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March 15, 2007 7:16 PM   Subscribe

Advice to Young Men from an Old Man and other Best of Craigslist posts. [previously].
posted by nickyskye (126 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice post. Thanks.

Also: "Dear, guy masturbating in the bathroom stall at my work..." Awesome.
posted by Dasein at 7:23 PM on March 15, 2007


So basically: don't hate women, just resent them, it's easier.
posted by pompomtom at 7:34 PM on March 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


cat sitter needed for my lousy cat
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:36 PM on March 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


You know, for all the hints of sexism in there, I couldn't help feeling like the guy's heart was in the right place. I don't think he was posting that stuff to grind an axe against women — he actually thought it was going to help some young dude. That's odd, and maybe even a little upsetting, but it's also sort of charming.

(Also, I just got an IM from someone who's met that lousy cat. She wanted to gloat about her brush with Internet celebrity. Small world.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:39 PM on March 15, 2007


I'd give this a 7/10. Relativized to the fact that this stuff can't be perfect, it's probably an 8 1/2.
posted by Alex404 at 7:39 PM on March 15, 2007


What old man would say "don't be an internet troll" or "don't gay bash?"

And what young man listens to advice?
posted by chococat at 7:40 PM on March 15, 2007


I think 75% of his ideas were right on the money. The ritalin bit was perfect.
posted by Derek at 7:41 PM on March 15, 2007


I like that old dude. The tone smacks more of his coming from a more sexist era than any actual animus against women. His beef against claims of the "patriarchy" seems to come mostly from the idea that men aren't going to get any free passes, and there's no need to patronize or put down women as a direct result of that. We're all in this together!
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:45 PM on March 15, 2007


I like the firing bad girlfriends part.
Never considered that.
posted by squidfartz at 7:47 PM on March 15, 2007


Are you guys talking about this part:
17. Don’t speak ill of your wife/girlfriend. Back her up against the world, even if she’s wrong. She should know that you have her back. When she needs your help, give it. She should know that you’ll take her part.

18. Don’t cheat on your wife/girlfriend. If you must cheat, don’t humiliate her. Don’t risk having your transgressions come back to her or her friends. Don’t do it where you live. Don’t do it with people in your social circle. Don’t shit in your own back yard.

19. If your girlfriend doesn’t make you feel good about yourself and bring joy to your life, fire her. That’s what girlfriends are for.

20. Don’t bother with “emotional affairs.” They are just a vehicle for women to flirt and have someone make them feel good about themselves. That’s the part of a relationship they want. For you it is a lot of work and investment in time. If they are having an emotional affair with you, they’re probably fucking someone else.

21. Becoming a woman’s friend and confidant is not going to get you into an intimate relationship. If you haven’t gotten the girl within a reasonably short period of time, chances are you won’t ever get her. She’ll end up confiding to you about the sexual adventures she’s having with someone else.

22. Have and nurture friendships with women.
I don't know it dosn't seem that unresonable, he's not saying not to be "friends" with women, in fact he's saying the opposite. He's also saying that you shouldn't try to be a woman's long term friend with the hopes of getting into her pants.

It's interesting that he said: if you consider sexual assaults in prisons, twice as many men are raped as women (society thinks prison rape is funny).

Is that true I wonder? Societies laughing acceptance of prison rape is disgusting.
posted by delmoi at 7:51 PM on March 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Excellent.
posted by dreamsign at 7:53 PM on March 15, 2007


Look at the Silicone Valley.

Hollywood?
posted by Aloysius Bear at 8:02 PM on March 15, 2007


He's quite resentful. Guys get more handouts and benefits by just being a guy than a world of NOWs and advocates could ever give women.

No matter what he says, nobody ever puts a man's resume in the garbage because he's of childbearing age. Nobody ever denies a man a promotion because he has a child. No man who applies for a job as an engineer is offered a job as a secretary instead because "you'd be more comfortable there" and "you have a wife to support you".

Anyone who doesn't realize that this kind of stuff happens to women in every field in every country, every day of the year, is living in a dream world.
posted by watsondog at 8:02 PM on March 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


Material things come to those that have self actualized.

Bullshit. But if you're self-actualized, the theory is that you won't particularly care if you have them or not.
posted by raysmj at 8:04 PM on March 15, 2007


11. As a young man, you’re on your own. Society divides and conquers. Unlike women who have advocates looking out for them (NOW, Women’s Study Departments, government, non-profit organizations, political advocacy groups) almost no one is looking out for you.

That's such a crock of shit. This, and most of the rest of his stuff, sounds like a bitter old guy who's trying to sound wise and philosophical.

Anyway, Bad New Hughes has much more practical (and less weirdly depressing) advice. (See also: Part 2)
posted by stefanie at 8:07 PM on March 15, 2007 [5 favorites]


I like the firing bad girlfriends part.
Never considered that.


Donald Trump, are you listening?
posted by Dasein at 8:08 PM on March 15, 2007


Leaving aside the advice one, which I have mixed feelings about, a quick scan of those 'best of' posts made me think that Craigslist is made up of terrible terrible people. "I hate my coworkers", "I hate my neighbors", "I hate men", "I hate women" and then a bunch of shit about cats. Jesus. Terrible, terrible people.

It may just be past my bedtime.
posted by ND¢ at 8:09 PM on March 15, 2007


You get what you pay for. As far as free advice goes, he makes some good points.

And some of you missed the most important piece: 30. Remember, 97% of all advice is worthless. Take what you can use, and trash the rest.
posted by bardic at 8:15 PM on March 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


This guy's OCD is worse than mine!
posted by davy at 8:19 PM on March 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


31. Hey, kid, seed my lawn! ¡Oye, chico, plante mi césped!
posted by rob511 at 8:22 PM on March 15, 2007


"Don’t just concentrate on your vocational or technical skills, or you’ll find your wife fucking somebody else."

That's one problem I'll never have, being totally unskilled. (When I get cheated on THAT's why.)
posted by davy at 8:23 PM on March 15, 2007


Old man, look at my life, I'm a lot like you were.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:27 PM on March 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


4. Get in a fistfight, even if you are going to lose.

4a. Shoot a man. If for no other reason, then to watch him die.
posted by flarbuse at 8:27 PM on March 15, 2007 [11 favorites]


Sure, she’s good-lookin’. She’s also crazy. Crazy as a shithouse rat. Run for your life.

Thanks, stefanie. Made my night.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:29 PM on March 15, 2007


7. Don’t be a Republican. They are self-dealing crooks with no sense of honor or patriotism to their fellow citizens. If you must be a Republican, don’t be a “conservative.” They are whining, bitching, complaining, simple-minded self-righteous idiots who think they’re perpetual victims. Listen to talk radio for a while, you’ll see what I mean.

