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I've always used the aphorism "nobody ever claimed on their deathbed that they wished they'd spent more time at work." Now maybe it wasn't their family they wanted more time with (I certainly don't want any more time with mine, at least not my generation and above--my husband and kids, sure); maybe they wanted more time with their hobbies and pursuits, or friendships, or more time to have accomplished a wish or goal from childhood. But once in a great while someone contradicts me and tells me their work has been their passion, and there's nothing wrong with that.

We are all dying (just at different rates, and mostly with very little ability to predict when) so the fact that someone I call a friend is dying of cancer doesn't really make zir advice any more true or useful than anyone else's. Except, of course, to zir. Frankly if it takes the threat of imminent death to change or clarify a person's thinking and philosophy well...I've always said the unexamined life may well be worth living, but I'll never know. I will not be making any surprisingly dramatic pronouncements on my deathbed, because I've been working through how I think about things as they are and as I think they should be most of my life, and doing it out loud on top of that. And acting on it now, not waiting to regret it in my later years. But then, nobody is asking for my life wisdom, and my friend who is dying has, in fact, been asked, and zie answered.

Lots of life events can change your perspective on values and beliefs: graduation from school, a bad romance, having a child, losing a job, finding out you have a chronic illness, losing a parent or other loved one. It's not at all surprising that facing the end of your life would do so.

My friend's advice got under my skin, and while i could blame it on my surgical recovery and the lingering effects of general anesthesia, I don't think those are the main reasons I responded so negatively to the advice. It was simple enough: be kind, and try to do the things you've dreamt of doing (one of them being to declare love when you feel it). I'm going to give my immediate response below (with a line of asterisks before and after), and then continue on to analyze it some more. Here is the response I wrote, and then deleted from commenting on my friend's blog.
*****
Being kind costs you nothing? I'm glad that's true for you, but it's not for me. If you mean it's better to be the kind of person who finds it easy to be kind, well maybe, but I'm not sure I can manage it. I am kind WITH EFFORT, an effort I make consciously to improve my character and to try to make the world a better place. Really I can be very mean and angry. I bite my tongue on what are sometimes completely reasonable (and other times unreasonable) complaints, and not only that, I take shit for it from friends when they find out I'm being kind. I've donated a sick day to a co-worker I didn't like (who was having a brain tumor removed) because zie needed it and I didn't, and some of my co-workers still think I was stupid to do it. I've given money to relatives when I had it and they didn't, and now when I'm tumbling down the financial ladder other friends tell me it's my own fault for having been kind in the past. Being kind may be like being an introvert: you can try to be better at what society expects, but at core you are who you are, and far too often what society claims to expect, it also punishes.

As for declaring love, that has not led to great success in my life unless you count months of grief and weeping as a "successful life learning experience." I love very easily. But so many people have responded negatively, as if my emotion made them feel obligated to do something, or that I *expected* them to return the feeling and behave a particular way, that I am always prepared to lose a friendship when I declare love. I do it anyway, the same way another person might say "I had a great day!" Perhaps it's selfish of me, just expressing my emotions that way, knowing it bothers people. But when I am buoyed on a sea of joy of another person's expression, character, personality and I love that person and their courage to be that self, I want them to know someone loves them for it. Nobody ever loved me for it until I was middle-aged, if then.
*****

So I wrote that, among a series of other people's complimentary comments to my friend, and decided not to post it there. I'm posting it here-this is my blog, and it's about me, not about my friend. And here are more of my thoughts.

It's easy to be kind if it's easy to be kind. It's not easy for me, it costs me attention and energy that I might spend on something else, like walking in a straight line or thinking through how to get to my next doctor's appointment on public transit because I can't drive and there's no one to take me. Grateful I can do! I'm terrific at grateful after the fact, I can express my thanks and appreciation in a calm moment after the minor or major crisis has ended. But being kind during the crisis, I don't always have the spoons for that.

