2006-04-06 : I roleplay with my penis

To me, "macho nar yanger" is like "Lumpley Principle."

A funny in-joke, juicy with friendship, irony, and self-deprecation. A reminder to take myself unseriously by coopting the language of the serious; an undignified poke in the ribs for when I feel smug and self-important.

To people who come in later, who aren't in on the joke, I expect that it looks different. In the latter case, like self-aggrandizement; in the former case, like some kind of stupid gender essentialism or something. It looks like exactly the thing it's an enemy to. Like Dogs' hierarchy of sin looks to people who assume that I'm a believer in God, like Dogs' textual take on same-sex sex looks to Particle Man. If I may, without causing too much offense, it looks like killing puppies for satan looks to a concerned mother or a naive minister's kid.

I roleplay WITH MY PENIS!

If I ask you, people-who-came-in-late-and-aren't-in-on-the-joke, if I ask you to lighten up, please don't take it to mean that I think you shouldn't take gender essentialism in a) roleplaying circles, b) the US, and c) the world seriously. Instead, please take it to mean that I think that laughing at gender essentialism in a) roleplaying circles, b) the US, and c) the world is an essential weapon in the fight against it. We'll never defeat it if we don't think it's funny.

Same as God.

And puppies. Little bastards.

1. On 2006-04-06, Larry Lade said:

Would this have anything to do with Tony LB's recent manifesto?


2. On 2006-04-07, Avram said:

Wow. Reading ???macho nar yanger??? as anything but a bit of ironic self-deprication requires a pretty impressive level of literal-minded humorless tone-deafness. Has anybody actually complained?


3. On 2006-04-07, Vincent said:

Avram: Has anybody actually complained?


This is, as Larry says, all about Tony's manifesto, and there are a whole stack of threads on the subject right now over at Story Games. I'll link to a few in marginalia in a second. And yes, some people are complaining - about Tony's manifesto, not about me by name, although I'm sure some group my usage in with his - but that's not what this is about, I'm totally sympathetic to their complaints.

Particularly, Jess' Very Special post is on point, not tone-deaf or humorless (calling a feminist humorless is a shit thing to do anyway, I wouldn't even if she were), and Mo's Virago rejoinder to Tony is pitch-perfect.

(Whether Tony's genuinely gendering his roleplaying or just taking the joke farther than I would, I don't know, but I figure the conversation's going overall extremely well and he and they will work it out. It's not much to do with me anyway.)

So the people complaining don't bother me. They're pointing out that gendering play styles is moronic by pointing it out; I'm pointing out that gendering play styles is moronic by doing it as a joke. I'm in solidarity with them, even if they don't know it, and that's fine.

No, worse than complaining. What gets me is there's this one guy who's taken to calling his roleplaying style "girly," as though that actually did distinguish it from mine. Yeesh.


direct link

This reminds...
VB of Are you Muy Macho?
VB of A Very Special Gender and Gaming Conversation
VB of The Epicaric Virago Manifesto

This makes...
jrs go "I so want "girly""*
BR go "As for Mo's Virago post..."*
RE go "Welcome to my world"
Mo go "Yay!"*

*click in for more

4. On 2006-04-07, Ninja Monkey J said:

Yeah, I'm glad that's working out over there.


So much of this has to do with a couple of people saying, "Hey, you know that time?" "Yeah! That was a great time! It was totally ovarian!" and then someone else, sans context, sees the conversation as a public debate, which it is, and comments on that one part that rings a bell, when, really, they should play a game about it and gain a context of their own.

Man, that was a hell of a run-on sentence.


direct link

This makes...
LP go "No, it is not a run-on sentence."

5. On 2006-04-07, Ben Lehman said:

It's true, by the way.  Vincent does role-play with his penis.  And, man, it's massive.  I have no idea how he buys pants.  Let alone has sex.



