Gender, My favorites

The Embarrassment of Masculinity

I was so busy talking to myself today that I tried to go through the subway turnstyle without paying. This resulted in a loud crashing sound, my body being strung over the metal pipe like a rope with two balls on either end being thrown at a flagpole, and my dignity evaporating into the sky.

I’ve never been a cool guy, is what I’m trying to say.

Masculinism is all about oneupsmanship – about competition. I was never good at most of the accepted games in which men are to set battle. I could never physically intimidate my male counterparts, nor beat them at sports. I wasn’t even good at video games because my health food store owning parents only let me watch PBS on our TV. I didn’t know wrestling moves, I wasn’t the fastest, I couldn’t dive or swim well, I didn’t know shit about cars, I couldn’t get laid, and I had no discernable facial hair until I was 19.

But I could be gross. If someone else was able to burp in public I would belch until I threw up in my mouth. If someone else would show their snotty tissue, I would show my ass wiped toilet paper.

This was the start of my path of self-deprecation. For some reason grossness is a decidedly male attribute in our society, so when i couldn’t beat anybody at arm-wrestling, sexing, or N64, I relied on my ability to fart in a silent movie theater, hump things without embarrassment, or take off my shirt at inappropriate times in order to garner the attention, and therefore respect, I deserved. This, ironically, prevented me from proving my manhood in another way: sexual … anything.

We have superlatives in high school yearbooks for a reason: we are constantly trying to compare ourselves to others and deciding who the most…. is. And had there been a superlative for grossest student, I would have gone home with that.

I ate lunch in the art room with all the other rejects who were often referred to as faggots, but, as I usually found it too much work to pack myself a sandwich at 6am, I would make a visit to our cafeteria each day to buy a bagel and sun chips or pizza and a fruitopia. On my way out of the cafeteria I would talk with one of the groups of non-hippie-art-faggots that scared me the least in an effort to not become completely cliquishly reclusive. One day, a member of an oft visited group threw his school issued hot dog at me with the exclamation: “Vegetarian Fag!” My instinctual response was to shove the hot dog down my pants and unzip my fly so that I could show off an unrealistic approximation of my penis. Everybody laughed and my assailant, in an attempt to up the masculine ante, started sucking on his second school issued phallus. My male desire to win kicked in and I approached the vice principal with my edible genitalia still dangling and bouncing on my pleated pants leaving a mystery residue on my inner thighs and asked her where the bathroom was located. She took me into her office and yelled at me, but I had won.

My pants kept smelling like cafeteria for months after that until I threw them out. It just kept reminding me the sad fact that I had meat in my pants.


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