I don’t know why, but it sounds shallow to say that I didn’t sleep with someone because she didn’t know what the term Libertine meant. I feel it’s snobbish, somehow, to set your standard on a single word. However, looking back on the situation… yeah that’s totally why we didn’t bang.
See, I met her through a mutual friend. Now he had some specific things to say about her, because he was kind of a tight-assed misogynist who I think was probably struggling with some issues regarding his own sexuality. That’s neither here nor there, but it’s important to understand that he said she was a slut who’d fuck boys or girls because she didn’t care and she was a slut. Yes, he started and ended the sentence with the slut declaration. Now, if you know me, you know where this is going. I had to meet this person. If this guy I knew was going into full granny pearl clutching mode, I had to meet the person who was causing those pearls to be clutched.
And she was… really good looking. I mean, really cute and had the sort of body that makes a guy in his mid-twenties sit up and take notice. And she had… a habit. She would laugh and lean against whoever was nearest and press herself against them and press her cheek next to theirs and laugh and it was MUTHAFUCKIN’ enticing. She had a certain sexual aggression, which I like, and a confidence of self which I’m also a fan of. Her stated preferences, sexual and otherwise, put check marks in a lot of boxes for me. I’m way into sluts is what I’m saying.
One of the first conversations we had, she was driving and either I mentioned that he had told me about her or she had asked if he had. I can’t remember and I don’t intend to go into the fine details of the memory palace to find out. I could, but what the fuck is the point? The important part of this story is that I admitted he had indeed mentioned her to me.
“He said you were something of a modern day libertine.” I said, she said she studied poetry and literature, so I figured that little softball would be good.
“What does that mean?” She asked, which I judged to be a decent question, because that statement could go multiple ways.
“Well, I’ll admit, those weren’t his exact words. I’m not sure he knows what a libertine is.”
“Well, I don’t know what that is.” she admitted, and I kind of deflated a little.
“He intimated that you were a sexually free individual.” I said, because I had all these two cent words, I’d already paid for them, fuck if they were going to rest on the goddamn shelf!
“Did he call me a slut?” She asked.
“Yeah, that was closer to his terminology.” I said. “And he said you didn’t make distinctions between genders.”
“I’m bi if that’s what he means.”
And that was the first problem, there were others, but that was a problem. I mean… I mean… I mean I’m sitting here on the bench, I’m sitting here on the not getting Altoid blowjobs bench, because she doesn’t know what a libertine is. And do not think for one moment that was her idea, because telling me she had Altoids and mentioning how amazing they made her blowjobs was very much her idea. Her ideas had to do with me getting peppermint blowjobs as a starter. Then we’d go over to a friend and she would show me exactly how bi she could be.
Looking back as I am now, I should have been all over that. She was hot, into me, and while trying to court me explained that she had absolutely zero limits if only I would make suggestions. She enjoyed the sort of music I liked, she enjoyed the kind of sexual shenanigans I enjoy. And there was no good reason to avoid this, besides having a slight, niggling feeling that to bang her would be a violation of Rule #2, which I knew better than to ignore. Her habit of sliding her hand down the front of my shirt to run her fingers through my chest hair could have overcome that though, I’m pretty sure.
But she didn’t know what was meant by the term “libertine” and a apparently, that’s my Rubicon. Or my Durin’s Bridge if you are of a geekier mindset. Instead, we did nothing. There is more than the one word, she had a certain level of incuriosity about the world. She just wasn’t someone I could stoop down to mentally and she wasn’t up to climbing my mental tree. As a result, I never laid an indecent hand on her (my right, if you’re keeping track) , or even kissed her, because she missed out on basic terms. Had she known what the term meant, I could have been – it’s unsavory to say what (or where) I could have been, frankly.
So the moral of this story, and there is one, is that frogs should never give rides to scorpions. Or something. I don’t know, do what you want.
So here’s the thing. I’m a good looking guy who has something of a knack for being charming. I know a lot of stuff about a lot of things, and I can break down complex ideas into digestible chunks. I’m a good listener, and have so much empathy that I often have to shut myself away from people to avoid being overtaken by their emotions. I’m also a member of the polyamory community, and because of certain things, I feel (to a lot of women) like a safe person to be around. Protip: Avoid the sex jokes until she makes them, and then only make as many as she does, that’ll help you look less like a creeper. I’m actually kind of shy though, and I have social anxiety issues. So I don’t actually approach and talk to people very well. Once we talk for a couple of minutes, I’m fine, and I can be relatively charming and fun to be around. I have been labeled as “Best Guy” by the Guy Grading Board. This can cause some problems.
See, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but (some) women have a tendency to complain that the Best Guys are either gay or taken. And here is a best guy who is one of those, but… not really? That takes a lot of the pressure off, because while I’m taken, I’m also available and the women with me always seem to be pretty well adjusted which means one of the best ones. Flexible morals will get you around the corner, as we used to say in Shanghai. As a result, I get flirted with a bit more than the average bear. It’s my own fault, I am a terrible flirt and more than a little bit of a coquette. Coquetter? No, that’s a dress maker. Coquet? That sounds like some kind of little pastry. My French is really, REALLY bad. This is why, when I flirt with beautiful Belgian women, we do it in English. I will get flirted with by a great many women, that’s my point.
AND, there are problems…
Six months ago, I was at Nino Salvagio, which is a local grocery store. Kind of a highish end fruit and international market, you know the sort of place. It’s not really important, but you need to understand that it’s not a corporate place, it’s local. Now I was getting a few things and I saw… her.
She was beautiful, even though there were several things she had going on that aren’t to my tastes. Dreadlocks always look weird to me on blonde girls. Almost… contrived? She had gauges in her ears, which is fine, but not something I’ve ever been fond of. There were scars on her arm, a remnant no doubt of an earlier cutting habit. A few bad tattoos and some misbegotten make-up, and a sullen slouch completed the look. And through all that, she was beautiful. Jaw dropping, heart aching, mind ceasing, utter beauty. The sort of beauty you’d talk about until she became some kind of legend, and when people saw her they’d say “Okay, so one time reality has it over legend.”
Through what seemed to be a considerable amount of effort, she had tried her best to negate what the dvergar that assembled people that day gave her, and all that came to was that she was stunning. Not in a Venus in Blue Jeans kind of way, but in a “Why did you bother fighting it?” kind of way. There was nothing short of going at her face with a straight razor and a hammer that would do anything to hide the perfection of her features. And I’m guessing she hated every moment of it.
I didn’t talk to her about it, of course I didn’t. People say that sometimes “So I talked to her.” But no, they usually didn’t. If they did, they didn’t get an honest answer anyway. She wasn’t going to talk to someone nearly twice her age about her life choices. Had I asked, I would have gotten a few non-committal answers and she would have run to her phone and tweeted “OMG some gross old man just tried to hit on me, or shame me about my tats I don’t know #fuckoffoldman” Because that’s how these interactions really go, I know. I have had to give nosey fuckers non-answers when they try to ask me questions that they have no right to.
I understand, I was an attractive child. From infancy I had the sort of face that made people think I was up to something. At the age of two I had perfected the little lop sided grin that says “I’m going to get away with it, and you’re going to let me get away with it because look at this face.” I grew from an adorable infant to a beautiful child. Some teenage girls clustered around me one day, talking about how beautiful I was, how dark and black my eyes were and so on. I would have been in with a chance if I hadn’t been four at the time. That was what life was like. I was a good looking child.
No one much wanted to listen to me, (besides a few people) I guess, they’d have rathered I was quiet and attractive and did what I was told. I had different ideas, more self-directed. I was adored by many, but also deeply frustrating because I wouldn’t do the “good things” people had planned for me. There comes a problem though, even though I was adored, I could never really trust anyone. No one wanted to listen, they wanted control or at best to be liked by me and my prettiness. I am, several people said, easy to like in a strange way.
I’m good as many things. I can paint, and sing, and draw, and cook, and listen, and write, and make love, and identify songs and why a place might be playing them on Fourth of July Weekend. I do some of these well, and some of them less well. The problem is, there are some people who never let me know I wasn’t doing something well. I was smart enough to identify bullshit when I heard it as a child. For example, I am shit at making clay sculptures. I have one that I keep, to remind me of how shitty I am at it. It’s a good thing I do too, because otherwise people would still be telling me how great I am at making clay sculptures.
Now sure, if I practiced, and worked at it, I could become good at clay. I’m not interested though, I don’t like it enough and I don’t care. Sign of genius that, quitting something because I wasn’t instantly good at it. I was interested to learn that last year, before I thought I was just kind of lazy because I didn’t want to work at things I wasn’t good at. Writing is something I can be good at, even though I tend to entertain myself through my writing too much. I sacrifice flow and readability for the sake of something I find fun. As you well know, I can often go on irritating tangents and fill paragraphs with things that only connect for me and links. However, sometimes I let it burn because I like it burned, so there. Most of this paragraph was filler, but I like the filler. It’s good filler, and I won’t hear a word against it.
I’m pretty sure I was making some kind of point here. Allow us to wallow past the point and into this little pool of thought that’s sort of bubbled over from the main stream. Lay on your back and just float for a moment…
I try to be honest, and posts like this one are an attempt at the sort of honesty I’m talking about. I try to give you an idea of what being inside my head is like. And yeah, this is what it’s like. The sudden gear changes, the references to old books, movies and music, because melody haunts my reverie. Some things are so obscure, and the connections change so quickly, I won’t remember why I thought A was connected to B when I read this later. Syd likes the honesty, it baffles a lot of other people. Some people are always looking for a duplicity that doesn’t exist, and that sort of depresses me because I’m always doing my best to be honest. I’m not good at dishonesty, unless I dedicate myself to it, and then I can’t even stand to be around the asshole that it forces me to become. So I go for the honest thing, because it’s easier and nobler and I can. I know other people lie though, because they do.
