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i randomly wandered into an art gallery with live music and a full cheese spread and im going ape

if u eat it the fey own u tho

that’s the fey’s problem

If you are saying that, you’ve clearly got more bravado than sense.

i don’t have either actually i just have an empty stomach and the ability to make my presence everyone’s problem

“That’s the fey’s problem” is on the same level of response as “bold of you to assume I have blood” and I love it thank you

pretty sure OP is Toby Daye @seananmcguire

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6 days ago
Seattle, WA
6 days ago
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#1120: The Creepy Guy In The Friend Group, Revisited: Four More Geek Social Fallacies

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Content note: After the jump I mention Rape Threats Dudes Have Sent Me for saying what I think about creepy dudes.

Dear Captain,

Over the past several years I’ve drifted to the periphery of a friend group where one member is a sexist creep. I immediately found him slimy and pushy and off-putting upon meeting him, but gave him the benefit of the doubt because he’s my friend’s brother — and then learned that he’s heavily into PUA bullshit and was pretty much being awful on purpose. It was a few years into my friendship his sister that he started hanging out with everyone, and as he’s spent more time with the group, I’ve spent much less. (Not just because of him, but he’s definitely one reason.) There’s only one friend I’ve explicitly discussed this with, and he’s sympathetic when we talk privately, but I don’t get the sense Mr. Plumed Fedora experiences much pushback at all from anyone in the group — including me, which is also something I’m really struggling with — when he casually complains about “feminazis,” creeps on every woman he encounters, etc.

Recently an opportunity came up to maybe spend more time with the group and I was kind of excited about it but… I truly loathe this guy and resent the amount of time I’ve already spent with him. Is there a good way to say “Your brother/friend is a misogynist and I don’t want to be around him, no offense”? Should I suck it up? Continue fading out? Finally learn to stop avoiding conflict?

M’lady Nay


Did you know that this post about what to do about the creepy cude in the friend group is the most-read, most-linked, most-discussed post here, ever, even six years later?

Did you know that men still email me about it sometimes to tell me I’m a horrible person who probably deserves to be raped, six years later? Like “if you think that’s what rapists act like or think everyone is probably a rapist you should probably get raped” x 1000, and it’s like, “Hey Rapey Robert/Death Threat Dave/Threatening Thomas/”Ethics In Gaming Journalism” Greg, nice Pepe the Frog avatar you’ve got there, thanks for the feedback. I definitely don’t think every man is a rapist, but is there any part of your email that isn’t proving my point about what potential rapists act like?” 

(I don’t actually write back) (I used to get really scared by these emails but I don’t anymore)(I usually assume it’s happening because some woman in their friend group finally got fed up and finally told them “read this, because you are being this dude”  and now the dude’s gotta find someone new to take it all out on because he can’t act like a butthole at Trivia Night anymore, so they choose me, in which case, KEEP ROCKING, AWESOME PEOPLE! If these assholes are feeling consequences for what they are like, you are doing something right.)

You’re doing just fine with “your brother/friend is a misogynist and I don’t want to be around him, no offense” script! I also laughed at your email subject line: “this is probably like three different Geek Social Fallacies” I think it hits all five, personally, and you’ve inspired me to define some more, so, well done, good work, thank you.

When the people in your social group inevitably say “He’s not that bad” or “But faaaaaamily!” or otherwise try to defend hanging out with him you can say “Maybe he’s not that bad…to you. If you still want to hang out with him, that’s okay, I’m not your boss, but I know I’ll be happier staying away from places he’s going to be. Let me know if you want to do something one-on-one, though, ’cause I really like you.” 

One thing that can be empowering in You versus The Group (+ This Fucking Guy) situations is to take more initiative in spending time with the people you want to see. Be more of a planner, and invite people to hang out one-on-one, or in smaller groups. Mix a few of the cooler people with friends you know from other social circles. If you’re proactive and you’re controlling the invite list, you can have more fun at your events, and you can also push back on people who try to insist on including Creepy McGee. “When it’s your event you can invite anyone you want. X and I don’t get along/You know I find him creepy/I wanted a misogyny-free evening, so, nope!” 

Sometimes you have to make it clear that it’s a smaller/more selective invite list, especially if the group has the “we all do everything together/all are welcome” vibe for their usual hangouts, so, be specific when you make the invitations. “I’d love to have a few people over for a dinner party, I’ve only got the 5 chairs so please RSVP, and sorry, no +1s this time.” Do the inviting off of Facebook or other social media, too, vs. creating events that anyone can see or add people to.

Ok, let’s talk about group situations where someone says something gross and nobody pushes back on it. Maybe there’s a really awkward silence for a second, but your friend is probably used to smoothing things over for her brother, and it doesn’t really register with the offensive person at all.

