Archive for Table for One

Roads to be shared

Not too long from now, women in Saudi Arabia will be legally permitted to drive. It is by no means difficult to find men who have a problem with this:

“You will not be driving,” says the hashtag.

“Hold my beer,” say Saudi women, who generally don’t actually drink beer:

To the chap quoted at the top: It is not wise to mess with a woman who aspires to, and perhaps already owns, a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen.

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What light through yonder window breaks?

You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Or would you?

Some people were meant to be together — even if they’re not technically people. Or, for that matter, together.

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Ruthless self-appraisal

One topic covered at the most recent shrink session was the sad state of my dance card. I didn’t defend it, exactly, but I did, I believe, correctly identify the person responsible for this situation. (I carry his picture in my wallet.)

The next day, Robert Stacy McCain issued his own findings:

Overestimating your chances is a basic trait of losers. An unrealistically high self-appraisal — a misguided belief that you deserve better romantic partners than are actually available to you — is one obvious reason why people engage in online dating. And it evidently does not occur to these people that the online dating pool is polluted with people just like themselves, because another basic trait of losers is a lack of self-awareness. That is to say, the loser is seldom aware of why he is losing and, indeed, may refuse to recognize that he is a loser.

This is what produces guys like Elliot Rodger, who declared himself “The Supreme Gentleman” before his 2014 murder/suicide rampage. He was an extreme example of the loser mentality, a half-Malaysian guy who seemed to believe he deserved a perfect blonde girlfriend. He actually wasn’t bad-looking, and he was born to fortunate circumstances — his father is a film director — but he was doomed by his lack of self-awareness. All the feminist lectures about “misogyny” and “male entitlement” inspired by the Isla Vista shootings missed this point: If Elliot Rodger was typical of anything, he was a typical loser.

For the record, I have never had a blonde girlfriend, perfect or otherwise, and have never had any reason to expect I would get one.

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Lucky King

The Home of the Whopper has a sort of romantic side after all:

The object of his affections responded positively:

There’s something weirdly gratifying about fast food capable of a fast quip.

(Via HelloGiggles.)

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Forever unlaid

Given the existing statistics — however many thousands of guys who can’t get a girlfriend to save their lives, exactly two mass murderers — you might reasonably conclude that the “tragedy” of “involuntary celibacy” might be a smidgen less than, well, tragic; I can match almost any of these characters’ dance cards for blankness, and yes, there are times when it hurts, but also, there are times when the whole damn thing just seems risible.

Robert Stacy McCain is not laughing. Or not much, anyway:

Part of the “incel” problem, of course, is that awkward nerds are spending so much time online as a way to avoid real life and, in doing so, they also avoid the kind of personal encounters that could enable them to develop the social skills they actually need. Unless a guy is naturally extroverted and unusually attractive, he’s going to need a lot of practice to learn how to communicate effectively with women. The loser is going to get rejected 9 times out of 10, at least, and he has to develop the mental fortitude necessary to withstand this painful humiliation and keep smiling.

Still:

Which did not entitle him to kill six people — four men and two women, the dumbass — and maim fourteen others.

You know what I think of this folderol:

I mention purely in passing that I am neither naturally extroverted nor unusually attractive.

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Stormy no more

From his perch in the Vampire State, Akaky figures that Donald Trump’s dalliance with Stormy Daniels is about played out as a news story:

Well, I may think it’s time to move on, but it seems that I am the only one who thinks so. I went forth to battle the new Puritans who seek to oppress us all with their retrograde religious morality and found that they agreed with me, for the most part, and that the sexual revolutionaries were the ones foaming at the mouth about what two consenting adults chose to do with their genitalia. I found this more than a little confusing, to say the least, and so I had to sit down and eat Chinese food (the roast pork with broccoli and wonton soup were very good, thank you for asking) in order to relieve the cognitive dissonance and sort out just what in the blue blazes happened here in this our Great Republic while I was not looking. Someone changed the rule book somewhere along the line and no one bothered to tell me that Comstockery was back in fashion. Well, everything old is new again, as the saying goes, and there is no new thing under the sun, but I cannot help but notice that the new version of Comstockery is remarkably like the old libertinism complete with extra servings of wanton soup, with the singular difference that the new Puritans didn’t mind when a President they liked and supported did this sort of thing while he was actually President and they do mind a great deal when a President they loathe and despise did the exact same thing when he wasn’t President. Nearly a quarter of a century separate the initial inaugurations of these two men and much can change in a quarter of a century: the Internet barely existed in 1993, film photography was photography, I was forty pounds lighter — really, I am not making that up — and so I am sure that this sudden concern for the private morality of public people is the product of a generation’s coming of age and rejecting the immature ideas and commitments of their salad days. Or the new Puritans could be just a bunch of sleazy hypocrites. That’s always a possibility, you know, especially if you are cynically inclined, as I tend to be.