Don't listen to talk radio.
posted by Brian B. at 8:34 PM on March 15, 2007


watsondog - do you strawman much? Granted there are extreme and/or egregious examples, but there are also ones in the converse.

flarbuse - I'm not sure. There's definitely something about knowing that even if you win a fistfight, you're still going to hurt. It's something that a lot of people who have never been in a fight don't realize.

It's something I've been pondering on and off... violence is 'bad,' but a fistfight is infinitely better than a knifefight or a gunfight. Knowing firsthand that there are consequences &c&c.
posted by porpoise at 8:37 PM on March 15, 2007


Dear Craigslist,

Your != you're
posted by peeedro at 8:38 PM on March 15, 2007


Nobody ever denies a man a promotion because he has a child.

Sure they do! I'm a father, and I arrive in the office late and leave early every day because I'm the one who drops/picks up from daycare. The office is cool with it, but if you think that it doesn't have an impact on my ability to move up in the company, you're crazy.

The nugget of truth in there, of course, is that it's USUALLY the woman who does the daycare dropping off/picking up.
posted by davejay at 8:44 PM on March 15, 2007


Anyway, Bad New Hughes has much more practical (and less weirdly depressing) advice. (See also: Part 2)

You have been holding out on us, stefanie. That was pure awesome.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:47 PM on March 15, 2007


stefanie, you totally beat me to it. I think of BNH every time I hear about 'advice to young people' (well, Burroughs too).

Like a can of pepper spray, I hope I never have to use it, but this is an awesome device:

Beat off enough and eventually someone will walk in on you while you’re doing it. When this happens, pause, look them directly in the eye and say, “You done ruined the romance, so go ahead and say whatever it is you want to say.” If they don’t immediately apologize and leave, run over there and put your hands on their face.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 8:49 PM on March 15, 2007


1. Don’t pick on the weak. It’s immoral. Don’t antagonize the strong without cause, its stupid.

I prefer advice from another old man, Bob Dylan:

My captain, he's decorated - he's well schooled and he's skilled
He's not sentimental - don't bother him at all
How many of his pals have been killed

I'm gonna spare the defeated, boys, I'm going to speak to the crowd
I am goin' to teach peace to the conquered
I'm gonna tame the proud

posted by KokuRyu at 8:51 PM on March 15, 2007


I guess i'm just a crank as well, 'cause i found the majority of old man's advice to pretty solid.
posted by erskelyne at 8:57 PM on March 15, 2007


From "Top 10 Law Firm Interview Questions"
5. Tell us about a recent mistake that you have made.

What I said: I accidentally misfiled a case at work that was set to go to trial the next week. As soon as I realized this, I alerted my supervisor and disaster was averted.

What I thought: An even bigger mistake I've made has been wasting 20 minutes of my life in this interview instead of taking a dump, that would have been much more satisfying and productive.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:07 PM on March 15, 2007


i used to lament that i had no shoes until i met a man with no feet - i took his shoes

Guys get more handouts and benefits by just being a guy than a world of NOWs and advocates could ever give women.

sure ... but then why are more of us homeless? ... why do we die years earlier than women do? ... why is our suicide rate higher?

i could go on, but the bottom line is that there's a cost involved in that role men are put into ... and it's a pretty damn high cost, too

perhaps he is resentful ... perhaps he's got reason to be
posted by pyramid termite at 9:17 PM on March 15, 2007


Beat off enough and eventually someone will walk in on you while you’re doing it. When this happens, pause, look them directly in the eye and say, “You done ruined the romance, so go ahead and say whatever it is you want to say.” If they don’t immediately apologize and leave, run over there and put your hands on their face.

also:

Now that you’ve got yourself a handful of that lotion, take some time with the whole thing. Pour yourself a glass of wine. Light a candle. Pace yourself — the Internet isn't going anywhere.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:25 PM on March 15, 2007


7. Don’t be a Republican. They are self-dealing crooks with no sense of honor or patriotism to their fellow citizens. If you must be a Republican, don’t be a “conservative.” They are whining, bitching, complaining, simple-minded self-righteous idiots who think they’re perpetual victims. Listen to talk radio for a while, you’ll see what I mean.

Sounds like ever affirmative action supporter I've ever heard.

I agree with him in part on the whole Talk Radio thing, but that is more for entertainment value. It's easy to see how all Republicans get tarnished with that brush though, because that wing of the party is quite vocal.

As for the stuff about women, I dunno, it depends. "Women" is not something that never changes, and the relationship paradigm has been radically altered in the post-90s world.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 9:25 PM on March 15, 2007


Bad News Hughes is the internet's best worst-kept secret.
posted by chimaera at 9:28 PM on March 15, 2007


What's 97% of 30?
posted by sourwookie at 9:34 PM on March 15, 2007


29
posted by pyramid termite at 9:36 PM on March 15, 2007


"What old man would say "don't be an internet troll" or "don't gay bash?"

Ummmm ... an old gay man?

posted by Twang at 9:39 PM on March 15, 2007


"whole Talk Radio thing ... that wing of the party is quite vocal."

I don't think wing is the right word. How about goiter or polyp?

posted by Twang at 9:41 PM on March 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


In addition, I enjoy knowing that my ass is smaller than yours, my tits are bigger, my face is prettier and my personality is better.

After reading that missive, I can assure you that you're mistaken on the last point.
posted by arha at 9:41 PM on March 15, 2007


Hmm...

Rush Limbaugh as a polyp on the colon wall of conservatism...
posted by darkstar at 9:50 PM on March 15, 2007


How about goiter or polyp?

dingleberry is the word we're looking for ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:52 PM on March 15, 2007


I don't think wing is the right word. How about goiter or polyp?

I would agree, at least silently. I try to adhere to the belief that all voices should be heard, but, metaphorically, those people shout when I am only 2 feet away. I tend to have a problem with complainers who have unjustified complaints. I'm sorry, I will defend religious liberty to the death, but please don't tell me that there is systemic persecution of Christians in America. OMG. I can't believe how many people believe there is.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 10:00 PM on March 15, 2007


8. Don’t take proffered advice without a critical analysis. 90% of all advice is intended to benefit the proponent, not the recipient. Actually, the number is probably closer to 97%, but I don’t want to come off as cynical.

More proof (I've had an uncomfortable amount of it this week) that I am an old man. This was exactly what I was trying to say (I didn't say it well, though), here, yesterday, to a teenager.

