Mansplaining: Just What Twilight Needed!

by Shaker WhimsyMacabre, an Arizona resident who totally misses Janet Napolitano, an artist specializing in assemblage, collage, and jewelry, a Mama to two lovely boys, and the partner of a swell guy who not only brings home lovely bits of rusty junk with which to make art, but wouldn't describe himself as "macho" without a large cash bribe.

Hey, Shakers! So, the other day I discovered a big, greasy lump of mansplaining, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal! And I shared it with Melissa, because I am all generous like that. And since she is all generous like that too, she asked if I would like to pass it on to you! How could I refuse?

Now first off, I have to say that, much like Butch Pornstache, I am no fan of Twilight. I'm not just jumping on the hater bandwagon; I have read it the first two books in their entirety, and the third one about halfway through before I screamed and chucked it across the room like it was on fire. Craptastic writing aside, it is saturated with all sorts of creepy, patriarchal grossness, not to mention a bunch of totally subtle, and not at all obvious Mormon argle-bargle.

I do understand why this doo-doo is so appealing to so many—the Mary Sue lead character, the whirlwind romance, the breathless declarations of eternal devotion, the idea of two dreamboats who both long for you, and only isn't hard to figure out, especially for anyone who has ever been a teenage girl. I get it, and I probably would have been one of those screaming, flush-cheeked, hormone saturated "Twi-hards" had I been born about 20 years later. In fact, I am sure I would have.

* shuffles feet around in an embarrassed manner *

Of course, none of that alters the fact that the whole series is cat doots. (And I know from cat doots.)

But check this out! It is wisdom! Manly wisdom, from an extremely wealthy dude who actually describes himself as "macho" no less than three times, and who wants us all to know that he has been "caught in a vortex of meteoric movement in every aspect of life and that has intensified on a cosmic scale the last few weeks." You had no IDEA that being a real estate tycoon was so very, very much like being a deity, or at the very least a mythological figure along the lines of Heracles, did you, you obsequious peon? DID YOU? You know better now.

I have had an agonizingly tough couple of weeks and have survived on pure adrenaline in the midst of tumult, controversy, tough negotiations with business counterparts, and a grueling travel itinerary that was challenging even for me. One of the recent meetings was in Turkey with our Mars partners. I made arrangements to have a bit of yacht time with them. When the meeting got cancelled I did the unthinkable for me, have a little down time all to myself. I boarded the gorgeous but stark Turkish Gulet right as the sun was setting. As I made my way into the main cabin I saw something so frightening it left me speechless. There, staring up at me from the ebony coffee table was a book. On the cover was a gorgeous red apple nestled between two soft and caring hands. Between the hands were written the words that strike terror in the hearts of every macho, red-blooded male…TWILIGHT. AAAARRRGGGGHHHH!! Alone, on a boat, with no wifi, no satellite, no magazines, no newspapers, just me and this book. This piece of chick lit, teeny bopper heartthrob stuff. Terror on the high seas! I wanted nothing to do with any of it. Not relevant, not interesting.

As I sat there with nothing to do the book kept taunting me. I began to think that there must be something I don’t understand. What could it be? What is it all about? Women don’t just read these books, they live them. They become each paragraph. I picked it up, but then immediately dropped it like a hot coal. What if someone saw me reading this? My macho reputation would be finished! I would be kicked out of the bench press section of the gym. My polo compadres would send me packing to the pony rides and my surfing buddies would exile me to the kiddie pool.

But it was a long night and there was absolutely nothing, and I mean NOTHING else to do. Long story short – not only did I read Twilight, I read the other two as well!! I was fascinated, captivated even. However, what intrigued me was not the same thing that hooked the millions of women whose lives and had been changed by this series, but something else entirely.

For you male Colonists, here is a brief synopsis. Stubborn teenage girl meets a handsome but moody vampire and against all odds they fall in love.

Here is my macho take – Stephanie Meyer is a total genius.
What is it that makes Stephanie Meyer a "total genius" in Mr. Macho's estimation? The ability of the reader to put herself in Bella's place, as Bella's character is so underdeveloped. I only have one thing to say about his amazing discovery: Holy crap, you figured that out all alone on your yacht with no help whatsoever? Talk about "conquering new frontiers and new themes on a daily basis"!

BTW, here is a quote from the genius author herself: "[I] left out a detailed description of Bella in the book so that the reader could more easily step into her shoes." Seriously. This isn't a new concept. I guess being a tycoon doesn't leave much time for reading genre fiction. Which is a big reason I am glad to be an artist instead, despite the appalling lack of yachts.

But Twilight doesn't just give Mr. Macho new insight into common literary techniques. No—it also gives him new insight into women!
I definitely got that the "anticipation" was much more romantic and sexy than the "consummation" to the woman. Slow, patient, caring, tender…. (guys have you heard those words before?) I found him incredibly appealing as he was taking care of Bella, putting her first, distancing himself from her to protect her and yet never being able to get her out of his mind. The relationship stood the test of time through many years, other men, family challenges and misconceptions of valiant and loving acts. A human relationship with a vampire is challenging on many levels, the least of which being you get older as your partner remain timeless. It was enticing, captivating, alluring…and dangerous. Through it all she believed that she could do it…. change her life… change his life…make it different…in spite of what conventional wisdom dictated.

Every woman longs for the anticipation, the romance, the journey, the taboo, the patience, and the attentiveness. Men, however, are all about the destination, the result, the speed and the outcome. The journey is merely penance to get to the destination. Which is why despite the vampires and werewolves, this book is kryptonite to most men.

…Once I ventured into the books I learned something. I now understand why some women are emotionally altered from merely reading a book. I have also gained a deeper realization that understanding the circumstances and points of views of those with whom we are negotiating, working, living, loving or fighting is the key determinant factor in an enduring relationship.
This is some serious mansplaining. This macho genius has the ladies all figured out now that he has lowered himself to reading Twilight! Which, let us recall, he read not because he had gotten in touch with his feminine side; that would be icky, and his surfing and polo playing buddies would laugh and throw tampons at him! Or something. No! It was because one night he was soooooo bored on his luxury yacht! Which makes my married-to-a-guy-who-just-got-laid-off heart bleed for him, truly.

So this is the astonishing revelation about the lady brains has Twilight bestowed upon him: "Every woman longs for the anticipation, the romance, the journey, the taboo, the patience, and the attentiveness."

And this the companion revelation about men: "Men, however, are all about the destination, the result, the speed and the outcome."

What we have learned from Mr. Cosmic Real Estate Agent, then, is that all women—every single one of us—long for the same thing, which is apparently to be wooed in a manner that bears a sneaking resemblance to being pursued by a stalker. An attentive, patient, dead stalker. Who is also romantic. Ladies do not even think about the possible results of said pursuit, or if they do, it is in some kind of fuzzy, soft-focus manner, with billowing white curtains and the surf sighing away in the distance. Results are for penis-havers, who want to get to their desired outcome with all speed. Because that is macho.

Now, some silly womenfolk may get it into their heads that maybe sex (when you finally get there) with a manly man who is "all about the destination, the result, the speed, and the outcome" might not be quite worth all that anticipation. Some of them might even decide that macho is something that straight ladies looking for love should avoid like asbestos. Just a thought.

Hey, here's another thought: I wonder why it is that " None of the 21 senior-management executives and six of the 30 'other senior executives' listed on [Mr. Macho's company] website are women." That's a real head-scratcher.


If you would like to read a breakdown of the whole Twilight thing that won't make you want to vomit, I recommend the very comprehensive one written by Cleolinda at Occupation: Girl. You can find it here.

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