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Friday, February 22, 2013

303

Loneliness, Mistakes, and the Inner Questionnaire

1. You know what's a mess? I mean, it's a good mess to have, I guess, but when you start dating someone, and it's okay, and then a few dates later you know it's not great, but it's also fine. What then? Especially if you have like three of these things going on at once. Because partially you wonder if maybe it'll get better or more interesting as it goes along, but you also know you're kidding yourself. Probably. But then it seems like a big hassle to break things off honestly ("no it's actually fine, I do basically like you? I don't know, just not that much, although maybe I would eventually. But I guess I don't want to stick around and find out"). So everything festers.

I have no problem being straightforward with people, it's just this middle-ground area where I'm not even sure how to be straightforward or exactly why I'm breaking things off. God, I'm not even sure what my question is. But what have you done in situations like this? Is there like an inner questionnaire you can ask yourself to decide if someone is worth keeping around? Or do we just instinctively know?

The last time I started seeing someone and wasn't sure how I felt about her, I did what you're probably doing right now: I thought it was just a decision I had to make, and I put it off. Surprise! It didn't end well. Actually it ended terribly. Eventually it turned into a relationship, and eventually the way we felt about each other got more and more out of sync. By the time she was at "I love you" I was still at "I, uh, um, I—"

Right now your relationships are only a little asymmetrical. But if you're not careful, they will continue to grow, and what seems like a hassle now will turn into a train wreck six months from now. You just don't want to pull the trigger. And I don't blame you, we're trained to love choice and the idea of closing off a potential option is scary. But it's also necessary. 

Oh, and you need to be honest with these guys, but you don't need to be that honest. "I think you're a great person but I just don't have feelings for you." That'll sting a little, but mostly it'll just be disappointment that something didn't work out, it won't be anger at you for being somehow deceiving. Eight months from now, that same sentence will sound a lot different.

You do instinctively know, you said it yourself. Don't mistake a lack of feeling for a choice that still needs to be made. It sounds like your gut made the choice already.

2. Who's the most surprising person you've been attracted to?

This is a tough question. I'm assuming you mean "The person you were most surprised to find yourself attracted to," rather than "The person who most went out of their way to be unpredictable." The answer to the latter would be a girl who burst into tears and vanished halfway through the date we were on. That was a surprise.

The former is more difficult, though. Because I don't really know.

I was having dinner with a friend a few years ago and we were talking about her last few boyfriends, specifically: whether they constituted a Type. She didn't find any patterns and then contrasted her dating variability with my dating predictability. This surprised me. I honestly didn't think I had a type, so when she rattled off some descriptors of the last few girls I'd been involved with (and the pattern was clear as day), it came as a bit of a shock. Not that I had a type, just that I had been so oblivious to it.

The most surprising things about attraction are usually the things we don't see ourselves, the things that our friends point out to us, or choose not to point out to us.

But, that being said: Elaine Stritch.

3. What was the best thing you did last weekend? What was the best thing you did last year? The first thing that comes to mind.

Well, it didn't technically happen last weekend, but the weekend before that we had a bit of a blizzard (you may have heard the weather channel screaming their heads off about it). I love seasons, I love the cycles and the change and the visceral feeling of the passage of time. I grew up in Connecticut, so seasons are a part of how I understand the world to be, but I live in Manhattan now, and the last few years have been a bit of a let down, snow-wise.

Snow here is magic. People tend to get a bit saccharine when they talk about it, but that's because there really is something special about snow falling in the city, how quiet everything gets, how everyone starts to look up, how, even though you're in the middle of this wholly built environment, you're reminded that you're never really disconnected from nature.

So even though the governor told me to stay home and even though the MTA might have shut down at any time, I went out. The party I went to was fun, but the best part of the night was the walk home, a quiet city, snow falling, peaceful.

As for the best thing that happened last year, the first thing that pops to mind is the wedding I officiated. It turns out, priests and rabbis aren't too keen on mixed-faith ceremonies, so my friends asked me to do it. I was touched and honored and jumped at the chance immediately.

It only dawned on me a little later what I had actually signed up to do. There would be a solid 20 minutes on their most special day wherein, at any moment, I could ruin everything. I could say the wrong name, sneeze on someone, pass out, or forget how to read, and endless list of ways to screw it up were running through my head. When the day finally approached, I did my best to keep it under wraps, but I was exceedingly nervous. Those little pips on a tuxedo shirt aren't easy to put in on a good day, when you're hands are shaking it's almost impossible.

But the ceremony went off without a hitch. A couple good laugh lines, a cute anecdote about how they met, repeat after me. I got to stand up in front of all their friends and family and tell these two people just how much they meant to me, and how much of an inspiration they were. That was the best thing.

(And plus, during the reception, both a priest and a rabbi who were friends of the family and at the ceremony, came up to me to tell me what a good job I'd done. So, I guess I'm available for hire if anyone needs an officiant. I've got papers.)

4. My boyfriend and I are best friends with this other dude. The other night after my boyfriend had returned from being out of town for several weeks, we were in the back seat of this dude's car and horny as hell, and ... basically I began giving my boyfriend a sneaky blow job. It was a long drive, it was dark, the driver was preoccupied with the road, and our friend seemed to be drifting off to sleep in the passenger's seat ... until he turned back at one point and saw us. We didn't think we'd get caught, and we definitely didn't think of the consequences. This best dude friend was clearly upset, and has since talked to us individually, conversations during which we both apologized endlessly, and he claims to be "not mad anymore." He's understandably still upset, though (I feel like with me more so than my boyfriend?), and while I wish I could take it back, I can't. This friend is not a prude, we're all pretty open about sex, and my boyfriend and I feel like we'll eventually all laugh about it, but I really feel so terrible for making him uncomfortable in his own vehicle and being so inconsiderate to him. How can I ease the process of us getting over this as quickly as possible? Basically my question or the advice I'm looking for is how can I make this better? Buy him gifts? Take him out to dinner? Offer him our first born child?

Yeesh. Well, yes, you definitely need to make it up to him, but gifts and dinner aren't going to do it. Those things will just draw attention to the fact that this violation happened, they'll be a constant reminder of the event. He's probably torn by his desire to forget it ever happened and his desire to remind you that you did something wrong.

Try this: just be a little nicer to him. Don't go out of your way to keep addressing what happened, don't address it at all, just defer to him a little bit more. See the movie he wants to see, go to the restaurant he wants to go to, but don't make it seem like you're doing it on purpose, don't pick up the check or buy him a popcorn, he's not a toddler. You just want to remind him, with the little things, that he's important to you.

And definitely don't do it again.

5. How common is it for the average guy to visit a prostitute? I was shocked when my boyfriend told me that he had, on more than one occasion, paid for sex. I suppose I always just had a vague idea that men who consorted with hookers were creepy, or desperate, or misogynists. But my boyfriend is none of those things, and now I don't know what to think. I had no idea what to make of this information, because I don't know what kind of person visits prostitutes — or if there is one — because I don't know any. Or, I don't know anybody who will say that they do. He claims that he has heard some stories from other men, and that it's probably something that guys don't normally talk about with their girlfriends or female friends. He did say he wasn't surprised that I was shocked. Shocked is, I think, an understatement. A bit of backstory here: it happened years ago, and for a variety of reasons, but mostly boiling down to loneliness. I'm not worried about him cheating on me or anything, and he says he wouldn't do it again today. He's a great guy who treats me well, but as I said, I have no point of reference as to what this may or may not indicate about him. So, is it normal for prostitutes to be weaved into somebody's sexual history, or should I take this as a red flag?

I've never visited a prostitute. I don't think any of my friends have, but we've never talked about it. I don't know even much about prostitutes, aside from movies and TV.

But I do known a lot about loneliness. From your description of the back story, it doesn't sound like this was a raucous bachelor party or some wild, coke-fueled trip to Vegas. That would be a red flag. It sounds like he was lonely and wanted to feel some companionship, even temporarily. That desire is normal. That desire is universal. He might have tried to address it in a way you find off-putting, but in the end, that's all he was really trying to do.

To be honest, I didn't expect myself to answer this way. I've never really been faced with this question, and my long-running assumptions about the people who "consort" with prostitutes weren't much different than yours. But if I really think about it, and think about a person who just wants someone else, for a little while, to acknowledge his existence, it's doesn't seem creepy, it seems sad. And it is sad. But that's okay.

Look, if anything, the prostitutes aren't a red flag, but you may want to recognize that your boyfriend has the propensity for a deep, desperate loneliness. But, unless I'm mistaken, he's human, so that's to be expected.

 

Previously: Boyfriends' Mothers, "Compassion," and Les Misérables

A Dude is one of several rotating dudes. Do you have a question for A Dude?

303 Comments / Post A Comment

franceschances

LW5, the thing I'd be most concerned about is how he went about being a john. Was he ethical about it? Did he make sure that he was soliciting a prostitute who was in the business willingly and not someone sold into sex slavery? How did he make this determination? If he did participate ethically, and you do believe that, then yes I agree with A Dude that this could boil down to completely human loneliness. If his actions were unethical then....whole other set of problems.

Story #2

@franceschances Yes -- how he approached it ethically seems to be the main point. I think perhaps the thing which might also be concerning was a study I read that the characteristic shared among the johns they spoke to was a lack of empathy -- they didn't stop to consider how the sex worker might feel about her work, except for the small handful who said they were moderately to very sure that the sex workers liked it.

Rent Girl by Michelle Tea is a really good book, by the way.

franceschances

@Story #2 Argh that's so frustrating! I guess because of the bubble I live in, I assumed everyone knew that frequently prostitutes aren't choosing their work freely, etc, etc, horrible things. Seems like a public awareness campaign would be a great idea, but I also can't see NBC scoring this with the "more you know" music.

aphrabean

@franceschances Yeah, and how did he treat the women he interacted with? How does he view them now, and his experiences? I had a very terrible boyfriend who I found out occasionally frequented sex-workers (not prostitutes) and he had such disdain and venom for them, it was frightening. It also wasn't terribly long before that venom turned itself on me. The LW's situation might not be a dealbreaker for me, but it would require a HELL of a lot of processing, and I think that's as it should be.

franceschances

@aphrabean I agree - this is a situation where the LW is well within her rights to ask lots of questions, and take her time to think about it, because the answers he gives say A LOT about his character.

queenofbithynia

@Story #2 It would be the main point if it were just her friend or acquaintance, but in a boyfriend... the practical crux of it for me would be, a guy who pays for sex is a guy who can -- and wants to, and seeks out the opportunity to -- get off sexually on sleeping with a woman who isn't physically aroused or attracted to him. He wouldn't have to be an abusive monster for that revelation to be an absolute dealbreaker.

aphrabean

@queenofbithynia Well, there's that too.

franceschances

@queenofbithynia I agree - the letter writer is well within her rights to think that, too. I guess my point was that the question isn't just is seeing a prostitute ok or wrong - it's also that there are ways of going about it that are DEFINITELY wrong and I think that everyone, no matter which side they're on in the debate about sex work, can agree with that!

allofthewine

@aphrabean Also! I'd ask him to get tested for STDs, even if he has been already. (Because I am very paranoid about that sort of thing.)

aphrabean

@allofthewine I mean, everyone should be tested for STIs anyways, right? B/c infections are not limited to sex workers AT ALL! My partner and I still get tested annually even though we're monogamous because we are. . . I don't know! Afraid of toilet seat myths?

helix

@franceschances Wow. I am kind of shaking here, seeing my question. I am LW5.

To answer your questions: The first time, he made sure to choose a 'local' girl and chatted with her about why she was doing this work and so on. Apparently she was putting herself through school. As I recall, he knew the nationality of all the girls (there were three in total) and didn't think they were illegal, although I doubt they'd tell him if they were...
Anyway, it does seem like he was ethical. He talked about them and the experiences with respect, and said he's not entirely comfortable with his past actions but that he has to live with having done it and wouldn't do it again now. He did encourage me to ask any questions and wanted to know how I felt, he explained everything in detail that I asked. And yes, we've been tested but we use condoms every time anyway.
Not sure what else to say. I am nervous.

franceschances

@helix Thank you for chiming in! My perspective is that if you are able to put this in the past, and if you want to, then you should feel free to do so. Some people wouldn't be able to and wouldn't want to. Others would want to, but wouldn't be able to. I don't think any of those responses are "wrong."

joythemanatee

@franceschances Hi LW5! I just wanted to chime in with one important facet that I don't think should be forgotten... your boyfriend has shared something with you that's very very private, something he is not proud of, something he knew would shock you. That I think is pretty damn great and says something (something great) about your relationship with him. Like, I try to picture him carrying this memory around that he feels some shame about, and trying to tell you. I think that must have been rather agonizing. So +1 for honesty and respectfulness!

anitabath

@franceschances Chester Brown wrote a very good graphic novel about his own experiences being a john called Paying For It - it certainly gave me a different perspective on the "kinds of people" ('cuz, you know, it's not all that uniform) who pay for sex.

helix

@joythemanatee Aw, thanks! I appreciate your comment. He did say that he told me that because he trusts me, and that it's not something he has told many people. I did appreciate that, and told him so.

