Friday, April 17, 2009

It's too easy, but so hard not to

Have you seen this? It's this shit from Esquire (a magazine directed at upper-middle class, misogynist/homophobic businessmen -- you know, the kind who wears a three piece suit to a bar on a Saturday; have you met this guy? who the fuck does he think he is, anyway?) definitively defining the definition of manliness and manhood with uh... definition. Anyway, it's a puff piece about absolutely nothing.
"A man carries cash. A man looks out for those around him -- woman, friend, stranger. A man can cook eggs. A man can always find something good to watch on television."
A man doesn't give change to homeless people. A man makes sure that those around him are aware of how he is truly the fist of Chuck Norris. A man can't keep himself from changing the channel on the teevee, and/or is just dumb enough than any drivel even This Old House will placate him ("hey, I like This Old House", no you don't, no one likes that show). A man can write short little sentences describing nothing and then ramble on about how cool he is for 250 words.
"Know-how survives him"? What does that even mean?
"A man can speak to dogs." But a woman can get them to respond.

"A man listens, and that's how he argues. He crafts opinions. He can pound the table, take the floor. It's not that he must. It's that he can."
This is where it starts to get ugly. A. Man has the ability to make other people feel insecure. It's not that he must, it's that he can. A. Man is an asshole.
"A man can look you up and down and figure some things out. Before you say a word, he makes you. From your suitcase, from your watch, from your posture. A man infers."
A. Man is capable of deductive reasoning! Congratulations on figuring that one out Esquire! Good lord, it's like reading an essay by a 3rd grader.
"A man can tell you he was wrong. That he did wrong. That he planned to. He can tell you when he is lost. He can apologize, even if sometimes it's just to put an end to the bickering."
But again, let's not confuse "can" with "will". And remember ladies, it's usually your fault in the first place.
"A man loves the human body, the revelation of nakedness. He loves the sight of the pale bosom, the physics of the human skeleton, the alternating current of the flesh. He is thrilled by the wrist and the sight of a bare shoulder. He likes the crease of a bent knee."
Wow, A. Man is starting to sound less like James Bond and more like Richard from Ally McBeal. And what the hell is different about the physics of the human skeleton than the physics of the rest of the goddamn universe? Is "kinesthesiology" to big a word for A. Man?
This one's my favorite:
"Maybe he never has, and maybe he never will, but a man figures he can knock
someone, somewhere, on his bottom."
(Emphasis mine) This is why.
"He understands the basic mechanics of the planet. Or he can close one eye, look up at the sun, and tell you what time of day it is. Or where north is. He can tell you where you might find something to eat or where the fish run..."
Which is why he is never lost; no, he can't; no, he can't; the grocery store and the river, respectively.
"A miter saw, incidentally, is the kind that sits on a table, has a circular blade, and is used for cutting at precise angles. Very satisfying saw."
This bit I just found odd. First, because I have a degree in sculpture that has enabled me on at least one subject and that is the subject of power tools, and I'm pretty sure I didn't sprout a penis my sophomore year of college. Second, because miter saws are expensive and redundant for two reasons: the regular old table saw (for lengths of wood), and the chop saw (now there is a fucking satisfying saw) both of which are versetile enough to enable the more practical, useful and easier to manage 90 degree angled cuts as well as the fancy I-learned-to-make-this-on-This-Old-House "precise" angled cuts that most people don't use because a miter joint is less stable than a butt joint and harder to work with. Don't believe me? Look around your house. How many miter joints do you see? They aren't even used in door frames anymore cause they're so fucking ridiculous.
"Or he stands watch. He interrupts trouble. This is the state policeman. This is the poet. Men, both of them."
Well, except for the ones that are... you know... not.
And, the coupe de gras:
"A man watches. Sometimes he goes and sits at an auction knowing he won't spend a dime, witnessing the temptation and the maneuvering of others. Sometimes he stands on the street corner watching stuff. This is not about quietude so much as collection. It is not about meditation so much as considering. A man refracts his vision and gains acuity. This serves him in every way. No one taught him this -- to be quiet, to cipher, to watch. In this way, in these moments, the man is like a zoo animal: both captive and free. You cannot take your eyes off a man when he is like that. You shouldn't. Who knows what he is thinking, who he is, or what he will do next."
(Emphasis mine) A. Man will make idle threats just to keep everyone else in line. And that, my friends, is what the patriarcy is for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I admire you for being able to finish reading it. I got halfway through and was so disgusted that I had to stop. I have to wonder what they'd say in a similar article about women. I'm sure I'd be just as disgusted by that one.