The following is my Chapter 18. A roller coaster of events spanning over a measly three days that was originally intended to be a single post on an aspect of my life that has changed for the better. But with each day passing, my opinions rapidly alter and so a separate piece on that day (as is similar to each day) will be marked by a date in which I am speaking from. It’ll make more sense once you start reading. Or not. Who knows?
Monday, 1st August 2016
As a child of the 21st century, I’ve been brought up to regard everyone as equal; be it your gender, race, sex, or faith, and I have surrounded myself with people that are all different in their own special ways and special in their own different ways. Contrasting to the days of cultural racism and normative sexism, people like myself judge others based off of their experiences with them, and are doing it the old Christian way of ‘do to others as you would have them do to you.’ This means that people like me can be friends with pretty much anyone if they give them enough time and energy; regardless of your political, musical, dietary, or career choices.
However, there’s always been one type of person, one particular demographic that I purposefully avoid daily. This type of person is what I believe sociologists call the ‘hegemonic masculine’ (*correct me if I’m wrong Niamh*).
Coined by R.W Powell, the term ‘hegemonic masculinity’ defines a person, specifically a male, who practices dominance over others, specifically to women, in society. They’re an easy picture to paint: Imagine a 5’11 ft man down at his local watering hole, foamy drips of beer flowing down his five o’clock shadow and onto his Regatta gilet as he chortles a brutish laugh; sharing vivid stories of his latest sexual escapades with the wife whom he claimed to despise the day before. His humour is restricted to the bodily secretions made by the human body, the struggles of construction work, and friendly sounding insults known only as banter, all of which are justly enhanced by the occasional ‘C’ word thrown in every now and then.
Preferred career choices: Joinery, carpentry, plumbing, woodwork.
Picture painted? If not, refer to image for help.
I’ll now move on to the next type of masculinity which has been identified: The Subordinate Masculine – i.e. ME!
Apart from the corresponding set of XY chromosomes, the Subordinate Masculine (SO.M) has nothing in common with his hegemonic counterpart, which most males aim to identify as. In fact, there isn’t even a solid schema or stereotype in which they fit, not humorously that is, but I’ll give it a go:
Your typical SO.M is actually gay (though not in all instances); they display little to no signs of culture-bound masculinity and care little about doing so. They tend to care more about their appearance (clothes, hygiene, tidiness, etc.) in a similar way to their friends, most of whom are female or fellow subordinates. They hold no quandary or hesitation in acting in a camp, more feminine manner, and about expressing their emotions – something which is usually looked down upon amongst the more masculine lot. Those who aren’t gay are usually mistaken for, and assumed to be so, but this won’t hurt their feelings or result in a fist fight as much as it would do the hegemonic masculine.
Preferred career choices: Theatre, media, teaching, writing.
The only example I could think of is TV star and personal man-crush, Matthew Gray Gubler. I mean come on – not only is he holding a puppy, he looks like one himself.
Now that your sociology/art lesson is complete, I’ll get on with why I am writing this today. I recently acquired a job at my local tavern, a social breeding ground for the Hegemonic Masculine, and being around these people wasn’t something I had thought of when applying for the job, (money was probably in its place) and by the time I had finished my first shift today, I had been in close proximity to about a dozen men for over four hours, as they all talked a bunch of nonsense and competed for the manly air that was rife around them through excessive swearing and pats on each others backs. The same night, I went out with friends and, on my way home, I saw two similar looking men in front of me, and as I did, I realised that I had gained a new appreciation for men like this.
Now that I’ve witnessed their behaviour more intricately and in a more natural environment, I can regard their etiquette and exploits slightly differently. I realise that their humour, though layered in sarcasm and power-taking, is only done to people like me in a comedic manner that has no intention of making other parties, regardless of status or sex, feel uncomfortable or insulted. The jokes about their sexual endeavours, though difficult to appreciate or understand for a varied few, appears to hold its roots in a childish, adolescent origin, where social contexts like the one we shared that day, allow them a break from the more censored, respect-demanding world of business and public relations. I hope to learn more in the coming days; no doubt I will.
Tuesday, 3rd August 2016
F*CK THE HEGEMONIC MASCULINE. THOSE UNCIVILISED WEIRDS ARE ALL GROSS AND LOOK LIKE THEY SMELL OF SOMETHING IN A BARN.
FORGET EVERYTHING I SAID ABOUT THEIR “HUMOUR” , IT’S ALL JUST SEX, DEFECATION AND BAD METAPHORS. NOT ONCE DID I THINK THAT I WOULD MAKE A BEVERAGE THAT WOULD REFERRED TO AS “FLATTER THAN A WITCH’S TIT.”
WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!
When these types of men were created, they must have all been given really scary eyes, because I swear to God, some of these guys around my bar look like they’re imagining how I taste once cooked at a slow temperature. On top of this, most of them either possess a subtle, sinister smirk or an unimpressed, flat frown that dares you to even speak a word to them. Because of all this, I spent 5 hours an absolute nervous wreck whilst attempting to serve them mediocre pints of their favourite drink; and was even more embarrassed as I saw their disappointed faces look at the pathetic excuse of a drink made before them. Never have I felt more little and diminutive in my life.
And don’t get me started on their taste in beverage. I don’t know if anyone reading this (bless you for staying this far into it) has smelt beer, lager or ale, but I always end up with it all over my hands, and it actually smells like I’ve just urinated right onto them.
Wednesday, 4th August 2016
So….I may have over reacted yesterday. In my defence, it was my first evening working behind a busy bar. A bar that needed to quench the thirst of many needy men, and I wasn’t delivering. So it made me feel like crap. Like anyone, I don’t like being bad at tasks I’ve been given, but when the recipient of the bad product you’re creating them is right in front of you watching as their drink and your dignity falls flat, it is insanely distressing. So much went through my head in the 24 hours after that shift:
‘Am I cut out for bar work?’
‘Do I really need money?’
‘Do I get points for trying?’
All it took for me was to get right back into the deep end, practise some more with the kinder, more understanding regulars and before I knew it, I was pouring pints of whatever the crowds wanted with the ease and confidence that most bartenders exude whilst primed in their little corner of Hell.
It’s been a crazy week for me so far, and it’s only Thursday. Reading back, it’s funny to recall how different and desperate I was only 48 hours ago, and how much one’s confidence in oneself can skyrocket in time less than that. This may have seemed melodramatic, exaggerated, and even confusing for some of you who have read to this point, but I assure you that I what I have related this week on this innocent, unknowing part of the internet is nothing less of a true representation of what has been one of the craziest weeks of my life, and one that hopefully opens a new chapter in my life once this one closes.