Monthly Archives: September 2018

Alcoholics Aren’t Better than Rapists

This was brought to my attention today. It’s a helpful anecdote (from “ScaryMommy”) to teach young girls that–even when they’re completely irresponsible–they shouldn’t be blamed for bad situations:

“When I was a freshman in college, I got very, very drunk at a frat party. So drunk that when my friend and I introduced ourselves to some guys, they asked which one of us was Jen and I didn’t know. One of the guys brought me into an empty bedroom and kissed me. After a minute, I started to panic and told him I wanted to leave. So he stepped aside and let me go. How do I remember this if I was so drunk? Because, as soon as I left that room, I recognized how profoundly lucky I was.

I was drunk. I was in a dangerous situation. But I wasn’t raped that night because that guy wasn’t a rapist.

After college, I moved to New York. Once, after spending a night drinking and smoking pot with some friends, I decided to take the subway home. I got on the F train in the Lower East Side and only needed to take it a few stops to my Brooklyn apartment.

Instead, I passed out. A conductor woke me at Coney Island, the end of the line. Amazingly, no one had touched me.

Even though I was passed out and dressed provocatively, I wasn’t raped because there were no rapists on the subway.

Dangerous situations don’t cause rape. Skimpy clothes don’t cause rape. Alcohol doesn’t cause rape. Drugs don’t cause rape. The only thing that causes rape is a rapist.”

There are a couple things wrong with this story.  For one, this woman clearly had a bad relationship with alcohol, which she’s overlooking in order to make a point about “rapists.”  I sincerely hope she’s seeking help for her drinking problem. But I’m concerned she may be too distracted with teaching “rapists” how to fight their temptations and ultimately be more self-controlled than she is…

The other problem is thinking that most humans are basically good, and that only a handful of Bad Guys (called “Rapists”) need to be held accountable for making the world a worse place.   These Bad Guys are bad, all the way to their core…unlike the skimpy-dressing, pot-smoking party girls, who are still Good Guys despite a few poor choices.

It’s a problem when we use another person’s issues to cover up our own. But I think it will be easier for me to make both of these points if I tell the same story from the man’s perpective.

Tell me if this college boy’s sermon should get an “amen”:

“When I was a freshman in college, I got very, very drunk at a frat party. So drunk that when a friend and I introduced ourselves to some girls, they asked which one of us was Brett, and I honestly didn’t know.   One of the girls brought me into an empty room and shoved me down on the bed.   I blacked out after that, but I had her panties when I woke up the next morning.

How do I remember, if I was drunk?  Because…it scared me knowing a girl I’ve never met before may tell a different story. I was drunk, and I was in a dangerous situation with a total stranger.  That would have been the worst night of my life, if that girl was a liar.

After college, I moved to New York. Once, after spending a night drinking and smoking pot with some friends, I decided to take the subway home. I only needed to take it a few stops to my Brooklyn apartment.  But, I passed out…

So far, no one has told me I was violent or beligerent on that train.  No one has accused me of making sexual remarks to other passengers that I can’t remember.

Maybe I should try running for public office and see if THAT jogs any “memories”…

Haha–no, seriously. Dangerous situations don’t cause false accusations. Alcohol doesn’t cause false accusations. Being an irresponsible man who can’t remember huge chunks of his life doesn’t cause false allegations. The only thing that causes a false allegation is A LIAR…”

Does my little anecdote make it easier to see the truth and the falsehood of this logic?

Sure–liars are responsible for lies.

But when people regularly, unapologetically shut down parts of their brains and rub against people they barely know, can we really pick just one person to “blame” for miscommunication…poor decisions…and conflicting memories?

Why should I believe that a woman’s drunken recollections are more reliable than a man’s?

Here’s the bad news for girls who lived wild college years:  you only want to talk about “rapists” because you think your alcoholism is better.   Maybe you assume your drunken sexual behavior is kind of cute and fun? (Of course, you can’t remember for sure.)

