Monthly Archives: March 2016

What’s to be French?

Officially France recognises both birth right and jus soli. It means that one will automatically have the French nationality provided that one of his parents is acknowledged as French by l’Etat Civil (through blood lineage, then) but also anyone born on French soil is given the French nationality.

It is being discussed at the moment because the instauration of both rights in the constitution is dating back after WWII and it has been applied to every child of immigrants who came to France The problem we are having is that, for the first time since WII, we are not only dealing with immigrants but with refugees.

The very important difference between an immigrant and a refugee is that the first has made the decision to move countries in order to find better opportunities, better life or just to find something new, like I did when moving to England.

Immigrants have the will to stay for a long time, to settle, to integrate. They are here to stay, their decision is, for the majority, a life-time decision. They find jobs, pay taxes and it is fair to give the French nationality to their children born in France, who after all, speak French, read, watch and listen to French, go to French schools, abide by French laws. To give people who are born and raised in France within French values a sense of belonging from the very beginning.

A refugee, however, is different. They have no intention to stay. I am saying they don’t contribute, are unwilling to integrate or that they will never (want to) stay but most of them are living with hope that what the plague that forced them to abandon their home will end soon and they will be able to go back home and rebuild their lives. That’s just for the ones who are stationing in France. We also have hundreds of thousands, millions maybe, transiting through the country to reach some family and friends that will help and shelter them in another country, like the UK.

What do we do when one if these refugee women gives birth in France then? Should jus soli apply? Why? Why not? My real question is: Do the parents really care that their child is French? Do they want their children to be French? Will the child ever want to be French? Will there be consequences when they go back to a country that might not acknowledge him/her as one of their own? Will they be forced to give it up to be accepted when they never asked for it?

And what does that mean for the child to be French?

Having the French nationality does not open to automatic economic rights – unlike what Marine Le Pen has been saying. Believe me, I know! Ten years in England meant ten years without a cent given to the French state in taxes so when I came back, no amount of passport, ID card or birth certificate allowed me to receive any money. I want a place to live? A chance to be reimbursed my medical expenses?  Protection if I lose my job? Well, I had to get a job to begin with. My French nationality never gave me any economic rights, no. You earn them.

However, being French automatically gives you certain can-do’s (along with the have-to’s), such as the right to express yourself, i.e: vote and that’s an issue. Although the numbers of refugee babies automatically born French are a far cry from dramatic, there are babies out there who are French because they were born in France and maybe they will never know or actually never care. Some will have never spoken a word or French, lived in France or even cared for France. What do we do about them? Do we give them the right to vote anyway? If anything happens to them later on in life in another country, is France’s responsibility to protect them?

That’s a question I don’t know how to answer. At the moment, the state has inadvertently responded to it by allowing the “striping of nationality” in the constitution under certain circumstances dividing even more the country between those who are sure to remain French and those walking on the plank. Maybe a review of the situation when the child is 18 could be good, like in Germany. I don’t know…

The other major issue with being French is the problem between what the law says and what the people are ready to accept. As usual with a country, the capital is setting the tone and I will mention my cousin to show something about France and its conception of identity.

My cousin was born in Paris more than 30 years ago. His parents moved there when they were late teenagers, he has lived his whole life in Paris, has no intention to move, has always been working in Paris itself, have been paying taxes to the city of Paris yet he’s not “un Parisien”.

Why? Because his father was not born in Paris but in Boulogne. His mother was born in Paris but her parents weren’t. To have the right to call yourself a “true” Parisien and to be acknowledged as such by the “true” people of Paris, you have to be the fourth generation in a row to be born and to have lived in Paris.

So despite his mother and himself being born in Paris, he is not un Parisien. All because his father is form Boulogne and grew up in Versailles, his grand-mother is from Chamberry and grew up in Saint-Cloud, his grand-father is from Tours and grew up in Saint-Cloud as well. As for the rest of the family, we come from Tourraine, Périgord, Jura, Lyon and Savoy.

Well, expend that to the whole of France and you know why people who were born in France, whose parents were born in France are not considered as French but called “Imigrants of Third Generation”, all because their grand-parents are from Algeria. Even when the State officially acknowledges them as French, and Algeria was part of France when their grand-parents were born – but at the time, no jus soli, just birth right so they were still “Arabs”.

