r/AreTheStraightsOK “Cheating on my partner is self-care!”

On Reddit there is no shortage of straight people who think that marriage is a trap, they hate their partners, and they cheat on each other for “self-care”. We have no choice but to ask... ARE the straights OK!?


Courtney: Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Ace Couple podcast. My name is Courtney. I’m here with my spouse, Royce. And boy howdy, did we find out that you guys sure as heck like Reddit! Oh, about, I don’t know, a couple of months ago, we did an episode of… oh my gosh, what even was that subreddit, Royce?

Royce: AmITheAsshole.

Courtney: Yes, we did r/AmITheAsshole: Asexuality Edition. And that episode kind of blew up. Turns out, people who listen to podcasts are also the people who like Reddit. Who knew. Now, we had fun with that episode. We just pulled up some stories and talked. Some were… some were a little heavier than others. But we thought, “What the heck? Let’s give that another try.” But instead of r/AmITheAsshole, we found a lovely subreddit called r/AreTheStraightsOk. I feel like as queer people, that’s something we all kind of ask ourselves [laughs] inside our heads. And I do want to be very clear, right off the bat: we are not saying that “straight” is inherently the opposite of “queer.” We know very well that there are straight Aces, straight Aros, straight trans people. There are ways to be queer and straight in a number of different ways. But this is the title of the subreddit. And about the community: we have a little note here that just asks. “Is someone holding these poor souls hostage and forcing them to be together?” So, I have never poked around the subreddit before today, so this is a brand new foray for us. In fact, I don’t really do Reddit myself. We have our Twitter account for @The_Ace_Couple, and I personally have some other social media accounts that I haven’t really even touched in a year [laughs slightly] that I just started for my own personal business, but I don’t do online socializing very well or very often. So we’re just going to lurk and comment on what we see. But just judging by that description, I imagine we’re going to see a lot of the kind of “I hate my wife and that is what humor is” kind of posts. So let’s dive in, shall we?

Royce: Well, to start off, I stumbled upon a number of “partner bad” posts.

Courtney: “Partner bad”!

Royce: And this first one here is just a four-panel comic of a person standing in front of a podium saying “He was a good man and a better friend. God, I’m going to miss him so much. Here’s to you, Greg.” And the final panel is a groom sitting next to his bride at a wedding.

Courtney: “Here’s to you, Greg.” There’s probably no significance about the name “Greg,” huh? It’s not like Karen where the name “Greg” has an implication? Or like Chad, where “Chad” has an implication?

Royce: Not that I’m aware of.

[Courtney laughs]

Royce: This subreddit also just has a lot of instances of Boomer humor.

Courtney: Boomer humor. That was kind of the generation of, “I hate my wife and that qualifies as comedy.” [laughs]

Royce: Yeah. Someone took a screenshot from the video game Cyberpunk 2077 of writing on a cardboard sign that says, “Aliens kidnapped my wife and kids. Help me celebrate.”

Courtney: Ohhh! See, that’s terrible. I have not played that game.

Royce: There’s a real groaner here that I’m going to have to explain to you. But it says, “My girlfriend told me that I care about programming more than about her. I told her that in an array of my interests, she is number one, and she was satisfied.”

Courtney: That’s got to be a…

Royce: In most languages –

Courtney: A binary joke, right?

Royce: In most languages, arrays are zero-based. So the first item in an array is zero.

Courtney: Ah, ha ha ha. So what he’s saying here is, “Wife comes second, but we’ll just make her think that she comes first.” [deadpan] Because that’s funny. So I have one here. It just says, “Same idea, different designs,” and there is a mouse trap with a piece of cheese, a bear trap with blood stains, and an open ring box with an engagement ring. So what I find very interesting about this one in particular is that normally the joke is, you know, the woman has to trap a man into marriage. But this one… it’s somewhat subversive. It flips the script. Because this is very much a femme-aligned diamond engagement ring, so this is very much implying that the man in this situation is trapping the wife into marriage. Also, I think it implies he’s going to snap that ring box shut on her finger, which is not going to hurt all that much at all.

Royce: I just like the comments under this one because for some reason there are two weird red smudges on the top part of the open bear trap, and the top comment just says, “Why is the bear trap blushing?”

Courtney: [laughs] It does look like it’s blushing, because it’s kind of above the – if the trap itself is a mouth. [laughs]

Royce: And the subsequent comments just say, “It’s shy.”

Courtney: Aww.

Royce: “Whoo. Whoo. Please stick your foot on my pressure plate.”

Courtney: Nooo!

Royce: I found one that said, “Even sandwiches are being sexualized. I’m too asexual for this shit.”

Courtney: Oooh. Let’s hear that.

Royce: The question is, “Why do people cut their sandwich in half?” And the answer is, “The diagonal cut exposes more of the interior of the sandwich, and by exposing the interior, engages more of your senses before you take the first bite. It’s more revealing, almost like a burlesque dancer covered enough to be closed but uncovered enough to be very, very appealing.”

