All posts tagged: Men

My Search for the “Oh Yes!” When Sex Was a No-No

Sexual education in my conservative, southern, Christian upbringing was strictly on a need-to-know basis: I needed to know what I should avoid. An entire sexual revolution swirled around me, giving not thought at all to my existence, yet it was I, I, who madly sought it. My curriculum was carefully curated so that I might be informed, but still avoid the rising tide of desire. Too much information would no doubt trigger the awakening of the wanton sexual temptress hell bent on besmirching my family name with gonorrhea and out-of-wedlock children that ignorance had allowed to lay dormant. I dubbed my sexual curiosity my white whale — an obsession that consumed every waking moment I spent away from the Bible or Knight Rider, sure to lead to my undoing. I had to use context clues for everything else. I asked my parents where babies came from when I was six. They gave me a splendidly clinical “a-man’s-sperm-meets-a-woman’s-egg” spiel. “How? They rub stomachs or something? Does he feed it to her?” It wasn’t until a year …

5 Things I Wish I’d Said to the Men Who Grabbed and Groped

 It’s inevitable. Someone wrongs you, and then you think of the perfect response hours later. Here are some of the things I wish I had said to the numerous men who have flashed me, touched me and invaded my sexual space over the years: When I was maybe 10 years old, my little sister and I were walking home from the bus stop after school and our neighbor, an elderly Irish man, was outside of his home waiting for us. He was creepy and not all there mentally (knowing what I know now, I wonder if he had dementia or if he was drunk). Anyway, he had his penis out, and he was trying to masturbate as he was talking to us on the street corner. I didn’t quite grasp what was happening, but I knew we had to get out there. I never trick-o-treated at their house after that. To him I say: “Leave thy neighbor alone.” In middle school, my best friend and I were standing on the street outside our town’s main shopping mall …

How I Evaded a Stalker in Thailand

He was an expert. He played me — all charm and smile — when being played hadn’t occurred to me yet. He sidled up to my breakfast table in the Thai guest house where we were both staying; he asked questions. Before I had had two bites of my banana pancake, he knew where in Thailand I was living and working: the town and the school. Because I told him when he asked me. He was grizzled and rugged, in need of a shave. Australian, he said. He told me his name was Joe, and he didn’t tell me his last name. He was twenty years older than I was; I was 22. I excused myself from breakfast and, inside my rented bamboo hut-on-stilts, changed into shoes I could walk in. I packed my day pack and set out to explore before the sun rose too high. I had been in Thailand four months. On this school holiday, all my buddies had other plans and I decided to travel alone, against the advice of my …

Women in Midlife Share Memories of Sexual Assault

When we talked about doing an issue around sexual assault, there was a collective head nod. So many of us have experienced incidents in one form or another. Now in our 30s, 40s and beyond, we may have shrugged off the minor incidents, worked through the more egregious attacks with our shrinks or kept them locked up in a secret brain vault. But we’ve never, ever forgotten. We asked a few of our contributors to share their stories — reading them we find a common theme of confusion and shame that lingers. Collected here, these vignettes remind us we’re not alone and that there’s power in sharing. Il Bastardo I’m 20 years old in Europe traveling with a girlfriend over the summer. We’re in Pisa, having pizza at a cafe after the requisite tower viewing. My friend is an extrovert; I’m an introvert. At the cafe, she’s talking and laughing with our waiter. She even asks him for a cigarette. This mortifies me, but I can’t tell if it’s because it seems potentially dangerous — …

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Sex in Stairwells: The Unlikely Place Where I Got My Groove Back

I almost don’t go on the OkCupid date with Andy. Something about him seems bland — the round smiling face in his photos, the messages that are flirty but not quite witty. It seems ill-fated that I enter his number incorrectly into my phone and he has to hound me via email to nail down a plan: 7 p.m., wine bar downtown. Am I wasting my time? But I want to put as much distance as possible between myself and the ex, and I’ve decided that other men make the best unit of measure. Since the breakup last month, any blank space in my mind gets filled with the same dismal diatribe: That after years of trying to mend my wicked, commitment-phobic ways; of abstaining from causal sex and dead-end drama (oh glorious drama, sweet nectar of youth) so that I could be pure and unencumbered when I finally met someone worthy of love, I was ultimately dumped by that pretentious hippie when it “got too serious.” The injustice! The outrage! The embarrassing, pointless heartbreak. …

