html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Lying on the couch, talking quietly at the afterparty.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Lying on the couch, talking quietly at the afterparty.

Phew. My stats are calming down, which makes me think that rush of guests is past. The place is simply a wreck, compliments and nasty assumptions about women and men all strewn about. I'm going to have to burn some sage and go on a cleanse to get it back in order. I thought about throwing some of those comments in the trash, but there were flashes of thought in there and I hate to get rid of thought.

Some observations:

Considering that my comments policy is fairly obscure, I thought people did OK here. Certainly the comments were worse at the other high-traffic sites; framing matters.

I was shocked at the misogyny. I know I shouldn't be. I should know it is out there. But I don't encounter that in my real life. I just don't. I spend time with incredible, brilliant, openhearted, sweet-natured men, who want all the people in their lives, including the half of people who are women, to be every bit as incredible and brilliant and fulfilled and happy. The mean comments and emails I got would shock them as much as they shocked me. I was a little afraid I was wrong about my men friends too, so I asked them. "Bill," I said as we sat down to lunch. "Do you have a secret streak of seething vicious hatred for women that you never show me?" He paused to check, then confirmed that he does not. I didn't think so, but it is good to get that settled. I concluded that I live in a sheltered little cocoon of bright and generally happy people, and I LOVE MY COCOON! I hate cracks in my cocoon that make me see a harsher world.

While I was getting attention, I wanted more attention. I wanted more hits, more comments, more sites to talk about me, me, me. I didn't even like the things people said about their construct of me, but I couldn't look away and I wanted more. This is ridiculous on so many fronts. When I don't get big attention, I don't want it. I want to joke around with my friends. I didn't like the negative comments I got; by and large they missed the mark, which means nastiness AND not useful. But I wanted more of all of it. Couple more big references and I'd have been stepping out of limos with no panties just to keep the attention going. I am a big hypocrite for telling people to turn away from the emotional rush of Virginia Tech. I didn't do better. I don't know how people who get actual real attention instead of faint imaginary attention ever make it through.

The urge to refute was really strong. I wanted that rush of smart zinging cleverness, even though I don't think cleverness is a good way to talk about important things. Worse than that, I wanted to refute along the lines of the criticism. "Your assumption about the results of my whorish ways is wrong because I am, in fact, a madonna." But that's not right. Right is that I don't agree with the biases that inform your assumptions, and your assumption often doesn't manifest in the world I see. I still wonder if I should illustrate and refute some of the nastiness I saw. Except I don't want to be in conversations with people who think like that.

Finally, new guests who like the looks of the place and want to settle in. You are more than welcome. Few things. I hate generalizations about men and women. There are three billion of each and they do everything. Stereotypes substitute for thought and don't match what I see all the time. You will not impress me with arguments based on stereotypes or generalizations. Also, before you go making suggestions for how I can date, could you please read the archives? We've been doing this for a year and I was trying to date before that. I'm a competent person who has covered the basics. Offer advanced technique; we can all use that. But I have thought about online dating. And, we don't talk about gender and dating all or even most of the time, because there are lots of other interesting things in the world. On the good days we talk about bicycles or water policy.

Added later:

I also noticed that the profanity really bothered some people. That surprised me too. I really enjoy swearing, so I won't stop. But I'll re-calibrate my expectations for how people will react to it.

63 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

:) heh, I'm glad you invited us in, though it may have seemed like a horde of visigoths at times...

I'd hope that you wouldn't dismiss generalization enitrely, but perhaps look beyond. It is after all the only way we can communicate via blog, when we know nothing of each other, are different places, backgrounds, ages, genders. Seems like a starting point to me...
D

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But I don't encounter that in my real life."

I'm always surprised when people are different than I am. That surprise is a lack of vision on my part, I guess, but it shows little sign of going away.

This is the only place where I read comments, because they read more like a conversation than pronouncements of assumed truth. I kept up with the recent deluge, mainly out of interest in the change in tone. I even followed a couple of links away, and learned things and read some interesting stories.

A4

10:47 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

Yeah, thanks for the invitation -- I think I might stick around. You've done the place up in really nice shades of poetical irony, and I'm totally impressed with the garden.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop! Enough already with the blogging about your blog. It's boring. How about some more water porn?