All politicians in the last quarter of a century, it seems to me, are required to take the Hypocritic Oath: “When we do it, it’s okay.” Were it not for double standards, we’d have no standards at all.

I was, I think, forty pounds heavier in 1993. Maybe more.

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Not at all a matriarchy

But it’s obvious who’s pulling the strings:

I am having a house built, and I was amused by the emphasis put on countertops, cabinet door styles, and water faucet designs. Meanwhile, I asked about the actual materials used in the construction of the cabinets, and the local design center workers looked at me like I was insane. People would routinely spend $10,000 on trendy cabinet doors, never once caring that the boxes and end panels were cheap particle board. I asked for plywood end panels, and according to them, I was the first they had ever met there to request this. It took them two weeks just to find pricing on it (it wasn’t bad). But that just shows you that even when you build a house, the target demographic is female. Everything is about style, trendiness, etc… A man comes in, and asks structural questions, and everybody has to look up the answers because who gives a damn if the cabinet boxes fall apart when they get wet — but everybody needs a name brand quartz countertop with some fancy cabinet door made of imported wood from … wherever.

Then again, 96 million households receive HGTV; somewhere around a hundred and thirty-four men actually watch it, and half of them are hoping to learn how to flip.

Even something like the traditionally male space of fast cars ultimately caters more to women. Most people don’t buy Ferraris because they are Italian automobile enthusiasts, they buy them to signal wealth to cater to the desires of women. Pleasing women is at the core of our society, it’s embedded in everything. You don’t see a campaign to buy your man beer, to give him plenty of his favorite sexual favors, or any of that. And if he asks, it’s probably sexist or woman-hating. Maybe it’s even rape.

And now you know why both Maserati and Lamborghini are selling sport-utility vehicles. It ain’t because the Mister needs a place to stash his tackle box.

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It’s exactly like that

And if you know either a man or a woman, you know it’s true:

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go add half a cup of mouthwash to the bouillabaisse.

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Whatever that may mean

In my secondary-school days, I took one year of French, two years of Spanish, and three years of mostly ecclesiastical Latin. And I swear, I don’t understand women in any of them.

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Four-armed is forewarned

What’s worse, we’re running out of deodorant:

OkCupid ad showing two women with an average of three arms

Once we get into serious gene splicing, we’ll have entire dating services catering to the customer seeking extra limbs or other parts.

(With thanks to Erin Palette.)

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Sixty-fifth seed

In 2001, the NCAA introduced the play-in game to the Men’s Division I basketball tournament, in which two also-rans would compete for the 64th and last seed, 16th in whatever regional. Though there were now 65 teams involved, there was never an officially designated 65th seed, which is kind of a shame, since “65th seed” packs even more of a rhetorical wallop than “fifth wheel,” my accustomed location in the dating game.

And it’s not like it would hurt the NCAA tournament, which now involves 68 teams.

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Grey-matter romance

“I like big brains,” she said, “and I cannot lie.”

Sure you can’t, honey. Sure you can’t.

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Those darn guys

Every woman has a story, and this is (some of) Lynn’s:

I have never experienced anything like sexual harassment. It would be too easy, and not at all fair, for me to talk about my life and what kind of person I am in connection with this subject. Girls of my generation were taught that if you dress modestly and act like a lady men will treat you with respect and it seems that it worked for me but to make this assumption ignores the fact that other women have experienced sexual harassment in spite of following the rules. Personally, I think it’s comparable to the old saying about locks — that they only keep out honest people. Just as a thief will still break into your house or car in spite of locks, not even a burka will slow down a true scum bag.

