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http://www.bbc.com/news/stories-44143003

 

Not explicitly related to aromanticism, but I think that at least several of the people mentioned could benefit from exposure to the aromantic community and the idea that romantic relationships are not essential for happiness (and that communities exist that will not consider it strange that they have no romantic/sexual experience). The cultural messages that they have absorbed and been harmed by certainly make me angry. A few of them, with their descriptions of their reaction to people expressing romantic interest, might find that they identify with the aromantic spectrum.

 

Thoughts?

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Some of the people in this article I think could benefit from hearing about aromanticism, but I doubt many of them. I'm actually kinda wary of some of the men feautured, since they seem to feel victimized. Some of them almost creep into 'nice guy' territory. It is nice that the article links to information about asexuality at the bottom.  I would also note for any other asexuals who want to read the article, a lot of the people featured seem to associate not being able to lose their virginity with somehow being a 'monster', or otherwise act like not having sex is really really horrible. It was a little hard for me to read for that reason, though I definitely don't fault star girl for sharing it.

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Yeah I honestly couldn't even read through this whole article because it just made me feel bad, like being asexual is something I'm going to resent when I'm 40 or whatever and feel like a monster for. Most of these people really don't seem aro to me.

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The people may not be aro or identify with being aro, but I like @Star Girl's point about exposing them to the idea. Normalizing aromanticism would go hand in hand with normalizing singledom and combatting some of those toxic "you're a monster if you can't feel romantic attraction or aren't in a romantic relationship" ideas. In general, I think most people would benefit from some education and calm validation that not being in a relationship isn't the end of the world. It would boost confidence in themselves, I think. The article was a hard read, I agree. I do like @Star Girl's sentiment though. Education!!

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I think a lot of people could benefit from knowing that aromanticism is a thing. There may be more aromantics who don't know it's a thing than anyone realizes. Also, with the type of assignment that Boston College and two colleges in South Korea have, I think it's about time more people find out we exist. I'm taking a public speaking class in the fall so I plan to start speaking about it then.

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  • 1 month later...

I feel like the big problem for most of those people are not really the lack of sex but rather the loneliness and isolation they seem to feel. I don't know that the aro community could offer any relief in that. Most of them seem to want a romantic relationship. But maybe there could be some help for them to separate sex, romantic feelings and intimacy in their minds. The best way forward for many of them would probably be to put all their effort into cultivating stronger, more intimate friendships. That way they would have someone to talk to about these feelings, and help trying to figure out what they want from life and how they can aim there.

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On 5/18/2018 at 3:43 AM, Star Girl said:

The cultural messages that they have absorbed and been harmed by certainly make me angry. A few of them, with their descriptions of their reaction to people expressing romantic interest, might find that they identify with the aromantic spectrum. 

I 100% get the shaming part, I still suffer from it a lot (while I lost my virginity at a normal age, I have a very odd sexual history).

 

But what they say still sounds too genuinely miserably depressed to me for any of them being aro. I would've never written something like this.

On 5/18/2018 at 5:10 PM, arokaladin said:

I'm actually kinda wary of some of the men feautured, since they seem to feel victimized. Some of them almost creep into 'nice guy' territory.

There are so many different issues packed into that word. I even found this:

Quote

Nice Guy™ is a term in Internet discourse describing a man or teenage boy with a fixation on a friendship building over time into a romance

to me that sounds like the only way I could even imagine getting into a successful relationship… O.o

5 hours ago, Holmbo said:

I feel like the big problem for most of those people are not really the lack of sex

Ok, I don't remotely understand how somebody can regret missing out on sex that much. It feels like a not that impressive hobby to me, that's all. But we must acknowledge that, sadly, I'm the odd one out here – it's very important for most people.

 

And then there's the strange romo-sex-connection. This is a total mystery to me, but (by all observations) is regarded to be of supreme importance.

5 hours ago, Holmbo said:

but rather the loneliness and isolation they seem to feel.

