On Polly Asks: New York Magazine Wants Me to Write Ask Polly For Them. Should I Tell Them to Piss Off?

Yes! Go! Go before it's too late!

Posted on August 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm 1

On Andrea Dworkin, Men's Rights Advocate

@Chelsea Tornade-Hoe@facebook that all sucks but here in the US, criminalization has proven to make sex workers (sorry not sorry) as a whole less safe and as active criminals, they aren't technically allowed to do things like "have bank accounts" or be afforded contingencies like insurance. The survival sex worker is further marginalized in the criminal regime, forced indoors, denied mutual support etc etc I'm sure you've heard it all before.

I know many survival sex workers who are very radical, misandrist, whatever, but they recognize that the justice aspect of dismantling sex work as an organ of patriarchy is far far far outstripped in importance by the necessity of securing the least dangerous day to day life for themselves and the people they love. Decrim's what they want and they'll advocate for it whether you like it or not. What would you propose instead? The Swedish model? It certainly sounds like where you're coming from here.

Posted on August 20, 2014 at 8:16 am 0

On Andrea Dworkin, Men's Rights Advocate

@Choire Sicha this is the woman who coined the term "concentration camp orgasm". I have no idea why it would be hard for you to grasp a doctrinaire tendency in Dworkin's writing. I mean, it's almost as if the elements of intersectionality in her work were incidental to its purpose.

The supposition of Dworkin against academic feminism is also pretty strange. If her work lives anywhere, it's in the hermitage.

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 7:10 pm 0

On Ask Polly: My Boyfriend Thinks I'm Clingy and This Terrifies Me

Ahhh, families. You don't even have to describe the particulars and we all know well enough the broad arc of the early life bringing you to this point. I used to think of it as a classic Anglo-Saxon thing, following from the suffocating stoicism of my grandfather toward my father (also: would the unresolved Oedipus Complex be such a thing if it weren't central to so many Great American Novels?), til a second-generation immigrant friend lamented to me the ways in which The Joy Luck Club cut her to ribbons. Tolstoy didn't really have it right, did he? Unhappy families are broadly similar.

When our parents aren't there for us it can be hard to learn how to be there for ourselves (and for our children in succession). It's a guilt that drops like a lead ball through generations. You build such contempt for yourself, no? It's like getting out of prison on parole. One ought to be proud of having survived in deprivation, but the beds are all too soft now and you don't know how to sleep in them.

The truth is that you won't find much in the way of outward validation for your desire to rest your legs after having stood vigilant all your life. Insofar as resilience is a trait coded masculine it's admired and revered and desired by everyone, everywhere. Resilience in this case entailing not simply having not succumbed but having been made more powerful for your hardships. A state of need is acceptable only in private, where it serves to underline the strength and authenticity of public resilience. It pays to have one's shit together, in other words.

I don't believe people are wired to work in such a way, and it fucking sucks that they're expected to, because it means that you can't trust people with your own state of health. Our social relations are predicated on people giving as little of themselves to each other as possible - your first family, the one you're born into, is meant to be solely responsible for you and your needs. When they fail to be no one really wants to take up your cause.

Choosing your second family from friends and lovers is a lot harder in this scenario, but it's ultimately what you have to do. Polly is absolutely 100% right in that you need to find some woman friends who you can talk to. Learn to trust them. I did and it's the only thing that saved me from the progressive rot of a WASP upbringing. Through them you'll learn how to need in a way that relieves the pressure on your heart in a way that's responsible. If you ask a lot, then you give a lot back. It's really that simple. But you cannot, unfortunately, expect just anyone to open that avenue of trade. A lot of people are scared of us, scared we might catch, or expose their own weakness. Don't waste your breath on them.

So yeah, what Polly said. Step 1: Find a friend, a good one, to confide in, and confide in them, and if you find yourself ashamed or embarrassed then you just do it harder. When you've freely given someone every bullet they could possibly fire at you and they don't, the voice in the back of your head that condemns you for having been seen by them loses all its teeth. Having just one of those people in your life is indescribably freeing. From there you can start to build an emotional life that doesn't make you miserable and cold.

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 2:18 am 3

On How to Be a Black Country Star

Reportedly, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was angling to play Pride in a biopic. I don't know if that's still happening, or how Dwayne will become un-jacked for the role

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 6:05 pm 0

On A Man Walks into a Boxing Ring

And I thought I knew everything about Coil

Another thing about the band is that they weren't just noisy and antagonistic but also unmistakably, fiercely gay. The most famous line from their manifesto states that the band makes music for "the ritual accumulation of male sexual energy". Which makes them a surprisingly apt choice to score a boxing match entrance.

Posted on June 19, 2014 at 6:03 pm 0

On Internet Terror Cell Neutralized

Finally, PHIZ can claim its rightful throne

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 6:05 pm 0

On Realism Lauded

Omitted by the editors: The men's rights postscript.

Man to be a fly on the wall during that guy's high school D&D sessions. One can only imagine the grim glory.

Posted on April 10, 2014 at 3:24 pm 0

On Ask Polly: My Boyfriend Thinks I'm Ugly

@Sharilyn Neidhardt If nothing else the letter seems illustrative of why so many guys can go out and neg and still have active lives of courtship. Or just function out in the world.

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 9:45 pm 1

On Ask Polly: Should I Play It Cool—Or Ask Him For More And Be "That Girl"?

Gonna back up what Polly says (as always). I was on the other end of this scenario not very long ago but felt much the same confusion, and as Polly says it's a matter of what you want. It's important to make the distinction between what you want and what you feel you should want. I mean the former as in what will make you happy, and the latter as in what makes you feel "correct".

When I met this woman at 26 it was the first time a date seemed like it was on track to become a relationship. In my gut I felt like it wasn't working, and I wasn't enjoying myself, from the very beginning. But I didn't trust myself. I thought I had something that I was wasting on a reflex, "this will shift over time and I will come to appreciate this", I thought. I was being too hasty, or fickle, and I thought to master myself into wanting what I should have wanted, which was to be with a seemingly nice woman (who I had no spark with). I saw my best self as being in a relationship and I didn't understand why running from one made sense, so I wrote it off as nonsensical. That's a wrong thing on many, many levels.

It didn't get better, obviously. I waited and it got worse, and I put myself in a position where I had lied to this woman in the process of lying to myself about what I wanted. And it ended abruptly, with hurt feelings, less than two weeks into it.* At what point (if ever) do the sunk costs of a relationship start to weigh heavily? Given what you know about this guy, does it seem more constructive to try and light a fire under his ass to straighten up and fly right, or cut ties after 3 months? Is this worth the effort to try and salvage? Being alone isn't so terrifying. It certainly promises grander possibilities than this.

* What I would say in my defense was that I was scared by the irate texts I received over not keeping daily communication after our very first date, after I had told her my life was consumed by school, that I'm well autistic and that marathon conversation is often taxing and difficult for me. But in truth I should have trusted myself from the outset and not left open the possibility of progression. It was a lesson I would've learned in high school had I been a normal boy. I won't do that again.

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 7:37 pm 1