Sorry, But Being a Pretty Man Isn’t Enough

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A group of veterans is trekking 13 miles with 22 kilograms of weight on their backs to bring about awareness for the many lives of veterans lost to suicide each day. They are, of course, wearing very little. This is problematic, not because they don’t look great, but perhaps because they do look great.

This march is no doubt for a good cause, but I’m not entirely sure what a bunch of bepantied male model quality men have to do with suicide. Something about this just kind of comes across as less of an effort for the greater good and more so an exercise in vanity. It sort of trivializes the trauma that the men and women that have taken their own lives have been through, and sort of seems like an insult to the loved ones left behind. I mean, just look at the headline on Buzzfeed: “A Group Of Hot Veterans Is Marching In Short Shorts To Raise Awareness About Suicide” There are layers and layers of messed up in that string of words. What are they doing that helps? Are they raising money? Are they volunteering to help the victims’ families in any way? Not that we know of. All we know is that they’re parading around town showing off their buff bodies. It’s not much different than this.

Retired Marine Captain Donny O’Malley put the whole thing together, and claimed that it was also to bring fellow veterans closer to one another. “[The event is being held] to get veterans and our supporters together, to put weight on our backs and feel nostalgic, to laugh, to drink, to party, and remind us all that our camaraderie and brotherhood will never die.” That’s fine. Have a party. Remember shit. Feel all at one with each other and life. But the families and friends left behind aren’t partying. They’re grieving. There will always be a pain, a loneliness that will never go away. To treat their losses as an excuse to get wasted and laugh feels like poor taste.

It seems half-assed, too. There’s a picture he posted of him pulling the symbolic weighted bags on a cart with the caption: “What? My back hurts! I don’t wanna carry that heavy ass shit!” So not only is the whole shabang an act of thinly-veiled narcissism, but you can’t even be bothered to actually carry the shit like you said you would? Why bother doing it at all if you don’t take it seriously? Just stay home if it’s that much trouble.

Also, just to be clear, I don’t care that they want to show off their pretty bodies. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. I personally don’t find that kind of body attractive myself, but obviously a lot of people do, so go ahead and show off. March down the street with signs that say “We’re Hot & You’re Probably Not.” I don’t care. But don’t try to convince me that what you’re doing is something noble, something to be applauded, that you’re some kind of hero to the millions of veterans who killed themselves.

Another thing: I’m a rabid feminist. I don’t personally care for how men sometimes are treated on certain websites because they look good naked, but I don’t think it’s as pressing of an issue as the objectification of women in our culture. When men are being shown in a sexual light, they’re usually still presented in some sort of authoritative position of power and control, whereas women are contorted and distorted to submit and shrink away. So I’m not one of those little babies who frequents Buzzfeed articles and feels the need to make comments like “Imagine if this were a woman in these pictures. People would cry sexism! Hypocrites!”

Of course, with that being said I don’t personally like how men are sexualized, but it’s mainly because I’m not a very visual nor physical person. I don’t like how our culture puts such a weight on looks, but I don’t think it’s the same for men as it is for women. When a woman is conventionally attractive, it’s often referred to as her most important attribute. “Hold on to it. It’s the best thing you’ve got.” When a man is conventionally attractive, he’s not usually told it outright. Instead, he’s praised and loved and told all his life how smart, how talented, how important he is. Just as there is white privilege, male privilege, and straight privilege, there is pretty man privilege. You don’t know how many times I’ve witnessed straight women and gay men fawn over some cute guy like he’s God on earth. “You’re taking French AND German? Wow! You’re soooo smart. Isn’t he soooo smart, Bryson?” No, not necessarily. Just because he’s taking two beginner’s language courses doesn’t mean that that’s a good idea, or that he’ll pass both of them. But it doesn’t matter. He’s cute, so he must be special.

Which of course brings me to the vanity of this whole thing. The assumption that they’re all helping by doing this, that by the grace of their thunder thighs lives are being saved and the world is being changed offends me. I’m sorry, but being fine isn’t enough, nor should it ever be. You need to do more. Still want to show off your abs and glutes? Do a nude benefit calendar. Do something other than run around half naked and get drunk. Or do that, but not under the guise that you’re helping anyone by doing so.

I’m a Hypocrite

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It’s been over a year since my first and last post. Not that anyone read it. I’m not being bitter, just honest. No one cared. That’s fine. They shouldn’t have. I was all angsty and bitter, and despite being nineteen years of age at the time I came across as one of those crotchety old fuddy duddies who prattles on and on about “millenials” and all that horseshit. “You kids are all so self-centered! This country’s gone down the toilet! I ruined the economy! Why don’t they make beds like they used to? I tip horribly!”

But that post was not only long-winded, it was also bullshit because….

*drumroll*

I’M ON TWITTER NOW! WOOOOOO!

*no applause*

Yeah, I know. After such a spiel you’d think I’d stick to my guns and rot in a corner alongside Martha and Gretchen down at St. Paul’s Nursing Home. You probably even wanted me to, seeing as I was damning your kind to hell and back for doing what I did at one point throughout high school and am now doing again. But let me tell you: I’m better at it than you. Witness the wit and wisdom of the dark crevasses of my mind in action with tweets like this:

Ever wonder how I’m feeling at any given time or place? Now you don’t have to! Check this shit out:

I’m also rather gifted in quickfire witticisms whenever I, on the rare occasion, interact with another human being. Watch and learn, young lion.

