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Seriously Your Honour? … An Innocent’s Lament To A Beeoch…

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policewoman at window

A small (ironic) parable today… if you can stomach it.

…………….

She shook her head and glared at me. Such lovely dark eyes.

I didn’t get it. She didn’t get that I didn’t get it.

A young’ish female judge in flowing black robes and white tie sat on the bench in judgment… of me?

Thin stripes of burgundy brocade garnished the front edges of her judicial robe like sardonic drips of menstrual blood dripping from her chest. Taunting me.

And just like my orange-tinged idol from the Land of the Free, I knew in my heart of hearts that I had done nothing wrong. And yet.

Here I stood at the front of this courtroom defending myself. Witchhunt.

Defending myself against ridiculous trumped-up charges that an obviously poorly-trained RCMP officer- a woman no less … a pretty lady who plainly would have been better suited to hairdressing as a career than policing – was levelling against me.

My eyes flashed wide, directed in amazement towards the judge, the police lady and the courtroom.

woman judge

So many women. I felt like I was in a cat-house. I was simultaneously pissed and aroused.

Now I want you to see clearly the nonsense, the crazy miscarriage of justice perpetrated here, so I’ll provide you a direct quote from this officer lady’s notes that she read out to the court in the charges against me:

“I approached the vehicle of the suspect Mr. Green. He lowered his window.  I asked for his registration and licence. His response was “Of course Sweetheart, you look tired, was the lineup at Tim Hortons too long this morning?

I repeated my request for his documentation which he then provided. I asked if he knew of the reason for being pulled aside.

He shook his head and wondered aloud if he had a burnt out taillight or if I was suffering from some monthly issues.

No sir, I responded. Besides driving at 74 kilometres per hour in a 30 kilometre School Zone, I noticed that you were texting on your phone while driving and appeared severely distracted. You know that’s an offence sir.

Oh is that all?, he replied. Everyone does that, right? No big deal. C’mon, the kids got out of the way.

And the phone sir? Anything you’d like me to add? I asked.

Oh, so you noticed me reaching into the back seat to retrieve my phone that had been ringing? Once I was able to get my seatbelt back on and see that I had missed a call from a bar buddy I met last night – I have to admit I’m still a bit fuzzy up top here – I turned off the Netflix show I was watching on the dashboard screen and zipped off a quick text telling him I was driving and would call him later. 

I see Sir. And I detect a strong scent of cannabis as well. Have you been smoking pot? Is that a joint I see smouldering on your console?

Sure little lady, but it’s medicinal. I have this cast on my foot that really hurts when I drive – I hate driving standard – so I smoke some weed to cut the pain. It’s legal weed, so no offence there Honey.

Sir, there are so many Motor Vehicle charges here that I barely know where to begin. Please step out of your vehicle and place your hands on the hood of the car.

You’re kidding me Sweetheart, right? I’ve done nothing wrong.

You’re kind of pretty you know, doesn’t the RCMP have some sort of skirt for officers like you to wear?

He stepped from the vehicle with a grin on his face and slowly turned and placed his hands on the car.

This is harassment. My lawyers will have all of this in the courts for years to come. Plus I’ll destroy your reputation Bitch, you won’t be behind the wheel of that cruiser a year from now. Somebody should grab you by the pussy and make sure you’re satisfied.

Yes Sir, I’m sure you believe that. I frisked the defendant and secured his hands behind his back for transport to the station.”

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The judge lady shook her head in some sort of womanly tantrum… I have to admit that it was a bit titillating. She was clearly in on this whole fake arrest thing.

Then the Grudge Judge declared me guilty on the full set of charges. My plump, wild-eyed lawyer reassuringly whispered in my ear that appeals would tie this up for months, maybe years.

As I was led from the courtroom, I turned and suggested to the Beauty Shop Cop that she get some anger management training and try chilling, maybe go to an old-fashioned movie with a friend.

WITCHHUNT. Watch out Twitter.

Twitter-rage

 

 

 

The Internationally Unintentional Era (Errors) of this Unwoke Man

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International Women's Day 2019

International Women’s Day?

Is it weird that we devote/commemorate a single day to fully half of the population of this planet?

Or is it weird that we feel we need to do this for some good reasons?

How could half the people alive today be in need of special recognition?

When will the day arrive that we nod our heads and reminisce nostalgically about the past need to strive for female/male equality in the same way we (should) reminisce about the early scourges of Smallpox or Scurvy?

Shhhhh…. this is not for sharing (good thing there isn’t such a thing as the internet where everyone can see!)… I have to admit that my job as a man in this world is more difficult as each day passes.

Hang on … I’ll wait a moment here for you to say … “awwwww“.

*Silence*

Yeah, I didn’t think I’d hear too much there. Could be my failing ears but I really don’t think that’s it.

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Frankly, the difficulties I have to face as an older white dude are infinitesimally minimal to the struggles that so many others – in this case, women – face from the moment of their first cry until their final breath.

What I want to explain to you in today’s post is that I know from time-to-time I’m gonna step in the deepest, darkest gender shit, despite all my best efforts at being “woke”.

I’m kinda half-woke!

I’ve spent a good deal of my life’s days transitioning to a world where everyone should be truly valued at the same level of distinction…

… no matter their skin colour, their gender, their religious belief, their mental capacity and so on and so on (I have to add that etcetera part because I know I’m unintentionally excluding groups that should be delineated here, see?, the shit plops are EVERYWHERE).

I’ve learned … I’m learning … I’ve discontinued my childhood jokes about non-straight sexualities (how many young boys did I coarsely demean in high school?), I’ve hopefully stopped using derogatory words I once used to describe other ethnic groups, I try to use the most non-confrontational descriptors for every person and every group.

And still I stumble…

stumble2

I stumble … and yet I know there’s far worse than myself.

