Hourglass

I hate politics. Always have.

I’m opinionated to the gills, but there are some things I don’t discuss because I find the discussion fruitless. Not that a subject is only worth visiting if something will come of it. It’s just that I don’t bother with topics I find dull unless it’s going to affect some kind of change I deem significant or of personal value.

Politics never fall under that umbrella.

A lot is happening in the world. A lot is happening in my country. And it seems I’m expected to say something about it. I could argue that I said all I needed to say with my vote, though I suppose that’s too abstract.

I’m sure it can appear out of character that I haven’t gone into great detail about Trump being our president – especially in the wake of the travel ban. Truth is, I had nothing to say. For all the judgments I make, there are infinitely more I don’t. Some things, I let speak for themselves.

It’s like watching a friend who doesn’t know the first thing about skateboarding climb onto a high ramp with a steep angle, insisting that they’re going to skate down in a fiery blaze, launch themselves majestically from the ramp with the wind at their back, flip the board, and land safely on an overturned trash can twenty feet away.

It’s an accident waiting to happen.
So was the election.

The difference is that in the case of an election, we’re given the appearance of power over the outcome. We’re given the chance, by vote, to express not only our values, but our concerns in a way that supposedly has a tangible effect on the governance of our nation.

But I’ve always understood that you aren’t voting for an outcome. You’re voting for potential. People stand before you and tout what they’ll do, but what they say has no bearing on what’s actually going to happen and the choices they’re actually going to make.

So it’s a gamble. When we vote, we’re essentially placing a bet that the person we want to see in office will get there and do great things or, at the very least, be better for us than the alternatives. Hope is what we vote for. Nothing more.

On July 19th, 2016, I tweeted the following:

Why cringe at this election? Our culture is getting exactly what it’s allowed. Folks are just mad our general foolishness made it upstairs.

To be shocked by the fact that Trump was running for president, and gaining support in spite of the opinions he voiced or the way he conducted himself, was to be shocked that America is America. The election, for me, was a reflection of ourselves and our shortcomings.

Nothing shocks me about what our society has become or what it’s arguably always been in one form or another. Every country has its flaws and historical baggage. We’re no better or worse than anyone except in our potential to be better than we are.

We have so much knowledge. We’re privileged and prosper in ways that are out of reach for much of the globe. We have the benefit of worldly exposure and unmatched diversity, and the lessons that our freedoms teach us, as much by being given as by being taken away.

As a nation, we can and should know better – whatever better there is to know – yet we fail each other and ourselves again and again.

We divide ourselves over things that amount to dust in the vastness of the universe and the shortness of our lives in spite of that division yielding nothing productive or good. We’re weak when we need to be strong, giving in to prejudice, giving in to ego, giving in to stupor, hatred or spite.

We’re petty because we can be and we’re entertained by drama. We instigate shit out of boredom and are distasteful out of trendy habit.

We chase everything harder than we chase bettering ourselves on the inside – including looking better on the outside – because being a better person requires too much effort and doesn’t sow enough external rewards.

We talk about how shameful it is that XYZ is still a problem in [current year] without taking it to heart that our progressive ideas were hashed and rehashed by brilliant, divergent minds throughout history.

We ignore the fact that people were saying this shouldn’t be a problem today when “today” was a thousand years ago, and we’ve still yet to achieve peace.

I don’t care to attribute it to some divine plan. I’d rather say it’s for the simplest of reasons: Some people are just too shitty for peace to prevail.

There will always be a percentage of the population that’s happiest when others are miserable, there will always be those who put their wants above other people’s needs, and there will always be those who prefer the suffering of others over what they perceive to be the compromising of themselves or their values. It’s human nature.

(It just comes more naturally to some than others.)

The best we can ask for is that the good ones outnumber the shitty ones from time to time – and many Americans were devastated when Trump won because it felt like undeniable proof that the good ones are in the minority.

I don’t believe that.

In spite of being painfully aware of our shortfalls and guessing that Trump was going to win because of them, I still believe most Americans would let go of the crap that drives us apart if it meant a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

Things just haven’t gotten bad enough for them to concede. People are still comfortable enough to be dicks about race, religion, and the like. We’re lucky that way. And the rest don’t know how to make things better, so they’re grasping at straws.

Back to the accident waiting to happen, I said nothing because I considered the outcome inevitable. Whether I said my piece or not, people were going to vote for Trump – lots of them – and nothing I had to say about it would have been any different from the things already being said.

In short, I was over it before it started, but people still wanted to hear my thoughts, so I figured I’d give them now for the new year and be done with it…

A lot of Trump supporters felt that the people vilifying him were just melodramatic liberals too blinded by some politically correct agenda to recognize him as the most rational choice. And a lot of anti-Trumps felt his supporters were a bunch of dumb backwater bigots who praised his unethical ideology.

I didn’t fall on either side of that fence and it goes back to what I said about elections being a gamble. There’s no sure thing. No candidate is guaranteed to be a good president or bad.

And as much as people think that being well-versed in the positions put forth by each candidate makes them more suitable to vote than someone who knows very little about their stance or the acts they’ve committed in the past, an educated guess is still a guess.

So I could muddy the water with a bunch of political mumbo jumbo, but none of that is necessary or even relevant. When asked to place my faith in one person or another, I’m always going to bet on the one who puts humanity first – or, in this case, not pick the one who unapologetically sets it aside.

Regardless of their position on things like healthcare, abortion, gay marriage, immigration, business, and foreign policy, the president is going to be put in situations every day where difficult choices have to be made, and I care about how they’ll make them.

Even if I disagree with their decisions, I want to know that the human part of that equation wasn’t taken lightly or steeped in a fundamentally negative bias.

Someone of the character to care about human beings as a single unit will take that perspective into consideration with each choice and conflict they face. That’s far more important to me than trying to weigh promises candidates aren’t even obligated to keep.

Once we the people were on the table and the question of how laws and efforts would affect us required its due, I felt that Trump would lead with a self-serving prejudice and frame his decisions within the confines of that prejudice, creating a very narrow path for this country to walk. I felt he would lack the care and finesse of a thoughtful leader in favor of being impetuous.

Moreover, I felt he would act in accordance with the worst parts of his nature – the parts that many Americans shared quietly, yet emboldened in him – though without the characteristics of leadership required to temper it.

Long story short, I didn’t trust Trump as a person, so I damn sure didn’t vote for him as a president.

It’s that simple.

I know many boiled the election down to voting for an asshole who was at least honest about it versus voting for a liar, but I’m of the mindset that all leaders lie, whether to protect the people or themselves. So I can vote for a liar if need be because I suffer no delusion that an honest person has ever taken office or left it.

But I can’t vote for someone I want to slap every time he opens his mouth on principle because he acts against the good of the people in favor of the good of himself and his class.

