As though “men” needed to pretend in some way–once more–that their looks have any bearing on their ability to “snag” a broad, their strange participation in the “ten-year challenge” that has taken all social media avenues by storm seems but only one more reason to prove to women that we should all surrender to going lez or asexual. For there is nothing sadder than seeing just how much more pronounced guts and receding hairlines have gotten over the years. And yet, women are supposed to somehow be endlessly impressed that a “man” has remained so “intact.” So “well-preserved.” Even though no matter how fucking ugly he was then and now, his odds of getting just about anyone he wants will not be affected as the ratio of heterosexual men to women only continues to tip in favor of the former.
Still, the “man” participating in the ten-year challenge ultimately just wants to seem relatable and timelessly “fun-loving.” As prone to “tomfoolery” then as he is now (kind of like Brett Kavanaugh). And he’s got the same “timeless” flannel shirt likely from American Eagle or Abercrombie to prove it. Or, depending on his “niche,” maybe Gap or Old Navy. He’s not really sure what he’s trying to convey with this side by side glance at fast existentialism, but he knows everyone else is doing it–and he’ll be damned if he can’t still get laid tonight based on 2019’s photo.
“It’s only by challenging ourselves to do more that we can get closer to our best.” So concludes the dramatic and somehow controversial Gillette commercial that reminds the cracked out on too much testosterone (for lack of anything else worthwhile to justify their existence) adult “men” of today that they are raising a generation for the future. A generation with the potential to put an end to the highly antiquated notion that to be a “man” means to, in essence, treat women like shit. To demean them, to ogle them and to subjugate them lest they lose their own sense of place and self-worth.
As the commercial opens with buzz words of the moment as stated by a newscaster tossing out phrases like, “Bullying,” “The #MeToo movement” and “Toxic masculinity,” Gillette proceeds to invite its viewers and regular users of the product to reexamine what it might actually mean to be a man. Not the version of the man that’s been indoctrinated into both sexes’ heads for centuries to the point of not even knowing what’s real and what’s a self-imposed archetype anymore. That Gillette is holding itself accountable for its own chauvinistic tag line of the past–“The Best a Man Can Get”–by altering it to “The Best a Man Can Be” (even if this does smack just a little bit of the U.S. Army’s “Be All That You Can Be” mantra) is in and of itself a bold statement. But for the brand to take the risk (and clearly it was, based on the absurd backlash) in challenging parents–who never like to be challenged or accused by anyone, least of all a company they might buy something from–to rethink what they’re teaching their “sons” is what really shows gumption.
Scenes of “boys” fighting each other like animals with oversized pituitary glands and “men” catcalling a woman dressed in “asking for it” attire combine to provide the opening for the voiceover, “We can’t laugh it off. Making the same old excuses: boys will be boys.” It is around this moment we have to take pause to admire the creative team at Grey New York for presenting this concept to Procter and Gamble. Even if both parties are likely just trying to sell a razor to the non self-mutilators of America by appealing to the very person who truly controls the household budget: Mother. It’s a step in the right direction, and Gillette has proven to be one of the few brands geared toward “men” that has been willing to re-focus the accepted lens of how to advertise something to the douche bag “male.”
So as these “men” stare at themselves existentially in the mirror wondering not what a best a “man” can get is, but what the best a “man” can be is, maybe–just maybe–they, in true American consumerist fashion, owe it all to Procter & Gamble (taking a huge gamble indeed in their faith in the politically polarized climate of the U.S. to send such a message). And anyone offended by this notion of reassessing masculinity to exist without the “toxic” in front of it can go fuck themselves. Which is what they’ll have to do when no woman wants to.
As Shania Twain probably should have contributed to a lyric for “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” “Okay, so you have a black turtleneck and think you’re Kerouac or some shit.” For yes, it is only in this one respect–if you are actually a beatnik living in the 60s of Paris, San Francisco or New York–that it would be even remotely “acceptable” to wear a turtleneck, let alone a black one. While some would argue that it’s a perfectly timeless fashionable winter statement, there is something very deliberate in a “man’s” choice to don this particular absence of color in turtleneck form.
More often than not, he is a “writer.” Or rather an “aspirant.” A motherfucking poseur, if you will. And because of his own latent insecurities about a talent that is not latent so much as nonexistent, he makes up for it in the aesthetics of what he believes a Writer with a capital “w” would wear. Your Dostoyevskys and your Tolstoys and your Chekhovs. Granted, all of the aforementioned had the viable excuse of living in the frigid airs of Russia that might have justified them wearing a goddamn turtleneck beneath their furs. What excuse does the slack-jawed white “man” sitting in front of a Mac as he “thoughtfully” takes years to never complete his opus have?
