Why Being A Grammar Elitist Ain’t All That

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A tip for dating or relationships in general: policing someone’s grammar is a dick move. Here’s why following grammar protocol doesn’t show the good form that you imagine it does.

So-called correct grammar is an appeal to upper class views of what is proper and just in our language. Except that language has never really worked that way. Do you think the railroad workers, saloon owners, or sex workers in the 1800’s spoke perfect English? Me thinketh not. It was more a mixture of broken Chinese, Spanish, French, Irish (Gaelic), German and a whole other host of languages. And yet, these are the people that built America and they got shit done without needing to resort to the queen’s english.

Proper grammar is an elitist approach to the english language. It’s a way of thinking one person is better than another because of how they speak. Grammar elitists place their self worth and others on education without ever once imagining that not everyone has access to the same level or quality of education or sometimes any education at all.

It’s also a form of racism and classism which ignores the cultural influences that can exist in local neighborhoods and regions. Speaking like an upper class WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant) who is well versed in fine speak is not likely to garner you any special level of appreciation from a Tennessee mining community, the Dark Corner, Flint, Michigan or even in New York City.

Granted, it’s a fictional character but Malcolm Reynolds on Firefly spoke about being immortalized saying, “It’s my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of a son of a bitch or another.” It’s not at all proper english but it’s a wonderful quote (one of my favorites I might add) which easily exhibits wisdom. Everyone who is idolized has a darker side that often gets swept away by the need for a hero. Proper word choice isn’t necessarily a display of intelligence, but rather an example of someone following rules just for the sake of it.

The important thing is that we try and understand what the other person is saying and not how they are saying it. If someone from my home town told me “I found bout 5 five pounds of shroons the other day over on Kuhlman Hill.” I’m not about to correct them and say “you mean to say mushrooms” because I would be a colossal prick and their meaning is easily obtained.

Focusing too intently on grammar can also hide our chosen identity when we develop a stalwart adherence to pronoun choice such as him and her as opposed to zir and ze or they. We disrespect people and who they are over word choice.

The final reason that grammar (and word choice) doesn’t matter is that those whose job it is to keep us abreast of the english language aren’t at all concerned about what is proper. This very month Merriam-Webster introduced the words “safe space” and “microaggression” to the dictionary. Since that will piss conservatives off to no end they might be pleased to know that “riding shotgun” is now included as well. The point of cataloging language isn’t about proper usage, but about documenting what is happening. That word that you despise if it persists will one day make it into the dictionary. The kicker is, it was a real word long before that happened.

So the next time you decide to chide someone for not living up to your language standards perhaps you should critically examine those expectations and their privileged origins.

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The Future of Queer in America Looks Bleak

Whenever conservative politicians say “we want to protect everyone’s rights” they mean the ability for other conservatives to discriminate against those they dislike without reprisal. It’s a wink and a nod to various forms of hate, disgust and intolerance. Not only that, it will most likely be our future.

Trump Attorney General still wants to pass law to permit anti-LGBT discrimination

We have yet to see how the Anti-Justice League of Trump will act when faced with protests and dissent. I don’t see a lot of budging on their part. However, resistance and each other are what we have right now. Let’s be there for one another, stand tall and fight like hell.

Identify Bots on Grindr and Beyond

Since I dissed on Grindr yesterday I’ll leave you with a helpful article to navigate it safely should you decide to stay with the app.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/08/11/warning-these-grindr-profiles-are-actually-robots-trying-to-steal-your-info

I find it’s actually really easy to weed out the robots on here. Some clues are the height listed as the article mentions, an amazingly chiseled photo of some dude, poor English, or the fact that the conversation immediately jumps from hello to sharing pictures.

Always make your first question something that another person (or robot) can’t answer with yes, or cool, or just hanging out. So if they say “what’s up?” Reply with “Well, I just finished listening to my favorite band. What type of music do you listen to?” When the reply is “Good, I’ve just been working out and I’m horny” then you know you’re talking to a computer program or a total fucking moron. Either way you can ghost them and move on.

