The Critics Respond, Part Twenty-Nine


Surprise! You probably thought this was going to be about my long-hair-don’t-care article, which went flat-out viral over the past twenty-four hours and at one point held the top spot on at least three major “subreddits” at once. It’s generated several thousand comments across the Internet, nearly all of them falling into one of two camps: women saying “yes, this happens to me all the time” and men saying “OMG WHAT A LIAR SJW FAGET I COULD BEAT HIM UP FROM THE COMFORT OF MY GAMING CHAIR USING THE POWER OF MY SOUL.”

Truth be told, I wouldn’t even know where to begin sifting through all the traffic, drama, and conversation that post has generated. I’ll get around to it once the storm subsides. In the meantime, there’s a more important thing happening: a woman on the Internet is saying that I’m a lousy lay.

The following post, which was forwarded to me by two different participants in a secret auto-journo Facebook group, is a response to Aaron Cole’s new job opportunity at High Gear Media and his subsequent gracious resignation from TTAC. Let me say, by the way, that I’m a bit humiliated by the fact, mentioned by Aaron in aforementioned gracious resignation, that I didn’t remember meeting him at Spring Mountain during the Fiat 500 Abarth preview lo these many years ago. As I recall, I was very tightly booked on my travel that day and I was just trying to get my laps in before time ran out and I had to leave for my flight. Apologies, Aaron, and best of luck at HGM.

Alright, now on to this comment. The lady in question is a female journalist, a year or two older than I am. Six years ago, we met at a press event and slept together that night. Over the course of the year that followed, we had a remarkably tumultuous and drama-filled relationship. We were both pretty serious about it and at one point she kicked her boyfriend out of the house and I started making plans to move to California to live with her full-time.

I did something to make her angry, like not returning a phone call or something, and she decided to punish me by starting a bunch of drama with some of our mutual friends. Her actions are beyond the scope of this post but they were pretty hardcore and also resulted in another couple breaking up when she revealed something to one of them that I’d told her in confidence six months previously.

All of this eventually got back to Vodka McBigbra, my roommate/girlfriend, and in order to keep things from getting any crazier than they were I told my female journalist friend that we were finished. She then put a really crazy post up on a car blog at 4am, made a big deal of our breakup on Facebook and elsewhere, and more or less ruined my life for six months as I had to deal with all of the white knights in the autojourno world who were in love with her and who wanted to punish me in any way possible for my transgression.

Over the course of 2011 we communicated quite a bit but I ended up completely letting her go to satisfy the whims of Drama McHourglass, who was a jealous side girl and would have no other goddesses before her, so to speak. In the years that followed we each kind of sank unreservedly into what I think of as our characters. Me: the modern HST/Hemingway/Setright hybrid, imperious and egotistical, a sociopathic serial abuser of female hearts, cursed to suffer one tragedy and injury after another. Her: self-appointed mother to every young journalist, obsessed with the social lives of her gay friends in the business, wearer of increasingly bizarre outfits, fur coats, and hats.

She makes two allegations about me in her posts, one of which I can easily refute.

As for me continually harassing her: here’s the full record of our interactions over the past four or so years.

12/30/2015 — sent her a congratulatory message on a rumor I’d heard that she was dating a mutual friend. She had that mutual friend send me something indicating that he was seeing someone else.

3/27/2013 — saw her at the New York Auto Show and suggested we have a drink and bury the hatchet.

1/4/2013 — Multiple emails back and forth in follow-up to the below call, instigated by a very odd dream I had about her.

12/26/2012 — We had an argument on Facebook after she wrote something mean about me, followed by a long conversation via text and a longer phone call to discuss if we would attend a Fleetwood Mac concert together. Couldn’t make the logistics work. She accused me of ruining her life and implied that I abused her, to which I responded that “all the abuse in our relationship was of a musical nature.”

11/21/2012 — She asked via email to confirm to her fiance that we were not seeing each other, which I did.

5/26/2012 — She left me a long drunken voicemail.

8/16/2011 — I wrote a piece on her employer and asked her for a quote, she told me to fuck off.

As for the second allegation, I’m no mind-reader so I can’t say for sure if she truly found me unsatisfactory. At the time everything seemed more than satisfactory to me. She certainly went out of her way to make sure we had times and places to sleep together. Maybe, just maybe, she loved me for my mind — but what she actually told me on those long nights together was that I was a repugnant, soulless, manipulative person who happened to do it for her in bed.

