Not Why, When

If anyone were to ever ask me why I love M., I couldn’t give them an answer because there is no “why”.

That lack of why is probably a big part of it, because, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am very much a “why” person. Why’s matter to me, more than just about anything, and the fact that I am able to accept the love between us absent the “why” is what tells me that the love is the real deal.

Not to mention he’s one of the best human beings I know.

If you were to ask me why I admire M., that answer is a little easier to articulate. His positive traits are numerous beyond counting, true, but there are a few that stand out to where a top ten list wouldn’t take terribly long to compile. Though, really, the list would change order depending on the day. Some days, his sense of humor is at the top of the charts; other days– well, he does love a pun.

Today, what tops the list is his ability to not only understand my frustrations with the world, but his ability to help soothe those frustrations without diminishing or dismissing the fact that I feel frustrated. He gets that my frustration, even when it is with a demographic that he might a part of, is not directed AT him, or at anyone in particular, and so he doesn’t try to manage it. He lets it be while it passes and hugs me until it does.

This is important.

This is very important.

This is very, very important because, rather than taking ownership of my feelings of “something’s wrong” (and by dint of that trying to take ownership of me) and acting as if I am saying “something is wrong with him” or “You are doing something wrong”, he takes my feelings of “something is wrong” and lets them be as they are.

He accepts that I can think something is wrong and NOT make it about him. This makes talking about the feelings of “something’s wrong” an exercise in solving problems as opposed to unnecessary attempts at fixing someone who is somehow “broken”.

This needs to happen more often, because until it does, we are going to continue to be a society incapable of fixing problems because many of its people are too self-absorbed to distinguish “a problem that exists” from “their problem”.

Which means they also can’t distinguish “their problem” from “a problem that exists”.

A few days ago, we got to see exactly where that leads. Again.

A young man near Santa Barbara killed six people because women wouldn’t sleep with him. There were other reasons he cited, but what it boils down to is that he felt entitled to sex and wasn’t getting it. He was mad because he felt he was owed something and decided to take it out on the world that he felt denied him his due.

What resulted from this inability to realize that his problem was his problem and not a problem with other people was an unspeakable tragedy doled out at the point of a knife and the barrel of a gun. The response that a number of people have had to it, however, has surpassed that insanity by leaps and bounds. For the record, anyone who thinks that going on a killing spree is an ”understandable” reaction to women having no sexual or romantic interest in a guy (as some commenters stated some variation of) is themselves emotionally unstable. Anyone who thinks that the killer’s “manifesto” is anything more than a narcissistic exercise in victim-blaming is empathizing with a violent, manipulative misogynist. And while he can say that all he wanted was a girl to have sex with him, what would have happened to that girl if she had slept with him, or dated him and later decided to break it off with him? If the charge is that he was “mentally ill” or, more specifically, a “psycho”, what reasonable person would advocate that a woman should have willingly put herself in harm’s way to have kept this all from happening? And if a person does advocate for it, would they volunteer their sister or daughter for the task?

While many seem to write these types of incidents off as isolated and the work of a lone bad actor, one could also write off the fact that the sun rises every day as a prolonged set of isolated incidents as well. And while these individuals acted out of their individual problems, there is clearly a pattern emerging. The acts of violence perpetrated by individuals who believe themselves to be “privileged therefore entitled” are expressions of the larger societal problem.

But, it’s a pattern we can’t talk about because the second anyone suggests that maybe there is something wrong with a society that conditions its members to think of one half of the human race as some “thing” that the other half is entitled to use for its own pleasure or comfort, they are accused of “man bashing” and being “man haters”.

Think about that for a moment: The second we start talking about the society that produces misogynists who objectify, harass and do violence to women in order to assert control and social dominance, we are accused of hating men.

Let me say that again: The second we start to question the nature of our society, we are responded to as if we are speaking badly of men.

In other words, we are not being afforded the opportunity to discuss society’s ills without it being turned into a conversation about the men in it, by some of the men in it. We cannot point to a problem or say there are things going wrong without it being characterized as an attack on men, often by the very people who argue against the notion that our society is a patriarchy that favors the possessors of penises.

I can’t be the only one who sees the irony.

I can’t be the only one who sees something very wrong with suggesting that women fuck a narcissistic asshole just because he thinks having a penis is all the reason he needs to be given sex on demand.

I can’t be the only one who sees something deeply disturbing about the idea that some people seem to think that it is a woman’s responsibility to have sex with a guy if it prevents things like this from happening, rather than it being the killer’s responsibility to get a fucking grip on himself and, I don’t know, not kill people.

I can’t be the only person who thinks that a person is ultimately responsible for their own emotional state, and that the gunman’s need to blame others for his inability to take responsibility for himself might be why no one wanted to date him.

I know I am not the only one, because M. thinks these things, too. And so do a number of other people who sees this killer for exactly what he was: one of the worst examples of a human being you could possibly imagine. Anyone who sees someone to be pitied, empathized with or admired is a quite probably a very good candidate for the next expression of a very disturbing pattern.

And even if we don’t know when it will happen next, we’ll all know exactly why.