11:13 AM  
Anonymous bill said...

Yes, new visitors should get deluged, nay, flooded with water engineering posts.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

A11:13:

Sign your name, sugar. See you at lunch.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

I was shocked at the misogyny. I know I shouldn't be. I should know it is out there. But I don't encounter that in my real life. I just don't. I spend time with incredible, brilliant, openhearted, sweet-natured men, who want all the people in their lives, including the half of people who are women, to be every bit as incredible and brilliant and fulfilled and happy. The mean comments and emails I got would shock them as much as they shocked me.

People will say things anonymously through blog comments that they'd never say in real life. As a result, when you solicit comments you'll read things you'd otherwise never hear, written by people you wouldn't associate with in real life.

Plus, there's something about making blog comments that brings out the worst in people, not that this would excuse some of the really vile comments. Maybe "worst" isn't the right word; it might be more accurate to say that the freewheeling nature of blog comments induces a certain recklessness in some people. Hey, this occurs to me as well, to some extent - I'm always making comments about nerds and Alpha males, when in my everyday life I hardly ever encounter people fitting squarely into either stereotype.

Anyway, I'm amazed at your patience and restraint when it came to some of the worst comments. You didn't reply to them in an obscene manner, which wouldn't have been the case with most people.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

How about some more water porn?

You can find plenty of water sports porn online. Is that close enough?

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not that kind! The water porn we want is some sweet, sweet, technical information about water systems. You know, the kind of material where you feel better about yourself afterwards, not like real porn at all.

If you need suggestions, Megan, off the top of my head:
How do you manage the interaction of plants and animals in a large water system? What problems do plants and fish cause in the canals, and how do you take care of them? What about beaver?

Any important special tricks to equipment maintenance? Do all the metal bits get rusty?

A4

12:24 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Passey said...

Fuck 'em if they don't like the profanity.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Fuck 'em if they don't like the profanity.

Yeah, what do you think I come here for? :)

Many of the comments, both here and on the various linking websites, seemed to bear little relation to either your post or the facts of your situation as I understand them. It's as if there are people constantly scanning the Internet for any instance of "Woman Unhappy About Something Involving Relationships," so they can drop in a little prepackaged statement about how this must be because you're (insert their bugbear here) and therefore That's What You Get. Every time I was tempted to rebut something, it seemed so far off base it was pointless to engage.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous quirkybook said...

I, too, am surprised that people took your "profanity" so personally. Is "fuck you" even real cussing anymore? I'm kind of joking, but really, people: the Internet is not kindergarten or network television. I don't curse at all in real life, but even I will let a couple of F-bombs fly when writing about all the shit that's going on in my brain. (Okay, more than a couple.)

I know that we're supposed to avoid discussing in terms of stereotypes, but I wonder if the fact that people took your exclamation so personally is tied to societal expectations of how women are supposed to talk, think, act, etc. After all, how unseemly of a lady to swear! How unfeminine! How... unattractive!

2:17 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Yeah. It mattered to people. Sometimes I write stuff knowing it will set people off but I'm willing to do it for the content. But I didn't put profanity in that category. I will from now on.

I think some of that was a problem I've seen before, where I make a qualified condemnation and some people take it personally. And I'm all, but do you fit the qualifications? And they're all, whatever - you condemned me. And I'm all, I guess, if you want to read it that way. But I wrote what I meant once, and I can't be explaining forever. Someone will get bored and tell me so.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

I know that we're supposed to avoid discussing in terms of stereotypes, but I wonder if the fact that people took your exclamation so personally is tied to societal expectations of how women are supposed to talk, think, act, etc.

I suspect it's more like: Some people have a little mold into which they are eager to fit Megan, along with any other woman they think would have refused them sex back in school, or might make more money than they do, or enjoy what she's doing more than they do. They're not really offended by the cursing, they're just trying to twist its meaning to support their viewpoint.

The mold resembles the Glenn Close character in Fatal Attraction. Because that's how women with standards end up! Ha!

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was shocked at the misogyny.

Could you point to an example of that? Where did you see mysogyny?

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm, this is interesting.
Well, I have a friend who is beginning this angst journey of the 30s and finding the men are unsatisfactory at the bar. Shout out to spungen- I see her at hs's little party of why I can't get what I want- he has his head so far up his you know what I seriously doubt he will *ever* be happy. Came from Asymm- so I decided to skip CT, since I can easily guess what was said.

