Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Are You Strong Enough

I was watching a video of a song just now on YouTube, which is Sheryl Crow and Stevie Nicks singing a duet of Sheryl's song "Are You Strong Enough to Be My Man." Whoever owns the video has disabled bloggers from using it (rats). However, you can watch it on YouTube here.

If you watch it, you'll hear Stevie Nicks say when she introduces it that she thinks it's a great song for any women with extreme careers. So I got to wondering whether it's also a good song for any women at all, and particularly, whether it's a good song for me. And I have decided that, although I like this song a lot, it doesn't really suit me all that well. I think for it to suit me better, it would need to be called "Are You Enough of a Fucking Idiot to Be My Man" because I'll drive you nuts. What are some of the things that guys hate again? Talking about feelings? Well, I could talk anyone's ear off and feelings are my favourite subject. What else? Being needy? Please, I could out-needy your ex before you even remember my last name. So really, you'd have to be a huge fucking idiot to be my man.

I was reminded of just how much of a fucking idiot you'd have to be when I was at a comedy club recently. Now there's a certain brand of "guy humor" that has become rather fashionable in the comedy clubs. Maybe I'll talk about that some other time. Anyway, there was this fellow on the stage, who in all honesty looked like a fat slob, and he was complaining about how his girlfriend, or ex-wife, or something, would always want to "talk." And he claimed that he would say something in response to this like, "We talked yesterday when you asked me to take out the garbage, and the day before that when you asked me to wash the dishes," and his girlfriend would say that that's not really talking, and this guy is standing there on the stage in apparently genuine confusion as to how talking about the garbage or dishwashing is different than "really talking."

Then everyone in the place laughed, including all the women. This is something I've noticed as well, that women sometimes pretend to relate to things they can't actually relate to. Ordinarily, I would never express regret that the next World Cup is a long way from now, but at this moment I'm a little regretful because that is the best time to observe this phenomenon. Just attend any World Cup party or outdoor viewing and watch all the ladies there scream and cheer and generally pretend they even know what sport they're watching.

Moving on. So I'm sitting in the comedy club feeling like a complete and total party pooping asshole, because I'm actually thinking something like: "She's right, that isn't really talking." And then the guy on the stage, who is just looking like more and more of a fat slob as the night goes on, starts complaining about how the gf or ex-wife that he's talking about would make a date to have sex with him, like next Saturday or something, and he'd be like, "why does there have to be a date? why can't it just be now?" but she'd be really adamant about having the date. Then next Saturday would roll around and all of a sudden she'd be sick or on her period, so the sex wouldn't happen. And the poor guy, who I'm actually beginning to feel a little sorry for, is clearly utterly bewildered as to why this happens, and everyone in the audience is still laughing, including all the women.

And I'm feeling like just the biggest asshole ever, because I am thinking to myself, well, I do not know why it happens. However, I could posit, on a purely speculative basis, that perhaps it's because she doesn't want to disappoint you by saying she absolutely never feels like having sex with you, but the fact of the matter is, you couldn't turn this girl on if she had an actual light switch affixed to her ass.

So anyway, that's why you'd have to be a total fucking idiot to be my man.


  1. I like this entry, but I do not know why you compared women cheering for the world cup to women laughing at sexist jokes. While it is a strange phenomenon for women to laugh at stupid, awful jokes that actually make fun of them (and this is a whole other issue all together), I think that has nothing to do with women liking sports.
    I love sports! And every woman I watched the World Cup with loves football too! You make it sound like every other woman who watched the world cup is just an idiot, cheering the team, to make the boys like her. Maybe you were just hanging out with the wrong girls (which I doubt), but I definitely didn't experience the same thing!

    Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox. I do like reading your blog, I promise!