Oh, squiggles

@queenofbithynia That's a pretty harsh way of looking at it. Should people not get massages? Most massage therapists are not really foaming at the mouth to touch a bunch of naked strangers, but they perform a service for a fee, and they understand that the service is helping to fill a human need, the need for touch. Is prostitution different? There are sex workers who chose their profession, and are happy with it. Once ethical considerations have been met (making sure the person is a willing participant) and medical precautions are taken, I don't think that a lonely guy visiting a prostitute is the same thing as "a guy who can -- and wants to, and seeks out the opportunity to -- get off sexually on sleeping with a woman who isn't physically aroused or attracted to him"

http://www.thegloss.com/author/4fd5fe941889a/

These are a series of articles written by someone who has taken part in almost all forms of sex work, if you are interested in hearing it from that perspective.

aphrabean

@Absurd Bird I can't speak for anyone else in this thread but. . . sex is NOT a necessity. The idea that it is, is grounded in rape culture. Sex is also a tremendously culturally loaded act with many, many different levels of value assigned to it, in a way that massage therapy is not. In a world where none of the above were true, a lonely guy's visits to a sex worker could definitely be a value-neutral act. In the world we in which we live, I would venture that it is much, much less likely to be so.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@helix I'd like to respectfully disagree with @queenofbithynia re:

"a guy who pays for sex is a guy who can -- and wants to, and seeks out the opportunity to -- get off sexually on sleeping with a woman who isn't physically aroused or attracted to him."

I think it happens in nature, so to speak, that, frequently enough, sometimes people will have sex, and one person will be into it much more than the other. And it's not coercive or abusive, it's just a disparity of feelings - and the person who feels more strongly will convince themselves, however briefly, that what's happening isn't just mechanics but something more. It sounds like the boyfriend was ethical in his approach, and safe, and this wasn't about exercising his power over someone at a disadvantage. It sounds like he was very lonely and was able to convince himself for a little while that these girls, who he talked to and treated like human beings, were doing more than just what he was paying for. And not to be dismissive, but that's part of their job; they may have contributed to that illusion.

So ultimately, LW, my feelings are that this doesn't have to be a dealbreaker, but at the very least, he should get credit for letting you in to what he considers a darker part of himself.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@MoxyCrimeFighter I should add, I know that sex work is VERY VERY problematic, and I completely understand why, as several other posters have commented, the idea that anyone would go along with women's bodies being bought and sold is distressing. I don't think that this situation is necessarily a huge red flag, though.

Oh, squiggles

@aphrabean I used the word need in context of Maslow's Heirarch of Needs

I'm not sure I agree that recognizing that sex is a very strong human drive is grounded in rape culture... I recognize it as such, but it doesn't, in any way, justify rape.

In theory I have no problems with prostitution. Someone who is lonely is willing to pay for comfort and companionship from someone who is willing to provide it in exchange for money. In a perfect world, that's how it would work, but I understand that this isn't always the case. But if it is the case, I don't personally have any moral objections to it.

Full disclosure: I was a massage therapist. I gave people a physically pleasurable experience in exchange for money. I didn't always want to do it, but I consented to the exchange of a service for a fee. I think sex work can be similar, and that's why I don't really object to it(in theory)

aphrabean

@MoxyCrimeFighter Hey, can I ask you if you've ever dated someone who frequented sex workers? B/c I would be very interested in hearing about real life example of a compassionate, empathetic guy who could sustain a respectful long-term relationship who also had a history of paying for sex or sexual contact. (Maybe someone already posted about this in the thread but it's getting long.) I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility? But in my personal, anecdotal experience it was not the case - the men I dated/am related to/was friends with who paid for sex or sexualized contact did not turn out to be very good or compassionate people.

queenofbithynia

There are sex workers who chose their profession, and are happy with it.

None of my objections are or have ever been to sex workers.

In any case, happy does not mean sexually excited; happy does not mean attracted. Somebody for whom a partner's attraction and sexual excitement are unnecessary for sex is someone whose sexual response is off in a really profound way. This isn't about whether we-who-have-problems-with-that should stone or shun such men, or even whether we should be friendly with them; it's about whether we should have sex with them, take them on or keep them as boyfriends. A higher bar than 'not a rapist or human trafficker' is appropriate in an intimate context. Sexual narcissism does not have to be criminal to be real.

The massage analogy is instructive. A massage is a one-way service by design; when I massage a boyfriend, I'm doing essentially the same thing a professional does, merely with less skill and more pleasure in his happiness. There is a problem with sleeping with someone who treats sex, conceptually, as a personal service provided to him by others who are not expected to share the physical pleasures involved.

As a side note, every time I say what I think about johns, someone tries to shift the ground to some supposed insult to sex workers, every previous conversation about prostitution I've ever had. I don't think you are exactly doing that, but I am extremely sensitive to it and I wonder what the happiness or unhappiness of sex workers has to do with the statements I made about johns' sexuality.

aphrabean

@Absurd Bird I guess I have a knee jerk reaction to the phrasing - ugh, I don't want to get too personal-time sharey here, but let me just say I've heard that phrasing used to justify morally and ethically reprehensible actions, and it makes me kind of sick to my stomach. It is a very strong drive for many people, I will give you that. And I do agree with you that in a perfect world, paying for comfort and companionship is a different matter. (Though money is not exactly a part of my perfect world!) I guess my thing is - we live in a wildly imperfect world & our actions and the way we interact with each other are affected by that - I think we're both in agreement on that.

aphrabean

@helix I would also say that this "He talked about them and the experiences with respect, and said he's not entirely comfortable with his past actions but that he has to live with having done it and wouldn't do it again now." seems like a good sign to me. I think I personally would keep talking about it, but it doesn't sound like the angry defensiveness or the sort of complacent braggadocio I've heard from other Not Good Boyfriend Materialtm men.

Blushingflwr

@queenofbithynia I think a lot of guys fool themselves into believing that the woman likes it too. And, depending on the woman, she may have enjoyed it, or may have been very convincing.

I worked as a phone-sex operator for a short time, and one of the most common "fantasies" the guys would tell me is that they wanted to make me feel good/do what I wanted/make me orgasm. Which, you know, what I WANTED was for them to just send me the money and let me get back to watching TV. Obviously, phone sex and prostitution are not the same, but I think part of both jobs is convincing the client that you really want to be there.

Oh, squiggles

@queenofbithynia But it's not one way, it is an exchange of a service for a fee. It may not always be a fair exchange, but it isn't completely one sided.

I don't think all men go to prostitutes because they don't care about their partner receiving pleasure. In the articles I linked earlier, the writer (a sex worker) describes how often the men want to try to provide her with pleasure. And how much of her job is actually spent convincing them that she is enjoying it.

I shifted to talking about the sex worker, because to imply that there is something morally wrong about a man visiting a sex worker because he doesn't care about their partner's sexual pleasure, is assuming that these men view the worker as someone who is unwilling in some way. Which seems to take away from the free agency of the sex worker, who has knowingly chosen their profession. If a man visits a sex worker, exchanges a fee for a service, and shows interest in her happiness in the exchange, I don't think this makes him a bad person.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@aphrabean I have not (as far as I know), and I don't disagree that, in general, most of the people who visit sex workers are jerks (or seemingly so; maybe there are nice guys who have done so but don't discuss it because of the stigma, and you only hear from the jerks). But I still don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that a compassionate, non-misogynist person could visit a sex worker. And even supposing that visiting a sex worker was objectively an inherently un-compassionate thing to do - I'm not saying it would reflect well on a person, but sometimes "good" people do "bad" things. I understand why the LW is troubled, because it's easy to make excuses for people when you have feelings for them, but sometimes people are worthy of being forgiven a lapse in judgment.

aphrabean

@MoxyCrimeFighter I guess I believe it's the rare unicorn who escapes this messed up culture with their moral & sexual values unscathed. (I include myself in this.) And so we will participate in oppressive activities, and we will hurt people in various ways, and then we can certainly ask forgiveness for the hurt we've wrought. But as a women who dates (mostly) men, living in a world that is pretty aggressive towards women, I am at this point in my life very cautious about extending forgiveness too quickly - I think in many cases there are cultural forces that impress upon women to be understanding and forgiving in ways that can ultimately be to their detriment. So. . .tread cautiously and ask lots of questions, is my mode of operating.

FulanaDeTallcan

@helix Thanks so much for sharing! I don't know if this is helpful, but I want to offer my perspective, as someone who works with commercially sexually exploited children (teen girls and older children who were coerced into sex work)/someone who dearly loves and is very close to current sex workers, strippers, pro-dommes and phone sex talkers who do their work willingly and who largely enjoy what they do very much/someone who is currently dating and has dated lovely, sensitive, caring, self-reflective feminist men who have paid for sex in the past. Sex work is complicated- some people are forced into it and it live through terrible trauma, some people love the shit out of their work (I know significantly more sex workers who like their work than I know people who enjoy their work in food service), and some people approach the work pragmatically and see it as a means to an end but they neither like it or dislike the actual work any more or less than a bored tax accountant might. I don't dare speak for all sex workers, especially since I've never been one myself, but what I hear as a common experience amongst sex workers is the stigma they face in their work and the violence (psychological as well as physical) that they are subject to based on that stigma. I would hazard a guess that part of that stigma arises from the idea that the work that they do is often held in our minds apart from all other kids of work- whether it's from peeps who are scandalized by sex outside of marriage and love or people who think that the fact that there might be some unequal power relations in sex work transactions are somehow different than the millions of other unequal power transactions we participate in on a daily basis in other ways (buying sweatshop clothes/eating food harvested by undocumented migrants subject to terrible working conditions/paying a nanny to watch our bad-ass kids which means she isn't at home getting to be with her own children even though she really wants to be etc etc etc) I've really learned a lot about this from the writings of Laura Agustin, who has researched extensively about women who engage in sex work transnationally. I'd also check out the ideas of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence for very nuanced discussion of sex work as well.

So I humbly offer this perspective- definitely rooted in the idea of ethics as mentioned by someone else above: Your partner was lonely, and he paid someone to perform a service for him. My partner wasn't lonely, he was curious, and he thought the sex worker was beautiful and she invited him back to her room so he went. What matters the most is not what service it was, but HOW everyone participated in the transaction. Did he respect the sex workers' boundaries? Did he clearly communicate what he expected beforehand and listen as the sex worker explained her expectations as well? If there was no communication, how does he feel about that? What's behind that silence in this scenario? Do they believe that people who engage in this work are somehow less than those of us who have not? Why or why not? The answers to those (and many more) questions are what makes the people we love who've paid for sex who they are, NOT the very fact that they've paid for sex. Assuming otherwise goes down a slippery slope of ignoring sex workers' agency, autonomy and right to decide what to do with their own bodies and be respected and SAFE as they go about their work.

Okay, rant over. ;) Thanks for reading.

Myrtle

@queenofbithynia Ahem. No where in LW's tale does it say what gender the sex worker was/is.
That said, I admire the honesty in having the "I visited a sex worker" conversation. Well done.

lizaboots

@queenofbithynia Yes, exactly. I think the only way paying for sex would not totally, excruciatingly exacerbate loneliness is if you are disturbingly capable of overlooking the other party's subjectivity. It reeks of a kind of delusional male narcissism that just turns my stomach. Sorry to be harsh. I don't even mean to suggest that my attitude is the "right" one. If you can really move on, maybe that's good. But if you truly respect him less for this, that's permanent damage that you shouldn't just live with. Lowering your standards of basic decency is too high a price.

Cathryn the Great

@queenofbithynia I feel pretty qualified to talk about this, being that I worked as a prostitute for almost a year before branching out into more interesting forms of sex work.
It's true that most prostitutes aren't attracted to their clients, though I've met plenty who do genuinely try to get at least somewhat turned on while they're working. It is ALSO true that the majority of skilled prostitutes (especially independents) tell their clients something along the lines of, "I love having sex with almost all of my clients, especially you, it's just so great to have such a buffet of men!"
Of course these kinds of statements aren't true, but they're a lot more fun to believe than the fact that nine times out of ten a whore is just there for the money. It's very possible, likely even, that the emotional and verbal skills of the prostitutes this gentleman visited and basic human denial are working together to convince the boyfriend that the prostitutes were at least somewhat interested in him for reasons other than financial reward.

SarahP

Wow, LW4, major party foul!

Also, your friend is awesome, because if I were in his place, I would never let my friends live that down.

redheaded&crazy

@SarahP i don't know how any driver could be so focused on the road they wouldn't notice that happening in the back BUT ANYWAYYYYYY

I also would never let my friends live it down. Mostly in a nice haha way. Eventually.

iceberg

@SarahP right? I mean, I feel like it would be worth going through that just to be able to make increasingly public and embarrassing references to it.

kickupdust

@iceberg definitely! if it happened to me I would probably think it was hilarious.

but as for being the one doing it... WHAT?! seriously, with someone a foot away? and both parties were like, eh, let's go for it!? my partner would kiiilllll me if I wanted to do something like that.

permanentbitchface

@SarahP Yeah, this sounds like something a couple in high school would do. Sorry! I just don't know why you wouldn't be able to wait til you're home.

Nicole Cliffe

As a human, I say: badly done, LW#4, but as someone who operates motor vehicles, I say: thank you for unwillingly designating a driver for your road-head shenanigans?

SuperGogo

@Nicole Cliffe THIS. Surreptitious backseat road-head is a party foul, but road-head for someone who's driving is multiple potential fatalities. I don't care if you've seen it in a movie or think it's fun and risque, DON'T DO IT!

