Consent & the media.

Lazyblogging. Sorry, but I fried a couple of circuits in the production and editing of “Creepology”, which is coming out on the 12th Oct but is ready for preorder right now. Get it while it’s hot. If you want to hear me talk about it, I’ll be at VioDy in Minnesota in October.

And hey, did you know that if you buy a paperback copy you get the e-book cheap? So you can keep the e-book and give the paperback to someone you don’t like too much? Nothing says “happy holidays” like a book about sex pests, after all.

Anyhoo, check out this article from Cracked, because it’s brilliant.

I’ve had numerous conversations with young and not-so-young men re. inappropriate dating activities. I’ve been told a whole heap of times that if various Hollywood heroes had taken my approach, they would have gone to their deaths having never known the embrace of a woman. Them women: you can treat them like they’re actual human beings or get with them, but not both! The movies tell us so!

I find this particularly ironic when it comes from guys who’re fond of complaining about how Hollywood misrepresents their particular discipline/job/subculture/whatever. Apparently it is possible to spend hours on end going on about how movies spread misinformation about violence/astrophysics/plumbing/giraffes, yet to be willing to fight forevermore for the Right of Man to behave in a socially inappropriate manner and even manhandle women against their consent Because It Worked For John Wayne. Go figure.

And yes, sometimes it works. Thankfully Oglaf explained it to us. Alas, nobody paid any notice.

Oh, while I’m moaning: rapiest mainstream movie ever has got to be “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” Rapiest song I know is probably “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (seriously, what is it, an ad for Rohypnol?). If you can think of anything better, do feel free to link it in the comments, though please refrain from referring to media you would hide from your grandma. We can find our own porn, thank you.


It’s only taken me forever and a day, but the release date for Creepology is now set as the 12th Oct. The Kindle version is available for pre-order.

Creepology Kindle Cover copy.jpg

This is what the book is about:

For many women, creeps are a serious, ubiquitous, pervasive problem. They seem to be everywhere. Not only they pester us in public, but some are capable of worming their way into our social life, poisoning our experiences.

For many men, creeps are like unicorns: they hear about them a lot but they never actually see one. Even when they do, they don’t understand what the fuss is all about.

This books aims to bridge that gap by explaining the nature of creeps, how and why they manage to infiltrate our social circles, and how we can best deal with them in a safe and timely manner.


“It’s easy to teach what to do – legally and physically – when a stranger raises his hand against you. Much harder to teach what you can do – legally, physically and socially – about the guy who just happens to rub up against you whenever no one is watching.
Anna has taken on the complex subject in this little book. For the people dealing with creeps, it’s invaluable advice. For people teaching self-defense, it’s a wake-up call.
Read this one.”
– Rory Miller, author of “Meditations on Violence”, “Conflict Communications”, “Facing Violence”, and many other works.

US link:

UK link:

You can access the Kindle version via the free Kindle app on pretty much any device. A paperback version will be available at the end of October.



Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Apropos of nothing, here is a list of conversations that I don’t have anymore, on- and off-line. Nearly a year into kicking them, I find that not only I don’t miss them, but that the ability to fill the time they used to take with stuff that is good for me – stuff that entertains me, educates me, or uplifts me – has significantly improved my life and my outlook on it.

Them: “Question?”
Me: “Answer.”
Them: “No, you don’t mean that.”

If you can run both sides of the conversation, please do so without involving me. It will save us both a ton of time.


Them: “Question?”
Me: “Answer.”
Them: “But it doesn’t work like that for people.”

Dammit. I keep forgetting I’m actually a raccoon in human clothing.


“I don’t want you to think that I only get in touch with you when I want something, but I want something.”
This from people who only ever get in touch with me when they want something. I don’t know whether the intro is supposed to actually sway my memory of our past interactions or to somehow change the nature of reality, but it just doesn’t work.


“How about you do work for me for free so I can sell it.”
It’s never actually phrased like that, oddly enough, but this is a surprisingly common request. Sometimes it’s padded out with promises of ‘exposure’, sometimes not even that. The underlying psychology is a mystery to me: why the hell would I want to put time and effort into feathering someone else’s nest? Has that ever been a thing?


“I know you said you’re dead busy but gimme gimme gimme your time.”
I don’t fully understand this one either. If I really don’t have time for something, what’s the point in hassling me? I’m only going to say no again, and probably more loudly. And if I am lying and I have all the time in the world but I don’t want to spend it on a certain thing, what’s the point in hassling me? I still have to say no again to be a good, consistent liar. The only thing this kind of conversation achieves is to make me file people as potential consent violators. Seriously, there is nothing cute about ignoring people’s ‘nos’, and if the only way you get to have human interactions is by doing that then you have a problem, and a big one.

