When it arrives, I'll post a picture.
Location Date Local Time Activity
Philadelphia, PA, United States 08/16/2017 12:43 P.M. Import Scan
08/16/2017 7:51 A.M. Arrival Scan
Roissy Charles de Gaulle, France 08/16/2017 5:40 A.M. Departure Scan
Koeln, Germany 08/16/2017 4:29 A.M. Departure Scan
Roissy Charles de Gaulle, France 08/16/2017 4:22 A.M. Arrival Scan
Koeln, Germany 08/16/2017 12:59 A.M. Arrival Scan
Malmo Sturup, Sweden 08/15/2017 11:43 P.M. Departure Scan
08/15/2017 10:29 P.M. Arrival Scan
Vantaa, Finland 08/15/2017 9:56 P.M. Departure Scan
Helsinki, Finland 08/15/2017 9:16 P.M. Departure Scan
08/15/2017 7:16 P.M. Export Scan
08/15/2017 6:21 P.M. Your package is at the clearing agency awaiting final release. / Your package was released by the clearing agency.
08/15/2017 6:13 P.M. Your package is at the clearing agency awaiting final release.
Finland 08/15/2017 1:06 A.M. (ET) Order Processed: Ready for UPS
My nephew flies internationally for UPS. It's amusing to imagine him transporting it for me, although he more commonly flies trans-Pacific.
Best (or at least most writerly) tale he told me: the week J.K. Rowling's last Harry Potter book was released, UPS had to lay on extra flights to get all the books to the bookstores.
Now, there's a benchmark for success...
posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on August, 16
I've been wondering: Since there are lesbians out there who occasionally crave cock, does the reverse also happen? Are there gay men who occasionally crave pussy?
There are gay men who watch football—hell, I have it on good authority that some gay men play football, TP. So anything is possible. (Also, there are lots of lesbian-identified bisexual women out there, a smaller number of gay-identified bisexual men, and a tiny handful of bisexual-identified football fans.)
I've been seeing a lot of articles in the media about men "dropping out of the dating-and-marriage game," and the conclusions always point to porn as the culprit. This seems like a simplistic explanation. Do you have an opinion on the effect of porn on men?
I dropped out of the forming-opinions-about-porn game—far too busy consuming porn these days, PP. It's the only way to keep myself sane here in Trumpsylvania.
I'm a 26-year-old woman. I started dating a fantastic guy a month ago, blah blah blah, we've already talked about marriage. The problem is that his dick isn't up to par size-wise or staying-hard-wise. He was aware of this before I came along, and it made him an enthusiastic and skilled oral performer to make up for it. So for now everything's great, plenty of orgasms, and we're lovey-dovey. But eventually I'll need that filled-up feeling and I'll have to ask for some dildo/extender/strap-on action. The question is when to ask. He's a secure guy, and we've both been honest about our flaws. If I wait too long to ask, it might make him think I've been faking the whole time. And if I ask too soon, I could scare him off or make his performance anxiety worse! How do I know when the right time is?
If you were talking about marriage after a month, HF, odds are good this relationship is doomed anyway. So go ahead and ask for dildo/extender/strap-on action now. Don't say, "Circling back to your subpar dick, darling, I'm gonna need some compensatory dildo action soon." Instead say, "I'm into penetration toys, and I'm looking forward to getting into them with you—getting them into me, getting them into you. Anything you want to put on the menu, darling?"
Two friends can hook up with a girl or two girls from a bar and have a threesome or a foursome. But can two brothers—with opposite sexual preferences—hook up with a girl and a guy from a bar? Would this be considered wrong? No touching between siblings would occur.
It would be considered wrong by some—but those people aren't you, your brother, or the girl and guy you hope to pick up together. Personally, BB, I can barely get an erection if one of my siblings is in the same zip code; I can't imagine getting one with a sibling in the same room. But if you're comfortable doing opposite-sexual-preferencey things in close proximity to your brother, go for it.
I am a bisexual man and recently divorced my wife of 30 years. I am currently seeing a very beautiful lady. I satisfy my bisexual desires by going to sex clubs and I always practice safe sex. I don't have an issue, I just wanted to tell you I remember one time when you had a column about two guys performing fellatio on another man at the same time. I found it to be such a turn-on and even fantasized I was doing it to you. Hope that doesn't offend you.