Also, [this is good], pretty much.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:14 PM on March 15, 2007


#29's a bit bullshitty, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:17 PM on March 15, 2007


Yeah, nearly all of the points in this have at least some merit. I wouldn't call this advice bitter. Perhaps a bit cautious. Cynical. Realistic. Younger or more naive readers might call that "bitter" but I don't think that's a fair asessment.

I can definetly second the idea that as a male at the extreme low end of the economic spectrum there are indeed far fewer resources available. My SO and I went through a very bad patch during the George Bush rescession and there was so much more that was available to her at the time. The same very much goes at the university I attended which was by no means out of the ordinary.
posted by Riemann at 10:23 PM on March 15, 2007


Look at the Silicone Valley.

That's a good way to get slapped in the face.
posted by oaf at 10:28 PM on March 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


Looking at some other Craigslist Best Ofs, I'm thinking a Metafilter Best Of would be much besterer.

We need to make a book, sell it to ourselves, use the money to buy Nice Things (or give to charity or something).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:43 PM on March 15, 2007


Riemann, you raise an interesting point. I was just trying to figure out why the argument about "more women winding up in college as an indication that culture doesn't, in fact, privilege men" seems so false to me. What I thought of is the fact that men have more jobs that pay a reasonable wage without a degree presented to them (at least by the media) than women do. Construction worker, Policeman, NBA star, whathaveyou. Granted, there are scads of Secretaries and Waitresses needed, but I think lots of girls realize that those dead end or fizzle as you age, and they'd better face reality. It's a complicated equation, indeed.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:59 PM on March 15, 2007


Nice. Thanks, nickyskye.
posted by homunculus at 11:02 PM on March 15, 2007


in other words
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:04 PM on March 15, 2007


Like the guy said in #30: "Remember, 97% of all advice is worthless. Take what you can use, and trash the rest. "

Because he took pains to point that out (twice, even), I can forgive the parts I feel are non-factual. The rest of it is at least worth thinking about, and lots of it is truly great advice for anyone, not just young men.
posted by batmonkey at 11:08 PM on March 15, 2007


30. Remember, 97% of all advice is worthless. Take what you can use, and trash the rest.

So #30 is it, then?
posted by cenoxo at 12:02 AM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


there's a cost involved in that role men are put into ... and it's a pretty damn high cost, too
posted by pyramid termite at 9:17 PM PST on March 15


That's true, and feminism/gender egalitarianism agrees with you and fights against those roles. That's why it's bizarre for him to say "don't believe the stuff about the patriarchy": the patriarchy imposes a set of sex roles that are bad for both sides, causing most of the problems for men that he describes.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:09 AM on March 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


the patriarchy imposes a set of sex roles that are bad for both sides, causing most of the problems for men that he describes.

Then perhaps it's time to think of a new name, eh?
posted by kid ichorous at 1:17 AM on March 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


I dunno. Some of it was okay some of it made me wince. Ultimately, it left me wondering if I was a young dude or an old dude.
posted by sharpener at 1:22 AM on March 16, 2007


I've met this guy. It was in a seedy bar and he was drowning his sorrow because his life was shit. He tried to stop the motor of the world but nobody even noticed. It turned out he wasn't as important and powerful as he thought and all the slights he perceived where just his bitter imagination. His name was John Galt.
posted by srboisvert at 1:33 AM on March 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


As an old(er) man, I have to say this guy is spot-on.

Not sure about the female-equality bits, but definitely about the relationships with women. I spent the early part of my life (teens through 30's) believing that women (whom i was attracted to) were fragile, wondrous creatures, all deserving of infinite respect, consideration and deference.

What he is saying here, as I take it, is do NOT just assume because you are attracted to/interested in a woman that she is made of gold.

The rest of his advice sounds like what Hemingway would say if he was writing today.
posted by mmrtnt at 2:23 AM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nice post - I've been killing the last hour at work on a Friday with this :)
posted by your mildly obsessive average geek at 2:50 AM on March 16, 2007


That's true, and feminism/gender egalitarianism agrees with you and fights against those roles. […]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:09 AM CET on March 16 [+]
[!]
That’ll be why Women’s Studies departments are agitating to register women for the draft, and to give fathers an equal chance in family law courts, right?
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 2:57 AM on March 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


14. Don’t be afraid to tell people to “Fuck off” when need be. It is an important skill to acquire.

I like this guy. If you don't, fuck off.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:52 AM on March 16, 2007


This guy, like Polonius in the play Hamlet, tells us to be true to ourselves. But then Polonious is the biggest hypocrite Shakespeare created.
posted by Postroad at 5:51 AM on March 16, 2007


Get in a fistfight, even if you are going to lose

This guy is obviously a dentist.

There's some weird ranting mixed in with the good points in this list. The author also misses the first principle of a healthy approach to gender relations which is: men and women need each other. Feminism has been good for men, and when a positive men's movement finally gets off the ground, that will be good for women.
posted by teleskiving at 6:01 AM on March 16, 2007


First of all, I doubt this guy is that old. He's probably in his 50s at the most.

Second, though his advice about women isn't horrible in itself, the fact that he feels the need to give advice on women in general, as if we're some sort of abstract concept or alien race, shows that he never quite "got it", however old he is.

The only thing a guy needs to about women is that they are people, fellow human beings, and need to be treated as such.

I feel the same way when I hear girls start talking about how men are like this or "All men ___". It makes me feel sorry for them that they haven't had enough quality male influence in their lives to realize generalizations like that are worthless.
posted by Jess the Mess at 6:22 AM on March 16, 2007


Nothing on Craigslist.... nothing... will ever top "Hey Crackhead."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:25 AM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dungeons and Dragons never goes away. Girls will still sense that shit 20 years later.

fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck
posted by Kwine at 6:26 AM on March 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


This is great to read, thanks.

I'm not sure at what point American women decided daily self-absorbed hysteria was normal, unquestionable and to be accepted by men. Was it 1992? Maybe someone could post it to Craigslist.
posted by four panels at 6:49 AM on March 16, 2007


4. Get in a fistfight, even if you are going to lose.

4a. Shoot a man. If for no other reason, then to watch him die.


I wonder how many people travel to Reno each year to do 4a.

Actually the fist fight thing isn't the worst idea. I learned a valuable lesson in H.S. by picking a fight and getting my ass handed to me. Don't fuck with strangers! They may turn out to be one or more of the following:
1- A wrestler.
2- Much faster and stronger than you .
3 - Recently released from a juvenile detention center and not feeling too charitable towards jackass strangers.
4 - Much meaner than you (see #3).

In my case it was all four.
posted by MikeMc at 6:50 AM on March 16, 2007


Aidan, did you know that there is no draft anymore? And did you ever hear of the Equal Rights Amendment that women DID fight for passionately a couple of decades ago?

