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He Remembers The First Time He Had Sex -- He Still Has The Receipt
A paen to prostitution from a Brit on the Boston Craigslist. An excerpt:

The worst things in life are free. Value seems to need a price tag. How can we respect a woman who doesn't value herself? When I was young I used to think it wasn't who you wanted to have sex with that was important, but who you were comfortable with socially and spiritually. Now I know that's rubbish. It's who you want to have sex with that's important. In the past I have deceived the women I have been with. You lie to two people in your life; your partner and the police. Everyone else gets the truth.

Part of me used to enjoy the deception. There was something about the poverty of desire with one's girlfriend. Sex without betrayal I found meaningless. Without cruelty there was no banquet. Having a secret life is exhilarating. I also have problems with unpaid-for sex. I am repulsed by the animality of the body, by its dirt and decay. The horror for me is the fact that the sublime, the beautiful and the divine are inextricable from basic animal functions. For some reason money mitigates this. Because it is anonymous.

What I hate with women generally is the intimacy, the invasion of my innermost space, the slow strangulation of my art. The writer chained for life to the routine of a wage slave and the ritual of copulation. When I love somebody, I feel sort of trapped. Three years ago I was saved. I found a girl whom I could fall in love with ... and sleep with prostitutes with. She sends me to brothels to sleep with women for her. I buy her girls for her birthday and we go to whorehouses together. I am free forever from the damp, dark prison of eternal love.

A prostitute exists outside the establishment. She is either rejected by it or in opposition to it, or both. It takes courage to cross this line. She deserves our respect, not our punishment. And certainly not our pity or prayers.

Of course, the general feeling in this country is that the man is somehow exploiting the woman, but I don't believe this. In fact, the prostitute and the client, like the addict and the dealer, is the most successfully exploitative relationship of all. And the most pure. It is free of ulterior motives. There is no squalid power game. The man is not taking and the woman is not giving. The whore fuck is the purest fuck of all.

Why does a sleazy bastard like me like whores so much? Why pay for it? The problem is that the modern woman is a prostitute who doesn't deliver the goods. Teasers are never pleasers; they greedily accept presents to seal a contract and then break it. At least the whore pays the flesh that's haggled for. The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less.

But it is more than this. What I want is the sensation of sex without the boredom of its conveyance. Brothels make possible contacts of astounding physical intimacy without the intervention of personality. I love the artificial paradise; the anonymity; using money, the most impersonal instrument of intimacy to buy the most personal act of intimacy. Lust over love, sensation over security, and to fall into a woman's arms without falling into her hands.

Having an instinctive sympathy for those condemned by conventional society, I wanted to cross the line myself. To pay for sex is to strip away the veneer of artifice and civilisation and connect with the true animal nature of man. Some men proudly proclaim that they have never paid for it. Are they saying that money is more sacred than sex?

via DBCooper

Posted by aalkon at April 26, 2007 11:23 AM

Comments

Wish I'd written it...

Posted by: Rodger at April 26, 2007 7:35 AM

Lucky for the writer he wasn't caught up in this raid:
http://www.buffalonews.com/258/story/61429.html

Posted by: miche at April 26, 2007 7:58 AM

The fact that it's illegal to rent your own body out is obscene. Prostitution, when it's not involving sex slaves, which it mostly isn't, is a fair, free-market exchange.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 26, 2007 8:00 AM

Wow - I'm so glad I'm not a prostitute!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at April 26, 2007 8:20 AM

I agree with you Amy. You can sell your body for all kinds of abuse- think football, boxing, coal mining- but the minute there is some fun implied, it is wrong in the eyes of the law.

(FTR, I love sports.)

Posted by: miche at April 26, 2007 8:21 AM

True story:

I met a couple in Amsterdam; he was a cop and she had just started working the Red Light district. We were having a smoke together (not tobacco) and she explained her decision to go into prostitution. She said she worked when she wished, made excellent money, did nothing she was uncomfortable with, and was able to pick her clients.

She was stunning, smart and kind. I had no clue what she did for a living until she told me.

