YOU'RE STILL WRONG
POST MRR COLUMNS
Post MRR Column 11
“Are We Not Men?”
“Are We Not Men?”
by Mykel Board
“To trust in men is itself to let oneself be killed a little.”-- Celine
Every guy worth his weight in foreskins knows that the best place to pick up girls is a homobar. Usually sitting on an empty bar stool, they'll be waiting to talk to you... to find out about your history... to mother you... to show you that girls are nothing to be afraid of... to show you that if you try it... you'll see it's not so bad.
You put on your I've-never-done-this-before-so-be-gentle-with-me face, and before you know it, you're at her place, listening to... (maybe), “You're so good. I can't believe you've never done this before.” or (more likely) “Don't worry. You'll learn. It takes time.”
I write this in the lobby of the McGreggor building at Detroit's Wayne State University. I'm here for the AMC (Allied Media Conference) The conference is NOT punk. It IS homo. A huge gay bar... waiting for me to confess I've-never-done-this before-so-be-gentle-with-me. NOT!
I can hardly talk to any of these people, let alone pick one up for a roll in the Haymarket. Conference attendees are so self-absorbed, insular and identity-based, it reminds me of of those Mens Liberation groups I've heard about... where the members get in a big circle, hug each other, and scream WE ARE MEN. WE ARE BROTHERS. WE ARE MEN. Oy vey!
I've come to Detroit with a second motive... a fantasy.... news reports of a deserted city... empty... cultureless... depopulated. After Clinton's NAFTA killed the American auto industry, there was nothing left. Kill City again... like the 70s... a blank slate... move here and you can do anything. If you fail, it won't cost you much to try again.
I have a (low-paying) job I like in NYC. I have a (tiny) cheap apartment. I have the freedom to take a (non-paid) week... month... year... off work and have a job when I return. As long as that remains, I'm not going anywhere. But what if it changes? If I lose my job, my apartment, my benefits, where'm I gonna go? Detroit?
FLASH TO THE LAGUARDIA AIRPORT: At the gate, I survey the waiting crowd. They look like anybody anywhere. More fat people than you'd see on a typical NYC street, but otherwise... no... there's one girl... dyed black hair... tattoos... skinny... Hoooeee! She might be on my flight. I walk over... take a seat as close as I can to the sexy girl. Close enough to read the Bob Dylan quote in her tattoo. I gave her my heart, she wanted my soul. Holy cow, lesbo too! I'm in love!
I'm wearing my THORAZINE t-shirt, the one where Alice holds a smoking gun... the white rabbit lying dead at her feet.
“I love your t-shirt,” this girl's gonna say. “I know Thorazine from Philly.” Those words will make me come.
FLASH TO DETROIT: I've pick up my rental and am off to my couch-surfing hosts. I end up in a neighborhood someplace. The streets don't have lights, but the houses are big... like mansions... huge white columns... a historic district... next to Henry Ford's historic home. That's where my scummy couch-surfing hosts are. Huh?
More about the neighborhood-- and people later. I drop my bags off and go to meet Dennis, another couch-surfer... in the burbs. He's invited me to dinner with some friends.
Dennis sits in the back yard of his house... a suburban-looking place in a suburb whose name I forget. I pull into the driveway next to the back yard. He waves to me, but doesn't stand up. We shake hands. He's a man about my own age, short cropped gray hair, shorts and sandals.
“Sit down, Mykel,” he says. “Can I get you something to drink?”
“Wachya got?” I ask.
“I got water, juice, may have a beer,” he says.
“A beer'd be great,” I tell him.
When he gets up, I see that he walks with a limp... stepping ahead with one leg and dragging the other behind. In a few minutes, he limps back with my first can of Michigan beer. [Aside: during this week I'll have a ton of Michigan beers. Not a bad one in the bunch. Two especially good ones, Nicie Spicie and Ghettoblaster, are better than The Beer Advocate says.]
“Glad you could make it,” he says, “and you're coming to dinner with my friends, right? My church friends... Unitarian Universalist... you saw the church in Detroit?”
“I passed it coming here,” I tell him. Maybe I'm telling the truth.
Detroit churches are so ubiquitous-- and so beautiful-- that I've been looking at them since I arrived. And I THINK I saw the Unitarian one.
After the beer: “Okay, let's go to my friend's house-- church brethren-- for dinner.”
FLASH TO THE LIVING ROOM OF THE SECOND SUBURBAN HOUSEHOLD: A half dozen of us around at table: Dennis, Me, the host/cook, a guy who looks like a truck driver-- baseball hat, beard, a fourth who looks like a TV sportscaster-- clean-cut as a Mormon, and one guy who looks slightly... off... a bit chubby... doesn't look at you... quiet... he rocks a bit when he's eating.