Not all these bags, though, contain scum:

What doesn’t get talked about much is respect, or the lack of it. Sexual harassment is just much farther along the same spectrum of disrespect as condescension and mansplaining. (No, I’m not saying they’re equivalent. Pay attention.) Sexual harassment and sexual violence are more widespread than most people realized but the underlying disrespect is even more widespread. It would be nice to think that the light that is currently being shone on the problem of harassment will lead to bringing an end to it but unless something is done about disrespect for women little will change.

If you are a woman you have been condescended to and mansplained to, and if you challenge the man who does this he will invariably react with hurt and outrage. I firmly believe that the vast majority of men do not even realize that they are doing it. If you point it out to them they will righteously swear that they were “just talking” and go away convinced that “you just can’t talk to women” or some such dismissive thoughts.

Some guys just can’t talk to women, perhaps because they believe in their glands, if not necessarily their hearts, that any woman can be conquered with the right words. Were that the case, I’d have a waiting list attached to my dance card; what little attention I’ve attracted over the years is largely due to my curious ability to sound more interesting than I actually am, an ability which wanes with time.

That said, if you catch me being condescending it’s not because you’re a woman; it’s because I’m a jerk.

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A couple of waves ago

“I am strong; I am invincible; I am Woman.” — Helen Reddy, 1972.

That was then. This is embarrassing:

In this bright, shiny, barely driven-off-the-car-lot new century, women are seen by the professional feminist class as easily offended, fragile, put-upon delicate snowflakes, too fine, pure and noble to endure the rough and tumble of academia and the working world, and certainly too fragile to administer a withering rebuke when offended. Taking instant offense and cherishing grudges as if they were delicate orchids have been raised to a high art. This, if the women perpetuating this kind of thing stopped to consider the implications and possible outcome — will lead to nowhere good. (It likely already has led to nowhere good as far as the dating scene goes, for the girls who treat guys like dirt … and then complain there are no good men out there.) What intelligent person, male or female, will want to have anything beyond the bare minimum required to do with a hysterical, vengeful, grudge-nurturing woman in an academic or a business setting? Hire one of these women, or promote to a position of authority? Not if you are a sane business owner.

Perhaps I am an outlier here, but just about every female I know is eminently capable of delivering a withering rebuke on short notice. Trust me. I’ve been on the receiving end of several.

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In the absence of Home Ec

Bob is past eighty and runs a YouTube channel devoted to classic country and Western swing. I caught this anecdote from him on a message board:

When I was in Junior High School, 8th grade, I took a class in typing. I was not able to learn music (they gave me a cello!), so I wanted a manual skill. So I signed up.

When the other guys found out, they started teasing me for taking a girl’s class.

I told them, “You’re right. It’s just me and twenty girls all to myself.”

Their jaw dropped. They had not thought about that aspect.

Did he become a good typist after all that? Yes, he did.

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Not the harmonica

In which we attempt to write an article about blowjobs without actually using the term “blowjob.” In fact, we managed to do it without even using the word “penis.”

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We got your scarlet sash right here

NBC, all of a sudden, is scared of that whole man-woman thing:

[A]mid questions surrounding what the network knew about [Matt] Lauer’s conduct and when, NBC has reportedly instituted strict new rules governing workplace behavior.

Page Six reported on Monday that “NBC employees have been ordered to report any inappropriate relationships in the workplace — and if they fail to do so, they could be fired for covering up for colleagues,” according to a source.

The source also informed Page Six that “staffers have been told that if they find out about any affairs, romances, inappropriate relationships or behavior in the office, they have to report it to human resources, their superior or the company anti-harassment phone line.”

Why, it’s the Junior Anti-Sex League! Although Orwell probably didn’t imagine this:

To take it to the next level, the source further claimed NBC’s new rules stipulate employees wishing to hug one another “have to do a quick hug, then an immediate release, and step away to avoid body contact” and are forbidden from sharing taxis home or, oddly, “taking vegans to steakhouses.”

Who knew there’d been an upsurge in unsuspecting vegans being hauled off to their version of Room 101 culinary hell?

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Yeah, good luck with that

A woman is entitled to want what she wants. Getting it, however, is an entirely different matter:

Predicted result: gross, sad, and unattractive, until the day she dies.

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Boycott those bad boys

On second thought, is that really the answer?

