Why you should care
OZY’s Eugene S. Robinson addresses queries from the love-weary in “Sex With Eugene.”
When Your Past Is Marred by Murder
EUGENE, SIR: At the age of 6 — I was the youngest of five children, with three sisters, aged 14, 16 and 20, and a brother of 19 — my 16-year-old sister was bought alcoholic drinks and taken from a “Blue Light Disco,” a disco for underage kids in a pub/bar. It was 1987, and she was then raped and murdered. The guy was caught and prosecuted. Apparently my sister put up a hell of a fight, although she suffered a few broken ribs and a crushed pelvis. He was found guilty, sentenced and then committed “suicide” in prison three months in.
So how do I go out as a guy to try to meet women without thinking about being “that” guy? How do I learn where “that” line is? I want to know how to break out of being the guy who hangs back because I don’t want to be too forward or seem to be too forward because, if I am too forward, I fear I’ll be seen in the same light as the guy who raped and murdered my sister. I’m 6′2″ and about 220 pounds now, so I feel that I could be intimidating if I get too close. Any advice? —Ian
Dear Ian I Am: A lot to unpack. But, ultimately, worthwhile to do so since, in this age of #metoo, #timesup and the inevitable MRA (men’s rights activism) slapback, which not at all accidentally has really existed in some form or another since the 1960s, it makes sense for us to try to define some terms. Men, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, account for 96 percent of all homicide perps worldwide and only 79 percent of the victims, at least as of six years ago.
Let that sink in for a bit.
When “we” talk about problems “we” are having, we’re not really talking about “we,” are we? We’re talking about men. If 96 percent of any other species killed us like we’re killed by men, we’d organize hunting parties and drive them to extinction. But what do we do when the problem is not them but us?
With four sisters and three daughters, it’s something I think about a lot, and my conclusions are trending toward believing that your soul-searching is healthier than not and that more men should do it. In fact, I think it should be a requisite for men. Insofar as how to proceed with both your background and the current zeitgeist, I’d say the single most useful thing you could do is to step around and aside all of that preplanned social media–mass media bullshit about how men and women are supposed to interact and only deal with people who are women who are capable of doing the same.
Also bring a sense of humor to bear — Margaret Atwood once said, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them” — because it helps way more than you can imagine. It hints at the fact that your conception of self is at the very least fluid and very probably both flexible and adaptable. This will help unhinge you from a past that is not yours alone to bear. Good luck, and keep us posted.
The Not-So-Sexy Kind of Strip Club
EUGENE, SIR: In college, I had to make ends meet and started exotic dancing. One night after my shift, my boss — the manager, who was the son of the owner — came back to the dancers’ dressing room and raped me. The cops have been a waste of time. My boyfriend wants to burn his car or the club down. I just want to move on with my life. You wrote about street justice before, though, so I’ll ask, what should we do? —Name withheld by request
Dear Don’t: I’m going to suggest a third way: Write to everyone you can think of like you wrote to me. Specifically, outside of whatever cop made you think you were wasting your time, try his (or her) watch commander, their chief, the police chief, the mayor’s office, your congressperson and other maybe more immediate members of your local press. How often? Pretty much as often as you think about it. While I’d suggest also seeing a therapist and I’m assuming you’ve already been to a doctor, I think trying to forget about it might not be the best course of action. Because, without sanction, it is likely that he does it again. And again. And again. And again, and I think you get the point.
So, no matter how temporarily satisfying street justice might feel, it solves very little in the long term and it’s, generally, illegal and not something I could in good conscience recommend you do.
But you have to do something. There’s a Polish saying that I love and it’s this: When you hit the table, the scissors make some noise. Keep hitting the table. Eventually the scissors might make some news. Please stay in touch.
And Finally: A Welcome Penis Query
EUGENE, SIR: Why do you act like men who want bigger penises are stupid for wanting bigger penises? It’s like making fun of someone for being rich. But I didn’t write to bitch you out. I wrote to tell you that I’ve been able to lengthen my penis with one of those foreskin restoration kits. Not by much, but an inch extra is more than I had before. You’re welcome. —Bigger
Dear By the Dozen: I’m not acting like men who want bigger penises are stupid. I’m not acting at all. I’m expressing professional fatigue with a global preoccupation with penis as it redounds to me having to answer question after question from men who are concerned about the same thing: Am I big enough? So it’s not you, it’s me. That being said, while I don’t know about your foreskin restoration kit scheme, I do know a surefire way to make your penis seem larger: Become a billionaire. Never yet have I heard anyone complain about the size of a billionaire’s penis. Could, however, be a coincidence. Don’t know. I’m not a billionaire. But I am a man who, for the first time in a long time, was actually happy to get a penis-size query. Things got heavy there for a bit. Thanks for that.