The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Words Mean Things (and Why Should We Trust @CharoShane to Tell the Truth?)

Posted on | April 20, 2016 | 110 Comments


Does that sound right to you? Read it again:

“‘High maintenance’ is a great way to make a woman who puts tons of effort into her own life sound like a burden on a man.”

What does “high maintenance” mean? This isn’t a phrase I often use, because I got married in 1989 and the phrase “high maintenance,” used as a pejorative against women, wasn’t commonplace when I was dating. However, from the way younger men use it, I’ve always thought of “high maintenance” as roughly synonymous with spoiled. To call a woman “high maintenance” is to imply she is a certain familiar type.

Years ago, I began to notice this type — the Suburban Princess — who at an early age becomes accustomed to being pampered and indulged. She’s good-looking, or at least not bad-looking, and she learns to exploit this to her advantage. Because so many men are willing to kowtow to her, to placate her demands and tolerate her tantrums, she develops an imperious attitude. She is the Princess, every man is expected to serve her, and woe unto any man who finds himself in a relationship with such a woman. She seldom stays with any boyfriend longer than a year or two, but she’s seldom alone, because she has a cunning eye for the next fool in the parade of men eager to try (and inevitably fail) to make her happy. We encountered this type a year ago, when ESPN reporter Britt McHenry melted down in a tantrum:

Everybody knows her type, and everybody hates her type. A good-looking girl gets all the breaks, especially if she’s a rich good-looking girl, and our universal contempt for the spoiled-rotten Suburban Princess isn’t because we’re sexists, but because everybody who’s ever had to deal with one of those high-maintenance brats knows what vicious, selfish sadists they can be.

McHenry only got suspended a week for her abusive behavior — she just had “an intense and stressful moment,” she said — when anyone who wasn’t young, blonde and beautiful probably would have been fired. She’s in the TV business, you see, and TV needs beautiful young blondes, a market demand that confers lucrative advantages on those who are the supply of this valuable commodity. At any rate, I cite the example of Britt McHenry merely to point out that to me, the phrase “high maintenance” has a connotation, describing a certain bratty personality type. So when I encountered Charlotte Shane claiming that “high maintenance” refers to “a woman who puts tons of effort into her own life,” I was puzzled.

Charlotte Shane? Oh, wait a minute! Yes, we remember her:

Charlotte Shane (@CharoShane) is a slut who writes about sex. There are a lot of these around lately. I blame Sex and the City, or maybe let’s go back further and blame Helen Gurley Brown. At any rate, the ambition of every young female English major nowadays is (a) to have sex with dozens of men and (b) get paid to write about it. It’s journalistic prostitution, really — exhibitionism justified by the excuse that the Let-Me-Tell-You-About-My-Sex-Life racket is about feminist empowerment.
There is an interesting 21st-century double-standard about the sexual memoir genre, namely that men aren’t allowed to engage in it. A man who boasts about his sexual exploits is condemned as a misogynist, as [pickup artist] Daryush “Roosh V” Valizadeh could testify. Everything we are allowed to know about sex, it seems, must be filtered through a feminist lens, and men’s perspectives on sex are therefore unwelcome. Feminism is the belief that men are always wrong about everything, especially sex. And so the question of what guys enjoy sexually is never asked, let alone answered, because feminism is not about making men happy.

Will our culture never reach the “Peak Slut” moment? Honestly, I was weary of the sexy tell-all genre long before the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, two months after I arrived in D.C., and editing all those transcripts, affidavits, etc., during the subsequent impeachment proceedings certainly satisfied whatever morbid curiosity I had previously retained — which wasn’t much, honestly. Nobody wants a man to tell what he knows about sex or how he learned what he knows, so never mind the details, but I could never be fairly accused of ignorance, inexperience or naïveté in such matters. Being a conservative (and a married father of six) requires me to disapprove of sinful depravity. However, I was once a young Democrat and just because I exercise my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent doesn’t mean I have no stories to tell. You probably wouldn’t believe some of my stories, even if I were being compelled to testify under oath which, thank God, I’m not. But I digress . . .

