Last week, I started a story on a stolen van turned into a homeless shelter by discussing brother Bark and his time as a touring musician. The very first response suggested that I was being a bit “greasy” for even discussing the fact that Bark met a lot of young women on the road. This is the mindset of THE_CURRENT_YEAR in a nutshell, isn’t it? If I announced tomorrow that I was gay you’d all be basically forced to congratulate me on it in about the same fashion as if I announced that I had a season-long ride in Lamborghini Super Trofeo. If I decided tomorrow that I identified as a woman, albeit a six-foot-two, 240-pound woman with dark circles under her eyes and a hairy ass, it would be mandatory for my friends and co-workers to praise my “bravery” and “courage” in doing so. Hell, if I explained to the TTAC staff that I was now a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin they would have to take that absolutely seriously or face an extremely expensive lawsuit from me for denying my completely normal dragonkin sexuality.
If, on the other hand, I write something about the idea that I might be interested in a 19-year-old woman… HOLD THE PRESSES, YOU FUCKIN’ PERVERT! THAT’S NOT NORMAL! Fifty-year-old men are supposed to be interested in fifty-year-old women! It’s disgusting that they aren’t! Oh well. You have to live in reality, which tells us that older men like younger women and sometimes — shudder — they return the favor. I dated a 19-year-old for a bit right before meeting Danger Girl, who is not 19 but is also not close to my age. I dated more than one 25-year-old when I was in my early forties. The world did not end for anyone involved.
In fact, throughout human history it’s been common for successful, powerful, or persuasive men to throw away their wives in favor of younger women. It was Judeo-Christianity that brought a halt to this unsavory practice along with many others: Rejoice in the wife of your youth, says the Proverb. That was a new idea, this concept that you wouldn’t just roll your woman out with the garbage once she hit thirty or so. Oops. It’s no surprise that the collapse of public Christianity has freed-up men to once again pursue, and catch, young women. Fifty years ago, if you dumped your old-ass wife and got some young hottie people at your church would turn away from you like you didn’t exist. It would hurt your social life. It would hurt your employment or your business prospects. Men were expected to stand by their wives to the bitter end. Oh well. We had to tear down that old morality so we could all be free to pursue sexual pleasure as the sole overarching principle of our lives. Any collateral damage from that is just a too-bad-so-sad, isn’t it?
Anyway, commenter gtem is a little bit concerned about the idea that I won’t respect him just because he is parroting the modern Dove Real Beauty theology-in-a-box, so he takes a moment to assure me that he is not a “nu-male”. What’s that, you ask? You’re gonna be sorry you did.
The above image is considered the origin of the “nu-male” expression. This, er, “man” is making an odd half-smile, half-grimace in a manner that (people who play) social scientists (on the Internet) associate with complete and total submission to whoever might be watching. Once you realize this face exists, you can’t stop seeing it.
But what really capped it for me was this comic:
What causes men to make this expression? It’s an odd combination of the desire to be seen by others, which isn’t really a male desire, with the desire to be completely submissive to the viewer. I think it’s safe to say that most normal men don’t want to be photographed doing nothing. Yes, we absolutely want the world to see us hitting a home run or dunking a basketball or winning a race or taking possession of some impossibly expensive new toy. But we have no desire to simply be viewed. That’s a female desire. Women understand that men are visual creatures so they act in such a manner as to obtain the male gaze. That does not mean that they want to just look at men doing nothing, because they don’t. And men don’t want to look at each other doing nothing. Go look at the social media of normal functioning human beings, if there are any left. Women put themselves in the photo. Men don’t, unless they are conveying some kind of message.
So when you see a nu-male making the nu-male face, that’s a strong indicator that he had no male role model growing up. ‘Cause otherwise he’d be making an expression that women want to see. In other words, he would be frowning. At the very least, he wouldn’t be making a face that tells every other man in the same zip code that he’s ready to be dominated and/or pushed around by them.
I think I’m going to try an experiment. The next time I have dinner with my father I’m gonna try the nu-male grimace and see what he says. I doubt it will be positive. He will probably ask if I’m sick, and by sick he will mean “on my way to becoming a wingless dragonkin.” Or maybe he’ll think I’ve finally taken the autojourno thing to heart. I’ve collected a few of the most obvious numales below, but feel free to add your own in the comments. Like I said: once you’ve seen it, you can’t stop seeing it. It also just maybe explains why some of us old tyrannosaurs still occasionally have a chance with a younger woman: don’t you think they get sick of looking at those faces? Maybe anything else is better. Even if it’s attached to someone who is, to be charitable, past his prime. Smile, in an honest and unafraid fashion, and the world smiles with you. Frown, and the ladies might still smile back. But if you make the nu-male face — my friend, you’re on your own.