Fuck Gender Roles- A Short Story

“Hey handsome.” I said in a sleepy voice as my Pug, Handsome Jack- named after the antagonist in the Borderlands games- patted over to nuzzle my chest as he noticed me waking up. Stretching my legs onto the floor, I stood up and reached for the ceiling to get the blood circulating throughout my body, then walked barefoot out of the bedroom and into the kitchen where a fresh pot of coffee was brewed in five minutes.

With my laptop on Sleep Mode, I lifted it opened, signed in, checked my email. Nothing of significance to respond to. Next came Twitter which has become like the morning paper over the last couple of years. Funny to think a literary agent discovered me there just two years ago. Almost to the day too, if memory serves.

I took a sip of coffee as Handsome Jack patted up to my feet, nuzzled my ankle. Opening twitter, there was no steady topic being discussed so I moved on to my mentions which indicated I had more than fifty new notifications. The screen flashed and then changed pages. The contents consisted mostly of random people laughing and saying things like “get it!” and “real af” (meaning as fuck for short).

One in particular caused me to stop scrolling. It was from a girl. She wrote “lol but who are you?” I clicked on her tweet where it opened the tweet she was responding to. That tweet contained a 10 second video of me tagged by Sam, a writer I met a year after being published at the Union Square Strand. His tweet said “didn’t know you had it in you bro lol.”

I clicked on the video and was transported back to the restaurant from last night where I shouted at my date as I was heading for the door. I went back in my room and grabbed my phone, turning it on as I headed back to the laptop. Once booted up, I got bombarded with text messages and voice mail notifications. I listened to the voicemail.

“Josh, it’s Michael. I don’t need an explanation to what happened at the restaurant. I’m actually surprised you said what you did. I’m calling to let you know this thing has gone viral, fast. So far no backlash, thankfully. I know you hate giving statements and no doubt you’ll be on Twitter soon but it could be good to elaborate on the…situation. Think about it.”

Michael is the agent who found my blog via Twitter and couldn’t wait to sign me to a contract and has done everything humanly possible to make sure I have the career I deserve. He’s never let me down when it came to advice so giving a statement of sorts sounds like a good idea. But first…

I got back on Twitter for more information. The vast majority of folks were praising what I said and did while a scattered few were wondering “just who in the hell” I think I am. Ten minutes later I had enough inspiration to give some kind of statement.

In a new tab I logged on to the blog that helped launch my career. Seven years of content that only began seeing steady traffic at the five year mark which is when everything took shape from more subscriptions to the contract signing to my second novel landing on the Best Sellers list for five months. I clicked the create new post link and in the body of the page, typed my ass off.

“So you guys know I don’t usually address certain topics and despite being very open with my personal life, I do omit details about the intimacies that transpire. But last night something happened that is now a viral video on Twitter and, I’m sure, will be seen on tumblr soon enough.

I had a date last night with a woman who did not know I’m a writer.The topic never came up and since I have a steady regular job- I actually put my two weeks notice in on Friday- saw no reason to even bring it up. Not that I’m hiding that part of who I am; can’t do such a thing when you’re proud of it. But before I “made it big” women vocalized their desires to not date creative types, like this girl explicitly stated on her profile. Oh, I should mention that I met her online. Not that it bears any significance.

So let me talk about who she is for a sec. First off, she’s not the type who ever goes for me. I can tell she prefers guys over six feet and slim/athletic- I’m five foot seven with an average build who could stand to lose twenty pounds. So did I go into this thinking sex would happen at the end of the date rainbow? Hell no. Only assholes assume paying for a dinner equates to sex. She holds a regular job and lives in Brooklyn, like me, into traveling and trying new foods. But who isn’t saying those things on their profiles?

I chose a place in The Village showing up fifteen minutes early to see about getting a table in the back for privacy. She showed up ten minutes late but at least looked nice. We ordered, and over beers I have never heard of discussed mundane topics.

Somehow the conversation shifted towards cartoons. Maybe during her brief description of a younger brother who enjoys anime- like me. Bottom line, she called anybody who enjoys cartoons or video games over the age of 18 childish and a loser, more or less. With a blank expression I asked “so that includes the men and women who create them?” Yes, she said. “What about Disney movies?” Oh that’s different, she said then went on about it but I completely tuned her out because I could not sit across from someone, especially not a date, who thinks what I enjoy or want to create is beneath her.

I mean, really. Who does she think she is? Video games and cartoons are childish but Disney doesn’t count?! That means everyone who composed those masterpieces of music for the Final Fantasy games shouldn’t be taken seriously? To hell with that and her.

She excused herself to the restroom as the waiter came with our orders. That’s when I said to the waiter “how fast can you have this wrapped up and put on separate bills?” Through bewilderment he said “five minutes?” He took it away. She came back and noticed my plate was gone and inquired. I put my foot down.

“Listen, this isn’t going to work out. I’m shocked you even wanted to go out with me but this will not go past a first date. I know you already know this but I probably would have tried anyway if you hadn’t said cartoons and anime and videos games were childish while failing to add Disney characters.”

I then laid on who I was and an outline of what’s to come- a web comic with Dennis Smith written by me and was asked by Rockstar games to be a voice actor in an upcoming project. Her response? “Well that’s fine and good luck with all of your kiddie endeavors but you’re right; this wasn’t going past tonight. I was doing you a favor. Not that I would have slept with you, haha.”

I, as the expression goes, lost my shit. I may not be the best looking guy but certainly don’t need pity sex, and how dare she imply that just because I don’t fit her standards of male beauty that I’m not worth fucking? Truthfully, women who are bigger in size still have a better chance at love or just sex should that be their prerogative than a man does and no amount of money a man has will make him sexually desirable. Hell, there’s even fat shaming in the fat community. So no matter where you turn someone is getting fucked and not in the way they’d like.

I said as much just as the waiter came by with my order wrapped up and a recipe, placing hers by her plate. Before she could retort I got up with my stuff, paid the waiter, and began heading for the door. I guess what I had said already cast a few glances to my table which prompted the recording the moment I turned around and shouted “and for the record it isn’t just you who decides who has sex. You could’ve wanted to fuck me but it doesn’t mean the lust is mutual. Not sleeping with me is your loss anyway cause this is primetime A1 dick you’re missing out on. Good luck with being a boring drone of a bitch.”

So, that’s where we stand. Hopefully I’ve given enough info where you won’t feel the need to ask any questions because I would very much like to put this behind me. If you’re a guy who doesn’t feel attractive remember this story, know your worth, and own it. Don’t let a woman think she’s doing you a favor by sleeping with you. Sex is not serious. Let it become so with the right person. Don’t ever sell yourself short.”

After twenty minutes of editing I uploaded it. Another twenty minutes passed and my twitter once again became filled with positive feedback from all genders. My favorites were from guys telling me they “low key feel that way” which came as no surprise since men have been conditioned into thinking having lots of sex equates to their level of manhood and confidence should always be on autopilot. Utter bullshit. I’m glad men are finally starting to see that they don’t need to be what society tells them to be because fuck gender roles.

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