Smuel's good morning extravaganza

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Smuel, May 3, 2012.

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  1. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    You're both dodging the issue.

    Buying drinks for people is an acceptable social activity. Trying to have sex with someone is also an acceptable social activity (some of the time). You can't ban either of those things, and you can't come up with a number of drinks that it's okay to offer someone, because everyone has different alcohol tolerances. You also can't prescribe formulas for sexual contact. "It's okay to put your hand down her pants if a) she has kissed you back, or b) the pitch of her moan is above 341 Hz. Kissing back is defined as a responding force greater than 0.02 Newtons..."

    "Come on, Smuel, it's obvious whether or not a woman is interested."

    Is it though? Given the number of men who go too far, and then afterwards say that they never meant any harm, it looks like it may not be very obvious for some people. You also get cases in the other direction - a woman is interested, but nothing happens, and then months later the man slaps his forehead and says "Wait, she was flirting with me! I'm such an idiot!" Add alcohol into the mix, and the ambiguity only increases. This isn't a recent phenomenon either - men complaining that women are difficult to understand is a timeless cliché. So glib lines on a forum about "It's easy, just don't put your hand down her pants unless she's into it, duh" start to look less like a clear and helpful guideline.

    Assuming that we all want to improve the situation, the question is - how do we actually do that? What concrete steps can we take?

    "Let's call out men like Chris Avellone and shame them publically!"

    This doesn't work, for the simple reason that men like Avellone don't think they're doing anything wrong. Instead it creates an us-vs-them situation with "Social Justice Warriors" on one side and "Men's Rights Activists" on the other. As I said, Avellone isn't about to take a long hard look at himself because a bunch of people on Twitter say that he's the scum of the earth.

    "I don't care what goes through Chris Avellone's head, and I don't care whether he changes his behaviour."

    Umm... isn't Chris Avellone changing his thoughts and behaviour the supposed goal of the exercise? Personally I would prefer to live in a world where he stops relying on alcohol and nobody else has to endure his clumsy seduction techniques. If you're assuming that calling him out on Twitter means that the problem goes away... well... in a sense it will, because after he's no longer high profile, Twitter won't care any more whether he gets some random woman drunk and fondles her or not. So it will no longer appear in your newsfeed.

    Of course that's not addressing the real problem. The real problem isn't "acclaimed RPG writer groped unwilling woman". It's "man groped unwilling woman". We can all spew our moral outrage such that the man in question loses his job and can no longer write RPGs, but that achieves exactly none of our stated goals. If anything, Avellone will now have more time on his hands to go out and get drunk with women.

    "Yeah, but other men will take it as a warning and change their behaviour."

    No they won't. Remember - those men don't think they're doing anything wrong. Some of them will rally to Avellone's defence. MRA websites will use it as an example of how SJWs are out to destroy civilization. But most men will look at it and shrug and think "Well I'm not a creepy rapist, so this obviously doesn't apply to me." And they'll think the same thing even if their behaviour is equivalent to Avellone's.

    "Fine, Smuel, if you're so smart, what concrete steps do you suggest?"

    This is where things break down. I don't actually know what to do. I suspect it's something along the lines of reducing slut shaming and other inhibitory forces such that neither sex feels that alcohol is a useful crutch to pave the way to sexual intercourse.

    However, I'm pretty sure that what's not helping is picking a high profile man to shame and get fired, when the only known documented offence that he committed was to make a single drunken pass at a woman, back off when she said no, and then subsequently try to make it up to her by doing things like escorting her to a train station at 4:30am.

    Or you can ignore all this, and continue to trot out your moral outrage at people like Chris Avellone. You're safe from the mob, right? The moral outrage will never be directed at you, because hey, you're not a creepy rapist.

    Good morning.
     
  2. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    So you think fundamentally more high profile articles like this do nothing to change behaviour (well, high profile here might be a stretch)?

    I think that's where we differ. Sure, some people will staunchly carry on doing what they always do. However, I do think others will take notice. Culture does change with time, if you're not a believer in articles and news changing culture than what do you think normally engenders cultural change? I think this is the most effective current means of affecting change, even if it isn't perfect. It is at least something, and enough of this sentiment said often IMO does affect behaviour.

    And no, I have no interest in changing individual behaviour on a case by case basis. I would obviously prefer Avellone to change, but it's inconsequential compared to a larger shift.

    I think this paranoia is at the centre of what can make people resistant to change - the "Well I haven't always been a saint, so what if the mob comes after me?" or at least "I'm scared the norms will shift too far, and previously acceptable behaviours I've partaken in will no longer be judged as such".

