the total real estate ... I didn't mean to say that every guy who does poorly with women hates women. Some guys, for example, are just too shy or uptight. I'm just saying, one should not assume that because a guy has fewer opportunities, he will treat the ones he has better.

I don't know that women are turned off by inexperienced men. As a man gets older, however, it can often be a sign of some other problem (ie, asexuality or latent gayness). Most of my really bad experiences were with relatively inexperienced guys -- not because of the inexperience, but because the other problems made them jerks.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amanda, thank you for your kind words...flattery will get you everywhere m'dear (you have to say with a Mae West drawl).

you're quite right, of course. I have nothing personally against JMPP and so JMPP, if you're out there, I'd just like to apologise for that comment. Sorry.

It was a flippant comment.

When it comes to different ideas I really am not bothered by differences: what matters is the way in which it is said: "tell it, but tell it slant".

I just find this "affirmative kindness" all a bit odd..a bit like people saying "have a nice day" all the time . So, please try and take into account cultural differences: being a miserable sod is par for the course here in Blighty :)

11:14 AM  
Anonymous jens said...

> (And for Jens too, although he
> was taught by the angels and has
> a wife and everything.)

That's to satisfy my curiosity rather than for any practical reason. If you want me to get any practical use out of it, you could extend it to backrubs.

That's pretty much as far as I go with girls I meet... but it's always with ones I already know (or friends of ones I already know), and sometimes I see strange girls that obviously need one...

On the other hand, there are probably good reasons not to ask even if you could offer with elan -- there is a small chance some other dude who is actually eligible might notice, and that would be much better for her!

1:24 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

Having sex with one of these men sounds like a good way to catch genital herpes or HPV (which can infect areas other than those covered by condoms and are both rampant).

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very few guys have no women who will have sex with them, assuming a basic level of social participation where they are in a position to meet women.

I suppose most of my friends back in highschool and now in college are exceptions. We were hardly successful with the ladies.

Standards are the key to the issue of why nerds can't get sex. Please note that while I'm assuming that you and your friends were nerds, the point still holds if you weren't.

Many men who are, to put it kindly, of very low quality seem to have no trouble getting sex: violent ex-cons, hugely fat men, skells, falling-down drunks, 3-toothed hillbillies, and so on. Their secret? Men like that have basically no standards when it comes to women. If it has a poon tang they'll do it, no matter how foul she may be.

Nerds, to their credit, by and large won't stoop so low. Most of them won't consider sex with a woman who's of extremely low quality. While in many ways that shows strength of character, it also leads to no sex: they don't want bad women, and decent women don't want them.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

3:28 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I can't begin to tell you how much I hate this perception of people as having high and low quality. Why? Why rank people? What the fuck for? If you think of yourself near the top, it is ugly and smug and useless for any interesting set of characteristics of people. If you think of yourself as near the bottom, it is sad and limiting and hurtful.

People are incredible, capable of stunning kindnesses and feats and skills and thoughts. They are also weak and small-minded and selfish. But those things aren't consistent, even in one person, and another viewer would pick a different set of things to evaluate someone on. Circumstances will also play a huge, maybe even determining, role in which self a person brings to each chance to show herself.

This "quality" notion, and the dismissal of people that goes with it makes me sad. I wish we would abandon it entirely.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous humbition said...

What Megan said. Really, this kind of philosophy is something we need more of in the world.

As for the issue in question, yes, like many of us I have had my difficulties in the past. But for me I have always taken someone being attracted to me as a prima facie index of their being a quality person. :)

And the more one perceives oneself to be a minority taste, the more one should appreciate those who share it. I suppose those who are attractive to many others, for superficial reasons, might not feel this way. But for the rest of us we should treasure the ones who in any way appreciate ourselves.

I identify as a male heterosexual person if that helps contexualize this sentiment.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous jens said...

You can't abandon it entirely, but you don't have to make assume it as one-dimensional. The quality you assign does not have to be the same as that JMMP assigns.