This is precisely why a girl, if she knows what’s good for her (especially in terms of ever hoping to encounter a “man” who isn’t more selfish and stingy than usual), ought to run in the other direction if she ever sees a “male” in her vicinity in this specific style choice (particularly if there’s only a mild chill in the air). For is a black turtleneck ever just a black turtleneck on a “man”? Absolutely fucking not. Like all of us, a “man’s” fashion choices are calculated, even if they reside somewhere in the “subconscious.” Which is where all of “men’s” darkest desires come to roost in the conscious world. On a side note, did you know col roulé in French means pretentious twat with vocal intonations like farts as he explains Turgenev’s brilliance to you?
While the hands of time might persist in rendering us all genderless by 2030, there will always remain that one sect of “male”–that rare breed still born into money–that can’t help but be driven by an innate desire to usurp his father’s “success” (the Bush family generally comes to mind). This, in white “male” speak, pertains to 1) having more money and 2) procuring a more synthetic wife, paired with a younger mistress. As for poor sons born to middle class fathers, well, no one talks about them, unless it’s a story like A Bronx Tale.
The issue with this little plot to overthrow Daddy as the unshakeable patriarch is that no son can ever truly outshine the father that bore him into wealth in the first place. There is nothing impressive about a rich “boy” who becomes richer just because he slummed it a few years by not automatically becoming a CEO or senator. It goes against the very fabric of the falsity of the American dream, which still touts capitalism as a fair means to rise to the top by your own bootstraps. Thus, it is as Bob Dylan phrased it in “Temporary Like Achilles”: “I’m helpless, like a rich man’s child.”
That helplessness stems from the fact that a son can never outshine son cher papa on the integrity of merit. Even if he renounces access to the bank account and changes his last name, he will always know the cushion is there, just waiting to catch him if and when he should encounter a snag in the plan to Oedipally topple Father. And no, one doesn’t feel sorry for this pathetic and inane drive to outperform Dad’s success, particularly when the inheritance finally rolls in and the new patriarch by default–not by honor–can rename the family yacht anything cheeky directed at his father that he wants. The rich son wins by outliving his father, and by that alone. Just look at the Amises.
Though we keep telling ourselves that gender roles are an illusion (and soon enough so will reality be altogether thanks to, among other things, persistent hologram concerts from the likes of Roy Orbison and Amy Winehouse), it would seem that many “men” still rely on the tried and true Jay Gatsby go-to of making a shit ton of money in order to both impress therefore “procure” a woman. Tragically, what he can’t seem to procure is a clue regarding how to be sociable in a way that doesn’t scream “eccentric millionaire” (although one hopes, at the very least, not at quite the same decibel as Howard Hughes). So he goes about his usual manner of being a bumbling idiot that somehow managed to make him vast sums of money not in the face of but precisely because he is socially inept and generally daft.
The girl, of course, is partially at fault for falling into the cliche trap of wanting to be, to use a gross, parody of something Frank Sinatra would say, wined and dined, allowing herself to fall prey to the inevitable sandpaper hangout session. Because, what can she say, that statistic about women making seventy-five cents for every dollar a “man” makes still rings true, and thusly, she could use a paid for meal every now and again. Yet for all his best attempts to treat the dinner like a job interview and go on about his various qualifications for the role of potential fuck and maybe–if she’s lucky–boyfriend, she is, as usual, of the Shania bent, not impressed much. And in truth, sort of just trying to get through the dinner without vomiting her food too prematurely (that’s for later, in the privacy of her own bathroom). So it must be said that just because a “man” has a wallet more burgeoning and thrilling than his so-called panisse does not mean it is enough to 1) keep a woman’s interest or 2) even reel her in in the first place. Because there’s something to be said for the non-faux pretension of poverty dick. Crusty though it may be.
Runaway Bride, a film that saw Julia Roberts in her last phase of the 90s before transitioning into Oscar roles only or nothing at all (meaning a greater paucity of straightforward rom-coms), canonized the very overt definition of what a runaway bride is, while also going deeper into the meaning: a person in a relationship incapable of being their own entity, therefore mimicking all the interests, behaviors and aesthetics of their significant other so as to make it easier on themselves in terms of forever avoiding self-exploration. This is precisely why Maggie Carpenter (Roberts) can’t even decide on her own damn eggs, favoring the adoption of whatever he likes best. It just makes it all so much more effortless in terms of ignoring one’s own total lack of personality.
