Last night, I dreamt that I just moved to a new neighborhood. (It's not coincidental that recent dreams place me in unfamiliar surroundings.) In the dream, I'd had a shitty day trying to figure out how to do my laundry - locating the laundromat, securing several machines (my laundry had piled up) from seemingly rapacious and competing launderers, venting my ire when the machines broke down with my clothes inside them, soaking and clogged with suds, etc.
Eventually, I abandoned my clothes at the laundromat to keep a date that I had made with Chuck Sherman, aka The Sherminator of American Pie fame. Maybe I was marinating in a 'tude, but the date turned out horrible as well. I was trying to become familiar with my new surroundings, pointing things out and asking questions in the hopes that I could get him engaged in a conversation that would serve two purposes: to allow me to get to know him better but to also allow me to get to know my neighborhood better as well. He derided anything that I was curious about, turned everything into a sexual joke and pulled on his neverending bottle of Zima like it was his dick.
Okay, I'll let you in on this dream a little bit. Remember my Top Ten List of Things Every Single Girl Should Own? Well, MSN had also posted a similar list for men, cached here. And, ever the gender equaliberator, I've been ruminating on it, thinking I'd post my own list for the opposite gender. But men are alien territory for me regardless of how many I've known or how long I've been experiencing them. I keep gathering data - hence the recent influx of posts about Smoothies and man surveys and Batman Returns, not to mention my recent obsession with Beauty and the Geek and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy - but nothing is cohering. So damn it all to hell, I'm just going to start posting random thoughts on the matter and maybe you all could jump in with ideas.
So, back to The Sherminator. I find it interesting that, in the movie, he spent the night with a girl at a party just talking. The next morning, she hugs him and says she had a really nice time. The Onion recently spoofed this phenomena - that when nice guys stay up all night with a girl just talking, they ruin any chance they have of ever having sex with her, condemning themselves instead to the Siberia known as "just friends." (Because I'm not a Premium member, I can't link you to the article here.) What interests me is that after the girl said goodbye to Sherman and left, Sherman turned to the four heroes of American Pie (and I use that term ironically) and announced that he'd gone from being a boy to a man. All lies of course.
My guess is that my dream simply mirrored my belief that any guy who does that - lies to imply a sexual connection that doesn't exist - is an asshole, and that it comes up now because I've been stewing on what defines a man over recent weeks. This dream provides me an In. While I think Sherman is an asshole, I have compassion for him. The intriguing question here is, why do guys pressure themselves to do this? For Sherman was acting on the pressure that his peers would see him as unmanly if he'd stayed with the girl all night without sealing the sexual deal. When masculinity expresses a need/desire for the opposite gender beyond physical lusting, what does that do to the definition of "masculine"? This intrigues me particularly because I've seen so many men choke under the pressure of the existing definition - that men, as walking talking brainless erections, want sex all the time no matter what, under any condition - when it is simply untrue. It has been my experience that male sexuality is as delicate and complicated as female sexuality, and yet we cling to this old stereotype when it seems to cause as much pain and discomfort as the pressure we used to place on women to be viligant about protecting their modesty. So what gives? Why was one stereotype more easily shed than the other?
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