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  #251  
Old 08-16-2019, 01:03 PM
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Damn, all this because one guy can't understand that there are varying degrees of good and bad and clearly some things are adding additional bad to the pile. Can't even ask for some basic civility around here without someone going "um, actually, I think even if he tried to be more civil, it would be grossly uncivil anyway, so why do you care so much?" It's not even about nate in particular but a request for everyone to stop using "that" in reference to people when typing or speaking aloud, and his post was used as a point of example. It's really not that hard to understand that this is about generalities and not specific posts.
  #252  
Old 08-16-2019, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
What do you think?

~Max
I think you don't need any of that crap to understand that one doesn't, in most contexts, use "that" for a person.

I learned that one somewhere around -- second grade, maybe? Maybe before I got to school. Neither nausea nor child abuse was involved.
  #253  
Old 08-16-2019, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by nate View Post
I could do that in my sleep. I'm talking about actual, real, attractive women, not pictures of them.
Maybe some habituation, or desensitization, like how they train people to stop freaking out over spiders, is in order?

I assume a significant proportion of your co-workers, and of friends you and your wife hang out with, are actual, real, attractive women? As for strangers, maybe start out watching television shows without losing focus. Then walking around town, and finally culminating with jogging / going to the gym / catching rays at the nude beach.
  #254  
Old 08-16-2019, 06:05 PM
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I'm reading through this thread now and it's absolutely fascinating and I'm trying to take it all in. There are so many posts I'd like to respond to.

I never would have thought the phrase "I'd fuck the hell of of that [shit]" would cause such deep discussion. To me, it's just a figure of speech I heard a lot during my formative years and has no deeper meaning than "I would put my penis in that woman, given the opportunity".

There are some really good posts in this thread that have helped me understand why a phrase like that could be really offensive, although I think it is being WAY over-analyzed given the 1/2 second of thought I put into it.
  #255  
Old 08-16-2019, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by nate View Post
I'm reading through this thread now and it's absolutely fascinating and I'm trying to take it all in. There are so many posts I'd like to respond to.

I never would have thought the phrase "I'd fuck the hell of of that [shit]" would cause such deep discussion. To me, it's just a figure of speech I heard a lot during my formative years and has no deeper meaning than "I would put my penis in that woman, given the opportunity".

There are some really good posts in this thread that have helped me understand why a phrase like that could be really offensive, although I think it is being WAY over-analyzed given the 1/2 second of thought I put into it.
Well, give or take one or two posters, I think most of the analysis boils down to "I'm getting tired of literally being referred to as an object, thankyouverymuch".

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Originally Posted by nate View Post
I could do that in my sleep. I'm talking about actual, real, attractive women, not pictures of them.
I'll be the first to agree that a properly attractive woman is the sort of sight that my mind singles out and draws attention to, but after that initial moment of noticing her my consciousness catches up and I don't drive off the road into a signpost like a cartoon character. If you really can't pull your mind away then you definitely aren't representative of 98% of the male population.

I think you actually can pull your attention away though; you just don't because you don't want to, and you don't personally find anything wrong with thinking of women as pieces of meat. That you want to fuck. Fuckmeat.
  #256  
Old 08-16-2019, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
Because her and she are the more normal and obvious words to use when describing a person. The deliberate substitution of a word that means THING, or the deliberate elision of she/her--which ever way you read it--is dehumanizing.
I missed this, sorry.

I have asked many others but not you yet. As I understand it, your problem with nate's use of "that" is that it is dehumanizing. I agree. I also agree with you that letting his distraction harm his relationships and endanger people on the road is a much bigger issue, but here I'm only talking about your criticism of calling women "that".

But even if he had said "her" instead, as he did when describing the documentary, he would still be dehumanizing women. Further, I take nate at his word when he says he is posting what is on his mind. I don't think he meant to d I do not doubt that he actually thinks to himself, word-for-word, what he wrote, nor that he thinks those thoughts are involuntary. I wouldn't say he deliberately chose to think "that" or omit "her" in his actual thoughts when distracted by attractive women. He had a choice in sharing those thoughts with this board verbatim, and I believe that is the act that you think is deliberate and dehumanizing.

