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The vengeful ex-girlfriends of TikTok It's better to be vanilla than bitter

Alison Elliott and Helena Bonham Carter in Iain Softley's 'The Wings of the Dove'. Credit: IMDB

Alison Elliott and Helena Bonham Carter in Iain Softley's 'The Wings of the Dove'. Credit: IMDB


February 6, 2023   5 mins

The girl in the TikTok video is wearing joggers, a lime green bra, and — for some reason — a pink ski mask. Her hair is blonde and stringy. She climbs atop the kitchen counter, attempting a yoga arm balance that turns into a sort of interpretive dance when she can’t quite hold it. The room behind her is dark, which makes it easy to read the light-coloured text that hovers over the video.

“I may not be the woman you marry,” it says, “but I’ll be the woman you think about when your boring wife lays starfish for the entire *2 minutes* before going to sleep facing the opposite direction.”

This video is not the only one of its kind, although it is one of the weirder ones. For the past several weeks, TikTok has been replete with videos from young women proudly announcing themselves to be the opposite of wife material — and not-so-subtly labelling those who are as sexually non-adventurous. These ladies — the kitchen counter yogi, the one dancing in the driver’s seat of her car, the one wearing an oversized T-shirt and a decidedly sinister smile — are happy to declare that they will not be the one with whom you settle down. But oh, when you do, you’ll think about them.

It’s hard to trace the evolution of “wife” from an aspirational role to a reviled one, but it’s a fair bet that the broader contemporary distaste for female heterosexuality has something to do with it. In an age in which women are tying themselves into knots to identify as anything but straight, desiring men is bad enough; to marry one surely denotes you as terminally basic, possessed of the worst possible taste.

At the same time, the rise of the lifestyle influencer has breathed new life into the Madonna-Whore complex of yore, which now plays out in the form of an ongoing beef between the tradwives of the political Right and their convention-eschewing progressive counterparts. That many of said progressives are engaged in polyamorous relationships, which are often indistinguishable in all but name from an old-school harem, is a complicating factor, but also a very funny one — much like the conservative sexual mores that somehow become “queer” under the banner of demisexuality.

Perhaps it’s the classic lines of this conflict that brought the following cultural analogy to mind: what I thought of upon encountering these videos, immediately, was Iain Softley’s 1997 film adaptation of the Henry James novel, The Wings of the Dove. For the uninitiated, the story tells of a love triangle between an enamored but impoverished British couple, Kate Croy and Merton Densher, and a rich American orphan named Millie Theale who presents both complication and opportunity. Millie is dying; she’s also unmarried, and quite taken with Merton. Kate, observing this, persuades Merton to seduce Millie, so that he can inherit her fortune — and then, newly widowed and flush with cash, marry Kate.

Softley’s take on this story leans into its sexual elements, making explicit (and fully, frontally naked) what James’s novel only ever insinuates. Kate, in this imagining, is the quintessential femme fatale. Millie, pious and beautiful and doomed, is the starfish wife, albeit with an expiration date. Utterly assured of her own appeal, Kate never imagines that Millie could present a threat: when she sends Merton off to marry another woman, it’s in complete confidence that she (Kate) will be the one he thinks about. But — spoiler alert — when Millie does die, leaving Merton her fortune, he doesn’t want it. And worse, he doesn’t really want Kate, either. Not anymore. Not after everything.

Conservatives might be inclined to see this story as a cautionary tale about the dangers of being a trollop; to me, the more interesting lesson to be taken from both James’s classic and the TikTok #notvanilla hashtag is that sex will only take you so far. In both cases, the woman’s error is putting far much stock in the allure of her sexual availability, and in the power this will forever exert over the men she shtupped but didn’t settle down with. It is, in some ways, a fantasy of immortality: “I won’t be the girl you marry”, but of course in this imagined future, the girl won’t be a girl anymore. She is just hoping that somebody remembers her that way.

Maybe there are worse ways to stay forever young, but it strikes me that this is a scenario that grows less appealing the further one gets from one’s sexual salad days. The idea of your recent ex being tormented by memories of your relationship is titillating when you’re 20; at 40, the idea of a balding, paunchy, middle-aged dad thinking of your younger self while he’s in flagrante with his wife seems not just unappealing, but a little repulsive. (Far from being titillated by the idea, I rather desperately hope that none of my former boyfriends — all of whom are now at least 40 years old — are still thinking about me at all, let alone thinking about me like that.)

