Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am
My parents met in a bar, both alcoholics at the time. My dad fell in love with my mom, who, of course, wanted nothing to do with him and his ratty sneakers. Eventually he convinced her and, to make a beautiful story short, they fell in love, got sober, started a business, and had a family of four kids shortly thereafter. To this day, my dad still leaves love notes in the pockets of her running jacket. This is the example of romance I lived with for eighteen years before I went to New York with the deluded hopes of finding my own story, only to find a situation far from romantic. Why is it that every twenty-something single guy who shows interest and buys you a slice expects sex? When did male-female interactions go from asking you out properly, picking you up at the door, and hoping for a kiss at the close of an evening to a late night text message, followed by a slice of pizza, and the expectation that they’re going to get laid? And when they realize it’s not going to happen, actual and blatant anger has followed. What is wrong with these guys? The excuse that it’s simply the age group of men that us twenty-something women are dating is getting quite old. There’s no excuse for such presumption and disrespect. In this generation, chivalry seems to be long gone, but what about mutual respect?
Ali, management consultant, W’ton Heights
The Hard Sell
What is with all of the commercials advertising drugs that stimulate sex? What was once an innocent activity has quickly turned into an awkward setting when a guy with erectile dysfunction appears on the television boasting about the drug that enables him to have an erection for hours. Do we really need these commercials? I think it’s safe to say that any couple with problems getting-it-up are aware of the existence of Viagra and take the proper steps to access it. Is it necessary parade these ads on television for everyone to see? They should put them in men’s magazines that have the target audience instead of making everyone who’s trying to catch a late-night rerun of Rake uncomfortable.
Maria, nanny, Bed-Stuy
“Ay! That’s where to put forget-me-nots…”
In a recent Issue, Rita, a waitress and model from Brooklyn posed the following question, “…which might come first: the desensitization of sexual pleasure for a whole generation or death in the pursuit of more?” Rita is concerned with what she sees as the growing banality of sex, how commonplace all of the once taboo acts and expressions of sensuality have become. She worries that what she sees as the overexposure of sex today has caused the act itself to lose its appeal. However, what she fails to acknolwedge is that her argument is based upon the idea that sexual excitement and pleasure are derived from the inherent profanity of the act (and thus the more it’s popularized, the less shocking, vulgar or profane it becomes). If I could offer Rita an answer to her quandary, it would be that (hopefully) neither will come true, let alone “come first.” Taking a page from D.H. Lawrence’s book, I would argue that sexual pleasure and excitement are rooted most firmly in shamelessness (rather than shame). That sort of shamelessness, as the great author would say, is slowly revealed as one’s layers of shame are peeled away over time, and grows to trust his or her lover more and more. Intimacy and sexuality are not dead, Rita. Far from it. However, I might suggest you try exploring them from a different perspective if you have indeed found yourself at such an unhappy juncture.
Alexandra, writer, Brooklyn
“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”
As anyone living in New York (or, in my experience, any other major fashion hub) during fashion week can attest to, the spectacle is unavoidable. Perhaps I should clarify, lest I be misunderstood, that I enjoy fashion as much as the next person. However, I find the directive to conform discomfiting. My perspectives on gender and fashion are that both are entirely performative displays. As such, it follows that the choice with regard to either is entirely personal and for one’s own enjoyment. What I find distasteful about fashion week is that everyone seems to look and act as if the fashion and inherent gender roles they adopt are a requirement rather than a pleasurable choice they’re making. At that point, fashion is no longer performative but has become an imposition, and I find such a display far less enjoyable to watch or partake in.
Gemma, market research, NoHo
Everyone who runs around New York City flaunting their newfound disbelief in global warming due to this winter’s forecast for considerable snowfall deserves to be smacked. Just because there have been short term temperature drops doesn’t mean the effects of thousands of years of damage have magically been reversed. The evidence of global warming is lengthy to say the very least. And it doesn’t seem like optimism to me, it seems like stupidity. Manic weather, varying drastically from day to day, like we’ve been having, is actually quite frightening if you think about it. Ah, thinking. Such a concept.
