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THE FALL OF MAN Page 2 of 2

Bob Saget any day.

Now, let me wax nostalgic a little. When I was doing time at UMass, there was a seduction tactic we used to employ. We called it “last man standing” and it worked on the simple notion that the last guy to leave a party or bar always got laid. It worked on the premise that there was always a girl just looking to hook up but she also wanted to party. If you were patient enough, she’d be yours. She may not be the prettiest of women, but at least you wouldn’t sleep alone.

I bring it up because it doesn’t apply anymore. It’s antiquated the Beta-Vision of the twentysomethinger. Sure, Beta-Vision still works, but you’ll never find anything good for it. It’s like the guys who drove the Camaros in high school who got all the girls. They were cool back then - no doubt about it - but today they’re the same guys who got pinched on a DUI and now ride the bus to get around. We reminisce about those days, but we’re forced to accept the fact that times are different. If you decide to use the “last man standing” tactic today, chances are good you’ll be stuck with your buddy’s bar tab, a lonely cab ride home and not much else.

The problem is that the perceptions have changed. Some say it’s a coming of age thing but I don’t really agree. Women used to think it was heroic when a guy got into a fight on her behalf, now they think he’s treating her like an object. Women used to admire a guy who did his own laundry, now they whisper behind his back, “He doesn’t even separate the whites.” And women used to respect a guy who took charge in a situation where no one else would step up, now they think he’s a control freak.

A few more examples, ten years ago:

A guy was expected to pay for dates. Now, he’s seen as infringing on the independence of women if he does (actually, I don’t mind this change all that much).

A guy could get into a fight and not worry about legal ramifications.

A guy was expected to be able to drink and drive, after all, we’ve got to get home.

A guy who didn’t call the next day was seen as mysterious and strong, now he’s viewed as a player.

A non-athlete was a geek, today’s geeks are cool and athletes are superficial.

I’m talking about a total restructuring of a value system that has turned gender relations on its head. The real problem is that no one told us about it and we’re the ones who are on the front lines of the gender war everyday. I don’t have a girlfriend. I have to fight tooth and nail against a hundred guys who look just like me for the only girl at the bar who even resembles someone worth taking home. And now I’m handicapped by the fact that women view me as an immature, manipulative slob who can’t go to the grocery store correctly.

The truth of the matter is that the ideal of the “man” as we knowHere, kitty, kitty! it is dead. He has been replaced by an asexual, cat-loving, politically correct chameleon who portrays more sensitivity than bravado. There’s nothing wrong with that per say... Sadly, for those who can remember, the ideal I grew up wanting to emulate is six feet under.

By the way, the girl in the grocery store turned out to be really sweet. We dated for a while, had a lot of fun and then she dumped me for a financial advisor who drove a Lexus. I met him once, by accident. He began talking down his nose at me so I broke it (he later decided not to press charges but made me pay for the suit I ruined. Too bad for me it was an Armani). I’m not proud of it but he deserved it. She, needless to say, was not impressed with my conversational skills and openly questioned what she had ever seen in me. Feeling fairly empowered after I laid her boyfriend out in one punch, I thought quietly, “In me, you saw a man.”

I smiled as I was escorted out of the bar by two bouncers.

At least I didn’t have to pay my tab.

Justin Shaw is 25 years old and works in public relations in Boston, Massachusetts. This is his debut in 3 A.M. Magazine.


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