SarahP

@iceberg EXACTLY my thoughts.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@iceberg I've been on the embarrassing end of this scenario (not to the point of a public blow job; more like roommates I didn't think would be home catching me exiting the shower with a ladyfriend), and frankly, once you talk about boundaries and such, you deserve all the blushing that comes with the needling they give you about it once in a while. (And then storing that feeling away for when you catch your roommate doing essentially the same thing and turning it into a long-running joke about showers.)

Megasus

@redheaded&crazy Oh yeah, you pull that in front of me, I get permission to make fun of you foreveeeeeeerrrrrrr.

MissMushkila

@permanentbitchface A couple of my friends did this in high school, in the car of another male friend (while that friend was driving). Everyone heard about it in our group and the driver friend was rightfully pissed at them about it. The girl did not understand why it was a problem. High school drama!

But seriously, maybe the LW IS in high school?

redheaded&crazy

@Megano! I promise I will not pull that in front of you.

redheaded&crazy

@Megano! Well, behind you, really, but details.

Danzig!

@SarahP Two of my friends got together in high school to watch a DVD, once. Friend A arrived at Friend B's house with his girlfriend as was his wont - even then they were seemingly inseparable outside of work. Anyway, Friend B's room being kind of small, he sits in a chair while Friend A and his girlfriend sit on his bed behind him. Lights go down and pretty soon the couple are going at it. My friend group being composed of meek geeks as it was, Friend B sat in his chair, trapped, until the coupling had been completed. They acted like nothing had happened.

The best part is probably that Friend B and the woman were exes. Friend A and the woman are now married with a child on the way! Nightmares.

So yes, wait until you are alone at the least, lest your personal legend be cast in a bad light. Plus it's like… sexual harassment, quite possibly abuse.

TheRisottoRacket

@SarahP All I could think about while reading this was just all the SHIT I would give my friends forever and ever about this. SO MANY JOKES.

martinipie

I have definitely been in the same place as LW1. I hope to never, ever be in the same place as LW4. Like, what in the hell?

martinipie

@martinipie also quick plea to please put #s on the letters again?!

Edith Zimmerman

@martinipie Oops -- my mistake. Fixed! Thank you!

fabel

Why do I feel like a raucous bachelor party or coke-fueled trip to Vegas would be more understandable reasons to "consort" with a prostitute? Is this just me being dispassionate for the depth of human loneliness?

As for the failed sneaky BJ question...dude, it seems actually kind of weird to me that the friend was so upset. Like, to the point of individual talks with each of you? I don't know, am I just unsympathetic today?

fabel

also, my friend group is pretty open about sexual acts in front of each other, so. That's also the place I'm coming from with that.

redheaded&crazy

@Emby I think somebody else was driving friend A's car, is how I read that scenario.

redheaded&crazy

@Emby god damn it we are ships passing in the night today.

Emby

@redheaded&crazy We are as blowjobs in the backseat—as god's doodle passing beneath the strobing highway street lights under the watchful, judging eyes of an anxious friend.

martinipie

@fabel Idk, I think if I were friend A I would be pretty skeeved out. Putting myself in his place gives me the heebs. Not everyone is comfortable seeing PDA, ESPECIALLY if there is an exposed penis, ESPECIALLY if there was no forewarning. Even if I weren't necessarily skeeved, I would be upset that my friends thought so little of my own comfort and boundaries and decided to do that in the backseat. It's pretty callous and selfish, IMO.

martinipie

@fabel it's also worth pointing out that if this were going down (hehehe) in a house, the skeeved-out friend could exit the room. A car, you're pretty much trapped with no exit.

Anninyn

@fabel Unless someone has previously indicated it is OK, doing sex things in their car in front of them is icky.

I don't know, it'd be like finding out two of my friends had used my bed. Not really awful, but worse than jsut being a bit rude, too.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@martinipie UGH the smells and sounds trapped in that car....GROSS.

aphrabean

@fabel W/R/T bjs: Yeah, you're including someone in your sex-life without their consent. I would be majorly bummed.

Urwelt

@fabel I completely agree. I would have much more sympathy (though still not much) for "I was drunk and everyone was doing it" than "I was lonely so I paid a woman to cure it with sex".

As for the the car BJ, I would probably be grossed out and annoyed, but I can't say I would be hurt or mad. I would be mad if my male friend was more upset with me for giving an inconsiderate bj than he was at my boyfriend for receiving it though. She and her boyfriend are equally at fault.

helix

@Urwelt Hi. LW5 here. To be honest, the first prostitute visit was kind of like that...at the end of a drunk evening, my boyfriend went because the older guys he was with (who he looked up to) wanted to go and he felt a bit pressured to go along. He went a second time because the first time had been a good experience for him (his first positive sex experience) so when he was lonely later he was looking to recreate that first time.

MrComment

@fabel It could also be a situation where the guy feels like a third wheel already. I'm a bit suspicious of the "We're all best friends!" angle. Having spent a good portion of my life as that guy, I would feel like, "Oh great, not only am I just a sidecar to them, they would actually rather not have me here at all." If the guy's lonely already, it just rubs salt in the wound.

redheaded&crazy

woooooo can I talk about dating someone messes?! MY dating someone messes?! you know I'm going to so here goes!

Here's a great texting conversation I had the other day:

Number I don't recognize: Hey RH&C. How are you?
Me:(uh oh I have no idea who this is. how do you play this off? it could be the dude i just gave my number to. did he tell me his name? I deleted that message thread because I didn't think he was going to message me. oh god what if he gave me his name and messaged me right after I gave him my number and it's going to be super obvious that I have no idea what's going on well fuck it, people should say "it's so and so" when they're messaging you for the first time right?) Heyyy (small talk) Sorry, I don't recognize this number?
NIDR: Ouch. It's [dude I went out with twice, the second date occurring two weeks ago, who I did not contact afterward because I did not want to see him, and who hasn't contacted me for the past two weeks].
Me: (HAHA OH THIS IS AWKWARD) Ooh sorry. Well, I delete numbers out of my phone pretty quickly when I don't hear from people.
Dude: well I didn't hear from you either (um yeah cuz I didn't want to see you again) I got the feeling you weren't into me.
Me: So why are you messaging me now, two weeks later, then?
Dude: Well I wanted to see how you felt. You seemed nervous which doesn't usually happen.

ugh. dude you suck. I didn't ask for any commentary on how I came across on our date, you didn't message me for two weeks after we only went on two dates and you expect me to still have your number in my phone? fuck you dude just fuck you. fuck. you.

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazy well that was really long and boring.

themegnapkin

@redheaded&crazy disagree - I love your dating stories!

wallsdonotfall

@redheaded&crazy I went out with a guy once and we had an okay date, whatever, but then I got with another dude and so never went on a second date with the first guy. He sent me a few sad text messages but I thought he got over it until I got a call from an unrecognized number about a year later. It was the sad date dude, who had apparently accidentally butt-dialed me... but then proceeded to ask how I was, whether I was still seeing that guy (yes), and generally what was going on! I can't remember how I got out of it but eesh, practice good contacts-list hygiene, people.

SarahP

@redheaded&crazy Ugh, awkward.

If I ignore your italics, as an oblivious person, to me this conversation sounds like you are still keeping things kind of open between you, which, reading your italics, I know is not what you intend at all. ("I got the feeling you weren't into me" is a perfect time to say something gentle and to the point like "Yeah, I didn't really feel like we had much chemistry," instead of keeping asking him questions.) He may have come out of the date thinking something similar. You didn't do anything wrong, but oblivious people (like him... and me) sometimes need things spelled out clearly. Gently, but clearly.

redheaded&crazy

@SarahP ooh well I kind of shortened the story down to get rid of some (to me) boring (to others: clarifying) parts. but I did say "yeah I didn't feel a connection" after he said he got the impression I wasn't feeling it.

SarahP

@redheaded&crazy Okay! nevermind! He is not oblivious, then, just obnoxious. ^_^

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@redheaded&crazy So basically, he's like, "Hey, it's not MY fault you're not into me - you seemed to be having an off night. Because bitches love me." Ick.

iceberg

@redheaded&crazy NO no, the crowd clamors for more!

You didn't seem that into me, so instead of taking the hint and moving on, I figured I'd wait an awkward length of time and then passive-aggressively critique you. UGH.

redheaded&crazy

@SarahP granted, this situation has neverrr happened to me before so I probably could have handled it differently. Like, I probably just wouldn't continue the conversation the way I did by asking that question. That was dumb of me.

@IROTOTR (heh) yeah so AFTER his little "blah blah nervous" bit, which annoyed me, I stupidly continued this convo further by asking MORE questions (ugh @ self), I was like "people don't get nervous on dates? in what universe?" and he was like "girls just don't normally get nervous around me that's all. got it, you weren't feeling it. all good." and things ended there.

whatever. it was just awkward. It's also relevant that I went out with two dudes that day, and both of them messaged me two weeks later, and I'm just like ... who thinks this is an acceptable timeline for communication?! jesus! if I wanted to see you again, I would have messaged you ... not two weeks later.

Inkling

@redheaded&crazy
Dudes who say "you seem nervous" = ASSHOLES. Every time, no reason why, not a particularly rude thing to say, but they are ALWAYS ASSHOLES. Bullet dodged.
Just like dudes who say 'tis = LONELY JOLLY ASSHOLES

redheaded&crazy

@iceberg PRETTY MUCH. >:\

also I do get really nervous on dates, because ... I do. So, I guess it's a public service to me to let me know that I come off as nervous, that has totally alleviated all my anxiety regarding dating, thank you for that.

Also, I think I mentioned elsewhere that I get nervous going on dates with older guys as I feel they have certain ~expectations~ and in this case, the expectations would have been amped up due to the manner in which we met (not okcupid, different dating site) so. fuck you guy all the way to hell.

I clearly have lots of feelings about this. Too many feelings. Anyway it's over! MOVING ON!

alannaofdoom

@redheaded&crazy - "Nervous? No, that wasn't nerves, that was revulsion."

RNL
RNL

@Inkling Haha 'tis. Haha almost anything with apostrophes to indicated elided letters. I had a (horrible) ex who did this and it annoyed me to no end. "'Tis" and "'night" and other horrible things I can't even remember.

meetapossum

@redheaded&crazy I had a guy I went on a few dates with text me a YEAR later. Wtf, dudes?

lora.bee

@redheaded&crazy SPEAKING OF dating weirdness, I was dating a guy for a while who I did like, but have realized that I am not really into dating right now, and he was very much looking for a serious relationship. So we had the blah blah blah, I think you're great but am not looking for a relationship chat, and then the 'should we be friends?' talk. At which point he piped up with the fact that he would be 'very disappointed' if we were to hang out but not sleep together.
Um...what?

redheaded&crazy

@lora.bee wow. well... points for honesty and letting you know up front so you can disabuse him of that notion right quick? I guess?

Dude ... you gonna be very disappointed then.

lora.bee

@redheaded&crazy I'm not sure what kind of response he expected? I think I said "Ooookay then."

rowrow

@redheaded&crazy THIS is why you should keep all phone numbers in your phone forevermore. unless you have a tendency to drunk dial, in which case... nevermind.

redheaded&crazy

@rowrow haha, "keep phone numbers of dudes you never intend to see again in phone" is definitely not the lesson I got out of this situation.

meetapossum

@redheaded&crazy I have been moved to keep the number in my phone, but usually with a saved name as "Asshole" or "Don't answer."

ponymalta

@redheaded&crazy Deleting numbers from your phone sounds like a healthy mental practice but this is sort of why I keep everyone's number, so I can be like "AHHH, I am going to ignore this message/not pick up this call." Although it's also fun sometimes to be like "NEW PHONE WHO IS THIS?" when you know perfectly well who it is.

Blackwatch Plaid

@redheaded&crazy I got a happy birthday text this year from a guy I dumped two years ago. We had only dated a couple months, and I just sort of ghosted on him when I realized how crazy he was. I actually had no idea who the text was from until I recognized his stupid use of emoticons...

whizz_dumb

@Inkling Anybody who says "you seem nervous" sucks. I had a lady say that to me on a first date that I didn't want to be on and she was way off. I was the opposite of nervous, going through the motions of being on a date with someone I was not attracted to. So it's an insecure and defensive thing to say, I think.

redheaded&crazy

@whizz_dumb oh gosh, this is basically the exact scenario. somehow I feel a lot better now (even though I knew this was the scenario, I somehow was not able to put two and two together as clearly)

PomoFrannyGlass

@lora.bee HA, I have been on the other side of that scenario.
[wrote out story of non-relationship and then realized it's not that interesting and deleted it]
We enjoyed each other's company and neither one of us wanted a relationship, but I think I still felt rejected on some level by his attempt to switch over to friendship. Might have been different if there'd been more direct communication like in your case, though. He tried to change things up in a fairly passive way, which is a thing that makes me insane with rage. (I believe I've related my thoughts and feelings and experiences with passive communicators on other threads.)

Emby

OK, I don't understand the backseat blowie schematic here. You're in Friend A's car and I think Friend A is the one who saw you give the blowy-j, but you also mention "the driver was preoccupied with the road, and our friend seemed to be drifting off to sleep in the passenger's seat ... until he turned back at one point and saw us." Was it Friend A's car and he just happened to be letting someone else drive? Was the driver Friend A? Whose car actually was this?

Very confused.

martinipie

@Emby There were four people in the car: a driver, Friend A in the passenger seat, and our little exhibitionists in the backseat.