My favourite permutation of this particular convo is:
“Sorry, can’t talk, I’m busy”
“What are you busy doing?”

My second favourite permutation is when someone hassles me to do work on boundary setting for them. That’s so meta it hurts.


“I know you said you don’t/can’t/won’t do X, but I want you to do X.”
There are some activities I don’t engage in for a variety of reasons, the simplest reason being that I don’t want to. There may be more complex reasons underpinning that one, but anyone who doesn’t respect my original ‘no’ is unlikely to get to find them out. I neither want to do X, nor do I want to engage in hours of conversation with someone trying to rule-lawyer me into doing X. X, in all its aspects, is off the menu. It’s honestly not complicated.


“Hey so you needed help with something and I didn’t help you at all even though I said I would but I really really meant to, so now you have to do this thing for me.”
It’s not quite loansharking, I don’t think, but it’s near as dammit.


“Here is something you haven’t asked for, now you have to do what I ask.”
Straight-up loansharking. Not endearing.


“Hey so I don’t know you but here’s my personal life history, trauma highlighted, you better fix this.”
I don’t actually mind helping people out, if and when I can. I do mind being treated like a public convenience. Aside from the fact that the people who can’t say ‘please’ are generally also incapable of saying ‘thank you’, I am an actual person with an actual life that I kinda need to prioritise because nobody else does that for me. My existence isn’t entirely issue-free. I don’t always have the time, energy, and emotional capacity to handle the personal shit of total strangers. Oh, and there’s a reason trigger warnings were invented: maybe ask first, give details later?


“<flings feces>”
For reasons entirely beyond my very limited comprehension, some people not only think it’s ok that the only way they participate in my life is throwing shit at me, but they seem to believe that I’m somehow obliged to let them continue to do so. Alas, I’m just not in the market for that. If the sum total of our interactions is negative, three strikes and you’re out. If so many of our interactions are negative that I end up dreading crossing your path, it might take longer, but you’ll still be out.


“A flock of seagulls.”
No, not the band. Some people are in themselves ok, but they are the human equivalent of a discarded bag of chips at the seaside. There they are, on a bench next to you, not particularly pleasant but not much of a problem in themselves, and next thing you know you’re getting attacked by a flock of screeching, pecking, shitting seagulls. There are a few people I know whose arrival on a thread ought to be accompanied by a horn, because moments later the orcs trolls will inevitably descend. I could spend hours working out whether it’s their fault or just their responsibility or whatever… or I could just look at the effect they are having on the quality of the discussions they engage in, and more broadly on my life.


I’m not precisely famous for my reticence. I’ve been occasionally known to get into debates on topics that are dear to me, or that annoy the everloving shit outta me. That doesn’t mean that I want to get into every damn debate on all topics I might have an opinion on. Tagging me in conversations I’m ignoring doesn’t make me want to participate; it just makes me want to scream into the void. Re-tagging me because I ignored or removed the first tag makes me want to throat-punch people. Three-tagging me because I’ve left the damn conversation makes the block hammer come down.


“Your opinion is invalid, lemme mainsplain you the reasons why.”
There are certain activities and places which have traditionally been the domain of dudes. If you are into one of those activities and you’re a ostensibly a woman, then any opinion you might have on women’s participation in said activities is invalid because you’re an outlier. If you’re not into one of those activities and you’re ostensibly a woman, then any opinion you might have on said activities (including why you eschew them, or why you might have tried them and quit) is invalid because you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.

Sometimes it almost seems to me that being a woman is enough to invalidate your opinion in certain environments. Sometimes I even wonder whether that simple fact could be what is keeping women out of those environments. Thankfully there are plenty of men out there able and willing to explain to me that I’m wrong about that, too.


My “friend” Ang

Storytime, again. I’m cleaning out the archives. Normal services will be resumed soon-ish.


There are people who like living by the rules, who find reassurance in Being Good People and Doing The Right Thing. There are people who choose to live the lawless life of the outlaw, regardless of the potential dangers. There are people who think they’re above the rules because of their superior social or financial status – and, until they push things too far, they’re often unfortunately right. And then there are people like my friend Ang.

On the surface, Ang looked like a complicated person. Her behaviour never failed to confuse or even shock people, anyway. She was really a very simple person to predict, though, once you worked out how she looked at the world.

