9:10 AM – Beginning a week long internet sabbatical while I’m away on vacation. In the meantime, here’s a little situation I wrote for the local dirtbag rag. Please also enjoy recents musings on The Great Gatsby and a week long meditation on zombies. It’s all redundant and gratuitous, which I’m a perfect writer for the internet.
I was told recently by a much younger dude that my choice to eat Wings-n-More chicken bites (those little swabs of fried chicken deliciously soaked in hotly-tangy sauce) was “unmanly.” I do not want to say who told me this or where I heard it, but I can tell you it happened in my office and directly in front of my back. Honestly, I was grateful the questioner of my gender-idenities did not wait until I had lilted beyond ear shot before deeming my eating habits “unmanly”. Taken off guard, I asked, “What’s unmanly about eating the food I want to eat?” The obviously uber-manly male said he did not know how to answer my question. So I asked him, “What food would I need to have on my plate in public to convince the people around me that I am extremely manly?” He said, again, that he did not know. So I asked him, if he did not know what foods constituted manliness, what were his credentials for being so manly? Also, with such shady dude credentials, how did he possess the authority to declare unmanliness on me? Our conversation ended here.
But this got me thinking about all the things I’ve been told, since moving to Texas, are unmanly. Admittedly, every item on the following list pertains directly to me. As you will soon see, I am, by current social standards the unmanliest of men in this brawny, testosterone drenched Brazos Valley. My unmanliness manifests most glamorously in my following behaviors:
- – eating chicken bites
- – carrying a tote bag adorned with pink flowers
- – appreciating the film Pretty In Pink
- – enjoying animated / kids films
- – reading female writers
- – reading / writing poetry
- – reading (in general)
- – not hunting
- – listening to big band or folk music (especially if the folk music is by a female artist: ie. Ani Difranco or Gillian Welch or Neko Case)
- – enjoying the music of Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson and Britney Spears for non-ironic, non-sexual reasons
- – crying at the movies
- – owning a small dog: ie. a pug
- – picking up my small dog’s poop with a green plastic dog poop pick-up bag
- – washing the dishes for my wife
- – allowing my wife to pick the movie or dinner restaurant
- – cooking food in a kitchen apart from a grill
- – wearing glasses
- – writing letters on paper that will later be stuffed in an envelope and sent through the mail with a stamp
- – keeping a journal
- – playing a musical instrument
By all current standards, it would appear I am in a gender pickle, but I can guarantee you I am not. So many glaring contradictions exist on this list – ie. it is unmanly to play an instrument but it is only manly to listen to dude musicians? Whaaat? – that I’ve chosen to abandon the whole thing. Screw the whole phallic point! I’ve also decided, since the distinctions are so bizarre and crude – ie. men do not consider their wives or show emotion or eat / watch / read / listen to anything that they’ve not been given masculine permission from some uber-masculine meathead to enjoy (which by all means makes the man seeking such permission a total pussy) – that being considered “manly” by such arbitrary social standards is neither a compliment or an insult; rather, it is a black hole of narcissistic chest beating and engine revving that, in the end, looks so pathetically theatrical it just makes me tired. Tired enough to throw up my jazz hands in surrender. Tired enough to extend genuine gratitude whenever a “man” labels me “unmanly.” Hell, tired enough to pour a cup of green tea, pop Sixteen Candles in the VCR (again!) and relish – maybe even a little misty eyed – Samantha telling Jake Ryan her wish had already come true. Dude, I’m telling you, it gets me everytime!