Picasso, Gaugin, Matisse. “Men” are so good at painting. False portraits. One of their favorites on the list of greatest hits called Duping a Woman is creating the illusion of a magical first (and maybe even second and third) outing together that is pretty much a replica of Javier Bardem’s sauverie in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Depictions of eating decadent food (though not so much so as to be too full to fuck), drinking “expensive” wine (though what he views as expensive might not align with your perspective) and talking about “life and love”–whatever the fuck that means–will take the average woman for a ride. Even if she’s already been through the wringer of being made a fool of once or countless times before, she can’t help herself. Believing “men’s” lies is, in part, how women survive, persist in helping the patriarchy perpetuate the false notion that there is such a thing as happily ever after.
So she wavers, lets the falsely painted portrait appeal to her apparently dull senses. For, in truth, there is no imagination to the skeevy date agendas of “men,” the last of the “straight” ones of which will only get creative in how they can make a splash with their “penis” for the purposes of spending as little time and money on the endeavor as possible–ergo the thickness with which they will slather on the ephemeral charm. But, even Vicky (Rebecca Hall)–fortress-like pragmatist that she is–can fall victim to the full-on Monet (oops, mixing movie analogies here) that is a “man’s” presentation of how things will be, with the asterisk’d caveat that it can only be so for a maximum of no more than three to five fucks’ worth of “romance sessions.”
So many “men” can’t help but possess a congenital and unshakeable Peter Pan Syndrome–one that they tend only to cling to all the more as they get older. For the further away they get from youth, the further away they get from having a viable excuse to be such a fuck-up. An “average” if you will. In this fashion, anytime the discovery of a “vintage” photo (vintage, meaning, in this case of “male,” 1990s) comes along–usually by the subject’s over fawning mother, largely responsible for this hollow excuse of a being–a “boy” seizes upon it as an opportunity to show his fake friends throughout various channels demanding a profile picture that, yes, he was once a pure spirit. Not the diabolical knave you see before you today–or rather “see before you” on the internet.
In general, the sort of “man” that gives us a childhood profile photo will keep it there for quite some time (unless, of course, a novelty photo materializes from Vegas to up the appearance of his so-called game–for some reason, every “man” seems to actually want to look like a fuck”boy”). So that we may always understand the exact proportions of his dick–for it has never expanded its dimensions beyond preadolescence. But isn’t he just so fucking cute and forgivable in zygote form?
There’s a lot of “freaks” out there. It was the basis of an entire Sex and the City episode, for fuck’s sake (season two, episode three–“The Freak Show”–you should watch it, even though it’s really hard to be reminded of New York when it wasn’t so flaccid). But most of them are freaks not because they would have served well as extras in Tod Browning’s film of the same name, but because they actually have the gumption to sell themselves in this manner, parading themselves as “open,” “progressive” and hippy dippy or what have you when, in actuality, at the end of the day all they want is a muhfukkin basique. A non-Katie (a.k.a. complicato), like all the rest.
Yet possibly due to a typically youthful desire to seem rebellious and/or original (unfortunately youth extends interminably in most “men’s” “minds” these days), the faux freak “male” likes to feign that he’s as kooky and creepy as any sideshow attraction. This often translates into making a lot of random sounds, pretending to take an interest in off-brand bedroom behavior (when really, missionary is always his go-to in between the usual lackadaisical request for up the ass) and, for a time, seeking to pair with a girl who is as equitably 1950s queer as he is. However, every faux freak of a “man” grows tired of the charade with the girl who is genuinely a weirdo, ultimately taking his circus tent to a new metaphorical town (read: vagina) to perform another private show (as Britney Spears would call it), one that will enrapture a more basique element in the end, for that is what he truly wants–to be the so-called “special” one of the relationship.
As the “feminist” “movement” increasingly becomes the sort of fad that prompts Urban Outfitters to sell t-shirts with the three syllable word on it, “men’s” commonly held notions about what one should look like (chiefly a short-coiffed, homely, ill-dressed, long armpit-haired being) ought to evolve quickly if they don’t want to further incriminate themselves to the world about just what narrow-minded pieces of shit they are.
This false perception “men” have of only “ugly” women being capable of rage and contempt for the centuries-long acceptance of female oppression probably wasn’t helped by our Lord and Savior, Valerie Solanas. Then again, most “straight” “men” have nary a clue who that is unless they happened to catch a certain episode of American Horror Story: Cult. What’s more, when the type of dickless “men” I’m referring to think “ugly,” it is in the manner that has so often prompted the Hollywood trope of a woman getting a makeover by the simple removal of her glasses and the addition of a form-fitting dress to her wardrobe.
