MRAs of Savage Love: Seandr, the asshole from Seattle

Well it finally seems like that Quinnspiracy thing is simmering down. #gamergate’s been discredited, Zoe Quinn’s back to making games, and Eron Gjoni is still (*still*) defending himself/pining away at his Twitter account. The FBI is on the case, and all’s right in the world.

But a woman’s work is never done; and that goes double when the work in question is writing about misogyny. So we’re back with the next installment of my little series “MRAs of Savage Love”, documenting their sexist, faptastic and often off-topic advice.

Before I begin, you might be asking “But Idle, why waste your valuable writing time on these douchebags? It’s just the comments thread; any idiot can write any foolish thing there. Dan Savage himself usually gives great advice.”

Dear reader, you’d be right: as MRAs go, those on Savage Love are neither particularly caustic or obvious in their prejudice against women. It’s more “yes but” and “if only she…” kind of sexism, the soft-sell where it seems like the advice giver is really doing their best thinking. (Also the Stranger might ban them if they called women “cunts”.) Paradoxically, this makes SLMRAs insidious, because actual women have been known to actually write Dan looking for advice about boyfriends who behave in a manner these shitlords condone.

My concern is that a woman writing Dan for advice might actually read what these jerks are writing her, and not knowing any better take it to heart; and rethink leaving that abusive alcoholic, or the man who torments them by bringing up their sexual history. Heaven forbid these people writing letters in good faith might actually think this faptastic, wrong-headed ‘advice’ is actually useful in some way. To these jerks, the actual problems of LWs are twisted around the warped image of sex&gender they carry around in their heads. That’s why I write about these winners.

This brings us to today’s guest: a delightful fellow named seandr. IRL, seandr seems like the kind of guy who seems alright until you invite him to the neighborhood block party; but once he gets a few drinks in him reveals himself to be that guy. (The one who makes eyes at lesbians, and talks about “the wife” (his wife) as if she’s a soft furnishing.)

About half the time he gives what I’d call ‘faptastic’ advice, like this advice he gave to an uncircumcised man who comes too soon: (as always, the bold is my emphasis)

UNCUT: You’re 20. I could only last 3 minutes or so when I was a youth in my first LTR. Next woman I slept with, I could suddenly last as long as I wanted. The intervening dry spell and being with a new partner seemed to allow my brain to break out of the pattern that had been established in the previous relationship.

Enjoy your sensitive dick – it’s a gift. The solution to your problem lies somewhere in your head. With luck, you’ll eventually stumble upon it.

P.S. I’ve found talking during sex allows me to fight back untimely orgasms. Dirty talk, clean talk, or words of encouragement if she’s close to coming. Maybe that or something similar will enable you to pull yourself out of your head when you feel one coming on.

Is it the advice the reader asked for? Yes. It’s also an excuse for seandr to play show and tell with his penis and discuss all the sex he has with women. You wonder if he’s compensating for something?

But that couldn’t be. Seandr gets all the sex, because he talks about it even when his sex life isn’t the topic at hand. Here, he turns a discussion about Ray Rice into one about how his girlfriends all beat him:

At the start of the video she backhands him in the face, and she was coming at him again when he hit her. I guess we’re just gong to pretend those things didn’t happen?

A man should never hit a woman under any circumstances. But a woman should never hit a man. It’s hard for me to cast a woman like Janay as “battered victim” when she obviously feels entitled to hit him whenever the whim strikes.

I’ve experienced a number of domestic violence incidents in my life, all at the hands of my female partners. I’ve been clubbed in the back of the head (in public!) with a backpack full of books while trying to walk away from an argument. I’ve been surprise attacked with a volley of punches while sitting at my desk working, and another time while I was sleeping. Yes, sleeping. I’ve been shoved. I’ve had a book thrown at me. I’ve been blocked from exiting rooms.

Apparently, like Janay’s backhand, those incidents don’t really count.

Apparently in seandr’s world, having a book thrown at you or being prevented from leaving a room is comparable to being cold-cocked by a person fifty pounds heavier than you. Glad we cleared that up.

And seandr would know about starting catfights; even the lesbos want a piece of him!

@seatackled: I see. So I deserved to be attacked by my girlfriends because one night a lesbian friend and I flirted and made googly eyes at each other?

Please, do the right thing and remove yourself from the dating pool.

To which I say: cool story, bro. But don’t let my write-up make you think seandr hasn’t got any humility:

@seatackled: you gave no reason for anyone to think that there’s any verbal expression of consent.