After dinner, we sit around a fire burning in a huge concrete cauldron in the back yard. The sun is just dipping into the horizon. Dennis starts talking , his face lit by the glow of the fire and the setting sun.
“My wife has done it again,” he says. “She's demanded that I stop having people over. She won't talk to my friends... Last week it was worse. She got out of the car... at a stoplight... she just opened the door and ran.”
The other guys shake their collective heads. Then, the next man speaks... the trucker.
“My wife has been treating me like dirt,” he says, and he continues to talk about his better half in a not better-half-friendly way.
One-by-one, the men talk. They talk about their wives... in one case a girlfriend... they complain... seek sympathy... get it. Eventually, it's my turn.
“I don't really know what to say,” I tell them, “I'm single. Never been married. I'm here for an Alternative Media Conference.”
“Why aren't you married, Mykel?” asks the host, a round-faced man with a farmer's tan and Alfred Hitchcock belly.
“Once in my life I asked a girl to marry me,” I answer. “She said no and immediately became a lesbian.”
Instead of the laughter that line usually brings, I get tsk-tsks and head shakes. The quiet, slightly-off guy looks at me. His eyes glisten. “I have two kids,” he says, “a daughter and a son. Both of them are gay. How do you figure it?”
“Tell us about the shirt,” the trucker says to me. “I know Thorazine... it's a drug. Had it forced on me in the hospital once. But I don't get the picture.”
“Thorazine is a band... from Philadelphia,” I tell him. “I like the picture. I figured I could wear it at this conference. It's got a slightly feminist message, you know?”
The metaphorical speaking stick passes to the last guy in the circle... the Mormon. He talks about how he's forced to work two jobs to pay for what his wife spends “willy-nilly on whatever she wants.”
After he speaks, we stand. I figure we're leaving. I figure wrong.
“Mykel,” says Dennis, “come and join us.”
The group has formed a standing circle... arms over each other's shoulders.
“Together,” says Dennis, “WE ARE MEN. WE ARE BROTHERS. WE ARE MEN.”
We group hug. Then get into our individual cars and go off. I head back to downtown Detroit and my couch-surfed home.
ENDNOTES: [Contact: You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For postal contact (send those... er... private DVDs..or music or zines... or anything else-- legal only!) write to: Mykel Board, POB 137, New York, NY 10012-0003 If you like my writing, I can tell you when anything new is available. (I also have a travel blog and some other stuff.) Join the MYKEL'S READERS YAHOO GROUP email@example.com]
-->Every little bit helps dept: Heeb Magazine reports that the GENESIS PRIZE, is given by a group of wealthy Jews to other Jews who “help inspire a new generation of Jewish leaders.” Last year, the $1,000,000 prize was given to: Michael Bloomberg... a billionaire 17 times over.
Yeah, that sure inspires!
-->War Crimes Dept: Anjolina Jouli has been active in convening a United Nations group to make it illegal to use rape or sexual violence as a weapon of war. She was joined in her activism by British foreign secretary, William Hague. The focus was punishing those “war criminals” guilty of sexual violence.
Hmmmm, seems to me, torture and murder are more important war crimes than sexual ones... but that would be helping when the victims are MEN. We wouldn't want that, would we... BROTHERS?
-->Thought Crimes Dept: A man in Olathe, Kansas, was prosecuted for possession of child pornography. He had pasted a photo of a young person's face onto a larger nude picture of an adult woman "with the intent to satisfy his sexual desires." The man was acquitted, but only because the judge could not determine beyond a reasonable doubt that the face in the picture was of a child under 18. Despite his acquittal, the court would not release the man's book of pictures of girls taken from legal catalogs and magazines, nor his diary which chronicled his dreams, including some of young girls.
-->Tit Crimes Dept: The Galveston, Texas City Council drafted an ordinance that would prohibit the baring of women's breasts, “real or in image.” The law would make it illegal to wear novelty vests embossed with bare breasts and asses, or tee shirts with photos or drawings of bare breasts or asses. City Attorney Barbara Roberts assured the City Council that a similar Fort Worth law had been constitutionally tested and upheld.
-->Keeping the Pressure on Dept: I want to thank reader George Metesky for suggesting a Bring Back Mykel effort directed at Maximum Rock'n'Roll. Send your comments-- to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: BRING BACK MYKEL. Let me know how they answer.
-->And: I'm on a massive clean-up/divest kick. I'm giving away DVDs, cassettes, VHS videos, and a few CDs. Just pay separate shipping and handling. Details at: MykelsGiveaway