Certainly, it requires an interesting view of marriage to decide one would rather be the ghost that haunts someone else’s husband than be a wife herself. If anything, the contempt these young women hold for the imagined, eventual spouse of their ex-paramours exceeds that even for the man who married her; as with so many revenge fantasies, this one centres less on one’s own happiness or success, and more on the idea that someone who once hurt you will have a miserable life.

But where are these women, in this imagined future? If you’re the one who got away, where did you get away to, and with whom? It’s hard to say if these women also, separately, imagine themselves happily coupled with someone else in the future where their exes are eternally disgruntled and pining. But surely being remembered as some former hookup’s Best Blowjob Ever is cold comfort if the best thing you can say about your life is that you were hot once upon a time.

It’s an interesting sort of self-mythologising, an attempt to be the architect of your own legacy through the medium of somebody else’s memory, in which your own persistence is hardly guaranteed. Kate Croy learns too late that men have their own ideas about who constitutes “the one who got away”; in the end, it’s sweet vanilla Milly whose memory becomes a torment. Similarly, the self-proclaimed unmarriageable women of TikTok might want to consider that men do tend to love the person they choose to marry — and to be with her because they love her, the wild (or weird) sex they had with some other girl once upon a time notwithstanding. This is one area in which the Madonna-Whore dichotomy, classic though it is, no longer quite captures the reality of romantic entanglements. The gold standard for choosing a life partner in 2023 is not sexual purity, but sexual compatibility, which is to say that if a guy has a vanilla wife, it’s probably because he likes vanilla.

In 1959, James Thurber wrote a sprawling consideration in the New Yorker of James’s story and the various efforts (and, frequently, subsequent failures) to adapt it for stage and screen. (I am desperate to know what he would have made of Softley’s lascivious take on the material, but alas, he died in 1961.) Among the lines from this remarkable piece is a beautiful observation of how Kate and Merton end, miserably, in a miasma of survivor’s guilt and regret: “They are shadowed and separated forever by the wings of the dead dove, by the presence of a girl who is gone but everlastingly there.”

The anti-wives want to have it both ways. They want the cachet of the sexually adventurous temptress, and they also want to be the dead dove who ruined you for every woman who came after. But they will be disappointed: that ex-boyfriend, cocooned in the arms of his starfish wife, is probably not thinking of them at all.


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

katrosenfield

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polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

Perhaps heterosexuality will soon be seen as deviant behaviour. How exciting!
By the way, starfish have five legs and I am very much a leg man. .

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

Perhaps heterosexuality will soon be seen as deviant behaviour. How exciting!
By the way, starfish have five legs and I am very much a leg man. .

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

The exhibitionists on TikTok know no one will marry them (because they’re exhibitionists, for a start), so they’re just preemptively getting their stories out there (my purple hair and nose ring says f*ck you for not loving me!). If I were a guy in the dating pool, I’d consider this a great resource for determining who to avoid.

Harry Phillips
Harry Phillips
1 year ago

Tattoos, nose rings and other piercings all do a terrific job of killing normal male attraction stone dead.

Is that not the idea?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Harry Phillips

The thing about women and fashion – even the grotesqueries you cite – is that it is mostly done for other women. So if the standard in one’s social set involves looking like a TikTok clown, then that’s what she’ll do. It’s only later when she can’t get a date that she’ll take the studs out of her cheeks and visit a tattoo removal salon.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

Being old and bitter isn’t a great look for you, grandma!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Being young and bitter isn’t a great look for you, boy!

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

This guy is another harpy. There’s one that lurks on Bari Weis’s Free Press. They could be brothers. Amazing. All he seems to do is defecate on people’s post and scream foul absurdities. Out of nowhere most of the time. Is there some kind of backstory fight going on? Or is he just a miserable person?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

He’s just a stupid woke infant seeking some attention.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

He’s just a stupid woke infant seeking some attention.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

This guy is another harpy. There’s one that lurks on Bari Weis’s Free Press. They could be brothers. Amazing. All he seems to do is defecate on people’s post and scream foul absurdities. Out of nowhere most of the time. Is there some kind of backstory fight going on? Or is he just a miserable person?