Um, thanks for sharing?
I'm having an extremely difficult time getting intimate with my boyfriend of four years. I'm in recovery for an eating disorder, and part of my treatment is Prozac. It's working great and helping me make healthier choices. However, the Prozac is severely affecting my sex drive. I have little to no desire to have sex. And when we do have sex, I rarely orgasm. This is frustrating and, frankly, harmful to my recovery process. I'm already dealing with my shitty eating disorder telling me that I'm fat, ugly, and not good enough for anyone, anything, or even a decent meal. Now it's taking sex away from me, too? I also feel terrible for my boyfriend, who is endlessly patient and understanding but wants to have sex. I've suggested opening up the relationship for his sake, but he doesn't want to do that. I feel guilty and sad and frustrated. Any thoughts?
If the benefits of Prozac (helping you make better choices and aiding your recovery process) are canceled out by the side effects (leaving you so sexually frustrated, it's harming your recovery process), PLH, you should talk to your doctor about other options—other drugs you could try or a lower dose of Prozac. If you doctor dismisses your concerns about the sexual side effects of the drug they've got you on, get a new doctor.
I have only one concern about Donald Trump getting impeached: Do we get Mike Pence? Is he not just as bad? Or worse? On a more personal note: I don't think I've gotten a good night's sleep since Trump got elected. I wake up every morning next to an avid, Fox News–watching Trump supporter. I'm married long-term (35 years!) to a man who pulled a political one-eighty. This is about to make me crazy. Really. I'm not kidding. Do you have any suggestions for me? I don't want to DTMFA. Although after a most nauseating discussion over dinner, I did actually give it some thought.
Mike Pence, as awful as he is, oscillates within a predictable band of Republican awfulness. The reason no one is getting any sleep these days—not even folks who don't wake up next to Trump supporters—is because no one can predict what Trump will do next. Not even Trump. That's what makes his presidency such an existential nightmare.
As for your husband, LG, your choices are binary and rather stark: Either you divorce his ass and spare yourself the grief of listening to his bullshit, or you stay put, learn to tune out his bullshit, and cancel out his vote in 2018 and 2020.
What's the best dating site for a slightly cynical, tattooed, fortysomething woman looking for a guy?
It depends on the kind of guy you want. Closet case? ChristianMingle. Fuck boy? Tinder. Trump voter? Farmers Only. Compulsive masturbator? Craigslist. Unfuckable loser who is now and will always be a socially maladapted virgin? Return of Kings.
On the Lovecast, Dr. Samantha Joel on the psychology of ending relationships: savagelovecast.com.
I am a man and I have a problem: I’m a creep.
I’m 30 years old, and I haven’t had a whole lot of romantic experience. I’ve been shy my whole life and dealing with anxiety and depression since my teen years, so I haven’t put myself out there as much as I could have, and haven’t had the self-confidence to be a good prospect in the past. My social skills have been getting better, and I’m getting treatment for my mental health issues. I think I’m capable of dating now, and I’ve met a few interesting women to connect with in the last year or so. These days, I even manage to gather up my courage and ask them out/confess my feelings. However, I never to seem to get a straight “yes” or a “no”, and I end up responding in a bad way. Some examples:
I met a friend-of-a-friend a few times before, and we had flirted with each other, so I was feeling confident about our connection. Our group went to a party a while back, and I ended up asking to kiss her when we alone at one point. She said “I don’t know” and it looked like she was nervous and didn’t know what to do. I backed off physically, but I pressed the point: mostly questions in the “why not?” vein. We parted without incident, but met back up at the end of the party (the group was riding back together). For some reason, I tried to flirt some more, and I just ended up creeping her out. I’ve had enough self-awareness to keep my distance ever since, though the damage has already been done.
Another scenario: I saw a woman on a regular basis at an activity. I liked her, and told her so one day. Confronted with the news, she became very awkward and didn’t give a clear verbal response (“oh…uh…”). We ended up having a good conversation (about
everything else), but my declaration was left hanging. Before I saw her again, I e-mailed her to ask to talk again—I had been flogging myself for not knowing what to say. Her response was a clear “no”, and it was obvious that my e-mail had been unwelcome. I was glad to get the straight-up answer, but I had to push her boundaries to get it.
