I’m flippant, now take me seriously.


Just to make sure your heads keep spinning slowly like the restaurant in the CN Tower, I occasionally change tack and go all serious on you.  If my suspicions are correct, and they are at least once a decade, this probably happens just at the moment you’ve finally decided never to expect anything from me except sophomoric toilet humor at a level that would make Benny Hill sound like Roland Barthes.

Deal with it, sister.

So what’s on your mind?  you sigh.   (And please, do continue texting while I explain! That’s awesome!)

Male identity is the name of the game.  Since you asked.

This is not a picture of a nuclear warhead.

This is NOT a picture of a nuclear warhead.

Oh, my fur and whiskers… So many situations in my life are, and have been, the result of men and their – our – lizard brains, and I speak only partly anatomically.

Male identity is a very fragile thing – just ask any woman, especially Camille Paglia. There’s a reason why nuclear warheads are shaped the way they are… or, to paraphrase Freud,

“sometimes a W-40 IS just a phallic substitute devised by a group of Pentagon meth-heads who can barely squeeze into existence one sponge-y, fleeting hard-on between them.”

(FYI, when I’m on form I like to say the above bit in Austrian-inflected German. Kills them in Des Moines.)

A man who doubts his masculinity or who has poor self-esteem has to be handled carefully, because he is potentially dangerous. He is threatened to the very core of his soul and he will inevitably try to assert his territory, or destroy “the enemy”, or even himself.

All because he is, or thinks he is, less than a man or weak.  A pussy.  And most men have zero insight into themselves and their feelings, partly because we’re relentlessly, from the moment we’re born, taught this as an essential strategy, so ain’t that handy. Thanks, society!

A W-40 warhead: The spongey, fleeting hard-on of male identity.  Since you asked.

A W-40 warhead: The spongey, fleeting hard-on of male identity. Since you asked.

As a gay man, I dealt with this issue starting way back, cause I was automatically called “effeminate”, queer, faggot, a big girl’s blouse; and mostly was excluded and shunned by other guys who were my peers. Although I hate like hell to admit any benefit to this, it made me stronger, because I had to make my peace with this isolation — which I accomplished by employing various combinations of sitting by myself in a corner, hysterical crying, and the obsessive reading and re-reading of “Jane Eyre”.

So many times did I crack open the covers of that incomparable pot-boiler, with its plot-by-numbers cautionary tale of lust punished and sanctimony triumphant, that within six months I identified totally with its prim heroine; if my sister hadn’t called me a “sissy” for wanting to sew, I probably would have run up an historically accurate nineteenth-century governess’s uniform, complete with rustling petticoats and crisp, cambric bib, for “Show and Tell”.

So it was, in the end, bizarrely, little Janet herself who took me firmly by the hand and led me into self-confidence and “manhood” –

– in my own mind, which is all that matters, though that pain of being excluded and shunned, the pain that only children can inflict on other children, still lives inside me.

(Think John Hurt in “Alien”, except the hideous creature that bursts forth has been hand-sewn with sequins and edged with piping in a contrasting shade.  It’s just, I dunno – what I do.)

So, when the men in your life are acting like assholes, realize for a moment that they are scared little boys and in psychic pain. It may or may not be worthwhile figuring out a way forward – if you’re being abused, verbally, physically or emotionally, do not tolerate this one more second – and you may not give a damn, but if you do need a way forward this might just give you an inkling.

But you know some people.  Give them an inkling and they’ll take a mile.

This whole sorry affair of creeping male flaccidity can best be summed up by my dyke friend Dominique, who, in exasperation at some business deal or other, is wont to exclaim:

“Men!  Men and zair leettle preecks…!”

She’s from Paris.

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