It took me a long time to realize that my life isnít a sitcom. My problems definitely donít get solved in a half-hour and telling the truth isn't a panacea. I donít meet girls in the subway or at the ATM machine. I donít buy French bread every time I go shopping. I rarely have exact change for the cabbie and if I drive, I circle around for 45 minutes looking for a parking spot. My apartment is small and expensive. But the most important differentiator is this: I canít remember the last time I met a girl 36-24-36.
So you can imagine my surprise when I was at the supermarket and this chick walked in looking like she jumped off the cover of Cosmo. Well, in all fairness, she was more beautiful than hot. There is a difference, you know? This chick was more of the girl-next-door type of hot, kind of a Jennifer Love Hewitt. Normally, I retreat from these types of confrontations. Thereís something about a beautiful woman that can make you sound stupid. Iím not necessarily worried about saying the wrong thing; Iím worried about having nothing to say at all.
But, here we were. Iíve got my cart full of milk, eggs and produce and Iím heading towards the cereal aisle. Iím walking towards the entrance of the store, preparing to bang a right to get my Cocoa Puffs. She walks in pushing a cart, catches my stare and says, ďYouíre going the wrong way.Ē
ďHuh?Ē is all I could say. I coughed out a nervous laugh.
ďYouíre going the wrong way,Ē she didnít smile, she kind of pursed her lips.
ďHow do you know where Iím going?Ē I asked with a suspicious grin. I took a subtle deep breath and composed myself, trying to locate an appropriate attitude. I was after all, caught a little off guard.
She laughed, ďYouíre doing it backwards. You have to get all your other stuff first and then get your milk and stuff, otherwise itíll go bad.Ē
Suddenly, I did feel really stupid. I tried to play it off but I donít think she bought it. I mumbled a little bit and then I just resigned myself.
ďOK, youíre right, Iíve never really done this before and Iím not really sure what Iím doing. Are you happy now? Youíve humiliated me at the Stop & Shop and I havenít even gotten my coffee yet.Ē
She laughed hard, a little too hard. I pouted until she grabbed my wrist and said ďCome on, Iíll show you how itís done.Ē
Sounds good, huh? Well it isnít. Why was I doing it wrong? Why canít I shop the way I shop? Do women think that men are so stupid that we are incapable of performing a simple task like grocery shopping? I believe they do, albeit through no fault of their own. I believe they have become conditioned to think men are idiots.
That little incident got me thinking and I donít mean to sound patronizing so please forgive me if it comes off that way. I studied advertising in college and I was berated with the notion that using beautiful women in advertising is bad because it perpetuates an unattainable stereotype, an ideal to strive for but for most women, completely unrealistic. I didnít buy into it then, but Iím starting to see the feminist point of view. Quick, someone call my ex.
Letís assume for a moment that this notion is true, that advertising gorgeous models in regular people clothes leaves women more susceptible to self-confidence problems and eating disorders. Conceptually, can the same be said for men? Is the portrayal of men in certain regard detrimental to how people look at him? I believe it is and hereís why: No one is going to convince me that the role of men in popular culture hasnít changed over the years. And likewise, no one is going to convince me that the perception of men, both by men and women, hasnít changed over the years either.
For example, my hero growing up was James Bond. I preferred Roger Moore because he starred in the era in which I began watching movies. How smooth was this guy? There was nothing he couldnít do, and to bang a chick named Pussy Galore takes some big ass balls, I donít care what you've got swinging between your knees. The point is that Bond was the ideal man. He was suave, powerful, smart and confident; all the building blocks a young boy needs to someday become an effective adult male.
God willing, I will someday procreate and if He chooses to bless me even further, he will bestow upon me a son. And when that son begins reading and watching movies and looking beyond my influence for guidance on how to conduct himself, who is he going to turn to?
Todayís media personalities are different. They are guys like Eminem, Jerry Springer, and Regis. Because life imitates art, growing up with these guys gives women decidedly different opinions as to what to expect from a guy. In turn, it confuses the images a boy has of what a man should be. Me? Iíll take James Dean over
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