Surprisingly, however, this tendency is most apparent in “men” in the epoch called “We’re Too Fucking Afraid of Women to Be Ourselves and We’re Kind of Just Trying to Secure Pussy at Any Cost–Even If It Means Renouncing Our Own Vacuous Thoughts and Feelings.” In the past, of course, it was a comportment that might have been easily chalked up to a woman reading too many “lifestyle magazine” articles about how to catch a man, keep a man and forever please him. Over time, however, her sole desire has become how to ditch this fucking dead weight (which is much harder than catching a “man” ever was). Especially once he starts copping her style–from sartorial steez to haircut to speech patterns and specific word choices (Jesus, F. Scott Fitzgerald much?). It’s enough to make a girl want to change her name, change her address, change her Instagram handle. But she doesn’t, instead bearing with the offensive poseurdom in the hope that she might one day procure an orgasm in the interim period before the sex robots liberate us all from feigned attempts at emotionalism.
As a result of having a “penis,” it doesn’t matter what sexuality a “man” claims when it comes to falling prey to the unfortunate syndrome called: Let Me State the Obvious. Falling in line with the unfortunate congenital need to “man”splain so as to prove his worth as a species (of which he really can’t, try as he might with his needless and unwanted explanations about “how the world works”), an unshakeable desire to make glaringly obvious statements further pertains to the “male” inability to fill a silence with anything valuable (unless it is the screams of a woman from orgasm, but how often does that really happen outside of a “male”-created porno?).
So we have Troye Sivan (content to ride the coattails of Charli XCX’s talent on “1999“), responding to the vacuous Teen Beat sort of question posed by The Coveteur, “What’s one thing people don’t know about you?” to which he stated, “A good pasta is, like, my favorite thing in the world.” Wow, does he like music and breathing too (as Emma Roberts’ character in It’s Kind of A Funny Story might ask)? Because such “favorites” would be equally as expected and obvious of statements. But to the garden variety “male,” declaring such banalities is just another way to accordingly pepper an earth in which the most pea-sized brain (and wang) belongs to one of the most “powerful” “men” in the free world.
If you would like to state how much you love pasta as though it’s novelty information that is somehow surprising, consider that 1) it would be more shocking and profound if you did not like pasta (communist!) and 2) be prepared to have a mound of it tossed on you like Samantha Jones in “A Woman’s Right to Shoes.” Because some of us still, even despite being forced to exist in this century, prefer our sentences arcane and dissectable.
“Men” have many a comprehension issue–deficit, really. Among one of the more unfortunate ones is their inability to compute that you can hate “men” while still being a straight woman. Or as straight as a woman can be during these times of extremely slim pickings (most of which consist of the toadish fat “man”). You can wanna get railed and still feel the strange urge to bash a “man’s” head against a railing. Such are the many tortured dichotomies of being a woman with complex emotions beyond “me want food.” But the one thing that is almost enough for a girl to will a change in her congenital sexual orientation is when “men” say shit like, “Why don’t you ‘just become’ a lesbian?” As though it were as easy as blinking one’s eyes I Dream of Jeannie style and “making it happen.”
In turn, one must ask the question of a “man,” “Why don’t you just start taking dick up your ass since you have to rape women in order to get sex? It would save us all plenty of heart and pussy ache.” But, of course, just as a “straight” “man” knows he cannot “develop a taste for penis” (other than his own), so, too, should he be aware that a misandrist cannot simply conjure an enthusiasm for rug munching, her “predisposition” for genitalia that can really penetrate being what it is. And for the most part, the only reason any “woman” still holds out for “being with” a “man” is because of the strange catharsis that comes with being entered. And a “woman” cannot offer that substitute, try as she might with a strap-on. So next time you think to suggest that the solution to all of a “man-hater’s” (because any woman who calls bullshit on what “men” do [and don’t do] are deemed as such) problems is transforming into a lesbian like Cinderella from a poor person to someone you could actually look at, try to envision a knife going through your throat the way a pork sword might go up your rectum should you “just change” into a gay “man.” Since it’s fairly obvious you hate women more than they hate you based on the systemic chauvinism you were taught to believe was normal (therefore aren’t even cognizant of) since the day you were born.
