Archive | November, 2009

A Few Quotes to Make You Puke

29 Nov

I’m reading a book right now about the history of attempts at controlling the world’s population (Fatal Misconception by Matthew Connelly – I recommend it) and just came across some pretty disturbing quotes related to promoting IUD use in developing countries. I’m not exactly a fan of any birth control method, given that they all seem to pose much greater risks to women than men (yes, even condoms), but I have an IUD and don’t completely hate it. However, having it inserted might have been one of the most traumatic experiences of my life, and I think doing it to someone against her will, without informing her of the potential dangers, or without providing follow-up care ought to carry the death penalty. But for the men of the ’50s and ’60s hubristic enough to think they ought to be in charge of who would reproduce and in what conditions, women’s bodily sovereignty and health seemed not to matter quite as much as their desire to live in a world in which they weren’t out-numbered by brown people. Check this shit out.

Alan Guttmacher, then president of Planned Parenthood-World Population, at a 1964 conference on the safety of IUDs (205):

As I see it, the IUD’s have special application to underdeveloped areas where two things are lacking: one, money and the other sustained motivation.  No contraceptive could be cheaper, and also, once the damn thing is in the patient cannot change her mind. In fact, we can hope she’ll forget it’s there and perhaps in several months wonder why she has not conceived.

That’s fucked enough, but check out this quote from J. Robert Wilson, then chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Temple University (202-203):

We have to stop functioning like doctors, thinking about the one patient with pelvic inflammatory disease; or the one patient who might develop this, that, or the other complication from an intra-uterine device. [It] may well be that the incidence of infection is going to be pretty high in the patients who need the device most. Now, obviously, if we are going to use these devices, they are occasionally going to be put in the wrong patient. Again, if we look at this from an over-all, long-range view (these are things that I have never said out loud before and I don’t know how it’s going to sound), perhaps the individual patient is expendable in the general scheme of things, particularly if the infection she acquires is sterilizing but not lethal.

I know it’s no surprise that men in power in the US in the 1960s (and, really, at all other times in all other places) didn’t think women — especially non-white and poor ones — were human, but Jesus Christ, dude.

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Getting your eyebrows waxed only makes you a fag if there are no tits involved.

26 Nov

I almost made this post a part of the Why I Hate Men series. What I’m about to relate is really that bad.

The Esquire recently came to New York for a visit sporting hair longer than I’ve ever seen on him. He’d been growing it out for several months, but apparently, shortly after returning to California, he got tired of looking like a member of the Volcom street team and decided to go get it cut. The Esquire, a connoisseur of absurd experiences like myself, decided to head over to a new barber shop located near his office, a barber shop called the Alpha Male Barber Spa. Yeah.

He arrived at the AMBS (I’m really into FLAs lately – that’s four-letter acronyms to those of you who aren’t hip to the facts) at 10 AM on a weekday and was promptly offered a glass of scotch and a cigar, because that’s what top dogs are all about, AM booze and stogies. For some reason (maybe he’s only a beta male) he declined the offer and then set about waiting and watching the other men undergo eyebrow waxing, mini-facials, and manicures.

Eyebrow-waxing? Mini-facials? MANICURES? I know, I know. You’re thinking what I’m thinking: Is this a new barber shop for the gays? Haven’t those already existed in LA, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago for, like, a decade? Wait, do gay guys even care about being alpha males? What the hell is going on here? What the geniuses who own the Alpha Male Barber Spa have figured out is that men, who are falling prey to the machinations of the beauty industry in ever greater numbers these days, have been longing for a way to go metro without the taint of faggotism that surrounds traditional salons or barber shops in gay neighborhoods. These men need a place where they can get themselves club-ready without having to rub elbows with women or homos. These men need tits and football with their vanity services. These men need to waste absurd sums of money and treat women like sex objects at all times in order to let people know they’re fucking alpha dawgs! Ruff ruff!

Hence the AMBS, which is, in effect, the Hooters of barber shops. In addition to attractive young women and insincere flirting, the AMBS offers flat-screen TVs at every station so that patrons (oh, sorry, this place is high end — clients) can watch “the game,” door-to-door service (because alpha males don’t fucking drive themselves to get haircuts), brow waxing, mini-facials, “hand detailing” (the non-homo — because it’s automotive — term for a manicure), and royalty-themed packages (The Duke, The Crown Prince, His Majesty, The Emperor), some of which include a cheese and fruit plate. And the services are just as expensive as those at regular salons ($40 for a haircut, $280 for the Emperor package), because alpha males won’t settle for anything but the very best (read: most ostentatiously expensive).

