Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cosmocking: June '12!


Blue cover!  Pink!  I mean... er, you know what I mean, there's a picture!  "Where to Meet a Guy in June!" Thanks, Cosmo, for tracking the migration of the flocks of men as they enter their northern nesting grounds!  "When Your Period Makes You Cra-a-zy!" I hate the "ladies be crazy on their periods" meme because I get depressed during my period and I don't like having my efforts to act normal and responsible despite crushing sadness described as "cra-a-zy!"  "Wild Sex Stories! You'll Die When You Read What These 'Normal' Guys Wanted Once Their Pants Hit the Floor!" Ha ha, pervs, serves you right for trusting your sexual partner with your sexual desires!
Order a cheeseburger: There are times when you've just got to order a Quarter Pounder, and that's really attractive.  It shows a girl is laid-back.
I'm all for this!  Except that it's in the same magazine with pages and pages of tummy-firming tips and diet recipes and "eat this not that."  Apparently women are supposed to look to men like they're laid-back about their eating, but God, not actually be laid-back.   Also, have you ever been on a restrictive diet and then suddenly eaten a huge cheeseburger?  It's... well, it's not always glamorous what happens after that.
Experts we spoke to say that you should say no when he asks you to do something you won't enjoy more often than you say yes.
Wow, those must be some really fancy experts.  Somehow Cosmo manages to make a page-long "The One Time to Never Tell Him Yes" article out of "when you don't want to do a thing, tell your boyfriend you don't want to do it."  I mean, I totally agree, it's just... does it have to be justified in terms of love experts and secretly strengthening your bond?  You goddamn well don't want to do it. That's all you need.  You're a person and you get to choose things.
["8 Ways To Send Him Away Screaming"] Use baby talk... in public.  Guys love being verbally castrated in front of other guys--it brings out their feminine side. While you're at it, ask him to pick up some tampons and diet iced tea for you.
Guys.  Real talk.  If you identify as a man, then you're a man.  That's not something you can accidentally lose by doing the wrong thing.  It's not something someone else can take away.  It will not be revoked if you forget to man around like a manly man at all times.  Your manhood is safe.  Fuckin' relax.


Also, I have nothing but the highest respect for a cis guy with tampons in his bathroom.  That doesn't say to me that he's feminized.  It says he expects visitors with uteruses and he thinks things through.
Q. My guy and I have attended lots of weddings, and he won't dance. I know he's self-conscious, but how can I get him to loosen up? 
A. [after dumb "get him drunk" joke"] Many guys feel unmanly on the dance floor, so you'll need to start slow--literally.  Get him to slow-dance with you one night at home, where he won't worry about a crowd watching.  Put on music when you're making dinner one night. Then give him a lingering hug, start swaying, and tell him, "Hey look--you're dancing!"
This is like how you teach a toddler to swim.  Unfortunately, this is not how you teach an adult that it matters to you when they say "I don't want to do this."  Say the guy never dances at a wedding in his entire life--what then?  He's not telling you not to dance. He's not making a scene out of not-dancing.  Why not just let him be his undancing self?  Unfortunately, the secret theme of this month's Cosmo is "people don't get to make choices just because they choose to."
Q. How do I let a new guy who I'm seeing know up front that I am looking for a relationship without freaking him out? 
A. Well, if you say, "I'm looking for something serious" on the first date (or even the second), you'll probably never set eyes on him again, because even men who are looking for a committed relationship will think you're superclingy. [...] If you usually sleep with men after just one or two dates, stop.  [...] Generally men put you in the just-a-hookup category if you give it up early.
So... the way to tell a guy that I want a serious relationship with him and I want to sleep with him is to tell him exactly the opposite at every opportunity.  Boy, that's a solid foundation for a long-term relationship.  You know, once you're past the "I have to have her, she misrepresents herself like a lady" stage, eventually you're going to have to start having relationship negotiations in forward-language, and  isn't it sort of scary to commit to a relationship with no idea whether the two of you are capable of that?

And there's a deep sadness in the message, "You have to hide your true intentions from your date, because he'd be disgusted if he knew how needy and horny you really are on the inside.  Your pathetic human needs are secret shames to bury deeply."

...For some reason I can't stop reading that in the voice of Pinhead.
"My ex was really into having me wear his clothes in bed--button-downs, tee shirts, boxers, that kind of thing. But one evening, he rolled over and said he had always fantasized about me wearing his jockstrap.  Yeah, we didn't last much longer after that."
There's nothing wrong with breaking up with someone because you're uncomfortable with their fetishes.  But the smug, forgone-conclusion tone of this story (like all the other ones in this article--it's full of guys with harmless fetishes and girls going "ewww freeeak") makes me sad.  Like he should've known better than to even ask, because obviously no woman would wear a jockstrap for him.

I would.  I wear men's clothes pretty much exclusively these days, and although boxer-briefs are more my style, I'd totally wear a jockstrap in bed.  Women who are able and willing to indulge various fetishes, who have fetishes of our own, exist.  Telling guys that they're gross for ever asking anyone to play along with their fetishes isn't just cruel, it's flat-out wrong.



It also encourages guys to not ask at all.  If all women are sure to laugh you out of town if you ask "can I lick your armpit?" (another one in the article), and you don't want to live your whole life without ever tasting armpit, the only apparent solution is to pressure, trick, or outright force a woman to go along with it.

One of my core beliefs is that spreading the word that women sometimes do want sex is crucial to explaining why it's important to respect when women don't want sex.  If you think women always just tolerate sex, then forcing them to tolerate it doesn't seem like such a big deal.  And if you think women never really want to indulge fetishes, why would "no, I don't want to indulge your fetishes" slow you down?
[When you go skinny-dipping with a guy] "Forget" to bring a towel for him.  He'll just have to stay naked a little longer.
That'll be one awkward walk back to the parking lot.