There have also been a couple of recent instances where I’ve asked a woman out and didn’t take her “I can’t make it” as an “I don’t want to”, and have ended up pestering them again.
It’s clear that I’m establishing a disturbing pattern: I get interested in a woman; I make a move; she gives a non-committal response; I don’t take it as the brush-off it is and end up making unwelcome contact (i.e. asking for a date again, “but why?”, continuing to flirt beyond its welcome). I know intellectually that getting a non-answer in these situations means “no”. It’s also clear in retrospect that I should’ve just backed off in these cases, but I seem to panic in the moment and not act on that knowledge. Through some combination of wishful thinking, inexperience and brain weasels, I’m pushing women’s boundaries and acting like a creep.
Any thoughts, Cap’n? I feel so guilty about these instances, and I’ve reaped the personal consequences—burnt bridges and cold shoulders—but I’m still not getting it right. How do I remember to bow out gracefully in such a moment?
– Don’t Wanna Be A Creep
Hey Friend, I see you and I used to be you. No, really. Lest we forget, I once left a multi-page letter on someone’s pillow in the bedroom where they sleep.
Media portrayals of romantic pursuit reward persistence. This is doing you (and many, many, many other people) a grave disservice.
You’re not doing anything wrong by asking people on dates, asking them to kiss them, or telling them you like them. There are exceptions – I think teachers hitting on their students is always pretty creepy, for instance, and your cute barista smiles that way at everyone because she is trapped at work and capitalism demands her emotional labor – but feeling attracted to someone and asking them about it isn’t creepy. Also, you are asking, not doing that “making a move” thing in movies where men grab women and mash their faces together that is romantic in fantasy and consensually in established “grabbing” relationships but not actually in real life. So, you haven’t crossed all the way over into creepy. It’s not too late!
So let’s work on your follow-up. Next time you feel that spark of interest in somebody, keep doing what you’re doing and ask. You’re not naturally smooth, so don’t try to become smooth at this. Just be yourself and be direct.
You: “I’d really love to kiss you/take you on a date/get to know you better.”
Nice lady: “Hrm…I don’t know about that.”
You: “Ok! I hope you don’t mind me asking. If you ever change your mind, let me know.”
Your “creep” self-label is probably 99% you being really hard on yourself, but I sense a little resentment or confusion on your part about not getting “clearer” answers. This is actually pretty simple to handle going forward. Treat anything that is not “Yes!!!!!” like “No.” Can’t make it = no. Let me think about it = no. I don’t know = no. Not now = no. You don’t need to push for a clearer answer or settle the question or codify the rejection. Did she say “Yes, I’d love to!?” No? Then drop it. Stop auditing her answers for the yes.
Rejection doesn’t mean you have to hide your face in shame forever or get all weird and Firthy about it, though! Go back to being polite and friendly and never mention it again until or unless she does. You can show that you are safe and trustworthy by being safe and trustworthy. If she flirts with you, it’s okay to flirt back, but don’t renew the request for a date or a kiss. Let her come to you with that. If she doesn’t, that’s your answer.
If it gets too uncomfortable for you to be in limbo with someone, it’s okay for you to pull back on the interaction. Just because you were comfortable with it once upon a time doesn’t mean you have to be comfortable with it when your feelings are hurt.
Women don’t forget when dudes ask them out. We don’t need reminders. If a lady really is on the fence about the whole thing and her “hrmmm…interesting” reaction was a genuine “I don’t know,” she is perfectly capable of coming and finding you later and asking “Is that offer still good?” I once suddenly needed to check my mail in another part of campus at two in the morning so I could keep walking in tandem with the gentleman I was walking home from a party with so we could mutually and consensually maneuver ourselves onto the Couch of Let’s Put On Some Portishead Now That I Have My Very Important Postal Material That Could Not Wait For Daylight. A woman who genuinely wants to look at your etchings will find a way to ask you about them.
You say you are shy and you don’t have a lot of confidence. This is how you build/practice/get confidence: You say your piece, you let the other person make a decision, and you trust that once in a while someone will decide you are worth risking an awkward conversation for. Until that happens, you trust in yourself, in your own worth and good and valiant heart, and pour your love and your time into your friendships, your family, your work, your education, your hobbies, and your community. Live to date again another day.
