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Ethical Fun Pak: Four Conundrums

By elenchos in MLP
Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 08:44:50 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

The fabulous Dan Savage gives us some of his best provocative and surprising advice in this week's Savage Love sex advice column. Is Dan a monster? Or does he know the score?

I suppose I'll take a shot at it, at my peril:
  1. Girlfriend of only four years lets herself go to pot? Yep, dump her. If this goes on too much longer they'll end up married, and then inevitably divorced. Unrealistic expectations are the root cause of many of today's short-lived marriages. It is highly unrealistic to pretend looks don't matter, both for him to tell himself he doesn't care about her appearance and for her to tell herself the same. Better she gets dumped by a boyfriend now than divorced later. It isn't that she's ugly; it's that she doesn't try.
  2. I don't think Dan really means for her to kill the dog. Knowing how he works a little bit, I think he means she should take responsibility and exercise her power to control the situation, rather than pretend the dog is a free agent. A dog trainer or animal behaviorist could take care of this problem in a few weeks, in all likelihood. In any event, it is the dog owner who is responsible for what is going on, not the animal. And butt floss? Yuck.
  3. Probably it isn't worth it to tell the parents, since she will no doubt be straight and married by the time she's 30. On the other hand, ten or so years of little lies and concealment are kind of a pain too, especially if she plans on being dependent on mom and dad for much of that time. It might actually be less trouble to clear the air now.
  4. Dan should have encouraged him to try harder to help and support his ex-girlfriend, so she would have some reason to care about the ex-bf's opinion. Failing that, he should get completely out of her life and let her do what she wants. And plan on paying child support.
So. Can you do better?


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I'd give Dan Savage:
o 0 out of 4. His advice sucks. 13%
o 1 out of 4. 6%
o 2 out of 4. 31%
o 4 out of 4. Dump the frump! Lie! Kill the dog! Enjoy the video! 48%

Votes: 45
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Savage Love sex advice column
o Also by elenchos

Display: Sort:
Ethical Fun Pak: Four Conundrums | 18 comments (17 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
2 out of 4 (4.50 / 2) (#1)
by MrAcheson on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 04:29:38 PM EST

1. She's not trying and is obviously insensitive to what you are trying to tell her. Sit her down and be blunt and if that doesn't work dump her.

2. Give the dog some attention dammit. Thats what it wants. Try to get your SO to do so as well.

3. Don't tell your parents but be honest if they ask.

4. Get a paternity test and then prepare to pay child support if its positive. Keep in mind that its your kid too so you might want to actually try to be the father that you are. The kid hasn't done anything to deserve a fucked up life, time for you to grown up. Try to keep it in your pants more from here on out.

These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.

I thought that too. (4.00 / 3) (#2)
by elenchos on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 04:42:57 PM EST

Normally my universal cure for dog problems is more attention and more exercise. But I worry about the not-so-subtle connection she makes between here dog's xenophobia and his erections. Is there more going on here than we read in this cryptic letter?

I figured getting a professional involoved would maybe help root out the hidden perversion, if any.

No preference on the thong question?

Hey! Read this. That is all.
[ Parent ]

Thong (none / 0) (#15)
by MrAcheson on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 10:25:55 PM EST

Its not like I'm going to see her thong. Maybe her SO likes it. Beats me and its none of my business. Hey, if she's got the body for it go ahead, she's the one with the perpetual wedgie after all.

These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.

[ Parent ]
1 out of 4 (3.50 / 2) (#3)
by mcherm on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 05:48:36 PM EST

1. Dumping her is more of a last resort... Shallow needs advice on how to confront her GF and convince her that it's not all "OK". If THAT fails, then the relationship is over due to failure to meet each other halfway on important issues, not just due to "frumpyness".

2. Doggie-Comes-First is just wierd. She should be sent to a psycotherapist -- the dog should probably be given hazardous duty pay.

3. Hmm... telling Pragmatic-Or-Proud that she's actually straight and is just playing around some in college is a little unfair. Of course Dan's allowed to do that... but I wouldn't. In fact, I'd advise her to tell her parents, but probably not confrontationally.

4. Dan is right-on with Don't-Do-My-Baby's-Momma. This dude deserves to receive the videotape. But don't do it, because he'd probably play it in court to try and get out of child support payments. Which he should pay. In spades.

