Two Male Figures Looking in a Mirror and a Putto. - Jacopo Pontormo, 1518:

1– Men DO like to explain stuff. They absolutely DO. The obnoxious and recent term (2008) “Mansplain” or “Mansplaining” —guys patronizingly explaining things to women—is based in reality.  However, if men do like to explain stuff—and they do—to describe this as offensive (the man is being patronizing) kind of misses the point.  To take offense at what is ingrained behavior is to take offense needlessly and spitefully.  Women: you sort of need to get over this.

2– Men ARE simpler on every level than women are.  Even men who excel at “complex things” excel at those “complex things” precisely because they see the simplicity in those “complex things” which others don’t. “Simple” describes both the great fault AND the great virtue of the male psyche. “It’s complicated” belongs more to the female realm. When a man and woman are having a needlessly complicated argument, to be very objective here, in all honesty, the blame mostly should go to the woman.  The exception, of course, is that the man, with his admired ability to find simple solutions to complex problems, should be able to prevent hurtful and complex misunderstandings from arising and gaining momentum. And that’s a very important exception, mister!

3– When it comes to love, men DO care about looks; they do care about superficial appearances: as much as they may protest, as much as they may say otherwise. This chimes in with their “simple” nature, which really is simple. Men are simpler than anyone will care to admit.  Looks are not important to a man. Looks are everything to a man, and this is the simple truth. A lesbian is looking for sweetness, affection, and understanding. A male homosexual simply believes a handsome man is better looking than a handsome woman. Period. Male homosexuals are just as simple as their straight counterparts: the myth of the sensitive, complex gay male is just that: a myth. So yes, the truism of the “male gaze” is true. Having said that, however, it would be wrong to think males cannot be highly romantic, sensitive, focused, sentimental, monogamous, and cannot find an interesting variety of physical attributes attractive—they cannot help their “male gaze,” but the “male gaze” can be caught, tied up, and enslaved by any savvy woman who wants to do so.  But the woman should never naively think that once she has a man, a man who seems “nice,” that this means “this nice man loves me for who I am.” Sorry, no.  The “nice” man, who seems happy in a relationship, is still thinking about looks all the time. The woman just has to know what she is dealing with, and not get freaked out by superficial signs and superficial behavior of what is not finally connected to what a man really wants—one great satisfying love, not the anxiety and trauma of lonely, partial loves.  But the “look factor” is always there for the man.  But remember, the man is simple.  The “look factor” does not have to mean every feature is perfect: there is a whole creative and dynamic aspect to what “looks” entail.  The wise woman will know how to use the man’s simple nature to her advantage.

4– Men DO like sex, and they like it quickly, and it’s all about their silly little penis, and the only thing that slows down their sex instinct is the “male gaze” which wants to take time to “look” at their beloved in the beautiful stages of undress which match intoxicating stages of increased excitement, and yes, after the orgasm, the man will feel a strong sense of disappointment at being with the naked person who, a few minutes earlier, had made him so excited, and now, after the man’s release: not so much. The man is probably the most disgusting creature in the world at this moment, wanting to move away and secretly revel in his triumph, and be free of conversation and cuddling with a being who is less interesting to him now.  Men can protest all they want (“I feel closer to my woman after making love to her! blah blah blah”) but let the sorry truth be here revealed.  Post-coital cuddling is uncomfortable for the man, even when he feels a necessary bonding with someone he loves is taking place, since bonding of this kind always feels forced to him.  A man does not feel closer to a woman after the sex act.  He always feels more distant.  And this is more true the better the sex is—but only because the law of before (excited) and after (less excited) prevails—and it really shouldn’t be taken personally.  A woman should never delude herself that a man is ever not on the trajectory described here.  Don’t kid yourself.  He always is.

5– Men want to do things for a woman, but if they sense the woman is expecting things to be done, done in a very particular way, or not done, for this or that reason, they will very quickly become disoriented and lose all desire in this area.  Men like to explain and they like to do.  But they do want a partner in all this, they really do.  Women: Disagree, advise, and suggest as much as you can.  Do not mock or resist or fall silent. Do not be a contrarian.  Because then what’s the point?

6– Since men have the “male gaze,” and when it comes to love, care only for appearances, they themselves are vain—and obsessed with their own looks.  By playing on male vanity and fear in the looks department, women, by careful mirroring, can easily own and destroy a man if they take careful note of the mirroring phenomenon and use it well: however, if the woman doesn’t care about her appearance, she cannot influence the man’s opinion of his own looks. If she mirrors him, however, with her vanity, and rewards and diminishes him in the right manner in the looks department, so that he can’t figure out who is more attractive, her or him, or how attractive he really is, and needs to hear it from her—he will feel strangely and powerfully attracted to her.