But also friendships which are equivalent to the closeness of a stable romantic relationship aren't easy to attain in our times. I mean, we could only offer relief if we could offer it to ourselves in that regard.

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1 hour ago, DeltaV said:
6 hours ago, Holmbo said:

I feel like the big problem for most of those people are not really the lack of sex

Ok, I don't remotely understand how somebody can regret missing out on sex that much. It feels like a not that impressive hobby to me, that's all. But we must acknowledge that, sadly, I'm the odd one out here – it's very important for most people

 

The strength of the desire to try sex would vary from person to person, of course. But I think an additional part of the problem here is the way sex is treated as a rite of passage in our culture, so that if you've not been 'validated' in that way then you might struggle to feel 'normal' (as some of the people in the article do explicitly say). Also, a whole lot of fuss is made about sex being a transformative (quasi-religious, almost)  experience, so it's easy to pick up the idea that you're not a fully realised human if you've not experienced it (which I think can be why terms like 'monster' get thrown around here). It's probably easier to let go of all that cultural baggage if you've experienced sex at least once? (and maybe realised that it wasn't that big of a deal after all).

 

6 hours ago, Holmbo said:

I feel like the big problem for most of those people are not really the lack of sex but rather the loneliness and isolation they seem to feel

And also very negative internalized self-image, I think. They seem to be doing a lot of violence to themselves there - a few of them mention not talking to friends about their inner experience because they feel a deep sense of shame. So I agree with your suggestion that more intimate friendships could help here. Friends can help us to see that we aren't the monsters we can sometimes imagine ourselves to be; and by helping us to improve our lives allow us to see that we're 'worthy' both of receiving help and of living improved lives (the 'evidence' here, of our friends actually taking the time to help us, is especially strong as it's coming from an external source, rather than from our (probably skewed, in these cases) self-evaluation). That could be a far more 'transformative' experience for somebody than sex?

 

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1 hour ago, DeltaV said:
6 hours ago, Holmbo said:

but rather the loneliness and isolation they seem to feel.

But also friendships which are equivalent to the closeness of a stable romantic relationship aren't easy to attain in our times. I mean, we could only offer relief if we could offer it to ourselves in that regard

Can you unpack the final sentence a bit more? I didn't quite get the point you're making.

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52 minutes ago, NullVector said:

But I think an additional part of the problem here is the way sex is treated as a rite of passage in our culture, so that if you've not been 'validated' in that way then you might struggle to feel 'normal' (as some of the people in the article do explicitly say). Also, a whole lot of fuss is made about sex being a transformative (quasi-religious, almost)  experience, so it's easy to pick up the idea that you're not a fully realised human if you've not experienced it (which I think can be why terms like 'monster' get thrown around here).

So true. I remembersomeone speaking about sexe as a rite of passage to adulthood. And also, on some forums or discussions, I saw people say Something like "if you never had sexe, then you never knew your body", which really confused me. And I don't count all the movies and shows where characters guessed that people had sex for the first time just because they suddenly seem "confident" or things like that. Anyway, all movies treat sexe like a sacred thing that you need to do if you don't want your life to be a mess… And same with romance of course : if you don't fall in love, you can have all you want in a movie, but you will Always "miss" something...

 

That's why I think that even if these people in the articles are clearly not aro or ace, they could benefit to know about us. Of course, if they're not aroce, they may still suffer from being single/Virgin because they are still attracted to people; plus then it adds questions like "how would people think if they know that are never dated/had sex before?" (I was worried about this before I knew I was aroace because I was scared to sound so weird when I'll have to explain that to my hypothetic future partner). But knowing that some people don't care about romance or sex but are still happy must help some allo people to learn that this is not a big deal. If asexuality was acknowledged and accepted, I'm sure that people will stop seing sex as the best thing ever and as a rite of passage, and that it will benefit to everybody who worries about it.