I gape and gasp in dismay; so much of what I see in the world still confirms the suppression of women.

If I were a praying kind of guy, I’d spend hours each day on my knees begging for God to give something even close to equality for women in dark oppressive countries and regions of repression, torture, abuse.

On a wholly personal level, it’s impossible for me as a Baby Boomer to be sufficiently aware of every possible transgression regarding – for today’s discussion – gender politics, to never say or make a judgment error.

I’m an OK guy but let me leave it like this…

I celebrate all women and the determination, intelligence, strength and yes, beauty, that they bring to the world.

Each of us, man, woman and any other, is transitioning daily to a world that changes in ways, minor and major, with each sunrise and each sunset.

So please, when I falter in my own personal transition and step in the stinky doo-doo I’ve dropped, it’s not for lack of trying.

Not everyone is magically accorded the advantages that I’ve largely taken for granted. My responsibility is to keep learning and learning, trying and trying … trying to find the words and means to build others up.

The last thing I want to do to any person is unknowingly, accidentally, ignorantly, lessen their esteem or feeling of individual power.

But sometimes I know I will, cuz I’m a part of this Unintentional Era of the Unwoke Man.

unwoke men.jpg

Yeah, still unwoke

The Muppets and No Country For Old Men

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statler and waldorf 2

Dear Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley:

We regret to inform you that The Muppets still have no openings to replace Statler and Waldorf in the balcony cheap seats. We would kindly recommend you return to your local Mayberry coffee shop and continue your enlightened pontifications of why women just don’t suck up to the good ole boys like they did in the ’50’s.

Sincerely, TROTTFCW (The Rest Of The Twenty-First Century World)

Did you know that the state of Vermont has never sent a woman to the U.S. House or Senate? … never ever in 242 years…

DANG! I really want to write light, fluffy pieces about music and books and movies and Halloween and all the great stuff that inhabits my world. I want to laugh and kibitz with you like we’re young children in the schoolyard of our dreams. Blue skies, shining on me… nothing but blue skies, do I see….

But the current affairs’ bus just keeps careening off the US Interstate Highway and I can’t look away.

I feel like a victim even though I play for the side of the victimizers. Yeah, I know that’s a bit like Melania saying SHE’S the MOST bullied person out there… BOO HOO!

melania bullied

What the hell am I talking about?

Baseball of life.

I have 3 strikes against me and there’s nothing I can do to change it (short of surgery and hormone therapy).

  1. I’m a Man.
  2. I’m White.
  3. I’m Old(er)!

AGAIN. BOO HOO!

I sort of belong to the same club as McConnell and Grassley and Trump and it scares the hell out of me. I have to fight back against my privilege.

You see, I watched some of the U.S. Senate hearings a month back where another white man – angry, juvenile’ish Brett Kavanaugh – sat in the hot seat and told me how much he and his buddy PJ enjoy(s)ed beer.

Add that to the sight of a murder of old, white codgers sneering angrily, contemptuously, at a woman who has a boatload more credibility than any of those interviewing her and…

It made me ill. I’m one of them…. and….

These relics aren’t learning and changing. They’ve dug themselves in and are hanging on by their richly manicured fingernails… and…

I felt a whole lot of disgust and animus.

I love the differences that delineate men from women, white from black, Christian from Muslim from Jew, old from young, gay from straight.

But different should never imply better or superior.

I’m a product of my culture and generation, as are you.

There is hardly anything in life that is not changing… rapidly.

Some changes we like, many others create fear and anxiety.

We all have to do our best to grow and change and wonder and debate those changes, morphing and putting ourselves in the shoes of the “other”. It’s called understanding.

Because I belong to that clique of “old, white men”, it is ever more important that I stay attuned and sensitive.

old white man.jpg

Almost daily, I have to assess and determine those areas of humankind that are basic and unchanging, and those that are elastic and variable.

I’m learning to change as the circumstances make sense.

Here are just a few of the things I recognize now and changes I’ve adapted to in my years.

  1. Sexuality and the nature of manhood/womanhood are less distinct than I ever realized or accepted. There is a flow in the world of sexual preference, gender fluidity and spectrum. Love is Love. Gay marriage, Interracial marriage, Sex outside of marriage. I accept various forms of sexuality and gender now that I could never have fathomed as a young boy and man.
  2. I can’t blindly use derogatory terms as I did in my youth. It’s embarrassing to think of the ignorant words I used to describe others: Nigger (we ate licorice nigger babies from the corner store); Jew (“too expensive, we’ll jew them down”); Newfie (Newfoundlander) jokes; Dumb Blonde jokes; Pollock (Polish) jokes; Paki (Pakistani/Indian) jokes; Wop (Italian) jokes… on and on it went without any thought of the hurt it might cause.
  3. Tattoos and piercings are not only for sailors and Hell’s Angels. Not a fan but I quietly accept.
  4. Circumcision isn’t a given. A penile toque is kinda cute (I hear!). Female circumcision is plain nutso.
  5. Women as leaders. The safety and security of our world would be stronger in the hands of women. Pollution measures would be more robust.
  6. Technology is the driving force behind everything we do. One small example? Elections have changed immensely with social media alone.
  7. Animals are deserving of life and kindness. I do not have dominion over all creatures.
  8. Bullying is just not acceptable. ‘nuff said.
  9. Mental health should be treated as seriously and openly as we treat physical health. Too many folks suffer needlessly because of our fears and stigmas.
  10. The things I do and consume, contribute to global warming and have a negative impact. The sad thing is as I age my methane production goes up, what’s a concerned boy to do?

The leaves on all the tall birch trees outside my house have turned yellow and most of the leaves have flittered like gossamer feathers to the earth. Yes, change is as perennial as the seasons.