She was right. Truth be told, I don’t think anybody has ever loved me for my mind, or for my heart. I mean, I’m pretty good at meeting women, and I’m pretty good at getting them into bed, and they certainly do crazy shit to keep me from breaking up with them, but when I close my eyes, this is what I see:


Anyway. For the record, I will not say the same about her. She was a great part-time girlfriend: witty, perceptive, conversational, remarkably intelligent. She had a lovely singing voice. I liked a lot of the things she wrote. And she was simply superlative in bed, a real California treat for this Midwestern boy on his own. It didn’t work out because in the long run I valued being in Ohio with my son more than I valued the idea of being on the West Coast with her. Also, we’re both temperamental, dramatic people and that’s a bad combination. So I had to let her go.

It’s petty and bitchy of me to make this the subject of a blogpost but when she decided to go and make these allegations to a secret group of journalists which, incidentally, banned me a long time ago for being disruptive and overly ethical, I feel compelled to respond in the only forum available to me, which is this one. So, to the lady in question — let’s bury the hatchet for real, kiddo. I don’t regret what we did and I know you don’t either. It just didn’t work out. Hope your new life on the East Coast brings you the peace that your old life on the West Coast couldn’t. And not that you live in Los Angeles anymore, but this is for you, since you always hated my guitar playing:

57 Replies to “The Critics Respond, Part Twenty-Nine”

  1. everybodyhatesscott

    The long hair article was insta-launched yesterday. That usually does it.

    If I hadn’t been reading your writing for years, I’d have thought it was written by an SJW as well so it’s not surprising that peoples first reaction was ‘not this again’.

  2. arbuckle

    You might want to either black box the lead image or just straight up say who it is. It is pretty easy to read through the wipe effect.

      • Felis Concolor

        I have a rule when reading through blogs, forums and other public and private exchange sites: read for a while, then lean back and take a leisurely sip and swallow of whatever drink I have nearby, then take a deep breath or 2 and return to reading posts. That rule just saved me from suffering a serious wrong-pipe coughing fit.

      • DrZombie

        Agreed. Makes it that much more interesting that the name can be figured out. Thanks for not taking the fun out of it Jack.

  3. hank chinaski

    “repugnant, soulless, manipulative person who happened to do it for her in bed. ”

    said every woman, ever.

    now, about this daughter of hers….

    • VolandoBajo

      Such bitter comments are not said by every woman who ever lived, just every woman who was ever scorned. Because after all, introspection and responsibility would not provide the immediate gratification that lashing out does.

  4. Mark Stevenson

    So, a couple of clarifications, if I may.

    1) The post wasn’t in a private auto journo group. It was a very public reply to Aaron’s very public and good natured post about switching jobs. The fact she had to reply with something that really has nothing to do with him is incredibly unfortunate for him.
    2) I’m the Mark she referenced before launching into Jack, and the comment I made about her daughter was incredibly inappropriate. It was also made … seven years ago? Since then, I have apologized multiple times, and I thought it was water under the bridge. I guess not.
    3) That’s me replying to her on Facebook — though that’s probably easy to see.
    4) I’ve seen the text Jack sent to the woman in question because she showed it to me in Detroit. I can’t be certain, but it seemed like she expected me to “do something” about it. I didn’t and I don’t plan to do anything about it — because, come on, what’s there to do?
    5) Jack isn’t the only person who got messages about this. I’ve had other people in the industry — those who are widely respected — message me and exclaim “What’s wrong with her?” and “Holy, that was uncalled for.”
    6) She currently represents an outlet that holds impartiality above all else. That’s kind of funny. (Though, considering that outlet’s recent electric vehicle review, this doesn’t surprise me.)

  5. Dirty Dingus McGee

    Christ, am I glad I don’t participate on social media. I don’t twit, or twat, or whatever the hell it is; the only Facebook I do is mine in an actual book, only vice is commenting on websites/blogs.

    As for trash talking on social media; Pffft. If you have a hair on your ass you will meet me personally and we WILL come to some kind of conclusion.

    (oh yeah, all you little bastids git off ma lawn)

  6. jz78817

    I was on the fence about saying this earlier, but what the hell. I used to think there was something wrong with me for being single my entire life. but between the people I’ve known IRL and what I’ve read online, as days go by I feel that it’s probably been for the best.