Courtney: So let me get this straight. We have evolved past the point of debating whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich, and we are now onto, “Is a sandwich… a burlesque dancer?”

Royce: What is the comparison of bread to clothing? I just like one of these comments that says, “God damn, you, you sexy sandwich.”

Courtney: Oh no! [laughs] Some people do call food sexy, though, which is…

Royce: Strange?

Courtney: It’s strange. Well, you know, the Ace community often symbolizes food as like, “O, cake is better than sex,” and “Garlic bread is better than sex.” But then there are definitely just allosexual people that are like, [lower, huskier tone] “This is such a sexy sandwich,” apparently. What is the sexiest food? Tweet at us and tell us. [laughs] If you are allosexual, what food is sexually appealing to you? Ohhh, this one. Also under the tag “partner bad,” which, I like that a lot – [laughs] there are so many cis straight allo people who just seem to be miserable in their relationship, and we just squint at them, like, “Why? Why do you do this to yourself and everyone around you?” But [laughs] I have to appreciate the pun at least: “What did Spartacus say when the lion ate his wife? Nothing. He was Gladiator.”

Royce: Booo.

Courtney: [rimshot sound] Ba-dum-tss. [laughs] I do love a good pun. I do love a good pun.

Royce: This one is a conversation. It starts with, “Why is he calling another dude ‘Babe’?” And the response is, “People are gay, Steve,” and the original person says, “That’s okay. But I thought gay dudes would call each other, like, ‘hot cock’ or something.”

Courtney: Oh no! [laughs]

Royce: “‘Babe’ is a straight guy word.”

Courtney: [laughs] I think I know fewer straight guys who say “Babe” than any other queer demographic. [laughs] Oh no, “hot cock,” I hate it. Here’s kind of the “sad bear” meme, which, I don’t even remember the last time I’ve seen this one. That’s that’s an oldie, an oldie, but a goodie. ’Tis a black bear with a frown, looking distraught off into the distance. And the text says, “My husband is my rock. The one dragging me under to drown.” I’m not a couples therapist, but in my professional opinion… uh, divorce. [laughs]

Royce: “Straight people will say that LGBT education isn’t age-appropriate, but will ask toddlers if they have a girlfriend.”

Courtney: Mmm. Yep. Yep. Yep, yep, yep. My almost-certainly-at-least-Demiromantic self definitely fell into the trap of forcing myself to fall in love with a childhood friend because I had a couple of adults that said, uh, things of that nature. [laughs]

Royce: Top comment: “I was a toddler once. Can confirm.”

Courtney: [laughs] “Can confirm.” I think a lot of toddlers did that. So the thing is… I’m not going to tell all the details of this story, because it’s probably better served for, like, an episode on my entire ridiculous relationship history, because it’s actually kind of great. But I did have a childhood friend, [dramatically] who was a boy, at a very young age – and I had several actually – but I don’t remember any, like, specific comments at that time, as, like, a toddler getting into maybe age three, four. I don’t remember comments then. But our parents worked together, and since we weren’t in school yet, we actually just went to work with the parents and just, like, went off and played in the other room. It was at a Rainbow Play System, so we had this whole showroom of play systems and swings and clubhouses to play in and a rock wall to climb and stuff. So we were well taken-care. We were just off playing. But then, you know my mom got a different job. We got into school and, like, didn’t see each other for all of elementary school, to the point where I’d almost forgotten that this person existed. But then, all of a sudden, we all came together again in middle school, when we were all of a sudden going to the same school. And when our parents found out, like, “Oh my gosh, they’re gonna be going to the same middle school!” there were definitely a couple comments of, like, “Oh, this is the start of a rom-com! Childhood sweethearts who were separated for years and then met each other again!” And it was this whole thing. And in my head I was like, [serious] “Yes, this is the start of a rom-com. This makes sense. I have seen movies like this.” [laughs] “This boy is going to become the love of my life. I can sense it.” [laughs] So, we’ll leave that there as a little teaser. I’ll tell that whole story in an upcoming episode, because it’s… whew, it’s a doozy.

Royce: Well, I found a good one-liner to use as a segue from there. This post says, “I don’t know what a ‘cisgender’ is, but it shouldn’t be allowed in front of kids.”

Courtney: [laughs] Hard agree. Keep those cisgenders away from our kids. They are corrupting influences! Dare – dare we call them groomers? Aww, I got sad again. Next! Oh my gosh, is this a book I need to read? This is literally just, someone took a picture of the cover of a book, [laughs] and this book is called How to Date Men When You Hate Men. That… I wonder if that has the same kind of vibes – there’s definitely a book out there that’s like, The Straight Girl’s Guide to Sleeping With Women, or something. [laughs] They’re definitely books with really weird titles like that. And I always just look at those and I’m like, “I feel like the author of that book has some unpacking to do,” but they could be a good comedy read, if you read it under the guise of, “This is fictional with an unreliable narrator.”

Royce: Okay, so in line with the last one I read, I found another one that is from the cartoon Phineas and Ferb. They are in a forest looking excitedly at something they found, and what they found was a big block of pride flags, and the caption just says, “Discovering something that doesn’t exist.”