The vast majority of social interactions tend to have both costs and benefits to both parties. They are based on a spoken or unspoken acceptance of the principle of quid pro quo, give and take. It’s only natural: most people don’t want to be taken for a ride. Most honest people don’t want to take others for a ride, either. They might be playing fairly because it’s the right thing to do. They might do so because their egos are invested in them being Good People. They may also be motivated by the purely self-serving wish to continue being seen as honest in order not to be ostracised. After all, being unfair or just unreliable could very well result in other people not wanting to continue dealing with them. You don’t need a degree in psychology to work out that, if you want to have long-lasting and healthy relationships with those around you, acting like a predator or a parasite is not the way to go.

Ang didn’t see things that way. She looked at every interaction and saw her potential benefits as God-given rights, and any costs as a sign of oppression. She was the sort of woman who, at the least provocation, would have no qualms about resorting to verbal or physical violence; yet, if anyone tried to control her, would switch to demanding to be “treated like a lady.” Afterwards, instead of feeling any guilt or shame, she would congratulate herself for having “stood up for what is right.” And I know this because she’d do much of the congratulating out loud.


When I first met her, she was the girlfriend of a friend’s friend, and an Abused Woman. I capitalise the term because she seemed to do the same: I’ve never seen a woman being so smug about of her bruises. She always seemed to stand a little bit taller when she sported a black eye. Growing up, I met plenty of people in violent relationships, but that was my first time meeting someone who seemed proud of it. Her partner’s face was hardly without a mark, too, but that could have been the natural result of her defending herself. Anyway, men must not hit women. It was one of the rules of my social group. Another rule was that you don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong, so we kept an eye on the both of them in case things escalated, but otherwise let them do their thing. Eventually he broke up with her, and after some histrionics she evaporated.

I lost touch with her completely for a couple of years, until we reconnected. Again, she was the girlfriend of a friend’s friend. Again, she was getting beaten up. The only thing that had changed in the equation was the male doing the beating. In fact, the male role had been covered by a number of partners in the interim, all of them people with no history of violence, all of them violent towards her, and all of them never violent towards anyone else afterwards.

Call me suspicious, but I started to smell a rat. If everywhere you go you encounter the same problem, it could be that you’re extremely unfortunate… or it could be that you are, in fact, the problem. A minimum amount of research revealed that Ang was the instigator of the violence. She had a habit of slapping her partners around when she got shitfaced, which was not a rare event. The guys put up with it up to a point, trying to contain her behaviour, but eventually either snapped and walloped her or just hit her back in self-defence.

The guys were labelled as abusers. She was a woman getting beaten by a man, so she was the victim. She truly saw herself as the injured party, and she made sure that everyone around her saw her the same way. As that description of the situation fit many people’s prejudice, they didn’t bother looking into it enough to realise how the reality and the narrative didn’t match.

Anyway, that was history. Her current partner, Pat, was different. He grew up in a social group where mutual, consensual domestic violence is perfectly acceptable. He wasn’t overly invested in stopping the behaviour or escalating it; he was happy with things as they were. So they beat each other up at night, patched each other up in the morning, and got on perfectly fine. Domestic bliss, it seems, is a very subjective state of being.

Ang and Pat were two peas in a pod. They had both decided to be unemployed, because – and I quote – “working for a living is for sheep.” Why work to earn, when you can do nothing and be kept by the state?

As two single lots of benefits add up to more than a couple’s worth, they elected not to declare they were living together. Why should they miss out on the additional income “just because of some stupid rule?” That meant that Pat had to rent a completely unnecessary house, but as all costs were covered by the government that wasn’t an issue. They knew they were doing the right thing, because “taxation is theft.” If the money wasn’t used to support citizens, it’d only be syphoned off by corrupt politicians or be used for totally unfair war efforts, anyway. Their bottom line was  that “screwing the system” was inherently righteous.

Alas, their combined benefits still weren’t enough to keep them in the state to which they had become accustomed, which was off their respective faces on recreational drugs. Being enterprising people with an eye for opportunities, they decided to convert Pat’s otherwise vacant house into a weed-growing facility. It wasn’t a particularly good location, being a subdivided Victorian house with neighbours literally all around, and they weren’t particularly subtle about their activities, but it didn’t really matter because “drugs should be legal anyway.”

The enterprise was more involved that they had anticipated, alas. Plants need stuff like soil and water and food and heat and light; all stuff that costs money. Their utility bills, in particular, were horrendous. They overcame this problem by resolving not to pay them. What could the supply companies do, anyway? They couldn’t cut their water and electrics because “those are human rights.”

