Friday, December 7, 2012

Cosmocking: January '13!

[Wow, already? Is it just me or is this one really early?  I know Cosmo always runs a couple weeks ahead of the title date, but this seems extra soon.  Maybe they're trying to get their ads out in time for the shopping season.]


Purple cover!  Carly Rae Jepson!  "Call Me Maybe" written next to her head in case you've already forgotten who Carly Rae Jepson is!  "Epic Sex!"  Wow, so that's how long it takes a meme to trickle down from World of Warcraft to Cosmopolitan!
I joined a social bowling team--mostly for the cheap beer and the girls--and this one guy was super-competitive. He'd make fun of the girls, in a mean way, whenever their balls went in the gutter. One day while he was in the bathroom, I replaced his ball with an exact replica that was twice as heavy.  When he came back, all his shots went into the gutter.
Okay, I guess we can add "bowling balls" to the increasingly enormous list of commonplace subjects Cosmo is not good at lying about.  (Hint: Adult sizes range from 10 to 16 pounds.)
[Woman finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her using hookup websites, which for some reason he's paying for.] Luckily, I also happened to see that his credit-card number was saved in his account info on one of those sites. So, to get back at him, I upgraded his monthly membership to the most expensive plan, the Platinum Membership.  Then I dumped him.
•Bowling balls
•Identity theft law
He texted: "Hey, what are you doing?"  He means: If he doesn't follow up with an invite, he's just checking to see if you're available. This is a text guys use to keep you interested without expending time or energy. 
He texted: "Out at a party; I'll see you later."  He means: He has no real intention of seeing you later, and if he does, it'll be on his terms only.
Aaaand suddenly Cosmo is the mean girl in high school trying to break up relationships by telling both partners, "Oh my god, did you hear what Jesse is saying about you behind your back?  I'm only telling you this because I care about you and I think you ought to know..."

For shame, Cosmo.  Even if he dumps me, he'll never ask you to prom.  You're just not his type.
Cerebral dirty talk (say he's "too big to fail" and watch his "NASDAQ" skyrocket)
Oh baby.  Don't you want to diversify that big, aggressive portfolio with my liquid assets?  Tickle my small-caps, and I'll lick your FDIC.  I'll never short-sell you as long as you can handle my back-end load.
Take your love to an epic level [...] upgrade your love.
I can't do justice to it in quotes, but this is a whole article about how the hot new love is "epic love," and you are currently not having epic love and you must have epic love. The whole thing is written like a fashion piece--here's how to style your emotions like the stars, just in time for the holiday season!  (I'm not kidding, they have celebrity photographs modeling appropriately epic love.) You don't want to be the last one on the block still in regular love!

"Honey, we're loving wrong.  It's no good.  We have to love harder.  The magazine said so.  I'd say we need to love... about twenty percent harder."
Q: I am traditional and won't have sex until things are really serious. How do I handle the third (or fourth or fifth) date and let him know that even though I'm really attracted to him, I'm not there yet? 
A: Drop not-so-subtle hints, and avoid situations that'll make him think sex is imminent. [...]  Or just come out and say, "I'm pretty traditional when it comes to waiting to have sex."  Now, it's very likely that initially he'll think he'll be able to turn you into a sex fiend by date three--it's that kind of bravado that allows men to charge into battle during war and approach women in bars during happy hour--which is why you then need to back up your words with action.  Or really, a lack of action.  Cut off make-out sessions at a point when most of your clothes are still on so that things never come to a head, so to speak, and so that it doesn't seem like you're torturing him just for fun.
Okay, this shit is normalizing rape.  Quietly.  It's just gently implying that if you get in too sexy a situation, well, your wishes regarding when to have sex might not get respected.  Because guys have a lot of bravado and all.  Things might come to a head, so to speak.

Yeah, they're kinda just referring to her getting horny and agreeing to sex before she planned to, but... they're also kinda not.  They're telling her to expect guys to try to violate her boundaries, and not even in a "if you date a bad guy and don't spot the warning signs" way--in a "every guy does this, you'll just have to live with it" way.  Like it's just another wacky part of the dating game to keep your date from pushing you into sex.

In a weird way, this upsets me more than when Cosmo publishes generic "don't go outdoors without a male escort" rape-prevention advice.  Because even though that's misogynistic and victim-blamey, at least it admits that what they're preventing is rape.  Here, it's just... you know, sex you didn't plan to have.  And that's normal. Fuck, Cosmo.
Q: On a first date, I'll always do the wallet grab, even though I'd be turned off if he wanted me to pay.  Do guys know it's an act? 
A: Yes... but that doesn't mean you should stop doing it. [...] There is a trick to doing the wallet grab without giving him the wrong idea that you actually want to split the bill.  [...] Let him make the first move for his wallet. When he does, reach for yours, and silently continue going through the motions of paying until he stops you.
Every time people tell me that explicit communication between partners seems like it would be awkward or not spontaneous, I'm linking them to this quote.  I'll show you awkward and non-spontaneous.