That’s the core of the identity problem in France. The State acknowledges you as French but as far as the French are concerned, they will check on your ancestors to find out if your claim to Frenchness withholds the 100 years landmark or 4 generations born and to have lived in France.

This idea of time based on a mix of blood and land doesn’t come out of nowhere. It is actually one of the most archaic way to decide whether someone deserves to be something or not. It started with the Greeks. To have the right to become a citizen in Athens, to have the right to express yourself and vote, you had to prove that your father and grand-father were born and lived in Athens. Then later, as the system got older, you could only be a citizen if your father and grand-father were themselves citizens. Or be an exceptional character. But nothing new is protecting one’s right to be privileged.

In the US, one likes to list their Italian quarter of blood mixed with eighth of Irish blood, sixteenth of Swedish, all in half Cheerokee because they are no real definition of what it is to be American. The nationality doesn’t even match the name of the country for the US know they are a country of immigration.

In France, schizophrenia is the norm. “The Republic is one and indivisible” so everyone is French by either birth right or jus soli or both. By this definition, being French should be fairly open from the Flemish of the Lille to the Basque of the Bayonne yet in real life everyone still has to prove their blood has been purified by 100 of living on the French soil before they can be allowed to call themselves French by the “true French” – whoever we are. Celtic Gaulois by soil? Germanic Franks by blood? Romans by language? Austrians by croissants?

A good integration of immigrants is not just about them making an effort, but also about a rethink of what it takes and means to be French. It means teaching the French and the immigrants that being French has nothing to do with time and blood, rather will, tolerance, open-mindness and contribution from both parts.

Life hack: How to not drink and not be a “killjoy”

The hack: Ask for a glass of alcohol and don’t drink it.

Sounds too good to be true, I know. Hear me out.

This is one the biggest problem when one does not drink alcohol like I do:

“Man, another killjoy who doesn’t want to take part! What’s all the fuss about again?! Why can’t you just drink what we all drink?
-I was asked and I just say ‘water’…
-Well, here is a beer and shut up, you buzz-kill!”

I do drink but only on very special occasions like a glass of champagne for Christmas but having an obsessive personality, I know that if I start drinking for pleasure, I will never be able to stop. I have enough problems as it is with binge eating.

So when asked what I want, I do say water and the hosts, probably, feeling they are failing at…hosting go ballistic.

“Really? Not some wine? Come one, just a glass? No? What about a beer? Even less?! Why? What do you mean? You don’t like beer?…Really?…I don’t think it’s vulgar to drink beer, you know. Look, my friend’s a very nice person. She is in money too and she likes a beer. That doesn’t make her vulgar, does it? What, you sure?! Just water? I only have tab water, you know. It’s fine…really? You really sure? Okay, then…It’s your life after all!”

Sounds familiar to non-drinkers?

And that was just the answer to “Do you want anything to drink?” two minutes after you arrived…There is then a whole evening or whatever when people are constantly asking you if you are sure you don’t want a sip. “Just a sip, come on”.

Countless are the questions as to why you don’t drink, to which you don’t really answer because you know they are not genuine questions but really doors the others are waiting to blow up, cracks they are trying to find in the wall to “prove you wrong” on whatever reasons you have to not drink.

I want to point out clearly that to this moment, you have not done anything wrong. You have not lost your cool and told anyone to “Back off, it’s just some fucking water! Deal with it!”

You haven’t brought up the only-water-drinking topic yourself and you avoid talking about it altogether, frankly. You have just asked for a glass of water which is the least costly thing provided that evening. Mostly you have never pointed out to all the others downing bottles after bottles that not only are you not making any comments on the copious amount of poison they are drinking and how annoying they are getting because of it, but you also have not tried to convince them to live the way you do. You are not here to preach the healthy-living and you never will. You just drink water.

Yet, the worst part is to come: the toast. You raise your glass and everyone is looking at the content of it like it’s more important than the person who is toasted or their speech. No, what matters is that you faked it. A real toast is with alcohol. Toasting with water is like showing up to a party with a Weight Watchers casserole – That, I do disapprove of! Get a proper cake! I don’t drink but I do eat.

Then you are branded various names from “the non-drinker” to “the killjoy” because God knows only alcohol makes anything interesting.

