Man-Hate For The Man-Date

« June 2005 »

Memo to my male brethren: GET OVER IT, YOU DUMB FUCKS.

I hate being blindsided by idiocy. I spend a fair amount of time keeping an eye out for it. I know its habits, I know where it lives, its migration patterns. I should know better than to pick up the Variety section of the Monday paper without girding my loins. But before I could even register what I was doing, there it was. A headline. Or, more accurately, an upside-the-headline:

"STRAIGHT 'MAN-DATE FEELS ODD FOR SOME". Wham. Beating on my unprepared cortex like my brain was four pairs of electronic bongos. I have given a name to my pain, and that pain is Jennifer Lee of the New York Times. You see, you will not have heard about this "man date" phenomenon before. I know this, because halfway through the article, Ms. Lee provides the following helpful etymylogical sentence.

"Although "man date" is a coinage invented for this article, appearing nowhere in the literature of male bonding (or of homosexual panic), the 30 to 40 straight men interviewed, from their 20s to their 50s, living in cities across the country, instantly recognized the peculiar ritual even if they had not consciously examined its dos and don'ts." - Among the crimes Candace Bushnell will have to answer for in the next life, inspiring articles like this one will rank third or fourth, easily.

Journalistic bullshit aside, however, the entire article is a wankfest about how two guys can't go out in public together for fear of being thought of as gay. Like two guys in their late 20's who decided they wanted to see newly renovated Museum of Modern Art. So they went together, but once they were there, "We definitely went out of our way to look at things separately. We shuffled. We probably both pretended to know less about the art than we did." - Matthew Speiser.

This explains a lot, actually. In my many trips to art museums of late, I've noticed a drastic increase in what I assumed were closeted gay politicians who didn't know jack shit about Jackson Pollock. Now I realize they're straight guys. Boy, do I feel foolish.

The article goes on about historical gender roles and other crap designed to prove that Jennifer Lee knows where Wikipedia is, but then gets to the good stuff - another quote from Speiser, about ANOTHER man-date he felt awkward on. He was meeting his roommate for dinner at an Italian restaurant in a strip mall, you see, but when they got there, the atmosphere was a bit too romantic for their tastes. I mean, WHITE TABLECLOTHS.

"It was funny. We just knew we couldn't do it." - Yes, Matthew. You'd better not have dinner out with your MALE ROOMMATE, or people might think you're gay. But the best part is this - to cover, they decided instead to go to a "down and dirty" chicken place up the street. Because, you know, it may sound gay, but at least it doesn't sound femmie. Maybe they should have ducked into one restroom stall and hidden in there with their pants down. That'd fool everyone.

The roommate was worried because he saw someone he knew! "I was kind of worried that word might get out. This is weird, and now there is a witness maybe." - Thomas Kim. Now, normally, I'd be a bit grumpy at the word "witness" there, implying that being gay is some kind of crime, or traffic accident, but he probably meant it colloquially. After all, he's... A LAWYER. Goddammit, now I'm grumpy.

I have one vitally important message for Speiser, and Kim, and the rest of you insecure fucks I know are out there. Just suck a dick and get it over with, PLEASE. Once you've done that, all these little man-rituals, like the extra seat in the movie theater, will seem tiny, petty, and ridiculous. And then I can go to museums without hearing hordes of men proclaim loudly how great this abstract masterpiece would look ON THE CEILING WHILE THEY"RE BANGING THEIR VERY HOT WIVES THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

It's OK if strangers think you're gay. Hell, it's OK if casual acquaintances start rumors that you're gay. It's not that big a deal. Nobody gives a shit. You're not that important. And it's only a stigma because you let it be one anyway. If you'd all stop treating every man on earth like they have a five-foot gay cootie radius, maybe society would become at least a smidge less homophobic.

And if you really, really feel the need to dispel rumors about your alleged homosexuality, just wait until around June 2006 or thereabouts. I'm sure Katie Holmes will be available by then.