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

The only bitter person here is you, as evidenced by your comments.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Being young and bitter isn’t a great look for you, boy!

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

The only bitter person here is you, as evidenced by your comments.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

Being old and bitter isn’t a great look for you, grandma!

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  Harry Phillips

“Normal male attraction”
Good job we have a hero like Harry to tell us all what “normal male attraction” is! He must be a real expert!

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Harry Phillips

That’s why men invented beer glasses.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Harry Phillips

The thing about women and fashion – even the grotesqueries you cite – is that it is mostly done for other women. So if the standard in one’s social set involves looking like a TikTok clown, then that’s what she’ll do. It’s only later when she can’t get a date that she’ll take the studs out of her cheeks and visit a tattoo removal salon.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  Harry Phillips

“Normal male attraction”
Good job we have a hero like Harry to tell us all what “normal male attraction” is! He must be a real expert!

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Harry Phillips

That’s why men invented beer glasses.

Harry Phillips
Harry Phillips
1 year ago

Tattoos, nose rings and other piercings all do a terrific job of killing normal male attraction stone dead.

Is that not the idea?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

The exhibitionists on TikTok know no one will marry them (because they’re exhibitionists, for a start), so they’re just preemptively getting their stories out there (my purple hair and nose ring says f*ck you for not loving me!). If I were a guy in the dating pool, I’d consider this a great resource for determining who to avoid.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

This is a case of women making the mistake of thinking men think like they do.
The alpha widow is a real thing. There’s no such thing as an alpha widower.
In simpler terms
 men generally don’t get obsessed by past conquests the way women do.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

You’ve clearly never slept with Angelica Ballestero.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

You’ve clearly never slept with Angelica Ballestero.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

This is a case of women making the mistake of thinking men think like they do.
The alpha widow is a real thing. There’s no such thing as an alpha widower.
In simpler terms
 men generally don’t get obsessed by past conquests the way women do.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

These kids just have no idea. My extremely fit wife and I, (both in our sixties) have spent the winter scuba-diving in Thailand which is a lot nicer than Britain at this time of year. I wouldn’t want to be with anybody else.

The youngsters that came out to the hotel on their two-week packages paraded themselves round in their thong-bikinis with their buttocks hanging out. They looked like a load of baboons. I wouldn’t touch them with Boris’s.. (to paraphrase the old saying).

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

That’s ok then because they clearly wouldn’t have looked at you either. I’m glad your happy with your wife, but why does that mean you have to look down on a bunch of single youngsters on the pull? You were young and single once, and no doubt scrubbed up on a night out in order to get your leg over so where has this apparent superiority complex come from?

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Because Albireo knows he will never pursue younger women and thinks he will never have to pursue another woman. Men who are successful in love have a cruel habit of looking down on those who are unsuccessful in love.

This is because the system needs men to chase women. If men spent money in ways that did not involve attracting women, our economies would look very different. So women and men stigmatise lonely men, while lonely women are granted sympathy due to philogyny.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

The “system”? Birds, bees, Tarzan, Jane – that sort of system?

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

Grow up, imbecile.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

Grow up, imbecile.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

The “system”? Birds, bees, Tarzan, Jane – that sort of system?

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

To be fair Billy Bob, when I was on the pull I didn’t go for girls who let their buttocks hang out. I preferred girls who had a sense of decorum, and enough wit to know that you didn’t show everything at first glance. Likewise, I didn’t flaunt an enormous codpiece – but then, they hadn’t built underwear man enough for the job.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I can only imagine that you didn’t have much luck considering the way you talk. Did you get that style from the Andrew Tate courses you shelled out for? Or are you just naturally a bit of a loser?

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

“Did you get that style from the Andrew Tate courses you shelled out for?”
?
The style, as you put it, was that of Lord Flashheart – A monstrous comic creation that only you could take seriously.
I googled Mr. Tate. Your social media “personalities” are of no interest to me, Graeme.

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I can only imagine that you didn’t have much luck considering the way you talk. Did you get that style from the Andrew Tate courses you shelled out for? Or are you just naturally a bit of a loser?

