Think About It

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During mating season, the male mallard duck (drake) shows off their brightly colored feathers to attract females. Female feathers tend to be dull in color. There's no reason for female ducks to have colors since they choose who to mate with. Once the mating season is done, drakes shed their colored feathers, essentially removing their makeup. Side note, female ducks are called...ducks.

One of my friends sent me an article that discussed the reckoning: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. The article was in response to the Weinstein fallout that had begun, that every powerful man who's ever done a woman wrong is getting called out. Part of the article compared what looking at a woman meant—objectification—versus what seeing a woman meant—valuing her as a human being.

Several of my friends and I were discussing the topic of looking versus seeing. And they all agreed that seeing a woman as a person is the right thing to do.

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From my point of view, my friends were overthinking, which I'd told them. The coming reckoning isn't about men's behavior like groping or masturbating in front of people. Because groping your lover is usually fine. The reckoning is about sexual harassment, or that consent needs to be given before sexual activity can happen, which we all agreed on. No debate there.

But they were overthinking by saying things like a guy shouldn't look because there's more to a woman than just her physical beauty. Or if a dude looks too much over a long period of time, then he may coerce himself to throw out consent and do something inappropriate. That's crap. If a man has to grope or rape a woman to get his rocks off, then he ain't a man. He's a shithead.

There’s nothing wrong with looking. So go forth and gawk. Gawk all you want. You'll look creepy, but, hey, it's your life.

There's a reason why women are considered the fairer sex. Science has proven that men are visual creatures. Probably because men did the hunting, fighting and defending. The processing of images has evolved to be very important to men, so our brains are hard wired for this trait. As a result, men looking at women becomes a very natural thing to do. I know I spend loads of my waking moment staring at women. We're programmed to be lured to a woman's hourglass shape, her red lips, her long eyelashes. It's no wonder why men love porn. It's a visual medium. The cosmetic industry, which caters almost solely to the ladies, raked in 56.2 billion dollars in 2015 in the US alone. Much like the drakes, human females do the attracting. 

Even our language has supported this dichotomy. The fact that the term trophy wife exists says something. However, we don't have the equivalent for men. What would he even be called? Consolation prize?

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Being a writer, I'm constantly reminded that the biggest population of readers are women. The romance category, which includes fine literature such as Fifty Shades of Grey, make up around 50% of the fiction being bought. Trashy romance novels are porn for women. The reason is simple. The biggest most powerful sex organ for a woman is her mind. It's the reason why they need to connect in order to have amazing sex. The reason conversation is so important to them. Connecting to their mate, seeing if you will, turns them on. That's why ladies always want a guy with confidence and a sense of humor. They're looking for inner qualities that will stimulate their minds. Because women are way more forgiving of a man's looks.

Guys, not so much when it comes to women. In fact, show a guy a gorgeous woman, and he's ready to spend the rest of his life with her. At least I am. I know. I'm an idiot. Men don't need to know who she is, what she likes, what her passions are. Men are all about the features. Nice rack. Plenty of room in the trunk. Nice long stems. Great paint job. Any dents or dings? Nope. Great. I'm good to go!

I'm not saying this is right or wrong. When my friends and I were debating, I said that placing judgement on whether a guy looks or sees a woman is puritanical because all of this neural activity is just that. Thoughts.

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Whether I objectify a woman or wonder who she is as a human being has no bearing on whether I'm a good or bad person, whether she's worth my time or not. There are going to be moments where I wanna fuck a woman for no reason except to get off. And then there are moments where I want to delve into what she's about. Neither is good or bad because I've not harmed anyone.

They just be thoughts, yo.

The lesson here is that our thoughts are nothing until we make it into something. There's an ocean's divide between thinking that I wanna kill someone versus actually killing someone. That's why I said my friends were overthinking. Unless I act on my thoughts to grope a woman without her permission, then it doesn't matter whether I look at her or see her.

We are not our feelings. We are not our moods. We are not even our thoughts. -Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Mind of a Writer

"I always knew that I was..."—my friend gestured above his head—"on a higher level than my ex."

I nodded. Though, I did not agree. But what do I tell the guy? "Naw, bruh. Dat shiet is whack, yo.  She a person. You a person. Das it. Ya feel me, bruh?"

Translation: All humans are created equal.

What do I mean by that?

Well, when a CEO walks down the hallway of any building and sees a janitor mopping the floor, the CEO may think she's above him. Now, if we're talking the business world where imaginary things like corporate ladders matter, then sure. The Tooth Fairy is also an imaginary thing. As are ghosts. Vampires. And soul mates.