Well, not every guy is runnin’ shit. There are plenty of men who, while they would still like to take advantage of the opportunity to engage in fruity grooming practices without the fear of being called homos, haven’t yet made it into the alpha male tax bracket. Hey, not everybody is a fancy-schmancy San Diego lawyer. Enter Gregg Wilhelm’s outfit, Too Hotties. Too Hotties operates on the same principle that AMBS does: boobs and sports bring facials within the purview of the kind of guy who cracks open a Sam Adams Light after a hard day at the office, takes a swig, and then looks at the bottle with an affirmatory nod. But Too Hotties provides the experience at the level of the everyman, the industrial ice dispenser salesman, the guy who watches Sports Soup, the guy who wants the opportunity to treat women like extras in his own mental spy/action movie but doesn’t quite pull in the bucks for scotch and cigars or door-to-door service.

Too Hotties offers a lot of the same services that AMBS does, but in a decidedly more Coors Light environment. They, like the AMBS, do gray-coverage hair coloring, but their service has an extra manly name (Color Camo, because dyeing your hair is faggy unless you can find a way to relate it to Rambo), and, instead of cigars and single malt, they kick down root beer and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (I swear). They also do kids’ cuts, so you can get yer little man up to speed on what women are here for. No word on whether that’s related to the root beer and PB&J bar (though I suspect not since the photos on the site feature men rather than children chowing down on sandwiches). As if all that weren’t enough, they also offer XM Radio (so one needn’t tear oneself away from Howard Stern for the time it takes to get a manicure), video games, and pool tables.

Too Hotties is truly a barber shop for the Renaissance man. Just check out this mission statement:

In the haircutting world, men have very few choices. They may either go to a major haircut chain where they never get the same stylist twice or they can set an appointment at some girly salon. Neither one gives a man the kind of options he really wants…

It was this realization that inspired three gentleman to found Too Hotties. They wanted to create the ultimate barber shop for men. Not only would they recieve the best haircuts of their lives from the hottest stylists, they would also enjoy complimentary hot towel treatments, hot cream razor neck shaves, before and after shampoos and shoe shines. This would be a place where men would be free to hang out, watch sports on a huge wide-screen plasma screen, shoot billiards, play video games, read magazines, access broadband internet and help themselves to all they could eat at the free PB&J bar. No other man’s barber shop like this had ever been created before. They wanted men to feel spoiled and comfortable in every way and that is what they did. Too Hotties was that dream and that dream has now become a reality.

No shit, man. Who wants to go to some girly salon? What’s more repugnant than having to associate with girls in a way that would imply that you have something in common with them? Men need the freedom to engage in the same activities that they deride women for without having to confront the fact that they’re doing so, and — thank Christ — there are “three gentlemen” out there ready to help them do so. Three gentlemen who know that there’s no better way to show the world that you ain’t no fag (AKA woman) than by engaging in a little good ol’ sexual objectification. Three gentlemen who know that, when women are decorations, men can relax in the knowledge that the wall between humans and objects remains intact, even while displaying levels of vanity that would shock Blake Lively.

Who are these “three gentlemen”? The Too Hotties story is really the story of one man’s vision, and that man is Gregg Wilhelm. Gregg’s inspirational story (also from the site’s about page):

Gregg’s goal is to make a life changing impact in the lives of 50 people through faith, family, business, and philanthropy. His motto: “No one is twice as good, or twice as smart, so I’ll work twice as hard.”

Career highlights: After advancing into upper management and shattering many company records in the insurance industry, Gregg started and owned a highly successful insurance brokerage. After years of travel, Gregg started a family and has spent the last 15 years with Culligan Water where he hired and trained Bill and Chad, and they became a team, and unstoppable force, now turning their full attentions to building Too Hotties, and doing more men’s haircuts than anyone else in America. Gregg has planned and dreamed of starting a franchise since age 14.

Wow. Clearly, Gregg aspires to clienthood at the AMBS. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a man’s plans to provide other men with haircuts expressed in such lofty, aggressive, ridiculous language (and in the third person, no less). But I’m left with some questions. Who the fuck are Bill and Chad? Why do we only get their first names? Are they his sidekicks? Protégés? What are their dreams? How many people’s lives do they intend to make a “life changing impact in”? And speaking of that, why is Gregg limiting himself to changing the lives of a mere 50 individuals? Why not change the whole fucking world, one boob-laden hot lather shave at a time? Considering his achievments in the insurance and bottled water delivery sectors, I feel pretty confident in my surmise (did you know that the noun form of the verb surmise is surmise?) that Gregg’s a real go-getter. I think he can do it.

* An aside: I’m willing to bet $100 that I can correctly guess where at least 50% of the franchises are located. Play along. I’ll say Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, and a few random joints across the South. I checked. The locations: Vegas, Phoenix, and spots in Texas, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, and Virgina. I win. E-mail me for the address to send the $100 to.

** Do NOT leave this page without clicking the Too Hotties link and checking out the photo section. It’s fucking hilarious. There’s one of the “three gentlemen” with their “girls” that will blow your mind.