Nevertheless, if two gorgeous guys offer to spend the night with you (hmm, let's make that TWELVE -- as long as we are hypothetical, why not binge?), and you have to pick one, the one you pick has, by your measure, the highest quality.

For some people, a pro-choice attitude would add to quality, for others subtract.

Calling it quality sounds a bit off-putting to me, but the concept itself is inevitable.

Reminds me of the Marginal Revolution discussion on status, and how each person can feel good about being near the top of their very own ladder...

5:09 PM  
Anonymous jens said...

On the other hand, let's just have two...the utility of being much-sought-after might be negated by the necessity of rejecting 11 hunks.

Assuming, that is, you don't get involved in groups! (if so, just generalize to 1+number of largest acceptable group)

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jaqueline, that's pretty speculative.

Disease transmission is correlated to promiscuity, but that's not the only correlate by any stretch.

You are always far better off with an (sexually) educated partner who is going to be honest with you about what they've been up to and knowledgeable about safer sex...

You are implicitly asserting that this is globally less likely to be true of the sort of guy Megan is talking about than others. I find that unlikely. I can think of several other populations that are far higher risk, I suspect.

yoyo: re the `technique' thing: there is obviously a potentially huge difference between the guy (in this case) who is wandering off for the night thinking `I want to get laid tonight' and the guy who is talking to you and thinking `wow, i'd love to sleep with you'.

Being analytical about your own personal interactions and history (what worked, what didn't) is one thing ... being analytical about this in a population sense dehumanizes it. At that point your are `on the pull' or `playing', which is essentially selfish.

Megan isn't talking about that type of person, but I think several reactions here result from thinking that is the only possibility with promiscuity. This is not true. It seems to me to turn on the fact that someone who wants to sleep with a lot of women is not the same thing as someone who meets a lot of women he wants to sleep with.

And as far as the asking thing goes? Ben, Jens, others: why is this confusing you? It's the simplest thing: you just ask. Ask in a way that allows graceful decline, that is not awkward; don't make a huge deal of it.


s.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

While in many ways that shows strength of character

Really, Peter? Having physical/popularity/financial standards higher than those one meets oneself is "strength of character"? I call it hypocrisy.

Megan, of course you are right. Terming some people "quality" and others "low quality" or no-quality is not the best way to make the point that I, at least, wish to make. The main problem is that human psychology does not strictly follow an economics model.

It's important to note that JMPP didn't come up with this concept, though -- guys use it all over the place on the Internet. I do occasionally enjoy seeing a woman throw it back in their faces.

The point that I wish to make is that people should be honest and realistic about their standards, especially the ones that involve superficial, favored and immutable characteristics. Otherwise, people feel free to reason like my 38-year-old overweight deliberately unemployed male friend, who announced that he could only be attracted to women in their 20s who had slim bodies and pretty faces. He argued there was absolutely nothing wrong with this, that it was the exact same thing as preferring curly hair to straight hair. "It's just what I happen to like, I can't help it." It was not the same thing. There is a reason he didn't just happen to instead prefer women 10 years older and heavier than him. There is a reason the women he targeted weren't similarly attracted to him. This was evidenced by him becoming infuriated by my insistence on a guy of similar age and (at least as high) IQ to myself. He was in love, whereas I was shallow.

Just like there was a reason a (former) female friend of mine always wanted guys who were popular athletes in high school, and highly sought after by the opposite sex, even though she herself was neither. (She compensated for this lack by seeking popular men from poor and ethnic families, because she was from a rich white family. It worked.) It's not about some indefinable soulmate quality, and it pisses me off when people act like it is.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

It's important to note that JMPP didn't come up with this concept, though -- guys use it all over the place on the Internet.

I have a suspicion that thinking of people as "quality" accompanies whatever that Randian/objectivist belief system is. I refuse to learn more about it. Whatever the source, I think it is a particularly unpleasant and simplistic way to view the world.

Spungen, I don't mean to say you are going along with the judgmental and dismissive side of it. I can see that you are using it as a shorthand.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Dubin said...

