They say that a man is nothing but a miserable little pile of secrets.
Biologically speaking, all a man is, is an unusually muscular woman, with a heavy bone structure and an oversized clitoris, whose ovaries have fallen out into a scrotum made of vulva-skin and is producing sperm instead of eggs. If you don’t believe that, Google Image Search “giant clitoris.”
A man can even lactate if he takes enough anabolic steroids, because it will destabilize his hormones, send him into an estrogen tailspin, and he will spontaneously develop the ability to produce milk.
We all start life as a sexless, pink bipotential frog-ape called an embryo. The ultimate actualization of ambiguity. We all look the same at this stage, and the majority of mammalian animals do as well. If you, as this parasitic Lovecraftian catfish buried deep inside the viscera of a human woman, receive enough testosterone in early gestation, your urinary tract develops and migrates inside of your proto-clitoris, and slowly transforms into what people have decided to call a penis.
When you as an adult practice cunnilingus, you’re licking scrotal tissue that received enough estrogen in the womb to become the labia minora of the vagina. If you’re one of the mythical men that have two brain cells to rub together and you know where the clitoris is, you’re licking a micropenis.
If you were born with an inarguably penis-like penis, and consider yourself a straight man who grew up in a blue jumper and have a masculine name on your birth certificate, when you have sexual intercourse with a woman, all you’re doing is pushing your overgrown clitoris into the open cavity where their testicles would have emerged from, if their bipotential genitalia had received just a bit more testosterone in the womb.
A man is a woman with all the video game character-creation sliders pushed to the max. The gender binary is an illusion created by social conditioning and hormones.
So a misogynist is, at its core, a self-loathing RC car radio-controlled by institutionalized bullshit and a pissbaby outlook, because men are women and women are men and everybody is an FBI agent. --I mean, a human being.
When you think about it like that, misogyny is nothing more than a man slapping at phantoms; a waste of neurons, a waste of effort you could be spending on overcoming this social conditioning and making friends and getting laid and publishing books, and a waste of the very limited time you’ve been given on this planet to make yourself into the kind of significant, worthy, likeable person that a woman, literary agent or not, might want to commit to.
* * *
Why are misogynists?
After that gruesome biology lesson, I don’t think I have to tell you that misogyny is an unhealthy, pointless, counter-productive mode of thought. Half the world’s population is comprised of women. You can’t get away from them. They’re like Visa cards, literally everywhere you want to be. They’re your mothers, they’re your sisters, your coworkers, your boss.
I get it, okay? I don’t empathize with it, but on a purely academic level, I see why it happens. Misogynists: rejected on the dating scene, their manuscripts rejected, rejection all over the place. It hurts. It’s Them vs. Women. Women become the Other, the faceless, antagonizing horde. These men were stung so many times, something broke inside them and now women are just this inhuman mass of bees.
Or sometimes it develops in childhood—some of them have fathers that mistreated or simply had no respect for their mother, or sometimes they have controlling or hateful mothers.
Nature vs. Nurture. It happens.
So if anybody should be a misogynist, it’s me. I have a list of grievances a mile long, starting with my mother, who put me in remedial math classes in kindergarten, which in these country-ass schools meant that Monday through Friday, I shared class space with the Special Ed kids.
Almost all the socializing of my formative years was with the Special Ed class, the kids isolated in their own dingy room down at the very end of a long hallway with flickering, unrepaired light panels: the lazy eyes, the uncombed hair, oceans of saliva, the motorized wheelchairs, the wordless screaming and fit-pitching, the vaguely diapery smell, the exasperated teacher’s-aide.
On top of that, the teacher I had for these classes in high school absolutely hated me, especially when she took over the Keyboarding class. I still have no idea why. She would send me to the principal’s office at the drop of a hat, and when I got there and they’d find me sitting quietly on the couch out in the hall, fuming and confused, they’d ask me why I was sent to the office. I had to answer, “I have no idea!”
This continued until the day I graduated high school. Thirteen years.
Day after day, spending most of my time in the school dungeon fucked me up. Basically destroyed any chance I had at a normal personality or neurotypical range of behavior. It’s probably part of why I have trouble empathizing and socializing with normal people. I still have trouble looking people in the eyes when I talk to them. Public speaking is absolutely terrifying.
(One could argue it’s why I have such patience and understanding when I’m in situations with the physically disadvantaged or mentally ill, but I digress.)
Of course, this addled childhood meant I never had a snowball’s chance in hell of dating in high school. The few girls I dared to talk to existed on a different, higher plane of reality than me. I only existed in two dimensions. I was a paper cutout.
But ultimately I didn’t hold it against them. I didn’t hold it against them, I didn’t hold it against my mother. It didn’t make me a misogynist. Because deep down I’m a decent, conscious person that understood how social castes work. I was an Untouchable.