Why I Don’t Need You to “Mansplain” It to Me

As I walked to my seat at a gathering last week, a male acquaintance grabbed me by the elbow, spilling my coffee. “Whoa,” I said. “What are you doing?” “That’s what you get for not saying hello to me,” he said. “You spilled my coffee,” I said and kept walking. I could focus on the details here of how I know this person casually and that he has previously told me out of the blue that I’m “intimidating” and that I don’t speak to him as much as he’d like me to. I could get into how I get nervous in groups and how I generally need to locate a safe spot and/or a safe person in the room, and in that process I can skip acknowledging people accidentally. And God knows I probably don’t smile enough at anyone, especially men, based on feedback I’ve gotten whether I’ve asked for it or not. I can note how I was walking to that safe spot the other night with my too-full coffee when he interrupted me …

Food and Sex: Should We Give In To Our Cravings?

Taste. Lick. Suck. Bite. This thing we do, every day, all day long, is a driving desire in life. We work for it, think about it, crave things to consume. The innocent act of eating can sound so lustful. And, eating food is, at its core, incredibly sexual. Birds and bees pollinate flowers, the sexual organs of fruiting trees and plants, and we eat the results of these unions. In fact, eating is the most intimate thing we do with other people…in public. We humans are pleasure-seeking machines. And there isn’t a dang thing wrong with that. We take nourishment into our bodies at every meal, just as we take another person into us when we have sex. (Or enter into another, or just rub against each other like furtive bees on the hunt for more pollen.) We humans are pleasure-seeking machines. And there isn’t a dang thing wrong with that. But we often experience debilitating perfectionism, guilt, shame, heavy judgment and downright fear around food and our cravings for it, our bodies, desires for …

The Zipper

I read Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying at 19 during my first year of college, around the time my then-boyfriend and I were working together to give me my first orgasm. In the most iconic riff of the novel, protagonist Isadora Wing describes a one-hour trip from Heidelberg to Frankfurt, which she would take four times a week to see her analyst. On the train, she would see beautiful German men and have elaborate sexual fantasies, including one involving an Italian widow and a soldier in a train compartment. She famously called this a “zipless fuck….not because the participants are so devastatingly attractive, but because the incident has all the swift compression of a dream and is seemingly free of all remorse and guilt.” When I set off on a study abroad program in Europe myself a few years later in 1994, I did so with Jong’s zipless fuck in my mind. I would get a Eurail pass, travel alone, and have hot, anonymous sex with a chain-smoking French intellectual. But unfortunately for my scheme, …

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6 Gifts for Your Urban Outdoorsman

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight) Does your man like to hit the trail, or just to look like he does? These gifts range from practical to elegant, inexpensive to extravagant, but each would get real use in either the mountains or the city. 1. The Cinder Cone Some books are better as hard copies. Designer and surfer Foster Huntington, best known for his A Restless Transplant hit-the-road project, documented the building of a treehouse and skate park complex located in the mountains of Washington State. The Kickstarter-funded book shows that the 1970’s luxury hippy aesthetic lives on. $35 A Restless Transplant Store 2. Backcountry Navigation with Map and Compass Class GPS batteries die and cell phone signals fade, so knowing how to read a map with a compass might help your guy get back on the trail. REI offers a range of orienteering and backcountry navigation classes at locations across the US. $50–80 REI 3. Light Up Dog Collar There is no motivation like a dog to go hiking, whether it’s on the trail or through …

A Girl’s Guide to Office Brocabulary

“Adorable” is the word Jennifer Lawrence uses to describe how women in business strive to sound. Wise beyond her years, the actress shared a story on Lenny Letter about how she was chided for speaking plainly to a male colleague. Her essay, a few weeks ago, kicked off a conversation about how “Woman in a Meeting” is a language all its own. Examples from The Washington Post, all of which I am guilty of: “This may be all wrong but…” and “Maybe? I don’t know? How does the room feel?” Lawrence’s story: “I spoke my mind and gave my opinion in a clear and no-bullshit way; no aggression, just blunt. The man I was working with (actually, he was working for me) said, “Whoa! We’re all on the same team here!” As if I was yelling at him. I was so shocked because nothing that I said was personal, offensive, or, to be honest, wrong. All I hear and see all day are men speaking their opinions, and I give mine in the same exact manner, and you would have thought …

