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Wellness Wednesday for May 31, 2023

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Did a full KB pentathlon today. Used 16kg for the clean and long cycle clean/press, which I find to be the easier exercises, and 12kg for the remainder:

120/120 Clean

60/60 Clean/Press

120/120 Jerk

108/108 Snatch

120/120 Push Press

For 882 points total. Form is still terrible, though, and I find myself putting the KB down during rounds (though the rounds themselves are completed on time), which is against the rules, but it's not like I'm competing, it's just another thing in the gym to be bad at.

Weight is down to 81.8kg.

As of a few days ago, have now been in my current job (which I like) for a year. Something to be happy about, though honestly I don't really feel much of anything.

Do you get offended if someone calls you gay as an insult?

I'm getting pretty tired of working minimum wage jobs after studying philosophy. Anyone have any advice on how to become more employable? This in Europe which I assume is relevant.

Can't you get into a trade or perhaps generic office work? If you are savvy you can do very well for yourself with most trades. Or otherwise becoming a teacher is usually a respectable middle class profession available to people with a college degree.

I've talked to some friends about office work and while they've said you can be dumb as a rock and still find a job my lack of experience in any office environment makes it seem like a big hurdle.

I've done a few interviews and I always struggle with the vagueness of what's being asked. I'm very comfortable in interviews where the question is "Can you do X, Y, Z" rather than "Tell me why you want to work here/what are you passions?" etc.

You should prepare answers to common interview questions.

Are you OK at math? I'd say learn to code. Programmers can be quite smart, but the low-performing ones (who still earn good wages) are pretty shockingly bad at basic reasoning in my experience. Take a few months and learn AWS + javascript and I bet you can find a remote job making like $20 / hr.

That seems like a good plan. I've got a lot of programmer friends and another friend who is being hired by a friend after spending the last year learning in his own time.

It will just take some discipline, I've tried to pick it up a few times and never found that pure interest that allows me to read books without needing to motivate myself. My dad is also fairly passionate about programming so I'm sure there's something to it but I haven't found it yet.

This is rather pessimistic. It's true you'll be competing with people from those abroad for high paying senior positions, but high paying in this field is leagues above minimum wage. For a well paying but perhaps more modest (or entry) position you'll be considered for hiring if you just have a grasp of the programming language you claim to and can solve a basic problem from first principles.

Leetcode is very useful. Get to a point where you can solve all the easy and most of the medium problems and you're at least on par with the average grad.

Yeah. You’ve got programmers that have been coding since elementary school and are posting good projects on GitHub in high school. By the time they’re out of college they have a decade of solid programming experience.

And that is table stakes for most programming jobs. Google? You’ve got to be close to world class if you aren’t connected.

You're competing not only with the local and regional talent but also those from India, China, Russia, and other countries vying for the few and highly coveted high-paying positions.

Sure, there are a lot of employees vying for jobs, but lots of jobs available too. At my last job I had a coworker who made $70k / year and wrote a while loop to find a remainder. It was something like:

function findRemainder(dividend, divisor) {

   let count = 0;

   while (count + divisor < dividend) {

      count += divisor;


   return dividend - count;


Except much less elegant than that even. He lasted ~7 months there, his quality of work always around that level. The amazing thing was that it ever worked at all. Other coworkers have been better but still fairly bad at basic reasoning. I envy you if your company has a much better level of talent; sounds like you spend less of your time doing your coworkers' jobs than I do.

I've got a lot of programmer friends and another friend who is being hired by a friend after spending the last year learning in his own time.

That was what I did. I did take two semesters of programming classes in college, but honestly learned a lot more on my own, and got hired through some random hobbyist programming group midway through the second semester at $35 / hr. Since then I've gotten some big raises and nobody seems to care about my lack of credentials.

I never read any programming books, just built a few projects. It's easier, more fun, and more impressive. chatGPT is great at teaching coding so at this point learning to code is easier than ever. At some point it will definitely feel like a grind but hey, you can grind coding for a few months or grind a minimum wage job forever.

EDIT: just FYI this was like 2 years ago so I doubt much has changed since then.

so a substack as a side gig. there is a market for centrist-right philosophy

Funnily enough I just started one this week, though I haven't touched on anything philosophical or political yet and have just made one post on Irish history.

I’m finally getting circumcised later this month as a 24 year old to treat mild phimosis and severe frenulum breve. Hoping this will give me the ability to have some semblance of a normal sex life. Has anyone had this procedure as a teen/adult?