I am not saying you are wrong to be more offended when he imagines himself thinking of women as "that", and I am not saying you should or should not be offended. I just want to know why you think it is more offensive or more dehumanizing. I have a theory going that your life experiences, or what you have heard of others' life experiences, inform your interpretation of words in an objectifying context. My theory is that you have been conditioned to be more offended when women are explicitly called "that" or "things" as opposed to implicit objectification, much like I have been conditioned to think curse words are more offensive in certain contexts than minced oaths.

For example, if the original post had written "that c**t", I would have instantly recognized how and why that would be more offensive than "her". Even with an undeserved presumption that "c**t" referred to anatomy instead of an insult, I would recognize that the word itself makes the objectification more offensive because, as I explained in post #233, we are conditioned to be more offended by such words in certain contexts (with the c- word, in all contexts).

I am asking for validation of my theory but that's not my goal. My goal is to understand you, not to validate or invalidate any theory. I can only speculate here since I don't know you. Maybe you think the words themselves have proper meanings in certain contexts, and in this case "that [body]" is just innately more offensive than "her [body]" because that is the state of the English language these days. If that is what you think, I must ask whether you think I just don't (didn't) know the proper meaning of the word "that" in context. It is possible and if you think so, I won't hold it against you. That is another explanation that I would understand, although I personally disagree with it, I would agree to disagree.

The harder I try to explain myself, and to acknowledge what I do understand, and what I'm trying to do here, the longer my posts get.

In short I don't think you answered my question. Do the words "that" and "her" mean the same thing in context? If so, what is the link between your being offended and differences in the normal and obvious use of words, when they mean the same thing in this context? Is not the original post just as dehumanizing regardless of the pronoun used?

~Max
  #257  
Old 08-16-2019, 06:45 PM
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I don’t think that “conditioning” is as strong a hook as you think it is. It implies something systematic and intentional.
Not necessarily intentional, but I do think people are systematically conditioned to react to language in certain ways. Specifically I believe conditioning affects which semantic definition applies to a word in context. Prior to this thread I was not taught, nor did I ever have occasion to learn, that using "her" instead of "that" to refer to a woman, if the sentence still constitutes sexual objectification, would make the sentence less offensive. I don't find this little rule in any standard dictionary and I don't have the "common sense" to figure it out on my own.

If you think language has intrinsic meaning (I don't know for sure whether you think that), it follows that I did not actually know the correct definition of "that" or "her" until Manda JO et al said otherwise. Which is fine if that's how you see things - I won't be offended, and we could agree to disagree.

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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
You don’t have to have been “conditioned” to respond to the word “that.”
The conditioning is not just to respond to "that", but to be more offended by "that" than "her" in a context where the sentence is offensive either way. I am not disputing that nate's use of "that" constitutes sexual objectification.

I did argue that a husband referring to his wife as a "that" can be done with affection, but that was a response to Broomstick saying it could not be so. Even then I realized that would be largely irrelevant and put my response in a spoiler.

~Max
  #258  
Old 08-16-2019, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
I think it does...

They're not semantically identical. "That" doesn't mean the same thing as "her" just because they have the same referent.
OK. I acknowledge that you disagree with me, or rather disagreed with me, since I now think conditioning can change the semantics.

To be perfectly clear, I am very confident that you think it would be more offensive - unacceptably more offensive - for a man to decide to say:
'Every time I see an attractive woman, I think to myself "I want to fuck the hell out of that."'
compared to:
'Every time I see an attractive woman, I think to myself "I want to fuck the hell out of her."'
It's not your main criticism of nate's post, but to you the word "that" is like insult upon injury, or at least that's what I think you think. My understanding of your opinion is that by repeating verbatim thoughts that objectify of women, the man is being unacceptably rude.