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

It’s clear you required no lessons.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

“Did you get that style from the Andrew Tate courses you shelled out for?”
?
The style, as you put it, was that of Lord Flashheart – A monstrous comic creation that only you could take seriously.
I googled Mr. Tate. Your social media “personalities” are of no interest to me, Graeme.

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I can only imagine that you didn’t have much luck considering the way you talk. Did you get that style from the Andrew Tate courses you shelled out for? Or are you just naturally a bit of a loser?

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

It’s clear you required no lessons.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I can only imagine that you didn’t have much luck considering the way you talk. Did you get that style from the Andrew Tate courses you shelled out for? Or are you just naturally a bit of a loser?

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Because Albireo knows he will never pursue younger women and thinks he will never have to pursue another woman. Men who are successful in love have a cruel habit of looking down on those who are unsuccessful in love.

This is because the system needs men to chase women. If men spent money in ways that did not involve attracting women, our economies would look very different. So women and men stigmatise lonely men, while lonely women are granted sympathy due to philogyny.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

To be fair Billy Bob, when I was on the pull I didn’t go for girls who let their buttocks hang out. I preferred girls who had a sense of decorum, and enough wit to know that you didn’t show everything at first glance. Likewise, I didn’t flaunt an enormous codpiece – but then, they hadn’t built underwear man enough for the job.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

I’m sure all the kids were just desperate to gain the approval of a couple of sixty somethings! Or, far more likely, they had no idea that you even existed and got on with having a good time while you clucked about their inappropriate dress.
What were you wearing, grandpa? Bermuda shorts and a pith helmet?

Last edited 1 year ago by Graeme McNeil
Laney R Sexton
Laney R Sexton
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I think you might be a little lost Graeme, Jezabel.com is that way

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I’m sure all the grown-ups are just desperate to gain the approval of an angry man-child with blue hair and a septum piercing! Or, far more likely, they have no idea that you even exist and get on with having a good time while you cluck about their appropriate dress.
What are you wearing, boy? A split miniskirt and a special thong for men?

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Craven
Laney R Sexton
Laney R Sexton
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I think you might be a little lost Graeme, Jezabel.com is that way

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I’m sure all the grown-ups are just desperate to gain the approval of an angry man-child with blue hair and a septum piercing! Or, far more likely, they have no idea that you even exist and get on with having a good time while you cluck about their appropriate dress.
What are you wearing, boy? A split miniskirt and a special thong for men?

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Craven
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

That’s ok then because they clearly wouldn’t have looked at you either. I’m glad your happy with your wife, but why does that mean you have to look down on a bunch of single youngsters on the pull? You were young and single once, and no doubt scrubbed up on a night out in order to get your leg over so where has this apparent superiority complex come from?

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

I’m sure all the kids were just desperate to gain the approval of a couple of sixty somethings! Or, far more likely, they had no idea that you even existed and got on with having a good time while you clucked about their inappropriate dress.
What were you wearing, grandpa? Bermuda shorts and a pith helmet?

Last edited 1 year ago by Graeme McNeil
Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

These kids just have no idea. My extremely fit wife and I, (both in our sixties) have spent the winter scuba-diving in Thailand which is a lot nicer than Britain at this time of year. I wouldn’t want to be with anybody else.

The youngsters that came out to the hotel on their two-week packages paraded themselves round in their thong-bikinis with their buttocks hanging out. They looked like a load of baboons. I wouldn’t touch them with Boris’s.. (to paraphrase the old saying).

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
David George
David George
1 year ago

Here’s another take on this, this self absorption. A quite brilliant essay “The Eyes of Another”, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and the redemption of Raskolnikov.
“She smiles at him joyfully when she sees him but holds out her hand to him with timidity. He takes it, and their hands do not part. “He stole a rapid glance at her and dropped his eyes on the ground without speaking.”
It is in this glance that Raskolnikov at last sees himself as he is without shame. He at last understands that he is loved, and overcome by humility, he falls to her feet and weeps. Though she is afraid, Sonia understands what has happened within the prisoner, and we are told that a “light of infinite happiness came into her eyes.” “The heart of each held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other,” writes Dostoevsky. Raskolnikov’s inner self now includes his love for Sonia, a gaze that looks outward. His solipsistic self-discoveries, self-makings, and self-soothing acts of confession have revealed themselves to be hateful because he is finally able to see himself through the eyes of another.”
https://quillette.com/2023/01/31/crime-and-punishment-and-redemption/

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  David George

Excellent comparison.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  David George

Excellent comparison.