The unearned privilege of being an old(er!) Canadian white guy weighs on me when I see the struggles of others who did nothing to deserve their plight.

I’m trying my hardest to avoid looking in the mirror and seeing McConnell or Grassley as my reflection.

I’m hoping that I’ll soon find my way back to writing light, fluffy posts that might make me smile like Kermit or Miss Piggy and not frown like Statler and Waldorf.

As for a woman finally being elected to the Senate for Vermont this year? Fat chance… there’s some old white guy named Bernie Sanders standing in the middle of the road.

frustrated woman.jpg

300… The Vagenda Continues

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300

300 blog posts. 300,000 words. On my way to 10,000 hours and mastery.

HOLY SMOKES! I’ve been writing these weekly missives for almost 6 years now. Thank you for your help in pushing me along this winsome winding road. I appreciate your generous Samaritanism.

One sunny day in June 2012 I sat and pecked out my first blog article .

Genesis began with the obvious hint that I would be exploring and commenting on the Mars vs Venus tangle we find ourselves amidst in the world of men and women.

I know. It’s lunatic foolish of me to think that I – a tiny bobbing boat – could find an understanding where other brighter ships have crashed on the rocks.

My foolishness persists to this day. Go figure.

But let’s be clear. It’s not one-sided although it is unbalanced. Men misunderstand women and women misunderstand men. Human math says it should be an equal equation x=y. That day is not yet today.

And to add to the doggy-pile of confusion is intra-gender misunderstanding. Hell, I’m a man and I frequently don’t get men.

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Yeah, I get frustrated with my own gender. Bigly.

Only last night I was playing my guitar at an Open Mic, watching a couple of middle-aged men guzzle down entire over-sized bottles of beer in one gulp and yelling loudly so that none of us could hear other performers giving their heartfelt best on stage. SHUT UP A**holes !! (Aside: They were kindly quiet for the first 2 of my songs, but couldn’t contain their boisterousness for the 3rd piece I played!)

That doesn’t mean we should throw our hands up and walk away. Attempts at understanding in all directions is what propels us forward. That’s why we should all travel and immerse ourselves in other cultures and religions and beliefs.

It seems kind of fitting today to return to the topic that I began musing on those 6 years back with the maelstrom of news and comment regarding #MeToo and #TimesUp

Women are an unstoppable force driving us forward in the new world of brains vs brawn. The crystal ball is as clear as the chill ice I see on the lakes in the nearby mountains.

The fleeting rise of TrumpWorld has merely highlighted the schism that exists and which will inevitably tumble avalanche-like in a totally new direction. HUGE.

Dinosaurs died out many millennia ago and sadly, men are today’s dinosaurs… of course we won’t die out but we are having to accept, adapt and change our “DNA”. The metamorphosis needed has to occur a hell of a lot more quickly than what Darwin observed on the Galapagos.

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Happily, I feel confident it will.

On the flip-side, I know that I… yes, even little me… contain some fragments of that outdated dinosaur DNA just as I’m filled with the brawny DNA that drives my attraction to the female gender and not my own male brethren.

Like you, I’m a product of the generation and the culture in which I was raised.

Adapting to new social realities is like trying to maintain currency with the advances in the software and apps that flood my tech world on a daily basis. Am I the last one left to own a paper printer? I can only absorb and redesign myself so much over a short time frame. For sure I feel the dogs snapping at my heels.

So maybe you’ll understand that while I’m fully supportive of the feminist movements zooming up in my rear view mirror – I condemn the crass stupidity of men where sexuality and harassment are concerned – I’m also fearful of what I say and where I step.

My funny-bone misfires. My explanations sometimes lack nuance or sensitivity. Those times I don’t step on a landmine with my words, generally mean that at best I’ve trod in some stinky shit on the pathway. Some choice, eh?

This is my daily reality now… my emotion, my motivation, my personal experience.

 

  • I’ve never lived a world of gender-linked cruelty or suffering… the infuriating or fearful experience of sexual pressure (not on a true physical or financial level anyways).
  • I’ve never been callously subjugated because of the tint of my skin.
  • I’ve never felt heartless persecution because of some God I do or don’t believe in.
  • I’ve never encountered a curb or a building I couldn’t enter because my legs weren’t capable of lifting me up.

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That’s not my reality. Those aren’t my tears.

The best that I can do is to try to empathize and imagine those experiences by observing and understanding what others pass through.

It’s never enough but it’s all I have. This is what I want women to know when I mess up.

#MeToo and #TimesUp are movements I enthusiastically support but will not for a moment be a real part of and will never viscerally know from my own involvement.

So I’ll keep trying to understand.

300 posts down… I’ll continue (until I don’t) writing my weekly words despite the chaos and chatter between my ears… words, sentences, and paragraphs where I’ve chatted about positivity and inspiration and aspiration and music and movies and writing and exercise and creativity… and the lyrical poetry and wonder that exists between men and women… things that I believe to be true in my vision of the world.

… until My Times Up.

Thanks for joining me and the 300 club today.

woman and man

50 Shades of Weinstein

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CAUTION:

The following post should be read and interpreted

through the murky haze of “man-goggles”. You’ve been warned.

50 Shades

Christian Grey: “My subconscious looks on with approval, her normally pursed mouth smiling, and I am the supreme puppet master.”

 

Anastasia Steele: He’s said such loving things today … But how long will he want to do this without wanting to beat the crap out of me.”

………………

What is more scary than Harvey Weinstein in his bathrobe?

Many years back when I was training for an Ironman event, I would wear… blush… a relatively skimpy Speedo bathing suit while doing my pool or lake swims in preparation.

My young kids recoiled in eyesore terror at the sight of their Dad displaying the gentle outline of his royal jewels in light lycra cover, almost like the disguising brown wrapper surrounding a newly minted PLAYBOY magazine.