Creeps and misogynists (and racists, and other people you don’t want at your parties) don’t respond to hints. They operate under the assumption that everyone secretly agrees with them and is just “too triggered” or “too politically correct” or “too sensitive” (or whatever the code word that we are too much of is today) to “say what they’re really thinking.” Silence, hints, a strategically raised eyebrow, people quietly flashing side-eye around the circle, etc. just gives them a pool of plausible deniability to keep right on pooping into. And if the people around them are pretty conflict-averse, or (understandably) afraid of becoming a target or provoking them further, or (understandably) afraid that no one will stand up for them or (understandably) afraid that other people secretly agree with what the asshole is saying, or (understandably) are worried that everyone really likes the asshole and will side with them (cough…Chris Hardwick…cough) it just perpetuates the thing where The Asshole can say horrible things and not really get called on it, so he keeps saying asshole things to try to provoke a reaction and then sort of revel in his power when nobody stops him.

This is the wrong social feedback loop and sometimes you just gotta be the one who fixes it.

Even if it doesn’t convince the asshole. (It probably won’t).

Even if other people don’t stand up with you. (They might not).

Even if it’s scary and the night is “ruined” once you say something. (It was already ruined, for you.)

Even if you lose your temper or it comes out garbled or you shake or your voice shakes or you cry. (It might.)

Even if the people you like in the group are mad at you for not enabling the creep…and them…in putting up with misogyny. (It’s possible.)

I truly think in my heart of hearts that it will be good FOR YOU to have spoken up.

And I think there are some additional Geek Social Fallacies at play in the world, and we urgently need to find some ways to deal with them.

Edited to Add: If you’ve never heard of the Five Geek Social Fallacies before, read that link! It’s one of several extremely useful posts out there in the world about “Hey, why do people who we know behave badly still get to hang out in all our spaces and ruin all our parties and social groups?” Another great one one is The Missing Stair. [/edit]

GSF #6 “Calling out bad behavior makes you just as bad as the person who was doing the bad behavior.” 

It takes many forms:

“I know Dave keeps grabbing your ass when you walk by, but you didn’t really need to yell at him like that! How is he supposed to learn if you can’t even be polite?” 

“Punching Nazis might turn totally normal people who definitely didn’t have any problematic beliefs before this moment into Nazis!” 

“I know Uncle Carl said some racist things at dinner, but how do you expect him to learn if you can’t sit silently while he does that? Don’t you want to be civil?” 

“When you call creepy men creepy it hurts their feelings and makes them more likely to be creepy.” 

There are so many versions and offshoots, like “People who believe and do evil shit aren’t evil deep down, and if you just patiently explained it to them for long enough they would stop being so evil!” or one that is starring in my inbox right now “Jennifer, when you use swear words don’t you know that you discredit your entire argument? I won’t be reading your blog any more (but I will send you a 1000-word email about your blog…the one that I don’t read and definitely won’t be reading anymore… at least once a week…for the rest of time…btw you should probably get raped)” 

The people who indulge these GSF want you to fight bad behavior by….being quiet about it and letting it continue? What? That can’t be right.

In the most generous interpretation, people who indulge in this fallacy don’t know what to do about the awful (racist, misogynist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, possibly violent, etc. etc.) sentiments and behavior, so they freeze. Maybe they feel bad and guilty for not saying something themselves. Less-generously-but-depressingly-possible, maybe they agree with the horrible things that were said and feel embarrassed about that, like, shhhhhhhhhh, don’t turn our dogwhistle into a regular whistle, it’s embarrassing!

Whatever their reasons, what GSF #6 Fallacy Holders do is to immediately silence what you are saying (“That was sexist, stop it”) and ignore what the other person was doing ([insert repulsive words and/or behaviors here]) in order to make “but you said it wrong!” the territory of the argument. They want the discomfort that the awful person introduced into the situation to stop, but they incorrectly locate the source of their discomfort in the person who resisted it, and then they try to pressure that person into being silent so everyone can go back to being comfortable.

Everyone except the person who was hurt by the asshole’s words or behavior, that is. They are fine with your discomfort (as long as you are quiet about it).

GSF #7: “I can tell if someone is A Good Person or not based on whether they’ve been nice…to me.”

From the serial killer who was “always a polite, quiet neighbor” to the abuser who can keep their temper just fine around friends, bosses, & strangers but “totally loses control!” only when it comes to their victims and only when it won’t have legal consequences or make them look bad to others, to the person who is probably a pillar of his church community, but won’t let a pregnant woman use the bathroom if she’s the wrong race, everyone needs to understand this and understand it quick:

People can selectively be nice to the people whose opinions they care about and who they don’t want to harm. And predators consciously groom and choose people around them to be their defenders and spokespeople, the exact same way they groom their victims.

