Various Lies

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Random post about sex at conferences

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man at a conference, away from his house, will do something stupid.

I like to hope, albeit in vain, that those men are the undergrads, grads, or junior postdocs who are using the excuse of being away from 'home' of trying to tap into a "primal" urge they have had to leave by the wayside because they have grown the fuck up.

They are single, alone, away from home and horny and are doing nothing more than their societal and genetic programming tells them.

Of course that's bullshit.

Men are men and that's not excuse. It is, however, a biological fact. We're horny little bastards. However...hey, that big lump of meat in your skull gives you the potential to not act like the pre-programmed walking dick you wish you were, but to tuck away your vacation ego and act like you would at home.

Dear reader, the point is, I speak from experience: I have been that d00d at the conference, and for every time I had random sexual encounters with a stranger, ther are countless times I treated a woman...a fellow scientist as an object.

Not interested, then fuck off, whose next. I've got 76hrs to go...And at the time, I thought I was a nice guy, but it was just's the conferences!

Then you grow up. If you're lucky. Fuck...if They are lucky.

Now as a grumpy old boss type thing, i am more busy trying to do my job at a conference. And of course I am older and wiser and shit like that.

(I fear the wine is REALLY is kicking in now).

So. To the point of this.

It is troubling to be at a conference, as I am, and watch the gender/sex/horny-at-a-conference issue arise during our time here. I walked a student back to her hotel room tonight and I resented the looks I got from other attendees. Because we're in the boonies and we don't know all the I will of course walk her back while she grabs her cigs/purse/wallet/ID etc.

I also stood outside her room while she looked for her sweater. And bless her innocence she asked me why I was stood outside her room.

I shouldn't have had to stand outside and make "excuses" (oh, I'm smoking a cigarette etc.), and then later, talk to her with her mentor about why I stood outside. But then again I shouldn't have had to explain about that although statistics say that 3/5 women say they have been sexually assaulted, from talking to my friends that that number is actually much closer to 10/10.

But the door swings both ways. And I shouldn't have had to have left that gorgeous boy at the poker table, despite his urgent mutterings about his mentor.

I shall return to this thesis when it isn't so late, and I am more cogent. There is a lot to discuss, but I challenge you, dear Reader, to relate your thoughts.

As a man is it "hell yeah, conference season!" As a woman is "Oh shit, conference season...". Where does gender labeling begin and end, and does the lack of normal boudries make a difference, or did *we* make that up too?


arikia said...

Pft, I say "hell yeah conference season" too. What guys are the only ones who want to have casual sex with hot-minded scientists?

tideliar said...

Hey Arikia, thanks for stopping by the old homestead! Once I get my backend chops down I wanna groovy self hosted site like you... I got MySQL, Apache etc ready to go, but realized I don't now the first fucking thing about getting started. Gimme a template and I can go, but the first step is a doozy :/

I am a big fan of casual, consensual sex, but sometimes Conference Season is open season. If I'm invited I am usually more than happy to oblige...but you gotta be sure the invitation is there and you're not just being That Guy

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Did you happen to see the new episode of South Park last night about sex addiction / Tiger Woods? It was pretty funny... "just why do rich, successful men have sex with as many women as they can? It must be a disease!"

Anyway. Good for you for keeping an eye on your student and for being aware of why you shouldn't go into her room. I had to Have Words with my husband and his friend on Saturday. They'd been skiing, and met a woman in the car park at the end of the day who'd broken her right collar bone and was literally crying with pain as she tried to get her ski boots off with her injured arm so she could drive to pick up her kid from ski school. Hubby and friend offered to drive her to the ski school and then the hospital, and were shocked, appalled and offended when she turned them down. They just weren't expecting that a woman might not want to get into a car with two strange men, especially when injured. Now, I know they had nothing but good intentions, because I know them, but I actually had to explain to them why she didn't want to go with them...

(personally I MIGHT have gone with them in that situation, but only after asking for ID and then calling a friend to let them know the guys' names and license plate).

microbiologist xx said...

