[I don’t do this very often, but this post needs a trigger warning, since it covers a topic that’s impossible to handle without discussing rape.]
I was having curb tacos across the street from the Double Door last Friday with a buddy. Curb tacos, for the record, are regular tacos consumed while sitting on a curb. They aren’t a venereal disease and there’s nothing sexual about the whole thing. It might be a bit soggy, but it’s not sordid.
The Double Door, for those who don’t know, is a Chicago music institution located at the intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Damen in the extremely gentrified Bucktown/Wicker Park area of Chicago. The entire area is Asian fusion restaurants and trendy bars and Starbucks and various things that are magnets for childless people with disposable incomes in their late 20s and early 30s. Last Friday was a bit misty, but it was warm enough that there was a lot of foot traffic and a whole lot of people who apparently thought it was the middle of goddamn summer and dressed accordingly. The upshot of this means there was a veritable smorgasbord of two things: attractive women and short skirts.
So my buddy and I were having a conversation that should have cost me a man card or three, since it was me articulating my various feelings of inadequacy as a human being. He kept stopping to check out women who were walking across the street with their nice legs and shapely buttocks. He also, in the time-honored tradition of men everywhere, made sure to point them out to me.
My answer was always some variation on, “So, what?”
At one point he got mad at me and said, “So why do you keep doing this? Do you think you’re more mature than me or something?”
The answer to that question is “No,” which I tried to articulate, but probably didn’t do so well, since his question didn’t make any sense to me. It would be like if I showed up with my new Mazda and my buddy was like, “That’s nice for you, I guess, but I prefer Hondas,” and I was all, “Why are you telling me my car sucks? Is it because you don’t like gray cars?” I couldn’t answer the question because it wasn’t applicable to the situation. He thought I was judging him. In truth I just didn’t want to be bothered.
Attractive women are nice to look at and all. I’ll accept that premise because I wholeheartedly believe it. For me, however – and this might be something that genuinely only applies to me, I don’t know – seeing an attractive woman isn’t that big of a deal. I could see the most attractive woman in the world walk past me right now and by this time tomorrow I will have forgotten that it happened and gone on to something else. For me it’s not a question of maturity or self-control or superiority so much as it’s a question of utility. If I’m trying to have a conversation and maintain a train of thought someone stopping me to say, “Hey, look at that ass!” isn’t helping.
There’s also a functional point to be made: I’ve made it a point to not think of women as a nice set of legs or a curvy ass or a sweet rack. Does that mean that I can’t see and appreciate such physical features? No, not at all. What it does mean, though, is that I’ve basically deprogrammed my brain from being constantly and casually distracted by the presence of a nice set of legs or a shapely ass. There’s pretty much zero chance I’ll end up striking up a long-term, meaningful relationship with a woman crossing the street half a block down, so I can safely not give a rat’s ass about her shapely ass.
Does that make me weird? Probably. Does it make me more mature than other men? I’m going to say no, since I don’t think that maturity has anything to do with it. That’s a completely different dimension of human attitude than a simple mature/immature continuum.
And yea, verily, do we reach the part of David Wong’s Cracked piece that pissed me the hell off and convinced me to finally pull a bunch of disjointed thoughts together and write about them: “#3. We Think You're Conspiring With Our Boners to Ruin Us.” Um, yeah.
This is a fairly common idea. Way back in the day Amy articulated it to me as, “Women know that if you can get a guy’s blood flowing to the little head he doesn’t have enough to think with the big one.” It’s common knowledge, basically. It’s not even like the idea is regarded as a moral failure or an issue of immaturity. It’s just a value-neutral fact, like the wetness of water or blueness of sky or eastness of sunrise. Give a dude a boner and he won’t be able to think anymore. The goes with the attendant idea that all a woman has to do is flash a little thigh and said dude will get himself a boner.
Okay, so, this is conventional wisdom. It’s generally accepted and considered part of the overall male-female interaction and everyone is just kind of okay with it. Because that means that women get to control men through sex and boys get to be boys and we can all just live happily ever after. Until it comes time to take someone to court on rape charges and everyone shakes their head and says, “Well she shouldn’t have been wearing that short skirt. She was asking for it.”
Then it becomes a problem. But only for those sluts who really should know better, anyway. But that’s okay, too, because obviously they were going out in search of a guy to put his penis into them, so if they were planning on having a penis in them isn’t one penis as good as another, even if the one that happened to end up there belonged to a guy who grabbed her in a hallway and shoved her up against a wall? I mean, seriously. Why should she be picky, since she got exactly what she was after?
And, yeah, David Wong goes all the fuck over this territory, in spite of his protestations to the contrary.
First, you need to understand something about the unique love/hate relationship men have with their penises.
Do you remember that story about police having to free a guy who got his dick stuck while humping a pool filter? Or that other guy who got stuck humping a park bench, or the other guy who got stuck humping a picnic table? Or that judge who got caught jerking off while on the bench listening to testimony?