The Lewinsky scandal should have taught us to be skeptical toward what people tell us about their sex lives. The phrase made famous by Bill Clinton’s defenders — “Everybody lies about sex” — is not true, because most people have enough common sense not to talk about their sex lives. When accused of sexual wrongdoing, of course, people can be expected to deny they have done anything wrong, but if it weren’t for Linda Tripp and the DNA evidence in the stain on Monica Lewinksy’s blue dress, we could not be certain that Bill Clinton was lying about sex. Without evidence or corroborating testimony, it was entirely possible to believe that she was just a crazy fat girl who had imagined all those weird sexual trysts with the President of the United States.

OK, so what are we supposed to believe when we encounter women like Charlotte Shane who talk, talk, talk about sex, sex, sex? Pardon my skepticism, but I am always dubious about such people, and that was before I discovered that “Charlotte Shane” is a pseudonym. What would you like to bet that, if a bunch of hackers ever got interested in finding out who “Charlotte Shane” really is, we would be able to compare her tales to her actual life and discover glaring discrepancies? She is a skillful writer, but this doesn’t mean she is a particularly honest writer, and there are aspects of her various stories that lead me to wonder, “Is she telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

What is “Charlotte Shane” omitting from her biography? What would we learn if we learned the whole story? Who was “Drunk Client”?

“That time drunk client spanked me while yelling
‘you’re a hooker who clock watches’ and I laughed
the laugh of a woman living her best self”


“In a show of his love, Drunk Client insisted on
having me pee in his mouth. And immediately
used it as a bargaining chip to get my real name”

Not that this is necessarily false, you understand, but how is it that in 2013, she was hiring herself out for such, uh, services? We search her body of work for some kind of biographical clue:

The moment my breasts appeared on my body, I recognized them as the enemy. When I was growing up, Winona Ryder, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Moss were the go-to glamour girls of teen magazines, and all of them are lithe in a way that cannot be imitated if your boobs are big. As a top-heavy pre-teen — tall, pudgy, and busty from puberty onward — I was doomed to remain outside the circle of the mid-90s’ most desirable women. . . .
I grew up in a part of the country full of chicken farms, where my babysitter hunted deer with a crossbow, and my mom made us scrapple at least one morning a week. So you might think a “heartland” American sense of style would be my saving grace. . . .
But at the age when I started taking a more active role in what I wore, I was a bookish introvert who most wanted to emulate the look modeled by my private school peers: that of the preppy, casually rich. Unfortunately, I had neither the body nor the budget to pull it off. . . .
Larger breasted women, from Marilyn Monroe to Scarlett Johanssen and Kate Upton, are usually relegated to the realm of pin-up, a man’s object of desire but not a figure for well-bred woman to emulate. I blamed my boobs from keeping me from ever looking truly skinny, my ultimate physical goal, and from looking rich, my ultimate style goal. They were the biggest — no pun intended — obstacle to achieving my vainest dreams.

This description — a “tall, pudgy . . . bookish introvert,” attending a private school in the “heartland,” and envious of her “preppy, casually rich” classmates — makes it difficult to understand why, at age 30, she was working as an escort, her clients including a kinky drunk who enjoyed spanking her and having her urinate in his mouth. We keep searching and find this story from 2012:

When I was in junior high, my friend Julia (not her real name) told me over the phone that she’d just lost her virginity to a neighbor who’d found her crying at home alone over a breakup. She was home alone, crying, when he’d knocked on the door and she invited him in. They’d sat down on the couch together as he comforted her, and then he f–ked her there. She was 11. The neighbor was 19.
To whatever extent we can trust my memory from 17 years ago, I remember Julia sounded ambivalent, a little surprised and a little uncertain. She wasn’t outwardly distressed nor did she seem like a numbed zombie. When I asked her if she’d wanted to have sex with him, her answer was inconclusive. She didn’t give me details, and I didn’t press for them, partially because I was 12, and a virgin, and I could not imagine what such an experience would entail.