And my mother was doing the best she could with a severely depressed child who couldn’t do math and didn’t care, a silent sullen kid with PTSD and behavior issues from witnessing constant screaming matches between her and my alcoholic, coke-snorting father. My mom put me in those remedial math classes in an attempt to help me.
Yeah, at the time, it pissed me off, because I didn’t know any better. I resented it.
But it didn’t make me hate and demonize all women. I used to fantasize about hanging myself the same way my classmates fantasized about being sports stars and actors. But instead of blaming them and Othering them, I blamed myself, I blamed my giant head and ugly face, and the company I kept. People called me “Ogre” and “Frankenstein,” and I didn’t have to be a genius to see why.
No, women are just people, just like men. They aren’t from Venus, they aren’t some sadistic, inscrutable alien race. They aren’t flawless robots put here on Earth to make me miserable. They’re People.
And regardless of what’s between their legs, People are nothing but those same pink mistake-making frog-apes. People have preferences, proclivities, they make choices, and at that age nobody can see past the end of their own nose, so why would I blame them? How could I? I had full situational awareness. I could see my own face in the mirror. I dressed like I had no light bulb in my bedroom. I didn’t talk much.
I grew my bangs long to cover my face. I knew my own flaws, and I loathed them, and I mourned the person I never had the chance to be, but I never hated girls, I never turned women into the Other.
How can I Other something that is me? I only saw them as I saw myself: a person. People.
At the time I didn’t know why I'd been saddled with these flaws or thrust outside the scope of normal human social development . . . but I had the presence of mind to acknowledge it and internalize it and question it, instead of blaming women.
I never got an answer, but that never turned me into a misogynist, because despite everything else, my mom didn’t raise me to be an asshole.
* * *
When I’d finally taught myself to push my reflection out of the way and ignore the shit hand I’d been dealt, and treated women as complex people just like myself, instead of seeing them as hateful, unknowable androids, I got married. After a while I discovered that she was doing meth behind my back. Then she cheated on me while I was out of town. We got an annulment.
After I joined the Army, I developed a relationship with a gorgeous young woman from work. She looked like Tinkerbell brought to life. She dumped me because, even though “the sex was the best she’d ever had,” I wasn’t her soulmate.
I hardly ever got any replies on the dating websites. Plenty of Fish, OKCupid, etc etc. I got ignored just like the next guy.
Several years later, I married another woman and it turned out to be an abusive relationship, with gaslighting. She cheated on me while I was overseas, and then left me. We got an extremely laborious and painful divorce.
That whole period screwed me up bad. It took me several years to recover from that kind of mental anguish and start dating again. I didn’t trust women for a while because I had convinced myself that their unpredictability was dangerous and I was terrified of being driven half-insane again, but I never hated them or dehumanized them.
This was about the time I started writing Whirlwind, which started me on the path to putting my mind back together. Literary therapy.
A little while after that, an amazing person I'll call Coyote blew into my life and taught me it was possible to trust again.
* * *
Fuck it, y’know? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Women are people. Men are people. We’re all People, we’re all just hanging on by our fingertips, making decisions we hope will be the best possible ones. We are all that same sexless pink germ-monkey.
But I knew that if I quit shitting on myself for being one of the uglier pink germs and focused on improving Me, instead of hating everyone else for not liking a person that was too lazy and stupid to evolve into something better, then maybe I might happen to catch another one of those fish.
I sure as hell didn’t send those women OKCupid messages to tell them they were sluts and that they deserved to die, just because they wouldn’t answer my messages. Who does that? What kind of depraved, undeveloped mind does it require to make a gesture that soulless, childish, and pointless?
* * *
I love women.
I love to listen to them sing. I love the way they look, the timbre of their voices, the glint in their eyes when they’re happy, the passion in their heart when they’re engrossed in something that fulfills them. I love to see them fight, I love to see them win. When they lose, I want to give them a hug and tell them everything is going to be okay, and we’ll try again tomorrow.
If I could be surrounded by women at all times, I would.
My current girlfriend is the best part of my life, and the most wonderful person I’ve ever met. She’s got a mind like a razor, she’s astoundingly hot, as strong as a steel cable, and she’s super-sweet.
She is my mistake-making pink frog-ape, and I am hers, and I love her more than I love myself.
I can trust her.
* * *
If you’re going to hate someone, hate everybody, because we’re all the same choosy, flighty, anxious, prejudiced frog-ape.
If you’re going to cast blame, blame social constructs and blame your shitty genetics or hormones. But blaming the entire other half of the human race and vilifying them as a whole is just setting yourself up for a lifetime of failure, because there is no situation whatsoever where you won’t be negotiating with, or subordinate to, or submitting a manuscript to, a woman at some point.
If you’re going to be a mis-anything, be a misanthrope and live in a cave somewhere up in the mountains. Be a hermit, grow a big ratty beard, and scream at trespassers, “Get away from my gold!” Because at least up there in your one-room shack with your beans and pickaxe, you won’t be wasting our precious time and energy.
Just don’t overdo it on the steroids.