Thursday, June 28, 2012

I'm Getting Emotional

There was this interesting Deep Space Nine episode years ago that had a wandering group of refugees visiting the station.  The group were farmers looking for a new planet to settle. What set them apart was that they were a matriarchal society. Yes, an oddity, a society in which women were in all the positions of power.

When Major Kira  asked their leader why women were in charge and not men she answered, with a laugh, “oh, my dear! Men are far too emotional to be in charge.”

My guess is that Kira thought to herself “Ain't that the truth!” Of course in her universe as well as ours, it's the reverse. Men are in all the positions of power. Oh, there may be a handful of congresswomen, etc. but it's mainly men.

The problem is—men may indeed be too emotional.  Of course, right now you're saying to your computer screen (you realize you're talking to yourself, right?) “But Jay, didn't Barbara Jordan once say, authoritatively, that all men had their emotions surgically removed at birth?” or something like that.

Yes she did (sort of), and I think women, and perhaps society, have accepted that belief. The thing is that it's wrong. They accept this belief because it's women who have been allowed to establish the definition of emotion and love for the past four or five decades.

The evidence isn't there though.

For example, look at the thousands of male fans at a football game (male/female ratio about 100/1). 

They have their faces painted, thumping their chests, screaming at the top of their lungs all for the love of their team. That's not emotion?

Crimes of passion.  You know, something like a lover discovers his beloved with another man and kills him (often the woman too). That's not emotion? Of course it is! And sadly, it's mainly men who do it. Um, what I mean is that it's sad that they resort to violence, not sad that it's not more women.

And nine times out of ten that person honking at you and giving you the finger while passing you on the road during rush hour is male.  That's right, that emotion on the road is rage. A very powerful and overwhelming emotion. Mostly male.

So by now you may be picking up on a trend.  These emotions I've been mentioning are rather, um, violent. They are emotions though.  Women choose to ignore them because they define emotions as less violent. Caring, compassion, love and kindness are the emotions that women respect and believe in and have convinced society are the only true emotions. 

Men have these, but are better known for shouting at the ref then for picking up that turtle and moving it off the road.  Because of this, men get saddled with the stereotype of being emotionless.

Women don't help the situation either. Not just in that they are allowed to define the parameters of emotions, but also they have the habit of stating that men who do show emotions (the emotions they accept) are weaklings.  Oddly, they declare this shortly after telling their girlfriends how they wish their man would open up more.

That's right, no matter the emotion we men show, women will have some objection to it.  Yell at the TV because your team just fumbled and she'll say you are too impulsive or excessive.  Drop a few tears and your a pansy boy.


So it's time we changed things and admit that men are way more emotional then women.  If that happens we men might also agree to let more women into positions of power. In fact, we'd probably welcome this because then more of us could just stay home and watch sports on TV.

Wow.  I'm about to get emotional about that thought. 
  (for more pictures to get emotional about go to

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Talk, Talk

Back in the 80s there was a great band called Talk, Talk.  I don't remember any songs of theirs that included a discussion about talking, but I always like to use their name when I discuss talking just because I still like their music (and their name).

Whenever you talk about men and women, you eventually have to talk about, well, talking.

The stereotype we have about this is that women are the talkers, men less so.  When you think about an image of these, you think about Sarah Jessica Parker of “Sex and the City” fame, who constantly talked, whether with friends, or as a voice over.  For men you typically imagine Clint Eastwood, “the man with no name” from all those spaghetti westerns. I still remember someone asking him a question and his answer was usually ‚ “I reckon.”

However a few years ago a study came out stating this stereotype was wrong. Men speak as much as women. However, their study mainly looked at college students.  I have a feeling they're right in this instance.  I encounter students daily and yes, both male and female seem to talk about the same amount.  This changes though as we age.  Just ask any husband if he can get a word in during dinner. Ask a woman about her shoes and you'll get a mini-seminar on shoe styles. Ask a man and you'll probably only learn his shoe size.

Okay, this might be a little over dramatic, but just from personal experience I think the old stereotype is legit.  Years ago after one of my former girlfriends spent five minutes explaining why the cook at this restaurant hated her because he didn't cook her order like her mother would have, she turned to me and asked, “why don't you talk more?”

“I'm a writer, not a talker.”

I'm not sure she accepted this answer, but she also didn't challenge it either. Instead she went off on some other tangent that I'm sure must have been pretty important—although I have no memory of what it was.