-- Michael Chermside
I thought he already tried. (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by elenchos on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 07:41:49 PM EST

He attempted a heart-to-heart talk, and that didn't work. He got the "don't try to change me thing" instead. He buys here jewelry she won't wear. He invites her to work out with him -- which shows he is not asking her to do anything he won't do. If she at least dressed up for dinner there would be some hope. It sounds like it is last resort time. If it were me, there's nothing else I could think of to try.

I dunno. Is there something else he should try first?

Hey! Read this. That is all.
[ Parent ]

Child support? (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by treat on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 12:44:36 AM EST

Which he should pay. In spades.

Why should he pay child support for a child he does not want? He should have to pay no more than half the cost of an abortion.

[ Parent ]

These are interesting (4.00 / 2) (#6)
by John Milton on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 08:50:28 PM EST

  1. It sounds insensitive, but I have to agree with Savage. Apparently, she's not just fat. She seems to have given up on her appearance completely. It just doesn't sound healthy. He's obviously tried to be nice with her about it. Looks aren't everything, but it sounds like she's just decided "f*ck you, I don't care what I look like. You'll just have to get used to it. I'll be damned if I'm going to do anything to attract you." If she was trying to stay healthy and he dumped her, I'd have no sympathy for him. Just the effort would be some sign that she cared about him.
  2. The dogs obviously Christian. He disapproves of her pre-marital sex. She should discuss her alternate lifestyle with him. If he can't accept that, she should kill him.
  3. He's probably right. No sense burdening your parents with that information at a point in your life when your still deciding who you are.
  4. It's a disgusting thought, but he really doesn't have any control over the situation. It would be better to just shut up. Any attempt to talk about it will probably lead to a violent reaction.

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Christian? The dog is a fornicator himself! (4.00 / 2) (#7)
by elenchos on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 09:03:52 PM EST

How does this woman know so much about this animal's erections? How is it getting erections? One of two ways:

One, the animal is touching itslef an an uholy attemt to spill its seed. God said you may not do this.

Or two, the woman is touching the dog in an unholy an unnatural way. God hates this too. God said, "Keep your hands off your neutered dog's penis. I mean it."

Either way, the dog hates God and is no Christian dog. I think its perverse attmpst to join the woman in her whorish fonication are nothing but more proof that it is a Devil Dog, a hound of hell, and will burn for its sinful ways.

In its favor, I would say that tearing apart those unsightly thongs with its teeth indicates at least some attempt to do what Jesus would do. Perhaps the dog could be saved. Maybe it just needs to be completely castrated.

Hey! Read this. That is all.
[ Parent ]

Doggy Erections (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by srichman on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 09:45:24 PM EST

One, the animal is touching itslef an an uholy attemt to spill its seed ... [o]r two, the woman is touching the dog in an unholy an unnatural way.
My (neutered) dog gets erections for no apparent reason. I'll be petting the top of his head at the end of a long day, and then I'll notice that he's enjoying it a bit too much. Freaks me out a bit. But he doesn't try to rape me or anything, so I get over it.

[ Parent ]
*shudder* (3.50 / 2) (#10)
by poltroon on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 10:12:42 PM EST

I think if I ever get a dog again I'll stick with one of the bitches...

[ Parent ]
spilling seed (none / 0) (#16)
by PresJPolk on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 12:36:32 AM EST

If you're referring to Onan, Onan's sin was not helping his late brother's wife have a child on divine orders, not masturbation.

I don't subscribe to that religion, but being in the USA makes picking up some tidbits like that unavoidable.

[ Parent ]
Let me see that thong (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by srichman on Fri Aug 03, 2001 at 09:56:08 PM EST

And butt floss? Yuck.
What are you and Mr. Savage on about? Thongs serve an important fashion purpose: they eliminate visible panty line (VPL). According to one site, those are "three little words which no woman wants to hear." VPL elimination is particularly important in the contemporary fashion world, in which hip- and booty-hugging trousers reign supreme.

That is obviously the fully-clothed side of the argument. On the not-fully-clothed side, I happen to like the look of a shapely pair of buttocks in a thong. I'm sure "shapely" is a key condition of that preference, but thus far in my young life I've been lucky.