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8 hours ago, NullVector said:

The strength of the desire to try sex would vary from person to person, of course. But I think an additional part of the problem here is the way sex is treated as a rite of passage in our culture, so that if you've not been 'validated' in that way then you might struggle to feel 'normal' (as some of the people in the article do explicitly say). Also, a whole lot of fuss is made about sex being a transformative (quasi-religious, almost)  experience, so it's easy to pick up the idea that you're not a fully realised human if you've not experienced it (which I think can be why terms like 'monster' get thrown around here). It's probably easier to let go of all that cultural baggage if you've experienced sex at least once? (and maybe realised that it wasn't that big of a deal after all).

Yes, I agree with that. I'm nearly pushed to give everybody the advice to try it at least once, except if the person is very secure in their asexuality.

 

But what I referred to was explicitly mentioned in the article linked there. The one who lost his virginity late and deeply regretted not having had sex in his 20s.

 

I also didn't have sex for years (after I gave up relationships) and never regretted that.

8 hours ago, NullVector said:

Can you unpack the final sentence a bit more? I didn't quite get the point you're making.

What I mean is that I suffer from loneliness1, sometimes severely, already now and this seems a problem for many here. But do we have good advice what to do about that?

 

I find it very difficult to attain a friendship which is taken as seriously as people take their romantic relationships.

 

1 interestingly sex makes me feel not lonely. But only for a short time.

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1 hour ago, Zorcodtoa said:

I like to see those who insist others to try sex explain how one would find such a person to try a sexual relationship with.

I don't insist on it. And in a perfect world, I wouldn't give such advice. But the shaming simply isn't going to go away just because I wish to. And you don't need a sexual relationship to have sex with someone.

1 hour ago, Zorcodtoa said:

There's no "one-size-fits-all" type and if it doesn't go well, which is quite likely, one would be more convinced that either sex is bad (for them) or they're asexual, anti-sexual or whatever.

There's simply no evidence this is likely. Most people know that the first time may suck.

1 hour ago, Zorcodtoa said:

But sexual relationships is harder when it requires a lot more complicated variables and conditions for two people, let alone both need to be attracted otherwise it won't end well. 

What terrible thing do you think would happen, precisely?

 

Okay, what I would also say regarding those chronically dateless guys: the problem is on a purely pragmatic level that further shaming won't work. Their situation is already attached with so much shame that if you're going to add any more shame and blame (call them nice guys and entitled), they reach the breaking point and you'll “lose” them permanently. You should not want people to accept some identity as horrible social outcast – it's dangerous. Instead I think it would help:

  • it should be honestly acknowledged that romantic success is not correlated with how good you are at a person. Romantic love can be extremely shallow (regardless of gender)! Very bad people are often romantically successful.
  • if we want people to be more direct about their intentions from the start we have to clearly state this is acceptable behavior. For this we need to get to some consensus about what kind of sexual approaches are definitely acceptable. That is, if a person is made uncomfortable by them, it's still not your fault. There was a video posted by “Think Tank” (Hannah Cranston) called “Take This Quiz To See If You've Sexually Harassed Someone”, which has now been removed, that shows this problem. The quiz it refers to is still online, though. Examples of sexual harassment it includes:

    “Looked at her in a way that made her visibly uncomfortable.” (I would agree with this if it was interpreted as staring, but it was explained as checking someone out)
    “Looked at her breasts while talking to her.”
    “Failed to get explicit consent before sexual contact.” (the problem is the “explicit” part. If it is interpreted as detailed, verbal consent… I rarely got that)
    “Made sexual remarks about a woman with your friends.” (this is especially bad. Though I surprisingly never do this! But how can this be connected to sexual harassment?)
    “Made a comment about her body when she didn't ask you to.”
    “Touched a woman you know without her consent.”
    “Touched a woman you don't know without her consent.”
    “Manipulated her into sleeping with you.” (this depends on how you understand it, but the examples were like “putting on a fake Australian accent”. I regard this as stupid and bad behavior but clearly not sexual harassment)
    “Asked about her sex life, unprompted.”
    “Tried to hook up with her and only stopped when you found out that she had a boyfriend.”
    “Apologized to a man for flirting with his girlfriend.”

