The book, I think, is mostly about our sense of identity, and how that identity is tangled up in what we believe the world around us expects. That identity is tied up in our jobs, and our sexuality, our families and our religions. It often seems that our identity is defined for us, that there is no escaping expectations, no escaping the pressures and forces of our environments. There are stories, of course, of those that break free from that, that go their own way, that express their identity as they see fit regardless of the consequences, and that is great for them, but I suspect most of us never really get to find out who we think we are outside of those forces and pressures.
I recently, and involuntarily, saw an advertisement for a My Little Pony-themed fleshlight; a men's sex toy based on a child's cartoon. I am not even positive that it was real or some kind of Photoshop mock up, and was sufficiently creeped out to not investigate further, but it seemed only too plausible. I could only think about what pathetic, weak creatures men can be, and how this can be expressed in the ugliest ways. Companies do not make products that there is no market for. The manufacturers of this product must believe that there is a segment of men whose fantasy is to violate a tiny, make-believe purple horse. I couldn't help but think of the consumers of this product hating themselves for wanting it, hating themselves for buying it, hating themselves for using it.
I thought, what if there was a product that addressed the needs of men in a way that wasn't appealing to and encouraging the basest, most vile aspect of being male? What would that look like?
CyberDomestics, Incorporated has brought to market an anthropomorphic robot said to finally satisfy the fantasies of men, the hidden and taboo things that they are afraid to speak about even with those that they are most intimate with.
The doll is fully articulated, fully poseable and available in virtually any color, shape or size.
It speaks to men, purrs phrases that every man has longed to hear, but have been afraid to request from their partners.
It says, "You are doing a good job."
It says, "I trust you."
It says, "You are doing the right thing."
It says, "I believe in you."
It says, "You are making the right decisions."
It says, "You are valuable."
It says, "I appreciate the sacrifices that you make."
Current demand has exceeded production capabilities, and orders are backlogged for several years. Do not delay, order today!
I have two sons of my own. What can I say to them about what it means to be a man? What do I have to offer them except my own fumbling failing mistake-ridden example of manhood? I do not really know what it means to be a man, and I am supposed to guide these small people in some meaningful way? I remember leaving the hospital when my first son was born, as they handed me the tiny life that I was now responsible for. I thought, are you people crazy? I don't know anything! I still don't. But all we can do is to try our best to instill the values that we were taught, or have developed through experience, in the next generation. My sons are already far more decent and caring people than I will ever be, so there's that. I wish I could take credit for that, but they seem to have arrived with pre-loaded software.
If you ever meet a parent that claims to have gotten everything right, they are either a liar or an asshole, or most likely, both.
It takes some genuine and sometimes painful introspection to try and untangle who you are from who you think you should be and from who you believe others think you to be, and from what your actions say about your own self worth.
Boys: Just try not to hurt yourself or other people as you figure this stuff out, OK?
I don't know anything.
PS: If you are new to the blog, it is mostly about my as yet unpublished book and various trials and failures that happens when you try to get a book published. I write on this thing only when I think I have something relevant to say which seems to be a couple of times a month. If you comment on here, I will respond to your comments here. If you want to get in touch via other methods, I am on Twitter @RDPullins, and I am on Google+, though I use that primarily to exchange pictures with my family. You can also send me an email at dissent dot within at gmail dot com. Thanks to my best pal Eric, for the Lolligagger Bump. Cheers! RP