Posted by: miche at April 26, 2007 8:30 AM

I am living evidence that a person cannot change his or her sexual orientation, because after reading this guy's column I wish I could start batting for the other team. Unfortunately I think his desire for purely physical sex without intimacy is very, very common.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 26, 2007 9:37 AM

Very good point, Miche. Same goes for use of drugs. An H.L. Mencken quote comes to mind:

"Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 26, 2007 9:44 AM

This guy strikes me as the epitome of the narcissistic prick/aspiring artist type who wants people to think he's deeper than they are. Any man whose attitude about relating to women is expressed in terms of the "boredom" of the "conveyance" of sex does women a big favor by seeing prostitutes.

Posted by: justin case at April 26, 2007 9:52 AM

Thank you, Justin. "The slow strangulation of my art ..." *snicker* "The writer chained for life to the routine of a wage slave" had me chuckling, too. If he's such a great writer, why does he start talking about sex, then make a completely unrelated leap into talking about his job? Where is the cause/effect relationship there? How does sex with prostitutes keep him out of a desk job? Seems to me like he'd need a more reliable source of income, if anything ...

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 26, 2007 10:03 AM

Besides his personal attitudes towards women... I believe the main premise of the author's rant is about the dishonesty that underlies standard relationships.

Posted by: Joe at April 26, 2007 10:06 AM

It keeps him from an office job, because a regular relationship (live in or wife) places pressure on the need to settle down through mortage payments, car payments, children,keeping appearances, competing against family members, friends and neighbors.

Posted by: Joe at April 26, 2007 10:14 AM

"I believe the main premise of the author's rant is about the dishonesty that underlies standard relationships."

Surely "his dour perception of standard (heterosexual) relationships", Joe?

Unless - and I don't know, of course - you're going for a variation on the old 'most sexual relationships involve a bartering indistinguishable from prostitution except for the open naming of the terms' etc.

Which I rather hope you are not!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at April 26, 2007 10:17 AM

"It keeps him from an office job, because a regular relationship (live in or wife) places pressure on the need to settle down through mortage payments, car payments, children,keeping appearances, competing against family members, friends and neighbors."

I don't see "sexual fidelity" on your list, Joe?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at April 26, 2007 10:22 AM

Well, maybe dishonesty underlies HIS standard relationships, and certainly he's not alone in that. But I think he sounds like an asshole, and I hope my outlook on life never gets so low that I start thinking of that as normal. Every woman alive has probably dated a jerk like him at one point or another, and he obviously takes great pride in making it a disappointing experience for the other party.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 26, 2007 10:24 AM

Who says a regular relationship has to involve a live-in or a wife, just because it involves intimacy? Are there really only two extremes to choose from, with "controlling wifey" or "meaningless booty call" the only options?

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 26, 2007 10:49 AM

I agree Jo. The guy is a jerk.

Well, Jody, fidelity is fine as long as the frequency of sex doesn't diminish within a long term relationship. Or the terms suddenly change within a few years.

Posted by: Joe at April 26, 2007 10:56 AM

What too few women (and men, too, but in smaller numbers) realize is that sex is an integral part of a relationship. You can't just say "I'm done" or rarely be "in the mood" and have your relationship continue as it was.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 26, 2007 11:04 AM

Jo,

No, but the alternatives are very rare.

Posted by: Joe at April 26, 2007 11:04 AM

The other thing I have a problem with, in a number of letters I get, is people who won't have sex anymore with their partners, or won't have sex much at all, but refuse to let their partners get sex elsewhere.

Women got all this "training" from feminism in what their rights are, but along the way, the notion of how to have a relationship that works got lost.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 26, 2007 11:06 AM

But don't forget "car payments" Joe!

See-sawing "car payments" are the real bummer even if your married sex life is skipping along!

(I just thought your original tick-list was woefully incomplete!)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at April 26, 2007 11:08 AM

"You can't just say "I'm done" or rarely be "in the mood" and have your relationship continue as it was."

I genuinely totally and completely agree, Amy.

(Though car payments are important, too!)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at April 26, 2007 11:11 AM

> You lie to two people in
> your life; your partner
> and the police. Everyone
> else gets the truth.

