If Peggy McIntosh is right and white privilege is an “Invisible Knapsack” that holds the benefits of being born a particular shade, one can safely assume that male privilege is an “Invisible Fanny Pack”, sticky with energy drink residue and adorned with a sports logo (either staggeringly racist or sexist in a mud-flap sort of way). Likely there is also an “Invisible Messenger Bag” option for the hip fellows who think they’re not a part of the problem because they read the first twenty pages of The Beauty Myth.
There has to be a better way to demonstrate my solidarity with women than listening to the entire Belle and Sebastian catalogue. I mean I’ll do it, but I’m probably going to pout the whole time. (Note: pouting usually results in me getting a cookie, so come prepared.)
Here’s the thing: as a male (and a straight and white one to boot!), certain promises were made to me. Not out loud mind you, but implicitly I was told many times that, in general, things would work out for me. The tacit understanding was that I would really just have to show up and I’d get a) a job; b) a promotion; c) a better table at the restaurant of my choice; d) taken seriously by authority figures; e) automatic conferral of “authority figure” status, and; f) a loan with any financial institution provided I gave collateral in the form of a wink and a firm handshake.
Now, at this late date, all that’s supposed to change? Why the fuck did I waste my time watching Three’s a Crowd reruns? If I knew that I’d be placed in a societal structure more closely resembling a meritocracy, I would have taken the trouble to learn my times tables, to say nothing of proper punctuation;
Suggested replacement hashtags for #NotAllMen:
#NotAllBadApples (sounds wholesome)
#ThisIsWhatAFeministCooksLike (for tie-in with food porn shots)
Discarded opening lines from Jian Ghomeshi’s infamous Facebook post:
“Look, you don’t get your face on a massive banner that is draped in a government building without being of strong moral fibre. Just ask Stalin, Hitler, Kim Jung-il, Mugabe, al-Assad, Pinochet, Qaddafi, Khomeini, Mussolini, Mao, Marcos, Ceauşescu, Reagan, Stern…”
“You are about to hear a smear campaign perpetrated by the ‘media’. How can I vilify a group to which I undoubtedly belong? That’s a solid question.”
“I never thought my victims would say anything, given my position of power. Did I say ‘victims’? I meant ‘jilted ex-girlfriends’.”
“We can argue the finer points of abuse of power, institutional failure to protect those in the employ of a federal entity, or the inaction of the union concerned, but I think we can all agree that naming an interview program ‘Q’ was the height of pretension. My only regret.”
“Why is it that if two people engage in the this kind of activity as part of a dedicated relationship filled with unsurpassed communication skills and in a safe environment it’s fine, but if I spring it on someone it’s considered a ‘felony’?”
“Would a violent predator wear such a cute leather bracelet?”
At some point before now, I should have dubbed male privilege the “Invisible Nutsack”.
Is your career stalled? Do you find yourself holding onto the corporate ladder while your colleagues pass you by on their way up? Do they crush your fingers and stand there for longer than they really need to? Is this jerk eating a piece of cake from the kitchen that you didn’t even know was there, getting crumbs in your eyes and making it look like you’re crying but you’re not and even if you were how is it anyone’s business how you process your emotions with other people succeeding all over the place while your career is stuck on this stupid ladder?
Well, you’re not alone.
Have you considered why your career is in a soul-sucking rut? Maybe it’s your poor networking skills. Perhaps you don’t trumpet your accomplishments in the workplace. Or possibly your cubicle collection of Valentine’s Day cards from notable serial killers is considered less of a ‘colourful quirk’ and more of a ‘disturbing off-hours hobby’.
It has to be one of those reasons, right? Wrong!
Email is the single most powerful tool of communication in today’s office, still surpassing instant messaging, HD meeting holodecks and some curious act known as face-to-face conversations, whatever those are (they sound painful and awkward).
Experts agree (one would assume, if one were to interview any) that how you sign off an email is just as important as the actual content, if not more so. Experts would also say that the sign off is called a “valediction”, because they like to show off even though it is very clear that you are on a first date and didn’t think through the whole spelling-bee-as-ice-breaker thing.
Take a look at this sampling of the most used sign offs and a handy guide as to why you’re a big dumb clod if you still use them:
|“Regards”||My stars, aren’t you just the picture of refinement. You’re probably wrote it while scratching your back with that ruler that no one ever wants to borrow. You’re not fooling anyone!|
|“Best”||Snore. “Best” what? “Dressed”? “In Show”? Not valediction, I can tell you that for damn sure.|
|“Cheers”||This isn’t a darts tourney at a seedy “Cirrhosis and Firkin”, you faux-cockney git.|
Those are your standbys, aren’t they? You’re worried how long people have noticed this complete lack of originality on your part.
