Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Beef With The Beefcake

I see them on Facebook quite a bit, they’re lighting up the Twittersphere and quite visible in pop culture: Magic Mike and Fifty Shades of Grey.

Before diving in, a couple points of clarification: I’ve got no problem with the man Mike – never met him, from what I’ve read he seems to be a decent guy; probably someone you’d want to get a beer with.  Of course, Mike is a fictitious character in a movie played by the actor Channing Tatum.  I’ve got no beef with him – I’ve enjoyed some of his other movie roles, he seems like a good guy, and I’d be happy to buy him a pint and talk about life.

Steven Soderbergh – director of the film – no real beef with him either.  I liked his version of Ocean’s Eleven as well as Traffic and Erin Brockovich.  He’s a director with vision and I hope to emulate his success as a filmmaker someday.

E L James – author of Fifty Shades of Grey; never met the woman; obviously a successful author as well as mother.  I also hope to be a successful author someday and have a family.

So, what is my problem?  My problem is witnessing and hearing about women, especially married women, swooning over and getting ridiculous about this movie and this book.  I see it in my Facebook news feed, I see it on Twitter, I hear about it on TV, I read about it on the internet and I think, “Man, their husbands must feel like the lowest possible grade pieces of crap on the planet.”  If they don’t, there’s something far worse wrong with that marriage than the wife getting her jollies off on what amounts basically to porn.

“But guys do it all the time and make us feel like the lowest-grade pieces of crap on the planet,” says the voice of reasonable females.  “Why can’t we have some fun?”

At this point – shucks, long before this point – it’s quite easy to start pointing fingers.  But there’s really “no point in pointing fingers unless you’re pointing to the truth.”

This issue could be pared down to simply a matter of the shoe being on the other foot.  To that I say, “Guys?  Men?  Why am I, a single guy, a serial-dater speaking out about this and not any of you married folk?”  Is it just a matter of developing the stones to speak up to your spouse?  I’m sure it is easier for me to say rather than someone who is engaged in such a relationship because I don’t live with anyone else.  However, I think the main reason it may be more difficult for men to speak up about it is:

Guilt.  Generally speaking, men indulge in porn.  A LOT.  Trust me, I know – I’m a man and I have partaken more than I’d ever care to admit.  Suffice to reiterate the aforementioned, emboldened and now italicized A LOT.  Shucks, let’s throw an underscore in there too – A LOT

So who am I, who is any man to speak up and against this issue?  It’s harmless anyway, right?  It’s just you, the website/magazine and some free time.  Well…no, not really.  It creates false impressions of what sexual intimacy is supposed to be like.  You hold those impressions and resulting expectations up to your spouse and you’re going to be disappointed every time.

For me, that’s been a significant contributor to every failed relationship I’ve been involved in.  Another way of saying that is “for every relationship I’ve been involved in” (I mean, duh, if any of them had been successful I wouldn’t be single – unless I was a widower – but that’s beside the point).

Porn is such a contributor to failed relationships as drunkenness is to stupid decisions (“Nah, we don’t need a condom”/”That 395-lb. kung-fu master? I can take him”/”Maybe if I hit you hard enough you’ll learn to love me”).

Am I hitting any marks here or did I take my Crazy Pills instead of my Claritin this morning?  Am I just talking out of my butt or out of truth?

Very simply put, I say to myself and my brothers – stop getting off online and just get off the line.  Porn doesn’t make us more manly, it turns us into useless lumps of bread. 

You fought for that woman’s affections before – what happened?  Think about it.  Need help?  Of course we do!  We’re not alpha males but we are the main men in our women’s lives (or should be).  Team up, encourage each other, be accountable to each other, pray for each other – help each other.

That idea about being able to handle everything on our own? That’s a freakin’ lie.  If that was true there’d be no such thing as wingmen, partners in crime, or anybody else ever.  We are social creatures meant for friendship, fellowship and relationship. 

Think about it people – anyone can have a bunch of people they’d party with, but how many people would you go with to the funeral of a loved one?  How many people would you trust to the point you could bare your soul to them (the idea is that the number of people should be diminishing)?  And to how many people should you bare your body?

And again…I say this with no judgment or pointed fingers; for with every word I speak and point to myself.  I know what it’s like to break hearts and to have my heart broken the morning after; it’s no way to live.

Wives, let your husbands be the husband.  Let him be the man in your life.  What did you first see in him that made you fall in love with him and decide to spend the rest of your life with him?  Think about it.  Don’t just complain about your idiot husband to your friends – ask for help in ways to encourage him in being a better man, in being the man you originally fell in love with.

Don’t compare your spouse to some ideal our culture puts out and then find an endless amount of faults – you can find plenty of those without any help as we are all human and thus, inherently, beautifully flawed.

Think back and remember why you love.  Think back and remember what it was like when you first realized you were loved.  Realize mistakes and disappointments will abound and remember you committed yourself to your spouse for better or for worse, to grit your teeth and work through every issue in love and understanding, and God-given patience (He gives if you ask). 

If I was married and my wife started going cuckoo for Magic Mike or otherwise escaping into erotica I’d straight up ask, “Honey, what’s the deal?  What am I missing here that’s causing you to miss something?  Let’s talk,” and I’d text my buds asking for prayers for wisdom.

…yes…  Talk.

Talk, listen, pray, act…


And then, from what I hear, among the struggles and toils, you'll have some of the greatest times of your life ever making it all worth it.  Married people, can I get a witness?


What about singles?  Save ‘em for the stripper’s thong or for something else?  To be addressed in a future post.

In the meantime, some resources:

On sex and how it’s handled:

On porn and some ways to handle it:

On fatherood:

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