And I'm all like, Huh? What kind of principle is this? Is it derived from older wisdom of the tavern, or did he pull it straight out of his ass?

> I am repulsed by the
> animality of the body,
> by its dirt and
> decay.

You could grow up. Just saying.

> What I hate with women
> generally is

We're all looking forward to his list of specifics, as well.

> The writer chained for
> life to the routine

Yeah, right. Cobblers, neurosurgeons and washroom attendants do much better with that shit... But for writers, it's just hell! Know why? 'Cause they're so smart! And sensitive!

> A prostitute exists
> outside the establishment.

Arrggh! Will we ever be free from the stupities of the 70's? What the fuck is the "establishment?" Does that mean hospitals? Or beet farmers? Or just the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures? What is this shit? It's exactly like when Jon Stewart was spouting off about "the corporations" a few years ago, as if no further specifics were necessary. Well, Goddammit, they are necessary. What the fuck is this guy talking about?

True: Prostitutes probably aren't paying their fair share of taxes, and they do terrible things to neighborhood property values, and they attract customers (often drunken and violent men) in need of fast, indulgent, base fulfillment. They ask nothing of men but a little money. Are we supposed to admire them for this?

> the most successfully
> exploitative relationship

And yet a sentence later:

> It is free of ulterior
> motives

As if, despite his writerly cleverness, he was unable to distinguish a mutually satisfactory transaction from abject exploitation. Because he's so aware! Because he's thought about it so hard!

> the narcissistic prick/
> aspiring artist type

I'm getting used to agreeing with Justin a lot...

> Which I rather hope
> you are not!

...But Jody still delights and surprises.

Posted by: Crid at April 26, 2007 11:27 AM

Jody,

I will admit the list was composed in a hurry. Guilty as charged.


Posted by: Joe at April 26, 2007 11:43 AM

Yeah, because women (unless they're prostitutes) are all conniving gold-diggers in it to suck the man dry and then move on. And after you buy them dinner, they still won't put out! And girlfriends are expensive!
Oh wait...except in every relationship I've been in, I've paid for the majority of all our activities, and on most of my 'first dates,' not only do I pay for dinner, I put out afterward, because I want to, not because I have to. Maybe there's something wrong with the type of women this guy picks to date, not women in general.
This guy sounds like a whiny, self-indulgent, narcissistic wannabe 'artiste.' And his writing is a metaphor-drenched disaster.

Posted by: amh18057 at April 26, 2007 11:47 AM

While I am an advocate for the legalization of Prostitution...I'm not convinced that this guy is an appropriate spokesperson.

I HATE it when an idiot loudly agrees with me in public.

Posted by: RedPretzel in LA at April 26, 2007 12:09 PM

"What too few women (and men, too, but in smaller numbers) realize is that sex is an integral part of a relationship."

Ha! Sex would be about half of my reason for even wanting to be in a relationship in the first place! Of course my views are very similar to yours, Amy, in that I don't want to get married, have kids, or even live with anyone. Any combination of the above three is about enough to kill even the hottest sex life, in my view.

I'm in my late 30's and going through a very long dry spell in terms of love/sex life - which sucks in some ways and has been unexpectedly nice in others. (It's kind of relaxing, and I've been spending more time with friends.) But I check out guys and notice a lot of good-looking ones my age who have been married since they were about twelve. (Okay, maybe 22 or so.) They're driving around in minivans with a (usually frumpy/chubby) wife and a litter of brats, and I'm like, whose idea was this???

Oh well.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 26, 2007 12:35 PM

I'm getting used to agreeing with Justin a lot...

We'll always have Iraq!

Posted by: justin case at April 26, 2007 12:40 PM

Personally, I'm tired of the deception in long term relationships. I have 2 non negotiable terms: No kids. No marriage.

My last long term relationship (2 years ago) agreed with my terms, until the start of the 2nd year of the relationship and then the M and C words started appearing. Normally, my response is quite simple: "Perhaps you need to be with someone who agrees with you." I recommend anyone to use that simple phrase. It is one of the best ways to defend your p.o.v. without creating a typical blow out of an argument.