I had phimosis as a young man, but was able to stretch out the foreskin manually and desensitise the glans gradually in the shower. It took a couple of months but since then my sex life has been fine.

I also had mild frenulum breve (I think) and I was also able to rectify that through gradual stretching and simply letting my erection stay with the foreskin fuly retracted.

Are you in the US? I wonder if the use of circumcision to treat phimosis is an artefact of the fact the procedure is common there. When I spoke to my doctor about my phimosis, I don't think he even considered circumcision, although I don't think I asked about it either.

I'm American, yes. Honestly my urologist barely walked me through the alternative options. Right now I'm considering just replacing my circumcision with a frenuloplasty and seeing how that works out. But I'm concerned that scarring in the frenulum might make my issues worse. I suppose I could just have it removed if the scarring is problematic? I'm not sure. Medical sites say the recovery from a frenuloplasty takes 6 weeks but people on forums seem to suggest it can easily be months.

I had phimosis and frenulum breve. I was completely unable to retract my foreskin. But instead of circumcision, I opted for a prescription topical steroid cream that loosens the skin. After applying that regularly for a few months, I was finally able to retract my foreskin at about age 15. It was still pretty tight for a while, but it kept getting better over the years (I didn't have to keep applying the cream, though). By my late teens to 20s, I was completely functional and everything was working as it should be, with no complaints.

By the way, when I was first able to retract my foreskin at 15, I was so incredibly sensitive that I would wince in pain if water touched my glans in the shower. I think that illustrates just how sensitive the penis is when it has a foreskin to protect it for the first dozen or so years of life. It's not as sensitive as that anymore, but it's still too sensitive to comfortably touch with, say, dry fingers. That's a good thing.

Anyway, if it's not too late, I would definitely recommend trying steroid creams first. There's no harm in it, and there's presumably no urgency to resolve this in weeks rather than, say, months, right? The foreskin is just so amazing; it'd be tragic to lose it.

This is interesting, I was under the impression that steroid creams could not treat frenulum breve. My phimosis itself is actually relatively mild, I can retract with no issue, it just pinches the head when I'm erect and doesn't slide up and down during sex. The frenulum breve is much worse and causes most of my issues. Your case seems worse than mine (unless your frenulum is longer) so if you solved yours with creams and stretching maybe that's a safe route for me. Is there any downside to trying a less invasive approach first? Just thinking out loud here but I guess I could try:

In this order:

  1. stretching exercises

  2. stretching exercises with steroid creams (the steroid concentration is quite low and shouldn’t affect my body outside of making the skin stretchier)

  3. frenuloplasty (where they reshape the frenulum to lengthen it slightly)

  4. frenulectomy (where they just remove it)

  5. circumcision as a last resort if that fails after several months

I certainly can't think of any downsides of trying the less invasive options first. It may be that your frenulum breve is worse than mine was, I don't know. I'd try to find a urologist that seems sympathetic to wanting to remain as intact as possible and see what they think about the feasibility of these options given your particular anatomy.

Yes, under similar circumstances.

The operation itself is pretty unpleasant. I only had local anes, so I was awake, but it doesn't take too long. The recovery is more psychically unpleasant than anything else. Morning wood is uh, going to be really painful until the stitches dissolve.

After-effects - you're going to be incredibly sensitive. Even some years on I'm still more sensitive than before and I more or less have to wear tight boxer briefs. The sensitivity does decrease with time, though. That said it's still better than the unpleasant situation I had before. To be honest I have sex only very rarely, but in terms of my experience masturbating, it's about the same experience I had before, except now I have to use lubricant.

Thanks for the input. I’ll be under general. Why is it that most men circumcised as adults seem to need lube to masturbate but the ones who had it as infants don’t? Can you explain how the sensation is less unpleasant? And how it changes sex for you?

Well, I had phimosis as well. It was very painful and difficult to retract and the only time I ever had sex before circumcision, I couldn't get my foreskin back over the head and ended up in hospital. That was pretty shitty and put me off sex for years. I couldn't explain how it's different for adult circumcisees, but it is, and speaking to other men who did it it seems pretty typical.

Circumcision makes sex less pleasant for men. No idea why being uncircumcised would be a problem for women; sounds like they've been watching too much porn.

Wait what? Where does this idea come from?