Again, we have no actual reason to think her story is false, but in this particular article, “Charlotte Shane” also includes the helpful detail that, by 2012, she had already spent “eight years as a sex worker,” a career she began by “providing so-called sensual massage” in her early 20s. So from her being a pudgy introvert, envying her rich classmates at a private school in the heartland, where 11-year-old girls fall prey to roaming rapists, we flash forward a decade to her doing “sensual massage” by age 22. What happened to “Charlotte Shane” that led her on this journey from introverted virgin to sex worker? From 2011, we have her column “To all the girls who envy my life,” in which she describes how, ever since she started blogging (circa 2008) about her career as an escort, she has received a steady stream of emails from young women “somewhere between the ages of 17 and 25” who wish that they could be sex workers, too. Musing about the “complex” causes for the “glamour of prostitution,” she draws a predictably feminist conclusion:

It’s the persistent symptom of a society that still insists sexual desirability is a woman’s duty, and wealth is the most important hallmark of success. A young woman who is desirable is a young woman who wields power, and that power is often bestowed in the form of cold, hard cash.
Which isn’t to say the women who e-mail me are power hungry. Rather, I think they are recognizing the ways their culture tells them to achieve.

You see? It’s “society” and “culture” which gives young women the idea that being a prostitute is glamorous. There is no more perfect formula for avoiding personal responsibility than to blame “society” or “culture” for whatever is wrong with your life. Bad ideas are imposed in your mind by the “culture,” and then “society” more or less forces you to comply with these messages. Next thing you know, you’re 22 years old doing “sensual massage” and by the time you’re 30, you’re getting spanked by a drunk client who wants you to urinate in his mouth. Just another day in the harmless sex-for-money business, and if anyone thinks this is a glamorous career? Blame society!

The girls who e-mail me are not lacking internal resources. They’re educated, sensitive, observant, and they have the complex sentences and insightful wording to prove it. But they are living in a world where a woman’s worth is constantly equated with her sex appeal. Is it any wonder that many women might find it compelling to take that equation to its logical end?
These women are also often insecure, which I recognize because I was (and am) insecure, too. When I first started working in the sex industry, I thought my motivation was purely curiosity, but I see now that while curiosity gave me courage, insecurity was wearing the spurs. I was so highly self-critical as a young adult that by the time I was 12 I vowed I’d have breast surgery. (I wanted a reduction, since natural large breasts meant I’d never look truly skinny.) I struggled with an eating and exercise disorder, both of which were so common among my peers that they were unremarkable. I talked my parents into paying for medically unnecessary braces to close the gap in between my front teeth, which was easy since most kids my age were having cosmetic orthodontic work as well. While I was sexually ravenous — I was a teenager, after all — I couldn’t stand the thought of any boy seeing my body. So I was not quite a born natural when it came to selling myself for sexual consumption, but entering the industry quickly taught me that femininity is all performance, and it became a performance at which I was adept.

What. The. Hell.

Gosh, it’s so weird that none of my kids developed an eating disorder, nor did they demand my wife and I  pay for “medically unnecessary braces.” Evidently, these problems were ubiquitous in the “heartland” where Charlotte Shane grew up during the 1990s, where her junior high school friend got raped at age 11, and an insecure introvert became a “sexually ravenous” teenager who couldn’t stand to have boys look at her body. While I do not assert that any detail of her narrative is specifically false, there seems to be something basically wrong here. There is something missing, some plot twist omitted from the story.

Words mean things, and when a woman tells me (a) she attended private school, (b) she was “sexually ravenous” as a teenager, and (c) she began “selling myself for sexual consumption” in her early 20s, my hunch is (d) she got involved with The Wrong Guy at some point.

Your parents could afford private-school tuition and “medically unnecessary braces,” and yet by the time you’re a senior in college, circa 2003, you’re “providing so-called sensual massage”? Yeah, life is hard for liberal arts majors, but not all of them end up as whores, ma’am, and I’m not buying any of your “culture and society” explanations, either.

What is she asking us to believe?

“Oh, look,” says the bookish and insecure 21-year-old English major. “There’s a ‘Help Wanted’ sign in front of that massage parlor. Sounds kind of interesting. I think I’ll go apply for a job. Purely curiosity!”

No, ma’am, this is not the whole story. Former prep-school students don’t just randomly go to work in the “sensual massage” business. Whatever happened — dumped by a boyfriend, busted for dope, flunked your finals, whatever — there must have been something that put you in a very low place, with a rather desperate need of cash. There’s no way a middle-class girl from the “heartland” starts doing hand jobs to pay her bills without something in her life going badly wrong to explain how she got there.