Also, just throw in half, cheapskate.  The rule is halfsies on the first date, alternate on subsequent dates, pay proportionate to your incomes in a long-term relationship.  I'm sorry if this impedes your dinner-check-related arousal, but hey, my rule's better because it also works for gay people and people who aren't sexists.
I Fell for a Woman--While I Was Engaged to a Man
To end things on a not-completely-terrible note, hey, Cosmo published an article by a bisexual woman!  So that's progress I guess.  It's all about her cheating on her partner with a partner of the opposite gender, so not amazing progress, but I, mean, they're trying here.

86 comments:

  1. That last story reminded me irresistibly of the words of the immortal Svutlana of Svutlandia, when asked if the bride-to-be's having sex with the maid of honor made her a lesbian or not: "it seem for me that big question here no simple be whether you be lesbian or no, Ms Dyke. Svutlana be extreme sorry for say, but even though you no insert foreign penis anywhere in for your body, you just cheat on husband-for-be. It seem for me that this fact complete escape you, maybe because you cheat with best friend maid-of-honors and now be complete obsess with try for decide if you should buy L Word series value pack or no…"

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  2. The good thing about the traditional-no-sex answer is that they told her to come straight out and say it. That's better than I expected.

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    1. My mind was blown. Cosmo, telling people to say things?

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  3. Thank you, I meant to write it before. Your blog makes me feel so much better about myself (and a little more angry towards the world but that'll work out eventually.) Thank you, thank you and sending you positive vibes and love. :)

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  4. ....okay, and the bowling ball story fails on every conceivable level. Because it's either a house ball, and most the weights are different colors (and drilled to different handsizes) or she's trying to say she bought an exact replica of his personal bowling ball(except heavier), and had it drilled to his hand size, somehow.

    (I know, I'm overthinking it.)

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    1. The house balls generally have the weights engraved on them, too.

      And if it's a replica of his personal ball, how would she smuggle it in? A 30-pound bowling ball is a hell of a thing to hide up your sleeve.

      (High five, overthinking buddy!)

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    2. All told, it seems to be a heck of a lot of effort to go to, for what is kind of a stupid prank (he got some gutterballs? really? that's it?).

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    3. I was about to leave this exact comment, myself. I mean, whut?

      Also, I'm thinking the guy would surely have noticed the doubled weight before he actually used it once, let alone multiple times.

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    4. I was thinking that too! If she somehow altered the weight by a pound or two, it might have caused him to have a few gutter balls, but no way he didn't notice the different ball color unless she spent hundreds of dollars to duplicate his personal bowling ball. Fail.

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    5. I'm guessing Cosmo's writers don't bowl because it's Just Not Girly Frou-Frou Enough. Seriously, Penthouse letters are more realistic and well-thought-out than Cosmo stories.

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  5. Regarding the two sample texts, there is some truth to Cosmo's interpretation. For a long time, I had a bad habit of being drawn to highly narcissistic men with abusive tendencies, and the way Cosmo interprets these texts held true for those kinds of men - at least in my obviously limited anecdotal experience.

    That said, I'm not the least bit surprised that Cosmo would be expert at interpreting the world through the lens of a misogynistic and malignantly narcissistic straight guy. -_-

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    1. :( That sucks. Even the shitty people I've dated have at least been the sort of shitty people who say "I'll see you later" to mean "yeah, I probably will see you later."

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  6. "Also, just throw in half, cheapskate. The rule is halfsies on the first date, alternate on subsequent dates, pay proportionate to your incomes in a long-term relationship. I'm sorry if this impedes your dinner-check-related arousal, but hey, my rule's better because it also works for gay people and people who aren't sexists."

    Something about this cracked me up something fierce.

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    1. Me too! Although then I tried to codify my rule and it's more along the lines of "the one who invited should expect to be able to cover the whole thing, but if the invitee wants to chip in half that's awesome" and after that you negotiate it. Some of this comes from being invited to places where it was like $40 a person, and I have yet to be able to spontaneously afford that.

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    2. Exactly - my rule is that the person who did the asking-out should pay. But generally I bristle at letting a guy pay for me in any case, because I'm a weird 70s feminist... and also I have a job dammit.

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    3. Yea I think "Whoever asks should pay" is actually a better rule, largely for the reason Shoshana presented.

      Also, I'm pretty sure that is the rule in the business world, regardless of gender. At least, according to the classes on how to succeed in business while being a geek.