LobsterMitten is quite correct that the feminist movement recognizes and condemns that fact that the assignment of gender roles hurts both men and women -- women face challenges with economic and job-related parity issues, and men face challenges in traditionally feminine areas such as child-raising (as you point out). Only when men never have to worry about being called "faggy" or weak or a pussy will they be free.
posted by jfwlucy at 6:59 AM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Hey Crackhead" is BRILLIANT!
Thanks so much.
posted by Pecinpah at 7:05 AM on March 16, 2007


That's no old guy. I wasn't sure until I got to the part about the gel-coat single-speed messenger bike. No old guy is going to come up with that as an example of posing.

I would not enjoy working with this princess.
15. Stop walking by my office looking in.
Her visage is not for you mere mortals to apprehend.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:19 AM on March 16, 2007


I wince at "Get in a fistfight, even if you are going to lose" but I've had to learn the hard way about not backing down from one that I couldn't joke my way out of -- I'd've endured getting the snot beaten out of me more happily by at least having had the grim satisfaction of getting in a few licks myself.

Deliberately picking a fight, though, that's for fratboy @$$holes who (allegedly) grow up to be President of the United States.
posted by pax digita at 7:32 AM on March 16, 2007


With regard to services and organizations available to women - those organizations were created largely by and for women to counteract the negative impact of a society organized around patriarchical systems. It's ridiculous to hold them up as something to be jealous of - in the ideal world, the organizations would be unnecessary. And if men need that sort of help, why are they not creating the organizations which would help other men? That's exactly what women did, with little to no support from official governments or established institutions. Women used the power of organization and the legal system to work together to create change. The same strategies are available to men. No one is preventing men from creating the National Organization for Men. Suggesting that women are somehow more supported by society because of the existence of these organizations is to ignore the reasons that these organizations have arisen.
posted by Miko at 8:09 AM on March 16, 2007


Lovely piece:)
I was kind of torn between his support for women, and his tearing them down too, but his animosity towards Right Wing Ultra-Orthodox Republican Fat Cat War Mongers somehow won me over. And the part where he talks about being a guy. (You never get to hear that these days.)

Thanks for posting nickyskye!
posted by hadjiboy at 8:30 AM on March 16, 2007


Dungeons and Dragons never goes away. Girls will still sense that shit 20 years later.

fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck


Relax. They would have to role at least a 16.
posted by srboisvert at 8:35 AM on March 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


your mildly obsessive average geek writes "I've been killing the last hour at work on a Friday with this :)"

Be aware lest ye be hooked that Craig doesn't update the best of every day despite the chronological display. He's been known to let 6+ weeks go by without an update.
posted by Mitheral at 8:42 AM on March 16, 2007


jfwlucy, the Selective Service System is a system, active since 1980, whereby male US citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 have to register for conscription, even though conscription in the US is not currently active.

Women between the ages of 18 and 25 in the US don’t legally have to register for conscription (that is, ‘the draft’); men of that age do. I don’t hear a whole lot of feminist agitation to change that, and I suspect there would be even less were the draft to become active.

I do not dispute that many feminists fought passionately to bring through legislation that they felt would improve the status of women (in the west); I’m a little unclear as to why you think I might.

I disagree if you suggest that many feminists are fighting passionately to adjust systemic biases of the sexes that do not disadvantage them; the family law thing and the draft is not exactly new, there’s been plenty of opportunity.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 9:26 AM on March 16, 2007


I don’t hear a whole lot of feminist agitation to change that

I don't hear a lot of male agitation to change that, either.
posted by Miko at 9:32 AM on March 16, 2007


Miko, do you think there should be?
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 9:35 AM on March 16, 2007


I guess as a male feminist opposed to the draft I'm pretty much in the clear either way, huh?

Look. Talking about "what feminists want" as if it were a single agenda is silly. Some people are just out for their own benefit, some people actually have principles, and that's true in any movmement.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:42 AM on March 16, 2007


I think if there's something you see that needs changing, you can attempt to change it through the power of communication and organization.

I'm suggesting that time doing that is better spent than time waiting for other groups with a different set of priorities to do it.

That's why there are so many women's organizations and legal aid avenues. In the women's movement, women did something about meeting their most immediate needs.

Personally, I'm an egalitarian and I do think that if we are to have Selective Service, women as well as men should be required to register. However, you won't see activism on that point coming from me, because a much higher priority for me would be to end the Selective Service program. However, if it's important to someone that it be administered in an egalitarian fsahion, they could certainly start a campaign or organization focused on doing so. Maybe finally get the ERA passed -had that happened, it might be a fait accompli.
posted by Miko at 9:42 AM on March 16, 2007


nebulawindphone,
Look. Talking about "what feminists want" as if it were a single agenda is silly. Some people are just out for their own benefit, some people actually have principles, and that's true in any movmement.
Agreed, and I don’t think I’ve unfairly grouped any feminists together in what I wrote.¹ Feminism is often sold to men as egalitarianism, as humanism, though, and, well, while there is a huge range of feminist opinion and argument, very, very little is serious about the egalitarianism when that would be to the disadvantage of women. I would love to see it, but I will be surprised if anyone can cite a public feminist arguing and agitating for either of my points.

Miko, I don’t live in the US, I have no intention of ever living there, and I don’t have any illusions, as someone who will probably spend the rest of his adult life living outside of his country of citizenship, that I can make a significant difference in the structure of any society by my political actions. If you’re not telling me that I should personally go and change things, well and good, but if you are; eh, I have more rewarding things to be doing. That shouldn’t disqualify me from having some insight into how various societies work.

¹ Unfair would have been bringing up Andrea Dworkin, who despite an insane misandry, made a living from being a feminist writer (that is, sufficient numbers of feminists (one imagines) bought her books for this) and got a full-page obituary in the Guardian instead of dying a lonely and obscure crackpot. She’s definitely not representative, but I think it reflects badly on the field that she got so much attention.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 10:08 AM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


With regard to services and organizations available to women - those organizations were created largely by and for women to counteract the negative impact of a society organized around patriarchical systems. It's ridiculous to hold them up as something to be jealous of - in the ideal world, the organizations would be unnecessary.

The problem is that they refuse to accept that they are no longer needed. It's similar to unions in a way (not exactly though). What incentive do these race/gender activists groups have to disband? There will always be a boogeyman because activist groups need to justify their existence. There is money and power at stake. For instance, while it isn't a gender/race activist group, the N.R.A doesn't let a week go by without noting than Hilliar/Liberals/U.N are coming to take your guns.

It's almost important to not take everything advocated by a special interest group at face value. No matter how good things get, N.O.W. and other such groups will never say, "Well, we are no longer needed, let's disband, find other jobs, and another way to make our lives meaningful."