I am not saying that you are wrong, but I don't (didn't, because now I do) personally reach the same conclusion. I think both sentences are equally impolite because they describe sexual objectification of women. I try to empathize with the women he mentions, and as they and I are people, and I would be offended if I was objectified, I am offended when they are objectified. This goes for either variation of the sentence. I am not more offended personally by his choice to share his thoughts one way or the other, nor could I comprehend why any person would be - yourself included.

I don't have to reach the same conclusion as you do. This isn't a jury, and we don't have to agree on this particular count. But I do want to understand why we disagree. In hindsight, perhaps I should have made a separate thread. We're a hundred posts in, and I think I am close to understanding you, so I maybe it's too late to do that now... but if you or others disagree I'll make a separate thread.

My current theory is that you have been conditioned to respond to objectification via "that" with great offense, as if using the word in that sense was a profanity. That makes sense to me. I understand it, although it doesn't apply to me personally, I can empathize with that. Before, I didn't have the understanding necessary for me to do that. Now I do.

Unless I don't. I am still getting the impression that I just don't get it. I asked RaftPeople whether it was pointless to try and understand and the response (also [/B]Broomstick[/B]'s response) encouraged me not to give up.

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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Or at any rate using the pronoun for a thing makes it utterly clear that there's no acknowledgement of the person, while using a pronoun for a person makes it possible that there is.
I am quoting this out of order for flow purposes, but I agree with you and Ascenray about this.

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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Quoted for emphasis. All of that is true.
I recognize that you and a number of women are more offended depending on the particular pronoun used. A thousand apologies if I ever give you the impression that I did not believe your description of your own feelings.

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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Also this, and to further emphasize: it's not just one poster, or one thread, or one forum, or one message board. It's the total accumulation throughout our lives. Any individual person asking to have such things explained to them is being, as an individual, perfectly reasonable. But it's necessary to bear in mind that they may nevertheless be the three thousandth person to want that explanation from the people who they're asking -- and, for that matter, that two thousand of them might not have been asking in good faith.
I can see why you would be frustrated. I've had a very similar feeling when trying to explain something to kids. It's hard to tell whether they really don't understand, or if they are pulling my leg. Why won't this Max guy just... get it? If you (or others in this thread) want to stop, or if you want me to just go away, that's understandable and I will do so because I respect you as a poster and I'm not invested in this issue. It's not my post under the microscope.

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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
To expand on this, which is true: I wonder whether part of the problem Max is having is that he may think that what people are objecting to in the original post is that the poster has a quick immediate reaction to seeing attractive women that focuses on parts of the women's bodies, instead of on the women as a whole including considering their personalities.

That's not where the problem is. That sort of immediate physical reaction is as normal as getting hungry when one's belly's empty and one sees food; and is no more something that's reasonable to criticize. And I don't think people in this thread have been criticizing it (with a couple of possible exceptions in post 51 by CarnalK and post 121 by Max S, but I'm not sure whether that's what's being done even in either of those posts.) What people are criticizing is what's done about that reaction -- as in allowing extended major distraction to affect driving, leering, and one's ability to listen to others; and also as in the specific language being used to describe the reaction.
Bolding mine.

The only goal of my continued participation in this thread is to understand why you and others are criticizing the specific language used to describe nate's reaction. I agree with you that terminology takes a distant back seat to the public danger of distracted driving.

My post #121 only concluded that it was impolite (socially unacceptable) of nate to think lustful thoughts. I did not then consider whether lust is healthy or moral. In post #162 I suggested that "impolite language ought not to have been in his thoughts to begin with", which is a moral statement. Mijin quickly disagreed in post #164, and I quipped that it "might make for an interesting thread" in post #165. When I read Mijin's second disagreement in post #174 I scrapped that potential thread. Nevertheless, politeness came up again in Broomstick's post #232. My response in post #239 includes a short explanation of why I think it was impolite for nate to even bring up the topic of sexual objectification:
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
As for politeness, I think his decision to post about objectifying any attractive women is impolite, regardless of whether he actually does so or not. Objectifying any attractive women is disrespecting a class of women, and I would think a post about disrespecting women would make some women uncomfortable. Women are people and making people uncomfortable is impolite, in my opinion. Therefore nate was impolite when he decided to make his post.
I did not however make a moral judgement on the posting of this thread, I only gave my opinion that the original post was (and is) impolite. Neither do I seek moral judgement on that matter. I only want to know why you think the one word is more offensive in context than the other.

