DEEP MALE ANNOUNCER VOICE: in a world where only you and your iPhone GPS know the truth: Is it a romantic comedy? Is it a bro comedy? Is it a horror movie. You decide. GUYNOCOLOGY
Hello Boys. I think I get you more than ever. These past couple of years must have been horrible for you. I mean this. I’m assuming I’m talking to men who are completely flabbergasted at how many of their peers have had to learn not to rape, assault and overlook women for work. No, I’m not being facetious. I know more decent men than I know indecent men. A very decent, funny and smart man raised me. I’m the sister of one of one of those decent, funny and smart men. I’m talking to those men, right now. I’m talking to the guy who, even by the recent discovery of what women have known forever, still don’t fear going on a date, because if he was wondering about his past own behavior on dates, maybe he shouldn’t be dating, at all. If you’re a man who says that you don’t want to date now, because you don’t know if you might do something wrong, don’t date.
With that in mind, I caught a recent comeback of a disgraced comedian on Netflix. His friend had said, in reference to this comedian’s recent troubles, that now he had to truly think back to every date he had ever been on and what he had done. This was declared remarkable and not troubling.
What is common knowledge at this point is that this comedian is one of the men who have been floating in that in-between world of what one woman calls assault and what another may call: What men learned from “The Pick Up Artists” in the early 2000s. It’s literally that debatable. For the young millennial and Gen Y, “Pick Up Artists” was a movement that commanded desperate men to dress like magicians and peacock with their lunch boxes in order to get a girl. No, we didn’t actually fall for the stories about old letters and strawberries. We were being nice. There was a Pick Up Artist book and even a TV show, where men who didn’t get to sleep with a lot of women, which was sad, were taught how to verbally gaslight and shit sandwich (compliment-insult-compliment) the hottest girl with the lowest self-esteem so he could get to do exactly that. Sleep with her. This was supposed to be groundbreaking, necessary and just assault adjacent enough not to be crime. And yes, again, I don’t know any of the guys who prescribed to that. “You think you don’t know." Fine. I think I don’t know. Whatever you learned at those seminars was at best creepy and at worst, well, you know, you have daughters and sisters, if not wives and girlfriends.
But this is not what this comedian guy did. He was just on a date. I think that was agreed on. However, one date usually has two sides. And the sides agreed that it wasn’t actual rape. Rape has the privilege of being abundantly clear, until shame sets in, which is does very quickly, so few report. This was not rape. It was just… something for… someone. What is the status of these weird murky outings that cause damage, confusion and an insane need to please? If the woman was coherent, maybe he was just not cool? Not a criminal? Just not on good behavior? Literally, no one knows.
He liked her.
This seems to be the thing that abolishes most blame on him.
She liked him.
This seems to be the thing that allows the most blame on her.
What happened was not illegal.
They liked each other.
I don’t know what happened.
But most women can guess,
A lot of women have been on those dates.
The new age language of self-help has taught us to take responsibility for everything that happens to us.
We are from Venus.
His soul likes chicken soup.
Men like bitches.
A bitch would say no. He won’t like you if you say “no”.
The math sucks on this one.
We had a part in it,
We were there,
We let it happen.
We probably got drunk.
We probably laughed too much.
We probably thought we could relax.
We were attracted to him.
Maybe we could feel when it turned and it wasn’t fun anymore.
Maybe we just didn’t feel we could say it was wrong.
Maybe we knew it was uncomfortable,
But that can’t possibly be enough?
Here is where it becomes a language lesson—the vernacular of scary love, if you will. I will bet anything that the word “No” was said a lot by the woman to the man—laughing, angry, silly, freaked out, it was said in all those stages, but is was misunderstood, for some reason. It’s odd because “no” is a word a toddler can understand. Women have had to comprehend full sentences like: “He’s just not that in to you” for a very long time. We even caught on to references to “ghosts” and “benches” that have nothing to do with ghosts and benches. Women got it. When men ghosted, benched and were “not in to,” men meant no. We got that.
No one says no because they really want to say yes. She’s not trying not to be a slut. She isn’t, either way. She is trying to not be slut-shamed and not make you angry. It’s deep in the female psyche that we are not allowed to make men angry and that we can’t be angry ourselves. Male anger is on a primal level, dangerous. Anger in a woman is, on a primal level, ugly. Unless she is wearing thigh high boots, carries a whip and looks like Angelina Jolie. But if she does, chances are she’s not aiming for you. Just musing. Not trying to be mean.
When the comedian ended the show and said thank you to the audience, he said he had never really meant those “Thank yous” at the end of a show before now. Random and slightly off topic, but that’s a huge difference between men and women, because we say thank you for a mere meeting. And mean it. And pray that this means a job. And that they like us. And also just thank you.
The thing that struck me the most was oddly one of the first things he talked about, what was even teased before the show. He described how he had gone through a year of being terrified, sad, depressed, wondering if he was ever going to work again, wondering if he wanted to live. That is what women, when something has happened but they don’t want to be inconvenient, feel at some point if not often in their lives and careers. This kind of fear is not a moment for women. It’s free floating. It lands a lot.
So this comedian actually wrote a book on modern romance years ago that I actually read. There were a lot of statistics in this book to prove a point. There are no statistics for this particular story, because it’s always personal. There is no universal measuring stick, other than some people are looking for power between someone else’s legs and some people are looking for love, not always in the wrong places, but often with the wrong navigational system.
I wish that one-man-show in my, sometimes, preferred church, the church of Netflix, had been a conversation between him and the writer who wrote the piece about him. I think we all would like to be heard in the church of Netflix. I do. Don’t you? Because mostly women want to live, have a legacy, love madly and be loved madly, have sex, be crazy attracted and feel crazy attractive, be admired and admire and feel that we are really good at what we value. Probably just like men.
So, men, boys, dudes, guys, all you good kids out there… Aren’t you annoyed that these Brozillas, who at best, caused a serious disturbance and at worst committed a crime, are literally ruining it all for you? Why are you not really pissed at them? They are busy telling their stories. Doesn’t this annoy you? Doesn’t it annoy you that, right now, your story just isn’t relevant? I know. Women know the feeling. We now speak up and tell the shitty guys’ stories because often their stories ruin what your stories could have been with us.
I still know more good men than I know others. I still wish women could get to be, both in life and fiction, not only
Strong, but also fun,
Fun without being a slut,
Naked without being killed,
A boss without being evil
Sweet without being dumb
And dumb but still have dialogue and a point of view.
I heard another comedian talk about how there are so many rules now. So many rules that men have to adhere to on how to behave, because it’s apparently been hard to know. That may be true. But for women, there are finally no rules. We don’t have to expect to be groped, be passed over, be a token woman on a team, or second-guess what we are wearing. We don’t have to worry about what we said, what we deserve. We might even be able to be angry, annoying and irritating and continue to have a seat at the table. Also, what the comedian may be talking about is not rules. It might, in fact, be the law. And for women who follow the law? Well, there are no rules.