Desert, romance, and sex

It appears we have interestingly contradictory notions about whether we "deserve" attention from the opposite appropriate sex.

Some guys believe that because they're nice, they deserve to have a girlfriend. They think they shouldn't have to be engaging or ask for what they want—they are entitled to just sit in a corner being all nice and stuff, and women should want to go out with them. Some of those guys even start to resent women for not throwing themselves at them. And that's really not very nice at all.
- Franklin Veaux's answer to Why don't girls date nice guys? - Quora

…which makes perfect sense. And here are some absolutely disgusting and chilling remarks from a mass murderer of women, the extreme version of the feeling of entitlement:

"I was desperate to have the life I know I deserve; a life of being wanted by attractive girls, a life of sex and love. Other men are able to have such a life … so why not me? I deserve it! I am magnificent, no matter how much the world treated me otherwise. I am destined for great things."

He would give "the world one last chance," he wrote. "If I still have to suffer the same rejection and injustice even after I move to Santa Barbara, then that will be the last straw. I will have my vengeance."


January 2012: Rodger wrote that he splashed two "hot blonde girls" with his Starbucks latte at an Isla Vista bus stop after they "didn't even deign to smile back" after he smiled at them.

"How dare those girls snub me in such a fashion! How dare they insult me so! I raged to myself repeatedly. They deserved the punishment I gave them. It was such a pity that my latte wasn't hot enough to burn them. Those girls deserved to be dumped in boiling water for the crime of not giving me the attention and adoration I so rightfully deserve!"


Rodger wrote that he attempted a "last ditch effort of desperation" just days before his 22nd birthday "to live an enjoyable college life" in Isla Vista.

"I was giving the female gender one last chance to provide me with the pleasures I deserved from them."

- Timeline to 'Retribution': Isla Vista attacks planned over years -

But then how do we square that with this, which also seems sensible:

“I have looked at myself in the mirror and thought, 'This is how you look. Embrace that and move on,'” she said. “But confidence has nothing to do with how you look. I feel happiest when I’m with friends and I’m working really hard.”

Schumer made headlines at another Glamour event, this one last month's U.K. Women of the Year Awards, when she said, “I’m probably like 160 pounds right now, and I can catch a d*** whenever I want.”

In the new interview with her sister, Schumer expanded on her body confidence.

“I have a belly. And I have cellulite. And I still deserve love,” she said.

Glamour’s editor-in-chief, Cindi Leive said Schumer is the woman who says what every other woman is thinking.

- Amy Schumer: 'I Have Cellulite. And I Still Deserve Love' - ABC News

Desert and emotions

It seems plausible to hypothesize that the emotions, which make up the tit-for-tat bundle, are bound up with our concept of desert. This is because when we feel gratitude toward somebody, we take it that this individual deserves a good return and praise; when we are angry at somebody, we see this individual as deserving to be punished and blamed; when we feel guilty, we feel that we deserve blame or punishment because we have acted wrongly in some way; when we are ashamed, we feel that we are more blameworthy than most; when we forgive someone, we withdraw our earlier view that they deserve blame and punishment for their wrongful behaviour, and so on. In other words, when we are in the grip of the tit-for-tat set of emotions, we regard individuals as deserving, or having deserved, the kind of treatment that we are, or were, inclined to deal them in virtue of having these emotions of gratitude, anger and so on.

- Persson and Savalescu, Unfit for the Future

I don't agree with this completely. It seems to me the emotions come first, then the considerations of desert often follow to try to justify the emotions. But not always. I can feel angry or grateful toward you, while recognizing that you don't “deserve” my feelings. I can “own” my feelings.

This is tangential, but I want to get it down before I forget. As horrible as it sounds, we still treat women as commodities, in a way, and we should. Here's what I mean: why do we enforce monogamy (legally and through societal norms). It seems like a way to protect women, but if you think it through, women in general would not suffer in a system that allowed men to have multiple wives, but men would. For every man with multiple wives, there are multiple men with none. Monogamy is a way to democratize men's access to women.

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