Just in case you try to avoid these things, this post is about the brouhaha over the weekend about a very rude comment at NIT. In case you were away this weekend, on Friday, Brittney posted a video of Pink Kitty dancing gracefully and beautifully. The very first comment was by some jackass who calls himself “wintermute”:
Skip it, dudes. Another blogging whale.
Some chose to view the issue through the prism of gender politics, some with self-reflection, some with personal knowledge of the offender. There was also a great discussion at B’s about whether Brittney should have deleted the comment. Me? I will tend to fall more along the “self-reflection” side, because that’s what I do. I think my thoughts might be rather meandering on the subject, but please stick with me.
Let me preface by saying that Pink Kitty is hot. I hope saying so doesn’t offend her, but I think it’s important to this discussion. I can’t fully say what I’d like to say about her, because I’m a happily married man. But since we’re going to be discussing “attractive” and “unattractive”, I have to let you know that, in my mind, Pink Kitty falls under the “attractive” column. That means that when I speak of “unattractive”, I am NOT speaking of Pink Kitty, even though her video is what what sparked the whole discussion.
Being a Nashvillian, I was shocked by the brazen rudeness of the comment. Here in Music City, we have a certain way about us. In private, we can be just as abrupt, backbiting, snarky and mean as anyone else, but there is a certain orthodoxy here that demands civility in public. It’s actually unique; I haven’t seen the same attitude in cities like Philadelphia or Boston. In most other cities, you say what’s on your mind. Not here, though.
Those kind of things just aren’t said. And (here’s where I get in trouble with Aunt B), especially to/about a woman. There, I said it. I know it’s sexist, I know it’s patronizing, but it’s just the way I am. Insult the appearance of a man, and I’ll write you off and buy the offended man a beer. Insult the appearance of a woman, and I’ll make sure you never do it again. I ain’t the most hardened physical specimen on earth, but somebody’s gonna get hurt.
And isn’t that the way with society overall? Anybody ever seen Beauty and the Geek? Do you think there’s any chance in Hades they produce that show with nerdy, unattractive women? That just isn’t done. There was a controversy when Ugly Betty first aired, mostly because the very subject of the show was (supposedly) a woman’s unattractiveness. From what I’ve seen, it’s OK to acknowledge publicly that a man isn’t attractive, but never a woman. And, although I think it’s the height of rudeness to negatively comment on anyone’s appearance, I agree with the nuances of that mindset.
Wintermute, if you’re reading this (something tells me you are, I’m guessing you love the attention), I have some advice for you. I’ve lived a few years now, so I think I’ve earned that right. I’ve collected a pretty large number of friends over the years; no matter what “the world” says to them, I make sure that they know they are safe and loved within the bounds of our friendship. No judgement, no qualifications. Each is a unique individual, worthy of love and friendship. For this, I have been blessed beyond measure with companionship and camaraderie.
I’ve also varied between being “attractive” and “unattractive”. I’ll be honest with you, attractive is a lot more fun. But let me tell you, “attractive” is fleeting. No matter how we work out, hire surgeons, eat right – time will have its way with us. There will come a day when “attractive” is beyond your grasp. This is the time when you cash in your chips, or go home. This is the time you will need the love of all those people you have encountered. You either held them close to your bosom, or you pushed them away. When “attractive” no longer works for you, this is when all those people will return the favor.