Excuse me for belaboring this point at such length, but the pseudonymous “Charlotte Shane” is always talk, talk, talking about sex, sex, sex, as if (a) none of the rest of us know anything at all about sex, and therefore (b) we need a whore to advise us on this topic. Whereas it might actually be helpful if she would write something honest like, “How I Screwed Up My Life So Bad I Became a Whore and How Other Women Can Avoid This Miserable Degrading Life of Shame and Infamy.”

Putting “tons of effort into her own life.” Right.

Bad enough to be a whore. Why you got to be a lying whore?




110 Responses to “Words Mean Things (and Why Should We Trust @CharoShane to Tell the Truth?)”

  1. Dana
    April 22nd, 2016 @ 5:12 am

    I didn’t like beer the first time I tried it, and I still don’t like beer. Actually, I just don’t like alcohol, period.

    As for spinach, back when we were poor, one of the cheap meals my darling bride would rustle up was fried chicken livers, rice and spinach, and the girls were OK with that. One day, Patrick, the neighbors’ kid, invited himself for dinner, and that was the meal Mrs Pico had prepared.

    Patrick never invited himself over for dinner after that.

  2. Quartermaster
    April 22nd, 2016 @ 5:25 am

    Alas, the ADL has become mockable in its own right.

  3. Fail Burton
    April 22nd, 2016 @ 5:43 am

    It has. But even broken clocks are right twice a day.

  4. Fail Burton
    April 22nd, 2016 @ 6:10 am

    That’s like saying dust Mein Kampf off and it’s like ISIS. Reducing these to generic structures does give insights into their similarities but provides a fog for their goals and victims. These are not victims but supremacists playing at being victims in order to gain sympathy and hide their hate.

  5. Squid Hunt ?Patriarch
    April 22nd, 2016 @ 6:58 am

    In this day and age almost every teenager will grow up questioning their parents ability to raise them because that’s our culture. Most will figure out in a couple years that their parents may have been hard, but right, all things being normal. When I say daddy issues I mean a father that either grossly failed or a child that blatantly rebelled, probably due to overindulgence.

  6. Joe Joe
    April 22nd, 2016 @ 10:23 am

    Well, that is one way to stop the trend of feeding the neighbor’s kids. 😀

  7. CruisingTroll
    April 22nd, 2016 @ 11:05 am

    It USED to mean “Fix ita againa Tony”, but that’s RAAAAAACIST. (Okay, it’s actually an ethnic stereotype, but roll with me here.) In deference to the SoSS (Sensitivities of Special Snowflakes), it’s been changed to “fix it all the time”. Which, of course, makes no sense: FIATT???

  8. NeoWayland
    April 22nd, 2016 @ 2:14 pm

    “They have the attention of the mainstream…”

    So get it back.

    Without eliminating all other choices.

    That’s their game. Not only do they demand you PAY ATTENTION RIGHT NOW but they can’t stand anyone else who dissents that the audience may notice.

    I do think Christian conservatives have a decent message and I think conservatives can usually be trusted. One thing that worries me is that certain people think the only way to “win” this is to eliminate everything the nasty people say.

    People should choose for themselves. And yes, sometimes that means that they will choose the “wrong” thing.

  9. Marie Langley
    April 23rd, 2016 @ 3:50 am

    “my room mate Lori Is getting paid on the internet 98$/hr”…..!ce554ctwo days ago grey MacLaren P1 I bought after earning 18,512 was my previous month’s payout..just a little over.17k DoIIars Last month..3-5 hours job a day…with weekly’s realy the simplest. job I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over. hourly 87 DoIIars…Learn. More right Here !ce554n:?:?:???? http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsWallGetPayHourly$98…. .??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??::::::!ce554n….,.

  10. Marie Langley
    April 23rd, 2016 @ 3:50 am

    “my room mate Lori Is getting paid on the internet 98$/hr”…..!ce554ctwo days ago grey MacLaren P1 I bought after earning 18,512 was my previous month’s payout..just a little over.17k DoIIars Last month..3-5 hours job a day…with weekly’s realy the simplest. job I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over. hourly 87 DoIIars…Learn. More right Here !ce554n:?:?:???? http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsWallGetPayHourly$98…. .??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??::::::!ce554n….,