My two cents:

The type of guy Megan is talking about is actually pretty rare. The reason some of you are wondering how she can be so warm and fuzzy towards men that sound like "players" is that you have never met this guy before in your lives. I am trying to think of who the four are that she's talking about, and although I have some ideas I'm not sure I know. But I do roughly know the type.

The reason this guy is a-ok is that somehow he's actually secure enough not to be a total shit to women as he goes through them. He's a nice person! Maybe even really nice! How rare... if you are actually a nice, warm humanitarian person, maybe people's feelings don't get hurt as often.

That said, I think a lot of people aren't able to deal with casual sex (myself included) because we are either too jealous, or too possessive, or in my case I guess my ego would be wounded to think that someone would be with me and then blythely move on just like that. So no matter how nice this slutty guy is, most of us still don't want any part of that action.

Now, more importantly: ok, so Megan, who are this people? I'm just curious. Do I know them? Email me, I'm an inquiring mind.

P.S. JMPP's comment cracked me up. It's like when you're telling your mom some story of heartbreak and loss and she listens for awhile and says, "Did you get an oil change on the Honda?" It's true that it would be prudent to get an oil change, I mean anyone can tell you that, but maybe not exactly the crux of the discussion at hand...

P.P.S. I'm still wondering about Billo's comment about "non-whites." I bet Megan ignored it because she didn't quite get it either, but I must know. Where did that come from? Do tell.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Yeah, well, I wish I had a better shorthand. Right now, it seems like there are two camps:

1. There's no good or bad, everyone is equal, there are just various individual preferences to which no objective value can be assigned.

2. Human love can be modeled using economics like any other market.

I don't like either.

P.S. Yeah, Dubin, Billo's comment stymied me too, especially since his pic looks like a white guy.
.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

spungen: how about another camp? In this camp there are two premises

1 - there is no well-ordering of `quality', meaning that there is no unique measurement of a being `higher quality than b. Peoples measures also differ.

2 - most people use the term incorrectly anyways, as if there were an objective `quality'; and they often use this in the most base ways, to elevate their sense of self

5:45 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Dubin:
They are rare; like I said, I've only met four of them ever. I also have an unconfirmed theory that they because sexually active fairly young, and never went through a period where sex was a huge anxious deal. They are, also, nice.

You learn how to be graceful and enjoy casual sex when it is the alternative is yet more celibacy.

-s:
It's the simplest thing: you just ask.
No, it is hard to figure out at first. Ben is young, and hasn't figured out that he is adorable. I'll 'splain it to him.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan: You are right, these things take a while to figure out. I won't claim to be `that guy' you are talking about (not really something you can self-characterize, anyway), for what it's worth I did miss out on a lot of the `big deal' socialization by the simple expedient of dropping out of school. Graceful is something that doesn't come immediately to most people, I think.

s.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

-s:
Word. To the extent that I have achieved some grace, it is by doing the opposite of last time. Grace is hardwon for me; tact is even harder.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spungen -
When I said that the typical nerd has "standards," when the typical lowlife does not, I was setting the bar very low. For instance, a well-educated nerd (as most of them seem to be) probably wouldn't be interested in a female high school dropout or crack user. If he were willing to accept such a woman he'd probably be able to get sex, but even the most desparate nerd is likely to draw the line somewhere.
I was not thinking in terms of, say, an obese and introverted nerd only wanting cheerleader types (though some surely do); having standards of that sort are just plain stupid.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

7:18 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

spungen: how about another camp?...

Anon, while your proposal makes some good points, I don't see how it differs from my No. 1. Your proposed "camp" doesn't seem to acknowledge that some characteristics are indeed objectively more desirable than others. Rich is more desirable than poor; youth than age; physically fit than not. When (for example) a heavy middle-aged guy is attracted to a fit woman in her 20s, that's not because of the mystery we call love.

Love is supposed to be more than the sum of one's rankings of desirable characteristics.

