Some of the world’s most insulting—to women and men—dating “advice” is currently gaining steam online. Who, exactly, does this guy think he is?
What should Every Woman know about sleeping with an Every Man? Well, Chuck Henderson of Wall Street Insanity is an Every Man, or at least he thinks he is, and probably most of your male Facebook friends think so, too.
Last week, Henderson offered a few (50, to be exact) “Things Every Woman Should Realize About Men,” and the social networking gods rewarded him with, at time of this writing, 250,000 Facebook likes.
Despite the fact that I am installed with a vagina, I’m sure that when Henderson said “Every Woman” he didn’t mean me, as presumably his tips were designed to help women like the men they sleep with a little more, rather than want to block them from their contacts list.
No, it’s men—tens of thousands of them, maybe your husband, ex-husband, or boyfriend (or mine) among them—who seem to have found Henderson such a good spokesman for their frustration with their women.
So what kind of female confusions does Henderson aim to correct with his advice for understanding the male psyche? Here is a thematic breakdown of his list of 50 tips:
1. Self-control belongs exclusively to people with vaginas.
The penis-controlled soul of a man is clearly more susceptible to moral lapses than the uterus-led moral compass of a woman. For instance, in Tip 43, in which we women are advised to lovingly indulge male threesome fantasies: “Just tolerate his attempts to make it happen. He can’t help himself.” According to Tip 3, in which “You shouldn’t take it personally when he checks out other women,” his ogling “is a reflex and he can’t help it.” Also, in case the point is not clear enough, there’s Tip 12 (“He wants to bang your friends”): “Don’t take it personally—he’s wanted to bang 90% of all the women he’s ever met. It’s really not that big a deal.” But also keep in mind the advice of Tip 30 in which “you should never flirt with his friend,” because, God forbid, “he’ll think you’re fucking with him.”
2. His ego is WAY more important to him than either you or reality.
Tip 39: Don’t open doors for him; he won’t take it as a gesture of politeness. Also, (Tip 35), don’t you dare emasculate him, which can be accomplished by, well, opening a door for him. Also (Tip 37): Lie to him if he’s not the best shag you’ve ever had. And Tip 41, in which “You should let him win sometimes”: “He has a very fragile ego, and sorry, but you need to cater to it sometimes.” Also Tip 25, in which “You should always take his side”: “If he’s involved in some kind of debate and you take sides against him in public, he will never forgive you.”
3. Accountability for beliefs, actions, and behavior can also only be expected of people without penises.
From Tip 40: “You need to be his moral compass.” You have the responsibility of making sure “he does the right thing.” Correlatively, his moral failures are probably your fault, too. And from Tip 1 (important enough to top the list): Don’t you DARE, EVER question him about his porn. Men have to give no explanations whatsoever about the fact that their daily bread of masturbation is misogynistic and abusive in how it portrays women’s sexuality.
4. Act like his mother, but pretend you’re not.
Your job as his girlfriend is to function as the emotional womb that protects him from the scariness of the real world. (See Tips 31, 33.) Please, though, don’t think there’s any weird Oedipal shit happening there (Tip 49).
5. Speaking to him like an adult is something his poor overtaxed brain can’t process.
From Henderson’s introduction: “Stop expecting us to understand the intricate mystery that is the feminine psyche and just accept the fact that it’s never going to happen.” Followed by Tip 8: “He knows you want to talk about what that bitch said to you at work today…but for god’s sake, let him have a beer and stare at the TV for at least half an hour first.”
6. If you don’t do any of this, beware of his manly power for reprisal.
If you dare break any of these rules, please be aware that the Chuck Henderson–type man will do everything in his power to hurt you and police the ideal relationship-world that exists in his brain. (See Tip 5: “Watch the fuck out.” And Tip 30: “Don’t risk [it] or there will be bad times ahead.” And Tip 35: “If you do it…your relationship might never recover.”)
In short, women must accept that if they can just treat their partners like man-children and not use words with too many syllables, well, then women can really dominate: We can “take charge, keep [men] content and get what [we] want at the same time.”
Now, presumably what people actually want from their romantic relationships differs from person to person. I, for instance, look for emotional support and an intellectual and creative connection, an iron-sharpeneth-iron kind of experience. One where we respect, challenge, and improve each other—even when it’s painful or terrifying.
Henderson clearly isn’t speaking for all men here—thank CHRIST. But why aren’t thousands more men objecting to this view of themselves as adult children, lacking in willpower, moral compass, self-esteem, and a capacity for seeing their girlfriends as more than ego-fluffers?
More importantly: Is there anything that can be done to calm these men-children down before they wreak any more havoc on the world in the name of their broken egos?
Samantha Eyler is a freelance writer and editor raised in Kentucky and London and now based in Medellín, Colombia. She has written about politics, immigration, Latin America, and social justice for publications such as NACLA and the New Statesman, and is one of the founders of the London Fields Feminist Book Group. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.