Whither the Gals of Yore? –by Fred Reed –show me more like this
If one more woman tells me what no-‘count, wife-beating,
insensitive, violent, date-raping slugs men are, and how we’re obsessed
with the magnitude of our genitals, and fear commitment, and don’t have
feelings, I’m gonna take a ball bat to her. Then I’ll get a Border
Collie and a laptop, and go live in a log cabin in West Virginia, and
put up signs that say, “Beware of Incurable Radioactive Cholera.” Ha.
What is with women these days? I used to think they were nice people
that I couldn’t understand, but agreeable and mostly friendly and smiled
a lot, and you could dance with them. Lots of them were bright and
funny. Most were pretty which, given that men are dog-butt ugly, made
the world a pleasanter place. A guy could talk to women in those days,
and it was kind of fun to be nice to them. All in all, I thought they
were a splendid idea.
Now when I talk to beings of the lady variety, they can’t go five
minutes without saying something hostile. They can’t control it. A man
doesn’t have to provoke it. If a gal mentions her daughters, she has to
let you know that she is raising them “not to need men,” and her voice
sounds like she had just found an earthworm in her mouth. Gee, thanks
for sharing. Then she works in the story of her girlfriend who was
mistreated by her husband. Next we get that men objectify women,
whatever that means, and personally pay them only 56 cents for every
dollar a man makes, and victimize them, and only want sex.
Which just isn’t true. I also want a restored ’57 Chevy with a
big-block engine and tuck-and-roll Naugahyde interior. Red.
It verges on hysteria. The other day a high-school girl told me
solemnly that five out of seven college girls she met in a dorm room had
been raped. Sure. And six of them were space aliens on a package tour
Dear god and little catfish.
Where does all this loathing for men come from? Yeah, lady, I’m just
real terrible. In the morning I get up, throw a few coffee cups against
the wall in reflexive rage before killing the neighbor’s dog, and then
assault a lady accountant from Housing and Urban Development on the
subway. The male riders cheer me on: patriarchal bonding. Then we stand
around and compare genitals until I get off at the McPherson Square
stop. Hey, it’s guy stuff.
A lot of this fantasy is just plain nuts. Take the business about men
only-wanting-sex. (Incidentally, my stock response is to assume an
expression of dispassionate curiosity and say, “Ah. What else have you
got?” No, it’s not fair. Neither was the original comment. Besides,
columnists regard fairness as a sign of weakness.)
Women don’t want sex? The second fastest way to lose a woman is to
treat her as a sex object. The first fastest is not to. How do you win?
Besides, women look at us as commitment-objects. (Help, I’ve been
objectified.) A guy almost wonders whether he can wait until the second
date to get married.
The spooky thing is just how mad most women really seem to be. The
dislike is real and profound. And it’s one-way. Men don’t hate women.
They just want to hide.
Best I can tell, women think they’re mad because they think they
think that men are oppressors and gangsters and thugs. Men think women
are blaming everything they don’t like in their lives on men. (Actually,
men didn’t design the world, or anatomy. We came with it.)
The eerie enmity, the apparent belief that everything men do is some
technique of oppression to be resisted, seems to pervade everything. You
can’t see it, but you know it’s there, like God and corruption. It
begins to have social consequences. Guys ask themselves, “How smart
would it be to tie myself to a touchy woman who dislikes my entire
species? Why don’t I just buy her a house now and skip the intervening
This sort of thing could almost produce fear of commitment.
I swear it was different in high school and college. Girls were
great. Sure, they giggled at some forms of masculine behavior. You know,
like bonding with overpowered, under-lubed rustbuckets with glass-pack
mufflers and rod knock. The boys wondered why the girls were never on
time and didn’t want to talk about cam shafts. But there was no venom in
it. Now there is.
West Virginia, I tell you. Incurable cholera and all. Radioactive.
Copyright 1999, Fred Reed