Public Display of ...
I know I’m beautiful. Some mornings, I get tired of looking at myself in the mirror, but I know I’m fine. I like my ass. I like my eyes. I like the shape and heft of my cock. I think my pecs are smoking hot, and if some stupid bitch doesn’t like me because my back’s a little hair or I’m vertically challenged, well, she can just bite me. Who the hell does she think she is, anyway. Sure, some might see her as funny and charming, but I’ve seen through all that. I see her for the fat cow she is. And her over-used vagina stinks, too. I’ve always promised not to burn any bridges, to take the high road, but some people don’t deserve it. And I don’t deserve to feel this way.
Now, how did that strike you? Childish? Hateful? Totally self-absorbed? Dare I say it? Misogynistic?
But the truth is, I would never write such a thing for public consumption. It’s personal in a non-entertaining way. It’s vengeful. It’s mean. It’s immature. And the only insight it offers is that the writer is pathetic. The person who writes such a thing has been wounded and is lashing out.
And, ultimately, it’s just un-fucking-manly.
Which is why I think such a post it’s a rarer thing on men’s blogs. Do men do it? I’m sure there are some who do the vindictive sort of post. And I’d classify most of those as frat-boy types, perhaps chronologically in their mid- to late-twenties, but mentally still 15 (yes, ladies, we ARE slow). And we all know of the boys who do the vindictive “emailing or posting of the web-cam sex.”
But I think even they will resist the urge to have a love fest about their own body.
Yet, how often have I surfed around the Web and discovered grown women—women into their thirties and beyond, women who otherwise seem smart, charming and sassy—spouting off such things? I’m not going to go digging for links right now because, quite honestly, I don’t want to embarrass anyone. But I do have a suggestion. Keep it off the blogs.
Sure, we can argue about what’s appropriate material for blogging. Sure, it can be argued that everything is appropriate for blogging. I’d argue that this sort of thing belongs in a journal, not on the web. I’m from the school of thought that if it’s going to be posted on the web, it has to be entertaining. If you’re feeling like shit, feeling sorry for yourself, feel free to write a post about it, but make it entertaining, make it something more, make it funny.
And some people would counter that a service is being rendered by opening up every single facet of their lives to the blogging community, that that’s the entire point of his or her particular blog. “I want to give unfiltered reality. That’s what I’m all about. I’m keeping it real. I’m simply offering a glimpse into my journal,” a person might say. And I can almost buy that argument.
If it weren’t for the comment section.
Think about this for a bit. Imagine if a straight man in his thirties or beyond spent a post blathering on in self-affirmation about his muscles and his ass. If a man started denigrating the woman who’d just dumped him as a skank, a slut, a stupid bitch who didn’t appreciate him, and deserved from here on out the sort of man who would beat her. What would happen in the comment section?
He’d be torn to pieces.
But what happens when women do this? They get accolades. From their friends, from the people who want to be their friends and from the blog-stalking sensitive guys who really, really could make you happy, baby, if you’d just give them a shot. It’s a “You go girl” moment. It’s grrrrlll power. It’s loving yourself while fighting off the shackles of gender oppression. It’s sassy!
When what it really is is a wounded person a) fishing for compliments and b) dissing the person who hurt her. Personally, the only comment I’ve ever wanted to leave on one of these “I am a beautiful, wronged woman, hear me roar posts” is “I am embarrassed for both of us, you for having posted this in public, me for having read it.” It ain’t sassy, honey. It’s just sad.
And it IS sad. It’s a sad moment. But as stated before, unless you’re making it funny or offering insight, keep it to yourself, keep it off the web. I just feel used when I come across a blog and the post turns out to be someone fishing for an ego-boost (Wait, let me save you the trouble: Hypocrisy!). We all have our moments when we feel fat, short, ugly, lonely and need to be cheered up. But that’s what friends are for, not a general reading audience, which is what you’re dealing with unless you have an invite-only blog. The writer should entertain the reader, not the other way around.
