Saturday, September 29

Incoming: A reply to Drifty

This is an interesting exchange. Driftglass, arguably the best writer in the blogosphere, has responded to my earlier post about body image and sex, which, in turn, was a response to a post at Shakespeare's Sister.

It's not getting incestual incestuous*, here, folks, but it may turn into a blogging orgy. Feel free to join in, but please keep in mind I'll be wearing these to the party, if nothing else...


Like a lot of intelligent sexy men, Drifty is strongly influenced by the works of David Mamet, particularly Glengarry Glen Ross. He took my post and gave it a decidedly masculine turn on the dance floor using said film. I'll let you read the post your own self, there really is nothing more "intelligence is an aphrodisiac" than spending 22 minutes, sometimes less but really there's no hurry, reading Drifty's writing. Does it for me.

I've been thinking of writing a counter-post to Drifty for a while now on the whole Glengarry (some also go for The Godfather but the song is the same, I think) as the defining masculine foil. I have been thinking over and over, and not necessarily with pride in my gender, that the defining female film is actually, yeah, I have to admit,

Bridget Jones' Diary.

Bear with me. Nearly everything a woman needs to know is in this movie.

"Rule number one: look gooooorgeous."

"Resolution #1: uggg - will obviously lose 20 lbs. #2: always put last night's panties in the laundry basket. Equally important: will find nice sensible boyfriend and stop forming romantic attachments to any of the following: alcoholics, workoholics, sexaholics, commitment-phobics, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits, or perverts. Will especially stop fantasizing about a particular person who embodies all these things."

"This is an occasion for genuinely tiny knickers."

Plus, she makes blue soup for her birthday.

And dang, you have to give a gal credit who, after having anal with Hugh Grant, teases him into doing it again.

But I have to admit: Drifty has a point. If I was back in graduate school, studying "Madwoman in the Attic" and other feminist litcrit, I'd write a paper showing how the homosocial relations with Darcy, Wickham, and indeed, Bingley (gasp!) are mirrored, like everything else in P&P, by Bridget Jones and company.

"Homo-social" is not a sexual term but relates to how men vs. men competition and one-upmanship control how men relate to and value/undervalue women. For Mark Darcy, life, meaning in this movie his relationship with Bridget Jones, is actually about whether he will ultimately win against Daniel Cleaver. Cleaver is the nemesis prick who is hyper-successful in the bedroom, office, bank, and bar. Darcy must destroy him to have any hope of manhood. This scene proves your point entirely, Drifty, I bow to your wisdom:

And you see how this movie teaches women how to walk away from the dream man who is not the man for you.

I think Drifty would agree with me that for both genders, intimate relationships are, at their best, a refuge from one's own insecurities. A man, as Drifty says,

battles every day to establish and maintain dominance and position, whether it was a question of who steps aside on the sidewalk, who sinks the eight ball, who sucks up better, who gets the office, or who leaves with the cute brunette.

Note he said brunette instead of blonde. Nice touch, hon. My hope would be that an intimate relationship with the right woman would at least soften the pain of the battle, and vice-versa for women and the pressure to be any certain way. Bridget loves Darcy ultimately because he likes her "just the way she is."

Of course there are still important lessons for men in Bridget Jones. The whole "nice boys don't kiss like that" motif.

Yes, they fucking do, though there are better lessons in how to do that sort of thing, even though he's, yeah I know, Jack Nicholson. When you watch this? Remember. The guy who wrote these words, the screenplay with this amazing statement of love that is a skillet which melts and carmelizes me slowly and sweetly? Marc Andrus, a guy with no camera time and who comes up empty on a Google image search, no one knows what car he drives or if he's "hot," he's successful but not in the spotlight. He's not married to Nancy McKeon, different guy. Interesting that people definitely know what David Mamet looks like times 37,000. Hm.

That is how you do it, my friends. Just like that.

*Thank you anonymous commenter below.


  1. Anonymous12:47 PM


    hard to take you seriously when you make up words


  2. Take me seriously? Ha. Likewise, I'm sure...I never take anonymous commenters seriously unless they correct my choice of words.

    Thank you.

  3. The greatest joy of English: we can make it up as we go along.

    I know verbing weirds language, but I'm not so sure about adjectives...

  4. An intelligent male is often frustrated by the way most men compartmentalize just about everything imaginable. This goes for conversation and competition equally.

    It's limiting, constraining, and just flat out boring.

    As for me, most of my friends are female because I don't have to limit the span of my conversation to encompass such favorite subjects like cars, sports, politics, and women. In that order.

    Nothing to me is more repulsive than emotionally retarded Alpha males. They simply don't exist to me. Woe be unto the women who find them attractive, for they will never be fully satisfied. I blame the fathers of these women--fathers who have created a sort of unfortunate mental template in the minds of their daughters. Paradoxically, the women who love Alpha males despise them and are simultaneously attracted to them at the same time.