What I suggest is that you consider the ultimate version of catalog shopping, a personal ad.

No educational requirements beyond a BA/BS. Skip any financial attainment goals- just employment.

No weight requirements beyond morbidly obese.

Likes children.

Age: five up or five down.

Throw in some nice wants/desires for filling the time until children and you have a very easy way to find someone.

Oh yeah, get ready to discard quickly the wierdos. About one guy in ten will be potential mate material, and one in five of those should work quite nicely. I swear women spend more time shopping for a pair of shoes than for a mate, and before you think that is simply warped, consider most men spend even less time, usually under the influence of booze and drugs to do the same.

So smart people just have to step up and stop waiting for the universe to serve them and go out and get what they want.

I put an ad in the personals for phoenix new times in January 1999- ended up marrying a women five years older than I, who had a baby at age 40 without any funky extras, and now I have to pick up my boy from daycare.

Easy? Heck no. I went through about 20 women before I found my wife. Good looking- nope that ain't me- she is no big starlet level beauty either. I did have to join the gym this year to start losing that 30 pounds I have gained since I was single. She joined too with the same goal.

In short people with an IQ over a really hot day in phoenix have problems with the mating game. Now, you can either whine about the problem or solve it? You are an engineer capable of implementing a good search solution;-?

allenm

3:04 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Come on, Spungen. You have to have a kind interpretation for their actions too. Really. You're pretty attached to that framework yourself. I agree that it happens, but you have some strong generalizations about men yourself.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Allenm:

You're starting us over, with the same advice! Is this whirlpool inescapable? The archives, my friend. The archives. They are labeled even.

But thank you for wanting me to succeed at this.

A2:53:

I thought A LOT of the comments in the untitled thread had sexist underpinnings. But I'll call out two conspicuous ones. I have no qualms about calling either of these misogynist:

From Asymmetrical Information

Any woman who is over 30 who does not have at least 1 child is indeed a spinster, most likely because she is incompatible with most decent men. Men who are interested in marrying and raising a family don't choose this kind of woman. Let's just say they're a practical synonym for kleenex.
Posted by: Paul A'Barge on May 1, 2007 5:38 PM


***************
Emailed to me from Pundi Mentalist

Your post was very emotionally jarring to me as a man. I am in my mid-thirties and single and see your struggle as a mirror image of my male side of the issue.

So here's the truth of it. I apologize if its not kind. But it is brutally honest and directly from my heart.

I don't reject for your honesty or eloquence or your self-aware desires. I applaud them all. I reject you for your bad timing. You've waited too late to act with urgency. It's sad that no one prodded you earlier about potential consequences of procrastination.

You've moved on your timetable of your feelings without consideration of the man's timetable. And the fact is, men want to marry women in their twenties (and preferably early to mid-twenties) and not miss out that fun, vivacious period of their marriage.

It is the draw for us for which we are willing to give the rest of our life for you and "difficult" children. You are only selling half a loaf now; the downhill side.

I don't deny having some bitterness but I can't change how I feel either. The only lesson now is to tell your younger sisters to strike while the iron is hot and the options are many (on the man's timetable). At this point, procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

It's too late. I'm sorry you didn't wake up sooner. I'd rather stay single than see only the second half of the movie. Of course, I'm not really talking to you but to all of your peers who postponed and postponed because the timing wasn't quite right and the guy wasn't just perfect.

You are suffering from your own bad timing and consequences of earlier poor judgment. Unfortunately I am suffering from it also.

I would be happy to hear your additional thoughts if any.


Do I really have to make explicit the underlying assumptions that let people reason to these conclusions and then explain how those denigrate women? And how they are the systemic biases we work against and through?

I suppose I could do that, but I am not trained in sociology (you don't have to be to see the rank sexism) and don't feel best qualified. AND, I don't think I could use any words that wouldn't sound like I was parroting over-used cliches, because the words that say what I mean have been used so much they don't register with people anymore.

If you would REALLY hear it from me, AND if you promised that we would not get into a round of saying nasty things about the people I live with and love and am, AND if it wouldn't draw more unpleasant people here, I could do this with you.