  7. Jeff Zekas

    Jack, you are awesome.
    As for long hair: as a child of the 60’s and early 70’s, I had long blonde surfer hair, wore typical Lebowski drifter clothes, and, as a consequence, regularly got hassled by rednecks, cops, idiots and parents. Finally cut my hair, just to avoid all the drama. Nowadays, I am retired and could grow my hair long, but hell, I’d look like Ben Franklin… hardly attractive or sexy. Oh, and as far as this woman: women are crazy, vindictive, and high maintenance. Even “low maintenance” women are high maintenance. Good luck, and thanks for the insights.

      • Felis Concolor

        To support the hair theory of prolificity:

        Check out Andreas Vollenweider in 1981 (Behind the Gardens, Behind the Wall, Under the Tree…)

        Then check out Andreas Vollenweider in 2009 (A I R)

        Then check out portraits of Johann Sebastian Bach, who sired 20 offspring.

        Comparing to Ben Franklin, I know correlation isn’t causation, but I’m not going to knock that theory.

  8. Will

    Not going to lie, pretty easy to figure out who she is.

    I don’t understand 2 things:

    1. Why is it always assumed men are the ones who are terrible in bed? Such a weird phenomena that is totally untrue. Also, this is a common insult from women, and to be honest, it shouldn’t sting (to be honest, who cares). It’s like a guy calling you a pussy. Meh.

    2. I don’t understand how someone like this can keep their job. Such public displays of drama would get me fired I know this. Then again, I’m always amazed by what people get away with in the “workplace” and can be successful at the same time.

    • VolandoBajo

      Women can often get away with catty behavior that would get a man canned, as well as have his image turn into a pile of crap, considered to be a total cad, etc.

      But I would say that the record speaks for itself when a woman says that I or any man is lousy in bed after sleeping with me on multiple occasions over a longish period of time: If it was so lousy, why did you keep coming back?

      It is obviously sour grapes, aimed at that sensitive spot inside all men (at least all hetero men) that they are lousy lays. An easy and obvious target, and for some reason, we tend to forget the logic of the above question, why did they keep coming back?

      And Jack, you seem like an intelligent, introspective, and rather swashbuckling youngish man. I see no reason other than existential insecurity why you should feel that no woman has ever loved you. If I may dare to be so bold as to toss out a bit of hard-earned amateur analysis, it is more likely that you have a natural fear of total commitment, partially for no good reason, and partially for many good reasons such as the situation you encountered. That in turn makes women tend to be reticent and to hold back on their commitment and their full investment in the relationship, thus setting up a “deadly embrace” wherein neither one ever makes the first move to be all in, yet both hang on hoping that the other will read their mind and call them out to see if they can and will be all in as well.

      I did this for years without any awareness of it, and finally became aware only when I found a woman I wanted more than life itself, and who had fallen as madly in love with me from the jump as I had with her.

      But instead of this being the end of my problems, it was the beginning of a new and different one…neither of us could fully trust that the other felt as strongly as we did, for years. And for years we struggled to try to arrive at a place of rest and comfort with each other.

      In the end, we both accepted that we would have to compromise, and we would have to take a chance and believe that the other one wasn’t playing us. When we finally did, after years, we began to really enjoy our life together.

      But the human condition, coupled with human trickiness in trying to protect ourselves, makes it almost impossible for any two people to commit fully ever. I am not surprised that so few lasting relationships ever form…I am surprised that as many as there are, do.

      And FWIW, I once had a journo friend (female) who was divorced and who used to run around with her ex-, my ex- and myself. Wanted to “complete the circle” by having an affair with me just at the time I discovered that the woman she was living with when she came back to town was the same woman I had lusted after for years when we were both married, and who was also newly divorced.

      When I started up with the roommate (a relationship that lasted years) the journo lady did everything she could to convince us her ex- was trying to kill her, to destroy our relationship, and generally slander us to a wide circle of friends. All this, and I never even went to bed with her…didn’t stop her from trying to convince her roommate that I would be a lousy lay…she got there with too little, too late.

      Hell hath no fury, Jack. You know it intellectually. Accept it in your heart and your soul, and stop letting yourself be tormented by the fact that true love is a hard thing to do.