At any rate, the fact remains that some people did vote for Trump, and I don’t hate them for it. Yes, some of them are dicks and used Trump’s campaign as a platform for their ignorance, but I think most of them were regular people who felt they were voting for change.

Just like those who voted for Obama.

I don’t care what anyone says. People didn’t vote for Obama because he was (half) black. Not directly. They voted for him because he was something other than what they had, and in that, they saw the potential for things to be different.

Change is a powerful temptress – one that many Americans felt compelled to court. Unfortunately, I think the change Trump supporters were hoping for may come at a price they hadn’t considered. Everything happening now is merely a glimpse at the fox they put in the hen house. There will be more.

But maybe that’s exactly what we needed. Seeing so many of his supporters recant, this may be their wake-up call, just as Trump’s win was a wake-up call for the naive who thought it could never have happened.

Maybe as things decline further and Trump voters become increasingly disillusioned, their regret for having played a part in putting him in office will prompt them to revisit their priorities.

Maybe they’ll reexamine themselves to figure out why on Earth they thought voting for someone generally presumed to be a greedy, racist, sexist, homophobic narcissist who cares only about the rich and powerful would make our country better.

And maybe their desire to make up for the vote they cast will encourage them to come together with fellow Americans in a way they haven’t before, working harder to undo what was done as a nation. To that end, looking back, on November 9th, I tweeted this:

Don’t let the outcome of this election be your defining moment. Accomplish as human beings what we may have failed to accomplish as voters.

And that’s where my opinion rests.

Trump may be our president, but he doesn’t have to be our voice. We still choose who we want to be as individuals and that’s what shapes who we are as a country. We can show each other and the world the America that we want to live in and be known for by pushing for something greater than numbers on a page.

Not to sound like the oracle on the hill, but be wary of things to come, because this climate has the potential to tear us apart from the inside out. This is how empires fall. Don’t sit back and watch it happen. Be better people. You, me, everyone.

Be better.
Not eventually.
Now.

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Taylor, You Bitch!

I went to replace the battery in my electronic scale this morning when I realized it uses one of those button cell lithium types. I probably have every kind of battery on the market dumped around my place in bowls except that one and it took me back to something I think about quite a bit. It’s the idea that a society can be primitive or advanced and the question of how we quantify that.

I think the average person would consider us to be pretty “up there” – not quite Atlantis material, but certainly no Apocalypto. Still, I wonder how progressive our progress really is. What is the purpose of advancement? Is it about moving forward or is it about moving closer to a goal? Because if there’s a goal, what is it and how close have we really gotten?

When I look around at all of the incredible technology we’ve developed and the speed at which we’re evolving as a species because of it, there’s one frightening truth that stands out:

All of it can be negated by the flip of a switch.

We’ve progressed beyond the point of sustainability, because the technology we depend on to maintain and preserve life as we know it by and large requires power.

We always talk about resources and the fact that projections paint a dismal picture of what the future will be if we continue to consume things that are finite, but we only ever seem to speak of the loss of power in the context of science fiction.

When I say “power”, I’m talking about electrical energy.

In my opinion, mechanical energy is the only truly sustainable energy we’re capable of harvesting – and what I call sustainable isn’t to be confused with renewable. To me, renewable energy replenishes itself. That doesn’t make it sustainable.

Take solar energy, for example. It’s probably the first thing called to mind when you think of a renewable energy source, because like Annie said, the sun’ll come out tomorrow! But we’ve already seen a number of limitations to solar energy, the most obvious being that we don’t always have access to sunlight.

Then there’s the matter of the technology required to harvest solar energy and convert it into electrical energy. Technology we incidentally wouldn’t be able to manufacture without the electrical energy it makes. Good thing we have other ways of producing electricity that aren’t solar, right?

Renewable energy is fantastic and necessary, but when I call energy sustainable, I mean that it’s a source of power requiring nothing more than our power – manpower – and what we’re able to build from the natural world. Because those are the only two resources we’re guaranteed by logic to always have:

The planet we live on and ourselves.

If we lost either of those resources, this discussion would no longer be a discussion because there wouldn’t be anyone around to discuss it.

Ancient civilizations may have mastered engineering with a focus on mechanical energy because they weren’t advanced enough to utilize electricity and/or didn’t know what it was, but which is more primitive?

A society capable of thriving for hundreds or thousands of years without any of the electrical boons we require just to get through the day, or a society like ours that would collapse practically overnight if its primary power source were eliminated?

Which infrastructure is more advanced? Certainly not ours, given the destructive potential of something as absurdly simple as pulling a plug. I’m likely in the minority with this sentiment, but I think we’ve progressed so far that we’re going backwards – and not only in terms of technology.

Look at what happens when there’s a blackout. Things start to break down immediately. The food is gonna spoil! We can’t see in the dark! Everybody scramble for flashlights and supplies and eat like you’ve never eaten before!

Kill the power in the middle of a heat wave and old people start dropping like flies because there’s no A/C. And you better hope that generator kicks in at the hospital, because half of the people in there are only alive thanks to the machines they’re hooked up to.

We know what happens when there’s no internet for five minutes. Imagine what would happen if it were permanent – if the internet stopped being a thing entirely?

Of course, it’s never as bad as all that and we make it through these brief moments without power by falling back on more primitive ways of doing things. Why? Because the more primitive ways of doing things are sustainable.

Doesn’t that make them better?

If we got the whole “progress” thing right, why do all of the solutions to modern-day problems resemble the past?

I’m not saying the advancements we’ve made are bad or that we shouldn’t have made them. I’m just putting it out there as food for thought that we may be shooting ourselves in the foot by continuing to move forward in ways that make us this dependent upon things that can be rendered useless this easily.

Indulge my stupid little mind for a moment and look around you. Take a walk through your house. Down the street. If we no longer had electrical power, how much of what exists in your environment would still serve a purpose? How much of what you own would still have any functional value?

Those things reflect the type of engineering and technology that will move us forward into the next phase of our evolution. Improving upon those things, taking cues from those things, is how we’ll refine ourselves to ensure that we progress in a way that’s sustainable

Everything else is glitter. Breakthroughs that allowed us to grow too much, too quickly. Pretty luxuries that created needs to fill.

Or maybe I’m just mad that I gave away my perfectly good mechanical scale for this electronic piece of shit that needs a fucking battery.

Let’s Play Smart: Deconstructing White Privilege (pt. 1)

I was sitting here, minding my ooples and banoonoos, going over the brief for a client’s project, when I came across the phrase vice white. The context made it unclear if this was a typo or a description of a particular color to be used in the design. My client wasn’t around, so I did what any good citizen would do and Googled it.

It led me to this…

White People Talk About Their White Privilege

I sighed because my brain, always itching for something to think about, should have taken a left turn at Albuquerque and instead, took a right turn at ooh, I wonder what this is. So I clicked on it. Now this is happening.