On certain issues, I believe that they don't want things to get better. Some people are addicted to the victim mentality and some people feel so guilty that they let groups get away with it. (this isn't to say there are no legitimate complaints).

Tammy Bruce deals with the issue a lot
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 10:11 AM on March 16, 2007


they are no longer needed.

According to whom?

it reflects badly on the field

What field?

Dworkin was one individual, a writer and activist. She did not claim to represent all women or all feminists. I'm puzzled as to why you bring her up. You're free to dislike her point of view, certainly, but she did not represent a field.

I have more rewarding things to be doing

So do I and many other activists, which is why your mention of Selective Service is not particularly germane to the discussion.
posted by Miko at 10:19 AM on March 16, 2007


it reflects badly on the field
What field?
Feminism. Women’s Studies, if you prefer.
You're free to dislike her point of view, certainly, but she did not represent a field.
The Guardian says: ‘Since the mid-1970s, Dworkin symbolised women's war against sexual violence. ’ Feminists, or the field of Women’s Studies, have always believed that war to be part of their core competency; it would be hard to characterise such a symbolic role as anything but representative.
So do I and many other activists, which is why your mention of Selective Service is not particularly germane to the discussion.
I repeat, [my reasonably-grounded lack of political engagement] shouldn’t disqualify me from having some insight into how various societies work. If you want people to refrain from discussion with you should they not be prepared to hustle in a political movement, wear a badge; I’m sure everyone will pay attention to it.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 10:30 AM on March 16, 2007


There is money and power at stake.

Yeah, the people I know who work for Youth & Family Services, the Women's Crisis Network, and Planned Parenthood are laughing at that boogeyman all the way to the bank!

N.O.W. and other such groups will never say, "Well, we are no longer needed, let's disband, find other jobs, and another way to make our lives meaningful."

Why would you say that? The historical evidence shows that indeed, in that bright and glorious day when a certain type of social change is no longer required, groups do disband.

people are addicted to the victim mentality

Activism and advocacy are the opposite of victimhood. Victims whimper, feel powerless, and blame others. Activists work for change, and continue working until their mission is fulfilled.
posted by Miko at 10:32 AM on March 16, 2007


4. Get in a fistfight, even if you are going to lose.

I'm fascinated by this piece of advice, and I'd love to post an AskMe question about it, but I can't think of a way to do it that won't be chatfilter.

I've never been in a fight in my life, and I'm happy about this. Hearing someone say "get into a fistfight" sounds to me like "get cancer." But I realize that lots of guys feel like there's truly a benefit of fighting. Okay, what IS the benefit? Saying "it's character building" doesn't cut it, because that's too vague. And I realize that some guys just enjoy a good fight, but that's not a good reason, either, because then the issue just becomes "do what you enjoy."

The only benefit I can see of getting into a fight is "becoming braver." I can relate this to getting stung by a wasp. For years, people told me "Bee stings hurt a little, but they're nothing compared to wasp stings," and so I was terrified of being stung by a wasp. I'm glad I finally was stung, because I learned that it wasn't THAT bad. I got over it, and I'm not scared of wasps any more.

But a wasp sting seems like something that is likely to happen to most people at some point, so it's useful to overcome fear of it. But I've managed to live to 41 without every being in a fistfight -- and I haven't worked hard to do this. I just never am in situations where I need to fight. I realize that my background has a lot to do with it. I'm sure things would be different if I get up in The Projects, but I didn't. And I don't enjoy any of the sorts of environments where fights tend to happen (sporting events, rowdy bars, etc.)

If one lives in a dangerous environment, I DO see the sense in learning self defense. And I can also see the need to fight for something you deeply believe in. But I DON'T see the point for fighting for something -- even if you deeply believe in it -- if you know you'll lose.

I'm passionate about freedom of speech, but if some 250lb guy is trying to silence me, I'm no going to fight him, because if I do, I'll lose and that won't help my cause.

So I just don't get it.
posted by grumblebee at 10:35 AM on March 16, 2007


The Guardian says: ‘Since the mid-1970s, Dworkin symbolised women's war against sexual violence. ’ Feminists, or the field of Women’s Studies, have always believed that war to be part of their core competency; it would be hard to characterise such a symbolic role as anything but representative.
Sorry, that was unclear from me. When Andrea Dworkin spoke to the Meese Commission, that made her one of the more public feminists in the US. As a result, when lots of people thought of the word ‘feminist,’ she, understandably enough, came to mind; she became representative. As someone who has paid more attention and read more widely, though, I realise her position is well outside what mainstream there is, and when having an informed discussion, I’m very ready to admit it.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 10:37 AM on March 16, 2007


Feminisim is a social philosophy associated with the women's movement, one element of the larger human potential movement. Women's Studies is an academic field. Social movements and academic fields are not the same things. As nearly as I can tell, Dworkin was never a Women's Studies scholar or academic. She was a frequent campus speaker and many of her books are used in Women's Studies courses, but she did not represent the field of women's studies. She was a feminist, but a central tenet of the feminist movement is that of individual freedom of choice. Not all feminists are alike, and there is debate among them. Not all feminists agree with Dworkin - probably not even a majority. Just as not all black Civil Rights activits agree with Louis Farrakhan, or Malcolm X in his day. Picking one individual and claiming they reflect on, or represent, an incredibly large social movement is not logically sound.

If you want people to refrain from discussion with you

I don't want people to refrain. I do. however, want to establish clear terms so that a discussion can make sense, and ask for evidence for and justification of points of view which are presented without enough specificity. All fair in a discussion. If it's scary, don't take part.
posted by Miko at 10:38 AM on March 16, 2007


Maybe feminists aren't agitating about the selective service because there's no active draft right now, making it a less important issue than, say, agitating to have the women already in service allowed to take combat missions, serve on submarines, etc. Does agitating to be allowed to take higher risk jobs in the military count as "egalitarianism when that would be to the disadvantage of women."

Consider also that feminists are more likely to be left-leaning, and the left isn't nuts about the draft to begin with.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:41 AM on March 16, 2007


As a result, when lots of people thought of the word ‘feminist,’

well, the real problem is that most of the time this discussion happens it turns into "men do this" "women do that" and it all turns into gross and useless generalizations

which is why i don't bother much with it
posted by pyramid termite at 10:42 AM on March 16, 2007


I like this list. It reminds me of things Heinlein would have had Lazarus Long say.

I don't agree with all of it, of course, but there a built in circuit breaker for that in the list. Someday I'll put together a list of the wisdom (dubious that it may be) that I've accumulated over the years. If I'm lucky someone will pay enough attention to it to ignore my advice.
posted by djeo at 10:42 AM on March 16, 2007


Does agitating to be allowed to take higher risk jobs in the military count as "egalitarianism when that would be to the disadvantage of women."

