Driver’s Side Airbag #41
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Boys 2 Men?
By Kitty Kowalski

In conversation with my friends, the subject of men often comes up. I am willing to argue there is no such thing. I have never encountered a Man in my whole life. I have met many people that call themselves Men. Smart women that I admire call these irascible critters "Men", but in using this language they perpetuate a myth that has been passed down from our fathers and our father's fathers. Let's call them what they really are.

Boys: all male humans are boys. You call female humans "girls" and no one's panties wad into a bunch. Watch: when you call a physically mature male human a "boy", both girls and boys alike gasp in horror. You mean "Man", they have said to me. I feel like Copernicus – this is a truth too plain for all humans to cognitively register, so it's considered heresy. Are they worried the male species will finally see they are forever doomed to be boys? Are they shocked that the secret is out of the Pandora's Box, and it will lead to more boyish behavior? Or is it a ruse for women to not feel duped by the belief that there is actually growth potential for this race?

Since women for all time have been trying to turn boys into something else, an entire industry has spawned with self-help books, therapy groups and the like. I suspect a conspiracy to propagate this industry and make women feel forever inadequate about not being able to turn their selected boy into what society has named "A MAN", much like the fashion and beauty industry makes mega-billions dangling a similar carrot on a stick with computer-generated body types and retouched photographs (but that's another rant).

Here is a list to recognize these false signs of anything other than boyhood in your chosen male:

The Guy:

Identifying characteristics: Nondescript manner of dress, mainly seen cavorting with others of same type, speech is transmitted in one-word answers or other monosyllabic grunts.
Clothing: Promotional T-shirts, jeans and other articles of clothing too nondescript to waste time with.
Hangouts: Pool halls, video arcades, frat houses, Sports Bars and clubs without women (not including gay bars), unless they have a wet T-shirt contest
Favorite TV shows: Shows? There are only games! Only scheduled event is Monday Night Football. Everything else is on an ad hoc basis, according to the season and proximity to the playoffs.
Positives: Doesn't try to be anything else.
Advice for females: He will never notice when you clean his apartment, so don't go fishing for complements. Will woo you when you are the one with the remote. If you are lucky, you may get sex once a month the day the Playboy comes in the mail.

The Dude:

Identifying characteristics: Battle cry of "dude!" to other like characters, Shows increased interest in the opposite sex, more effort put into dress to communicate "dude" badge.
Clothing: Rock-related T-shirts or short sleeved button-down shirts his last girlfriend bought him, fashionable or black jeans, silver jewelry or black belts with silver hardware.
Hangouts: Bars with pool tables, Rock concert parking lots, the stoop.
Favorite TV Shows: South Park, Simpsons and all other cartoons.
Positives: Will wear anything you give him.
Advice for females: Though more social than The Guy, the dude is a "Guy" who cares about his looks solely to impress other females. Will tally up interaction with females and publicize it to increase his stature in the eyes of other "Dudes".

The Sensitive Guy:

Identifying characteristics:  Bad or non-threatening posture, college degree framed in bathroom, precedes statements with, "I think" or "I feel"
Favorite TV Shows: Ally McBeal, ER, will not wrench the remote control from your hand if you are watching Lifetime channel
Clothing: Baggy pants & Dockers, wrinkled linen shirts, suede loafers, or brown shoes and belts.
Hangouts: Starbucks, book stores, coffeehouses that have acoustic music, Lilith Fair
Advice to women: "Sensitive Guy" is an oxymoron. Treat this one as a sociopath or borderline personality. This guy is either a mama's boy or using this "sensitive guy" stuff to get in your pants, or worse, your best friend's. This is one of the most delusional of all boy types and may become violent if his lack of sensitivity is suddenly unmasked. Either that, or he will whine and grovel. Both require that you flee to safety immediately. Better to find yourself a "Guy" and know exactly what you are getting.