On love...I love far more people than is safe for me. Of course, I'm also someone who knows very well how to end love, how to cut it off and burn it out when the person turns out to be damaging. But I give lots of second and third and more chances, until I reach the point where the message in my body and my head is "I'm not willing to give any more of my energy to this relationship." That message never comes until after multiple tries to fix things that are wrong, except in one circumstance: the one where the other person has already told me they're not interested. And that happens to me about as often as to anyone else who takes the first step and says "I like you and I'd like to get to know you better," whether they're a woman or a man or another gender. I'd say about 80% of the time, maybe 90% of the time, when I ask someone for a chance to get to know them, whether it's a romantic date or a friendly walk in a park, I get told no, they're not interested. Just like most people who do the asking; asking is really hard!

My friend got under my skin, and that's good, because I thought about some important stuff and expressed it here and I feel better. And I didn't use the words "white male privilege" or "the patriarchy" or "feminism" even though they all apply here, because those weren't the personal issues even though I think they all played into my response.

And I love my friend, and I want my friend to have as good a life as possible for a long as possible. So I put my personal junk here instead of in zir journal.
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I wrote this in another venue, and it's good enough (as a reminder for me later) to import here, slightly rewritten.

Somebody asked me, "How do you convince someone to schedule time with you, given that they claim to want to spend time with you, but hate scheduling things?"

I've not had much success convincing others of things.

Instead I plan my time. I'm not that much of a scheduler anyway, so this ends up working very well. I plan the things I want to do. There's always time my schedule that can be devoted to opportunities that arise, and most of my plans can be changed if I want to (except plans that include another person--that would be rude). But I won't, for example, leave an entire weekend free on the off chance that somebody might want to spend time with me. That results in frustration and resentment for me.

Of course, I can do this because I don't have young, dependent children; when I had that kind of responsibility, I had less flexibility. But the basic rule was the same, it's just that the most important relationship was the one with the dependent kids, because *they* didn't have flexibility in when and how their needs were met.

This makes for a full, fun life. It doesn't, of course, meet the need to spend time with a particular person--that's partly dependent on the other person. But I'd rather live my life than wait for someone to share their time with me, and if they don't want to spend time with me, then I'll be frustrated either way--so it's better for me to go do things I enjoy or be with people who do want to spend time with me.

Dear Abby used to give this same advice often to stay-at-home wives who complained that their working husbands didn't want to spend time with them on the weekends to just sit together and talk, or go on a picnic. She'd say make your life interesting, and hope they will want to share the good times with you rather than missing them. But if they don't...well, at least you know where you are on their priority list, and that information can shape *your* decisions.

I'm not willing to be at the mercy of another person's whim about when they want to spend time with me, not from a significant other anyway. My experience of the world leads me to conclude that relationships take some degree of intentionality (which sometimes looks like work and sometimes doesn't, and varies among relationships). Having the desire to spend time with someone is just having a fantasy; intentionality means taking action to make it happen instead of leaving it in fantasyland. People who aren't willing to make definite plans (even if those plans might change because of reasonable circumstances, like a child's needs) aren't good relationship partners for me.

If you aim for nothing, you're certain to hit it. I'd rather assert my will over chaos than wait for chaos to sweep me into contact with my loved ones, and I want to be with people who value me enough to feel the same way.
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Gwen's Petty, Judgmental, Evil Thoughts for the day are about how to turn down a request for a date, as well as how to take it when you are turned down.

Someone just asked you out. You know why? Because you're sexy, dammit. Aren't you flattered? Of course you are. And yet, unfortunately, your feelings for the other person are not mutual. You don't want to go out with him/her. So, what next?

You tell him or her the truth.

Ouch, right? Painful for the other person, awkward for you. It's so awkward, I can totally see how you'd want to avoid the whole conversation altogether. I know, because I've been there, and I've given all the wrong answers. And now I know why they're wrong:


It's a very well-written, sympathetic post and I want you to read it!
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Agency is an important issue for me; it's one of my hot buttons, the kind of thing that will get me excited and/or outraged. Today Christine Kane talks about agency and taking some control over relationships.