They felt a true sense of abuse that, in retrospect, I understand. HORRORS!

But let’s move on…

So, is Harvey Weinstein the new Christian Grey? I get so confused.

Supreme puppet masters Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly and Bill Cosby and and and  …. somehow believed they each were the fictional “hottie” that drew women to them as bees to honey…

… but let’s face it, we all know the reality… it was more akin to flies to SHIT.

Not 50 Shades sexy, just 50 Shades creepy.

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I can only imagine how frightfully difficult it must be as a woman (or even more so a young girl) to live in a world filled with testosterone-laden behemoths (strangers, friends, uncles, stepdads, dads) with the physical might to overwhelm you and take what they want sexually.

I can also only imagine how difficult it must be to be a woman living in a world where influence- and money-laden behemoths with the power to make or break your dreams of achievement or fame can overwhelm you (physically or psychologically) and take what they want sexually.

What’s even more scary?

We probably live in the MOST enlightened times of history where women actually exist in a locus of near equality with their male cohorts. Ain’t near enough you might say…

Just how truly truly worrisome it must have been to live as a woman 25 years… 100 years… or 1,000 years ago.

Not to be too narrow-minded, but being a man and trudging off to a gruesome bloody death in war was no picnic either, but at least there was a modicum of choice in the matter.

Abuse and rape don’t typically afford choice.

Throughout human history, coercion, rape, and sexual hegemony by men were for many, if not most women, as commonplace as free-floating oxygen.

Rape and pillage.jpg

But back to my confusion.

I’m betting that the #MeToo hashtag that is a ubiquitous part of our current news cycle could be used by almost 100% of the female population from at least one creepy incident in their lives.

Sexual touching and unwanted approaches have been as much a part of womanhood as the monthly “curse”.

And yet… once upon a time… there came upon the land a modern sexual tsunami called 50 Shades of Grey.

A mere few years back I wrote a post about how I was a befuddled male; I just couldn’t imagine how millions of women were clamouring for the supposed “romance” of the books and movies 50 Shades of Grey.

The notion of interactive romance in my little head doesn’t include a sub-section where an uber-wealthy man is able to dominate and subjugate a woman for his own selfish pleasure under the guise of it being ultimately for her pleasure.

She doesn’t know what she wants, not yet, but he’ll enlighten her. Huh? Women want to fantasize about being mistreated?

I reflect softly as a lovely hush of golden yellow leaves trace whispering paths of descent into my sun-drenched woodland garden.

I can only conclude that contradiction and ambiguity are integral to sex and the sexes (sorry… genders!), but I continue to hold my place in the line of the confused.

Of course I don’t have to imagine what it’s like to live on the other side of this gender-fence.

I’m trying to steer a straight manly path in a world fraught with potential pitfalls.

I’m acutely aware of how what I do and say might be interpreted.

I have a sense of humour that can take male/female issues to the edge. I’ve tried to stay clear of the line in the sand, but I grow ever more worried that I do, or have, crossed it with innocent intent.

“Fun” and “funny” are how they are interpreted and I can’t sleep at night with 100% certainty of where I’ve stepped. The one true certainty is to have never touched anyone inappropriately.

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In reality, I too could claim the #MeToo hashtag.

I’ve been touched and propositioned over the years by women – never by anyone with financial or workplace power over me – most recently with an “innocent” bum pinch in the gym.

As a man, perhaps because of my sense of physical strength, I’ve never felt truly “threatened” other than on one occasion when a man, larger than myself, grabbed my exposed genitals in a Prince Edward Island beachfront changeroom. WTF!

I pushed away and got the hell out of that changeroom… FAST.

Ultimately, I feel nothing but sickly distaste for the “men in the news” these days.

Thanks to the volcanic feeling of revulsion many women are experiencing post Trump “pussy grabbing”, a cathartic cascading torrent of stories and past experiences are surfacing.

The dam has broken and feminine anger and empowerment is flooding the soiled landscape.

The “casting couches” we all knew of and may have snickered about in previous years are taking on a new, more appropriate interpretation.

A few million years back, the dinosaur era crashed and burned, and so too now must the era of unwanted dominance by the powerful and ignorant, male or female.

We male dinosaurs are edging our way through the modern jungle where the hazards for both sides of the Mars/Venus chasm are not always clear, where the pathways that once seemed clear are now more hazy; ghostly pathways where honest intent occasionally ends up as the wrong route.

But for today, this old T-Rex is making at least a symbolic effort and tossing his old Speedo into the quietly flickering flames of the autumnal woodstove.

T Rex at beach.jpg

 

Yes, Women WILL Dominate In The Years To Come…

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What did God say after he created man?

“I can do better.”

God created women

I have a meandering mind, so today, I’ll wander around and about and hopefully you can trace my convoluted trail … or trial!

I’ve been writing this MAN ON THE FRINGE blog for almost 5 years now.

I’ve posted close to … well, let’s have a look… exactly 258 entries. That’s the equivalent of about 3 average-sized fiction books.

And because I’m a stock market and numbers guru/geek I usually look at my return on investment – how much am I being paid for the time invested.

In this case, I’ve calculated that return as …. drum roll…. $0.

And I just don’t care. Writing blog posts makes me happy, which is a pretty good ROI in my books.

I read and look at a lot of blogs.

There are millions out there, many of them birthed by mere ordinary people like me who have this urge, an inner compulsion to write and share.

When you write a blog, it’s important to read quality books and blogs to know what others write about and how they write to keep an audience interested.

When a friend or relative says they like a post I’ve written on any particular week, I’m always happy. Like a toddler, I love it when mommy says I’ve done good. There’s still a piece of me that craves validation. Everyone wants to be the hero of their own story. I know I do.

And when a stranger writes and says they like my post then I’m really happy because it’s truly about the quality of writing or something in the message that was meaningful for them.