[Courtney gasps]

Royce: But there’s a heterosexual flag in the box, included with everything else.

Courtney: Whoa! I have never seen that show.

Royce: And I should state, it’s not just the flag. It says “heterosexual,” the text.

Courtney: “Heterosexual.” Just so we’re all very clear that this is about heterosexuals.

Royce: As something that doesn’t exist.

Courtney: Which is definitely something, like – especially around pride month, there are definitely, you know, those kind of people, you know the kind, who will be like, [mock exasperated] “When are we gonna get our straight pride month? Do we need a straight pride flag now?” Now, go make one. See if it catches on.

Courtney: “Marriage is actually just a nice word for adopting a fully grown man who can’t take care of himself.”

Royce: I found one that says, “Straight men 300 years ago,” and it has a picture of someone who appears to be of Elizabethan royalty that says, “Wig, makeup, robes, high heels,” all of that in a very elaborate photograph. “Straight men today: New research suggests that some men avoid ‘green’ behavior, like using a reusable shopping bag at the grocery store, because they don’t want to be perceived as gay.”

Courtney: [laughs] Isn’t that the truth? It really is just wild how little people know or care about history of clothing or gender or gender expression. Because even more recently than 300 years ago, all children were dressed how we would perceive a little girl to be dressed today. Like, dresses; young children did not wear pants.

Royce: Oh, right. And much of that was practicality – not having to buy different sets of clothing for, you know, gendered kids, being able to wash it easily, being able to change diapers easily.

Courtney: Yeah! Well, and also, I mean, if we go way back, just linguistically speaking, “girl” used to be the word for just “human children.” It wasn’t gendered. It was like, “All children are girls.” Which I find fascinating! We love history around here. But yeah, bring back those old, frivolous costumes. I really, really am here for it. Eww, see, some of these aren’t even funny to make fun of. Some of these are just so upsetting because you know some people actually do find these legitimately funny, that it’s not even fun to make fun of them in a satirical concept. This one says, “New seatbelt design, 45% less car accidents.” And it’s a man driving with a regular seatbelt and a woman who has a seatbelt, but also a big strap across her mouth, so she can’t talk. That’s not even funny to make fun of. I just don’t like it.

Royce: Yeah, a lot of this subreddit is just finding posts that are casually misogynistic or bigoted in some way.

Courtney: Yeah. Sounds about right.

Royce: I’ve got one here that says, “The woman next to me at lunch asked what I was reading. I started to describe the plot: two starcrossed girls in high school, unlikely love story. She cut me off and said she wasn’t gay, so it didn’t interest her. I looked at the cover of her book. It’s about a serial killer.”

Courtney: [gasps] Watch out for that woman! [laughs]

Royce: Is the true crime stereotype something that is disproportionately representative of cisgender straight women?

Courtney: Absolutely. Absolutely. Women… I mean, women tend to flock to true crime. And –

Royce: I knew that the stereotype of women watching or listening to true crime stuff was a thing. I didn’t know that it was split on gender identity or orientation.

Courtney: It can be.

Royce: Is this just a sign of, like, how to identify someone who’s basic?

Courtney: [laughs] A little bit. Like, in autumn, she has her pumpkin spice latte and her true crime podcast [laughs] playing. But, I mean, obviously every single individual is going to have their own preferences. But anecdotally speaking, in my social circles, the women I know, regardless of being cis or trans, on average like true crime more than any men that I know. But the cis women and especially the cis straight women, like, really really, really like true crime. And I have some friends who are trans women who are very split. Some of them do really like true crime, but some of them think, like… you know, they kind of take it in the context of, “I know that I am much more likely to actually be a victim of a violent crime.” Or many of them have friends that they know who have been a victim of crimes. So it’s just, like, sometimes a little bit too close to home for some people to really enjoy. But the entire everything of true crime does kind of bank on the fact that a lot of women feel very unsafe and exploit those fears in certain ways. But, of course, there is definitely a racial component to it, because the stories that really get the most attention and get the most sympathy are, like, the all-American straight white girl next door that, you know, the average straight white person can relate to a lot more heavily. So there are definitely issues with it.