Friends who know more about this than I do, there MUST be a basic primer somewhere. I cannot believe I would be doing new work on this. Any good suggestions?

3:21 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

P.S. If those don't strike you as sexist and vile, but just the harsh truth, we have very different belief systems. And yours is wrong.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Come on, Spungen. You have to have a kind interpretation for their actions too.

Aw, man, does that apply to commenters everywhere? I thought it was just specific commenters I was addressing here. Can't I be mean just a little mean if I speak in generalities about absent unspecified parties? Pleeease?

I agree that it happens, but you have some strong generalizations about men yourself.

Hey, I thought my analysis allowed for application to women as well. I certainly intended it as such. Except maybe for the part about you not having sex with them in high school. ;) I think misogyny is by no means exclusive to men.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

If you would REALLY hear it from me, AND if you promised that we would not get into a round of saying nasty things about the people I live with and love and am, AND if it wouldn't draw more unpleasant people here, I could do this with you.

(Spungen gnaws at bit, salivates a little) Should you succumb to the urge, I would do my very best to be congenial and bloglaw-abiding.

Sometimes I wonder if it isn't just one person who makes all those comments under many different names. Because I see them on a lot of blogs, and there's such a sameness about them, you know? It's tempting to think, "Ha! I knew that's what all you jerks were really thinking!" But even with all the bad'uns I've known, I can't think of anyone that bad IRL.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

But people who have thought on feminism and gender relations MUST have done this before and better.

I'd be an amateur, making guesses and repeating the basics.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous kablamo said...

swearing is hot

4:00 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

I'd be an amateur, making guesses and repeating the basics.

Yeah, true. Still, it was you, amateur or not, to whom the comments were addressed. The thing is -- and here's my kind interpretation -- it's hard for me to believe most of those negative comments about women-over-30-are-worthless are sincere. And why argue with someone who knows he or she is wrong?

You're more concerned with the underlying reasoning than I am. I'm stuck on the fact pattern, ie, do I even know anyone who ended up unhappily single after a youth of carefree heartbreaking finickiness and romantic plenitude? Male or female? Who tossed aside great opportunities for lifelong happiness due to minor flaws? I can't think of a single situation that fits the (libertarian economics blogroll) stereotype. I mainly know people who tried hard to make various relationships work and didn't succeed.

I can think of three men right off the top of my head in the Bay Area between early 30s to mid-40s who are employed, not ugly, not bastards, and are looking for someone to marry and have kids with, and aren't stuck on the idea of 22-year-olds. Two of them are divorced. Like you, they've expressed some worry that it gets harder as one advances past 30.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Spungen, sugar. You are telling me that you know three single men in the Bay Area who are looking for a ladyfriend, but you haven't sent both of us tactful emails? You haven't directed them to my blog? So easy for them to click on. Are they hideously deformed or libertarian? Are you enjoying watching me twist in the wind? Have I mentioned that I am moving to the Bay Area?

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, to the WRONG side of the bay.

And, clearly, libertarians are superior to all others.

And, we all know, men are perfect. The problem is, women are nuts, and require far too much talking, and diamond rings.

Justin

4:32 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Your girlfriend won't let you propose to her with ice boots and a car rack?

4:38 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Are they hideously deformed or libertarian?

Worse. Two of them have Spungen blood coursing through their veins. ;) But no deformities. I think they're all non-blogging middle-of-the-road Democrats. Compared to the average Internet person they're not especially geeky.

They do actually go to bars and clubs occasionally. Perhaps I could find out where they're going to be one night and send you a picture. :)

I think that's an inefficiency in the market: Guys who really want relationships tend to be reluctant to engage in aggressive pickup tactics or random public samplings via online dating. So it's hard to find people. That's a better explanation than all the hooey about people are past their prime and it's no longer worth it.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Chris Lawrence said...

First one is clearly misogynist. Second one makes assumptions not in evidence about you but I'm not sure it's misogynist per se; the reality is that many guys that are your contemporaries seek out younger women in part because they want to have several years without the pressure of "kids now" and to establish a meaningful relationship that has a better chance of lasting after the kids. Part of that is also that guys are typically less emotionally mature than women of the same age, so marrying a woman a few years younger "fits" better.