6. On 2006-04-07, Ben Lehman said:

It's true, by the way.  Vincent does role-play with his penis.  And, man, it's massive.  I have no idea how he buys pants.  Let alone has sex.



direct link

This makes...
BL go "So massive..."*
go "Would you say..."*
VB go "2d8, thank you very much."
VB go "also..."*
BL go "Sorry man..."*
VB go "I'm just thinking about the Dogs characters."*
BL go "I'm thinking about..."*
jmn go "Reminds me of a character my wife played..."*
BA go "Ben..."*
VB go "I agree!"*
NinJ go "Nailed to a door..."*
BL go "There are lots of ways..."*

*click in for more

7. On 2006-04-07, Vincent said:

In short, there's lots to talk about with regard to gender in roleplaying circles. We could talk about real issues if we wanted.

This ridiculous-on-the-face-of-it "my playstyle is a man's playstyle" thing seems like it might divert conversation around the real issues instead - although maybe not, as I admire Brand Robins' playing cross-gender thread (link to come) at Story Games a whole lot, for instance.


direct link

This reminds...
VB of Playing Across Gender Lines

This makes...
MSW go "clarification?"*
BL go "While we're commending Jess..."*

*click in for more

8. On 2006-04-07, Ron Edwards said:

Me, I'm often disappointed at how people's reading of Sex & Sorcery seems to stop after the Lines & Veils in chapter one, as if that were some kind of amazing revelation. It was only a kindygarden, orienting point for the later stuff.

I mean, it's the only RPG book ever to deal with actual players' gender and gender-content of stories. Where's the dialogue? I have reluctantly concluded that people don't *want* dialogue about it, and prefer to remain with this absurd level of reactive, posturing responses to superficial terms use.

Oh - except for Lisa Provost's posts in Story Games, which were fucking awesome. Lisa, you reading this? You rock!!


direct link

This makes...
EP go "I take credit"*
Lisa P go "Holy cow!"*
JZ go "As far as that goes, Ron"*
RE go "Two quick replies"*

*click in for more

9. On 2006-04-07, Vincent said:

Ooh, Ron.

Okay, check me on this.

In Dogs original I said "as a group, work out what counts as a legit raise." I watched people play for a while, and then in Dogs illod I said "as a group, work out what counts as a legit raise - and that means hold yourself to the highest standard, not the standard of whoever's talking at the moment." I always meant that, but few people read it that way.

When you or I or anyone says "the group does blah blah," you and I know that it's a process of criticism and judgement, it's the group holding the individual to its high standards. But that's not how most gamers read it, it's not how they can read it. They read it as "I get to do blah blah for myself, and the group accepts me uncritically for who I am and what I can contribute (if anything) or they aren't really my friends."

So in Sex and Sorcery you lead with the group's lines and veils, and how do people read it? Like this: "I get to set lines and veils for myself; I get veto power over others' participation, by establishing lines and veils; I don't have to deal with anything I don't want to. Or they aren't really my friends."

So instead of orienting us, you might be inadvertantly giving us a reassuring out.

It's pretty clear that people don't want to really talk about it, though - hell, I don't really want to talk about it either, at least not today. I mean, come up to me in the Forge Birthday forum and be like, "Vincent, just how sexy is it to roleplay with Meg and Emily all the time?" and watch me duck and dodge.


direct link

This makes...
RE go "Good point about the reading"*

*click in for more

10. On 2006-04-07, Brand Robins said:

So Vincent, how sexy is it?

I'll tell you about RPing with Mo and the hot girls in my game group if you'll tell me about how sexy it is to play with Meg and Emily all the time.


11. On 2006-04-07, Vincent said:

Nah. Over beer sometime.


12. On 2006-04-07, Brand Robins said:

; grins,

Just as glad you didn't call me out. See, I'll talk all the shit about myself (I'm dirty that way)—but talk about my wife without checking with her first? Uh huh.

Though, if you're gonna be at GenCon I'll buy you a beer and we can talk.


direct link

This makes...
XP go "Yeah"*

*click in for more

13. On 2006-04-07, Vincent said:

I'm SO going to be at GenCon. Oh. My. Fuck. am I going to be at GenCon.

Know who I really, truly hate, with the pure hate of the blazing white Utah desert sun? All those people at Forge Midwest WITHOUT ME.


