Note: All the names have been changed.
I had the opportunity to attend a beach wedding recently. It was in Key West and I was the official date of a female friend of mine. Logistically, the whole thing worked out well. The drive down was mostly uneventful except my friend’s expensive speeding ticket. We arrived in Key West and checked in to a nice bed and breakfast right on Duval Street. For those not in the know, Duval Street is the main drag where all the partying happens. It’s very serious partying.
The first evening we were there, my friend ran into a colleague from years ago. The colleague was a high powered career woman without kids who had married a decent guy over a decade ago. This was Kristen and Dave. The four of us are all roughly the same age, 40s and 50s, and got along well. I mentioned my blog in passing when asked about what I do.
The following day, the beach wedding went off without a hitch. We met up again with Kristen and Dave, this time at the wedding reception at a “rustic” waterfront bar. Think Buffet style, not Warren but Jimmy. It’s Key West, after all. Over drinks and copious food, Kristen asked me a question, “So what’s your blog about?”
“I help men become more attractive to women so these guys can meet their relationship goals”.
That’s my standard and consistent response when I am asked about my blog.
“What’s it called?”
“The Private Man, you can Google it.”
My friend nodded and smiled. She likes what I write. Kristen and Dave seemed intrigued. The conversation shifted for a few minutes where Kristen and my friend caught up on connections and people from the years past when they worked together. Then Dave piped up. He had been searching for my blog on his smart phone.
“I found it.” He then started reading my most recent post about the TV show audition.
The conversation soon started up about alimony. Kristen was of the mind that alimony was fundamentally wrong. I gave her credit for that. She recommended that I read a recent Time magazine article about alimony reform and the 2nd Wives Club. She didn’t know that I had been following this particular issue for years.
At some point soon after, Dave’s cell phone rang with a call from his adult son. He had to find a quiet place to talk on the phone, leaving Kristin, my friend, and me to talk during the busy reception. Kristen soon stood up to fetch another drink from the bar. Now things got interesting. Each time I went the bar, I asked my friend if she wanted anything. I noticed that Dave’s drink was empty and I said, “You should get your husband a drink.” The gesture she gave in return was disrespectful and rude.
She waved her hand away and gave a dismissive facial expression as she turned her back on me as she faced the closely available bartender.
“Give the guy some respect!” I said loudly at her back.
The whole scene took only seconds. To her, it was a throw-away gesture of casual disrespect towards her husband. It was the equivalent of an eye-roll. It was two seconds that vividly demonstrated the current state of relationships between wives and husbands in the realm of marriage 2.0.
Yes, I was being too sensitive. I was deciding to be too sensitive. I was putting on a lens of offensivity. But I didn’t know that until I said to my friend “I’m going to blog about this”. She witnessed the scene between Kristen and me.
“See what she does.”
Yes, actions over words. My friend gets it. Perhaps Kristen would get the drink (an open bar!) and the scene would be over without further and unnecessary drama. I watched. Kristen got her own drink and sat down without a drink for her husband.
This would need to go further.
A few moments later, it was time for me to get another drink. Dave had not returned as he was still talking to his son. I ordered my own drink and then ordered one for Dave because I knew what he was drinking. With both drinks in hand, I turned so I could get back to our table, a short few feet away. Just then, Dave showed up. As we were both standing, I gave him his drink. “Here’s a drink for you.” I made sure that both Kristen and my friend could see what was going on.
Kristen responded immediately. “So, are you dating my husband?!” (or, words to that effect.)
Boom! Shaming language*. Because she used shaming language, it was clear that Kristen was caught out in her disrespect for her husband when I gave him that drink. For Kristen to express humility was not an option. The social expectation forced her to make a useless attempt at shame towards me. She could have said “I’m sorry Dave, I should have gotten you a drink.” For any woman reading this, feminine humility is savagely attractive, even more so when a wife expresses it towards a husband. It will make a man melt. It will turn him into a gracious and delighted man.
Dave was appreciative. “Thank you!” His gratitude was honest. Perhaps he had never experienced such a gesture. I never looked at Kristen because she and I both knew how that interaction went down. It was not in her favor given her disrespect and selfishness. Later, my friend called it “just rude”.
This is the cultural miasma of misandry. Men are afforded little respect. We’re supposed to “man up and take it.” It’s worse for husbands. Kristen’s casual wave of dismissal is an example of it. She is committed to Dave yet the small act of getting a free drink was somehow beyond (beneath?) her. I don’t know the dynamics of their marriage so I don’t know if that’s a common pattern of behavior for them. I am focusing on that one gesture.
When the four of us got to chatting after that small scene, I was very determined about sticking up for men. At one point in the conversation I actually stood up and spread my arms loudly stating “I always stand up for men, I’m a masculinist!” I got some dirty looks. With such bombast, I knew I was running a social risk and might piss off my friend. I took that risk and there were no consequences except some interesting talk between us later in the evening.
As a writer who supports masculinity, I don’t take well to disrespect to men. I know that women are apt to slander men and I urge all my readers to speak up when men are being bashed merely for the act of being a man. Simply “Manning up and taking it” can’t work anymore. It’s time for push back.
A direct note to “Kristen” and “Dave”: You will likely read this blog post because you know about my blog. This post will likely cause you discomfort. You might even get offended and defensive. That’s the price I pay for the candor and honesty of my observations and advice. Before you read the comments, be aware that some of my commenters have very strong views on topics like this and their language will not be so measured. Am I overreacting? Perhaps. Know that I am very keenly aware and very sensitive to the dynamics between men and women, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends.
* Shaming language is simply an insult that is used to deflect focus away from a particular discussion/debate topic. When it is used, it almost always means that the person doing the shaming is in the wrong and doesn’t want to deal with it logically or rationally. It is a verbal tactic used by both genders constantly.