125 comments:

  1. The problem with that last argument is: what if there was a fetish that really NO ONE wants to indulge in. It's hypothetical, of course, or maybe something so harmful that no one would. Then can a guy assume he's okay to go ahead and take it? Well, of course not, so I'm not going to say that a woman refusing (or even ridiculing) a fetish does anything to encourage men to ignore consent, because it takes responsibility away from where it belongs. That said, yes it's sad that that guy, and many of them, have to face ridicule for their fetishes.

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    1. I think there's a difference between there being some fetish no woman would indulge, and this overwhelming atmosphere that men shouldn't even ask about any fetish.

      Obviously I don't think that hearing "no" too much should justify a person in violating others--people do have to learn to live with the knowledge that there are some things they just can't have. But I do think that encouraging massive unnecessary frustration in men, sending huge numbers of guys an inaccurate message of "consensual or happy, pick one" is a dangerous thing.

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    2. I think it's super important to for everyone realize what sex has the potential to be - a caring, mutually rewarding experience where both parties are enjoying themselves (or at least enjoying pleasing their partner). If that is how you view sex then you won't get to a point where you are wondering if you have someone's consent or not, because you will stop when you realize that you don't have their enjoyment. Some people don't realize that sex can be fun for everyone, and I feel very very bad for those people.

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    3. 1. Enjoyment =/= consent.
      2. Consent > enjoyment.
      3. "Stop when you realise you don't have their enjoyment"? REALLY? That sounds better to you than "Not raping someone, not even a little bit" ????

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    4. I think what the anon is trying to say is that if you stop when your partner isn't enjoying it, non-consensual sex is impossible.

      Now, (in vanilla terms) that's probably true as far as it goes, but as Cliff posted the other day, you miss a lot of fun that way.

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  2. This makes me sad too. Spreading disinformation the world over. It's the exact opposite of good relationship advice. Boiled down to its concentrate, what it's expressing, rather than "communicate openly and honestly," it's all "Hide what you really want so no one will laugh at you."

    Geez. How about you tell everyone what you really want, so you can get rid of the jerks who will laugh at you.

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    1. I also love my husband's armpits.

      Just an FYI.

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    2. Well, context is still important here.
      Trivially, telling everyone including random strangers your sexual desires will get you socially ostracized for good reason.
      More seriously, it is in fact important to know someone well enough to know what their conversational boundaries are so you don't creep them out.

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    3. Well, yeah. By "everyone," I just meant the folks you're actually pursuing relationships with. Of course TMI amongst acquaintances is pointless and isolating. I was including the women who Cosmo told to lie to prospective mates in my advice, not just the guys with harmless fetishes. :)

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  3. My poor guy even got the "What are you, gay?" from an ex. Fortunately now we can happily wear stockings and garters together. The extra "amusing" part is that he gets incredibly excited about it -- making it *emphatically* clear that he is not gay.

    Cosmo ladies of the world: you are doing yourselves NO favours by being jerks about these things.

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    1. making it *emphatically* clear that he is not gay

      Er, wait, did bisexuality just vanish? Dang. No one ever tells me these things.

      Seriously, though, what you're describing is no proof of what he DOESN'T like, only of what he DOES. You may have other reasons to know that he's not into men, fine, but this isn't one.

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    2. Being bi can be included under "not gay."

      And all of this needs to come with a huge "not that there's anything wrong with that" disclaimer, too, because if he were gay, well, maybe that means that he wouldn't be happy in a relationship with a woman (and then again maybe he would, sexuality can be funny like that), but it doesn't make any of the "ICKY GROSS WEIRDO" stuff any more legitimate.

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    3. Yeah sorry, I was going to throw that in there (about bisexuality and so forth too) but then it started sounding confusing to me so I hoped the readers would forgive the lack -- figuring we'd be on the same page on it.

      Never lack on the internet!

      It was mostly just the cognitive dissonance I was focused on there. Setting aside using "gay" as a pejorative (and the erasure of everyone who isn't of binary sexuality; myself included), it just makes my head asplode in confusion.

      My apologies!

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  4. I'm a little less harsh on the advice to not tell someone that you're looking for a committed relationship on the first date. Maybe if you can make it perfectly clear that you mean 'a committed relationship in general' as your end goal not 'a committed relationship with you specifically.' The thing is, if you're mentioning it at all to your date, it signals that you are considering the latter scenario, or else why would you mention it. It /is/ off-putting to get that on the first date from someone who if they aren't a near total stranger, at least are someone that you don't know how you'd function in a romantic context with yet. Also during first and second dates if you're really clicking the buzz that can cultivate can make you idealistically project forward about the day you and your new romance friend have a million babies, and to date maturely, you need to reign that feeling in, and try to see the other person for who they really are. Not bringing it up until later shows that you're not getting ahead of yourself, and you're not one to cram relationships into predetermined structures that they may or may not naturally fit into.

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    1. I think it's fair to say "I'm looking for a serious relationship" on a date, and in fact a good idea so that you don't waste time with a guy who isn't (or thinks you aren't).

      But yeah, you don't want to push that into "I want to have a serious relationship with you" five minutes after meeting.

      I think that distinction's important though, and "pretend not to have any relationship preferences when really you do" isn't quite right either.

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    2. I'm with Cliff here. You don't want to make it about how *this person* is who you want a serious relationship, because they have their own preferences and that ignores them. On the other hand talking about what you are looking for out of dating is good, because not everyone wants the same thing out of dating. Maybe the person across the table isn't looking for a serious relationship, and you are, and if so going on more dates isn't doing either of you any more favors.

      The fetish one really does make me sad. Sometimes a relationship needs to end over a sexual incompatibility, and no one feel they have to do something they don't want, but asking a partner if they are want to/are willing to try a thing that excites you is at the very heart of responsible and satisfying sexual behavior. There's NEVER EVER an obligation to say yes, but *ridiculing* someone for expressing a sexual desire you don't share is super uncool.

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    3. Hearing that pretty much broke my heart.