David George
David George
1 year ago

Here’s another take on this, this self absorption. A quite brilliant essay “The Eyes of Another”, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and the redemption of Raskolnikov.
“She smiles at him joyfully when she sees him but holds out her hand to him with timidity. He takes it, and their hands do not part. “He stole a rapid glance at her and dropped his eyes on the ground without speaking.”
It is in this glance that Raskolnikov at last sees himself as he is without shame. He at last understands that he is loved, and overcome by humility, he falls to her feet and weeps. Though she is afraid, Sonia understands what has happened within the prisoner, and we are told that a “light of infinite happiness came into her eyes.” “The heart of each held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other,” writes Dostoevsky. Raskolnikov’s inner self now includes his love for Sonia, a gaze that looks outward. His solipsistic self-discoveries, self-makings, and self-soothing acts of confession have revealed themselves to be hateful because he is finally able to see himself through the eyes of another.”
https://quillette.com/2023/01/31/crime-and-punishment-and-redemption/

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago

Iggy and the Stooges; You’re pretty face is going to hell!

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

Yeah but Gimme Danger!

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

Yeah but Gimme Danger!

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago

Iggy and the Stooges; You’re pretty face is going to hell!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

I’ve always thought Henry James made a category error in naming a British male Merton Densher.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Everyone has his own Jamesian theory. Mine is that the vulgar article manufactured by the Newsomes in The Ambassadors is bogroll.

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Craven
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Everyone has his own Jamesian theory. Mine is that the vulgar article manufactured by the Newsomes in The Ambassadors is bogroll.

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Craven
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

I’ve always thought Henry James made a category error in naming a British male Merton Densher.

Daniel P
Daniel P
1 year ago

The list of bizarre views and expectations of many many young women today is longer than my arm. They run from men who do not meet their expectations or they drive them away trying to force them to meet those expectations. Of course they are think that getting a man that is anything but the current ideal is “settling” and they are not about to do that. It never occurs to them that setting a reasonable expectation or bar is not settling.
This particular variety? They are among the saddest because you can see where they are going and the longer they stay the way they are the more likely they end up in miserable, bitter and lonely places.
Of course, I will bet that the young women like the one in the video described never realize just how ugly their personalities are and that perhaps that is why the men run. The men see the toxicity and the crazy.

Daniel P
Daniel P
1 year ago

The list of bizarre views and expectations of many many young women today is longer than my arm. They run from men who do not meet their expectations or they drive them away trying to force them to meet those expectations. Of course they are think that getting a man that is anything but the current ideal is “settling” and they are not about to do that. It never occurs to them that setting a reasonable expectation or bar is not settling.
This particular variety? They are among the saddest because you can see where they are going and the longer they stay the way they are the more likely they end up in miserable, bitter and lonely places.
Of course, I will bet that the young women like the one in the video described never realize just how ugly their personalities are and that perhaps that is why the men run. The men see the toxicity and the crazy.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

If Nicky Morgan and others have their way, platforms will have to tackle “online misogyny”.

Under the proposed amendments to the “Online Safety” bill, given that misogyny will be given a bloated, subjective, vague definition defined by feelings, articles like this may soon become a thing of the past.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

If Nicky Morgan and others have their way, platforms will have to tackle “online misogyny”.

Under the proposed amendments to the “Online Safety” bill, given that misogyny will be given a bloated, subjective, vague definition defined by feelings, articles like this may soon become a thing of the past.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago

I’ve lived in a few countries over the years, and I’ve never seen a society as obsessed about sexual politics as the British (save perhaps Turkey but in a very different way). I don’t mean that in a disparaging way, rather as factually as I can. I’ve been thinking whether this has some kind of value – and I think there is. All the music, movies, other art that come out of the UK probably build on this foundation. On the flip side, any given individual seems to be spending an awful amount of time and effort into “pairing”, I suspect this must be reducing the energy left for other more (economically) productive activities.