By the 19th time of saying the same exact phrase, it finally sunk in that I wasn’t going to change my views on marriage and children.

Posted by: Joe at April 26, 2007 12:56 PM

So, Joe - do you think she was deceiving you all that time? Or did she start out thinking she would be okay with no marriage or kids, and then changed her mind later? Not sure how old you are, but I could see that happening with a lot of younger women. Not something to be mad about, but disappointing certainly.

I think it's cool that you take a stand on the issue. I have come to believe that most men don't really take a position for or against having kids, but tag along like pussywhipped dogs and do whatever the "little woman" wants. Which is just stupid, because nothing could change your life more than having kids, so take some ownership already! I don't think it's fair to the kids, either - kids deserve two parents who wholeheartedly and enthusiastically want the job.

Incidentally, there are men who are set on having children, too. I went on a date with one, many months back. I could only be honest and tell him my tubes were tied, and we didn't go out again. Of course, he was also a guy whose "faith meant a lot to him," and he probably wasn't too keen on my copy of 'The God Delusion' lying on the coffee table. Hee hee hee ... If he hadn't been such a genuinely nice guy, it might have been fun to torture his tiny brain ...

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 26, 2007 1:14 PM

I find this a lot, that women think they can "bring around" a guy...that the strength of their love will persuade him to change his mind. This "I can change him" thing seems very particular to women. Also, the notion that "I know what's best for him, and how can I make him understand what that is?"

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 26, 2007 1:20 PM

Amy, I don't think that "I can change them" mentality is unique to women either. In my 20's I had a string of relationships with men who seemed to think they were 'Enry 'Iggins to my Eliza Doolittle. I started having to be very clear upfront that "what you see is what you get, and no I don't want you to teach me the 'right' way to taste wine/listen to jazz/eat/etc."

Posted by: deja pseu at April 26, 2007 1:37 PM

But I am fond of saying that the very last quality you should look for in a mate is "potential."

Posted by: deja pseu at April 26, 2007 1:40 PM

The best matches are made when both people think they have done rather well.

(Well, that's what I've found. Then the trick becomes to keep it that way).

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at April 26, 2007 2:14 PM

That's hubby & me. We both think we lucked out big time.

And on the original topic, Bozo the John is indeed a narcissistic jerk. Better that guys like that do get their needs met commercially; keeps them out of the dating pool. (I may be happily coupled, but do still have some single friends.)

Posted by: deja pseu at April 26, 2007 2:17 PM

Wow, this guy sounds like a real jerk, but I'm glad he's found someone who will put up with him. I'm all about the legalized prostitution. Seriously, if I were hotter it would probably be my chosen profession. I can't imagine anything better than getting paid to have sex. (Except for getting paid to have sex that is always good and always with people you are attracted to.)

On the whole Married with Children topic, I personally never really wanted to get married and have kids, it wasn't on my to do list at all. But now I'm in a relattionship with a guy I really love, and I can't help thinking how great our kids would be. (Not that I think giving birth or raising them sounds like a fun idea.) He still doesn't want them, and I don't blame him. I'm just trying to point out that people's minds do change, just not always in the direction one might prefer.

Posted by: Shinobi at April 26, 2007 2:34 PM

Actually (of course), I've read studies on this: that people who match in value are most likely to stay together. In relationships where that changes - like with Reese Witherspoon and her husband (In Touch asked me about them and I thought they were goners unless he did some high profile charity work or starred in a Bway show) - they tend to split.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 26, 2007 3:13 PM

But now I'm in a relattionship with a guy I really love, and I can't help thinking how great our kids would be.

For me, a relationship with a great guy I love inspires me to want to spend lots of time with that guy -- not have kids so I can give him a whole lot less attention...but that's just me.

Lena and I once sat in a posh hotel lobby where bratty children were screaming and thanked ourselves for not having children. Instead, we have disposable income, vacations, free time, etc.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 26, 2007 3:18 PM

Jo,

My suspicion was peer pressure from friends and family. All her girl friends were all getting engagement rings and too many invites to baby showers. She was creative in talking about kids by stressing how cute our kids would look like if we had any. I should have amended my 'no kids' comments to include imaginary children.

