Be a Sexy Beast without Being a Creep
Sometimes I ask my wife—a Latina—if she wants my sexy gringo bod.
Sometimes, when she’s cooking, I sneak up behind her and whisper super sexily in her ear, “You ready for the best two minutes of your life?”
She laughs. Then she hits me in the face with a frying pan.
Okay, she doesn’t really hit me, but she does tell me to fuck off occasionally. I’ve become a firm believer that the relative success of any female-male relationship depends on a male’s mental and emotional capacity to fuck off.
Men, that doesn’t mean you can’t be sexy beasts. You just have to know when to fuck off.
Like many men who grew up in the 1990s, I grew up with a certain wholesome image of the Byronic hero, the womanizer. I grew up admiring sleek playboys like Bruce Wayne and Zack Morris and more flippant, aspiring playboys like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air because they were the ones who got the girls. I grew up listening to gangsta rap, which glorifies male dominance. I grew up partying with my bros, trying my best to get laid. I still like gangsta rap. In small doses. I still like partying. In small doses. And I certainly like getting laid. All you need to know about my generation — which was born analogue and converted to digital in its adolescence—is that American Pie was one of our defining movies. This is a film in which the young, horny male protagonist literally humps an apple pie. Shocking? Revolting? I don’t know. The pie-humper in the film is pretty geeky, pretty insecure. Maybe there’s some vague moral arc between American Pie and our democratic notions of body/sex positivity in 2017. Probably not, though.
For many men, the dark, depressive, alienating, degrading, and toxic underside of go-go party culture has always been there. It’s something I’ve explored in my own work. It’s something I’ve experienced in my own life. Unbridled male individualism is not conducive to long-term relationships. There came a point in my own marriage when I had to choose between partying and, well, my marriage. When I had to grow up.
In the last few weeks, the #MeToo movement has grown bigger and revealed pervasive abuse throughout our society. For men out there, whether you’re a card-carrying feminist or a beer-swilling lumberjack, it’s important to let the women in your life know that they can tell you the truth. Not what you want to hear—that nothing about the #MeToo movement is your fault—just the truth. When simply asked, the two most important women in my life both revealed horror stories from their youth about men in positions of power abusing them.
“Toxic masculinity” is real. Unchecked, it can lead to self-destruction and/or violence.
Writing in Vulture about the new crime series Mindhunter, Angelica Jade Bastién hits on something important about male psychopathy:
“Each of these men reveal different qualities of misogyny, but it’s Ed Kemper (a standout Cameron Britton) who crystallizes what unites them on a deeper level beyond their whiteness, gender, and desire to degrade women: their utter banality.”
Maybe it’s no coincidence that our pop-cultural obsession with sophisticated serial killers rose in tandem with the male individualism of Playboy, the Beat Generation, rock music, etc. Maybe the transgressive artistic energy of the 1960s — much needed against old, repressive hierarchies—corroded, turned toxic, without proper restraint. In real life, there’s nothing sophisticated about serial killers. There’s nothing sophisticated about violence. It’s the cheapest, most unimaginative way to deal with rejection and resentment. Terrorists, mass shooters, serial killers, wife-beaters, employee-abusers aren’t criminal masterminds. They’re utterly banal in their motivations and actions.
My best advice for men in the sexual arena is to be self-deprecating. If you don’t take yourself too seriously, if you can laugh at yourself and your own stupidity, you’re probably not going to end up being a violent psychopath.
Rapport is also important. Genuine rapport between two human beings is hard to build. If you like making dirty jokes like me, know your audience. Maybe no one likes your jokes cuz they’re terrible. If you don’t know whether you have the proper rapport with someone to make a dirty joke, not knowing is usually an indication that you don’t have the proper rapport. The workplace is almost never the proper venue in which to test your material, especially if you’re in a position of power.
And alas, we come to consent. Consent is something most law-abiding men think is self-evident, but it’s not always self-evident. Everything you need to know about being a sexy man beast while respecting your partner can be found in Zaron Burnett III’s enlightening article on “enthusiastic consent.”
Remember, men, sexiness is good. Enjoy sex. Get your freak on. But know when to fuck off.