Can We Please? – Photos by Ben Ritter, Styling by Annette Lamothe-Ramos
My Roommate Is a Male Escort, and It’s Whatever
About a year or so ago I answered a Craigslist ad looking for a roommate and came across a really nice guy with an amazing room open in his apartment. We hit it off and he seemed genuinely nice. After awhile I started to notice that he was always buying things, but never going to work. Originally, I thought drug-dealer or parent funded, but I never noticed any drugs and he didn’t seem to talk to his parents very often, so I asked him what’s up. Turns out he’s an escort, with more than a few interesting stories.
2 hard 2 b a dude
You’re a Pussy if You Think There’s a War on Men
For some men, women—especially feminists—are terrifying. Not in the normal oh-my-God-I-can’t-ask-her-out-what-if-she-says-no way that middle schoolers and characters on Friends experience, but “afraid” in the sense that women will take their money, try to get pregnant on purpose, invent false rape claims, and use feminism to generally abuse men. In this narrative, men are either an oppressed minority (or about to become one), or have to “fight back” against feminists to preserve their rights.
If you want to see what this kind of thinking looks like, take a dip into the river of the Men’s Rights section of Reddit, where a bunch of dudes go to complain about getting raped by women and talk gibberish about how their “clans” are getting attacked by “Statism and Feminism.” Currently, some of the most popular posts on the subreddit include a complaint about how if you owe more than $2,500 in child support payments you can’t get a passport (in the Men’s Rights universe, deadbeat dads are often victims of a misandrist court system); adiscussion, inspired by a Walking Dead plot point, about how getting beaten up is worse than being threatened with rape; an account of some guy squabbling with an obscure feminist blogger (these guys are always getting into internet beef with feminist bloggers, and vice-versa); and a screenshot of some gobbledygook about patriarchy that probably sounded smart to the high-schooler who wrote it. Like a lot of Reddit, the Men’s Rights forum is a way for predominantly white, predominantly rich young men to pat themselves on the back for how smart they are. It gives them something to do, I guess, and it gives the Shit Reddit Says subreddit something to react against.
But the idea that feminism is harmful to men, and women have declared war on people with penises, isn’t confined to Reddit’s nether regions anymore. It’s now mainstream enough for Fox News’s website, which published an awful, troll-baiting op-ed about “The War on Men” written by Suzzanne Venker. Her thesis is that while women want to marry men, men don’t want to marry them because, “Women aren’t women anymore.” She goes on:
“Women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy. Armed with this new attitude, women pushed men off their pedestal (women had their own pedestal, but feminists convinced them otherwise) and climbed up to take what they were taught to believe was rightfully theirs.
Now the men have nowhere to go.”
What she’s describing is a pretty standard anti-feminist narrative: The evil feminists “convinced” women to want things like the same careers and pay and power that men had (they didn’t really want these things, see, but they were persuaded otherwise), thereby causing them to lose the status they were too short-sighted to have valued.
From the debris of Britain’s 1970s pantomime wrestling, a new legion of wrestlers who are using their camera phones to shoot promo videos for YouTube has been born. In the first part of The British Wrestler, we meet Grado, the ultimate wrestling fanboy who has finally been given his own shot at stardom.
THE VICE GUIDE TO SPORTS
You either give a shit about sports or you don’t, and the delineation between these two types of people is usually pretty clear. Just so we’re all on the same page: Hosting a Super Bowl party or casually rooting for your hometown team is not the same thing as actual fandom. Real fans check sports sites (used to be the sports page) constantly, buy jerseys, talk back at talk radio, experience for-real emotions when their team loses or wins big, and WILL kick your ass if you make fun of their favorite player for long enough.
If you don’t “get” sports, extreme fandom seems like a psychological disorder—like, why are you so happy and jumping up and down and screaming because some guy hit a ball? And if you are a fan, you respond to these questions with a response like “YOU DON’T GET IT, PUSSY! THAT MAN WHO JUST HIT THE BALL GOT US INTO THE PLAYOFFS AND HE IS GREAT LIKE GHANDI, AND OH MY GOD I’M GOING TO CREAM MY FUCKING PANTS RAHHHHHHHHHHH!”
As a service to the world and in an attempt to prove that, like laughter, athletics can serve as a universal language, we’ve written a handy guide that, with any luck, will help bridge the gap between these two groups, like the great relationship Bill Clinton fostered between the Israelis and the Palestinians. (A fair comparison, because fans and non-fans are two groups who will never, ever understand each other. For now we’ll just make fun of both).
Plenty of fans use “we” when referring to a team: “We played well Tuesday; we really fore-checked that midget into the board with disdain; we saved money signing this rich asshole for slightly less money than the other asshole who wasn’t as rich.” Don’t do this unless you: 1) work for the organization; 2) are semi-regularly making love to someone on the team; or 3) are on the team. We understand that you like yours a ton and watch every single game intently and are convinced you would be a good GM, but when the Islanders leave your stupid town for another equally moronic but more profitable shithole, you’ll be cursing yourself for imagining a bunch of stupid strangers actually had a stake in your sad little walled-in life.They won the game. You sat on the couch and ate Wild White Nacho Doritos and tried half-heartedly to masturbate to the annoying lady in the insurance commercial.
“Now, son, I have some bad news for you: You’re a Mets fan. There’s just no two ways about it. See, I’m a Mets fan, my father was a Mets fan, and just like my alcoholism and my crippling inability to discuss my feelings, I’m passing my fandom down to you. I’ll take you to Mets games, school you in Mets history—we were really good in the 80s, when the players were doing a lot of good coke—show you my VHS tapes of games I recorded, and force you to play little league so you understand the game. Even if you try to reject your fandom, some of it will stay with you, so that one day you’ll be in an airport bar, see the highlights of yet another Mets loss on ESPN4, and curse the Lord Jesus Christ under your breath. Sorry. I am aware this makes no sense, but you are definitely going to have to live this way.”