That said a lot of smart young people, men and women, fall into the trap of spending their 20s saying "I'll accomplish X, then I'll worry about finding a life partner" for reasons that have little to do with their potential quality as a mate, and I categorically reject the notion that everyone who's in their mid-30s and not married off is somehow defective. Of course, biology is a bit crueler to women than men when those mid-30s roll around, but that's a different story.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm stuck on the fact pattern, ie, do I even know anyone who ended up unhappily single after a youth of carefree heartbreaking finickiness and romantic plenitude? Male or female? Who tossed aside great opportunities for lifelong happiness due to minor flaws? I can't think of a single situation that fits the (libertarian economics blogroll) stereotype.

This is so crystal clear and obvious. The angry misogynistic folks who write those anti-single-women-over-30 screeds are simply frustrated by a game in which they are having no success in either. Or, maybe, they are happily paired but still suffer the trauma of being spurned. When I was younger, I thought "how easy the women have it, they just give a thumbs up or down and don't have to work at it the way guys do." That is how it appears to an 18 or 19 year old geek/nice-guy who feels totally rejected.

I worked hard through my 20's and early 30's to make a relationship work before it ended in divorce. Then, having to face the challenge of dating, I had to completely relearn the realities. Healing the injuries suffered by my 18 and 19 year old self was a high priority. They had largely healed in that I wasn't angry or misogynistic (I never was particularly), but I still had self-image/worth issues and didn't understand that the situation was just as bad (or possibly worse do to the bioclock issue) for woman. I think that many people never heal the wounds of their youth. They just nurse them along because it's a comfortable way to look at the world. Unfortunately, it dramatically reduces their chances of finding a relationship. Who wants to be with someone with so much anger and such a bad attitude.

Oh, and that implication that there is an uphill (good, unlimited sex, one presumes) and downhill (bad, servitude to wife and children) side to a relationship is asinine, childish, and short sighted. I'm looking forward to raising children. It's a different challenge, but my partner and I are up to it. Just gotta get the world adventure travel outta the way quick and get ready for the family car vacation to the National Parks. :-D

Megan, you do have great self control. I couldn't have resisted the urge of ripping that guy a new one.

Cheers,
Tim.

PS This entire reply is steeped in the bias of my experience and may well be a terrible model of the original writer. :-D

4:44 PM  
Blogger jens said...

The first one - misogynist indeed.

The second one - harsh, bitter, unnecessary, and not helpful in any way, shape, or form.

Not a misogynist, but clearly would prefer to date a twelve year old.

Recommmendation:
1) He should move to Thailand.
2) You could join a dating service.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Don't agree with you on that one, Jens. I think they're both misogynist.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neither is misogynistic. Disliking what they say, or disagreeing with them doesn't necessarily mean they hate women.

The second guy even goes on to explain that he's in the same situation of bad timing that he's saying you're in.

Let's pretend you aren't in your mid-30s, but instead in your 90s. The comments would be obviously right.

You just don't agree with them on what age is too late to be getting started on the family thing. They think much younger, you think you still have time.

Justin

5:21 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Let's pretend you aren't in your mid-30s, but instead in your 90s. The comments would be obviously right.

You just don't agree with them on what age is too late to be getting started on the family thing. They think much younger, you think you still have time.


Uh, Justin, I don't know anyone who's conceived in her 90s. There might be a few cases of fatherhood. But there are many many women who conceive and give birth in their late 30s and early 40s.

It's not that big a deal, fertilitywise, to be 35. I thought it might be, and blammo, was I wrong.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

The second guy even goes on to explain that he's in the same situation of bad timing that he's saying you're in.

I think what some of the guys are missing here is the double-standard in Pundi Menalists's comment. He's not saying he waited too long. He's just saying women like Megan did. He's saying that her refusal to grab an older guy (like he is now) when she was 22 means guys like him lose out, because they don't want to have start new relationships with mature women. I interpret his comment as saying women are only interesting to men at a very young age, so they should hook a man at that age and hopefully then they can get him to stick around when they become older and undesirable (over 30 or so).

He seems to be advocating that young women do this with older men, not men their age, although he doesn't specifically say it.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hardly the point. All they're saying is, you're too late, you've missed your chance.