7– Since men love to explain, it is easy to attract the man by turning his love of explanation into what seems to him a somewhat annoying and addictive folly—in the woman’s eyes. The woman should listen attentively to the fervor of his mansplaining. But she should interrupt frequently to ask questions, to make him feel she is extremely interested in what he is saying, but constantly make him feel he isn’t quite explaining it right, and that he has to do a better job.  He will be exquisitely tortured by this if it is done with the right combination of interest and nonchalance—and he will find himself helplessly attracted to the woman’s superior mind.

8– Do not mirror him, in superficial terms of “trying to be a man.”  This will be a disaster.  Make him feel that you are a woman, and different from him, and make these differences as prominent as you can. This absolutely does not mean you need to surrender any of the things which make you intrinsically superior, or truly yourself—and, in fact, as long as it is established that you are “a woman” to his sensibility, you can then be as “mannish” on top of this established identity as you want, and this will, in fact, make him even more attracted to you.  Always negotiate with the man from the fact that you are a woman first—even if superficially—and then you can be anything you want on top of that, and dominate him much more easily.

9– Because men want sex quickly, explain to him that taking it much, much slower (even if it takes days or weeks or months) will give him a great deal more pleasure—he will like this because he loves things to be explained, and this explanation benefits both of you—love is nothing if not a great mingling: male and female aspects fall into a rapturous blending.  The only catch is that what is male and what is female must be understood and established first, and this will be the first step in actually making love voluntary, so that instead of “falling under the spell” of your lover, love becomes conscious and willed, and this is a far more effective rapture—both of you are fully aware that this is what you are doing and why you are doing it.  Love is then a beautiful and exciting and conscious goal rather than a slothful and doubtful entrapment. Pride will tell us that only if the lover is under one’s spell is the love real and based on how attractive one is—but this is a myth.  The best love is voluntary and benefits from both sides understanding the deep truths about each side, male and female, and the drama and the tricks that must be consciously and delightfully played.  This is ultimate romantic love, which defies both involuntary suffering and boring convention.

10– Men care just as much about breeding as women do—it doesn’t matter that the woman is more at the center of the whole process than he is.  The question of children: Should we have them?  How many?  How should they be raised?  is of infinite importance to the man.  Men care very much how the child is to be raised, materially, morally, and aesthetically.  Never fail to bring out a man’s opinion on this issue. Never underestimate his interest, or the impact it will have if his ideas on the topic of children are downplayed or ignored.



  1. noochinator said,

    September 5, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Yikes — I just learned to not manspread, now I’ve got to stop mansplaining — it’s all a learning process….

  2. Anonymous said,

    September 5, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Much to think about here! Thanks for explaining it 🙂

  3. Desdi said,

    September 5, 2016 at 9:25 pm

  4. thomasbrady said,

    September 5, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Truisms. But not true for the truly unique. Of course.

  5. Purrington Paver said,

    September 13, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Dear author,

    Not to upset you, but this article contains too many broad declarations. Though I do not doubt that your conclusions are wrought from good observation and deduction, it does yourself a blow to your credibility to take what you know and apply it to everything else without having observed all else just as deeply as you did of your original sources. In fact, the only bit of credulity you even offer us is that you are what you write about. Now this basis can sometimes work on its own; for example, when a teacher of Chicago Public School’s talks about what teachers of Chicago Public School’s do on a daily basis. But to speak of all men, because you yourself are a man, narrows and rather rudely undermines 99% of all the male population. Can you honestly say that you speak of all the men born, raised and living in the USA, and at the same time all the men of Germany, Iran, Syria, Russia, Canada, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, Iceland etc? In fact, could it truthfully be said that you speak honestly of the men within the divisions and provinces and states of each country? And all because you are a man, and they are all men?

    To me this speaks like someone who has who has spent years fishing in a small stream, with simple rod and line baited with a worm, and whom, having become proficient at catching the fish in that one stream, declares themselves an expert on fish and fishing, and writes a manual about the fish and of fishing in every body of water in all the world. Could anyone seeking to fish actually find any merit of what advice this person has written? Though a man you might be, and might assert that you have been one for years, and that you have been around and have observed a number of other men for years, to speak (as you have) as though an expert of all men is, to me, a grievous error.

    As you are the primary credibility behind your article, I can only with certainty that the broad advice you give to women seeking to seduce a men (i.e “The wise woman will know how to use the man’s simple nature to her advantage”) actually would only work for any women who would seek to seduce you. In that perspective, this article reveals many odd traits that one can only deduce are a part of you:

    Truth 1 you’re full of yourself, and I suppose is self evident as you say men like to explain things, and then you go explaining things.

    Truth 2 says you like to simplify things. Seeing as how you go on to simplify the entire workings of all men in ten paragraphs with proper research beyond self-observation and broad speculation, Truth 2 also tells us you are lazy. Your deduction thus appears to primarily be circular logic: I am a man. I am simple. Therefore, men are simple.