      It's interesting to think about how Cosmo is all about Making Your Man Happy in a super heteronormative way; but *only* in a very specifically approved way. I wear thigh-high socks and so on because he absolutely loves it, and I enjoy his happiness. And I love that something so simple can be such a big thing for him.

      Patriarchy is weird, jeez. Scrunchies are awesome, but jock-straps aren't?? Welp, now I'm depressed.

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    4. How about if you used a jockstrap as a scrunchie?

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    5. I see what you did there :D ^

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    6. This makes me want to ask what they mean by a "serious, committed" relationship. What kind of relationship is a non-serious relationship? Wouldn't it be enough to say they're looking for a relationship, period?

      Do they decide in advance that a relationship will be serious and committed? That *would* appear scary stalker-ish...

      If it means "I want marriage and 2.5 kids and a house with a dog and a white fence and if you're not willing to play the husband part in my fantasy then don't waste my time" then that suggests looking at a partner as a means to an end. But that's almost the opposite of saying "I'm interested in a relationship with *you*".

      It can also be codespeak for "I'm part of the subculture that thinks women ought to be looking only for serious, committed relationships and I'm signaling that I like to believe I'm not a slut, so you can be sure that you'll get all the blame when we break up" which is kind of scary in its own way...

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    7. ...oooor it can be someone looking for something long-term, as opposed to just random fun; so if their dating partner is moving to another continent in a week now would be a good time to disclose that. sheesh.

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    8. "What kind of relationship is a non-serious relationship?"

      A casual fuck buddy
      A one (or two, or three) night stand
      A friend, whom you sleep with every once in a while when you're both horny and have no serious partner at the time
      Someone you only play with at parties
      Someone you date for a couple weeks for companionship and sex, although it's clear you're not long-term compatible
      Someone you date long-term for companionship and sex, but the focus of your emotional energy lies elsewhere
      A summer fling with a set end-date

      All those are types of relationships; just like I have a relationship with my roommate, my boss, the person I sit next to on the plane, etc.

      There are lots of people who are just not interested in any of the above, especially if they know from the beginning that the relationship will never progress further, and that's fine. There's nothing wrong with stating that up front, just like there's nothing wrong with saying "I'm not really looking for anything serious right now, are you down with that?"

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    9. I'm with you on this one. Sorry Cliff!

      Again, Cosmo's not telling you to lie or misrepresent yourself. They're telling you that a good time to bring this up is on the 2nd or 3rd date--after you've gotten a chance to get to know each other, but before either of you has invested a lot emotionally into things. That's generally enough of a barrier to make it clear that "looking for something serious" does NOT necessarily imply "with you specifically."

      This may be the one time where Cosmo is right about things you SHOULDN'T say at a particular time.

      To me, "I'm not really looking for anything serious right now" is a lot more first-date-appropriate than "I'm interested in a serious relationship." The former is very obviously not personal, regardless of who says it or when.

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    10. @Erica:
      Personally I would feel it stretches the meaning of "relationship" to include all those. Would you tell people "I'm in a relationship" when meaning there's someone you play with at parties once in a while? I wouldn't.

      It would seem asking people what they mean by "relationship" is even more important than I thought. ^_^;

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    11. well, i do know people for whom "there's someone i play with once in a while" [and want to keep playing with] is a total deal-breaker, so yes. Tell them where you're at; see where they're at. Maybe not on date 1, but before date 3?

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  5. My ex-wife made me feel gross for trying to explore BDSM with her. Thanks for nothing.

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  6. On the other hand, on my first date with my current wife (whom I already knew), I told her I thought she might be my soul mate and I was prepared to risk everything to find out. Scared her half to death. But it worked out in the end!

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  7. Have you noticed that Pink is hiking up her skirt on the cover, and kinda almost looks like she's touching herself?

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    1. It's kinda cropped in the image, but on the cover you can see that she's showing off a tattoo on her thigh.

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  8. Why would a man buying women's stuff not get credit for being intimately involved with a woman? Or, y'know, just getting errands done, same as buying toilet paper?

    My mom had a story about sending my dad to get her a bra once (no, it did not involve him making any huge fuss about it). I know from the details that this happened in nineteen-effing-fifty-nine. Over five decades later we're still getting this shit?

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    1. As Julia Serano said (a mite sarcastically): "Yes, guys, everyone really does think you're buying them for yourself."

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    2. And there's not even anything wrong with that. I figured every guy had read enough Tom Clancy novels by now to know that tampons are good to have in your range bag in case someone gets shot.

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    3. Tampons or maxi-pads?

      I did once put a maxi-pad on a guy's wound in a wilderness situation where we didn't have bandages, but stuffing a tampon actually in a wound seems like a not-so-great idea to me.

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    4. Actually, a guy I used to know rendered a store clerk speechless once. He was picking up tampons for his girlfriend, and the clerk, also in his late teens/early twenties, snickered and said, "Oh, got your period?" The guy didn't blink or skip a beat and said, "Yes, it came as a surprise to us all." Clerk couldn't bear to look at him, probably because the other customers in line were laughing at the guy's joke. No shame for the guy, but an appropriate amount for the clerk.

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    5. Tampons can be used for packing open wounds, however if you have a wound bad enough to require packing you are in a lot of trouble. They also work pretty well for heavy nosebleeds.

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    6. I've found pads useful for a medical condition I have. Not the most useful, but useful.

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    7. (Possible TMI here) I have a Mirena IUD and haven't had a period in over 10 years, but I DID develop hemorrhoids (of all the damn things!) as part of dissertation-related stress (one-time occurrence, went away post-defense and never came back. Chronic stress is bad, mmmkay?) and had to go out and buy panty-liners (and other OTC stuff) to get me through. It reminded me how long it had been since I actually bought "feminine hygiene products".

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    8. Some trap shooters use 'feminine pads' to clean their shotgun barrels, FWIW.

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  9. Maybe there's more here that you didn't post, but I didn't get "tell him exactly the opposite" out of that. It looks more like "don't tell him anything, or do anything that might signal what you really want" which is more in line with what Cosmo usually says, anyway. Because guys *totally* love the uncertainty of not knowing whether the other person is looking for the same kind of relationship as they are, amirite?