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    4. I do think if you get asked out somewhere you shouldn't just assume that the person who asked will pay though. Like if they asked me to a really fancy restaurant I'd say summat like "that sounds great, but is way out of my budget I'm afraid", then it's up to them to either offer to pay for me or suggest somewhere more affordable. Win win situation really. The most important thing I guess (as with most stuff) is to remember everyone is different so communication in necessary. Eg someone earning an above average wage might be massively in debt or saving to secure a mortgage or somesuch.

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    5. My problem with "asker pays" is that it too often matches up with "man asks" to just turn back into "man pays."

      Plus, sometimes (really, the best times) dates are more of a mutual agreement than an asker-asked dichotomy.

      Plus I think you can make a special exception for "if the daters are one rich person and one poor person, and the rich person proposes an expensive date, the rich person should cover it" without requiring the general rule to cover this situation.

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    6. I hate "asker pays." I'm a cheap person and my financial situation sucks and I tend to crush on shy guys who need me to take the initiative, so just no. I don't mind holding up my end of a date financially but damned if I"m gonna shell out money for both of us, especially when things are still in the getting-to-know-you stage and I don't even know if I like the guy yet.

      I pay my own way and expect my date to pay his. That way I can control my expenses. Occasionally treating each other is optional.

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    7. The great thing about being the asker is that you can say, "Let's go for coffee/a walk in the park/*other cheap or free option*". If the askee says, "I'd rather go to Maison Trop Chere", then it's perfectly appropriate to respond with, "That's out of my budget." (Also, I have an aversion to dinner dates on the first go-round anyway - what if you realize ten minutes in that you hate this person but you're not finished eating?)

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    8. As a general rule, my boyfriend and I do it a bit differently. After I learned that he insists on paying for dinner, even though he makes less than I do, I started insisting on paying for the parts of dates that aren't dinner but aren't free. He agreed to that, so our date-pay-schedule is actually pretty fair, but looks pretty sexist if you're only looking at food.

      Of course, the food part also tends to be diners, and most of our dates are fairly cheap otherwise, so neither of us is exactly breaking the bank. :P

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  7. Geez, don't you know being bisexual means you are a total whore and are justified in sleeping with any and all women while in a relationship with a man? As long as your relationship with the man is the, you know, REAL one. Cheating with a woman isn't cheating, it's just foreplay.

    As a heterosexually married and monogamous bisexual woman, I am floored by the amount of people who assume I can go have sex with a woman regardless of my long term, monogamous relationship with my husband.

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    1. Nothing makes me rage more than girls in heterosexual relationships claiming sex with girls is not cheating. What about your guy getting it on with another guy?

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    2. EXACTLY! Only some guys think like that too. They're okay with the idea of their female partner having sex with other women, but not with other men, because they think woman-on-woman isn't "real" sex.

      I'm so glad that my bisexuality just isn't a thing to my husband. At all. He doesn't think it's weird, he doesn't think it's hot, it's just not a thing to him. (I don't want to claim that there's anything intrinsically wrong with being a man who's turned on by the idea of bisexual women... but this OFTEN comes with a lot of weird prejudices.)

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    3. If sex with another woman doesn't count, you're doing it wrong.

      OK, more seriously: if you have a monogamous relationship, that means you have sex only with each other. If you have an open relationship, but your partner wants to limit who else you sleep with based on their gender, there's something weird going on here. If you want to cater to your partner's insecurities, that's up to you two (I think most of us do it in some ways), but that doesn't mean sex with another woman isn't "really" sex.

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    4. "If sex with another woman doesn't count, you're doing it wrong."

      *lol*

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    5. When it comes to bisexual women, there are really SO many weird prejudices... But I think most of them can be summed up with "bisexual women differ from straight ones not in orientation but in how slutty/sexually liberated they are". This sort of explains both why so many men have weird ideas about bisexual women, and also why some women feel that they OUGHT to be interested in other women, since they're totally sex positive and liberated!

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    6. I think it's this idea that it's the dick that counts--it's why a guy who's slept with ten women and one man is gay, and why a woman who's slept with ten women and one man is straight. It goes for what counts as cheating, too, for some reason.

      I've been with guys who thought it was hot that I'm bi and wanted me to fool around with other women (in some cases because they were cheating on me with other women and didn't want to feel bad about it, which is a whole different level of unpleasant). And, you know, for a while I thought that was really cool and accepting of them, but eventually I just started feeling used.

      Not to mention the way the other woman feels about the whole thing. Or how the heterosexual relationship is always assumed to be the primary, or "real" one (because women are never in a primary relationship with another women if they're bi, that just doesn't happen). Or just...it's a whole barrel of gross assumptions.

