The Washington City Paper has always walked the fine line between relevant news and asinine observation. I'll miss that line. Yesterday's print edition took that line and absolutely destroyed it.
The City Paper's cover story, "Your Unfinished Basement or Mine?," by Franklin Schneider, is one healthy dose of stupid and one totally inappropriate dose of misogyny. It's more embarrassing than "Dear Penthouse" letters. The disrespect thrown towards women is mind-altering. I have no choice other than to copy-and-paste the Hell out of it to illustrate how beyond the pale this piece of crap article is.
Last summer, I found myself coming off a crippling breakup. Somehow, things had gone horribly wrong between me and the love of my life. There was a time we'd talked seriously about "together forever," but by the end of our two-year run I was scared to use the shampoo in the bathroom for fear she'd spiked it with Nair...
Oh man, that sucks. No, wait. It doesn't suck. You know why it doesn't suck, Franklin? Because almost every single person reading The Washington City Paper has been through a terrible break-up. Every. Single. Person. Franklin Schneider, you are not unique.
By the way, every paragraph of this "story" makes it clearer and clearer that Franklin's ex-girlfriend was 100% not at fault for this failed relationship.
We were both aggressive people, and at the end it was all-out emotional terrorism. She made a concerted effort during our protracted breakup to undermine me in the most vicious way. I wasn't a man, she informed me, which was why we hadn't had sex for months. I have to admit, it got to me. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought she might be right. After all, I'd spy a sweaty woman with a cleft palate on the Metro and go into a reverie of lust, while my hot, naked girlfriend at home left me cold and flaccid. Perhaps I really was less than a man.
If only there were some medium of communication that could express Franklin's feelings without inconveniencing the many City Paper readers who just don't give a shit. Oh, I know! Get a blog, Franklin. That way, you will only bother people who volunteer to give a shit about your pathetic love life.
This crisis simmered for a few months after our split until I lost my job. With a decent financial cushion, a steady flow of unemployment checks, and no obligations whatsoever, my life essentially became a stage on which I had unlimited license to work out all of my ego crises and psychodramas. I immediately plunged into what all my friends assured me was just the Darwinian social cauldron I needed - the D.C. bar scene. This turned out to be less therapeutic than it sounds.
You motherfucker. Woe is me! The government is paying my way and all I have to do is to go to bars and hit on women every single night. Of course it isn't therapeutic. You're a pile of shit for a human being. Work on that first. Ladies come second. Or in your case, not at all. *Rimshot*
She asked me for a light - this was at the Black Cat. She was beautiful and scathingly intelligent, the very reason I'd started sitting in bars every night. It was her birthday, she explained, and she was looking to have fun. At the end of the night, we drove to her apartment in Glover Park. Her roommate was home, so we went to my place instead.
At the time, I was staying in a friend's unheated, unfinished basement. My ex-girlfriend had recently kicked me out of our apartment. My new, temporary room had a 6-foot ceiling, no electricity, and such a bad infestation of silverfish that I had to sleep under head-to-toe mosquito netting. My bed was foam padding on a sheet of plywood laid out on concrete blocks, and the only light came from a naked, yellowed bulb hanging overhead. Lucky for me, she found the whole setup transgressive and, thus, arousing. Or at least exotic...
I would love to hear from ladies on the romanticism of silverfish and mosquito netting. Please tell me this Glover Park lady is some kind of horrible exception to the rule that women find bugs gross.
When we were about to get down to it, she stopped and said she had a confession to make. "It's that time of month," she told me. Did I mind? No, I did not mind.
As I showered in the morning, careful to breathe through my mouth as the red water swirled around the drain, I realized with equal parts relief and trepidation that there was nothing I wouldn't do in service to my libido...
The Washington City Paper, ladies and gentlemen. Telling the best "crime scene sex" stories that DC has to offer.
I admit to not having very much experience in this matter, but I don't think having the intercourse with a menustrating woman would cover you in enough (or any) blood to warrant red shower water. Maybe a little, teeny bit. But Franklin is making it sound like he was swimming in the stuff. I sense some dishonesty here.
The "do anything to service my libido" philosophy is also horrible. That's right, women. You are nothing but a warm place to come for some jackass with ex-girlfriend issues. And people wonder why the DC bar scene isn't therapeutic.
Franklin goes on to talk about his partner-in-crime; his, dare I say it, "wingman." His name is John. John, according to the author, is a good guy. Here's a typical exchange between John and Frank:
John had his blind spots, though. Every once in a while, when it was a slow night at the bar, I'd turn to John and ask, "Why are you out here all the time, prowling around? I mean, I know why I'm out here, but what's your purpose?"
I knew exactly what he was going to say. His answer was always the same and always delivered with the same straight-faced gravity. "I guess I'm looking for that special someone. I'm looking for a wife."
This never failed to make me laugh...
Yeah, John, you sucker. Trying to create a long term relationship? What are you, stupid? Man, girls at bars are for one thing only: penis-in-vagina. Oh yeah.