Welcome to Let’s Play Smart where we ban together to take on society’s greatest debates! The rules are simple. Instead of weighing you down with stuffy, academic posts on subjects we’re all probably sick of hearing about, I’m going to tackle them with basic parallels and phrasing even a rock could understand. You win by not acting like you’re too fucking stupid to get it!

As the title of this post suggests, today’s game is about deconstructing white privilege. Many have tried and after reading the comments on that Vice blog, I see that many have failed. Not us, though! We’re going to work it out because we’re winners, winners, chicken dinners!

We’ll start with three teams:

The first team is for people who think white privilege doesn’t exist, the second is for people who think it does, and the third is for people who are on the fence about it or otherwise willing to give it more thought.

You know how game shows often have a challenge that eliminates one team right out of the gate? This was that challenge. The first team can leave because you’re already wrong. I’m kidding. Not about you being wrong. About you needing to leave. You, in particular, need to stay. This Bud’s for you. 

Let’s play smart!

What is white privilege?

To answer this oft-inflammatory question, we’ll simplify it. What is privilege in general? Forget dictionaries, friends. They’re myopic and tell you how to pronounce things. Yes. Dictionaries are that guy. So let’s ask a thesaurus!

privilege

Pretty intimidating, right?

Of course not. They’re words. Words you all know and understand. Advantage is arguably the most common interpretation, but it’d be fruitless to assign privilege that identity across the board when it dons a variety of meanings and manifests itself in a number of ways.

Privilege is what we lean on rather than fight against. It’s dynamic. Fluid and limitless. And what exists as a privilege today may not be one tomorrow.

In one aspect or another, we’re all privileged – as individuals and as groups – and every privilege, great or small, makes our lives better in often unspoken, unrecognized ways that sometimes add up to a remarkable, positive existence and sometimes don’t. 

Because privilege guarantees itself.
Not its outcome.

Challenge #1:

Whoever you are, whatever you are, think of five privileges you have that aren’t tied to your race. Consider the implications of the synonyms I put before you in the image above and paint with broad strokes. This should be as easy as making a grocery list except the items on it are food for thought.

If you’re feeling strained, try flipping the question on its head and ask yourself what you’re thankful for, because everything you’re thankful for is a privilege. Everything you benefit from is something someone else on this planet may not have.

I can give you a list right now: I have friends. I have two hands. I can swim. I’m literate. I like vanilla ice cream. Yes. I said liking vanilla ice cream is a privilege. That’s me challenging your understanding of the shape privilege can take. Vanilla ice cream is abundant, which means that I have the luxury of desiring something readily available to me.

Ease is a privilege.

When putting a puzzle together, you start with the big picture because it gives you insight into what the individual pieces add up to. If you can’t expand your definition of privilege to appreciate the fullness of how it affects our everyday experiences, you won’t make sense of the picture our society has painted, even as it comes into view.

To say that white privilege doesn’t exist is to say that in a world of infinite privileges in infinite forms, being white was somehow excluded – and that’s dumb.

So the question isn’t if white privilege exists. The question is why it matters and why so many whites are socially conscious and self-aware about the notion of privilege except when it’s applied to their race? This is where the deconstruction really starts.

Congratulations! You made it to the next round!

What does white privilege mean?

We’ve briefly touched on what privilege is and what it can be for all of us, but what something is ain’t what it means. How does privilege manifest itself in our reality? How does it apply to our everyday life? How does it shape who we are?

What does it actually do?

Many users commenting on the Vice blog understood the answer to that question, citing examples of what being white has meant for them in their environment…

Unnamed: I feel like so much of my career has been about people taking chances on me, putting faith in me, etc. I have had basically four different careers—all really interesting and challenging—and I’ve gotten the chance to transition to each and show what I can do, based on people giving me those opportunities. I’m not blind to the fact that for many non-white people, getting a big break ‘on faith’ is essentially unheard of.

Andrew Litchfield: I’m a white male nurse. I work with many excellent African nurses, some who have more experience than me. I know that I’ll never be turned away by a patient asking for another nurse because I’m white. It happens to black nurses at least once a month.

Corey Reynolds: I’m a white male and I’ve had an employer tell me with a straight face “we don’t hire guys with beards or black people” in 2013. I had to shave. Black people can’t shed their skin.

Joey Gizzarelli: The effects are subtle. But it means that on meeting me, I’m assumed to be more intelligent and more trustworthy. To have had a better education, to have lived in a better area. I’m assumed to have better connections and resources, and therefore seen as more valuable. My mistakes and hardships are more likely to be attributed to chance and misfortune than to my abilities or character.

Iikka Keränen: As a pale-skinned immigrant from Europe [living in America], I have never been given trouble (or made fun of) for having an accent. I have never been accused of stealing people’s jobs or coming here to leech off the system. I have never been told to “go back to” wherever. People are interested and eager to hear about my ethnic/cultural background and don’t automatically assume it’s somehow inferior. People don’t run for the President of the United States on a platform of marginalizing me.

Beth Allen: My 10 year old son looks looks like the typical blond haired blue eyed boy – his best friend since kindergarten J is black. Our house is a second home to J – and our families are very supportive of each other. I observe how the bodega owner clocks J and doesn’t even watch my son (who is frankly much more likely to filch a candy bar). When I was growing up – almost exclusively black men (and women) in movies and TV had negative roles – the criminal, the druggie or the bum. I knew this on a conscious level and felt it was wrong. But when your perspective is parental, wrong hardly covers it. I worry about the impact of racism on J often – what is 18 years of extra scrutiny doing to his self esteem, self image. How is he being shaped by seeing his reflection in the media and films as largely negative – second class?

Zachary Stein: When me and a group of my friends are walking down the street at night, drunkenly screaming and laughing and staggering around, we NEVER even stop and worry about a police officer accosting us. Meanwhile, a group of black people engaging in the same behavior are going to get stopped because the police are worried about them “wiling out”. This flagrant disparity in treatment shapes whole swaths of society’s behavior unbeknownst to most.

Meanwhile, other users entirely missed the point…

Charles Lyons: More anti-White agitprop to prey upon White guilt.

There are a number of reasons for that disconnect. Most boil down to a lack of understanding the phrase white privilege and its intent. The rest are symptomatic of a degree of racism that renders one incapable of recognizing the term in earnest.

I’ll talk about how to spot the difference between the two later. For now, deciphering what white privilege means begins with declaring what it doesn’t. What better way to simplify that than with a bulleted list!

  • White privilege doesn’t mean white people don’t experience hardship.
  • White privilege doesn’t mean white people don’t experience discrimination.
  • White privilege doesn’t mean white people owe all of their accomplishments to being white.

Like the Wise Men of old, these three things come bearing gifts in celebration of your birth into the world of racial intelligence. Said gifts are wisdom, knowledge, and a potato.

Someone playing dumb would struggle with this list, fumbling about like a child pouring juice into a cup it has no business drinking out of in the first place because really, it was made for adults and smaller ones exist. Lucky for us, we’re playing smart!