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    7. Geez, don't you know being bisexual means you are a total whore and are justified in sleeping with any and all women while in a relationship with a man? As long as your relationship with the man is the, you know, REAL one.

      Besides, you can tell the guy you fucked some lady and he'll be massively turned on and not, say, betrayed or anything like that.

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    8. My boyfriend is mostly monogamous--he's stated outright that the farthest he's willing to go toward an open relationship is an FFM threesome. And I'm OK with that, as long as Hypothetical Other Woman is. I'm sort of semi-poly, in that I can be happy with more than one partner at a time, but I can also be happy in a monogamous relationship.

      Of course, I've often joked that I'm about halfway to agreeing with Christian fundamentalists--I believe the ideal marriage is between a man and a women, and me. :P

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  8. An EXACT REPLICA bowling ball. You don't know what she went through to make an exact copy without him noticing and fill the center with super special Heavium, then sneak it in and wait for him to go to the bathroom.

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  9. In regards to the bowling ball story, if I had been bowling for two or three frames, I would have at least a rough idea of how heavy my ball was. If I went to the bathroom and found a ball of the same size, color, shape, and heck even distinguishing features, but went to pick it up to feel something twice as heavy, I would know immediately that it was not the same ball I had been playing with.

    The story fails on all conceivable levels.

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    1. It also just isn't that good a prank, that's on the level of superglue in the holes. Just not that creative, it's somethign a 10-year-old would think up. Isn't 10-years-old a little young to be writing for Cosmo?

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    2. Well, the alternative would be suggesting that the guy try a really heavy ball and see how well he bowls with it, and... you know... that would involve men and women TALKING to each other!

      flightless

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  10. I agree that the advice to the "traditional" girl was rapey and super-creepy. It was a positive suprprise that she was supposed to TELL him, but it was really creepy that he wasn't expected to take her seriously. Even if we make the most charitable possible interpretation what they write comes down to "no guy will respect your wishes, men are just like that, he's gonna try to trick you into sex by making you so horny that you end up going against your own principles". And the less charitable interpretation is of course "any guy is gonna try to rape you if he gets too aroused from make-out sessions".

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    1. And for the extra-awful double bind, she can't make it clear from the beginning that she would like to wait for sex (because then she'd never snag a man, because men can only ever be tricked into relationships via the promise of sex, dontchaknow?)... she first has to lead him on and make him believe that sex is imminent, but then swerve into telling him or hinting (note that they leave "drop hints only" as an option, even though they at least also permit clear communication as an alternative) that she'd rather wait. And then keep him at sufficient distance to make sure sex doesn't "happen anyways" (shudder).

      If you accept their world view, that's a really scary balancing act. If they truly believe that allowing him to believe that sex will be forthcoming might lead to, uhm, sex against her principles/wishes (double shudder), then starting out by doing exactly that and only later pulling the brake sounds like a risky approach, and yet that's exactly what they want her to do! "Don't tell him too early, or he won't be interested in you, but don't tell him too late, or you may not be able to stop what you started!" Cosmoland is a terrifying world for women...

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    2. Oh, oops. Reading comprehension fail. Somehow I misread their line "it's very likely that initially he'll think he'll be able to turn you into a sex fiend by date three" as "it's very important that initially he'll think he'll be able to turn you into a sex fiend by date three". Like they were telling her she needed to ensure that he thought that at first. Now I see they're just saying that he'll think that regardless, even if she tells him otherwise. Which eek, truly awful, but not the "first tell him this then tell him that" strategy that I first got out of that. Sorry, my mistake.

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    3. The idea of any guy thinking he can personally "turn me into" something else than what I am is pretty offensive. It goes back to the idea that men are responsible for "awakening" women's desires, which is full of fail on every level. I mean, when I make a new friend and we have a great time laughing together, did my new friend just turn me into a "joke fiend"? Geez.

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    4. It really creeps me out that Cosmo treats sex as something that can "just happen" among people who aren't already sexually active with each other.

      Sure, sex "just happens" with me and my boyfriend when we've been cuddling naked and he touches here and I touch there and next thing we know we're both majorly turned on and begging each other to go get the condoms....but we've been having sex for a while now, know each other's turn-ons, and have learned when is and isn't a good time. We also have similar sexual appetites, and generally tend to be ready for it at about the same time (both of us seriously lucked out there).

      When you haven't had sex with someone before, sex does not "just happen." You are either deliberately, consciously choosing to have sex, or you are being manipulated into having sex against your will. There is no middle ground here.

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    5. To be fair to Cosmo, people sometimes say that "it just happened" meaning they decided on the spot rather than plan in advance.