Another suggestion? Make your date requests more specific. You say you aren’t getting clear yes or no answers, so, make your requests for dates or whatever easier to say a clear yes or no to. “Would you like to be my date to this comedy show on Thursday?” vs. “Can I take you out sometime?”
If the person says “No thanks” that’s your answer!
If someone says no to Thursday, specifically, but yes to the idea, you are cleared to ask again, one time. If it gets super-hard to make plans and it feels like there is never the right time, 1) Stop: “I’d still really love to get together, why don’t you call me when your schedule opens up and we’ll figure something out?” 2) Drop (the subject) and 3) Roll your attention somewhere else.
Maybe someday I’ll stop gushing about Mr. Awkward but today is not that day. He asked me out on Ok Cupid. I said “Yes, but I am sick and busy, can we try this in a couple of weeks?” He said “Sure” and (this is key) then he left me alone. He assumed he was never going to hear from me again and moved on with his life. In a couple of weeks, I got in touch with him and asked him on a date. What if I had never written to him? We might never have met. What if he had written to me repeatedly to get me to go out with him? We also might never have met. Read on for a cautionary tale.
Pickup Artists and other dregs at the bottom of the dating pool talk about something called the “shit test” – where women say no to an early request to test to see if the guy will persist, and they encourage you to push back on this early no. One of my early dating tests that I didn’t realize was a test at the time is the “Hey will this stranger take no for an answer because I kind a need to know” test. I once mentioned to a dude from an online dating site that I would call him over the weekend to confirm plans for a date. Some actual big deal life stuff came up and I forgot to call him. At precisely 9:00 am Monday morning I got a text that said “You didn’t call. ” and I had a strangely visceral “Nope!!!!” reaction to reading it, like, ugh, this is already too much work. I was like “Oops, I had some family stuff, sorry” and He was like “My time is very valuable, I don’t like reserving time in my schedule for flakes” and I was like “I hear that, okay, sorry again, let’s skip getting ice cream after all, good luck out there” and then
I get from the interactions that he’d been really looking forward to the date and that I hurt his feelings by being less interested. It was probably never gonna happen after that initial but it was definitely not gonna happen after “Why did you say you’d go out with me if you didn’t intend to follow through?” He was cute and smart and we liked the same geeky stuff but he put my shoulders up around my ears and once they went up they weren’t coming down.
Don’t be Sad Emoji Guy. Persistence is overrated. Pushy people get my back up and if you’re a shy guy who is not very experienced at dating your best dating pool is going to be your fellow shy people who are not so experienced at dating and they are not necessarily going to enjoy feeling hunted by you.
- Stop asking for women’s phone numbers or emails when you meet them in bars or group settings. “I’d love to chat with you more, can I give you my info?” Hand them a card (or literally a scrap of paper with your name and a way to contact you on it, please do not overthink this). Remove the anxiety of “when do I call/should I call/how do I call/what do I say when I call” from your life completely right now. Change up the idea of pursuit in romance. Whenever I give this advice some dude points out “But he won’t get any calls that way” and it’s like “Maybe not! But if someone does call you’ll know she really wanted to, and in the meantime you made the world suck less by not pressuring women for contact info.” If she loses it, so what. If she doesn’t like your font, so what. The whole point is to stop worrying about it once you give her your info instead of pressuring her for hers. If she met you and she really liked you, chances are she’ll tuck it in a safe place.
- Don’t be Social Media Hover Guy. Let’s be clear, I would always, always Google potential dates and get an idea of their general online vibe and how well it matched up with what they’d told me, and I think everyone should do this (It’s one way to figure out early on if someone is a Nazi, for instance!) And we’re only human, and photos of our crushes are fascinating. However, when you are trying to connect with someone, don’t monitor their feeds and mention everything they’ve ever done back to them, don’t become the person that “likes” every single thing they say (Really you “like” when I wished my Mom a happy birthday 2 months ago?), DON’T click “like” on all their old pictures. It’s about as subtle as skywriting, and it just feels, as you said, creepy to know someone is monitoring you to that extent.
- Watch for reciprocity. If you are sending 5 emails or texts for every 1 of hers, and yours are like Tolstoy wrote them where she is more Dorothy Parker, ease off a bit.