She was originally attracted to my adventurous side and my travel experiences. Perhaps, she thought believed it was her duty to convince me to settle down. We started dating while I was winding down my trips to the M.E. and Asia. She was convinced it was in due to her influence. My decision was a little more complex than her influence.

At the time I was 29 and she was 35. Presently, I’m 32.

Guys will use the kids option more than the marriage question. When girlfriends first use the marriage question... what is the natural response from most men? Resistance and avoid a definite answer as much as possible.

Personally, I've never felt the biological need to have kids. Perhaps it comes from being a part of a large family. My family and past girl friends have always said that I would change over the years or I was being selfish. The complaint of being immature comes up from time to time.

Another phenomenon is becoming public enemy number one among my married friends’ wives. Plans that I had with my friends will be cancelled at the last moment. Excuses that they forgot about previous plans with their wives to do something else. Or you are invited to a dinner with other married couples and they are trying to set you up with their remaining single female friends.

Posted by: Joe at April 26, 2007 4:42 PM

Bad grammar moment: thought 'or' believed

Posted by: Joe at April 26, 2007 4:51 PM

Joe, if anyone again ever tells you that you're "selfish" for not wanting kids, please direct them to one of the many blogs out there written by people who have adopted from the foster care system. Read a few accounts of children who are struggling to recover from drug exposure in utero, physical/emotional abuse, and shuffles through the foster care system, and you'll start thinking the whole sterilize-people-until-they-prove-they-can-be-responsible-parents thing sounds like a good idea. (I mentioned one of these blogs in my comment on the religion post yesterday; there's another of many at http://baggageandbug.com .)

As for the guy who wrote this article...eh, he's just another guy who wants sex with no involvement, but doesn't want to be seen as a lesser person for doing so, so he dresses it up as being Highly Evolved, or something similar.

"What too few women (and men, too, but in smaller numbers) realize is that sex is an integral part of a relationship. You can't just say "I'm done" or rarely be "in the mood" and have your relationship continue as it was."
Amy, while I agree with you, I'll point that another thing that too few people realize is that acting as though you value your partner and what your partner does is an integral part of the relationship, and you can't just stop doing that because you've "landed" your partner. If you're a married woman with kids who gets up early to get the kids ready for school, works all day in an office, schleps the kids from pillar to post after school, runs errands in between, comes home, cooks dinner and then has to put up with your husband - who's just done the "work in the office" part of that day - bitching because GASP, he's being asked to load the dishwasher rather than heading straight for the TV, you're not likely to be "in the mood" later. Is there an issue out there with certain people drastically changing the amount they're willing to put out once they think they can get away with it? Suuuuuuuuure, and people need to quit it. But, on the flip side, there are also a fair number of people who don't feel like having sex with someone who they feel doesn't value them. I will give the writer of this column credit for admitting that he just wants sex and isn't willing to fake wanting a relationship, because I've known far too many people who felt the same way but merrily went into relationships, and then were stunned, STUNNED when their partners lost their sex drive after the facade of emotional intimacy disintegrated.

Posted by: marion at April 26, 2007 5:33 PM

This "I can change him" thing seems very particular to women.

This is the reason so many women endure relationships with horrible men who treat them badly, while surrounded by perfectly nice men.

I've never understood it. Never will.

Posted by: RedPretzel in LA at April 26, 2007 6:35 PM

"The fact that it's illegal to rent your own body out is obscene."

The truth is that we legally rent out our bodies throughout our working lives. Even the most knowledge-oriented task involves physical labor to some extent. For example, my eyesight is suffering from all the reading I have to do as an educator, and my wrists and elbows are creaky from all the writing. Finishing my dissertation in 2002 just about destroyed my knees, with the 17-hour shifts I was pulling in front of the computer. I'm ready now to shift the breadwinning burden to my genitals for a little while.

