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KevinD

Keeping Romance Simple

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Men: Keep your girlfriend far, far away from your crude buddies. More exactly, keep your crude buddies far away from her. Better yet, don't have crude buddies. Associate your personal brand exclusively with world-class individuals. Remember that everything your "friends" do and say reflects on you!

I know a number of world-class people who are quite crude in their language, and I vastly prefer them to uptight concrete-bound prudes. Better advice would be "don't date close-minded women with radically different standards". I know a number of men who see this kind of behavior on the woman's part as inevitable, something they have to cater to in order to get laid. It's not. Nor should this kind of behavior be catered to. I also know a fair number of guys who associate being a concrete-bound uptight prude with being "feminine", so they're actually not happy with a female who doesn't behave in this way. But they're not happy when she wants them to stop associating with their buddies, either. The proper response is not to become a misogynist (as many guys do), but to resolve the internal contradiction. You can't have it both ways. If a female is supposed to be a pure, delicate Madonna, then she's going to want you to abandon your indelicate "masculine" pursuits.

Unfortunately, this kind of behavior actually springs from a semi-good romantic motivation on the man's part. Being "romantically dominant" does, in some respects, seem to involve catering to the woman, because while the man is active, this means the woman has the power in the relationship. In a consensual relationship, the "submissive" always has the power. It's the "dominant" partner's job to wrack their brain and strain their creativity keeping the "sub" happy. It's incredibly hard work and often isn't that rewarding for the guy, because one of the archetypal cases of a woman who *really* craves this kind of relationship is: Lillian Rearden.

Is it appropriate for a romantic man to offer his excellence to his chosen woman? Sure. But he also needs to pay attention to what she does with it.

That's what this idea of "keeping it simple" really entails--it means knowing what kind of power you're willing to allow the other person to exercise and not letting them push you outside those boundaries. It applies mostly to men because, from what I've seen, the woman is often the one wielding the power in the relationship. (Power, not authority--the man can do all the talking and decision-making yet the woman is still the one exercising the power.) You may allow your partner the power to be pleased or not pleased by your offerings (which will accordingly please or not please you), but that doesn't mean you allow them the power to demean you via those offerings. You may allow requests, but not demands. Keeping it simple involves communicating "I'm not allowing you to be demeaning towards me" or "this demand needs to be properly rephrased as a request". Things like that.

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I didn't say anything about offensive. I asked a question about clarifying one of your posts. You seeing or not seeing, caring or not caring about anything potentially offensive is irrelevant to my question.

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bluecherry: I don't understand your questions, and I'm not interested in discussing anything with you further.

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Eiuol et al: I don't understand how my statement could be construed as offensive, and I don't care.

I'm the only one who said offensive, but my point was, even if I'm the only one who finds that particular line offensive, it could use some explaining. Not understanding what you meant was the purpose of my first sentence, the second sentence was my particular opinion. The statement can be construed as implying that there is no way for a woman to experience romance in the fullest sense if she does *not* do what you describe. Or if you don't like *those* questions I referenced, my question in post #54 is especially relevant.

Edited by Eiuol

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Metaphysically, man is the primary actor in romance. However, man has no inherent understanding of women or of romance per se, so he has no choice but to learn it.

I think Kevin makes a good point about responsibility. By asking a girl if you can kiss her you usually put that choice upon her(I say usually because you could make if playful and teasing, with a confident "may I?" when you go for it), making it her responsibility. If YOU want to kiss her, better make that YOUR call. She'll let you know either way if she wants it or not.

That's funny, women are usually called more romantic than men.. but I wonder why men usually take 'responsibility' or 'pursue' a woman instead of the other way around. I guess it's just a cultural thing.

PS: Alfa- do you think Dagny pursued Rearden in AS? I always thought she was the dominant one, or the 'teacher.'

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bluecherry: I don't understand your questions, and I'm not interested in discussing anything with you further.

But if you don't understand the damn question, how the hell can you know that it doesn't interest you?

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That's funny, women are usually called more romantic than men.. but I wonder why men usually take 'responsibility' or 'pursue' a woman instead of the other way around. I guess it's just a cultural thing.

PS: Alfa- do you think Dagny pursued Rearden in AS? I always thought she was the dominant one, or the 'teacher.'

Because men are better equiped to be the initiators of sex, and women seem to have evolved to like it that way.

I think Dagny would box your ears and spank you like a baby seal for suggesting such a preposterous thing. Granted, Dagny taught him a thing or two and enticed him, but Rearden was certainly the man in that relationship.

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Because men are better equiped to be the initiators of sex,

Why?

I think Dagny would box your ears and spank you like a baby seal for suggesting such a preposterous thing. Granted, Dagny taught him a thing or two and enticed him, but Rearden was certainly the man in that relationship.