I’m sure it makes sex less pleasant for men who have no medical reason to get one but I’m not in that category. I would never have the procedure done to an infant son. No woman I’ve slept with has complained about its appearance or taste, they don’t notice. But they do notice I can rarely last longer than 90 secs before having to stop due to discomfort.

Circumcision makes sex less pleasant for men.

Seems like this would be a good thing to ask the guy after he gets the procedure, instead of aver without evidence? (unless you have also been circumcised later in life?)

IIRC the last time this came up somebody who had experienced sex both ways said that he didn't notice much/any difference.

@TheGodhead please do report back!

Will do. Curious if you have a link to that discussion. A search of the site only turned up culture war content.

It may have been on the reddit site -- the circumcision discussion always does seem to turn CW in a hurry so it could be hard to sift out.

You may be thinking of this SSC article. This was an entry in the "Adversarial Collaboration Contest" Scott hosted a few years ago.

Sensitivity and Sexual satisfaction

There is a highly plausible mechanism by which circumcision could reduce sexual sensitivity: the foreskin is highly innervated (20,000 nerve endings is often repeated, but this appears to be a case of citogenesis and is likely far too high), produces lubrication for the penis, and is sensitive to light touch. Several studies demonstrate that the foreskin is more sensitive to certain forms of nonsexual stimulation than other parts of the penis. The glans itself does not change in sensitivity from circumcision.

Sexual satisfaction, particularly in sexually active heterosexual men, seems to be unchanged with adult circumcision. During studies of adult circumcision for HIV prevention, in which large numbers of men were randomized to receive circumcision at the time of the study or after, sexual satisfaction of did not significantly differ between the two groups. On the other hand, a South Korean study of men circumcised as adults (as has become traditional there) found decreased pleasure from masturbation after circumcision. It is certainly possible that both these things are true – that masturbation is impaired by adult circumcision while intercourse is not. It is also possible that the Korean study (retrospective, smaller than the African studies, and with much higher rates of scarring than are observed in the US) was unrepresentative. There are two European studies which are frequently cited: cohort studies look at circumcised and uncircumcised men in Denmark and Belgium. However, circumcision is quite rare in these countries, and the majority of the circumcisions in the study groups were performed to correct problems such as phimosis. They are thus comparing men who had penile problems requiring surgical correction to men who did not; it is therefore unclear why they are frequently cited in discussions of elective circumcision.

No available studies actually measure sensitivity to sexual stimulation, which is of course an important topic – but one requiring consummate professionalism on the part of the researcher. We are left waiting for such a study, but in the meantime may reasonably fear that there is some decrease in at least masturbatory pleasure due to circumcision even though the evidence for this is weak. The evidence does not support any change in sexual pleasure otherwise.

Infant circumcision may be different than adult circumcision, in addition. If circumcision eliminates important nerves, due to brain plasticity infants are likely better able than adults to reassign the portions of the brain processing the foreskin to other areas of the penis. A large survey of circumcised and uncircumcised men in the US (where infant circumcision is the most common) found similar sensation in circumcised and uncircumcised men. The uncircumcised men appear to have had slightly higher incidences of sexual dysfunction. Also of interest, circumcised men appear to have an easier time obtaining oral sex, which may relate to subtle aspects of class or may have to do with the perceived cleanliness of circumcised penis.

No, it was well after that -- the usual argument was going on and somebody who'd been circumcised for medical reasons showed up to say it was NBD in terms of pleasurability of sex. Probably on Reddit.

Fun test linked from Twitter, it's a test of your vocabulary relative to others and displays your percentile score:

Most people were bragging about their 0.10-1%Ile scores, so I rolled up my sleeve was all, "you are like a little baby, watch this:"


I would have been disappointed with anything less than the limit of their results, I consistently beat out millions of international competitors in a pure test of English ages back, and it seems I've still got it baby.

Getting a high score in English was piss easy. Japanese also wasn’t too bad.

Chinese, on the other hand, was actually quite difficult, and the types of questions also were more varied. Are Chinese students that much more literate compared to Japan?

Something about the calibration of this seems wrong.

I got 30346, which it claims is more 99.99th percentile. So I took the test in Spanish and got 13330, which it claims is 75th percentile. In CEFR terms, my proficiency in Spanish is A2/B1 (i.e. I have ~2000 words of vocabulary and the English equivalent of my conversational skill would be "Hello and good mornings, I am faul_sname and it is good to be meeting you, my Spanish are not so well so please the talking slowly").