    Truth 3 says you check women out. It also seems you are not a swinger, for a statement like “The woman just has to know what she is dealing with, and not get freaked out by superficial signs and superficial behavior of what is not finally connected TO WHAT A MAN REALLY WANTS—one great satisfying love, not the anxiety and trauma of lonely, partial loves.” ignores the stock male characters portrayed in many theater and media outlets that exist to mirror and appeal to such existing personalities, such as Don Giovanni of Mozart’s opera (the composer and his librettist consulted Giacomo Casanova for help in properly portraying the character) or Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother. Incidentally, I can only assume that your age is simultaneously everything from 20 to 90, for you speak of all men in their current stages of life.

    Truth 4 is depressing. As you are still the only source, citing no surveys of what men feel up to, during and after sex, it tells us your sex life is not great. ” Let’s detour a bit, though and comment on your use of the expression “Male Gaze”. A quick google search of its definition tells us it “is the way in which the visual arts and literature depict the world and women from a masculine point of view, presenting women as objects of male pleasure.” But then you use it as such regarding men’s quick sex response: “The only thing that slows down their sex instinct is the ‘male gaze’ “. If I may interject, if the effect of a cinematic “Male Gaze” is to represent the women as a sexual object, would that not serve to speed up his sex drive?” Otherwise, it sounds like “Male Gaze” is the only thing keeping men from being a complete sexual deviant (as you seem to imply they all are). On another note, I am disturbed by you declaration: “Post-coital cuddling is uncomfortable for the man, even when he feels a necessary bonding with someone he loves is taking place, since bonding of this kind always feels forced to him. A man does not feel closer to a woman after the sex act.” Such as declaration only awakens further questions.” Without taking personal offense that you would speak so rashly about men like this (myself included), I need only remember the phenomenon of Dakimakura. These are not primarily meant to be defiled on a whim. They are more often meant to be cuddled with. True, the pillows are objects, and women portrayed on them are fictional, but the men who own these are stereotypically known for treating them as though they were real, speaking of them as having personalities and conversations, and even talking of their pillows to others. Strange that your declaration says that a man want nothing more of a women than “to move away and secretly revel in his triumph, and be free of conversation and cuddling with a being who is less interesting to him now”, while an marketable industry exists aimed at a man who resides an actual object to converse with, cuddle with, and even display to others. Dare I say that the latter purchases such an object because he seeks everything you claim he does not? That is an extreme example to the contrary, but I can only wonder what sort of men you have reasoned with, and what sort experiences you have personally had, to make such declarations you have made.

    Truth 5 seems to say “Don’t expect me to do anything, though I wanna do thing for you.”

    Truths 6, 7, and 8 read like dating advice to a women, a sort-of reverse dating profile. It tells me your looking for someone who just as beautiful as you know yourself to be, that you like someone who’s a good listener, and that you don’t like tomboys.

    Truth 9 reads like a cut and paste from a women’s magazine. It makes men out to be in need of training, as though they were circus animals, so that a healthy relationship may be grown. This tells us that you, personally, see woman as flawless, and that men are the ones who need fixing. As any experienced man or women would be able to tell you without hesitation “Nobody’s perfect” and “It takes two to tango”.

    Truth 10 has one questionably agreeable fact; men do ask “the question of children: Should we have them? How many? How should they be raised? is of infinite importance to the man.” Everyone has asked or will ask this question in their lives. Though I assume a few do stop at “Should we have them”, while others might find themselves asking “How Many” without having considered that “having them” was even a possibility. Therefore, to say “Men care very much how the child is to be raised, materially, morally, and aesthetically.” might only apply to those willing to have them, and not those poor unfortunates who found themselves with a broken condom and a shotgun wedding.

    To conclude, dear author, I think it would be wise of you to remove this article, and re-post it only when greater, thorough research and consideration has been done. It is a gross folly to have made the bold declarations you have made, primarily upon yourself. I do not object that the plan is noble, but I do object that its attempt be brash and pathetic in its attempt.

    On a different note, let me say that I come to scarriet for poetry and articles about poetry. This reads like dating advice from Gawker and mentions nothing of use to this blogs primary outreach. Why would such a post be made here?

    • noochinator said,

      September 14, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      I suspect that most Dakimakura-cuddlers, if they bust a nut, will quickly lose interest in Dakimakura-cuddling.

  6. thomasbrady said,

    September 14, 2016 at 12:07 pm


    Thank you.

    Truth 9 is a “cut and paste from a woman’s magazine” probably hurt the most. Re-read Truth 9 with its lovely, yearning prose: “Love is then a beautiful and exciting and conscious goal, rather than a slothful and doubtful entrapment.” I don’t think Truth 9 treats men as if they were “circus animals” in need of “training.” It says the very opposite. Perhaps you were impatient and weary by the time you reached Truth 9 in your long response—which I do appreciate, even though I feel it’s very unfair.

    So you don’t think there are any universal truths about love? And that an individual may not know them? You would prefer anonymous sex surveys? Instead of writing Art of Love, Ovid should have just distributed question and answer sheets?