      Like the song, some may win, some may lose, some of us will sing the blues…but every once in a while, a couple becomes lucky and transcends all the obstacles and the two become one. Wish I could promise you it will happen for you too, but no one has a crystal ball. But your chances are at least as good as other men’s.

      It is precisely because you do “bring a lot to the table” (and other furniture) that women sometimes lash out at you. But if what they said about you, and what you take to heart out of inner fear, was true, you’d be a borderline incel, instead of a serial heartbreaker with enough heart to still hope for the real thing.

      In a way, I am like the cartoon postcard I once saw, of two extremely old men sitting on the porch of an old people’s home, and one jumps up and says “By golly! I finally figured out women!” Wish I’d known then what I know now. But I have the stripes to prove that I am not just parroting stuff from a book on relationships.

      And when and if you find that perhaps you have a woman who might be worth giving all the rest up for, don’t be afraid to take the chance, no matter how many times before you have tried and failed. I had so many notches in my belt that my pants would have fallen down, before I finally found the one true love of my life. And it took us years to be comfortable and to completely trust each other. I didn’t even believe in true lasting love anymore when I met her. But the years have made believers of us both, as we have stood by each other through the good times and the hard times.

      I really like and respect you, Jack. I hope the day comes when you find what you are looking for, and that you recognize it when you do.

      I had been a “player” for over two decades when my life changed overnight. It’s never too late. If I had known that my wife existed and was who she was, I might have waited for her. But like I said, just when I least expected it, it happened.

      Listen to the Ray Davies song, “O Lucky Man”…”If you have a friend on whom you can rely, you are a lucky man.” In the end, that is what love really is. That and a whole lot more. But that is the foundation on which it can stand.

      But I have to add that it shouldn’t amaze me, but it does, that there are so many clueless guys who think that they will become the hero of such a “damsel in distress” and who want to get in your face on the representation of an obviously troubled and scorned woman. But the people who matter are the ones who understand, and don’t form opinions based on some woman’s vindictiveness about a failed romance.

      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

        I like the girl I have now. She’s not going anywhere if I can help it. We’ll see if she wants to stay…

      • Dan R.

        This was great, @VolandoBajo. I’m 36 and hardly a swashbuckler, but the notches over the years invetably add up, as does the confoundingly repeated mistakes and resultant cynicism – anyway i know it was direct at Jack but it certainly spoke to me, and I thank you for sharing it.

        As for the Woman In Question, first off, on a superficial note, in her photos she looks plenty hot to me. Second, she seems to be a classic Type-A. In my comparatively limited experience, and at the risk of stating the obvious, North American girls can be hot and they can be super-driven, and they can even be both, but if they’re both, they’ve got baggage.

        I live in a city with an inordinately high proportion of attractive, accomplished, Type A women, and most of them have baggage, ranging from the garden variety “i’ve had to claw my way through this man’s world to make it in this industry so don’t fuck with me” chip on their shoulder, all the way up to “I’m a misandrist who nonetheless has heterosexual needs”.

        So not to oversimplify, but if Jack insists on dating very attractive women, then they shouldn’t be Type A. But if he insists on both, they should be foreign. For some reason foreign women can be hot and Type-A, and not crazy. I don’t know why, and I’m not gonna say it’s a scientific fact but it’s basically a scientific fact.

        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          “I’m a misandrist who nonetheless has heterosexual needs”.

          Christ, I could give you a list of people who should have that tattooed under their belly button.

        • VolandoBajo

          Actually domestic model goodlooking type A’s can be really good, but they often at least start out high maintenance. But like a good exotic sports car, if properly set up, they can be the best option, if you are willing to make the effort.

          I won the lottery with one, though I will be the first to admit that Burton and Taylor had nothing on us for the first decade. Now we enjoy our time with each other 95+% of the time, and don’t destroy each other the rest of the time.

          And my wife looked like she was 21 when she was 29, and now many years later looks at least twenty years younger than she is, plus she is still as smart as a whip, though sometimes still a bit naive, as a result of an overly sheltered childhood.

          When her grandmother was in her late eighties, the woman looked like she was in her late fifties, and I have been told that that is true of all the women in her family. I truly hit the lottery multiple ways with her, even though the ramp-up was long and difficult.

          Neither of us could trust the fact that the other one was as smitten as we were, as experienced players, for the first time in both of our lives. Finally we figured out that the feeling was truly mutual and we were able to settle down.