But all of your rationalizing and justification can’t convince me that you would NEVER do, say, or remember anything wrong while under the influence.  You’re trying too hard to convince the world that there’s a huge difference between black-hearted rapists and college girls who are full of sugar and spice.

Nope.

Nope.

Nope.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.  Evolution didn’t create Bad Guys (them) and Good Guys (Us).

The truth is that Monsters lie dormant inside every one, and they’re constantly pointing their hairy fingers at others.

Some monsters really like sex.

Some monsters like attention.

And some monsters really like the power that comes from playing the victim.

(Many monsters like all three.)

It’s very difficult to defeat the arrogant, self-focused, holier-than-thou Monster, even with full strength and sober judgment.  But it’s almost impossible to chain that beast when you spend every weekend drinking away your senses and making excuses for it.

Girls–get help for your partying problems. And stop believing the lying Monster who tells you that drunk boys still have more responsibility for their bad behavior than you do.

You’re both being stupid.  Clean it up.

Women Fart, Too

I remember the first time my little brother learned that girls fart. It was our Grandma who taught him.

But I’ll come back to the story in a minute…

Recently Trevor Noah (at the Daily Show) made some remarks about never really knowing how a person behaves behind closed doors.  Lots of people have come forward to defend Judge Kavanaugh as a good man with a solid reputation–which prompted Noah to make the following statement:

“In society, we’re seeing this over and over again–whether it’s Bill Cosby, Les Moonves, Brett Kavanaugh–and I’m not saying Kavanaugh is guilty of anything. But what we’re seeing is that people struggle to understand that two things can be true and [seem] contradictory at the same time. You could know somebody as a great person, and they could also be doing something you don’t know about, that makes them someone you wouldn’t recognize…”

I want to be clear: I agree wholeheartedly with this point.  People struggle to understand that certain people, regardless of image, may be capable of doing extrememly horrible things…

My only question is, why does he only name Kavanaugh in his example–failing to mention that his accuser, Christine Ford, “could” also be two-faced?

Of course, I’m not saying Ford is guilty of anything.  I’m just saying it seems that some people struggle to understand it’s possible for her to be an influential professor to some…a broken victim to others…and also have a vindictive streak that her friends wouldn’t recognize.

It seems Trevor Noah (and many others) can’t wrap their minds around the possibility of a woman who lies.  

On one hand, I think it’s kind of nice that most men I know are quick to give women the benefit of the doubt. (As a woman, especially, it’s nice to be assumed morally-superior and basically innocent until indesputably proven guilty.)  But, there is a downside when I think of what this means for the boys/men I love.

Whenever people talk generally about bad behavior, they’re most likely picturing a male sinner in their minds.  And even when we discuss the fact that people can surprise us with their inner beast, we STILL probably aren’t picturing our female friends doing anything evil.

It’s much easier to believe men are pigs than women are… (Even the men who have doubts about Ford’s story still tend to say things like “She was confused,” or “she’s being manipulated by the Democrats…”)

Noah Trevor doesn’t seem to have considered that Ford could have the same problem that Cosby and Moonves have:  she has internal issues, regardless of exterior appearances.

That’s why I’m thinking about my brother and my grandma…and farts.

At first, the idea of women farting simply didn’t compute for Tim. He had trouble accepting that even soft-spoken, good-smelling girls have moments where they aren’t sweet.

I’ll never forget the day our Grandma looked him dead in the eye and said, “I fart quite a bit!” And he giggled before realizing she was serious and scrambling to make sense of the news.

Finally he decided that maybe Grandma farts A LITTLE, but girl gas still can’t be as loud and offensive as guy gas.  He still couldn’t accept the reality without assuring himself that males farts are still worse.

All that to say, I agree with the sentiment that you never know what someone may be hiding. I’m not saying Ford is guilty of anything. Just remember she COULD be a smart, generous, bubbly person to you and a manipulative life-destroyer to someone else.

