In Defense of Dudes

Dear Men,

I am one ovarian cramp away from flooding this damn house, and I have words for you.

Surely you just shit your pants. You most definitely have an immediate list popping to mind of what it is I need to get off mine. Full dishwasher? Dirty laundry on the floor? Didn’t look emotionally interested enough during her last weepy conversation about her body? Looked a little too interested when Faith Hill danced through a Sunday Night Football intro? Said something three years ago that was or was not (but certainly was)  a jab at her mother? Look at you, guy. You’re sweating, I can hear your blood pressure, and you are, this one time, worried for nothing.

I just wanted to say I like you, Men. I really like you.

It’s become commonplace that a woman can’t shell out a feminist high-five without kicking a man in the pants. It’s believed that one can’t take proper pride in her gender without hate-shaming the opposing team. See? I just said “opposing team”. Proof that dealings between ladies and lads are increasingly hostile. Well,consider this a peace-offering. For while I love that we girls have pretty hair and voting rights and boobs that can feed people, I see the good in you guys,too.

Beards, innate knowledge of car repair, funny party tricks involving bodily functions: You contribute a lot, mister. Sure, there are a few rotten beer bottles in the bunch. Men will always have to claim Hitler and Charlie Sheen. But you’re also in a club with Jesus and Bob Saget. Women will never be able to boot Ke$ha from our roster. Low points of humanity can’t be helped. So here are some reasons I believe in you, bro.

thedude

You eat like you mean it. Dinner with the girlfriends sounds deceptively appetizing. However, many an outing we wreck a waiter’s night as he takes the slow, exhausting trek around our party of 20. No bread. No mayo. Saute but DO. NOT. FRY. Lettuce shredded on the right side. Wait. Nevermind. Whole Iceberg leaves delicately fanned across the left side. Extra Lemon. I’m detox-ing. Do you sell Diet Appletini? Scratch that. Thirty excruciating minutes later, his order book just reads “Water. Small bowl of carrots“. He would like to quit his job as much as we would like to eat more than infant birds from famine country. Women tend to view food as villain, dangling treats above our heads like a doughy, delicious devil.  This is a generalization, of course. Many of us will eat “like a man” occasionally, but every woman, in some small corner of her mind equates food with negativity.

Meals with men, mostly, feel like a festive feast. You think of what tastes good, wash it down with a beer you didn’t enter into a calorie counter. You eat three plates past when you are full because – zippers be damned!-you’re celebrating life in this here corner booth!

You do friendship right. I’m not speaking to one of my dearest friends right now because she hasn’t called me in weeks and I’m not calling her because this was totally a friendship test. I just want to know she cares as much as I care, so I dumped her.

As much as gals fight for our rights against  hindering laws and ridicule, impossible body image and men who have jobs we want and paychecks we deserve, we can be mighty vicious to one another. Navigating female friendships is akin to break dancing across minefields.One wrong look, one wrong side taken, one too-honest bit of honesty shared and wait for the boom. Not you, sirs. A bro is a bro, and you take your brotherhood seriously by not taking every other thing so seriously.

I marvel at a group of boys I hung out with in high school. They mocked and pranked each other relentlessly. As one made fun of the other’s acne, the other cracked jokes about someone’s mom. The only girl in the room, I’d cringe, wait for fists to fly, because I was envisioning this same conversation happening at the cheer leading team’s slumber party: tears, tears, tears, and somebody’s gettin’ her weave yanked.  I admire your simple relationships, the basic way you can call or not call, hang out everyday or see a bud once in a blue moon, taunt one another ten minutes after sharing some deeply personal struggle, root for different football teams and still manage never to misinterpret who that person is to you: friend.

You admit defeat first, figure out what the war’s about later. Most men are completely comfortable with apologizing. So comfortable, in fact, that you readily accept blame before you know what’s happening. Case in point: I’m on my period. It happens every month (rude!), and the only time I get a break from it is if I commit to baking a whole person in my innards for close to a year. You tolerate our tampon trash, our mood swings, but what you cannot possibly know is that we are mostly furious with you because you do not and cannot experience womanhood. My husband comes home when I’m menstruating, a testament to his devotion. I am irked. The way he takes the trash out is wrong. He’s breathing too much. It makes perfect sense to me to be angry at him. I’d like company in this misery, and there you guys are all womb-less with your perfectly low-maintenance wieners. In reality, no one’s ever been mad at me for having a vagina, but you men- standing by us through pregnancies, the messier miracles of womanhood- are left to accept that you can’t understand or remedy the madness. So you stare at your pants remorsefully, shrug, “Um.Sorry?”.