A Sunny Day Gone Wrong

I love this and her entire article –

“…suggesting that, for men, any sexual overture is welcome. I asked how he’d feel if a fellow weighing three-forty cornered him somewhere isolated and manhandled him. Suddenly this struck him as way more sinister.”

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-crotchgrabber/amp

Men and the Culture We Create

In talking to women I’ve been able to notice a few common threads when it comes to their dealings with men. One in particular has troubled me from the moment I realized the implication.

Usually we’re talking about dating and the horrible behavior that people bring into that sphere of interaction. Too often women tell me things men have said to them or done to them that were truly abysmal and then passed it off as being normal.

While I am appalled by the behavior of the men, I’m equally if not even more horrified by the culture we have created in which this behavior is deemed normal or expected and goes unchallenged. Whether it be guys that feel entitled to grope women or the actual site of women walking with their keys in their hand ready to use it as a weapon against men, we have created a environment where toxic masculinity is just thought of as normal. This social construct disturbs me to my very core.

This article and the author’s experiences brought the horrors of guy culture to the forefront of my mind.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-i-wish-men-knew-about-that-creepy-guy-at-starbucks_us_572b6ddde4b016f37894e05d?

I Don’t Shit Rainbows

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If you were to read my dating profile you would see that it lists a number of progressive ideas about sex positivity and gender self-determinism. Listing that info is a double edged sword. On the plus side, these are views that women don’t encounter much while perusing through men so it definitely sets me apart. Also, listing this allows me to attract quality people. Someone who is homophobic isn’t likely to show interest in me if I list myself as a pansexual feminist. A thinning of the herd that I’m wonderfully happy with by the way.

However, I often feel as if I’m fetishized to a degree. I get the impression that some of those folks expect me to be the most evolved person to walk the face of the Earth. If I show up to a date and I don’t have rainbows shooting out of my ass (a known carcinogen by the way) or pieces of the mountain top I was meditating on still stuck to my clothes people get disappointed. I can appreciate the enthusiasm but the expectation feels unrealistic and oppressive.

What I do is for others in a general sense and I don’t fucking care if it looks like what someone else expects it to. For instance, I identify as cisgender because I agree that failing to do so creates an accepted group (those happy with their assigned gender) and an outcast group (those happy with their non-assigned gender – i.e. transgendered). The same goes for allosexual. I don’t feel like asexual (or demi or graysexual) people should feel like anything other than normal so I categorize the level of my sexual desire. By doing things like this I’m helping to create the kind of world in which I want to live.

Did you catch that last part? The world I want to live in. My actions are for me too. How’s that for enlightened? Even if what I do primarily has a benefit to others, it also helps me to become the person I wish that I (and everyone else) was. It makes me happy to be who I am. It’s that whole, be the change you want to see shtick.

Ever since I was called a racist at 17, all I’ve ever wanted to do is be a better person. That impetus has brought me to where I am now and I’m reaping the benefits. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and for the first time I’m starting to cultivate a group of friends with shared values. My friends, dates and other random people tell me the nicest and most heartfelt things and I know it’s because I have done the same for them and that I’ve created an environment where they trust me. Moments like those bring tears to my eyes when I think about it. I’m finally having the intimate meaningful connections with people that I’ve always wanted to have. It’s such a wonderful place to be.

However, I’m not perfect. I’m still just a clump of electrical and bacterial processes that we call human. As confidant as I am I still have insecurities that can occasionally lead me to be emotionally unhealthy. I’m working on it. Sometimes I get excited about a topic and I realize that I’ve been talking for 5 minutes and unintentionally monopolizing the conversation. I’m working on that too. I’m a radical sometimes to a fault. I’m wondering how to work on that or if I even should. I also use profanity. I’ve no plans to work on that at all because if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Okay look, I realize that most of you who read this will never meet me (I mostly blame you), but you can extrapolate this into your own life. Whoever, you’re in the process of idolizing make sure you do a reality check on what it means to be human.

