Remember when male strippers were funny?
And now we have Magic Mike, one of those movies that makes me scratch my head and ask “How did that get greenlit?” And then not only does it get made, it makes a box office killing, like Avatar or Final Destination 37. What really surprises me is how massively popular and mainstream it’s become. Strike that, what really surprises me is that, given how massively popular and mainstream it is, they didn’t release Magic Mike 3D. Put on your glasses for some full-frontal 3d entertainment! Why do I get the impression that the satire of this film was completely lost on the audience?
But seriously, there is something to be said for the wide-spread obsession over Magic Mike. Really, what exactly is happening here? Ladies, is this really what we want—Channing Tatum’s junk in our face (in 3-D)?
Don’t answer that.
Then you add in Fifty Shades of Grey and I’ve got to wonder if the feminist movement took a giant step back when our ultimate fantasy became a rich egomaniac controlling our every move. I’m sure there are some who would try to defend these works on some artistic merit. And there are also those who read Playboy for the articles. Bollocks. (Sorry, guys, I’ve been watching a lot of BBC shows lately which makes me think I pull off phrases like “bollocks”) Even if these books did have a shred of artistic merit, nobody being honest with themselves would say that is their main selling point.
As I was tossing this around in my brain, I stumbled across a male friend’s facebook status,
“I’m writing a new book. It’s called 50 Shades of Twilight Fall on Magic Mike.”
Clever. Curious if there even was a male opinion on this pop-culture obsession, I asked for his perspective. Later, he wrote:
“Honestly, I think a lot of good men have lost their voice in this world. What would they sound like if they actually spoke up? Perhaps…
I am not a vampire, or a macho stripper, or a rich, young, sex-crazed entrepreneur. I am a man and nothing more. But if I am a real man, you will need nothing more. (editor’s note: I think we can all safely assume he’s not addressing lesbians.)
I stand for the things that truly matter, and I do not flare my temper for trivial reasons. I am in control of myself. Therefore, I do not need to control the world, and I certainly don’t need to control you. I will keep my body strong for your protection and handsome for your approval, but I will not attach my value to it – just as I do not attach your value to yours. I will win your heart….THEN, I will start to romance it.
You claim real men no longer exist. This is fair, for there is much to suggest so, but I claim you have given up too easily and have settled for less.
I will surprise you.
I will secure you.
I will accept you as you are, but inspire you to be more.
I will waltz you clear of your feet and set you down in a place far better than you would have thought.
I will hold your heart in my hand, and actually know what to do with it.
Above all, I know who I am. My Strength does not come from you. My integrity will not be swayed for you. My passion is not created by you. But all of these will be offered to you. Yes, I am only a man……but if I am a real one, it is enough.”
I know, right?
A thing like that! (Sorry, guys, I’ve also been watching a lot of Mad Men lately).
Perhaps it’s a little on the schmaltzy side. Perhaps it reads a bit too much like a Nicholas Sparks character, but I might argue there is some room in the world for a little schmaltz. I’m not going to lie, it definitely piqued my interest in a good way, but my initial reaction was a solid “Oh, come on!“ Why was my knee-jerk reaction to such beautiful sentiments stone cold skepticism? I polled a few different females around work and the interwebs this week to see if I was the only cynic, and I did seem to grasp a general consensus: a lot of women love the idea of a man possessing such traits (though they hardly believe in his existence), but they are not fond of a man who openly declares that he has them. There were a couple of skeptics who found the statement to be inorganic, possibly disingenuous and wished my friend to put his money where his mouth is, but my favorite response which captures the common sentiment was this:
“For the most part, I think this is how we’d love all men to act, but you can’t, like, say it out loud. The truth is, I do want a partner who makes me want to be a better person, but I want to discover that myself. Is that a double standard? Perhaps. But I am a woman. A real one. And that’s how I roll.”
And I totally get it. We say that all men are jerks, and we want a nice guy to treat us well, but we usually walk right by the nice guys on the way to Douchetown. Why is that?
I have a hunch this fella (who has been such a good sport about this), is being genuine, so I threw it back to him and I told him that the ladies weren’t buying it.
“It’s not that these men don’t exist (contrary to popular belief), they just don’t speak up for themselves for fear of being labeled an arrogant D-bag. It all backfires, of course, because then they simply get tossed into the “Nice but Boring” camp of men, which attracts fewer women than a TBS marathon of Bloodsport. And so the definition of a genuine man becomes lost, and women are forced to toggle between what they believe are their only two options: The Nice Guy or The Jerk. But what if those few men who strive to be more actually spoke up? What if they took a chance and reminded women they were still out there? Maybe it reads old-fashioned or idealistic or cheesy or even arrogant, but so be it.”
Touché, sir, touché.
You can see how men would be confused, though, right? We claim to want them to be decent, kind and honorable, but the minute they say they are decent, kind and honorable, we interpret it as weakness?
We don’t mind someone taking care of us, as long everyone knows we could take care of ourselves if we wanted to.
We want the White Knight, as long as we get to ride on our own damn horse.
In a word, we are so utterly complicated.
No wonder men can’t figure out what the f$@% we want–we can’t even figure it out ourselves! Sorry, guys, I’ve been watching a lot of Louie lately.
There is a lot to be said on this topic, but I merely wanted to get the conversation started. What do you think?
Has old-school chivalry been replaced by male strippers?