Courtney: And I’ve had some conversations with some sort of white feminist women who really love true crime. And I’ll be like, “I actually have some issues with true crime. I don’t really like the way it’s marketed. I don’t really like the way it’s consumed.” And because of the fact that I specialize in history from the Victorian era, it’s not murderer-specific, but people know I like history and that I research history. So everyone always tries to bring it back to, like, “Well, it’s, you know, it’s past murders. It’s not political issues happening right now,” which it always is, it always is still relevant today for some demographic, whether or not you personally see it. But they’ll always bring it back to Jack the Ripper. They’ll be like, “Aren’t you interested in Jack the Ripper? Don’t you like the mystery of trying to find out who it was? And, you know, the gruesomeness of the murders on Whitechapel?” And basically my first question to every single woman – because I kid you not, I’ve had this conversation dozens of times. They’re like, “Well you like Victorian era, so Jack the Ripper, clearly you’ll like that.” I just ask them, like, “Name one of the women murdered by Jack the Ripper.” And I have never once put someone on the spot like that who could actually tell me the name of one of the victims. So it is not sensitive to the people who were a victim of the crime. It is not cool. And when you get things so much older, you’ll get slander. You’ll be like, [scandalized tone] “Oh, well they were all prostitutes.” And we shouldn’t be dehumanizing people for being prostitutes, whether or not they were, but also… there are just issues. I’m not going to turn this whole podcast into a rant about Jack the Ripper, even though I could. Believe you me, I could. [laughs] But yeah, true crime. Did I have a point? I don’t remember where we started [laughs] when I started ranting about true crime.

Royce: I think you made a point and then continued on past it.

Courtney: Well, there you have it. That’s my point. And a little extra for a treat.

Royce: Today in “cis people are unhinged”: “A parent overheard a second-grade teacher I work with talking about pronouns in Zoom class and decided to A) try to get the teacher fired, and B) pull her child out of school. The reason my coworker was discussing pronouns? She was teaching a grammar lesson.”

Courtney: Oh my goodness. Yeah, I’ve been waiting for that. I wish I could say I’m surprised, but especially on Twitter, you’ll see people be like, “Of course you have pronouns.” Like, everyone has pronouns. What are you talking about?! [laughs] Man, as I’m scrolling through here, I am seeing a lot of posts that are just someone calling the person they’re in a relationship with a “psychopath,” and that’s not cool. Being a psychopath does not mean you are abusive or an asshole.

Royce: I found one that appears to be an image of a nuclear bomb test at some island place, like some atoll, and it has – the the mushroom cloud has been colored blue, and the caption’s just “Straights be like, ‘it’s a boy.’”

Courtney: “It’s a boy!” [laughs] Oh no! [laughs] Okay, I do like the delivery of that. See, some of these are genuinely funny. Some of these are just too on the nose. “It’s a boy.” Gimme a break. Oh no, this one is a bit of an intersectional interest of mine. I like seeing weird secondhand finds, especially if it’s at an antique store, but even things that are, like, Goodwill, Savers, just things that people used to have in their home but don’t anymore. Sometimes they’re very interesting. This one’s just a little sign that says, “We are staying together for the sake of the dog.”

Courtney: So also following in line with the media that Courtney has not consumed, I have not seen this show either. Tried, like, an episode, maybe a couple; didn’t stick at all for me. But Rick and Morty – you have seen more of this than I have, so tell me, which one is the kid?

Royce: Morty.

Courtney: Morty. So it’s a picture of Morty looking really sad, with two women kissing him. And the caption just reads, “When she says she’s out with the girls, but the girls are with you.” [exaggerated gasp] Scandal! See, this is the kind of situation where I know that, like, there are definitely some people who forced themselves to be monogamous, even if monogamy doesn’t really suit them. And as someone who is monogamous but is also Asexual and doesn’t understand the point or interest or desire or anything to do with cheating whatsoever, this is the kind of thing I look at and I say, “Why don’t you just have an open relationship?” He looks sad about this as if he is sad that she is cheating on him, but he’s clearly cheating on her. Guys, there’s such a simple solution to this. [laughs]

Courtney: So, here’s one of these that isn’t funny because I know some people are actually this way, but I want to pose an interesting question about socially acceptable, and/or socially enforced kink concepts? This says, “Learn to train your wife in five easy lessons. Free booklet shows you how. Teach her to fetch your slippers and pipe; massage your feet; serve you ice cold beer and snacks; sit quietly while you browse your favorite television stations; respond to nonverbal cues, such as the snapping of your fingers; answer, “Yes, dear” to any and all requests; and finally, greet you at the door wearing nothing but – ” Oh, that took a turn. I didn’t read ahead of time and wasn’t expecting. [laughs]

Royce: You always have to read ahead of time on subreddits like these.

Courtney: “Greet you at the door wearing nothing but cellophane wrap.” [laughs] Okay, so that took a turn. But I’ve actually seen – this is a very vintage style, like, something that you might actually see a real version of this from ’40s, ’50s era, and… Cellophane wrap. Oh no. So I’ve been thinking about this lately in the context of the submissive housewife. Because that’s considered the “traditional” role, the gender role, in marriage. But, like, submissive is the S in BDSM, my friends. It’s one of them, at least. And…

Royce: Oh yeah. Traditional, like, religious relationships are totally D/s.

Courtney: Yes, but the thing is, nobody sees it that way if it’s the woman who’s doing the submitting and the man doing the dominance. But that kind of enforced role is… it’s… that’s very kinky. And if that’s something that you actually like, and you’re actually into, and you’re actually in the role that works for you, that’s super cool. But why haven’t I seen more people talk about the fact that that’s a kink? [laughs] These traditionally enforced gender roles are a kink, and, like, people just call it a gender role. They’ll be like, “Don’t enforce your social gender roles on me,” but it’s like, “Don’t enforce your kink on me!” [laughs] Do whatever kink works for you and your home, but I’ll stick with my own set of kinks, thank you very much.

