Once again the astute and lyrical Jessica Hopper:
I really must switch books soon, I really must. All the books I am reading, the men heroes, as young boys, their fathers lie to them, imbue them with horrifyingly strange mythology about women and sex, abandon them - behaviour guised and written off as teaching them how to be a man - as in I will cheat you because the world will cheat you. From the men I love and know and the men whom I sit in doorstoops smoking and talking with, I know this is the truth, how it happens much of the time. These men in my life, really, they are good men, they are brothers in struggle, they are good feminists. But they are deep down afraid women will steal their souls, they cannot cry even when they are broken in two, they feel incredible silent social pressure to make more money because one day they will be expected to provide, they drink alone at home most nights with the TV on shrouded in sex-guilt and emptiness, they date down in order to preserve a power-paradigm and never have to commit. They are scared as the rest of us.
Read the rest here.

I somehow never thought of it as a phenomenon before, a trend, this thing where your guy friends "date down"--in my life, generally, with a couple exceptions, I don't do so well being friends with guys like that, the friendships just kind of evaporate. In retrospect, I think it's because they can feel me being super embarrassed for them. Pity is not an emotion I'm good at hiding, neither is disgust. Guys are so much more intuitive than they get credit for--most guys can feel it really strongly if you're cringing and thinking they're insecure and sad to need to date a blowup doll in hipster pants.

In 1998 I called a generally sweet California guy friend out on his vacation-update email from Paris in which the bulk of his enthusiasm was for the women being "thin, but with big tits!" He then went on to lay some philosophy on me about his most recent relationship back in SF, how great she was because while they didn't talk too much, she always had lots and lots of weed, and was therefore the ideal woman--he was not joking about this, but making an actual, straightforward point to this effect.

More. . .


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