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Man's Next Lesson, a take on #TeamGrownAssMan

The underlying theme of #TeamGrownAssMan is not that this guy is a particularly spectacular dad, but that more guys need to cop to his level. The chauvinism of humanity's entire past lingers in men, and conversely its acceptance lingers in the women who partner with them.

Evidence of this are the headlines that appear from a search for #teamgrownassman. News outlets are trying to stay editorially unsided on the issue, while simultaneously involving themselves with the issue. They focus on the reaction the story got via internet comment forums, which, as we all know, are often where the apes hang out.

What I'd rather focus on is the big picture. I'd rather take more of a side on the issue. Why is it acceptable that dads wouldn't have to share dad duties at least 50/50 with their women?

Take a look at lions.


Now take apes. They came a little farther by learning to avoid in-breeding.

Now take man. We know how to wash our hands often and take our shoes off inside the house; we've mastered the basics! Tools to ensure our cleanliness, health and survival, in our homes and ourselves, are available in stores in every town.

Now, we're onto larger, social issues. With technology constantly advancing and replacing superstition, we can afford to see how many previously-acceptable negatives in human life and society are to be avoided, and that to ensure our long-term survival, with so many fucking people on the planet, we're all going to have to start getting along!

We've learned that slavery is wrong. Rape is wrong. Violence is wrong. War has been made economically unfeasible for those who would wage it. Guns and their glamorization are helping to make murderers out of the mentally disabled.

Man's next lesson has got to be more down-home. It goes hand-in-hand with accepting gays and their right to be married, and with marijuana being de-stigmatized.

Man's next lesson is to accept females as equal to males. This will play out in the world as fathers start jumping in and take care of more dad duties in their homes. Change has to start at home.

This is what Animaniacs just gave me, just now:
"[Narrator, smoky female voice] And now ... Dot's Poetry Corner.
[Dot] (clears throat) Requiem ... for a Lamb: Mary had a little lamb ... with mint jelly. Thank you.
[Narrator] This has been Dot's Poetry Corner."

This show is amazing. My kids are obsessed with it. The writing, the voice acting, the music, the animation—it's all top-notch.

Okay, you get my point from all that shit above, right? Humanity exists on a continuum, from where I'm positioned. It's slowly getting better, at least in the United States. The reaction to #TGAM by internet commenters is a microcosm of how the world still works, in large pockets that don't really appear in the news, because they're depressing. Or people are scared to admit it. Or they're evolutionarily disinclined to admit it. Admit what? Admit when they sit on their ass or go out to bars when their women stay home to put the kids to bed, change diapers, and basically live other lives in addition to their own. It's a tough job, and women shouldn't have to do it on their own. Parenting can feel like never being able to leave work; it makes you hate everything your kids do, and then hate yourself. It can start to suck really hard if you don't have any help, even if your partner makes the bacon all day but doesn't help with the kids and chores when they come home.

I don't care how hard their job is. You get breaks at a job. You get adult conversations. You're not arguing with people who don't understand you at all, all day long. Work with adults is a whole different thing than staying at home with kids. You feel like a goddam housecleaner sometimes, unappreciated and unnoticed. Women go thru this all the time, dudes.

So when a story like #TGAM comes out, I really gravitate to it and want to talk about it, bring it out in the open, shine the light of day on it.

Agh, I'm done now, really dun.

BB is potty-training now, going in the small toilet on the floor. She'll graduate to the big toilet soon. The point is that I'm not changing diapers anymore, which is fucking amazing. Once I started to push it, the change came in a matter of days. It's great. I probably handled it a lot better this time than with Lucy. She was my practice run. It's sad, but true: the first kid gets all your stress, and the second kid always gets off easier.



I Used to Live Here

So this is a video of a place I used to live, Michigan and Minnie's Cooperative Houses (Mich Haus & Minnie's) in Ann Arbor, MI. The two houses are an extension of the Inter-Cooperative Council of the University of Michigan.

Basically it's like this. You're a young person in Ann Arbor, and you're either a student at U of M, or if you're like me, you're a nearby community college student trying to get into U of M. You find out about the co-ops: they're a series of about 20 big-ass townhouses peppered throughout the city. Most attractively, the rent is cheap (even cheaper during summer months), and it covers both utilities, and the delivering of food to your house every week in a big truck.

Equally attractive to me is that it's a self-contained set of houses (Mich-Minnie's is the only two-house set of all the cooperative houses, unless you count Joint House, which is arguably one big, insane establishment) filled with people my age. I was a few years younger than everyone when I moved in, and I stayed there for three years.

The residents change along with U of M's academic periods. New people move in and out all the time. Some people stay on for several years and become well-known within the system, but eventually, everyone moves out. It's a constant cycle.

Sadly, it thusly leaves behind, in a way, former members like myself. I pine for those days. There was always someone around, either running in and out, going back to school to study or to their rooms, or just hanging out making food, being social. The front porch was a great time in and of itself, for both houses.

Mich Hausers were always a bit less cultured than us purple Minnie's people, but we had to mingle with them cause they had the working kitchen, so there you have that relationship struggle every day.

 I jest, Mich Hausers. You troglodytes.

So anyway, back to the video above. Everyone who lives there shares work duties, right? But once a year, they have an extra-thorough work holiday, where from 9-5, everyone pitches in and, as one co-opper says in the video, "We clean stuff that doesn't normally get cleaned."

There was a certain air about living in those two houses. You had a sense you were part of something greater than the standard bullshit living situation you see so many apartment-dwellers in. We all forsook a little bit of privacy and put in a little more of our own time working to keep us and the collective happy, but it was infinitely more fulfilling than having my own place was as soon as I moved out.

Yes, after I moved out of the co-op, my life kinda started to suck. It took me a year to pull it all together. My co-op roommate one year was Tim ... Tom Waits, and we moved into this apartment in an alley that was so dismal I don't even want to describe it. The most depressing place I ever have and ever will live. My friend Chuck Thompson visited me there once. We had a bit of an adventure, and it all didn't end so great, but he's like, the only friend of mine from Manistee that ever saw the place. Oh yeah, Jessie Hojo came there a few times, and Leah Somsel too. And my brother and Mike Casey.

Oh, and Joy Shaeffer met Emily Elert one time and that's another high school connection.

Bit of Manistee gossip mixed in with Ann Arbor gossip there. From the nineties and early 2000s. C ya.