Consent for what? Enjoying each other’s company? Laughing at each other’s jokes? Appreciating a moment of mutual attraction? What in the fuck are you talking about?

If you’ve never had the experience of gazing into the eyes of a woman who’s been taken in by your charm, bummer for you.

The irony here is that I am the King of not approaching women who have given me obvious indications of interest. Something about that dynamic makes me very nervous. In fact, on many occasions, women have lost patience with my inaction and taken matters into their own hands (although most of them just give up).

There are many more kinds of men in the world than you seem to think there are.

Have you, seandr? Had ‘the experience of gazing into the eyes of a woman who’s been taken in (nice passive) by your charms’, that is? Or do you just stare at them, livid with jealousy? Because there’s something weird how he writes as if the letter writers are not having sex with other people, but with him:

@LavaGirl: And you say it’s her problem for having limits and it makes her bad in bed?

A woman can set whatever limits she wants around her sexual repertoire, but I’m not going to give her a medal just for showing up.

He also has the charming habit of calling women who disagree with him “babe”, as if they too are dating him. This is why seandr’s an MRA: the way he puts down women (both LWs, commenters, and those in the public eye) his relentless opining about his own sex life & sexual history belie the premise that he sees women as his equals, and not as living sex toys for his consumption.

As an example, let’s look at this post where seandr discusses porn and feminism (the double whammy!) There’s even mansplaining!

@LavaGirl: you lump Feminism with the Tea Party?

I haven’t “lumped” anything. I’ve simply named them both, along with Christianity, as examples of doctrine.

” irrational biases” you say, about what?

Women who hate men, for example, can find ideas that resonate in some feminist writing. Of course, this example only works if you believe that hating men is an irrational bias.

You think porn shows men how to treat women as they want to be treated ?

Huh? Sorry, babe, but given the endless variety of women out there, there’s really no such thing as How Women Want To Be Treated. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had sex with two women who wanted to be treated exactly the same way. Of course, you’d have to be the sort of person who fucks women to know this.

There’s also an endless variety of porn out there, and the savvy porn consumer can definitely borrow ideas to enhance his woman’s pleasure. Many times I’ve sat in front of the computer, dick in hand, watching a scene and thinking “Hmm, that’s interesting, I wonder if she’d enjoy that.” Sometimes she has.

Finally, I’ve been with women who were turned on by their ability to turn me on, and porn has definitely helped me identify what turns me on.

Hmm. I can’t decide which mental image he’s provided with sums him up better: seandr as the guy in front of a computer beating off; or seandr, the guy who repeatedly reminds you he has sex with women. His casual condescension is so irritating that part of me isn’t surprised that his *numerous* girlfriends have a tendency to lose their shit and want to beat him senseless. If I had the misfortune of dating this oppositional, mansplaining jerk I might lose my shit too.

– Caroline.

Advertisements

MRAs of Savage Love: “For Better or Worse”

Correction: Philophile is a woman. The double standard inherent in her opinion of what this put-upon mother of two should do remains strangely vindictive. Corrections have been made in bold. – ID

 

Good Morning, everyone. Now that my hickey is healed, and I got myself four new ones, I’m ready to start blogging again. Let’s introduce today’s Savage Love Letter; titled “For Better or Worse”.

To Have And To Hold (or THATH, for short) is a woman of an age with two young children. She has been married to an alcoholic man for nearly two decades. In this time, his drinking problem has only worsened; making him worse than useless in bed. In THATH’s own words, he

has no sexual urges and never—NEVER—responds to me any more… There is no foreplay; he is not actively engaged. We don’t even kiss deeply. It has become progressively worse with every passing year.

Wow, that sounds terrible. Staying married to this guy sounds like picking up after him all day, every day, while he “drinks until he passes out.” In her letter, THATH notes that she’s taken over the family finances because her husband was evading “creditors and the IRS”; if that’s not picking up after your man I wouldn’t know what is. And to THATH’s credit she’s preparing to take the kids and go unless her husband makes some big and unlikely changes.

The issue which THATH is concerned about it that she found someone else, and is seeing him on the side. In her letter, THATH writes:

I go to Al-Anon and have been secretly seeing another man. We met online; there are no strings and no future so it’s casual and refreshing. The sex is very good—he’s enthusiastic and grateful—and the conversation is even better. I know this makes me a CPOSbut I am so desperate and lonely. He makes me feel strong and beautiful and worthy of love.