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    1. Well, if he asks "what are you looking to get out of dating?" or "wanna come back to my place?", then you're going to have to either tell him the opposite or get really evasive.

      ...I think maybe you're supposed to take the "evasive" tactic though. Because that makes you mysterious or somefuck.

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    2. Like applying for a job, where you're never supposed to be the first one to talk about salary? I hate that, too.

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    3. Irene - Oh man, the worst is when you're applying for a really blatantly menial job--working on an assembly line or sorting boxes or something else that you're obviously only doing for the money because that's the only reason people take those jobs and the interviewer gets all "So, why do you want to work for Box Sorter Corp?" and they expect you to answer with something besides "the ad said $10 an hour."

      I've had that happen a few times and it's always bleakly humiliating to have to garble out "I really believe in your corporate mission and I've always had a affinity for boxes" or some shit.

      This isn't really related to Cosmo anymore but boy does it bug me.

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    4. Er, I think Irene might be talking about salaried positions where the pay is more negotiable? In which case it is less a politeness thing and more about the fact that it puts you in a weaker negotiating position to give a specific number first.


      Unrelatedly, I would probably talk about how much I really love boxes. But that is because I genuinely love the fuck out of boxes. And shipping containers! OMGSQUEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!! Boy do I ever love shipping containers. Have you ever read The Box, by Marc Levinson? Its about the history of shipping containers. Absolutely riveting.

      Okay, I'ma stop geeking out down this irrelevant tangent.

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    5. "When I was little, I loved to play in cardboard boxes that weren't in use any more. I want to spread this joy to the kids of today!"

      Box castles are awesome. :D

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    6. armorsmith42: I myself have a great love of tins and canisters of various kinds. The Marc Levinson looks intriguing.

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    7. OMG, "it's rude to talk about money" is such fucking bullshit at a job interview.

      But the first person to name a number really is in a weaker position.

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    8. >>>>I've had that happen a few times and it's always bleakly humiliating to have to garble out "I really believe in your corporate mission and I've always had a affinity for boxes" or some shit.

      The humiliation is the point. It's there to remind you that you're selling yourself off and that means you no longer have agency for the period of time you're at work, and possibly outside work too (for instance, they might object to what you write on Twitter or shit). I'm not sure how conscious the actors are of the motivation, but I'm pretty sure that's the social purpose this ridiculous custom evolved to serve. Discussing salary in a dispassionate fashion would suggest you're negotiating as equals, and that's emphatically not the case.

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  10. Between Dan Savage telling me I should always indulge every single request in the bedroom because if I am ever unsatisfied it is just karmic retribution for the sins of my kind, and Cosmo telling me I should never consider or enjoy indulging requests in the bedroom, I am feeling pretty damn surly.

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    1. It's the Yin-Yang of sexual frustration!

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    2. Maybe I'm reading him wrong, but I always got the vibe of, "You should be willing to try things that don't turn you on, but draw the line at things that are absolutely revolting to you or seriously endanger your life or health. You also have to respect the boundaries of your partner, and not pressure them into doing things that are absolutely revolting/dangerous to them." GGG is supposed to mean within reason. In fact, Savage has reminded couples on several occasions that forcing someone to do something they absolutely abhor (or doing something that sets off serious alarm bells because it will please your partner and you don't want to offend them) isn't GGG at all.

      (Yes, I know that Savage is an asshole about a lot of things. This is something he actually gets right.)

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    3. Dan's harsh, but I get the feeling he's venting from seeing a lot of the same letters.

      Nobody's asking you to do things you don't want to do. All you're really being asked is to give the idea a bit of thought. (Which, for ideas like "I have a fantasy about dismembering and eating somebody" can take less time than it takes to read this comment.) And then, not shaming your partner for having their fantasy.

      The real issue is telling people that their desires are Shameful and Wrong. Especially because people who do that often turn around later and wonder why they have a hard time finding someone to fulfill their desires for anything more than the occasional bout of missionary. Slut-shaming goes both ways, and has the same costs whichever way you slice it.

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    4. I assume Lab Rat is talking about the last letter here in which Dan essentially said "teenage girls are always rejecting kinky men for being kinky; you, letter-writer who never mentioned doing anything of the sort, caused your own problem by doing that."

      What Laura and the anon here are talking about is usually how he describes GGG, but not in this case.

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    5. *scratches head* Y'know, speaking as a fairly vanilla lady of a certain age, I don't remember dating ANY kinky guys in my teens or twenties (Dan actually said 20s). None. Zero. I didn't know of any TO date. The one guy I knew in college who turned out to be kinky was turned on to BDSM by a college girlfriend, and I think that was after I graduated, so even if I'd gone out with him (and I'm pretty sure I could have) it wouldn't have counted. (And we're talking some pretty serious stuff he eventually got into, so if he didn't consciously know he was into that by his teens, I bet lots of guys don't figure it out by then.)

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    6. That letter was so baffling... I wanted to sit Dan S. down and be all "Who are you actually mad at? Because she ain't them."

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    7. Oh wow, I just went over there & the much-needed WTF DAN? comment was by Frequent Pervocracy Commenter perversecowgirl! well played!

      >> Plus, y'know, we have no proof that this chick ever dumped any "nice kinky guys" just for being kinky.

      I'm kinky myself - and obviously in favour of not being dumped over it - but Dan's rant comes off to me like he's venting about some old psychological scar of his own and completely missing the point. <<

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    8. GGG somewhat ties into Cliff's earlier post on consent, since the concept is supposed to be about consenting to things you neither like nor dislike. It explicitly rejects the enthusiasm requirement that says you not just only have to consent to things that make you hot, but you can only truly consent to things that make you hot. Now, people often use it to mean "straight women, do what your partner wants" but Dan hasn't (though he could certainly be a bit more vocal about it not meaning that).

      In this instance I don't know where he was coming from, though. I don't know why he thought he was addressing the writer's question.