A lot of what you personally experience as “kindness” or “he’s a great guy!” from a misogynist is really about power and what they can get away with. 

For example, at my first post-college job, the creepy senior employee who ogled me all day, made up reasons to force me to have to come to his office, offered me rides home every day and (when I refused) followed me home in his car, driving slowly next to me while I walked, begging me to get in the whole time, and then parked across the street from my house for hours at a time, etc. was VERY friendly and gregarious in the office. He was a churchgoer with many framed Bible quotes in his office, he wore sweater-vests, he talked like Ned Flanders from the Simpsons. He often bought lunch for the whole office and brought baked goods from home. Nobody believed me about his weird behavior, they believed him when he said he was just concerned about my safety walking alone (in broad daylight, in Georgetown which if you don’t know is an extremely wealthy college neighborhood that is policed within an inch of its life), and they laughed at me for having “a crush” on him. Long after I quit, they finally believed he was not so nice when he embezzled a whole bunch of money, tried to frame a young Somali refugee who worked there for what he did, and disappeared without a trace with tons of their money, though! An expensive lesson, for everyone.

I think geeks/nerds are especially susceptible to GSF #7 because so many of us have been ostracized or bullied as kids. We hunger for kindness, so when One Of The Cool Kids shows us that kindness it’s even more precious and harder to let go of. If someone tells you someone who has always been nice to you is not actually that nice, consider for a second that you don’t know everything about them. What if we could learn expensive and uncomfortable lessons much earlier, by saying “I believe you, let me see what I can do” to the victim of the bad behavior and “Hey, I like you a lot, can you knock off doing that gross thing so I can keep liking you” to the perpetrator? If someone you like is behaving badly, you probably couldn’t have prevented it, but could you at least not become their flying monkey after the fact?

Could we reverse the current of social pressure that teaches victims not to speak up so that awkwardness flows toward perpetrators?



GSF #8: “If you show emotion about a topic, your argument is invalid.”

We could also state this one as “If you are personally affected by the thing that is up for debate, you are biased, and that is Somehow Bad.” Others have written about it in the context of South Park, where being a secret Nazi is hilarious but caring sincerely about something is the real problem, and deserving of ridicule.

What a crock of shit.

Fortunately, Melissa McEwan wrote about this double-bind so beautifully in her piece, The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck:

“There are the occasions that men—intellectual men, clever men, engaged men—insist on playing devil’s advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading: Women’s Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun—and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that’s so much fun for them is the stuff of my life.

There is the perplexity at my fury that my life experience is not considered more relevant than the opinionated pronouncements of men who make a pastime of informal observation, like womanhood is an exotic locale which provides magnificent fodder for the amateur ethnographer. And there is the haughty dismissal of my assertion that being on the outside looking in doesn’t make one more objective; it merely provides a different perspective.”

I think about this “lady emotions are dumb, man logic is superior!” fallacy all the time as I watch thousands of young men who would describe themselves as Extremely Logical People become viscerally enraged at a Star Wars movie they didn’t like. It’s kinda funny, but when those same men harass female performers off social media because they didn’t like the movie, it’s suddenly not funny at all. Like, let’s sit with the absurdity of what they are doing for a second. As the primo target audience for Ocean’s 8, I personally think it should 100% have been directed by a woman and that the James Corden insurance investigator part should 100% have been played by Rene Russo in a reprise of her Thomas Crown Affair role (and also that character should be “Lou”/Cate Blanchett’s ex-lover) but I’m not suggesting”let’s all go tell Gary Ross & James Corden they should get raped every day until we have JUSTICE Lololo1!!!” (Like, I know I am joking about a terrible terrible thing so in all seriousness, please, please do not ever do that, it’s just a fucking movie. Go write some hot fan fiction where Cate and Renee do crime and borrow each other’s wardrobes and then email me the link to that fan fiction).

Feelings are just one kind of information. Experiences are extremely informed sources of information. They are not the only information, but they aren’t not-information, either? They have a part to play.

What if we acted like the the people most affected by something/who have the most at stake/who have the most to lose/who have been the most fucked over by the status quo are the center of where our caring should go and the primary experts on what would fix things, but on like, a national or even global level? And what if caring for them was way more important than our “objective” debates about what they need and deserve?

In the meantime, the idea that “your emotions and your experiences with a thing make you uninformed and unqualified to talk about it, but my emotions (that I have renamed ‘logic’) and my lack of experience with a thing make me more informed and qualified than you” is a brand of bullshit that I will be fighting until my dying day, one really really long blog post at a time.

Will you join me?

GSF #9: “The most important thing to think about when speaking up about injustice is what will *convince* the other person to be on your side.” 