I have doubts about this test.

So do I, I think it's not comprehensive enough to differentiate at the tail end, and I expect most Mottizens to have 99.9th percentile scores anyway. I suspect everyone is getting full scores.

Maybe a lot of people who are trash at Spanish are taking it and inflating scores?

30177 for me (for English), so the trend's keeping up.

I got a 50th percentile for the Spanish (I last did any Spanish in 6th grade). I was mostly just using English or Latin cognates, or sometimes the fact that this was obviously a translation of the English quiz, which helped occasionally. (And multiple choice helps)

Took the test, got 30148.

Git gud.

30232 . Git gudder. Curious why these scores are so variable at the top end, pretty sure I didn't miss any, unless it's timed or something?

I got top 0,20 % in English test and top 50 % in Finnish test, lol. The Finnish test was pretty strange, though.

30,280 at 0.01 percentile. Checkmate gaytheists. I am apparently "Shakespearen" and have been granted license to add words to the dictionary. Literally my first act will be to revert the definition of "literally."


I would also like to point out that I only took it once and while I was taking a shit.

Edit: Misspelled Shakespearean above. License revoked.

I got top 0.22%, better than I was expecting since I have relatively weak verbal skills. But hey, apparently vocab tests are highly g loaded, so I'll take my suggested 142(?) IQ!

I'm not much of a reader. I only knew avarice because of Dark Souls (ring of avarice), and alacrity because of Dota (an Invoker spell).

I scored top 0.14%. Good enough to enjoy those top 0.01% posters.

30191 here. I missed avulse but think I got all the rest.

I got 30,246 and also got avulse wrong. Maybe there are a handful of points for speed?

I got 30351. Got avulse right bc I used to frequent gore sites and there was a mildly famous medical case where someone suicided with a rifle and blew his brain out right out of his head and somehow it stayed reasonably intact.

Maybe there are a handful of points for speed?

I was wondering about that.

Top 0.25%, which I'm pretty happy with as a non native speaker.

30188 here, there were a few words I straight up had no idea about.

I also rolled up the 0.01% result, which I feel more than a little skeptical of. I would think more than one in 10K people is getting all of those right. Either way, it's pretty fun.

I felt the same. I still come across a lot of words I don't know when reading old books or technical stuff.

Not sure how, but I managed 30141. I had to guess on a few - querulous, avulse (which I must have gotten wrong), and another.

Your English Vocabulary Size is:


Top 5.76%

Your vocabulary is at the level of professional white-collars in the US!

Alas, I am but a tiny brainlet. My cranium is smooth and without ridges.

I remember beating all my colleagues at this though, so that's good.

I got top 5.44% so we can be midwits together!

There were a couple words that I wasn't familiar with, and I think heavy reddit usage and lack of reading has probably diminished my vocabulary somewhat, but all in all I can't complain.

As previously mentioned in this thread, I don't think this result is particularly accurate, but it's a fun little test!

Congrats on a high score! Despite popular misconception, vocabulary is the best task to test general intelligence, being most highly correlated to other intelligence tasks:

Now, some criticisms of this particular test, which I took and received a humiliating 95th percentile, which feels too low for me, although to be fair I didn't take any time to think when I didn't immediately know the correct answer.

  • The test seems to be the same for everyone. It would work better if the difficulty increased/decreased depending on which questions are answered correctly, ala the GRE.

  • It feels too short. The luck of guessing correctly factors too highly.

  • I had some quibbles with the accuracy of some of the questions. I've written trivia (even an IQ test!) in the past. Some of these questions don't pass muster in my opinion, but I can't be certain because they didn't show the correct answers.

  • I think the scatter is probably too high. What this means is that there shouldn't be any questions "out of left field". The chances of answering any one question correctly should correlate highly with the chance of answering any other correctly. Their shouldn't be any terms that are extremely obscure (unless necessary) or require special knowledge. Avulse seems to fit the bill here. My spellchecker is currently flagging it, lol.

  • No test of this duration and rigor can possibly assign a score in the top 1%, let alone top 0.1%.

But don't listen to me, apparently I'm a moron. I'm also aware that this site is a pop culture site and does not claim any sort of scientific rigor.

There's no way you're 95th percentile unless you really weren't paying attention to the test! I'd suggest giving it again and more seriously this time haha.

I think there's a great deal of range restriction on the very extreme right, such that it's compressing the values that very talented people would score to distinguish themselves from each other. The highest it's possible to score is around 30.1k words and still the 0.01th percentile.