If justice is ever going to be served, we can’t give one sex the benefit of the doubt over and above the other.   We MUST understand (and fully agree) that both men and women make terrible decisions and behave selfishly.

When there’s a stink in the air, it’s natural to suspect the man. But that bias flies in the face of real justice.

Take it from me, son.   Women fart quite a bit.

Girl Fart

Today “Me” Counsels Younger “Me”

Today Me:  There’s a very special guest in my head-space/blog-space today… it’s the younger version of myself!  The girl who nags her boyfriend-turned-husband but always has a good reason for it; the girl whose marriage regularly includes crying and seething and ordering Luke to sleep on the couch (if he’s lucky and she doesn’t kick him out of the house completely!)

Wait, what’s that you say? You didn’t know that girl even existed?

Well, stay tuned, Reader.   You’re in for a treat!

Here with me, right now, is a newly-married woman of just 20-years-old–Amanda Rose (Branyan) McKinney, but not exactly as you know her.  She’s not long out of highschool…not yet a “McMommy”…and not yet willing to admit that, perhaps, some of the issues in her young relationship are hers.

Welcome, Younger Me!

Younger Me:    Thanks, it’s great to be here! I’m a writer, too, you know?

Today Me:  Yes–and a very good one.  Just be careful. It’s not good to let talent go to your head.

Younger Me:  Good advice.  I wouldn’t want to look back in ten years and realize I’ve started talking to myself.

Today Me:  Yeah, this is a little weird. But it seemed like a good idea at 2:30 this morning.

Younger Me:  Oh, do we still wake up in the middle of the night unable to sleep until we write a little bit?

Today Me:  Well, mostly we wake in the middle of the night to feed babies. But, yeah, occassionally the nagging muse still comes to visit.  And that brings me to what I want to talk about, Younger.  Nagging.  So why don’t you tell me about your marriage?

Younger Me:  Seriously?  I’m Younger, but I recognize a leading question when I hear one.  I’m not trying to be “nagging” toward Luke.  But either something is seriously wrong with our marriage, or something is seriously wrong with ME.

Today Me:  Go on…

Younger Me:  Well, if it were anyone else, I might have trouble confessing this. But since I’m talking to myself, I guess I’ll admit it: sometimes I wonder if I have some kind of mental illness.

Today Me:  Why would you think that?

Younger Me: I just get sooo angry with Luke! And, once I’m angry, I start saying things I don’t even mean…but it’s like my mouth stops working and I CAN’T say “I’m sorry” or “Let’s just start this conversation over” or ANYTHING except angry words.  In those moments, when I’m trying to express my feelings and he doesn’t understand, I want to throw my hands in the air and walk out. I used to do that fairly often when we were dating. (Once I slammed down my engagement ring in a dramatic fashion and threatened to walk 9 miles back to my house. I made it less than a block before he was able to coax me back inside. But that’s only because I realized when the cold air hit me that it was going to be a terrible walk home, so I let him take me back inside.)  Now that we’re married, quitting isn’t supposed to be an option. Even threatening to quit is wrong.  But I find myself doing/saying more and more unfair and outageous things just to help him understand I’m unhappy!  And we’re no closer to figuring out the source of my unhappiness in the first place.

Today Me:  I have good news, my young friend.   You are NOT crazy.   And, even better:  the source of your unhappiness is yourself.

Younger Me:  (*scoffs)  How is that better news, exactly?

Today Me:  Come on, be honest with yourself. Which is better news for a control freak:  you have to wait for Luke to fix this?  Or you can fix this on your own?

Younger Me:  Go on…

Today Me:  Sweetie, I know you’re not trying to nag your husband.  But when the Bible warns it’s better to live on the corner of the roof than with a nagging wife, it’s talking about you.  I know, it stings to hear. But it’s true, and there’s more: When you cry and preach and cry some more, then finally send Luke to the couch (or out the door), you’re doing him a favor.  In those moments, he’s glad to be there–away from your verbal mistreatment.   Of course, you always insist you want him to be truthful. But what would happen if he said, truthfully, “Yes, I sleep perfectly fine on the couch, once you’re done unloading on me.  My life is peaceful except when you want to ‘talk’ about something.”