Yes, and that is certainly happening, karmakaze.
posted by Miko at 10:44 AM on March 16, 2007


Don’t believe the crap about the patriarchy. More women are accepted and attend college. More degrees are awarded to women than men. Women outlive men.

It saddens me that people confuse valid complaints with oneupmanship. I'm guilty of this sometimes, and I'm trying to change. For instance, I'm an atheist and my best friend is a Christian. We sometimes get in these inane discussions in which we vie for the right to complain. He talks about how Christians are oppressed (in intellectual circles), and I come back with "Are you kidding me? It's much easier to be a Christian than an Atheist!"

But the fact that Christians may or may not have a hard time does not have a simple, causal relationship with whether or not Atheists have a hard time. Maybe we both have hard times. There's not just one hard-time hat that only one person gets to wear.

So many male/female discussions are framed in the nonsequitur, needlessly-antagonistic way. Yes, it's hard to be a young man -- and it's hard in some specific ways (ways that tend not to affect women) -- and men need to be told about this and given advice about how to deal with it. But women also have a hard time (for some of the same reasons and for some reasons unique to being female). PEOPLE have a hard time.
posted by grumblebee at 10:45 AM on March 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


when lots of people thought of the word ‘feminist'

Yeah, and let's face it; I just can't take responsibility for the simplistic impressions of "lots of people" that feminists are man-haters, any more than a Muslim can take responsibility for the simplistic impression of Muslims as insular terrorist supporters. All an individual can do is to work singly and in organizations to advance deeper ideas and provide counterexamples. I do expect literate and informed people to recognize that social movements have complexity and contain a range of opinion, though.
posted by Miko at 10:49 AM on March 16, 2007


Jess th mess-

Second, though his advice about women isn't horrible in itself, the fact that he feels the need to give advice on women in general, as if we're some sort of abstract concept or alien race, shows that he never quite "got it", however old he is.

The only thing a guy needs to about women is that they are people, fellow human beings, and need to be treated as such.


i've noticed this too, and i think that it is what characterizes the 'old man generation'- that they can make that generalization. That they can make statements like 'women are like this' or 'women want this'.
it's al little like racism really, but even sillier. i mean, women make up 50% of the world.
posted by Miles Long at 10:50 AM on March 16, 2007


PEOPLE have a hard time.

That's very true, grumblebee, and I wish that men were better at supporting other men, somehow, since I hear this all the time.

It's important to recognize the effects of milennia of patriarchy as they linger in law and social structures, though. Patriarchy hurt everybody, but it put limitations on women which created underlying assumptions that still affect our systems. That's why feminism as well as egalitarianism are still needed. Similarly, racial oppression hurt everybody, but its lingering effects are felt as more limiting in black communities than in white ones.
posted by Miko at 10:52 AM on March 16, 2007


Miko:
[…] Picking one individual and claiming they reflect on, or represent, an incredibly large social movement is not logically sound.
M-W.com entry for represent:

[…]
9 : to serve as a specimen, example, or instance of
[…]

Dworkin was a feminist, oder? And like it or not, Abu Ghraib does reflect badly on the US, despite a large numbers of the population not agreeing with the tactics used there.
Not all feminists agree with Dworkin - probably not even a majority.
See my comment here.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 10:52 AM on March 16, 2007


Well said, Miles and co.
posted by Miko at 10:52 AM on March 16, 2007


Yeah, the people I know who work for Youth & Family Services, the Women's Crisis Network, and Planned Parenthood are laughing at that boogeyman all the way to the bank!


I am referring to activists groups. Although Planned Parenthood is odious in my opinion for two reasons, their origins like in eugenics and I oppose abortion (yet, I don't favor government banning it).

Why would you say that? The historical evidence shows that indeed, in that bright and glorious day when a certain type of social change is no longer required, groups do disband.

Single issue based groups cannot usually remain. I was far too vague in my original statement. I am referring to political activist groups who are rooted in group identity (I apologize if it seems I was using to broad of a brush). The examples you offer about suffrage, slavery, et al., were mostly single issue driven, and not general. For instance, general groups are along the lines of Focus on the Family, the NAACP, N.O.W., Christian Coalition, etc. This is why I used the example of unions in the post.

I am focusing on political groups, many social organizations do good work. Running shelters, etc, are good things.

I hope I have been a little bit more clear. I'm very tired and hope I don't come off wrong.

Activism and advocacy are the opposite of victimhood. Victims whimper, feel powerless, and blame others. Activists work for change, and continue working until their mission is fulfilled

There is a line between victim and victimhood. Victimhood is the establishment of a victim culture. People have a right to organize and become advocates, it's always good to see people speak out. However, this does not mean they aren't engaging in worship of the victim. Since there are only two genders, it often takes the forum of simply wanting to introduce systemic anti-male polices. I doubt many people want to legalize wife beating or rape and those are crimes, yet some (not all, I want to be clear: some) political activists want to somehow regulate behavior that is consensual (pornography).

Once again, I am not saying there are no legitimate complains. Nor am I saying "they should shut up" I'm saying that a general, identity-based activist group will always find something to complain about. I have to use the "Family Values" movement as an example. They are a great example. No matter how much Christians and Conservatives have, they still manage to push the idea that there is a "War on Christians" going on.

There are always going to be people who dislike (insert group). It then becomes a question of how free one believes those people should be. I object to the use of force, fraud, coercion and such. But I don't think the government should be social engineers. Now if we are talking about the same groups, sans the desire to use government to further their agenda, then I really don't have much opposition to them, since they are just pushing an agenda, and we all push agendas.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 11:03 AM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's why feminism as well as egalitarianism are still needed.

If this is meant literally, I don't get it. Egalitarianism should be enough. People who care about equality care about equality, and they should be deeply offended by laws and structures that hinder women, because such hindrances aren't egalitarian.

I realize that, in the real world, people AREN'T egalitarian, and so special-interest groups are necessary. So maybe a clearer statement is that women (as a group) need advocacy to combat society's tendency to be inegalitarian.

Or, if you feel that people CAN be truly egalitarian, then doesn't it make sense to drop feminism and teach (compel?) people to be fair to everybody?
posted by grumblebee at 11:34 AM on March 16, 2007


grumblebee

From my experience (having never been stung by a wasp) the point of the fistfight quote is, I think, that you shouldn't back down from a fight. I have never started a fight and have only been in two. The first, the guy realized he was going to have to fight me, so he turned on someone else and it was all over. He as an idiot, but he was bigger than me.