Wander U Street and Adams Morgan long enough, and you'll realize that what your mother told you is true: You can't judge a book by its cover. People who appear to be cool turn out to be lame, and people who appear to be merely lame turn out to be downright despicable...
Ok, I appear merely lame. Does that make me "downright despicable"? What about people who appear lame but are actually smart, funny, attractive people. I'm not even saying I belong in that category. But that category exists, right? Franklin, it seems, refuses to be pleasantly surprised by people. I'm amazed he hasn't killed himself yet. I mean, what's the point of interacting with people if they're only going to let you down? To John, the point appears to be ejaculating in them or on them.
Another night at the same bar, three giggling girls burst into the crowded men's restroom. "There's a long line for the girls' room - y'all mind if we use yours?" As they noisily piled into a stall and closed the door, most of the guys were grinning in dumb delight - "look, real live gurls!" - but I saw one guy staring after them with unalloyed hate on his face. I imagine he'd just been rejected by one of the girls in the stall, or one like them, or a series of them. To a sexually frustrated man in a bar, female behavior like this - can you imagine three guys piling into a women's stall? - might seem constructed specifically to rub your face in your own inadequacies. I was trying to think of some comment that might defuse the guy's anger when he noticed me looking at him...
It's bad enough that our faithful narrator has all but admitted that he uses women as sex toys. Now he takes it a step further by accusing women of rubbing his face in his own inadequacies. His point regarding women jumping into a men's room bathroom giggling isn't necessarily wrong. But I certainly wouldn't let it bother me. Franklin, on the other hand, seems to genuinely despise women. That's why this article is so offensive to me.
Going out was like a job; John and I would punch in and punch out, whether we felt like it or not. Eventually, we gained momentum. It became clear that if you had decent hygiene, passable banter, and the endurance and nerve to make the rounds on a consistent basis, you'd be fine. You'd be better than fine. John developed some near-foolproof techniques; one, a nonverbal trick that I'd rather not disclose, was so effective that it induced women to pick him up.
Yeah, women are easy. They'll sleep with any dude that brushes their teeth! You can trick them into bed without even talking to them. Jesus Christ, Franklin Schneider is an asshole.
We were soon mingling with all kinds of women. We met older single mothers. (When they get a sitter, they're determined to take full advantage.) We met government contractors. (Their nighttime personae were the polar opposite of their buttoned-up daytime ones.) And we met 18-year-olds. (Each had told her parents that she was spending the night at the other's house.)
Sluts, all of them. Right, Frank?
But as we met more and more women, we realized that we couldn't fucking stand at least 95 percent of them. Maybe 99 percent. This was fine with me. In fact, when I did meet one of the elusive 1 percenters that I actually liked and respected and had something in common with, I did everything I could to piss all over our chemistry. I'd been down the relationship path, and it had ended in a blood bath. Now, all I wanted were disposable encounters. After my 35th consecutive conversation about American Idol, though, I realized this probably worked better in theory than in practice.
The author is at least honest enough to admit that he hates 99% of women. Even better, he can do without the other 1%. Relationships just end in misery, man. That leaves him hating 100% of women and being proud enough to flaunt it to all of Washington, DC. I'm torn between truly hating this man with every fiber of my being or just feeling sorry for him. He's clearly miserable and needs help.
So many nights I'dd be standing there on autopilot, drink in hand, inwardly aghast. What in God's name is she talking about? I haven't the slightest idea, but worst of all - what is this fucking nonsense coming out of my mouth? Yes, I, too, love the Stars: They're Just Like Us! feature in Us Weekly!" What is wrong with me? I'm sitting here nodding and smiling like a fucking bobblehead doll. Have I no integrity? Must I demean myself for even the tiniest measure of relief?
Hating on women is one thing, but how dare you defame "Stars: They're Just Like Us!" Reese Witherspoon pumps her own gas! Kate Winslett double-fists her coffee!
I'm not being funny, I genuinely enjoy "Stars: They're Just Like Us!"
As John put it once, during the course of an especially discouraging night, "It's depressing when every girl you talk to is dumb or obsessed with money or has no sense of humor or won't shut up about herself or prattles on about some stupid TV show. It's depressing when you find out that everyone is dull and stupid, but it's even worse when you realize - so are you."
Franklin spends the next few paragraphs talking about some bizarre sexual experience in Seattle that featured handguns. Since the main point of the article seems to be that flirting in DC bars sucks, I have no idea why the author wasted valuable space on hooking up with a girl 2,769 miles away.
Last fall, a girl I had briefly worked with in the past suddenly took an inexplicable interest in me. She had a luscious, pert ass, and she knew that I liked it. We met up for drinks at the Black Cat, and afterwards, we went to her house in Georgetown.
During the walk there, she casually mentioned that she had a chronic back problem and that she needed frequent massages. In fact, her back was acting up at that very moment. Taking my cue, I offered to give her a massage as soon as we got to her house. She hesitated; actually, she had a very specific and somewhat unusual back condition. The only thing that gave her relief was direct stimulation of the sciatic nerve. Did Ididn'tw where the sciatic nerve was? Of course I did, I said. I didn't have the slightest idea.
