My struggle to become a more sensitive man

Dear readers and even dearer fans,augieblackandwhite3

It causes me grief to concede that although close to 150 years have passed since Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association, women in the United States are still unable to walk down the street, or work out in a fitness club, without the unctuous bearing of men.

That’s not to say that one would wish for a separation of the sexes — far from it. But women everywhere should be able to go about their days without being obstructed by men. If you are female, you are likely nodding your head. If you are male, you are likely thinking, “obstruction? What obstruction?”

We men must mentally labor to put ourselves in the shoes of a woman, to imagine what it’s like to go about your day putting up with chatty cab drivers trying looking down your blouse, store clerks slyly caressing your hand as they give you change, or smelly fellows at the gym giving you unwanted advice about how to use the glute machine. These, my friends, are but a few of the impediments to which I referred above.

In 1848, Nathaniel Dubbles, my forebear and the founder of The Dandy Goat of New England, attended the Seneca Falls Convention, a monumental gathering of women who struggled be treated as equals. Although he was not welcome at the conference, he dressed himself as a woman, snuck in, and found a place in the back to quietly listen — and listen he did.

Nathaniel wrote several articles about Seneca Falls and the overbearing guilt he felt about having been born a man. “What one really wishes,” he wrote, “is that we [men] might forcefully deprive ourselves of the very sex into which we were born, thereby improving the lot of women every-where.”

Great-great-great-great grandfather, if only you could see us now! So far we have advanced. And how much farther we must go.

I don’t mean to boast, but since I came of age, I have found that I garner more furtive glances from women that my peers do. We might chalk this up to my fine manner of dress, or the clearness of my complexion. In any case, over the years, I became something of a letch, seeking out the attention of women in the most unsexual of circumstances. From smiling cheekily at a barista, to making jokes with a pretty young woman who bumps into me in the stairwell, I became like one of those Nathaniel Dubbles so despised: a testosterone-riddled obstruction to the free movement of women. My leering and light flirtations were nothing more than links in the chains.

Despite my commitment to the cause of gender equality, I found myself unable to completely regard women in a neutral or platonic light. A beautiful young lady wearing a crisp summer dress still garnered my attention. I vowed to change. Miserable were my days, slogging through the city, trying to avoid looking at females. I got so desperate that I began to stay cooped up in my penthouse studio all day long, and if I was compelled to venture out — for want of victuals or a new tweed jacket — I wrapped my head in a scarf, unable to see save for a small hole which allowed me a very narrow line of vision.

Feeling quite downtrodden by my despicable nature, I took a radical step to mitigate my own culpability: I decided to emasculate myself by undergoing testosterone-reduction therapy. If I couldn’t be an enlightened man, then I would make myself less of a man.

I began with natural methods to reduce my testosterone. I started eating tofu and I adopted a completely vegan diet, giving up all animal products, even poached eggs and chocolate milk, two items I have truly loved since I was a boy. I also halted going to the gym, substituting hours of yoga for my beloved weightlifting and boxing lessons. I found myself thinner and more easily fatigued, but no less inclined to cast my gaze over a woman’s bosom.

My next step was to obtain cyproterone acetate, an antiandrogen which my doctor friend swore would block my body from producing testosterone and other typically-male hormones. For weeks on end I took copious quantities, endangering my very life in the process.

Emaciated, weakened, depressed, and with my liver possibly damaged by overdosing on the antiandrogen, I went to the hospital. Dear readers, I am loath to tell you that upon arrival and before I could answer her questions, the attractive nurse who checked me had to first deal with my objectifying male gaze. I had lost the battle.

I am happy to report that I am now in fine health. I realize that equality will be more quickly attained not by depriving men of testosterone, but by dialoguing, and dialoguing more frequently. We need to speak with women, and we need to be better listeners. This is not always easy, I understand.

Fortunately, all across this fine nation, sensitivity seminars are being held. For a small fee, we men can take courses to learn how to better cope with our more odious ways — not a bad idea at all, I daresay.

Thank you for reading The Dandy Goat and I remain your humble servant,

Franklin J. Dubbles