Courtney: See, speaking of the aforementioned bear trap/mousetrap/ring box, here’s a little cartoon: “[high pitch] ‘Honey, before we got married, you used to give me gifts and expensive jewelry.’ [low pitch] ‘Yeah. So?’ [high pitch] ‘How come you don’t do it anymore?’ [low pitch] ’Have you ever seen a fisherman give worms to the fish after catching it?” Boo. What is it with this, like, preconceived notion that courtship needs to be different than what an actual marriage is like? Like, people act differently when they’re actively dating – at least the people who are doing it wrong do, in my very humble opinion.”

Royce: Here’s one. “No one: [implied line break] 22-year-old Christian who’s been married for two months: ’Marriage is hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Sometimes I hate my husband. Sometimes I’m so repulsed by him that I want to barf. But it is so worth it.”

Courtney: Ahh.

Royce: “So blessed to be his.”

Courtney: Ahh. [laughs] We all know the type. Damn it! I can name eight girls off the top of my head who would say that. [laughs]

Royce: Oh, this one just says, “I dated a girl in college whose mom tried to talk her out of being gay by telling her she’d have to go through life without someone to open jars for her. At the time, it was upsetting, but in hindsight, I kind of love that jar-opening was the only use for men she could think of.”

Courtney: As someone who consistently needs help opening things, [laughs] it doesn’t need to be a man.

Royce: There’s often a trick to getting a stuck lid unstuck.

Courtney: There’s a wide array of genders who are more muscular than I [laughs] and have joints that don’t dislocate as easily as mine do. But there’s – so, this kind of thing hits the EDS community a little differently. Because the number of times I’ve been on an EDS forum that’s like, “Real talk, how do you open jars without dislocating something?” The number of people who reply who will be like, “Honestly I hand it to my spouse,” and I am very much in that camp. There are some tools that actually do help people with disabilities open things, but…

Royce: I just did a quick search for a robotic jar opener and they exist. They’re like 20 bucks.

Courtney: Of course they exist. And there are some other little contraptions that aren’t even robotic that can help some people, but…

Royce: Technology has solved this problem.

Courtney: Technology has solved men. Royce, this post just blew my mind. It blew my mind. I’m gonna read you the first half: “Straight people are so weird. They’re like, ‘Cooking is a woman’s job, unless you’re grilling, then it’s a man’s job. And cleaning is a woman’s job, but the man’s got to take out the trash. Can’t let the ladies touch the icky garbage. And fucking gardening is for women, except mowing the lawn, that’s for men. Who the fuck came up with this shit?’” These are things I have also thought to myself in passing over the years. But the response to this! Someone responded and said, “Women doing the daily jobs and men doing the once-in-a-while jobs seems to be the trend.” Ahhh! Never connected that little nugget.

Courtney: Mmm. Yeah. This one goes back to the the sitcom trope, again, that we constantly rant about: “‘Gay TV is bad for kids.’ Listen, 99% of straight comedy shows stars a lazy, sexist husband that drinks beer and hates his wife. So sorry if I’d rather have my kids watch Queer Eye, a show where men are respectful and kind. Y’all are so scared of your kids ‘turning gay,’” and so on and so forth. That’s why we really like the show Kevin Can Fuck Himself, and I am dying for that second season. When is it coming out? I need it right now. But seriously, if you haven’t seen Kevin Can Fuck Himself and you are able to watch it, and you loathe the sitcom trope of the guy who’s low-key just a jerk and is rude to women – including his own wife – and you want to see something subvert that really well, watch Kevin Can Fuck Himself. We had fun with it. I really like anti-sitcom – BoJack Horseman is very much an anti-sitcom, too – probably just because I grew up with sitcoms, so that was, like, most of the television that was available at any given time. So I like seeing people just skewer it with more progressive, modern-day views and subversions.

Royce: This one is, “Me, a straight guy, browsing this sub: ‘Maybe I’m not okay.’”

Courtney: [laughs] Admitting you have a problem is the first step. [laughs] Ha ha ha. So apparently, at some point, Facebook put a rainbow emoji react? I don’t know if that’s just a pride month thing. I have not been regular on Facebook recently enough to know. But this is a Facebook page called Warriors for Christ, and they said, in all caps, “A rainbow emoji will get you instantly banned from our page,” with a whopping 16.3 thousand rainbow emoji reacts. [laughs] Far more than the 1.8 thousand likes and the 738 laughing emojis. Oh my gosh. The comments on this one though. Top comment: “But God invented the rainbow. God is gay. Checkmate, atheists.” [laughs] Followed by, “Remember, it’s the Bible, not the Straight-ble.” “I guess it wasn’t Adam and Eve all along. It was Adam or Eve.”