But when a human is born, her value is no more than a human that's been on the Earth for 80 years because we all need to breath air, eat food, drink water, shit, pee, and sleep. A person can literally have all the money in the world, but he will someday leave his dead human body and all his shit and move on to whatever is next. This is the fate of all humans. For some, that time comes sooner than later.

That doesn't mean that people can't be better at somethings than others. Some are taller, some are richer, some might even be faster.

Now, of course my friend wasn't talking about human equality. He's a dude. And dudes are visual creatures. That's why we like to watch porn. Whereas women are mental creatures. And...I don't mean mental as in crazy. Mmm...OK. They're insane but that's not the point. They get turned on by reading porn. That's why romance novels claim at least 50% of the money spent on fiction. Women devour them up like starved vampires sucking on fresh virgin blood.

My pal had referred to his ex's looks. I'd hung out with her many times. She treated him really well. So for some reason it saddened me that he would say something like that about her. Which prompted 'We're all equal motherfucker!' thought in my head.

I've also heard my female friends say that they're way out of some poor soul's league. But more often than not, they mean personality wise. And this is where men, including me, get tripped up.

We're thinking, 'Bitch! I know shiet. I's gots me some knowledge. I ain't no dummy. That's three qualities right there, baby!'

But that's not what women mean. Remember how I said that women be hella crazy? I didn't say hella? I should have. They're nuts. Their minds are all over the place, in different dimensions, in imaginary worlds, in places that the toughest man would be like, "Oh, hell no! I'm getting the fuck outta here."

I'll be eating dinner with my girlfriend. We're having a deep conversation about life. This is what's going through her mind: Does he love me? Is my lip gloss good? I'll reapply after dinner. Why is he so argumentative? Is he going to be like that when we get married? When should I bring that up? Cuz last time I did that he ignored me. I don't like being ignored. My cat ignores me. He's so cute. And chubby. Wonder how my bff is doing? Why hasn't she texted? I texted her a minute ago. Hmm...my hair, why won't it grow faster? Are we still talking about life? What about our life? And will he eat my cat? Cuz he jokes about making him into a stew. He better not. That would piss me off. Gawd, I'm full. Ooh. Time for dessert. I'm fat! No I'm not. Fatso! Stop it! I wanna check my phone, but he hates that. Eh...he won't mind.

And that's within one second.

Women want someone who can handle them. And handle them like a man. They want that man to take control. Not like rape. But women want men to make decisions on what to do this weekend, where to eat, have their own opinions and passions, initiate sex. I get that.

But when a man tries to display his dick, both literally and figuratively, it ain't sexy. When I write at Starbucks, sometimes an older gentleman comes in and orders a tall coffee, a pastry, and sits at a table. He places a napkin on the table. On it he gently lays his Porsche key on its side, so people can see the Porsche symbol displayed like a billboard and will know that this man who is eating his pastry and drinking his tall coffee owns an expensive automobile manufactured by Porsche.

That, gentlemen, is how you show how small your dick is.

How did I get from human equality to showing your dick? Hell if I know.

Open vs. Closed

No. This post is not about Apple's closed vs. Android's open system. Anyone still talking about that doesn't understand their business models.

Do I Look Bored?
Do I Look Bored?

One of the theories of good storytelling suggests tying different characters' arcs into a common theme. In Don Jon, the main character, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is addicted to porn because he savors that perfect girl doing perfect things like giving the perfect blowjob. His new girlfriend, played by Scarlett Johansson, is addicted to romance movies where the perfect guy meets the perfect girl and they're perfect for each other. Both adult and romantic films are forms of porn because they depict a sort of perfection, or perversion, that doesn't wholly exist in the real world.

This past weekend's social events seemed to depict one common theme. Saturday, I had dinner with a group of people and was talking to an acquaintance. Mr. SUV jabbered about his girlfriend, so I asked him why she wasn't here. She's complex, Mr. SUV responded. My interest piqued because I love observing and talking about relationships, what makes them work, what doesn't. I asked what made her so complex?

"Well...I call her my girlfriend, but...she doesn't really want to see me. We don't see each other much."

I pursed my lips. "So, you're taking a break?"

"No...we still talk...she doesn't want to spend time with me. It's frustrating."

Uh...what? Trying to get more information resulted with more confusion on my part, but the thought that came to mind was:

Moments later, he was talking up his SUV, how good it was, the value, its horsepower. He would drive a hybrid but it wouldn't impress the ladies. What? Quality women don't care about the car you drive, they care about being with a confident man, I barged in. The ladies at the table nodded.

"You haven't seen the kind of women I meet," Mr. SUV said.

"What women? You have a girlfriend."

He chuckled. I was a little frustrated with him, I don't know why.