You are slow to boil, quick to joy. 

My husband comes home from work. His day consists demanding people, impossible deadlines. It is no small wonder that he isn’t a serial killer. An extra load of laundry, sad blog stats, and frizzy hair is enough to push me so deep down in a funk I might never get out. But there he is, happily eating the dinner I was secretly pissed to prepare. A few minutes of playing with our son, some comfortable sweatpants, and he seems fixed. This is the miracle of your manhood, boys, this quick recovery.

Where as I might need a manicure, a nap, a new outfit, a lengthy apology, the blood of two freshly sacrificed cats to overcome such disastrous days, dudes can achieve bliss without the fuss. Sports on the TV, a sip of whiskey, and you’re so cured you’ve forgotten anything ever ailed you.

I’m currently raising a small man, and he shows me that this easy happiness is as natural to him as vertical peeing. There is no glitter, no primp. There is no transference of grudges, lingering moods , just a tiny hombre who’s content to play with a cardboard box. And for this alone, my wallet and I thank God for guys.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many things to love about women. I’m one, and it’s wonderful. What other mythical creatures can walk in high heels, smell like flowers, and maintain brilliant minds attune to nurture the world’s political and personal needs? At the end of the day, women are the magic machines that got you here with some breath and a push, son. This isn’t your fault. You’re great in your own right. So go forth, menfolk, and for every small or imaginary misstep we are prepared to scold your people for, remember Bob Saget, remember this post. Take pride that you’re a dude, by god, and that’s not entirely awful.

toilet

But in all seriousness would it actually kill you to put the toilet seat down,

Tori

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Taking the dudes out of the doghouse today.

What do you love about the Sirs?

Manlies, what’s your favorite part of being a guy?

{writing prompt}  an open letter to men

Mama’s Losin’ It

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108 thoughts on “In Defense of Dudes

  1. You will be relieved to know that in my all-guy house, the rule is that the seat and the lid always go down after use. Because someday, with any luck, some or all of us will be involved with women. Gotta raise ‘em up right.

  2. I agree, despite my recent feminist rants. In some ways, I think women are their own worst enemy. When women are mean, they are very, very mean. The concept of “Mean Girls” didn’t come from someones imagination. We don’t have “Mean Guys.” I mean, they exist, but their attacks aren’t quite as cruel. I just read a book with some 3-6 graders that talked about taking off our skin and walking around as skeletons, because then nobody would be able to recognize race or sex or anything else. What an interesting idea. I wonder what we would choose to destroy each other with if that happened?

    • That wasn’t a rant, ma’am. That was a good piece of thoughtful writing. I hope I’m not downplaying the importance of loving women. I just see this divide like I can’t truly support women without thinking of men as the enemy. I’m a little more on the Peace Circle of Humanity side of things. There are some total idiots of men. There are some ladies I kind of hate to share a gender with. I saw the writing prompt and sure enough my first thought was to write a letter to men about how their body hair is as abundant as it is ridiculous. I stopped and made myself flip the script a little bit. Everybody and everything has good parts!

  3. I love guys. I’d rather work with a room full of men than even just one woman. God knew what He was doing giving me boys, cuz I’m here to tell you, if it weren’t for the boobs and vagina, I’d totally BE a dude. Let’s hear it for the tomboys!

  4. This is fantastic. All of your points are completely valid, right down to the “Beards, innate knowledge of car repair, and funny party tricks involving bodily functions.” Also, I have something to show you that might help with the toilet seat issue…

  5. The dudes put up with so much, they really should get a medal or something. There are a few bad ones, sure. But mostly, they’re awesome. Thank you, sirs, for balancing out our crazy…and giving us someone to eat an alarming amount of wings with.

    • Yes. When Tom and I were in the woo-ing stages, I tried to act all ladylike. I’d barely touch my dinner and act like I was full. Then things got comfortable. Our dates turned into buckets of beer and hot wings at the sports bar. I knew he was a keeper when he watched me finish off a plate by myself and didn’t look even a little bit disgusted :)

  6. Love, love, this! Especially the part about eating and friendships! We, as women, make things so much more complicated than they have to be! Why do we do that? Love this post…and I have to share it!

    • Of course I’m totally playing off stereotypes. I eat like a large bear most of the time, but we ladies certainly do make more of a fuss about things! Thanks for sharing, Britton. (Also? You might just have inspired me to do a Color Run. Looks like so much fun, you know, besides the running part)

    • I’m an equal opportunity hater, really. I’m always struck by how diverse we can be but how universally we can suck. White, black, male, female, Republican, Democrat, Baptist, Atheist: There’s always room for some fool in each club.

