ZeitBites: Beauty. Brains. Billionaires. And Anderson Cooper.

avoidanceI have to stop reading the news.

Avoidance has apparently always been my primary method of coping, although, true to form, I didn’t realize just how pathological my denial until the past few years. I took action, self-therapized and thought I had come to face some truths, had managed to correct my clinical escapism, only to discover I have – again – immersed myself in make-believe and blindness.

I’m not going to think about it. LOL. Which is what I do. Or, rather, don’t. For example, I haven’t turned on NPR or television news or picked up a paper or perused web-sources much in the past week because I can’t bear the deluge of CPAC reporting. Sadly, I was unable to avoid Sarah Palin’s exercise in Seussian copyright infringement, which is just the sort of thing I wanted NOT to see.

It disturbed me. As did a TEDxYouth Talk given by Caroline Heldman, the link to which was Tweeted by Betty Buckley. I love and adore Betty Buckley (Follow her HERE on TWITTER). She is kind beyond measure to her fans and followers, offering pleasant thank-yous and acknowledgments for our fan-Tweets. So, I click her links. Like this one (CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THE LINK) which leads to the talk referenced above, all about the culture of objectification:

There are a number of incredibly valid and disturbing points in this talk, but, too, it does those things I find disturbing about so much media and in the work of so many pundits and columnists and religionists and politicians: it uses absolutes and extremes and selective exampling and floating, nascent point-supporting statistics of unknown provenance to make its points – none of which I am arguing or disputing – because I haven’t researched them, but the USE of which – by ANYONE – make me tune out, or, at the very least, suspicious.

I don’t know how – as she claims – we see 5000 ads a day. If each ad is even five seconds long, that’s 25,000 seconds. I’m bad at math, but, 25,000 seconds equals 416 minutes, which equals almost 7 hours a day of “being exposed” to commercials. I don’t doubt that in the effort to monetize every activity in the entire world we are under constant bombardment – for example, I spend a lot of time rejecting ads in my Twitter feed and I left Facebook, in part, because of target marketing, and I can see that I am being marketed at on nearly every website I visit when ads for books or shows on which I once clicked show up – so, maybe, I guess, I am spending seven hours a day looking at ads, but, wow. I don’t spend seven hours a day total on line, tv, radio, so, I think not.

All of which obscures the point Caroline Heldman was making about the culture of objectification in which we live. But, that’s why I don’t trust ANY media. Why it’s difficult for me. This kind of detail catches my attention and the inner obfuscation begins and the larger point is missed because I’m so busy obsessing on some minor detail, and, VOILA, my life of AVOIDANCE.

And, here’s the thing, objectification is not only happening to women, it’s happening now to everyone. There are standards of “beauty” and physical perfection being promulgated which are virtually impossible to meet. My gym is FILLED with teen boys (and grown up men) trying to sculpt themselves into porno-looking guys.

Go on CraigsList or a dating site, or, hell, Facebook or Twitter or (name the social media site) and there it is: Proof. But I don’t think this can be blamed on media or tech. The aspirational curation of one’s image has been going on since time began; its delivery systems may have evolved and changed, but the phenomenon has ALWAYS existed. The media reflects US – the culture – not really the other way around, which is why I avoid so much of the media. When CPAC is a reflection of the culture, I would rather wait it out until the culture changes.Hiding

And it will, eventually. And I would like to think that SOME DAY I would be attractive to a huge cohort BECAUSE I have an I.Q. in the genius range and am well-read and erudite and witty and know about the Algonquin Round Table. But, uhm, I won’t hold my breath. The Algonquin was bought by Marriott, and check out the list of billionaires in the world and other than J.K.Rowling, not a lot of writers on there and certainly none whose oeuvre is serious literary fiction. But, uhm, as reported by Joe. My. God (CLICK HERE FOR HIS BLOG)., designer Michael Kors was added to the list this year. He sells beauty. Not brains. It’s made him a billionaire.

Me. I mean - Anderson Cooper.

Me. I mean – Anderson Cooper.

So, yes, objectification sucks. I know. I can’t look at myself in a mirror because I am not pretty enough. But before you start talking about destroying the paradigm for a new model, instead of supplying us with lots of facts and figures about what has been and is and the number of ads we see each day, you’d better have some realistic idea about what that new model of reality is going to be.

