America’s Next Bill Clinton!

My friend is marrying a cheater. What would you do?
October 1, 2007, 12:36 pm
Filed under: cheating, DC, family, Feminism, feminists, friends, infidelity, love, marriage, relationships

So, what am I supposed to do?

I’ve never understood the cheating mentality. I am no saint, but I find the idea of cheating to be unethical and …just completely against everything that I believe love to be. How could one spend so much time wooing the person they want to spend a good portion of their lives with, and then go out and cheat on that person? How could one to love someone, and not have the discipline to say no to being with another person?

Maybe it’s because I have high standards when it comes to relationships and do not fall in love with just anyone, and thereby selfishly do not want to cheat, for fear I might lose that person. Or …maybe, just maybe it’s because I am not an asshole (although I’ve been told otherwise). In either cases, I neither condone nor understand cheating.

So, I beg the question: what do I do in this situation? Go to the wedding and pretend everything is fine? Or do I not attend the wedding at all and risk hurting a friend?

A pro-feminist male in love (with a feminist!)

I am very sorry for a most cheesy post! 

So, I think I’ve met the woman I would like – the person who is going to be the Hillary Clinton to my Bill Clinton. Some of you  have heard about her before – but I’d like to say this one more time – she is amazing. In the words of my favorite poet, “I don’t know if love conquers all, but I know it’s conquering me at an alarming rate.”

We met at a feminist conference; she interned this summer for a women’s rights organization; she’s spent time overseas to help poor people; she is not religious; she is active in progressive politics both on and off campus; she has a beautiful mind; and her greatest ambition is to one day win the Nobel Peace Prize. What more can a person ask for in a mate, right?

To be sure, we are not a couple – and I like it that way. But I feel this affinity and longing for her. Yet, the funny thing is that I am very much interested in women, in general, and I do go out with a lot of women – most of whom are feminists.

Some people have told me that doing so is inconsistent with my values, because I am “playing the field.” They’ve said that if I truly do feel good-and-love for her, that I should just try to be with her, and not go out to dinners and dates with any other women.

Here, the word “date” becomes one that needs to be defined: is going to dinner with a woman considered a date? Is it a date if you two are the only ones at the table at dinner and drinks? I certainly don’t think so, but others seem to. The thing is I am interested in the way women think – their minds, their thoughts, their experiences and the way they see things. That’s why I go out with women to dinners and cocktail bars. I like finding out about them. I expect nothing in return, and mean nothing by going out to dinner with them. Yet, some people don’t seem to understand that.

On another different note, I’ve been on two dates and a friendly dinner this week, and all of them were feminists. It’s funny because the two dates and the dinner friend broke gender roles, and paid for my dinner and drinks. I am a feminist,  but somehow, I felt uncomfortable with it – as if I owe them something for paying for my dinner and drinks. I don’t know how to take it when a woman pays for my dinner. The feminist in me tells me that it’s good for reversal of gender roles. The person in me tells me that I don’t want to burden them.

[one more note on the feminist I am interested in] She’s not ready for a relationship, and I understand that. And, in fact, I do appreciate her just as her – a person. I appreciate that she is in my life. If, in the end, nothing happens, she’d still be a great person for whom I am thankful to be in my life. I’d like to love her as America’s Next Hillary Clinton, but I already feel the world for her as just a person. I don’t need romance to appreciate her for who she is.


 Also, I am driving up to DC for her birthday, which means I need to take a day off from work and drive up there at night. This song below popped into my mind. It’s called I-95, by Fountains of Wayne.

They sell posters of girls washing cars
And unicorns and stars
And Guns N’ Roses album covers
They’ve got most of the Barney DVDs
Coffe mugs and tees
That say Virginia is For Lovers
But it’s not
Round here it’s just for truckers who forgot
To fill up on gasoline
Back up near Aberdeen

It’s a (four) hour drive
From me to you
(North) on I-95
And I’ll do it til the day that I die
If I need to
Just to see you
Just to see you

Hip-hop stations are fading in and out
All I’m receiving now
Is a kick drum mixed with static
Constellations are blinking in the sky
The road is open wide
And it feels so cinematic
‘Til a van
Driven by an elder gentleman
Cuts right in front of me
From then on that’s all I see

It’s a (four) hour drive
From me to you
(North) on I-95
And I’ll do it til the day that I die
If I need to
Just to see you
Just to see you

“Coming out” to my parents

I am on vacation, but I still want to write, simply because I’ve ran across a lot of issues worth talking about, to include a fake “abortion” clinic that I called to find out what they’re about (I’ll blog that later). I also went to a strip club with old friends last night, and hated it. I’ll blog that later, too. For now, this one is about my “coming out.”

Almost two-and-a-half years ago, I came out to my parents. No, it wasn’t the type where at Thanksgiving dinner, I announced that I liked penises now, as my dad choked on the turkey breast (what else would he be eating, right?) and my mon slowly fainted, her face in the bowl of gravy.

My coming was a different sort. I announced to them that I had declared myself a women’s studies major, and now a feminist.