The first time I ever heard this concept was when I saw Oprah in Raleigh, NC years ago. She presented this idea. Then she partnered it with another truth. She said (in that “Sistah!” way that she does when she’s being funny) “…and giiiiirl, when someone shows you who they are… bee-LEEVE them the FIRST TIME!” (She repeated this one a lot. She was talking about abusive relationships.)

So, what does it mean?

You teach people how to treat you means that it all comes back to you. It’s up to you to allow or not allow certain treatment. It also means that you have to first get clear about how you want to be treated. It means that you have to take responsibility enough to write your own owner’s manual. And you are accountable for living by your owner’s manual. For some of us, it may be the very first time we ever even gave this any thought.

(Remember that accountability and responsibility have nothing to do with blame. They are an entirely different energy and intent than blame. Blame seeks to shame and belittle. Responsibility seeks to un-victim you.)
(bold is emphasis in original)

So you make a list of how you want to be treated. You might have to start with how you don't want to be treated--it's hard to phrase some things positively, although that's a more effective way of accomplishing the goal. Most people know about this part.

The valuable stuff in Ms. Kane's entry starts just past that first beginning activity. How do you apply it? I think the next thing to remember is it's a process not an event: you won't be perfect even though you've defined your terms. However, you can learn from situations where you fail to apply your behavioral standard, and she gives a good example of that with guilt.

Even better, she helps you figure out what to do when you still don't get what you want from others.

Not everyone is going to honor your requests or your clarity. And sometimes it’s going to have to be you who treats you well. If we go back to my hotel room example, there have been times where contractually, I didn’t have much of an option in terms of getting a better hotel room. And so, I ended up paying for my own room and driving myself to a better hotel. “I don’t stay in hotel rooms that scare me” means that I don’t allow it. Period. If I don’t honor that, then I won’t feel safe with me.

For me this feeds back into why I do so many things alone. Yes, I cherish my time alone, but often I'm doing something that I wish I had company for. Since I've had long-term difficulty making friends who were both available and enjoyed the things I wanted to do, I decided long ago that I'd rather do the things alone than stay home (or even than go with friends to do something they want but I don't).

There are consequences to only accepting certain kinds of behavior from others.

The biggest risk involved in teaching people how to treat you is the risk that some of them might go away. Some friends might not call you anymore. Some clients might leave. In my situation, I might simply not get the performance date. You have to be willing to surrender those things that aren’t in alignment with how you want to be treated. They necessarily must go away. And the test is to let them.

This is why I don't have much of my birth family in my life. I won't let them treat me the way they want to, and they won't treat me a different way; I'd rather give up my extended family than be treated badly. That's my choice, and I take responsibility for the consequences.
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Is it too weird that on OkCupid, of all the profiles I've read, I like my own the best? I mean, I sound like someone I'd like to spend time with...way more than any of the other profiles I've read.
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At Silflay Hraka, Bigwig breaks down small talk at parties on global warming by the class of response, and the reward:

This is one reason I continually refer to global warming as "The Rapture for secular humanists," another being that I consider it a wonderful turn of phrase, and am thereby driven to share it with others as a means of illustrating my brilliance.

A third is that it functions as an excellent acquaintance filter at parties, allowing me to classify people based on their reaction;

"Bwa-ha-ha." -- People like me. They should be given a quality beer--a Delirium Tremens or Allagash Interlude.

"Ha. Christ, you're an asshole." --- People related to me, who should be given a quality beer, though one of perhaps slightly less caliber.

Pained silence - Neighbors of a different political bent whose children regularly interact with mine. They should be given a quality beer, because people in close circumstances have to get along, after all. Behind each other's backs we can use terms like "closet facist" and "goddam hippies" to relieve the internal strain.


I love that. "The rapture for secular humanists"!!! Send me a beer, Bigwig!
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I'm not political. No, really, I'm not. Stop laughing!

Like many people I've got positions on a few issues I care about (in a weird package not represented in toto by any party that I'm aware of), and a basic understanding of how the world works (which seems to differ wildly from how most people I know understand the world), and a theory or philosophy about how to effect the changes I think are important. None of them are particularly well-thought-out, as I am forced to realize whenever I try to discuss politics with people who really love politics, who make it a major hobby.