Slow down, Panicky Slim, and get that gun out of your mouth. Now isn’t the time to suss out who has been laughing at whom, for how long, or how many meetings have been called in Conference Room C to discuss what faces to make behind a certain person’s back. It’s time to map a plan on the road to that corner office.
Use any of these handy valedictions and hold on for the career-related rollercoaster ride of your life!
|I beg you to look favourably on this, my respectful submission,||Formal? No, classy. Watch those upwardly-mobile ivy league jerks steal this from you and get that big promotion you promised your wife you’d get under threat of divorce.|
|Alas, being this my last living breath, please RSVP to the Funny Hat Friday Committee with my sincerest salutations,||That, friends, is a call to action. (Also works for Pot Luck Wednesdays and Theme Day Idea Tuesdays.)|
|Jag förblir din ödmjuk, lojal och sycophant smilfink,||Oh, who’s this mysterious author? Not only do I want to answer her message, I want to know what the family crown looks like.|
|Yours truly, BA, MDIV, Ph.D, DDS, VetMB||Look, if you want an email sign-off to improve your career, you clearly aren’t much of a planner. So go with lying! In this multi-media culture, who’s going to verify your claims?|
Current World Events That Threaten Our Safety and Sanity Ranked From Best to Worst (an ode to Buzzfeed)Posted: October 6, 2014
- Dystopian Young Adult Literature
- Bruce Jenner’s Current Gender Status
- Ebola Now a Thing Because It’s In North America
- Teresa Giudice
- The slick production values of ISIL recruiting videos
- The poor production values of Stephen Harper’s Attempt to Stick Canada in a Middle Eastern Quagmire to Fight ISIL
- Homeland without Brody
- The search for that missing Malaysian air liner that has turned into a de facto sequel to The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper
- The swarm of October mosquitoes I saw on the bus the other day
- The degradation of privacy in an increasingly on-line world please click this link to allow us access to all of your personal banking information.
On days like today, when I can’t get my shit together and string together a reasonable sentence on single thing that I’m working on, I realize how much computer screens these days are engulfed in white. After staring at that ocean of a blank slate for a short while (one hour? six?), my eyes hurt. I blink and walk away and the ghost of the white screen follows me into the living room where I cuddle with the dog or the kitchen where I cuddle with a bag of cookies.
The first computer I had was a generic PC clone. My parents bought it for me so I could transcribe my first novel onto a floppy disc for easier transport and use in any Frisbee-related emergencies.
I say “novel” but it was too short for that. A 26, 000 word coming-of-age piece that fairly burst with all the accrued wisdom you could expect from a fifteen year-old virgin with braces and headgear that slung around his face like a broken spoke from a grocery cart and the delightful grace-note of a sweat-stained neck strap.
I wrote that first draft on a manual typewriter I still own and on the only paper in the house that was even remotely appropriate–blank but with three-holes punched out. Thinking back on it, I must have had a mortal fear of margins because I crowded letters on the entire page, from the top left corner to the bottom right, even deftly squeezing an adjective or two on the left-hand side of the holes.
The summer of 1986, I spent my vacation transferring those pages onto disc and scanning the radio dial for the Michael MacDonald’s “Sweet Freedom” from my favourite movie of the year Running Scared (the older I get, the more I look to my historically shitty taste in music and wince). Kids, you won’t understand the fun of hunting the airwaves for a song in your instant-gratification YouTube era, but back then you could spend days without hearing your wanted song but when you did, Jesus, it was like winning the lottery. But with an unavoidably catchy melody.
Other than the comforting, dulcet tones of a certain ex-Doobie Brother, I remember the screen on that computer’s monitor. The amber text hovered on a black screen, somehow keeping straight lines in what should have looked like (in my mind at least) the alphabet in zero gravity.
Even though I was transcribing existing text, there were enough times that I spent staring at a blank screen (likely pondering what the next John Hughes movie was going to be like and if I had enough money to see Running Scared again).
I experienced enjoyment at those moments, a strange warmth that the white screens of today do not provide. At least in those days, even after I had finished tapping out my novel and started an ill-advised tango with poetry, I could sit in front of the screen and not know what was going to happen, like falling at night and not being able to see the ground flying up to flatten me.
And if you’re going to say “Go thee and find a monochrome monitor emulator”, I’m going to say that not only are you stiff-necked jerk, you’ve missed the point.