I think they took it quite well. In fact, they probably saw it as a phase, one that would pass. My dad, in his sense of humor, would introduce me to the neighbors as “Marc, our daughter.”

Coming home and seeing them now, though, it’s a little different. They’re beginning to realize that I am in this movement for good.

When I told them that I would be getting out of the Army, finishing up my degree and then going to law school to be an attorney in women’s and human rights issues before trying to go into politics, their first question was how I would make money.

“Why don’t you stay in the Army for 20 years and retire to collect paycheck? You’ll only be 37 by then,” my mom pressed.

“Mom, because women’s rights can’t wait. I want to make a difference,” I replied.

They still don’t get it. They worry about money and how I’d make a living, even after I’d told them that so long as I have a roof over my head and a few nice suits to go to work in, I’d be happy. They don’t get it.

I love my parents, but they want me to do things that don’t matter to me. My calling is feminism and progressive politics. My parents envisioned I’d be a doctor or a hot-shot attorney. This time, they’d even offer to start a business for me.

“What change in the world would I make?” I asked them.

“What girl would marry a man with no money, working for a non-profit as an attorney?” my mom asked.

“Mom, women aren’t gold-diggers, and they’re capable of making money on their own. Besides, I’ve got plenty of admirers who’d want to date me. It’s okay, I don’t need money to get laid.”

They’re unhappy, but I am not going to change my life and my passion around for them. I love my parents, but I love my country more. I want to make my parents happy, but there are millions of my fellow human beings who are still being marginalized based on the sex into which they were born. They take priority.

They gave me life and I am thankful for that. But now, I will use my life to change lives. I am not going to sit around doing my best to make them happy. After all, life is a gift. When you give someone a gift, you shouldn’t expect them to do with it what you want. It’s THEIR gift.

Benefits of being single/childfree.
August 14, 2007, 1:27 pm
Filed under: childfree, children, college, family, Feminism, love, motherhood, parents, relationships, singles

Last night, finally going to bed around 3 a.m., it all the sudden hit me – that, in a culture when so much emphasis is being put on creating a family, finding “true love” (whatever that means) and making little people, that there are great benefits from being single and childfree (not to be confused with chidless).

In recent weeks, I’ve made extremely important and big career moves, and the reason I was able to take those risks, make those choices, jump a few spaces, get my foot in the door and pursue my dream is that I have no children, and that I am neither romantically nor emotionally attached to anyone.

I have nothing against parenthood and I certainly have nothing against serious, emotionally-vested relationships; but it seems as though while the emotional benefits are great, and sometimes, children and relationships do make us better people, they also prevent us from taking the steps we need to do what we want with our dreams.

Let’s say: I decide to get out of the Army, intern for NOW and transfer to a university in northern Virginia? What do I have to do? Oh, just sign some paperwork, rent a U-Hual, and kiss a few friends good-bye, and there you have it. It’s done. All I’d need is a suit, a few dress shirts and a Fountains of Wayne CD, and I am happy.

But suppose I were with a father – or in love with someone.

Then, instead of just thinking for myself, I’d have to think of THAT child. I have to think with the person with whom I am in love. It’s a personal and emotional responsibility that I’d have to carry. It’s a responsibility that, quite frankly, anyone who have plans to change the world should never have to take on while in our 20’s. Society might look down upon those without children or aren’t in serious relationships (as if somehow they both legitimize us), but there is a worth to being without child and a relationship.

People say the benefits of children and relationships include the fact that there’s someone to come home to. Isn’t that a little bit egotistical? You should create children because you want to raise productive members of society. You should enter relationships because you and that person share very deep and common values and convictions. You shouldn’t do any of that simply because it feels good.

In the end, children are so beautiful, with their little fingers and hands, feet and gurgles; I love the way they smile and grip on to my finger so strongly. I love their laughter their soft breaths as their chests rise up and down while they’re sleeping; and I loved it when, the other day, a 6-month-old — in being asked to kiss me, just put his face against my cheek and started drooling. So I can appreciate children.

I also appreciate meaningful relationships, ones that consist of teaching and learn, taking and giving, which allow me to be my silly, full-of-love self rather than the rock of a politician; the relationships that I can be totally open and honest. Those relationships can be beautiful.

They can all be beautiful. But you know what? The single, children-free life can also be extremely satisfying and beautiful – and is also a cause for celebration.

It may be true that each night a child is born, is a holy night – but each night, to go to bed knowing exactly what you’ll do the next morning, no matter what life throws at you, because you’re in control of your life, can also be pretty fucking awesome. Not “holy,” but awesome

“Unhooked: How women pursue love and crap …”

Has anyone read a book called “Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose At Both”? I heard about this book from a feminist I’d been working with on some student activism issues, and also heard a few of my female friends mention it.

By the time I finish any book, I can always tell if I hated it liked it, but I don’t really know with this book.

