Sex and Radioactive Cholera

Whither the Gals of Yore?

If one more woman tells me what no-'count, wife-beating, insensitive, violent, date-raping slugs men are, and how we're obsessed with the magnitude of our genitals, and fear commitment, and don't have feelings, I'm gonna take a ball bat to her. Then I'll get a Border Collie and a laptop, and go live in a log cabin in West Virginia, and put up signs that say, "Beware of Incurable Radioactive Cholera." Ha.

What is with women these days? I used to think they were nice people that I couldn't understand, but agreeable and mostly friendly and smiled a lot, and you could dance with them. Lots of them were bright and funny. Most were pretty which, given that men are dog-butt ugly, made the world a pleasanter place. A guy could talk to women in those days, and it was kind of fun to be nice to them. All in all, I thought they were a splendid idea.

What happened?

Now when I talk to beings of the lady variety, they can't go five minutes without saying something hostile. They can't control it. A man doesn't have to provoke it. If a gal mentions her daughters, she has to let you know that she is raising them "not to need men," and her voice sounds like she had just found an earthworm in her mouth. Gee, thanks for sharing. Then she works in the story of her girlfriend who was mistreated by her husband. Next we get that men objectify women, whatever that means, and personally pay them only 56 cents for every dollar a man makes, and victimize them, and only want sex.

Which just isn't true. I also want a restored '57 Chevy with a big-block engine and tuck-and-roll Naugahyde interior. Red.

It verges on hysteria. The other day a high-school girl told me solemnly that five out of seven college girls she met in a dorm room had been raped. Sure. And six of them were space aliens on a package tour from Andromeda.

Dear god and little catfish.

Where does all this loathing for men come from? Yeah, lady, I'm just real terrible. In the morning I get up, throw a few coffee cups against the wall in reflexive rage before killing the neighbor's dog, and then assault a lady accountant from Housing and Urban Development on the subway. The male riders cheer me on: patriarchal bonding. Then we stand around and compare genitals until I get off at the McPherson Square stop. Hey, it's guy stuff.

A lot of this fantasy is just plain nuts. Take the business about men only-wanting-sex. (Incidentally, my stock response is to assume an expression of dispassionate curiosity and say, "Ah. What else have you got?" No, it's not fair. Neither was the original comment. Besides, columnists regard fairness as a sign of weakness.)

Women don't want sex? The second fastest way to lose a woman is to treat her as a sex object. The first fastest is not to. How do you win?

Besides, women look at us as commitment-objects. (Help, I've been objectified.) A guy almost wonders whether he can wait until the second date to get married.

The spooky thing is just how mad most women really seem to be. The dislike is real and profound. And it's one-way. Men don't hate women. They just want to hide.

Best I can tell, women think they're mad because they think they think that men are oppressors and gangsters and thugs. Men think women are blaming everything they don't like in their lives on men. (Actually, men didn't design the world, or anatomy. We came with it.)

The eerie enmity, the apparent belief that everything men do is some technique of oppression to be resisted, seems to pervade everything. You can't see it, but you know it's there, like God and corruption. It begins to have social consequences. Guys ask themselves, "How smart would it be to tie myself to a touchy woman who dislikes my entire species? Why don't I just buy her a house now and skip the intervening agony?"

This sort of thing could almost produce fear of commitment.

I swear it was different in high school and college. Girls were great. Sure, they giggled at some forms of masculine behavior. You know, like bonding with overpowered, under-lubed rustbuckets with glass-pack mufflers and rod knock. The boys wondered why the girls were never on time and didn't want to talk about cam shafts. But there was no venom in it. Now there is.

West Virginia, I tell you. Incurable cholera and all. Radioactive.