If Alexander Fleming were found out to be [a] horrific man, we wouldn’t stop using penicillin. And if Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were nightmares, we’d still buy computers. That goes without saying. It’s only in the arts that people valiantly claim to refuse to ever partake in any creation. When it comes to film and television production, that boycott or sudden shut down can punish far more people than just the accused. It harms the entire cast and crew. But more to the point, boycotting art suggests it’s a convenience we can take or leave. People will make more and different art. It’s a dime a dozen.

Except it’s not.

Art provokes and enlightens and sparks further ideas. I have Picassos on my wall, Heidegger in my bookshelf, and Hitchcock online. These were not good men, but these were men capable of creating things that affect me, images and ideas that nobody else could possibly create quite the same way. Artists are one in a million, and destroying their work or denying their ability to create, just denies society access to one more chance to be woken up from our zoned out existence. Art is individual. We’re each affected by particular and specific ideas, which are often rare, revealing themselves far too infrequently to toss aside in hopes that they will be taken up later by someone with better behaviour.

From this here site, ten years ago:

Inasmuch as everything else you’re going to read about the late Ike Turner focuses on his seriously-dysfunctional relationship with Tina, I’m going to spend some time on the musical stuff, which starts in his late teens in the Mississippi delta with the founding of the Kings of Rhythm, who cut one of the contenders for First Rock and Roll Record in late 1950: “Rocket 88,” credited to Kings vocalist/sax player Jackie Brenston and his, um, “Delta Cats,” written by Turner, who played that amazingly-distorted guitar. Chess picked it up for national distribution and watched it become a jukebox staple.

And back in the day, we believed in a statute of limitations, or at least Tina Turner did:

After they split, her career eclipsed his, at least partly because he had some serious brushes with the law; the pair were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, but Ike, in jail on drug charges, did not attend the ceremony. (Tina, graciously, accepted for him.)

On the other hand, I’m not inclined to cut Roman Polanski any slack, but maybe that’s just me.

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Status thimbles

Oregon Muse ranted yesterday morning on AoSHQ:

“It’s pretty funny when feminists stamp their feet and demand their safe spaces from guys whistling and catcalling them, because they’re not telling you what they really want. What they really want is not to be whistled at and catcalled by unattractive guys. In other words, they want a world where they can flirt and sexually banter with alpha male sports stars and multi-millionaires, but the lowly office geek who dares ask any of them out on a date will feel the full force of the law landing on them.”

Along those lines, Robert Stacy McCain recounts the saga of Matt Lauer:

His public image was as one of the “good guys,” a liberal in good standing, beloved by millions of adoring female viewers — and yet he was a serial harasser, a guy who had a “ape button” installed in his desk so he could lock his office door by remote control whenever he wanted to get jiggy with a female colleague. How many years did this go on, and why did no one at NBC complain? Because he was high status, that’s why. Whatever women might say about Lauer now that he’s been exposed, at the time all these shenanigans were going on, women at NBC were quite flattered to have Lauer make a move on them. A handsome multimillionaire TV star? You know the interns who fetched his coffee were bragging to their friends if Lauer ever flirted with them.

Amy Winehouse, rest her soul, knew this was coming:

Fearless to the last, she chose to bestow this advice on the half of the species that needed it more: her own.

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Sex and the shitty

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Lustful little creep

Your mom will probably say something like I did:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: I matched with my step sister on Tinder. It's a little weird considering our rooms are right next to each other! What do I do?

If you ask me, you don’t do anything: you keep it to yourself and whichever hand is, um, handiest. No good can come of acting on it.

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Brought to ectogasm

She do believe in spooks, she do, she do, she do, she do [warning: autostart video]:

A woman in Bristol, England, has sworn off sex with men after she alleged to have been more satisfied by ghosts. The decision comes after she apparently engaged in sexual relations with at least 20 different spiritual beings that have allowed her to continuously reach completion. The spirits’ presence was the most powerful in her house’s spare bedroom.

Amethyst Realm, who is a 27-year-old spiritual guidance counselor, appeared on ITV This Morning Thursday to detail her active sex life with ghosts. Realm claims that her first sexual encounter occurred 12 years ago after she moved into a new home with her then-fiancé. She soon felt the “energy” of a supernatural presence.