In the face of it, you have three types of people:

-The ones who understand and don’t mind, they always have a bottle of water ready for you. They are respectful and nice, and don’t make a fuss about it. They don’t draw attention to it, just serve you and say with a smile “So what, you don’t drink…More for us.” Yes, thank you! But that’s the very minority and they don’t have a special name for you, just your actual name.

-The ones who like to label you the ‘non-drinker’ and think it’s funny to ask every-freaking-time what you are drinking. They are hoping they will, one day, get you to crack and will be the first to hear you ask for some alcohol. They are the peer-pressure ones. The more they will ask, the more chances you will eventually give up and give in. This is the reasoning behind it and the nickname that clearly dissociates you from the rest of the group but “in a nice way.”

-Finally, the Type-III people to fear like diabetes, are the beer-pressures ones. The bullies, the idiots, the ones who…nevermind. In a nutshell, they think you don’t belong because you don’t drink and there is nothing “funny” in their way. “Nope, can’t sit there unless you have a drink. A real one…” I always leave then but I am a horse’s arse. Unfortunately, not everyone has my stubbornness and my absolute disregard for what such people think of me.

So my mother, who never drinks and tends to dislike, as I do, fruit juices from the shops because they are indeed very sugary, has comes up with a hack for non-drinkers to be left alone: ask for a drink but just don’t drink it, she explains. People don’t really pay attention unless a glass is empty or not filled with what they expect at a certain time, in that case: alcohol. Just fill up a glass with alcohol, keep it close and people will leave you alone.

God, the length we have to reach to be left in peace with just some water! Not just that but I was very dubious of the reasoning. It sounded good on paper but the reality is always quite different. Until a couple of days ago when I went to a friend’s birthday. She is the second type of people aforementioned and despite having actually lived with her for a couple of months, she still asks me every time if I want a drink of alcohol. She always laughs when asking. I fake laugh. Maybe I am not that much of a horse’s arse…

So the last time, I said yes and helped myself of a double whiskey. She jumped on her camera and filmed me “to show everyone that she succeeded.” Deary me, little did she know that the hack was to not drink it and I didn’t. It stayed in front of me, untouched for the whole evening and my mother was right, once I had that glass poured and set when I sat, all was well. I toasted “properly” and everytime people were looking, I had a glass of whiskey ready to be drunk. Nothing to report.

It truly works, it’s amazing! People are genuinely leaving you in peace and all you have to do is use that glass full of alcohol everytime needed without drinking a drop of it.

Now, nothing is full-proof of course, and you can still encounter some situations where the Type-III persons, the beer-pressures, are going to be a pain in the arse:

1. “But you have not drunk any of it”. Assure them that you did. Which is why it is essential to not ask for a glass of wine or a beer in the first place but rather a very strong alcohol like a double whiskey, double vodka or any liqueur would do as long as you can easily justify the “slower-drinking” of it. If they force you to prove you are drinking it, then thou shall finally snap and tell them off as you see fit.

2. The thirst. You are not drinking the glass so you will indeed get thirsty and eventually ask for some water anyway. There will be reactions to your wanting water when you have not yet finished your drink. Fear no more and just point out that you don’t really fare well with alcohol so the water is to prevent the hang-over the next day. It is proven that eating and drinking water while consuming alcohol are helping the decrease the risk of hang-over as the body can draw fluids and function thanks to various sources. Not just poison from fermented sugar.

As I said, it seems far-fetched to just be left in peace when wanting to only water but it does make your life much easier and more pleasant during social events.

Zirka matters, AIDS doesn’t – To the Vatican at least.

So the Pope again as granted us with a blessing that makes no sense.

“Condoms can be used to fight Zirka.”

Thanks and…What, that’s it? No mention of AIDS, then. Yeah…what else is new?

My mother says it is because the Catholic Church still believes it is a “faggot disease”. I know religious authorities have this gob-smacking resilience when it comes to accepting the reality of today’s world but one cannot deny that the place where AIDS is the most endemic is also the place where homosexuality is the most brutally punished.

What is it, then?  What is it with Zirka that has allowed it to become a greater danger than AIDS? What is it about this disease that made the Vatican agree to contraception? As a far as I can see, all explanations come to a couple of conclusions that I can’t help but think are very far-fetched accusations. Or are they?

Is it because Zirka is hurting traditional Catholic countries, i.e. South America, whereas AIDS is plaguing countries where Catholiscism has been fighting for domination for ages against local beliefs and Islam?