    I would rather listen to one honest man than a thousand obscure ones. Yet is honesty only bred in oneself talking to oneself in the privacy of one’s own brain? Perhaps. Because no one is honest to the world. As Poe said, the “heart laid bare” is impossible. So maybe I’m as obscure as the rest. It’s possible this is what you felt reading these “truths.” And you may be right.


  7. Anonymous said,

    September 20, 2016 at 2:49 am


    For me 9 is the genuine ruby in a cereal box of a list. Though I’d disagree that “what is male and what is female must be understood and established first…”

    I think that comes later; after, usually, the guy can slow down enough to put his attention completely on a woman. Then “it” can become “a beautiful and exciting and conscious goal,” as you wonderfully put it.


    You whiskered deviant, have you no shame? You’ve already outed yourself as a sexless reader of women’s magazines, when will it all end!

    • Anonymous said,

      September 20, 2016 at 2:53 am


      Mr. Woo

  8. thomasbrady said,

    September 21, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Purrington is a shameless feline… And yet lives in the ocean (while I dwell in a small stream…)

  9. Grunhilde said,

    September 23, 2016 at 2:36 am

    “Men want, men want, I want, I want…” What do you have to GIVE?

    “The woman should listen attentively to the fervor of his mansplaining.” You are mad.

  10. noochinator said,

    September 23, 2016 at 10:45 am

    The Wife of Bath knew how to handle men! As does Cherilyn Sarkisian:

  11. noochinator said,

    September 23, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    For goodness’ sake, Tomas, what will be the title of your next post? “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Hard-penis”? This piece might serve as a corrective to your mad sense of male privilege:

    “Professions of Privilege” by James Lileks

    Some people wake up in the morning and think, “Ah, the promise of coffee and a Danish. A new day awaits!” Some hear the alarm and think, “Capitalism has made us slaves to the alarm clock. I’d better write a story about how we should ban alarm clocks.” The latter type probably writes at Slate or Salon or Slaton or Salote, where everyone looks at the world through a murky window smeared with the tears of perpetually peeved progressives. Take L. V. Anderson, who wrote a piece titled “Stop Tweeting Your #Firstsevenjobs: It’s just a way to disguise your privilege.”

    To explain: People on Twitter were listing their first seven jobs. Just as a lark. Something to do. It would be harmless, except nothing is harmless. Everything is awful.

    It’s helpful when people get scoldy about your Privilege, because it means you can safely disregard anything they say after that. They aren’t listening to what you think you’re saying. They’re translating your words through a matrix that amplifies their willful incomprehension. If you say, “Sorry I’m late, traffic was tough,” they hear, “My economic status permits me to have an individual means of transportation whose expense drains resources away from transit systems that would benefit the poor, and allows me to imagine that my difficulties on the highway are comparable to those of people who must rely on the bus.” As you can imagine, these people are insufferable, but at least the rest of us have the compensation of assuming they are personally unhappy.

    The problem, according to Anderson, is this: People listed their jobs but didn’t rip them open to expose the glistening, alabaster-white privilege contained within. You should’ve run them past a professional Privilege Dowser, who can find unearned advantages anywhere. Like this:

    “Well, when I was ten, I was a paper boy, and—”

    Your family could afford a bike, and newspaper-reading communities are generally more affluent. So that’s two strikes against you.

    “Then I was a bag boy at the Piggly Wiggly down the street.”

    Down the street? Isn’t that special. Most poor people live in food deserts, where mothers crawl across empty expanses of asphalt towards a shimmering mirage of a head of lettuce. And by using “boy,” do you realize how gendered your vita looks? Did you consider the historic underrepresentation of queer butch teens in the grocery industry? Are you AWARE of the marginalization of women in the bagging sector, because men were supposedly good at spatial arrangement, and running the register was “women’s work”?

    “Uh—it was a summer job. I was also a lifeguard—”

    Riiight, and there’s nothing problematic about a white male sitting high up on a wood throne looking over a harem, but do go on.

    “Okay, well, in college—yes, that sounds pretty privileged, but it was an ag-school branch of the state system, pretty much a cow college.”

    A system designed to perpetuate industrial farming and livestock management, reducing crop diversity with Monsanto-patented GMOs and bovine growth hormones, but do go on.

    “Yeah, well, I didn’t have financial assistance, and I didn’t want to take out loans, so I took five years to get my B.A., and I worked mostly as a waiter at a Vietnamese restaurant.”

    And you didn’t find that troubling.

    “No, why? The owner was a cool dude. Came here in ’75.”

    It didn’t trouble you that the owner fled a country ruined by American militarism and imperialism, and that you not only suffered no consequences for the Vietnam war but actually profited from it.

    “My uncle served in Vietnam and lost an eye.”

    The one-eyed uncle is king in a land of people blinded by Dow Chemical munitions. Go on. After college?

    “Well, I worked at a parking ramp for a year and tended bar. I wanted to use my accounting-major skills but times were tight, and I ended up managing the bar, then going over to this other restaurant the owner had, and I guess that’s where I really fell in love with the food-service business. So my last job out of the seven is ‘restaurant-chain owner,’ because one day I realized we were selling a lot of chicken burgers and thought that might be an idea for a new kind of restaurant.”