People are wondrous and beautiful creatures and we exist in a myriad of ways, but obviously we’re not perfect. Sometimes our imperfections make us beautiful. Other times, it’s how we deal with those imperfections that make us shine. Either way we all have work to do and that’s okay.

Mal, a character from the television series Firefly, said it best, “It’s my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of sommbitch or another.”

Hell, I don’t even have a statue made of me unless you count voodoo dolls and burning effigies.

Masculinity As A Crutch

“I think the white-knuckled grip some men keep on what defines a man” is “clinging to an old idea of the world, one they can control, one that isn’t new or different or equal or, let’s just say it, actually happening.”

One of my ideas for writing has been to do something like this article by David Greenwald. Until that is penned (and even after) you should really read this.

https://medium.com/@davidegreenwald/against-masculinity-498339cb8f42#.msue0qrsc

Note: I took a few liberties with the quote above such as splicing two sentences and removing a question mark, but I think it is the essence of the paragraph from which it was pulled. I just thought you should know in the spirit of honesty.

Fear Not and Do the Dishes

Read this first.

http://www.medicaldaily.com/more-chores-husband-does-more-likely-marriage-will-end-divorce-242815

I read this article because I instantly knew it would be a steaming pile of shit and that it would be a good example of how people misconstrue research. I was partially correct.

I studied sociology in college and so I have a passing familiarity with research and statistics, though by no means am I an expert.

However, I knew the headline alone was crap. It read, “The more chores a husband does, the more likely the marriage will end in divorce.” That is categorically wrong as it implies that one led to the other. There are quite a few studies similar to this where couples who believe in non-traditional roles will have lives that often follow non-traditional paths. In this instance, if a hetero couple doesn’t believe that females should do all of the house work then they are also less likely to view marriage as a vow that can never be altered or revoked and so can be more likely to view divorce as an option.

To the article’s credit they do mention this. That doesn’t make up for the headline or the leap they take next.

The authors say that this research contradicts other studies which talk about how men are happier when they share more of the home chores. How does this contradict? Because divorce is supposed to be unhappy or undesirable? Let’s keep in mind that sometimes divorce is both a desirable and happy occasion. Happily ever after can include divorce.

Still, let’s assume that divorces are horrible and that no one has ever been happy at the conclusion of one. What do we really gain by this? We’ve all likely been in relationships that have failed, but does that mean that we were unhappy all the way through? Of course not.

I can vouch from experience that when I didn’t pull my weight around the house I would feel bad about myself and the role I was playing. When I did step up and shoulder my share of the responsibility I felt so much happier about what I contributed to the relationship and how it removed a burden from my partner. The fulfillment I felt when helping was independent of whether my relationship continued or ended.

So in the end this article is the steaming pile of shit I had imagined it to be, but at least the authors caught a whiff of it before then passing it off as something of quality. Men; doing the dishes won’t lead to a divorce, but acting as if both people have a determination over the path their life takes just may. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Gay Guys Can Be Shitheads Too

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So my physical relationship with men has been a roller coaster. I’m attracted to men, but it’s something I’ve only been able to explore fully in the last 9 months or so. That means my experience isn’t where I want it to be. Of course, there’s no shortage of men who want to fuck me or be fucked by me, but this is difficult as well because I’m interested in a much narrower grouping of men than I am women. Not to mention that a lot of guys with sex on their mind throw all courtesy out the window when they’re trolling online and I deserve more respect than this. Yup, that means I don’t want to see a picture of your dick. Try the novel approach of actually having a real conversation (and not about sex).

I just ended a horrible, albeit super short encounter (supposed to be physical in some way) with a guy I met on Grindr. Okay settle down, I hear you and you’re right. The Grindr crowd is a fairly toxic population but I’ve met a couple of good people on there and had awesome sexual experiences with them, plus I can usually weed the shitheads out. Actually, I’m about to talk about a guy I had ruled out once before. I should have stuck with my earlier ruling.