Where's 3 out of 4? (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by anonymoushero on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 07:39:31 AM EST

JealousDog: An Animal Behavorist would solve the dog problem. Killing the dog is fairly extreme. Hell, give away the dog, that will also solve the problem. Heck, lock the dog in a cage whenever you're expecting company.

Frump: Should take her to the psych, if you care about her. But otherwise, yeah, she has problems that she was/is covering up.

Polygirl: Don't bother informing people who don't necessarily want to be informed. No obligation. If they ask, then yeah, you probably should tell them.

MommaSex: Right on target. Guy has right to ask, but girl has no obligation to follow his request, especially after he got her pregnant and dumped her.

-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

0, 1, 2, 4, 8,... What's the problem? (3.00 / 1) (#13)
by elenchos on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 03:17:33 PM EST

If you need 3, just take 1 and 2; that'll give you 3. Oh! I guess you can't... um. OK. Sure I can see how that might make it a less than idea poll. Maybe an editor will stick in 3 out of 4 if this gets posted. I don't think it's that important.

If he can't get her to join him to work out, and cries when he wants to discuss the subject, and refuses to even dress up to go out to dinner, how is he going to get her to go to a shrink? He could suggest it, but she's going to just cry and refuse to go, based on the information we have. Chances are, after he tries that, he's going to be left with only one option.

Unless someone can think of something else to try. It's too bad, because he does love her. But love isn't everything; if you think it is and ignore practicalities and harsh realities, you'll probably end up divorced.

Hey! Read this. That is all.
[ Parent ]

3,4,7,11,18 (none / 0) (#18)
by anonymoushero on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 01:06:07 AM EST

Yeah, if you read my post, I agreed with you. I don't think it would work, but it should be tried before you dump the chick.

The one in which I disagree with the columnist, is the dog. There are many, many solutions which you should try before you kill something. Killing is *A* solution, but it's rarely the best solution.

And I was only bitching about 3 out of 4 becuase the author did such a poor job of making poll-decisions. You'd think they'd teach people how to ask questions, but no, it's an upper-level Uni course... and you can see the net results of such policies on the web.

-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

[ Parent ]
Dan is trolling again. (3.50 / 2) (#14)
by RobotSlave on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 07:08:42 PM EST

It looks like Dan is fishing for outrage this week. Let's see, we've pissed off the body-image crowd, the PETA types, lesbians, and... well, berating that last guy probably won't piss anyone off.

I think the nastiest responses will come from the lesbians. He's gone off before on this weird idea that gay men start gay and stay gay, but gay women all turn straight by the time they're 30. Beats me why a gay advice columnist would want to cling to a notion that smells like a straight male fantasy, but hey, it's his column, not mine.

Simplistic (none / 0) (#17)
by weirdling on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 01:50:23 PM EST

1. *Some* weight gain is normal in a relationship, especially if the girl is taking birth-control pills. However, if the girl refuses to get out and do anything, you have to consider what this implies as the relationship gets more advanced, and I think at some point, it ends. However, my advice would be to sit down and explain all this and to realise that if she doesn't like what she looks like, she will eventually take it out on you, anyway, so best to get that over with.

2. Radical changes in pet behavior come just like radical changes in human behavior: after a traumatic event. Likely as not, the dog was emotionally attatched to the previous boyfriend. The only way to fix this is to spend time with the dog, and encourage any date to do so, as well. This way, you won't have strangers to the dog in the house.

3. Thorny problem, that. It isn't something that a person doing an advice column can really say. It does sound like the parents have a somewhat adversarial relationship with the daughter, so it would seem that not telling is indicated unless the child wishes more verbal abuse. However, that's just my belief.

4. This letter completely fails to indicate whether the bf got her pregnant or not. First things first, get that settled. Second, if you break up with the girl, you're not going to have any control over her. Third, if you expect to be a part of the child's life, expect to pay child support.

My problem with most advice columns is that they tend to pander to what readers want to hear, rather than what people need to do. They don't have nearly enough information to do a decent analysis, yet produce simplistic, canned responses. Oh, well, they seem popular, anyway...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Ethical Fun Pak: Four Conundrums | 18 comments (17 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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