Back to the story (about this girl named Blah Blah Blah that adored me)
It always leaves me wondering, how much of any compliment is real. It becomes more complicated when people compliment me for things that are automatic for me. I do some things without thinking and other people are all “Holy shit! You did that thing!” and I’m standing there saying “Yeah… I have pretensions to being a person and in order to maintain the facade I have to do shit like this.” It deeply complicates the matter when 80% of the things people have said to me have been either A) Bullshit or B) Stupid.
Did I mention this above? Screw it, I’ve gone this far and I’m not re-reading this thing again. People will offer empty compliments to attractive people. I often have trouble knowing if I told a funny joke, or if the person I’m talking to just thinks I’m cute. Is my painting any good, or were certain people blinded by desire and as such said they liked the horrible splotches of mangled color? I don’t know if I like the paintings that much myself and around the 30th re-write, or the 90th re-read, everything looks like shitty half formed ideas put together by someone as smelly as a monkey with a typewriter, but not as bright. You can’t trust anything anyone says after a while, and when you’re also smart enough to understand what’s going on you quickly start to feel like you’re on an island about two feet by two feet… and the water is rising. At some point we’ll talk about depression, but not today.
I can understand that girl’s problem and her attempt as a solution though. I would assume she has some intelligence and doesn’t want to just be pretty. She had no choice, but she wants more. She’d like to be thought of as a person, an individual, maybe even someone with a thought and an idea. It’s harder for girls, because society still wants women to be ornamental baby makers. Guys can have thoughts, but no one ever really listens or understands. They just try to keep up as best they can and act impressed when he says a big word. If I could do what that girl did, I just might.
There isn’t much I can do, if I leave off showering I just get smelly. I don’t like being really smelly. My hair actually gets more manageable and gets really shiny on the third or fourth day, so that can be worse. If I don’t shave, I just get rugged stubble. It takes a week to get to the just too much stubble to be sexy, but not enough for a beard which is a different kink all together. I can’t do a lot of other things without running afoul of the honesty issue. I can’t say the weight issue came about because of that. The weight and other things came because of an already discussed depression issue. I’m working on that though.
That’s what can happen sometimes though, people just want to look at you, but not talk or listen to you. It can become deeply frustrating, and can lead to a beautiful young person trying to uglify themselves in various ways. Just so they can try to be taken seriously, even though I’m sure this young woman’s activities are already begin dismissed as “A Phase” by people who were never quite as pretty and probably not as smart. Maybe I’m projecting, but if we’ve gone this far then why not? Who are all these posts about anyway?
I think the other reason I never went to try and uglify myself is that in all honesty I have always had to fight stupid shit. From the age of five, when I first worked out people where bullshitting me about my skills, I decided to just fight through it. If I was going to deal with stupid people saying stupid shit then so be it. Before I’d read enough, or understood enough to know what was going on, I’d picked fighting as the way to go. I’d decided on the natural as my way forward, doing things without aid would be the standard I would carry into battle. My combat is more subtle now, but I still do it the same. I’m not taking diet pills to try and slim my waist. I’m working out and trying like hell to avoid the things that made me fat. I’m not putting on make-up to hide or accentuate things, I just want people to be able to take them straight on. I say this with no complaint about people doing it another way. This is the way *I* have to do it, this is the way that I feel is most honest for *ME* in this instance.
I have always been aware enough of the privilege that these midnight black eyes, long lashes, tumbling ravenesque locks (and so on) bring to not wish to not be what I am though. Of course, I’m also aware enough of the privilege this level of intelligence brings as well. I wouldn’t want to be ugly anymore than I’d want to be stupid or lame or deaf or unable to taste sweet things. I know that the cross I’m talking about is less to bear than some people’s, but while I’m talking about myself, I’m also thinking of that poor girl.
I don’t think she has the strength to really fight. She’s putting up a good front, but I fear this battle may be beyond her. Does she have the resources to fight for her own identity? Can she maintain against the pressure? It’s different for girls, they’re given so much more pressure than boys, and the pressure I felt at her age was enormous. I haven’t seen her lately, I hope she got a job where she fits in better, where she can get away. I still think about her, like I think of so many I have seen.
You wanted to know what it was like in here. Now you have one more piece of the puzzle. When you work the whole thing out, let me know. I’m curious to see if it’s a barn or the Space Shuttle Endeavor.
Probably it’ll turn out to be The Pillar of Cheese in the Shape of Jane Austen.
We sat at the counter and ate and drank. “Did you make the spaghetti sauce?” she said.
“Yeah. A secret recipe I got off the back of the tomato paste can.”
