Gelding, By Lily

The sorrowful rise of neuter man.

by Fred Reed

Ever wonder why masculine men are dying out–the old
strong, silent type who rolled cheroots one-handed while roping dogies
with the other–and being replaced by delicate androgynous Ken-dolls who
look like Tinkerbell with a flat chest? Or why women look increasingly .
. . not masculine so much as sexless?

Tell you what I think.

(I’ll bet that surprises you.)

Used to be, men and women were different, and they knew it. They
weren’t in competition. So a guy could be Marlboro Man, or sort of
anyhow, and grunt, and stand tall in the saddle, and say,
“Hoo-ahhhh!” and ride Harleys. And if anybody messed with his
kids or women, he’d take a tire iron to’em, or a thirty-thirty,
depending–or at least imagine that he might. He had sense enough,
anyway, to know that it was a good idea.

Back then, a woman could like a big hairy-chested hunk, because she
wasn’t competing with him. In fact, the hairier and chesteder he was,
the better, because she was vying with her girlfriends to see who could
get the manlier man. And a lot of women liked the idea of 240 pounds of
muscle in a Stetson that meant to take care of them.

She meanwhile could afford to be cute, feminine, and curved, and
dress like a woman, and maybe wield a gorgeous smile that she used to
play him like a banjo–which he probably knew, and figured that was OK
too, because that’s how things worked, and anyway guys are guys. She
didn’t have to out-hairy him. She wasn’t trying to be a guy.

East was east, and west was west, and the twain would meet at the
drop of a hat.

Then everything changed. Women decided they wanted to compete with
men. OK. I can understand it. If I were a woman with an IQ of 160, I’d
probably want to be a biochemist instead of child-herd and
doily-polisher. The idea seemed reasonable to most women, and to most
men. A kajillion gals poured into the workplace.

Thing was–and nobody had really thought this out–they didn’t expect
to compete on their merits as individuals, get as far as they got, and
figure that was the hand God dealt them. They wanted to duke it out
head-to-head, self-consciously and avowedly, as a class, with men. It
wasn’t Sally wrestling with the law boards. It was Us agin Them.

Which was a Whole Nuther Thing. No society or species had ever tried

Problems arose. Fact is, men are hard to compete with. Physically,
they are taller, heavier, much stronger, more durable and more enduring.
Except for nymphet gymnastics, there may be no sport in which women hold
the record. Intellectually men have a large advantage mathematically and
a slight one verbally at the high end, that becomes rapidly greater as
one moves to the right of the mean; This is the Glass Ceiling. Men are
more aggressive, exploratory, adventurous, and versatile. Sorry, but
there it is.

Women moved up some, and some moved up a lot, but they didn’t catch
up numerically with men. It was because they couldn’t, and that’s a
pretty good reason. And when you got down to it, women just didn’t care
enough. They had other things on their minds, like families and rugrats.

They didn’t quite understand this. Nobody did. All women wanted, they
said early on, was to be judged by the same standards as men. It was a
bad idea. If I judge Cup Cake as a woman, I note that she is sleek,
smart, funny, graceful, sweet as sorghum on a Moon Pie, and dances like
a dream raised in Arkansas. I’m smitten.

If I judge her as I judge men, she’s an emotionally unstable dwarf.
How much respect am I supposed to have for a 5’3″ guy who bench presses
a twenty-ounce Pepsi?

Antagonism inevitably ensued. Men said that the ladies didn’t want to
be women, and couldn’t be men. Why, they asked each other, did a
first-rate woman want to be a second-rate man? The women said men were
bigoted. Men said they were just observant. Women, who had always
regarded men as commitment objects and pre-med objects, became enraged
that men regarded them as sex objects. Men were puzzled. They didn’t
know what else to regard as sex objects.

I was confused myself. I remember a woman screaming at me, “Women
don’t want to be objects!” Trying to be conciliatory, I said, “OK, you
can be subjects.” That didn’t suit her either.

They don’t know what they want. And that’s the problem.

They got angry and developed chips on their shoulder pads. War
ensued, in which women raged and men didn’t know what the hell was going
on. When natural ability failed, women discovered, politics would serve.
And so we got affirmative action, which means, “pretending.”

Depending on the venue, the women needed very little or lots of
pretending. The military was worst. It pretended either that women could
climb obstacles, or that wars didn’t involve obstacles. Soon soldiers
discovered that most women couldn’t throw a grenade beyond its bursting
radius. This will make you unpopular on battlefields. Besides, a woman
throwing a grenade looked like a sea lion waving its flipper. So the
Army built a little wall for them to drop grenades over.

It was ridiculous. It is ridiculous. Affirmative action always is.
Nobody is fooled. Still, it spread like peanut butter on a hot day. For
those women who didn’t like men anyway, it was sweet revenge. Except–it
wasn’t quite. The men knew, and the women knew they knew. On the other
hand, the checks cashed.

Intuitively women knew they had to push for unisex. To compete with
men, women had to act like men, who are competitive, and get men to
behave like women, who aren’t. They bought ugly sexless suits, did
boring things with their hair, and practiced being disagreeable, often
succeeding wildly. Meanwhile the media, fronting for them, went in for
pretty male models who waxed their chests and weren’t threatening. The
compassionate man emerged like a grub from a log.

The women won. Marlboro Man, or anybody too clearly of one sex or the
other, is out of style. Both the New-Age woman, and her docile
man-surrogate, would be intimidated, and ol’ Marlboro would have trouble
knowing which was the girl. God it’s boring.

Fred Reed’s Column Page

Copyright 2000, Fred Reed