Funnily enough, I'm aware of avulse from avulsions, a type of wound we studied in trauma care in medicine. I'd still have been able to guess it was the right one from elimination, but I also would have heard it in other contexts.

Besides, it's just a fancy way of saying tear injuries as opposed to cuts and stabs.

I'm flattered that this indicates a high IQ, but I'm pretty sure my skill is highly lopsided, I'm an arch wordcel but only somewhat above average as a shape rotator, I don't think I'd make a good engineer or mathematician.

English has anywhere from a million to several million words depending on who you ask, and it only takes the knowledge of 10k of them to be considered fluent. I scored 30k here, but I suspect in a more exhaustive test I'd be at least a 100k if not more, as would many of the very high scorers all lumped in at 0.01th percentile.

Let's see. Here are 50 words chosen at random from a 178,000 Scrabble word set.

Actual, Assemblagists, Banteringly, Basks, Consubstantial, Cosmeticized, Cosmic, Curator, Disconcertingly, Fawns, Foreshowed, Fornical, Fugleman, Gadroon, Hoyles, Ices, Kingfishes, Lachrymose, Lemongrasses, Macrocytic, Merrymakings, Microbrewings, Mirthfully, Multilateral, Noncompetitors, Nyalas, Outstrip, Parliamentary, Pavise, Recheats, Reconfers, Relictions, Scrubs, Seg, Serfage, Shakinesses, Sweeneys, Telepathic, Teratomas, Terebene, Terrify, Topmast, Trachoma, Twaddle, Underclays, Unseated, View, Whoremongers, Wrinkly, Yen

30k does seem like a underestimate due to the ability to know words via construction. For example if I know kind, I also know kindly, unkindly, kindliness, etc...

The problem I guess is what happens to words that I've never used but that I can figure out with near 100% confidence: "microbrewings, banteringly, reconfers, etc..." I would say these DON'T count because you couldn't say that they are a real word or just made up.

And then there are words such as Candible and Fervifying that aren't in the Scrabble dictionary, but the meanings of which can be derived if you know the base words and suffixes.

Yeah I think the word-count extrapolations are questionable here -- I am apparently in the top .15 %tile, at 29817 words; while it's entirely possible that you know 270 more words than I do (probably much more than that, because doctor!) I'm not sure how one would be able to tell from this test.

Yeah I wouldn't really trust the tests on that page too much, I took their IQ test and got 158 on it, which a ridiculous overestimation based on the previous tests I took, where I got like 135-140.

I got 160 on that website as well and the cherry on top was the "Albert Einstein" banner that popped up below, actual fucking meme. My real IQ is probably around 130 as well, from educational/testing proxies.

You're assuming that there's any way to distinguish between 135 and 158 on a short test. There's not. Longer tests aren't great at this either.

More Kirkegaard:

"Some people have IQs of 160 / But technical limitations make it difficult to say who exactly"

hmm, top 0.2% for me, I'm kind of surprised, I never made any explicit effort in all my english classes, and I'm not even a native speaker.


I wonder how you got this result. I got top 3% or so, redid the test with the only difference being answering avulse correctly and got top 0.1%.

Maybe I just have fat fingers or this is scored really curiously.

I might have fucked up one of the easier ones, but gotten avulse correctly. That would explain things if difficult questions are worth more.

I feel this has to be invalid.

I don't feel I really know English and the only 'learning' I've ever done was that I've read cca 300 mostly fairly trashy (sf, urban fantasy) books.

Could native speaker vocabulary really be that bad? Do people not read in the Anglosphere ?


Do people not read in the Anglosphere ?


Your English Vocabulary Size is: 30100 ★★★ Top 0.01%

Bit annoying that it doesn't say which ones you missed. Most of it was very easy but one or two were educated guesses for words I'd never seen before. I can't remember the word (something like "avular"?) but I chose "suture" as the antonym.

Avulse, I was familiar with both terms because I'm a doctor but I do think I have heard of avulsions in other contexts and would have been able to answer it.

The word is "avulse||", and it's apparently a medicinal term that means "||pull or tear away||", so "||suture||" is the right choice. I chose that as well, simply because ||"avulse" sounded so utterly obscure that I figured it had to be some technical term.

Thanks, that was pretty much my reasoning too. "I suppose suture would have an antonym, so maybe that's it?".