The next day, I went with a hiking group to Yosemite on a day trip. It was incredibly beautiful, air smelled clean. I'd made my way around and talked to everyone, sharing my humorous side throughout the day. Afterward, about ten of us went to dinner and the strangeness from the night before continued, despite being a completely different group of people.

A Harvard grad kept pestering me about the racial mixture of Venezuelans. I told him several times I didn't know because I left my country at a very young age. Mr. Harvard wasn't listening because he was crushing on Prada Girl, whom he carpooled with.

Prada Girl was flicking through Facebook, paying little attention to the conversation until the topic strolled to shopping. She liked having brand name purses such as Prada and showed off hers. Before going back to her phone, she mentioned that her older brother had paid for a lot of that stuff. I asked why.

Then Middle Woman said that's what brothers are for. I asked her if she was the youngest. No, she had two siblings, an older brother and a younger sister. Curiosity tickled my mind, and I asked if Middle Woman felt left out because she was the center child. She shook her head.

The conversation moved to our jobs, and Miss Moneypants was asked if she liked what she did. Miss Moneypants worked for a company that built components for satellites. "I'd be happier if I made more money."

"Would you be happy if you were paid 500,000 dollars as a prostitute?" I quipped.

"Why would you ask that?" Miss Moneypants said, shaking her head.

"You seem to put a lot of happiness on money," I said. 

Another woman was brave enough to turn that question on me, which I appreciated. Before I could answer, Miss Moneypants stated angrily, "I know YOU would."

ooh...I need to get a hair cut
ooh...I need to get a hair cut

Several people said I was asking personal questions. I guess that depends on who you are. It's not like I had a gun and threatened them to answer. They could just have ignore me.

"Answer me, or I'll—uh—ask you another question!"

There's a bigger issue here, and I'm not sure if it's because these people were Asians. Everyone seemed very closed, unable to have an open conversation. In a way, I think, they don't want to confront themselves and see that they might be living a lie.

In the instance of Mr. SUV, he places his own value on what people think of him, so he has this girlfriend who doesn't want to spend time with him. Miss Moneypants places her happiness on money, the one thing that can be easily taken away. Prada Girl hides behind her brand name clothes and accessories, while Mr. Harvard can't seem to get it up and flirt with Prada Girl, so he pretends to be intellectual about something he has no involvement in.

Much like the characters in Don Jon, both are trying to recreate the life they see on the screen, not knowing that life isn't perfect. Part of their growth is that happiness shouldn't be linked to anything that life has to offer but is innate within them, and, as such, they should let go of all pretense.

Girlfriend Experience

One of my favorite critics is Roger Ebert.  I've watched his show Siskel and Ebert, a TV movie review show that made the two thumbs up famous. On hissite, he had reviewed a movie call TheGirlfriend Experience. In meandering around Neflix, I had come across this movie that stars Sasha Grey, directed by Steven Soderbergh, director of the Ocean's Eleven movies, The Informant starring Matt Damon, just to name a few.

Suggestive Poster?

Suggestive Poster?

GFE is filled with unknown actors except for one, Sasha Grey. She is a porn star. Don't ask me how I know this. I just happen to be really smart. Ahem. GFE is an actual term used by escorts who give the girl friend experience. They usually charge by the hour or clients can arrange overnight stays, which seemed to be Chelsea's (Grey) bread and butter.

According to Ebert's research on IMDb, Grey has starred in 161 adult films, and she now has her own company managing other girls. I've done no research into Grey.  That is a lot of movies.  I know guys who haven't had sex that many times.

For Soderbergh to choose a woman who has sex for money to play a woman who has sex for money seems obvious. But why choose Grey? Mainly because of who she is and the depth she carries. Further proof of depth was revealed when she listed her top five movies on Current's Rotten Tomatoes show.  I've heard none of those movies because most of them were foreign films.  Her explanation of why she chose them indicates her depth.

Porn stars are not known for their acting ability, nor are they even required to. And for a woman who I think would have thick skin, Grey plays Chelsey with a level of sensitivity and vulnerability.

The movie takes place during the 2008 presidential election, follows her through several of her transactions, while following her boyfriend's as well. He's a personal trainer who's trying to get a clothing line up and explores more lucrative job opportunities.  Chelsey's clients talk mainly about the downed economy, telling her what she should do with her money.  I couldn't help thinking how we're all selling a part of ourselves. Chelsey may be selling her body, but how many of us work in meaningless jobs, selling parts of our souls.

The character arch seemed to be a tragic one. We're lead to believe that she is special, that she's the creme of the crop in the escort industry. But as the film moves along Chelsey realizes that she's not. A bit depressing since we get the same sense that her clients are also nothing special despite their wealth. Chelsey is expensive.

I liked the movie. It's was an experimental film by Soderbergh. Did I need to see it? I guess so, having watched it.