    I don't think this is at all a good reason not to change things, it amounts to petty self-interest. There's substantial reasons why some change here is a good idea, because ultimately fewer people will sexually assaulted and raped.

    I think you're still dodging the issue, and rather disturbingly so.

    The US defines sexual assault as, "any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape."

    This is, by legal definition, sexual assault in the jurisdiction where it took place. This is not a "drunken pass". And I suppose because he was a "gentleman" afterwards, that washes it all away?

    Why are you so keen to play it down? Legally, your opinion is wrong. Or do you want to go by some other system of justice, rather than the written law?

    If you're finding any of this challenging, then maybe you're the exact kind of person who shouldn't co-mingle alcohol with trying to get people to have sex with you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
  3. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    If it's so clear cut, then why hasn't he been prosecuted?

    Perhaps it's not as clear cut as you make out. According to the woman herself, she subsequently introduced Avellone to one of her best friends, who then had a year long relationship with him. Does that seem like the behaviour of someone who considers herself to have been sexually assaulted? Also, the Bloomberg article on the subject is careful to describe the allegations against Avellone as "sexual misconduct", which is a lesser offence.

    But sure, I'm the one dodging the issue and being "fucking grim" by not immediately labelling Chris Avellone's behaviour as "abuse of power and sexual assault by a creepy seedy cunt - fuck him" without any further evidence.

    For the record, I'm not saying Avellone didn't do anything wrong. I suspect that he did commit sexual misconduct by any reasonable definition, and if any of the women involved wanted to press charges I would support that. However, calling him a textbook example of a sexual predator is still stretching the term too far.

    In terms of changing society - yes, it seems we both want the same thing. But changes happen at the margins. Generally we take an extreme case that was formerly considered acceptable, and make it unacceptable. Then we work on the next-most extreme case, and so on.

    For example, twenty years ago, Harvey Weinstein's behaviour was considered to be just how things work in Hollywood. Now, hopefully, we've shifted the barometer a bit so that it no longer is. Any future Weinsteins will find it harder to get away with similar behaviour, and the potential victims will find it easier to speak out, or to resist the propositions. There will still be cases of producers dropping certain hints to actresses, but it won't work as well, and eventually maybe it will stop altogether.

    The reason this process works is because most people don't identify with Harvey Weinstein, so you can change the norm without too much resistance.

    On the other hand, if you take a borderline case like Avellone's, and declare that what he did was outrageous and shouldn't be allowed, then approximately half the male population will look at it and think "That's similar to what I used to do every Friday night" and then they reason as follows: "I'm not a monster, and since Avellone's behaviour is similar to mine, it can't actually be that bad, and therefore he did nothing wrong." Then they stop listening to whatever else you say, since they've decided you're an illogical SJW who just wants to take people down for no reason.

    Now you've made it harder to effect your social change by alienating the exact segment of the population whose behaviour you wanted to change.

    If you want to change a large group of people all at once, you have to engage with them. Don't lump their behaviour in with forcible sodomy and child molestation and then say "by legal definition every time you fondle a woman you are a rapist". Nobody is going to respond to that. You should approach it more like "Oh man, you were so close to getting it right! Here's some tips on how to seduce women..."

    As you may have noticed, that's exactly what the PUA/MRA community does. No points for guessing whether they or the SJWs get more recruits from the male "likes to go out drinking" population.

    Good morning.
     
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  4. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    If you don't get that point, isn't that the crux of the problem?

    Fuck me, this has all made me re-evaluate massively on here. I've been the captain of inappropriate humour on this forum, and I've been operating with a level of certainty, because I felt everyone "got the joke".

    But apparently people don't (yourself included? Which I have to say is a fucking blow to me, because I thought you always did perhaps more so than anyone else), and let me say that I am sorry that isn't the case. I fucking slammed into people like Grakelin and ytzk on this point, because I thought we all grasped the sheer incomprehensible irony of the jokes I was making. Now, I'm really not so sure.

    People with OCD will always be operating with rigidity and certainty. Even people with the usual cleaning compulsions will be functioning as such because they can't stand the thought of what spreading disease will do to people close to them. If you think I'm being inconsistent as a person, I haven't been, ever.

    And this isn't to diminish your other points, I do believe there's something to be said on how "relatable" and graspable Weinstein is compared to people like Avellone. However, if you can't understand that people wouldn't want to undergo a lengthy court procedure when they know they have been wronged and what happened was disgusting, to run the risk of being told "actually, this was all okay" - then you're just not getting it. Why do you think I said, "But this isn't a legal situation, and precisely because people know what they can get away with without it turning into a legal situation too many shitty people get away with operating at the shitty margins of human behaviour without recourse"?

