"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by Dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become."
- Steve Jobs

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Why do today's soppy men act like toddlers who need to be mollycoddled?

By Sophie Heath

Like the original Madonna and child, the young woman on the Tube has her beloved draped around her, his head nestling on her shoulder.  As he snoozes, she texts idly with one hand, while the other absent-mindedly strokes his arm, soothingly, maternally. But this is no serene scene of mother and son — this is a couple. A couple of adults.

If you are forced to use public transport, you see them all the time. Soppy young blokes in skinny jeans, hair artfully arranged to mimic a guinea pig in a hurricane, being mollycoddled by a domineering, post-Spice Girls vixen who, if figures released last week are correct, also earns more than him.

Or perhaps he’s stroking her, as though she were a cuddly toy or a security blanket. You half expect him to start sucking his thumb or the corner of her coat.  If he’s allowed to travel alone, he’ll be reading Harry Potter or playing with his phone, spreadeagled like a giant baby in its cot, scratching his crotch and yawning so brazenly you fear being sucked into the gaping chasm of his mouth.

It’s not just young bucks. Men who would once have been called middle-aged are behaving like teenagers, faces nourished by some male consumer-targeted unction (because he’s worth it), huddled over their Nintendo Wii or iPhone, desperate to ignore the spectre of maturity tapping on their shoulder.
Once the hair starts to recede, the only concession is to shave it all off — leaving a greying-templed baby-man with a risibly-outsized watch on his ickle wrist, lager bottle in hand, clad in a T-shirt that declares Get Your Coat, You’ve Pulled and drop-crotch, half-mast trousers that render him incapable of doing anything but stumble about like a toddler. Be still, my beating heart.

You’d think fatherhood would force these baby-men to grow up sharpish, but not a bit of it.Those who have acquiesced to their girlfriends’ demands and suddenly find themselves pushing a buggy fractionally smaller than a bus clearly struggle with their new role. I recently shared a train carriage with a man who spent the entire 25-minute journey jangling an iPhone in the face of his bemused-looking baby. It wasn’t hard to see who was having more fun. Who’s the daddy?  Quite.

Just look at the success of the U.S. television series Mad Men. Aside from the sharp scripts and the faultless production values, what made it such a phenomenon?  Dare I suggest it was largely because it recalled a time when we still acknowledged a gender divide? When women were women, and men were men.  Call me old-fashioned, but can you imagine Don Draper on his daily commute, earphones plugged in, knees akimbo, playing virtual football on a Smartphone, pointedly ignoring the old lady teetering on a stick in front of him?

Which brings us to the golden age of Hollywood and the men who had studios chomping at the bit to sign them.  Would Ava Gardner have been irresistibly drawn to Frank Sinatra if she’d clocked him shuffling past in shorts and flip-flops, shouting ‘Laters!’ into his mobile?  Would Richard Burton have proved so addictive for Elizabeth Taylor if he were a simpering, feminised mess, confused about his place in the world?

I grew up in the Seventies and Eighties, daydreaming of a future husband with an air of actor Robert Mitchum about him. But today’s baby-men need their women to provide a shoulder to lean on, not the other way around.  The likes of James Stewart and Gregory Peck, while not overtly macho, could never have been accused of being juvenile or girly.   And even those whom some might regard as verging on camp — Monty Clift, James Dean, Dirk Bogarde — were butcher than many of today’s heterosexual men, despite being comfortable with expressing their emotions.  Dean’s ‘You’re tearing me apart!’ was the howl of a wolf, not the bleat of a lamb.  These were real, red-blooded, grown-up men, whose turbo-charged testosterone made them the perfect foil to their glossy female co-stars.  Strong, dependable, loyal — at least until another more pneumatic dame caught their eye — they drove women wild with starry-eyed lust, making them weak at the knees and sparking some primal longing within the female breast, while giving male fans something, however unattainable, to aspire to. 

With the exception of Colin Firth, who fills the Peck/Stewart gap, and Cary Grant’s successor, that old-school playboy George Clooney, today’s big-screen role models are all eternal ‘frat boys’.  Think of American actors Owen Wilson and Ashton Kuchter. Ashton’s currently making headlines for allegedly cheating on his wife Demi Moore, a woman 15 years his senior. But the whole affair is being treated as if he’s a naughty schoolboy who’s disappointed his proud mum — not a man who’s betrayed his woman.  Maybe Ashton has decided he is finally ready to cut the apron strings and flee the maternal embrace? He should count himself lucky — not many thirtysomethings can afford to leave home these days. This, perhaps, explains a lot.