I’m so good at this, it’s no wonder I have a whopping thirty followers. Wowie zowie!

No in all seriousness I know I’m a hypocrite. I’m self-aware enough to know that I’m no better than you. Not only am I on social media now but I’m also just as illiterate and narcissistic as the next person (aside from the shit toilet girl, who I’ll get to in just a moment.)

That moment is right now. I will make no apologies for being disgusted not only with her but with humanity upon seeing such a thing. There is no excuse for showing us that, and the assumption that we would want to see it offends me even more. Still, after over a year has passed, I still hate that girl. But I’ve learned that one extreme case doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re all that bad.

Here’s a little analogy for you: You know when you’re sick with the flu and you throw up bologna in the bathtub, and it’s such an unpleasant experience that you swear off bologna forever? But then several years later you revisit bologna and realize it isn’t that bad? It’s like that. I’ve realized that I made a rash decision by damning everyone who uses social media, but can you blame me after seeing something like that? I mean, how would you respond? I mean, really? Would the idea that social media is a disgrace to humanity not somehow cross your mind? So I’ve taken time off, come back, and found that the bologna isn’t so bad after all. But I make no apologies.

I Exist Only

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Hello. My name is Bryson Miguel. I am an individual who likes certain things and dislikes other certain things. Certain foods, people, movies, songs, television shows, plays, books, clothes, fragrances, pieces of furniture, words, phrases, and methods of passive aggressive emotional torture fall into the category of things that I do like, but more often than not certain foods, people, movies, songs, television shows, plays, books, clothes, fragrances, pieces of furniture, words, phrases, and methods of passive aggressive emotional torture fall into the category of things I do not like.

I am not a happy person, except for when I am which is more often than you would think unless you did at first assume that I am a cheery soul in which case you may be disappointed. I am simultaneously a hopeless romantic and a hopeful cynic. By this I do mean that I tend to hope for mildly bad things to happen to people enjoying the aesthetically pleasurable but fleeting moments of life. The idea of a sudden rain shower or a cloud of dust enveloping two star-crossed lovers having a picnic atop an Eden-esque hill is quite thrilling, for that is the nature of life. You please yourself and thus a small doom is presented, usually in the form of your mother’s disapproving words of your bad boy boyfriend, or your really sweet boyfriend if you’re gay and she doesn’t agree with that because it’s not “God’s natural way” or whatever. But it doesn’t matter as much as we want it to. All good things come to an end. You can’t always get what you want. The grass is always greener on the other side. Nothing lasts forever. Except fucking Family Guy. Ugh. That piece of shit needs to end. Now.

I decided to display these aspects of myself largely on a whim, after thinking for many years what I could do to change the world. I came to some dramatic conclusions to my predicament, and ultimately ruled out all but one. This blog is not it. This is me mindlessly shooting my ideas and words out into the abyss and assuming no one will care. This assumption can be dangerous, but not as dangerous as the assumption that everyone will care. This school of thought is largely more prominent on social media than blogs. Blogs are what middle-aged adults do to please themselves and the few others who stick to reading blogs because it’s “vintage” or something. Gone are the days when idiotic and narcissistic people have blogs. Only the mildly-intelligent and self-absorbed have them now. The Vanity Fools of Today turn to methods that require less effort and time. They spew their drivel out into the world expecting it to be considered interesting by all who see it, without any consideration of the ramifications for the misspelled and grammatically-incorrect public display of such personal and boring details. When your children grow up they will not appreciate the fact that you posted pictures of their potty training escapades or teeny-tiny infant genitalia with the caption “jus changin diapr. lol. its so littl.” They will resent you for this. They will plot your doom and even contemplate posting the same kinds of pictures of you online when you are in an elderly state of incontinence and your genitals have shriveled up to a relatively similar size of an infant’s.

The worst example I ever encountered was something I heard about secondhand recently. My mother is still quite active on social media but regularly complains about it. She often divulges in a certain coworker’s habit of posting every little detail of her life twenty-four hours a day, claiming her to be the “most self-obsessed person I have ever known.” I thought she was exaggerating at first, until I witnessed the holy terror that was her homepage. This is a girl who was so involved in her own life, no not even her life, her fancies, that she didn’t understand common human decency.

For starters, she is currently planning her upcoming wedding. She is busy, which is to be expected. She decides to enroll in a four-week online college course as well. She spends her days posting links to junk-journalism, pictures of wedding things, photos of home improvement for their house they just bought, and general shots of her being her (i.e. posing with a stuffed animal, sitting on a log, drinking coffee in the morning). This is what she spends almost ALL of her time doing. Posting shit. Twenty-four hours a day.

In the middle of this hard work she decides to take a lovely vacation, simply because she feels like it. She comes back completely flabbergasted at the fact that she did, in fact, have to actually do online schoolwork more than once a week. “I can’t believe this! I’m so behind now that I got back from Monaco or whatever and didn’t do any work while on vacation! This is ridiculous. An online course should not be this demanding. I am outraged!”