(I just watched the newest Elementary and delivered that in my best JLM Holmes voice)

par_parenthese

@martinipie And I just heard it in JLM Holmes voice and I thank you for that little gift to the rest of my afternoon.

wee_ramekin

@martinipie Here is a more pressing question: SHOULD I WATCH ELEMENTARY?

(I am an...*ahem*...avid fan of the BBC's Sherlock.)

parallel-lines

@Emby I demand a diagram of schematics and the make/model/year of this car to assess how truly "stealthy" this bj really was.

yeah-elle

@wee_ramekin YES. You can be a fan of both, definitely. Here's a short essay of me talking it up:

It's improved vastly over time. It started off seeming like just another crime procedural, with Holmes-canon names tacked on, but there has been so much character and plot development. Also, Lucy Liu and JLM are great. Their acting is top notch, and their dynamic/chemistry is lovely to watch. I also like the attention and time that some of the secondary characters get. The mysteries aren't pulled directly from the Holmes canon, but Holmes' methods are largely the same, and the showrunners have also clearly done their research/do a good job of working in little details that readers of the stories will enjoy. Visually, it's beautifully put together, and has a great soundtrack.

That's all on its own merit. In comparison to BBC's Sherlock, I'd say that Elementary's greatest failure is that the mysteries aren't pulled directly from the novels, as Sherlock's are. However, Elementary does by far a much better job at addressing race and gender, which in my book, is a HUGE HUGE HUGE plus.

jilt

@wee_ramekin I really enjoy both, for different reasons. Yeah-elle's review is better than mine would be, so I'll just add that I agree that it got better a few episodes in. I almost gave up on it after the pilot (Sherlock was too much of an asshole to tolerate, at the start), but now Lucy Liu and JLM are wonderful to watch together.

wee_ramekin

@yeah-elle @jilt Woah, thank you both for such great responses. Looks like I've got a new show to Netflix!

par_parenthese

@wee_ramekin I don't think it's on Netflix yet? but you can buy past eps on Amazon and watch the most recent three or four on the CBS website.

And let me just concur with @yeah-elle and @jilt -- it is SO GOOD. I love that JLM!Holmes is a 21st century man in a totally different way than Cumberbatch!Holmes is. I mean, you know how much I love Sherlock, so nothing I say should be construed as taking away from that because it is perfect and beautiful, but Elementary is just a completely different and totally great interpretation of the characters.

Also and inevitably, JONNY LEE MILLER GET IN MY PANTS.

yeah-elle

@par_parenthese Yes! I dig me some Cumberbatch-Holmes, but I really like JLM's take on the character, too. He is a much softer and more gentle Holmes. More vulnerable, and more forthcoming (but still awkward) in his relationships (and not just Watson!), which I really enjoy.

I also really appreciate how we get to see the relationship between Holmes and Watson grow on Elementary. From a begrudging business relationship to friendship to partnership? It's truly been a television-joy to watch them take baby steps in trusting each other in new ways every week.

Also, right, JLM and Lucy Liu are both RIDICULOUSLY attractive. The guy who plays Detective Bell is pretty smokin' too. That grey tshirt a few weeks ago in his focus episode???

martinipie

@wee_ramekin I have nothing to add that has not already been said (I do not watch BBC Sherlock because the Tumblr fandom has utterly turned me off it/I do not find Cumberbatch attractive) but just reiterating that the relationship between Holmes and Watson is fantastic, and JLM is SO DANG HOT I have been having sex dreams about him lately (not his Holmes, just him) and it has been SO FUCKING WONDERFUL

par_parenthese

@martinipie And see, that's why I go back and rewatch his Emma too. More dream fodder.

RebeccaKW

@yeah-elle Yes. LL and JLM are wonderful. I wasn't sure at first how this adaptation was going to work...but I really like it. I have really enjoyed the shows, and I agree they are getting better each week.

Speaking of smokin'...Aidan Quinn. Hello.

RebeccaKW

@par_parenthese Oh, JLM in Emma. Swoon.

wee_ramekin

@martinipie "I do not watch BBC Sherlock because the Tumblr fandom has utterly turned me off it/I do not find Cumberbatch attractive"

...I'm sorry, I stopped reading as soon as that blasphemy crossed under my orbs.

(That's a lie! I think your opinion is !WRONG!, but I did not stop reading, and I appreciate your comment. I'm getting really excited about Elementary now.)

Hot Doom

@martinipie I have to say, the fandom turns me off, and I also do not find Benedict Cumberbatch remotely attractive, but I am totally sucked in by the show. I really like the dynamic between Holmes and Watson on Sherlock because I usually just want to punch BC and Watson (and the whole aesthetic of the show) redeems it. /Blaspheme out.

lucy snowe

@yeah-elle You've inspired me to give that show a second chance. I watched the first couple episodes, and my main thought was that Lucy Liu outclassed JLM to such a ridiculous extent that it threw the balance of the show out of whack. I thought to myself, "They should have cast her as Holmes," and stopped watching.

But it gets better? I'm intrigued. I love Holmes stories, and I need a new updated version since House jts/went off the air.

machinesss

So uh LW4 you are definitely kidding yourself if you think you can give a blowjob in the back seat of a moving vehicle without the driver/front seat passenger knowing. If this is shit you've done before, you should be aware that the people in the front seats DEFINITELY KNEW.

redheaded&crazy

@machinesss yeah, sneaky hand job MAYBE. okay. MAYBE.

Or maybe there were in a van or something.

Still though, no. The people in the front seats definitely knew.

yeah-elle

@machinesss Seriously. Were they hidden under a tarp in the far back of a large van that was driving noisily over a gravel road while the radio blared? If not, everyone knows you're giving head.

Anninyn

LW5: I once asked my husband if he'd ever visited a prostitute. He said no, but told me that at one point in his life he'd been so desperately lonely and miserable, whilst simultaneously feeling so disconnected from everyone else and unable to make that connection, that he spent a long time considering it. In the end he made a different choice to your manshape, but it sounds like they were coming from the same place.

I think people can end up doing things that are possibly really fucking dodgy or creepy if they are acting from a place of such deep misery that they aren't thinking straight. But you may want to ask a few subtle questions to properly gauge your manthing here about his attitudes to women, cheating, and prostitution. Also, as an earlier commenter suggested, ask him about how ethical he was when he visited her, if he used a condom, if he's sure she was a: of age and b: not under the control of some unpleasant types. If the answers make you feel squirmy and horrid inside, you have some thinking to do. A dealbreaker for me would be if he talked about the prostitute as somehow 'to blame' or as a disposable non-person.

Anninyn

@Anninyn I will also point out that when I told him about this thread my husband clarified that 'I was really, really messed up, emotionally and sexually, and while I was so lonely and depressed the desire to have someone touch me and acknowledge that I existed was maddening, what decided me against seeing a prostitute was that the very idea of paying someone who otherwise might have turned me down nauseated me.' so... take that on board?

aphrabean

@Anninyn Your husband sounds like a pretty good guy.

Anninyn

@aphrabean Ah, he's not perfect, but after a decade he's not turned out to be an utter shithead, so...

aphrabean

@Anninyn I genuinely hope my gentleman says the same of me after a decade. I would be honored!

lizaboots

@Anninyn "what decided me against seeing a prostitute was that the very idea of paying someone who otherwise might have turned me down nauseated me." This is the crucial thing, and I do think its non-occurrence is unforgivable. I sympathize with loneliness, of course. But not with anyone who thinks that sex with someone who is not attracted to him would alleviate, rather than aggravate, that loneliness.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

LW4: It's about boundaries, and respecting boundaries. Your friend felt overstepped (overblown?) and he let you know, and now you have to respect that. I mean, I love my friends, but I wouldn't ever want to see something like that.

ISIHAC

I once encouraged a friend to see a prostitute. He was 28, hadn't had a steady girlfriend (and hence sex) since age 19 or so, and some 2nd hand feedback that I had heard was that women found him "skeevy". I suggested that maybe going to a pro once or twice here and there could take the edge off and stop him giving out desperate/creepy vibes. I also gave him a bit of a safety talk, vis a vis condoms and STI screening before and after. I think he did it maybe 3 times over 2 years or so? He seemed to pick ethically, and goodness knows the ladies were definitely charging enough. Anyway, I'm going to his wedding next month, so that's worked out fine in the end. I don't know if he ever told his future-wife, though I imagine he would have. BTW I'm a lady.

Megasus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is super hot, does not compute.

SuperGogo

@Megano! Not Elaine Benes, Elaine Stritch. Most recently Jack's mom on 30 Rock, but also 5-time Tony nominee and 3-time Emmy winner.

Leanne

@SuperGogo Ha. I couldn't tell if Megano! was joking or not. Both Elaines = two thumbs up!

Megasus

@SuperGogo omg DUH. (I am having...a rough week)

Still does not compute though.

TheJacqueline

@Megano! Elaine Stritch! Not Elaine Benes.

Biketastrophy

@Leanne Two thumbs up and a few kicks?

Audley

@SuperGogo I am just stunned. I cannot believe that I watched the entirety of 30 rock without realizing that Jack's mother was played by Elaine Stritch. Especially as someone who's very familiar with Stritch's musical theater work, I have no clue how that happened. I feel very silly.

SarahP

I actually think that, in LW4's friend's situation, I would have just screamed "HAVE NONE OF YOU READ THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP?!

permanentbitchface

@SarahP Ugh oh god I forgot about that. Not worth it guys!!

Judith Slutler

@SarahP ahahahahahahahaha

lucy snowe

@SarahP My thoughts exactly!

SarahP

LW5, I don't think the question is should this be a red flag?, but is it a red flag for you? For some people it is, for some people it isn't. It's okay to be uncomfortable with the fact that your partner's been with a sex worker, and it's also okay to be fine with it.

Ophelia

@SarahP Totally agree. Like someone above said, I don't really have a problem with sex work; my problem is that BECAUSE people have a problem with it, it's (generally) not legalized, and the people who engage in it are often coerced and/or at high risk for violence, trafficking, and disease. If either of those things make you uncomfortable, then you need to ask the questions that get at the heart of where the problem lies - any one of them could be a red flag (sex work itself, or some of the underlying human rights issues).

SarahP

I have many opinions about other people's problems.

iceberg

@SarahP that's what this is for, isn't it?

alannaofdoom

@iceberg - if by "this" you mean "the internet," then YES.

permanentbitchface

Guys, can we share stories of people we were surprisingly attracted to?
I'll go first: My type is skinny beanpole dudes but I found myself attracted to a bulkier gym rat kind of dude with a cocky overconfidence. In conclusion: gym dude was a douchebag, and I will never break the cycle of nice, compassionate beanpole dudes again.

Anninyn

@permanentbitchface with guys, I pretty much exclusively went for skinny, dark haired, romantigothy boys who were about 6 inches taller than me. With girls I never really had a type, unless alternative and slightly butch counts.

Then I met this muscular, dark blonde, blue eyed, 'typically handsome' cybergoth who was a full foot taller than me.

And, erm, married him.

martinipie

@permanentbitchface In high school I had like, one Jock Dude Crush a year. This is coming from someone who in HS was wearing Adicts shirts and had purple hair and safety pins in my ears and was hiding behind books all the time, but damn if there wasn't one guy in a letterman jacket that every year set a fire in my skinny jeans. Nothing ever happened with any of them, of course, but I did make class-broships with two of them which was fun.

SarahP

@permanentbitchface I also tend to go for tall beanpoles, but I'm even more specific: mine also have to be dark, bitter, and broody. But then one time I hit it off with a blond, so-muscley-he-had-a-specific-diet-to-maintain/build-the-muscleyness midwesterner who was the essential midwesterner, friendly and easy-going. We never dated, but just realizing that we would have dated weirded me out and changed my perception of having a "type."

martinipie

@Anninyn Reader, I married the cybergoth...

SarahP

@Anninyn I don't know if it counts as dating against type if it's still someone who would dance to "Bela Legosi's Dead." ;)

Diana

@permanentbitchface

Do these compassionate beanpole types have phone numbers? Because we share A Type.

par_parenthese

@permanentbitchface Similar! I mentioned this to @TARDIStime in another thread but, having always been attracted to unconventional-looking, slim, intense men (I love a prominent nose and a high brow) -- "wiry" or "sinewy" are the most-muscular I will typically go for -- I recently discovered that I have a HUGE caveat in place when it comes to Aussie men? I'm all about the muscles there. Eric Bana, Joel Edgerton, Sullivan Stapleton.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@permanentbitchface There was this really assertive, semi-mean professor in college, who everyone hated because she was so tough. But I sort of liked it when she fixed me with her stern glare and asked pointed questions and made me squirm a bit? Ooof.

Anninyn

@martinipie Soooo much UV reactive stuff...

Anninyn

@SarahP Ha!You're probably right. Though I did basically do a sharp 180 from 'mopey and quiet' to 'overenthusiastic and bouncy'.

rimy

@permanentbitchface I was sort of attracted to Asian guys (after a formative trip to Japan as a teenager) and/or also hot, ambitious know-it-alls.

Then I met my current boyfriend who is brooding, bitter, a little lost and adrift, and a total sweetheart. Tall, dark, handsome, a little scruffy. (my heart, it melts!)

