Speaking on behalf of boys and men from nine to 99, I have had it up to here with the PC bashing of men by 'our better halves.'
The latest, and most egregious example appeared in Thursday's New York Times and was written by Michelle Slatalla. She contributes to something the Times calls, 'Wife/Mother/Worker/Spy.' They should add the word 'Basher.'
Like me, Slatalla's hubby had read the book 'Born to Run.' Like me, he became intrigued by the book's back-to-basics message for runners: (i.e. Specially-designed Vibram Five Fingers running shoes that provide minimal support build up atrophied foot muscles and can enable runners to go further and faster). And, like me, Slatalla's hubby began wearing the Five Fingers around the house and the 'hood.
This irritated the uber-stylish author who dismissed her husband's 'gorilla shoes' as just the latest in a long line of horrific fashion choices and perhaps signifying a midlife crisis on his part. To support the latter premise, she opines about '…..many middle-aged men who veer tragically toward garish floral shirts, drive a two-seater convertible or have a sudden and inexplicable interest in surfing.' She went on to describe the Vibram Five Fingers as an 'obvious midlife crisis on his feet.' But, the ultimate humiliation for Ms. Slatalla was hearing that the hubby had worn the gorilla shoes to the market and bumped into Stephanie, who lives across the street and is Ms. Slatalla's 'fashion idol.' She was positively horrified.
What goes on between Ms. Slatalla and her hubby is their business. But, her patronizing, brow-beating and heavy-handed prose would simply not be permitted if the gender roles had been reversed.
Could you imagine my writing a column castigating my wife's attempts to stay fit, young and vibrant? I'd be crucified on a FemiNazi cross (possibly designed by Ms. Slatalla and her friend, Stephanie). And, sadly, society would roar its approval.
Male-bashing doesn't really affect me or other middle-aged white guys who love the challenge and adventure of defying the ravages of time. Personally, I couldn’t care less what Ms. Slatalla thinks about a man's battle with middle age. The real damage is caused by the institutionalizing of such thinking and it insidious effect on younger men and boys. An entire generation has now grown up seeing men portrayed as buffoons on TV and in movies, and patronized as dumb, but harmless, nincompoops like Ms. Slatalla's significant other.
I think it's high time for the Times and other media properties to provide equal time and space to a column that might be entitled 'Husband/Father/Worker/Gender-Defender.' I'd be proud to interview for the job.