Friday’s post on the cultural vacuity of Valentine’s Day drew a number of very good comments and pingbacks and pointed me to a few more factors worth discussing.
ADVICE FOR THE LADIES
lifeinlonglegs penned a great list of do’s and don’ts for treating your man on V-Day. Her ideas ran from go kart outings and shooting ranges to tasty steak and a massage from his lady, but all shared the context of playing to his alpha side – telling him it’s OK to be a man and that she loves him for it. Her list of don’ts included chocolate, flowers, clothing or watches (giving personal appearance items can come across as a passive-aggressive nag), passing off cooking as a romantic gift, forced couple-building or proposal pressure.
Cheap or expensive: the key thing is that whatever gift you choose is something manly [think adventurous, dangerous, rare, powerful, sexy, intellectual, strong] and something that reflects his tastes and interests rather than yours.
THE V-DAY GUILT COMPLEX
Somewhere amidst the Take Back the Night marches that have become de rigueur for activism across college campuses was the re-branding of Valentine’s Day as “V-Day,” an anti-domestic violence movement spearheaded by Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler. In a 2001 Salon piece, contrarian feminist Camille Paglia blasted Ensler’s work as “a reactionary piece of victim-obsessed paleofeminism” and went on to deride V-Day as a massive collective guilt exercise that would harm young women at their most crucial moments of sexual identification. Paglia quotes at length Betty Dodson, an early sex-pozzie who alleges that Ensler stole her Bodysex Workshop concept and twisted it into a cheap and destructive pep rally.
The format for “The Vagina Monologues” had dramatically changed. The audience was brought to a delirious high during the first half only to be dashed into hopeless despair during the second half. We were plunged down, drowning in a sea filled with the horrors of sexual violence against women…
“V” no longer stood for vagina. It stood for violence. Sex and violence, never sex and pleasure. Talking about sexual pleasure when there is so much sexual violence against women would be inappropriate, insensitive and politically incorrect. And who is to blame for all the sexual violence against women? According to Ms. and other fundamentalist feminists, it’s still the patriarchy…. That night I wondered how men in the audience felt after being nailed as “the enemy.” It’s my bet that the men attending V-Day were all staunch supporters of equal rights for women. But here they were, faced with the same old male-bashing of the sixties and seventies.
It’s very difficult to criticize V-Day without sounding anti-woman or pro-violence. Dare we ask why so many feminists think women have cornered the market on being victimized by violence? Will we sound too insensitive in mentioning the violence caused by poverty, hunger, and wars that affect women, men and children of both genders? Are we to ignore all the wives who verbally abuse and dominate husbands? Shall we pretend there are no mothers who all too frequently raise a hand to punish their children?
Eve is no longer the disarming young woman delivering her monologues. She has become an evangelical minister shouting and gesturing and admonishing us to demand an end to violence against women, as the crowd roars in agreement. Toward the end of the evening, Eve asked everyone who’d ever been raped to stand up. There was a smattering of women standing where I was sitting. Then she asked for those women who had been beaten to stand. Many more stood up. Finally she asked all those to stand who knew any woman who’d been raped or beaten, which included most of the audience. I refused to stand as an insignificant protest, knowing she would never ask those of us who had never been raped or beaten and who loved having orgasms to stand.
That’s the main problem with V-Day. Women end up celebrating sexual violence and not the creative or regenerative pleasures of erotic love. Ending violence is a worthy cause, and I’m all for it. But consistently equating sex with violence offers no solution.
GAMING THE HOLIDAY
I put forth two strategies against Valentine’s Day nonsense in the original post, collaboration and resistance. I guess protest is beta – the inimitable Roissy printed a reader email advocating insurgency tactics to use the romantic hype of the holiday against itself:
1. Ditch the cologne, a tiny bit of ladies’ perfume on the neck is the way to go. (Make sure you hug her close!) You could also put lipstick on your collar, but less is more- it has to be barely perceptible to work.
2. If you’ll be with her in a not-too-noisy venue and it’s late at night (after 11pm or so) have your phone’s alarm feature set up to ring several times at random. The hamster will wonder who the fuck is trying to get a hold you at this hour. Change the subject when she asks who’s calling.
9. And finally – My all time super duper favorite-ist opener in the whoooole wide world:
“Did you just grab my ass?”
And no, she doesn’t have to be standing behind you for it to work, you can walk clear across the room and spit this.
He does note that #1 and #2 are high-risk alpha-only moves not for LTR use. Said reader also penned the most mindblowing thing I read over the weekend:
3. When your body language, eye contact, etc. is solid, you can get away with ANYTHING. I’ve closed a girl having inviting her to a Warcraft LAN party…
…not including the NSFW emoticon introduced in item #7, possibly the most alpha nuclear response to an electronic fitness test ever developed. (One wonders what might have been had the Egyptian protesters mass-texted to Mubarak instead of going Woodstock in Tahrir Square.)
Profit idea: I would pay serious money – like Super Bowl ticket prices – to watch Paglia and Roissy have a three-martini lunch over closed circuit television.
Heartfelt thanks to the readership and link referrals, which pushed the number of daily hits to a Badger-record 343 on Sunday Feb 13th. I could say I wasn’t counting, but as long as the numbers keep going up I know I’m reaching people.
Now, if you have somebody to love today, forget the hype – and simply love them.