31 Dec Things To Leave in 2016
This has been a bit of a bumpy ride, hasn’t it?
I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. Even though I’ve worked in fitness marketing for years, and have to convince a bunch of people to join gyms every January (so that those gyms can keep paying me to make things to convince people to join), the ‘resolution’ has always seemed like a sort of hollow idea that we all come up with just because we know people are gonna ask what our resolutions are.
A better way to look at this phenomenon of ‘resolving’ to be better each January, might be creating a list of things we could each stop doing because they’re holding us back in one way or another. Instead of saying that you resolve to go to the gym more (that’s vague and open ended which means you probably won’t really do it, because there’s no real destination in mind), maybe you decide that you’re not going to tweet shitty things about other people. You’re going to leave shitty tweets in 2016.
Or you’re going to leave box wine in 2016, and treat yourself to something a little better.
Or you’re going to leave the word “like” in 2016, and speak like a grownup with a job.
The possibilities are endless, they just require you to be a bit more analytical, introspective, and clever than resolving to “drink less,” or “eat better.”
For my part, I wanna share my list of things I plan to leave in 2016. It’s not a long list, but it is one that I’ve thought a lot about over the last year. I’m also open to suggestions if you’ve seen or heard something that I’ve said/written/done that you think I should take a second look at. Please always feel free to share in the comments. Here we go:
Referring to male body parts using female nomenclature.
This one seems vague at first, but when you pay attention is incredibly pervasive and – I think – something that is keeping us all from getting the kind of satisfaction we’re really after. There are so many words for our body parts; our ability to conversationally rename the penis rivals the eskimo and their many words for snow. So why are we so limited when it comes to the other side? Why do so many guys refer to their butthole as a “pussy?” What possible function could that serve?
My theory? It’s a linguistic reinforcement of binary gender norms. Because if you think about it, the words are NOT interchangeable. You’d never call a woman’s butthole a “pussy.” You’d call her vagina a pussy, and any other use of that word with her would be bizarre and confusing.
Men use words like “pussy” and “cunt” and (the ultimate cringe-worthy choice) “bussy” to describe the anuses of other men because they’re trying to normalize the sexual interaction they’re engaging in (or desirous of) by making it more similar to heterosexual intercourse.
This isn’t an accusatory thought, nor do I think that it’s even close to being a conscious choice that anyone is making. I think we’ve just become acclimated to the idea that heterosex is “normal” and the words and roles that play out in that context can be applied to homosex to make them feel more “normal.”
I’ve never ever referred to my own (or anyone else’s) butthole as a pussy/cunt/bussy/etc, but I’m super guilty of calling pecs “titties.” Partly because I think there’s a visual parallel between what monster pecs and small, high, female breasts look like. And partly because it makes me giggle a little to say it or type it. But it isn’t fair to the male form or to the men who work really hard to build up their strength and muscularity to use a word for a body part that just comes standard on the female body. You work to earn big meaty pecs. One just ends up with (or, I guess, eventually purchase) titties.
So female body parts subbed in for male parts so that homosexual sex feels more “normal?” That stays in 2016. Especially you, “bussy.”
“Uncut” and “uncircumcised” to describe a ‘version originale’ penis.
I saw a graphic the other day that showed two enormous dicks next to each other, where one was labeled “circumcised” (as it was, indeed, circumcised) and the other was labeled “natural.” It wasn’t really until that very moment that I had ever considered the idea that the casually and medically accepted terms for the presence of foreskin were based on circumcision being the normal or regular state (it isn’t, if you were wondering. Globally, only about 1/3 of men with penises are circumcised, and that rate is dropping in most 1st world countries).
My penis is distinguished from one that’s been surgically altered by negating the surgical procedure with the prefix “un-.” That’s… really upsetting! And the way it uses language (again!) to normalize what is actually the altered version of something, is distressing and weird!
One would never describe not having to wear glasses as being “unmyopic.” You’d never say that a woman with small breasts had “unaugmented” breasts. And one would never say that someone with a large, prominent nose was “unrhinoplastied.”
So why do we treat the circumcised penis as the “regular” and require the one that’s still in its original packaging be qualified by negating it’s circumcised status. That’s… gross.
As you know if you read with any regularity, I’m a lover of ALL penises. Big, small, black, white, silicone, steel, IDGAF. I think it’s amazing that we have a body part that is devoted almost exclusively to providing pleasure, and whether you’ve got skin or not will never determine how much I love your dick. But I’m definitely done using a negative prefix to describe the penis that I have. “UNcut” and “UNcircumcised” stay in 2016.