    And regarding those bullshit competition games men play with each other, I simply refuse to play ball. I was blessed to be six feet tall and to have a decent sized frame, so that I can usually bluff and keep other men from thinking about beating me up.

    The best thing I did for myself was to deprogram myself from societal conditioning. It's made me a much happier person.

  5. A few more thoughts...

    The challenge that faces many women when attracting men is being able to look past the environmental factors that dictate what they find attractive. If they had an angry, loud, opinionated father...then guess what sort of man they're likely going to fall for?

    If a woman is aware of this, then she is ahead of the curve. There's something about human nature that often makes people settle for relationship partners that are unhealthy, but familiar.

    For example, "He might be a dick, but at least I know what to expect."

    The true challenge is for both sexes to look past the familiar towards the emotionally healthy--and the two are often not at all similar.

    And a related challenge is for both sexes is to look past what society deems acceptable in a mate--and look for a mate for whom they are best suited.

  6. Studies in Male Dominance Rituals

    ".....battles every day to establish and maintain dominance and position, whether it was a question of who steps aside on the sidewalk, who sinks the eight ball, who sucks up better, who gets the office, or who leaves with the cute brunette.

  7. I was going to comment, but Kevin you have said what I would have said and said it much better so I will just say, BG and Drity this was an amazing exchange.

  8. Anonymous2:53 PM

    And regarding those bullshit competition games men play with each other, I simply refuse to play ball.

    Good for you, Kevin. Good for you. But even emotionally healthy males compete on many different levels. And that's no bullshit.

    Sometimes, men, with families have to compete just to stay employed. I wish it weren't so, but if my bosses saw that there was no extra value to be had between myself and a lesser paid associate, guess who loses his job? Let's face it men compete. It's in our genes and until we live in a socialist world where everyone is guaranteed a wife, a long life, and in want of nothing, you have to compete -- in some way -- for what you want.

    But let's talk specifically your point about blaming fathers. Why? Do you think fathers deliberately brow beat their daughters into marrying men just like them? I take some umbrage with this because I am the father of a fifteen year old girl. Her mother and I try and tell her as much as she's willing to listen to about the world including sex, but she has a mind of her own and despite our best intentions, will do what she will. I suspect that this "template" is common in many families.

    I know you don't play the bullshit games, and that's cool. But let me leave you with this thought -- has it ever occurred to you that sometimes the women you don't compete for simply don't like you?

  9. A few comments, if I may.

    1. I'm not blaming fathers any more than I'm blaming mothers. What I am arguing is that our environment often dictates to whom we are attracted. That's inescapable.

    2. Part of adolescence is rebellion. The tragic fact is that there's a disconnect between a parent, who has this idealized notion of a smoothly paved path for their children, a path that will cause them a minimum of hurt and sorrow and pain--and a child, who sees that same path as restricting, stifling, and confining.

    It wasn't until I reached the midpoint of my twenties that I saw things from the perspective of my parents.

    2. When I need to be competitive, I do it. Most of the time, it's not necessary.

    3. The women I don't compete for may not like me, sure. Sometimes the women I compete for don't like me. Sometimes the women I don't compete for do like me. What's your point?

    I'm not placing some sort of callous disdain on women who don't dig me, if that's what you think I'm doing. My original comments were not an exercise in sour grapes. I've actually often times found that my own judgment and life experience has kept from involving myself with women who don't like me or women who aren't healthy for me. It's when I don't listen to reason and let things like sexual desire and loneliness get in the way that I do get in trouble.

  10. Anonymous7:54 PM

    I'm not placing some sort of callous disdain on women who don't dig me, if that's what you think I'm doing.

    Well, it sure sounded that way.

    It wasn't until I reached the midpoint of my twenties that I saw things from the perspective of my parents.

    That's impossible unless you have kids yourself. But I'm not out here to start a pissing match with you on the matter of male competitiveness and topics related. Clearly, I've misunderstood your original comments and for this I apologize.

  11. Spartacus,

    I hold a particularly sardonic view of just about everything. I think you may have been confusing my attitude on women with my general attitude towards life, which is usually pretty scathingly condemnatory.

    And yes, if you wanna split hairs, you have a point--it's probably impossible for me to completely, 100%, beyond a shadow of a doubt, understand the viewpoint of my parents until I become a parent myself. However, Mark Twain did note, and I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember exactly how it goes---"at sixteen, my father was so stupid I could hardly stand to be in the room with him. At thirty, I was amazed at how much he had learned in fourteen years." I have reached that point.


I really look forward to hearing what you have to say. I do moderate comments, but non-spam comments will take less than 24 hours to appear... Thanks!