    I don't think that it is possible to get zero points on this quiz if you are not asexual. I got the result “Your behavior is a part of the problem of harassment against women.” with 12 points. But you get that with only 1 point, too. If I would be neurodivergent, I might take this quiz seriously… so what should I do? It seems the only way to get sex without sexually harassing somebody is befriending women in the completely unrealistic hope that they will unambiguously and explicitly approach me.

    Heck, even if I were an asexual, I can remember instances where “Touched a woman you don't know without her consent.” would apply, so I would always get one point. Like it sometimes happens a woman with headphones stands in the way of the train exit. Then I'm going to shortly tap her on the shoulder.

    The problem with sexual harassment isn't like “Loki's wager”, it's far worse. At least with Loki's neck we have parts where everybody agrees they clearly belong to the neck and not the head. But we have no agreement on how it is even possible to not sexually harass somebody without becoming celibate. And bizarrely there seems to be a resistance to get to this agreement.
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On 6/23/2018 at 10:12 PM, DeltaV said:

There are so many different issues packed into that word. I even found this:

Quote

Nice Guy™ is a term in Internet discourse describing a man or teenage boy with a fixation on a friendship building over time into a romance

to me that sounds like the only way I could even imagine getting into a successful relationship… O.o

wooooow. That is the worst description of a 'nice guy' I have ever heard. Normally the description has words like entitled, reward, ultimately selfish, and manipulative. 

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15 hours ago, DeltaV said:

What I mean is that I suffer from loneliness1, sometimes severely, already now and this seems a problem for many here. But do we have good advice what to do about that?

Okay, I get you now (about not recommending to somebody else a solution that we don't know how to implement for ourselves) . I often feel lonely too. I think it's connected with how modern living and work is structured (e.g. lots of moving around for new jobs during 20s and 30s) which makes forming stable long term friendships difficult. I had several close friends that I've moved away from since. Also, many jobs are very demanding in terms of time and can  leave us feeling tired at the end of the day (at least that's my experience) which can leave a lot less time and energy for the kind of unstructured socialising I did at school and university. Plus people would often want to reserve that (now more limited) time for their romantic partners (and families), so the pool of available people to spend our time with shrinks as we get older. I don't know what to do about any of that 😞. It's all connected with broad social factors outside of my control. 

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4 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

wooooow. That is the worst description of a 'nice guy' I have ever heard. Normally the description has words like entitled, reward, ultimately selfish, and manipulative.  

Well, also see here. I mean, yes the guy is somewhat manipulative. But the problem starts with the mentioning of “crush” – what if you never have any? Don't even understand the concept? In my aro mind, “relationships should grow smoothly out of friendships” seems 100% correct! Though it's not that I'm afraid of rejection, but that just how it seems normal from my perspective. The rest of humanity doesn't share this sentiment, though.

 

And then there is a difference between “entitled” and “disgruntled”. I'd say that those lines are blurred in the discussion. If your love interest chooses somebody who has a recent conviction for embezzling the funds of an orphanage over you, it's hard not to feel disgruntled.

It often feels that somebody who only suffers from the “just world fallacy” is regarded as a “nice guy”. Also there is this weird rejoinder that being nice is just the bare minimum requirement to date. This is not remotely true. I know way too many counterexamples.

 

I'd say in the sense of the Attack on Titan quote “Someone who can't sacrifice anything, can't ever change anything.”, we have to sacrifice the notion that romantic love is not shallow.

4 hours ago, NullVector said:

Also, many jobs are very demanding in terms of time and can  leave us feeling tired at the end of the day (at least that's my experience) which can leave a lot less time and energy for the kind of unstructured socialising I did at school and university.

I hear that so often, never understood it… what happened to all those people? Did they study at some laid-back hippie college and then went to PwC?

 

As long as I don't work like at a Tesla R&D, I don't think any work is going to be more time and energy consuming than university was. xD

 

The lack of flexibility is an issue, though.