As in, when someone mistreats you or others, convincing them not to and converting them to thinking as you do and educating them endlessly, in real time, on demand, on their schedule (whether or not they even want to be convinced), with complete and selfless empathy for why they feel as they do and why they said what they said is your sole, immediate responsibility, more important than your own feelings, safety, ethics, the safety or comfort of anyone nearby or anyone in the world who may be affected by what they did, regardless of how much energy or will you have to do it or how likely they are to be convinced.

For GSF #9 holders, it’s not enough for you to say “Hey, knock it off there buddy,” or “If you’re going to say stuff like that, I need to be elsewhere, byeeee,” NO! You must convince them…OR NOTHING. (i.e. be silent). You must convince them, gently, kindly, with perfect grammar and spelling and no icky emotions like anger at what they did or fear for what they might do, you must make them feel GREAT and WELCOME in your space or else you are letting your whole side down and it will be YOUR FAULT when they do and say awful things.

I think there is enormous value in trying to change hearts and minds and that is the long game, the work that will never stop.

But it’s not the only thing I value. Sometimes what I value is making the bad thing stop and stop right fucking now. Sometimes what I value is making consequences for people who do or say the bad things – there are people who persuasion will never reach, but who might understand power or social disapproval or the risk of being disinvited if they behave badly. Sometimes what I value is protecting myself and other people from the harm that they do, and the hearts and minds of assholes can be their own fucking business.

Sometimes I’m just a human being whose supply of fucks to give runs low and I lose my temper. Oops?

When a gross dude in a literal or metaphorical fedora is like “Hey Sweet Tits want to come over and see my Ayn Rand tattoos? I can explain them all to you, at length and in detail” or “Your hysteria over the coming erosion of reproductive rights is just wasting everyone’s time with dumb ‘identity politics’, why don’t you calm down pay attention to the Really Important Stuff (i.e. stuff that I care about)” and you are like NO and also GROSS and also I WILL NOT CALM DOWN, SIR, I DO BITE MY THUMB AT THEE, PERFORCE, YOU ARE LUCKY I DO NOT MAKE YOU MEET ME WITH PISTOLS AT DAWN…

…and people are like “Calm down why are you being so mean/emotional/hysterical, you’re going to lose the argument unless you maintain perfect detachment at all times

…those people are also sort of saying “I…I mean some people… are looking for an excuse to agree with your tormentor, please don’t give me…I mean them… one by having embarrassing tears or acting angry about what they are doing! If they aren’t convinced, and if I…I mean some people…end up joining their side, it will be all your fault when I/they do!


…I don’t know…

…this may sound weird…

But maybe they were never really gonna be on your side, and what they think isn’t the most important thing in the world?

…And maybe it’s important that you say something back even if it isn’t going to be the one true magical thing that convinces someone not to be a misogynist anymore? That perfect thing that, don’t forget, you must somehow express with perfect politeness and grace?

Maybe it isn’t your job to convince that person, especially not right then in that moment. Maybe you are not their Basic Humanity Tutor. Maybe today isn’t your turn to be the Asshole Whisperer. Maybe speaking up is about something else entirely. Maybe it’s sufficient just to name their actions for what they are so that other people can recognize them, and it’s not your job to fix every asshole that you meet.

Maybe you’re doing it for YOU and as a way to remove plausible deniability that everyone agrees with them and to reassert POWER in the social spaces you occupy regardless of whether these people are ever convinced or even can be convinced. (Like maybe holidays don’t belong to your most racist and loudmouthed relative and you do not have to quietly retreat from having a family because he can’t shut the fuck up for one day (but you are expected to “behave yourself, Young Lady”).

Maybe it would be ok if you “made a scene” or whatever they’re using today as “the worst thing you could possibly do” in order to police your feelings and reactions down to a size that can let them stay comfortable with the unfairness of the world.

Maybe it’s just the right thing to do even if it isn’t easy or comfortable and even if it won’t convince one single soul.  And, in the good words of my beloved ride-or-die Goat Lady, as pertains to some current political discussions:

“Yknow I get that some people are really uncomfortable with confrontation but ima need those folks to just go back inside and keep their heads down instead of pretending they have some kind of precious moral high ground because they don’t want offend fascists.”

If you can’t speak up, if you’re afraid to speak up, if you are uncomfortable speaking up, if you’ve never spoken up before and you don’t know how to start, okay? It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be still learning. Do what you have to do to survive from one moment to the next. But do not act like silence is something to strive for and like breaking it is the real faux pas when people’s survival is on the line. I see you.

So again, maybe someone’s horrendous and abusive views and whatever straw-man-dressed-in-red-flags strategy the people who wish you would just shut up already erroneously think will ultimately convince people to stop having those views is not even remotely the standard for measuring what you should do when they hurt people.