Last edited 1 year ago by Emre S
Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Your comment reminds me of the preface to an old Norton Critical Anthology of Restoration Comedy:

“The five plays in this volume are comedies about men and women who live in London, care for sex and money, and make fools of one another if not of themselves. There is nothing strange about this combination of activities, as anyone who has lived in London or cared for sex and money will know.”

If you’re going to obsess about something, is there a more appropriate object than sex? Surely not economic productivity! That’s why you’re on the look out for a wealthy widower, or naive young heiress. . .

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

Funny – thanks for the reference. The subtext to what I was saying above is, of course, whether sexual politics is a zero-sum game. On the face of it, it is. Who gets the young heiress doesn’t affect the overall wealth generated. But then, is it really?

Last edited 1 year ago by Emre S
Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

Funny – thanks for the reference. The subtext to what I was saying above is, of course, whether sexual politics is a zero-sum game. On the face of it, it is. Who gets the young heiress doesn’t affect the overall wealth generated. But then, is it really?

Last edited 1 year ago by Emre S
Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Your comment reminds me of the preface to an old Norton Critical Anthology of Restoration Comedy:

“The five plays in this volume are comedies about men and women who live in London, care for sex and money, and make fools of one another if not of themselves. There is nothing strange about this combination of activities, as anyone who has lived in London or cared for sex and money will know.”

If you’re going to obsess about something, is there a more appropriate object than sex? Surely not economic productivity! That’s why you’re on the look out for a wealthy widower, or naive young heiress. . .

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago

I’ve lived in a few countries over the years, and I’ve never seen a society as obsessed about sexual politics as the British (save perhaps Turkey but in a very different way). I don’t mean that in a disparaging way, rather as factually as I can. I’ve been thinking whether this has some kind of value – and I think there is. All the music, movies, other art that come out of the UK probably build on this foundation. On the flip side, any given individual seems to be spending an awful amount of time and effort into “pairing”, I suspect this must be reducing the energy left for other more (economically) productive activities.

Last edited 1 year ago by Emre S
Cynthia W.
Cynthia W.
1 year ago

Weirdoid, but whatever.

Cynthia W.
Cynthia W.
1 year ago

Weirdoid, but whatever.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

“his starfish wife”. That’s the second time I’ve seen that expression in as many days. I must have missed some movie this is referencing. I don’t get it.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
1 year ago

Consider yourself better off…

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Me neither.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
1 year ago

Well, there’s this thing called google….

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Can’t be arsed.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Can’t be arsed.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
1 year ago

Consider yourself better off…

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Me neither.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
1 year ago

Well, there’s this thing called google….

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

“his starfish wife”. That’s the second time I’ve seen that expression in as many days. I must have missed some movie this is referencing. I don’t get it.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 year ago

“The gold standard for choosing a life partner in 2023 is not sexual purity, but sexual compatibility, which is to say that if a guy has a vanilla wife, it’s probably because he likes vanilla.”
Does the term “sexual compatibility” mean anything? – It’s the excuse people use when they don’t want to admit that their intimacy failures are emotional and psychological rather than carnal or anatomical.
And I wonder if this authoress honestly believes sexual history is no longer relevant to future husbands’ evaluations of potential wives? I grant you the measurements on the scale between ‘chaste’ and ‘easy’ have changed a bit, but the scale is still there, and it still matters. Of course it would, as it is hard-wired into us.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kirk Susong
Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
1 year ago

Does this fleeting phenomenon really require this kind of over analysis?

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
1 year ago

Does this fleeting phenomenon really require this kind of over analysis?

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

I’m sure the Andrew Tate fans who slither around this parish will agree wholeheartedly with all of this, as will most of the trads who wish we were back in some Edwardian golden age. The comments should be highly predictable as well as highly amusing.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

“ The comments should be highly predictable as well as highly amusing.”

So far, you’re half right.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

another contribution from Spectrum Boy. We are honoured.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

It was highly predictable.

Wesley Rawlings
Wesley Rawlings
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

He’ll have the last laugh here. What self-absorbed TikTok thot could resist a man fresh from the fight of a centre-right comments section popular with the middle aged? As he raises his trusty fedora in greeting to the fair maidens they will know he alone defended their honour when it mattered most.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

I wonder why you two come here. Banned from the Beano Forum perhaps.
PS: Graeme doesn’t understand laughter. – Poor Graeme!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Perhaps they should get a room…

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I think Wesley gets it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Derek Smith
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’m still laughing at your attempts to reframe your hilarious misunderstandings as a “joke” – now that was funny!
Why don’t you say something about being on the spectrum to show us just how “funny” you are? That’s really side-splitting stuff that is….