It brings up a good point and takes a stand against sex-positive feminism in taking the position that sexual politics and the power thereof do not translate into true political power in feminism. In fact, it might add to the plight of women. Just from that chapter alone, one could write a whole damned essay on feminist theories and personal responsibility.

But at the same time, it also covers the lives of college students and the “hook-up” culture, featuring the lives of many young women who, caught up in the casual sex culture, were unable to have healthy, loving relationships. Its attribution is, as if, somehow casual sex leads to an inability to love.

Furthermore, it treats heartbreaks, broken relationships, unrequited love (or as I like to call it, unrequited interest, as “love” is built in a relationship, and not just through mere association with someone) as if they are cataclysmic events that are harmful to young women and men. They are not. They are pretty healthy. They are a part of being an adult and social interaction. I’ve bad my share of bad (as well as good) relationships, unrequited interests, and all those things covered in the book, and it’s only made me a better person. So, I am failing to understand the author’s point.

What I find problematic is that the author presupposes that, somehow, we can’t have both. She supposes that, somehow, without love, that college students will grow old to be like that lady in “Great Expectations,” sitting at home wth a bunch of cats.

What if, it’s just that college students – and especially ambitious ones, are being promicuous because they’ve not yet (since their standards and dreams are so high) found the person who is fitting enough to love? Does this mean, then, that they ought to throw away the condoms, stay away from the bars, and just be old and boring?

It also talks about the academic challenges of college and how, because careers and academics are considered more important than love, many women are choosing the formers over the latter, and instead, choosing to “hook-up.” I get a sense, and perhaps I am being defensive here, that the author is advocating love and marriage over academic and career achievements. This, for me, opens a whole other dialogue about that Betty Friedan brought up in the “Feminine Mystique,” which, ironically, was mentioned in the book.

The book also attributes the casual sex culture with the Vagina Monologues and my favorite play, “Because He Liked to look at it.” Its message was, essentially, raising awareness about female sexuality has somehow been responsible for the sexual behavior of women that ended up hurting them. I am not a big fan of using the play as political activism, but I don’t like the idea of bashing it.

My biggest issue with the book is, like many other studies of sexuality, it only addresses relationships in a heterosexual sense. There are many of my friends who go through the same “hook-up” culture as homosexuals, both males and females.

I don’t know …the majority of the book reads like a bad episode of Real Life or Queer as Folk (straight style), but it also brings up very interesting feminist perspectives, weaving together the various movements and waves. If nothing else, it’s making me think. In all, it’s a good book. There are some quite touching parts to the book, while other parts just makes me want to throw the book out the window. It’s sort of like a roommate – sometimes you love it, sometimes you hate it.

Bottom line I drew from this book: everything in moderation in terms of both casual sex and falling in love. I don’t think the author said this, but it’s what I drew from it. There’s Marc’s creative nature at work for you.

I don’t know what to make of this book …but, if you feel like discussing it, the copy I currently have is yours. Drop by the house any time and pick it up.

Feminism and love.
August 7, 2007, 12:51 pm
Filed under: family, Feminism, gender roles, love, personal is political, social constructs

At an attempt to start off this blog on a good note, I am using old blog items from other blogs I used to write on. As it progresses, I’ll be coming up with new ones in the next few days.
You can also find me on facebook, with notes featured as blogs. I am listed under Marc L at Old Dominion University.
So, feminism and love: it’s been the topic in my head the last week or so, because of what we’re reading in class and all. I want to get your opinion on whether we can love and still be feminists.

I used to think it was impossible, because love, for what it’s worth, upholds patriarchy. It leads to “family,” and “wife” and “husband,” all of which are problematic in its own sphere, because of society’s definition.

In fact, since my transformation/mutation/metamorphis into a feminist, I’ve rejected relationships and love, seeing it as weak and patriarchal.

But, in reading “To Be Real,” I realized that, indeed, love and feminism can exist.

While society’s view of love, it seems, is based on inequality, feminists can indeed take such institution (love) and transform it into something powerful.

Love, for the feminist, isn’t about being weak or feeling “out-of-control” love, but it’s a decision. It’s a decision based on us having a choice — in that we love someone for choosing us, and we choose someone for loving us. That decision to love is not because we are forced to, as is often the case with the general public, but because we choose to, and we feel like it.

For the feminist, love is about shared values and ideals, beliefs and dreams, knowing damned well that we are completely fine alone; but that we’re better together.

For the feminist, love isn’t about someone completing us, making two halves into a whole — but rather, two wholes joining.

In fact, for the feminist, love isn’t about someone making us better people, as the cliche goes (idealistically, you should already be good enough when entering a relationship), but rather — joining forces to make something, someone, some agency, some group, some institution better.

Maybe I am all wrong. Maybe we feminists should just settle for casual sex, because anything else that can lead to a family might be patriarchal, but then again, maybe I am onto something here.

After all, we feminists don’t need a trophy partner or a suppoter, what we need are allies.

As my favorite poem goes, and I think it applies here, “I don’t want to build my life around you, but I want to include you in the building of my life.” That, for me, is how love ought to be for feminists.