The irony is that I'm sure many people would pay to read an account of my life just lately...and if it weren't so intensely personal, I'd oblige them.
I have submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul, and discovered a number of tools that will help me immensely once I have more material to push out there. In the meantime, I will continue to blog here, with a greater frequency than I have this past summer, but I won't blog for the sake of blogging...which is something I've been occasionally guilty of in the past.
Did you know that agreeing with compliments you're given is offensive?
Only if you're a cis-woman being "complimented" by a cis-man, mind you. Agreeing to those "compliments" seems to piss guys off.
Real life examples (source)
Guy, out of the blue, either on a dating site or in real life: you're beautiful
Woman: thank you, I know!...
Guy: being vain won't get you anywhere, it just makes you a bitch
If you're wondering how we got from "you're beautiful" to "you're a bitch" in just one sentence, read on:
Guy: btw ur eyes are gorgeous [Ken intrudes: what the fuck is wrong with the word 'your'?]
Woman: aha I know thank you! So are yours
Guy: bitch what do you mean "I know" ur not that amazing
There are lots more examples, but they all play out the same way: Man 'compliments', woman agrees, sometimes even RETURNING the compliment, and the man is then offended and lashes out.
I am a man, although I have to say given this and a myriad of other behaviours men exhibit towards women, I often find myself ashamed to admit it. This particular behaviour is particularly baffling, until you realize the 'compliments' these men are spewing aren't actually compliments at all.
I had thought that such sallies were pathetic attempts at masking the man's actual intention, which (needless to say) involves getting into the woman's pants. I won't belabour how disgusting I find this, nor how disgustingly common it is: I get that sex is a biological imperative, but, ahem, fuck me!
It turns out, though, that the rot runs deeper. It turns out (who knew this? I didn't) that a woman does not exist until a man notices her.
Bet you didn't know that. But it's true: the man's reaction to the woman's agreeing with his compliment proves it. A man is allowed to tell a woman what she is; the woman is not allowed to be whatever that is until a man has okayed it. If a woman feels that she IS beautiful, or has gorgeous eyes, or what have you, she's certainly permitted to say so out loud.
Still have trouble believing this? Pay close attention at your next corporate meeting:
- woman suggests course of action/improvement/etc
- men explain, in condescending fashion, why this course of action or improvement would never work
- some time later, a man suggests the EXACT SAME course of action/improvement
- and is universally applauded and the idea is adopted.
Now I know why women, in my experience, take compliments so poorly...because they are literally not allowed to feel good about themselves EVEN WHEN A MAN CLAIMS TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEM.
I have never catcalled a woman. Not once. My compliments towards women, at least until I am really close to them, almost always concern something they're wearing. People who know me well recognize the shorthand there: I don't actually notice clothes except in very rare circumstances, so if I say something like "that's a pretty sweater", I'm really saying "you're pretty". It's too bad that I can't actually say "you're pretty" out of fear you'll think I'm about to hit on you, or even worse, you'll assume you can't agree with the compliment lest I withdraw it and call you a bitch.
You know what? Agreeing with my compliment of you would make my heart LEAP. This world needs more women who are every bit as confident of their beauty (and even better, confident in themselves with or without it).
Toxic masculinity. I read an article in the National Review the other day about Houston. It showed male firefighters and rescue personnel carrying women and children through the floodwaters to safety. The comments were full of aggrieved men suggesting that you can't show pictures like this anymore, some snowflake will be triggered by the big threatening man being all toxic up in our faces, how dare we deviate from the "ideal" Leftist femme male?
I jumped into the comment chain--I do that, I have no idea why--to suggest that "toxic masculinity" isn't at all what those people think it is. Toxic masculinity is this: having pulled a woman from the floodwaters, you are of course entitled to sex with her. THAT's toxic. Also toxic would be believing that woman can not be protector figures (have you ever had a mother?) Toxic masculinity is defining your value as a man by the men and women you have power over. Actually, come to think of it, "power over" is toxicity itself. The proper paradigm is "power with".
People wonder how this got to be such a big topic of discussion in recent years, and the answer is that terrorist organizations such as ISIS, the KKK and the United States Army (yes, I went there; I'm far from alone) consciously target such men. Average recruits to organizations like this has several things in common: they feel alienated, disrespected (especially by women) and unsure of their place in the world. This in turn is the inevitable consequence of demonizing blue-collar jobs and outsourcing all the rest of them. Which means things are going to get worse before they get better.
All I can do is be who I am, and hope people come to understand. I do love women, many of them. I'm full to bursting with compliments I dare not express. I'm used to having my manhood questioned, vigorously, and hell, sometimes I invite it on myself. But whatever. I'm a man, whatever you think I am. I think you're pretty...I think you're beautiful, in fact. And I want you to agree with me. Enthusiastically.