Monday, January 25, 2010

Double Standards

As devoted partner will be quick to point out, I am a fan of the double standard. It is the double standard that permits my icy cold feet to seek warmth in the crevice behind devoted partner's knees while preventing even the smallest cold part of devoted partner to touch me without shrill and violent shrieking. That being said, I only like the double standard when it applies to me personally. Everywhere else, I think it sucks.

Which is why television and radio have recently been upsetting me (over my highly productive knitting weekend wherein much media was passively consumed). There is a promo on NBC right now for a new show called The Marriage Ref (my network television consumption is about to skyrocket due to a little something called the Winter Olympics (USA A-OKAY!)); the promo shows a woman with a leaf blower and a man getting a mani/pedi and brow wax. The wife yells at the husband that he's a woman and that all his friends think so too. Add to that a byte I heard on 1010 WINS this weekend about (and I'll get the name wrong) Cougar Fest 2010, a Las Vegas convention for cougars and the boys who love them.

So let's parse, shall we?

In recent years it has become de rigeur for men, a previously hairy and dirty-nailed bunch, to become clean and hairless - like those cats - in an effort to compete in the gene lottery. Myself, I'm not buying. If I wanted a clean and hairless specimen, I would date women. Period. You will not convince me otherwise that a little (oh god what a horrible word) 'manscaping' does anyone any good. All it does is make me feel inadequate when I let the old ladyscaping lapse for an extra week. So I will take devoted partner as god intended him: barely more put together than caveman (his evolution in the brain and manners departments are more than enough, thank you). So this guy, who by the way, in the promo is not the kind of lover of eyebrow waxes you are expecting, he's more Sopranos central casting than Williamsburg hipster, who used to consider good grooming a nice shave at the barber, has been convinced by fashion that he needs to participate in beautifying rituals previously reserved for the fairer sex, and now he's getting crap for it?

Women who get berated by partners for going to the salon and getting their nails done usually have some choice words available when those same partners complain about it. It's generally of the "I deserve this manicure, I raise your kids and cook your dinner and you wouldn't love me if I was unpretty." And we all nod and go, yeah, the woman does a lot, let her get her nails done you effin' scrooge. So this guy who, in all honesty is doing things to himself that make him unattractive to me, probably earns a decent living and can afford to treat himself to the things he wants, in this case pedicures and brow waxes, is getting shit from his wife. Double standard, I say verily.

But that's nothing compared to Cougar Fest (or the Cougar Convention or whatever nonsense it's called - crap, now I'm going to have to google it - ok do not, I repeat DO NOT GOOGLE THIS - it is legitimately horrifying). Imagine, if you will, a convention devoted to old dudes who like to bang 18 year olds. Yes, yes, feminists, I know that is "the norm" and we just ignore its horror, but imagine if the old dudes had a convention where they invited young women to meet them and dance with them and hook up with them and they did this all in a huge convention center in Las Vegas. Do you think the news would treat this with the lighthearted and good-natured frivolity of Cougar Fest? Dear lord, there would be picketing!

For the record. I don't really care who bangs whom provided all parties are willing and able to consent. If you feel you need a convention to support your sexual choices, I'm right there for you (ok, not right there as in actually attending because I think it's a stupid idea, but certainly right there in spirit). In fact, Las Vegas is a great place to stage your sexually specific convention: big people, little people, people who like to dress up as stuffed animals, renaissance fair types, goths, orcs, ponies, what have you. And when these events are covered, it is with a kind of embarrassed derision a la, "what kind of freaks like to have sex with people dressed as orcs?" Yeah, I don't know any personally, but they seem to like it, it has nothing to do with me, so I can chortle at the costumes and move on.

But the faux girl-power reverence we have for the cougar phenomenon is just disingenuous. Does it make up for years of various inequalities if we now say that old ladies acting like whores is AWESOME! I've got a hot mom personally, and were she on the market and decided to take up with a 26 year old, I would be totally pro that decision; were she to walk around New York in pants that read "Hot Cougar Ass" on her hot cougar ass, I would have her committed. Being dumped by one's first husband for a younger model is not ameliorated by turning around and dating a younger model one's self. It's not poetic justice. It's not making things right with the universe. Date whom you like, but don't attempt to add any further import to that decision.

Because in the end, and I speak a little from experience and more from conjecture, young people who date old people generally do it for the inequality. Whether you're searching for money, or power, or wisdom, raw animal magnetism is generally not the first order of business when 20 year old meets 50 year old.

When I heard the news clip, I suggested to devoted partner that there should be a convention for old dudes who like young women. They could call themselves Sinatras.

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