My lovely Letter Writer M’Lady Nay, how this translates practically to you and your specific letter (vs. me venting literally every internet argument I am currently having feelings about), is this:

It’s okay to not want to go to things where you know a misogynist creep will be coddled and apologized for. “I love playing Betrayal At House On The Hill, I hate being hit on by some creepo I’ve already told to leave me alone 17,000 times, gotta skip it” is a totally reasonable worldview.

And if you do end up at one of those things where this dude will be, and he says or does one of his awful things, it’s okay to say “Gross” or “Try that again with a little less misogyny this time” or “Nobody here wants to fuck you, just stop it and hang out like a person, or the best imitation of one you can pull off, ok?” or “DO NOT TOUCH ME” or “Well, that was a rape-y thing to say, time for one of us to leave. I vote that it’s you.” or “What the fuck, dude?” or “We put up with you because we like your sister. Behave yourself for her sake, or go the fuck home (for her sake), but DO NOT say that creepy shit to me again” or “Oh gee, look at the time, it’s creep-o’clock and I will turn into a pumpkin if I don’t get out of here.” Or “I don’t like what you said just now.” Or “Wow” or “That makes me really uncomfortable” or “Please desist at once, kind sir” or or or or or or or or or or or or.

And when someone says “Come on he was only joking” you say “But it wasn’t funny” and when someone says “Geez, you’re way too sensitive” you say “Yes, I’m very sensitive and I also hate rape jokes, thanks for noticing” and when someone says “God, grow a sense of humor already!” you say “Yes, I will grow a sense of humor and I will fertilize it with the ashes of unfunny men. TO THE BARRICADES, SISTERS! FOR THEMYSCIRA!”

Or you know, whatever comes to mind. My scripts are always gonna work better in your own words.

And when they come for his sister, or his sister feels pressure to defend him because she’s (understandably) afraid they’ll come for her, you say “You are lovely! But your brother is acting like a sexist jerk. If he’s uncomfortable when people don’t like that, maybe he should knock it off. You are not responsible for him and you do not have to defend him. By which I mean, stop defending him, it’s not your job when you didn’t do anything wrong.”

Your voice might shake. Your awesome comeback might come out garbled. You might get talked over by people who are afraid to do what you did. You might stand there alone, while all these people you want so bad to like and believe you let you down.

Maybe…say something anyway?

Say something especially if you have privilege relative to the people who are being targeted. Creepy men who automatically discount what women say listen more when their male friends say “Not cool, bro.” White people who say racist stuff desperately want the social approval and compliance of fellow white people, and when you refuse to give them your compliance and good opinion, it fucking shatters them. Good. Keep doing it.

Here is the secret, the cheat code, the truth: The people you know who are good at speaking up in tense situations probably didn’t start out that way. It is a habit and a skill that you can develop with time and practice. The more you do it, the more you feel like you can do it. And the more you do it, the people who can’t be trusted not to carry water for creeps and assholes will show themselves, making them easier to avoid in the future.

I’m not gonna lie, that can hurt real bad, it can cut you to the bone.

And there may be times you cannot safely speak up, without the threat of violence. In those cases, you are going to be the best judge of what you can safely do. Think of it as “living so you can fight another day” and don’t let it slow you down too much.

But also, the more you speak up, the more the other people in the room who don’t agree with the asshole will seek you out and back you up and start to find their own voices. Someone in that room has been waiting for someone to say “‘Feminazi?’ Really? Are you a time traveling Rush Limbaugh intern here to teach us about hackeysack and jam bands? Get the fuck out of here with that shit, man.”

Maybe they’ve been waiting for you the way you’ve been waiting for them, wondering “Is it just me?” And maybe today is the day you get together and start to fix it.

This hope is why I do what I do.


Captain Awkward






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10 days ago
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
13 days ago
Seattle, WA
13 days ago
13 days ago
Overland Park, KS
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14 days ago
"I will grow a sense of humor and I will fertilize it with the ashes of unfunny men" new bio
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

To The Moon becoming an animated movie

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Kan Gao’s tearjerker To The Moon, a game which affected our John so much that he still daren’t open the curtains on clear nights lest he be swept away in a torrent of his own tears, is becoming a full-length animated movie. It’s the story of doctors travelling through the memories of a dying man (with the aid of a fancy machine), seeing his life and creating new memories so he can have sort-of lived his dying wish: visiting the moon. At this point, John is hammering on the door as a brook flows down his body, so I imagine we’ll need to employ Ludovico Technique eyespreaders to make him watch it.

Gao doesn’t say who is behind the “major animated feature film”, only hinting in his announcement video that the companies involved are “pretty big players in the animation industry, and those who are familiar with the animation industry will probably have heard of them.” Mysterious! Gao also says that the budget is “pretty significant”, and that he’s been told it’s above that of the animated movie Your Name.

He doesn’t have absolute control over the film but says he will be involved with the script and supervising.

