Regarding the Peafoul

This is an opinion piece that may or may not be motivated by the laughable, imaginary plight of persons known as “incels,” a people-group I discovered the other day.

This is a preliminary admission of hypocrisy. That being said, no apologies. The truth can cut me to ribbons too, I embrace it. I am noticing something this year, and it is driving me insane. There are a variety of factors likely at work contributing to this realization, many of which may be unique to myself or people near me. For example, the objective data: I live in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene metroplex in North Idaho/East Washington, USA. This means there are approximately 710,000 persons in my vicinity and that means I’m witnessing a glimmer of a sample size in the ballpark of 1/10,000th of humanity. For example, the Pacific Northwest and Inland Northwest USA have an endemic culture, not likely to be found elsewhere. The subjective data, that is my specific taste, judgments, interests, and opinions. My ideology, perception and a host of other elements are unique to me and unquantifiable. But I have noticed something, regardless:

Men. I mean, how could I miss them? They stick out like car accidents. They are like the lone mohawk at church or the naked mole rat at the zoo. They can’t be avoided. I love men—perhaps not the same way I love women, and perhaps in a more nuanced mode than others. But I do. My best friends have almost always been men. I find them to be remarkable. I am one, in fact. It would be easy to reduce my complaint to barbaric metrics and miss the point so I need to be careful—please forgive my verbosity. If I said, “Men are ugly,” you might agree but I would be mis-communicating and consequently misrepresenting myself. If I said, “Men dress poorly,” you might think that I was a fashion snob, bent upon the criminalization of bad taste. But that would also be miscommunication in addition to being inaccurate. If I said, “Women are so much more attractive,” well, you could attack that from at least seven angles. So I need to develop my point carefully.

I recently took a look at my wardrobe and realized something maddening. It consisted of four garments, really. There’s no use in being parsimonious. There were uniforms, t-shirts, jeans, and underwear. The underwear consisted of one type of plain sock, formless at best, and underpants consisting of one type, albeit in multiple colors. Most of the colors designed to be subdued and unremarkable, mind you. The t-shirts consisted of formless, variously colored cotton type. The jeans were all the same, common breed of blue-jean you see pretty much anywhere. As I reflected upon why this was my wardrobe, I realized it was what was available to me when I bought clothing. I also realized it matched my expectation of what I should wear and conformed to what I’d seen all my peers wear. I became disgusted with my wardrobe. I looked in the mirror. I looked outside. I realized it was an epidemic. All men I saw were wearing t-shirts, jeans and boring socks. I realized the suave, well-dressed men were actually simply clean and wearing button downs. In rare case slacks, and the accessories were where the variety kicked in. The garments themselves, even in the poshest of posh fellows, were drab. But the real kicker was that the women hanging off of the same men’s arms, they were stunning. An apparent thousand of varieties of garment. Dresses, skirts, capris, blouses, shirts, scarves, jeans, tights, leggings, stockings, high socks, etc. The list goes on. Add to this the fact that nearly all of these garments come in innumerable distinct varieties. Oh, and I missed about forty types. The underwear comes in thongs, boyshorts, regular panties, long types, high types, etc.—I could go on for an eternity. The socks come in approximately nineteen lengths and in every color and pattern imaginable. The shirts are literally designed to be layered for aesthetic effect. They have eleven types of neckline, and 8 varieties of sleeve length. The pallet is endless, the patterns uncountable, and there are 450 stores within 100 miles that sell distinct varieties of these clothes. Men? Good luck at Walmart, Kohls, J.C. Penny or Target. (I made up all these numbers, the actual numbers are much higher).

There is a matching of extremes in over half the couplings I see, and I am singling out coupled folks for ease of comparison. One man being compared with one woman, generally. (Don’t start, please. I agree with you.) One ugly, poorly dressed man in simple, poorly fitted clothes with a woman dressed in complimentary, pleasing, appealing clothes of elegant configuration. This match is as common as the dandelions outside. One in ten matches consists of a man in a nice button-down, possibly silk, shirt of a somewhat unusual color. One in twenty may have attractive pants, and they all wear the same shoes. The women? They vary so widely they scarcely belong in the same category. Add to this the culture. Men sneer at attractive men. He’s a pretty boy, he’s a snoot, he’s a faggot, he’s a [fill in the blank with intolerable pejorative]. It is part of the masculinity culture to be ugly. The attractive woman is desirable, while the attractive man is to be mistrusted. The well dressed woman is to be honored, while the well dressed man is to be feared.

Recently I developed an increased fondness for birds. I noticed something fascinating in birds. The male birds are brightly colored and variegated. Elegant, or even elaborate, plumage accompanies most male birds (at least in comparison to their drab female counterparts.) The ladies? Brown, murky, unremarkable. They have little to show. There’s a reason a sexy man is known as a “peacock”–his namesake alludes to the lavish, beautiful appearance of the male peafowl. It is glorious to look at. Why are men ugly in 2018? When given a proper bath and some visual TLC, they are as beautiful as the women, but left to their own devices, they are a sight for sore eyes. Human males, virtually alone in the vast spectrum of sexually dimorphic life, appear to prefer to intentionally fail at the ancient art of wooing a mate.

Ladies, if you partnered with an ugly man, why? Men, if you don’t give a flying shit about your appearance (like, apparently, all of our species), can you please, for the love of God, weigh in? I’d love to hear an explanation. Maybe you’re from a different society than me. Is it always this way? Is it cultural? Or better yet, what is it? Why?

SonderDuring the composition of this post, I listened to [Sonder] by [TesseracT]. The beautiful word “sonder” was an apt choice for this gorgeous album—both thematically and aesthetically. Although not a real word, technically, give it a decade or so. It’s one of those neologisms you know will become common parlance after you’re dead, like laser or robot. Defined as “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own,” TesseracT achieve their goal with aplomb.

Vigorously technical, modern, down-tuned metal instrumentation carve out a mesmerizing path in my brain as I listen to this rhythmically pulverizing yet melodically charming record. Equal parts meditation and lullaby, its poor reception in the metal community is no less than criminal.



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