Women have a lot to thank feminist Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch for, but some lines have become catastrophically blurred since the Nineties rise of the Jack Daniel’s-swigging ladette.  Remember the boyband East 17? I think the rot might have set in there.They looked like they had borrowed their big brothers’ clothes and crooned: ‘If you’ve got to go away, don’t think I can stand the pain.’ Just like a child to his mother on his first day at school.

What a weird century. We fret endlessly about little girls growing up too quickly, while men regress back to the womb.  Is it because in a society that’s all about boosting female confidence (‘Here come the girls!’), men are unsure of their role, ashamed of their testosterone?  No one’s saying everyone should conform to a gender stereotype, or that men should be ‘dissing’ their women like some caricature of male aggression.
But neither should masculinity be regarded as a dirty word. Isn’t it time to man up, boys?

Friday, October 07, 2011

The best CF rant ever about becoming a parent

This was taken from Craigslist and is especially for all you Childfree out there:


Yeah, we get it - You're pregnant. BIG FUCKING DEAL. It's not like you went to school for three years and had to take some excruciating multi-day certification. It's not like you saved a Golden Retriever puppy from getting run over by a bus load of Norwegian tourists. It's not like you cured macular degeneration. YOU SPREAD YOUR LEGS AND TOOK A MAN-MUSTARD INJECTION... Wow. Way to go. I am amazed you made it through such a mentally and physically demanding challenge that probably lasted all of 45 seconds (either natural or lab-grown.)

And now we are suppose to fawn all over you. We are suppose to act like it's so incredibly difficult to get pregnant, and that you are now this pristine chalice of life -Something that deserves to be worshiped and adored.

Feel sick in the mornings? Do your feet hurt cause they are swelling? Gotta buy new clothes because you are 12 weeks along and have already put on 19 pounds? NOT MY PROBLEM. Do your job like you are suppose to and shut the hell up already.

Oh btw - Quit using your pregnancy as an excuse to stuff your gullet each and every chance you get. When you proudly stand up at the staff party and announce that "The baby wants" an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's Super Fudge Chunk, a liter of Dr. Pepper, some curly fries THEN TELL THE BABY TO SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Now what exactly do I have to look forward to for the next two or three years..? A constant stream of verbal diarrhea such as "little Bobby went to the toilet and pooped all by himself - But he forgot to wipe and then sat on the floor to pull his pants up! It was so precious, but there was poop everywhere!" or "I'm sorry I'm 40 minutes late, you see I have a four-year-old in potty training and we had an accident." or "I don't feel comfortable doing the speed limit, my baby is only two months old - You can go around." FUCK YOU.

Two years after that and now I'm stuck behind you at the concession stand - And guess what? You feel it's important to empower your child. It doesn't matter that there are nine people behind you, you want little Bobby to make his own choice when it comes to artificially flavored processed movie snacks. By God, Bobby is special. He must be because that's what all the Nike commercials say. There is only one Bobby and he is different from every other person on this earth. He is special by God, and he will be raised knowing he is special. And now, little Bobby has been standing there with his little index finger in his little mouth, staring at all the choices for the last FULL minute. But you aren't the type of parent to acknowledge the fact that many people are waiting for little Bobby to make up his little mind. You don't say something like "Hurry and choose something or I will choose for you" or even better "Other people are waiting, make up your mind" - Not you. Instead, you turn to the sea of humanity that has formed a marginally cohesive line behind you and look at them with an 'I'm sure you all understand' look. FUCK YOU. You are the same people that just can't put their cell phone conversation on hold for 20 seconds while you order your venti no-whip-half-caff almond latte and spinach croissant - Instead you make eye contact with the waiter and raise that index finger. The index finger which happens to be the international signal for 'I am a socially retarded fuckhead.'

One time I saw an interview with Hootie (of the Blowfish), with his wife. It was a lovely 'What does Hootie and his wife do when he's at home and not packing fans into concerts at 20 or 30% of capacity' piece on some lame ass afternoon news biopic show. Anyway Hootie's wife starts talking about kids and how they are such a miracle and (now she is actually tearing up) and she just can't understand how anyone wouldn't want to have children and HOW SHE JUST FEELS SORRY FOR THOSE PEOPLE. Oh yes honey, feel sorry for us. Obviously we are emotionally fractured because we don't share the same fervent desire to add our particular goo to this world's collective semen cesspool...

I don't hate children. I hate the parents that think they are entitled because they have children...