Writing these missives each week is a narcissistic indulgence I look forward to because I’m never sure what little morsel in the news that passes my way, or in my memory hard drive, or in the sex-addled recesses of my mind, will insist on being expounded upon.

Blog writing is a continual discovery of the things that are meaningful for me… so usually it’s about sex, music, religion, food, investing, travel… or… interesting people I encounter. The folks I’m surrounded by intrigue me and teach me.

Blogging is a white cane that helps me uncover the hidden messages that surround me.

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After these 5 years of weekly posts, the most viewed article I’ve written is called Your Castration Awaits – 8 Reasons Women Will Dominate Men In The 21st Century

It was written in the summer of 2014 and boiled down to these bullet points:

  1. Women don’t waste time playing video games and watching porn. Girls just grow up and get on with life…well, and obsess over shoes but that’s a minor pastime on the way to the corner office.
  2. Women excel at communication and conciliation, whereas mens’ authoritarian style of coercion is outdated. Women are attuned to social dynamics and know the benefits of collaboration vs. competition.
  3. Women are getting educated and at higher levels. In just about every field, women are either in the lead or are charging hard to take the lead. It’s like China vs the U.S.. Get lazy, and complacent and watch the competition overtake you.
  4. Women know how to balance career and family. Both career and social worlds can thrive simultaneously. Men can’t pull off multi-tasking unless beer and a TV remote are involved.
  5. Men persist in thinking they can rise through manual labour. The world has changed and many men refuse to believe or acknowledge it. If men don’t excel and women do, don’t blame women. Wake up and smell that coffee boys!
  6. Womens’ self-definition is changing. Women don’t feel the need to acquiesce to men to sooth their egos. If a job needs doing, women will just jump in and do it. Damsels in distress are so yesterday.
  7. Allowing women to vote, fight wars, run businesses, and play sports levels the field. Women may never be able to build the physical strength of a man, but can equal or better him in every other facet of life if they choose to.
  8. Men want to get rich quick but don’t want to work or wait for it. Men are too impatient and unwilling to take the longer, slower route to a better solution. Too many impetuous mistakes are made by wanting everything now.

 

It’s still true today.

I can see the writing on the wall. And the black/whiteboards.

When I tutor at the local college, I wander past classrooms filled with far more girls than guys. Even the science and math classes.

College class.jpg

TV newsrooms and political halls are swelling in serious female presence with each year that floats by.

Even I can see that I’m a relic of a previous age.

I tell myself that I’m enlightened but underneath the progressive exterior I present, I remain a man raised in a male-dominant society…. a man with just a smidgen-holding of the sick Trump notion that I have the power to grab a woman by the pussy whenever I want.

Our planet is in a tsunami flux with metamorphosis coming our way from every direction.

The one direction I’m most tuned into? Slowly but inevitably… the Women’s March on Dominance… a feminine evolution/revolution.

Now I don’t want to totally dump on my own gender.

Men are a fair group as these things go, but after some millennia, we’ve had our time, for a time. We’ve overseen huge calamities and also huge progress. Yes, we’ve made a million blunders.

But is there anyone who would realistically prefer to live in a 19th century world of poor hygiene, high infant and maternal mortality, lack of antibiotics, no voting rights for women? I can go on and on.

Now we need to step back and reflect on where WE want to be in 100 years.

Women have done just that over the past century, and I like, with maybe a few hesitations, where the female gender is heading.

The world of “might is right” is rapidly fading like morning stars at sunrise.

In the bible book of Genesis, it’s stated, “God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night“.

The sun and the moon, perhaps the metaphor that speaks to men and women in historic terms.

For millennia, from the dawn of civilization, in most of our world, men have ruled the day. Simple brute force and testosterone held the upper hand.

The dawn has grown elderly and tired, even tiresome, now.

Sunset is approaching, growing nearer and nearer and soon… soon… the lesser light, the moon, women, will rise in the starlit evening sky where the quiet and peace of nightfall will be taken gently by the feminine hand.

The shift of momentum is whispering softly in our ears.

moon whispers

 

 

 

I Love You Chrissy Metz…

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Chrissy Metz.jpg

If I were a REALLY fat person I wouldn’t be brave enough to put myself through the humiliation.

I met Chrissy Metz for the first time a week or two ago and I think I’ve fallen for her. Kind of like how I fell for Sarah Baker on Louis CK’s show a couple of years ago.

I’m embarrassed to admit it but I’m probably as superficial as they come.

Nope, not probably. I’m Trump superficial (but not quite as misogynistic or xenophobic). I treasure obvious eye-appeal.

Women, foods, scenery, book covers, you name it. I love the blatantly pretty and dishy.

First, a little segue.

I went for a short walk this week along the Penticton beachfront during a coffee break while volunteering at the soup kitchen. As I strolled the quietly winding pathway past couples sitting on benches looking out and enjoying the day I felt myself melding and absorbing into the wonder of a spectacular autumn day.

The sky was royal blue with a few white jet contrails crisscrossing like Twitter hashtags. Light lapping waves whispered along Okanagan Lake’s sandy shoreline.

penticton waterfront.jpg

The morning air was clean-smelling, mild and crisp, and the hillsides of the valley stood out like a 3D cutout against the bright azure background… and I heard my inner voice speaking, reflecting, “is there any place in the world as beautiful and desirable as this?”

Snapping to, I immediately self-corrected because I know that while I do truly live surrounded by scenic eye candy, my own experience has shown me that there are a million spectacular and wonderful places to live.

As a matter of fact, YOU live in an impressive and unforgettable place. I know you do.

You might even find yourself describing your home town/city/countryside to others as GOD’S COUNTRY.

And you’re right. It is.

We ALL live in God’s Country. Yup.