Challenge #2:

Read the following comments from the Vice blog and match them to a point in the bulleted list that the quoted user clearly doesn’t grasp. Extra gold stars if you can match a comment to more than one of the points!

Erik Shepner: This message that we (white people) are continually being bombarded with usually implies we owe it to others in society to degrade ourselves, that our accomplishments as people are null and void, and that we should live our lives in shame and guilt.

Craig Zacarelli: Back in the 1980s i got turned down for a job because I had a mohawk, it wasnt even one of those huge obnoxious ones. But the boss told my friend who worked there and tried to get me the job that i “looked like a punk rocker”. He was white, I was white. I also got fired from my fair share of jobs too. I never had anything handed to me just for being white, and i have never been able to take advantage of a situation because i was white.

Amy Turner: If “advantages” go to white people, I guess I must be black and color blind then! I lived in the ghetto til I was 21. I was one out of three white kids in a school that was all black and I WORKED MY BUTT OFF to move my kids out of the violent neighborhood I was living in. Was never “PICKED” before anyone else and all my superiors were black.

Andrew Roesch: Honestly I’d rather burn off my fucking skin than read one more thing about white privilege. I’d like to claim that it is an insult to anyone, white or else, that worked hard to achieve their goals.

Dylan Silver: So my question is if I have so called white privilege why as a senior in highschool were me and my bestfriend pulled over for being out “too early to not be ditching” Which we weren’t as seniors we got out at noon and this happened around 1 pm, then as I complied with the officers request for my id why did I get my face bounced off the dashboard of the car, put in cuffs and beaten at gunpoint for making an aggresive motion? I was in my seatbelt still and Complying with his orders…

Alex Brown: Nothing pisses me off like seeing someone say they got a job because of “white privilege”. The implication being, of course, that every unemployed white person must have just been particularly stupid.

Vi King: im so tired of hearing about this myth of white privilege. im white and it doesnt help me in my daily life at all. i went to college and still dont have a “good job”. i dont get tax breaks for being white. i dont get to ride in the front of the bus or go to the front of the line at the grocery store. in fact, being tall i always get asked by short people, mostly women, to help them get some item off the shelf or help them carry their heavy item to their basket.

Huh?

Since there were also comments suggesting that the concept of white privilege is somehow a personal attack, I’d be remiss not to mention that the term white privilege isn’t a criticism of white people. It’s an allusion to how white people are perceived (and subsequently treated) by our environment.

Again, those who enjoy playing dumb will struggle with that, so I’ll give them a hand. It’s the difference between the statement hot dogs sell well versus hot dogs are delicious. The former relates to the way the external world acts upon the hot dogs. The latter would be a comment on the hot dogs themselves.

The phrase white privilege reflects a very basic observation: In America, and arguably many places across the globe, you’re considered better if you’re white. Just like you’re considered better if you’re thin, for example.

So what does it matter in practice?
Better than what and how?

We’ll explore that in the next part of the game and face new challenges. Are you up to the task? Are you human enough to handle it?! CAN YOU STILL PLAY SMART?!?!?!?!

Let’s find out!

A Modern Dramedy Starring MGTOW

We all know that if you have a curious mind or otherwise suffer from a chronic case of the boredoms, the internet will rope you into things irrelevant to what you were originally interested in and suffocate you.

So I was looking something up about the lat pull-down, which led me to a video of a guy working out in a gym, which led me to an ignorant comment about how all women who wear yoga pants at the gym are attention-seeking whores and to the Cirque Du Bullshit that came hobbling after.

Once we arrived at center ring, someone bashing women for being bitches who distract men by showing off their fat asses then get pissed that men are looking mentioned MGTOW.

I didn’t have any idea if that was just an internet term I was unfamiliar with or if it had something to do with gym culture, since all of the males posting at that point were lifters, so I looked it up.

Men Going Their Own Way

Upon realizing it was some sort of group, I returned to those video comments to better understand why it was mentioned and the manstrosities supporting it made it sound like a society of bitter guys who fear and resent women, degrading them in reclamation of their manhood.

I’m aware that people have a tendency to ruin whatever group they belong to by injecting their own individual flaws and bias into that group’s ideology, though, so I didn’t want to judge or define MGTOW by their idiocy.

I instead went back to the website to see if there was a mission statement or something that would explain the core values of the group as it stands – and there was…

Men Going Their Own Way is a statement of self-ownership, where the modern man preserves and protects his own sovereignty above all else. It is the manifestation of one word: “No”. Ejecting silly preconceptions and cultural definitions of what a “man” is. Looking to no one else for social cues. Refusing to bow, serve and kneel for the opportunity to be treated like a disposable utility. And, living according to his own best interests in a world which would rather he didn’t.

My initial reaction was good for you, guys! Don’t let the world define you as a man! Take back control of your lives and yourselves!

I, of course, was thinking of it in human terms and was reminded of The Fountainhead (1949) starring Gary Cooper, which is one of my favorite films and one I strongly identified with the first time I saw it. Specifically, I was moved by the speech Gary’s character, Howard Roark, delivered in his defense.

I won’t spoil the film for those who haven’t seen it by explaining anything further. Just note that the bolded is a line that’s resonated with me ever since because it so aptly defines my worldview…

I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy, nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim. It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing. I came here to be heard. In the name of every man of independence still left in the world. I wanted to state my terms. I do not care to work or live on any others. My terms are a man’s right to exist for his own sake.

This is the kind of powerful sentiment MGTOW’s description called to mind, except that the wording was curious – oddly specific in a way that masqueraded as broad. Looking to others for social cues? Kneeling to whom? A disposable utility in what sense? What best interests?

I thought first and foremost of the crippling machine that honest work has become. I can think of no other construct wherein men and women are treated so commonly as disposable utilities forced to bow, to conform, to act in favor of someone else’s best interests, than in the context of a job.

I think many can attest to the fact that it isn’t at all unusual to lose yourself in the struggle to support yourself – to achieve the security and stability we’ve all been conditioned to prize in fear of the alternative.

But a part of me kept going back to the commentary circus and how female-centric it was as though women are the problem they’re trying to solve. Not the dehumanizing rigors of the society men arguably built that way, and that we continue to shape together.

No.

It’s humans with vaginas.

Humans with vaginas are single-handedly decimating their manhood! The very same humans with vaginas who are supposedly weak and incapable without men. We’ve somehow robbed the mighty of their might.

Nothing in MGTOW’s description gave me that impression, so the disconnect remained in my mind between those guys supposedly speaking for the group and the group itself until I read the rest of the website and the tweets of the man/men responsible for the group and realized that those roid-ragey, misogynist pricks were pretty spot on.

MGTOW is actually that fucking stupid.