Buuut beyond that, it’s all a big mystery. When it’ll come, how it’ll be released, what it looks like (that art ↑ up there is a marketing picture for the game), and all that are still secrets for now. But here, he seems pretty hopeful, and has some interesting things to say about striking a balance between faithfulness of goodfilmness in a film adaptation:

It does seem a good’un to be movified. As Johnny Dub said in his To The Moon review:

“To The Moon takes on old age, regret, mental health, and love. It’s about the role of ambition versus reality, and what’s worth sacrificing. It’s a properly funny comedy, and a hanky-requiring tragedy. Games this effective are rare beasts, and when it’s disguised by such simple graphics (albeit with wonderful animation, and such detail), old-school Japanese RPG presentation (something it brilliantly jokes about very early on), no voice acting, nor photo-realistic expressions, it’s something of a feat.”

I only play games deemed artistic enough to be made into films, so I’m excited to finally play this; I can’t keep hammering on Tekken forever. Handily, the game is half-price right now on Steam, down to £3.49/€3.99/$4.99.

Gao also notes that he’s started work on his next game. His last, after a series of To The Moon mini episodes, was the sequel Finding Paradise.

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61 days ago
Seattle, WA
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Allegations of sexual misconduct land Melvin Brewing in hot water

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By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog


In December of 2017, Washington Beer Blog was informed of an incident that occurred at Menace Brewing in Bellingham, Washington involving an employee from a neighboring brewery. According to our source, an employee of Melvin Brewing was at the Menace Brewing taproom when he inappropriately touched a female employee. We later learned that the alleged incident occurred on November 20, 2017.

Our source, who works in the beer industry in Bellingham and had reason to be familiar with the incident, reported that a Melvin Brewing employee was at the Menace Brewing taproom along with other Melvin Brewing employees when he grabbed the female server in a way that could not be reasonably condoned.

Recognizing that this was a serious accusation, one that could lead to legal actions, Washington Beer Blog decided not to report the alleged incident at that time. Instead, we decided to wait for the parties involved to contact us or otherwise make public comments.

On January 11, 2018 an internal email was sent to Melvin Brewing employees acknowledging that the incident had in fact occurred. That email also informed employees of the company’s position on such conduct and reported on how the company was addressing the issue. That email was leaked outside of the company and a source provided a copy to Washington Beer Blog on January 17.

In that email, Melvin Brewing described the incident as follows: “The employee of Menace Brewing stated that while addressing guests at [the Melvin Brewing emplyee’s] table, [the Melvin Brewing employee] put his hand around her waist, then moved his hand lower and touched her butt and upper thigh area.”

Subsequent conversations with other sources familiar with the incident suggested that the Melvin Brewing employee brought his own beer, Melvin Brewing’s beer, into the Menace Brewing taproom and was essentially sneaking drinks, which is not allowed. When confronted by his server about the situation, the Melvin Brewing employee allegedly reached for the woman and touched her as described above.

On March 8, 2018, more than three months after the initial event, Melvin Brewing issued a seemingly unrelated statement on its Facebook page regarding the contact page on its website that some people found offensive. Instead of a typical contact us page, the Melvin Brewing website featured a page that presented the act of contacting Melvin Brewing in a way that many people found offensive. In the statement on Facebook the company announced that it had remedied the situation and apologized to anyone who was offended.

Below is a screenshot of the page in question, which has now been taken down. As we understand it, this page existed on the website long before the incident in Bellingham last November.


“…we made a poor decision on our website in regard to contacting Melvin Brewing. The Touch Us header was meant to be a silly joke but in hindsight it was inappropriate, and we want to extend a heartfelt apology. Please know that we may be irreverent and like to have a good time but in this case, we crossed the line…”

“…At Melvin Brewing we do not condone bro-culture or tolerate any sort of sexual harassment.

“Melvin Brewing strives to support women in all facets of our operations. Many of our employees at the breweries and in upper-management are women. We will continue to review our policies to ensure that our workplace, website and breweries are harassment-free.”

The statement created a firestorm of comments, most of which were not in support of Melvin Brewing, some of which were deleted by Melvin Brewing.  Since it is now obvious that this is no longer a private matter and that the Bellingham beer community at large, as well as the public in general, are very well aware of the situation, Washington Beer Blog decided to share what we know.

Today, March 9, 2018, Melvin Brewing posted another statement on Facebook, this time acknowledging the original incident that occurred on November 20, 2017.

“First and foremost – thank you to everyone who has reached out to us and voiced their opinion; it has not fallen on deaf ears. Our company in no way supports sexual violence in any form and we deeply regret our poor judgement. The local staff here in Bellingham are taking the situation very seriously and hope we can work together to address the issues that our community faces.”

