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Actual sexism

Wednesday 2/23/22

I see this often from people in publishing. It's the norm. Misandry is the norm. That's the sexism one encounters in publishing--the straight white male in his twenties, thirties, forties, is bad. How that straight white male looks matters, too. Athletic-looking? That makes you demonic. Old, talentless white guys are fine, if they've been around forever. For instance, T.C. Boyle. He has no ability, but he's allowed to stay, and people simply say whatever they've said about him, or has always been said about him, maintaining his associative status quo since the 1970s or whenever. The challenge of being a Boyle becomes trying to get yourself to believe what anyone says about you, while knowing deep down that people don't believe any of it, and there's no specificity anyway, it's only vapid praise and lazy ass platitudes trotted out for the umpteenth time; they're just saying it because, eh, whatever, that's how it goes.


Came across the below on Facebook the other night. I could screenshot a hundred of these from publishing people and academics every day. When you're this casual in your language and assumptions, then you are the real sexist. It's like this guy with a blue check mark I saw few days back on Twitter. He was trying to score some Woke points for himself. The kind of person who with every single thing they post, I could ask, "Did you get the attention you wanted?" True, that's most people. And this guy was bragging about how he had evolved, he took the time to listen and learn about race in today's America. He tried to tie in some personal information to tug at those old heart strings for the Twitter plaudits. And he wrote something like, "There were only two blacks at my high school."


You like that? Blacks. That's how the true racist speaks. Not Black kids, not Black students, not "I only had two Black classmates." Blacks. Which translated means, "You are a fucking color to me and nothing more, and I can't even bother to get my poses for points correct." But there he was, rounding himself up that attention and praise from his followers who were every bit as stupid, and just like him. Can you imagine saying that? Just calling someone "Blacks"? And then thinking you're the good guy?


I speak on dating sites to many women--there are virtually no exceptions--who are simple, obtuse, cowardly. I will go six, ten months before I encounter a single one who is not simple, obtuse, and cowardly. If that. Often I'll go years. I will go years without encountering a single original thought from one of them. A well-turned phase. Anything suggestive of who that person is, as a unique, self-contained human being. Anything that conveys a lick of personality. Any passion. Anything endemic to them, that could only come from them. But you know what? That's a person thing. Because guys are the same way. I never ascribe being simple, obtuse, and cowardly to women. I ascribe that to most people right now. People. People. People. You can't see that? You can't see that that's who and what almost everyone is? Then you have some impressive scales over your eyes. Or you're that way. People are lazy. Stunted. They risk nothing, they have no purpose, they take no initiative. They all talk the same way.


There are exceptions. I think people can become exceptions who are not exceptions right here, right now. I think I can help inspire other people to be exceptions. I think I'll do that when I get to where I am going. I think my work will help do that. What I say. How I am. What my example is.


But look at this woman here. Look how she simply assumes--because that's how she wants things to be--that the problem is men. Straight men. Her agenda is so ingrained her, that she doesn't even know she has an agenda. It's become who she is. And this, too, is how many people in publishing now are, where the straight, white male is detested and discriminated against. True, it's not like straight white males are writing works of quality either, because virtually no one is. But you also have next to no chance if you are a straight white male. People want to say no before they've opened a file. They will say no. And if you're a mega-genius and a straight white male, then you become Satan to the industry.


So this woman went out on a date. And she says that the guy didn't talk. She did all of the talking. Took so much energy. I looked at her Facebook page. She was boring. She said what I expected her to say, how I expected her to say it. She could have been virtually anyone with the background that so many of these people have. There was nothing that stood out, that registered, as unique to her. That gave any kind of a different impression. Stock. But stock-pretentious, stock over-dramatic, stock-sexist. The pretentiousness these people display is almost always a defense mechanism, an attempt to take the initiative in covering up that there is nothing of real substance present. It's a disguise. They simply hope that no one notices the real person--and the reality--beneath the disguise. But it's always obvious.


I've had dates and interaction when it was all me. Usually it is all me in all of my interactions. People have a hard time coming up with things to say. They're also nervous a lot socially. And, with me, of course, people are more intimidated than they've ever been. I know this. It's how it is nearly every time. A lot of them tell me up front, which is easier, because it tells me that they're less of a coward than some, in that they can at least say what they're feeling to some degree, while others try to play it cool, which creates absurd situations where an elephant dances, leaps, twirls around a room, and they pretend to be focused on a hat pin in the corner. I move on. Immediately. Politely, but immediately. That person isn't going to be good enough for us to be anything. And if there's no business involved--because I will bear up and make do, if it's a case of business, or for my career--I don't want them at even the outermost fringe of my life for another second. I won't think about them again. For everything I remember, I often won't remember anything about them mere minutes later. Actually forgotten. My mind only keeps what is essential. Now, that's an infinite amount of things, but that doesn't mean I keep what is inessential. My mind always knows what to keep. It can be some random exchange from when I was four that comes back to me now and becomes something that brings out something else that will appear unrelated in a story. I have complete faith in my mind this way. I know with complete certainty beyond the regular bounds of certainty that it's how my mind is.


