Blue Valentine

Those of you who read this column regularly know that I hate Valentine’s Day. This past February 14 was extra special because I experienced new kinds of Valentine’s Day abuse. First, I was on a radio show that day, discussing love and romance, when I received some calls from people who think I’m completely full of shit because I suggested that men and women are different. Three or four callers were very upset about my gender stereotypes (things like women are more interested in self-improvement and men are more interested in television). There are many people in America who think men and women are basically the same (once you strip away the effects of society). These people think I’m holding back the advancement of the species by contending that men and women are different.
I was once one of those people. When I was a kindergarten teacher, I was always trying to counter the effects of society by making girls do boy things and boys do girl things (that is, “things-that-society-makes-us-think-of-as-girl-things” and “things-that-society-makes-us-think-of-us-boy-things”). Anyway, I found out that boys and girls actually are different. Those of you who disagree need to spend more time with little kids and less time reading Andrea Dworkin. Sure, society starts shaping kids early, and it’s hard to know how deeply society creates gender identity, but just look at the research that’s being done on chromosomes. Some women believe the reason there are no decent men to date is that the Y chromosome is incomplete (a pale, lame-ass shadow of the X chromosome). They believe the Y is a pretty crummy chromosome altogether, good only for creating football players and the occasional Einstein.
Most of the people who think men and women are basically the same also believe that homosexuality is biologically determined and not a choice. They believe a guy is gay because of his biology and not because his mother made him wear dresses when he was a little boy, but they think little girls play with dolls because their mothers made them wear dresses. I don’t understand people who think sexual preference is biological, but not gender characteristics. It’s kind of a nutty contradiction.
Anyway, after getting reamed by the gender fascists, I went to the Santa Fe Reporter’s annual Valentine’s Day singles’ party. I met some nice people, including a woman who said to me, “in person, you seem perfectly nice, why are you such an asshole in your column?”
Let me just say this – I’m sorry for being such an asshole, but I’m not sorry about the gender stereotypes. Many of those stereotypes are true. Also, they can be really funny, which is the point. I don’t take myself seriously, so why should you? I receieved one letter in which a woman wrote (and I swear I’m not exagerrating), “all the problems in our world relate to the fact that people don’t love and respect our mother, the Earth, and you (Duncan) are at the root of that problem.” She was upset by the following gender stereotype – ‘men don’t need to be desired, they just need to get laid.’ Well, I did an informal survey, and I found that most women would rather be desired than laid, and most men would rather be laid than desired. Honest, that’s what they said. While I’m at it, I just heard the following stereotype – ‘women fall in love with their ears, men fall in love with their eyes.’ I don’t believe it, but that would be perfect for a superficial fat guy (like me) with a decent voice. Of course, it would suck for a superficial fat girl, but, damn it, that’s not my fault, so lighten up.
The world is full of people who love diversity, who celebrate diversity, but many of those people don’t like diversity when it comes to men and women – that is, they don’t like the idea that men and women may be biologicall, naturally, different. But isn’t it better to have at least two different sexes? Sometimes, I wish there were three or four.

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