“And the salad dressing? Is there honey in it?”
“Yep. Got that from my mother.”
She shook her head. “Fighter, lover, gourmet cook? Amazing.”
“Nope. I’ll take the fighter, lover, but the gourmet cook is a sexist remark.”
“If you’d cooked this no one would say you were a gourmet cook. It’s because I’m a man. A man who cooks and is interested in it is called a gourmet. A woman is called a housewife. Now eat the goddamned spaghetti.” I said.
She did. Me too.
Promised Land – By Robert B. Parker (1976)
There is something you are taught in therapy, I have been told. I myself have never had more than a brief fling with therapy (it becoming obvious quite quickly that it actually wasn’t me that had the problem the one time I went in for real) but I have been told and I have read a lot. You’re not supposed to make “You Statements” when you talk about something bothering you, but rather “I Statements”. It’s not supposed to be “You do this to annoy me!” but instead go for “I am annoyed by this.” which brings charges that therapy makes people selfish, because they talk more about themselves than other people. I’m often thrown by this, because the complaint often becomes “She just talks about herself and doesn’t want to gossip anymore.” or “They won’t just sit and listen to me anymore!” and I check out of the conversation from there. As a result, I’m going to try to use a lot of I Statements here, because I want to talk about how a thing effects me as well as others.
I’ve listened to a lot of Men’s Rights stuff over the last few years, and almost agreed with some of it. The problem is that they often loose me the more they talk, see if you can see where I’m going with this little playlet.
MRA – Men aren’t allowed to be what they want in this society!
Me – Okay, you’ve almost got something of a point there. (Let’s see what you do with it)
MRA – We’re as trapped as women by the expectations of modern life.
Me – Here! Here! (Why can’t a man wear a dress?)
MRA – Which is why feminism needs to go away!
Me – I’m sorry?
MRA – Women need to get back into the kitchen and remember their place!
Me – Wha-Huh?
MRA – And then men can be MEN again!
Me – What in the seven levels of hell are you talking about?
MRA – Bitches won’t date me! I’m Unwillingly Celibate!
Me – Um….
MRA – I mean, I open doors and everything.
Me – Okay, you need to shut up now or I will beat you to death with this small decorative elephant that a relative gave me as a memento of their trip to Mexico. Why a brass elephant from Mexico, I’ve always wondered, but I will kill you with it.
MRA – You’re just saying that because *URK*!
Me – *thump* Muthafucka! *thump* I did say. *thumpthumpthump*
NOW! Why was I even listening to this person at the start? It has to do with the quote I started with. A person starting with that phrase can go one of two ways, you can either go towards some idea of gender equality, or towards the idea that you should be handed “hot bitches” free with every oil change. I am not going to go into the whole argument here, but if you shower and if you open doors because you’re polite (instead of making a speech about chivalry and how now people OWE YOU for being a decent person) then things will actually go easier for you. It’s not that women love jerks, if they did, they’d go for some of you self-professed Nice Guys.
That’s not even what I called you all here to discuss!
I cook, I have always cooked, ever since I was a child I have cooked. When I have cooked, there have always been people who have treated this like it’s some kind of magic. As if I stood back away from the stove, rolled up my sleeves and yelled “Ala-ca-muthafuckin-ZAM!” and with a brilliant yellow flash (which would mean there was sodium in the mixture) there was suddenly food. Even people who themselves knew how to cook treated this mystical skill of mine like something I learned at the foot of Wong Fei Hung. Because I was a male, cooking, it was regarded as an odd and noteworthy event.
I was quite old before I realized that I actually could cook quite well, enviably well in fact. That it wasn’t just people reacting to the notion of a male-child applying the mystic roots and ancient flames to ingredients in order to create food from non-edible matter. The concept of a male cooking has become less noteworthy over the last twenty years or so, but well into my early twenties it was still an odd and interesting thing to talk about. That I was basically the only one in our house that did the cooking, was often seen as weird and frankly wrong.
Now, Syd can cook some. In that she can cook some things, when she puts her mind to it. I suppose if she had to cook all the time, she would probably be good at it, but she doesn’t need to. Holly could just about toast bread and spread peanut butter on it without burning the house down. She was more than happy to let me do the cooking, because she had no interest at all. In fact, most the women I’ve dated haven’t had much use for the notion of cooking, allowing someone else to do it as much as possible. Just a thing, like so many others. Women I have dated have many a similarity. ANYWAY. I get annoyed at the idea though, that because I cook I am performing magic. It’s bad enough when I actually do something magical, like make a marshmallow. It’s doubly annoying when someone treats any application of heat to food like I’ve performed some kind of goddamned miracle and should have statues erected in my fabulous honor. (Note, I’m not saying cancel the statue, it’s a great statue, but honor my skills as a world-class lover, not as someone who can cook.)