I see that you have made more recent posts which may address this question and will get to those as soon as I can.

~Max
  #259  
Old 08-16-2019, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Max. I think it's possible you're arguing in good faith and may just be confused.

But you need to be aware, if you aren't already, that this technique of hunting around to find some example, in any context whatsoever, in which an objectionable word or phrase is being used without some of the people it's used against objecting is a technique very commonly used in bad faith.
You're right. I should have cut that out as irrelevant. Sorry, Broomstick, thorny locust, and others.

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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
I don't see anything in his posts to show that nate cared in the least how his post was perceived by women; the apology reads to me as just a formal nod to what he thought was the theory that although all men, he assumed, knew this, they weren't supposed to talk about it.
Well, he knew women would read the post because he said "You women might not realize this struggle". If he thought for even a second why men aren't supposed to talk about women as sex objects (it is impolite and disrespectful), it follows that he posted despite knowing it would be impolite and disrespectful. That and the fact that his disrespect/impoliteness was towards a class of people was my point, in direct contradiction to the sections of Broomstick's post I quoted.

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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
But they don't have whatever meaning any individual human wants to assign to them at any given moment.
In all practicality I agree with you. I might disagree in a purely philosophical sense but I am not bringing that into this conversation.

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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
The meaning they have is assigned to them by multiple people over periods of years, often of centuries: and this meaning also includes the connotations they've picked up along the way.
I only half-agree with this. Each person has to learn the meaning of specific words on their own. There might be a culture or standard language that the person learns, but I think individual experiences can give words different meanings for different people in the same language and context. The same way the British see "wanker" as a highly offensive word, a profanity even, while Americans do not; the same way an African American might be offended when a white person calls them "n***a", but not when another African American does so.

~Max
  #260  
Old 08-16-2019, 07:54 PM
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I am not pursing this any longer. It's getting ridiculous. There is no need to delineate every conceivable situation in life.
Yeah, sorry about that.

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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
No, that's "sorry not sorry". It's a common lead-in to a question or statement that demonstrates bias. Related to "some of my best friends are X" before spewing something offensive.
OK, but even so he must have realized something in his post was impolite? Why else make the token apology?

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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
If by "behavioral conditioning" you mean "thousands of years of mistreatment, victimization, and social/legal disadvantage" then yes.
ETA: My long explanation is in post #248.

I think we're agreed! That's even better than understanding you. I'm so excited!

~Max

Last edited by Max S.; 08-16-2019 at 07:56 PM.
  #261  
Old 08-25-2019, 09:32 AM
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Here's a thought:

How often in a day does a women think about her attractiveness? That is really her thinking about sex.

Every time she changes her posture or facial expression to look better, every time she adjusts her clothing or thinks about how it fits, every time she thinks in a pleasant flirty way about how a guy might like her.. that is a way of thinking about sexuality that, in our culture, is open to women, right?

Or not?
Me Maybe once in the morning when I'm getting dressed for the day. And if I'm thinking "do I want the t-shirt with the map of the island, which is cool, or the older one that has a reproduction of a painting of north point?" I'm really not thinking about sex. Yes, I care how people react to the shirt, but I don't expect anyone to find either of those baggy t-shirts sexy. In fact, I expect both to make people think about the island and not about me.

I get the sense that you think women are constantly thinking about attracting men sexually. There are a lot of women out there. Perhaps some are. But I, personally, find this notion offensive. When I think of sex in random social situations, I am thinking "he's hot", not "does he think I am hot?" I am an actor in my interior monologue, not decoration for others.

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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Is it pointless for me to try and understand why others are offended while I am not?