I say, "hell yeah, it's conference season," but not for casual sex. That ended for me soon after undergrad as I've been in a long-term relationship pretty much ever since. I say hells yeah because I like going to conferences and meeting other people and reconnecting with people I've met in the past. Plus, a bunch of science nerds + alcohol = awesomely bad nerd humor and who doesn't love that.
As far as men at conferences crossing a line; it's not an issue. I typically avoid those situations all together. However, if I've misjudged someone's intentions, I am not afraid to open up a can of whoop-ass. I've done it before and I'll do it again.
I completely agree that you shouldn't have to justify waiting outside or make sure other people are aware that you waited outside, or endure looks from other people b/c you are walking with a female toward her room. This kind of stuff infuriates me. I tend to hang out with men more than women (not that that's hard to do in science, although I've always had more male friends) and am used to getting those looks from other people as well. I hate the insinuation that b/c we are of the opposite sex that we will automatically default to having sex if left to our own devices.

tideliar said...

Cath that is funny tale! I've been there too, but was fortunately well trained so I didn't throw a spaz when the woman said thanks, but no thanks. And conversely I once gave a ride to a prostitute who'd missed her bus...

The student at the conference was also *very* drunk which didn't help. Her advisor was very cool though.

It just takes one bad incident to ruin your life.

Thomas Joseph said...

I remember going to the Wind River Prokaryotic Conference back in the late 90's. It was held in Estes Park, and I guess they had a hot tub. According to one of my friends who was also there, one night things got pretty crazy there and one of the girl graduate students - drunk off her ass - wound up hooking up with one of the Ph.D's. She spent the next day crying at the conference (because it was held in one big room at the lodge we were all staying at).

I don't know whatever happened to the douche that took advantage of the drunk graduate student (IIRC, that's considered rape, no?) but probably not enough.

I guess there is some subset of people who use conferences as a reason to "hook up" but I don't get it. You're hooking up with a hot scientist? How much intellectual discourse are you involved in while knocking boots? Maybe I'm just doing it wrong, but for me the answer is usually "none at all, I'm preoccupied with other things" and since that's the case ... I don't need to travel halfway across the country to get my groove on.

Besides, as a microbiologist ... I think I know to much to want to play the field like that any longer. Try explaining how you picked up that case of herpes (which will now follow you for your entire life) to your future (or current) wife!

tideliar said...

I kind of have a problem with someone crying foul after they make an asshole out of themselves. You're an adult. You chose to get drunk. You chose to fuck the Professor. Deal with it. He was probably drunk too. Who's to say who took advantage of whom when everyone is well libated?

Now, getting someone drunk so you can have your way with them is, justifiably, rape and should carry severe penalties. Not limited to having your fucking balls cut off.

Thomas Joseph said...

He may have been drunk, but being several years older, and heavier, I would assume his state of intoxication was probably less than the young graduate student. I can't help believe that there was a line crossed that should not have been, for several reasons, but I will readily admit that perhaps I draw my lines in quick-set concrete rather than shifting sand.

Well libated or not, my policy has always been to not hook up with someone drunk, whether or not I was sloshed myself. Just seemed like a policy that could keep me out of a bit of trouble ... legally or to my own reputation (or both).

tideliar said...

Yeah, I put that behaviour into category two: getting someone drunk to have your wicked way = rape = having your balls torn off by a pitbull is too good for you.

I'm proud to say that even with my awesome stats, I have never stooped so low.

Anonymous said...

as i read this, I am hidden in my hotel room away from those guys'. As a young PhD student, this is my first proper conference. I expected the usual range of physicists wearing poorly cut suits and hiking boots and talking about work and of course some alcohol and bad science humour. I was expecting to be asked about my work. I was not expecting an onslaught of horny men, from french masters students to married MIT professors making indecent proposals to me. I am so shy at these things already that I do not know how to diffuse these situations, and the injured animal vibe i give off seems to be catnip for people like this. I am all for consensual sex, but I find it so inappropriate at these functions. One guy in particular is making things incredibly awkward by jumping into all my conversations with other people and interrupting until they leave, to the point that I have barely spoken to anyone else. I was looking forward to networking with people and getting ideas for work and learning something, instead I have had canceled my social event subscriptions, stayed in my room by myself every night and been turned off several careers. It's left me seriously doubting my position as a woman in science. So please, if you want to be 'that guy' then think about what you're doing and be receptive to how the girl reacts. Maybe you'd think twice if you knew how it felt

Anonymous said...

My issue is that it is not adult consensual sex. I was approached after a conference ( so beware) by someone I respected while I had heard issues about Ph.D. students as I was older I assumed this was not an issue. I visited him and on reflection the whole day was about him trying to seduce me. More information might identify me. He subsequently tried again...