I've got a pretty good detector for when somebody's argument contradicts my model of the world, but I'm not at all good at digging out or demonstrating why. That's the main reason I end up disagreeing with people, that my model of the world as I observe it doesn't support their arguments. Frequently we share a goal to some degree, like relieving poverty or observing the basic human rights regardless of sexual orientation etc. When we get down to the how, however, it eventually becomes obvious that their plan is built on a set of assumptions about how the world works, and that set of assumptions fails my sniff test (and vice versa, I rush to add).

But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the process. And learn from other people's ideas. Even adjust my model of the world, sometimes. But other times it turns out very badly. I've lost friendships over politics, which irks me because politics isn't even that important to me--I'm hardly an activist, I mostly think about politics during election season. I've been kicked out of conversations (that is, been told to shut up) for restating basic facts--not even making an argument, just pointing out that something is false.

I self-label as contrary, although I was once told I come across more as confidently knowing my own mind in person. From my experience that's not a very attractive quality to most people.

I guess I'm really lucky in the few people who are my friends.
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Via Silflay Hraka's Carnival of the Vanities, a post about an experiment that had an unhappy ending.

Simonne decided to stop initiating contact with friends for two months, to see how important she is to them (first false assumption: that two months is a reasonable time period for this test; second false assumption: that you can tell how important you are to someone by how often they call you).

During the experiment, I was not employed and I did not start any major project that may have attracted people to participate.

With nothing to offer and hidden in my house, I had a very big surprise: during the two months, only two persons called me to see how I am. Two!


She concludes, based on very little evidence and without inquiring as to why people didn't call her, that:
When I took no initiative, then I found out that very few people care about the others. Sometimes, even what seemed to be a 10 years friendship faded away facing my decision of not keeping those contacts anymore.

Hey, there are plenty of reasons why people might not call you. They might think you need some time alone, that you withdrew on purpose; they might think that since you stopped calling them, *you* don't like *them* anymore. They might have a medical issue going on, or a family member dying. Two months isn't very long to be out of contact with busy people.

I'd give them the benefit of the doubt. They may still care, still enjoy your friendship. I don't think you can tell based on only two months; I gave up a friendship once, but it was more like a year where the other person never initiated contact, but was happy to spend time with me when I asked. (Of course, anyone who keeps saying no to your invitations and never suggests an alternative, nor initiates contact, is clearly rejecting your friendship. I actually use Miss Manners' "three consecutive nos means stop asking" rule.)

Some people are better at initiating contact than others. I've spent my share of time feeling unworthy of others' attention, unwilling to interrupt their lives for my wants because they surely had better things to do than spend time with me. Or busy with a stressful life, or ill. I'm glad my friends haven't given up on me when I was going through a rough time and wasn't reaching out. I don't see anything wrong with sometimes being the one who starts stuff, who issues invitations and arranges meetings, even if it's all one-sided for a while, so long as you still value the friend and the friendship and there's reason to believe the situation is temporary.
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I've struggled to learn a lot of things that have helped me as an adult. One of them is that individuals think differently from each other about some pretty basic things.

In another forum the specific thing under discussion is what it means, and how people respond, when someone says "I love you" for the first time in a relationship. The reactions that have shocked me:

On the receiving end, some people feel resentful; some people feel threatened; some people feel insecure; some people worry if they can't immediately reciprocate.

On the initiating end, some people have entire complicated sets of assumptions about how the other person is supposed to respond when you tell them you love them.

Myself, when I say it for the first time to someone I think I'm being completely selfish: I'm not expecting any response, I'm expressing myself. That means I'm not taking care of the other person--I'm not remembering they might receive these words in a hurtful or damaging way, or even that the words will imply in their minds expectations of my behavior (and theirs) that I don't share.

When I hear the words for the first time from a partner, I'm pretty detached: I don't really know what it means to them. I also don't feel obligated to immediately return the sentiment. People have loved me before, yet behaved in damaging ways, so hearing that someone loves me is a neutral experience for me.