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  11. The longer you stare at the cover photo, the scarier it gets. Like she's going to turn her head all the way around and then leap out of the screen at me. Maybe I should have called her...
    A.

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    1. She has another song with a video called "Tug of War" that is a god awful paean to shitty, co-dependent relationships where the couple in question has no mutual friends and insomnia and alcoholism are go-to coping mechanisms when one of them wants to leave the Us-bubble for a couple of hours.

      Seriously. Say what you will about Call Me Maybe being overplayed, at least its fairly innocuous by comparison.

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  12. I also love the implication that Bowling Prick somehow picked up and carried the ball without noticing it had somehow doubled in weight. Maybe the writer thinks bowling is the one where you kick it into a basket and you can't use your elbows or hit it out of the park.

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  13. He texted: "Out at a party; I'll see you later." He means: He has no real intention of seeing you later, and if he does, it'll be on his terms only.

    Was I the only one wondering who texts with semicolons?

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    1. I text with semicolons but only when using emoticons. ;)

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    2. I DO but i'm generally obsessed with semicolons. i sincerely doubt that Cosmo Guy does, though.

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    3. I text with semicolons. I'm not a jerk though.

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    4. Maybe semicolons are being used to represent a line break? Like:

      OUT AT A PARTY
      ILL SEE U LATR

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    5. I totally text with semicolons! But I'm just nerdy.

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  14. Later can mean anytime, cosmo turns my stomach :(

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  15. I'd say we need to love... about twenty percent harder."

    What you did there. I see it.

    Sometimes it just seems like Cosmo is trying to get people to commit crimes.

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  16. Also, whoever photoshops the cover is lazy and needs fired. This month is really illustrative of what happens when they take a cute tiny girl who already fits their arbitrary standard of beauty and do "the usual" on them. She ends up looking like an over-sexualized ten year old with freak-wrists. They're one of the most popular chick mags in the country. Why can't they pay for decent photoshop?

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    1. Is it wrong that this cover actually kind of intrigues me on the grounds that she isn't posed in the default facing-forward, impossible-neck bend just-so, wind-swept look? I guess what it's the fact that Cosmo usually demands its readers never-ever-ever let the cracks show in the feminine masquerade, and this cover seems to be going for a sort of naturalism it seems they usually shun. Gussied-up naturalism, yes, but still, its a small victory of sorts.

      Your point about the photoshop is well received, though. Her head is well covered by all that hair, but oh god does that angle make it look like her neck joints are those of a ball-jointed doll/action figure. Also I can't tell how shooped the hair is but wow she looks like one of The Ramones...which is cool, but I doubt Cosmo was going for that.

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    2. "Freak wrists?"

      *looks down at her own wrists*
      *looks at magazine cover*

      Um, they look pretty much like mine. And my wrists are fully functional and healthy, thanks. :(

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    3. I don't think the neck angle is weird either, actually. I can easily turn my head like she does on the cover, it's not uncomfortable or anything. Sometimes I think Cliff's readers EXPECT everything about the Cosmo cover girls to be weird, and therefore everything looks weird to them...

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    4. I think her head looks a little out of proportion, but it could be the sheer amount of hair.

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    5. I usually criticize Cosmo's cover photoshopping, but I didn't see any major problems with this one. (Probably because her hair mostly hides her neck, thus concealing Cosmo's ongoing weird-neck issue.)

      I think Cosmo might have narrowed her right wrist a little? It looks like they darkened the shadow under her wrist a tad too much to try to make her look skinny. But it might just be that she has big hands. It's not extreme enough to look freaky.

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    6. It's probably a good general rule for Cosmockings not to call cover girls "freakish-looking", "unnatural-looking" etc all the time (I don't mean Cliff now, more some reader comments), since unless it's a VERY obvious photoshop there might be other readers who look like that cover girl.

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    7. Thank you. u_u

      (I am the anon who looked like that girl)

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  17. I am a huge proponent of pointing out how women are constantly put in the sexual-politics double-bind of slut and prude, but sometimes I feel like oppression heaped on prudes doesn't get enough airtime, so to speak. The advice to traditional girl is a prime example of said oppression; I can't be the only one who reads a tone in that rape-y advice of the author clucking her tongue going "Oh girl, you just can't expect to get a man and not put out. You just *gotta* give him pussy and that's that, even if Jesus says its a no-no."

    Cosmo stands shoulder to shoulder with all the other cultural institutions that make sure no matter where you go or what you do, no matter if you think being a "cool girl" or a "good girl" will get you by, you'll always be too slutty and/or too frigid for someone, and often, that someone is more powerful in some way than you.