Dan, I just want your opinion. I made this bed—do I really have to lie in it? Does “for better or worse” mean that I have to stand by a selfish bastard of an alcoholic? Am I a hypocrite for attending counseling with him, knowing that, unless he has some enormous turnaround, I’m going to leave him? – THATH

Dan’s advice: You’re not a CPOS, and you’re not required to stay married to your husband.

JJinAus’s amusing advice:

Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnn!!! Now! This train wreck is only starting, it’s going to get worse.

Other advices: THATH should get a lawyer, not a boyfriend; and start making moves towards divorce. But today’s guest, Philophile has a slightly different opinion of what’s going on here; that THATH’s “dishonesty in counseling” totally “defeats the point”. Of what, I’m not sure. But let’s read:

"If that's the only way he can have sex with her, then didn't she abandon the sex life... otoh If they agreed to see other people he may discover he likes sex again too. And dishonesty in counseling does defeat the point, I don't think this is giving him a last chance."

“I don’t think this is giving him a last chance.” – Philophile, pitying a drunkard for driving his wife away with his heavy drinking.

Philophile seems to think that because THATH could get some miserably boring-sounding sex out of her husband a few times a year, that’s the “way he can have sex with her”, and it’s really THATH who’s pulling away, not her husband.

“If that’s the only way he can have sex with her, then didn’t she abandon the sex life…”

-Philophile, implying there’s only one way this man can has sex.

Translation: if THATH’s hubsand can has sex with her with the vigor of a piece of dead wood then THATH should be trying her mightiest to right what’s wrong in their sex life. And maybe, Philophile writes, the problem is THATH:

“if they agreed to see other people he may discover he likes sex again too.”

-Philophile, blaming THATH for her husband’s poor libido.

In Philophile’s reckoning, THATH may be miserable, but her husband is miserabler:

"I fail to see how trying to end a marriage or ending an unfortunate sex life is a last chance. With the lying on top of that... Why hold him back from moving on anymore? He sounds miserable." - Philophile, dispersing blame onto THATH.

“Why hold him back from moving on anymore? He sounds miserable.” – Philophile.

Um, Philophile; I don’t think THATH is “holding [her husband] back” from anything other than blackout intoxication or financial ruin. I’d even say she’s propping him up; although THATH says he “covers [his drinking] up well”, I wonder if THATH helps him keep it covered up by staying married to him. But to Philophile, all this is secondary to getting THATH’s unsexual husband out of the house for some “outside contact.”

At least she could give him permission for outside contact and pass the second check, while still continuing to lie about her affair, failing the first check.

-Philophile, perscribing “outside contact” for THATH’s husband’s perpetual whiskey-dick.

Ew. “outside contact”? As a synonym for “extramarital sex”, that’s laughably sexist. Philophile makes it sound like THATH’s husband has been kept in solitary confinement for 17 years, and that if he was only allowed “outside contact” his sex drive would blossom again, like a rose at the prison gates. If THATH’s husband is in a prison, it’s a bottle-shaped one, and the warden ain’t THATH.

After enduring ridicule from the commenters, Philophile writes back rather forcefully:

"I call this a cowardly ending, not a last chance." -Philophile, saying fighting words.

“I call this a cowardly ending, not a last chance.” -Philophile, with fighting words.

What a lot of mansplaining (or womansplaining, if you will -ID) that is! I’ve put things that I think are abjectly wrong in bold.

Yes she’s somewhat dutifully “enduring” their problems. A last chance is a last effort to solve problems, not waiting for him to change while secretly moving on herself.I call this a cowardly ending, not a last chance.She hasn’t given him an opportunity to work it out WITH her, but she might stop cheating and start having sex with him again if he suddenly changes himself.

-Philophile, somewhat painfully “belaboring” THATH’s responsibility to fix her husband.

Philophile; why the “somewhat”? Why the scare quotes around “enduring”? Because after 17 years of waiting, and helping, and initiating, THATH finally got fed up and had sex with someone who actually wanted to have sex with her? How long should she have stayed and endured the rejecty-sex? Another three years? Another ten?

And I wouldn’t blame her for leaving at all from how she tells it. But I think it’s silly to call what she’s doing “giving her marriage a last chance”. I’d call it scavenging to salvage what she can from a sinking ship before jumping overboard, I don’t see any evidence she’s working to plug up the holes in the hull anymore. 