RNL
RNL

@permanentbitchface I'm into big, bearded guys with "natural" muscles and bellies and big hands, who play guitars and tromp around in the woods and wear cowichans and XL tshirts.

I'm currently head over heels over an urban jock who wears a size medium and whose hands aren't much bigger than mine. He did grow a beard though. <3!

honey cowl

@permanentbitchface Used to date scrawny brunette dudes who were my total opposite personality-wise. Now date muscley-as-hell blonde dude who is in most respects my brain twin. 3 years later, a whole lot happier. Plus we are going to have THE BLONDEST BABIES.

Ellie

@permanentbitchface I definitely have a type. I like tall weird looking guys who look like serial killers, kind of jacked but not like super muscle-y "gym is my life" looking, with scruffy facial hair and wide set eyes. But, surprisingly, I have recently been super attracted to two different people "my height" (I'm 5'7", but in my experience guys who say they are too - including on their drivers' licenses - are usually just a little bit shorter than I am), which I hate, because I have a shallow and excoriable hangup about it. Latter guy was also more jacked than I generally prefer but I definitely liked it.

Pygmalion

@permanentbitchface My professors for British Literature I then II. Both silver-haired, not particularly attractive, one wore the most predictable (for a brit lit prof) vest & puffy shirt ensembles and had a long mustache, but by god they spoke so eloquently and knew so much about Chaucer and Shakespeare I couldn't help but be taken in by their charms. But then again, I'm a huge English nerd and find intelligence to be very sexy, so maybe it's not that surprising haha

Noelle O'Donnell

@permanentbitchface
Wow, so many people who love the skinny, beanpole dudes. I'm on team dudes 5'8 or under, usually brunette and with athletic builds. Also, usually a drummer/water sign. I'm an Aries. Wail.
Seems like going for the opposite is the trick here.

Mila

@permanentbitchface Oooh, can I play?! Okay, so back in high school my type would have been skinny, dark (preferably curly) hair, jewish intellectual alternative types. Basically, if I had been a teenager when the OC was on, I would have been in love with the Seth Cohen character (I also dated a few edgier types, sort of like the other dude in the OC to stick with that analogy). By the time I was in college, I added that I liked guys who were the political activist type.

And then I met this guy, tall, broad shouldered, dark blond (straight) hair, preppy, could totally pass for a frat guy (though was not, that would have been a deal breaker probably). And from this really rich family and he, like, really liked to pay tennis. And didn't seem all that bright and not at all political. And I was just smitten, and couldn't make sense of it. I remember writing a friend "he is totally not my type, AT ALL, this will never work out." So, yeah, married him, we've been together 17 years. Oh, also he is probably further to the left than me, an ardent activist for migrant farm workers, and a tenured university professor, so shows what I knew. I came to realize how much more I like guys who don't need to front about how smart and active they are.

RNL
RNL

@Noelle O'Donnell Are you a west coast Canadian? May have a dude for you. But he's a Virgo. Gorgeous eyes though.

Hellcat

@permanentbitchface I think my friends would say my type is musicians, which I guess makes sense in a way, but not completely as two of my longterm BFs were not. And I feel that calling them my "type" implies I become attracted to them while they're in their musician element, which I don't think has ever happened. Still, a lot of the guys I've dated are musicians (current BF, who just left for a gig, included), but it was something I didn't necessarily know before I met/had a conversation with them (if that makes sense).

When I was in college, I was all about long-haired guys; for some reason, I just insisted that I only liked those (it was the grunge era--maybe that was why?). But since then, everyone's been fairly short-haired. So, Current BF might have been a surprise to College Me, had I known then. But my real surprise wasn't even a "real" guy--it was when I decided that Christopher Meloni was one of the cutest men I'd ever seen. That was kind of a revelation. And now, today, I get a little swoony over Louis CK! What the hell happened there?

Also, this all reminds me of when my friends and I used to make Weird-Crush lists of celebrities, which was so funny--everyone would be all, "WHAT?!" to each other, with looks of pure horror. But when my sister said "Jack Lemmon," I think she won.

RNL
RNL

@Hellcat Well Louis CK is a dreamboat, so that's what happened there.

Hellcat

@RNL THANK YOU! He really is! (We went to see him recently; he had a heckler!)

chunk lite

@RNL yessss to bellies! bellies for life! My type is exactly big mountain men. like if Hagrid and Andy from parks and rec were to somehow have a baby. I like a certain heft in my dude, and calloused hands, beards, and curly hair are wonderful bonuses. Personality wise, I actually quite like a curmudgeon, but only because they are all secretly puppies

TARDIStime

@par_parenthese re: Sullivan Stapleton - I finally watched Animal Kingdom on the weekend and he has been redeemed!
Also possibly the most chilling opening to a film EVER?!?

parallel-lines

You...you blew someone when other people were in the car. C'mon--who does that. Just give him a handjob, it's still disrespectful but not the sort of disrespectful that'll break friendships.

Emby

@parallel-lines Potentially messier, though.

alannaofdoom

@parallel-lines - OK I just read that as suggesting that she give the driver an apology hand job. Amazing.

Leanne

@alannaofdoom EL OH EL. "I will agree to forgive and forget in exchange for one HJ."

Ophelia

@alannaofdoom That would be some incredible advice.

KatnotCat

@parallel-lines I maintain that blowjobs are the most awkward and embarrassing 'basic' sex act to be unexpectedly caught doing*, and therefore the absolute worst to submit an uninterested bystander to. You are right on your hand-job stance.

*I can't articulate why this is, but imagine your parents seeing you having sex versus parents seeing you giving/receiving a blowjob. SO MUCH WORSE RIGHT?

parallel-lines

@alannaofdoom Well, that *might* be a suitable apology if he's amenable to the situation.

parallel-lines

@KatnotCat In high school, I was forced to listen to a very botched, very awkward blow job going on behind me while I watched The Wall with three friends (one asleep, the other two engaging in the act). I tried to pretend that I was also asleep but this blow job went.on.for.ev.er. This blow job had an intermission and running commentary. So seriously folks, handsies or nothing in public. Your friends will thank you.

Lily Rowan

@KatnotCat Because of what's visible, right? Missionary is least embarrassing, because it's basically bodies smushed together.

But honestly, I have stronger feelings about bjs than about p-in-v overall, but I can't quite articulate what they are.

Noelle O'Donnell

@Lily Rowan
Maybe because the person giving is so vulnerable? I don't know, I always feel like it's a very intimate act.

Lily Rowan

@Noelle O'Donnell See, I feel like it's very intimate, but because the person giving has all the power! You're putting your most vulnerable body part in my MOUTH?? Are you nuts??

rimy

LW1: On the topic of initial ambivalence, I will probably confuse you further, as relationships are very confusing things. When I first met my boyfriend he was really into me and I was ambivalent toward him. We have very opposite personalities in a lot of ways and clashed frequently on our early dates. Additionally, I was getting over a douchebag (mega-douchebag) ex. Therefore certain things turned me off about him and I called it quits. He then begged for me back over and over, sending me long, painfully romantic (and, yes, a little creepy) emails and so forth. I was flattered and decided to give it another chance although still basically ambivalent. More clashes, but we began to see things from each others' perspectives, and ANYWAY, now we've been through a lot together and I love the crap out of him.

tl;dr Sometime you must open your mind to different people and new perspectives because it's good for you and may also lead to great love.

rimy

@rimy And I would like to add, I feel like I have definitely evolved into a better person solely because I met my boyfriend. I cringe whenever I read old emails or gchats or journal passages at how unlikeable I used to be. Meeting someone who is very different from you and truly working to understand their perspective can lead to great insights about yourself.

That being said, if you're using a guy for self-esteem boosting, free dinners, attention, or just because you're bored and need companionship or sex, and yet he seems to be falling for you, be a gentlewoman and cut him loose. Don't use people.

megmurray

@rimy I have a pretty similar situation. He was super into it, I was ambivalent/anxious because I don't have a lot of dating experience. He wasn't like most of the guys I'd been attracted to, I thought he was too serious. The difference was my gut was telling me to stick with it, even though my brain was like, "What is going on right now?"

We got to a make it or break it point, talked through it, and now I have hearts in my eyes instead of pupils. I too, love the crap out of him.

queenofbithynia

Last letter: If you have a principle, a moral principle, if you have a genuine belief that something is wrong to do, if it is wrong when somebody violates it, it is still wrong if that somebody is your boyfriend, your husband, your brother, your father. Or your mother for that matter. You don't start wondering if somehow it's ok to do something you already decided is wrong by doing a survey to find out if a lot of people do it.

Normal is the wrong question. It is normal for men to have some degree of entitlement to sexual gratification; it is normal for men to consider their own pleasure to be the measure of when sex happens, such that they believe a woman performing a paid-for personal service upon their body, with no personal sexual interest in the matter herself, is "having sex" with them by their own narcissistic definition. We all decide for ourselves how much of that to accept. We all decide for ourselves whether that's even a problem in the first place.

I take a pretty severe line on this; lots of women don't. They don't have to. You don't have to. What everyone should do is decide where their line based is on what they believe and reason is right or wrong, not based on what statistics suggest they have to put up with. Deciding that something is wrong UNLESS a man I like does it, or indicative of misogyny UNLESS IT'S MY BOYFRIEND is several hundred steps down the staircase of a sad fucking way to live and no way at all to be a thinking person.

Above all else, don't do this to yourself. Don't be the one who worries and frets and contorts your sense of ethics and logic to explain why your boyfriend is totally not a creep and you are the one who was wrong. Maybe he isn't, and maybe you are, but HE is the one who needs to put together those explanations and make those arguments. If he's not a misogynist, HE can explain it a way that will make you understand and agree. Get him to do it, if he can.

wee_ramekin

@queenofbithynia Agreeing a whole bunch with your last paragraph.

themegnapkin

@queenofbithynia I'm with you on your conclusion, but I think it's fair to reevaluate your thoughts on something once you learn that someone you like and respect thinks about it differently. It's part of growing -- for example, it's how gays are getting more acceptance in the United States, people think it's wrong until it turns out that someone they know is gay, they reevaluate, and change their minds.
But, I totally agree with your last paragraph.

Mira

@queenofbithynia Although I'm not sure I completely agree with your stance on prostitution (I always go back and forth on this, although I would be highly creeped out to find that anyone I know had ever visited a sex worker), this is some extremely solid and useful advice, right here.

aphrabean

@queenofbithynia Yes yes yes to your last paragraph.

aphrabean

@Mira Yeah. My personal experience with men who have paid for sex is that they were either convicted rapists or. . . men who should've been convicted but charges were never filed? SO my personal, lived, yet wholly anecdotal experience of men who pay for sex has been resoundingly negative. These are men who felt entitled to the bodies of women, full stop. It's possible (I am not convinced in my own mind of this) that not all men who pay for sex fall in the above camp, but if my partner came to me with a story like the LWs, he would have to do ALL the work of convincing me otherwise.

Mira

@aphrabean My only real experience with sex work was at a bar in Kuala Lumpur where I was treated to the sight of a bunch of gross old men I work with (very tangentially, not for the same organization or anything) pawing at some sequined, dead-eyed farm girls who should have been in school. The memory makes me feel physically ill. To be clear, I might be able to remain friends with someone who had paid for sex, but in a partner, it's a dealbreaker. I think the "loneliness" excuse is straight-up bullshit. Amazingly, plenty of women manage to deal with deep, desperate loneliness without trying to buy sex from dudes.

LW5, for me this would be too much, but he's your boyfriend, not mine. So it's up to you to decide. But as these much wiser ladies have pointed out, it's up to him to convince you.

Leanne

@themegnapkin Agreed. There are many things in the sexuality/relationship/monogamy world I have completely changed my stance on over the years. There are very few things I would write someone off entirely for. But, that's ME. No one else can tell me (or anyone) what I should or should not be ok with.

helix

@queenofbithynia I like this. Thank you. I do agree with @themegnapkin though. I can't say I really had a hard stance on prostitution before and that he violated it, rather that I had just never had cause to even THINK about what my stance was. Only a vague idea that 'creeps' go to prostitutes, and my boyfriend is not that, so I needed to do some thinking about what my stance actually is. We've been together for over two years now, and in that time he has never done anything that came even remotely close to a red flag. I was in therapy when we met and spent the first year of our relationship reporting things he'd said and done to my therapist and friends as a check in just in case I was missing anything (yeah, I was a bit paranoid after being in a shitty relationship) and he has never been anything other than a solid, caring human being. I recognize that one action amidst years of other behaviour CAN automatically make someone a creep, but also, sometimes not, and this is the only thing in all our time together he's ever told me that I wouldn't happily admit to a friend or family member. Which is why I tend to lean towards re-evaluating my 'stance' (or creating one) on prostitution, as opposed to re-evaluating my stance on dating him. I mean, I DID re-evaluate my stance on dating him, but it wasn't an automatic dealbreaker, that's all.
Sorry for how long winded this is. Yikes.

Oh, squiggles

@helix Here is a list of articles written by a sex worker. I know that her experiences isn't universal, or maybe not even that common, but it might give you a new perspective on how you feel about prostitution.

Somewhere my love

@queenofbithynia Long-time lurker, first time commenter, but I agree so hard!

LW5's boyfriend was lonely and depressed. He could have paid for therapy but instead he bought sex.
Sure, totally unproblematic.