    You should be aware of the conditions of commercial-poultry operations. The abuse of undocumented workers. The environmental impact of using millions of gallons of chlorinated water to chill the dead meat. The Islamophobia that prohibits some line workers from observing the requirements of their faith. As with all your other jobs, you don’t see these things, because you’re blinded by your own advantages.

    “I’m sorry. Should I not have been a person where I was? Is that the problem? What are your seven jobs?”

    Happy you asked. Formed the first Progressive Caucus in high school, and was editor of the newsletter. Ran the incinerator at a Women’s Health Center. Designed websites for the Socialist People’s Worker Party. Handled social media for the Socialist People’s Worker Party Party, a monthly event that incorporated hip-hop and anarcho-thrash/punk bands. Did Web design for Guber, a start-up peanut-delivery system—it’s like Uber, except for goobers. Now I write a column for Slate about people who anger me because I can just see my dad at the dinner table, saying, “Any of your friends have real jobs?”

    “Okay. Cool. Say, that’s only six jobs. You know, Chik’n Burg’r will be hiring soon, and it would be a privilege to have you as an employee.”

    SHUT. UP.

  12. thomasbrady said,

    September 23, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    The shark-infested waters of white male privilege. Where it’s safer to be doomed. I admit it. I’m doomed. Or not. Or doomed. Or not. Wait.

    I know, I know, I’m missing the point. It’s not about me. It’s what I do for others. But can’t I do more for others with my privilege intact? In that case, I shouldn’t shed my privilege. Right?

    But I should be sure never to talk about it, or revel in it, and do everything I can with my privilege to raise up others to a more privileged position in life. Yes, I can do that. Privilege will come in handy.

    • Grunhilde said,

      September 24, 2016 at 2:57 am

      Darn it,Tom. There you go mansplaining again. I dare say your truths about women and men must leave you feeling lonely and , unsatisfied. You are not very attractive, by the way. I wouldn’t have mentioned it, but since you made such a big deal over looks, I just couldn’t help myself. Alas, it’s not your looks that keep you lonely; it’s your attitude towards women. Woodman told you straight up about it, YEARS ago, but you are set in your ways at your age, I’m sure.

      • thomasbrady said,

        September 24, 2016 at 1:11 pm

        Woodman! The man who had so much to offer and then had a tantrum because I didn’t like WC Williams. Unsatisfied? I don’t know anyone who is satisfied. To be human is to be unsatisfied. That’s our sad lot. One is not either beautiful or not. One simply wants to be beautiful.

        • noochinator said,

          September 24, 2016 at 2:11 pm

          Mr. W.’s blog is still goin’!

        • Grunhilde said,

          September 24, 2016 at 10:32 pm

          He didn’t have a tantrum. Woodman was disgusted by your spitefulness and attention whoring behavior.

          • thomasbrady said,

            September 25, 2016 at 10:13 am

            Woodman and I always had differences, but I distinctly remember how enraged he became the instant I began my assault on The Red Wheel Barrow, that charming little fake, psuedo-philosophical brain-dead westernized, haiku (lavishly praised by the influential New Critic textbook “Understanding Poetry”) which opened the door to generations of pretentious, tedious, crappy poetry and all sorts of pretentious fake literature. That one poem, and its reputation, killed poetry all over the world. And my heroic criticism kindled a rage in Woodman like nothing I’d ever seen before. I even patiently discovered the truth of the poem: Bill’s brother Edgar married the woman he pined for: Charlotte. White (bride) CHickens (Charlotte) and Red (Edgar) I am the only critic to discover this, reading deeper than perhaps the poet even knew. But Woodman left, and made a blog of his own, so it’s all good, isn’t it? The world is big enough for a temper tantrum or two.

            • Desdi said,

              September 28, 2016 at 8:56 pm

              I love this passionate reply.

              You are right to call BS on William Carlos Williams.

              […charming little fake, pseudo-philosophical brain-dead westernized, haiku (lavishly praised by the influential New Critic textbook “Understanding Poetry”) which opened the door to generations of pretentious, tedious, crappy poetry and all sorts of pretentious fake literature. That one poem, and its reputation, killed poetry all over the world.]

              Ha ha ha YES this made me smile hard on a gloomy Wednesday.
              I love when you get righteously worked up and preach the uncomfortable truth. This is why I read Scarriet. Preach on.
              We must make converts. We must bring in the true light. Scarriet shall go forth, conquering, even unto the ends of the poetic world.
              He who is not with Scarriet is against her. Let her enemies be slain (by pure poetry, of course ☺)

  13. noochinator said,

    September 24, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    And (sigh) here’s yet another white male willfully oblivious to his privilege:

    • Grunhilde said,

      September 24, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      I wish that album actually existed, and I could still use C. O. D.; that way I’d send one to Tom for Christmas. I hate to brag, but I was the leader of the MOPS–Mail Order Pranksters–when I was in high school.