However, some people will say they are in (unrequited) love with someone when really they're just attracted to that person's objectively desirable characteristics, which usually are in greater quantity than their own. They claim they are "in love" with the person to gain a moral authority and sympathy they don't deserve, and to immune themselves to criticism for their shallowness.

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter: You seem to think the ordering is easy to see, but I'm pretty sure if you think about it for a while, you'll see it is not.

It doesn't matter that there exist people who would almost universally be qualified as `low quality', or `high quality', because if you try to determine what individual qualities make it so, it all falls apart.

Usually, you lack anything like enough information to make this sort of judgement usefully, anway. Even close friends of many years can surprise you. Certainly with strangers it is pretty hard.
If I tell you I dropped out of high school, do you adjust some mental meter of me? What about if I tell you I have a Ph.D? If you tend to make these sorts of judgements quickly about people you see, would you believe you are likely to be accurate? Unless your idea of `quality' is `conforming to norms', this is unlikely... and that's a pretty counterintuitive idea of `quality'.

Even aside from the fundamental flaws in the scheme, your statements simply aren't true in my experience, and smack a little of a nasty sort of holier-than-thou; you don't want to get any of that on you.

I can think immediately of people who quite go against the way you claim these things work. You may say that these are the proverbial exceptions that prove the rule, but I'm not so easily convinced.

s.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Peter, it appears my experience with nerds differs from yours. Or, perhaps we define nerd differently.

Insofar as nerds tend to be unpopular, they tend to be absolutely obsessed with women they view as popular. This tends to be true of unpopular people in general. Kind of like a lot of heavy people absolutely can't stand other heavy people.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Jens:
Nevertheless, if two gorgeous guys offer to spend the night with you (hmm, let's make that TWELVE -- as long as we are hypothetical, why not binge?), and you have to pick one, the one you pick has, by your measure, the highest quality.

I'm liking the generosity of your hypothetical, but to my mind, it proves the opposite of your point. If I had to choose between twelve gorgeous men, I would probably choose by something that happened during the judging, and that is probably not an accurate summary of his "quality". Maybe some guy happened to throw a quick smile that caught my attention, or was the first to open the door for me 'cause he was closest, or read up about regulating reservoirs the day before we chatted. So much of that is coincidence and circumstance; any ranking would change in a new interaction.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

spungen: I think that misses the point.

First off, there are very few *objectively* favourable qualities.
Even the simpler ones problematic: for people who distrust the abuse of money, `rich' probably isn't such a good thing. `poor' is probably not good -- unless you are an ascetic. I'm stretching the point a bit but this is one of the most unanimous qualities, and it *isn't* objective. For a more down-to-earth example, many couples struggle with the balance of money & free time

A problem is both that each of our subjective evaluations of these properties is slightly different, and that they interact. The last is key: To use your examples, how do you compare old & rich vs. young & poor? Rather depends what you are looking for, but you can hardly argue that everyone would *agree* about even that grossly oversimplified scenario. In reality, it is much much more complicated. Is compassion more important than intelligence? Etc. etc.

If you attempt to match up everything, there must be people who are equivalent `quality' for very different reasons, and of course there is subjective variation if you ask different people. So, no, it doesn't work to try and order everything.

However, and this is where the two `camps' differ, it is possible to roughly order things. You could think of it something like this, you can't order these qualities analytically, but you can sort of order them statistically.

As you say, sometimes people will profess love for the idea of a person more than that person, but that's a different thing, too.

s.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

"As you say, sometimes people will profess love for the idea of a person more than that person, but that's a different thing, too."

No, Anon, that thing is exactly what I'm talking about. My point wasn't that there should be some analytical model of attraction. I don't see what good it would be. My point is that when there's some person like my then-38-year-old former friend (and several others like him) who clearly was using love as an excuse to justify his creepy shallowness, there should be a socially acceptable way to slap him down. Currently, there is not. He whined that he was "in love" with women younger, slimmer and prettier, and complained that such women never wanted him (because they're shallow of course), and it's absolutely socially unacceptable to point out the difference between what he demands and what he is. It was also unacceptable to acknowledge there were certain things that some men would never be able to get, that I at least thought I had myself, and that I was never attracted to men without those things.