I think the fact that he says now that he wouldn't do it again shows that he senses there was something wrong with what he did. If he were to examine his feelings and say, "hey this was how I participated in rape culture. I didn't realize it at the time that my actions were prompted by some really sad cultural norms and beliefs. I regret my participation in this." ... Well, that would be great.

TARDIStime

@somewhere.my.love Can we all talk about WHY men buy sex instead of therapy, though?
Yes, men can buy some therapy, but do they maybe choose sex instead because as men they are socialised differently to women? Like, they're generally told that they should fuck their feelings away instead of talking about them?
Not trying to excuse men for choosing sex over therapy, because, yes, there are definitely problems there.
Just saying it might be a worthwhile discussion to have?

Hopeyglass

ugh 'casual dating.' ugh bein a grown up. if you are in a letter one type situation, (or the 'i do like you, i think, but like this other person more' variant of that situation) don't say things like 'in any other situation, i would love to date you.' or other weird pragmatic like 'i just had to make a decision' things. not, uh, ranting from personal experience, or anything.

anachronistique

Elaine Stritch is a goddess.

klemay

LW5: regardless of whether he "treated the prostitute ethically," you need to decide whether you can be with someone who thinks that women's bodies can and should be bought and sold. And personally, I have a hard time believing that someone who thinks this *isn't* a misogynist.

chevyvan

@klemay I think it's more complicated than that. I think there is a place in this world for sex work. But the way 99% of it is handled is not okay/fair/ethical/healthy/non-exploitative for the women (and men) who are in this line of work.

klemay

@chevyvan We have differing opinions.

skyslang

@klemay How do you feel about gay male prostitutes? If all things are "ethical": i.e. the sex worker chooses the work himself, sets boundaries that are respected, is safe, etc. Does switching the gender change your opinion at all? I'm just asking out of curiosity, not trying to challenge you!

klemay

@skyslang See, I take issue with the idea of choosing sex work. I think it comes from a very privileged position and ignores the fact that many sex workers are either forced into sex work OR feel that they have no other options. And even in situations where the sex worker is free of all of this and choosing to do it, the idea that sex has monetary value is deeply rooted in our patriarchal/capitalist system, regardless of the gender of the sex worker.

I also get really skeptical when we talk about "safety" in sex work, because the probability that there is really ZERO perceived danger for a sex worker if they refuse to perform an act is VERY low. Sex workers receive (and them come to fear) retaliation for not performing certain acts all the time, so they end up "consenting" to a lot of stuff not because they want to do it, but because they're afraid of what will happen if they don't.

...That was a really long-winded way of saying "I don't think the conditions you state actually exist, so nope, still not comfortable with it." But leaving at that seemed dismissive and rude.

angelene

@klemay It sounds like he felt ashamed, though, which suggests he might NOT think women's bodies 'can and should be bought and sold' or that it's a great thing, rather that he might have thought it was ok at the time, but not retrospectively (or maybe he didn't feel right about it at the time, but did it anyway – which may be worse, I dunno). Would you view male prostitution as equally exploitative? It then becomes an issue of whether anyone's body can be bought and sold, rather than a question of misogyny. I would be pretty freaked out by the admission (due to possibility of trafficking), but also think people are capable of growth. It would be a big red flag, to me, if he had not reflected at all on it, or acted like it was no big deal, but that does not seem to be the case.

angelene

@klemay Not that I disagree with you – some sex workers claim to have choice (see: Belle du Jour) which is why I'm wary of being absolutist, but I feel like that can't be the reality in most cases. I've only known one sex worker; she was studying for a great degree and was from a privileged background, and had plenty of opportunities other than sex work, but I wouldn't say the 'choice' looked healthy – seemed self-destructive, and she did experience abuse, and it did not lead to good things. I do fundamentally believe that people have the right to decide what to do with their own bodies, even if that decision is not very healthy – so I guess I view sex work similarly to addiction in the sense that I don't think it's good, but I'm not sure prohibiting it helps.

FoxyRoxy

I know this probably says a lot about me but I don't understand why getting caught giving a blow job is a big deal? I mean, it seems pretty awkward but... what am I missing?

honey cowl

@FoxyRoxy I agree with you. Perhaps this is a symptom of my posse but ... we sometimes (often?) have sex in the vicinity of each other?

TOO MUCH INTERNET INFO

Mira

@FoxyRoxy General boundary violations/involving an unwilling participant in your sex life, I'd think? I doubt the friend would be upset if he'd accidentally walked in on the LW giving a BJ in her own place. If my friends did that in the back of my car, I'd feel super grossed out and pretty violated, not to mention angry at my friends for having so little respect and courtesy and general sense of, just, how not to act like rutting animals in a public setting. But I'm also kind of a prude!

OhMarie

@FoxyRoxy Also the fact that it's somebody else's car. My husband and I have a male best friend like this, and I'd be mildly embarassed but not apologetic if he walked in on us in my house while he was visiting, but would NEVER give a BJ in the back of his car.

fabel

@FoxyRoxy Right? I said this above but pretty much no one agreed with me, so I shut up.

Also @honey cowl, ME TOO (or, ME AND MY FRIENDS too)

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

Well, obvi others disagree, but I think I would enjoy having something to tease my friends about forever. And my friends have asked if they can put their dogs in my car which, frankly, I find way grosser.

Mira

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Yeah but at least they asked!

LW4, fwiw, I confess I was totally grossed out by your story, but you seem like a nice person and I think it's cool that you're owning your behavior and trying to be thoughtful and make things up to your friend. A Dude's advice to you seemed solid.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Mira
Haha, you're right, of course, about the asking!

City_Dater

@FoxyRoxy

"Getting caught" implies they were in a place of some privacy, and their friend walked in on them. However, they were in the back seat of a moving car with a driver and passenger in the front who were forced to be the audience for a live sex show. Boundaries, respect for others, basic decency, maturity, etc. = things this couple were clearly lacking.

honey cowl

Dude, you are a nice dude.

wee_ramekin

I'm irrationally angry at LW #4. I'm picturing being their friend and having this happen to me, and how UNCOMFORTABLE and EMBARRASSED I would feel, and how FUCKING CARELESS and SELFISH and NARCISSISTIC my friends would have to be to do this to me. Jesus H. Christ, my stomach is feeling all clenchy and angry right now.

[I recognize that my anger is disproportionate to how this letter actually affects my life. Fair warning, though, if you are a rame-friend: don't fucking suck off your boyfriend in MY FUCKING CAR because you "can't wait". Ugh]

Emby

@wee_ramekin I hear you. I recently had an experience (in every different in content from this letter) in which I just felt incredibly disrespected by one of my friends. The degree to which it upset me was wildly disproportionate to any actual effect it had on me, but the callous disregard for my feelings—even after realizing that it had upset me—seriously touched a nerve.

wee_ramekin

@Emby I think I'm also angry because this couples' actions are based on the premise that since they're a couple who hadn't seen each other in a while, what they wanted trumped the comfort and preferences of everyone else in a car that was not even their own.

It's just really fucking selfish.

(Also, I know, I know: what's done is done. Don't cry over spilt milk (semen) and whatnot.)

meetapossum

@wee_ramekin When I was in high school, two of my friends were dating. The three of us would all get together and watch movies, and almost EVERY TIME they would cover themselves with a blanket and she would give him a handjob, as if it weren't SUPER OBVIOUS, and I had to pretend like I didn't notice.

I finally confronted her about it, and she denied everything (adding even MORE frustration for me), but the surreptitious HJs stopped after that.

yeah-elle

@wee_ramekin I don't think it's really irrational to be that angry? Just because it's not actually traumatic for you doesn't mean that it wasn't potentially traumatic, and disrespectful as hell. I mean, unless prior discussion or, um, activity set a baseline that these friends are super comfortable with getting down in close quarters, then it's beyond rude. Their immediate sexual gratification was more important than the feelings of safety and security of people they supposedly consider friends? That's super fucked up in my book.

Cripes, just squeeze your SO's thigh, wink at them, and whisper, "can't wait till we get home!" and respect the other humans around you.

parallel-lines

@wee_ramekin I have been in this situation and it is just as traumatic and you are making it out to be. It's really not cool to do that to other people.

laurel

@wee_ramekin They're lucky the driver didn't make a detour to one of those DIY carwashes and turn the hose on them.

WaityKatie

@wee_ramekin Yeah, that plus the implication that EVERYONE of course wants to watch them having hot hot sex, so they should just go at it wherever they want and at worst it's "embarrassing" for them. What about the feelings of the person forced to watch you do that?? What about their mortification/disgust/creeped out-ness? I think it actually is traumatic to turn around in your car and suddenly be subjected to a sight that you never volunteered for and *can never unsee*. Blech.

WaityKatie

@laurel Or "stopped short" at a key moment, haha.

fakefighter

@wee_ramekin Yeah, for some reason that shit just got me upset too and I scrolled down to see comments. Something about the rudeness and narcissism of it that really pissed me off. The part where she wonders if he's a "prude" is the worst - no, LW4, the reason people don't like it is because we're not turned on or are otherwise impressed by you and your boyfriend getting it on. Your attraction to each other affects only the two of you, the rest of us don't care. Odds are, we are grossed out. Get a clue.

timesnewroman

@wee_ramekin Agreed. The whole "we hadn't seen each other in a while" as if that was an excuse - what? Who fucking cares? So gross. The prude assumption is also awful.

funfetti

Walking home in fresh snow from a party was one of my top five activities in college. Everyone's still warm from drinking, crunching merrily back to our apartments, probably eating pizza.

Pygmalion

@funfetti It's just the best. I love the city in the snow at night.

rimy

Ooh, can we start a thread about people we CANNOT BELIEVE that we ever dated?

rimy

@rimy I will start - I dated my boss from a temp job for a few weeks. He was shorter than me, had tiny hands, a tiny darting tongue when he kissed me (ugh), wore neon pink polo shirts and plaid shorts, and was getting over his ex named Corey, who he would bring into the conversation every 5 minutes. One day he came over to the house where I was renting a room and told me it probably wouldn't work out in a very roundabout way, which I was ok with and agreed to amenably. He then proceeded to drunk dial me for MONTHS every other weekend or so, asking if I wanted to come over and hang out. Yuck.

rimy

@rimy (this probably says more about me at that point in time than anything else, namely that I was a lonely mess, sigh.)

Mira

@rimy I'm amazed you managed to get through a period of loneliness without hiring a prostitute!

rimy

@Mira hah. At least I didn't sleep with him. Also during that period of time, I dated a guy who hit on me at the mall with whom the only thing we had in common was that we spoke spanish (neither or us were hispanic though). On our one and only date I for god know what reason ONLY spoke to him in spanish and it was weird and awkward.

queenofbithynia

@Mira thank god most women don't have the problem of needing someone else, for a little while, to acknowledge our existence. But, unless I'm mistaken, we're not human, so that's to be expected.

RNL
RNL

@rimy I dated (briefly) a severely learning disabled construction worker. I mean, that's not that big a deal except I'm a highly cerebral literate type. He lived in this tiny basement room, and had a penis piercing and a huge tattoo of a zombie face on his torso. He kept trying to make me go to a fetish night with him, luring me with the promise that he would wear a kilt and a corset. I had to end it when he told me he took very serious anti psychotics "to help him sleep".

He was kind of sweet though.

Mira

@queenofbithynia We have our salad for that.

Jinxie

@rimy I dated a really boring drug dealer who was obsessed with tracking his bowel movements but otherwise had no interests or hobbies. We never went out. Never did anything but hang out in his bedroom and watch movies and occasionally smoke pot. The sex wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either, and after about 6 weeks, he stopped kissing me because "We're already having sex; kissing's just what you do when you're starting to date someone new and you want them to be attracted to you." Not only did I keep dating him for another 3 months after that, we only split because HE broke up with ME and then we wound up getting back together for another 2 months later that year. (I broke up with him that time, though. After I found out that he'd reactivated his dating site profile.) I have nothing to say in my defense except that I was really lonely that year.

fuck fuck fuck

@rimy i dated a PUA. for a year and a half. those guys are seriously drawn to me--i must come off as really vapid and insecure.

MailerMattDaemon

@RNL Um, I think I went on a date with this exact person. When he showed me his room, he had a bunch of whips hanging from the bed, and his displayed DVR collection consisted of two movies: Fight Club and Seven. He also had this strange, rocky sculpture hanging on his wall that he told me he liked because it "reminded him of the holocaust." Writing all of this down makes me want to reach back and slap my 22-year-old self...

like a rabid squirrel

@rimy I dated an art school dropout coworker of mine who was much shorter (and had a complex about it), had recently finished a bout of anger management classes, drank himself into oblivion almost constantly, and (this is the best part!) had a girl claiming she was his girlfriend MONTHS into our committed relationship. Also he once visited me at school and did not brush his teeth or bathe for the entire weekend.

I also dated a guy who told me that he didn't believe in monogamy AFTER asking me to be his girlfriend and telling me he loved me, told me that we could be monogamous for awhile but that I "could never stop him from cuddling with other people," and would have random crying breakdowns about small things that I said while telling me that I was being insane (or whatever other word he picked). He later thanked me for being "the sanest girl he's ever dated."

18-21 year old me was not the best decision-maker.

rimy

@fuck fuck fuck Aw, man...

