The Shame and the Fear

I’m going to try, perhaps ill-advisedly, to link together a few of the themes we’ve been discussing under the general rubric of shame and fear. I don’t have a good quotation handy, but one of the reasons I enjoyed Norah Vincent so much is that she was very good at talking about how surprised she was, after spending months masquerading as a man, at how vulnerable she found the men with whom she interacted, and how...

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Male Archetype #48, or, Rocking the Walrus

I recently asked a fellow blogger, Paul the Irrelephant, to justify his stylistic existence. In particular, I wanted him to explain his beret and his walrus-ian facial hair after he wrote a post comparing his look to the beret-sporting, walrus-moustache-having look of Jamie Hyneman, co-host of Mythbusters, that show on the Discovery Channel where they build a lot of shit and blow a lot of shit up (oh wait, that’s every show on...

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Whadya Got?

Recently, a dude friend and I were comparing gyms (I’ve returned to the YMCA fold, having come to the conclusion that all gyms suck but the Y sucks less.) and he told me this story: He was in the locker room of the Y in Nothampton, MA a couple of years ago and there was a skinny, naked older-teenager parading sulkily and effeminately back and forth for quite a while. The young man was quite clearly putting himself on display,...

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The Humming Is Real

I’ve been thinking about Jamie’s essay Peep Show, and for some reason I keep coming back to the question of whether there could have been a real, if not necessarily deep, connection between Jamie and "Sassafras," his favorite dancer at the Lusty Lady. I think the answer is yes, it’s possible that the affection wasn’t just coming from him, and that the humming she did for him (humming is meant...

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Woman Up, You Little Count

As I’ve confessed previously, I have this masochistic habit of listening to sports talk radio. In part, I just like to hear voices besides the ones in my head while I drive alone, and I sometimes tire of the Cory Flintoff and the rest of the NPR crowd and their doom and gloom, or most of the sad, sad excuses for radio personalities on Air America, which leaves me either Rush Limbaugh cracking on Michael J. Fox for slowly dying,...

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Men Are Bad

I like this cartoon-y thing (the rest of the which you can read by clicking here) for a few reasons. 1. It’s created by the writer of I Blame the Patriarchy, which is an angry, angry, extremely well-written blog I’ve been perusing lately. Twisty, who writes the blog, doesn’t like men so much perhaps (or perhaps just a certain kind of man), but I like her verrah much. 2. It makes nice sport of a recent study alleging...

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Dubya, Un-Masc-ed

I have never been able to stomach, let alone enjoy, watching or listening to our great leader . . . until Wednesday. Until then, whenever he came on the radio, I almost frantically jumped to change the station (I do the same with Garrison Keillor, but that’s for another post.). I find GWB dumber than Dan Quayle and more arrogant, utterly unfathomable as an American president unless our country is bankrupt and corrupt in every...

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Demetri and Me

Jamie, I’ve been told (by Jamie), is at work on a magnum opus on the topic of success and envy. The success in question, I believe, belongs to some friends and acquaintances of his. The envy belongs to Jamie. I bring this up because I spent a few hours, recently, hanging out with a friend of mine, Demetri Martin, who is on the verge of being bona fide famous. I don’t think I’m envious of Demetri (well, maybe a bit:...

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Fame and Us

As Dan noted (save above photo and print so you can say you knew him when!) in his "Demetri and Me" post, I am indeed struggling with writing about fame and its malcontents (F.A.I.M! – a.k.a. Dan and me and most people in America) so far without much unifying success. I have written about friendly acquaintences of mine who, oddly enough, are acquainted with Dan’s friend Mr. Martin – funnymen/writers Eugene...

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Carrie-Anne, FDR, Annie Duke, Robotron, and Me

Here’s another section from the Fame tome I mentioned in my previous post, in which our hero, Subject #263, tells interviewer Carrie-Anne Moss a story, only very slightly embellished, straight from my real life, about fame and its allure in one particular manifestation: *** Q: (looks at her notes) Okay, I’ll give you a break: here’s an easy one: Have you ever felt famous? A: Well . . . I’ve had a...

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Un-Manned in Wilmington

I was punched in the face last Friday, for the first time since 1988. It wasn’t as emasculating as the 1988 incident (which, since I was only 12 at the time, might more properly be called e-boyulating), but, well, it wasn’t so much fun either. Let me back up a bit, because the punch-in-the-face was only the last of the indignities I suffered lo, that fateful Friday. My wife and I arrived in Wilmington, Delaware at about 4...