4 hours ago, NullVector said:

Plus people would often want to reserve that (now more limited) time for their romantic partners (and families), so the pool of available people to spend our time with shrinks as we get older. I don't know what to do about any of that 😞.

I mean aside from that, how many friends did you ever have who were willing to take you at least somewhat as seriously as their romantic partner?

 

It seems even if people have a lot of time on their hands, it's rarely going to happen.

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On 6/25/2018 at 5:45 AM, DeltaV said:

Well, also see here. I mean, yes the guy is somewhat manipulative. But the problem starts with the mentioning of “crush” – what if you never have any? Don't even understand the concept? In my aro mind, “relationships should grow smoothly out of friendships” seems 100% correct! Though it's not that I'm afraid of rejection, but that just how it seems normal from my perspective. The rest of humanity doesn't share this sentiment, though.

hmm, maybe the definition of 'Nice Guy' has shifted over the last 7 years or so. The understanding I had in relation to the cartoon would be in the moment of weakness and loneliness the nice guy would make a move on the understanding that he loves you and has invested lots of care so you should give him love and sex as it will make you feel better, then when you say no you get called a bitch and the nice guy either ghosts out of your life or begins harassing you. 

Nice Guys used to only be revealed when you rejected them, so you had to look hard for warning signs. Really to me that cartoon seems to be unrequited love on his side and settling on her side of the relationship. I remember being in high school and there was a church minister advocating for women to settle to boost birth rates, don't waste your life looking for Mister Right when you can make a happy life with Mister Right-Now. 

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On 6/24/2018 at 9:15 PM, DeltaV said:

In my aro mind, “relationships should grow smoothly out of friendships” seems 100% correct!

I agree, but that's a massive misrepresentation of the Nice Guy™ phenomenon. The Nice Guy™ is a guy who only ever sees friendships with women as a potential path to getting a girlfriend - never as valuable in and of themselves. He fundamentally sees any kind of relationship with women as a transactional, even combative process.

 

He will therefore be as "nice" as possible in all the ways he believes are socially expected of him: he'll offer emotional support, he'll be kind and compliment you, he'll never take advantage when you're drunk, etc. But he'll do all these things with the fundamental expectation that one day they will be reciprocated with a sexual and romantic relationship. As though that's what he deserves for being a decent human being. And when it doesn't happen, he'll be like, "I don't understand why she doesn't want me as a boyfriend! I'm such a Nice Guy! Why do women only ever date jerks?!"

 

See this article about the phenomenon, as explained by psychologists: "The idea is that if you meet someone's needs without them having to ask, they should meet yours. Ergo if a man is nice to a woman, she should repay him by becoming his girlfriend, because that’s obviously how these things work."

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On 7/4/2018 at 12:59 AM, eatingcroutons said:

I agree, but that's a massive misrepresentation of the Nice Guy™ phenomenon. 

Why are the examples I gave not representative? ~3K upvotes??

On 7/4/2018 at 12:59 AM, eatingcroutons said:

The Nice Guy™ is a guy who only ever sees friendships with women as a potential path to getting a girlfriend - never as valuable in and of themselves. He fundamentally sees any kind of relationship with women as a transactional, even combative process.

 

He will therefore be as "nice" as possible in all the ways he believes are socially expected of him: he'll offer emotional support, he'll be kind and compliment you, he'll never take advantage when you're drunk, etc. But he'll do all these things with the fundamental expectation that one day they will be reciprocated with a sexual and romantic relationship. As though that's what he deserves for being a decent human being. And when it doesn't happen, he'll be like, "I don't understand why she doesn't want me as a boyfriend! I'm such a Nice Guy! Why do women only ever date jerks?!" 

That's how you want the term to be understood but that doesn't mean it is generally understood that way.

 

IMHO “Nice Guy™”: nice, unassertive and “does something wrong”. That's it, the only commonality – the rest varies. Especially how sinister Nice Guys™ are regarded.