Why is this such a forbidden topic? Probably because people don't want their own desires getting called into question. So, we pretend there are no standards, or that they're all subjective and relative.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"P.S. JMPP's comment cracked me up. It's like when you're telling your mom some story of heartbreak and loss and she listens for awhile and says, "Did you get an oil change on the Honda?" It's true that it would be prudent to get an oil change, I mean anyone can tell you that, but maybe not exactly the crux of the discussion at hand..."

I think it's relevant... Megan is glorifying these guys' behavior, when they're very likely spreading disease. Stupid and irresponsible.

I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with pretty serious HPV... she has to have some things cut out of her now, and may not ever be able to have children (something she really wanted).

I urge y'all to educate yourselves about just how common herpes and HPV are and how easy they are to catch, even with condoms. STDs are an important consideration that should be included in any discussion about the risks and benefits of casual sex.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Megan is glorifying these guys' behavior, when they're very likely spreading disease. Stupid and irresponsible.

You know, I move in a world where people aren't stupid and irresponsible. Where, when people are willing to have casual sex, they handle the responsibilities of taking care of themselves and their partners. I keep thinking that my readers will assume the best of a situation, because I do, and because, by and large, my friends keep meeting that assumption.

I hate qualifying my posts, so I'll say this once and hope it sticks. If you guys have to guess whether someone I write about is behaving well or poorly, or has good or bad motives, or has overlooked something obvious, just frickin' assume the best. We (me and my friends and acquaintances) aren't dumb or careless or mean, so base your comments off an assumption of intelligent kindness and decency.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Jackie, I'm curious -- how do you get around casual sex? You're unmarried, you're not religious, you say you like sex, you clearly don't demand marriage prior to sex. How do you know a guy's not going to bail after you hook it up -- thereby resulting in de facto casual sex?

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:36 (s.?) -

People seem to be reading a lot more into my comments than what I intended. All I said is that most people who are of at least semi-decent character - completed high school, not living on the streets, no significant felony record, no current heavy drug use, etc. - would probably not be willing to accept as a sexual partner someone who does have some of these social pathologies. That's all. I'm not trying to make some sweeping generalizations about "quality."

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

9:37 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

in re: quality

to quote the awesome OK GO... mediocre people do exceptional things all the time.

9:37 PM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

I think it has something to do with the other white dubin, but i'm not sure. Billo?

I dated a guy with HPV, he was about the least promiscuous man that I dated. My friend with herpes? Not a player. Nothing leaves you more vulnerable than thinking you aren't vulnerable.

As long as STDs have been around, we've branded women sluts for suffering them. As inaccurate as that is, it is a trap to believe that you're safer sticking to men who don't have sex so much.

One thing that takes a lot of practice is having an open conversation about STDs before you have sex with someone for the first time. I want a name for our subject, the respectfully promiscuous man. RPM? Will that do? So figure one point for the RPM--he's had that conversation a few times over. He thinks enough about STDs and his own health that he asks, and he is nice enough in so asking that she answers. And if she does have something vile? Something icky? Nasty? He does not run screaming from the bed and tell all of his friends.

Another point for the RPM? He gets tested regularly for all kinds of things. But not HPV--you can't test for it. So point three for the RPM? A scenario: you have an abnormal pap smear, a weird bump, whatever it is. You and your gynecologist determine that you've got HPV. Think for a moment about who you are actually going to call up and tell. It takes an incredible amount of trust, to call someone up and tell them that you may have exposed them to HPV. The thing about the RPM is that you can trust him to be dignified, respectful and responsible with the information. He knows better than to think you're grody. Or a slut.

JMPP, you are absolutely right. We should all be very conscientious about who we are sleeping with and we should absolutely be knowledgable about our own health and that of our partners. Word.