Posted by: Lena at April 26, 2007 7:19 PM

Well, the idea that true love is unaltered when it alteration finds dates back hundreds of years...and traditionally, women get more cultural pressure than men to stay unaltered. There's this romantic idea that Your Love can save someone. I think part of the problem is also that the first impressions we have of someone are powerful. If you meet someone who seems wonderful and treats you very well, and everything is great for a while, when the cracks first start appearing, often your reaction isn't, "OMG, what a worthless jerk," but instead, "That's not who he REALLY is! If I were just a better person, the real him would come out again."

Fortunately, many of us grow out of that as we move from our 20s to our 30s. (I certainly wasn't immune...in my 20s. Boy, am I glad THOSE are over.) The problem comes when we're still married to the not-so-good relics from the 20s...or when we just don't grow up all the way.

That having been said...just about every high-strung, manipulative, difficult female beeyotch I know is never without a man, while I know several genuinely nice women (and no, they're not unattractive) who are almost perpetually single. Women aren't the only ones ignoring the nice options around them for the difficult option in front of them. They just realize it more acutely later.

Posted by: marion at April 26, 2007 7:43 PM

I've talked before about being a young mother, and referred to my husband as the girls' dad, but what isn't generally advertised on blogs is that he is step-dad. (He has been in their lives since they were very young and he is Dad to them.)

I was divorcing when we met and neither of us wanted to marry (me again, him first) and neither wanted children together. After 4 years of dating I changed my mind and wanted marriage. I recognized that I was the one who changed the rules and we parted for a short time. Obviously we worked it out, and we still don't want to have children 'together'.

I didn't try to change him, he didn't try to change me, and we work everyday at putting each other first. It's been 10+ years now and we are more attracted to each other than ever. (Though the heightened attraction is probably due to the fact that we are no longer young and work our asses off in the gym. Oh, and the girls are old enough to understand that the bedroom door is locked because we don't need their company.)

Posted by: miche at April 26, 2007 7:49 PM

we don't need their company.)
That looks bad on screen: What I mean is the oldest no longer lives at home and the little one is old enough to understand that a married couple needs time alone.

Posted by: mic at April 26, 2007 7:55 PM

Hey marion, I've been having a really hard time finding a dude that wants to adopt. Generally they tell me they either want biological or no kids. One answer was "Yeah we could adopt if we cant make one. Otherwise HELL NO"

Posted by: PurplePen at April 26, 2007 10:05 PM

I agree Marion.

Working 9 years for a science related NGO as selfish? Besides my time in the Middle East... there were periods in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

A lot of guys have personal hang ups about a women's sexual past. Personally, it doesn't phase me at all. The past is irrelevant, unless it involves STDs or mental problems associated with the actions. If she doesn't feel any sense of shame or guilt, it is fine with me. But it goes both ways. Funny thing, most of my past girl friends would always share their dark past while I was driving. Is there some kind of insider information you ladies share?

My dating cycle goes into active and intentional single/independent periods. Where I can concentrate on my work, passions and friendships. It is quite similar to Jo’s comments earlier.

Posted by: Joe at April 26, 2007 10:26 PM

Regarding the sharing the dark past thing (tacky, tacky!) as I wrote in my column for this week's deadline:

Disclosures about one’s sexual history should be made according to a modified version of the old “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” -- with the caveat, “unless what happened in Vegas can cause big purple boils to form on your partner’s upper lip.”

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 26, 2007 11:15 PM

PurplePen: Sorry you're having problems with that, but you're right to hold out for a guy who is definitely okay with adoption, if that's what you want to do. Adoption, like all good things, carries its own specific set of challenges in addition to its own specific set of joys, and some people are REALLY not equipped to handle that.

Agree on the sharing of the past thing. I see it as part of this modern delusion that one must be 100% open about EVERYTHING with one's romantic partner AT ALL TIMES. Nein. God knows that lying is bad, but telling the truth and nothing but the truth doesn't mean telling the whole truth...with one exception. If you have ever slept with a friend/relative/coworker of your partner, and he/she doesn't know, informing is good. Otherwise? That's what STD testing and condoms are for.