And yet, it’s actually easier for “men” to position a feminist to themselves in this manner–the manner that assumes she wouldn’t be a feminist if she was pretty enough to finagle herself a “man.” Comforts them in the belief that it’s merely a “trend” that will pass more attractive women by after enough time has lapsed and some more liberal celebrity takes the presidential office.
John Michael McDonagh’s 2016 film, War on Everyone, oft memed, rarely watched, paints this issue most succinctly when Alexander Skarsgård in the role of Terry Monroe daftly asks, “Can you be a feminist and still wear hot pants?” The guilelessness of this question gives a genuine insight into how most “men” think, persisting in truly believing that to be hideous is to be a feminist–in their minds, still a synonym for harpy. That is, if such an age-old insult is even in their Newspeak vernacular. So to break down the answer to that query very simply: you can be a feminist and wear whatever the fuck you want. Even the polar opposite wardrobe piece, a burka–which packs even more power because it hides the only thing “men” care about in a woman: her body.
More than any other gender, clear-cut or somewhere in between the spectrum, “men” seem to be the ones most fond–most likely to experience ejaculation–from being “right” via proving that a woman’s method and approach to something did not end up “working out” for her. Of course, what he means by it not working out is that she has not managed to achieve what she set out to do as quickly as she might have had she, say, sucked some literal or metaphorical cock.
But, as all women with their eye on the prize will ultimately come to find, they generally, without fail, always accomplish that which they set their sights on (primarily sweet death). It’s just a matter of our own process of getting there. If we don’t want to plaster a fucking “sweet” smile on our faces while we do it, or if we want to go about a certain task in a, shall we say, more roundabout, time-consuming fashion, that’s our fucking business. What should it matter to a loomingly observing “male” who apparently has nothing better to do than wait for a “woman” (even his own girlfriend most of the time) to err? Is it that satisfying for him to feel vindicated in knowing that his dick is still intact somewhere within the recesses of his groin?
This deep-seated need to see women unable to “perform” on their own terms stems from decades upon decades of conditioning. Like Lucy Ricardo’s many attempts at doing things her own way, only to have them very literally shoved back in her face as glaring mistakes, her constant fear of Ricky finding out is a testament to the inherent nature of most women: combative and defiant beneath that surface of perceived obsequiousness. We’ll fucking show you all when we’ve turned “men”–especially those softboys feigning emotionalism–completely into decorative pieces too afraid to say anything that could be viewed as offensive, let alone open their gaping maws any further at all beyond breathing. How’s that working out for you?
Even more than soccer, the sport that all “men” engage in that requires zero effort on their part is arousing within a woman passions that she would otherwise like to suppress for the sake of self-preservation. Nothing is as big of a detriment to dignity than becoming emotionally vulnerable. However, as Dawson’s Creek taught us, whenever a “man” displays enough interest and determination, a woman is invariably prone to fall victim (not, in this case, a product of self-victimizing) to his “charms.” This usually means a lot of drunk texts, messages and, now and again, just “happening” to be at the same local haunt as the object of his ephemeral affection. Yet, as is always the case unless the “man” is being financially motivated to stay with his “love” “object,” he will grow restless and weary once the “having” of a woman is achieved. It’s the “having” that is the majority of the thrill. And then, once she’s fully succumbed, let down her guard in every way (even ceding to taking her makeup off at night in a manner that goes against the Mrs. Maisel regimen), he will recoil, proving that his intent to love was never really there, so much as an irrepressible “curiosity” that needed to be explored on his part. The signs of his withdrawal won’t be evident to the woman, in all her naïveté, and so the abandonment will seem like a botched excision as opposed to a gentle, anesthetized one.
It is, of all people, Bob Marley who said, “The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her.” This ganja-smoking, free love-touting (“Rasta men are permitted to have multiple female sex partners, while women are expected to reserve their sexual activity for their one male partner”) emblem of chillness managed to stay married to the same woman, Alpharita Constantia “Rita” Marley, for his entire life–love the same woman his entire life. And she, in turn, popped out eleven children, not all of them Marley’s, but all were essentially treated as his. While sure, it actually sounds like a waking nightmare to be saddled with that as a fate–not to mention impossible to find child care for the evening–at least Marley was a practitioner of his own aphorism. Even if all it took was regular engagement in extramarital affairs–on her part as well. Still, it seems somehow more palatable than a “man” simply up and leaving the woman whose love he’s awakened, never to be heard from again–never to offer an explanation of exactly why and when his alleged former ardor went cold. Of how the intent to love became so easily dispensed with. Like piano lessons taken up in the ambition of youth, only to be allowed to fall by the wayside in favor of something less time-consuming and involved.
No matter how increasingly aware women become of how little they actually need a “man,” there’s always going to be that sect that persists in carrying on with the so-called tradition of monogamy and the associated trajectory of marriage, an institution that, like the presidency, is frivolous, but still sort of cute (or would be if the person embodying its post at the moment didn’t induce vomiting on sight).