Rather, whatever nobility was to be found in the message is lost to the bitterness and hostility of its followers and the credibility of their gripes is overshadowed by a glaring bias ironically motivated more by “feels” than reason.

The whole of MGTOW’s FAQs, for example, sounds more like a defensive Tumblr user trying to be clever in their response to the anonymous message why u such a faggot dummy fukkin kill urself than someone intellectually committed to an ideal, wanting to educate others on what they stand for and what they hope to achieve.

Unlike other campaigns I’ve seen that are clear and calm about the ways in which their advocates seek to affect change and why, this “movement” comes across as organized venting by the hypersensitive – more group therapy than group.

Given the things these men say and the fact that their steaming piles are directed so decisively at females and all who endeavor not to presume we’re the spawn of Satan, it’d be easy to jump to the conclusion that they’re just guys who got burned by a woman and subsequently embarked on this crusade that really amounts to nothing more than making themselves feel better.

But boiling it down to that dismisses the fact that someone doesn’t need to be someone else’s victim in order to despise them and all they represent. That’s a mistake we make – assuming vitriol must have a personal source.

It’s just as likely that these are men who’ve taken issue with the way things are from the start and just happen to blame the general tenor of women in our society for it independent of a woman actually doing anything to them personally. I’d guess it’s a little of both, but that’s neither here nor there.

Here’s what sews my buttons…

I strongly believe in gender equality to an extent that’s logical, reasonable, and fair and I believe we’ve built a society that’s none of those things towards males and females alike. That inequality manifests itself differently for both sexes and, depending on the way you measure the effects, is worse for women in some ways and worse for men in others.

The difference is that in being the dominant voice and governing hand in our society for centuries (and other societies for millennia), men are primarily responsible for the way things are, including the way we assign and interpret gender roles and the way that gender dynamics have had to evolve.

What these men view as the loss of themselves to the big bad lady wolf, I view as them reaping what they’ve sown.

Males, seemingly justified by nature, created an environment wherein females were dependent upon them by misguided morality and law. A world where males had to take ownership of females via marriage before females could secure even a moderately respectable existence.

A quiet patriarchy under which the only independent women were those housed in brothels. Where a woman without a man to give an heir to and keep house for was a throwaway. An undesirable.

And men prided themselves in that power – the king and last word. The providers who chose or bought women who’d be forever indebted to them because women could be nothing without them. The men who knew they could take what they wanted whether they were wanted or not in return.

They made it very clear what part a man was meant to play in this world and how women fit into that equation. They appointed themselves the stewards of our sex – how we could live, what we could own, who we could love – and our bodies. They took ownership of that, too.

Demanding virginity where male “purity” was never a question or answer. Governing even our motherhood, a gift given only to us, by dictating when we had to conceive to suit their purpose and how many we needed to have and which sex we had to produce lest we fail them. Deciding when we had to give up our child, either in the womb or out.

Now they’re annoyed that we live in a culture so clouded by the residue of that past that it’s still a present for plenty. A world where so many women still expect a man to take care of them.

Where so many still require the validation of being someone’s wife. Where so many value themselves only so much as a man values them and as such, are groomed from day one to attract a mate. Where so many feel their purpose in life hasn’t been fulfilled until they’ve given birth.

Namely, a detestably antiquated climate wherein women chase the immutable transaction men established so long ago: Women give you sex, children, and servitude and you give them money, a home, and social status.

The standards women hold themselves against and hold men against were designed by men and now they feel oppressed by the aftermath, blaming us for a dynamic we had little to no control over for most of our history and in many parts of the world, still don’t.

They defined what it means to be a man, and what it means to be a man’s man, and what women should be like in return without consideration of the fact that one day, the number of men and women content with that existence might shift just enough for everyone to complain.

For men to be tired of women who measure a man’s worth by his strength and success as if a man’s only reason for being is to guarantee a woman’s safety and security. For women to be tired of men who measure a woman’s worth by her sexual attractiveness as if a woman’s only reason for being is to entertain a man in bed and look good on his arm.

I sympathize with both sexes because we’ve been equally foolish to one another, as we’ve been to ourselves, yet we’re so incredibly dim that we’re convinced these social benchmarks and male/female archetypes are objectively right when they don’t exist outside of our minds.

The natural world dictates that water flows. The natural world dictates that light refracts. The natural world doesn’t give two shits if a man pays for dinner or if a woman wears a dress. These are things we made up.

And we torture ourselves and each other over it and tell each other it’s nature – that all men are this way and all women are that way and anyone who thinks otherwise is naive.

I hate to break it to you, friends, but it’s easy to believe your notion of what men and women are like applies to everyone when you dismiss anyone who doesn’t fit that mold. Confirmation bias is real. So what am I on about?

Why do I think MGTOW is a joke?

It isn’t because the feeling is wrong. I understand where these men are coming from and accept their outrage and discontent as valid.

I think the happy wife, happy life mantra is bullshit. I don’t believe mothers are more important than fathers, and I don’t think men should be pressured into marriage by milestone-oriented girlfriends clamoring about tying the knot before Susie McFucktard.

I don’t believe men are “scrubs” just because they aren’t wealthy and powerful with prestigious careers, and I don’t think it’s okay to ridicule a man for being short or scrawny or bald any more than I think it’s okay to ridicule a woman for being flat-chested or overweight.

There are countless things I don’t agree with and countless ways in which men are being stifled or taken for granted, so my gripe isn’t with their objections. It’s with their deduction. Their credibility ends where their conclusion that women are the problem begins.

The second you skip the human conversation about how all of us are doing each other wrong in any number of areas in favor of acting like women are all guilty of bloody murder and men are all innocent victims of emasculation, you’ve gone from having a point to being a melodramatic bore.

Women lie about being raped for petty reasons and we have to suffer for it! I bet you think that’s okay, huh? No, actually. I think it’s awful. Incidentally, I also think it’s awful when men detract from the fact that women get raped with life-long consequences without seeing justice done by harping on the fact that some lie about it.

Women lie about a kid being yours just so you’ll take care of them and they get away with it! I bet you pat them on the back, right? Nope. I think women who lie about a man being the father just to rope him into supporting them or remaining in a relationship should be held accountable.

I also think men who convince a woman he wants to have a child with her, assuring that he’ll be there for her and the baby, then skip out on her the second she gets pregnant because he changed his mind and it’s “not his problem” should be held accountable.

So let’s simplify this…

Men are pretty fucking terrible and women are pretty fucking terrible. The only consolation is that it’s not all of us – it’s not even most of us – and it’s been my experience that men and women who aren’t toxic waste are easy to find when you don’t waltz around assuming they don’t exist.

Self-fulfilling prophecy and all that.

MGTOW misses the mark because its members appear to be so blinded by this one-sided, tunnel vision anger towards women that their arguments either don’t make any sense, are too absolute to be logical, or are otherwise too emotionally-fueled to take seriously.