Funny how this, too, comes right back to "we have to be able to talk openly about difficult subjects," eh?

I keep saying we because I don't like the bossyness of you, but I really mean you. I'm, like, getting married. And stuff. Not that that means I don't ever have to talk about this ever again, but it does kind of change the conversation.

Now, Megan, can you give me a clue to the Elf? Just a little hint? A riddle, perhaps?

10:36 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Amanda,
I'll totally tell you which Elf it was, although I think he was before your time. It surely wasn't secret. His initials were DW. Email me for more. I wanted to talk to you about other stuff, but couldn't find an address for you.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, when I'm bored at work, no one is commenting or anything.

When I'm out at a bouldering competition, smashing my knee and essentially eliminating myself while still warming up, you're all chatting away.

You should all try to save this stuff for during normal PST work hours.

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn it, I forgot to sign that.

Justin

10:45 PM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

I don't think not finishing high school is a social pathology. I don't encourage dropping out, but I work with a lot of kids who may or may not ever finish high school. Most of them are really great kids and it saddens me that they can't seem to find their groove in the classroom.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

www.joannejacobs.com

She talks about this all the time. College just isn't for some people. Some people would rather go to some kind of trade school.

Justin

11:12 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"Jackie, I'm curious -- how do you get around casual sex? You're unmarried, you're not religious, you say you like sex, you clearly don't demand marriage prior to sex. How do you know a guy's not going to bail after you hook it up -- thereby resulting in de facto casual sex?"

I don't have any moral problems with casual sex. I used to engage in it myself when I was younger and didn't know any better (plus another brief spurt of craziness right after I got out my marriage to the gay guy -- I NEEDED IT :)). But I've since come to realize that casual sex isn't physically or emotionally healthy -- the STD risk, and that the oxytocin produced during sex makes it very difficult, especially for women, to have truly "casual" sex without any emotional reprocussions.

Now that I do know better I take the time to get to know the guy's character and develop a mutual emotional attachment first, and require him to get tested for STDs before I have sex with him.

The last time I had sex with someone I'd known for less than six months was three years ago. Sex is just so much better when it's with someone you care about and trust.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, no question that relentlessly and ruthlessly ranking your fellow human beings in terms of "quality" can turn you callous and shallow. But also no question that we all (or most all of us) have our preferences. And beauty matters. I've actually had occasion to really, really regret my inability to get beyond my own physical preferences. I find that they are not shallow, but rather deeply rooted, and related to spiritual as well as physical desires. Or, to put it another way, the physical and the spiritual are not as separate as we like to think they are. We're animals, after all. To tag one as "shallow" and the other as "deep" is IMO a little shallow in its own way. But of course it's complex -- sometimes people mistake being with someone stereotypically "hot", the trophy type, for real physical attraction.

Marcus

11:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And on Megan's seducer type -- I do agree that those guys exist. As someone above said, though, they are really, really rare. It's frustrating at times, because many of us feel we *could* be someone like that -- hey, I'm nice, I'm good in bed, I respect women! -- but it takes a lot more than that.

I couldn't help feeling that Megan's portrait was a little idealized, though. In my experience it's rare that sex doesn't to involve some kind of desires or wishe for some kind of future committment (even if only a continuing closeness and deep friendship), on the part of one partner or other. But of course, that *would* be my experience, perhaps if I were one of those "nice seducers" then my experience would be different.

Marcus

11:59 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

You know, they're so blatant. Sweet and friendly, yes, but it also simultaneously paying that kind of attention to other women. You sleep with them (or not) knowing that you get that great attention while you're in their presence, and the next woman gets their attention very soon. If you miss the signs, or hope that you'll be the woman they choose, yeah, you'll get hurt feelings. But they are blatant and straightforward and a very good arrangement, as far as arrangements go.

12:15 AM  
Anonymous jens said...

> If I had to choose between
> twelve gorgeous men, I would
> probably choose by something
> that happened during the
> judging, and that is probably
> not an accurate summary of
> his "quality".