I thought about including my abusive ex in this list but I feel that's of another magnitude. Basically he was my first Real Boyfriend (aka lost my virginity to him) but he was a total piece of shit. He had low self-esteem and the only way he felt better was by degrading me (insulting me to my face, in front of others, cheating, snooping through my things, standing me up, etc.) and I was so hung up on him that I let him get away with it. My friends lost a lot of respect for me during that time and my self-esteem was rock-bottom low. After we broke up he asked me to move in with him and of course I went for it!! Because that was the best idea ever! Ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh.

RebeccaKW

@Jinxie I dated a guy who I initially met b/c he was a barback at a club I frequented. Then he started working construction, and he lived in a shack for free, in exchange for making repairs (which never happened). He drove a motorcyle which he then traded for a Nova that didn't run and needed a new engine. He got fired from the construction job for sexually harrassing the receptionist (and I believed whatever lame excuse he gave). He got a job as a waiter, then was fired. Got a job at the arcade at the mall and then was fired and banned from the mall (sexual harassment again-WHY AM I STILL WITH THIS GUY?!). Got kicked out of his house for not making any repairs, and moved in with a girl who he worked with at the arcade. I also believed that he slept on the couch. Because he was employed but broke or unemployed and broke, and I was in college so also broke, our dates consisted of watching movies we already owned on the couch, or going to the bar and not drinking, while he played video games, using quarters I gave him. I did finally break up with him, after dating for 13 months. WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME!? Even now, 10 years later, I can not figure out what I was so attracted to.

Jinxie

@RebeccaKW Did he at least give good hugs? (Or, you know, have a big wiener?)

RebeccaKW

@Jinxie It was not big. At first, sexytime was fun. Lots of foreplay, making sure I got off, too. That didn't last more than a couple of months, though, even though we were still messing around almost daily. As time went on, though, sexytime got less and less. I told myself it was b/c he was depressed about no job. I'm sure now it was b/c he was banging other people while I was at school and work.

vunder

For LW1, you might have less issue with feeling ambivalent and what to do about it if you only date one person at a time? That's not coming from a place of judgement (date all the people you want, it can be fun), just from my experience in my 20s that I couldn't really build anything solid with anyone or really trust how I felt when I was trying to casually see more than one person at once. And when I was focused on one person at a time, I tended to feel surer about how I felt about them in general.

itiresias

My boyfriend has said he doesn't see much of a difference between seeing a prostitute and having a semi-anonymous one night stand. He has never had one of those, but has said he sees nothing unethical about seeing a prostitute as long as all of the conditions weren't, you know, fucked up. I have had a number of one night stands and there's a lot I enjoy about them, but don't think I would ever pay for sex. When he said this, because it came up in conversation once, I was taken aback at first, thinking he wouldn't be the "kind" of person to do that - but then the more I've thought about it, I guess there are a lot of similarities.

lasso tabasco

@itiresias Maybe... but in one situation, two people are doing it because they WANT to, in the other it is a man paying for access to a woman's body.

wee_ramekin

@itiresias Except that there is a huge difference between hiring a prostitute and having a one-night stand.

The person you're having a one-night stand with is CHOOSING to sleep with you free from any sort of monetary enticement, which puts both people in the arrangement on much more equal footing.

pterodactgirl

@itiresias I have to say, for me these two things are completely different. I suppose in a perfect situation (where the prostitute were just as empowered as the john,) it might be SIMILAR...but I believe that is rarely the case for most sex workers.

I suppose I'm with him in that I agree there is nothing unethical in seeing a prostitute as long as the conditions aren't fucked up, (which whole 'nother can of worms there) but I still hold that it is a different bargain. In the one case, both people are into it. In the other, only one. That for me is why it still seems like such a sad act, even under acceptable conditions.

pterodactgirl

@itiresias Sorry to comment again, but your bf's comment has really hit a nerve for me. I think if someone had said this to me I would really want to know if he views prostitution as being on the level of a one night stand (aboveboard fun for both parties) or if he views one night stands as being on the level of prostitution (nothing inherently wrong with it if you take precautions, but somewhat icky on some level--I hold only icky for the john, but many many people believe prostitutes are also compromising themselves. Does he?)

In the first case, which is what it sounds like, he's just wrong. Prostitution may be aboveboard in some cases, but is by definition only fun for one party. In the second case I would have some serious reservations. Judging people for engaging in safe consensual sex is not cool.

itiresias

@pterodactgirl Don't be sorry. I mean, I have a pretty cynical view of...most things, but I don't think there's anything wrong with prostitution and sex work in general if the involved parties are aware of what they're doing and okay with it. And that's the kind of situation i/we were talking about. And a one night stand is obviously choosing to sleep with you for the sex instead of a monetary value that they depend on as some sort of income, but at least in my life, I have one night stands when I'm bored and looking for something to lose myself in for a little while, and it's not about the person I sleep with so much as it is about the sex itself and me in the experience. If that makes sense.

itiresias

@itiresias Maybe it helps that the context of this conversation was getting a prostitue while you're single and in Amsterdam, so it would have been legal.

whizz_dumb

@wee_ramekin Yes. Well stated. Just the idea of paying someone for sex makes me uncomfortable, so I never have. The one night stands I've had were not uncomfortable, actually quite fantastic.

I HATE it when people say things like, "You're gonna pay for it one way or another." Trying to equate paying for dinner or buying gifts for someone you have sex with, and paying money for the sex itself is gross cynical logic. Dude, you just called your wife a hooker, what the fuck?

Urwelt

@whizz_dumb Seriously. I spend money on my bf because I like doing nice things for him and making him feel good. I spend money on haircuts because the stylist won't cut my hair otherwise. They're not equivalent just because they both cost $45, and if they were I'd be a shitty girlfriend.

thisisveronica

hey dude, 30 rock elaine stritch or cosby show elaine stritch? actually, never mind. both are too excellent -- how could you possibly choose?

Shara

I'm in the same situation as LW1-- dating a handful people, all of whom are pretty ok. One is leading the pack and I do have some feelings developing for him (after 4-5 dates), but I'm still not sure where it's going, or if it's gonna go anywhere. I feel like I have no idea what the correct strategy is here-- I've only been in serious relationships/marriage for the past 17 years, and as an adult, I honestly don't know how long the 'getting to know you but not yet in love with you' period should be. I don't know what this 'dating' is all about. Does the ambivalence after date number two necessarily mean that it's going to be an uneven relationship forever? Does it have to be fireworks from the start? Do you break it off if it's not?

vunder

@Shara There are no good answers to any of those questions! That's why it's all so difficult and mysterious.

megmurray

@Shara What @vunder said. I wrote above that I spent a long time in an ambivalent stage with my current boyfriend, wondering if I was feeling what I was "supposed" to be feeling. I didn't think I was where I was "supposed" to be, so I almost broke up with him. But we had some serious talks, and instead of coming away from them sad, I came away from them hopeful, and now we're in a whole different place.*

I will say that all along, my gut said to stick with it, even though I didn't feel initial fireworks. My brain said to my gut, "what are you doing? are we feeling the right things? at the right times?" and my gut said, "I don't know, but let's go on another date."

And now I'm in love, but it took 7 months. So, yeah, no answers here. Pay attention to your gut is the only good, if ambiguous, advice.

*Side note: in a moment of weakness I confessed to my mom that me and boyfriend were having relationship talks and she was like, "relationship talk? what's a relationship talk? I never had a relationship talk."

skyslang

@Shara . I've struggled wit this too. Basically I came up with one rule: keep dating if you're having fun. If not, stop. Dating should NOT be a job. Your social life should be about having fun and relaxing.

redheaded&crazy

@skyslang This one rule. YES. EXACTLY. Of course, I am having trouble approaching things being fun and relaxing about it, but I'm trying, really.

H.E. Ladypants

@redheaded&crazy Oh man, I totally understand that. If my boyfriend talks about dating, it's like he was having this great time and got all these good stories out of it. I, on the other hand, sound like I survived a war and am still coming to terms with it.

Jinxie

Oof. I will admit to still be super-sore/tenderhearted over getting dumped last week, but boy oh boy did A Dude's response to LW1 hit me where it hurts. I was the party who was at the "I love you" stage and apparently Manfriend was at the "I, uh, um, uh" stage ONLY HE WASN'T COMMUNICATING THAT TO ME. I went happily along for nearly two years thinking my boyfriend loved me because a) he'd said it and b) he acted like he did only to find out that he'd been having mixed feelings the entire time we were together.
People, please, please don't do this. If you're not sure how you feel - say so, out loud, using actual words. Do not wait until many, many months have passed to inform your partner of your ambivalence. Being rejected hurts at any point in a relationship, but that hurt only tends to get worse the more time has passed. Now, I'm dealing with the pain of a relationship ending AND the embarrassment of having been so outspoken about my feelings of love to someone who didn't reciprocate.

Jinxie

@Jinxie And, ok, I realize that the question of "Well, when IS the right time to tell your partner you're not sure you're feeling it?" is pretty much impossible to answer. There are too many variables at play for anyone to be able to make a hard-and-fast rule. Some general guidelines, I'd say, are 1) When the relationship becomes more serious, however you guys define that, 2) When one party says "I love you" or similar, 3) When, say, you've been dating exclusively for a few months, 4) I...could go on, but I'm clearly super-sensitive right now and taking this way too personally.

wee_ramekin

@Jinxie Oh darlin'. I'm so sorry to hear about your break-up, and the shitty conditions under which it happened. Internet hugs and sympathies. :(

Jinxie

@wee_ramekin Thank you, Wee One! It's been kind of a rough week for a lot of reasons, but the hugs are helping tremendously :)
And I have to say that this Ask a Dude and some recent posts over on Captain Awkward are helping me to stay strong and NOT send ExManfriend an email telling him how much I miss him. Because nothing good for either of us would come from that.

rimy

@Jinxie Don't do it! Don't make it worse - start spending your time on things that matter and don't waste any more of it. Treat yourself to something small, talk to friends, take a long walk, get a massage, but doooon't email him. My heart truly goes out to you and just know you deserve someone who is willing to give you their all.

wee_ramekin

@Jinxie Stay strong! It's so, sooooo hard, but stay strong.

This is so shitty now, but in the future, when you're with a dude who's just as bonkers about you as you are about him, you're going to look back and be thankful that you didn't stay with this most recent ex.

fuck fuck fuck

@Jinxie i just have to say it: THAT GUY SUCKS

joythemanatee

@Jinxie Big manatee hugs for you, sweet Jinxie. Obviously I can understand you feeling humiliated... but taking a step back, what do you really have to feel ashamed for? Being honest, open, and caring? Being brave enough to open yourself up to someone? Nope, all good things. So we're left with a jerkface who played your feelings, who wasn't brave enough to be honest.
I can only second wee_ramekin's call to stay strong... don't contact him. You don't miss HIM, you miss what you think you had but turned out to be a lie. You miss feeling safe.
Also... apparently I have some very strong feelings about this! Sorry if I'm projecting too much on you... but your story echos within me.
So, two things.
1. http://calmingmanatee.com/
2. Make something! Go to pinterest and pick a project that you can actually do with minimal monetary investment (make a pretty pinecone wreath! or a felt ornament! or pretty cards to send to friends and family!). The satisfaction of making something will be a great distraction.

wee_ramekin

@joythemanatee Girl, your whole first paragraph is gold. Jinxie, pet, read those words and take them to heart! You have nothing to be embarrassed about. Your ability to express your feelings openly and lovingly will stand you in good stead now and in the future.

angelinha

@Jinxie Agreed - don't do it - you will thank yourself SO much a year from now if you don't contact him. Any time you want to write him an email, write to your best friend, or to yourself - even write the email to him BUT DON'T SEND IT if you must. Future you is gonna be so proud of current you. You're gonna be great.

chevyvan

@Jinxie Dude, I have been where you are and it sucks so majorly. I am so sorry...hugs 4ever. Like the others say, STAY STRONG. My only mercy was that my ex-bf didn't pick up when I attempted a sobbing drunk-dial at my friends wedding (which he was supposed to escort me to). My feelings were "I am so in love with you" while his were, "well, I don't get tired of being around you, but now that I know how you feel I can't stand to be around you anymore." The sad thing is that I don't know if he's capable of more than that, and it's not just me being, "If he can't love me, he can't love anyone!" I think he really is a sad person, and my boyfriend now has such a big warm heart that I am continually blown away that I was willing to settle for anything else.

Shara

@Jinxie Oh honey, I know what you mean. Sorry about your breakup-- I had that kind of breakup in October. It was for complicated reasons (he doesn't want to date someone with a kid, he thinks he might change jobs and move, he is a workaholic) but the one thing he said that resonated was 'I just kept not wanting the relationship enough.' After 15 months of super seriousness. I felt like an idiot for thinking he was as committed as I was. I'm really sorry you're hurting right now. You already know this, but it gets better soon. Hugs to you.

e-liz

I feel like LW1 should also probably ask herself to what degree she is accustomed to the drama and emotional extremes of falling in certain types of love. I can imagine that someone who spent their early relationships feeling completely overcome with emotion - and then suddenly enters the casual dating world as an adult - would be underwhelmed by the lack of emotional intensity in this new phase of her life. I definitely had that experience when I was "dating" for the first time. The relationship I'd been in immediately prior was so intense (in good and bad ways), that no new relationship could possibly match it. It made it very difficult to accurately gauge how I was feeling about new people.