You have to figure that someone named “Amethyst Realm” is probably not going to be a man from the motor trade.

“It started as an energy, then became physical,” Realm told the show’s hosts. “There was pressure on my thighs and breath on my neck. I just always felt safe. I had sex with the ghost. You can feel it. It’s difficult to explain.”

“There was a weight and a weightlessness, a physical breath and stroking, and the energy as well,” Realm added.

Well, okay, if you say so.

Just incidentally:

Lucy Lui, Anna Nicole Smith and Dan Aykroyd are among a small list of other celebrities that have all claimed to have sexually engaged with ghosts.

Ray Stantz, Ghostbuster, is also a ghostboinker?

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More than just scraping by

Cornerstone Brands Ltd evidently takes shaving seriously:

Cornerstone razor and a tube of something or otherInevitably, products like these are marketed largely toward men, which I have always found inexplicable: if anything, women might need them more, simply because they have a far greater area to cover and are (maybe) less likely to have a styptic pencil handy. Then again, lucky Lorna now has a Cornerstone of her own:

I always have issues with shavers as I get a lot of ingrown hairs. I use my Philips electric shaver for my legs, but it doesn’t work at giving me a clean shave elsewhere. I received this Cornerstone shaving kit and I love it! I know it’s for guys, but I find that the best razors are made for men anyway, so it’s fine.

Cornerstone is set up as a subscription service: you set the schedule, they ship you blades and chemicals. Not exactly unique, but I’m thinking it’s probably more rewarding than yelling at Alexa.

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The coming normalization

Eventually, sexual harassment will complete its inevitable transit from Cardinal Sin to Maybe Bad Form to the least significant, um, peccadillo. The reason for this? Political expediency, of course, with a D in parentheses:

[T]he only way to stay viable as a political party, according to the rules they themselves created and have so vigorously enforced lo these many years, is to somehow make this stuff “ok.” Always believe the woman, right? No means no, right? “Affirmative consent,” for pete’s sake? One way or another, that stuff is going right out the window with the audition tapes from the Weinstein Company.

My (trite, obvious) guess is that the Left will craft themselves a victim narrative. Here in the next few months, we’ll hear calls for a “national conversation” on the pitfalls of power.

“National conversation,” you may have noticed, translates to “lecture with mandatory attendance.”

Nobody’s saying Al Franken should’ve done that — of course he shouldn’t! — but the poor dear, stressed out from his heroic defense of the Constitution, fell victim to the most insidious disease of all, the disease of being a member of the ruling body of the most powerful nation on Earth. Who wouldn’t grab a sleeping woman’s hooters under those conditions? He needs therapy. Fortunately, our friends in academia have come up with a kind of therapy he can do in his off hours, or even on his own, in his Senate office. Stepping down would, in fact, be counterproductive, as he needs to learn to channel those urges — normal, red-blooded heterosexual urges, there’s nothing wrong with those! — into more “appropriate” behaviors, and the only way he’s going to learn how to do that effectively in the corridors of power is to remain in the corridors of power.

In 2032, I fully expect General Motors to resurrect Oldsmobile (d. 2004) just long enough to produce a Ted Kennedy Centenary Edition.

[insert “airbag” joke here]

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Chemistry indeed

Hunter Day, off workI remember my days as a chem student, and I’m pretty sure nothing like this ever happened back then:

A Yukon, Oklahoma teacher has been arrested and accused of raping a student.

Hunter Day, 22, was arrested Nov. 15 in Canadian County on a complaint of second degree rape, possession of child pornography and soliciting sex from a minor using technology.

A very minor minor indeed. State law defines two flavors of second-degree rape, and the one that applies here is “consensual sex between a minor who is 14 or 15, and a defendant who is 18 or older.”

Apparently the previous version of the soliciting-sex statute didn’t include anything about smartphones.

The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office reports that they were contacted by the parents of a student who gave them the boy’s phone. On the phone, authorities found text messages and nude photographs. The boy’s parents were concerned that Day had already had sex with their son and that she was his chemistry teacher. The boy’s parents had learned that Day and him had planned to meet Wednesday for sex at her apartment.

Day was hired by Yukon Public Schools on an emergency certification at the beginning of the school year; she is currently under suspension. And she is probably still married.