The latest kerfuffle Penny Arcade got into actually reminds and prompts me on this. The problem with all gender issues boils down to the cooking thing for me. Sexual identity means something to me, because all identity issues mean something to me. How you identify yourself is important, because without self-identity where are you? What you decide to be, who you are, how you act, how you present yourself to the world, it all has an impact. Sometimes it’s changing everything about you (even fixing physical errors you were stuck with by the cheap dvergar laborers that the gods hire for people construction) and sometimes it’s just doing what you feel most comfortable with.
Cooking should not be considered some kind of transsexual affair, and I should not be considered a hero for doing it. And yet, I was by people who thought they were admiring me. I often got treated like I was some brave pioneer, throwing off the yoke of gender identity roles while… I dunno, cooking without an apron. I have never worn an apron, I don’t tuck a towel into my belt either. I just keep a hand towel on the stove and this isn’t important. I was actually called “Pretty Brave” by someone who was well meaning and thought they were delivering a compliment. When asked to elaborate, they said some people would “call you queer for doing that” and that “it’s kinda gay for a guy to cook” but that I made it “look masculine”. I almost felt bad killing that person and leaving their body in a peat bog but it was the only way people will learn! Now remember, that was supposed to be a compliment. It didn’t feel like one at the time, and the person began to see how I felt about it as the interview continued.
No one has ever tried to insult me, or threaten me because I canoodle in the kitchen (cooks have VERY big knives) but they do belittle the event with this notion of gender normativism. It’s deeply insulting to think that only a woman is really supposed to cook, and it harms both me and the woman not cooking to say so. That, if I may conclude where I intended to begin, is why I still need feminism. Yeah, it’s not as big as other people’s, but I’m a cis-gendered middle class white male. If I don’t like something you do or say to me, I’m still legally allowed to burn your house down (unless you are an upper-class white male) because, you know, privilege. That’s just it though, as a therapeutic tool, this has to be about me, not about you. Still though, it’s a sign, one that comes even up to the cis-gendered middle class white guy level that says “Shit’s still broken!” and asks us to fix it. The deeper we go, the more problems we’re going to find, and if this one made it to the surface…
When I’m still being applauded for being a man that cooks, and rape culture is still a thing that people pretend doesn’t exist, and gender stereotypes are still rigidly enforced… can any of us say we’re truly free? There are eight million stories in the Naked
City Internet, this is one of them.
This space, that space, they keep looking at me.
And I keep not writing anything.
I want to.
I have thoughts,
Things I want to say.
The longer I go without writing things down,
The harder it is to put things down.
And then it takes longer to put things down
And then it gets harder.
And the cycle continues.
Ands nothing gets out and nothing gets put down and one day we’ll talk about why there are never any people in my photographs…
So just lately, I’ve been seeing some interesting statements on Twitter. Seems some young feminists are worrying that men aren’t on board with feminism as a whole. There have been quite a few conversations about how isolating the conversation can be. It seems that some of them have a solution, but it will require some work. The problem, as they see it can be boiled down to a single sentence.
“We need to make it clear to men that the goal behind feminism is for their benefit as well.”
This is a good idea, but it needs help for implementation. First off, there needs to be obvious and not so obvious signs that it is, in fact, for the benefit of everyone. This is hard when people will continue to be people. It can be very frustrating to hear how women shouldn’t be judged on the basis of physical appearances and then be told that any guy she dates has to be at least an inch taller than her. Or that while it’s important to fight stereotypical gender roles, it’s the man’s job to propose. Those are minor issues though, vague complaints that are easily answered. They are important points to raise, but they’re also You Statements and as such as less useful in a discussion like this than some I Statements might be.
So what are some things that might bring more men on board? I have some ideas.
#1. Change Feminism to a Gender Neutral Term.
In many ways, Feminism is as out dated a terms as Women’s Lib. The problem with the term is that men will always know that they are not the focus of the discussion, so long as it’s geared towards one gender. As a term, from the starting point, Feminism becomes a series of You Statements for men. We often feel like we’re being cast as the bad guy, even when current theory is painting us as just another victim of a greater problem with society. Being cast as a victim is a problem for most men as well, for a whole raft of reasons. So much of the movement has become about gender identity lately. The other half has become trying to examine how to deal with male backlash, so maybe something that doesn’t divide from the word go would be helpful.
We need a new, more inclusive name. I would like to suggest something along the lines of Gender Neutrality. This would free the whole movement from of some of its initial divisiveness. It’s not about subjugating men, or raising women at the expense of men, it’s about raising everyone so that we can all be who we’re supposed to be. Yes, this is purely a cosmetic change, but you need to get people in on the ground floor and quite frankly just saying Feminism stops some people from even walking through the door. Too many men look at the term and decide that it has nothing to do with them, despite the fact that it would really help them personally if they joined in the discussion.