On another occasion—with a different ex—I had a relatively long discussion (a rare occasion for me) on how it was more important to express how you felt toward a person with your actions rather than words. In fact, we had this discussion on a number of occasions. I thought I had really made my point one time after she told me she loved me and I responded by kissing her passionately and hugging her longingly.

Apparently my actions vs. speech concept didn't impress her, as it was just a matter of weeks later that we broke up. I picture her now living with some guy who will gladly tell her he loves her, but prefers to kiss the keys to his new Porsche.

So do women talk more than men? I sure think so. However, although I'm a writer not a talker, I don't really have anything more to say on this.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pat Benatar is Hot

Back in the 80s, I coached the Johnston HS soccer team.  Let me brag a little here. Each year I coached, the team got better.  The year before I arrived they didn’t win a game. My first year we only won 2, but it was a step up. After that it was 5-6 and then 7-5.  So sure, we didn’t blaze the league but we were moving up. 

However, I really want to mention something that more relates to what the Thurber Brigade is about. Women and men.  Such as how women can pretty much get us men to do anything, even when we know it may be wrong. Also, how we men can become obsessed with women. 

As for the latter, well, okay, I admit, I was obsessed with Pat Benatar.  What single, straight man in the 80s wasn’t?  
(cover photo from her memoir)

She came onto the scene as a Janis Joplin-style singer (rock, not pop) but with Katharine Hepburn looks.  As she wailed her angst-driven rock songs on the stage in tight spandex pants , we guys were  drooling and swooning in the stands.

Yes, I was obsessed.

So when her tour announced it would make it to Austin, I became driven to see the show, no matter the cost.  Sure, we teachers/coaches were paid peanuts, often working second jobs to put rice and bolgna on the dinner table.  It would be worth it to see this rock goddess prance across the stage.  Unfortunately, shortly after learning about the show, I also learned about my soccer team’s upcoming schedule.  Yes, a game on the same night.

I was depressed, but I was also a typical coach and driven by my passion for the sport (oh, and my job).  So I resigned myself that I would just have to give up on the woman of my dreams for this season.

As for my first point, that would be in relations to one of my top wingers.  He would do anything for his girlfriend, who admittedly, was quite attractive. It didn’t hurt in my book that she was one of those who dressed like and used the hair style of Pat Benetar (as seen in Fast Times at Ridgemont High).  In high schools across America at that time this was a quite prevalent look. In her case, she carried it off very well. 

So the day of the game arrived and my star player was nowhere to be found.  I discovered that he was out sick.  Missed all of his classes, and apparently, it was even excused by the school assistant principal. So I and my team accepted the absence and still managed to go out and win our game. 

However, it was the next day that I learned from my student manager—yes, we coaches do have our own spy network (we didn't have Facebook back then)—that the winger actually had not been sick, but acted so in order to take his girlfriend out that night.

Out to see the Pat Benatar concert!

As you have probably guessed by now, my obsession took over and in a rage, I not only screamed at him at practice that day, I kicked him off the team.  Oh sure, I may have been obsessed with Pat Benatar, but that wasn’t the reason I kicked him off. Trust me. No coach could allow such a deception to stand and expect his team to respect him and to follow his instructions.  So there really was no choice. And quit thinking to yourself, "no Jay, it really was your obsession."

Anyway, I kicked him off and so we played the next game without him too. It was a tie.  So we managed to not lose a game without this guy who betrayed the team all to try to get in better with his girlfriend—who, like me, really was obsessed with Pat Benatar.  As a side note, I think they broke up during the summer.   

Several of the winger’s teammates and friends finally approached me and convinced me that the punishment was too severe. They admitted he had broken the rules, but as a senior, this was his last year to shine, he also was contrite (they assured me) and that he would accept some other punishment. Such as running a lot of extra laps around the field, my usual punishment when I got mad, er, when some player performed poorly. 

Yes, I got over my disappointment at missing the show, at being stabbed in the back, at being lied to.  I let him back on the team.  I think we split the final few games and celebrated at least having a winning season.  It was my final season and probably the most memorable because of this incident.

To this day, I still think Pat Benatar is hot.  I still like her singing. However, every time I hear her, for at least a few seconds during the song, I drift back to that soccer season.  I think about the games, the crowds and all the hoopla that surrounds playing high school sports. I also think about how women can make us guys do the strangest things.

The 1983 Johnston High School soccer team