- Read more books by women and take in art by women. If you already read books by women, great? Keep doing that. Ashley C. Ford just had a great Twitter thread on books by black women people are reading & excited to read if you need to refresh your list. Watch movies by women. Listen to music made by women. You want to love women and be with women? Recognize the ways that the world is out of balance for us and look for stories and creative works that address that.
- Be politically active about things that are important to women. In the spring it was reported that women are making 86% of the phone calls to resist the current administration’s policies. Do you want to be with women, sleep with women, love women? Have you noticed we’re kinda busy right now? Love us by doing your part so that we can survive and thrive and have some free time to think about dating a nice fellow like you. I will stop adding this advice to dating threads when I see that number move to 50%.
You can’t logick someone into loving you. There is no series of perfectly executed steps that get you there. You’ve reached this moment of self-awareness about what you’re doing and it doesn’t feel good but growth never does.
This is all very fixable and I wish you luck in fixing it.
Comments closed as of 10:17 pm.
This is an amalgamation of actual letters in my actual inbox:
Dear Captain Awkward, I’m dating someone wonderful who really loves me, he (IT’S ALWAYS HE, DON’T @ME) but he has terrible political views, like, he thinks immigrants and black people and women and gay people and trans people aren’t really people something something about biological inferiority and it’s okay to violence them but only when they deserve it? I know it’s just how he grew up, he has a good heart and doesn’t really mean it, Confederate flags/”traditional” views are just part of his heritage. I’ve tried discussing this with him but he always talks over me. Can you help me explain my views better? I’m sure I can convince him if I just try hard enough? Can this relationship work?
Go look at some photos from Charlottesville right now.
BTW there’s one with the Confederate flag right next to Nazi flags that really rung some bells after last month’s discussion.
(Nazi flags and Confederate flags are best buds they like to go drinking together and talk about wars they got their asses kicked in and remember the good old days of being giant fucking racist losers.)
The heart wants what it wants but I gotta ask what would it take for you to break up with a dude who talks about “many sides” and “yeah but free speech is important” and “we can’t waste time with identity politics” right about now? I guarantee some of those tiki torch Connors and Trents and Wyatts are going home to cuddles and pie tonight. Maybe with you.
I know how you got here even if you don’t. They know how to hide this stuff in “polite” company and save the nastiness for anonymous forums. They use dog whistles. They make jokes that aren’t jokes. They play the Devil’s advocate. They say ridiculous things on purpose so that you can think to yourself “He can’t really believe that, can he?” They trick you with occasional actual orgasms and doing their fair share of the dishes and decent hygiene and god, you were alone for so long, and you finally found someone who is not repulsive in the shallow dating pool where you live, do you really have to dump this living, breathing human being who likes the same geeky stuff you like and who holds doors open for your mom and who probably is just doing his best, all to prove some abstract point? How can these people know better if no one will teach them how to be better? Can’t that be you, and in return you get to keep this nice boyfriend who smells good and who has a decent job and who and checks all of your other “don’t be a giant racist turd” boxes? There’s good in him, you’ve felt it, surely this can be fixed?
They wait until they’ve charmed you, until they’ve met your parents, until things are all comfortable between you, to show their true colors, betting on the fact that you’d be too far in to leave.
I know you’re embarrassed and it’s embarrassing as fuck but it’s not too late to get out of there. I know it’s not fair. Cut. Your. Losses.
I’m not making fun. I am deadly serious. It is only getting worse. At least one person died today behind this. We can’t lose you, too. Make a safety plan. Go quietly, but go.
We did this a couple of weeks ago, but delayed posting till after the e-publication of the novella earlier this week. (Good heavens, that was only Tuesday -- seems longer ago already, but that's how time speeds on the internet.) This turns out to be doubly timely, in view of yesterday's happy news, as I also talk a bit about about wrangling series structures.
Also to note, the only PR push this novella is going to get is on this blog and these couple of by-chance recent interviews, so any mention folks may be moved to make about it out and around the net and elsewhere would be great. Amazon always gets plenty of reviews, and indeed by the time any prospective readers have made their way to the vendor sites the work is already done, so putting out the word in other places is more important.
posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on August, 16