#2. Everyone Needs to Stop Talking About The Patriarchy
The Patriarchy is just saying The Man with more syllables. It continues the idea that men are The Problem, and as long as things are cast in those terms, many men will not join the discussion. Besides, The Patriarchy is ill defined and sounds like a Batman TV show villain, played by Peter Lorre. Just call it Society’s Problem, we can all own it equally. It belongs to all of us anyway.
Along with that, phrases like “You need to own your privilege” do nothing to help the conversation. If anything, they derail any conversation you might have been trying to have. The whole idea of talking about privilege is to show off that the privilege enjoyed by some is not universal and in fact is really enjoyed only by a genetically lucky few. It needs to go from “You’ve got that privilege” to “That’s not universal, that’s a privilege that other people lack.” which is a subtle variation, but no one feels like tuning into a conversation where they’re exclusively cast as the Bad Guy. Particularly when they themselves didn’t do anything, and extremely when they’ve got the privilege of not tuning in.
This is part of a larger problem of You Statements that need to be turned into I Statements or really, We Statements. I would rather see We Statements on that, quite frankly. One of the big issues here is that any man who doesn’t feel like playing along can point out how many women do all these things that “Men need to stop doing” and gives them an out if they don’t want to own any of this. We need to work towards making rape jokes inappropriate. We need put a stop to slut shaming. We need to stop expecting men to be sole or at least chief breadwinners. We need to stop acting like a wife is her husband’s property. We need to stop forcing gender stereotypes on children. We all of us need to stop using gay as an insult. We need to stop acting like there is a black and a white to human sexuality. We need to stop equating softness as weakness. And of course, we need to stop wearing Crocs… cause SRSLY!
And my final suggestion for today…
#3. Men Need to Step Up to the Plate, Like Now.
It’s time gentlemen. Allow us to admit, there are some things that only guys can talk about when it comes to talking to other guys. There are situations where only a guy can tell another guy “That’s not cool” or, conversely “Ain’t no problem with that.” Things that have nothing to do with gender relations, beyond the thin veneer of social expectations. There are time when only a guy can say to another guy “Because because I like to feel the wind on my balls, that’s why I’m wearing this skirt!” We, as guys, need to allow ourselves to drop some of this He-Man Woman Hater’s Club bullshit and admit that we like watching The Expendables AND My Little Pony, and making delicately frosted cupcakes with pictures of Rainbow Dash… holding Barney’s Knife. Someone make that fan art a reality. GO! GO! GO!
We need to step up and start talking seriously about gender issues, and the problems and difficulties behind them. Granted, some have started, the ball is rolling but the rest of us need to join in. We need to really get on board and have a long talk about this shit, probably over some Jameson’s 18. We need to take away some stigmas that have been building up, we need to express some emotions that aren’t anger and we need to be okay with those expressions. We need to make it okay to talk about male depression, fear, desire, and do so without shaming the person admitting these things. There is still a great deal of comedy geared towards men putting on high heels, and that’s got to stop. Some guys wanna wear high heels and stockings because it makes them feel something they can’t feel any other way. I get my kicks in a different manner, but I can see where the attraction lies.
Even if we find it weird, we have to stop leaping towards questioning someone’s sexual identity for having a brief fling outside of gender norms. We need to break down the idea of gender norms, but I think that’s a subject for another time. Right now, we need to not leap to homophobia, because that helps exactly no one. Softness isn’t weak, weakness isn’t gay, gay isn’t bad, and it’s okay to be a Brony. Once we, as guys, can start to accept that even our own sexual identity need not be black or white, once we stop being distracted by all these gender expectations, we can start to relax and get to working on important things like building that robot gladiator we’ve been talking about.
Yeah, almost everything I’ve mentioned has been done or is being done to some degree, but we maybe need to step it up a tad. I’m kind of tired of still talking about Equal Pay for Equal Work in 2013. That shit should have been over a long time ago and we should just pay everyone the same. I’m tired of still having to tell people that joking about putting roofies in some one’s drink isn’t goddamn funny. I don’t want to have to still be mired in an argument about rape culture, I want someone to help me build Spinestro, The Mechanical Blade so I can go back in time and get on Battle Bots.
So we need to discuss this… I guess.
The other day I posted this link on another social media that sounds like a horror movie* if you say it right. The person I snagged the link from had kind of a discussion on their board because someone wanted to know what was so bad about being nice. He hadn’t quite twigged to the idea of what Nice Guy actually means to the internet, and was soon set straight. Now, since most the Nice Guys I’ve met don’t have the self awareness of a Rotary Club Sign, it might be time that we lay this mutha out for everyone.
*Seriously The Book of Faces! Also, Twitter is a romantic comedy, Tumblr is an action movie and My Space is a wacky Sci-fi comedy probably starring The Weasel himself, Pauly Shore. Yeah, I have a mentally undemanding job and a lot of time without interaction.
So the basic facts first, I think… and there is no nice way to say what I’m going to say here.
