Ok, so proving today that even the intelligenterati can fail, and fail hard, is Stephen Fry, who apparently feels sorry for straight men, "because women only want sex in order to have a relationship."

*headdesk*

I shan't bother heaping on the sarcasm, because [personal profile] gominokouhai has already done that far better than I could.

What I'd like to dwell on for a bit is the odd bit of straight male angst that Fry has managed to latch onto. "I think most straight men feel they disgust women", he says, "They find it difficult to believe that women are as interested in sex as they are."

Now this is interesting because it rings very true; I think a lot of (especially young) straight men feel ugly and unloveable, and often end up concluding that women aren't interested in sex per se, but rather in 'hooking a man' — rich and powerful, natch.

But the rest of the sentence is cringeworthy. "For good reason", Fry continues. "If women liked sex as much as men there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas."

This is perhaps the most bizarre aspect of his quotes. Despite years of work on gay rights, on promoting the idea that gay people are just as decent and well-balanced as straight people, Fry ends up perpetuating the same myth that gay people are inherently more promiscuous, more sex crazy, than straight people. And myth it is.

Where's the disconnect?

As a single straight man, sometimes I did envy my gay friends. And, yes, maybe pulling as a gay man is easier and more straightforward than as a straight man. But not because women aren't interested in sex. It's because our society forbids women from taking the initiative, and forces that responsibility on men. Obviously a thousand feminists have pointed out the negative impact this has on women, and obviously they're right, but that doesn't mean that the situation is all roses for men either. I'm not sure any female readers can understand what it's like to feel unattractive, lonely, in need of affection, and have to go out in that state and open yourself up, because companionsip is not going to come to you.

It's doubly awful if you're socially awkward and naturally self-doubting — and perhaps Fry can sort of empathise with that. And it's triply awful if you feel that your efforts to pick up women are somehow demeaning to them — that by chatting them up you are sexualising them without their permission, that every action that your sexual desire demands that you take is anathema to all feminist principles.

In comparison, the gay scene, as Fry describes it, does sound on the surface pretty ideal. No stupid rules about one group of people not being allowed to make the first move — if you want sex there are places you can go to get sex, because sometimes a quick shag is really what you want. And if you want possibly more than sex, then you can dress up nice and go to a gay bar and pull or wait to be pulled.

But then I'm not gay, and despite Fry's comments on how great it is, I have a nagging doubt that the gay scene is really all that either. Because people are people, and shallow whatever their sexuality, and at the end of the day, being a plain, awkward gay man is probably not much easier than being a plain, awkward straight man.
Samhuinn yesterday, and with the clocks going back on the same day too.

This morning's journey into work was hindered by a would-be suicide on or around the Forth Road Bridge. He was eventually talked down and sent home to his girlfriend. The journey home, on the other hand, was hindered by the blanket of darkness that descended an hour before home time. Oh, and the pouring rain, and wind.

The seasons have turned, and it's time for us to start being easier on ourselves, and kinder to others. A gentle melancholy is starting to settle over me, but not an entirely unpleasant one. Time for warming foods, time for wrapping up against the cold. Time to nest down and await the eventual return of the light.

Happy Samhuinn, everyone.
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