Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Facebook status sparked a defense of dudes

There's a rumor going around that says boys are stronger then girls [sic]! Oh Please! Can you carry a 7lb baby in your stomach for 9mths [sic]? Can you cook, clean and talk on the phone @ the same time? Can you burn your forehead with a curling iron and not complain? Can you walk all day in 5" heels? Can you cry all night then wake up the next morning like everything is okay? Remember guys, women are only helpless until their nail polish dries :) Put this on your wall if you are PROUD of being a WOMAN!!!

I first saw the above passage a few nights ago on Facebook. A girl who is my virtual friend who I’m pretty sure I don’t even know in real life posted it as her status. Since then, I’ve seen it a couple more times, posted by other girls who I don’t think I really know (instead of writing this I should be cleaning up my friends queue, I guess). On any given day, I see probably at least 20 absurd statuses that make me shake my head with perplexion, but that’s usually the only action I take. I realize I often put up statuses that probably spur a similar reaction from many others, so I try not to be too judgmental.

But I couldn’t let this one go by. Before I go any further, I have to say that I love women, and I do respect them. Many of my closest friends are girls, and I am all about gender equality. I make lots of chauvinistic jokes, usually about how women shouldn’t leave the kitchen, but those are simply in jest. I don’t really mean that. Women need to leave the kitchen for myriad reasons, like to run the sweeper throughout the entire house or to drive cars so automobile insurance has a reason to exist. (Those were also jokes.) I also often comment that I hate women, but I only say this out of spite for a few who have slighted me. I know it’s not fair to generalize, and the fact that I do makes me a douchebag.

When I watch episodes of Mad Men, I’m always astounded at how women were treated mere decades ago, and I’m glad things aren’t the way they were back then. There’s no doubt in my mind that I would be a completely different person that I am right now if my Mom had been like any of those women, and I’m certain my personality would be different in a negative way. The only thing I wish had kept its force from the era in which that show takes place is the commonplace acceptance of drinking hard liquor all day long while at work.

Just because I dig females doesn’t mean I’m going to sit here and let them trample all over me and say they’re better than me for reasons that are, for the most part, purely subjective. So, I’ve prepared a rebuttal to this Facebook status, which is split up into segments and can be viewed right here:

There’s a rumor going around that says boys are strong THAN girls!

--If we’re speaking of physical strength here, then you should know it’s been pretty much proven that men are stronger than women. This is just a genetic thing. Sure, there are exceptions, like Chyna, Marion Jones and this chick who used to work out at the gym I went to in college. And all of these cases are pretty much moot, since I’m almost certain all three have used performance enhancing substances.

Oh Please! Can you carry a 7lb baby in your stomach for 9 MONTHS?
--No, no I can’t, because it is physically impossible. If you’re wondering if I can carry around an extra seven pounds in my abdominal region for nine months, then the answer is yes. In fact, I’ve been doing just that for longer than nine months, like since my sophomore year of college. And I don’t even have back problems yet. Some women constantly use the pain experienced during giving birth as a reason they should be a borderline martyr. I am aware it’s not a walk in the park at all, but there are upsides. You get to eat as much of anything you want that isn’t sushi or alcohol-infused, for one thing.

I have it on good authority that the birthing part hurts like hell, but there’s no way to tell if it’s the most painful thing in the world. Guys don’t know, because not one of us has ever actually done it. I do know, however, that my Mom scared the piss out of me a week before I got my tonsils out at age 21 by saying two of the women she works with (they’re nurses, too) had gone through that experience at the same age, and had also later experienced childbirth. Both told her that the tonsil removal was a more painful experience. I acknowledge that these opinions may be skewed, because it’s not out of the question that a woman might remember less of the pain from having a kid after she ends up with a beautiful baby, whereas getting your tonsils out just leaves you on the couch for two weeks in a constant state of trepidation because you think the stitches might burst and you could die choking on your own blood.

Can you cook, clean and talk on the phone @ the same time?

--It’s called multitasking. Any child of this generation can probably do this simply because, thanks to an overexposure to technology, we’ve learned to do a bunch of different things all at once. Right now, I’m writing this, drinking wine, periodically text messaging and watching a baseball game on television. I can cook, clean and talk on the phone, so I think if I really wanted to I could do all three at the same time. I’ve cooked and talked on the phone plenty of times, but I’ve never added cleaning into the equation. There are two reasons for this: A) It doesn’t make a lot of sense to clean while cooking. It’s a fool’s errand, because once you’re done cooking you’re going to have to clean all of the utensils you used anyway. You may as well do it all at once, maybe even after you eat so you’re better sustained for the cleansing. And B) It’s blatantly irresponsible to leave things cooking in the kitchen to go clean other parts of the house. You know who taught me that? Women like my Mom and my eighth grade Home Economics teacher. This is only acceptable if we’re talking about crock pot use, which is kind of not the same concept as actively cooking. It’s like Han Solo putting the Millenium Falcon on autopilot and going to the back of the ship to bang Princess Leia, then telling all of his friends later at the Mos Eisley Cantina that he made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs while he was making love to a woman of royal cloth.

Also, is it really necessary to write an @ instead of "at"? It's just one more letter, and if you're dedicated enough to cook, clean and talk on the phone at the same time, you can at least take the time to tap one more key.

Can you burn your forehead with a curling iron and not complain?