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I don’t feel like humping! Call 911!

17 Nov

We knew it was coming. The industry that has brought us a drug to treat weak stream, three different boner pills, fifteen or so baldness drugs, Latisse, and Botox (and so on ad nauseum/infinitum) has finally developed a pill to cure the world of the plague that is female sexuality.

Apparently, we didn’t already have a wide enough variety of anti-depressants (pshaw, as if) and someone was trying to develop yet another one. While the new drug, fibanserin, turned out to be bunk as an anti-depressant, it had a strange side effect: it caused an increase in libido. The researchers, suspecting they’d accidentally come across the holy grail of pharmaceuticals, started trials of the drug as a libido enhancer right away. The trials, led by Professor John Thorp of the University of North Carolina, included 2,000 women. Those women who took the largest dose reported that they experienced “more frequent and more satisfying sex and greater desire. They were also less distressed about their previous sexual problems.” Thorp, pleased with the results, described the drug as “essentially a Viagra-like drug for women in that diminished desire or libido is the most common feminine sexual problem, like erectile sexual dysfunction is in men.” I’ve got a few problems with this story.

First of all, how is not wanting to hump a medical problem? Why are women required to take medicine in order to make sure that their desire to get busy matches that of men? There are several seriously problematic assumptions sitting right underneath the idea that we need a drug to enhance women’s libidos. The first of these is that human sexuality is male sexuality, and that female sexuality is thus a variation on “human” sexuality. The line of thinking is that men are easily aroused, and women are not, so women need to get with the program even if that requires taking medicines that might (really, definitely will — it was supposed to be an anti-depressant, and how many of those don’t have fucked up side effects?) have side effects that are yet to be discovered. There is also the assumption that when women are involved in sexual relationships with men (I suppose this study could have included lesbians, but no mention was made and I seriously doubt it), they ought to be sexually available whenever their male partners should happen to have the urge. Our culture, media, and social norms tell us that when women don’t make themselves sexually available, they are failing as partners, they’re “frigid,” they deserve to be cheated on.

Why is male sexuality the yardstick by which female sexuality is measured? Why is female sexuality that does not conform to men’s desires pathologized? Let’s pretend we live on another planet for a minute, a planet on which male sexuality as it commonly manifests in modern American culture is not normative, but rather open to analysis and judgement. Men are overstimulated. The world presents them with a ceaseless parade of images of objectified and sexualized women intended to excite and arouse, from Hennessey billboards to the cover of Stuff to Manswers to the wide world of internet porn. A constant state of arousal has to be disruptive. Maybe it’s male sexuality that’s dysfunctional, no?

But let’s be serious here, male sexuality is not a monolith, nor is female sexuality, and it’s absurd that we’re pretending either exists as an identifiable entity outside of the socially constructed gender and sexual roles thrust upon us. There is no such thing as a “normal” libido. There is no threshold above which we are having too much sex and below which we are blowing it as human beings. Not humping much, just like humping a lot, ought not elicit opprobrium or constitute a source of shame. If a woman doesn’t feel like getting bizzical, she doesn’t need medicine, she needs to have her wishes and bodily sovereignty respected. If a woman isn’t interested in getting naked, she doesn’t need to go to her doctor, she needs to know that it’s OK that she feels that way and not be bullied into risking her health by taking a pill to counteract something that isn’t dysfunctional.

I think men might be surprised at the “improvement” we’d likely see in women’s libidos in the absence of slut shaming, accusations of frigidity, the virgin/whore complex, and emotional blackmail, an “improvement” that wouldn’t require dangerous medication that disrupts the way our bodies operate. You see — and I know this will sound crazy — my libido seems to be connected to the behavior of my partner. If he respects my humanity, if he allows me to make decisions regarding sex freely and without passive-aggressive bullshit, if I feel like sex is a means to express affection rather than a bargaining chip, if I feel an intellectual and emotional connection with him, my libido miraculously increases. If he were to act like an entitled asshole and pressure me for sex, if he were to display piggish attitudes about women’s sexuality, if he were to treat my sexual needs or desires as if they were of secondary concern, or if I just were to happen to not be that into him (not that I’d hang out with anyone these hypotheticals apply to), I imagine that I’d suddenly transform into Morrissey.  Bizarre, I know. Should I be taking a pill?

Who knows how hosey women would be if it weren’t for the aggressive and hostile sexual objectification of women and the concomitant slut-shaming so rampant in our society? If women’s sexuality were to go unrestricted and were even encouraged the way men’s is, if women were allowed to develop their own sexual preferences without being forced to conform their desires to men’s, things might be a lot different and we might not be looking for pills to artificially increase women’s libidos, because women’s libidos wouldn’t be suppressed by a society that sublimates their sexuality. I’m just saying, dude.

* Word up to the Esquire for the link.

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