IDK, good advice on that one in general, but I think the context matters.

lasso tabasco

@e-liz YES but what does it mean? Are you supposed to keep chugging along with the okay-but-meh dates/relationships/people? I don't know.I get that getting older/more mature means toning your shit down and that not everything is going to or should be OMG SOOO IN LURRVE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT YOU but shouldn't you feel more than take it or leave it feelings? I don't konw. I'm still figuring this stuff out, too.

e-liz

@lasso tabasco I don't know either. I kind of think the best you can do is play it by ear. If you'd rather hang out with the person than go to the gym/run some errands/read a book right now, then go for it! If you're not at least equally interested in them compared to the other "kinda enjoyable" things you have going on, then it's probably not worth it.

queenofbithynia

@lasso tabasco "I don't know.I get that getting older/more mature means toning your shit down"

The older you get the more intense it is! Maybe not hormonally intense (although, also, maybe) but the more mature you become, the more powerful it is to fall in love. There's more of you, historically, to have the experience and feel the emotion. You've grown older, you're bigger inside every year, like a tree. We are expected to behave more sedately about it, because more allowances are made for people who are doing anything for the first time, but that's all.

H.E. Ladypants

@queenofbithynia That is a great way to put it! Is romance now as mind-bendingly thought occupying as young romance? Nope. But being held and told that all of me- all of me, years of experience and heartaches and being in the world- is of unimaginable value to another human? Bowls me over like nothing else. And the longer that goes on and the more that sentiment means just gives it more and more impact, not less.

like a rabid squirrel

An ex of mine told me that he'd slept with a prostitute during a period of depression/loneliness/general misery after a breakup. At the time, I reacted similar to the LW, but FWIW that relationship eventually dissolved because he was a misogynist man-child who consistently believed that every woman in his life should cater to his whims. While I was somewhat blind to this at the time due to how much I loved him, and did a lot of mental work convincing myself it was just his depression and loneliness, there is no doubt that many of his more reprehensible qualities ALSO fed his decision to see a prostitute.

I'm just saying that, when I look back, I wish I'd engaged in a little more critical thinking about the situation, but obviously this is just my experience and YMMV. Your boyfriend may be a wonderful guy, mine was not.

helix

LW5 here. Thank you, a dude, for taking the time to answer my letter. I really appreciate your input, and I'm SO grateful to have the chance to discuss it here with other 'pinners.
Also, you are a nice dude. Here, have a heart. <3

Ellie

I'm really surprised that everyone seems so anti-prostitution. Am I the only one who doesn't think it's a big deal? And is in fact kind of interesting? I have an acquaintance whose ex-boyfriend slept with a prostitute in Amsterdam and she flipped out, while I was super fascinated and wanted to ask him all about it. I don't know, I'm probably too influenced by "Paying For It" and John Irving novels but I don't really get what the big deal was if it was done in a legal context.

Leanne

@Ellie I am with you. I also am uncomfortable with the idea that there is a "kind" of person who would or wouldn't do something.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Ellie
If you're interested in Dutch prostitutes and/or the lives of Nigerian immigrants, I can't recommend On Black Sisters Street highly enough.

joythemanatee

@Ellie I agree with you. I think the first commenter on this thread has it right, that its really a question about ethics (sex slave vs. woman choosing to do this). If, like an example shared somewhere above, a woman chooses to be a prostitute to pay her way through school... who am I to judge?? Also, if I decide it is a-ok to do this, why is it bad for a man to take her up on it? It's tricky, and warrants some thinking on LW5's part and open discussion with her man... but I don't see this as an automatic red flag and/or dealbreaker.

Ellie

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Thanks for the suggestion! I'm half Dutch and that looks really interesting. Also, I didn't mean to imply that I think prostitution is romantic or something like that - I'm just curious and I don't have a knee jerk value judgment about people who would want to solicit it. I would imagine that most reasonable people who visit a prostitute would want her to be someone who knowingly entered into it, as opposed to being forcibly compelled, or in the most destitute of circumstances or something like that.

permanentbitchface

@Ellie I don't have a real problem with it, unless someone is forced into it, but I think there is some underlying issues here about women and it makes us a little squirmy. There's the notion that a woman's body is for the gratification of men, and the observance and gaze of men, and it sucks to think that I, as a woman, am thought of as an object a lot of the time. If someone wants to capitalize on that idea, that is fine with me. However, the fact that prostitution exists and is probably based off of these problematic ideas about women is enough to make a lot of people say, "ugh just no."

RebeccaKW

@Ellie I agree. Of course, I don't agree with people being forced into doing it. But I personally don't find the idea of prostitution to be negative. I am also curious if it is simply the act of paying for sex is what is off-putting. Like, if you date someone who slept with someone who's had multiple partners, just met them at the bar and went home with them, would that be okay?

Urwelt

@Ellie I can't speak for anyone else, but I could never be with or respect someone viewed sex as a transaction or women's bodies as things that it's reasonable to buy.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Ellie
Please let me know what you think of it. Personally, I'm not sure what I think, but the book is an amazing exploration of what it might mean to "choose" prostitution. (The book doesn't involve human trafficking, which is just too plainly objectionable to be interesting.)

Relatedly, I am very interested to see how decriminalization in Ontario works out. I hope it will make the world (at least Ontario) at least a marginally better place.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll
Not sure what I think about prostitution, that is. I know what I think about the book, and that is that I think it is amazing.

theotherginger

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll yeah I'm also interested. The sex workers I see on the streets seem to be in a bad place, and are alternatively harassed/ignored by cops (anecdotal observations from watching people work in former neighbourhood). All I can say is that I hope it makes their lives a tiny bit better. I think convincing cops that women who dress a certain way aren't sluts (also happened in Ontario very recently), would probably make the world a lot better.

victorian rose

So one time I met a dude online and on the eve of our second date I found out he was married. And so I cancelled the date. After calling him out on being married. And then a couple months later I had the urge to look him up again, and after some sleuthing found reviews he had written for prostitutes whose services he had paid for.

I don't know where this is going besides to say that there is a website where you can read and write reviews about escorts.

And perhaps the type of man that feels the need to review and rank prostitutes should be avoided all together. Particularly if he is married.

The end.

WaityKatie

@victorian rose Why is there a review site for prostitutes and not one for online daters?? We need to fix this.

victorian rose

@WaityKatie I totally agree. Unless I'm on the receiving end of a bad review. (and anything said in such a review would be patently false. i'm a wonderful date.)

redheaded&crazy

@WaityKatie this is such a good question. I considered creating a fake profile just to name and shame some of the truly awful assholes I've encountered, but what good would it do really? it would probably get shut down.

Myrtle

@victorian rose I like you, Ms V Rose. You are a keeper. But that online guy sounds like a sociopath, charisma and all.

Ellie

@WaityKatie I would love for you to be able to attach Craigslist reviews to your Craigslist ads. I have a few people I would give great reviews to and I would like to be able to attach their reviews to my ads. Or with other dating websites too of course. This is a million dollar idea!

shadowkitty

My ex admitted to visiting prostitutes. It's not what broke us up, but I definitely never looked at him the same way again.

Minx

Okay, can we take a moment to recognize that an alarming number of prostitutes are underage and an even more alarming number of prostitutes were forced into the trade or feel they have no other real options in life. Frequently most or all of the money they make is taken by someone who mistreats them.

Not to say that all johns are terrible people. Johns come in every stripe. There are some who choose prostitutes ethically (though many do not).

Nor is it to say that a prostitute cannot freely choose and enjoy the trade. Some do. But even in countries where prostitution is legal and regulated, illegal prostitution happens often, and the vast majority of prostitutes the world over do NOT feel that they can quit their job at any time if they want or that they can refuse to perform an act (even "normal" business people can refuse to work with a client, but many prostitutes do not have that luxury).

So all that to say, LW5's boyfriend might not necessarily be a bad guy (there doesn't seem to be a "type" for johns, exactly). But the sex work industry as it stands in the world right now, even here in America, has MANY problems and exploited people in it. The more people understand this, the fewer johns there will be who are not buying ethically and the fewer people there will be who treat prostitutes like they are dirty, worthless, criminal, or otherwise undeserving of legal aid and general human decency (hopefully).

Unflattering Hat

LW#5: Your boyfriend sounds nice, and heaven knows we've all done things we regret. There are times when paying for it can be so tempting, if you're really lonely (lord knows I've been there, I'm 33 and still a virgin). I've spoken with other guys who say that they prefer sex with prostitutes, which I find a little creepy, but they sound 180 degrees removed from the kind of guy that you seem to have found.

lostbyfindingit

to LW#5: I used to be an escort (prostitute) and I'm here to tell you that most men who see escorts are not creepy or gross. I was a high priced escort (200-300/hr) so obviously my clients tended to be engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc. Most of them were married, though about 1/4 were single. Only about 5% were what I would describe as creepy or having issues with intimacy. Most were just lonely and/or bored, stuck in a marriage they didn't like for various reasons (kids, finance), or they had a much stronger libido than their wife. The single guys I saw tended to be younger (20s-30s), often too busy with a high pressure job to meet girls, and they just wanted some easy, no-strings sex. Seeing an escort like me is a lot different than seeing a street prostitute. If your boyfriend actually saw a streetwalker for $40 a pop, then I'd be a little more worried. Those girls tend to be pretty nasty themselves. Seeing an escort is more like going on a date, and the girls tend to be classy, well dressed, and a lot of guys I saw spent more time talking than having sex.

That said, I would have a hard time dating a guy who had ever paid for sex, no matter who it was with. I could never comprehend, with my clients, how they could possibly enjoy sex when they knew I was only doing it for the money (I was a pretty good actress, and what I would say was, "I really like sex, the money is just an extra bonus", but who really believes that? I guess if they want to believe bad enough, they will). Someone who has paid for sex, whether it was with a classy escort or a streetwalker, is willing to objectify a woman, to separate the person from the sex act. I have had a wonderful boyfriend for 3 years and he could never pay for sex. I've only had one boyfriend who had seen a prostitute, and he was an abusive asshole, though I don't think the two things were related, other than the fact that he was willing to dehumanize women to get what he wanted.

But I wouldn't automatically rule out a guy just because he'd seen a prostitute/escort. I'd say that the younger, single guys I saw were sometimes the most objectifying -- since a younger, attractive guy can much more easily meet a girl at a bar or through friends, a young guy seeing an escort tends to be more sex-obsessed and much less interested in getting to know me as a person, whereas the older guys would treat me more like a real person, like they were on a date. The younger guys wanted to act out porn fantasies, not talk. They could find a date anywhere, what they wanted was crazy sex. The older guys were just appreciative that I was kind to them -- a 50 year old guy is not used to being smiled at by a pretty girl. The younger guys tended to be douchier, cause they're used to female attention and take it for granted. But every once in a while there would be a younger guy who seemed more lonely and sad, like he just wanted some human company. I have no idea what type your boyfriend is/was, but I would be wary of whether he sees women as things or as actual human beings.

Anyway, I can't really seem to come to a conclusion, other than that guys who see escorts aren't all creepy and gross -- you'd be surprised, you probably know a lot more of them than you realize.

timesnewroman

@lostbyfindingit Awesome comment.

TARDIStime

@timesnewroman seconded.

Lumpy Space Princess

Is that a picture of Jim Behrle?

Fluff

LW5, this is probably no comfort to you but here goes: I'm an escort/fetish sex worker. The guys I've met are the sweetest, nicest fellows imaginable. By and large, they hire me because there is something in particular they're in the mood for, not because they're sex maniacs or anything. Before I started sex-work, I assumed guys who hire women for sexual services must be lonely, desperate, bottom-of-the-barrel guys. Instead, I'm meeting guys I could picture myself dating.

aphrabean

@Fluff Man, I was single for nearly a decade, and dated a LOT, and the vast majority of men I went out with were not sweet, nice fellows. And it's not like I was into your stereotypically douchey types - if anything, my type was the generally progressive, soft-spoken, non-conventionally attractive fellow. A lot of times, they initially seemed nice, but then it quickly turned out that they were Nicetm & saw decent behavior as like. . . payment for services rendered. Like. . . heteronormative masculine training runs deep, and it is hard to break out of that. I finally found a funny, smart guy who is deeply and authentically kind to everyone around him, so I know they exist! It's just that they seem rarer than diamonds (I'm in my mid-thirties & dated above my age group most of the time, too, so maybe that accounts for some of it?) I'm just always astonished when women who are sex workers talk about all the respectful, kind, feminist male clients they have. WHERE WERE THESE DUDES WHEN I WAS SINGLE? What were they doing? Was I living in the wrong places? (West coast small town, mid-sized town, city, chronologically.) Are they all paying escorts? Is that what happened? I am genuinely curious!

Fluff

@aphrabean I know! These guys are more interested in hearing about my day and getting me off than the average guy I've dated. If you think that's crazy, you should meet some of the guys who frequent webcam sites. While there are a ton of pushy, irritating guys, there are also an abundance of funny, polite, highly intelligent and educated men who thank you very sweetly after they pay you to masturbate on cam.

u0301466

Ecopolitan EC is a 99-years leasehold Punggol EC development located at Punggol Walk in District 19. With expected completion in mid 2016, it comprises of TBA towers with TBA units and stands TBA storeys tall. It is situated right beside Punggol MRT Station. Future residents will be able to access the nearby Compass Point and Rivervale Mall which is a short drive away for some family fun and gatherings. A truly unique lifestyle awaits you.
Ecopolitan

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dockzy

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