How I Lost A Million Dollars: What Pay Equity Really Means

As a longtime journalist, I’ve covered what American society considers to be “women’s issues” for 40 years — including pay inequities, which were big news when I became a reporter in the 1970‘s. Unfortunately for all of us, the gender gap is still making headlines today, because female full-time workers earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. As if that weren’t depressing enough, the United States lags far behind many other nations in achieving wage equality. A new report by the World Economic Forum found that the United States ranks 65th among 142 countries. But we’ve heard about women’s lost wages for so many years that the actual figures take on a numbing familiarity. What they really mean may not fully register until later in life, when it’s too late to do anything about the longterm cost of such penalties. So let me tell you about how I lost a million dollars, how a young woman I know is on her way to losing millions more, and what that may mean for you. When …

The Girl in the Gray Flannel Suit

(Photo Credit: Helen Jane Hearn) Before I moved to Bridgeport — Connecticut’s only really big, bad city — I commuted into Manhattan out of a station in Westport. A bit of trivia: Westport is the town that played the role of EverySuburb in the 1955 bestseller The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, reissued with a forward by Jonathan Franzen, and in the hit movie, starring Gregory Peck. You likely haven’t read the book or seen the movie (I did, only just in advance of writing this), but I bet the title triggers the image of its protagonist: the button-downed, soul-squashed, bread-winning husband/middle-manager who takes his place on the platform every weekday morning at 6:34 a.m. at the exact spot where the door will open, briefcase and folded-up New York Times in hand. What you probably don’t know: On the Westport platform and at that time in the morning, not much has changed. Many mornings it was a sea of grey-suited men, most of whom resemble Dick Cheney at some point in his life, and me. …

She Must Be My Lucky Star

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight.com) For the first 12 or so years of my life, I was the good girl. My first act of rebellion came in seventh grade when I threw a bunch of baby carrots in the bathroom at church. (I have no idea know why I did this.) Before I could even be accused of the carrot caper, I confessed. Bowing down to authority seemed to be inked into my DNA. While other middle schoolers were experimenting with smoking, I could be found in the school band. I didn’t even play a cool instrument like the drums or the saxophone. No, I played the oboe, and the oboe is just about the nerdiest of the nerdy instruments a junior high schooler could play. Then in 8th grade, MTV came bursting into my room. That year, I spent every afternoon glued to the TV. I was enthralled by Duran Duran’s Hungry Like The Wolf. I escaped through a-ha’s comic book-styled world in Take On Me. I spent hours learning the moves to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. But …

I Learned To Be a Feminist From My Single Mom

She just stood there, not moving, staring at a closed door. I was standing behind her, having come to the same complete stop as she did. I was confused as to why she wasn’t moving anymore. I was seven. Then it dawned on me: she was waiting for me to open that door for her. She didn’t tell me as such; she showed me. That was my mom. The household I grew up in placed a high premium on manners. There was a way things worked, and it was not to be fucked with. That last sentence, for example, would not have flown in my house. My sister and I were taught all about elbows and tables and sir and ma’am and eye contact and, of course, door holding. Though we resided below the Mason Dixon line, barely (Bethesda, Maryland), this all had nothing to do with Southern concepts of proper behavior. In fact, it had more to do with feminism. I am a feminist. I have been one my whole life, though I didn’t …

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4 Lessons from My Month On Tinder

(Photo: Neil Kramer/ TueNight) On New Year’s Day, after two years of being divorced from my ex-wife, I decided to rejoin the dating world. The last time I went on a date, Mark Zuckerberg was a pimply faced kid who hadn’t yet stolen Facebook. While online dating existed at the time, no one had yet sent a nude photo because the bandwidth was too slow. On New Year’s Day, I made the resolution to start dating again, so I did what any other red-blooded American does in 2015 — I joined Tinder. When I told my friends that I was joining Tinder, I received severe warnings of danger, as if I wasn’t just joining a harmless little dating site based on the “Hot or Not” concept, but joining Al Qaeda. Friends told me that I would get emotionally hurt (actually, it was my ex-wife!), that I didn’t have the temperament for cheap hookups, and that I would inevitably “fall for a ruthless Russian escort who will steal my money, my heart, and then have me …

