Like so many emerging writers, I spend Sunday mornings answering fan mail:
I’m afraid I don't have a real answer, because your message is not about my essay. What you summarized as "the gist" is not at all the gist of what I wrote.
If you think the plight of the Western man should be more appreciated in the media, I suggest you write your own essay. Hours of work to be fair to nuance will net you about $150 and pissy messages from angry people who cannot read. Not for everyone, essays.
Personally, I’ve no experience with evil women who screw over well-meaning men. The exposure of gold diggers may be a worthwhile topic – they’re no angels, you see – but myself I’m not interested so please leave me alone.
Soon I scanned his reply, like a nervous boxer checking enemy brawn. Walter jabbed hard – he had reread my piece condemning American men chasing Asian women – but then sighed about his marriage without benefits, a point I filed coldly away under ‘weakness.’ I could take him on, I realized. I am proud of my agile positioning, unburdened by the needs of identity that give other men so much to prove. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee full of woke. Jeez, that word, what an irritant.
I ignored ‘grievance pimp’ and ‘man traitor hack piling on,’ but I was clipped unawares when he called me a ‘cuck,’ which a quick online check showed to mean ‘an unmanly man desperate for approval from women.’
Eat shit, Walter.
Hi there again,
I understand if you feel men are besieged. Because we are – by people who’ve gotten shafted for generations. So you can cling to your John Wayne DVD collection and dream of the good old days (email@example.com – really?) or you can man up and share the room.
This of course invited escalation, the simplest way to proceed. After rounds of fierce combat, however, the venom became routine and we merely showed up for work. ‘End the stupid,’ exhorted my wife, who had been updated on developments save for the stupid part with the cuck. I told Walter I would stop responding: Getting bored here, moving on.
But then, lulled by a false sense of safety, one day the enemy slipped. Keep the wifey happy, he snarled. And good luck with your $150 articles.
I made an ugly face, seeing the opening. It was like the moment in Star Wars, when your spacecraft crosshairs have the death star’s thermal exhaust port at last where you need it. Your face set with bitter gravitas, you push ‘send’ on the message, unleashing a powerful thing that destroys. You sink back in your chair orgasmically, knowing how much this will hurt.
I like my $150 articles, thank you.
Good luck with that marriage without benefits.
You get to know a man when you fight him, to where both of you understand when a blow is decisive. One staggers, shocked by the cruelty of a god that allows bitch slaps to happen, then slumps to the ground with a terrible thud. A moment of awe, a stunned, atavistic silence. After that, if the defeated man is still alive, he goes mean like a wounded raccoon.
It was key now to ghost him, to ignore red meat titled ‘Berkley libtard’ or ‘new gig as a fluffer?’ which came in a salvo of growing despair. My indifference signaled to Walt it was over: own the silence, you own the exchange. His job was to go away, and indeed, soon the messages ceased.
As I am working on a new essay that may land unseen blows, I imagine Walter out there, nursing a gaping wound as he cranks up his modem, watching for my next step. It feels good to have won. No more need to keep checking my messages and worrying what I might find, no need for disturbing dreams of meeting Walter in a dark alley. It is silly to envision breaking his face, just for saying I kiss up to women.