On 7/4/2018 at 12:59 AM, eatingcroutons said:

See this article about the phenomenon, as explained by psychologists: "The idea is that if you meet someone's needs without them having to ask, they should meet yours. Ergo if a man is nice to a woman, she should repay him by becoming his girlfriend, because that’s obviously how these things work."

One of the psychologists in the article you linked (Dr. Robert Glover) has a questionnaire titled “Find out if you are a Nice Guy” on his website. It's clearly possible to get the result “You are definitely a Nice Guy!” without fitting your definition. So you don't even have consensus there.

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2 hours ago, DeltaV said:

That's how you want the term to be understood but that doesn't mean it is generally understood that way.

Top definition on UrbanDictionary. It's generally understood that way in all the communities I hang out in, but ymmv.

 

The XCKD comic you linked is absolutely representative. It shows a guy who's acting as a friend to a woman with the expectation that through their friendship he will one day gain a romantic/sexual relationship. He doesn't value the friendship in and of itself. He sees it as a means to an end. That's the Nice Guy™ in a nutshell.

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On 7/6/2018 at 12:35 AM, eatingcroutons said:

Top definition on UrbanDictionary. It's generally understood that way in all the communities I hang out in, but ymmv.

Indeed my mileage varies. My experience is that people mean very different things by “Nice Guy” and this also aligns with the evidence I've presented so far.

On 7/6/2018 at 12:35 AM, eatingcroutons said:

The XCKD comic you linked is absolutely representative. It shows a guy who's acting as a friend to a woman with the expectation that through their friendship he will one day gain a romantic/sexual relationship. He doesn't value the friendship in and of itself. He sees it as a means to an end. That's the Nice Guy™ in a nutshell.

The comic certainly isn't that black-and-white. For example the guy also engages in self-deception: “I'll tell myself it's because I ‘value our friendship.’” – which makes him also a slightly tragic character.

 

But okay, let's accept your summary. Still, I simply don't see how the the top definition on UrbanDictionary (you referred to) applies to that, which is solely about factually incorrect beliefs:

Quote

Nice Guy: Not to be confused with a nice guy (that is, a male that is nice)- When used as a noun instead of an adjective, Nice Guy refers to people (men or women) who believe basic social expectations are currency for sex.

not questionable (manipulative) tactics.

 

If you believe those two issues are the same, it's clear why you think there is a consensus about the meaning of the term. And you'll probably regard anything I further write about it as nitpicking.

 

So that's it from me, the topic is depressing enough and I don't want to start an angry argument about it.

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On 7/7/2018 at 10:22 AM, DeltaV said:

For example the guy also engages in self-deception: “I'll tell myself it's because I ‘value our friendship.’” – which makes him also a slightly tragic character.

The fact that he deludes himself about how he sees their friendship doesn't change the fact that he is treating friendship as transactional, with the expectation that the effort he puts into the friendship will eventually lead to a sexual/romantic relationship.

 

On 7/7/2018 at 10:22 AM, DeltaV said:

Still, I simply don't see how the the top definition on UrbanDictionary (you referred to) applies to that, which is solely about factually incorrect beliefs: – not questionable (manipulative) tactics.

Men who believe following basic social expectations is currency for sex behave according to that belief. When (straight) men who hold this belief put effort into friendships with women, it's with the expectation that those friendships are a transactional means to obtaining a sexual/romantic relationship.

 

There are clusters of satellite behaviours associated with the phenomenon to various degrees, but as I said right at the start, fundamentally the Nice Guy™ is a man who treats friendship with women as a means to an end.

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↑ ↑ too much conflation.

 

ok, just one thing:

 

Most (virtually all) actions are motivated by certain expectations. That does in no way mean they are considered transactional; because a transaction is defined by some sort of legal or at least moral entitlement to a certain compensation.

 

(Example: probably most writers are motivated by the expectation that their books will be bought, but few feel entitled to it (and they aren't). Yet if they write something as a work for hire, they expect and feel entitled to get paid for it (indeed they are).)

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