5 Timeless Gifts For The Classic Man

Ask a guy what he wants for a present and he will often deflect the question with, “surprise me.” Can you blame him? Gifts for men are often either welcome-but-overplayed (single malt scotch) or nice-but-rarely-used (fun cuff links.) This year, don’t ask, but choose from these handsome, utilitarian objects that have stood the test of time. 1. Model 9090 Espresso Maker 1978, Richard Sapper The first espresso maker released by famed Italian manufacturer Alessi, the 9090 has been in continuous production for almost 40 years and, like most of designer Richard Sapper’s work, looks like it has arrived from the near future. Made of chromed steel and cast iron, it is glossy and satisfyingly heavy. Recently updated to work with energy-efficient induction cooktops, the 9090 is available in a range of sizes. The seven-inch size is probably the best choice, perfect for making Sunday morning coffee for two.  From $193, alessi.com 2. Akari Lamp 1951, Isamu Noguchi In the late 1940s, sculptor Isamu Noguchi traveled to Japan where he first saw traditional fisherman’s mulberry paper …

Why Women’s Equality is Essential To This Father

On November 4, Americans all over the country will be voting in yet another important election. My fellow New Yorkers and I have a governor to re-elect or elect. Lots of big races across the country will be closely monitored on Tuesday. I know I will be staying up late that night to check out the latest results. I do hope my daughter will be interested in politics. I think what might help is to develop an interest in some issues and platforms while she matures. One of those issues is certainly Women’s Equality. I am a father of a daughter, a husband of a wife, and son of a mother. I sincerely believe it is my duty to support them and other women in the drive to create more equity in terms of work compensation. I know that I want what is best for my daughter. I want her to be validated and respected and not negatively labeled because she is female. I want her to feel safe and secure when she ventures to …

What My Wife Taught Me About Street Harassment

Damon Young is surprised and disappointed at many men’s reactions to the Hollaback! video. Haven’t they listened when women have told them about being afraid?  I was in D.C. around this time last year for a screening of our TV pilot. We (my now wife and I) drove down from Pittsburgh that day, and made it to town at around five. Since the screening was at 7:30, we had a couple hours to spare, so we stopped somewhere on U Street to grab something to eat, and eventually met up with our homegirl to walk to Busboys and Poets (where the screening was held) together. It was a 15-20 minute walk from where we were to Busboys. During the trip, I received a text I needed to reply to, so I slowed my stride and stopped for a few moments. They slowed too, but I told them to keep going and I’d just catch up. I was done replying a minute or so later. By this time, they were 50 feet ahead of me, totally engrossed in their own …

How I Became a (Junior) Birth Partner

(Photo: Courtesy Nancy Gonzalez/TueNight) I can’t remember whether it was the second visit to the midwife or the first session with the doula when I began to feel a visceral empathy for Hillary Clinton circa 1992. At some point during my wife’s (even now I hesitate to say ‘our’) pregnancy, it dawned on me that “this must be what a political spouse feels like” sitting on a dais, or in my case a chair, almost always positioned somewhat askew from the interaction between my wife and a prenatal caregiver. There I would sit, smiling and laughing and gesturing supportively in all the correct places, feeling highly scrutinized yet invisible, and realizing my only chance of becoming a full participant in the conversation would be by asserting myself in a way that might come across as overstepping, pushy, or even militant. Don’t get me wrong, the highly skilled and compassionate professionals who helped us along the path to parenthood were always happy to engage me on a serious level. But I always felt as if an …

The Art of Being Gender Ambidextrous

(Photo Credit: Courtesy Richard Becker) There was a bit of confusion when the girls on my daughter’s 8U softball team tried to separate themselves into “tomboys”and “girly-girls.” My daughter didn’t know which group to pick. “Dad, what am I?” she beamed, expecting a definitive answer. “It depends on the day,” I said. “Pick whatever group you want.” “Okay,”she called back, “I’ll pick tomboys to make it even.” Six and six is how the girls divided themselves, with each group taking one side of the picnic table while they ate pizza. The split was an innocent enough diversion between games but it also struck me as indicative of our society. Feminine or feminist? Masculine or mama’s boy? It’s not as easy for someone like my daughter, who learned to catch in a sundress. It’s not as easy for someone like my son, who would rather sew the hole in his jersey than ask his mom to do it for him. My wife Kim and I raised both of our children to be gender ambidextrous, tossing out …

What Do You Do When the Woman You Love Loves Another Man?