  7. Hilarious and spot on! Reminds me of why I was SO RELIEVED when I found out I’m birthing a boy. While I sure do love me some cute little girls in sweet little dresses and bows, after about age three I’m not sure if I could handle the drama.

    • I remember shopping while pregnant. We spotted this mom with THREE little girls coming out of some pink, sparkly store. Each girl was talking over the others, whining about how they needed new glitter shirts to go with the new glitter boots, this one’s not pink enough, but what about hair accessories, Mom? I’ve never been so pumped to raise a low-maintenance, dirt-covered boy. He has no clue what he’s wearing at any given moment, and he’s so darn easy to please most of the time.

  8. Absolutely: Bob Saget, Jon Stewart, Neil DeGrasse-Tyson, Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon,,,the list goes on and on at the top of the pack! I like to think that we’re all on the same team…against the zombies naturally.

    • Jimmy Fallon… still keeping a little piece of my heart open for him. Whenever he’s ready. Love your United Front Against Zombies approach. We really are stronger if we fight together.

    • Me, too. I could do without all that body hair. And I DO like that since I’m a woman, people don’t make fun of me for crying all. the. time. But I like the simple, easy-going way most guys handle life.

  9. All very, very true. A few weeks ago, I told my 9-year old boy about the birds and the bees. Mostly a pretty dry and clinical explanation. Lots of talk about various parts and fluids and such – generally pretty icky stuff to the uninitiated. But I was incredibly proud when the only thing he go upset about was menstruation. “The girls have to bleed?! Every month?! Why would God do that to them?!” Yes, indeed. I’m hoping this means he’ll be very, very, very sympathetic.

  10. As a dude, myself, I must say… This is rather spot on. Granted, a lot are stereotypes… but it’s still true for me. I know both sides, though, as I hung out with girls when I was younger. Still… As much as I agree there are those guys that are terrible, I’d think most guys are as described here. At least, I hope so. Also, I love the humorous tone here, and, I was never taught this, but I always do try to put done the seat after I’m done with the toilet. I close the top completely, actually xD

    • The post is FULL of stereotypes, hopefully funny ones, that I know many men and women don’t exactly fit into. I just realized there is a lot of man-bashing, and I don’t quite get it. I love being a woman, even if I’m not the picture of dainty (known to burp the alphabet and eat my weight in Milk Duds), but I think you guys are pretty great, too.
      Also? GOD BLESS YOU for putting the seat down. You’re a special one!

  11. I’ll tell you what. We’ll take Hitler AND Charlie, if you’ll admit to the Kardashians. (Yeah, Hitler ain’t lookin’ so bad right now, eh? :D )
    What do I like about being a guy? NOT being a GUY. Not being the sweating, beer-swilling, madly-cussing pig. (I have been all of those, I just don’t admit to ‘em.) I like the women. (Not THAT way. Well, yeah, THAT way, but I’m married, ok?) I’ve always been able to hang with the girls, be the shoulder of comfort, be devastatingly charming (and yet stay a virgin FAR into my 20s – weird, that), and just help y’all get through whatever – usually another guy.
    And now you know, after a childhood filled with being “the best friend” ad a love of the Village People, my folks seemed so dang RELIEVED I found a woman I wanted to marry….. ;)

  12. Tori,
    I’m gay (obscene!) and married for 5 years, I often wonder if I where I went wrong (the gay part doesn’t count) living with a guy is a pain in the ass, being a control freak makes it worse, I feel sorry for him at times, but I cannot put up with a lot of crap he does. He doesn’t eat apples cuz he doesn’t know how to peel them, cuz mom always peeled them for him.
    I don’t know how mothers and wives put on with us, well I’m the exception lol

    • Haha. The Mom apples thing makes me laugh and cry a little inside. I’ve had many experiences with my husband that end with “How have you managed to function in the world for so long, Caveman?”. Mostly I’m glad to put up with him because he puts up with me. Putting up with me is ranked right below Levitating and Curing Whiteness on the Impossible Tasks scale!

    • Haha. The Mom apples thing makes me laugh and cry a little inside. I’ve had many experiences with my husband that end with “How have you managed to function in the world for so long, Caveman?”. Mostly I’m glad to put up with him because he puts up with me. Putting up with me is ranked right below Levitating and Curing Whiteness on the Impossible Tasks scale!

  13. Men have it so good. My man only seems to have a confused mood and a happy mood. He is never sad. I don’t understand but I want those hormones instead dammit!

