I’ve had a hard time coming out of my shell lately. Like some of my friends (three that are known to me, but there could be more who cope the same way I do, by self-quarantine), I have been Having Emotions lately. Hormones? It’s possible. At least two of us are in menstrual lockstep. Sunspots / storms / wrath of Helios? Who knows. It might just be Churchill’s black dog. But poor sleep, bad dreams, nameless dread, and hot-and-cold-running tears are tiresome. Instead of getting up with Honey to pack his lunch and make him a protein shake and see him to the door (as one does when one is unemployed), I slept. And he let me. Dear man.
Which brings me to El Rushbo.
No need to harp on his latest misbehavior, which is egregious; or the damned poor reasoning behind being both anti-contraception AND anti-choice; or the many other differences in our opinions, which are well known to all my friends, family, and passersby within range of my cracked contralto.
What is filtering down to me right now is that Rush and his ilk are widening the rift between men and women. Whether or not you agree with his politics, Rush is deliberately leading his male viewers to a place in which women are evil. He may well be leading his female listeners to that same vantage point, even if they only cheer as the men fling shit on the all the women who don’t agree; but in his world, there are sides to take, and they are taking the side of men.
I don’t want to take sides. I like men. Aside from my primarily hetero inclinations, I have often gotten along better with men than with women. Women are wonderful, but the main brands of BS laid on them often make me uncomfortable — they are traits too familiar, too painful, to easy to reacquire after painstaking effort to subvert. The brands of BS inculcated in growing boys are utterly different from the misery I shared with the ladies, and so are easier for me to identify, acknowledge, dismiss, soothe, get along with at need, and even help undo. Being able to offer understanding and acceptance, despite the minefields planted in a guy’s youth, is wonderful. Guys who can do that for women are treasures as rare as the hair of a dragon.
Men and women have wonders to offer each other. Healing. Support, without taint of comparison, competition, or judgment.
Straight or gay or traveller, someone who is fundamentally dissimilar to you has the welcome advantage of not having been held to the same BS standards. Even if we know the friend understands the problem from afar, there will be no mortification by your failure to fit the shared mold that a same-sex friend might have. This is only one example of the many great collaborations between men and women. It doesn’t matter if they are gay or straight, and they don’t have to be lovers, or coworkers, or even close friends.
But they do have to be on the same side. I hate to see antagonism between the sexes. The accidental misery that occurs when a good surface match turns into a hellish couplehood is bad enough, and the compound misery of closet assholes and crypto-swine (female and male alike) are more than sufficient roadblocks to joy. Why make things worse? Shakespeare needed Iago as a device in a play. Who in hell tries to be Iago in real life?
I’ve known a few firestarters, and they are despicable. Rush is no different to me. Men and women have a lot of obstacles in their path. Why make things harder? Can a man really experience a joyful union with someone he either views as evil (by virtue of her strengths!) or good, but only if she pours herself into the Stepford mold, and trims away the rest? Can a woman love a man, any man or all men, if she can only do it from a small pigeonhole, and only if she is not herself? They grow to fear and resent the other sex, dismissing them altogether, through their own experiences, aggravated by loudmouths who are bent on dividing the sexes. It’s horrible. How can that benefit women OR men?
We rely on each other to some extent. All men are brothers, as are we your sisters. How can we help each other be our best selves?
Here is some Oliver Wendell Holmes:
- Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
- As the swift seasons roll!
- Leave thy low-vaulted past!
- Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
- Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
- Till thou at length art free,
- Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!
— and back I go, to my shell.