So yes, beer at GenCon, it's a date.


direct link

This makes...
BR go "I just realized I missed Forge Midwest by like a week...."*
Mo go "Hmm"*
VB go "Meg'll be there too."*
Lisa P go "Me too!"*
Mo go "Woohoo!"*

*click in for more

14. On 2006-04-07, Ron Edwards said:

Shrug, what's the big deal? Role-playing with women at the table is a sensual experience. Not erotic in the sense of watching porn, not in an erection-inducing or fantasizing sense, but definitely sensual, with sexual undertones.

Always has been. Nothing special about the women in question, nothing different from doing other social stuff with women. Doing nearly any social stuff with women is a sensual experience. Was this supposed to be some kind of big male secret or something?

(Oddly, for me, this observation excludes martial arts, in which that particular switch just flicks off, and always has, from the beginning.)


direct link

This makes...
BL go "Excludes Martial Arts?"*
Chris go "Martial arts? makes sense"*
BR go "I find that I don't always have a choice in what is hardwired in my head."
JAK go "Yeah, Martial Arts"*
BR go "Also, RPing with my mother in law wasn't so sensual."*

*click in for more

15. On 2006-04-07, Vincent said:

YES it's supposed to be secret.

I mean, it must be, right? Otherwise why would I feel so ashamed about it?

(Ha! Whaddaya say to THAT?)


16. On 2006-04-07, anon. said:

Man, I have some thoughts about this last exchange, but I'm not sure this is the place for them. Suffice to say, I know exactly what you're saying, Vincent. But I think Ron's right.


direct link

This makes...
jmn go "That was me..."

17. On 2006-04-08, Brand Robins said:

Sure Ron, but that's the easiest level of the answer.

But, as with anything while it may start there it doesn't end there by any means. Yes, with some women there are a lot of other levels of sexuality, sensuality, and eroticism involved. With some that could be none, with some that could be lots.

How much of all of those is involved in specific play with specific partners is the level of stuff I was going to talk with Vincent about over beer.


direct link

This makes...
BR go "Ron, you should join us"*
VB go "man, you haven't seen the competition for Ron's time."*
BR go "Oh, true. Should've thought of that."*

*click in for more

18. On 2006-04-08, Vincent said:



19. On 2006-04-08, Avram said:

Thanks for the context, Vincent. I see that Tony finished up by asking "Are there places where it is offensive without meaning to be?", thus inviting responses like Peaseblossom's. (Unless that got added later.) Also that "A Very Special Gender and Gaming Conversation" is itself a humorous, self-mocking title.

So, role-playing with your penis. I'm thinking you have a bunch of socks with different faces and clothing drawn on them, and you can swap 'em on your dick to play NPCs. More fun than painting miniatures.


direct link

This makes...
go "When I was 17"*
VB go "you're kidding."*
JZ go "No shit"*
AG go "Now there's some macho yangin'!"*
AD go "No girls at the table, then?"*
JZ go "Assault?"*

*click in for more

20. On 2006-04-09, xenopulse said:

One of the most fascinating things when I went online in 1996 and discovered chat roleplaying was how having women in the game changed everything. Aside from the strong wish fulfillment/avatar thing that's going on (and that's obviously influencing the content of the stories being played), just playing with women after having an all-male group since 1990 was quite an experience.


21. On 2006-04-10, Jeffwik said:

Why should the burden be on me to learn these you-had-to-be-there contextless uncommunicative exclusionary pieces of jargon, and not on you to develop communicative jargon that doesn't require knowledge of your in-jokes?  Why is it better for me to lighten up, and not better for you to change your language so you aren't necessarily talking to the same twenty people over and over again?

This is my basic problem with the Forge.


22. On 2006-04-10, Vincent said:

Hey Jeff.

The burden's on you if - and only if - you think it's worth the effort.

If you do, great, I'll help out the best I can.

If you don't, great, I'll see you around.