A generalization (which is sometimes useful) of this is not to assume, communicate instead. But that's a problem for people who don't like or have trouble with direct communication. Of course, I wouldn't do well in a serious relationship with someone who has trouble with direct communication anyway.
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According to a story at the Washington Post (probably requires registration), because we subconsciously mimic other people's faces we can acquire their emotional states as well. Or maybe it's tone of voice, they're not sure yet.

In a study at Uppsala University in Sweden, researchers exposed people to pictures of happy or angry faces for 30 milliseconds, immediately followed by neutral faces. Even though the participants didn't realize they'd just looked at a happy or angry face, they responded with distinct facial muscle reactions of their own that corresponded to the emotion they'd just seen.

Those incremental muscle movements then trigger the actual feeling by causing the same neurons to fire in the brain as if you were experiencing the emotion naturally, according to Hatfield. In other words, the mood feedback loop can travel in both directions: Normally, when you feel happy, your brain might send a signal to your mouth to smile. With the mood-contagion effect, the facial muscles involved in smiling might begin to twitch when you're with a cheerful friend and those tiny muscle movements then send a signal to your brain, telling it to feel happy.

But there may be another mode of transmission: In the course of conversation, people have a tendency to match the emotional tone of their word choices -- particularly when it comes to using negatively charged words such as "hate," "worthless," "anger" and "sad" -- with the tone being used by whomever they're talking to, according to research presented at the Midwestern Psychological Association's annual meeting earlier this month.
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I don't actually ever say, "We need to talk." For one thing, [livejournal.com profile] sinanju told me early in our relationship that this language strikes such fear into his heart that he can't function after hearing it until having the talk. At all--he can't read or work or think about anything except the fear of the upcoming talk. For another, the construction assumes a need in the other person, and I don't usually have that information.

I say, "I need to talk to you about XXX (specific subject), is this a good time?" And only when I actually think it is a good time, so there's no worrisome delay.

I've recently seen a couple of places some guys bemoaning "women's need to talk." Here's the thing: inside my head, it's talk to you about it or leave you. I've already tried to change my response, to learn to put up with whatever is bothering me, to make it less important, and so forth; talking is a last attempt to resolve the issue before deciding whether it's time to end the relationship. (Okay, not with [livejournal.com profile] sinanju, but only because I'm convinced he would do almost anything--as would I--to keep our relationship going.) It also shows that I trust you to want to fix something that's bothering me, so it's a compliment.

If you'd rather women just left you rather than trying to talk about it, I think it would be good to indicate that somehow. A disclosure notice with a signature block would be good. Something like, "I have no interest in what you think about me or how I do things, and I am absolutely not going to change. So if you ever start feeling the need to talk to me about something I'm doing that bothers you, just leave me instead."

Actually, that generalizes better than I expected it to. People (not just guys), if you'd rather a partner (not just a woman, any partner) left than that they talk to you, let them know in advance. At least then you'll be in a relationship with somebody who understands and agrees to your rules.
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Over at Bitch Ph.D., Dean Dad asks about the appeal of bad boys. I only know why they appealed to me, in high school, so that's what you get.

Bad boys wouldn't be scared off by my badness. I was a wild child in my own way, and I lost at least one boyfriend in high school because I wanted more (sexually) than he did at that time. (Granted, we were only 14.) And my family life fit in perfectly with the kind of society wanna-be bad boys were looking for--drug dealers, thugs, partying at all hours, teenagers and all the other kids left unsupervised, sometimes overnight even.

Bad boys would understand that sometimes we didn't have food, or a phone, or that while I had a curfew, it was a reverse one: I wasn't allowed to come home before midnight when something criminal was going on until then. And they didn't expect me to buy a nice prom dress, or to spend the weekends skiing with them and their other friends.

And finally, in high school at least, bad boys were *far* more likely to share some of my interests, like science fiction and fast cars and leisurely sex on Saturday afternoons. (And to have had enough experience to make that last one possible and pleasurable.)