You can all disagree on what age is too late. But, that is ultimately just an opinion, until it becomes physically impossible for her to get pregnant, then it becomes a fact.

But the point is, disagreeing with them on when it's too late doesn't mean they hate women.

You MIGHT get to call it sexist if they said it's not too late for men, but it is too late for a woman at her age. But, they didn't say that.

Justin

5:34 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

You MIGHT get to call it sexist if they said it's not too late for men, but it is too late for a woman at her age. But, they didn't say that.

I think they did.

I think it is misogynist to believe women are romantically worthless after a very young age. It ignores all the value Megan has built up with her years of living. It's usually not like single, 35-year-old women have been sitting around twiddling their thumbs for the past 10 years. But some commenters apparently believe women are valueless for anything except their bodies, and are incapable of adding value with time and achievement.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Justin, you're missing all sorts of emotion and the underlying ideas about duty and breach that make his comments misogynist. You're a pretty facts-based guy, but there is more going on here.

I don't want to argue with you, because neither of us are going to change our approach. And I didn't want to get into this without thinking that a careful write-up would get an open listen. I haven't done, and don't really want to do a careful write up, and I don't think it would get an openminded read. If we aren't going to do that, can we agree that we are coming from very different perspectives on this and not have an argument in the comments?

(Especially because it will be such a repeat of arguments that you can find anywhere on the internet.)

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

It's as if there are people constantly scanning the Internet for any instance of "Woman Unhappy About Something Involving Relationships," so they can drop in a little prepackaged statement about how this must be because you're (insert their bugbear here) and therefore That's What You Get.

Now Spungen, I may have sort of been like that until fairly recently, but I've gotten over it. You had me in mind, right?

7:00 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Peter, I am so glad you're free of that now.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Peter, I am so glad you're free of that now.

Thanks. I still like to rant about Alphas and nerds and all that, but mostly because it's fun to do so. Especially the back-and-forth with Spungen that invariably develops :)

But seriously, I've come to the conclusion that the larger topic of relationships is way too complex and individualistic to reduce to a few concepts and phrases.

7:57 PM  
Anonymous yoyo said...

I admit I on rare occasion have a flash of fantasy that involves saying something mysogonistic.

I think it might have to do with the power and privilege that that role has, kind of the way that playing guns & rocketlauncher video games where your opponents guts explode is really fun.

I would think that if I felt more powerless in life generally i'd be more tempted to act out on such impulses, or have them more often.

Oh, and i find stereotypes and such to be quite fun. They're a great backdrop for jokes. You can't play against type if there isn't any type.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Now Spungen, I may have sort of been like that until fairly recently, but I've gotten over it. You had me in mind, right?

Actually, I didn't. But now that you mention it ... :)

As I remember, you never ridiculed or scorned the heartbroken. You never suggested it was too late due to their ridiculously high standards. Some commenters appear to be seeking opportunities to do just that, perhaps as some sort of revenge for whatever injustices they feel they suffered in the dating market.

You merely persisted with suggestions that they seek out a group of men who may or may not in fact exist and may or may not be interested in relationships with real women.

10:13 PM  
Blogger myang said...

I'm another reader who drifted in through a string of links and refuse to be budged. Your posts are refreshingly honest and thought-provoking. (And though I don't know much about water, I briefly flirted with marine biology...)

Regarding the second comment: it's just so unfortunate that the man in perhaps a similar situation cannot simply express sympathy--he must both imply that the woman somehow deserves her circumstances because of past mistakes AND hector young women into dating men like him. A young woman reading this (er...I happen to be 22) would be bewildered at his self-righteousness.

Michelle

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Claudia K. said...

chris lawrence said:

That said a lot of smart young people, men and women, fall into the trap of spending their 20s saying "I'll accomplish X, then I'll worry about finding a life partner" for reasons that have little to do with their potential quality as a mate...

I guess you're probably talking about people you know who have said this themselves, so they really exist. I just have to say that some of us may have looked like we were doing this, seen from the outside, but from the inside it was more like "I'm having no luck finding a life partner, so I might as well accomplish X instead of sitting on my butt and moaning." In large part because we were too clueless to realize, as spungen put it:

I think that's an inefficiency in the market: Guys who really want relationships tend to be reluctant to engage in aggressive pickup tactics or random public samplings via online dating. So it's hard to find people. That's a better explanation than all the hooey about people are past their prime and it's no longer worth it.