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    1. Oh, I know. I've said it before, but I consider myself insanely lucky that the teen fashion magazine that caught my eye Back In The Day was Seventeen instead of CosmoGirl or what have you. Seventeen was very matter-of-fact, and was anti-passive-aggressive-Cosmo-femininity.

      But they still had a faint veneer of virgin/whore dichotomy that I didn't see there until years later. It seems you can't have a fashion magazine without it.

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  18. You know what would have been a lot more effective than supposedly doing stuff to his bowling ball? Calling him out for being a sexist, chauvinist asshole.

    Just once, I'd like to see an article like that in Cosmo, but I'm not holding my breath.

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    1. Passive-aggression is sexy, haven't you heard?

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  19. The bowling ball story is an intentional attempt to push the bounds of plausibility as far as possible and see if the readers continue to swallow it.

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    1. THIS. I can't think of any other reason why it would be in there.

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  20. Dropping in with an off-topic comment - thank you so much for this blog! I don't think I can credit you alone for helping me deep-six the bullshit "beta male" stereotype and get laid plenty, but you weren't exactly a minor role in it :) (I never thought of myself in terms of "beta male", but definitely did in terms of "nice guy" and had all the resentment to go with it. Good riddance to that)

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  21. Q: I am traditional and won't have sex until things are really serious. How do I handle the third (or fourth or fifth) date and let him know that even though I'm really attracted to him, I'm not there yet?

    This is why I kind of never want to date. :/ The THIRD date? Sheesh. I just went on my first sort-of date on Friday (I said I wanted it to be casual, so it was kind of a friendly thing more than a romantic thing) and I was dreading the end because I didn't want to be put on the spot and expected to kiss him. And I liked him! He was a cool person. But I don't know where I lie on the asexuality spectrum, if I even lie on it at all. That's why I feel like I need to date, to know how I feel about sex and desire. On the other hand, I don't want to lead anyone on. Luckily there seemed to be no expectation of a kiss at the end, which was a huge relief, but still. This whole "have sex on the third date" makes me really really hesitant to date, ever. If men expect this, then they probably go home and think me a huge prude or whatever (which I kind of am). But if I don't date, I'll never know how asexual/sexual I am. I'm really reluctant to consider myself asexual, since I read a lot of, er, questionable content, ha.

    Anyway, I originally read this as her being traditional by putting it off to the fifth date, and I was all "HOLY JESUS" but now I see that she means it gets harder to say no because "men" expect it by the third date. I can imagine it being really difficult, especially if you're a liberal person. At least conservative religious men expect this behavior. Liberal men might be far more baffled.

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    1. No reasonable person expects sex on the third date. PUAs, maybe. The Situation, sure. Charlie Sheen--probably dumps anyone who doesn't put out on the first date, but that's because he's Charlie Sheen.

      Even when you know where you stand sexually, it usually takes several months of knowing and being around someone before you know if you're compatible enough personality-wise to want to try sex with that person. In rare cases, I've felt a serious chemistry and wanted to start fooling around with somebody after a month and a half, but that's still four or five dates--and by "fooling around," we're talking second base. (I think. I can't remember what the bases stand for anymore, and it seems like every time I hear them they're completely different. Was first base holding hands, or open-mouth kissing?)

      The traditional girl in the letter probably really is waiting until marriage to have sex--and I'm totally in support of that decision! It's why I'm pro-comprehensive-sex-ed--I want everyone who has sex before marriage to know exactly what they're getting into, and everyone who chooses to abstain to be confident about their choice.


      Also, by questionable content, do you mean the (surprisingly work-safe) webcomic, or do you mean actually questionable content? :)

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    2. Laura - Let's not do the "going too far the other way" thing about dating and sex. Lots of people have sex on the third date (or the first) by enthusiastic mutual agreement, and that's fine.

      The problem isn't when people expect sex. The problem is whether people can readjust their expectations after they find out how their date actually feels.

      However, wandarox - There is no "rule" about the third date or any other date, just like there isn't about the first. I can't promise every guy will know there is no rule, but... quite a lot will, especially if you straight-up tell them so.

      I just wish it was easier for people to be upfront about saying "hey, this is probably not going to lead to sex super fast or maybe at all, so please don't think I'm leading you on, I'm exploring my own boundaries here" and for people who hear that to take it at face value.

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    3. @ Laura-- I'm not usually very visual outside of my own artwork (which sometimes sits on the edge of sensual, but not really pornographic) so no porn for me, aha. At least, not the image/video kind. But I like reading romance online, and it usually comes with porny parts. I find that I feel pretty much nothing without context.

      I've been on one date already and I already feel like it's way too much work. Apparently people in relationships/potential relationships want to see each other more than once a month . . . what's up with that? XD I wish I could just have fun one-time dates, like a one-night stand without the sex. But I'm pretty weird.