Is it because the people affected by Zirka are mostly of Western and Christian culture whereas AIDS is plaguing countries that “Europe has not managed to civilise.”? Is it because the Pope is South American so he can relate so there is some kind of understanding whereas the white men in Rome can never relate to Africans?

Is it because people most affected by Zirka are closer to being white-skinned than the millions of Africans slowly dying of AIDS?

Is it because the effects are more striking? It is true that Zirka leads to rapid malformations therefore making it a highly visible disease whereas AIDS is hurting one’s body as a whole. People with AIDS usually die, not because of AIDS as such, but after failing to heal from other diseases due to the weakness of their immune system.

Or is it really because they still view AIDS as a punishment of God on the sodomites and the unfaithful? Do they really still believe that AIDS is due to sex before marriage, infidelity, sinful practices and a refusal to obey the Vatican’s precepts?

One thing is for sure, they don’t believe mosquitoes are solely responsible, they know it has a sexual aspect in the spreading of the disease or they would have never mentioned contraception to fight it. We know mosquito bites can spread AIDS as well so why? Just why?

I don’t know why or what but there is something deeply carved in the mindset of this men-only club that is the Vatican. Something inherently dark and twisted that made them come up with the acceptance of condoms for one disease but the keeping of the ban for the other, when the other has been one the worst epidemics humanity has know along with the Plague, malaria, TB and all strands of influenza.

I don’t know. I don’t think they even know themselves, frankly. That’s the point of letting let a 2000 year-old book dictate every aspect of your life, you never have to truly reflect on what you do and therefore be accountable for anything you do. It’s in the book…

Women are not more resilient to pain, they’ve just been taught to shut about it.

I was watching QI and they had a question on pain threshold men and women could stand. The panel went for women, as the most resilient to pain, when in fact researchers have found that men are supposed to be.

The research is, of course, as uninteresting as those that keep pretending women’s and men’s brains are different which is why women are emotional and men can do maths. We know it has nothing to do with physical predispositions or Nature seriously screwed up when she made Marie Curie’s genitals.

I have discovered, talking to countless women, that the reason why they don’t always cry a river everytime they are hurt and/or demand the world stop going round until they feel better, it’s mainly because they are constantly told that the most excruciating of the pains they feel are always “normal” so what talk about it? Why complain? Why even try to find a remedy?

“It hurts, deal with it!” This from a very young age.

I remember an amazing moment at school when I was 14. We were studying the reproductive system and how babies are made – so no Bible, sorry to disappoint the Americans – when our biology teacher broke her leg. She was off for two weeks so we had a young guy who came to cover for her. At some point, he explained the mechanism of periods to boys who suddenly realised what were the little things in shiny packaging that girls were passing stealthily to one another at break time.

He had this very line about periods.

“Women then experience pain, which is normal because there is bleeding involved.”

As a man, he has never experienced periods so he was just repeating what another man had taught him at med school or wherever.

The medicine seen by men is “when there is blood, there is pain”. Therefore the mantra is for women to get used to it because it’s not going away anytime soon. They’re wasting one’s time. Now, let’s talk about their husband’s pain, because – yes, they scream to death when there’s an eyelash in their eye…Ha. Ha. Ha. Still! There’s no bleeding so that must be cancer, which is a true disease – unlike your…foul p-word!

I recall a murmur of dissent from some girls but no more until our teacher came back. A girl stopped her short from starting the lesson and repeated what the cover teacher said. She was then worried that she never experienced any pain. She was not the only one and it turned out they all thought they were ‘not finished’, that their body still had to mature and it meant, eventually, pain for the rest of their life!

They had asked their mothers and had mixed responses. Some had always experienced painful periods, others had not. Why had the ones in pain never talked about it? They did but were told, like aforementioned, that it was normal.

The teacher answered that it was nonsense. Yes, their body and genitals would continue to develop but periods were not synonym of pain. Bleeding is not due to hurt but normal and peaceful removal of matter that was created to nestle the ovum. She said: “It’s not like someone is scrapping your insides. It’s like losing your milk teeth.” The girl insisted that it was just what the young guy had said and the teacher had this fantastic sentence.