Don’t laugh or guffaw at me, because those of you who know me, also know that God and I are not really on speaking terms… he/she has adamantly refused to speak to me and in turn I’ve ignored him/her… or was it vice versa?

I know it’s childish but it’s the way I handle my relationship with omnipotent beings. I’ve never talked to Superman or Wonder Woman either.

Anyway, God’s Country is an expression we use to symbolize how much we appreciate our magnificent physical surroundings.

I’ve lived in a number of areas in Canada (the big cities, the prairies and the northern tundra are all incredible) and I’ve visited a number of spots in the world…. every one was amazing in a unique and pleasurable way.

gods-country

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Sorry about that lengthy diversion. I’m back to Chrissy Metz now. Sort of.

When I returned to the soup kitchen after my waterfront stroll, I passed by the two industrial-size garbage bins out front, then wended through the growing throng of those lined up an hour or more ahead of time waiting for the front door of the Soupateria to open for lunch.

The group is outfitted mostly in polyester and synthetic Salvation Army-provided jackets and worn, torn sweaters, and bruised Value Village T-shirts. Stained, crooked and missing teeth are common. Some smoke, some check cellphones they can’t afford, quiet chatter amongst friends and acquaintances.

These are the folks on the other end of the 1% scale we hear about so much these days, except instead of sitting atop the 99% pile, they slide downwards and reside on the bottom 1% end.

There’s salt and pepper bearded John with the FM disk jockey voice who could pass for a salty sea Captain.

30-something Margaret with short blonde hair and the wrinkled face of a 70 year-old.

Rob with his angry-looking countenance and silver dumbbell nose piercing.

Talkative rotund Peter who loves chatting about serial killers.

Matt the young meth addict with a ravaged face, one blatantly bulging lower cheek as if he’s holding a hard-boiled egg inside his mouth.

Robin the distinguished-looking aboriginal man with his gentle tan-toned Spaniel companion by his side.

I look around but can’t spot my friendly favourites, Mary and Joseph – they’re not here today, I hope they’re OK – and many others I recognize as regulars but don’t know by name.

I like most of these people. They’re real people who’ve lived real lives, mostly enormously difficult lives.

And like the scenic beauty that exists everywhere one chooses to live or visit, there’s a human beauty here that’s not always immediately visible to the surface scan of the eyes.

I’m consciously aware of the beauty even in this group, all of the people everywhere that don’t fit the perfection mould… and that makes me think of Chrissy Metz.

Yup, I’m finally back to Chrissy Metz.

There’s a new fall TV show I’ve watched twice now called THIS IS US.

It’s an earnest, heartwarming kind of show produced by the same people who made the series 30-Something in the 1980’s. The characters are quickly drawing me in with their worries and warmth, their flaws, their humanness, their humour.

But the one who stands out most for this guy is the character Kate played by Chrissy Metz. Ms. Metz has acted in other shows but this is my first encounter with her.

She plays the role of a 36 year-old fat girl. Not plump fat, but 300-400 pounds fat. Breaking chairs fat.

She speaks the unspeakable, informing us about the world as she experiences it.

I love her intelligence and practicality. I love the strength of character she exhibits. I love the pain and embarrassment she feels and still manages to bear. I love the humour she mines and hauls to the surface despite her anxieties.

And so, despite my shallowness and superficiality, I find another source of inspiration in the beauty of the not-so-obvious in our world.

There’s the poke-me-in-the-eye delights of mountains and lakes and skies, the sweet mimosa sunsets and spectacular structures built by humanity.

And there’s also the power and strength and beauty of those who live their lives in a challenging way every minute of every day, in soup kitchen lines and in serious acting roles.

I love you Chrissy Metz.

This is us Chrissy .jpg

 

 

 

 

200 x Scary … Would You Leap With Me?

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Airplane-crashing-into-FL-swamp.png

My friend Bill was an airline pilot. When asked to describe his job, he always answers, “hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror.” (Hmmm… he must order the Economy Class lunch).

In my life, the same can sometimes be said for stock market investing (taking just the last month for example) AND writing blog posts …

NUMBERS.

I’m a Numbers Guy. Investing Numbers. Date Numbers. Lab Result Numbers. Age Numbers. Weight Numbers. Cooking Numbers. Spanish Numbers …

Numbers are solid and real and maybe they are the counterbalance to my desires to be creative and off in my luminous dream world.

Numbers are unambiguous and tangible. Numbers don’t melt away like fluffy snowflakes and disappear while you’re sleeping (unless, once again, you’ve been investing in the stock market this past month!).

Today my favourite number is 200. Writing one blog post each week (more or less) for 3 and a half years has brought me to my 200th post.

I confess. I lied above about those things boring and terror-filled. Writing blog posts isn’t boring. Not at all. Terror?  Not really.

Fearful nervousness? Sure!

200

200.

200 blog posts. 200,000 words, more or less. The equivalent of two hardbound books.

200 creative opportunities.

200 internal investigations within my labyrinthine mind.

In June 2012 I began pecking out words and ideas, trying to capture the essence of my world … what it was like to be a man breathing feminine-scented air.

An XY living in an XX milieu: in my lab work, at gyms, at theatres.

I don’t tend to hang out where most men in this world hang out. I prefer music and cooking to auto repair and hunting.

As blogging weeks and months and years slipped along, a personal evolution occurred and I began writing about whatever itch felt the need to be scratched. I’ve been flying off, a bird on the wing, on tangents all over the map ever since.

I didn’t anticipate what writing would mean to me in terms of self-examination. I’ve confronted the sunshine and the darkness inside.  With each post I cobble together I discover a little bit more about myself, and my own personal beliefs, not the ones necessarily sold to me in the noisy marketplace of society expectation.

It’s not always pretty. Looking closely at yourself can be scary. I’ve unearthed many beautiful Valentine’s bouquets within, but also insecurities and worries that swim along the ocean bottom.