It's not nice guys versus bad boys. It's just plain hard to figure out what you want, what you can give, what compromises you can make, etc. And it all changes over your lifetime--at least, it has for me.
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Link of the day, possibly of the year (for me anyway): Angry/Negative People can be Bad for your Brain. Apparently neuroscience supports a lot of the amateur decisions I've made over the last 10 years, about not being around broken people like some of my birth family.

Excerpt:

There is now strong evidence to suggest that humans have the same type of "mirror neurons" found in monkeys. It's what these neurons do that's amazing--they activate in the same way when you're watching someone else do something as they do when you're doing it yourself! This mirroring process/capability is thought to be behind our ability to empathize, but you can imagine the role these neurons have played in keeping us alive as a species. We learn from watching others. We learn from imitating (mirroring) others. The potential problem, though, is that these neurons go happily about their business of imitating others without our conscious intention.

Think about that...

Although the neuroscientific findings are new, your sports coach and your parents didn't need to know the cause to recognize the effects:

"Choose your role models carefully."
"Watching Michael Jordan will help you get better."
"You're hanging out with the wrong crowd; they're a bad influence."
"Don't watch people doing it wrong... watch the experts!"


What I always said was "what you put into your brain is what you'll get out of it." The piece goes on to discuss the concept of emotional contagion.

If you were around one or more people with a potentially harmful contagious disease, you would probably take steps to protect yourself in some way. And if you were the contagious one, you'd likely take steps to protect others until you were sure the chance of infecting someone else was gone.

But while we all have a lot of respect for physical biological contagions, we do NOT have much respect for physical emotional contagions. (I said "physical", because science has known for quite some time that "emotions" are not simply a fuzzy-feeling concept, but represent physical changes in the brain.)

From a paper on Memetics and Social Contagion,

"...social scientific research has largely confirmed the thesis that affect, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour can indeed spread through populations as if they were somehow infectious. Simple exposure sometimes appears to be a sufficient condition for social transmission to occur. This is the social contagion thesis; that sociocultural phenomena can spread through, and leap between, populations more like outbreaks of measels or chicken pox than through a process of rational choice."
[links in original omitted in this quote]

Additionally, being a happy person is associated with being a logical thinker, and being better able to handle stress.

Happines is associated most heavily with the left (i.e. logical) side of the brain, while anger is associated with the right (emotional, non-logical) side of the brain. From a Society for Neuroscience article on Bliss and the Brain:

"Furthermore, studies suggest that certain people's ability to see life through rose-colored glasses links to a heightened left-sided brain function. A scrutiny of brain activity indicates that individuals with natural positive dispositions have trumped up activity in the left prefrontal cortex compared with their more negative counterparts. "

In other words, happy people are better able to think logically.

And apparently happier = healthier:

"Evidence suggests that the left-siders may better handle stressful events on a biological level. For example, studies show that they have a higher function of cells that help defend the body, known as natural killer cells, compared with individuals who have greater right side activity. Left-sided students who face a stressful exam have a smaller drop in their killer cells than right-siders. Other research indicates that generally left-siders may have lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol."


This well repays the effort and time of reading it all, and I will be reading it again and again.

Deception

Mar. 31st, 2006 08:26 am
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Do you ever lie?

I do. I lie all the time. (Skip meta about what constitutes a lie. I intentionally misrepresent the truth.)

I lie when I act respectfully toward someone who is owed that respect, even though I don't feel it.

Really, that's the sum of it. All the ways I lie are about according respect to another person, whether I personally respect them or not. Sometimes I recognize my fault in not respecting them, that is, I'm somehow wrong not to respect them; sometimes I don't have enough information to decide; and sometimes they are repugnant in some way, but as human beings or in a particular role they still deserve my respect, and I try very hard to comply.

At least one of those lies is a good lie. It's a civilized, mature lie. I think maybe all of them are, but then, I think choosing when to and when not to act out your emotions is a mature behavior/skill, and not everyone agrees with me on that. (Not that I'm always successful at it! But it's one of the things I'm aiming for, unlike being nice, which is not one of the things I'm aiming for.)

Sometimes repugnant behavior tests my ability to lie well. Sometimes the struggle must be visible. I wish I were better at it; I hope I'm improving with practice. I'm not intentionally showing the struggle to prove some point about how I'm going to show you respect even though I don't think you deserve it.
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Cathy Young at Reason is discussing single fathers and adoption..