      @ Cliff So far I have been upfront, that I want things casual and low-key, and people have seemed somewhat receptive. But they understandably assume that since it's a dating website, it's a promise for something down the line. Sometimes I can't be honest, however, because I have this complex where I want everyone to like me. :/ It's another reason I wanted to hold off dating, because I figured I was ripe for an abusive relationship.

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    4. This is one of the things that I really love about OKCupid - their battery of questions makes it easy for people to communicate stuff like how soon into a relationship they want sex to happen.

      Sure, a lot of the questions are weird, stupid, and/or prone to misinterpretation. But a lot of them are about really important things that don't get talked about enough.

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    5. Just want to jump in and say that you shouldn't let your enjoyment of "questionable content" stop you from identifying as asexual.

      I am asexual and aromantic and I read a great deal of online porn. I consider the "asexual" label to apply to my sexual attraction (which I don't have) as opposed to my feelings on sex in general.

      I don't think there's any right or wrong way of identifying in this situation; I just figured you should know that there are people with similar experiences. In the end, you should obviously go with whatever identity you are most comfortable with. But liking porn won't get you kicked off the ace-spectrum. Promise. ;D

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    6. Cliff: Yes, lots of people have sex on the third date. But that's not the same thing as expecting sex on the third date. Even when I've had sex early in a relationship, it's not because I went into the relationship expecting that I would have sex on the Nth date.

      As a general rule, if you are looking for a dating sort of relationship and not a one-night stand, you're not expecting for the sex to begin at This One Point Right Here. I am sick to death of people saying that sex is expected at Date Number So-And-So. If it is, it shouldn't be.

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    7. Okay, reading the other replies, I think it's pretty clear that my comment yesterday about this wasn't very clear. (Also, that using bases, even if you're the sort who really likes PIV, is really confusing. Was it ever clear what those were supposed to stand for?)

      My problem is not with people expecting to have sex with the people they date. When I start dating someone, I do expect to have sex with them eventually, if the first few dates don't turn me off to them completely.

      My problem is not with people who choose to abstain. (This part, at least, seems to have gotten through loud and clear.) Everyone deserves to make a sound, educated decision about "What To Do With My Genitals," even if it's not the choice I would have made.

      My problem is with this bizarre idea of "He expects sex on the 3rd date," as if someone somewhere were all, "The first date is way too early, the second date is also too soon, but by golly if she doesn't put out on the third date I will be gravely disappointed!!" There is no deadline for sex. There is no Magical Dividing Line between Too Soon To Have Sex and Wow, You Waited Too Long And Are A Frigid Bitch. That dividing line is totally imaginary and pretty strongly tied in with the Virgin/Whore dichotomy.

      There is no date on which All Men Expect The Sexing To Happen. There is no date on which Most Men Expect The Sexing To Happen. There is simply a point in the relationship, which varies from person to person (again, for me it's generally a few months), at which both people** involved feel comfortable and safe with each other and ready to start playing around in each others' pants.


      * Well, you don't want to have sex with people who are actually dead, but other than that, there's no real deadline.

      ** Or "all," if we're talking about threesomes, foursomes, and moresomes. The more, the merrier, as long as your kinks and your bed can support it!

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    8. Well, there are expectations and Expectations. There's "dating relationships I'm in usually turn sexual around the time of the third date, so that's what I'm used to and what I regard as average, but each person and each situation is different, so if someone wants to take things a lot slower, I might be surprised, but I won't think it reflects poorly on her character," and there's "if she doesn't put out on the third date, than she's a frigid bitch."

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    9. I was thinking the same thing. "Expectation" in many contexts just means that you think that something is likely to happen, no more than that. If your experience is that most third dates end with sex, it's not strange to expect this.
      However, the Cosmo article Cliff quotes from uses "expectation" in a way that seems to imply a little bit of "feel entitled to", and then Laura used it the same way as the Cosmo article in her first reply. And THAT'S wrong.

      Plus Laura points out how weird it is to set some date where it's, I don't know, supposed to be normal or something to have sex. I remember in high school, I knew some "good" girls. Their rule was that you have sex after approximately three months of dating. Sooner than that would be too slutty, but later than that would be weirdly prudish. So good girl=three months rule. And that's just so fucked up for a whole number of reasons. Plus they also expected the guy to keep pushing for sex way earlier, but you had to say "no" till you reached the three month limit, or else he'd think you were a slut and wouldn't want to date you any longer.