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  11. "It will not be revoked if you forget to man around like a manly man at all times. Your manhood is safe. Fuckin' relax."

    So much WORD. I'm a server and at work we have a strawberry champagne salad dressing that is delicious and everybody loves it. More times than not when a dude orders it he has to make a little comment about being embarrassed or unmasculine for ordering it, ESPECIALLY if his girlfriend also chose that dressing. One restaurant order does not negate your male identity! Christ.

    Also, mad props to cis dudes that keep some tampons around, I don't expect it but am SO pleasantly surprised when it happens - even if it's just leftovers from an ex girlfriend, the fact that they keep it just in case a lady will be in need is AWESOME.

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    1. It's pretty awesome when ANYONE who doesn't need them keeps tampons around. I was once at a friend's house, and when I asked her mom where she kept the "girl stuff" (I was twelve and shy)... turns out she'd had a hysterectomy and didn't have any. BUT LADY. YOU HAVE A DAUGHTER. WHO HAS FRIENDS. Don't you think maybe you're gonna need some one day?

      She very kindly went to the store for me, but I couldn't look her in the eye for MONTHS. Because I was twelve and didn't want anyone to know I got periods.

      I guess it's less of a big deal when you're an adult, but unless you want to do intermittent blood-painting art projects on your couch, it might be a good idea to keep tampons around, men, grandmas, trans women, amenorrheaic athletes, and everyone else.

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    2. I suggest adding another dressing to the menu called "Butchberry Cava." Same stuff, but MANLY.

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    3. Ooooh, would that be a Man-Cava? (Like that horrible expression "man-cave" for "den" or "workshop"?)

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    4. I'm more surprised that having a daughter she didn't have any around, it would be a bit embarrassing for her kid to have her first period and not have any pads or tampons around. I have to admit I tend to be bad about this sort of thing because I haven't had a period in years due to my BC and my most frequent female guest (my mom) is post-menopausal.

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    5. The wonderful thing about "for guests' emergencies" period supplies is that they don't go off. Trying to remember to buy cream the weekend before my coffee-loving friends come to visit? Pain in the ass.

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  12. "Your manhood is safe. Fuckin' relax."

    THANK YOU.

    I can't tell you how often I hear cis man make those kinds of comments, and I, as a non-passing trans man, grit my teeth because my high voice grates on me every second of every day and here they are worrying about this stuff. At least people don't default to "she" and "her" if they forget for one second to do the man thing.

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    1. Watch any show that has high schoolers or college students in a football locker scene. The idea that manhood must be earned and must be constantly reinforced is very much part of the cultural lexicon. Misgendering cis dudes ("let's get moving, ladies") is a very popular tool to keep them in line.

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  13. In relation to the dancing thing, of course if people really don't like dancing they should just be left alone and allowed not to dance. But plenty of people would actually like to dance, but feel too self-conscious to do so in public. For these people, the advice to practice dancing in private is really good, as is drinking alcohol before dancing.

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    1. I agree, and I think it's fair to ask someone who doesn't want to dance why they don't want to dance. If they say they just don't like to, then that should be the end of it, but if they indicate they would like to dance but are too shy/scared/embarrassed, then I actually think privately practicing with them and even gently nudging them to dance with you next time you're out would actually be helpful and do a lot for their confidence.

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    2. That, and there can be a lot of social and relationship pressure to ONLY dance with your partner, and not to "abandon" them. If I found myself in that situation, we'd have to have a conversation along the lines of, "OK, but I love dancing and I want to dance at weddings, so how do you feel about me dancing with someone else - can you keep yourself entertained?"

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  14. Honestly, some people don't like to dance but also really hate the idea of their partners dancing with anyone else, so in a situation like that, they pretty much are putting the partner who likes to dance in a situation where they can't, or at least can't do slow dances where they'd need a partner. So I can see why someone in a situation like that might feel tempted to push their partner into dancing, if they think their partner is more likely to be talked into dancing them with them than letting them dance with other people.

    The thing is, though, not everyone gets everything they want in a relationship, and not dancing won't kill you. So I don't think pushing someone who doesn't want to dance into dancing is right; I just understand the temptation. I think mature people grow up and recognize you have to compromise sometimes in relationships, though.

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    1. WTF is that mess of a comment? Ugh, definitely proofreading next time!

      Delete
    2. Letting your partner dance with someone else for a few hours won't kill you, either. I admit--my partner doesn't mind me dancing with other people, as long as I pay a bunch of attention to him afterwards, so my perspective is a little skewed RE: tough emotions other people might be going through, but if my partner doesn't want me dancing with other people, he can suck it up or he can dance with me. It's really not fair to stop me from doing things I want to do just because he doesn't want to do them.

      On the other hand, if what I really want is to dance WITH HIM, not just to dance generally, then I'm screwed and will have to spend the dance-time on my butt. If that's what you're talking about then I understand.

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    3. It's true that it won't kill you, and in some relationships, the compromise might be that the one who doesn't like to dance either gets over their negative emotions about their partner dancing with others, or dances with the other person themselves. That's definitely an option as well. I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say anymore except that I guess it's not always easy to just say "Well, if he doesn't want to dance, it's not like he's stopping you!" because sometimes the situation is more complicated. Also, like you said, sometimes the person who wants to dance wants to specifically dance WITH THEIR PARTNER -- and there's not any way around that except one person going without what they want, or one person doing something they don't want to.

      I'm just coming from the perspective of having a girlfriend who dislikes dancing, but dislikes seeing me dance with people who aren't her even more. She has said before that if I HAVE to dance, she'd rather dance with me than have me dance with somebody else, because seeing me dancing with someone who isn't her makes her feel jealous and unloved. I know she doesn't like it, though, so I don't make her dance even when I want to. I usually tend to side with the person who doesn't want to do things in most disputes, anyway. But, that's not the only option, of course. Sometimes the option is that the other person sucks it up and gets over their jealousy, or whatever. But I do think, sooner or later, even if it's not dancing-related, every couple is going to come across a situation where it's impossible for both people to get exactly what they want.