A running theme throughout the grotesque narratives that have come out of the endless barrage of women finally feeling “somewhat” at ease enough to report the abuse both physical and emotional that they have endured at the hands (or rather, pathetic nubs) of “men” is that they are lying. At first, it was all, “Okay women, we’ll let you have your fun with Harvey Weinstein and some other Hollywood types.” But now that the #MeToo “crusade” has hit the political arena, “men” in suits want to put a stop to the Pandora’s box that has been opened, and they will do so by the most classic means necessary: gaslighting, writing women’s recollections off as “crazy” or “overblown.” That they’re caricaturizing the events or, as the U.S.’ own president claims, are just doing it for publicity or money. This, in turn, has brought about the #SheDominatedMeToo/#SheTheShrew movement.
In the aftermath of the Kavanaugh hearing, it is more apparent than ever that “men” are doing their best to repurpose women’s traumas as nothing more than a “witch hunt,” a way to take down “powerful” “men.” Or, worst of all, that she was rejected and therefore wants to get back at her rejector (see: BØRNS). It would be rather interesting, however, if “men’s” perceptions and memories of a situation weren’t so fucking blacked out, presence of alcohol or not. For you see, the “male” amygdala, a key piece of the brain that helps to process memories and the emotions associated with them is almost as small as their penis, with studies on the effects of the female amygdala finding that “women tend to experience greater enhancement of their memory by emotion.” No fucking shit. This is precisely why to deride a woman for having the courage to come out thirty-five years later with her story (which, frankly, still isn’t enough time to have learned to deal with the scar left on your psyche) is quintessentially callous in terms of a “male” reaction. For a “man” can erase with more efficaciousness than a pencil (not to be confused with his pencil dick). Filing away events and feelings as effortlessly as a girl Friday, the “male” mind has no room in its data bank to consider such things as being ruined for life by the careless action of another. No, he has much more important subjects to think about: like who to abuse next.
So when it comes to how baffling it is that “men” have such a predilection toward cold clinicism in their relationships with women, in short, it’s like Cardi B said, “Teach me to be like you so I can not give a fuck.” In truth, “men” only react in an emotional way when something they say has been challenged or the perception of their nonexistent virility is questioned. Which is precisely why they’re all so fucking scandalized by the women emerging in droves to tell it like it is. That it’s not okay. And it’s not a witch hunt, it’s just that the witches themselves have finally caused the bitches to reach their threshold for pain. “Crying rape” is not crying wolf any more than denying what really happened makes what a “man” did go away.
Because stereotypes make everything easier and generally hold some grain of longstanding truth (e.g. Italian Americans working in construction or plumbing), it is safe to say that the reason “men” hold such general contempt for women is a result of their many luxury “needs” (though some “males” would like to deny their unwitting complicity in the success of the beauty and fashion industries). The things, in short, that make them so very susceptible to desiring and coveting the bourgeois lifestyle. Certainly, it’s not as on blast as it was in the 50s, when Lucy was asking for all manner of increase in her allowance from Ricky, or in the 80s, when Bret Easton Ellis was inspired to write about someone as frivolous as Evelyn in American Psycho. But the residual materialistic airhead trope is hard to shake even with the firm presence of the twenty-first century as well (see: Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, Kylie Jenner specifically and, for some reason, Tiffany Trump).
The resentment “men” have toward women of this nature (which is to say, most of them), stems from the reflection it gives back of his own inadequacy as a functioning member of a capitalist society (the only society still recognized by mainstream media). Because, yes, for the most part, “a scrub is a guy who thinks he’s fly” but also has no fucking money to at least back up a shitty, irascible personality in addition to being bad in bed. So it is that they balk at the bourgeoisie so as to make themselves feel slightly less deficient about being unable to ever be a part of it. Because you know goddamn well if you could be, you would be. That you would not be so quick to balk at an endless reserve of cash if you could actually access it without more than the effort it takes you to get out of your pathetic excuse for a bed.
Balking also aids in convincing the girl whose vagina they’ve briefly managed to enter that she’s the one who’s in the wrong–insane, in short–for wanting access to such vacuous things as a memory foam mattress or a Nespresso maker. Convince her that it’s the more proverbial “man” who has infected her brain with these false and inane aspirations that set us all back to the June Cleaver era. But like, again, if these things were handed to a “man” instead of him actually having to work for them, where would his balking be then? Probably slightly muffled by the taste of homemade bread from a stand mixer.