  14. But hang on, don’t you get kind of pissed at them for how quickly they get over stuff? I totally get pissed about that. Because either I wanted to fight about it or I wanted to be the person he poured out his innermost thoughts to on the matter, and he has totally robbed me of BOTH of those things. Asshole.

  15. Jesus and Bob Saget! I’m cracking up here!

    Mine will call me from work to ask me for HIS brother’s phone number. You just gotta forgive such a simple creature for his many shortcomings.

    • Haha. Because you should just have all phone numbers of everyone always on hand :) I do get a little of that from Tom. He gets flustered when he can’t find his stuff and assumes I know where all things are located at all times. No, dear, I didn’t hide your year-old golf magazine from you.

  16. Love, love love everything about this. My dad is the only guy in a household of 4 women and sometimes I wonder how he manages not to go insane. The only time he kind of slips up is when he’s playing with my little boy cousin and I can tell he’s REALLY enjoying himself.
    Best thing about guys is that they’re honest and straightforward. Bad thing about guys…. they can be a little TOO honest and straightforward. (e.g. “My friend likes you because he likes chubby girls.” Yikes.)

    • Oh, God bless your dad. I always felt sorry for my dad and brother. I have four sisters, and I always got the sense that they LOVED when we went out of town for dance trips. The “chubby girl” guy? I’d punch him, I think. I definitely get what you mean in terms of their honesty sometimes being too much of a good thing :)

  17. I love that with guys, I can just say whatever, and it isn’t some sort of ‘deal.’ Generally, my guy friends aren’t passive aggressive. They don’t play games. They laugh at my filthy jokes, and they don’t care if I talk with my mouth full at lunch.

    • Yes! You get it. You definitely have to speak more carefully around a woman. She is going to read eight things into each work that comes out of your mouth. I can just openly mock a guy friend and he’s totally un-phased!

  18. I`m always fascinated by how boys, men, come up with the best and most appropriate nicknames for each other. I`d like to adopt that skill.Of course, then I would lose all my girl friends.

    • I had a pretty rough couple of years after high school trying to make girlfriends. Too much time around the boys, so everything I said or did was totally repulsive and offensive to women.

  19. Headed over here from Mama Kat’s and, of course, you had me rolling. In the deep recesses of my subconscious, I have always hated men for not having vaginas to upkeep but have never thought of it until you said it. HILARIOUS. Keep up the funny!

    • I noticed this last month (you know the time), when everything my husband did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say INFURIATED me. I had to pause and think, this is different, because I don’t think about punching him in the face every old day. The only thing I could come up with was that I was bleeding from my lady bits and really upset at the injustice of it all :)

  20. Perfectly stated, go men (despite my rants on some of the despicable qualities toilet seat placement among them).

    I must say though, you run in the wrong circles if that is what your girls night out looks like at the dinner table. My friends and I are committed to great meals out and plan for them. Great food, great wine and desert!

    • The toilet seat thing is baffling. Of all the challenges of day-to-day life, I just don’t get how that makes the list. And luckily I’ve found a great group of friends who love to eat. I think the more comfortable we got with each other, the more we let the pretense slide. There were some hungry, hungry years for a while, though :)

  21. As a mom of three boys, I can’t understand why they can’t hit the bowl in the bathroom. We even implemented a rule of “No one talks to Finny when he pees.” He turns to face you and sprays an arc of urine as he pivots. Love your writing!

    • Haha! So true and so hilarious (unless you’re the one cleaning up Finny’s mess). It’s kind of like driving, I guess. I can’t really move my head too much without swerving the car.

  22. I don’t know, I go back and forth. Obviously I love them more than anything because I chose to marry one, but sometimes I just look at him and think, “Wow…so it’s true…every feminist, man hating statement I’ve ever heard about how you guys don’t listen or empathize…your man colds and your football and your man cave?…it’s all true huh?” That being said, my guy actually puts the toilet seat down, so I guess it just depends on which breed you happened to marry. ;)

    • Haha. Oh, this was just kind of like stereotype soup. Just dumped every “typical man” thing I could think of into the post. I believe guys are great most days, but I have those days when I’m a little bummed I have to say I’m the same species as the dude who cut me off in traffic, or the teenage boys cracking nasty jokes at the movie theater :)

    • Haha. Thanks, lady! Also, I went to the coffee shop ALONE and had a whole hour to myself. I kept trying to remember your post and actually enjoy the alone time. I only texted to make sure the house hadn’t burned down three times. This is progress!

