When you work at a restaurant, you overhear a lot of conversations–many of them far too disgusting to repeat, even for a blog that delves into topics of bathroom humor. Most of the time, people show at least a little embarrassment when they realize that you were standing there waiting to take their order while they were conferring about some sexual encounter from the night before or discussing how much money it would take before they would put a horseshoe crab inside of their butt. No shame was shown, however, during one conversation I remember walking up on recently that was particularly disgusting….
This one wasn’t a conversation about having sex or shoving anything up your butt. It was just two guys sitting at a table, flippantly talking about a girl one of them had dated. One of the guys (the one who had dated her was the one doing most of the talking) was describing her. He shared how she never shut up as he made a talking motion with his hand and rolled his eyes. And then he said something that I don’t remember bothering me nearly as much before I had daughters: He said, “She’s about an 8.” I know this sort of thing happens all the time, but for some reason when this guy, with his $60 haircut and his pinstripes and his power tie, rated some woman I didn’t even know, I got so grossed out. I started wondering what imperfections he was considering to make her lose those two points, I thought about my two amazingly beautiful daughters, and I just got pissed. Pissed at this douche bag leaning back in his chair with his hands behind his head while loudly and unapologetically inflicting a number-rating to A PERSON, but also pissed at myself for all the times I had done the very same thing…. Though, when I had done it, I had at least kept it a little bit quieter.
Now I realize that all of us, men and women, look at people and kind of size them up. We do this our whole lives–and getting married does not stop a person from noticing someone they find attractive. If you’re wise, you teach yourself to not look…. At least not as much. I think that in a lot of ways we are hardwired for this sort of thing–“This sort of thing” being lust. I don’t think that men possess more of a predisposition toward lust than women, it’s just that we seem more likely to embrace that predisposition and celebrate it. But there is nothing admirable about a line of men making cat-calls at a woman walking by. There is nothing honorable about objectifying someone’s daughter. There is nothing commendable about giving a woman’s body a number value. Behind it is the beating heart of the Juggernaut that is the pornographic industry, and it is truly something for which we–men especially–should be ashamed.
This is why it has been really gross (and really disappointing) for me to see all of this garbage going on with women surrounding the book 50 Shades Of Grey, as well as all the furor over this Magic Mike movie. Women are losing their freaking minds. I was at the dentist yesterday, and some crap cable channel that caters almost exclusively to women was on the TV. I think it was HGTV…. Is that a something? They should call it CYNHTV–Covet Your Neighbors House TV…. Anyway, there were about four commercials for Magic Mike in the time it took me to get my teeth cleaned. It looks so dumb. There are thousands of reasons NOT to go see Magic Mike–not the least of which is that Channing Tatum (as a female friend recently pointed out) strongly resembles a big toe. Basically, the commercials are just words on the screen that are broken up by clips of oily, shirtless men (not MY kind of oily…. the other kind of oily–the SEXY kind). The first one said, “Warning: In three days your boyfriend may seem inadequate.” The second one said, “Tell your boyfriend you’re going to book club.” They wrote “boyfriend,” but I know for a fact that a GIANT demographic that they are going after, as well as a giant portion of the people who will go watch the movie, is married women. If you insert “husband” in place of “boyfriend,” it gets even more sad.
I went to a strip club once. I was just out of college, and I think we were celebrating someone’s bachelor party. I guess it was a nice club…. It was fairly clean, and the girls were very pretty–topless, with G-strings over some sort of thick, flesh-toned nylons. After the initial “Wow…. Boobs” wore off, I started looking around. It was the sort of feeling you get when you eat at a Shoney’s, and all of a sudden you notice the obese hopelessness all around you, and you think, “What the hell am I doing here? Am I one of these people?” The strip club just got really sad. I talked to a girl briefly, and she told me she was putting herself though grad school. She was very nice. I had the thought that she was probably way to cool to ever date someone who would actually go to a place like this. I felt very sad, and very ashamed, and I was ready to go. I walked quickly to my car, praying that no one I knew would see me walking out….
I believe that being seen walking out of the movie Magic Mike or reading 50 Shades of Grey should feel to a woman like it feels for a man to run into someone you know while walking out of a strip club or buying a Hustler at a sketchy gas station. Granted, I have not seen Magic Mike. It may be a tender portrayal of love and loss within the setting of an all male review–I don’t know. I also have not read 50 Shades of Grey. I did thumb through it, stopping to read a page or two at a few different spots. Every place I stopped was filled with some pretty raunchy stuff. You can call it what you want: Smut, Erotica, “Sexually Explicit Literature,” whatever…. Any way you look at it, it’s Girl Porn. I know, I know, ladies–“It’s a really good story.” Well, you know what? A porno with a good story is still a porno. Especially a porno that started out a Fan Fiction for the Twilight books (which 50 Shades did, by the way). I suppose it makes sense–It’s the next logical step in the sort fantasy world that created the unobtainably perfect Edward Cullen.
And now I have to deal with women posting shirtless pictures of a big toe with a six pack on Facebook and squealing about how hot Matthew McConaughey is (As an aside, another thing that annoys me on Facebook is when girls leave comments telling others girls how “HOT” they are every time there is a picture where their cleavage is showing. Stop it). And this is not an equality issue either. Imagine how skeevy it would be if a guy–especially a married guy–posted pictures of some hot girl in a bikini on his page in anticipation of some new stripper movie. Women are like, “Men get to objectify women…. Why can’t women objectify men?” But a better question is “Why would you want to emulate the worst part of a man?” I’m all for gender equality, but there are some things about men that women should be smart enough to want no part of. You want to be like a man? Men are also way more likely to be mass murderers (about 93% of mass murderers are male) and pedophiles (about 95% of pedophiles are male)–You want an equal slice of those pies as well? Objectifying people and escaping into a sexual fantasy world–This is the stuff of the people-groups I mentioned above. THIS IS NOT A STEP FORWARD. We all are guilty of objectifying people at times, and we all dabble in fantasy, but when we start to embrace that stuff–that LUST stuff–we get ourselves into trouble. Real life and its real people (with all our faults and our non-sexy kinds of oiliness) start to not be able to compare with the fantasy, and marriages and lives end up falling apart. If we stumble into a strip club, the right response is to look around and be ashamed. And then leave. We shouldn’t be celebrating it on Facebook or in book clubs or anywhere else. The guys who would do that sort of thing are gross and stupid and immoral. And you know what? So are are the girls. I mean, Come on…. You’re women. You should know better!