Your posts always amuse me.. but no, I believe Dagny was the dominant one until their first sexual encounter on p.236:

"She felt him trembling and she thought that this was the kind of cry she had wanted to tear from him – this surrender through the shreds of his tortured resistance. Yet she knew, at the same time, that the triumph was his, that her laughter was her tribute to him, that her defiance was submission, that the purpose of all of her violent strength was only to make his victory the greater- he was holding her body against his, as if stressing his wish to let her know that she was now only a tool for his satisfaction- of his desire – and his victory, she knew, was her wish to let him reduce her to that. Whatever I am, she thought, whatever pride of person I may hold, the pride of my courage, of my work, of my mind and my freedom- that is what I offer you for the pleasure of your body, that is what I want you to use in your service- and that you want it to serve you is the greatest reward I can have."

My favorite analysis of this scene is from Wendy McElroy:

Through scenes of sex that resemble rape, Rand presents us with the culmination of the ideal male/female relationship. For the woman, this apex can be called ‘enraptured surrender'. It is not the breathless, almost passive surrender portrayed by romance novels in which a woman is overwhelmed by a dark mysterious stranger whose kiss bends her backward, both in body and in will. The surrenders of Dominique and of Dagny are a violent, joyful answer to the age-old paradox of what occurs when an immovable object meets an irresistible force. If the immovable object happens to have free will — if she happens to be one of Rand's heroines — then she may choose to move the scant inch it takes to resolve the paradox of which force will prevail.

[...]

Her heroines are radical individualists who define their own sexuality, specifically through embracing their gender role vis-à-vis the ideal man. As such, Dagny and Dominique defy the Madonna/whore analysis of women. They revel in carnal pleasures, yet they cannot be sexually approached except by a man who embodies what is sacred. Equally, Dagny and Dominique defy the politically-correct paradigm. As women, they are role models of strength, intelligence, and independence; yet what is arguably their finest moment lies in the arms of a man. For such a man, Dagny Taggart, who runs the major railroad in America, is even willing to cook and clean in the capacity of housemaid. Consider the psychological surrender embodied in Dagny's reaction to a question posed to her by John Galt. Dagny has just offered to pay for her room and board in his house by becoming his servant.: "Is that what you want to do?" he asks. Rand ([1957] 1985, 707) describes Dagny's response: "'That is what I want to do — ' she answered, and stopped before she uttered the rest of the answer in her mind: more than anything else in the world."

The psychological surrender lies in her overeagerness to serve him. Many feminists would consider this surrender to housework to be more egregious than consenting to rough sex. But whatever emotional reaction Rand inspires, her meticulous ideology deserves to be accepted or rejected for what it is and not on the basis of misinterpretation.

I think this idea, this overeagerness to serve your man, was heavily influenced by American culture in the early 1900's. In the '20s when Rand came to America, few women (and even fewer married women) were in the workforce. The jobs available were extremely limited.. and women literally couldn't vote until 1920, just 5 years before Rand arrived. So what did they do instead? Got married, served their husbands, had kids, took care of the house, etc. The phrase 'Susie Homemaker' comes to mind.. and it took quite awhile for that culture to change. Rand's spin on this is that you can have a career and get married ('serve your man'), have good sex, and create a home: these concepts aren't mutually exclusive.

Is the idea of submission and dominance portrayed by Rand a little outdated? I think so.. I don't mean to say there's NO women who enjoy this kind of lifestyle, this kind of 'surrender' if you want to call it that, but I think there's many women (ie: women who didn't grow up in that generation) who don't relate to it at all.

Edited by mdegges

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Why?

Because of the physical differences. Size, strength, sexual organs.

Your posts always amuse me.. but no, I believe Dagny was the dominant one until their first sexual encounter on p.236:

"She felt him trembling and she thought that this was the kind of cry she had wanted to tear from him – this surrender through the shreds of his tortured resistance. Yet she knew, at the same time, that the triumph was his, that her laughter was her tribute to him, that her defiance was submission, that the purpose of all of her violent strength was only to make his victory the greater- he was holding her body against his, as if stressing his wish to let her know that she was now only a tool for his satisfaction- of his desire – and his victory, she knew, was her wish to let him reduce her to that. Whatever I am, she thought, whatever pride of person I may hold, the pride of my courage, of my work, of my mind and my freedom- that is what I offer you for the pleasure of your body, that is what I want you to use in your service- and that you want it to serve you is the greatest reward I can have."

Where was she dominant?

My favorite analysis of this scene is from Wendy McElroy:

I think this idea, this overeagerness to serve your man, was heavily influenced by American culture in the early 1900's. In the '20s when Rand came to America, few women (and even fewer married women) were in the workforce. The jobs available were extremely limited.. and women literally couldn't vote until 1920, just 5 years before Rand arrived. So what did they do instead? Got married, served their husbands, had kids, took care of the house, etc. The phrase 'Susie Homemaker' comes to mind.. and it took quite awhile for that culture to change. Rand's spin on this is that you can have a career and get married ('serve your man'), have good sex, and create a home: these concepts aren't mutually exclusive.

Is the idea of submission and dominance portrayed by Rand a little outdated? I think so.. I don't mean to say there's NO women who enjoy this kind of lifestyle, this kind of 'surrender' if you want to call it that, but I think there's many women (ie: women who didn't grow up in that generation) who don't relate to it at all.

Why are Ayn Rand's ideas outdated?

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