I don't have any opinions about it one way or the other; I don't have any agenda with regard to you participating in the conversation at all. Follow your whim, it's one to me.


direct link

This makes...
JW go "But you haven't answered my question"*
lpl go "Um, the vulgate IS in Latin"*
JW go "Doh!"
lpl go "Hey, 'salright. I get your meaning."
Chris go "LP= in plain english"*
Chris go "(And, also)"*

*click in for more

23. On 2006-04-10, Vincent said:

Jeff, in marginalia: Given that terms like "Lumpley Principle" are in-jokey and therefore exclusionary, what's gained by adhering to them that outweighs the benefits resulting from using plain-English (or at least more communicative) terms?

Two things. One minor, one major.

The minor one is that when I use the terms, I smile. This is obviously not a good reason for anyone else to use the terms ever, under any circumstances.

The major one is that making up new terms that'll work better is totally impossible for me. I suspect it's totally impossible; I'm certain that even if it's possible for someone somewhere, I'm not that person.

I encourage anyone who thinks they can make it work to give it a go, and if they in fact CAN make it work I'll adopt their terms happily.

But this thing you're asking me to do, it's not a thing I can do.

So what's the advantage of using the bad old in-jokey terms? Well, it's not impossible, for one.


direct link

This makes...
BL go "Truth, Beauty, Charm..."*
JW go "I feel challenged!"*

*click in for more

24. On 2006-04-10, Liz said:

"Has anybody actually complained?"

Only a few women... nothing to be alarmed about. Maybe a couple of nelly-boys too.


25. On 2006-04-10, Liz said:

"Has anybody actually complained?"

Only a few women... nothing to be alarmed about. Maybe a couple of nelly-boys too.


26. On 2006-04-10, Vincent said:

Hi Liz.

Who's your ire directed at, please? Avram? Me?


27. On 2006-04-10, Jonathan Walton said:

Dude, Vincent, if you're gonna talk about me, at least use my name so I can respond back.  I did you that favor.  No harm, no foul, but please.

Jonathan "Girly" Walton

I think the annoying/awkward/great thing about all this discussion is that people are trying to talk about important gender issues while making fun of those same issues.  This is 1) the problem with talking about gender and 2) one of the only ways to really talk about and dismantle cultural institutions as absurd and invasive as sexism and racism.

But then nobody's quite sure what's a joke and what represents people's real feelings.  And certain jokes or words don't fly with certain audiences.  Jess has issues with "macho."  Vincent digs "macho" but thinks "girly" is ridiculous. I'm cool with "girly" in reference to guys but not girls.  But, under all that, I think we're still communicating and saying some valuable stuff.

Where is this going?  Who knows, but it'll be all the better for us having had these conversations.


28. On 2006-04-10, Vincent said:

Hey Jonathan.

I agonized and agonized whether to name your name. Thanks for the no foul.


direct link

This makes...
JW go "I Appreciate Your Consideration"*

*click in for more

29. On 2006-04-11, Avram said:

Probably at me, Vincent, since she quoted me. And she's so angry she had to post twice!

Liz, could you point out anybody—male, female, intersexual, trans-gendered, neuter, whatever—who's actually complained about the term "macho nar yanger" being sexist, and hasn't recognized Vincent's use of it as self-parody? Every example Google can turn up for me (and it's not many) is tongue-in-cheek.


30. On 2006-04-11, Roger said:

I would expect that complaints about "macho nar yanger", if any, would be on the basis that's it's racist, as it deprecates the Spanish/Hispanic machismo.

Maybe Vincent needs to write a couple plays, not about Mitch and Mary, but about Mary and Manuel.


direct link

This reminds...
BR of Some people don't like the word macho because of things they've seen in real life.

This makes...
BL go "And Chinese..."*
RaC go "Ah"*
AG go "And narwhales"

*click in for more

31. On 2006-05-04, Christopher Kubasik said:

Links were promised... But I couldn't find them.

Can anyone tell me where the heck this tempest of a thread is?



32. On 2006-05-04, Vincent said:

33. On 2006-05-05, Christopher Kubasik said:


Wow. That's it?

Well, in that case:

Tony. You Rock.

Lisa. You Rock.

Mo. You Rock.


RSS feed: new comments to this thread