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Heinous, dude

There have been times when I felt like defending my half of the species against the ongoing calumny by the other half. And then, invariably, something like this comes along:

She did get some useful advice from the field:

I would definitely take that to the shop manager. It’s highly unlikely that the creep has only done this once.

Addendum: Progress has been made:

There are reasons to read Twitter besides giving your gorge a rise.

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Pervs on parade

With all the attention being focused on sexual harassment committed by show-biz types, we’re not hearing so much about Congressmen In Trouble these days. There is, of course, a good reason for that.

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Quote of the week

Quinn Cummings, then eleven, was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role in The Goodbye Girl. Now fifty, she remembers the studio cads of yesterday, and she’ll tell you that things have hardly changed:

For decades, these men tore through women with perverse immunity, proffering carnal quid pro quo, threatening women’s livelihoods or, in the case of Bill Cosby, allegedly straight-up rendering them unconscious before taking advantage of them.

But the whispers don’t stop with these obvious, public examples. The same women who spoke among themselves about Harvey [Weinstein], about Terry [Richardson], also speak about well-known actors who are not quite the loving family men their publicists would have you believe. Instead of a bathrobe, it’s a private meeting. Instead of a clumsy grope, it’s a “helpful” lingering brush of your breast. Instead of a disgusting proposition, it’s a greasy little implication that a few minutes together could lead to something better down the road.

This is no longer black and white. It’s gray. And people dont like gray, especially when it comes to sexual assault, which they really don’t want to be thinking about at all. They like their sexual assault clear, recognizable, and not committed by men who are America’s marital hall pass. Should these stories come out, the public’s response to the victims might not be nearly as supportive. But the fact remains, you can like someone very much and they can still be capable of terrible things. Unless Hollywood reconciles itself to the fact that not all sex criminals look like ogres, the question we should ask ourselves is what solidarity hashtag we’ll be using a year from now when nothing has changed.

And you should also follow her on Twitter, where she has one of the tartest tongues around.

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I give it seven weeks

And honestly, I’d be surprised if it lasts that long:

Man Enough is described as a weekly dinner party that brings together familiar faces from Hollywood to have deep (and sometimes uncomfortable) conversations about what it means to be a man today. The show aims to be a provocative and heartfelt look into the minds [of] men, as they explore their insecurities, fears and dreams. The initial run will consist of eight 25-minute episodes. [Justin] Baldoni created the series and will exec produce with Ahmed Musiol, Sam Baldoni and Farhoud Meybodi.

The idea for the series stemmed from Baldoni’s own identity issues and difficulties with male stereotypes in his teens and 20s. (The Jane the Virgin star is also expecting his second child, a boy, with wife Emily Baldoni.)

“We have all the shows in the world that empower women to talk about these things — which they should exist by the way because, let’s be honest, women deserve a safe space to have these conversations — but men don’t talk,” he says. “Even the idea of this show made men scoff, like, ‘Oh, who’s going to watch men talking to each other?’ That’s how rare this is. This is not The View for men. This is a conversation show. This is a show where men create a comfortable space for each other to go deep and have a conversation and we hope that this stuff happens in real life, too.”

Okay, I’ll bite: who’s going to watch men talking to each other? A real-life televised conversation among men wouldn’t last long enough to air two 30-second commercials. (Generally, one would be for a trial lawyer, the second for an arthritis drug.) This is a Henrietta Higgins premise: “Why can’t a man be more like a woman?” While we’re at it, how come wombats can’t fly? And as long as we’re asking dumb questions, why can’t all trans women look like Janet Mock? Nobody is going to watch this, especially not Kim du Toit:

[M]en don’t talk about their feelings, body image or dating relationships. We already have a comfortable space; it’s called a pub or bar, and it’s there where we discuss our problems: the broken transmission on the truck, the dickhead boss, why [insert sports team of choice] sucks so badly this season, why we did badly in [insert relevant competition] last week, and why we have to call off the annual fishing trip (because the doctor says that the wife’s going to have the baby prematurely, or some such bullshit).

Discussion of dating relationships is of the “So, did you score last night?” variety, followed by a sympathetic shake of the head if negative, or a high-five if positive. If we talk about “body image” it’s of the “The Doc says I need to do something about this gut or I’m gonna die soon” type. That’s it.

Okay, maybe five weeks.

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