Pharyngula

There are so many clueless comments in this thread that Old Man PZ, grizzled veteran of the sex wars, successful lothario who has managed to reproduce three times, and champion who successfully landed a Trophy Partner in an extremely long and happy relationship, feels like he needs to step in and give some friendly advice. So here you go, the short sweet simple Decent Human Beings’ Guide to Getting Laid at Atheist Conferences.

The first thing you must know is that you haven’t failed when the object of your desire says “no”. That’s a perfectly reasonable response, and even if you do everything exactly right, you’re going to hear “no” more often than you do “yes”. Accepting a refusal graciously is an important part of being a Decent Human Being.

You have failed if the person you’re interested in calls your behavior creepy. That’s where you need to step back and re-evaluate: you did something wrong. Decent Human Beings do not blame the other person, they recognize that they screwed up, accept their responsibility, and decide not to ever do that again.

What could you have done wrong? Here are some general suggestions.

Be self-aware. Are you sweaty and rumpled? Did you just eat a pound of greasy garlic fries? Are you drunk? Did the conversation just die because you’re too tired to think straight? You are probably at a nadir of attractiveness, then, and this probably isn’t the best time to step forward and invite close contact.

Be aware of your potential partner. Are they looking like they really want a hot shower and to brush their teeth? Do they look worn out after a long day of meetings? Then maybe they will regretfully turn you down, because as a Decent Human Being themself, they’re not going to inflict their hygienically unprepared body on you.

I know, this should be obvious, but if you are hoping to get laid at the big atheist conference, the first thing to do after the day of meetings is to go back to your room, take a shower, and dress nicely. Go out for a pleasant evening with the people you’ve met, drink in moderation, be friendly and pleasant and interesting, and strike up conversations with people. Your goal should be to make a connection, first; if you don’t, then you’re not going to get laid, and you should resign yourself to that.

What about tactics? I know all the games entitled young men, in particular, play. If you are deploying wingmen, if you are approaching this as you would a gazelle hunt, where the goal is to isolate a target from the herd and make them vulnerable so they will succumb to you, where getting the target stupefyingly drunk is a desirable means to an end, then you might get laid — I don’t deny that those tactics works for unscrupulous people — but you will have forfeited the title of Decent Human Being, and we’d rather you didn’t come to our meetings. Also, atheist women tend to be assertive and not at all bashful about telling everyone else about your behavior, and you’ll find yourself discussed on youtube and on blogs and perhaps even from the podium at the meeting. Then you’ll feel compelled to comment anonymously on those blogs, complaining about ball-busting man-haters, and you’ll be forever receding from that desirable status as Decent Human Being.

You don’t get to whine about being called out. It’s what we do. Join a cult if you’d rather have rules of silence and obedience.

So you’re down at the bar having a good time. How do you make the next move? Actually, asking “Would you like to come up to my roon for a cup of coffee?” or “How about if we continue this someplace a little more private?” are perfectly acceptable lines to use! Context is very important, though. If you are actually having a fun and sparkling conversation one-on-one with someone in a public place, with maybe a little flirting going on, then yes, ask away! If all you’ve been doing is general banter with a group, well then, there hasn’t been any really personal interaction so far, so expecting more is a bit presumptuous.

Remember, this is not a gazelle hunt. Decent Human Beings always give potential partners opportunity to gracefully decline, and best of all, put them in positions of equal status so they aren’t afraid to decline. If they look startled or their eyes dart around looking for an avenue of escape, you screwed up. Apologize and back off immediately.

Now you might find this hard to believe (I know I do), but I’ve been in this position several times at atheist meetings. I’m a homely old guy, not exactly what anyone would consider romantic material, and I’ve received variants of the “come up to my room for coffee” line from several women and one man. I did not find it at all creepy — it was extremely flattering, as you might guess — because in every case these were offers from intelligent people in reasonable contexts, that is, Decent Human Beings.

Being a Decent Human Being is actually the best defense you can have. Don’t abandon it for short-term gain: you’re in a community, and you’re going to lose that if you think of yourself as a predator on the make.

Now at this point, hopefully, you are two people in a hotel room. What next? I can’t help you much at this point, because I’ve always turned those offers down, and all of my dating experience is from 35 years ago, and in my current long-term relationship, we dated for two months before we even kissed. I’m pretty much the wrong person to ask for advice on what to do on one-night stands, except that as someone aspiring to be a Decent Human Being, “no” will always mean “no“, and maybe it should always be a good idea to keep on communicating as equals during the engagement. Also, everything that follows should be personal and private, so if you’re checking a blog post on the internet to see what to do next, you’re probably also doing it wrong.

Of course, if any more experienced commenters would like to offer further suggestions, they’re welcome to continue…as long as they remember these are guidelines for Decent Human Beings, not misogynistic exploiters and parasites.