So far, so good. Still a dumb hook-up story that belongs in a blog or in Laura Sessions Stepp's nightmares, but you haven't abused or embarassed her yet, so, job well done, Franklin!
When I went to her room, I found her lying on the bed. She was face down, wearing lacy underwear, with pillows stacked underneath her stomach. Her ass protruded into the air. When she heard me enter the room, she reached around behind her to grasp her ass with both hands. "So the nerve runs down through here; you'll have to really press down hard."
I sat behind her on the bed and started to knead her ass. Lust descended on me like a sickness; I almost felt like vomiting. As the massage went on, though, I began to appreciate it on its own merits. I'd never been able to admire a girl's ass without the simultaneous distraction of being hilt-deep in it. On a purely aesthetic level, it was spectacular. Before long, my erection had gotten so painfully intense that it felt like it was going to explode.
But as I was about to ease her underwear down, she turned and said, "Lie down here and let"s just talk for a while"
I was shocked. Talk? We'd been talking all night. The only thing I wanted to do even less than talk was to pretend that I wanted to talk. Her request was almost certainly one of token resistance - perhaps something to make her feel like she hadn't given it all up at once - but it was one hoop too many.
Well, it didn't take long for the other shoe to drop in this weirdly pornographic tale. How dare some girl not have sex with you, Franklin? I don't get it either.
Granted, there is some cockteasiness here. The girl set herself up to be in a situation where there is an expectation for sex. That's not necessarily fair and can be dangerous if some guy decides he doesn't want to take "no" for an answer. Still, any guy worth his weight would understand that this girl still likes him and that maybe they can go out again in the future. In other words, handle the situation maturely.
So, what does Franklin do?
I refused. There was a moment of silence, and then she asked, "What?"
"I don't want to talk. I have no interest in talking right now."
She seemed to consider this. "Then you can't stay in bed with me," she said.
I rolled off the bed and lay on the floor. It was childish and petty, but I didn't see any alternative. What was I supposed to do, lie there and talk about the weather until she deigned to open the gates? I suppose the hard-boiled thing to do would have been to put my shoes on and walk out. But it was late, I was tired and drunk, and I'm ashamed to admit that I still clung to some shred of hope that she'd drop her bluff.
No such luck. I lay on the floor as she lay on the bed. She gave me a couple more chances to repent, but I refused.
Finally, she got up in a huff, brushed her teeth, gargled, and took her contacts out, signaling an end to the night. As I watched her pad barefoot around the room in her underwear, her ass jiggling with each step, I genuinely felt like weeping...
Can you imagine this actually happening? My jaw dropped when I read this. Franklin is clearly a 13-year-old.
At some point, I realized: It always costs a little more than it's worth. I was always feigning interest, fake-laughing, or pretending I didn't hate some shitty band. And after a short while, I hated myself for it. I - the essential I, the I whose interests extended beyond sodomy - had relinquished control.
It's cute how Franklin thinks the "essential I" hasn't merged with the "sodomy I." There is no "essential I." Franklin doesn't have a job, lives off the government, and spends all of his time lying to women in exchange for 10 minutes of physcial pleasure. His soul is dead.
I figured I was marked for karmic payback. I became convinced I was going to die of AIDS. When the test came back negative, I settled on cancer. I stopped leaving the house altogether, cut off human contact, and spent most of my hours on the sofa reading Dostoevski, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
NOW YOU GET THE AIDS TEST!?!? AFTER ALL OF THIS!?
That paragraph made me sick to my stomach. This man is a monster.
As it turned out, it dropped on John. A girl he'd been intermittently sleeping with for a while started calling him. He didn't take her calls or call her back, even though she left messages saying she needed to talk to him. Finally, after a week of stonewalling, she e-mailed him - she was pregnant. He called me and asked what to do.
"Abort it," I said.
She was rabidly Catholic, he said. She'd never go for that. Besides, it was already too far along.
I thought about it. "I guess you could always pull a Scott Peterson..."
This is incredibly sad because John was presented as the nice guy. He got corrupted and ended up in a no-win situation. Some friend Franklin is.
And killing your one-night-stand and her fetus? HILARIOUS! Humor gold mine, that Scott Peterson is.
A few months later, she had the baby, and they gave it up for adoption. In person, John is now distant and slightly punch-drunk, perpetually preoccupied. I don't ask with what.
I keep telling him he needs to get back out there with a vengeance - hair of the dog that bit you, that type of thing - but he refuses.
That's the end of the article. Doesn't matter that your lives are ruined, keep plugging away, John. I'm glad John sees through Franklin's bullshit.
So, honestly, have you ever seen anything so aggrsssively anti-woman? I certainly hadn't.
So, this is the last time I am going to write about the City Paper. They don't deserve the attention until they publicly apologize to every woman who was subjected to this garbage. I have one copy in my attache. I'm going to write down a bunch of their sponsors and contact them asking for their thoughts on this article. I am a silly powerless blogger, but I will do everything I can to make sure the Paper takes a hit in the pocketbook for this trash.
Just commenting on this trash makes me want to take a hot shower.