They treat the boys like deformed girls and wonder why they don’t become men.

kk 002 more tiny NY publishers

It was a man’s world, but no longer. In the man’s world, girls were sent off to girls’ school so that they could have the opportunity to speak in class, so that someone would pay attention to them. And when these girls grew, they had to live with phrases like, “Behind every man there’s a good woman.” What that means is that you live in a man’s world and women mean nothing except in what they can do for men, to make men more important than they already are.

Women lived with an innate distrust of men. Men court you; they get you pregnant. If you’re unlucky, they marry you, (this is the story of my parents and my ex-husband’s parents) and then that falls apart. You get pregnant after some fun times being courted and then your life as princess is over. The princess doesn’t necessarily become the queen. The king may go off to fight for Jerusalem. You may be left to defend the castle. Being a woman after that brief period of courting was work and erasure.

But those days are over. We don’t need to change our name. We get to keep our name and our identity. We get to rule our own world. We have a lot of jobs: Look good, be creators, raise the kids, and do whatever our career/job is. It keeps us crazy motivated and on the Stairmaster and looking for intellectual stimulation and enlightenment and sexual freedom all at the same time.

For boys, the fun times might just be over. Now, it’s just expected in the classrooms that the girls are the bright ones, the talkative ones, the ones with a driving force in their life. When you have a daughter and then a son, you think to yourself, wow, she was reading at this point and he’s still playing with himself. Some say that never changes, but seriously…

The girls are taking over. They go to law school and business school, medical school and global media. The boys have no reason to grow up. They don’t need to grow up to get laid and they don’t need to grow up to get jobs. They can live off the family payroll until they’re mid twenties or later. I know kids at thirty who are still living off the family. It used to be that you wanted to get to this stage by twenty-two when you weren’t taking money from the old man, but that idea went out with words like “fortitude” and “courage.” My plan was always to help them until they finished college, but then independence is what they need.

I know all these men who are living half lives. Their wives are stronger, smarter, better employed. They list through life like a boat taking on water but never quite sinking.

Boys are not midget girls. They’re not deformed girls. Foreshortened girls.

They’re not supposed to be experiments. I know people who moved their son out, some of my son’s friends were put them in an apartment with six months paid rent when they were eighteen. That’s not uncommon for parents desperate to get their own life back. Not something I would do because you never hear of that working out. How soon before the kid figures he can’t make it and becomes a guest of the California penitentiary system?

Boys need to be able to be men and that means being able to act on the world. But to do that, they need tools. And that’s the difficulty; how do we give them the tools to act on the world while letting them figure it out on their own?

Boys are being punished for being active. For being energetic. For not being girls. For having testosterone. We, as a culture, need to stop punishing young men for their lives, for who they are, for how they pour themselves into the world, liquid and light fire. As a culture, we need to expect greatness from our young men. We need to expect our sons to grow up and take responsibility, need to expect our husbands to treat us with respect, to be ourselves.

Your spouse doesn’t “let you” keep your name or use the dishwasher or weigh whatever you want to, or wear whatever you want to, but neither do you “let him” have a man cave or play poker with the guys, or go fishing or watch James Bond movies.

The planet is getting very crowded. We must make room for each other to be ourselves.

I have adapted to NY. I am getting caught up on sleep. I wake up in the morning, go get my Starbucks, pull together whatever I need to get through the day, I endlessly read on the subways, I walk; it rains and my umbrella sways in the wind; it’s utterly wrecked, and my hair is always wet and it’s cold. Today is the first sunny day so I am going to walk the High Line and walk down by the river. I buy food off the street from the vendors; they have falafel everywhere, so I buy just chicken and grilled onions and fruit from the street guys. When Mark gets here, we’ll try a couple restaurants. We’ll move into a room with its own bathroom. Whoa, I’m going to be styling it! He’s coming today. I can’t wait to get this party started.


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