“I don’t know about him, but personally, I am 45, I have been having my periods for 32 years and I have never been in pain. You can be more tired than usual because it is a big thing happening to your body, an important hormonal upheaval but the bleeding is not like when you cut your hand or have an open wound, it doesn’t hurt. And if it does, and everytime, you should see a specialist.”

Fast forward 15 years. Fifteen years of living with a mother who had always had painful and long periods. Until a couple of months ago, I actually was convinced periods always lasted up to three days and were painful until I talked about it openly with some friends who, like the mothers of my classmates, had very different experiences but mostly positive. As much positive as periods can be… It turns out periods last for one day, on average. Really?

That’s because I remember my mother complaining about stomach aches, headaches but mostly pain in the lower tummy for days. This every single month for more than a decade and just to be told by legions of male doctors that the pain is perfectly normal so there’s nothing to address.

Until the day my mother got fed up with these painful periods that had come to last for one, even two to three weeks sometimes and she demanded answers and change gynaecologist – for a young woman this time. A young female doctor who told her what my teacher said 15 years earlier: periods are not meant to be painful and their month-worth of bleeding is not “due to the menopause. There’s got to be something in there.”

It turns out she has been having a serious case of uterine myoma that had never been really detected because never taken and treated seriously, and this had been leading to basically constant haemorrhages. She was not having her periods, she was just, plainly bleeding.

The case is extreme, I thought, then I changed my mind after my cousin, my aunt, then a legion of female colleagues and friends told me about the struggle they have been facing trying to be taken seriously when it comes to the pain they are enduring. The world is changing as women enter the fields of science for good, wanting to answer questions that preoccupy them. Finally, we talk about endometriosis seriously as it turns out countless women are affected. Most of them previously and quickly dismissed since their early teens when complaining about days of pain before and after their periods.

Medicine has always ridiculed, minimalised women’s pain. Their pain has been reduced to the uterus, something men don’t have and only care for when it comes to sex and having descendants. All women’s pains and turmoil’s were put for millennia under the label of hysteria (derived from the word “uterus”). It also applies to pains like migraines, severe headaches, troubles keeping oneself warm, mood swings, psychological turmoil…The list goes on of pains that are “maladies de bonne femme” as the French spitefully say. A derogatory term coined to talk about a woman and the pains she and her kind experience.  Women are hysterical, end of.

As a man, you should be careful when hurting and complaining about it. One doesn’t want to step in the world of “hysterical diseases”. I have had migraines and headaches for years but of course that is not taken seriously. Ophthalmic migraines that make me throw up (such a drama queen!), bring me to tears (hysterical!), make me punch my neck and forehead in search of relief (crazy hysterical!). I even considered cutting myself once hoping the blood flow would decrease in the arteries of my head (Well, that proves my point! Just pop an Advil next time so the doctor can move on to someone stable with real men issues…)

For women, the consequences go far beyond the simple words and refusal to treat it. Traditionally trusting of the doctor and drawing their longer life-expectancy from their regular visits they pay to them, they are drifting away more and more, I feel, from conventional medicine. This old trends are back.

Since the dawn of time, we have been talking about grandma’s remedies in France.
*If it hurts, boil the stones of some cherries, filter the water, drink and the headache will go away.
*Take some mint leaves and rub them against your lower tummy.
*Drench yourself in olive oil and the birth won’t hurt.
*Do a week-cleanse with your own urine.
*Starve yourself and applies some leeches.
It’s like reading medieval, medicinal books on how to cure what we now know to be cancers and I thought they were a thing of the past until I saw friends of mine, highly educated women who do go regularly to the doctors and yet, choose to cleanse before and during their period because I was told it reduces the pain and blood flow. Does it? Maybe not. Surely not, if I listen to science but who am I to judge?

The other day, colleagues experiencing menopause and/or endometriosis were swapping “fantastic” books about plant-healing and other unconventional remedies that have made their life easier, less painful and stressful: from sleeping better to avoid hot flushes, stomach aches and digestive troubles.

The men in the room were mocking them, of course. When one said that going glutten-free has actually stopped all uterine pains, he completely dismissed her as superstitious and pathetic, ready to believe anything. For him, a connoisseur and expert in the field, as most men are (NOT!), it was nothing but a placebo effect which proved even more how imaginary and hysterical women’s pains are.