But never once, in years, have I ever thought the problem was a female one. It's a person one. A human one. A twenty-first century one. An internet age one. A social media times one. A problem of a period of self-medication. Self-delusion. Total fear. The complete absence of risk, vulnerability. Romance. Romance is taking a chance. Walking out on the limb. Not needing the guarantee. Walking over to the stranger and saying something you've never said to anyone, and meaning it. Finding someone on Facebook who seems compelling 1700 miles away, and telling them that. Romance is wonder and faith. There isn't romance, for the most part, anymore. People need a guarantee. Low-risk. No risk. They need someone like them. They need someone who will have them. Someone who does not challenge them. That's why they're unhappy. It's why most relationships are relationships of convenience and fear--the fear of being alone. They're not accordance. They're not rapport. And they're not what becomes rarer and rarer as the years go by: true human connection. The problem is humans. It's the world. It's culture. It's society. It's not men. It's not women.


To this person, though, the issue is simply straight, entitled, men. We could put in the word "white," too, because I'm sure that's what she thinks. Or has gotten herself to believe. My guess is that this individual was herself intolerable, and that the guy sucked, too. Maybe for different reasons, slightly, but with a lot of overlap. I don't think people understand how little they actually say. People don't know what to say. Remember the student I helped out the other day after I found her ID card? She didn't anything to me. She probably saw who I was, and was scared. Remember the woman who described herself as a "behemoth" on her dating profile and the nice note I sent her? She didn't say anything. Why? She didn't know what to say. She saw the language I used, she felt intimidated, she felt she wouldn't measure up, so she said nothing. People are usually cowards. And they all look at the same things and don't have anything to add. Nothing fresh. They don't speak in stories. Metaphor. They don't know anything about any subjects, let alone how they might make a subject interesting to someone who might not know about it. They're not funny. They're not witty. They often doubt themselves. Their relationships are virtual. They don't have healthy relationships with themselves. They probably drink too much to cover up things they can't deal with. They don't talk openly about those things, because we all have to pretend--well, I don't--that everything is fine.


Ninety-nine percent of all social media posts are cries for help. Take that as a rule of thumb. They're put out there for no other reason. Not because anyone actually thinks anyone else cares, though people try to get themselves to believe that, and do on some level--but not the level that counts. There are women who will hit the "like" button or whatever for me on a dating site. Women of all ages. My profile is stellar. It's me doing what I do. There's the wit and the words and the substance. It's unlike anything else one will read on such a site. There are the photos of the fit, handsome guy who runs up and down all of the stairs. They won't write me first, because they're terrified. But I'll write them, and I'll say something interesting, with some panache, and that is kind. Do I mean it? Usually no. There's nothing to work with. Someone just told you they are laid back--almost all of them say that--and that they love to laugh--every last one of them, pretty much, says that, if they say anything--and their profile name is "live laugh love." Mindless. But, write them, or write no one. You hope that they reverse course, surprise you. This, to date, has virtually never happened.


And you know what their reply will often be? "Thank you." Nothing else. Why? Well, first of all, they're not there to meet anyone. They'll never meet anyone and never be with anyone on a real level. They want the compliments. They tell themselves they're trying. After all, they have the profile, right? They paid eight bucks! They logged on! They lie to themselves. They're utterly alone. They're broken. They desperately try to tell themselves they're not alone because their last Facebook post got 150 likes in an hour and they went home with two different guys two weeks apart just last month. But they're alone. And they hate being alone with themselves. That compliment might mean one less drink for them that night. These are the desperate lives--not that they do anything about it--that people live.

Another reason? What are they going to say? They feel dumb after reading what I wrote. They feel lazy. They feel inadequate. And all of that is usually true. I'm trying to do the best I can, and be part of the human tapestry. I shouldn't be in this situation. I shouldn't be doing this. But, it's where things are right now, and I tell myself that you never know, and it only takes one, and maybe you meet a friend, or someone you have the occasional late night conversation with, or whatever. But something that is a form of real. They do that routine, and immediately I simply bin that profile, and forget about the person. I will never remember them. Why would I? Ironically, they might create a new profile, and it can be years later, and they'll remember me. That happens a lot. Because all of the other guys are doing what they do, and are putting up the same things, for the same reasons. Because the problem is people. Not entitled straight white guys.


Another problem is people who are actually sexist. People suck, but they suck pretty equally.