          And all this after two decades of being a player, to the point of cynicism that anyone ever found true and lasting love. Just when I least expected it…life can be full of surprises sometimes.

          Both of us had been accustomed to having enough moxie to be able to get our way the majority of the time in past relationships. Needless to say that led to some intense diplomatic, and sometimes not so diplomatic, negotiations. But now it is as if we are in the last act of Taming of the Shrew (though I sometimes feel like I am in The Lion in Winter, or The Leopard, by Lampedusa).

          As to the crazy lady who started all this conversation, the one Jack knew, if you read the story he had written earlier about her you learn some details of her childhood that are somewhat atypical. It has been my experience that women with such histories can often be both charming, even coquettish, and yet can be vindictive and angry to the n-th degree at other times. And absent some deep personal psychological work, it never changes. As I got older and wiser (before I met the love of my life) I learned to avoid such situations, no matter how tempting, as the end was inevitably going to be a bad one. Once I got over my knight in shining armor fantasies, or at least learned to keep them in check until the right occasion arose, I found that my life became much less drama filled.

          Some men need that drama…I don’t and never did. But at one time I would charge into situations plundering as I might, and only later look around and survey the situation and try to figure out what was going on. But fortunately, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

      • VicMik

        She looks like a cat lady in the making…way past her Last F**kable Day.
        She probably no longer gets the type of attention she once did at the pressers – studs buying her martinis – an adventurous lay on the road. All behind her as she becomes more invisible by the day. Desperation-driven drama.

        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          Ten or even five years ago, she really had something. I don’t know what happened. She’s one of at least four women I can think of where they just IMPLODED after we broke up. Either I’m poison to women in their thirties or I’m just the last person to see it.

          • hank chinaski

            That demo ‘has one foot on the banana peel’ in that regard.
            The combination of battle-tested experience and enthusiasm to please can be a potent one.

        • Will

          I’m always amazed at how many 25 year olds have the cellulite creeping in. You can see the visual change in age when you see girls 25, 30 & 35 standing next to each other.

          Also, Amy Schumer isn’t funny (at least I don’t think so)

          • Rock36

            This makes me count my blessings that my wife has no noticeable cellulite even at age 39… However, her stomach skin is a little loose after I ram-rodded a few kids through her… But it’s all good.

  9. kvndoom

    I know I’ve said it before… this retaliation is some form of childish vindictiveness when they’re the ones who gave up the ass in the first place. Except Internet, you know.

    In high school girls would vindictively spread rumors that their ex-boyfriends had tiny dicks or were secretly gay. Nice to see “grown women” carrying the torch so well.

  10. Frank Galvin

    I work in higher ed, in the HR side of the house dealing with faculty and staff harassment complaints. Couldn’t help myself and had to find out a little bit more about her. Lets just say, my office would refer to her as a “frequent filer.”

  11. VolandoBajo

    Matt said that she was a very nice person also, and over the years he has proven to be a very good judge of character, well beyond what you might expect of a young man his age.

    Knowing that he approves should give you confidence that you are with someone who is not only fun to be with, but likely will be there through the thick and the thin, as we all hope will be the case when we are trying to put together something real and lasting.

    As to it being a small world, vis a vis the NYC theater, I have a better small world example than that. The young woman that Matt is getting quite serious about has a last name that is fairly rare. And sure enough, it turns out that her uncle and I worked together at a top Wall Street firm about three decades ago.

    The fact that he was one of the brightest, and for the most part, friendly, of the denizens of the often cutthroat world of Wall Street corporate politics, coupled with the fact that apples usually don’t fall far from the tree (plus the job she has in her twenties, as if there were no recession going on), all lead me to believe that perhaps he has found a winner, if they work out in the long run.

    We were originally scheduled to go down for Superbowl weekend, and to leave him there for a week or two, across the Valentines Day weekend, but unfortunately she ended up with a (hopefully not too serious) health problem that landed her in the hospital.

    But from being apprehensive a month or so ago, I have gone over to the point of view that perhaps Matt has once again discerned something that others might have missed, or been unable to contend with.

    It should be interesting.

    From the stories you have written, I can see why your lady friend adds to your life, as she seems to be a person with a mind of her own and the ability to find ways to keep life interesting. Hope things only get better for the two of you.


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