I’d love to live in a culture without mirrors, where my I.Q. made me a catch on the level of Brad Pitt or George Clooney . . . but, like I said, not gonna hold my breath. And so, until then, guess I’ll keep lying about my age and my weight and using a modified Anderson Cooper shot as my “pic” – yeah, that’s right. What? At least he’s smart.

Zeit-Bites: Who’s been sleeping in my bed? No one. Whose bed have I been sleeping in? EVERYONE’S.

Call me Goldilocks. Always sleeping in someone else’s bed. No, not like that. I mean house-sitting. And when I’m house-sitting I sit alone and sleep alone. Actually, I pretty much always sleep alone. When I’m in a bed with someone it isn’t usually – ever – about sleeping so much. In any event, the point is – was – somewhere – I have been sleeping in some pretty beautiful places – alone, of course – and wishing I had my OWN place like these to which I might some day invite someone – which is another long, sad story – but, the point is – I can’t invite people to OTHER people’s houses. So, I enjoy these nights in these rooms made from love – like these below:

benton-chase bath 1 benton-chase bath 3 benton-chase bed 2Yeah, Goldilocks indeed. Or, well, once upon a time I  might have been called that, when I had long locks and they were gold. Now, I keep my hair cropped short in a misguided and failed attempt to approach Anderson Cooper/Andy Cohen gay-zeit-status. Not going as well as I’d hoped. Perhaps it’s not the haircut but the television platform and personal trainer that make the man? I’ve been thinking a great deal about what it is that attracts people and what particular combination of things I am missing. For years I worried about my gaypeal being low because the only organ I had that was oversized was my brain. Not alone in that fear:

However, Patrick, you should maybe trick with a couple of guys, because it has been my experience the experience of a friend that tricking guys during moments of passion will frequently tell you – when their mouths are not full, or, semi-full anyway – that your balls are huge or your dick is thick or big when I my friend knows perfectly well that is not really the case. But, then again, that would be another documentary since Patrick is, it seems, straight. A label that I my friend can tell you from experience does not really apply as much as many purportedly heterosexual men would insist in public. And I am not alone in wondering why.

Speaking of popular words on gay-hookup sites, what the fuck? Having read a lot of posts on various sites I my friend has gotten disgusted with all the “isms” used to pre-filter responses. The admonitions of “No Blacks” or “No Fats” or “No Old Guys” or “Asians Only” or “8+ only” or – my his FAVORITE – “MASCULINE ONLY” or “STRAIGHT GUYS EXPERIMENTING ONLY” – and other equally ludicrous exercises in label-mania which extend to demands for qualifications hilariously unlikely to EVER be met from fellows RIDICULOUSLY un-situated to REQUEST such things – to outright, blatant ageist, racist, bodyist, homophobic, self-hating bullshit – so vile and so foul it has made me my friend abandon the sites – even as a source of amusement.

Maybe I’m on the wrong sites?

Here’s Kenneth Walsh’s (my pretend buddy) article about Grindr vs Jack’d (CLICK HERE) and here’s the article at the Fortune site to which he linked about this new hook-up app (CLICK HERE). And here is the Jack’d site (CLICK HERE).

Goldilocks . . . once upon a time

Goldilocks . . . once upon a time

So, where was I and why did I write this? Oh, right, I’m Golidlocks-ing, sleeping around – ALONE – in other people’s homes and burnt out by the quest for company and affection in which I have my friend has been engaged for the past while. I wonder if I’d known when I was more Golidlocks what I know now – what I might have done differently? But, that’s not REALLY the question, is it? No. The question bothering me is what do I do now? What does “alone” really mean? Because in some very fundamental, basic ways I have been “alone” for all of my life. There is no one now and there has been no one for a very long time with whom I could share the “most” of me, the “least” of me, the “best” of me, and the “worst” of me – let alone the “short” and the “thick” of me. And for years, I was deluded and deceived (for which I have only myself to thank) into thinking I could share parts of me, could share my dreams, could believe my back was had  – if not rubbed – because, let’s face it, I’ve always been the one doing the rubbing. But if they did have my back, it was only because they wanted unfettered access when it came time to stab me in it. Still have the scars.

Enough. Blah blah blah with the self pitying shit, Goldilocks. Time to find what I want for me and what I want is someone who can share with me my most least best worst short and thick without ism’s or ist’s and DAMMIT TO HELL I want no beds or hearts too hard too soft or too anything else BUT INSTEAD FOR ONCE IN MY FUCKING LIFE LET ME HAVE SOMETHING “JUST RIGHT”.

Happy weekend.