Manly courage

Let me tell you about the first time I asked my future wife out on a date. I was 17. I was terrified. It took me about 3 weeks to screw up my courage, and every day would begin with this absolute, sinking certainty that there was no way she would ever say yes. Then, every time I worked up my nerve, I didn’t have an opportunity to talk to her alone — and even worse than being rejected would be getting rejected publicly. I was very proud of myself when I finally got bold enough to ask her out right in front of one of her friends.

Louis CK reminds me, though, that it required pretty much no courage at all. She was the brave one when she said yes.

Do not read the comments on the youtube video. Do not read the comments on the youtube video. Do not read the comments on the youtube video. Lewis’ Law is in full effect.


  1. says

    Also, our first date was also our last date for over a year.

    The second time, it only took me two weeks to get brave enough to call her.

  2. schism says

    Huh. All this time I thought I was just being a social misfit by refusing to date or otherwise go outside when I was actually doing half the species a solid.

    Nice of me, I guess.

  3. says

    Mister and I skipped that whole dating business. We were best friends for two years, spent lots of time rebuilding Vdub engines together, then we just kind of slipped into more than friends.

  4. keithb says

    She couldn’t have been too scary. After all, she was an herbivore and you were a carnivore.

  5. mirror says

    I didn’t know the term Lewis’ Law before, so now I do. I made the mistake of reading the comments.

    I know this Louis CK bit, because I’m quite a fan. As usual with CK it is hilariously (!) and brutally honest while simultaneously sympathetic to the conditions we try to rise above. Those commentors are really scary. Maybe there should be a subset of Lewis’ Law about physical danger.

  6. says

    Bah, I got you beat in the Cold Feet Olympics. I was too shy to ask her and she was too shy to ask me. So a mutual friend who knew (I forget how) that we were sweet on each other got us together one day after school and said: “Look, you like her, and you: you like him. So now you’re going out together. And that’s settled!” And so it has been, for the last 38 years.

  7. Rich Woods says

    I am half-lion — long hair and beard. Unfortunately the rest of me, that’s supposed to be half-bear, looks a bit wimpy instead. But I don’t bite.

    Louis CK is relatively unknown in the UK, but from what I’ve seen of his work I’d say he’d fit in pretty well.

  8. carlie says

    My first date with Spouse was carefully brokered through third parties. :)
    When we met, I was in a relationship that had just turned on-again/off-again for a few months, and he did not want to be That Guy who says I WANT TO DATE YOU when I was either already dating someone or just getting over someone. So there was back-and-forthing between intermediaries until I was pretty sure he was going to ask and he was pretty sure I was going to say yes.

  9. magistramarla says

    “Ohhhhhhh. You wooed your future wife when you were just 17 years old? That’s so romantic… :O :)”

    It happened with me and my hubby, too – and we’ve been married for 37 years now.
    We met during orientation week for college. I was two weeks away from my 17th birthday and he was six weeks away from his 18th.
    My sweetie wasn’t very shy. Everywhere I went that week, he would pop up and say “Hi! I’m ____ _____. When I walked into my very first college class the following Monday, there he sat next to an empty desk. Of course he said “Hi! Remember me? I’m _____ ______. This seat isn’t taken.”
    By the end of that semester, those two desks were touching, and we were engaged right after the holidays.
    Now, over 37 years, five children and five grandchildren (so far) later, we still laugh about that.

  10. carlie says

    Rough transcript:

    The courage it takes for a woman to say yes is beyond anything I can imagine. A woman saying yes to a date with a man is literally insane. And ill-advised. And the whole species’ existence counts on them doing it, and how do women still go out with guys when you consider the fact that there is no greater threat to women than men? We’re the number one threat to women. Globally and historically, we’re the number one cause of injury, and mayhem to women. We’re the worst thing that ever happens to them. That’s true. You know what our number one threat is? Heart disease. That’s the whole thing. That’s it. It’s our own hearts, telling us “You can’t keep doing this. I told you three strokes ago that this is not smart”. But women still… “Yeah, I’ll go out with you…alone…at night…” What are you, nuts? “I’ll get in your car with you, where are we going?” To your death, statistically. But they still do it! If you’re a guy try to imagine that you could only date a half-bear/half-lion. “Oh, I hope this one’s nice! I hope he doesn’t do what he’s going to do.”

  11. says

    read the youtube comments and responded. Had an interesting idea- instead of pharyngulating polls, maybe you should pharyngulate youtube comment threads??? It would be especially tasty because of that time mr foot used them as his basis for asserting that he is correct. I would actively participate in it. Youtube would be a lot less of a shithole, one vid at a time.

