Men!

Posted: August 30, 2010 in Masculinities, Uncategorized
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I have removed my right to sit and sigh, and give my girlfriends a knowing look, and say, Men!

Because I have decided Men! don’t exist as a group that oppress women, that share similar characteristics, that always do that, that know no better.

I have given Men! more than the benefit of the doubt; I have given them faith.

I have been called a misogynist for my trouble. I’m stuck in the sisterhood without any sisters. And I can’t blame Men!

My love and empathy for Men! knows no bounds. It sails on into the horizon; it is my love for everyone.

But sometimes, just sometimes, my dear, precious, fucked up, confused and beautiful Men!

I wish you would do me the favour of  treating me like I’m not some kind of threat, like I’m not the one who’s come to spoil your Men! party,

That I don’t jeopardise your masculinity by finding you out. By realising it can sometimes be complicated, being Men!

I wish, sometimes, just sometimes, I could walk out into the night air and shout and swear and sigh, that old, comforing  sigh, and say, Men!

Comments
  1. Alex says:

    I’d have to say the institution of Men! is a bit shite. I like bits of it (beer, gratuitous violence, explosions and breasts in films, knob-jokes, refusing to wear a coat etc.) but mostly it’s a bit shite.

    Grown-ups with cocks mostly tend to be ok though.

  2. Dave Weeden says:

    Your twitter feed said Men! is a bit shite. As someone who cares about English usage, I feel the urge to tell you that Men! *are* a bit shite. That is all.

    • As a bit of a grammar cop myself, I note that the actual noun clause is “the institution of Men!” which is a singular, not a plural. So the original “Men! is shite” is correct usage, since “Men!” is a singular term, whereas “men” would be a plural term.

      Of course, it is confusing when the OP uses “Men!” as a plural term equivalent to “men” whereas the commenter uses “Men!” as a singular term referring to an institution, idealisation or conception. However, if one is going to be picky over English usage, then attention to detail to detect this difference in terminology between the OP and the commenter is surely to be expected of one!

      (NB “one” here being used in its correct sense, meaning “a person in general”.)

  3. I wish you would do me the favour of treating me like I’m not some kind of threat, like I’m not the one who’s come to spoil your Men! party,

    That I don’t jeopardise your masculinity by finding you out. By realising it can sometimes be complicated, being Men!

    Unfortunately, such is the social construction of “Men!” that doing that is, actually, a direct threat to “Men!” Seeking to understand how it’s complicated to be “Men!” is a violation of being “Men!” such that any man (or woman) who raises such questions is shouted down, ostracised or otherwise punished until they obey the social rules of not talking about the complexity of being “Men!”.

    The generalised form of this is given by R.D. Laing in “Knots”:

    “They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.”

  4. Mark says:

    This is prose poetry. And rather better than the kind proffered by that Woman! Poet Laureate.

    Maybe though instead of giving up on the cosy security of ‘Men!’ perhaps it might be more fun and instructive to put an exclamation on the end of ‘men’ and ‘women’ whenever we use them.

    Just to remind ourselves how excitable and slightly camp the notion that the entire human race divides into just two undifferentiated groups is.

  5. Good idea Mark! That will help us sort out the Men! from the bois, and the Women! from the grrls.

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