~Max
It can be. Sometimes it's best to just observe that people are offended by something and change your language to avoid that. I say this from first-hand experience.

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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
...
I think that nate was after validation: that he wanted to come onto the Straight Dope and get people to back his theory that almost all men not only have objectifying sexual thoughts, but are entirely unable to control them; and that it's utterly normal for men to be unable to concentrate on anything else if they happen to see a woman who they find sexually attractive.

When that wasn't what he got, he attempted to double down on it, and said that the men who were saying otherwise ought to just admit that they routinely behave in the same fashion. When that still wasn't what he got, and instead he got advice about how to get his thoughts under control ranging from 'look in the other direction' to 'better get treatment for a psychiatric condition', he disappeared.
...
This was my impression, too, which is why I'm delighted that Nate returned. Nate, because it's a long thread, I'm going to repeat my point:

When you say things that might be offensive (and you guessed this, since you started with an apology) it's helpful to think about how others might react to the words you choose. Especially how "others" might react. Here, I think you only thought about how men might react to your thoughts, and you would have gotten a warmer reception if you had also thought about how women might read your thoughts.

For instance, doing another level of processing and talking about your reaction, not just describing it, would make it less offensive. Instead of "All I can think of is I want to fuck that", perhaps, "I am so distracted by my own sexual reaction that it interferes with talking to my wife and driving". They both say pretty much the same thing, but the second is more self-aware, and less crude.
  #262  
Old 12-11-2019, 12:40 AM
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This was my impression, too, which is why I'm delighted that Nate returned. Nate, because it's a long thread, I'm going to repeat my point:

When you say things that might be offensive (and you guessed this, since you started with an apology) it's helpful to think about how others might react to the words you choose. Especially how "others" might react. Here, I think you only thought about how men might react to your thoughts, and you would have gotten a warmer reception if you had also thought about how women might read your thoughts.

For instance, doing another level of processing and talking about your reaction, not just describing it, would make it less offensive. Instead of "All I can think of is I want to fuck that", perhaps, "I am so distracted by my own sexual reaction that it interferes with talking to my wife and driving". They both say pretty much the same thing, but the second is more self-aware, and less crude.
Sorry, I know this is a zombie thread but I was thinking about it today and decided to read some of it. I admit this thread was one of those things where it was too overwhelming for me to keep up with so I decided it was best to not reply which would dig myself into a deeper hole and resolve nothing. But I've been noticing more and more often on the SDMB which I've been reading since '99 is that discussion about offensive subjects is itself seen as offensive and I'd like to say thanks to the moderators for having patience with this thread.

I'd like SDMB to be a place where we can discuss things in a mature way, so if someone, say me, streams my inner dialog in a certain situation into a message, that the inner dialog may be offensive but the post and message shouldn't be. You can judge me by the transcribed dialog, but don't be offended by the post.

To reply to the above message, yes, I could have wrote it in a less-offensive way but it wouldn't have been an accurate account of my inner-dialog and honestly, would be less interesting to me or to anyone else reading. I believe reading one's actual thoughts on something is way more informative than a sanitized summarization.
  #263  
Old 12-11-2019, 05:29 AM
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... there was an attractive commentator (female) and it just sent my mind off into imagining having sex with her. It was distracting and I lost interest in the documentary.
As others have said, it's not discreetly admiring beauty that is your problem.
It's getting distracted - and you can change that if you want.

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Originally Posted by nate View Post
I think if men were completely honest, they'd admit of the same sort of thing happening to them. Like an attractive woman can completely distract you from whatever you were doing. And you don't have control over that. You can't power through it. It just happens and you have to recognize it for what it is and accept it and move on and try to get back to whatever you were focused on before.
Nah, you can learn to overcome that.
Look, I like watching 'Love Island' because it's full of stunning women.
But I can still switch focus instantly e.g. if the phone rings.

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I'd bet my life it's like this for 98% of males.
Not a good bet.

