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May 29 2012

Simple guidelines

So did you hear the latest about a presenter at a skeptics’ meeting getting propositioned? Elyse was handed a sexually explicit invitation by a couple of nice strangers to participate in group sex. Guys, don’t do that.

I have a simple suggestion. Think of sex as something two or more friends do; but also keep in mind that most friends don’t have sex together. When you’re at a meeting, plan to make friends promiscuously, but remember: the purpose first and foremost is friendship, not sex partners. And that friendship takes two people interacting, not one setting the expectations and telling the other what’s happening.

Maybe you make friends really quickly, and one evening of conversation is enough to reach mutual agreement and mutual attraction that leads to sex; that’s fine. But you know, playing pick-up artist is not how you become friends. Handing someone a card does not make you friends. Reading someone’s blog does not make you friends. Hearing someone speak at a meeting does not make you friends. Becoming friends takes a lot of work and communication. If you try to take a shortcut past the “making friends” part, don’t be surprised if you find yourself reported for harassment, or your activities outed and shamed on a popular blog.

The first simple guideline is: make sure you’re friends before crossing any borders.

The second simple guideline is, again: you don’t have sex with most of your friends. Sex is not a necessary side effect of friendship.

Be aware of that, and most of these problems will disappear, and everyone will be able to relax around each other a lot more.

517 comments

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  1. 501
    Cipher

    Don’t worry, Kagehi, nigel was kidding :)

  2. 502
    Kagehi

    Perhaps the problem is that you’re attempting to represent a complex, multi-paremeter “function” with a linear expression?

    Perhaps the problem is that some of the questions posed by people being ripped apart are “valid”, in the context of those multi-parameter situations, but the default assumption when they questions are asked is not clarification, but bold statements about what should “never” happen, followed by waffling into, “Oh, I mean in this specific type of case.”

    The only positive this I can say about this thread is that, if anyone had bothered, the answer is, “If you don’t know if the venue is one in which the sort of people that agree with your parameters are at, assume they are tighter than you might otherwise want them to be.” In other words, when you don’t know the context, its probably better to assume that the context is the “strictest” possible. You might turn out to be wrong, you might be right, you might still be the sort of idiot that thinks, “strict”, refers to saying/doing something mildly stupid (dropping a phone number randomly on the table, or something), instead of outright idiotic (such as one of the cards that triggered this discussion), but at least the moron doing it would be minimizing the level of stupidity involved.

    My personal view on the whole subject is that the level of seriousness applied to the whole damn thing is a bit like anything else taboo. If you create a market for it, some moron will try to sell it, other people will try to stop it, others will ignore it, and some percentage of the population will try to scam/con/trick/beg for it, so they don’t have to put in the effort to get past all the walls put in between them and what they are looking for.

    The meta-question, the elephant in the room, if you will, is, “how many of those walls should be there in the first place, and what are they doing to contribute to the problem?” Its one of those questions a lot of people might like to know, no one is going to study, for ethical reasons, and almost no one will even dare to ask (or possibly even admit having thought), lest they be lumped into the same camp as the morons that do try to game the system, not because they want an answer, but purely because they don’t want to have to do shit to get there. Its one that, like most social constructs, and the confusing mess of conflicting drives that sit at their foundation, I would like asked, and answered, if only for my peace of mind, how ever little anything changed, at all, because of it.

  3. 503
    Kagehi

    Don’t worry, Kagehi, nigel was kidding :)

    I think this thread has, now that it wraps to a second page, hit the “wall of text” stage of posts. I get all the things, hopefully in order, though I use Hotmail, so it randomly decides to jump from the “oldest” to “newest” posts, for no damn reason, and like 200 messages, I am not even sure who nigel is, what post this references, or even if I am the one typing a reply, or someone three alternate universes over, at this point. lol

  4. 504
    Cipher

    Maybe I’m just tired, Kagehi, but I don’t understand the second half of your post. I think I went off the rails at “the whole damn thing” and wasn’t able to get back on, and then there was an analogy…

  5. 505
    Cipher

    Also, re: nigel, in your post 500 at the end of the last thread, you were blockquoting nigel, who said that the policy was vague on the subject of Pleasure Cards, and responded as though he had been serious. He was kidding.

  6. 506
    Kagehi

    Ah, yeah. Point still stands though, even if he was joking. There are people that will think like that, and try to sidestep any rules you put into place to prevent it.

    As to the second half of the other post. My point was that there are different standards within different communities as to what is, and isn’t a problem, and to what degree. You run aground on this even when.. well, the best example I can think of is one post on a nudist site, referencing a bachelor party, where two strippers, unlike at “normal” parties, ended up staying after, without being harassed, or propositioned, beyond when the performance ended. The dynamic was completely different, because there wasn’t a presumption that “nude = sex”. So, for me, it doesn’t seem quite as simple, yet at the same time, it is, as, “Someone thinks someone else looks hot to them, and are too stupid to know its the wrong time and place to bring up the subject.”

