I have not been a regular reader of the Times’s Ross Douthat since the 2016 presidential campaign, and I was not a regular reader of his before that. Unlike David Brooks and Bret Stephens, the other fussy right-wing cheese heaps who pretend to dislike Donald Trump for the Times, I do not have a standing body of jokes at the ready to use against him.
Really all I have with Douthat is a broad impression that he is a prudish fake Catholic with weird sex takes—like that society should distribute sex robots to angry virgins, and also, and perhaps paradoxically, that masturbation is evil—he tends to launder through bizarre According to the logic of the liberals... frameworks, and he sometimes shows up on Jeopardy! to read clues. Also, for as long as I live, I will never forget the following passage, from his 2005 book Privilege, the entire rest of which I have not read and will never read:
One successful foray ended on the guest bed of a high school friend’s parents, with a girl who resembled a chunkier Reese Witherspoon drunkenly masticating my neck and cheeks. It had taken some time to reach this point—“Do most Harvard guys take so long to get what they want?” she had asked, pushing her tongue into my mouth. I wasn’t sure what to say, but then I wasn’t sure this was what I wanted. My throat was dry from too much vodka, and her breasts, spilling out of pink pajamas, threatened my ability to. I was supposed to be excited, but I was bored and somewhat disgusted with myself, with her, with the whole business... and then whatever residual enthusiasm I felt for the venture dissipated, with shocking speed, as she nibbled at my ear and whispered—”You know, I’m on the pill...”
This brings me to last night.
To me there are two possible ways to read this pair of tweets. The first is the more obvious: A flushed, sweaty Ross Douthat, pupils dilated alarmingly, horny for group action, in a characteristically roundabout way inviting the sexy under-35 polyamorists out there to identify themselves and/or leap into his DMs. The second is much more alarming, and concerns the nature of the “anecdata” that Ross Douthat would like all of the internet to know that he keeps encountering: That Ross Douthat is out here continually batting frenzied polyamorists away from his dick (much like he once had to fend off the drunken “chunkier Reese Witherspoon” lo these many years ago), and has turned to Twitter to find out whether this is a common occurrence in the world or if he just has a special Kavorka that makes him irresistible to the non-monogamous people of the world.
I hope never to find out the truth! Nor indeed ever to think about Ross Douthat again. This has all been extremely gross and disturbing, and I hate it.