The problem escalated to the point that the landlord became aware of it. He tried to talk sense to them informally, and failed. Instead, what his intervention achieved was the two deciding to stop paying him any rent, because he was “being a fascist.” Paying rent was inherently unfair anyway because “all landlords are useless parasites.” So what they did was collect their rent money from the government and keep it for themselves. That would teach him! What could he do to them, anyway? Evicting tenants can take months, and surely the fact that Pat was unemployed would protect him from being thrown on the street by a court.

The landlord, however, decided to take an unorthodox route. One day Pat and Ang went to the house to gather their crops only to find that the locks had been changed and the house had been obviously emptied of everything therein, dope included. The landlord had not only unfairly evicted Pat, but had also stolen from them! It took a lot of people a lot of time to prevent Ang from calling the police on him. The fact that “officer, he stole the drugs I was growing in a house I was pretending to be squatting in as part of a benefit scam” is the sort of sentence that could cause more trouble than it could ever solve was either beyond or beneath her.

At that point, my life took a different turn and I left that group of people, with all associated drama. I didn’t get back in touch with Ang until five or six year later, by which time Pat was history, and she was In Love.

It was True Love. She had met an internationally-renowned artist and decided that he was The One. Their romance shone brighter than any other romance ever had or ever will. She was determined to celebrate and seal their Love by bearing his child. Unfortunately, he was refusing to play ball.

It emerged that, although he was very willing to occasionally engage in sportfuckery with her, he had no intention whatsoever to be her partner. He was even less inclined to co-parent with her, and he would not contemplate the merest possibility of getting her pregnant. To Ang, that was obviously unfair. He had a steady supply of sperm that Ang was obviously entitled to by virtue of their Love, and he wouldn’t give her what was hers. To make matters worse, he already had a kid with someone else. If that woman could have his child, why not Ang? So Ang had begged and nagged and chased him – literally and internationally – for months and months. It’s not stalking if it’s True Love, obviously. Her biological clock was ticking ever louder, and he still refused her. She might end up dying childless, and it would be his fault.

The conclusion Ang shortly came to is that All Men Are Bastards. Everything clearly pointed to that very simple explanation. Men’s evil was the source of all iniquities in the world. Ang decided to address this problem by taking steps to avenge not only herself, but the entirety of womankind, one man at a time. Even better, she would let men’s own evil trap them.

The concept was simple: you find a guy who’s interested in you; you gate-crash his house, claiming damsel-in-distress status; you get off your face on drugs (his, ideally, because drugs are expensive and every penny counts); you jump in bed with him; in the morrow, you claim rape; a couple of weeks later, you claim pregnancy and demand payment for a private abortion, or you’ll report him and his rapist ways to the cops.

It worked. She got her money. Unfortunately, she had neglected to consider that people, even male people, tend to have friends and families. Even her highly forbearing social group wouldn’t stand for entrapment and blackmail, particularly when it was conducted on members of that same group. The explanation for this irrational behaviour on their part was obvious: “they were all in this together.”

Given that at this point Ang was sofa surfing, finding herself persona non grata was a serious problem. In order to change her situation, she decided to make some money and make a last stab at her artist’s sperm at the same time. He was temporarily in Morocco, were certain recreational substances are, I’m told, both cheap and plentiful. Ang would travel down, woo her man, load up on sperm and drugs, travel back up, and sell the drugs for a lot of money to start a new life with her sprog. It was a flawless scheme. Yes, it was ever-so-slightly illegal, but “you have a moral obligation to ignore unjust laws.”

The problem was that she didn’t have any money to buy the drugs with. She needed backers. The solution she came up with was to contact the local chapter of an association whose members find cars to have two wheels too many; an association which is also one of the main distributors of certain plant products in that area, or so I’m told. Having had previous dealings with her in her growing days, they decided to give her a chance.

Ang duly went to Morocco, reconnected with the Love Of Her Life, was told where to go yet again, loaded up on herbs, and toddled back off home without a hitch. All she needed to do was hand over the product and take her share of money.

…or she could keep everything. After all, she was the one who had done all the work and taken all the risk. She was going to be paid wholesale prices too, which was a total rip-off. And anyway, what could those guys do? “It’s not as if they could call the police,” after all.

She was completely correct in that respect. The guys in question did not contact the authorities. Instead they sent some of their members, tastefully dressed in black leathers and casually bearing metal implements – you never know when you might need to chain something up, change a tyre, or sharpen a very large pencil, after all – calling to each of her known addresses, none of which were actually her addresses. They were her friends’ addresses. Out of the blue, these completely uninvolved people, some of whom had young children, were rewarded for putting her up and looking after her by receiving these rather ominous visitations. Thankfully, all of her friends thus affected had the sense to be both helpful and courteous to their visitors, and nobody got hurt.