If you describe yourself as a Nice Guy, you might want to stop doing that. See, everyone outside of Nice Guys (note the capital lettering) thinks anyone who self-identifies as one is an asshole. Seriously, it’s like a code that Nice Guys don’t actually know and it’s frankly kind of sad. Is that fair? Sorry, what the blazing blue fuck does fair have to do with this? Fair is for sports, and this ain’t no sport. There ain’t no points and you only loose by failing to play the game. Go read over that link I provided, that will give you a great deal of the problem. The sort of guys who call themselves Nice Guys are so often not, and in fact are just assholes in disguise that most everyone else sees the word Asshole when they read the words Nice Guy. So yeah, stop calling yourself that.
I’m not going to go into the whole Nice Guy thing, except to say that you need to either understand some women aren’t as attracted to you as you are to them and be a man about it instead of a bitter little baby. Here’s the thing, they might want you later if you keep being a good friend. I don’t say that it WILL happen, but it COULD happen. However, if you take the rebuffed advances with the attitude of “All bitches are bitches and they don’t know a good thing when it’s in front of them.” then it WON’T happen. Not only won’t it happen with her, but if she networks right, it won’t happen with any woman inside the tri-state area. They don’t always share talk about the good ones, but they will always warn someone off a bad one. You should be nice, but be nice for its own merit and as its own reward. It’s not a game, you don’t build up points, the friendzone is not a penalty box.
In fact, let us talk about The Friendzone for a moment. I have only once or twice heard the term used by women. It’s almost totally used in the context of “That bitch put me in the freindzone and *blah blah misogynistic whining and entitlement issues* what a bitch!” For starters, call her a bitch again, women love to be insulted by guys. If you can’t spot the sarcasm in that last sentence, please break off a chair leg and beat yourself in the face until you see spots, I honestly can’t be bothered to come over and do it for you. Most the people who use the phrase use it as a complaint, and I can’t understand why. I am firmly in the Friendzone of a woman I know. She’s married, and monogamous, and possibly not into me despite my long flowing hair and dark as midnight eyes. Thing is, I love her deeply and dearly. We’ve never been to bed together, we’ve never even kissed. I’ve kissed her on the cheek a couple of times, that’s the closest we ever got to that and as far as I know it’s the closest we will ever get. And I’m okay with that because I love her and to an extent I love her husband and I care deeply about them both. I can’t imagine that being a bad thing. She didn’t penalize me, she didn’t even consciously “Put” me there, that’s just where I ended up.
I did however once have a woman explain that she had to “Friendzone” a guy. This surprised me, as she and I always refer to each other as friends. Now… spoiler alert, she had slept with me before and did so again soon after this conversation and the whole time referred to me as Her Friend. so I was surprised to hear that “Friend Zone” didn’t come with a side of sex for the poor bastard. She explained that she had sort of intended to sleep with him, but he went on this hateful rant about what a bitch his ex was and it totally turned her off him forever and ever. And that’s the other part of that, I am friends with a great many women, and I’ve had sex with more than a few of them. Unless there was an ongoing, committed relationship, all those women called me their friend. So yeah, even in the friendzone, there is sex.
The problem is, if you approach with desperation, with bitterness, with the attitude on your face… they’ll know and they won’t want to be with you. Maybe they don’t want to be with you anyway, but you don’t want to poison the well as it were. Okay, this one woman doesn’t want to date you. Maybe that’s because she’s with someone right now, maybe it’s because she doesn’t have those feelings for you, maybe it’s just not the right time. If you react badly, if you throw a tantrum, they’ll talk to other people about it. Even if you throw a tantrum outside that one woman’s sight, other women will see it. The network is strong. The network includes all types and genders. There is no escape from The Network. Fear the network. The only thing worse that labeling yourself a Nice Guy is for The Network to label you.
Even if “Nice Guy” wasn’t being used by everyone but Nice Guys to mean “dickhead”, is that all you have going for you? That you’re nice? Really? Because where I come from, that’s like saying “I have a pulse and metabolize sugars in my liver” or “I am a person” No matter what, you’ve got to have more game than that you are “nice” by whatever we mean by that. Nice is a baseline, nice is expected, nice don’t even get you through the door. You need some skills. Probably more than video games, although maybe not. If you can avoid calling a girl a Fake Geek because she’s better than you at Medal of Duty: Call of Honor, you might be in with a chance. Look at me. Yes, I’m pretty, but there is so much more. I write bad novels, I take amazing photographs, I sing, I dance, I know more about the history of film making than is good for me, and I write truly atrocious poetry. Result? I still strike out seven times out of ten. Some people just ain’t into me, but I have a fairly decent reputation and I know how to self-congratulate in a way that is sort of endearing and appropriately lamp shaded.
Point is, grow the fuck up, be an actual man, and quit pretending that Nice ever was enough for anybody.
Thank you and goodnight.