Marnie, actress, Tribeca
Bleeding Hearts v Fat Cats
Somewhere amidst the screaming onslaught of red, white, and blue bunting, between trumpeting elephants and bucking donkeys, there lies a more basic division that cuts right to, well, the heart of the matter: that of political conscience. Are you of the “fat n’ happy” persuasion, content or even edified to contemplate the luxuries of the life you lead, ignorant or unconcerned with the consequences that the self-serving actions of today will have on tomorrow? Or do you have a nagging activist angel perched on your shoulder muttering, “all is not yet right with the world. Things to be done…things to be done….”
What some have come to refer to as Bleeding Heart Liberalism is actually just the manifestation of a conscience when considering soapbox topics.
“Bleeding Heart” is not a derogatory term. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Bleeding Hearts have just learned to see the world through their eyes, and not through their wallets. There is a lot wrong with this world, and there is a lot wrong with America. And while the fat cats guild their high-and-mighty thrones, crunching numbers to perpetuate the status quo and maneuvering for oligarchical dominance, they blatantly ignore the painfully apparent fact that they’re sitting on the weighted end of the see-saw, and the rest of the world is left teetering in the air.
It’s a problem when thinly-veiled ignorance is confused with patriotism. Because no matter which way you slice it, violence begets violence. Ghandi cleverly quipped, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” And so the Bleeding Heart looks at the cost of war in dollars and in lives and wonders if someone confused bombs for books, hurt for help, anger for progress. No, there isn’t an easy answer. But that isn’t a reason to ignore the question, or to deny someone who lives thousands of miles away the simple human rights that we ourselves demand.
“I want to live free of the fear of bombs falling on my child’s school,” is a universal statement. It applies across every country, city, village, and cluster of huts, from Manhattan to Baghdad.
So maybe America needs to bleed a little more, straight from the heart. Before a change can be made, we have to ask the questions. Because whatever we’re doing is not working, no matter what the commodity-sucking leaches at the top of the ladder want to believe. Our country, our world needs help, and Political Nietzscheanism is just not gonna cut it.
Ches, singer, B. Heights
The Binary Concept of Gender.
This is what I truly hate about relationships. It’s not about the relationship itself; it’s the gender role expectations people have about relationships. It’s the idea that men are always one way while women are the other, that men are lazy and women are controlling, that women want to go dancing while men want to play golf. In every relationship every gender stereotype is challenged. Men often want a traditional wedding, while women would prefer to quietly get hitched at Town Hall. When looking at an apartment recently a realtor mockingly said about an enormous walk-in closet, “But where will your boyfriend keep his stuff?” I promptly corrected him that my boyfriend is the shopper among us and proceeded to roll my eyes. With the constant divides pop culture encourages between men and women, why do people continue to perpetuate such stereotypes? In a relationship especially, people presuppose a boyfriend is one way while the girlfriend is the exact other, and that they resent each other because of it. In GLBT couples there’s an assumption that there is always both a “masculine” and a “feminine” presence that makes up the couple. But why haven’t people figured out we’re all some of each?
Jesse, dancer,Red Hook
“… One of thes days these boots are gonna walk all over you…”
When you wear those shoes I want to die. And I’m not speaking in hyperbole, I mean I really truly want to throw my body into the road until I’m run over by a big rig or a city bus. What are those, sneakers? Hiking boots? A clever combination of both? Wow, that’s great, because I’ve been looking for the appropriate shoe for my mountain climbing/cross training excursions. And thank goodness you wore them on 28th St., lord knows the sidewalk outside the Dunkin’s can be pretty damn treacherous. You don’t deserve to breathe, and I’m really angry that my vote counts the same as yours. Thanks for ruining democracy, jerk off.
Em, car mechanic, Long Island