Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Attention, Operatives of the Patriarchy!

...Known agent Norah Vincent has penetrated protocols 5-Alpha through 9-Gamma. Critical intel, vital to the Patriarchy, has been compromised...
After reading the raves of Ms Vincent's latest book, and hearing her interviewed by Glenn and Helen , I bought and am reading her book, Self-Made Man: One Woman's Journey into Manhood and Back Again.

I am only halfway through, but I'd like to record three impressions while they are fresh in my mind.

First, Ms Vincent has really made a hugh leap into male culture. Her ability to see what she has looked at serves her well. When she first joins a bowling league, she encounters the three other guys that compose her team. When she's introduced to them she wonders if their terseness and abruptness means that they are treating her with hostility. Then the team captain shakes hands with her and she gets it. Their quite reserve is a sign of the respect they show her as an equal.

I can't count the number of times women have tried to get me to 'fess up and explain "what's really going on," when men are quite in each other's company.

Second, there is occasionally, in reading the book, the dizzyness of infinite regression. She is a woman, passing as a man, giving a woman's viewpoint on what men are like when women aren't around. And I'm a man, reading this woman's book on being a woman passing as a man, reporting on the women's view of men.

It's like when I was a small boy at the barber shop. The barber had mirrors behind the chairs and on the wall across the room. Sitting in the chair I saw an infinite number of little boys, receding in the distance. Somtimes I wondered if I was the boy, or if I was just a reflection and the real little boy was the next little boy or the ten-thousanth little boy in that series. And then the barber would whip the towel off my neck and I'd run outside into the sunshine.

Finally, by describing her view of men, Ms Vincent must necessarily compare and contrast that view with her certain knowlege of women. By doing this, she clarifies (to me) much about the female culture that I find baffling.

Though this book isn't for everyone, I highly recommend it to anyone who has been baffled by the opposite sex. If you have the opposite sex all figured out, save your money.

1 comment:

Taleena said...

I wanted to read that. Can I swipe it when you are done?

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