  12. says

    Not a bad idea, skeptifem – a sort of Occupy Youtube – but I think you may be underestimating both the rate of incidence and the inexhaustible appetite for rancour that are displayed by the average Youtube-hooligan. Up will go the /b and 4chan bat-signals, the tweets and #evilfcuker hashtags, and soon the flock of horrid shitbirds will descend on the thread, croaking “FREEZE PEACH” and “MAKE ME A SANDWICH” and “PIECES OF EIGHT” – wait, not that last one – before drowing out anything resembling human communication with memes and bad shop-jobs and stupid badly-drawn cartoons.

    Cf Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan, and a host of other women with the temerity to exist in public.

  13. says

    Theres an anti fat shaming group called rolls not trolls. From what I gather they have been successful, even when 4chan decided to attack. Its worth thinking about I guess.

  14. Jackie: ruining feminism one fabulous accessory at a time says

    When I think of the risks involved with women having sex with men and then I hear some asshole claim that men are far more sexual than women I can’t help but laugh at the asshole making that claim.

  15. says

    Jackie #17
    Indeed, although I’m having some difficulty locating it ATM, I recall reading a study which asked women about their (hypothetical) willingness to accept an offer of no strings sex, and essentially found that the difference in rates of women vs men accepting accepting such hypothetical offers was based on a combination of risk and perceived likelihood of sexual satisfaction from such an encounter. Unsurprisingly, women tended to asses the former as much higher and the latter much lower than men.

  16. moarscienceplz says

    re #17 jackie

    Ummm, weren’t you the one who wanted the TA who accidentally emailed nude pictures of herself to college students to lose her job? Seems like you are one of the risks…

  17. says

    Then again, one of the replies to one of the comments is “Why don’t you wear a fedora and go post on reddit about it.” Which is pretty much the best all purpose reply to an MRA evar.

  18. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    Dalilama @ #18: Yeah, for some reason when you’re looking at a decent chance of sexual violence, and little likelihood for enjoyment even if the former doesn’t happen, there’s a shortage of women lining up. But it must just be that women are frigid and trade cuddles and flowers for the occasional halfhearted sexing.

    And on top of women taking that massive risk, they get to be both screamed at for being mistrustful manhaters when they don’t automatically trust the dude whose delicate feelings have been wounded by this, because of course he is different. He’ll still blame women who trust too much and let themselves get raped, though, because of course.

  19. Jackie: ruining feminism one fabulous accessory at a time says

    No. I don’t recall ever saying I wanted to see her fired.
    I said it would be reasonable to expect her to be fired and that I had no problem with that. Exposing yourself to a person without their consent is a big deal. It isn’t just a little social oopsie.
    ..and they weren’t merely pictures of herself. They were videos of her and her boyfriend masturbating, if I recall correctly. Try “accidentally” sending that to your co-workers and see if you keep your job. Now factor in that those were not her co-workers but her students. Yeah, the school would be well within it’s rights to terminate her employment with them.

    Now Moar, tell me how that makes me a risk equal to rape and murder.
    Oh, that’s right. I’m not and you know it. You’re just a asshole looking desperately for a gotcha. You don’t give two shits about that TA, her job or the macabre risks dating and sex hold for women.

    Fuck off, you off topic piece of shit.

  20. Usernames are smart says

    Thanks for Lewis’ Law – I learned something new today!

    Needs to be on a bumper sticker, methinks.

  21. moarscienceplz says

    #22 Jackie

    Oh, I’m sorry. I missed the part where the ONLY risks to women dating are rape and murder. I thought that some women might think that self-important slut-shamers might be a risk, too. Thanks for setting me straight on that.
    Have a lovely day!

  22. Rip Steakface says

    Wasn’t there a rule about not bringing up things from old threads in new ones anyway? Bad form, moarscienceplz.

  23. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Redhead and I both played flute, and in high school sat next to each other in band. Our high school put on an annual Follies, essentially variety/vaudville acts for public consumption. After the follies was over, there was a traditional school sponsored (very tame) party at a local hotel. That was our first date.

  24. Jackie: ruining feminism one fabulous accessory at a time says

    Awwww…Nerd that is so sweet.
    I was in high school when I met my husband. He was in college. I met him at a party I threw one December to celebrate finals being over.

    I just reminded him that we met around this time of year. He can’t remember the exact date. (Neither can I and I’m the one who wrote the party invitations.) But he remembers that I was wearing red corduroy pants and suspenders Dressing dorky was part of the theme of the party. What he doesn’t remember is that the pants had pleats, a basket weave pattern and buttons that the suspenders attached to. It was not an outfit to meet your future spouse in. But, in retrospect it seems appropriate. We’re fairly silly people.

  25. otranreg says

    Louis CK reminds me, though, that it required pretty much no courage at all. She was the brave one when she said yes.

    Actually, this reeks of the ‘Dear Muslima’ kind of thinking.

  26. says

    #29, otranreg: Say what? That’s such a non sequitur it suggests that you don’t understand the objections to “dear muslima” in the slightest.