“To clear the air, in November one of our Wyoming based employees went to one of our neighboring establishments and acted inappropriately. This has been dealt with internally with our employees and an official apology was issued to the individual involved.”

“We at Melvin Brewing Bellingham would like to extend our sincerest apologies and thank you for your honesty and time. We look forward to the opportunity to work with our community to make a positive impact.”

If anything else develops with this story, Washington Beer Blog will continue to report what we know.


For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

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4 Ways Men Can Take On More Emotional Labor In Relationships (And Why We Should)


Whether it’s romantic, sexual, platonic, or professional, emotions will always play a large part in how successful or unsuccessful any relationship ends up. Relationships, by definition, require two or more parties to put forth some amount of emotional effort in order to keep the relationship afloat. Oftentimes one person takes on the brunt of the emotions—especially the negative or stressful emotions—that are produced in their relationships. This collective emotional give-and-take is called emotional labor; it’s the work and effort we put into making sure relationships don’t fall apart. This labor can be extremely taxing on a person, especially if they’re a) the only one putting significant work into the relationship or b) constantly being inundated with other parties’ stress and negativity without the other people taking on any of that responsibility.

What we often see in relationships, for example straight romantic and sexual relationships, is that cis men have a much harder time accepting the responsibilities of emotional labor in their relationships. I personally have struggled with taking on such responsibilities, as much of a sensitive person I perceive myself to be. Whether it’s complaining too much about issues at work (and by too much, I really mean too much), or shutting down when faced with emotional adversity, my fiancée ends up taking on that burden of my emotions in ways that she doesn’t put on me. And even though I’ve gotten better over the years, especially compared to our high school days, there’s still a lot of work for me to do in that arena.

This difficulty that cis men often have with emotional labor in their relationships mean that women and other partners are forced to take on its more burdensome aspects. That means they not only have to process their own feelings and thoughts as they apply to the relationship but that they also have to accept any issues within the relationship as their responsibility to fix. There are many reasons why cis men might not feel capable or responsible for accepting this responsibility, although much of it most likely revolves around the desire or necessity cis men feel for not facing their emotions and not being vulnerable, since those actions are seen as un-masculine.

Whether cis men would like to admit it or not, it is inherently important for any person in any relationship to understand the give-and-take of emotional labor and why it needs to be equal between partners. Below we will be going into more detail about what emotional labor is, how it affects relationships, how men can learn to be more emotionally responsible, and why it’s so important for them and their partners.

More Radical Reads: 8 Lessons That Show How Emotional Labor Defines Women’s Lives

Emotional Labor 101: What Is It?

Although the primary definition for emotional labor on Wikipedia concerns the workplace, it still applies to any other emotional situation one can find themselves in. The Wikipedia entries defines emotional labor as:

[…] the process of managing feelings and expressions in order to fulfill emotional requirements as part of the job role. More specifically, workers are expected to regulate their emotions during interactions with customers, co-workers and superiors.

Basically, emotional labor is the ability to regulate how one expresses their emotions in order to keep their job. In the context of this article, that “job” is a relationship. Relationships work best when all folks involved do their part in both a) expressing themselves in ways that support honesty, trust, and growth, and b) suppressing negativity or finding productive ways to turn negative feelings into positive outcomes. If someone in a relationship is unable to take on those responsibilities, relationships are bound to end painfully.

Jess Zimmerman wrote for The Toast last year about how women often find themselves doing the majority of emotional labor in their relationships—romantic or platonic—with cis straight men. In a discussion of the idea of a woman getting paid for all of the emotional labor she does, she lists a few of the common emotional demands put upon women by cis straight men:

Imagine a menu of emotional labor:

  • Acknowledge your thirsty posturing, $50.
  • Pretend to find you fascinating, $100.
  • Soothe your ego so you don’t get angry, $150.
  • Smile hollowly while you make a worse version of their joke, $200.
  • Explain 101-level feminism to you like you’re five years old, $300.
  • Listen to your rant about “bitches,” $infinity.

Although there is some satire underlying this idea (I mean, you pay way more for 101-level feminism in college so $300 seems comically underpriced), there is an inherent truth to this list: women are expected to put in the emotional work to make sure that men are satisfied and unperturbed, despite men being able to let their emotions go with reckless abandon. Not only that, but women are expected to take on this emotional labor no matter how exhausting or debilitating it ends up being. If a woman doesn’t take on that emotional burden, men often become angry and violent, and that woman, who may be a friend, relative, or romantic interest, quickly becomes one of those “bitches” he’ll inevitably rant about (to the tune of $infinity, no less).