      • noochinator said,

        September 25, 2016 at 9:59 am

        Did any of your mail order pranks involve the Columbia Record Club? If so, you might be able to do a reboot of the MOPS, b/c the CRC itself may undergo a reboot:

        • Grunhilde said,

          September 25, 2016 at 10:38 pm

          Yes, it did. All of the rock and roll fans at my school received Ace Cannon or Slim Whitman’s albums. The country fans received hard rock music, and a preacher’s son received a subscription to Playboy.

          • noochinator said,

            September 26, 2016 at 4:44 am

            Was the preacher’s son named Billy Ray?

  14. noochinator said,

    October 30, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Tomas, another piece by a SWMWTOTHP (Straight White Male Who’s Totally Oblivious To His Privilege):

    “STEAMed about STEM”
    by James Lileks

    If you ask the sort of people who are always angry about other people’s decisions, the wrong people are filling the jobs in STEM. That’s science, technology, engineering, and math. Too many men. A lot of boys have an early interest in STEM, because they’re all about building stuff, blowing up stuff, and building stuff that can blow up stuff. Boys like to sit in front of video-game screens and pretend they’re rampaging across a continent with an inexhaustible supply of ammunition, and for some this leads to an interest in computers. The end result? Apparently, it’s college campuses with HE-MAN WOMAN HATERS’ CLUB signs on the engineering building (with the S painted backwards) telling women they’d best steer clear.

    Well, if the right people aren’t going into STEM, then STEM must become something else. Say, sociology, tickling, encouraging, meth.

    Obviously that’s ridiculous. Tickling violates personal boundaries. And it suggests that girls don’t want to go into science, which is ridiculous. Many do. One of my daughter’s female friends has been building robots for years and will probably attend her 20th high-school reunion by flying into the gym in a custom-made exoskeleton. But she’s not typical. Why? Because women, in general, prefer something else?

    Nay. Girls are discouraged from pursuing STEM by the patriarchy. Female teachers in the schools run by female administrators regularly bark “Susie, put your hand down, these are boy topics” when a girl wants to answer a question in science class. And so the girls realize they have to cook and bake and make Instagram accounts composed entirely of pictures of shoes and fancy coffee drinks.

    It’s a tragedy. My own daughter is very artistic; always has been. I ask her why she’s not interested in science.

    “I am,” she says. “It’s just not what I want to do.” You’re so good at painting, but don’t you think you should stop drawing so much and fill your notebooks with algebra? “Dad.” There are good jobs at the algebra factory, you know.” “DAD. NO.”

    She told me she’d just been talking with a friend about the STEM push in her high school and how incredible patronizing it seemed. “Girls can do science, too!” she said in a mocking voice of adult condescension. For her generation—and dare I suggest the one that came before?—the idea that women are to be discouraged from ANYTHING is preposterous. If STEM means something else to them, it’s “Stop talking empowerment, Mom.” Because they get it, they really do.

    I do note that young girls of my daughter’s generation aren’t crazy about signing up for the draft, but that’s another matter.

    As with any disparity, the ratio of men to women in professions such as “facility manager for warehouse HVAC system” must be explained by Perfidious Forces. Disparities are never a result of individual choices and preferences; they’re proof that the clammy smothering hand of Society is forcing us to think we’re doing what we want. Once a month the Top-Hatted Capitalists get together at their richly appointed Secret Lair atop the Empire State Building, enjoy their cigars and oysters, sing a few bars of “Dixie,” and then get down to the serious business of Oppressing Everyone. Let’s consult the minutes from a post-war meeting:

    “Gentlemen, the brief experience women had during the last world war exposed them to the joys of working in loud, dangerous factories doing repetitive labor. Now they’ve been shoved back into the home, of course, but if something isn’t done, they’re going to demand the right to exchange housekeeping, cooking, and child-rearing for eight-hour shifts at a drill press. I fear this generation is poisoned beyond repair, but we can keep upcoming generations stupid and technologically incurious. And so I reveal to you…PROJECT BARBIE.”

    Yeah. Well, Barbie’s hypnotic powers have waned in recent years, but STEM participation still isn’t close to the ideal ratio of 65 percent female to 35 percent male. (That’s the ideal ratio for everything.) So there’s been an alteration. It’s now STEAM. Science, technology, engineering…arts, and math.

    Arts. It’s like a BLAT—a bacon, lettuce, aspirin, and tomato sandwich.

    Or is it? There’s already art in STEM, in a sense. Building a bridge involves art. Designing the best way for the innards of a computer or TV or coffee maker or rocket to fit together requires an elegant instinct and imposes restraints no modern sculptor would accept. There’s art in everything if you do it well.

    You suspect that’s not what they mean. A spastic dance devoted to the unsung woman who helped invent blueprints but was erased from history, that’s what they mean.