Posted by: marion at April 26, 2007 11:29 PM

"My family and past girl friends have always said that I would change over the years or I was being selfish."

Here's something to try: Ask these people why they had/want kids and see if they give you one reason that isn't selfish on their part. Hell, just asking them why they had kids will leave them gasping like a fish that's been pulled out of water.

They won't waste a moment asking you why you DON'T want kids, but for some reason they are caught off guard when asked the same thing in reverse. I'll bet you five bucks that 90% of the time their answer is "I don't know." And they don't, that's the thing! Having kids is assumed to be a default setting, and any deviation from the default needs to be explained, yet having that as your default setting in the first place is never questioned.

Drives me batty. Obviously.

As to those foofy-girly wedding plans, I used to work with a bunch of catty, early-20-something girls who were all engaged at the same time and trying to outdo each other. It seemed to me that they were only stressing themselves out, and at great profit to the wedding industry. The whole thing seemed superficial and was a major turn-off to me.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 27, 2007 10:24 AM

Great idea, Pirate Jo, asking them their motivation. I have to try that sometime.

The best thing about being no fan of marriage is getting invited to very few weddings. I loathe the really overdone ones especially.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 27, 2007 11:33 AM

Ask these people why they had/want kids and see if they give you one reason that isn't selfish on their part. Hell, just asking them why they had kids will leave them gasping like a fish that's been pulled out of water.

Or they will be honest and tell you they want someone to care for them when they are old. (Very, very selfish in my opinion.)

Posted by: miche at April 27, 2007 11:49 AM

BTW Amy, great response to the "boyfriend may be a predator" idiot.

Posted by: miche at April 27, 2007 11:51 AM

"Or they will be honest and tell you they want someone to care for them when they are old. (Very, very selfish in my opinion.)"

Selfish indeed! And not guaranteed to work, either. Just look at the old people who are forgotten in nursing homes. If it's old-age care you are looking for, skip the kids and save your money. Then you can afford to hire someone good-looking to change your diapers.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 27, 2007 12:13 PM

Thanks, Miche. I'll be able to post it here in a few weeks.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 27, 2007 12:23 PM

Then you can afford to hire someone good-looking to change your diapers.

Oooh from prostitution to fetishes. ;o)

Posted by: miche at April 27, 2007 12:39 PM

"please direct them to one of the many blogs out there written by people who have adopted from the foster care system. Read a few accounts of children who are struggling to recover from drug exposure in utero, physical/emotional abuse, and shuffles through the foster care system"

Marion,
You are absolutely right. I adopted an older child from a background similar to many of the options you listed. What is amazing is how MANY kids are available. My son's adoption, honestly, was not intentional...meaning I wasn't looking to adopt; but, you know how life is and the story is too long to go in to....the point I am trying to make is this: Procreation is one of the biggest responsibilities I can think of. It is amazing to me how genuinely and unapologetically selfish people can be when they do it.

Posted by: kg at April 27, 2007 12:54 PM

I agree Amy and Marion.

Most of the times it was the girl friend who had the burning desire to confess to me. After her confession.... she would expect one from me. My standard response was, "Its my past, not our past." Of course in the mind of a really insecure person, that is the equivalent of hiding something.

Jo,

The family pressure for me to get married and have kids has waned, because of a mean joke I played on them during a large reunion.

The usual suspects were pressuring me about my future plans. Stop being a bachelor. Are you gay? Its okay if you are and so on. One aunt went on about kids. So I blurted out that I may already have 2 or 3 kids. The stunned looks and then the group silence. Then I continued on about needing money for an expensive text book for a class in college. A sperm bank paying for donations. Their stunned looks continued, but you can hear a series of gasps. One of them went on about why didn't I call and ask for the money. I didn't want to be a burden. Went on about the procedures of being paid in installments over numerous donations over an eight month period. Then I finally told them: Gotcha!

That was 4 years ago and the pressure has reduced to questions about dating and relationships.