Friday is my last day as an 811 utility locator. There are a lot of reasons I'm leaving the job behind: contractors abusing the free service, no reasonable opportunities for additonal training or advancement, out-of-touch upper management. I am accepting a position as a engineering locator that is a double-edged sword: I'm effectvely taking a paycut because there's less overtime available.

Thankfully, my budget is at a surplus of $1500/month, so I can currently afford the hit. However, I ought to figure out how to do more valuable things...and I am just at a complete loss on a path forward.

If there is anyone else here who is construction-adjacent and can offer some advice on how to clear six figures within 5 years, I'd love to hear it.

It depends what part of the construction industry you want to work in. Plenty of engineers, estimators, project managers, and Union field workers clear 6 figures a year.

The biggest money is definitely in project management. Once you are running your own jobs, you’ll get bonuses based on how under budget you can bring those jobs in.

If you’re interested in running jobs, you’d probably start somewhere as an assistant project manager and work your way up. The salary isn’t great for an APM, but long term that’s a good way to go.

If you prefer to stay in the field, joining an electrical union is a sure path to good money. Even moreso if you can get in with any of the big utility companies. In the Bay Area, some PG&E electricians clear 300k a year and more through all the overtime they get.

Really just depends what your skill set is and the type of work you’d like to do.

I've been seeing a woman for two months now. Both early 30s. She's very busy with work (which often takes her out of town), but even so, we've had an all-day date each weekend. She's finally in town during the week, so we're getting dinner tonight. I think I'm going to ask her to be my girlfriend. We talked about things a couple dates ago and established that we're not seeing other people. I feel like exclusive and girlfriend aren't even very different, but a little. More expression of intent to grow things. It's not that we discussed and avoided bf/gf labels last time, we just didn't talk about it.

It's been a minute since I've gotten this far into things with someone. (Four years ago, a three month relationship; seven years ago, 7 months; some fucking the ex mixed in there...) And the last couple times I have, I felt like I had more sense that there was a reason things wouldn't work out. This one actually seems plausible, which is scary. It's not entirely clear to me how I feel about her, which is reasonable for two months. But it just makes me feel guilty, like am I just saying things and following steps because it seems like the thing to do (and also, sex)?. I don't think so, I really think there's something here, but feelings are confusing. Who knew.

We've both basically lived alone and had intense jobs forever. It's weird imagining fitting someone into my life, maybe even living with someone eventually. Weirder, I think I like the idea. This just in: even programmers are social mammals.

Also weird is that I'm in good shape and have money now. I've never been terrible on either front, but man, does seem to be helpful. How to split expenses is an awkward thing I haven't figured out yet, and I just don't care that much. She seems quite well off actually, for not being a programmer/doctor/lawyer. Also, hot. And not crazy. Didn't seem to particularly care for my briefly discussing the motte style politics, but also just doesn't seem to care about politics or generally be terminally online, which might be better than agreeing with me in the first place...

I didn't know people asked (said?) this anymore.

Don't get me wrong; I am a believer in relationships beyond 'hookups' or whatever the current term may be among the young. I came of age (or should have) in the 80s, smack in the thick of the AIDS epidemic, and, like everyone else then, had monogamy hammered into my skull. I also grew up fairly conservatively. But if life has taught me anything about the wiles of the fairer sex (and sometimes it seems it hasn't despite repeated opportunities) the open stating of one's desire has a way of dousing the flames of that same desire in the other person--in other words the mystery of how you might (or might not) feel is part of your allure.

Showing your hand at this point may seem right, but in my view is just an effort at a dopamine hit. Which very likely may not get the desired reaction.

This may seem counterintuitive, particularly in light of the mainstream view that one should "say how you feel" and that doing so is romantic, etc.etc. In my experience this is almost the opposite to reality. Perhaps I've only ever been with emotionally stunted women. Or read Love in the Time of Cholera one time too many.

In Japan where I now live (I feel like I throw that into every post but here it's perhaps relevant) theres a term called 紅白 or kouhaku Kokuhaku thank you @Kevin_P (literally "confession") which in practice means the act of making the request: "付き合ってください!" or "Be my significant other (please)." It is, I am told by others and made to believe by popular television, the right and proper method for beginning a courtship. The girl, or whoever is on the receiving end of that request) says then "Hai" or "Gomen nasai (the presumably devastatingly flabby "I'm sorry") and one then carries on. As far as I can tell once one gets the "Yes" it's then okay to have sex (whether this has already happened or not is irrelevant, this seals the deal, as it were.) I only ever tried it once. It didn't work.

