Men + Myself + God

Category: MEN

Things I Fear Thursday: I’m a Douche-Bag

by P. Braithwaite

pexels-photoOver the last few weeks, I tripped and fell into a snake pit of perpetually-adolescent men. I know exactly when it happened: I wore a tight dress one night, and nothing was ever the same. Now, everywhere I turn, I am in the company of a functional idiot (aka a douche-bag). I went on a date with one. I spent all night with another one. I’ve had meals with more than a few, and have been in yearlong text message threads with about 5 different idiots. This has never bothered me before, as I am a person who suffers fools lightly. In fact, I enjoy a good fool with the politeness of a mad queen: I love to be entertained until I don’t…

But I digress…

Over brunch on Sunday, after a few beverages and some mediocre chicken and waffles, I looked up with a sobriety uncharacteristic of Sunday brunch. My eyes danced wildly around my brunch table as I realized I was surrounded on all sides by really attractive, accomplished, functional-adult male idiots. As if reading my mind, one of them leaned in way too close, put his hand over my plate, and asked me if I was going to finish my waffle.

I wanted to stab him with my fork, but stopped myself…

Where am I? Who am I? I thought as I moved my plate out of his reach. At what point does the constant company of douche bags make you one by association?

No answers emerged, so I shot-gunned my mimosa for good measure (red flag), and thought: Why do we call really obnoxious men douche-bags, anyway?

For those unfamiliar, the actual definition of a douche bag is “a sterile container which holds the fluid used for giving a vaginal douche.” By that definition, the douche-bag is a good and noble tool used for general hygiene and/or medical intervention. To be a douche-bag, it would seem, is to be a vessel of healing and benevolence for women everywhere. The douche-bag is a healer! The douche-bag plunges into the unknown with good fortune and well-intentions.

The douche-bag can ruin your vaginal ecosystem, if you aren’t careful…

The good folks as Slate wrote a brief history on how the term ‘douche’ became an insult. In the piece, Brian Palmer writes:

…The Historical Dictionary of American Slang traces the epithet douche to a 1968 collection of college slang compiled at Brown University, which defined the word as “a person who always does the wrong thing.” The insult douchebag is somewhat older. The 1939 novel Ninety Times Guilty includes a pimp named Jimmy Douchebag, and the Historical Dictionary of American Slang traces the epithetical usage to a 1946 journal article about military slang, which offered the definition “a military misfit.”

These days, it’s not entirely clear what it means to call someone a douche or a douchebag. The Oxford English Dictionary defines douchebag, in its epithetical sense, as a “general term of disparagement,” or more specifically as “an unattractive or boring person.”…There’s some support for douche as simply a nonspecific term of disparagement, much like its fellow d-words dick, dillweed, and dipshit…

I don’t want to be a douche-bag. Actually, that’s not true – -I don’t really care if I’m a douche-bag, and some days I’m convinced I am one. What I FEAR, however, is that my douche-baggery is the fatal flaw that keeps me from having fulfilling romantic relationships with mature men.  Maybe if I wasn’t a d-bag, I’d have brunch with proper gentlemen, some nice boy or girl would marry me, and I’d learn to sip mimosas like an adult.

….but that’s a different post for a different day…


Note: I have no evidence that he man in this picture is a douche-bag.

File under: Things I’m writing instead of writing my book.

Two Things Can Be True (at the same time)

by P. Braithwaite

When I decided to come to Brazil, I wanted to fall in love at least six times. Looking back, that was a stupid f*cking idea: falling in and out of love is exhausting. I think maybe it’s been so long, I’d forgotten how annoying love is. Luckily for me, it didn’t happen the way I’d hoped. Instead, I went on lots of dates, and spent time with different guys – all of them wonderful in their own way. Seriously. They were all wonderful. I’ve never met so many perfectly great guys in my entire life. As a result of my good dating streak, I realized something profound: men aren’t inherently terrible people.

I don’t know if it’s the grey hair sprouting enthusiastically from my head, or a general weariness of being bitter, but I’m mellowing out on my judgement of men. Men who can’t give you what you want aren’t assholes. Men who don’t take initiative aren’t weak. Men who can’t handle your <insert amazing noun here> aren’t stupid. Men who aren’t well-endowed aren’t pointless…

They’re just men, and, based on what you want, they maybe aren’t for you.

Of all the men I dated in Brazil, there is one who got under my skin. We had an incredible connection. On our first date we spent hours talking about everything under the sun. He was sarcastic — something hard to pull off in any language. That said he’s uhh…a…stereotypical Brazilian man: he breaks dates, doesn’t say no (when he knows he should just be honest), and he’s prone to get swept up in the moment without any plan of follow-through. One minute he sees our future, but, in the next minute, he can’t manage to see my text messages. (And…there’s a strong chance he might be married…I should probably mention that as well.)

This is a man I could love, I thought, but this is also a man I would kill.

And in that sentence, in that one phrase, is the nugget: two things can be true at the same time. A guy can be wonderful, but erode your self-esteem. A man can be a spiritual soul mate, but a logistical nightmare. A guy can have undeniable chemistry with you, but have a binding legal commitment to a wife and children (yikes). He can have everything you want on your extensive list, but trigger you in ways that would be damaging to your psyche.

Two things can be true at the same time. The bad doesn’t necessarily cancel out the good.

We (or just I) have a tendency to turn our lovers into villains when our needs aren’t met. The guy we thought was sooo dreamy becomes an asshole, and the person we fantasized about marrying is suddenly an undesirable monster. The truth is far more simple, but harder to make peace with: this wonderful person is amazing for someone, but that someone probably isn’t you.

This is the lesson I’m learning today, as I lick my wounds, pack my bags, and swim in foreign seas. I’m trying to remember: there are always always always other fish.

And so it is (at least for now).

(photo cred: Ryan Mcguire)

Someone Else’s Karma

by P. Braithwaite


I’d be lying if I said he was forgotten. Sometimes, when I least expect it, the air carries his scent: laughter, sadness, passion, love. Other times a new season of an old show will air, and I’ll remember how we sat tangled on my couch. Happily. Addicted. Oblivious. Drunk. Refusing to let me fast-forward commercials.

“Commercials are our chance to really talk.”

When it’s over, bad memories are comfort. They support your thesis – he’s an asshole; she’s a jerk. The happy memories are harder to swallow. They are an under-wire bra, sexy but constricting. You can’t wear them for long. They don’t support the present circumstances.

Forgive me; it’s 1 am and I’m nostalgic.

It’s seductive to imagine a forlorn ex-lover writing you love poems with his own blood. Or its enticing to imagine a lover who never cared — a man who never loved. A person who has moved on and has forgotten you exist. Chances are, the truth is somewhere in-between.

You never know someone else’s karma.

You never know where a person’s path may lead them, and you never know when or why they may think of you. Life has a way of moving us forward. Nature only supports growth. Memories soften around the edges and fade into our present. We don’t linger. We move forward. We heal.

But that doesn’t mean love wasn’t there.

We never know another person’s karma.

The sad truth of life is that we can never know, unequivocally, the level of love or devotion that existed within another. We can only trust in our own perceptions of the past – the love was real, the moment magic, and the ending…for the best.

The ending is almost always for the best…

But you never know another person’s karma.

You can only nourish and cultivate your own.

And so it is.