Younger Me:   See, what you’re saying sounds reasonable.  But, it’s not hard to talk about it now because I’m not already worked up.  It’s different when I’m angry. When I’m upset, I can’t hear truth.  How can I fix this myself if I get so angry that Luke can’t even say what you just said without making it worse?

Today Me:  Two things: learn how to manage your anger so you don’t get to that point, AND stop expecting Luke to say what you’re already able to say to yourself. 

Younger Me:  That’s an interesting suggestion, I think… BUT, what about the fact that Luke is supposed to be the leader of our family?  He’s supposed to take charge!   Yet I barely ever see him. And, when I do, he’s usually cram-studying for a test he almost forgot about OR watching football like some teenager.  I don’t think he realizes he’s not a bachelor anymore. He has a wife who needs him!

Today Me:  I’m sorry, who did you say was leading the family again?

Younger Me:  Luke is supposed to. But God gives women more sensitive feelings, so they can be the barometers of the relationship.  My Marriage Barometer has been sensing problems for a long time now!  SOMETHING IS WRONG!

Today Me:  Oh, Honey, put all those marriage “enrichment” books in that file cabinet marked “T-R-A-S-H.”   An over-abundance of pop-psychology advice, disguised as biblical truth, only confuses you further and makes things WORSE.  Haven’t you noticed?

Younger Me:  Yeah, the books aren’t helping because Luke won’t read them! He doesn’t love me enough, and he’s not a strong enough leader to put in the effort!

Today Me:    No.  He won’t read them because he’s not the one who’s unhappy. And, as the leader of the family, he will decide what steps to take if/when he thinks it needs “enriched.”  The solution is simple.  (Not easy, but simple.)   Put yourself in Luke’s position and imagine being married to yourself.  Stop thinking about your needs long enough to remember that Luke needs a wife who is emotionally responsible. Then, treat him the way you would want to be treated. Look for ways to treat serve him.  Do this when you feel like it and when you don’t.

And, most importantly… (Are you listening? This is going to change your life.)  MOST IMPORTANTLY: when you have a yucky feeling crop up on that “marriage barometer” of yours, wait it out. JUST WAIT.

Younger Me:  Just wait?  As in, sit there feeling terrible and struggling under the surface, while Luke enjoys his football game?  You mean LIE to him if he asks what’s wrong???

Today Me:  Just. Wait. Don’t SAY anything.  Become a third-person observer of your feelings, like a weather man watching the clouds go past.   You will notice that the sun is covered; the atmosphere might begin to feel cold and rainy.  You may even acknowledge that you’re feeling unpleasant. But JUST WAIT! The clouds will move along again, all by themselves. You don’t have to do or say anything for the sun to return!

More to the point: stop blaming Luke for the rain.  Weather happens whether he’s “leading” the way you think he should or not, so stop looking for another person to blame…

Younger Me:  All of this just feels so crazy. What kind of stable human feels sad or angry or even a little “off” for no reason?  This is exactly why I said I must be crazy!

Today Me:  You mean what kind of human has complex and often contradictory feelings?  Uh…all of them.  Fear not. This isn’t pathological.  Furthermore, who said it was for “no reason?”  I said your feelings aren’t meant to be used to grade Luke’s leadership skills. I didn’t say your feelings are completely without purpose.

Younger Me:    But what in the world could be the purpose of giving me feelings that I’m not supposed to share with my husband?!

Today Me:  Ah, that’s something we can ponder together another day… You and I will have time to work on several ideas and theories, while we’re waiting for the sun to return.  Or sometimes even while the sun is still out!  We love to ponder. I hope you’ll come back again sometime so we can record more of our conversations.

Younger Me:  Right now, I’m feeling a little annoyed that my feelings are being invalidated. Honestly, I don’t feel like being cooperative…

Today Me:  Just wait.