Courtney: This one’s just a screenshot of a tweet: @cableknitjumper, two years ago, said, “I’m disgusted every time someone does a gender reveal and it’s a gender I already know about. What kind of reveal is that?” It’s true. It’s a boy, it’s a girl – boring! Been there, done that.

Royce: This has got to be some kind of joke post, but I see an article headline that says, “Can you absorb estrogen through your penis during sex?” And the comment underneath says, “Fellas, is it gay to have sex with women?”

Courtney: [laughs] Those “Fellas, is it gay to…?” – sometimes they are so good, because it is so far – oh, what was it? Even recently, there was… oh, this is going to really bother me, because I can’t remember it verbatim. I hope I have a screenshot somewhere that I can share. But there was a… clearly, an incel – fell down the incel rabbit hole – who wrote this whole thing about how being Asexual is the only way to truly be straight, and he had logic about why wanting to sleep with women is actually gay, and that in order to be straight, you have to be Asexual. [laughs] And it was – woo! The mental gymnastics needed for that.

Courtney: Speaking of “Fellas, is it gay?” I also see: “Remember back when we used the word ‘metrosexual,’ because in the early 2000s, we needed to determine to distinguish heterosexual men who bathed?” That’s true, showers are very gay. I don’t remember the last time I heard someone actually say the word “metrosexual” earnestly, but there was a period of time where that word was quite rampant.

Royce: That wasn’t a term that stuck around for very long. I feel like it was just a couple years.

Courtney: Yeah. I mean, it was early 2000s. It had a boom, and then it subsided. Ahaha, I found an Aspec post. I like it. This harkens back to the “asking toddlers if they have a girlfriend or a boyfriend.” This is a meme where the woman in this illustration is very obviously wearing the Aromantic pride flag – the two shades of green, the white, gray, and the black, saying, “I’m 14 and I know that I’m Aromantic!” And of course, angry meme guy saying, “Fuck off, you’re too young to know.” But then a tiny, tiny little boy with a shirt saying “Ladies Man,” and the same guy saying, “So true.” People really do use that against teenagers who claim to be anywhere on the Asexual and/or Aromantic spectrums. Like, [tone of mock patronizing reassurance] “Oh, you’re just a late bloomer. You just haven’t met the right person yet. You’re too young to know.” And that is an interesting juxtaposition, which we see all too often. Or even grosser, when you put, like, bibs or onesies on an infant that’s talking about, like, “I love titties.” Like, can we please not sexualize breastfeeding? Thank you. Oh, is there actually a straight flag that someone tried making?

Royce: There are several.

Courtney: Okay, so I just saw a meme, and it’s not a good one. It’s not funny. It’s not cute. But it definitely has, like, a black and orange image with kind of the, like, little gender symbols, the male and female symbols. And I haven’t actually researched this to know what that was from, but I’ve definitely seen that in YouTube thumbnails recently, in things that looked like videos I didn’t want to watch anyway, just judging by the name and description, so I haven’t watched any to know what that is, but I bet that’s a straight pride flag, huh?

Royce: The one that I saw earlier was a series of gradients going from white to black, like the shades of gray in between.

Courtney: Sure, why not. See, that’s the kind of thing – I don’t want to be in a place where I can identify what the heterosexual flag is, but I guess it’s better to know what it is than to mistake it for something queer. There are so many flags! So many flags. Oh wow. I found a third straight pride flag. Who knew there were so many straight pride flags?

Courtney: Oh my goodness. This is a whole thing. ’Women and men don’t think the same way and this is very bad projection. Men usually see women like ice cream flavors, and though we have a favorite, we want to try most of them (not vegan dragonfruit sorbet, gross). Women do not do this. Men are on a hierarchy in their minds. If she cheated, she sees him as better than you. You simply cannot forgive a woman who cheats. You are not good enough for her. It also explains why women absolutely flip when cheated on and focus a lot on the woman the man cheated with trying to understand why she’s better than her. She is projecting her mindset onto the man when it might not be appropriate. Side piece was mint chocolate chip, and my boy been eating moose tracks for a long time. Moose tracks still his favorite, but he wanted that mint chocolate chip for one night.” [laughs] Wow. Wow wow wow.

Royce: Not a huge fan of the “people are food” analogies.

Courtney: No.

Royce: Cannibalism is usually frowned-upon.

Courtney: Who or what in this metaphor is vegan dragonfruit sorbet? [laughs] Because that actually sounds delicious.

Royce: Yeah, whatever segment of the population that is supposed to represent just got insulted hard.

Courtney: [laughs] Yes. This is a situation where we need, like, a really gourmet, fancy ice cream parlor that has all of these different flavors, and we just need a picture of it that just says “Tag yourself. Which ice cream are you?”

Royce: Do you think sometime in the next however many years, we’ll see a dating sim – sort of like how in Hatoful there were pigeons that would just be people, but it’s like ice creams and other foods that just have anthropomorphic people representations?

Courtney: Are you suggesting we make an ice cream dating simulator? Because we could make that happen. [laughs]

Royce: I’m not suggesting that we make it. I’m just throwing the idea out into the ether. And maybe not limited just to ice cream. Like, you could have a wider variety of foods.