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

It must be distracting for you to go through life with that constant whooshing sound as things go right over your head.
Or maybe you are just used to it by now?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

It must be distracting for you to go through life with that constant whooshing sound as things go right over your head.
Or maybe you are just used to it by now?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

It must be distracting for you to go through life with that constant whooshing sound as things go right over your head.
Or maybe you are just used to it by now?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Perhaps they should get a room…

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I think Wesley gets it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Derek Smith
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’m still laughing at your attempts to reframe your hilarious misunderstandings as a “joke” – now that was funny!
Why don’t you say something about being on the spectrum to show us just how “funny” you are? That’s really side-splitting stuff that is….

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

It must be distracting for you to go through life with that constant whooshing sound as things go right over your head.
Or maybe you are just used to it by now?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Why on earth would a middle-aged man of the centre-right be interested in a wokewoad septum-pierced TikTok thot??!?
https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Wokewoad

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

I wonder why you two come here. Banned from the Beano Forum perhaps.
PS: Graeme doesn’t understand laughter. – Poor Graeme!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Why on earth would a middle-aged man of the centre-right be interested in a wokewoad septum-pierced TikTok thot??!?
https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Wokewoad

Wesley Rawlings
Wesley Rawlings
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

He’ll have the last laugh here. What self-absorbed TikTok thot could resist a man fresh from the fight of a centre-right comments section popular with the middle aged? As he raises his trusty fedora in greeting to the fair maidens they will know he alone defended their honour when it mattered most.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

You can surely do better than this – can’t you?

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Don’t need to. It’s like shooting ducks in a barrel.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

You haven’t hit one yet, gramps

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

You haven’t hit one yet, gramps

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Can’t be arsed.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Don’t need to. It’s like shooting ducks in a barrel.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Can’t be arsed.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

It was highly predictable.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

You can surely do better than this – can’t you?

Jonny Stud
Jonny Stud
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

We can’t return to the Edwardian golden age unfortunately. Back then you had to ask for a fathers permission…. and I’ll let you finish that open ended feed line with whatever punchlines come to mind.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonny Stud

…to change her gender.

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Conservative humour will always be an oxymoron

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

But I am not a “conservative”. incel boy.
I am an old Bennite and I would hang you from the nearest lamp post. And this time I am not joking.

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Tony Benn’s vicar on earth was my uncle.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

“And this time I am not joking”
Really, gramps? Because you actually made me laugh there!

Last edited 1 year ago by Graeme McNeil
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Tony Benn’s vicar on earth was my uncle.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

“And this time I am not joking”
Really, gramps? Because you actually made me laugh there!

Last edited 1 year ago by Graeme McNeil
polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

But I am not a “conservative”. incel boy.
I am an old Bennite and I would hang you from the nearest lamp post. And this time I am not joking.

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Conservative humour will always be an oxymoron

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonny Stud

…to change her gender.

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Hey! It’s Comprof! Operating under a different pen name. Wow. I recognize the word and phrase choices that keep showing up. How you doing! What a trip.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

He has regenerated has he? Rarely works out well. Lack of personality will always be with you.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

He has regenerated has he? Rarely works out well. Lack of personality will always be with you.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

“ The comments should be highly predictable as well as highly amusing.”

So far, you’re half right.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

another contribution from Spectrum Boy. We are honoured.

Jonny Stud
Jonny Stud
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

We can’t return to the Edwardian golden age unfortunately. Back then you had to ask for a fathers permission…. and I’ll let you finish that open ended feed line with whatever punchlines come to mind.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Hey! It’s Comprof! Operating under a different pen name. Wow. I recognize the word and phrase choices that keep showing up. How you doing! What a trip.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

I’m sure the Andrew Tate fans who slither around this parish will agree wholeheartedly with all of this, as will most of the trads who wish we were back in some Edwardian golden age. The comments should be highly predictable as well as highly amusing.