--If I ever found myself in a scenario where I was using a curling iron (you never know, my hair’s getting kind of long), I’d make sure I knew how to use it properly first, and would take extra care not to burn my forehead or anywhere else with it. Especially not my neck, because then everyone would be slapping me on the back when they saw what they thought was a hickey that I really got one night when I was playing dress-up alone in my apartment. I know lots of girls who have made that mistake, but they don’t often complain about it; they usually don’t say anything about it until you ask them about the mysterious mark on their body, because they are embarrassed they burnt themselves with a tool that’s supposed to make them more aesthetically pleasing. When Tara Reid had botched liposuction surgery, she wasn’t running around lifting up her shirt and being like, “Son of a bitch, they really fucked up that cosmetic surgery,” because things like that are just something you generally don’t want to draw attention to.

Can you walk all day in 5" heels?

--I’ve never tried this, but challenge accepted. I’ll let you know the next time I play dress-up. I stand taller than six feet, and since I assume the reason for wearing heels is to make yourself seem taller, I really wouldn’t ever have a reason to rock them unless I was going on a date with Brooke Shields. If you’re a woman and you’re reading this, you should know it’s not really a deal breaker if you don’t wear high heels. I mean, if we get to know each other well enough, I’m eventually going to be around you when you don’t have them on, and will know your true height. If you think you’re with a guy who is going to break things off with you because you’re three inches shorter than when you’re wearing some shoes that seem pretty uncomfortable, then maybe you should burn him with a curling iron while he sleeps.

But to answer the question: Yes, I think I could.

Can you cry all night then wake up the next morning like everything is okay?
--Yes. I’ve done it. Contrary to popular belief, crying is not something only females do. Neither is rallying to a point where you can completely hide that something is very wrong in your life. It’s called having a gameface, and gamefaces are unisex just like that pair of canary yellow Ray Ban wayfarers I bought earlier this summer.

Remember guys, women are only helpless until their nail polish dries :)

--If this is truly the only time women are helpless, whoever originated this diatribe has done a great disservice to the female population. You just put out in public the best time for a serial killer to break into your house and murder you.

Put this on your wall if you are PROUD of being a WOMAN!!!
--You can probably display your pride in other ways. I suppose I’m happy I’m a man, but not particularly proud of it, just like I’m not particularly proud I have Irish ancestry. None of us have even the slightest control over those type of things, so how can you be proud of something you had no hand in accomplishing?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Me, Myself and Irene

A lot of wild things have happened this week. My work desk shook for 15 seconds Tuesday afternoon from an East Coast earthquake. My Mom got a BlackBerry. Jada Pinkett Smith apparently had sex with Marc Anthony. 

And now, on top of all of that action, Ocean City has had a mandatory evacuation for the first time since 1985, in preparation for Hurricane Irene.

I’m still here, though, in my apartment about 100 yards away from the shoreline. I’m staying to cover the impending natural disaster for the local papers, because covering Ocean City for the local media group is my job. The opportunity to ride out a hurricane on this peninsula was a pretty difficult one to turn down. Just a few weeks ago, my uncle and I were talking about how we’d always wanted to weather a hurricane-level storm. I said that shit was on my bucket list, but you know what? So is making out with a cute Asian girl and high-fiving Ryan Gosling. Can you guess which of those three is the one I am the least adamant about actually experiencing? (It’s the hurricane one.) Serves me right for being that annoying ass dude who always puts up Facebook statuses telling everyone he loves thunderstorms, and for naming my blog “The Calm During the Storm.” We will see how calm I am tomorrow when I’m experiencing floods and wind speeds higher than 100 mph. I’m probably going to piss my pants more than once.

Everyone was supposed to be out of town by 5 p.m., and most were. I woke up from a nap a couple hours after that, and ventured outside to see the sunset and to feel out the vibe of a town that is almost completely deserted. It was the first time since I moved here almost six months ago that I’ve heard crickets. I really wasn’t aware they even inhabited Ocean City, I suppose because they’re typically drowned out by the noise generated by the 250,000 or so people in town during the summer months. Tonight, though, people had gotten the hell out of Dodge, an expression I've heard at least 85 times since Thursday morning. (I had no idea what it meant until I Googled it.) It's kind of a shame, because it was one of the most beautiful evenings of the summer so far.

If you ever want to know what it feels like to be alone, go stand in the middle of a six-lane highway in an evacuated town. I took a few pictures with my phone, then I turned around and walked out to the beach, which looked completely normal except for some waves of the rougher-than-average variety. I took some more pictures, and didn’t know what to do, so I did what I would do on a normal evening: I drank some scotch and I made dinner. A 20 ounce steak my neighbor had given me before she evacuated. She was cleaning out her freezer and hooked me up. Honestly, I don’t really eat red meat that often anymore -- I've got the cholesterol of a 60-year-old fat guy -- but I felt like I needed to amp up my impression of myself as a manly man. Also, my normal dietary principles are out the window until the storm is over and I have electricity back. Last night I bought Vienna Sausages and Cheese Whiz, and I didn't buy those products to look at them.

Now, I wait. That’s the worst part, for sure. This is one of those things you just want to come as quickly as possible, so you can get it over with. I can now empathize with those vapid women who get engaged to Hugh Hefner and have to have sex with him. I’m scared, that’s for sure. I’m not going to deny that, but I think I’m more anxious than anything.

I wonder what it’ll be like when it’s over, what it might look like if I walk outside on Sunday morning when the worst of the storm has passed. It could be the wildest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m also interested in what I’ll hear, though. To my knowledge, crickets can’t really withstand a hurricane. They might get blown away, and then what? What do you say when you walk outside and it’s so quiet you don’t even hear crickets?