    That is what I mean about the question of how much of the stuff is trying to fix a real problem, while not understanding what the problem even is. Such solutions are called “cludges”, and they can generate a whole host of other secondary issues, not the least of which is a drift, farther and farther away, from the real issue. They put a bandaid on the problem, instead of solving it. And, I can’t help but think that we have already put some many worthless bandaids over the problem, in some respects, that no one knows, or would accept, a solution that would actually work. A solution that doesn’t just try to stop people doing stupid shit, but which disables the whole idiot paradigm that, in my nudist example, let two strippers be comfortable to stay nude, with other people, at a stag party, when they would have gotten out of there as fast as they possibly could, at ***anyone else’s***.

    Maybe, the problem is as simple as, “If you can’t walk, bare naked, through the convention, and be left alone, trying to do it clothed won’t work either.” And, if that is the case, the problem is much worse than just not having a policy in place to deal with the assholes. So, understanding why we got to this place, beyond the obvious, like religion’s influence on the whole mess, is an interesting question, since it means maybe repairing the damage, not just bandaging the wound for the 50th time.

  7. 507
    uncephalized

    It’s very interesting being a very-occasional commenter on Pharyngula. I like to read the comment threads just to learn the interesting memes that get built up as inside jokes, or one-word insults that obviously carry some etymological history only known to the Horde. It’s a fascinating dynamic.

    Also, y’alls ruthless treatment of out-group trolls who thinks that sexism is OK, or makes excuses for it, is almost artistic in its savagery. Like how a tiger ambushes an unsuspecting deer, or a pack of wolves harries an elk until it bleeds out in the snow. A beautiful, but also visceral, and maybe cruel, thing to watch.

  8. 508
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Kagahi:

    Ah, yeah. Point still stands though, even if he was joking. There are people that will think like that, and try to sidestep any rules you put into place to prevent it.

    Yeah. That’s what makes it funny. At least, as far as I’m concerned. Gallows humor, if you will.

    Still, I liked your response.

  9. 509
    Inaji

    Uncephalized:

    or one-word insults that obviously carry some etymological history only known to the Horde.

    Hi there. There is a Pharyngula Wiki. There’s a specific section on Memes. Hope that helps. Glad you’re enjoying your visits. Comment more! Our lounge (anything goes social thread) is TET. Drop in and introduce yourself.

  10. 510
    uncephalized

    @Caine, thanks for the welcome but I belong to enough online communities to waste half my time as it is. I just like to pass through every once in a while. :)

  11. 511
    Porco Dio

    PZ is wrong about him fancying students and students fancying him,

    not what i said or meant.

    I cannot speak for PZ or comment on his (non) attraction to his students. If he indeed never ever ever thought to himself, “I’d hit that,” then he’s abnormal but, fine, there is no problem with being abnormal… Just don’t expect the rest of the world to take advice from someone who is abnormal.

    As far as his students are concerned, I cannot speak for them either… bit, and this is the cool part, neither can PZ.

    So, what exactly is up with PZ then claiming to know the intimate(non)thoughts thousands of others?

    He is either ignorant of the real world, too stupid to understand it or being knowingly disingenuous.

    Which one is it? And why should we take dating advice from an ignoramus or a fool or a liar?

  12. 512
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Porco:

    He is either ignorant of the real world, too stupid to understand it or being knowingly disingenuous.

    When your conclusion is so ridiculous, either your reasoning is flawed or your premises are unsound, or both.

    You haven’t allowed that you may be wrong as an option, have you?

    Which one is it?

    I’ve helpfully provided a different option, above.

  13. 513
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You haven’t allowed that you may be wrong as an option, have you?

    Porco the fuckwitted idjit right? Yeah, and a stopped watch shows the right time twice a day.

  14. 514
    Aratina Cage

    And why should we take dating advice from an ignoramus or a fool or a liar? –Porco Dio

    I am sure as fuck that no one is taking any advice from you.

  15. 515
    Porco Dio

    You haven’t allowed that you may be wrong as an option, have you?

    Well, what are the chances that none of his thousands of students ever wanted to fuck him?

    Get real. Like a student never banged their prof. before and never will in the future…

    Gimmie a break

  16. 516
    pentatomid

    Well, what are the chances that none of his thousands of students ever wanted to fuck him?

    No idea. And noone cares. Seriously, why is this so fucking important to you, you creep? All we know is that as far as PZ is aware, apparantly no student has been sexually attracted to him. Maybe some students were, but if that’s the case they apparantly haven’t made said feelings known to him, and PZ isn’t aware of them. On the other hand it’s entirely possible no student was ever attracted to him. Why the hell does this strike you as so unlikely? It’s not like every university professor has hordes of female students following them. Raiders of the Lost Ark wasn’t a goddamn documentary, asshat.

    Get real. Like a student never banged their prof. before and never will in the future…

    Noone has claimed that this scenario has never happened. However, the fact that this does some times occur doesn’t mean it must have happened at one point to every professor everywhere. If PZ says it’s never happened to him, I honestly see no reason to doubt him. Honestly, what kind of creepy fuckwit are you?

  17. 517
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Get real.

    You first Porco. Realize you are an ignorant fuckwitted troll. That is your reality, but you can’t or won’t acknowledge that fact.

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