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    4. Yeah, that all makes sense. I kind of forgot that we were talking about we-got-invited-to-a-wedding dances, not I-want-to-go-out-dancing dances. I go out swing dancing every weekend or so, because I love dancing, so I'd be seriously bummed and resentful if my partner stopped me from dancing at a wedding. I guess I have these kinds of conflicts too, I just saw DANCING and got hung up on that part.

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    5. Once upon a time, people went to dances to dance, and if they were single, they went to meet people and dance with them, they didn't take 'dates'. Single women went with a family member or other 'chaperone', single men went 'stag'. The Emily Post rule was that you danced with every guy that asked, unless you weren't dancing at all.

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    6. No, they are putting themselves in a position where they need to suck it up. Dance or cope if your partner dances with other people.

      Delete
  15. "Unfortunately, the secret theme of this month's Cosmo is 'people don't get to make choices just because they choose to.'"

    Just this month's??

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  16. Don't get me wrong, I was on board with the Cliff thing, but today I feel I must note that when you see "Cliff Pervocracy" together, it looks like cliff is an adjective describing a particular type or brand of pervocracy. Observe:

    Cliff Climbing
    Cliff Fire
    Cliff Music
    Cliff Pervocracy
    Beach Pervocracy
    Forest Pervocracy

    Anyway, if it makes you feel any better, consider the thought that Cosmopolitan readers, like many believers in religious texts, are mostly better than their book.

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    1. The Untoward LadyMay 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      You know what? I'm pissed now. Why? Because you're being an insensitive jerk!

      Here's a news flash: you don't get to be "on board with the Cliff thing!" If she wants to be known as Cliff that's none of your goddamn business to pass judgment on. You know why? Because it's her identity and not yours!

      She gets to define who she is. You get to shut up and respect her identity. That's how it works. PERIOD!

      You might think this isn't a big deal but maybe you don't know what it feels like to go through this kinda thing and have people piss on you like this. I do.

      ~~

      Cliff: I hope I'm not somehow out-of-line telling this guy off but when I read what I he said I couldn't stop from feeling the way it felt having this crap tossed at me when I started my transition. I remember when I first came out how vulnerable I was in my self identity and I wanted to give you a bit of support because I know how I would have felt in your position. Anyway, I just think you're a really cool person and I don't want to see you get bullied back into a box that isn't right for you. *offers hugs*

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    2. I've Internet-known Don for a long time and I don't think he means badly by it. I'd take offense to "you're still Holly to me" or things like that, but "your name sounds like a land formation?"

      Eh, it does.

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    3. The Untoward LadyMay 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      I'm sure he didn't mean anything hurtful by it either. It's just one of those things that people do without thinking that has the potential of really, really hurting someone.

      Glad everyone's okay though!

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    4. And 'Holly' is a type of plant. Same thing, honestly, yet it only now suddenly is noteworthy?

      Delete
  17. Hey Cliff, just some male-ish person here. The thing about not telling guys that you want a serious relationship right away? I mean, yeah, but if a girl opens with, "you want to move in and get married?" I would seriously run away. Why? Because commitment is /scary/. Even if she was a perfect ten and neo-goth and dominant and Jewish and had a ton of money and was absolutely perfect for me, I am still afraid of commitment. I think Cosmo sort of hit the nail on the hammer with that one.

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    1. Refer further up in the comments as to the distinction between "I am looking for a serious relationship *in general*" vs. "I want a serious relationship *with you*". The latter is what you are describing and is clearly not a good move on a first/second date; the latter is a good idea to bring up early to save both people some wasted time.

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    2. also? you != all men.

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    3. I dated a guy who skipped the early-on "I'm looking for a serious relationship *in general*" and went straight to "I want to marry you and have babies" six months later. I, heretofore unaware that we were doing this dating thing for realisies, GTFO'd, and he was very, very sad for a long time. He could have avoided getting so invested in an unavailable woman if he'd just told me early on that he was dating as an extended interview for marriage, because I was dating as an extended series of sexy-fun-time playdates and I could have TOLD HIM THAT and he could have moved on before he cared so much.

      That's the kind of miscommunication we're trying to avoid here.

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  18. ...For some reason I can't stop reading that in the voice of Pinhead.

    Oh man, I love you. I had gotten all sad over that paragraph, and then you threw that in and made me laugh hard enough to feel better. Of course I then had to re-read it to myself in the voice of Pinhead too.

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    1. Oh hell yes. Me too.

      "You solved the box. We came. Your pathetic human needs are secret shames to bury deeply."

      Delete
  19. The whole idea that one should say no to sex for some weeks, or some months, or some whatever, because otherwise the guy would think I'M A SLUT AND NEVER MARRY ME is just SO TOXIC. I remember having friends who thought like that in high school, and after they eventually decided it was the right time to start having sex, they always had problems. Sex was no fun, it didn't feel good, they couldn't get an orgasm and whatever. Well, that's not particularly surprising, is it, when your entire sex life revolves around WHAT HE WILL THINK OF YOU if you do or don't do this or that, rather than what YOU WANT.
    Me, I've slept with everyone on the first date because I WANTED to. And lo and behold, I ended up a married woman by the tender age of twenty-four. What would Cosmo make of that?

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  20. What's with this dumb 'men are super turned off by the very idea of commitment' thing? I bet everyone who thinks that about men knows loads of guys who want to or have committed and are in long term relationships or married. It feels like quite a modern idea that comes with the idea that all men are supposed to be 'scoring' constantly with loads of different women, which means that even a guy who wants to commit will pretend he doesn't and as a society we all have to pretend that men hating commitment and women LOOOVING it is just one of those ohhhh so big differences between men and women.

    I too get depressed on and before my period, and it can be really bad, especially if it coincides with something bad happening in my life. It's a really horrible thing to go through and I hate the way people talk about PMS in terms of how it makes women turn into horrible snarling monsters, and not about how it makes them feel.

