Thursday, November 08, 2007

The two sexes

I bought a book at Barnes and Noble today called The Average American Male, by Chad Kultgen. As the title indicates, it essentially chronicles the adventures of society's popular conception of the stereotypical man: a horny, superficial, judgmental asshole. It looks like a fun read. I just hope it's tongue-in-cheek and not intended as a serious presentation of how the average man actually operates, because I'm getting sort of sick of that stereotype.

Yahoo! Health yesterday had an article from Men's Health editor David Zinczenko about basically why he (and presumably the male posse that reinforces his behavior) can't stop himself from checking out random women when he's with his girlfriend. By itself this article wouldn't have bothered me (even if I don't entirely agree with it, because there's still a part of me that does), but then it links to what I presume is supposed to be a profound but honest examination in Men's Health of why men can't commit. It was so stupid I couldn't even finish it - both in terms of content and in craft - but try to read it if you can. The author (Hugh O'Neill) basically says he's got a friend who's found the perfect girl (my personal conclusion: he doesn't really find her all that perfect, if he can't bring himself to give up something important to him (in this case, random sex) to be with her; but we don't need to get into that again) but is reluctant to marry her because of all the high-quality tail he sees everyday on the corner of 48th and Madison.

Honestly, I am so sick of this David Zincwhatever dude and Men's Health generally. It's seriously a magazine by douchebags, for douchebags. They have the most superficial conception of what it means to be a man. Remember when I said everyone who I think is cool is a dork, and everyone else is boring? These guys totally reinforce that maxim. That's great that you always wear sportscoats with your jeans and Ricky Martin-ize your hair. I'm happy that you're obsessed with projecting an image of success with fast cars and plasma TVs to attract women. At any point are you going to start talking about trying to be an interesting person? Whenever I read this dude's column I feel like I'm reading something from my high school paper...which, rather than being a testament to the professionalism of the Greenhills' Alcove, is a slight to Mr. Zinczenko's writing acumen.

We all know about Eleanor Maccoby about the divisions between Two Sexes, but sometimes I feel like there is a fundamental psychological division within the male sex as well, and that one tends to overshadow the other. Maybe there really are guys like Mr. O'Neill's friends for whom porking random babes really is just too important. But I can't relate to that, and I wish they'd stop perpetuating the stereotype that all men think that way. Clearly a sizable portion of us don't, even if we've been cowed into silence. We refer to those guys who have priorities that may include, but are certainly not limited to, getting laid as geeks and nerds, and even though I don't think Dungeons & Dragons or Magic: The Gathering is an acceptable substitute for interpersonal female interaction, I nevertheless salute their desire to fill their lives with more than the solitary concern for sex.

I hope women who read Men's Health for insights into the reptilian brain know not to take it too seriously, because if I was a woman and read this, I'd probably despair. There really are guys in the world who don't feel this way (certainly not this strongly), and if you've settled for one who does, I just feel bad that you set your expectations so low. But I guess it serves you right for paying more attention to the fast cars and plasma TVs.

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