    Good morning, I guess?
     
  5. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    I get your point. Rape survivors often don't want to go through a public inspection of events. I am fully sympathetic to this point.

    The same is probably true of borderline nearly rape survivors. I completely agree.

    However, though I can't be sure, because it's never happened to me, and I also can't speak for anyone else, it still seems unlikely that if I thought I was borderline nearly raped, I would then set my best friend up on a date with my borderline nearly rapist.

    I think this is fairly strong evidence that she didn't consider herself to have experienced any serious sexual assault. Even now when she writes about the events, it's more of a "hey everyone, this guy's behaviour is unacceptable and we should call him out on it" rather than "this was traumatizing and affected me for years afterwards".

    So, I don't think I'm going completely off the rails by suggesting that in terms of the actual crime committed maybe it's on the milder end of the spectrum?

    In one of the other Twitter threads a woman writes that she received a sexually explicit text from Avellone. She then says that other people have done far worse to her, such as rape and sexual assault, but she doesn't have any evidence of that. She does have evidence of the sexually explicit text though, so she's going to join in the takedown of Avellone.

    I'm not putting words into anyone's mouth here. This woman is literally saying that what Chris Avellone did to her wasn't that bad.

    I'm kind of frustrated that I'm having to get into this level of specifics. I said right from the outset that Avellone is clearly an asshole, that he deserved to get fired for objectionable behaviour such as turning up drunk to convention panels. I've also made it clear that groping unwilling women is a) not a great way to seduce them, b) not a great way to behave in general, and c) actual sexual misconduct, possibly, I'm not a legal expert on that.

    Really, the only point I'm making is that sexual offences are on a spectrum. Child molestation and sex-trafficking are at the extreme end. Weinstein/Cosby may be somewhere in the middle (and don't get me wrong, the middle is still bad). However, Avellone is at the milder end, and so lumping him in with all those other guys and writing breathless articles about how the gaming industry is being "rocked" just like the movie industry because <gasp> Chris Avellone sexted and once put his hand down a woman's pants - that's just counterproductive. It alienates half the audience. Let's have a little more light and a little less heat, please.

    And for the record, what I am certainly 100% not doing is saying "Haha, rape, we're all on board with that, right? <wink>"

    Is that honestly what you thought? If yes, then I apologize.

    Good morning.
     
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  6. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    No I don't think you're two thumbs up for rape, don't worry.

    The issue how instances such as these are considered are very much a slippery slope, and so it is important to have robust opinions on them. This is how culture does change, with enough people being able to say with confidence, "No, that wasn't right." People being non-consenting through intoxication has only been properly enshrined in the law relatively recently to me it seems (in that, in the early 2000s it was starting to become the topic of drama series and entering the public discourse properly). Just because the crime under consideration is milder as you say (sexual assault vs. rape), doesn't make it any less valid to be considered as a crime.

    However people clearly do trivialise sexual assault compared to rape, and if I'm being honest I would say that has happened on here as well. It does seem like a quite strong case was made by you and DE that this behaviour was normal for the trajectory of the evening.

    For me the case for wrong-doing is persuasive, in that people who are drunk to the point of memory loss will be obviously and physically presenting as that drunk, even when the man is also drunk his judgement won't be so impaired as to misread that (and if multiple men were need to go back with the woman, the purposes of that are typically because someone is over the limit and not for an impending consensual gang bang), the woman also wasn't presenting as willing in that she didn't reciprocate his advances - and so therefore the hand down the pants was sexual assault, as legally defined in the US.

    Again, I don't think this is so simple either. A domestic abuser can beat the crap out of his wife a couple of times a year, but then buy her presents and flowers, be apologetic, take her on holidays, etc., all the rest of the time.

    Likewise, a guy can sexually assault a woman when she it not in great position to accurately remember the detail, and when she is going to be able to form clear memories then act like a "perfect gentlemen" - and it's again leveraged with his industry prestige. How much of this they're doing by conscious design is debatable, but it does make it - arguably - predatory.

    Clearly from what the woman has said, she does feel like she has been manipulated. It may not be how you would act in the situation, but I don't think it's behaviour that's out of the question even when you have been sexually assaulted.

    I'm still not convinced on your argument on efficacy here. While I do think articles should be proportionate to what has happened (and Avellone has done lesser compared to the likes of Weinstein), saying articles like this are pointless in changing opinion because they can't change opinions of the most entrenched Men's Rights Activists is like saying the BLM Movement is pointless because it wouldn't persuade the racists. It's the people on the fence that it's most important to sway, and then legal change follows in its wake when the men who didn't change their poor attitudes and then stand trial are more likely to find these persuaded moderates on juries.