Courtney: But are they all desserts, Is the question. Is it like, you have an ice cream option or a cake option…

Royce: I think it should be more diverse than that, because someone out there wants to date garlic bread.

Courtney: Or someone out there specifically does not want to date garlic bread. We’re just going to do a wacky AroAce sim where before you even start, you decide if this is a dating simulator or an anti-dating simulator, and that will change all of the dialogue prompts. But the characters will be cake, garlic bread, dragons, and so on and so forth. An anchor, because it’s nautical-themed. [laughs] Since Royce isn’t going to play into my BoJack Horseman joke, I guess I have to explain that that was a BoJack Horseman joke. Thanks, Royce.

Royce: I got onto r/AreTheCisOk. None of it’s funny.

Courtney: It’s not?

Royce: It’s bad.

Courtney: That’s a shame. That’s a shame. Yeah, when I went to come to this subreddit, I also saw that there was an AreTheNTsOk, which I assume means neurotypicals, which also sounded like that could maybe be fun. But yeah, this is exactly why – well, it’s part of the reason why I don’t really just do Reddit. Because for an hour or so, I could have fun just scrolling through a huge backlog of posts on a specific topic if I get on a kick and I’m having fun with it, but I wouldn’t just set up an account and subscribe to this and just see posts from it every single day. You know what I mean?

Courtney: Okay, let’s end on this, because this is actually a link to an article. And judging by the title, it looks like a doozy. The title of this post says, “Cheating on partner is self-care, says new Ashley Madison data.” So I’m gonna open that article. Welp, “84% of people cheating on their partners right now say they do it for self-care. One woman writes, ’Dirty talk and coconut oil can make you survive a lonely quarantine. But I’m not here to only survive. I’m here to thrive. And my –” oh my – “and my pussy is too.”

Royce: So where did this –

Courtney: That’s not a word I tend to say, ever. [laughs]

Royce: Where did this research come from? Or this poll come from?

Courtney: This is an article that was published in December of 2020 on Cosmopolitan.

Royce: But you mentioned Ashley Madison.

Courtney: A dating site marketed to those who are married or in relationships.

Royce: That’s what I was going to say, yeah.

Courtney: Oh, this site… I was like, “Oh, is this a polyamory thing?” But no. You go to the website and their homepage says, “Ashley Madison: Life is short. Have an affair.” Wow!

Royce: Yeah, I was going to say, the data may be a little bit skewed.

Courtney: Yikes! Yeah, this says, “For starters, you may be surprised to find that the pandemic has not hindered the desire or ability to cheat – it’s fueled it.” So that website in particular ran a “Love Beyond Lockdown” survey. Goodness gracious. See, the thing about self-care is that you can’t cite self-care as a reason to hurt other people in your life. See, like, I would buy, for allosexual people, that sex and sex-related activities could be self-care. I’m sure that’s a thing for a lot of people. But it seems to me like whatever arrangement you have in your current relationship is not fundamentally what you need. And if that’s the case, the real self-care is either walking away from that relationship, going to therapy, or having a tough conversation, or trying to open up the relationship. I don’t think cheating on someone [laughs] and just calling it “self-care” – I was almost going to say it’s a bit like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound, but like, it’s not exactly like that, because there’s also someone else in this picture who also could get very hurt by your actions. So, yikes.

Courtney: “One Ashley Madison user recently told Cosmopolitan that because of the current circumstances, she had to take things exclusively virtual, sometimes while her husband is still in the house. 84% of those surveyed believe infidelity has been a reliable form of self-care during the pandemic. And 66 % of Ashley Madison users who have experienced negative emotions this year say the affairs have ‘improved their overall mood.’” See, and this is where – I don’t know anything about the psychology of cheating, but as an outsider looking in, I have to be a little skeptical and say, “Has it actually increased your mood, or has it been a distraction?” I am baffled reading some of this, because it – to me, this seems like just jumping through hoops trying to rationalize why cheating is a good thing and why it’s okay for you to do it. Because this person, age 41, says her “affairs have motivated her to stay physically fit, and as we know by now, physical fitness equals feel-good endorphins.” You can just exercise without cheating! [laughs] Cheating isn’t causing you to exercise. [sputters] Right?! How did you know about this? I’ve never heard of this site before. Is this just from your dating site research you’ve been doing recently? Or have you known about it for, like, longer than that?

Royce: No, it’s been around for quite a while and I just, I feel like it’s been on news or articles or something. I’ve just known that it’s existed.

Courtney: Coulda been. I’ve just been out of the loop, apparently. But this also –

Royce: Yeah, it’s been active for 20 years –

Courtney: Wow.

Royce: – and according to the Wiki page, has 60 million users.

Courtney: 60 million. This also begs the question – because it says, “Affairs and discreet married dating.” So, they’re targeting people who are married and are not in an open marriage, which is wild to me. 60 million users. This begs the question for me: is there more reliable online dating for people who are overtly cheating on their spouse than there is for, like, ethically polyamorous people?