You know who I’d listen to? A man who says, “I understand that many of the changes society is going through are in response to the way things have been. Women were kept under our thumbs in ways that dehumanized them and denied them the right to exist as their own beings independent of male needs and desires. We contributed to a world wherein women felt voiceless and unsafe and weren’t as progressive as we should have been in recognizing that.

I just think the pendulum is beginning to swing too far in the other direction and men are now being controlled and denied in the interest of what women want. I know we often overcompensate for past transgressions and I want to find a happy medium. I just don’t think that’s possible the way things are going, so I’m bowing out or speaking up.”

Not someone who says, “I’m here to tell the truth this feminazi pussy-pandering society doesn’t want to hear! Women are cheap, conniving, selfish leeches who want nothing more than to see our power destroyed and deny us our sovereignty! Stop bowing down to these bitches! We don’t need their psycho money-grubbing drama!” 

Because there’s a difference between not being okay with the way things are and having a gigantic bug up your stupid ass – and I’m not saying men have to agree with me or anyone else in order to be deemed reasonable.

I’m saying that if they disagree, I’m more apt to pay attention to their rebuttal when they’re capable of formulating one more thoughtful than, “Whatever, blue piller! Keep sleeping in your dream world with your white knights while the rest of us open our eyes!”

Okay, I guess?

I wanted MGTOW to be insightful and progressive. I really did. I was excited about the idea of men standing up for themselves in the way that women have been standing up for themselves. But the more I read, the more disappointed I became. I feel more sorry for the men drawn to it than inspired by them.

This is one of those very, very, very, very rare instances in which I would set aside the benefit of the doubt that these are wise and passionate men who simply aren’t communicating their values well and go straight to the childish gamer’s supposition that they’re butt hurt.

In short:
U mad, bro?

How Not to Be a Creep: A Simple Guide for Men Who Are Fucking Creepy

It’s come to my attention that there exists among men a movement of sorts. A call to action against the wanton labeling of males as creeps. An outcry over the misandrist hypocrisy that is the casual acceptability of the term where the use of female directed insults like “slut” would be deemed inexcusable. A plea for the word “creep” to be regarded as a gender slur – a derogatory term no less damaging and hurtful to men.

There are two things I’m not interested in doing here. The first is debating the above. The second is making light of it. Instead, I’m interested in addressing what I consider to be the more pressing issue conveniently sidestepped by the aforementioned arguments: The fact that a disturbing number of men are, indeed, creeps.

Since there appears to be some confusion over when and why women apply that label, I’m going to spell things out for my dick-wielding counterparts in hopes that you’ll come away from this post examining your own behavior, not just deconstructing the way we categorize it. I suppose we should start with the basics…

What makes something creepy?

We all know what creepy means even if we can’t adequately describe it. Creepy things creep us out. They make us uncomfortable. They give us what most renowned scholars refer to as the heebie jeebies.

Creepy can be a very individual thing. It can also be a very cultural thing. You know what I find creepy? Buttons for eyes. Coraline gets it. You know what else I find creepy? Fame. I find oodles of things inexplicably unnerving on a tangible level or abstract.

Little girls jumping rope on a fine summer’s day while their parents look on from the porch? Not that creepy. Little girls jumping rope in slow motion while singing a jaunty rhyme about a killer coming for you?

A smidge.

So let’s establish that while creepy can be subjective from one person to the next, it’s not necessarily all that subjective to a society as a whole. We measure qualities and behaviors relative to our cultural norms and, in a social context, look questioningly upon things that stray too far from them.

We also create an objective gauge by placing certain qualities and behaviors in an unfavorable light to begin with, prompting us to associate them with that negative context going forward until we don’t anymore. Think Columbine and trench coats.

All of that means that in the broadest sense, a guy is creepy because he bucks the positive norms or mirrors the negative ones. Granted, one can say that about any negative trait – that it’s negative to us because it goes against the grain or is in keeping with traits we’ve designated negative independent of any grain to go against.

But the nuance is found in the category of norms we measure creepiness by – those pertaining to our interpersonal boundaries and sexuality. Why is it gendered toward males? You tell me.

I know what you’re thinking. Wasn’t this supposed to be a simple guide? It’s the internet! Where’s the arbitrary top ten list? Where are the stock photos peppering the screen because people can’t handle words without pictures anymore? Where’s the countdown broken up into an unloadable slideshow for no good reason?

Simmer down. There are still some basics left…

When a woman calls you creepy, it’s not random.

Many of you have a habit of brushing your creep designation off as a buzzword – an idle name women slap on you with little to no underlying provocation beyond you being male. Nope! We don’t call you creeps without some personal merit. We don’t see a guy walking down the street and think, “Oh my gerds. That guy is a guy! What a creep!”

And unlike men who turned the word “bitch” into a synonym for “female”, “creep” isn’t synonymous with “male”. We don’t walk into a club and say, “Daaaaamn, there are some fine ass creeps in here!”

My point is that if we call you a creep, you should regard it as a prompt for self-analysis because we don’t mindlessly toss that word around the way men out for social justice seem to imply we do. We use that word when something about you as an individual makes us uncomfortable.

Do we use that word a lot? Perhaps so, perhaps not. If so, maybe the question shouldn’t be why we say it so much. Maybe it should be why you evoke it so often.

Much of this creep issue boils down to concerns about potential male behavior given past male behavior, so if you don’t want us to think you’re a creep, you probably shouldn’t do things that creeps do. That’s what this guide is all about. Helping you help yourselves to a life less creepy! As for the last of the basics…

Women don’t call you creeps because you’re ugly.

If I had a nickel for every time a guy says women only call men creeps when they’re unattractive, I could pay everyone to stop using if I had a coin phrases to make a point.

Can your appearance influence your creep factor? Of course! Would you consider Lurch from The Addams Family creepy? Yeah. They all were. That was kind of the point. Their theme song literally starts with the words they’re creepy.

I can’t say I’d bang Lurch, but it has nothing to do with why he’s a creepy character. How creepy you are and how attractive we find you are separate issues. It’s possible for them to overlap if looking creepy makes you unattractive, but it’s never the other way around. You’re never a creep just because you aren’t our cup of tea.

The takeaway here is that emphasis shouldn’t be placed on your looks, because unless you’re blessed like Lurch, it’s typically going to be your behavior and the way you carry yourself that earns you the title of creep. Not your appearance.

In short, if you want to duck the c-word and engage women without being shunned, your focus should be on adopting a less creepy demeanor. Not sure where to start? No problem! Here are the top whatever things you need to know!

1) Staring is no.

You want simple? Here’s simple. Don’t fucking stare at us.

Let’s cut to the chase. Men are generally more violent and predatory in nature than women and are a greater threat to us as a whole than we are to you. We’re aware of this dynamic and it creates an environment wherein we’re generally leery of males for our own safety.