Comments

  1. #1 Scented Nectar
    July 3, 2011

    makyui wrote:

    Nice to know that Scented Nectar is anti-feminist as well as anti-trans. I wonder when she’ll start apologizing for racism and homophobia.

    You know, I shouldn’t have to defend myself against stupid nasty claims like this, but what the fuck, here it goes, and after you read it, let’s drop those accusations once and for all, or at least take it somewhere more on topic. After you read the following, I don’t want any of you morons here ever accusing me of that shit again. Well, not unless you want to drop even lower in my estimation of your intelligence and personality than you already have dropped.

    ‘Scuse the long, but unfortunately necessary, denial of all those ism slurs about me, everyone. Blame Makyui. Here goes:

    A funny little thing about that whole trans issue, where no one here on this blog could give me an answer as to which of the 2 definitions of ‘gender’ they were using. After that frustrating crap here, where all my questions were seen as hate and paraphrased into the wackiest fucking stuff this side of too many acid hits, an entirely opposite experience happened on YouTube. Everything was explained by various trans people I know there. No one freaked. I’ll even be doing a blog article one of these days about the agendered bigotry in the radical feminist community, and how they don’t accept anyone but under their own agendered ideology of it being the only way to be, not even realizing that they ARE agendered and therefore part of the trans community. It’s ironic and makes me laugh.

    The way I now understand it, is agendered people do not see a gender role scale at all. Doesn’t make sense for any gender roles to be assigned to this or that sex other than what’s needed for body shape, sex, or reproductive behaviours. Pangendered people see the scale, but like to hang out all over the place on it. Transgendered see the scale and identify with the side of it that society says is the opposite to their body parts.

    Now that I see they are talking about gender roles in regards to identity, I consider myself to be agendered. I’d have been perfectly happy no matter which sex organs I’d been born with (I don’t ‘identify’ as one set or the other but am perfectly happy with the sex parts I have, which is female) I simply don’t recognize most of what’s assigned to me based on my sex as sensible. I don’t even understand why what should go where on that scale.

    In the radfem community, many of them hate trans people and insist that getting rid of all gender roles is the only good way to be. Well, on one hand I may agree in that perhaps much or most of it is unnecessary memes, but maybe not. Maybe some people do actually have a natural need to take on roles that their society associates with one gender or another. So, my opinion overall is: I think gender role expectations and laws suck and should be gotten rid of, but on the other hand, as long as we do have gender roles in our societies, and so deeply ingrained too, I think everyone should at least have the right to choose to be on any part of that scale they like, or not on it at all (like me). From what I remember of the crazy attempts at definitions here though, some of you will call me cisgendered for the simple fact that I’m perfectly happy with my body having female parts, even though I’d have been just as happy with male ones.

    Anti-feminist? Only when it turns into misandry, in other words radical feminism. I get along great with feminists who identify as sex positive, and no, I’m not including J. McCreight in there even though she says she’s one. I’m considered to be part of the sex positive community on YouTube, even though not all of us have the word ‘feminist’ tacked onto the end of that. Again, see my videos. I often speak up a lot for the rights of some of the women radfems oppress: sex workers. Radfems have teamed up bigtime with the religious right against this type of consensual sex they both disapprove of. The radfems have let themselves be totally derailed away from even the fact that their bedfellows would like to see them in the kitchen, preggers and with nary a contraceptive or abortion clinic in sight. Not to mention being derailed away from the other real, remaining sexist things in the world.

    Now, to address your slur at me regarding racism and homophobia, check out my videos. The Cana-Diana series (part 1 and part 2) called out a racist radfem youtuber. Called her out again over at 3 New YouTube Events. It’s the bottom event covered in there. Now, homophobia you ask? Here’s a few to start with: Uganda Stomps Out Gays, Public Outcry Saves Ugandan Gays For Now, Not-Gay-Looking-Enough Man Facing Deportation, Nuke Thinks Sexual Orientation is a Choice!

    Ok, that’s enough of me proving myself here in this place where it won’t be understood anyways. I’m sure this will all come back as the opposite of everything I’ve said. In fact, looking up at what I’ve just typed, I’m thinking, is any point I’m making going to actually be absorbed and understood by anyone who needs to? Oh what the fuck, I’ve already typed it so I’ll leave it. Either way, my points would disappear into thin air. :)

    Matt Penfold wrote:

    Oh, and those having a pop at Caine, she asked me not to use dickhead as an insult earlier, since it is a gendered insult. After a little thought I realised she was right, and I was wrong to have used it.

    Ever speak up against all the “menz” and jokes about raping men anally with porcupines? Might want to include that stuff too. Just saying.

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