The second, another kid in school was pushing me (verbally) for weeks. Then he physically pushed me and I took a swing at him. It happened so fast, I think he was genuinely surprised. He didn't hit back and treated me with respect after that.

Perhaps the line should read ...even if you might lose. But then it wouldn't be quite right.

So, get in a fight even if you are going to lose, because you won't know until you try and the results will most likely be better than if you avoid it. Just don't start fights.

(doesn't quite have the same poetic ring, does it?)
posted by mmrtnt at 11:48 AM on March 16, 2007



So, get in a fight even if you are going to lose, because you won't know until you try and the results will most likely be better than if you avoid it. Just don't start fights.


I wonder if that mentality is becoming antiquated. I surely would never back down in front of my girlfriend (primitive I suppose). I can't help but look at some people (i.e. certain unnamed politicians) and think that a such a pro-fighting view may lead to putting "reason" aside. Oddly, I agree with it though. I don't see how many people could just bow out when being physically assailed.

In a perfect world, "Stop hitting me and let us rationally discuss our feelings" would be enough to circumvent a fight.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 11:53 AM on March 16, 2007


"The only benefit I can see of getting into a fight is "becoming braver." I can relate this to getting stung by a wasp. For years, people told me "Bee stings hurt a little, but they're nothing compared to wasp stings," and so I was terrified of being stung by a wasp. I'm glad I finally was stung, because I learned that it wasn't THAT bad. I got over it, and I'm not scared of wasps any more."

That's it in a nutshell. I try to avoid fighting but, having been in a few fights, I'm not afraid to fight. I don't necessarily enjoy it (except that one big drunken bar brawl that was just like you see in the movies) but I'll do it if I need to and sometimes there's a need.
posted by MikeMc at 11:55 AM on March 16, 2007


grumblebee: I think that piece of advice ("get in a fist fight") is a good one. And, from the rest of his comments (especially re: the military), probably for the same reasons as this guy.

To have personally experienced a real fight (not sanitized BS like boxing or tournament martial arts) is to gain a deep respect and even perhaps fear for such physical violence. You comparison to cancer is apt. Imagine that you could personally experience the life of a severe cancer patient for just a few days. It would give you a irreplaceable insight into such experiences.

Your anecdote about the wasp string shows just how insulated you must be from the human potential for violence. It is a part of us. Instinct, hormones, the deep structures of our minds know how to kill. It is not something a sane person would think of as bravery.
posted by Riemann at 11:57 AM on March 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


Most of the reason I've only been in two fights in my life is that I wear glasses.

It hurts to get hit in the glasses. More so than just getting punched in the head. And I can't see for beans without them.

But, I've got a big mouth, and I think I'm pretty funny. I'm actually surprised I haven't been in more fights.

So, I think there's something to be said for getting into at least one fight if you can't avoid it otherwise. Even if it only helps you recognize when a fight might happen and to keep your stupid mouth shut.
posted by mmrtnt at 12:18 PM on March 16, 2007


But, I've got a big mouth, and I think I'm pretty funny. I'm actually surprised I haven't been in more fights.

Dude. I think we may be related. People used to ask me all the time "doesn't your smart mouth get you beat up a lot?" and I would reply "Not as much as you would think". Of course being 6'4" tall and weighing 250+ doesn't hurt. Sometimes I just gotta be me, even if it means taking an ass whuppin'. And yes, it does hurt to get hit in the glasses. I've learned to take mine off and hand them to someone to hold for me when I sense the bad juju building up.
posted by MikeMc at 12:42 PM on March 16, 2007


"doesn't your smart mouth get you beat up a lot?"

My 6'4" brother in law told me that big guys get in fights more because stupid, smaller guys want to prove something.

I'm 5'11"

You probably get to spout off more than I. Or, perhaps you're one of those guys who is so confident and secure you don't try to intimidate people with your size - as my brother in law does.

(but he's cool, funny and has a heart. He just likes to pressure people who are easy)
posted by mmrtnt at 1:03 PM on March 16, 2007


Ah, to hell with the Old Man's Advice.

"To the 'Gentlemen' on Polk Street Who Scared My Horses. Pull Up Your Pants!!!"

This is absolutely the funniest "Best of Cragslist" so far!
posted by mmrtnt at 1:12 PM on March 16, 2007


Sweet fuck, y'all have wandered off the topic like drunk potheads with ADD.

And people wonder why I think everyone on Craigslist is psychotic. Hmmmmmmmmm....
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:34 PM on March 16, 2007


The trick with fistfights is you have to be able to tell what kind of fistfight it's going to be before you get into it.

Most fistfights between guys aren't entirely serious, even if they're both completely enraged, especially if the two guys know each other. Most of the time if a couple guys get in a scuffle it's just a brawl, maybe a play for some dominance. The guys will dust it up for a while, one or both winds up with a shiner, cracked tooth, fat lip, bloody nose, etc., and then it calms back down and everyone kinda goes back to their business. If one guy is overmatched he might wind up on the floor, but the other guy will let off him, and it's "lesson learned." Fights like this usually have a lot of witnesses; it's more to show the dominance to the witnesses than anything else.

A fight like that usually starts out with loud words, some pushing and shoving; relatively slow escalation even if the fight is a definite go. Sometimes it starts with a sucker punch, but it's pretty obvious that it's going down.

A serious fistfight is one where your opponent is deliberately going to try to kill you, either directly or by beating you badly enough so that if you don't get treatment soon, you'll die. Both of these take a great deal of effort and usually some expertise. Most brawlers don't have the endurance and focus necessary to really hurt someone with their hands or feet; the human body can take an astonishing amount of abuse (remember, sometimes people fall hundreds of feet and live!).

Fights like that usually have few or no witnesses (anyone there who's not a combatant is the attacker's accomplice, generally), and little or no preamble; if there's a sucker punch, it comes without any warning at all, as an ambush.

Neither of them is all that hard to avoid. The first kind, you can usually walk away from the preamble or talk/joke your way out of it. To avoid the second one, don't piss some mean bastard off to the point where he wants to kill you, and stay the hell away from gangs.

Sometimes the non-serious fight can turn serious - there's some guys out there who'll see red at certain provocations - but that's usually when everyone else around sees the danger and stops it.

I've been in a few non-serious, never a serious one, none since I turned 25. Lost most of 'em, I'm not a big guy, but pretty much always dealt some respectable pain to the other guy by fighting dirty. Usually I wound up having a beer and laughing with the guy who just kicked my ass, heh. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 5:43 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


The trick with fistfights is ...