Being the object of unwanted or threatening behavior is unfortunately the norm for a lot of women. We’re in tune with it and react accordingly, having amassed an army of red flags we note to better protect ourselves from potentially harmful situations.

If we don’t know you well enough to drop our defenses, the last thing you want to do is give us a reason to think you might target us – like staring at us with fevered intensity for a fucking hour.

Remember that whole thing about bucking the norm? Not staring at people intently – especially once they’re aware that you’re staring and make a face that clearly reads why the fuck are you staring at me like that – is the norm.

Stop bucking it.

But what if I just can’t help myself because she’s so attractive and…

Let me stop you there. Saying you can’t help yourself is also a red flag. If you have so little self-control that you can’t avert your eyes because you’re overwhelmed by desire for me, what else can’t you do? Take no for an answer? This isn’t Twilight. If vampires were real, they’d be creeps. Don’t stare at me, Edward.

But how do I let her know I’m interested if I don’t look at her?

There’s this thing called a glance, see? It’s somewhere between not looking at us at all and having a full-on eye boner that won’t go down. When in doubt, glance it out!

Second, don’t bullshit me. If you were staring at us for the sole purpose of making us aware that you’re interested, you wouldn’t try to hide the fact that you’re doing it 99% of the time. You’d try to make eye contact – which, by the way, doesn’t mean your eyes making contact with our body parts. It means making contact with our eyes that we also have.

I get that many of you are visual creatures who’d happily spend all day staring at titties and asses and legs and shoulders and faces and hair and whatever else you can get your grubby little ocular paws on. Just know when to look away.

Anything more than a glance here and there is Creepsville, Kentucky – and for Pete’s sake, smile a bit when you do it. Nothing says I might kill you today like an expressionless mug. Speaking of which…

2) Smiling is yes.

mansmiling

Taking a cue from that last statement, smiling is good. Smiling is life. Smiling makes most people more attractive and welcoming. Smiling tells the baby you’re not going to shake it. Yet many of you have adopted this notion that looking angry, dead, and cold is manly, deep, and cool and therefore strongly preferred over having a nice smile on your face.

I get it. Many women have fallen into this trap as well for very disturbing reasons, regarding a man who isn’t smiling in a photograph as more serious or intense and therefore sexier while regarding a man who’s smiling as just being nice, soft, or marriage material.

You’d rather be seen as sexy because often, all you want is sex, and as strong because softness is weak, so you opt not to smile. But there’s a difference between a neutral expression and a mean or emotionless one.

If you’re posing for your MMA profile pic, fine. Be as gruff as you like. And if you’re trying to prove to an irate grizzly that it hasn’t seen the likes of you yet, great. Scowl until the cows come home.

But when you approach a woman you don’t know and you look like prison just broke out of you, it’s scary. You look like someone we’ll eventually have to pick out of a lineup. And to the average female not socialized to find that likely prone to domestic violence mojo attractive, being intimidating is only one misstep away from being creepy.

My humble recommendation? Show us that you’re a kind human being not wanted for murder in three states. Be inviting, not frightening. Smile casually and briefly, not wild and wide like a hungry shark. A quick, pleasant smile says, “I’m non-threatening and I noticed you!” A prolonged, whitening strips commercial smile says, “I’m psychotic! Where’s your house?”

Either way, if we don’t seem alarmed, it might be a sign that we won’t immediately flee when you come talk to us! Just be aware that somewhere along the human timeline, men got it into their heads that if a woman so much as looks at them, she’s giving them the green light to get in her face or between her legs. The concept of us smiling at you as a pleasantry stopped registering.

This is why many of us actively avoid eye contact with men on the street and limit smiling once eye contact is made. Too often, it’s viewed as an invitation of some sort.

Understand, then, that if we respond positively to your friendly smile, it still may not mean we’re interested in you. It may just mean we’re being nice. The only way to know for sure is to strike up a conversation with us that’s not taking place only in your head.

3) Stalking is ew.

animals

See that deer all up in that other deer’s bokeh? Don’t be that deer. That deer is a creep. Stalking may be the creepiest of all creeper antics next to heavy mouth breathing and smelling things we touched.

Whether you’re following me down the street or from one aisle to another at the grocery, if you’re that invested in having me in your line of sight, being where I am, or knowing where I’m going, that’s not just a red flag. It’s a red carpet and I ain’t walking it.

I don’t know which is worse: Trying to stalk us in secret or not giving a shit that we see you. I think I prefer a creep who hides. At least some part of him knows what he’s doing is wrong. A creep who’ll follow me in broad daylight like it’s normal is pure creep not from concentrate and it’s unnerving.

Want to up the creep ante? Follow us in a vehicle. Now, not only are you a stalking creep. You’re a stalking creep who might be trying to abduct us!

There isn’t anything clever or insightful to offer with this one. Only a rule. Don’t stalk us. Not offline. Not online. If you do and we catch you, your creep cover is blown and you’ll have no one to blame for the creep designation but yourself.

4) Keep personal questions tame.

mario

You know how you meet someone and you’re having a chat and five seconds into it, you ask where they live? Don’t do that. It’s creepy. Normal guys beat around the bush. Oh, you just moved to New York? Where are you from originally? Tampa? I’ve been down there. Nice place, m’yeah!

Creeps get straight to the point and are way too specific. I see you’re here alone. Do you have a boyfriend? Does he live with you? You live by yourself? Where? Is that a house or an apartment? What street is that? Do you work around here? Which building? What shift?

In no reasonable reality does a total stranger need to know all of that. Remember that this is about us being wary of your intentions. If it sounds like you’re gathering intel for an invading rape force, you’re being a creep.

Questions that could compromise our safety and security if we answered them make us uncomfortable when random dudes we don’t know ask them and there’s no good reason for you to ask them, so don’t.

5) Touching is stranger danger.

burger

I wish I didn’t have to say this, but the number of male strangers who touch me inappropriately screams necessity. Don’t put your hands on us. Don’t make contact with our body with any part of your body. Don’t even breathe on us.

Men who physically violate us are undoubtedly creeps, and touching us without our permission out of context will land you in that category swifter than Jonathan. Especially if you’re touching us in a way that’s sexual or aggressive.

Women’s bodies have been treated like public domain for far too long in many respects, and this one is perhaps the most disconcerting, so this bears repeating over and over again. We’re not yours to touch just because you want to. We’re not toys. We’re not food. We’re not interactive art.

We’re people with boundaries just like you, and we don’t appreciate you ignoring that as if your desire for us takes precedence over our personal comfort. You don’t have the right to say, “Ooh, gimme,” and reach for us because you think we’re hot.

So if I tap a woman’s shoulder to tell her she dropped her phone, I’m a creep?

Hey! I was wondering when you’d show up, inevitable asshole who uses examples that are obviously not what I meant to make a point! If you’re so oblivious that you have difficulty telling the difference between appropriate touching and inappropriate touching, here’s a hint:

If a man you don’t know touched you that way – or even a man you do know, since so many of you still struggle with those homophobic undercurrents in your male/male dynamics – would it make you uncomfortable? If so, it would probably be ill-advised to touch a woman you don’t know that way.