    As a side point, I think I'm substantially tougher on justice and much more politically right-leaning in this regard than you are (having lived above an aggressive, child-abusing, racist heroin addict will likely do that to a person). Arguably, the punishment for Avellone in this instance is Draconian on the basis of whether it could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt (though for all the reasons stated, I think the wrong-doing is persuasive). However for me, if it's the choice between a disproportionate MeToo backlash, and no punishment at all because boys will be boys, then I would always favour the former out of the two. As we've talked about, I think this is the kind of case currently where the criminal justice system could fail to secure a conviction even if one should be made for a whole raft of reasons. Shifts in culture engender an environment where this is no longer okay, paving the way for convictions - which personally I think should be made in instances like this. When that happens, there won't be a need for this mob justice - as cases such as this will be greeted with the appropriate amount of success when they go to trial, and people are likely to feel more comfortable pursuing a trial when there is a need.

    I also don't think this will entirely ruin his career - as gamers, none of us seemed to have been aware of this news until Ruda mentioned it (though do correct me if I'm wrong). While you could say we're not gaming industry pundits I still don't think the article will have been making huge waves, and so likely Avellone will face set-backs to further employment rather than it being impossible. In that respect, maybe the backlash isn't so disproportionate after all.

    Good morning.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  7. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    I agree with most of what you're saying.

    Articles can change people's opinions. Well, maybe, I think it depends on the article. Nudges are better than blatant attacks. If you look at how opinions shifted on homosexuality - going from illegal to high profile gay people getting married, in the span of about 50 years, how was this done? Mostly it was by people asking "Is there actually any harm here?" and by sympathetic portrayals of gay people in the media, showing that they have the same personalities and life struggles as everyone else, and that restricting their sexuality is just mean and pointless. Then a generation of people grew up thinking that homosexuality was no big deal, and eventually there were enough of them to engineer a legal tipping point.

    What didn't have any effect was people ranting about how homophobia is evil. Or, for that matter, ranting about how homosexuality is evil. Ranting to your in-group rarely has any effect on the world.

    I realise the above isn't a perfect analogy to rape, but in terms of nudges, the way to get Avellone types to change their behaviour is to portray them in the media as well meaning but kind of lame - they can't get a woman the normal way, so have to render them unconscious first. Avellone's not cool, he's pitiable. Then his ilk might partially identify with that and decide to improve their skills so that they're not lame like him. Nobody wants to be lame. But if you attack them and call them conniving, they'll get defensive. That's why attacking them is counter productive.

    In terms of a slippery slope, I think it's already slipping in the direction you (and I) want. It would take quite a monumental effort to start society moving in a "non consent is cool" direction. I don't think that's something we really have to worry about.

    Frankly, if I could wave a magic wand, and turn all the rapists, sexual assaulters, sex traffickers, and other sex abusers in the world into clones of Chris Avellone. I would certainly take that deal. And I would then consider that the problem of sexual wrongdoing was 80-90% solved. Women would still have to put up with sexually explicit texts that they don't want, and sometimes have to brush people's hands away, and remember not to get black out drunk with people they don't 100% trust. I'm not saying all these things are fine, but compared to what all the other worse-than-Avellones are doing, it would be an improvement in my view.

    So if the world would be a better place with more rapists acting like Avellone, then maybe let's not insist on a 100% blanket condemnation of his behaviour. There's room to acknowledge what he does right - backing off when a woman says no - and not just focus on what he does wrong - trying to get them so drunk that they can't meaningfully say no any more.

    Also, while I can't be sure what's going on in his head, I think there's a fairly high probability that he's not even trying to do that. If you could sit him down and have a calm conversation where you asked "Are you getting women unconscious so that they can't say no to you?" you might find that his response is "No, of course not, that would be terrible. No, I buy them drinks to get them in the mood, so that they want to have sex with me." Then you just have to work on helping him to understand that it's not enough to get a woman drunk, she also has to be attracted to you specifically, and getting her more drunk isn't going to magically make that happen. Now, here are some tips on how to tell if a woman is attracted to you, etc...

    Maybe I'm being too charitable. But he did say he didn't mean any harm. And even if it's not true of Avellone himself, I bet there are men out there who do think that way, and we want to get through to them, not alienate them further by prompting them to rally to the defence of someone they see as similar to themselves.

    As a general rule, there are more instances of well meaning but misguided people than there are of calculatingly evil people. If a situation can be explained equally well by either, then chances are it's the former. Our approach should be informed by that.

    Good morning.
     