And further still I realized that when you share your inner world with the outside world it’s even scarier. I know that I’m different from you but I’m also the same as you.

Two hundred posts back I didn’t know where I was heading in writing a blog and that kind of sums me up.

Dance of Life.jpg

My way in life is to push myself, taking action and forging forwards without always knowing the precise direction I’m headed.

Life is like that.

You can stay static and unmoving, sphinx-like – until you know exactly what you want or where you’re headed. But for me, this would mean, playing a Christmas Grinch statue in the cold, never moving toward anything.

Total inertia and sloth-like existence. Fine for a few hours but not a lifetime.

Alternately, I can take a blurry, almost inebriated step forward, then another, then another… I like the sensation of movement, ripples on the lake in the rising sun, and eventually I know I’ll discover if I’m heading in a direction I like.

If I don’t like what I see, I re-assess and do an about face. Either way, I’m at ease because I’m doing something. And for me, doing something is ALWAYS better than doing NOTHING.

Writing blog posts was a scary thing to begin. I wanted badly to say things that were more often kept silent in my head and maybe inside yours too.

Not hurtful things, I hate hurting people. But truthful thoughts, scratching and clawing beneath the surface things. Funny things, sexy things, sad things.

And I’ve confirmed to myself that most of us are entwined in our own existence.  Most things we believe others say and think about us just don’t happen because we’re all too busy drowning in our own inner voices to be worried about anyone else’s.

That’s what I’m doing in this 200th blog post… drowning in my own inner voices. Narcissus looking at my own reflection.

But if you can shussssshhhh your inner voice for just a minute let me tell you something.

LEAP.

When we jump from a height, in that cinematic slow-motion moment while we free-fall we think, “Oh no!” in 100% of the cases.

Faecal creep takes hold for a second before we squeeze the blessed sphincter shut.

Then we hit the cold water and remember that we learned how to swim when we were little. The instinct to survive and thrive is there.

LEAP into the void. It’s only a void for a moment.

OK, not every opportunity that comes along. But enough to remind yourself that you’re breathing – participating – and not just a spectator or a reporter of a life.

LEAP into something that scares you, yet exhilarates you.

Write a blog post. Backpack through Thailand. Treat the sick who need you on St. Lawrence Island in the Arctic. Teach a yoga or fitness class. Eat a guinea pig. Organize a refugee support group. Start a new career. Sing acapella.

LEAP into the mosh pit of life and inhale a reassuring breath when the crowd sets you down gently.

Almost guaranteed you’ll get a smile that will waft you gently to the heavenly gates or carry you compassionately through the burning rings of hell … depending on what you did with the rest of your life. I can only help you so far.

200 Smiles.

See. There’s another NUMBER from this NUMBER’S guy.

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What’s This Blog About? A Breath in the Life …

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One minute he was sitting in his car … breathing … just like you and me, perhaps laughing, maybe scared, maybe just sitting quietly thinking about things.

Then, the next he was a blood-spattered mess like we might see in a TV cop drama. DEAD.

On one hand, in the pretend world, we watch for “entertainment”, while on the other hand we cry because it’s real life and we don’t like seeing real people killed.

I know I don’t. I feel the pain.

Today I harbour dark thoughts and nauseous feelings about a cat I hit with my car in Quesnel in 1981. Yeah, 1981… 35 years ago and it still bothers me.

bullet thru window

…………

People who don’t know that I have an alter-ego known as The Man on the Fringe and that I write a blog are bit surprised and curious when I mention it.

People don’t see these alter-egos, the “super-hero capes” and masks we don’t prominently wear in day-to-day life.

We all have aspects to our lives that many acquaintances have no insight into.

I write blogs, you raise equestrian horses or Golden Retrievers, the lady you met behind the deli counter supports a Syrian refugee family and is a massage therapist on weekends.

People almost always ask, “What is your blog about?”.

Well, initially they make snide comments like, “Are you sure it’s not The Man With The Fringes, or The Man in the Fridge?” before they ask the more serious question.

And it used to be the answer was simple. The words just flowed like warm blossom honey off my tongue.

  • Men and Women
  • Venus and Mars
  • XX and XY
  • Penis and Vagina
  • The Similarities and Confusions 

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Now it’s harder to define. Partly it’s because a year and a half back, the FRINGE Man retired from his lab job.

37 years a lab tech.

For 37 years this white-coat occupation defined my life. I was an almost solitary man in a sea of women …

… a teaspoon of testosterone swirling in a large, steaming cauldron of estrogen.

A blood-testing laboratory served me up my own inner laboratory of gender observation.

It was a fun position and I enjoyed it.

And there were times I admittedly pushed the limits of acceptability … often approaching the edge of gender-inappropriateness before easing back on the throttle to stay just inside the lines of propriety.

Most times I think I succeeded in not jumping over the line, although, I confess a few might disagree. Veni Vidi Aberravi (I came I saw I flubbed).

Anyway… the lights have gone dark on that gender-based observational lab now.

It was just like this every day!!

It was just like this every day!!

So at this point in time I write about those things that interest me – just the stuff I feel inspired or bothered or excited by.

I’ve turned the microscope into my own navel, not the flesh-eating bacteria that once occupied my gaze.

For example, this week I’m bothered and saddened to hear that a 22 year-old local man whom I knew when he was a youngster – a child adopted from Nigeria to a local family here in Canada – was found murdered in a car a few days ago.

He was a cute, smiley, enthusiastic little guy who would come and watch his older brother play soccer alongside my son who was a teammate.

Almost a team mascot, he played the role of parent entertainer during unexciting moments of the match.

In my mind, I ask what events and forks in the road in the last dozen or so years brought this happy-go-lucky kid to become the victim of a “targeted” murder, as the police have described it.