In a world where science teaches girls that periods should be painful because there is bleeding and bleeding is always painful, one can’t be surprised women are looking to someone else to find release. When professionals tell women “It’s normal so shut it!”, of course they look away for answers and are drawn to things that, for men, are deemed even more ridiculous to them that their physical suffering.

In brief: You are cruel, cold and calculating. Not Nature.

First Dog On The Moon mentioned something in one of his latest work that had me thinking about an issue I have been wondering for years: the all-to-common nature documentary where animals are filmed, at length dying, or being killed. I hate these and frankly don’t understand the point of it.

There we are, seeing a lioness with a cub then the music comes in or there’s a cut on a whole gang of hyenas and you know something bad will happen and be closely and passively documented. That’s where I have learnt to change channel or close the Internet page. But it does take a certain amount of seeing the mother getting brutally killed then having to witness the cubs dying of hunger or thirst over the next 30 minutes to know when it will always happen.

Is it really necessary? Why do they feel the need to show us that? Is it part of a the bill of specifications when the budget was discussed?  Do they feel a fraud for not automatically showing such things?

The debate has brought up many answers:

1. “Nature is cruel and that’s the reality of life. We are filming a documentary, not a Disney movie so it is our duty to show this.”

To which people, including me, have already answered that it is not. Nature as a cruel jungle is nothing but an erroneous, twisted interpretation of what Darwin and others have been discovering about it. And this interpretation is here to serve the greater purpose of justifying the death of the weakest and poorest in our societies by quoting the so-called “laws of Nature”.

“Nature is cruel, death with it!” So Oliver Twist must die, social inequalities are a fact of Nature, and it is normal for humans, “the most powerful of all creatures”, to burn everything to the ground and bury it under a layer of concrete and gold in the name of the Industrial Revolution that was booming at the time. And ever since in the name of economy growth.

Now that we are starting to wonder if maybe it would a better idea to live within Nature than always trying to fight and destroy it – because it is indeed a meaningless fight that has nothing but backfired – guilt, shame and anxiety are taking over. So how convenient and how comforting to see these documentaries showing that we are not the only one to brutally kill and destroy! How convenient, too, to not mention that the destruction we are indulging ourselves in everyday has little to do with survival, rather increasing comfort.

I am not saying Nature is in fact a Disney movie. I mean, they have been utter shite for the past 20 years so that would be quite insulting to Nature…

Seriously, yes, animals kill to live and sometimes the weakest die but it has also been proven repeatedly and at length that Nature is also full of mechanisms of solidarity where, for instance, trees and ants live together protecting each other; animals gather in entire communities where they help each other. Take songbirds: orphans chicks are often adopted by foster families, without the need for endless paperwork – which is what humans do and is utterly unnatural.

Nature is not just about brutality, it’s also about harmony and showing baby animals getting killed in every single of one’s documentary is an editorial choice, not a reflection of reality. A reality that could show Muscovites loving sparrows and feeding them crumbs during bitter cold winters as the birds dare to venture inside cafés, bars and restaurants in search of heat and sustenance.

And frankly, how many times do we need to see orkas throwing sea lions on rocks until they die? We got it the first time, thank you, we’ll refer to that one, move on.

2. When it comes to saving the dying, we hear the right-minded: “We were here to observe, we must not disrupt the course of Nature.”

So you document at length the slow end of a valuable life you could have saved but you rather have wilfully chosen not to do anything because it would have been “wrong to interfere”. Is it how you treat everything in your life? When you come across a human baby abandoned in the street, you just pass your way in the name of not interfering? Do you always use the not-interfering rule to absolve yourself?

Turning off the camera and picking up a starving cub, kit or chick,  feeding him and giving him a chance to survive is not disrupting Nature, it is applying one of the fundamental attributes Nature has given humans: empathy and power which gives us a chance to do good rather than just stand there watching.

One also has to notice that the not-interfering clause does not apply to driving massive 4×4 and leaving your rubbish in the bush or the rainforest. When it comes to making the documentary itself, there never seems to be a problem disrupting the course of Nature…

Bottom line is: not helping and deciding to just point the camera and wait there texting on your brand new I-Phone with a tuna sandwich and cooled Evian water until the baby dies is not natural.

Helping her to have a life, on the other hand, is. The truth is that your editorial choices are driven by the lack of what Nature gave us: the ability to be humane.

Men and their unsolicited…everything.

Need to rant.