Royce: Well, I always take sites’ like these user-bases with a grain of salt, because I’m sure it’s flooded with bots and scammers too.

Courtney: Hm. Yeah.

Royce: But compared to a dating site, the people on this site are probably not looking for any sort of ongoing relationship. They’re probably looking for a hookup. And so, like…

Courtney: Virtual hookups, in this case, for some of them. [laughs]

Royce: I feel like in that case, the matching criteria is going to be a lot simpler.

Courtney: Sure. “Knowing that another man is going to be seeing me naked is a great motivation to keep fit, keep getting my nails done, keep up with my bikini wax, et cetera.”

Royce: Like, you can just look the way that you like to look for yourself.

Courtney: Yes! That’s what I’m saying. And see, this is why I don’t understand the psychology of cheating, because I don’t understand how there would be a difference between, like, “I want to look good for my husband” versus “I want to look good for a totally unrelated man.” There must be a difference for some people. I just – my brain doesn’t make those connections. Those wires don’t cross. [laughs] “Those are little things that I probably would have cut out during the pandemic, but I want to look good for a lover, and in turn, it makes me feel better about myself.” So this is also chronically ill, disabled Courtney speaking: you probably don’t have to keep getting your nails done or your bikini waxes during the pandemic. I had to stop getting my nails done, and I actually had my nails done for medical reasons, because I have dermatillomania, and I scratch the ever-living heck out of my skin and get scabs all up and down my body when I have real nails that are as sharp as daggers, but I just can’t risk any extra things like that during a pandemic.

Royce: Oh, interesting. I think this may be another reason why I’ve heard about Ashley Madison. Several years ago, there was a pretty major hack. And from that hack, they got a lot of identities, and from the identities came a lot of extortion emails.

Courtney: Mmm, yeah, I can see that. “Life in the pandemic requires doing all things necessary to survive. This means we need to level up our self-care. Sex is synonymous with self-care, and I am not sexually fulfilled by my partner. To deny my mind and body that authentic release would be the opposite of self-care, and I know I deserve better. We all do.” Okay, you don’t get to break the terms of your relationship, though. If you are with someone who believes this to be a monogamous relationship, you can’t just do that and call it self-care. You either need to have a conversation about how to be more sexually fulfilled with this person – like, say, “Hey, I don’t like this, I do like that, let’s try this other thing.” Like, figure something out. Sex coaches exist. I have friends who are sex coaches. Like, even if you don’t need, like, mental/emotional therapy, people can help you through that if you just need something outside of the box. But you need to either figure that out or leave them or talk about opening up the relationship so that your non-monogamy is ethical and not hurting them. I reject that that is self-care. I really really do. It’s not self-care if it is actively hurting someone else.

Courtney: So this is actually really interesting, because I genuinely am fascinated with the, like, psychology behind this and the thought process and the emotion. Someone in the comments on the subreddit that this was posted in who has the “Bi” tag – so this is a bi person – says, “Serial cheater here. Working hard to get out of the cycle of it. It’s really damaging to me personally, and has no value as self-care. It destroys or taints the intimacy I work hard to develop with my partners. I do not recommend.” I guess that kind of also goes back to my question of, like, does it really improve your mood or is it something else going on? Because I absolutely – if this is someone who says, like, “Yes, I am this way, and it is a problem, and I am working to fix it,” then I can absolutely have empathy for that. But for someone to be like, “Yeah, I cheat on my partner because of self-care,” I have very little empathy for rationalizing it in that way. So wow. Goodness. I think that’s probably all for today. So Royce, I’ll ask your professional opinion: are the straights okay?

Royce: A few of them, maybe.

Courtney: A few of them. [laughs] Tweet at us if you are a straight and you are okay. [laughs] We want to hear from you. We’d love a good straight success story. [laughs] Oh no. And hey, let us know if you’re interested in the concept of cheating and if we should dive into that in a future episode. It sounds like something that would take some time and research to actually get studies and personal accounts and…

Royce: To look into the psychology of infidelity.

Courtney: Yes! Because I’m fascinated by it. If our listeners are also fascinated by it – if you out there listening are like me and you’re like, “I just, I don’t get it. How do brains work that way?” then I don’t know, maybe that’s a future episode we can consider. Give us a tweet @The_Ace_Couple, or if you’re listening to us on our YouTube channel, you can drop us a comment. Perhaps you can even tell us which subreddit to do next. I think, personally, I liked r/AmITheAsshole a little better than AreTheStraightsOk. But as someone who is not a Redditor myself, I’m sure there is a plethora of good Reddit content out there that I am not privy to.

Royce: I think the story-focused ones were more interesting and had more to discuss than the –

Courtney: Longer-form personal accounts. Yeah. I think that was a little better. But all the same, I hope you enjoyed the silly nonsense of r/AreTheStraightsOk. Please give us whatever likes, subscribes, follows, ratings, reviews are on the platform you are consuming this podcast on. And we will talk to you all next week.