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    1. I always ignored the "men turned off by commitment" thing as a stereotype that might possibly made some sense at one time (though I don't know when that time might have been) even if it wasn't entirely correct (almost no stereotype ever is, even when applied to an average member of a group rather than all of them) but has zero accuracy now. In the rather small sample size that is my personal life, it would appear that the opposite was true, that it's women who are afraid of commitment. In fictional examples, outside of crappy romantic comedies (which I have not seen many of) it doesn't seem to me like fear of commitment is a gendered thing, or even much of a "thing" at all.

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    2. My experience is congruent with yours, in that of the married het couples I know, the dude was the one who really really wanted to get married while the lady was more meh. (Also acknowledging that the plural of anecdote is not data, but still.) That one has a little variance across non-married relationships, though. The one I really and truly do not grasp is "Men don't want your silly effeminate cuddling and pillowtalk! That's for girls!" I sleep with dudes and more than one has complained that he *wants* to hold me, but once we're done I'm either out like a light or out the door. (The latter partly because of the former - if I don't intend to spend the night I have to get out of the bed before I conk out.)

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    3. I think it's a bad idea to get married in the first place unless BOTH of you are really into the idea. A huge commitment like getting married isn't something you should do to please your partner, if you're feeling "meh" yourself.

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    4. " I hate the way people talk about PMS in terms of how it makes women turn into horrible snarling monsters, and not about how it makes them feel."
      You captured perfectly something I never even noticed before. Talk about PMS is nearly always about its effect on the people (men) around her. Yuck.

      Delete
  21. The whole HAHA YOU DARED TO ASK YOUR PARTNER IF THEY WERE INTO YOUR KINK thing always makes me so sad. I remember in high school, it turned out that a guy I had a crush on had some compatible kinks with me, which I found out from his ex-girlfriend gossiping about it and generally shaming him. Of course after that his butch friends went on a massive damage control spree and I was too embarrassed to be like "hey, there's nothing wrong with what you like and actually I find it pretty hot" and basically the whole situation was incredibly sad.

    (at least I got to keep crush guy as a friend post hs and we had some fun non-sexual clothes swapping times)

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  22. ""You have to hide your true intentions from your date, because he'd be disgusted if he knew how needy and horny you really are on the inside. Your pathetic human needs are secret shames to bury deeply."

    ...For some reason I can't stop reading that in the voice of Pinhead."

    That's the kind of thing that Pinhead would say *sarcastically* or not at all.

    Seriously, I would take sex advice from Pinhead BEFORE I'd take any from Cosmo. That's saying something. O_o

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    1. What's funny is after I read this post, I had to google Pinhead. And then I started reading about the whole Hellraiser backstory, and THEN I started watching bits of the movies on youtube, and now mentally I'm reading everything in Pinhead's voice.

      And totally, would take sex advice from him way before Cosmo.

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  23. I've bought tampons. Do cis men typically not? I understand it's understood to threaten masculinity but I'm not sure what that even means, now that I'm actually typing it.

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    1. As near as I can tell, the attitude seems to be: there are Man Things and Woman Things. (And, I dunno, breathing? Somehow somebody will find a way to tell me that's gendered too, I shouldn't doubt.) Only women do Woman Things, and Woman and Man are binary categories, so if you do Woman Things, you are Not A Man - the worst fate imaginable. Menstruation, a terrifying mystery concocted by those aberrant creatures with their vaginae, is the most Womanly Thing of all. Coming into contact with anything remotely related to this bizarre, unfathomable ritual means acknowledging its existence, which means participating in it, and that makes you, like, gay or something, dude.
      Thus, the fact that tampons are just a product designed to deal with a normal human biological function evades people who wouldn't blink at buying toilet paper or diapers.

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  24. Besides, Cosmo has given pretty weird sex tips in the past, like that bit about wrapping a shoe-string around your boyfriend's dick. I can so easily imagine a similar article in a lad magazine where guys laugh about women's fetishes they've encountered, like "this one chick I dated wanted to tie a shoelace around my junk! Seriously!".

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    1. "There was this girl once . . . we'd been on a few dates, gone to bed a couple of times, and she wasn't wild or anything, but it was nice, you know? Then one night we were having a great time, everything was coming together nicely, and it was like she went a little crazy. She said she wanted to be on top! Well, I mean, I'm a man of the world, so I'm like, sure thing, and it was OK, but she didn't really seem all that into it. But that wasn't the bad part. The bad part was when I said, "I'm coming . . . " and she reached over, grabbed something off the nightstand, and threw a handful of black pepper in my face!

      Her lawyer later claimed she'd read about it in some magazine.

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  25. liking armpits is freaky?! seriously? of all the things I like to do in bed (and out of it come to that), adoring my husbands armpits is NOT the one I thought would be deemed freaky!

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    1. It's all about context. If anything more than a pair of fuzzy handcuffs and some light spanking is considered disgustingly perverted and worth shaming your partner over, your definition of "freaky" will be limited based on the bounds of what's considered "real sex".

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    2. I've had my armpit licked. And honestly, I kind of laughed when it happened, but what I was REALLY thinking was: That is freaking HOT. He loves me so much, he wants to lick the stink right off of me. Hell. Yes.

      Delete
  26. You have picked an easy target - Cosmo is aimed at 16/17 year-olds. The "adult" equivalent is a little rag named "Psychology Today".

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    1. Oh, so true.

      On the other hand, 16/17 is the age when sexual attitudes are being shaped. It's where the battle needs to be fought! Cosmo is the creationism curriculum of sex.

      Delete
  27. Augh, the PMS thing! As a guy with a period, I sometimes get irritable and bad tempered just before it starts. My husband used to joke about me having PMS, lololol, until I very firmly told him to cut that shit out.
    Of course I get irritable... after all I know that from tomorrow on, I will be in pain and getting really gross blood all over my crotch area for two days. How exactly would that not put a person, any person, in a stressed out, tense mood? And as an aggressive person by nature, I react to stress with aggression. Nothing 'syndrome' about it.
    Though I do turn into a snarling monster sometimes... specifically when non-menstruating people just. won't. stop. trying to pathologize my monthly experience.