- Dude, Where’s Your Tsar? (historical romp)
- Hello My Name is Lorne Ipsum
- Been Drunk in the Wheat So Long, It Looks like Chaff to Me
- Mister Perfectt
- Namaste, Bitches!
- The Dorothy Parker Character Assassination and Vinegar Pie Club Meets at The Broken Arrow Cafe
- Another Shit Day in Asstown
- This Metaphor is Condemned
- Dead Men Knit No Cardigans
- Michael Corleone-Type Metamorphosis from Unwilling Participant to Head of the Crime Family But With a Middle Eastern Setting (shelved after a certain FX show hit the air)
- From Hair to Eternity: My Battle with Male-Pattern Baldness and Terrible Puns
- Who Ate My Parachute?
- No Big Deal, But I Think The Work of Carlos Castaneda Is a Bunch of Hooey
- Sex Is a Four Letter Word If You Spell it With Two X’s
- White Privilege Doesn’t Exist: Dispatches from the Penthouse
|Height||6’ 4” (and not 5′ 7″ as some people have reported…certain missing people. LOL)|
|Build||Athletic, like Rocky in Rocky IV|
|Hair||Auburn, like Brigitte Nielsen in Snowboard Academy|
|Relationship Status||Recently Divorced (careful, I’m sensitive…but I’m all man!)|
|About Children||I have two children and do NOT want more (they’re great, but I don’t want to have a baby while I’m trying to advance my career through theatres of war the world over…it wouldn’t be fair to the kid)|
|Children home||0 (they divide their time between their mother and the Federal Protective Service Nanny Division)|
|Smoking||On occasion, when things get hectic at work (if I’m telling the truth, I was up to a pack a day during the Olympics)|
|Drinking||Frequently (I mean not Yeltsin bad but, you know, up there)|
|Church I was raised in||Orthodox, if you consider crossing yourself in the shower going to “Church”|
|Church I attend now||Baptist|
|Church Attendance||once or twice a month (it’s tough finding a place to pray when my business takes over so much of my spare time…plus, Sunday mornings are when the best yak shows are on)|
|Self-description||I’m a Marx in the boardroom and a Lenin in the bedroom (but with a shredded core)|
|Music||Russian chanson, Soviet marches, Tiesto|
|Favorite bands and musicians||Lubeh (before all the retrospectives and cover albums), Demis Roussos, KISS solo projects|
|Movie||Action, Romantic Comedy, Michael Moore|
|Favorite movies and actors||Top Gun, Wayne’s World 2, Asterix and Obelix movies; Peter Lorre, Spalding Gray|
|Favorite TV shows||Friends, Fox & Friends, The Graham Norton Show|
|Outdoor activity||Bear hunting, moose hunting, Bloody Knuckles, getting naked to the waist for no particular reason|
|Indoor activity||Sudoku, Nicholas Sparks novels, bedroom gymnastics if you know what I mean (I have a pommel horse next to the credenza)|
|Favorite season||The two weeks between June and July when we don’t have snow…am I right?|
|My idea of a great trip||Sevastopol is nice, especially when you arrive on the bow of a ship like Alex the bloody Great|
|Food||Anything I’ve killed with my bare hands|
|Living quarters||Spacious but humble Italianate mansion #notbragging|
|Fashion sense||Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny by way of Tom Ford|
|Who I am looking for||You are an attractive, confident lady who looks good both in evening wear and camo (our first date is dinner but for the second date, you’d better bring your own crossbow!). You must have a thick skin as you will likely be despised by a large number of the Western Devil Media Elite. Also, I’m a big believer in going dutch for the first three months. And by that I do not mean invading the Netherlands (*wink*).|
- Is that someone at the door?
- My elbows sure are dry. I should probably moisturise before that gets out of hand.
- How many litres of Coke Zero is too much?
- “Windows Configuring Update for Your Computer”? Guess that’s it for the day then.
- That has to be someone at the door. Can a strong wind press the door chime?
- If I started working out, would a trainer think me wimpy for wanting more repetitions versus heavier weights?
- It would be horrible if my tinnitus became full-blown deafness. I hope that it won’t happen all-of-a-sudden and that I have many, many years to avoid having my hearing checked by a doctor.
- Is it wrong that I laugh so much at misspelling “shenanigans” as “shenanigangs”? Couldn’t an improve troupe rightly be called a “shenanigang”?
- Whatever happened to Fountains of Wayne? Are they still recording stuff? I loved “Hackensack”.
- Why didn’t I get a trade under my belt, like plumbing? That was poor planning on my part.