-Philophile, wielding nautical metaphor

This is why Philophile is an MRA. She doesn’t blame THATH for leaving her husband, she just compares her to a sailor deserting his post and “scavenging” the ship for valuables; and says what THATH’s doing is a “cowardly ending”. That ain’t blame: it’s more of a paternalistic reminder that THATH’s husband is really the hurting one here. After all, THATH’s husband is the ship (or possibly the captain) in this metaphor; and THATH’s just a lowly sailor charged with “plugging holes”.

Oh God; there’s more:

Philophile, changing the topic to BDSM.

Philophile, changing the topic to BDSM.

 

@41 FFS. You’re going to tell a sub hubby that he doesn’t need sub sex, he has vocal chords and can man up and dom his wife if he wants sex?

If the only sex on the table is occasional wife-initiated style, and she decides to take it off the table because it’s occasional, there is no sex left on the table.

– Philophile, belaboring the table.

Why do the Savage Love MRAs always explain their chauvinist bullshit with BDSM? I don’t think Philophile’s a kinkster, based on her hackneyed 50-Shades understanding of what subs are. But SLMRAs love using BDSM to justify or model non-BDSM relationships; Adversary did it to normalize murder play last week, and this week Philophile’s using BDSM to normalize an asexual husband who sounds more frigid than “submissive”. (Yes, I just accused a man of being frigid.)

But to Philophile, what’s important here is that THATH took the boring rejecty-sex off the sex table, and now because of her, there’s no sex on the table at all! It’s as if Philo can’t accept that THATH’s husband is/has been totally uninterested in having sex with her, and that THATH didn’t do anything to deserve it. She goes on:

Eek. The letter doesn’t say that the only sex on the table was wife-initiated, actually. Conceivably he could initiate the successful sex encounters although he has “no sexual urges” and is “not actively engaged”. I think. My bad. I still think that abandonment is not usually one sided. 

– Philophile, reminding us “it takes two to [ruin a marriage with alcohol]”

In the world of Philophile, she’s right even when she’s wrong.

Concieveably THATH’s husband has a sex drive and initiates, because THATH doesn’t explicitly state that he doesn’t. (Even though she does state that their sex life “has gotten progressively worse each year”.) And even if this guy doesn’t have a sex drive (which Philo is so invested in him having) “abandonment is not usually one sided.”, which is just another way of saying “it takes two to tango”, or “THATH probably did something bad she isn’t telling us about”.

The double standards are strong in this one; and I’m past due to be working on my novel. But I’ll leave you with this. When an MRA says that they mean “it’s at least 50% the woman’s fault, if not more”; because to folks like Philophile, a woman is always to blame.

[Ironic] Update: Breaking News! Philophile makes defensive @replies, and a sex life DIES.

-Philophile, centering the discussion around himself. Let's hope he likes the attention I'm giving him.

-Philophile, centering the discussion [and attention] around herself.

I’m not going to quote this. Philophile, you’re welcome to “yes, but…” and mansplain yourself (or enforce sexist double standards while being a woman yourself – ID) over here if you like, but one of the things that makes you incredibly tiresome is your need to bogart the thread with your wife-blamey bullshit when eight different people have explained it to you already. You seem like one of those women IRL that if I said your nose was generally in the center of your face you’d ask me if I’d heard of Picasso.

-Caroline.

MRAs of Savage Love: Yoga Pants Are How Women Won the War

Stop oppressing Hunter78, sexy yoga pants model!

Pants model strategically showing off that sweet, round ass.

Howdy boys and grrrrls. It’s time again for “MRAs of Savage Love”! Tonight, we’re going to hear more from “Hunter78”, whom I featured prominently in my inaugural post in this series.

Usually, I would use this space to introduce the Savage Love Letter on which our delightful, retrograde guests will be giving their advice; but today, I don’t have to. As you’ll see, the comments I’ll feature today actually have nothing at all to do with the letters. Instead, I’ll share with you the comment from auntie_grizelda (a righteous lady with excellent advice) that started this whole mess.

"I could live in my yogas 24/7." - auntie_grizelda, unwittingly lighting a powder keg of crazy.

“I could live in my yogas 24/7.” – auntie_grizelda, unwittingly changing the subject to feminism.

What was that, you say? yogas? Could she possibly mean… yoga pants?!

Yep! After a long day of dealing with her business, auntie_grizelda likes nothing better than the comfortable, flexible, but defining embrace of yoga pants. She’ll even wear them out of the house! Or to her broker’s office! And she doesn’t even do yoga! Watch out, world; auntie griz is wearing the pants now!