Excerpt: In most states, the unwed father has to file with the registry either within a certain period of the child's birth—from five to 30 days—or, as in Massachusetts, at any time before the adoption petition is filed. But neither the mother nor the adoption agency has any obligation to notify the man of the adoption, or of the fact that he is a father or father-to-be. Even when the father is notified, he may not be told about the putative father registry—which is what happened to Jones, whose attorney, Allison Perry, refers to the Florida registry as a "well-kept secret." That is the situation in most states. Not only are most men unaware of the registries' existence, even some lawyers don't know about them.

Amazingly, many specialists believe that it's too much of a burden on the woman or the adoption agency to require that a man be notified of his paternity. Instead, they argue that it should be his responsibility to file with the putative father registry every time he enters a sexual relationship with a woman, on the off-chance that a pregnancy may result—a requirement that, if nothing else, smacks of a humiliating invasion of privacy. Surely, it is far more efficient and less invasive to limit the notification requirement to cases in which a pregnancy actually happens, and to place the burden on those who are aware of the pregnancy.


First, a little rant: a woman who is already dealing with the burden of pregnancy, perhaps already wrestled with the question of abortion, and is now resolving her issues about giving up the infant for adoption is supposed to *also* worry about finding the presumed father, a man she may not have seen for months and has no contact information for, so she can let him know that he might have some rights? Rights that would be in conflict with her own? Who exactly thinks that would work? And what if there's more than one possibility?

Second, literally the first thing I thought of when I was reading the article was unintended consequences. I'd be carrying around a little pad of legal forms and a pen. The form would notify the man that there was a possibility of pregnancy and that by signing the form he was acknowledging my compliance with the law and taking responsibility for keeping track of his own rights. No signature, no sex.

And last, I'm outraged that she thinks men should be able to completely walk away from a sexual encounter without responsibilities of any kind, and women should have to take all the responsibility for every possible consequence of the sex, including protecting *his* rights! Why shouldn't he be responsible for keeping track of every woman he's had potentially procreative sex with, finding out whether they're pregnant, and protecting his own rights? Ignorance of the law is generally considered to be no excuse, so why isn't it his own fault for not knowing about the father's registry, and his own responsibility to register himself every time he participated in sex that might have started a pregnancy?

Edited to add: and mere minutes after posting this I have been notified of a comment, which is spam advertising a referral website for legal services. That's fast. And icky. Fortunately I have non-LJ users' comments sent to me for approval, and it has been deleted.
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A couple of really good posts I read this morning at The Outer Life:

First, the story of neighborly sanctimony and choosing to drive a Prius: The Genius of Prius

Excerpt: For instance, when we moved into our community, my wife drove a minivan. We quickly learned that, according to the customs of our community, minivans are driven by nannies and maids. Wives drive big luxury SUVs or Mercedes wagons. After a few months of answering questions such as "¿Habla inglés?" and "How much do they pay you?" my wife broke down and bought a Mercedes wagon.

Second, a heartfelt thank you letter to a friend who makes you look good by comparison: Thank you, Drew

Excerpt: Your daughter’s first birthday party – remember that day? You probably don’t, what with all the beer you were drinking with your buddies while you watched the game and avoided the kids. But I remember that day, will probably never forget it, for that was the day my infant daughter needed a diaper change and I asked you where the changing table was and you claimed not to know, adding, in a loud voice aimed at your buddies, that changing diapers was women’s work.
snippy: Lego me holding book (Default)
Just in case, not because I suspect anybody:

You have my permission to have a crush on me. You don't have to tell me about it. I'm not offended by the idea, regardless whether you're a MOTAS for me.

In fact, you have my permission to fantasize about me, as long as it stays inside your head.

The thing is, I don't actually believe you need my permission for either of those things. And I don't need yours. Thoughts happen, and I believe we have at best limited control over them. Actions are in a different category (and communication is an action).

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snippy: Lego me holding book (Default)
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