  27. otranreg says

    Here’s a hint: just because one thing is bigger than the other, it doesn’t mean that that ‘other’ thing doesn’t exist, or is negligible, or unimportant.

  28. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    Nah, otranreg, I think it’s pretty reasonable to point out that a slightly dented ego because someone said no is actually nowhere near as scary as the actual risks women who date men face.

    The quote attributed to Atwood goes “Men are afraid women will laugh at them, women are afraid men will kill them.”, and it’s a damn good point. And you’re kind of coming off that both are problems that need fixing. That women just need to be nicer and more considerate of the feelings of the men who ask them out, because being rejected by someone who is not interested is somewhere on a continuum with IPV and .

  29. ludicrous says

    PZ, Dunno if you have noticed but there is a youtube clip of Lewis C K going off all rapey on a woman talking too loud to her table mates. (Trigger warning) he asks if there is some one with aids who would stick it in her face. Really disgusting.

    About a minute in to the clip.

  30. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    Chas @ #33: Yep.

    And yeah, Louis, CK sure does a damn lot of rape jokes, as ludicrous linked to. (I know there are a bunch of others, too.) Kinda worse that he has gotten it once, but keeps doing those jokes. I mean, we give Tosh justifiable shit for his rape threatjokes, but Louis does them too.

  31. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    The “shut up, other people have it worse” thing in dear muslima is kind of about “shut up” and not merely about “other people have it worse”.

    i don’t think you’ve ever heard anyone here complain that ranking our experiences is the same as Dawkins’ ‘dear muslima’.

    I do think you’ve read quite a lot of statements opposing to “shut up” in various forms, including ‘dear muslima’.

    But even if you watch a clip where Louis CK instructs someone to shut up b/c they don’t know what they’re talking about or the thing about which they complain is trivial?

    He’s a fucking comedian not actively trying to squelch intracommunity discussion.

    Understanding litotes and hyperbole(-and-a-half) may be useful in such moments.

  32. zenlike says

    Small piece of info, ludicrous, that clip is not live but from his scripted sitcom. That didn’t happen in real life.

    It’s in fact difficult to determine where the ‘real’ Louis CK ends and the ‘fake’ one starts, always a risk when someone plays a bastardised version of themselves, but the show is often very self-deprecating.

    If I remember correctly, the real LCK indeed used to make lot of inappropriate jokes, like rape jokes, but he has stated that he came to the realisation that those jokes where wrong.

  33. ChasCPeterson says

    I hate unmoderated comments or opinions that differ from mine

    Do ya? Me, what I hate? Ignorant stupid assholes.

  34. Rey Fox says

    Yes, I’m sure Chas is wracked with night terrors from the crushing guilt of being insufficiently “impartial” to internet wankers.

  35. ChasCPeterson says

    oh, we were talking about people who disagree with me? See, I thought the subject was people who comment on You-tube vids.

  36. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yes Chas, because everyone and anyone that disagrees with you must be a…. how did you say it…. OH! “Ignorant stupid assholes.”

    Poor, poor thing. If you post just to disagree, you are trolling. If you have something cogent to say, back it with non-video evidence. Or, we won’t believe a word you say. “That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Christopher Hitchens. (Oh, that was third party evidence, not just my opinion.)

  37. says

    I would point out to otranreg that I began this article with an anecdote about the anguish I felt at the prospect of rejection, which is kind of the opposite of suggesting that “that ‘other’ thing doesn’t exist, or is negligible, or unimportant.” Dumbass.

  38. David Marjanović says

    If you’re a guy try to imagine that you could only date a half-bear/half-lion. “Oh, I hope this one’s nice! I hope he doesn’t do what he’s going to do.”

    I’m immediately reminded of Arctodus. And then, Agriotherium comes to mind. :-)

  39. Anri says

    Caveman73 @ 39:

    You know what? YouTube comments are scary. Because they show what a hell of a lot of people actually think about women, or they show what people would like others to think they think about women. If that doesn’t scare you, you lack the minimum amount of empathy required to be an adult human.

    And I do hate opinions that differ from mine… when mine is “Women are full people, worthy in their own right, and deserve empathy as fellow humans.” Because the opposite of that opinion is, in fact, hateworthy.

    Do you agree?
    Or is that sorta thing just fine by you?
    Time to walk something back or prove yourself to be an asshole – your call.

  40. randay says

    In Lucky Louis there was a scene where Louis and his wife were talking after having sex. Louis said something like, “What was that part where you stuck your finger up my ass? His wife replies, “Well you know that you want to do me in the ass, all men do, so I was showing what is was like. Louis replies, “No I don’t. I was in the most wonderful place on earth, why would I want to do that?”

    The gist of the dialog from memory. I don’t think that Louis CK is anti-women.