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Bloodied but Unbowed

When we last spoke, dear reader, I’d just been punched in the face, for no good reason, by a black guy on the streets of downtown Wilmington. I mention his race because it was obviously a factor in what happened, though it’s impossible to know exactly how much of a factor it was unless we can secure my assailant’s participation in this online symposium (which seems unlikely). Here’s my guess, though: I think he...

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Barkley Redux

Early on, Dan and I were proud to make Charles Barkley our first entry in the Mantheon because of his comfort with his man-self, at least compared to other athletes, his unheard of outspokenness, also compared to other athletes, and his shocking-for-a-jock, in-your-face-Pat-Robertson homophilia, also (and obviously) compared to other athletes but also compared to most not-gay male public figures in general. We also noted that, at...

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Mad Ave's Man Ads (first in a series?)

Milwaukee’s Best Light, makers of the (as Jessica from Feministing.com put it) "Accept masculinity standards or be killed by beer" ads, have, after a manly hiatus, returned with – how should I put this? – a new piece of shit. Three guys stand in a back yard in front of a trampoline. One of them decides to give it a try. He bounces a couple of times and then does a little kick-thingy, a little flourish...

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Beersculinity

I was browsing around the internets the other day, and I came across this article from last year. It’s titled “How To Sell Humvees To Men,” and allow me to ruin the suspense and summarize the answer: you sell Hummers to men by calling them homos. Or, as the article puts it: Freud argued that people respond to attacks on their identity by exaggerating the threatened trait. Scientists have noted since the 1950s that...

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Torture By Panties

Over at I Blame the Patriarchy, the authoress has some interesting things to say about the strange way that the media, the government, and the public has dealt with the “panties on the face” aspect of the torturing of detainees in places like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. She writes: While it’s true that most of the prison photos show women’s underwear used in conjunction with one or more of the other more...

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Stephen Colbert, M-A-N

First thing they tell you in blog school is that it’s wicked tough to follow an Abu Ghraib undergarment torture post, so I’m just not even going to try. I’m just going to go in an entirely other few directions. The other day, while teaching my freshman composition class, I made the mistake of commenting on the refreshing atypicality of a rather macho male student’s unabashed pride in his new niece: Charmed by...

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Stephen Colbert, HERO

Reader Hayley duly scolded me for neglecting to mention in yestderday’s post Colbert’s incredibly brave speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner in April. If you haven’t already, watch it! It’s really something, I found myself scared for him as he rips Bush a new one while standing about ten feet away. I don’t know how to describe it without using words like intense! and awesome! and DOOD!. If you...

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I Kid Because I Love You

It’s always seemed pretty obvious to me that men are funnier than women. Not genetically funnier, just funnier, on average, for what I assume are historically and culturally contingent reasons: In America, boys are rewarded and indulged for being funny, for being the class clown; girls are rewarded for being conciliatory, and are condemned as bitches if they mock boys (or girls, for that matter). It’s not perceived, by our...

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After (part 1 of 6)

(Please note: This is a follow-up to, and meant to be read after reading “Peep Show,” which was also posted serially here back in September and which can be read all in one piece by clicking on "Peep" or "Show," above.) (Barely relevant introductory anecdote:At a party now nearly a year ago, among about a dozen people at a long restaurant table, a poet friend of mine, slightly tipsy, uttered the kind of...

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Man vs. Man

[Editor’s note: If you’re interested in some sweet, sweet writing, which also happens to be about strippers, read part 1 of Jamie’s essay "After" here. It’s a sequel to "Peep Show," which you can read here.] Hugo Schwyzer, one of the few other menminists out there in the man-blog-o-sphere, recently offered up a summary of what, to him, “it means to be a male feminist.” I’d...

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?I Contradict Myself?: Rash Notes on The Thoughts and Deeds of Men as Discussed by Hugo Schwyzer as Discussed by Daniel Oppenheimer

Reading Dan’s Hugo Schwyzer post today, I found myself bothered, even more so now that I just saw that Mr. S. has just posted on his site that “Dan Oppenheimer has a regular blog on men and masculinity . . . .” I’m kidding, of course, but well, if you didn’t notice me then, sir, notice me now! (Please picture me flushed with anger, white gloves in hand, after issuing a duel-challenging slap.) I...

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After (part 2 of 6)

(Please Note: This is a serialized follow-up essay to, and meant to be read after reading “Peep Show.” If you missed it, here’s part one) The week somehow passes and it’s Tuesday night again. I perform the same ritual, shot and a beer at Mr. Bing’s, but this time I can only manage to stay put for maybe 15 minutes before I practically sprint across the street. I get change, shove money in, coin drops,...