That was it, though. Ang was no longer welcome anywhere. Nobody was willing to do a damn thing for her anymore, because it had become bitterly obvious that her particular brand of reckless had a tendency to spatter.

I never saw Ang again. She might be alive, or she might not. I have no interest in finding that out. In fact, if she turned up at my door right now, I’d slam it right in her face. If she taught me anything, it’s that helping people like her is not only useless, but actually dangerous. It is useless because they create the majority of their problems. You can sink all the time and resources you want into them, and as soon as those run out their situation will revert to its original state, because they make it so. It is dangerous to you, because there is no way of preventing an Ang from deciding that her problems are actually your fault, and taking steps to redress that iniquity, or simply from bringing a ton of trouble to your doorstep. So this story might not have an ending, but maybe it has a moral: do not get burnt by the Angs of this world.

The problem is that nice people have a tendency to be, well, nice; and Angs are some of the most skilful damsels- and gentlemen-in-distress (the phenomenon is utterly gender-neutral) you’ll ever meet. Relying on people’s kindness is not only something they have no reluctance to do, but the way they keep afloat. With enough practice, they get damn good at it.

So how do you spot an Ang before it’s too late?

  • They are incredibly good at voicing their needs and asking for people’s help. That might sound like a good, healthy way for them to be, but it’s actually the result of their fixation. They are solely interested in what they want and who can/should provide it for them. By contrast, people who are in trouble due to genuine reasons tend to be quite bashful about their situation. If they do ask for help and you do provide it, they will be thankful. They may consider themselves obliged to you until they’ve repaid the favour. They do not consider you obliged to help them.

(Oh, and anyone who tries to guilt you into helping them is an asshole, anyway, whether they are an Ang or not.)

  • Their problems are always someone else’s fault, or the result of a systemic issue. They never take any personal responsibility. They might be surrounded by scores of people living similar lives in similar circumstances who do not share their difficulties, but that doesn’t even register with them.
  • However much their situation changes, they constantly seem to manage to experience the same problems. Over time, it can look as if they are constantly recreating the same reality with different players. And, believe you me, a mash-up of “Groundhog Day” and “Leaving Las Vegas” is not where you want to find yourself.
  • They lack all feelings of repentance, guilt, or shame. We all make mistakes at times, or do bad things because we give in to temptation. However, most of us do not feel proud of those mistakes. Angs, on the other hand, are righteous about their misdoings and even brag about them because, in their heads, they are the heroes. What they are doing is always righting wrongs, regardless of what it is.
  • After all, if they have an unmet need or want, it’s because the world is out of kilter. It doesn’t have anything to do with their efforts or abilities. They shouldn’t have to work harder for what they want, because everything is due to them. Anyone or anything that stands between them and what they want is iniquitous. Their sense of entitlement can be mind-blowing.

What this all boils down to is that in their heart of hearts they believe that they are entitled to everything but never owe anyone anything – you included. There’s no helping someone like that. If you do manage to put their lives in order they will only ruin them again at the earliest occasion, and sometimes yours with it.

Strictly business.

Two things.


First, I’ve mentioned VioDy a bunch of times in the past. The reason for that is that it’s the best self-defence seminar I’ve ever attended, which is why I’ve gone twice thus far and I’m about to go for the third time. If you want to spend four days getting the pick of the crop from the brains of folk like Rory Miller, Terry Trahan, Kasey Keckeisen, and Tammy Yard-McCracken, that’s the place to go. Randy King will also be there, but don’t let that put you off. It’s worth it.

The next VioDy is in Minnesota on the 19th-22nd October. I had one of those moments when I open my mouth and stuff comes out, and the result is that I will be running a working dinner kinda thing, on the theme of:

Creepology – self-defence for your social life

(Sounds good, doesn’t it? I stole it.)

To a lot of women, creeps are a serious, ubiquitous, pervasive problem. To a lot of men, creeps are like unicorns: they hear about them a lot but they never actually see one. This class aims to explain the nature of creeps, how and why they manage to infiltrate our social circles, and how we can best deal with them in a safe and timely manner.

If you’re interested sign up here.


On the theme of “whoops, I did it again”, this also happened:

It is also available as a paperback that comes with a free ebook, so you can keep the ebook and give the paperback to someone you don’t much like. Christmas is coming. You know it makes sense.


This blog may become even more sporadic than normal as I’m trying to finish the damn creep book I’ve been working on for about two years now on time for VioDy. Bear with me. If you miss me, buy my stuff. You know it makes sense.