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    1. I'd always heard it expanded as Pre-Menstrual Stress, not Syndrome, which probably cuts it down to Bullshit instead of Total Bullshit.

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  28. I feel like you really missed a bright point in this issue. I was standing in line with my mom and was sucked in by the "Are you an almost girlfriend" and I said to my mom, "I bet it will tell you to do anything but actually talk to him about it." But then I actually read it and the main thing it said was, talk to him about it! And it even said something along the lines of "If he's the right guy, he won't be put off and if he's not then you're better off without him." That made me so happy! :)

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    1. Thanks for also pointing this out! I was browsing the magazine rack while waiting for a prescription to get filled, and went straight to this article as well. It was good to see advice that mentioned actually speaking to your significant other!

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  29. Don't quite get your objection to "Where to Meet a Guy in June". Is it that such articles usually fail to be useful on their own terms, or do you just think women shouldn't be interested in that subject?

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  30. I think the objection is to the idea that men have seasonal migration patterns you have to follow to catch sight of them. As Cliff noted, it sounds like you're going to be told to climb to higher altitudes, maybe above the tree line, moving slowly and glassing carefully in all directions every 300 meters of elevation or so, until you catch sight of the herd.

    Then, being careful to stay downwind and keeping as much terrain as possible between you and the herd of bros, conduct a slow, careful stalk, select a stable shooting position, and be sure to rest the rifle if possible for a quick, painless and ethical . . . seduction.

    What if you just went to fun places and did fun things so you'd meet people who were having fun doing the sort of things you think are fun?

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    1. As Cliff noted . . .

      Surely it's more amusing to say, "as Cliff notes . . . " No? Just me?

      Delete
  31. Don,

    What if the places I think are fun and the things I think are fun to do don't bring me into contact with new people on a regular basis? You are aware that single men and women are not distributed equally in all geographic areas?

    Most of the 'Where to meet men/women' articles I've ever read were pretty useless, but the ubiquity of such articles kind of indicates to me that it's a question a lot of people have, even if no one can come up with a good answer. The whole "Just do/go what/where you think is fun and you'll just accidently meet someone with similar interests' thing is more of a dismissal of the question than an answer.

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    1. You tend to notice that the people giving that advice tend to be in college or shortly out of. The world is markedly different when you're not forced into close quarters with people in a similar situation to yours. (Or worse, as in many workplaces, where you're actively discouraged from getting involved with co-workers.)

      It's much like the advice "you attract women by treating them like people". It ignores the fact that their parents, co-workers, teachers, and strangers waiting in line are all people, yet aren't all treated the same. (It also ignores non-het options. Which makes it fun when they do 180s when it's something other than a straight guy saying things.)

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    2. The "treating women like people" is more about not repelling women, in my experience. Sad to say, a lot of folks need to be told that.

      I have no idea how to go about meeting people most effectively, yet I have somehow accumulated quite a number of friends over the years -- I think a lot of older folks give the same advice because they figure it all worked out for them eventually even without their having particularly effective methods. Sometimes, like me, they got lucky, sometimes (maybe like me) they forget what special efforts they made to meet people, and they probably always forget how long it all took.

      It's still pretty funny to think of "men" as a monolith who all do the same thing in June.

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    3. I just thought it was funny because of the "in June" part, like men have some kind of seasonal migration.

      Also, I'm eight years out of college (oh God) and I've found that the strategy for "meet compatible single men" and "meet new friends" are entirely identical. It's true I won't meet men if I stick to solitary activities or only do things within small closed friend groups, but pretty much any situation that has me meeting people has me meeting eligible men.

      "Treat women like people" is one of those "necessary but not sufficient" things. Treating them like people you'd like to date is certainly important. But the phrase usually comes up as a rather prickly reply when guys are proposing dating strategies that treat "asking a woman for a date" like some special magic area of human interaction totally separate from any other way of talking to other human beings. It's really not.

      Delete
  32. Sidenote: not everyone who needs tampons is female, that was cissexist. A better term would be "womb-having".

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    1. Yeah, fair point, I changed the wording.

      Delete
    2. I hate the "You're angry because you have your period ?" since I'm usually tired and high on happiness during my periods. Seriously.

      But somehow, I can't scream : "I'm glad you know me so well you know more about my body than myself. So, how many days am I in my cycle ?" Too shy, maybe ?

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  33. Honest question: Should I keep tampons around? I don't use them myself, because I'm a menstrual cup man.

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    1. Actually, I think pads would be a better choice, because not everyone is comfortable with inserting tampons, but tampon users generally can make do with a pad in a pinch.

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    2. Oooh, I 2nd that.

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    3. Thirded.

      My ex-roommate told me once that she got her period at summer camp, and when she asked a counsellor for supplies, she was given a tampon. And when I say "got her period," I mean her first period ever. So she was in the outhouse wresting with this tampon for like an hour because she didn't want to go back and explain to the counsellor that it was her first time.

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    4. My first time using a tampon was on an airplane--I got my period unexpectedly in-flight and there were only tampons in the little bathroom. I put one in as best I could, went back to my seat, and then realized it was in wrong and was extremely uncomfortable. Then the pilot announced "we're going to encounter some turbulence, everyone needs to stay in your seats for the rest of the flight."

      I didn't use tampons again for years after that.

      Delete
  34. If you read this magazine and the August issue, you'll find proof of why Cosmo is absolutely batshit crazy and wants to cause relationship issues.


    It says in the article about guys wanting crazy things in bed that one guy wanted to shave his girlfriend's legs. In then in the August issue, two months later, what's one of their sex tips? Have him shave your legs.
    See, they know that it's downright crazy and will beget a bad reaction. But they printed it anyway. That's just the kind of people Cosmo is made of.

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