    But say they don’t. Say the proponents of the STEAM term want to emphasize the A to let outsiders know there’s already art in STEM. What’s the harm? Well, it’s annoying to those in STEM, because it suggests STEM is not enough and needs embellishment, and it’s insulting to those considering STEM, as if they needed the step ladder of “personal expression” to make tech interesting to them. Don’t worry, you won’t have to do the hard stuff, like figure out how to get into space. You can draw designs on the rocket!

    Recently Wells Fargo ran some ads for Teen Financial-Education Day and made the mistake of suggesting that some professions might have higher social utility than others. “An actor yesterday. A botanist today,” said one ad. “A ballerina yesterday. An engineer today,” another proclaimed. Not okay, big evil bank. The world needs ballerinas and engineers in equal numbers, preferably apportioned by race and gender, and until that day comes we will know that everything is horrible and wrong.

    Wells Fargo apologized and pulled the ads. Whether they’re hiring ballerinas this year, who knows.

  15. noochinator said,

    June 2, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Here’s a counterpoint piece to your post—a classic printed in “The Boston Phoenix” in the 1980s:

    A Girl’s Guide To Condoms
    — by Mimi Coucher

    WARNING: Boys cannot read this. If you are a boy and are reading this, stop immediately. The following article is chock-full of highly intimate girl
    secrets that will be 10 times more embarrassing than any TV commercial for feminine-hygiene products you’ve ever seen. So quit it. I mean it. You’ll be sorry.

    Condoms Demystified

    There are basically three kinds of condoms: unlubricated latex, lubricated
    latex, and lambskin. The lambskins are no good because they haven’t been proven to be a barrier to infection. Anyway, they’re really made of lambies and that makes us sad, especially around Easter time. (The real reason we don’t like them is that they actually smell like lamb. One is tempted to lubricate them with mint jelly.)

    There are variations on the basic latex condoms. Some condoms are
    prelubricated, with spermicidal jelly, even. Others are not. Strictly

    The strangest variation by far is the ribbed latex condom. Why are these
    condoms ribbed? This is supposed to be stimulating? Should one attempt to play washboard tunes on it? This is just part of a big problem with condoms. Condoms were, and are, designed by men.

    If Girls Designed Condoms…

    What a wonderful world it would be. Skip the ribbing, skip the lube. If
    women designed condoms there is no question that they would be padded.

    “But size doesn’t matter!” comes a chorus of voices. (The loudest voices
    come from boys who are peeking. Stop that right now. Turn to the sports
    page immediately.) Sure *length* doesn’t matter. But give any girl a small dose of truth serum and ask her about width.

    Admit it. If padded condoms were placed on the market, hordes of screaming women would storm their local druggists and dash out with tote bags full. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t work. After all, there is that ticklish issue of boy sensitivity, which we can’t overlook, even if we occasionally want to. Padded condoms would rob boys of the skin-to-skin sensation they already claim condoms rob them of. And we can’t have that.

    No, we modern women, being kind and sensitive lovers, would design
    whisper-soft condoms, completely transparent and microscopically thin. The paisley, rainbow, and floral-print condoms we designed would be strictly novelty items, kept for special occasions only. Ditto the condoms with cute sayings: “Hang in there, baby, Friday’s coming”; “My girlfriend went to Florida and all I got was this lousy condom”; and the classic “I’m with stupid” (arrow pointing back toward the boy). Other specialty items would include the male-ego condom, which, like black olives, come in three sizes: jumbo, colossal, and humongous. Naughty subversives would enjoy the Karen Finley assortment, colorful, decorative condoms that turn ordinary penises into bananas, hotdogs, yams, and more.

    But I digress. The best place to buy condoms is your local massive
    drugstore that has them on display, self-serve, just like corn pads or
    athlete’s foot spray.

    So go shopping. Dress cool, hold your head high, read labels, make your selection. Be assured that most popular brands come with little instruction booklets much like the ones found in boxes of Tampax (uh oh —don’t mix them up!). While at the drugstore, be sure to purchase at least one of the following items: Tickle anti-perspirant, Ban Roll-on, or any of the Calvin Klein line of men’s grooming aids. You’ll need these for important condom experiments at home.

    At home, be alone. Light candles. Play inspiring music; any record by Rick James will do. Remove one of the condoms from its packet. Examine it carefully. Then put it to work. Experiment with your slippery new friends; whip those sons-of-gummi-worms into shape. Recruit those deodorant bottles and practice, practice, practice.

    And how about some new nicknames for the old standbys? Love skins. Slicks. Wet suits. Silk stockings. Eight-by-two glossies.

    Soon enough, you’ll be happy and relaxed, perfectly in control of those
    silly little slips o’ sin. But wait. Something’s missing. Oh yes, the
    hard part. I mean the good part. I mean, both.

