The ‘Pink Bible’

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In my wanderings over the web, I encountered something ambiguously called the ‘Pink Bible’. Not a pornographic version of that entertaining mixture of fairy tales and bizarre dietary rules, the pink bible is yet another north American self-help book that teaches ‘huntresses’ how to ‘get the perfect guy’. (Perfect = rich, hopelessly oblivious to human nature, easily manipulated, immature and capable of siring children)

Written by a woman called Maren Jepson (one of those quaintly strange names that are exclusively found in the US. Her male equivalent might be called Caspar Gunk), the book promises its readers that they will learn to “streamline the frustrating process of hunting the perfect man”. And what a strange mixture of pseudo-self-help/US business-speak it is too.

As amusing as the book is, it perpetuates the myths that some women want to believe about men: that they are forgetful, clumsy, dopey, irrational, immature. Jepson lists the so-called qualities of men and women side by side: “Men count. Women calculate. Men brood. Women discuss”. Even “Men dance poorly. Women dance well.” Hard hitting stuff (clearly it doesn’t take two to tango).

It’s disappointing that Jepson reinforces the dogma that men are incapable of the subtle, the creative, the complex, the intellectual. In her world, men are either suckers or suck-holes. “Weirdos” are seen as an impediment to ‘hunting’ the perfect man, they are “losers” and “have no feelings”. She then blows on her alpine horn and announces open season on them, because ‘they don’t get it’.

In one unwitting swoop, Jepson has unveiled the ugly truth: she’s exposed the calculating, emotionally void, manipulative and destructive side of women.

It probably comforts Jepson and others to convince themselves that men are shallow, weak, uncreative, socially hopeless and oblivious. Perhaps many men are like this.

Having proven how hopeless men are, she avoids the risky temptation of philanthropy, and bellows her estrogen-addled call to attack. Jepson degrades herself to write about men like this, and degrades her readers to incite them pursue men like this. You can’t ‘win’ a man on your own merits, so you ‘hunt’ him.

Jepson de-humanises men. She encourages women to play the same game that women have always accused men of: emotional detachment, cynicism, and a manipulative attitude towards human relationships. The focus is on the outcome, not the people.

And many women enthusiastically flock to this: the forum is bulging with threads and messages asking for advice, recounting dates and dilemmas.

Her book unwittingly articulates the insecurity older women feel when they realise that showing some ass just won’t work anymore. All those years they could have meaningfully spent developing their own potential (as a writer, scientist, artist) would have made them an interesting, balanced and grounded person. But instead they drifted, and therefore became an ageing and shallow spinster.

Jepson has actually taught the men that have encountered her book a valuable lesson. That any woman who cannot see a man as an equal is weak, and doesn’t deserve love and attention from men, even though she often craves this validation. Her book is another stepping stone in men freeing themselves of their (usually youthful) naïveté about women.

The woman who will read the Pink Bible actually needs to spend some time on herself, rather than try and ‘hunt’ down men. She needs to build core. Maybe she should learn calculus (since women are so ‘great’ at calculating), learn Spanish, teach herself sketching with charcoal, play tennis, climb a mountain, write poetry, learn the drums…

Marrying a man who she has manipulated, and who has a acceptably large amount of money, will not satisfy her in the long run. It is a cop-out, which shows the woman cannot handle a man who is self-aware and able to verbally joust, who knows his boundaries and has self respect.

It is unclear if Jepson has any children. If so, I dearly hope that she is hypocritical enough and wise enough to not act out this crap around her son. Like many poisonous mothers before her, she would turn a beautiful exuberant boy into a messed up, approval seeking neurotic man.

The interesting and unintended side-effect of the Pink Bible is that Jepson has exposed the calculating, emotionally void, manipulative and destructive side of women. It is heartening to visit the forum of her website; many men defend themselves and poke holes in her book. For that, they are accused of having “no sense of humour”. She also lets out that old chestnut of attacking spelling mistakes.

But her rebuffs are weak, and more men appreciate her book for the degrading rubbish it is. Their articulate (and often censored or blocked) appraisals of the book are part of a sea change in men. The Pink Bible is jetsam on the banks of a river that can’t be stopped.

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Published in: on Sunday, 9 December 2007 at 12:06 pm  Comments (3)  
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The Moustache

Jim BBQ -Hero of Movember

Jim BBQ is my hero. He gets the message of mo out there, and gently and amusingly taunts the general prejudices about moustaches. (You can find his MoTV on YouTube easily)

He is the face of Movember too – an annual campaign to raise money and awareness for men’s health, which started in Australia but has spread to the UK, the USA, NZ, Ireland and Spain. (It raised $14 million in Australia last year).

Wanting to take part in a good cause, I grew a moustache for Movember in 2006 and then again in 2007 (Men start the 1st of Movember with a clean shave and grow a mo for the next four weeks).

But after the month was over, and men all around were relishing ‘getting rid of it’, I decided to keep it on.