But Hunter78 is unhappy with this development. For one; there’s way too much positive attention being paid to another longtime commenter, her personal life, and her fashion sense: and for another, no one’s paying attention to him and the faptastic thing he wrote on the finer points of deep throating. After being ignored for three whole posts, he writes:

"Comfort they say. Women's clothes are always about attractiveness..." - Hunter78

“Comfort they say. Women’s clothes are always about attractiveness…” – Hunter78, telling women why they wear clothes.

Poor Hunter. He must have had to wear a lot of women’s clothing to come to that conclusion. Probably not as much as auntie griz, or LavaGirl, or even myself; but he wore enough of it to know that women’s clothes are always about attractiveness, even if you’re wearing athletic wear. But even a short, sexy sundress doesn’t get Hunter the attention he wants! We go another forty comments before LavaGirl even acknowledges him, saying:

And Hunter78, my my- quite the fashion man. Sundresses, hey?
Spaghetti straps or slightly thicker? Looking forward to your week in review..

So Hunter rolls out the big guns: apparently yoga pants are a symbol of wymyn’s victory in “the war”.

"Unfortunately I can remember when a woman who inadvertently showed her bra straps would be mortified, borrow some safety pins, repair to the rest room and put travel restriction on the errant breast suspenders." - Hunter78, calling bras "breast suspenders"

Hunter78, reminiscing about how women used to be.

His quote is risible, so I’m going to quote it in its entirety, and bold the parts I think you should really laugh at.

Lava,

Spaghetti straps. Yeah, of course. The charm of spaghetti straps is they’re so flimsy. The man is tempted to pull off her top, but all sense argues against that. If a bra is worn, of course the bra straps will show, which are even more interesting.

Hunter78 makes it sound like he spends his summers staring at random women in spaghetti straps, getting boners from the visual stimulation. Also, he makes it sound like it’s the women’s fault for wearing these clothes in front of him, and not his for staring like a horndog at bare shoulders and clothed butts. He waxes nostalgic, to the days of yore; back when yoga pant technology was known only to a few wise yogis high in the Himalaya.

Unfortunately I can remember when a woman who inadvertently showed her bra straps would be mortified, borrow some safety pins, repair to the rest room and put travel restriction on the errant breast suspenders.Women’s underwear was only seen in the boudoir and the advertising supplements of the NYT. Nowadays the coquettish display of bra straps is welcome at all casual occasions, only formal events, business suits and weddings still hold out.

It’s all related to women’s making themselves attractive to men. And how they won the war.

Ew. “Breast suspenders?” Was that what bras were called, back in the days of “boudoirs” and print advertising? You know, back when women never left the house unless they were dressed like Edith Wharton? (Her 1901 house has a boudoir.) Apparently a modern woman’s work-out clothes are, to Hunter78, a “coquettish display.”

Translation: In the world of Hunter78, any woman wearing yoga pants is automatically flirting with him. (That’s what the word “coquette” means; a lady flirt.)

The commenter nocutename has the right idea. She asks:

So we women get more freedom and less absurd constraints, the brassiere industry can charge more for bras that are meant to be at least partially seen, and men getting the visual payoff you appear to appreciate. I’d call that a win/win (or win/win/win)

Why is everything a war with you, with battles to be won and lost?

The closest thing we get to an answer is Hunter78’s insanely long, opposite-day summary of the thread. He does this every thread; usually it’s not very quotable, since he’s digesting a bunch of stuff other people said. But of the matter of the yoga pants, Hunter78 writes:

"I got on my hobby horse, and stated it wasn't just comfort but fashion, too. Women strategically showing off their sweet round asses in detail." - Hunter78, and his stupid hobby

“I got on my hobby horse, and stated it wasn’t just comfort but fashion, too. Women strategically showing off their sweet round asses in detail.” – Hunter78, and his stupid hobby

By his own admission, airing his retrograde ideas on Savage Love is Hunter78’s “hobby horse”. And women don’t wear yoga pants because they’re comfortable, or because they’re going to do some yoga, but to “strategically show off their sweet round asses in detail.” 

It’s not even a complete sentence. But I think it speaks to what Hunter78 gets out of this discussion; a chance to objectify women who write in, be pig-ignorant, and get attention for it. It’s risible, especially because I get the sense that Hunter78 probably knows better than to talk about “sweet round asses” and “coquettish display[s] of bra straps” in front of anyone he talks to IRL.