  8. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I think both approaches are effective to be honest, but to different groups of people. Your subtle, softly-softly approach is likely the best in dealing with hostile Men's Rights Activists and the like - where their opinions are very entrenched and negative comparisons to people that they have an affinity bias for will feel like an attack. For people on the fence about these issues, I think a harsher, hardline approach can cut through people's apathy about it because it does drill home the stakes more so than veiled character assassination.

    As you say, these approaches do still need to be appropriately targeted if they're to be most effective - sounding off in an echo chamber doesn't accomplish a lot.

    I get this point if you're talking about approaches. However realistically I think what he did does outweigh any slight things he did which made the situation less bad - I find it hard to see absence of a negative (that it didn't progress to a rape) as a positive. It's like saying that a mugging is okay because it wasn't followed-up with a stabbing afterwards.

    I'd say you're likely a lot more charitable than me in general. I stop extending charity to people like this, and really it isn't that much of a challenge to be normal, considerate and law-abiding, and I think it's important to expect better from people. I've cut friends and family out of my life for less than what Avellone did (and not by ghosting them, but by telling them exactly what I think of them) - so you can see why my approach is fundamentally quite different to yours.

    Good morning.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  9. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I think a lot of this argument simply comes down to a difference in gut reaction to reading about what Avellone did.

    The behaviour of conniving sexual predators should be condemned, so if you think that Avellone fits that description then it's quite reasonable to condemn him.

    On the other hand, if he's nothing more than a charmless tool trying to get laid, then, while obviously we'd both prefer to live in a world where even charmless tools behaved with 100% decorum, I don't think that reacting as if he's a conniving sexual predator is going to do anything to change the behaviour of charmless tools.

    Anyway, I think I've said everything I want to say on this topic now.

    Good morning.
     
  10. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    Likewise.

    Good morning.
     
  11. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    We're best friends again? Cool.


    Terra Arcanum. It has been

    0

    day(s) since we last discussed rape.

    Good morning.
     
  12. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I guess these conversations probably shine a light on why I post things like this as well.

    Then again, I suppose people only do these things for the purposes of empty virtue signalling and 'faction alignment'.

    Good morning.
     
  13. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    One of the significant theories in the "rationalist" community is that all non-essential human activity is motivated purely by virtue signalling.

    It's one of those things where you think "that can't be right", and yet when you read the arguments you have to admit they're pretty sound.

    Obviously doesn't apply to me though.

    Good morning.
     
  14. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    Watching Peep Show recently, it had a fairly relevant quote: "The absolute worst thing anyone could say about you is that you are a selfish, moral blank, whose lazy cynicism and sneering, ironic take on the world encapsulates everything wrong with a generation." (I'm not implying the "you" is referring to you personally, in case you were wondering).

    So while I could go do a deep dive into the rationalist community, and all their great opinions on moral non-realism and the like, I really don't see a great deal of need to waste my time these days. If anything I'm rather clearly on the moral realism side of the fence.

    If it makes you feel any better, with my self-righteousness, I'm due to start patrolling the streets of Gotham any day now.

    Good morning.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
  15. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    But why become Batman when you could become Konrad Curze?

    Good evening.
     
  16. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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  17. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Some woman, when I tell her how much milk I drink: You can't just live on milk you know.

    Me: Well, ackshually, milk is by definition nutritionally complete for any given species, since it's all that their babies consume.

    Woman: Name me one creature that naturally subsists on milk ALONE well into adulthood

    Me: B. A. Baracus

    End scene.

    Good morning.
     
  18. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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  19. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I've just had another conversation with the same woman.

    Me: I can't wear wool on my bare skin, because I have sensitive skin.

    Her: What happens to your skin?

    Me: Nothing, I just find wool to be itchy, but other people don't seem to have a problem with it.

    Her: They find it itchy but they can learn to live with it.

    Me: If you're a peasant sheep farmer and your choices are - wear wool or freeze to death - then I can see it. But in the modern age I doubt people would write things like "There's nothing quite as cosy as an oversize knit" if in fact they were gritting their teeth and putting up with the horrible sensation.

    Her: You don't have sensitive skin. That means something like eczema, not that you don't like wool.

    Me: Fine, I don't have sensitive skin. Instead I have the courage to stand up and say "I find wool uncomfortable" in a world where everyone else is too cowardly to be non-conformist. I'm basically a hero.

    Her: You're basically an idiot.

    etc...

    So anyway, does anyone else find wool uncomfortable? I always need a shirt or other undergarment to go with it. Am I bravely rebelling against the tyranny of fashion or am I just a wuss?

    Good morning.
     
  20. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    You would not have liked Xerophyte.

    What's the score here? Are you sticking it to the man so you can stick it in the woman?
     
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