Without fail, people comment on the moustache. It is always the same, albeit gradually thicker, yet people’s reactions vary from

disgust:

[woman]:”Ewww, why do you have that gross thing still on your face?”

admiration:

[man] : “Dude, awesome mo!”

abuse/shame:

[man or woman] : “Movember’s over, mate!”

manipulation:

[woman] : “My last boyfriend had a mo for Movember and wouldn’t shave it off, so we broke up. I hate mos”

advice:

[man] : “You should trim those side bits”

mute contemplation:

*I wonder why he has that strange moustache. He must be a weirdo.*

envy:

[man]: “I would have gone in Movember but my wife wouldn’t let me”

My moustache almost always draws a reaction. Generally, women hate it, and men either generously comment on it or decide that it means I am fair game to heckle.

So what does a moustache really symbolise? Why do people vary in their attitude towards it, and feel they have a right to comment on it? It is unfashionable, generally, so why might that be?

Could a moustache demonstrate that a man isn’t frightened of what other people think, in particular women? Deep down, many men mould their appearance to fit what they think women want, and most women claim they don’t like moustaches. Many married men confirm this in their opt-out from Movember – it’s just the same as their excuses for not buying a motorbike or doing the other things that their wife forbids.
A moustache physically demonstrates this maleness. It represents the hairy maleness that all men have in common. A moustache is more or less cultivated and trimmed, but it hints at the Wild Man that is found in fairy tales like Eisenhans.

The moustache reminds that however much school, university, the company, or the army wishes to make men conform to a pattern, the wildness still lives within. The glorious variety of maleness is on display: every moustache is different, the hairs often rebelliously red, the whiskers straggly and untamed. The plethora of styles and the great natural variety of hair accentuate this individuality. It is uniquely male, it is uniquely individual and it guides a man away from the uniforms he’s worn his whole life: school, army, company. Why do we all wear black or grey suits? When did men lose the joy of looking like an individual?

The moustache bucks the trend in our youth-deifying society. Without the Zeus or Jehovah overtones of a full-length beard, the moustache nevertheless shows age. It makes a man look older, is a hint at experience, wisdom and has the individuality and weathered-toughness that bland smooth young faces never have. A moustache hints that a man might have been initiated; he is calm and stands tall, is not a boy in a man’s body.

Moustaches are the flowering of male sexual ripening. A moustache reminds of the controlled but powerful male sexuality more or less latent in men. A moustache might well have the same texture as pubic hair, but regardless it is a subtle reminder of the same. Both sprout at the same time!

I believe there is a relationship between how men are portrayed, and how they are expected to conform with regards to their outward appearance. The packaging and blandising of young men as objects of envy or desire saps their potency, such as you might find with flawless male fashion models. Their unblemished, hairless faces are bland and shallow. They are uninitiated, unmentored, ready for the workforce or for following orders. Look at the face of an interesting old man and it is (particularly with Australia’s harsh sun) often full of crevices and valleys, and interesting contour map of his life. Crows feet crinkle mischievously when he smiles.

Pop culture likes airbrushed, patterned young men as much as it likes perfect young women. Both are sold as much as a commodity as oil or wood. A moustache breaks this because it is imperfect, individual, difficult to photograph and pointless to photoshop. Why else are election posters augmented with a twirly moustache worthy of Dali?

Growing a moustache is a small but active step towards the rethinking and reliving that men must make. It is for the man, it might be for other men too. If a man’s father or grandfather has a moustache or beard, when he grows one himself, this could be saying “I appreciate you, and am taking my place with you”. Like it or not, they are our proto-man, they have shaped the mould that we call ourselves.

The moustache is more than what meets the eye. What do you think?

Published in: on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 11:07 pm  Comments (11)  
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What this blog is about

Men Working Together

Ask most women whether there should be a National Men’s Day, and they will laugh at you. “Every day is a man’s Day! What problems do men have?”

Men have many problems. We die younger than women, we commit suicide more frequently, and we are responsible for most of the crime and a lot of the violence in society. But it is a fatal step to infer that men are the problem per se. The problem is, we don’t have enough strong, healthy, balanced and loving men. We don’t have enough men who are free of women; men who neither seek to dominate nor submit to them.

The problem boils down to what men think a man truly is. You have John Wayne on the one hand, and Woody Allen on the other. The tough guy and the SNAG. Both are a load of crap.

There is so much bullshit about men, and we are suffering from it. Plenty of other blogs in the Men Going Their Own Way movement discuss the myths and lies about men, and with humour and a good deal of potent argument they demolish them.

But after the smoke has cleared and we all crawl out of the craters, there is some space for rebuilding what men actually are and can be.

This blog is about men, from a young Australian man’s perspective. This blog is about us, what we need, what makes us tick and how we can go forward. I want to talk about and provoke thought, and from thought, action such that men can redefine where they are going. Because where we are at now sucks, and where we have come from wasn’t that hot either.
We can make the change; the first step is to seed the ideas.

Gentlemen, we have a long road to go. At least let’s go down it together.

Published in: on Monday, 6 August 2007 at 3:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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