Let me be clear: This is a writing/blogging argument only. I’m sure if I really tried, if I did real research, I could find a large number of men having their own bitter snit-fits in public, trashing women who broke up with them (perhaps even linking to them), while fishing for compliments from their own little fan club. But as I’ve said before, if you want real research rather than random observations, you’re in the wrong place (PEARATTY!!!). Besides, I’ve got a name for guys who write stuff like that in public (some of you may want to cover your eyes): pussies. Oh, I’ve got another name for them: livejournal users. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)
And I’d have the same advice for guys who contemplate writing such a post. Keep it off your blogs. No one really wants to read it.
But a close reader of this post, a Clintonian parser, will notice that I’ve been saying “in public” quite a bit. Men, after all, engage in this sort of shameless, wounded, unmanly behavior in the offline world.
Just like women, we have our weak moments, especially after being dumped. And we handle it the same way women do. Sort of.
A woman is dumped by a guy, she rings up her friends for mourning or male bashing. Her friends buck her up. A guy gets dumped, he rings up his friends, says “Let’s go get drunk” and they buck him up (unless he’s the loner sort who finds comfort in a bottle of Jack Daniels and a round or two of punching wall until his knuckles bleed).
The difference, in this real world instance, is in the buck-up conversation. The ladies will sit around and pick over the relationship, examine the cons (maybe even the pros), beat up on the offending ex, and, just as important, perhaps more important, affirm their friend. They tell her she’s pretty and smart and funny, etc., etc. In other words, they talk, have a real conversation.
Guys? Well, it’s the same thing, but sort of in a different language. They sit around a pitcher of beer or a round of whiskeys (or, let’s face it, both) and it goes like this.
Wounded man: “Dude, I can’t believe she did me like that.”
Dude 1: “Dude, that’s fucked up.”
Dude 2: “Yeah, dude, that’s harsh.”
Wounded man: “Fuck me, dudes. I. I don’t know. Just. Fuck.”
Pause for thinking.
Dude 1: “No, you know what, dude? Fuck HER.”
Dude 2: “Yeah, dude, fuck her.”
Wounded man: “Yeah? Really?”
Dude 1: “Yeah, fuck her, dude.”
Dude 2: “Yeah, you know what you need to do, go out and get laid. Take your mind off.”
Dude 1: “Totally. Oh, hey, we need another pitcher.”
And that’s about the extent of it. Then they get drunk and start talking about high school or college (“Dude, remember that time? Remember?” “Shyeah, that was awesome.”)
There are many, many layers to that seemingly simple conversation, but that’s about all there is to it. The guys, in not so many words, have told their friend that his ex is stupid and all wrong for him, and that he is, indeed, quite the handsome man that any woman would be lucky to nab. Notice, though, the guys don’t go into that much ex-bashing, definitely not of the physical sort. Partly, it’s because they realize that by tomorrow morning their friend may be back together with the ex and he’ll remember if the other two dudes called her fat and hairy. But partly, too, the other two dudes may think the ex is hot and they’re calculating how long before they can make a move.
I guess in those two approaches, you can see the differences that crop up on blogs. The guys talk about it in what boils down to a series of grunts. Chimp language, almost. Women, on the other hand, talk. Like scientists, they try to get down to the bottom of the thing, try to actually help their friend. And affirmation is a large part of that. Is either approach better? Well, the woman’s way of doing it certainly seems more compassionate. But in the end, though, both man and woman wake up the next day hungover and still broken-hearted.
Which is the way life is. Which is the way it always will be. Which is the way it should be.
But the rest of us sure as hell don’t want to read about it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yell at me. Tell me that each person’s blog is his or her own. Tell me that’s one of the great things about blogging. Tell me that if I don’t like that sort of thing, that no one’s forcing me to read, no one’s making me, right, so quit reading those blogs, already.
Guess what. I will.