You’re basically right. Let’s get that out of the way. 98% of what feminist are currently saying is more or less correct. Dismissal of Intellect? Yeah, that happens. Objectification on a Mass Scale? Yeah, we still do that. Rape? Yeah. Reproductive rights? We’ve got problems like wow. Male Gaze? Guilty, though I’m not really sure how you intend to fix it without changing genetics. I agree with the substance of your arguments and endorse the whole of your ideas. (you can already hear the “but” coming, can’t you?)
Pretending that there was NEVER a time when the man-hating feminist was a thing?
That’s a lie.
Argue they were a minority, argue they don’t matter, argue that those ideas were part of a process and are no longer needed, but don’t say they never happened. Valerie Solanas was a popular and influential feminist of her time. And the SCUM Manifesto was, by her word, a serious work. She stated several times that she meant every word. Now, if you want to say “That doesn’t represent current feminist attitudes and never really represented mainstream feminism” no one would be happier to listen to you than me. I don’t think those ideas where ever really picked up on by most women who were looking more for better pay, less objectification, and maybe a little more understanding about what we all have to go through.
Except of course, a few mainstream feminists pick up on those ideas and expressed great admiration for those works. Gloria Steinem does represent mainstream second wave feminism and I found her hateful enough that I recoiled from her works when I tried to read them. Germaine Greer gives me similar problems as well. Both of them are intelligent women, with a lot of important things to say, but it gets lost in passages that left me going “Oh, it’s like that is it?” Sort of a shame, but there it is. I got burned at an early age by some very harsh talk and had to make my way to the idea that you’re getting fucked over on my own. I’ve had problems with a lot of the second wave feminism that I’ve read. I’ve read a lot I agree with as well, but on the whole I end up feeling like being born with a penis was a failing on my part. I sort of prefer the purity of the first wave, from what I’ve read of it. I’ll grant, I haven’t read all there has been to read, but I’ve read a few of the books and articles over the years. Of course, you also have Betty Friedan, who is the originator of the phrase, “Men weren’t really the enemy — they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.” which is pretty good.
Current feminist? Third Wave Feminist? Fine group, interesting ideas. I’m sort of annoyed that many of them are saying the exact same things that first and second wave feminists said, but that’s more of a “Are you really still having to talk about that? Haven’t we fixed that yet?” which is more a problem with society than the writer. I find that those feminists are much more even handed, and tend to extend out the idea that men aren’t the enemy, but a fellow combatant. I like the idea that it won’t really work until we’re all free. I get a better feeling that third wave has done more to embrace the “Man is not the enemy here, but the fellow victim.” mindset.
So far I haven’t had much of a problem… EXCEPT! This wish to pretend those second wave feminists didn’t exist. It is a problem. It smacks either of ignorance or of dishonesty, and we can’t have an intelligent conversation with either of those hanging over our heads. It’s like saying misandry doesn’t exist. Yes, it does. I can prove it does. I’ve seen examples of misandrists in my own life. The level of misandry I have seen, as compared to the level of misogyny is akin to that of the rainfall of Des Moines as opposed to the rainforest of the Amazon. But let’s not try and pretend that it never rains in Des Moines, okay? It does, just not as much as the Amazon.
To say that it never rains, or that there are no man hater, when we can pull out sheets of paper to the contrary, is far more problematic than having to deal with the fact that someone can justifiably call you a liar. Stand up tall, say “Yes, that happened, however that doesn’t invalidate everything else I’ve just said. The amount of shit women have to put up with is far and away far more than men have to deal with.” Yeah, some asshole will try to shut you down once you agree it happens to both sides, but that guy is shutting you down RIGHT NOW with far more justification because you are either lying about or are ignorant of what your own side has previously said.
You can’t let those assholes have any more ammo than you can help. Why give them that? I don’t want to be 60 and still having people asking if there are any funny women despite the fact that Kate Beaton, Josie Long, Susan Calman, Tina Fey and Ellen DeGeneres out there. Never mind the republicans talking about how awesome rape is, let’s sort out if women can be funny first. Yes, they can. Okay, glad that’s settled.
Look, I’ll make it simple. It comes down to veracity, and I want this discussion to have some. We must remain truthful. Yes, the bra-burning was false, never happened, but that doesn’t mean that nothing bad has ever come from our side. Accept it, and move on.
I have never considered myself a feminist, because I don’t have the equipment for it. I mean the mental equipment, there is not going to be a cheap penis joke here. I am far to entrenched in the male mindset to really understand what women are going through, in much the same sense that I can never really understand what it’s like to be a poor black growing up in the ghetto. I can say “Yeah, that’s bullshit and it shouldn’t happen.” but I can’t even begin to say I understand what that person went through. I’ve got my own sexual-socio-political problems to work out. Now it may be that some of our issues actually coincide, but I’ve got to come from a different angle and I’m attacking from the other side. But I do so with as much honesty as I can muster and I ask you to do the same.