What heat and pressure created an apparent lump of coal instead of the envisaged diamond?

Where had he been, what had he seen, who did he hang out with that brought him to his sad, premature, violent ending?

It reinforces in my mind that all of us change over years.

We encounter people and ideas and activities that shape who we are and where we’re going. It’s like global warming on a personal level. We barely recognize the glacial pace of change but it’s there nonetheless.

I’m a slightly different person today than I was 6 years ago. You are too.

I know the shape and dimension of who I am was altered when we spent 4 months living in Cusco, Peru those 6 years back. Learning Spanish and interacting with beautiful, generous local folks and enthusiastic, young international travellers moulded this lump of clay that I am.

Maybe it was eating guinea pig that brought about change, maybe it was the spiritual magic that emanates from Machu Picchu. I don’t know, it’s that insidious.

Every day we’re sculpted and whittled tiny-bit by tiny-bit, the canvas of our art transformed.

But that’s just an aside.

I’m writing now to explore my inner mind, to develop creative thought processes that influence not just my writing but my music and my personal interactions with the world in general. Each week is just a breath in my life.

I’ve lived most of my breaths by “rational” rules and I’m now at a time where I’m truly enjoying living my days more across the “creative” side of the tracks.

For 37 years it was pretty important to a lot of sick people that I never explored a sense of creative in my laboratory job. Creative thinking in such a scientific and rationality-based career would be dangerous, and … most likely illegal too.

Next week I’ll inhale a deep breath and another 1,000 words will exhale. Hopefully, I’ll unearth something creative buried inside.

I don’t know what that breath will look like, not yet …

… who knows … maybe I’ll write a whole blog post about the word:

SAVVOCITY

… just because it’s a cool word.

machu picchu

 

What If Men Were Extinct?

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worried man

As a man, I’m worried for my species …

I worry that if we guys don’t evolve and act quickly, well, we’ll find ourselves in the dumpster out back jammed to the brim with beta and VHS tapes, 8 tracks, cassette players and buggy whips.

Recently as I’ve told you, I’ve become a bartender.

I make a lot of Shirley Temple cocktails in my new job. Kind of a girly drink, would you agree?

Some things are inherently feminine by their nature. I get it.

But when I attend a spin class or a boot camp exercise class, there is nothing feminine about doing 300 squats … or 70 pushups … or riding a spin bike up “hills” for an hour. And yet, I’m usually the only man, or one of 2 or 3, tops.

So why is it that men avoid these classes but pile in to Cross Fit boxes for intense exercise? I get confused by things that are supposed to be feminine or masculine.

Just like the confusion I feel about the attraction of women to the “50 Shades of Grey” movement, I find myself scratching my head when it comes to attendance at fitness classes.

These are the things that float through my head and lead me to further thoughts about gender roles in our world.

gender roles

Aside from my sperm (and I don’t even have that in my post-vasectomy life), what do I and other guys have to offer to women?

We’re living in a post-masculine world. This is a good thing. Great, actually.

But switching from a male-supreme society to a female-dominated one is not where we want to be either. Merely switching from missionary to cowgirl position is not going to cut it. High heels and neckties should be equal.

woman dominating man

A world commanded by neither gender would be a wonderful thing.

We don’t live in the same place where men returned from war and chased all the competent, hard-toiling women back to the sidelines of the home and aprons and coupon cutting.

Women have evolved and grown and assumed and learned roles that once filled men’s lives.

Woman work and earn money to support themselves and their families.

Woman operate big machines and carry rifles in the Armed Forces.

Women are police officers and astronauts and engineers and doctors and pilots.

I repeat, this is a good thing.

We men are the ones slow to adjust to 21st century realities.

Far too many guys just don’t bother to show up for this new world where men need to be responsible 50:50 partners.

Real men may not eat quiche, but they sure as hell should be equal participants in home life regardless of whether they bring home a paycheque or not.

Just as a woman should know how to make a reasonable living, cut a lawn, change a tire, and replace a lightbulb…

Real 21st century men should know how and be willing to:

  • childmind
  • clean house
  • shop for groceries
  • wash and dry clothes
  • cook a meal

But but but I see and hear of situation after situation where the boys won’t play fair, leaving their female compatriots most or all of the roles that hold families and relationships together.

Pssst … Guys? Here’s a little secret that many of us aren’t catching onto yet.

Most women have figured out that we’re not pulling our weight and that they don’t need us.

They may want us, but if we’re not able to take on a reasonable workload on ALL fronts as well as provide emotional support…. well, then the option becomes clear. Why have a man in her life at all?

Check out the graph below.

percent-married-by-decade

It’s pretty apparent that more and more women are choosing not to marry as they become more independent, more able to provide for themselves.

The need for physical protection and a breadwinner, traditional male roles, are crumbling. Wilma doesn’t need Fred Flintstone any more than Lucy needs Ricky Ricardo.

When these “needs” are no longer needed, and the desire for an emotionally supportive partner who carries an equal burden on the home-front can’t be readily found despite the wonders of MATCH.COM and Plenty-of-Fish… then why bother?

Bottom line guys? If we want to stay relevant and equal in all areas of our world, we’d better get out of the La-Z-Boy a bit – or a lot – more often and cook a meal, change a diaper, or run a load of laundry. It ain’t a big deal … really!

Maybe the dinosaurs didn’t die in a cataclysmic storm from a meteor. Perhaps they just assumed their Tyranno-partner would chase and catch dinner and look after the wee little dinos.

Maybe the dinosaurs would still be with us if they pulled their heads out of their Dino-X-Boxes.

Honey, I’m heading off to Spin Class with the girls to think through my gender confusion issues. I’ll pick up the kids from daycare and should be back in time to make dinner before you get home from work.

Spin guys

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