I’ve got a natural penis and I LOVE it.
Tea and shade.
I’m a bad gay. I am. There are lots of days when I wouldn’t even probably identify myself as culturally “gay.” I’m definitely homosexual and I think men are beautiful and I want to do all the stuff with most every dick I meet. But as far as drag queens and “yaaas qweens!” and all of the perfunctory roleplay that comes along with being a modern gay, I’m a disappointment about 100% of the time.
Which is why it was such a long time before the terms “tea” and “shade” came into my life. I’ve never seen more than a handful of episodes of Drag Race, and when people bring it up in conversation it’s difficult for my eyes not to glaze over and for my brain not to begin the process of willing myself out of my body like someone who’s being attacked. Not in a malicious or “shady” way. I just don’t care. I don’t care! I’m glad so many people find so much enjoyment in it, it’s just not the thing for me. And that’s ok!
A lot of my not caring, though, has to do with how the people on that show behave towards one another. Which is where these words come in. They’re both used to describe shitty, disrespectful treatment of other drag queens, other men, or, really, anyone! One is about simply saying shitty things about someone, but doing it ‘covertly’ so that it’s considered humorous and indirect (shade). And the other is about gossiping about other people, often focused on their mistakes, poor decisions, or flaws (tea).
I’m a grown man with adult-sized genitals. I pay taxes and contribute to society and live in New York Goddamned City. I don’t need to covertly disrespect someone. If I have something to say, I will say it TO that person. Directly. Like an adult. I also have no interest in gossiping about the lives of others, most especially when they’re already down.
I’m not certain when behaving poorly to one another these ways became associated with gay culture, but it’s really off-putting and makes the people who do it seem quite small.
In addition, we don’t have the luxury of breaking fraternity right now. We’re about to step into four years of government, leaders, and society as a whole not giving a hot fuck about gay people. There are many many people who want to overturn the Supreme Court’s marriage decision, and with new justices on the bench, it is a real possibility. This is not the time for us to be shitting on one another and gossiping about flaws. We need to get over this petty shit and see that we’re all of the same stuff.
Tea and shade? They stay in 2016.
This is an easy one. The rule of thumb here is that when my mom has heard about a new term, it’s dead. I love my mom to death, but hearing her pronounce a hard, staccato R at the end of Grindr (“if it was supposed to be pronounced that way, they would have left the ‘E’ in there!”) made me never want to open the app again. So she’s an excellent gage of when it’s time to move on.
Lumbersexuals – you stay in 2016. The actual look, the word, all of it.
The idea that it’s somehow a problem that women want to watch gay porn.
This is also a pretty simple one. Over the course of the last year I had a surprising number of conversations with people (ranging from performers, producers, and just fans of gay porn) who had strange, non-specific problems with women watching dudes have sex. And even bigger, even less specific problems with them being active on social media about it.
I don’t have any analysis to do on this one. That’s stupid. If you don’t wanna fuck women, then that’s your business from beginning to end. But you don’t get to decide who the audience for something is, just because it makes you more comfortable. If you don’t think there’s room for absolutely everything and everyone, then you don’t understand how the internet works and I don’t have the energy to deal with you.
Let’s leave aaaaall that nonsense in 2016, yeah?
Talking when you don’t have anything to say.
This is one that I’ve become exceptionally guilty of in the last two months. In large part, it’s because I don’t know what to say. But it hasn’t stopped me. A best bro of mine called me out on it this week and straight up told me to shut my mouth. I was upset about George Michael and Carrie Fisher and explaining that I was just planning to reject any further information about anyone else for the rest of the year. He rightly pointed out that I was just saying words, and all I could argue back was that I had to say “something.”
But I don’t.
I can talk less when there’s nothing to say. And smile more.
Talking simply to vent the rage or to fill the space? 2016, that’s all yours.
None of these things are meant as instructions or commandments for anyone else. Just things in my own life that I think it would be wise to move along from. If you can take something from what I’ve laid out here, then I’m so glad to have shared it. If not, I hope you’ll come back next year, anyway.
I wish you a prosperous and joy-filled 2017 that defies all your expectations and the odds. And, yet again, I say thank you thank you for your time here and your emails and comments and gifts. You have made my 2016 time and time again.
Happy New Year, bros.