What is it with men and their need to always force themselves on everyone? Whether it’s an advice on how to live our lives, taking over what someone is doing in the name of being “helpful”, or just plainly believing that their needs should be everyone’s priority…why are they like this?

Let’s start with an example: I am at the gym “reinforcing” as they say after some cardio. The gym I go to is specifically designed so there is no bench-pressing area, just some machines on which everyone can go more freely without having to put up with douche-bags with a penis and/or a brain the size of a bean. The motto is “health not showing off”.

Good! So I am lifting a bit and hating every second of it but the loud music in my ears and not wearing my glasses help me go through. They also make me blind and deaf to the world, which is a plus frankly. Suddenly, a shape is in front of me and I somehow manage to distinguish that its lips are moving. I stop, take my glasses, put them on, take off my headphones and face a complete stranger with a smirk. He has said something.

“Pardon me? I say.
-So…how much?
-What?” He bends over and sees I am lifting 15kg so he carries on with a smile.
“Come on…30…”, he winks.  I stare at him for a second and understand that he is that type of guy, the one who thinks he must help me aim higher…despite knowing fuck all about my life, what.so.ever!

I compose myself. “If I needed you, I’d have come with a lead…” On the headphones, off the machine and I leave this part of the gym. He has not understood. Poodles never do.

I have some ideas on the reasons of his behaviour: the meddling, the butting-in when no one has ever asked. Like most of men, he has grown to understand it is his duty. We all have the need to show we know better but as a man raised by a woman, I don’t have this need to interfere in strangers’ lives whereas my gender is on some kind of a constant mission to save the world, basically. “The man is stronger and he decides because he knows better” is the mantra for boys. They like to see themselves as wise and enlightened when they’re nothing but dogs who think it’s friendly to jump on you, lick your face and shag your leg – to say the least. They never see how much we  just want to kick them until they stop….to say the least!

When I talk about that moment with women, they are all with me. They know exactly what I am talking about and it’s usually the starter of hours of countless stories and anecdotes where the male stranger was here to grant us with its inherent knowledge and wisdom.

-The one who tells a woman he doesn’t know, as she is looking at a dress, that “it won’t look good on you, try that one instead” *Coy smile*

-The colleague you barely know yet says “You should try typing with all fingers, it’s less tiring.” *wink wink*

-The  one who says “You should go to the automatic cashier, it would be quicker.” *head tilt*

-The one who tells you “You should report that, that’s so sexist. Can’t you see?” *concerned face*

-The one who tells you about which brands to buy when shopping. *knowledgeable douche*

-The male stranger who told a friend of mine which tampons to buy! *the-I-choose-for-my-girlfriend-and-she-says-she-has-never-been-happier smirk*

These examples come on top of men who constantly feel like they ought to tell you how you should feel, act and react in virtually all aspects of your life. The truth is that the first thing that comes to our minds is “I know you’re terribly lonely and your mates don’t listen to you because they are too busy saving the rest of the world but please, do bugger off.”

When I mention this to other men, they all tell me we are being spiteful bitches. They are right! I was a right bitch to that gym toddler because like all other insufferable devil’s spawns, he was trying to force himself on me at a moment when I was not in any way in the mood or any disposition to have a anyone forcing themselves on me. Can’t they see that?!

“Yes but…”

Yes?! Wait a minute! You’re not blind, then?! You are totally aware than we are not always open to you barging in our personal space and life thinking you can fix what needn’t be fixed in the first place and yet, you come anyway?! Why?

“You don’t get it!”, I am told. I am being antisocial because, yes it was maybe not the right moment, but I should have made an effort because “he was just being friendly, helpful, caring and I reacted like a girl.” No wonder…

“Helpful”, that’s it. He saw me there, minding my own business and he thought I desperately needed his meddling I am asked to acknowledge as selfless help. And, unlike him, I should have made an effort to go with what he wanted and let him in because he was acting out of kindness. As should the rest of the world who obviously cannot go through life without the caring yet unsolicited help of a man. Sorry, “a gentleman” as men called themselves in that situation.

In a nutshell for those who still don’t get it: if one needs help, one asks for it. if not, leave people live their life without forcing yourself on anybody. If you have the urge to do so, refrain it. Then, if indeed asked for help, quit sulking because you were told off before and come and help, like any decent human being would.