  2. Ha, no worries. I had a feeling I'd get a comment or two on that very point.

    I'm sure not all girls hate the World Cup or sports, but I can't help but think the number I see watching major sporting events can't be true to the actual proportion of girls who like watching sports in society, since I tend to see exactly zero heterosexual men watching fashion shows and, while you may think I'm wrong, it sort of seems like that's the same idea as women watching mens' sports teams.

  3. Jenny, I wonder if you maybe misunderstood the source of the humour of the "talking" joke. It sounds to me like this joke was actually intended to be at the comedian's own expense.

    Comedians often inhabit wacky personas - warped versions of themselves - as part of their acts. Granted I wasn't there, but I would assume that the joke wasn't that women are stupid in how they define "talking," but that the comedian's persona is stupid in how he defines "talking." When the women laugh, they aren't saying "how stupid we are!" but "how stupid he is!" Which, I suspect, was the point of the joke.

    A well-known example of this sort of thing is the comedian who talks about who women flirt, and includes dropping their inhalers as flirtatious behaviour. The joke isn't that women flirt in ridiculous ways, it's that the comedian's persona would be so ridiculous as to misinterpret dropping one's inhaler as an flirtatious act.

  4. I see your point, and I'm sure the joke was supposed to be at the comedian's expense to some extent. That being said, I feel like what he was doing, and what a lot of comedians do, was trying to normalize boorish "I'm just a guy so don't expect too much" stuff that has already been normalized a thousand times, so it's not all that groundbreaking anymore. He was also trying to say, in a way, "how complicated women are, and how difficult to understand," which is a harmful and very silly myth.

  5. Also, I'm a fairly regular frequenter of comedy clubs, and I don't think I've ever seen a female comedian making fun of herself for not understanding why her boyfriend doesn't really meet her needs... which I think suggests this type of "guy humour" has a bit of a chilling effect.

  6. I agree that these "we men are so stupid!" jokes 1) tend to lower men's self-expectations, and 2) aren't very funny because they've been done a million times. The "men don't like to talk about feelings" theme is especially tired. By contrast, I think the inhaler joke avoids those two problems. Since it's so ridiculous, one can't really impute that belief to men generally, eliminating problem (1), and it defies the audience's expectations more profoundly, avoiding problem (2). In any event, I spend a lot of time thinking about comedy, so I could drone on about these sorts of things all day.

  7. Oh, believe me, so could I. I actually completely agree with you that the inhaler joke is a lot funnier, better, and totally inoffensive. The guy I saw probably should have told it instead.

  8. You might try looking up clips of Rita Rudner or Sarah Silverman talking about men. I think you will see a similar tactic of adopting a wacky persona in explaining their interactions with men. Generally, the message isn't "we women are stupid" but "I'm such a wacky, unique character that I defy your expectations."

  9. I haven't seen Rita Rudner, but I find Sarah Silverman a little hard to relate to, possibly because she belittles celebrities a lot, which I think is a lazy comedic strategy. But hey, you could be right. I was really just saying it's not that common in the minor leagues (i.e., local comedy clubs), which means it's not truly a part of the Zeitgeist.

  10. Rita Rudner is a goddess. I believe she mentioned that when dates men her first thought is always, something along the lines: "Is this the man I want my children spending every other weekend with?"

  11. Hit the nail on the head, there. It's something I've always and forever though. Guys constantly whine about how their wives don't want sex anymore..

    Perhaps it's because you men just take your clothes off, come at us with your grabby hands, without making an effort to be attractive. Who's gonna want to have sex with a guy who has a massive beer gut, or who has food all over his shirt?!

    They say men are visual creatures, yet conveniently forget that women aren't actually blind, and need to find men attractive before sex becomes a possibility.

  12. That is totally true about comedy clubs. Also so many TV sitcoms use the same kind of guy humor about the wife's unreasonably high expectations for him that makes me kind of ill - 'everybody loves raymond,' 'world according to jim', 'rules of engagement' etc. do any women actually like those shows?

  13. I don't know if any women actually like those shows, but they definitely act like they do, or the shows wouldn't be popular.