Thursday, August 17, 2006

Men Don't Protect You Anymore


Years ago, I went to an art museum exhibit which contained a small room of Jenny Holzer installations, slogans written on marble benches and light displays that mimicked advertisements, disturbing thoughts like Murder Has Its Sexual Side and Men Don't Protect You Anymore. I was there with my then-boyfriend and a couple of our male friends -- all my friends were men in those days. The exhibit, titled Survival Series, kept me riveted for many minutes after the others had left. I can't remember their reactions to it but I'm sure they purported to like it. They were the kind of men who claimed to love women, to be feminists, to be evolved. I would find out in years to come (either the hard way through personal experience or through rumor and eventually prison sentence) that they all were the kind of men discussed in the exhibit -- sexually violent, cruel douchebags with whom one would do well to avoid having an Alan Alda film festival.

Didn't know that at the time, though, couldn't even imagine it although there were glimpses, mean practical jokes they played, strands of casual meanness in their conversations. What can I say? I lived in a town where a boy stabbed a cheerleader he had lusted over secretly almost fifty times. After leaving his room filled with slasher movie posters with knife cuts all over them and he broke into her bedroom and said, I love you , you bitch, I love you so much that I'm going to kill you. These guys, by comparsion, seemed all right. But the secret violence in the recesses of a heart that doesn't know itself can be pretty godawful. I stayed in that exhibit room for a long time --the rest of the museum which was for the most part western-themed didn't compel me. How could the wide open spaces of old west compared to a small dark room with brightly-lit slogans of pain forecasting the future?


Michelle's Spell of the Day

"With bleeding inside the head, there's a metallic taste in the back of the throat." Jenny Holzer

Bleeding Hearts

2 parts pink lemonade
1 part Barcardi limon
a dash of sugar
a splash of lemon

Serve chilled as a martini and a sugar rim.

Benedictions and Maledictions

To Hopeless in Bloomfield Hills -- First off, I agree with Robin -- keep your head up! No one judges a person more harshly than that person herself. I think it's important to keep perspective. You've been in this affair for three years -- one or two months of indecision about what to do is not going to make any difference in the scheme of things. You need to be as kind to yourself as possible, step back from the situation, and not get hysterical about it. That said, think of yourself as another person -- what would you tell her? Chances are that you're extremely attached to this man (no one continues doing the work of having an affair without being attached), and I'm sure he feels the same way about you. But realistically, what's the most likely outcome for the long-term? He doesn't want you to think about this because he's invested in the day to day status quo. If you do this, you might find yourself naturally drifting away from him in a more organic way than the cold turkey route. There's more than one way to make progress, no matter how you feel about the method. Please keep checking in -- we're all sending good thoughts your way!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's what I call an installation piece. You've already killed me with your love gun. But really, an Alan Alda film festival? Sheeesh.

Wichita-Lineman said...

You got to love a writer who still uses the word Douchebag. From most specials I've watched on Murderers, Murder has a very sexual side. Most of it is caused from a lust or passion of some sort. Cheerleaders don't sound like the fair well in Texas. Not to knock the great state down, but quite a few crazies live there. The woman who drowned her five kids, Andrea Yates and the crazy “Cheerleader Mom”, Wanda Holloway, who tried to have the Mother of her cheerleading daughter’s rival killed by a hit man. There are a few made for TV movies on that incident. Oh yeah and Waco. In defense, the bigger the state, the more that’s going to happen. Just add a month of over 100 degree days in a row and anything is bound to happen.

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,

I'd be most honored to be able to step up to the plate and protect you anytime, no questions asked. Should you ever need help, please do not hesitate to email me. As always, stunning picture and lovely post. Bravo!

R's Musings said...

Yes, that's the message--be kind to yourself! Take care of yourself, first. Women focus too much on pleasing men, an unconscious bargin for protection, but a lot of times the one you bargin with is the one you need protection from! At least that's been my experience. --R

Jason said...

your post has pushed me to look within. I consider my self to be, "the kind of [man] who claimed to love women, to be feminists, to be evolved." Hell, I applied for Planned Parenthood.

Should I be worried of hulking out and braining my girlfriend with frying pan one day?

JR's Thumbprints said...

FYI: The population in female prisons has been on the rise. It seems like there's been an increase in older women pedophiles, too. So, perceptions are changing on both sides of the fence.

R's Musings said...

I've never understood how someone could feel aroused by a young child; a sick individual, for sure. I watched a good movie, called "Woodsman" w/Kevin Bacon, who plays a pedophile and his struggle when he gets out of prison. Interesting, but very sad. Like you said, Jim, children can't necessarily look to women for protection, either. That's why we must teach children to question authority, and to trust their intuition more than "nice" adults, be it coaches, teachers, clergy, neighbors, family members, anyone who invades their personal space.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Jim,
There's a pretty interesting novel about a female pedophile -- The End of Alice by A.M. Homes. I would never insist that men are more vile than women (although several of my now male friends would) given that women are just as guilty of farming their children out to have sex with people to keep certain situations going. The whole thing is pretty depressing. Thanks to you and R for the thoughtful comments! And Lee you can take Texas to task all you want -- the state is full of crazies and a death house that executes about ten people a day! Scary. That cheerleading mom story is totally wacky as well.

Allison said...

Oh wow, thanks for sharing. I've loved Jenny Holzer since 2001 when I went to the tate museum in London.