Razing Idols

“We raise up idols specifically so that we can tear them down when they inevitably fail us.” ~Theodicus When I was young it was all about the father figures. You know, those guys on TV who were sometimes silly, sometimes firm, but always dispensed knowledge. There was Jason Seaver, who somehow handled being a psychiatrist … Continue reading Razing Idols

When I Wore a Dress

black-matineeI wore a dress once, but only once. It was an exercise in feminist theory, the idea that walking a mile in someone else’s patent leather shoes can somehow help you to understand that person’s daily struggles and accomplishments. But I’ll start at the beginning. The year was 1995 and I was bald. Yes, that’s where I’ll begin.

So I wasn’t actually bald, I guess. I was in the head shaving phase back then, so my head gleamed more often than not. Luckily my head doesn’t have an awkward shape to it so it didn’t look too bad. It was the beginning of my third semester in college, but I hadn’t done much in the way of actually going to school those first two semesters, so you could say I was just starting my college career. Such an auspicious beginning would be guaranteed if I took two courses that screamed, “SURVIVE ME AND YOU’LL SURVIVE COLLEGE.” I think I wanted to challenge myself. Either that or I wanted an excuse to drop out before I had really even begun.

The first course I signed up for was “Geography of South and Southeast Asia,” and the second was accurately titled “Feminist Theory.” I knew one would be incredibly boring, so I hoped the other would rescue my semester, but I secretly thought both would kick my ass from here to New Jersey. My first Feminist Theory class was a revelation as I was one of only two males in a class of 25, and the only sophomore in a class full of seniors. The hill was definitely going to be steep, and I started worrying.

As the semester went along, however, I found myself looking forward to Wednesdays, in a complicated way, because the class challenged me while at the same time inspiring me. Virginia Woolf taught me about a room of one’s own with her thick, layered prose that made me drag out the dusty dictionary in order to almost comprehend it. Simone de Beauvoir gave me a deeper perspective about the second sex, even in the translation, but she made me wish I could read it in French to get the fuller picture. Then there was Gloria Steinem, and Edith Wharton, and several others whose works I would have never read otherwise, in a staggered procession that left me breathless. Continue reading “When I Wore a Dress”

White Noise

“The best way to stay married is to just shut your mouth and nod along.” She comes home late most nights, probably at the store or to get gas after work, but she doesn’t tell him ahead of time, like these are last-minute executive decisions that don’t need to be communicated to her spouse. But … Continue reading White Noise