Anyway all this by way of saying this cultural trait isn't just American as suggested by @arjin_ferman, though the Japanese version may be equally disturbing.

Good on you for being in there fighting the good fight. Love makes the world go round; there's nothing like it. And if not love, the dance. So many young people rage against it or try to work out crib sheets to fake the steps, and that is all fine, but it's really an amazing part of life.

In Japan where I now live (I feel like I throw that into every post but here it's perhaps relevant) theres a term called 紅白 or kouhaku (literally "confession")

I know this is being a bit pedantic, but you're thinking of 告白 (kokuhaku). 紅白 is the red vs white singing competition at new year.

Not pedantic at all, thank you for the correction.

Showing your hand at this point may seem right, but in my view is just an effort at a dopamine hit. Which very likely may not get the desired reaction.

You might be right.

I asked, she said yes, but also something vaguely dismissive about labels in general. It didn't go super poorly, like she said yes, and I don't get the impression I'm going to wake up to a "hey sorry about this but". But I was hoping for it to be a little more... Romantic?

It seems like she is really intensely trying to find a life partner, and I'm vaguely skeptical that I would ever want to put up with someone forever. It's not that I go into a relationship hoping to break up with someone, but five for five, I have gotten bored and done just that. Life partner kind of sounds like a thing I would want, I'm definitely a boring suburban person and fond of routine. But also, the ADHD, it's a thing , so always hard to know if I am right about what I want.

Listen I am all ready to walk you through your entire relationship from this point forward, just to see if my madskillz actually work. Short of that, if you wisely choose to decline, I would say to you that you may possibly be approaching commitment assbackwards. Let me explain what I mean.

At some point you need to project into eternity. Do you want kids? Or, a kid? As a father myself twice over (both boys) I would say that there is nothing quite like it--you imbue them with the movies you grew up on, your music, your food tastes, your general approach to life, pretty much everything. They will no doubt eventually reject much of it, but there was nothing like that first time I sat my sons down and we all watched the 1963 version of Jason and the Argonauts and they asked to watch it again, eventually knowing the music as well as I do. There was the added benefit that they understood more of the Greek myths that I read to them when they were too young to know anything but sounds.

This is not me being flippant. Having children is huge. It is, arguably, why any of us are here. So ADHD. Believe me, you can not have ADHD and still get bored AF with your significant other. As it happened I was utterly smitten with my wife during our courting phase, and even now I have moments (usually improbable times such as when I leave early in the morning and see her lying in bed with her mouth open, having stolen all the covers) when I love her completely, when I would die or kill to protect her. But there are also those moments where she pisses me off, where I think WTF woman? There are moments when I walk through the city and see 20 women who I would rather know carnally than my missus. But I realize, or--have realized, late in life--that all of that is bullshit.

This romantic gloaming is, I would argue, inevitable. Do not imagine pairing yourself with a female will be roses and lust ad aeternum. Perhaps it is, for some. But I seriously doubt it.

Where does this leave us then? Other than having read the ramblings of an old man, that is?

Well, back where you are right now. I am not saying you should throw yourself onto the pyre of forever love, but I am saying: Don't be such a doubter. Marriage ain't about the one true one. It's about making a goddam decision and choosing. And just like the cheese tray that comes around, there's always a bunch of camembert, or gruyere, or Stilton, or havarti, or even American fuckin' cheddar. As my former Aussie roommate of 20 years ago (thrice married) once said: "At some point you gotta take your hand off it."

I think I'm going to ask her to be my girlfriend. We talked about things a couple dates ago and established that we're not seeing other people. I feel like exclusive and girlfriend aren't even very different, but a little.

I don't have a dog in this fight anymore, but god, I hope American dating conventions stay in America. This whole "we're dating but we're not exclusive"/"we're exclusive but we're not girlfriend/boyfriend" business makes me want to ask Gabriel to blow the horn.

How does the rest of the world do it? I feel like "dating but not exclusive" is a fairly natural thing: when you're out there trying to meet people, you go on dates, and since you barely know the other person, of course it's not exclusive. But I agree that "exclusive but not boyfriend/girlfriend" is a silly or meaningless thing to be.

Usually I'd already knew the person a bit from hanging out in a group, so if you make a pass at someone, it was implied I wouldn't make more at different people until this one is resolved one way or he other.