I've played in international chess tournaments and when a beautiful woman is playing I admire her looks. But I can keep my concentration and finish a game successfully (and the game lasts for several hours) ... because I want to.
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  #264  
Old 12-12-2019, 05:22 AM
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As others have said, it's not discreetly admiring beauty that is your problem.
It's getting distracted - and you can change that if you want.



Nah, you can learn to overcome that.
Look, I like watching 'Love Island' because it's full of stunning women.
But I can still switch focus instantly e.g. if the phone rings.



Not a good bet.

I've played in international chess tournaments and when a beautiful woman is playing I admire her looks. But I can keep my concentration and finish a game successfully (and the game lasts for several hours) ... because I want to.
I've always understood that was part of the difference between me and people who play in international chess tournaments.
  #265  
Old 12-12-2019, 03:35 PM
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1) Thinking how much you'd like to fuck someone is pretty damn normal. Women aren't thought police - we don't particularly care what you are thinking. What's gross is making it known when your opinion isn't welcome.

2) Why do you think women are never distracted by handsome men?

3) Implying that usage of a burka is justified, even partially so, because men then don't need to work on controlling their urges is disgusting. And it's not like rape isn't a thing in Middle Eastern countries.

4) This post is a clusterfuck.
  #266  
Old 12-12-2019, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Kovitlac View Post
1) Thinking how much you'd like to fuck someone is pretty damn normal. Women aren't thought police - we don't particularly care what you are thinking. What's gross is making it known when your opinion isn't welcome.
Being unable to think about anything else, on the other hand, is a hair unusual. And concerning from somebody who drives on public roads.
  #267  
Old 12-13-2019, 01:09 PM
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There are some really good posts in this thread that have helped me understand why a phrase like that could be really offensive, although I think it is being WAY over-analyzed given the 1/2 second of thought I put into it.
THAT, right there, is the problem. When people don't think twice about referring to a person as "that". A thing. We get that you didn't put any thought into it, and that is the problem.
  #268  
Old 12-13-2019, 01:11 PM
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Being unable to think about anything else, on the other hand, is a hair unusual. And concerning from somebody who drives on public roads.
Oh absolutely. After reading through a number of these posts, I was unaware just how much Nate was distracted by these women. I was thinking more along the lines of a momentary distraction that would be forgotten about seconds later. I was mistaken.
  #269  
Old 12-13-2019, 01:31 PM
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...To reply to the above message, yes, I could have wrote it in a less-offensive way but it wouldn't have been an accurate account of my inner-dialog and honestly, would be less interesting to me or to anyone else reading. I believe reading one's actual thoughts on something is way more informative than a sanitized summarization.
How much less interesting? How much less offensive? Did you consider how interesting and offensive women might find your post, or only men?

My real question is whether you recognize that women are people, too.
  #270  
Old 12-13-2019, 01:33 PM
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Speaking for [almost] all males is presumptuous


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I'd bet my life it's like this for 98% of males.
Are you familiar with the term “projection?”
  #271  
Old 12-13-2019, 01:37 PM
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1) Thinking how much you'd like to fuck someone is pretty damn normal. Women aren't thought police - we don't particularly care what you are thinking. What's gross is making it known when your opinion isn't welcome.
Yes, of course. I have to imagine that pretty much every adult human sometimes contemplates how much they'd like to fuck a random person who isn't their partner.
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2) Why do you think women are never distracted by handsome men?
Does he think that, or does he just never think about it, because he isn't very interested in the inner dialogues of women?
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Originally Posted by Kovitlac View Post
3) Implying that usage of a burka is justified, even partially so, because men then don't need to work on controlling their urges is disgusting. And it's not like rape isn't a thing in Middle Eastern countries.
Uh... yeah. When it's risque to show an ankle, men get distracted by ankles. When everyone goes topless men don't generally get distracted by breasts.

I think it's likely true that men need to work more on controlling their urges than women do. But you know, all normal adults can do this. That's why the OP has never been jumped in the men's room by a gay guy. That's why most adults can function despite being in proximity to people who are sexually attractive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kovitlac View Post
4) This post is a clusterfuck.
sigh.
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