    The Condomed Man

    It is far, far easier to start them on condoms when the relationship is
    young. In fact, the condom is a terrific tool of seduction when you’re
    ready to make the leap between the sheets. Call that someone on the phone and say to him, casual-like, “I just bought a new kind of condom and I’m dying to try it out… want to come over?” Or when out on the town with your paramour, and the clock on the clubhouse wall says thump thump thump, push that hunk against the wall and growl, “Listen, buddy. I’ve got a condom in my pocket and I’m not afraid to use it. We’re going home.”

    Welcome To The Safety Patrol

    Before you know it, you’ll be a veritable connoisseur of condoms. You’ll
    allow them to drop casually out of your purse in front of attractive men at
    cocktail parties. You’ll dispense them to friends, give lessons, perhaps
    even roll your own. “Oh, handsome boyfriend,” you’ll soon sigh, “I’ve
    always wanted to see you in rubber.”

    And he won’t mind one bit.

    • thomasbrady said,

      June 2, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      I’m not sure from whence this impulse springs to invalidate the truth of my original post. Condoms? Pffft. Anyone who makes condoms the center of a sex life doesn’t have a sex life.

      • noochinator said,

        June 3, 2018 at 9:41 am

        The reason I remembered it after 30 years was the description of the “I’m with stupid” condom, with the arrow pointing back at the guy. I suspect that image is the chief reason the piece is still around on the internet, although I like the writer’s style. Mimi, where are you? I’m determined to find her….

      • noochinator said,

        June 12, 2018 at 2:13 pm

        I found the author of “A Girl’s Guide to Condoms” at LinkedIn, and she wrote this:

        That article, “A Girl’s Guide to Condoms,” was written when the AIDS epidemic was ascending, and it was about women taking control of what had suddenly become a sobering new reality: We all had to practice safe sex. The online versions I’ve seen have edited out the historical context and just kept the jokes. Just last year I was contacted by somebody who was putting together an anthology, and he wanted to publish one of those chopped up versions, but rejected the real one!

        • thomasbrady said,

          June 12, 2018 at 5:01 pm

          Men must wear their historical context…

          • noochinator said,

            June 13, 2018 at 8:28 am

            Did Poe get upset when his work was reprinted in edited form? Or was he cavalier about that kind of thing?

            • thomasbrady said,

              June 13, 2018 at 7:24 pm

              Poe’s “Raven” was greeted with parodies poking fun at the poem immediately after it was published. Poe’s fame was built on ridicule and lies (drunk, drug addict, nasty critic, adulterous love poet) so Poe, who wanted to be read, took everything in stride.

              • thomasbrady said,

                June 13, 2018 at 7:32 pm

                Did you actually track her down, and her response is to you? That’s admirable! Scarriet should have an interview feature…

                • noochinator said,

                  June 15, 2018 at 9:40 am

                  Yes, her pen name is Mimi Coucher; her “real” name (as far as I know; it’s her name at LinkedIn) is Todd Lyon. Yes, Scarriet should do interviews, also more on-site reporting at poetry events, like this classic reportage at a Merwin event:


                  • noochinator said,

                    June 15, 2018 at 9:42 am

                    “Merwin has won every prize. He’s won them all!”

                    • thomasbrady said,

                      June 15, 2018 at 1:29 pm


  16. thomasbrady said,

    June 2, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Sex is like economics and poetry. The whole subject is 1% knowing and 99% ignorance. Love is a thousand times more various and interesting than sex. There’s only two ways to know about sex: One’s own experience, or hearsay/bragging. And one’s own experience is doubtful, since whatever your partner tells you and you tell to others enters the realm of hearsay/bragging. So it’s all hearsay/bragging. Science tells us there are no sex endings on the breasts or in the vagina. Yet when I wear very tight socks all day and take them off and put a strong stream of hot water around my ankles I feel intense pleasure. Do I associate this pleasure with sex and love? I do not. Why not? In that question lies the whole mystery of sex—and love. It is true that sometimes the male feels more pleasure in looking at certain parts of a woman than she feels when the gawking males touches them. Or there is greater feeling when someone tells you they love you, than in the act. Love will forever laugh at every variety of hearsay/bragging.

    • noochinator said,

      June 2, 2018 at 8:00 pm

      “Nothing in our culture, not even home computers, is more overrated than the epidermal felicity of two featherless bipeds in desperate congress.” — Quentin Crisp

    • noochinator said,

      June 9, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      “…I have received a letter from the Ronald Firbank Society in England. Presumably, it publishes a magazine, because it has asked me to explain in 900 words what has gone wrong with sex. The answer is that sex suffers from the same malaise as television: there is too much of it, with the result that it repeats itself. Halfway through what you had assumed was going to be a new episode, you realize that it’s a re-run: you know how it will end. After that, it’s difficult to remain interested.” —Quentin Crisp

  17. Desdi said,

    June 18, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Tom B, sorry this is unrelated, but could you help me to find, deep in the lyric labyrinthine depths of Scarriet, that Marcus Bales commentary with an Identity Politics satire of “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General”? I want a friend to read it. Thanks.

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