Before I saw Fedor Emelianenko fight, I thought mixed martial arts was a debased and debauched distraction for frat boys and thugs, more evidence of the slow demise of civilization, as if more evidence were needed.
After I saw Fedor Emelianenko fight, however, my life was completely rearranged. Time I used to spend watching the NBA, reading books, and cultivating meaningful human relationships I started filling with sparring sessions and endless hours watching UFC fights. I used to want to write about movie directors and the creative process; these days I prefer hanging around gyms rhapsodizing about particularly clever kickboxing combinations. This is all Emelianenko’s fault. Not since John F. Kennedy squared off with Nikita Krushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis did so much on the influence of a pudgy, balding Russian.
Our story happened this way:
A few years ago I read an article in ESPN magazine about back-alley bareknuckle-boxing king-turned-prizefighter Kimbo Slice. Despite a lifelong aversion to violence, I was curious about the YouTube streetfights that had made Slice so famous, and after watching him pound down a rag-tag assortment of street toughs I decided (as I’m sure many did) that he must be the toughest man in the world, impervious to pain and impossible to defeat.
I Survived a Phish Concert
Imagine an alternate reality where taste doesn’t exist, the word “artisanal” is openly acknowledged to mean nothing, and guitars were not only still cool, but had retained their position as the apex of modern pop music. In this reality, no one has heard of the band Purity Ring. If you played them Purity Ring, they would probably punch you in the face. In this reality, Phish does not suck.
There is a thing, however, and the thing is this: Life is not a Radiohead album. Alternate reality is not a real thing. There is only the real reality, where Phish is one of the most popular touring bands of all time and could sell out any stadium in the country by promising to go onstage and make armpit farts for three hours. If any of the members of the band were a knitter, he could macramé the world’s shittiest scarf and it would sell on Etsy for a million dollars. There is an official Phish iPhone app; two hundred and twenty-nine people have reviewed it and its users are either elated that it exists or disappointed in the app’s streaming capabilities. On the Fourth of July, I celebrated America’s birthday by going to Long Island and watching Phish play jam-based rock and roll music for three hours. As far as experiences go, it was literally life-changing, or at least literally life-affirming. It was like taking the red pill in The Matrix, but instead of Morpheus and an actual red pill I had a girl that I’d met on a party bus and a bag of Molly that she and I bought from a stranger (Hi Mom!). If you’re going to get wet, you might as well go swimming. If you’re going to eat shit, you might as well put your face up to a horse’s asshole. And if you’re going to a Phish show, you might as well do a fucking shit-ton of drugs.
Getting Fresh with Wilbert
I wake up every morning at, like, 7 AM with wood so stiff it hurts and breath so bad I’m quietly ashamed of myself. The first order of business, after rubbing one out really quick, is putting on a dope record and picking out some fresh shit to wear.
The first jam of the morning is crucial because it sets a precedent for the rest of the day. Like if I listen to Sade, I’ll have a chubby until lunch time. Or if I listen to N.W.A., I’ll start an argument with Music Editor Kelly McClure about the inherent racism of candy—like why is black licorice the only flavor that taste like a hobo’s open ass? Once I get something on the turntable—lately it’s been Charles Mingus’s Ah Um—I turn to my poorly put together Ikea wardrobe for something to rock.
A lot of people think that I spend a ton of time picking my outfits, probably because they don’t spend any dressing themselves. The truth is, despite this whole “Men’s Fashion Revolution” bullshit that old people keep writing about, most dudes still look like Hank Hill when they leave the crib—dad jeans and pit-stained t-shirts. It’s not that I’m fashion-obsessed, it’s that most dudes are fashion retarded. But that’s kind of why I’m here with this column, to give you all some tips on how I get fresh so that maybe you’ll be inspired to ditch that dress-shoes-with-jeans shit you do when you go on OkCupid dates.
In a lot of ways, there is an interplay between what I’m listening to and what I wear—sometimes I want to beThe Soulful Moods Marvin Gaye and sometimes I want to be Sexual Healing Marvin Gaye. To me style isn’t about being yourself—I’m a guy who has clumpy deodorant under his arms and still watches cartoons EVERY SINGLE DAY—it’s about playing dress-up and projecting an image that you think is cool. So, I’ve picked a couple of records that I think are great and paired them up with shit that I wear. Hopefully this twee selection will inspire you to listen to better tunes and hide the fact that you are premature ejaculator. Follow my lead and in no time you’ll be the posterchild of excellence, style, good taste, and big-balled masculinity.
Jimmy Cliff’s The Harder They Come X Comme Des Garçon Shirt Shirt
A lot of boring white people don’t “get” reggae—these are the same dweebs who wear all-black all the time. That shit is lame. Everyone—even poor melanin deficient folk—should have some color in their wardrobe and some reggae on their turntable. Don’t let the bright colors and upbeat grooves fool you. Jimmy Cliff’s music isn’t some shit you listen to while you’re enjoying an ice cream sundae or eating pussy. If you have any testosterone floating in your ballsacks, you’ll be punching some form of authority before the title track of this legendary movie soundtrack is over. This Comme shirt is the same thing for me, because it takes some stones to do the whole color-blocking thing. Especially when juicing bros wearing Ed Hardy shirts will try to pull your hoe-card for standing out an looking like a “faggot.” When a hater comes at you the wrong way for wearing an extremely expensive and beautifully designed colored shirt, just put yourself in a Rasta-rude-boy-dude state of mind—minus the stupid religion and bad hygiene.