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The Hitch Disappoints Me Yet Again

Christopher Hitchens, who’s both a hero and a fallen hero to me, has an awful new essay in this month’s Vanity Fair. It’s titled “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” and as you might have deduced from the title, it’s about why he believes men are funnier than women. Many of his arguments are silly, and although a few of them are plausible, even the plausible ones are undermined by the sneering,...

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After (part 3 of 6)

(Please Note: This is a serialized follow-up essay to, and meant to be read after reading “Peep Show.” If you missed ’em, here’s part one and here’s part two) The next week, before her Tuesday shift, we meet at Mr. Bing’s. At first we’re both shy. This is all so backwards. We have interacted sexually, but never platonically. We laugh about that. I am wary that we’re sitting behind a...

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After (part 4 of 6)

(Please Note: This is a serialized follow-up essay to, and meant to be read after reading “Peep Show.” If you missed ’em, here’s part one and here’s part two and here’s part three) For many years I lived in an apartment that was one of four in two small two-story Victorians on a San Francisco back street. The apartments all shared a backyard. By the end of the ten years my girlfriend, (then wife,...

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Man Conjecture #1

This New York Times article, which is almost certainly behind a firewall by now, is about the ongoing series of “Man Law” commercials for Miller Lite beer. The Man Law premise is the upscale version, basically, of the Milwaukee’s Best Light commercials that Jamie and I were annoyed by a few weeks ago. Actually, they are precisely the upscale version of those ads, as Miller Lite and Milwaukee’s Best Light are...

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After (part 5 of 6)

(Please Note: This is a serialized follow-up essay to, and meant to be read after reading “Peep Show.” If you missed ’em, here’s part one and here’s part two and here’s part three and here’s part four) Spring 2005. An old friend walks into the bar while I’m working my Sunday shift. I haven’t seen him in almost a year. “Paul” was always tall and thin, but now he looks...

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Manjecture #2: Everybody's girlfriend is a vegetarian

Manjecture #2: Everybody’s girlfriend is a vegetarian. This isn’t literally true, obviously, but I suggest that it has a general, manjectural kind of truth to it. Hugo Schwyzer, our Puritan friend, recently wrote about a recent study, done by the Newcastle University Human Nutrition Research Center in Britain, which showed that while living with a man had a negative effect on the diets of women (call it the co-habitation...

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After (part 6 of 6)

(Please Note: This is a serialized follow-up essay to, and meant to be read after reading “Peep Show.” If you missed ’em, here’s part one and here’s part two and here’s part three and here’s part four and here’s part five) Spring 2005. In my San Francisco neighborhood bar, among a group of friends, I see a woman who looks very familiar. I stare at her for too long, trying to figure out...

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Resisting the Nipple, or What to Do about the Male Gaze?

My wife, under the normal-est of circumstances, has big nipples. Under the pregnant-est of circumstances—now, for instance—she has truly very quite big nipples. Nipples which are, these gestational days, more or less erect constantly. Throw in a general aversion to bras, and an extra sensitivity to any fabric that might cause irritation, and you (or rather she) can end up with quite a spectacle. I mention this because...

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On Looking: The Female Gays, The Male Gays, The Male Straights, and their Gazes

I think it was a lesbian friend who first talked to me about the male gays, as opposed to herself, one of the female gays – a play on words, of course, referring to the male gaze, which I think it will serve us to have a definition of before we proceed with this conversation that I’m really surprised we haven’t really begun sooner. The term was coined – much more recently than I’d have thought – by...

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Dan Bites Dog

This past Sunday morning, at about 9 a.m., our neighbors’ dogs were out in their backyard barking again. And when I say “again,” I mean it with as much venom and resentment as you can cram into the word “again.” When the neighbors aren’t home, which is most weekdays from about 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and frequently on weekends, their dogs bark. They barkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbark. It’s been an...

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Barack Obama's Gentle Sexist Condescension

I was watching a video stream of Barack Obama’s recent speech in New Hampshire, and I was struck less by his ease and eloquence than by his participation in the old “my wife is better than me” tradition of politicking—a trope that I’ve always found irritating. It’s good politics, I guess, but it’s fairly bogus. It’s a way for male politicans to pretend that they’re not the...

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Merry Christmas Geico Caveman!

I hate to give props to any large company, and even less so to an insurance company, and I know I’ve said it here before, but man do I love my Geico caveman. I was first hooked by the airport commercial: his sensitive (cave)male sensitivity, his disgust. The actor who plays the caveman John Lehr (and his make-up people), assuming he’s not an actual caveman on the moving walkway of an actual airport, does such a great job...

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