More Radical Reads: Beyond the ‘Nice Guy’: Creating a New Masculinity in the 21st Century

How Can Men Be More Fair With Emotional Labor

  1. Understand that the labor is necessary.

As I’ve been saying throughout this article, emotional labor is required for any relationship to work. A relationship without some aspect of emotional labor can’t be a healthy relationship—it would be more along the lines of abusive. If you’re a man in a relationship and you often have emotional outbursts of anger, for example, it’s up to your partner to try to regulate the situation, which can be extremely exhausting, especially if it’s a common occurrence. It is pertinent for men to understand that their partners can’t be held responsible for men’s emotions all of the time, and it’s up to men to learn how to regulate and work on their own emotional issues first and foremost.

  1. Learn to listen, instead of having an answer for everything.

This is important for the emotional labor that you put into your relationships as well as the emotional labor your partner puts into it. As Jess Zimmerman wrote about in her article for The Toast, a lot of the emotional labor that women put into their relationships with men has to do with making sure they don’t blow up or get upset. A lot of that comes from men, especially cis straight men, thinking only they understand their situation, and instead of actually seeking help or guidance, they would rather hear what they want to hear. Men need to learn that anything their partner says that doesn’t sound inherently positive isn’t an attack on the man’s ego, but it is usually meant to be a depiction of their point of view on whatever situation you both are in or whatever problem you have come to them with. You have to learn how to listen, regulating your emotional response, allowing an actual conversation to take place as opposed to a forced therapy session.

  1. Take responsibility for your emotions—and your actions.

Similar to the first point, it is necessary for men to learn how to take on their own emotions head on and understand why having overbearing and violent emotional outbursts are not just a part of being a “man.” Men have to learn how to take responsibility for how their emotions come out in their relationships and look at how to manage them. This typically means taking the time to come to terms with the fact that, as a man, you are typically not challenged on your negative emotional output in positive, productive ways, as there are fewer stigmas against men being angry or overemotional than there are for women, trans* folks, and gender nonconforming folks. Because of that lack of challenging and lack of stigma, it is up to men to question themselves and be more reflexive with how their emotions affect others, becoming more sensitive to others’ emotions in the process, and allowing emotional labor to become an easier process.

  1. Learn to be comfortable with being vulnerable

One of the hardest parts of taking on emotional labor for men is the unwillingness to be vulnerable with their emotions. Part of the reflexivity that is necessary for emotional labor to take place is the ability to be vulnerable. But as I’ve discussed in previous articles, actually achieving vulnerability is hard for a lot of men because it goes against the norm of what it means to “be a man.” What it comes down to is basically this: you either have to come to terms with your emotions and the stress you put on others by not participating in the emotional labor, or continue to be cold and invulnerable while your relationships continue to suffer for it.

What Can Taking On Emotional Labor Actually Do For Relationships?

  1. Good relationships can thrive and bad relationships can end

When men learn to take on some of the burden that emotional labor can create, it can lead couples and other relationships to thrive. Understanding the give-and-take of emotions in a relationship means you’re more open to your partner’s emotions and concerns and you can better process your own emotions so they don’t come out in waves of anger or frustration. This also means that bad relationships can end without one party taking full responsibility for the emotional end of the deal. When both or all partners are putting in the emotional labor, it’s easier to figure out the true issues that underlie the relationship. That means the differences people have among each other become points of growth, even if it’s through separating from those other people, as opposed to points of contention that ruin partners’ mental health.

  1. Honesty can be a priority not just an assumption

Relationships with a good balance of emotional labor are inherently more honest relationships. In the same way as I mentioned above that the give-and-take of emotions can come to more of an equilibrium, fair emotional labor means that partners can be more honest with each other. Not just about positive things like compliments and recognition, but with less positive things like constructive criticism or aspects of the relationship you wish were different. This also means that partners can be more open with what they actually want in their relationship. Rather than feeling like they need to keep secrets or feeling like they need to get into arguments whenever a partner feels they’re being lied to.

  1. You can help change what it means to be a man

Finally, one of the most important aspects of men contributing more to the emotional labor in their relationships is changing what it means to “be a man” altogether. This is something that is nearly completely up to men to take on themselves. The emotional labor of redefining masculinity is not something that should be put on the shoulders of women, just like everything else that men have forced women and other partners and friends to deal with. It falls on the shoulders of men themselves to understand the importance of emotional labor and the need for vulnerability in order to truly achieve some sense of mutual respect and love amongst genders.


In order to continue producing high quality content and expanding the message of radical, unapologetic self-love, we need to build a sustainable organization. To meet these efforts, we’re thrilled to share the launch of our #NoBodiesInvisible subscription service. This service will provide our community with access to additional content and rewards for your monthly investment in furthering our radical self-love work.

[Feature Image: A dark skin individual with dreadlocks pulled back into a ponytail wears a black short while standing outdoors. The person has a light mustache and beard and is staring ahead at the camera with. Flickr.com/David Salafia]

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