(Graphic: Kat Borosky/TueNight) Hello, I’m Philip. Dixie is the woman I love, the woman I’ve lived with for almost three years, the woman I hope to spend the rest of my life with. She still loves her ex. And I’m OK with that. When I met Dixie I didn’t know she had an ex, let alone that she still loved him. When I did see them together though, it was obvious. There’s an easy affection between them that you seldom see except between long-time lovers, or family. His name, by the way, is Tom. The time came when I had to tell Dixie that I loved her. “Had to,” as in “couldn’t not do it.” That’s another story entirely, but the short version is that in the middle of a conversation about something completely non-related, I said to her, “I love you, you’re just going to have to deal with that.” Having dropped that emotional grenade, I jumped tracks back to the original conversation like nothing happened. Anyway… It took guts to say “I love …

Why Equality is Critical: A Chat with Pax CEO Joe Keefe

“Trading on Diversity” panel on Oct. 28, 2014. Joe Keefe, center and Lauren Young far right. (Photo: Thomson Reuters) I have said repeatedly — and publicly — that Joe Keefe is the perfect white male. And here’s why: As president and CEO of Pax World Funds, Joe Keefe is leading a movement to promote women in the workplace. Earlier this year, he teamed up with Sallie Krawcheck, a former Citigroup and Bank of America executive and one of the highest-ranking women in the history of Wall Street, to create the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund. It tracks companies with the highest rating for advancing women’s leadership. Companies in the portfolio include Avon Products, where five of the beauty company’s 13 executives are women, including CEO Sheri McCoy and CFO Kimberly A. Ross. Another holding is consumer products giant Procter & Gamble, where women comprised 43.6 percent of management positions globally last year. Keefe has dedicated his career to social change. He has served in politics and worked at several socially responsible investment firms. He recently spoke on a …

Margit’s Note: One From the Guys

Attending an all-girls grade school will mess you up a little. You’ll think you can do anything you want as a girl. Leaders become leaders and followers become followers, gender notwithstanding. (It also meant that we swore like sailors, and a few of my classmates liked to chew tobacco. Go figure.) I grew up thinking I could do anything guys could do and never put too much thought to women’s rights. I never took a gender studies class — it seemed weird to me at the time. I don’t recall any kind of women’s movement on campus (attending a big state school was actually an effort to integrate more with men!). I spent more time working at the mostly male-staffed college radio station, and eventually worked in a field, music journalism, dominated by dudes. Did I ever think I couldn’t do it? Not once. I just did stuff because I was lucky enough to have the resources, family support and confidence to do it. But did I ever feel like the uninvited girl at the …

Man Up! Finding Presents He’ll Definitely Dig

For the lucky few (and most of the young), the holidays are largely about the bountiful joy and spirit of the giving season. For the rest of us, they are a quagmire of impossible expectations, difficult family complexities, and the insidiously mind-breaking challenge of what to get loved ones. The best gifts, in my experience, come not from rote requests or jam-packed Amazon want-lists, but when you truly surprise someone with something they hadn’t yet realized how much they desperately needed. To that end, here’s a shortlist of possibilities for the males in your life, be they loving husband, SO, best friend, or father.   1. Wüsthof Breakfast Knife Trust me, dudes like knives. And this one, with super-sharp, deeply serrated edges cuts bread, meat, vegetables, and fruit rinds with equal conviction. One knife to create a perfect Sunday morning breakfast bagel, with a side of melon? Count me in. $60,  Amazon.com   2. Smith Dolen Sunglasses Where I come from — um, upstate New York — sunglasses make a statement about who you are …