Though to be honest I don't think knowing someone is that much of a factor. I wasn't doing it that often, but even when I picked a girl up at a pub, it was implied I wouldn't try to pick a different one up on another day. At least if I didn't want to get slapped by one or both of them.

As an American, if you wanted to blow the horn I'll be right there with you.

Outside wrote an article about me!

Magnus finished in Eight Hours, though he ran it in the worst conditions imaginable while I ran mine in perfect conditions in a pleasant area, he is also a much more specialized and better climber than I was at the time. I do think it is funny that the video mostly shows him jogging, but if he took 8 hours he was mostly walking, that's only a little over 3 miles an hour.

It's a fun article, but I think for quite obvious reasons the running editor for Outside ignores the most obvious explanation for this practice: Running a marathon is kind of stupid as an activity.

Don't get me wrong here, I think being able to go 26.2 miles in some reasonable period of time is a really cool and valid measure of fitness. And running a marathon in 2.5 hours or less is an amazing achievement in itself, literally faster than I could run half that distance.

But running a marathon in good amateur times is kind of uninteresting.

A lot of sports are like this, interest varies with level. Outside of the playoffs, College basketball is more entertaining than the NBA regular season. MMA amateur slugfest smokers are always pretty fun, but the top-level pro game has gone through periods of boredom like the Lay'N'Pray lightweight title reign of Gray Maynard. Being objectively better does not always make something more interesting or entertaining. Marathon running might be kinda bimodal in terms of interest: it is interesting to watch pros try to break 2hrs, and interesting to watch complete rank amateurs try to gut it out, but it's not that interesting to watch a bunch of junior product engineers try to break 4hrs.

The balance expressed by a pro rock climber who can also run a marathon is much more interesting than the specialization expressed by a 5'6" skeleton ambling to a 2hr45m marathon time.

Personally, I've always wanted to organize an Athenian Race. The really interesting 26.2 mile race wasn't Pheidipides racing back to Athens, it was the Athenian Hoplites who crushed the invading Persians at Marathon and then marched all the way back to Athens prepared to fight the Persians again. So an Athenian race would be a big strength workout, then complete a marathon in less than 8 hours, then get wine drunk to celebrate defeating Persia.

The balance expressed by a pro rock climber who can also run a marathon is much more interesting than the specialization expressed by a 5'6" skeleton ambling to a 2hr45m marathon time.

Strong disagree. The only reason the former seems "balanced" is that pretty much all fit humans are at least somewhat decent at running, so they're capable of doing a crappy job of running a marathon. This is pretty much the equivalent of the fact that most runners can do at least some pushups - they're still mostly bad at it and it doesn't demonstrate that they're complete athletes because they can do a little bit of another sport.

I also reject the false dichotomy. One of the guys I run with is 5'6" and roughly 170 pounds and is a 2:35 marathoner. Running pretty fast for amateurs doesn't require a skeletal frame.

Marathon running might be kinda bimodal in terms of interest: it is interesting to watch pros try to break 2hrs, and interesting to watch complete rank amateurs try to gut it out, but it's not that interesting to watch a bunch of junior product engineers try to break 4hrs.

I have no idea what's interesting about watching amateurs try to gut it out. They're basically just not even trying to do the activity. If you already know going in that you're going to spend a bunch of time walking, then you're simply not running a marathon.

Marathoning is boring to watch no matter what the level is and I won't try to convince anyone otherwise, but gimmick versions of running that skirt around someone just having shitty conditioning doesn't make it more interesting.

I have no idea what's interesting about watching amateurs try to gut it out.

I mean, you might not get it, but the video linked above got 600k views out of the gimmick. So clearly, as per the article, a bunch of people do find it interesting.

Primarily because the Marathon or distance running in general is interesting as a gut check, as a test of will. This is why once Marathon running became common, people became more interested in the recent trend of Ultras.

Have you heard of the marathon du medoc? It has compulsory wine tastings throughout the course as well as oyster tastings.

No but that sounds amazing

Personally, I've always wanted to organize an Athenian Race.

That seems kind of like a series of fencing or MMA bouts, or maybe a rugby game, followed by a 26.2-mile ruck march. With plenty of booze at the finish line.

I think Rugby or American football would be the closest approximation to hoplite warfare, fencing is more agility and MMA is too personal.

But "400m Sprint, 20 back squats at bodyweight, 30 pull ups..." Seems a lot easier to organize.