So unless you’re a glutton for punishment and fancy the idea of both being labeled a creep and possibly having the cops called on you, keep your hands to yourselves. Keep your legs and arms and bodies and feet to yourselves. Keep your genitals to yourselves. Keep your coffee and tea to yourselves.

We don’t want you to rub our shoulders when we’re working out at the gym or stroke our arm when we’re drinking at the bar or press your leg against our leg on public transportation or touch any part of our face and hair, or do anything generally requiring motor skills if it’s something we more than likely reserve for a person we’re dating or friends with instead of some random dude off the street.

6) Stop being so hard up for the nana.

Woman pushing trolley along supermarket grocery aisle

Men making passes at us when we’re anywhere and everywhere is a big part of the creep discussion. It relates to women wanting to exist in the environment without men trying to mate with us at every turn.

In terms of searching for or attracting a mate, women tend to have very specific moments and locations in mind where that’s an acceptable and/or expected goal, so being approached by men in a romantic or sexual capacity in settings that fall outside of those parameters is a nuisance. Even more so if you’re not a suitable candidate.

Men, on the other hand, seem to think the whole world is a dating site and everyone alive is a member, so they’re perfectly fine approaching us whenever they feel like it with little to no regard for whether or not we want to be approached.

I mention this one because I was reading over a discussion about creeps once and when the average woman’s aversion to being accosted “on the street” was introduced, one rebuttal was that men have needs. How else are they supposed to satisfy them if they’re not allowed to approach us? A fair question, no?

No.

Men have needs. Women have needs. We’re just one, big, needy friggin’ species, aren’t we? The difference is that men can’t seem to put their needs away for, like, five fucking minutes. That’s a personal problem, even if prompted by “nature”, and it’s not our job to accommodate it.

So how do I get a girl if I can’t walk up to one?

I’m sorry. I just realized you’re Vincent van Gogh and no hear so good. There’s a time and place for everything, including hitting on us, and we have just as much right to determine that time and place as you do. We don’t have to make ourselves available to you. We just don’t.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t talk to a woman you think is cute or find interesting. I’m only asking that you consider the environment you’re in, the moment in time, and ask yourself if there’s a chance she’d rather be left alone.

It’s not about reading our minds.
It’s about reading life.

If that’s still unclear, I’ll use a very simple parallel that’s been stolen from me several times because it’s an obvious one we can all relate to.

If you saw a celebrity you like out at dinner or shopping with their family or walking their dog or just alone buying a hot dog from a stand, you’d either be that person who thinks only of your desire to get a selfie with them or an autograph and tell them how much you love them…

… or you’d be that person who wonders if they might not want you to bother them given all the attention they probably get and how tiring it can be not to just have a private everyday experience to themselves without someone popping up around every corner wanting to bask in their glow.

If you can have that inner dialogue for them, you can have it for women.

7) Rapey behavior is creepy behavior.

newadventures

Rape sucks and I feel pretty confident saying that in spite of having never been raped, because unlike that exotic ice cream flavor you’re on the fence about, it’s not something you need to try before you can judge it.

I’ve met and been very close with many victims of varying degrees of sexual assault, and I can just about guarantee that anything that comes close to it physically or emotionally is a special kind of creepy only top shelf creeps can provide.

This one may very well be the culmination of all that’s come before it. Of all the things women strive to protect themselves against, rape is the most prominent fear. We don’t want to be hit or robbed or kidnapped, certainly, but the fear of being violated in that one way overshadows them all.

When you make a woman feel trapped and powerless, when you speak and stare in a way that makes her feel invaded, you trigger a very real anxiety that something worse is yet to come.

Don’t be aggressively close. Don’t corner us or block our path, forcing us to interact with you. Don’t grab us when we try to walk away. Don’t say vulgar, explicit things about our bodies or what you’d like to do to our bodies or what you think we do with our bodies.

Don’t touch us in ways that are intimate when we are not intimate.

In short, don’t say and do things that make us think you’d rape us if given the opportunity. While you’re at it, don’t do things that make us think you have no control over your sexual urges, like sneaking pictures of us in compromising positions or trying to look up our skirts.

If you’re compelled to do that sort of thing to a stranger, you might as well call yourself a creep and save us the breath.

8) Crazy women aren’t reliable benchmarks.

cell

I make a lot of generalizations, and if we’re honest about our existence, we’ll accept that generalizations are all anyone can make. I know there are exceptions to most every rule and I don’t purport to speak on behalf of all women here or even to be right about what I’ve written.

But I believe every exception has a reason for being an exception, and if that reason happens to be that a woman is out of her fucking mind, it’s irrelevant.

What I mean to say is that if you happen to meet a woman who doesn’t fit the mold I’ve cast, don’t deem her willingness to react positively to behaviors I’ve condemned here as proof that mine is but one lowly opinion most females don’t share.

I don’t think I’m in the minority on this one, and if not being a creep is your wish, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Still remember all that stuff about norms? Good. Because those norms and the way we interpret and define others through them applies to females too.

Frankly, if you come across a woman who thinks what I’ve said is a bunch of hootin’ tootin’ malarkey and she’d totally be into you if you did all the things I’ve said not to do, you might want to ask yourself if she’s someone you actually want.

It’s like that old joke of not wanting to belong to any place that’d have you as a member. A woman who enjoys the creepy things you do might also be a creep – or damaged in a way that draws her to men she should be running away from.

If a chick like that is your bowl of ramen, more power to you, but if it’s not, you might want to take what I’ve said here seriously.

9) Don’t be a creep by association. 

This is my last point mainly because I don’t want to talk about this anymore and would like to break the internet by having a list of things that isn’t a multiple of five. Understand that even if you’re a great guy without a creepy bone in your body, associating with creeps will make us wonder if you’re a creep too and just better at hiding it.

Because only two kinds of people will abide a creep – cowards and other creeps – and that’s a whole mess of the letter “c” going on that you don’t want any part of.

It’s important that males take responsibility for improving their reputation both by aspiring to be better men themselves (i.e. better human beings who are self-aware and conscious of gender dynamics) and by denouncing the negative behaviors of others.

Every time you let another guy’s creepy behavior slide, you’re sending the message that being a creep is okay or, at the very least, not a big deal, which in turn sends the message that you don’t really care about our safety or peace of mind. That may not make you a creep, but it does kind of make you an unappealing dick, which isn’t much better.

So what’s it gonna be?

Will you be the guy we smile at as we pass each other on the escalators or will you be the guy we whisper to our friend about as we scratch our necks awkwardly to obscure the fact that we’re pointing at you to make sure he/she knows exactly which creepy motherfucker we’re talking about? I hope this entry helps you decide!