This is so true I'm feeling idiot pains on behalf of my younger self. I was smart enough to know "my" guys weren't at bars and huge parties, but not smart enough to realize they were still out there somewhere, tons of them, hiding!

4:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's what you took away? That people are afraid of women who have sex and women who curse?

Really?

5:14 AM  
Blogger Omar said...

"Stereotypes substitute for thought and don't match what I see all the time. You will not impress me with arguments based on stereotypes or generalizations."

This is what you don't seem to get Megan - evo psych is showing that you CAN generalize about men and women. Some day in the future the biological differences will be proved unambigiously, and then claiming some generalization about men/women is a 'stereotype' will make as much sense as asserting that the idea that a man has a penis and a woman a vagina is a 'stereotype'. We're different, and it makes sense to generalize about those differences.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Allenm said...

Megan,
What you seem to missing is the forest amongst the trees. Time you spend here is not time spent in the real world. While the internet is a very intellectual world, it is not the *real* world where kids and reality live. What I suggested was something that *might* work if applied with tenacity to discover that person with whom you could be compatible. I did read a bit of your archives, and I came to the conclusion the advice would be valid. Here is a thought- when you are 70 and long past this time in your life, will you still view the blogosphere and intellectual life with the same relish? If so, it can wait while you satisfy other needs that have a biological imperative attached.
Consider that thought in terms of what you really desire.

Men are different. Women are different. They are not the same, and Omar has a point that stereotypes have a footprint in reality.

Allenm

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

As I remember, you never ridiculed or scorned the heartbroken. You never suggested it was too late due to their ridiculously high standards ... You merely persisted with suggestions that they seek out a group of men who may or may not in fact exist and may or may not be interested in relationships with real women.

Y'know, Spungen, I recall not long ago that you said I had been cruel (or some similar not-nice thing) to a heartbroken woman. I don't remember who the woman in question was, and in fact the cruel-ness of my remarks probably had been a matter of interpretation. Please note I'm not critcizing you for having said that, no doubt it had been your sincere interpretation of my remarks.

Anyway, upon giving the nerd issue more thought it occurs to me that being willing to date nerds doesn't necessarily mean that a woman will have any success in doing so. As so many nerds are introverted and often afraid of women, a woman who wants to date them may have to be much more forward, even aggressive, than she's accustomed to being. She can't just sit back and wait for nerds to approach her but will have to take the initiative herself. That's probably quite hard for many women to do, especially ones who aren't young anymore.

Just meeting nerds presents its own challenge. Nightclubs and gyms and sports bars are good places for meeting normal men, but not nerds, who are seldom to be found in such places. Sci-fi conventions and similar events attract nerds in droves, but it's not as if there's a convention in every city every weekend.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Omar and Megan are using the word "stereotype" in rather different ways. I think Omar means "a useful generalization which is statistically true and aids thought" and Megan means something more like "a generalization that is mostly nonsense and short-circuits thought."

One really important thing to remember when using the good kind of stereotype is that there's a lot of variation--it's easy to let your simple model blind you to the more complicated reality.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I reread the 2nd comment you repasted Megan. I misread it. I took the last line to be sympathetic, but it's more accusatory.

Anyway, that wouldn't change my position.

I think you read way too much into these things.
"you're missing all sorts of emotion and the underlying ideas about duty and breach"
I don't even know what that means. I can't even imagine what duty you think someone has here?

And, I still think you're not being entirely rational, or fair:
"So if some men think my urgency for kids is unappealing, FUCK THEM." I mean, if simply saying you missed your chance makes these guys misogynists, what does that make saying fuck all the men who don't share my urgency for children? Sure, this is something you feel strongly about, and you're emotional about. But, couldn't you assume the same for these guys who are commenting?


Justin

1:01 PM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

Um, Justin, I'm trying to say this kindly, I think there are assumptions in your argument that you are relying on, without attribution. Women dispute those assumptions. We are not valueless when we can no longer have children, any more than you are valueless when you do not have a career, or your prostrate swells to the size of a grapefruit.