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    10. @Anonymous: I don't really WANT to be on the asexual spectrum, to be honest with you. It's kinda like how no one wants to be gay. There are expectations in society, and there are a lot of things I WANT to have with another person, and it'll be a huge bummer if I can't have that. And while I know asexuals can have relationships, I can't see myself having sex with someone just to make them happy (unless you date an asexual man, but there are probably three of those in the whole country, so yeah) I know I'm happy by myself with friends and pets, but it'd be nice to feel sexual attraction and to want sex. My friends said you can't judge anything from one date, so I guess I'll hope. I really don't have any experience to speak of. I've never even had male friends, so it's hard to determine whether my lack of crushes is because I just never have had any relationships, friendships or otherwise, with men outside of my dad or because I am actually on the asexual spectrum. I just want to KNOW, damnit. I'm sick of wondering. :(

      @Dvärghundspossen: I know very few people who have expectations and then DON'T get pissy when those expectations aren't met. That's why I always have super low expectations, to avoid that. Most people aren't as savvy as me though. Some people are these crazy things called optimists. It is screwed up to have a "Date of Entry" or something, however.





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  22. Okay, Cliff, it's not very often that I think you're wrong, but...
    "The rule is halfsies on the first date, alternate on subsequent dates, pay proportionate to your incomes in a long-term relationship."

    No, the rule is Rock, Paper, Scissors! It works for gay people, non-sexists, awkward people, people who don't know each others' incomes, people who lose track of alternating, people who want to have good communication and a solution seen as fair to all, but who don't want to have to talk about it every meal... and people who like to be fondly remembered by waitstaff.

    =D

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    1. I may have to suggest this to my boyfriend. If nothing else, it should make for entertaining conversation!

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  23. The bit about how women are supposed to pretend to want to pay for dinner but be upset if their male dates actually take what you say at face value really aggravates me. I've been on multiple first dates with men where I tried just to pay my own bill (my personal rule is that paying for your own meal should be the default) and the guy *insisted* on paying, to the point where I agreed because I didn't want to start an argument. And I've had a (straight male) friend tell me that women expect that if they offer to pay, or else they will hold the man in contempt as a cheapskate. I hate Cosmo so much for reinforcing that on both ends.

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  24. Butch, female correspondent reporting here - I will pay for a femme on a date because on any given day she will have paid more than me for a) the taxi to get there (in heels, also increased safety concerns limiting transportation options), b) lipstick and makeup to wear on the date (and fragrances, deoderent and anything for women is priced insanely) and c) women's clothing, especially sexy clothing (which I encourage) is flimsy and expensive (it's a well-known fact that any female clothing with transparent properties costs more per ounce than gold). Anything marketed to men, which I tend to buy, is half the price, can be worn repeatedly and lasts ten times as long. I also earn more money because I work in a male-dominated industry where the salaries are inflated. Even though I'm female, and I cash in on masculine privilege (kind of like male-privilege's younger sister). I figure that paying for the date is the LEAST I can do unless I know for a fact she's earning a ton more money than me. Then we can split the bill and I'll consider it even.
    Anyway, that's my feminist rationale for why men/butches should pay for the date. All of the date. Even if she invited me. I suppose the big difference between my view and the one in Cosmo is that when I pay I think I'm making things even, I don't think anyone owes me in exchange.

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  25. Iris Louise CollingsDecember 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    I have waited for Cosmo monthly long enough to realize that Cosmo comes out after the end of the first week of the month. December started on a late day in the week, so it seems (and is) earlier.

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  26. @wandarox

    same anon again.

    Aw man, best of luck with everything.

    I can be pretty intensely introverted, so realizing I was asexual and aromantic was a pretty big relief without that many negatives. Knowing there were other people out there who didn't want the same things I didn't want made me feel a lot better about myself and my relationships, and also helped me to actually understand some things. I can see how it'd be different for someone else, though. Even for me, it can get a bit lonely being the only asexual person I know IRL. Personally, just KNOWING has been enough to balance things out. But, yeah...

    I hope things work out well for you.

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  27. Thought it might brighten your day a little to know that the most popular hit music radio station in my area regularly bashes Cosmo on their sex "tips" and patriarchal BS
    :-)

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  28. "The rule is halfsies on the first date, alternate on subsequent dates, pay proportionate to your incomes in a long-term relationship."

    I completely disagree with this. If he asks me out, then he's paying. If I ask him out, I'll pay. If we're doing dinner and a movie, we can alternate paying. But fuck halfsies on the first date. That's utter shit. If it's fine for other people, then great. But please don't call it a "rule."

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  29. >"Epic Sex!" Wow, so that's how long it takes a meme to trickle down from World of Warcraft to Cosmopolitan!

    Geeky side note, here: pretty sure 4chan was calling things 'epic' years before World of Warcraft even hit the shelves. :)

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