... you never know if the other guy's going to pull a gun instead

it happens all the time these days ... someone gets his ass kicked ... and decides he's going to take it to the next level
posted by pyramid termite at 5:50 PM on March 16, 2007


Sadly true, pyramid. Completely stupid, but sadly true.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:13 PM on March 16, 2007


Mitheral - I thank ye for the warning :)
posted by your mildly obsessive average geek at 6:41 PM on March 16, 2007


I think it's funny when men think they're tearing down feminism for not fighting on behalf of men.

There's a lot of legitimate battles and if the men complaining fought *some* of them instead of berating women for not fighting *all* them, we'd get to better a lot more quickly.

(Also it is a myth that men are raped more than women. Women in jail get raped too, mostly by male workers, and in appalling numbers.
posted by Salamandrous at 9:28 PM on March 16, 2007


There's a lot to be said for getting in a fight at least once - if you stand your ground, you have proved something very important to yourself, whether or not you ultimately lose the fight. This should certainly happen before one is, say, twenty-five; it should be developmental, not incidental.

I refer to one-on-one fighting within standard limits (no weapons, nothing below the waist, etc.) - and not ambushing someone, fighting while one person's buddies stand around menacingly, or fighting involving seriously harm. Nobody should have to fight if they don't want to, but the fact is that you may find yourself in a fight regardless of how you feel about it - all you can control is how you act (or react).

The manner in which young animals will play at fighting is indicative of how important this behaviour can be in developing, not only the skills necessary for survival, but order within the group, and a proper appreciation (if I can use that word) for oneself and one's fellow creatures. Fighting manages impulses and needs that would likely otherwise go inwards and cause all kinds of problems.

Full disclosure: I say all this as someone who was regularly beat up at a young age by other kids - until finally, at my mother's suggestion, I beat the crap out of a couple of guys and was thereafter left alone.

And, on preview: that's funny that you mentioned 25 too zooogleplex. And yeah, I'm talking here about standard fistfighting, not the "serious" kind.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:03 PM on March 16, 2007


Fie on the whole Fight Club scene here. Never had to fight myself. Was I just lucky? Did I win lifetime fight Lotto?

I don't think so. I will tell my son that the goal is recognizing what's going on and doing what it takes to avoid a fight. That includes walking away from people who are trying to bully you.

To me, it's better to walk away even through the jeers and even thrown beers of a crowd than imagine fists are the way to go.

The alternative - buying into their retarded game by putting your dukes up - is ultimately self-defeating. I decided I was not going to be anybody's free WWF.

You gonna be your own man by doing what the blockheaded masses want you to do? Or are you going to be the one in control?

Sure, there might be situations where an antagonist or two would not let you retreat. Personally, I have never found one. If I did, I long ago assured myself, I would go for eyes and groin. Clearly it is best for all concerned that that turned out to be nothing but a feverish imagination working out the bourbon.
posted by sacre_bleu at 10:30 PM on March 16, 2007


I will tell my son that the goal is recognizing what's going on and doing what it takes to avoid a fight. That includes walking away from people who are trying to bully you.

You gonna be your own man by doing what the blockheaded masses want you to do? Or are you going to be the one in control?


There are a lot of situations. Many you may not have imagined. In my second of two "fights" listed above, I was alone in a room with a guy who had been verbally abusing me for weeks. We worked together in the Jr. High Audio-Visual department (do they still have those?) wheeling projectors around.

At the age of 13, I didn't know that I could go to the principal and complain about him. And heaven knows what would have happened if I did. I just knew I had to get by him to do my job. I punched him, he backed off and was friendly to me from then on.

Was I/it wrong? I don't think so.

But what the hell do I know? It was over 30 years ago. Things maybe have changed for the better.
posted by mmrtnt at 11:46 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Don’t take proffered advice without a critical analysis. 90% of all advice is intended to benefit the proponent, not the recipient"

You're giving me advice that invalidates itself. Wow. *golf clap*
posted by tehloki at 1:13 AM on March 17, 2007


I also chuckled at "If your gay". This guy can't be old... he's obviously been on the internet too long for his own good.
posted by tehloki at 1:14 AM on March 17, 2007


I refer to one-on-one fighting within standard limits (no weapons, nothing below the waist, etc.)

Hey, I'm not taking my pants off to fight, no matter what kind of standards you have.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:47 AM on March 17, 2007


Salamandrous, if you’re talking about me, I haven’t been trying to ‘tear down’ feminism here, and it’s very you’re-either-with-us-or-against-us thinking to imagine I am. I have some problems with the movement—as I hope you would with the Suffragettes’ support for baby-farming—and I don’t identify as a feminist, but lots of what it has advocated and achieved has been well-judged and sensible and has made the world a better place.

I didn’t say that I believed that women should have to register for the draft in the US or that I believed that family courts should treat mothers and fathers even-handedly. Maybe I’m entirely happy with the current situation, and as such no campaigning would be indicated.

As to prison rape, many times more men are in prison than in women, in every society in the world. The assertion isn’t on the face of it unbelievable, though figures would be really helpful.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 6:43 AM on March 17, 2007


As a childless old fart myself (53), I've often wanted to pass on tips and thoughts that might help my nieces and nephews on their way through life and could relate to the person, however old his is, who wrote Advice to Young Men. Of course, the telling of the advice reveals a lot about the person doing the advising. His advice is something of an oblique mini-autobiography, as is the hilarious and fun Bad News Hughes' Uncle Patrick’s Advice to Children.

In fact, some of the delight I got out of the Best of Craigslist posts were that they revealed so much about the people posting, richly amusing slices-of-life. The cat sitter needed for my lousy cat still makes me laugh thinking about it, days later, as does I spilled grandma on you around spadian station (shades of Meet the Parents tragicomedy). As a cancer survivor I loved the feistiness of the 19 year old who wrote 6 years ago tomorrow.....

However quirkily written they are, Craigslist's Best of posts seem as juicy to me as compelling short stories.
posted by nickyskye at 9:28 AM on March 18, 2007


Jess the Mess said: Second, though his advice about women isn't horrible in itself, the fact that he feels the need to give advice on women in general, as if we're some sort of abstract concept or alien race, shows that he never quite "got it", however old he is.

The only thing a guy needs to about women is that they are people, fellow human beings, and need to be treated as such.


I'd echo that point as a generality. Some folks (men and women) I've known never seemed to grasp the essential truth of our all being in this together and deserving of mutual respect.

And in their inability to grasp it, they acted and lived their lives in such a way that would make this fellow's advice quite applicable to them.

So while I don't think his comments about women stand as a generalization, I could easily see his remarks being quite valid for SOME women, who really have earned his assessment. Same goes for some men, too.
posted by darkstar at 2:31 PM on March 18, 2007


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