With the territory of marriage often comes a sense of possession and entitlement, usually on the “man’s” part if his wife is blatantly more attractive than he is. That being said, an inexorable tendency toward monitoring even the smallest, most insignificant of activities can start to become par for the domesticity course. Whether she’s washing the dishes (no doubt, ineffectually, by his standards), folding the laundry (after starching the appropriate garments, no less) or giving the requisite “at least twice a week” blow job, her “man” is sure to be watching closely, waiting to take issue with some ridiculous nuance she didn’t “perform” quite right. And the more he monitors, the more uneasy and unsettled a girl can become, questioning her every move, spiraling further and further into an Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight mentality.
Fearing the constant hovering presence of a “man” over her shoulder, the confidence with which she approaches her day-to-day former enjoyments can suddenly feel like a perpetual dry anal rape. There’s nothing worse than constantly self-questioning in the non-Socratic way, after all. It can really mess with a woman’s pretty little head. Accordingly, why don’t you try to strike the perfect balance between attentiveness and not totally ignoring? It would signal far more care on your part than hyper-vigilance, which so often stems from a place of selfishness rather than love. If that increasingly mythical concept can even exist between a “straight” “man” and woman.
The general go-to when it comes to chalking up a woman’s “insanity” to something–if she’s even allowed the “courtesy” of being given a reason for said unhingedness other than her gender–is that she must have daddy issues. This, too, must also be the reason why she can never be satisfied by any “man”–least of all one in her age bracket. No, she’s too busy subconsciously comparing him to her father–even if he was never around to make for much of a comprehensive comparison.
But “men,” often more unwittingly convinced of the Electra complex than women are of the Oedipus one, are too quick to write off a woman’s neuroses to the very first “man” she ever had any dealings with in her life: old Daddy-o. Except, in most latchkey kids’ cases, there wasn’t much interaction with her patriarch anyway–of course, they (therapists?) say that the absence of this key “male” figure in a girl’s life can be just as damaging in the same ways that a ubiquitous “father” can be with his invariable verbal and/or physical abuse. Regardless, a woman’s alleged “madness” can’t be attributed entirely to the one “male” in her life whose job it was, by twentieth century and prior standards, to make her “palatable” to another “man” who would be responsible for taking care of her (since, basically, a “woman” had to be passed off, as it were, by the time she reached a certain “marriageable age”). Except, in truth, this obligation always fell to the mother. In any case, if we’re going to place blame on anyone for a woman’s “batshit” ways, let’s place it on all “men,” largely immune to common decency and morality as they are, not just those “penises” responsible for bringing a child into the world against her will.
“Men” aren’t the most adept at picking up on things, even when they’re hit over the head with them. Which is why even bothering with the nuance of being “subtle” can only lead to invariable disappointment. Just look at the most recent Golden Globes, where “men” stood there daftly with forced Time’s Up pins on their lapels, saying pretty much nothing about the reason behind having to wear them. For even when they do pick up on the sentiment you’re trying to get across to them, they tend to express their emotions as adroitly as a woman who despises children would hold a baby.
They don’t mean to be such dullards when it comes to the expression of feelings and understanding, it’s simply that they’re perhaps still coping with a time-honored indoctrination of bottling up empathy of any kind. That being said, it’s easier to tiptoe around what’s being very plainly directed at them by a woman, usually rage and/or sadness. Because “men” tend only to be capable of evincing these emotions in between occasional attempts at placating you with an orgasm. Which is why they would prefer not to further poke the bear that is a female’s fury. It’s better, in his mind, to pretend his car hasn’t been just set on fire than to actually acknowledge any wrongdoing on his part–copping to why his car deserved to be incinerated–thereby eliciting another mudslide of feminine “overreaction.”
There are still plenty of “freaks” in the world, sure. They just so happen to be of the genuinely scary variety as opposed to the fun, drum up this humdrum existence variety. Take, for example, any “man” in the current Cabinet of the United States, among other strange creatures far too close to our homes. Rather than the pure form of freakdom that once existed in Tod Browning’s day (or shit, even John Hughes’ day), we are now faced with a more frightening breed: the normal and boring sort.
This, of course, spreads into the “dating” and “sex” arena (if you can call being treated like a blow-up doll for the evening as such), where there is no shortage of stark-raving typicals claiming to be “so weird” the same way a certain sect of women go out of their way to pretend to be quirky. But their only weirdness lies in how they just lie there in bed stiff as a board making you wish for the Amphibian Man in The Shape of Water to come take you from this flaccidity-infested land. As a masquerading straight “man,” if you’re not going to be even remotely interesting or endearingly bombastic in personality, at least have the decency to show some level of imagination behind a closed bedroom (or bathroom) door.