Annoyingly entitled and ignorant, but still in a way forgivable, I thought at first. Then my mother continued to scroll through this girl’s page. The aforementioned photos of home improvement were really piling up.

“Jus washed these windows! :P”

“Jus spray-painted the vent.”

“Jus dusted! LOL”

Completely irritating and uninteresting, but not so narcissistic that I am now questioning my faith. But then I saw it, the grandest exercise in grotesquerie I have ever seen in a place that was not asking for it: a before and after photo of a dirty toilet being cleaned.

You may have some questions. Let me answer them for you.

How dirty?

Heaping loads dirty.

What kind of dirty?

What do you think? Lawn mower oil and sand? Animal cracker crumbs? Dog hair? BBQ sauce? No. It’s a toilet. A dirty toilet. Poop. Explosive, diarrhetic, dried, brown shit stains that appear to be climbing up the curve of the bowl to get you. Her presentation of this?

“Time 2 clean the toilet. lol.” with a shot of her holding a toilet brush. She then posted a picture of the clean toilet, but this healed no wounds.

My mother, a master of snark and negativity whom I love and admire beyond condition, had to restrain herself at first. This is a coworker of hers, and obviously hateful remarks will lead her down a road of regret. One day later, she couldn’t help herself, but was at a less fury-filled state and her disapproval was more subtle and clever than it would have been in the moment. She simply and publicly informed her of the business at hand with this comment on the clean toilet picture:

“I’m sorry, but I will no longer be following your toilet.”

Obvious but not blatant, tactful but not confusing, I thought when she showed me. I figured anyone with half of a brain would understand the implications of this message and considering that this girl is constantly bragging about what a high GPA she had (I assume the past tense now, you know, because of the obvious) she’s not exactly stupid. I was, I think, wrong in some way, for this was her response:

“huh?”

Absolutely no self-awareness whatsoever. None. So completely wrapped up in her own life that she doesn’t understand that people don’t think she’s just so damn beautiful and fascinating that photographic proof of her cleaning a filthy toilet is a totally cool thing to make us all look at.

I have no screenshots of this for many reasons, the main one being that I don’t really have any desire to look at old, crusty fecal matter again any time soon, so I’m sorry I bare no visual proof of this. But this is not some joke or modern-day fable I have concocted. This is the real life of the Vanity Fools of Today, and I just might think that this girl is their Queen.

I feel that I need to clarify some information of the Vanity Fools of Today. They are not narcissistic and useless because of social media and smartphones. Human nature has not changed that much over such a short span of time. They, in their hearts and minds, are no different than the Vanity Fools of Yore. The only difference between the two of them is that the Vanity Fools of Today have the means to stroke that swollen ego with these revolutionary outlets. The Vanity Fools of Yore bore this not, therefore we heard much less of it. The same with crime rates in America. People believe crime is at an all time high, but it has actually dropped significantly since the ’90s. The only reason it feels like there’s more is because we hear about it all the damn time. There probably were heaping loads of people who thought their dirty toilet cleaning was fascinating, but they hadn’t the means to make that thought public. Now they do. The girl would be a very similar girl thirty years ago, and I would be a very similar person thirty years ago as well. Modern technology doesn’t turn you into the worst thing ever, but it doesn’t help if you already are.

This is why I haven’t actually used any kind of social media for a very long time. It’s boring as shit and not worth it. The only way to fit in is to project every little useless detail of your life and assume that everyone will care. For me this was exhausting. I don’t want to share what I just ate and watched and thought and breathed with all of the friendly-type people in my life. I use that term because I am not sure you can truly be friends with someone who doesn’t listen or care about your real problems, joys and passions but will gladly like your post about beet salad. It was a private no public hell that no one else understood because they all personally enjoyed themselves. I knew I would go mad if I stayed, so I left.

I spent a while drifting in space with no outlet for expression, or at least no digitally public one. But my hypocrisy and mild intelligence has led me here to Blog Land. I feel that there is no turning back at this point. I am here, shooting my nothingness out into further nothingness, only to continue this until I get caught.

Now you might say that what I am doing is the same thing as The Toilet Cleaner, except that I chose to blog because there’s no character limit. This could be interpreted as even more narcissistic than if I were to use social media. “I’m so fancy and important, I need UNLIMITED DATA to say what’s on my mind!” You would be right to an extent; I am self-absorbed and feel that I need no limit to my postings, but I am not really expecting anyone to care. If people like what I write, lovely. I will be honored and ecstatic. But if not, I can live with that. It is not the end of the world for me. I do believe that if you told Ms. PoopPic that no one cared about ANYTHING she posted it would greatly affect her, for narcissism appears to be her life’s passion and purpose.

I would also like to state that I do not believe that everyone with a Facebook or Twitter account or whatever is stupid and narcissistic or that everyone with a blog is smart. Please note that I used the term mild-intelligence, for the truly smart avoid using the internet for expression altogether. But geniuses are far and few, and they often blend in with the leaves and brick walls that we pass everyday.