Posted by: Joe at April 27, 2007 12:57 PM

For some years, it's been considered officially hopeless in my family to convince me to:

1. Marry.
2. Live in suburban Detroit.
3. Do something sensible for a living.
4. Join Temple Beth El.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 27, 2007 1:16 PM

'Disclosures about one’s sexual history should be made according to a modified version of the old “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” '

I learned how true that was with my first boyfriend. I was stupid enough to tell him I'd been with 2 other guys before meeting him. He wa a virgin and couldn't get over it. He bugged me about it until I broke up with him and then he wanted to know why I broke up with him!

I think some women like doing the confession bit because they think it increases intimacy. Obviously, the opposite is true.

Posted by: Chrissy at April 27, 2007 1:35 PM

Thanks, Chrissy. That's why I felt it was super-important to remind women of that -- as I have in columns before a number of times. Women don't understand how visual male sexuality is -- a guy who's jealous is likely to see "the dirty pictures"...over and over and over again. Of course, a guy who's jealous is to be avoided in the first place, but even an ordinary guy is not going to be benefited by this information. And frankly, the less anybody knows about a person's ex, in terms of details, the better.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 27, 2007 1:49 PM

You're welcome, Amy. I'm glad you keep telling these naive women to keep their sexual history private, for their own good, and maybe some of them will listen.

Guys are way too competitive with each other to think straight when it comes to 'their' woman. People aren't that much different from the mammals on Animal Planet. Look at the lengths male mammals go to protect their females from other males, especially the older males trying to keep the younger males away.

I think that's part of the reason women are socially conditioned not to date men younger than themselves. It makes no sense, especially when the younger guys have the social prestige and resources that women generally feel comfortable with.

My friend is dating a 47 year old guy (she's 40) who is not even divorced yet, unemployed, and financially ruined from his divorce, and has 2 kids to help support. I date guys who are younger than me, who are single, financially sound, and gainfully employed; yet she looks down her nose at me and asks me when I'm going to get serious and date within my age range. I keep asking her why I should discriminate soley based on age, and she hasn't got a logical answer. I just tell her she's been brainwashed.

After that experience with my first boyfriend, I would never answer the question, and eventually I was dating guys that didn't ask. I don't even tell most other women the number of guys I've been with, because everyone is way to ready to judge you.

I think with most people it's just jealousy. Some think that you don't have any standards, but if you have lots to choose from, you can pick the best of the best and still keep pretty busy.

Posted by: Chrissy at April 27, 2007 4:41 PM

I agree with the Pirate. Sex is half the reason that I want to be in a relationship, and I appear to be in the minority with my female friends. They seem more interested in playing house, and the sex is not important to them. They see it as pretty much the only way to keep the guy around to play house with them.

I am having a lot of fun looking for my match, and I'm not going to settle just so that I'm in a relationship. It's got to be half friendship and half hot sex; otherwise I'm staying single!

Posted by: Chrissy at April 27, 2007 5:05 PM

Some think that you don't have any standards, but if you have lots to choose from, you can pick the best of the best and still keep pretty busy.

I was sitting with hubby (the man I bared all (I remembered) to thinking honesty was necessary) the other night watching Deja Vu (speak french, but can't type it)and I remembered that I dated a Navy Airman for a couple of months. Good sense took over and I laughed about my goofy past to myself.

He would die if he knew that I forgot some sexual relationship.

Posted by: miche at April 27, 2007 5:06 PM

My sentiments exactly, through a male's perspective.

One of the best and significant relationships I had was with a woman who was 12 years older than me during my early 20s. I highly recommend it for mature young guys. If both are centered and able to deliver to one another... it will work out. Get over the bumps caused by the stares from others. Understand there is more negative pressure placed on the woman.

Both men and women are biological creatures of habit, but we can connect the dots. Unlike our counterparts from the animal kingdom.

Posted by: Joe at April 27, 2007 7:56 PM

I'm glad that Joe and miche could connect with my experiences. I'm feel like I'm pushing the envelope in the relationship/sexual area, and it's pretty interesting what you learn about yourself and other people by doing this.

Just for the record, I don't have anything against guys my age (48). Just compiling the statistics on my own experiences.

Posted by: Chrissy at April 29, 2007 2:44 PM

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