Failure Theater, Act III, Scene ii: The Fleecening | Main | Regarding Paolo
July 23, 2015

So This Guy... This Guy Isn't My Kind of Guy

Slate looked at the traffic NY Magazine was pulling in with its Cuckold Trolling, and, of course, being Slate -- and therefore click-hungry and shamelessly derivative -- said "Let's think of a story that will bring us some of those Cuckold Revulsion clicks!"

And so that's exactly what they did.

They're extremely cynical. And that's the only masculine trait they have.


Grillax, Bro

I'm a feminist. I'm a dude. And I hate that I love to grill.

By Jacob "Chelsea" Brogan

I might had added something to his name.

I hate how much I love to grill. It's not that I'm inclined to vegetarianism or that I otherwise object to the practice itself. But I'm uncomfortable with the pleasure I take in something so conventionally masculine.

He said, waiting for his wife to get back from her date with Paolo.

Or I should say: "Date." Whatever you call it when an unemployed Salsasize Instructor has your wife in the back of his Nissan Cube with her legs pinned back behind her head like the ears of a Dirty Bugs Bunny.

Looming over the coals, tongs in hand, I feel estranged from myself, recast in the role of suburban dad.

Melvillean, really. Like Ishmael's watery wanderlust. Except, you know. For sissies.

At such moments, I get the sense that I've fallen into a societal trap, one that reaffirms gender roles I've spent years trying to undo. The whole business feels retrograde, a relic of some earlier, less inclusive era.

I take food prep a little too seriously, curtly brushing others out of the way when I step up to the kitchen counter. In my online dating days....

Wait, online dating? You?

Was it really online dating or was it some kind of sordid Cuckold Match message board?

I tried to spin this fault as a feature, describing myself as "a finicky, meticulous cook."

You don't take nearly enough opportunities to feminize yourself.

On reflection, I'm probably just kind of a jerk, but when I'm grilling I worry that I've become something even worse. Am I shoving others out of the way because it makes me feel like a man? Have I become some sort of monster?

No, you're still a girl. Don't sweat it, Sally. Girls push all the time, especially when it involves cooking, shopping, or having dates behind your back with the hunk who pumps your gas and who looks like a borderline idiot but she just knows he has the soul of a poet.


Paging through photographs of my years in grad school recently...

I did not see that coming.

Finally got that MA in American Studies, huh?

... I came across one in which two colleagues and I stand in a semicircle around a kettle grill...

This picture captures so much of what delights me about grilling and so much of what embarrasses me about that delight. On the one hand, there's the peculiar alchemy of sun and smoke that makes summer days sprawl. On the other hand, it bears the stain of unintentional masculine cliche.

Honestly: Not really. If cooking is the most masculine thing you do, I'd say your fears about being mistaken for a man are, like so much else about you, contrived and histrionic.

By the way: Seems pretty clear you think you're hitting it out of the park with these attempted novel-like descriptions.

How's that novel coming, Brian? You know, the novel you say you've been working on for three years?

Gathered around the coals with beers slung low, we're all but enacting a myth of the American man, telling a story in postures and poses. No longer mere Ph.D. students, we have become bros.

This is the saddest thing I've ever read.

It's not that I think we're doing anything consciously sexist. Friends who were there that day remind me that we were actively making light of cookout customs even as we were participating in them. I suspect that everyone in the photograph identifies as a feminist. Yet the three of us look suspiciously like characters in a commercial, one where masculinity itself seems to be for sale.

Pretty sure you know the under-bridge places where masculinity itself might be for sale.

Okay, I can't take it any longer.

Paolo just texted me. He said some American Studies dweeb's wife is just dying for a three-way. I'm not really into that, but Paolo says this woman is so starved for masculine attention, she's like a little suburban sex tiger.


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posted by Ace at 12:57 PM

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