We are more than our bodies. A family is more than a biological situation. Megan wants a family. She has not, and never will, miss her chance to have a family. She could, because of biology, miss her chance to bear children. But please stop equating the two.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, having children is she's been talking about.

And, what I've been saying is, none of these comments explicitly say that a woman is worthless because she can't have children. You're all jumping to that conclusion.

You're reading more into this than is explicitly there.

Justin

5:54 PM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

No. The second comment implies that a woman who cannot have children is worthless as a mate to a man. And personally I think a man who thinks that is rather less than desirable, but some take it as gospel. From your quotes, you either read past or agreed with his assumptions.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

How could this be anything but mysogynistic? "You are only selling half a loaf now; the downhill side."

If this guy is selling the "harsh truth" than women are only useful, worthwhile and "fun and vivacious" for 30 years? 15 of which we spent without boobs. So every woman over 30 has nothing to offer? Because the "fun" is over?

3:45 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

She's the one hung up on having kids. She's the one in a rush. It seems reasonable to point out that what she's in a hurry for may not be a guy's top priority at that point in his life.

Again, look at what she has to say about guys who don't have the same priorities as her.

Anyway, I see what they're saying as reasonable. Maybe poorly phrased, or blunt, but it'd be hypocritical of me to hold that against someone.

Justin

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this guy is selling the "harsh truth" than women are only useful, worthwhile and "fun and vivacious" for 30 years? 15 of which we spent without boobs. So every woman over 30 has nothing to offer? Because the "fun" is over?

I don't think anyone would say women over thirty have nothing to offer. But you simply can't ignore that the youth and fertility of a young woman in her early 20s simply appeal to men in ways older women don't. Just as Megan is perfectly entitled to say F-you to all those men who don't share her immediate desire for kids, some men will greatly prefer the youth and fertility of a younger woman.

My wife and I are about a decade older than Megan, and I can certainly say that my wife is far from worthless and has many fine qualities. But those qualities are very different from 20 years ago.

I understand talking about the second half of a loaf being the downhill side is not exactly sensitive - perhaps even boorish. But it is not exactly untrue. And certainly not misogynist.

5:36 PM  
Blogger faux facsimile said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

C'mon, ff.

All my guests are wanted and welcome. And calling some comments half-witted "insights" and some commenters assholes isn't affirmatively kind.

Everyone, speak as you would to your close friends. Affirmative kindness, even when you are riled up on my behalf. Saying hasty mean things in defense of my blog doesn't help me keep a friendly tone going.

But that's for your indignation on my behalf.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

Plenty of women are bitter at men as well -- misandry is as common as misogyny, although less likely to result in physical violence.

There is so much resentment between men and women because we need each other so much. It's hard being dependent on others, even on strangers sometimes, for such a large measure of your own happiness and fulfillment in life. It's easy to resent them if your desires are not fulfilled.

We should all be more generous to each other, but there's an inherent cruelty and limitation in romance -- one can give the gift to only one person, generally anyway.

11:38 PM  
Blogger faux facsimile said...

Okay, Megan. Sorry my earlier comment was unhelpful. Withdrawn accordingly. Cheers.

5:02 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I meant to write "thanks" for your indignation on my behalf.

Marcus, I know women are just as mad and I think you are exactly right about why. It shouldn't be this hard.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous albatross said...

A lot of the bitterness in the discussion (not just the nastiness of trolls; that's completely different) comes from what Marcus is describing, I think. You had some idea about what you wanted to accomplish in life, and it didn't work out at all. Maybe you thought you'd get married and have kids, and the girl of your dreams left you for someone else. Maybe you never found anyone you'd want to have kids with. Maybe you met the man of your dreams, had three kids, and are now raising them alone, while occasionally hassling him for that overdue child support check.

This huge difference between your dreams for yourself and the reality you find yourself in can make you really bitter. That comes out in some of the comments: women not worth much after 40, men too immature to commit to a family, etc.

Our whole generation (I'm about Megan's age) gets a lot of this--the kind of life that was possible for our parents and grandparents often doesn't work out for us, and sometimes, that's terribly painful. And over time, we can all see dreams vanishing over the horizon--no, it probably won't ever work out to get that PhD; no, we probably shouldn't try for a third child; no, even though we're very ready for a house of our own, we can't afford one here.

It's a recipe for bitterness.

10:18 AM  

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