Sad, Strange Little Man


Lately it seems like there’s always at least one bit of misogyny that’s causing rage in my datastream. The last few days I’ve seen the same article from some anonymous hack (because who would use their real name on this type of thing unless it starts with an L, and ends with -imbaugh?) who has set blood boiling with an abhorrent treatise on the benefits of dating women with eating disorders. I’m not going to link to it, because that’s what he wants. More traffic equals more ad revenue, and more controversy equals more traffic. It’s truly the reason behind most of these incendiary articles, and the reason why I do my best to avoid clicking on them when I see one. I failed this morning, because the comments on my friend’s post were mostly vague exclamations of disgust, and I admit it, I ended up rubbernecking.

It’s what they count on, and I was immediately sorry that I had. It wasn’t even original thought. It was pretty much straight out of the pick-up artist’s handbook, and poorly written to boot. I’ll summarize so you don’t have to google it. Women with eating disorders are cheap dates, and easily manipulated due to their low self-esteem. Also, they are great in bed because…crazy.

Now that I’ve just saved you two minutes of reading and you don’t have to make a trip to the drugstore to check your blood pressure, I want to let you know a secret. Men around the world are lonely and frustrated, and don’t know how to talk to women. Many of them get extremely resentful and angry because of this, and lash out in inappropriate ways. Sometimes they write woman-hating screeds on their boy-power blogs, and sometimes they run for Vice-President and shoot people in the face while on vacation. In any case it’s not worth sharing with your friends. Even in anger. Even because you want other people to get mad about it too.

Do this instead.

When you read something written by a “sad strange little man,” go play with an eight-year-old boy and remind him that girls can play with trucks if they want to. Remind him also that boys can play with ponies if they want to, despite what his hyper-macho uncle says. Uncles are not always right. Neither are aunts. We’re all just human.

When you get enraged by the news of yet another rape scandal involving a team sport and a cover-up, instead of sharing the news with your facebook friends, write an essay about the strongest man you know. The one who always treated you right, or raised his sons to respect women while treating them like people. Sure it’s harder than clicking “share,” but you’ll feel better about the world, and your friends will be reminded of the good men in their lives. The female friends will be reminded of the men they want surrounding them, and the male friends will be reminded of who they’d like to be.

When you hear some teenage boy (or twenty-something) complaining about being ‘friend-zoned’ and whining about how “women only want guys who treat them like crap,” step in and say something. Don’t tell him to “be himself, and girls will like him.” Tell him something useful. Tell him to be an interesting human, and learn something worth knowing. Tell him to be passionate about something. Tell him that some girls do like bad-boys, and some never stop. But instead of bemoaning his “Nice-guy-in-last-place” status, he should talk to women like humans, and not like some prize to be grasped. The ones who don’t grow out of it aren’t worth his time, and the ones who do don’t want a “nice guy.” They want a guy who’s amazing. Be amazing at something, and if you’re already amazing at one thing find something else.

When you hear some frustrated guy complaining about how much women suck, ask him if he’s really looked around him lately. For every negative thing he sees, ask him if there isn’t a positive that goes along with it. “Women are irrational.” Ok, maybe sometimes, from a man’s point of view, but aren’t they also often the ones who see things from a different perspective and help us find a solution we never would have seen? “Women are too emotional.” Perhaps to you, but they’ll also listen to you if you need to get something off your chest. “Women are…” Yes. Sometimes they are…and sometimes they’re not. In either case they’re also something else that you may not have seen yet. Look closer. Look with a keener eye. Look without judgement, and try to see more.

I think that’s a good bit of kit to put in anybody’s utility belt, be you Batman or Wonder Woman. See more. Look closer. Be better at the things you do, and you’ll be more attractive to the ones you’d most like to attract. Be kind and be funny. And if you don’t know how to be those two things, find someone who is, and ask questions.

Learn. Grow. Be good to each other. Share better stuff.

The rubbernecks will thank you.


(photo credit: Harry Thomas Photography Creative Commons license)

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