Dear Prudence – touchy feely relationships in a #metoo context

Dear Prudence – touchy feely relationships in a #metoo context

Dear Prudence tackles an interesting letter

dear prudence

Slate’s “Dear Prudence” pod, starring Daniel Mallory Ortberg.

Dear Prudence advises

The latest number of the “Dear Prudence” podcast presented an easy but thoughtful situation. A woman wrote, seeking advice on how to discuss playful/casual groping by her boyfriend. The boyfriend gives her the occasional caress on her butt, or boob-grab. She’s been OK with it. Until lately, that is. The whole #metoo thing triggered her. She’s less interested in in random touching. That boob-grab that was once fine now concerns her.

Unspoken triggers?

The letter-writer expressed problems with the groping and touching of late, but did not really offer a reason beyond #metoo, in her letter. That’s her privilege, of course. If a person wants more space, end of discussion. Many things trigger this sort of reaction. Cat-calls, a work colleague who doesn’t respect personal boundaries might be the issue. Maybe it’s just too much time on social media, listening to other womens’ stories.

So, let me re-iterate: Whatever her reasons, if she doesn’t want to be touched, that’s that.

What about the boyfriend?

The letter-writer seeks advice on how to explain this to the boyfriend. She factors in potential reactions from her partner. Daniel and his guest made it clear, this is about what she wants. While the hosts understood her concerns, they wanted to be clear, this is about HER. They understood. This is a relationship, therefore, a dramatic shift should be discussed. The writer wants an approach. The reply was simple: tell him how you feel!

That’s rarely bad relationship advice. So, hopefully the boyfriend will get it. Understanding and empathy are important.

What if he doesn’t?

Short letters allow Daniel and his guests opportunity for expansion. They moved from specifics to general observations. Boyfriend behavior in #metoo shouldn’t be a challenge. Still, defense mechanisms kick in when we tell someone they’re doing something unwelcome. The hosts explained that this presented an opportunity to the letter-writer. After presenting her thoughts on the boob-grabs, she receives the opportunity to observe. Will he understand? Will he freak out? This issue changes boundaries, even temporarily. Reactions tell both partners if they’re a good fit.

I wish we could see how this turns out.

#metoo means working on relationships

Guys often resist change. They resist challenges to their masculinity. A woman rejecting an advance, even in a consensual context like this relationship is problematic. What was once playful may now be triggering. Guys need to understand how that works and adjust.

Slate’s Hit Parade – The destruction of the single

Slate’s Hit Parade – The destruction of the single

Slate’s Hit Parade podcast


“Here Comes the Sun” – the most-sold Beatles song on iTunes

Slate’s Hit Parade – How the labels destroyed the single

Slate’s Hit Parade podcast is now separate from their “Culture Gabfest” pod, and that’s a good thing. In the series’ fifth drop, the subject is the single. The recording industry hated singles, not because they didn’t make money. They hated them because they didn’t make enough money. Listeners wanted the music they heard on the radio. The labels wanted more retail sales. The way to get more money out of consumers was to sell them albums rather than singles. Problem was, a lot of albums only had the one or two good tracks that ended up as singles. The other eight-ish tracks on the album just weren’t interesting. The industry’s solution: don’t sell singles, force the public to buy the album.

The strategy worked. You wanted that Joni Mitchell tune you heard on the radio? Go buy her “Court and Spark” album. Same for artists from The Beatles to Nirvana and Pearl Jam. The industry refused to sell the tunes on the radio as singles for decades. Listen to the pod, it’s fascinating.

Singles vs Albums

Slate's Hit Parade

Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know” – lots of radio play, never a single

I never bought singles, mainly because I appropriated the family stereo at an early age. I bought albums by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Yes, and The Beatles when I was in seventh grade. My sisters had a record player and were content with 45 RPM singles. Not me. I’m not sure if my personal rejection of the single was because of any marketing strategy on part of the industry. I’m just one of those mutants that liked the “album tracks” better than the “single track” on an LP. Take Boston’s debut album, for example. “More Than A Feeling” was the big-radio tune when the album dropped in the fall of 1976. I always liked “Peace of Mind” better. No way I would’ve purchased a Boston 45 RPM, as a result. Of course, I listened to so much “head rock,” ELP, Yes, King Crimson, etc., that didn’t lend itself to the single format.

“Cassingles” and “Single CDs”

The pod’s discussion of these formats fascinated me. All these years, I never thought releasing a single-on-cassette or a single-tune CD was a thing. The connection of format to Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart made them important. I never cared. For me, it was about buying the album, then recording it to a tape for the car, then later, the Walkman. The CD, while pricey, appealed to audiophile-me.

The pod ends with the karma that was Napster and iTunes, and how the greed of the recording industry pretty much destroyed it. In that section, one tidbit caught my ear, that “Here Comes the Sun” became the best-selling tune from The Beatles’ catalog when it was placed on Apple’s music sales site. It was never released as a single, but became their best-selling single. I wonder if it was the label that kept the tune off the Hot 100 (by not releasing it as a single), or if it was Lennon and McCartney.

Independent Pod

I’m very pleased that Hit Parade is now a stand-alone podcast, and look forward to future eps.

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Overnight – Can’t Find My Way Home

Wasted…

…and I can’t find my way home.

Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton at the Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007, with Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall

I’ve always been a purist about this song. The Blind Faith version on the Blind Faith album. Blind Faith were arguably the first “super group” in rock. Formed out of the wreckage of Cream, Blind Faith were Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech. Guillot would get mad at me for playing this and/or Traffic’s “Uninspired” at his house, complaining, I was chilling things down wayyyy too much.

Winwood

When I answer online memes dealing with music, I usually point to The Beatles, then The Who as my big influences before diving head-first into ELP, Yes, and other syntho-rock. After graduation from UNO, I took a more mellow turn, which had something to do with not having to study. Therefore the consequences of partying didn’t loom large. Traffic and Blind Faith morphed into Winwood’s solo career, giving me a body of work to complement Jimmy Buffett for sitting and reading and thinking.

Writing

And writing. I’ll crank it up with the best of y’all in the car, but when I’m writing, I prefer it mellow. For the Dragons stories, I usually go for jazz. There’s too much of a disconnect for me to play tunes from my college years while writing teen stuff. The nonfiction and Talents stories, on the other hand, spring from so much of who I am and what I’ve done that the old stuff works out just fine. Whether it’s Southern rock, or acoustic Clapton or Winwood, I go right into a zone. As I get older, the trick is not to fall asleep while in the zone.

Writing is about teleporting to the places where the stories are. Music takes me there. It’s an overnight wonder and sensation. Sometimes it’s good for the story if I can’t find my way home…right away.