I, for one, do not have a love/hate relationship with my penis. I neither love nor hate my penis. And I can assure you that I have never gotten anywhere close to getting my dick stuck in a park bench or a public pool because I’m not a fucking dipshit who can’t control myself. I would also be willing to bet that better than 95% of the male gender would completely and totally agree with me on that one. There is as much of a gulf between “a guy who owns a penis” and “a guy who owns a penis and plays with it in public” as there is between “a guy who owns a knife” and “a guy who has stabbed a hobo to death.”
Simply having something that someone else has used in a way that’s frowned upon by society doesn’t mean you have to use it in that same way. The story about the guy who gets penis stuck in vacuum attachment is going to get a hell of a lot more play than the million or so stories every day of guys who used a vacuum and managed to not stick their dicks in the various hose-based accessories. It’s kind of the same thing as a story of kids getting kidnapped get a lot more play than the stories of kids who don’t get kidnapped. Children are, at least according to the statistics I’ve seen, safer now than they were during the golden ages of years past when kids played in the streets all day and night and befriended magic hoboes who taught them important life lessons and told them where to find secret hobo treasure. But all we hear about are the kids who get abducted, so people assume that there’s some creepy, candy-besotted stranger with a windowless Astro van around every corner.
I guess my point is this: I’ve never seen a dude fucking a picnic table or humping a pool filter. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Also it’s fun to talk about hoboes.
Either way, the Cracked piece actually gets worse, if that’s possible.
You see this type of story come up a lot -- check your local police blotter. And they all have something in common: They're all guys.
Seriously, do a Google search for "masturbating in public library." Notice something in common with all of those stories? They're all dudes. Obviously I'm not saying women don't pleasure themselves (every single study would prove me a liar); I'm saying that men are far, far more likely to engage in extremely high-risk masturbation in public. They're more likely to do it at work, and they're more likely to do it in situations where they could go to jail.
No, it's not some rare, weird exhibitionist fetish, either. It's that they can't even wait the couple of hours it'd take to do it safely at home.
I can’t believe that I have to be the one to explain this, but here goes: women are fully capable of masturbating in public. Chances are that they do it, too. Possibly as often as men. Women, however, have a distinct technological advantage in the public masturbation arms race: they don't have penises.
I’m given to understand – and any women who happen to stop by can feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, since god knows I have absolutely no business acting like I know anything whatsoever about the secret functioning of ladyparts – that it’s entirely possible for a woman to stimulate herself without drawing much attention to the act whatsoever. If I’m correct in my understanding it requires a hell of a lot less work than whipping out a six-inch meat log and furiously stroking it for thirty seconds. That’s kind of an attention-getter. And it’s rather hard to disguise as some other, more innocent activity.
All that aside, especially if it turns out I’m wrong (although, really, what the hell else are kegel exercises for? Again, I have ZERO expertise in the area of ladyparts. And I’m pretty sure that that’s gonna cost me a man card. Here, have a dozen. They’re good for ten cents off a coffee at your local Caribou franchise as long as you get the daily trivia question right), what the fuck does, “Some dude decided to stick his dick in a picnic table,” have to do with, “Women try to control men through their penises?” I don’t know if anyone else has ever noticed this, but while a woman can be many things, a picnic table isn’t one. Let’s go see what the reason is that these two totally unrelated things are absolutely related, shall we?
It's because, in males more so than females, the sex drive is completely detached from the rest of the personality. The part of the male brain that worries about job security or money or social reputation or legal consequences has almost no veto power over the sex drive. You've heard guys say they were "thinking with their dick" or "I was thinking with the little brain" or "I took an order from Captain Bonerhelmet." That's what they're referring to.
Bull. Fucking. Shit.
That’s the old…
Wait, hold on, I don’t think you got the point yet.
There we go. Anyway, back to the post.
That’s the old “boys will be boys” excuse. Us poor men are led about by our penises and just can’t do a damn thing about it. So, really, when you think about it, we should get a cookie and a pat on the head for every time we don’t beat off in public or rape a woman who’s just trying to get a $20 at the ATM. Because men just can’t be expected to think about the consequences, like when we buy $3,000 TVs when we’ve got an upcoming down payment on a house to think about.
And, hey, lookit that. I'm up to four pages and I’m not even warmed up yet. Looks like this one’s about to become a two-parter.
That said, I now want to go to Fort Worth and sit on the sidewalk on Berry Street across from the TCU campus, since getting some Fuzzy’s curb tacos sounds totally dirty.
I have several. If you’d like to hear them it will cost you a curb taco. And, yes, I’ve decided to make “curb taco” an integral part of my lexicon.
Unless you’re at one of those crazy-ass sushi places that serves the food on a naked lady. At that point a woman is pretty much a picnic table.