Sorry, if you think that proves the OPPOSITE of my point, you missed my point entirely. My point was that "quality" might be real...but it wasn't your SAT score, or whether you were voted MVP in your football league, but whether you were happily cuddled in Megan's satisfied arms last night, due to largely random reasons...

And the same unfortunate fellow who failed based on THAT metric, might very well have been JMMP's choice.

I am saying "quality" is not a scalar quantity that can be assigned to a person, but a value based on time, based on "the person that matters", and based on the bearable sweetness of being!

12:30 AM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

Justin, I don't know Joanne Jacobs, but I tend to think that the schools are a big part of the problem. I've got kids in my charge who can calculate gear ratios in their head but consistently fail math class. We do wacky, wacky things like punish cut-ups by making them stay in for recess when what they need is to do a few laps around the school yard.

We are so focussed on testing that artsand other expressive classes are even more sidelined than they were when we were kids. For a few years I taught a web design class in a HS arts program. I wound up leaving, partly because I couldn't really deal with my role in the whole game--these kids were getting pushed into learning a "marketable skill" when what seventh graders need is to learn how to express ideas well and to communicate. I wanted them all in a creative writing class.

We need kids to graduate from high school. Not just for the whole "how are we ever going to compete with Japan if we don't" sake, but also because we desperately need our neighbors to be thinking things through and asking questions and not just trusting W to lead us where he will.

Sure, not everyone should go to college, and kids who opt for trade school ought to be able to feed their families wholesome food and go on vacation with them. But sometimes that logic (college isn't for everyone) turns into a scary argument that some people just aren't meant to share in society's wealth. Or that if you want your kids to be able to sleep at night you should have planned better so's to be able to afford a home that isn't deafened by car alarms and freight trucks.

7:01 AM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

HS/JHS. I should proofread. It was a combined program, 7th and 9-12 graders (in one class! eek.) The 7th graders were supposed to be accellerated or something, like being pushed into a classroom where the kids were all talking about sex and never had to go to the bathroom was going to be good for them.

No one told me I had 7th graders, and I was totally mystified by the scrawny kids who always had to pee, until I got my roll sheet finally and realized that they were an awful lot younger than their classmates.

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JMPP: The idea that the risks of STD transmission are simply a factor of promiscuity is dangerously wrong. Even if you've known the person for a while, what others have mentioned is still key --- if you can't/haven't have an adult conversation about it with your partner then they are higher risk that someone who is up front about these things but has had more partners.

Of course the lowest risk is to just not have sex. If you aren't ok with that, though, promiscuity is only *one* risk factor in your partners behaviour.

As Megan said, while obviously we can all imagine worst-case scenarios, that really isn't what she was talking about; this was clear from the beginning.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Dubin said...

Jackie's right. It is relevant, although not the exact point of the discussion. I retract my snarky comment if possible.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I like this kind of guy. The guy I lost my virginity to was like this and he remains a friend. If these guys fit his profile I would not worry about spread of disease - he was the most religious condom-user I have ever known and got tested regularly.

- Jane from TN

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amanda bee: schools are a huge part of the problem. Not just in the directions you point either; I was quite surprised to find the number of graduate students who did very poorly in high school or dropped out. People there tended to (more likely) have been academically strong in high school, or really terrible. The middle road was more rare. It's pretty hard to imagine that people with graduate degrees were incapable of doing well (or even just medium, if they showed up) in high school --- so something turned them off it pretty hard. Matches with my experience, too.

That doesn't imply anything about your average high school dropout, but it seems a lot of bright people had no time for it.

8:30 AM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

Anon 8:30, I forget about those folks, but yes, indeed.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mine in college was one of these guys. I got along with him fine, but around half the people he knew (both men and women) were skeeved out by him.

In the end, he had to change. When he hit 30, he said that women only saw him as sex material, not as relationship material, and he actually had to start turning down strings-free sex until he changed his rep and the way he presented.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Jacqueline sent me over here. Right on.

3:53 PM  

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