Have you ever spoken to a man? Then you’ve been lied to. A few of us are Tony Soprano, with the thrilling disdain for everyone else but without the love of violence to get us to the top of the heap. In reality, that’s good news, because he’s a grim and weirdly sentimental psycopath. Worse though, is that the model we seem to want to go for is Don Draper. A lying womaniser with heaps of wit. Problem is, most of us are 21st century Draper knock-offs: petulant, charmless liars, failing at womanising with no sympathetic backstory, constantly waiting to be found out. We’re shit Pete Campbells.
In that first paragraph, I might have got my point across, but I’ve also used the modern conversational crutch: I’ve referenced supposedly sophisticated modern culture to look cool, intelligent and well informed. Really it’s lazy shorthand in a desperate attempt to get some credibility. Of course, there are times when you can quote things where it’s needed, and bring understanding to an argument. I, though, have never managed it.
Consider the lies you’ve told and the stories you’ve embellished to make you seem a little less tragic and a little more worldly
Just think of the times you’ve spoken to a woman at a party or on a date. If you’re anything like me, that will be about six times. But even if it’s more, and you think you’re a respectable man with a soul, consider the lies you’ve told and the stories you’ve embellished to make you seem a little less tragic and a little more worldly. If you’re a woman, listen to the next man in affected, horn-rimmed glasses talking to you, and you’ll hear variations of this:
'A Bout de Souffle. What a film, yeah? The way the man says that profound stuff to the girl? Yeah, the cinematography is famously groundbreaking. It's in black and white. It's always been regarded as one of the first films to dictate the terms of the nouvelle vague in the 1960s. It's not surprise that it was made in France. I love getting away to Paris, it's so much more relaxing. Oh yeah? No, I go all the time.
'I mean, sometimes you have to buy Le Monde, don't you? Just to find out what the more sophisticated cultures are saying, you know, get a break from British ways of thinking. The French newspapers afford so much more time to intellectualism; they'll happily devote an article to describing the difference between the notion of the state and the notion of democracy. You can tell the French aren't embarrassed to have an intellectual class.'
We're gutless shells of insecurity scoring points against one another, facilitated only by doubt and our desire to sleep with women
There's a reason why that painful nonsense gets aired every time half the world opens its mouth. It's the deceitful bobbins that any man is willing to say to appear approximately 800 times more intelligent, inquisitive, thoughtful and attractive than he is really is. The moment any man gives an opinion on, or offers to lend you a DVD, CD or book, shows you his favourite internet-based music playlist, links you to an obscure Youtube video that's from a three-year-old article in iD, or says, 'Yeah, I love Bottle Rocket, but you know, it was based on the previous short film he did. It's much better, I'll bring it in tomorrow for you,' is the moment he's acting out a petty head-jig of superiority. It’s that or rohypnol.
We're gutless shells of insecurity, scoring points against one another, facilitated only by doubt and our desire to sleep with women we think we're good enough for, but don't really like, and will muck around for two years. Ten million Patrick Batemans in checked shirts.
Imagine a man trying to talk to anyone, man or woman, not using cultural references to explain his own feelings or his own ideas, but finally communicating his own opinions in his own language. No Brent, no Peep Show, no Sonic Youth tracks, no lies, no powders, no absurd exaggeration of his own qualities or past achievements. It can't be done.
The subtext? I'm above all this: Women, please, love me, blow me.
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