  23. OMG. This had me laughing. I might steal that ovarian cramp bit. I was just dropping by since you were so kind as to comment on my blog on Monday when I was the SITS featured blogger. Also, I’m hosting a giveaway on my blog this Friday if you’d like to come back by and check it out that would be excellent!

    Your fellow SITStah,
    Sara Ivy
    http://saraivy.org

  24. “The way he takes the trash out is wrong. He’s breathing too much.”

    You’re a brilliant writer, Tori. I actually felt like a woman when I read those lines. What I like most about being a guy is that I can get dressed in sixty seconds. If I really were a woman — having to understand what foundation is and needing a different shade of brown shoes — I’d never get out of the house.

    • Haha. I am a woman and I STILL don’t get the whole shades of brown thing. Matching is too complicated for me. Tacky outfit or not, I’m always shocked how long it takes me to get ready. Tom throws on a cap and a jacket and he’s ready to head out the door!

  25. I would want to be a man for one day just to eat like one. Seriously. I am so sick of the carrot and water and holding the mayo. God, I loved this post!

    • I get all rebellious some days and decide that I will eat like a man. If my husband can down pizza and beer then, by god, I will, too. You know, in the name of equal rights and deliciousness. But then when my pants don’t fit and he’s sitting over there feeling totally fine after pigging out I realize my metabolism is coming back to bite me in the newly enlarged butt :)

  26. Wait. What?

    I always have and (hopefully) will eat ‘like I mean it’. Never known how many calories anything has, and enjoy food for the taste.

    I have wonderful relationships with the women in my life… unlike the men I know, who (as far as I can see) don’t communicate enough with eachother and have strange misunderstandings about eachother as a result.

    I’m all to ready to apologize, much to the annoyance of most people I meet. (And this doesn’t mean I don’t have strong opinions, or that people can’t tell that I do.)

    And it takes a LOT to piss me off.

    Also, I cannot for the life of me walk in high heels or match clothes well.

    To quote Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I a woman?”

    This is not to belittle your point about needing to appreciate men, as well. And trust me, I do. But is essentializing male and female roles really the way to go about it?

    • Hi there! I’ve been away from the blog, so I’m just now getting caught up on comments! I appreciate your point of view. The post was written in response to the writing prompt “Dear Men”. In choosing what to write about I thought it would be interesting to turn the tables a bit. Because a great number of bloggers participating are women, I wanted to find a completely alternative take. Part of my blog is social observation. I find it really interesting how some stereotypes are fully accepted whereas others are viewed as offensive. In today’s world a remark about a woman or certain races, for instance, would make a person a sexist or a racist. However, a comment on how white people can’t dance or putting a man in the dog house or (at least in America) the uneducated remarks about a relation between Islam and terrorism seems to be accepted. That’s not to say I believe in stereotypes at all, just that I find it strange and worthy of taking a closer look. I actually believe that every person is individual, not the group or type or category that society tries to place them in.
      Another part of my blog is humor and satire. I try to take the social oddities I notice and write about them in an entertaining way. It seems to get a conversation started in a less hostile way than writing a stone-cold serious post about a serious issue.
      Regarding this post, I viewed it as a way to address that men aren’t as bad as our stereotypes would have them seem. Most men I know aren’t the lazy, beer-chugging, clueless dopes their gender is often described as. I included a few female stereotypes more to prove a point than anything. Most female readers were offended at the idea of females as dieting, pissy, superficial fashion divas BUT not that worked up about how men are often put down. In a humorous way, this post was attempting to just point out the flaw in that idea. If a reader is outraged only at the false stereotypes aimed at him/her and not worried when other people are mislabeled then what does that say about us? The point was this: Stereotypes don’t paint a fair picture of any individual and it doesn’t feel good to have an unfair picture painted of you.
      Again, thank you for your comment. I get where you are coming from because (in more ways than I can count) I am not at all the stereotypical woman. I just wanted to add to that idea by saying that a lot of guys aren’t at all stereotypical men.

      • Hello! Thanks for your reply. And yes, I do see what you’re doing here. And I do realise it’s extremely hard to be humourous without making the kind of moves you make. I guess I had read one too many stereotypical post that day and just couldn’t handle it.
        Cheers, and keep writing.

      • No! I think your comment was definitely spot on. Stereotypes towards women ARE completely obnoxious. I meant to take a humorous look at that, but I can always use work on the humor part. Sometimes the joke is clear and sometimes it misses the mark!

    • I’ve been lucky to find a handful of really amazing, pick-no-fights lady friends in recent years. Something about getting older makes it easier. But HOLY CATFIGHT, I went through a couple decades of finicky friendships to get here!

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