(a column about what I think)

Why being a boy is cool

by Pinky

I know itís a big modern trend to discuss the differences between men and women. People just love to read books that sum up the whole of human experience and solve all their problems. Itís the secret to life! The way to correct all dysfunction in modern society is to pigeonhole people. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, women run with the wolves, men behave badly. Women are nurturing, men are assholes. Whatever. I think all those psychobabbling books should be ground down in a paper mill, compressed, packed into celluloid capsules and sold over the counter to the public. Either way, you end up swallowing a load of crap and itís much faster in pill form.

Iím sure to get pissed off now and then and write something about how boys are stupid (in fact, the name I use when I play "Quake" is BOYZ_R_STOOPID). Thatís because they are. But so are girls. Theyíre just stupid in ways that manifest themselves with a particular gender bent. So thereís nothing wrong with the concept of identifying those things, but to view those comparisons as iron-clad personality traits isÖwell, stupid. I figure thereís more than enough out there about the general suckiness of boys, so I want to talk about how cool they can be.

Back when I was a fourteen year old man-hater (hooo boy did I hate men), I got thoroughly pissed when my motherís therapist told me in a warm-but-cool professional voice that I am what is known as Male Identified. She meant it as a diagnosis of affliction. She said that even though I had this seething anger at all things male, I still did things that totally revolved around men. Iíve been thinking about that lately, and I realize that Iím still male identified in a lot of ways, but I really donít see it as an affliction. Check this out: most of my friends are boys. Do the math. This is not because of some screwy sickness in my head. This is because boys are cool.

See, I have this particular rant I go on a lot. I get really tired of hearing about women who become lesbians because men are bastards, people who become vegetarians because meat is evil, or people who become leftist hippies because society is a dark and dreadful thing (the "deathkultur" according to the dudes from Zendik Farms). Be a lesbian because you love women. Be a vegetarian because veggies are yummy. Was Chairman Mao Mr. Cool? Go for it then. I donít hang out with men because I donít like women. I just like men. I have some really awesome female friends, but Iím not talking about them today. So get off my skirt, already.

I just read an article about this woman who discovered her inner adolescent boy and found this new joy in life. Why is that? Because boys are tons of fun, thatís why. One of the reasons I like boys is that they have this wonderful sense of freedom. Women are free, too, but men are more socialized to be themselves. Iím not going to bother whining about this. Letís just say that right now thatís the way it is, has been for a good long while. Maybe itíll change someday, but if these are the traits youíve got, shut up and deal. Anyway, this freedom manifests itself in a lot of really cool ways. Go visit a playground some day, or just walk down the street with a bunch of guys. What are they doing? Chances are theyíre goofing around, challenging each otherís virility. They check out the chicks, ogle short skirts. They turn around and walk backward so they can face each other. They climb on things like monkeys, at impossible angles. I remember one guy who used to grab a street sign and hang horizontally on it, defying gravity, talking the whole time about how the baseball strike was going to fuck things up forever.

Letís start with the whole scoping thing. Women scope surreptitiously, whispering to each other, "heís cute" when Mr. Handsome passes by. Men drop everything, turn their heads, drop their jaws and stand there, agog. This is a really endearing thing. Some women hate this. Sometimes I think theyíre just jealous of a boyís ability to be so out front about the cuteness of the opposite sex. Women are looking at people just as hard as boys are, but something in our culture tells us we have to be all sly about it. Boys arenít. Itís that freedom thing. Ogling hot sexy members of the opposite gender (or the same gender if youíre gay, whatever) is a perfectly natural thing that all people do. Itís just that boys are free to express their joy in the loveliness roaming the streets.

Who sez women have exclusive rights to aestheticism? Men are more able to be really out front about what they like and what they donít. I can be hanging out with a 35 year old man and watch him react to things like a little kid (or, more accurately, a teenage boy). WOW, this is a really good burrito, WOAH did you see the legs on that girl, MAN, itís a totally nice day out, boing boing boing and off he goes. Walking on a wall. Jumping up and touching the ceiling. Just being totally enraptured with the immediate world around him, free to do so. Boys are just as likely to ogle a really boss sports car as a blonde with big boobs. I had a boyfriend in high school who told me, wide-eyed, that I was "almost as cool as dinosaurs". I took it as a compliment, which was how it was meant. Dinosaurs are huge and powerful and miraculously scary. Dinosaurs are keen. Thank you.

OK, so Iím still walking down the street with a bunch of guys. Letís see what else theyíre doing. Theyíre showing off. Women donít show off in the same way, because weíre supposed to be modest. Fuck modesty! Show us whatcha got! Isnít it cool to be you? When the boy youíre with suddenly grabs something and hangs upside-down from it, for Goddessís sake donít say, "Get down from there or youíll hurt yourself!" Watch how he does it, maybe even try it. Boys know they could hurt themselves but all that matters is the fun they can have doing it, right now. Showing off is great because again thereís this freedom to say, yaaaay, I like myself and this neat trick I can do, itís cool to be me!

Yes, it is. Iíve talked about my whole riot grrl thing before. Hereís the key to being a riot grrl without taking yourself too damned seriously. Release your inner boy! You can totally do that without compromising your feminine qualities. Youíre still a woman; underneath the bandana and the boots youíve still got a womb and everything, so go ahead and sock one of your friends in the shoulder. Hard. (Keep your thumb on the outside of your fist, for peteís sake.) Now open your eyes wide, say, "WOW!!" and go out and really enjoy some stuff.

You might find things that are almost as cool as dinosaurs.

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