Anyway, the short explanation of what went down is that I wasn’t attracted to him. After we had agreed to meet he had an event to attend and would be over shortly after. I heard from him next when he said he was just finishing up eating tacos. Since highly spiced meat doesn’t do wonders for someone’s breath I asked him to take some courtesy measures. He said, “I’ll have to run by home then.” Great, he wasn’t planning on doing this in the first place that’s reassuring. I don’t think it’s too much to expect someone that you’ve never met to have good oral hygiene when making out is on the horizon. Once he arrived home he said he was freshening up a bit. Given that his house wasn’t one of his intended stops before coming over what kind of disrepair was this guy in before he went to tidy up?

I found out soon enough once we got into the light. He showed up in a shirt that I’m pretty sure was wrinkled and stained and not in a designer clothing kind of way. He was scruffy which I had expected, but it was unkempt.

His conversation wasn’t any better. He had photography listed as a hobby so I was trying to chat him up on that but it wasn’t working. I showed him a few of my pictures, but still nothing. He actually showed disinterest in any conversation. He seemed put off that I didn’t want to swallow his dick as soon as we walked in the door. Was I reading him wrong? Of course not, but at the time I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

We sat down at my behest and started talking. Oh wait, did I say we? I meant me. He put his hand on my leg and his other hand down his pants. Classy right? As an aside, I’ll also be hosting a seminar on how to find all the good men. In case anything happened (which at this point seemed pretty fucking slim to none) I initiated the STI conversation. He withdrew his hand (both of them) and dejectedly said it was a buzzkill to talk about it, but he was clean.

Whelp! That pretty much does it for me. At this point I was at a loss of what to say but I wasn’t about to have sex with whatever this was in front of me. I started by saying that I’m not sure I want to do anything. His reply is that if I’m not sure I want to do anything physical then that means I don’t. It’s the most he had said in my presence and he was right. I said that while I was in the mood earlier that I just wasn’t feeling it currently. He immediately got up and walked out.

He was there for 5 minutes total. If he hadn’t been so impatient and actually entered into a conversation maybe I could have seen that he was a nice guy and given him a shot or made out or something, but of course when someone storms out after they find out you’re not going to have sex with them you can rest assured that they weren’t a nice guy.

I waited for what was inevitable. I knew I would be bombarded by angry vitriolic messages that would hinge on his insecurities and demonstrate his true nature. Basically, I was about to receive confirmation that I made the right choice. Like clockwork they came streaming in. He said I wasn’t genuine, my photography was shitty, I look older than my photo (it’s about 2 months old and only adjusted for color), basically he attacked anything and everything he knew about me.

I told him that it was my mistake because we should have met somewhere first to gauge our attraction and that it just wasn’t there for me. The insults kept streaming in after that, something about how I wasn’t attractive either, but I don’t even really know what was said. I blocked him. There wasn’t much point in having my phone light up all night to keep me on edge about messages I wasn’t going to read. I had done what I needed to do and his meltdown was his own problem. I don’t owe anybody sex. I don’t care if I do meet someone on the skeeziest hookup app there is and talk about sex till we’re blue in the – uh . . . face. If at any time I (or someone else) says no then that’s definitive.

My take away from this is that I should always meet someone out for a drink first to gauge who they are and my level of attraction as much as possible. This goes for hookups too. I should probably only select guys from my narrow band of interest. I hate to be like this and I wish my attraction was more varied, but it’s not apparently. Also, and this is key, I should probably delete my Grindr profile and the app. For now though it still remains on my phone beckoning me to reach out and find Mr. Wrong.

Info Transgender People Wish You Knew

The article below is called Eight Things Transgender People Do Not Owe You and it’s a call to check our cisgenderedness (BOOM! new word right there fuckers) at the door (okay perhaps cispriviledge works better). Every time I see an article like this I prepare myself to be educated on what I’m doing wrong. I’m not perfect, but I try my damnest to be a better person each day than what I was before. Luckily, I haven’t made any of these transgressions but I’ve come perilously close to a few of these.

If you have made these mistakes it’s okay to feel regret about it, just make sure to focus that remorse correctly. Regret alone accomplishes nothing. Instead use it to guide your future actions or apologize for something you may have said in error.

http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/02/trans-people-dont-owe-you/