The Bad Boy:

Identifying characteristics: Tattoos, motorized vehicles, either long hair or no hair at all, usually a musician to avoid collecting a paycheck, or a mechanic to get dirty and get paid for it. Usually consorts with other girls, as there is little room for other males in the bad boy's life. A Bad Boy knows where his meal ticket is.
Clothing: Harley Davidson shirt whether he rides or not, leather pants
Hangouts: Bars with Pool tables, bars with bikes parked out front, bars with jukeboxes, bars with lots of neon signs, dark bars, bars with live bands
Favorite TV shows: Hocked the TV for dope. Watches "The Sopranos" at other people's houses.
Advice for females: He will never make money from music, so supporting his career is as gratifying as buying cosmetics. You are better off spending money on changing your locks. Trying to break up with this guy is just giving him a license to steal your records and electronics.

The Man:

Identifying characteristics: Obsession with status symbols and material objects, calls himself a "professional" or a "manager", matching luggage, reads New York magazine.
Clothing: Suits, bar mitzvah pants or "slacks", long-sleeved button down shirts only, hard-soled leather shoes with laces, never without a belt
Hangouts: University Clubs, time-shares in beach towns, bars with stock-tickers, health or golf clubs, "The Track" in Central Park, bistros and cafes.
Favorite TV shows: Crossfire or The Capital Gang, 60 Minutes, Golf tournaments and tennis matches, anything on The History Channel.
Advice for Females: This boy will expend all his energy trying himself to reach the unobtainable goal of being a man. Maintaining this persona is a 24/7 job. You are in his life because The Man Handbook says that he must acquire a female in her childbearing years at some point in his life to create yet another boy. If you stay with this obsessive/compulsive Man-type, you will be bored to death. Manly monomania is tiresome. You sex life will also suck if you make more money than he does.

Though there are shades of grey, you will find that most boys fit into one of these schemas. Some never overlap. The Bad Boy is the antithesis of The Man, as The Guy and the Sensitive Guy are polar opposites. The only one that seems to have a bit of each is The Dude, because that is the definition of his persona. The Dude desperately needs to be liked by everybody and mines an ever-expanding circle of other boys to whom to shout out, "Dude!'.

Once you recognize what kind of boy your male human is, and that he will always be a boy underneath the facade, you will be much happier. No more fighting, no more bemoaning his lack of development and self-actualization, no more questioning your lack of love in your inability to transform him from one of the above archetypes to a Man. Enjoy you boy for what he is, and stop kicking yourself for what he can never become. I love my boy, and I ain't gonna change him!

Bucket of Gross
by Carlton Mellick III

Little Johnny steps into the cafeteria carrying his food inside of his flesh instead of a lunch box, inside of a meaty cabinet between his intestines and liver. He insists it is too babyish to carry lunch in boxes or bags, and nobody eats the hot lunch anymore, not since they started serving B-quality vegan food. 

Johnny sits next to Susy, because she is the cutest girl in the fifth grade, and everyone thinks so. And the cutest boy in school sits across the table – the table being made out of a collection of sand castles and sand pails.

The boy's name is Toby and he has a bicycle with five wheels on it – that's three more than anyone else! Toby calls it a quincycle and he carries his lunch inside of the spokes instead of a lunch box. But he is not as unique as Susy, who carries her lunch inside of her privates.

She smiles at Johnny when he unzips his belly and pulls out a blood-smeared tuna fish sandwich and he smiles at Susy when she twitches a granola bar from her strawberry panties.

Toby eats butterscotch pudding and flicks a spoonful at kids from the next table who eat out of lunch boxes the size of milk crates.

Little Johnny thinks Susy is cute and Susy likes Johnny too. Toby likes Johnny, but Johnny thinks Toby likes Susy, but Toby thinks Susy is gross. Toby thinks all girls are gross.

When Johnny is done with his tuna sandwich, he reaches inside of his torso and digs for potato salad and a toffee bar, but he cannot find either one – the food items are hiding behind his skinny back ribs.

Susy finishes her granola bar and wants something more to eat -- her lunch container is too compact to hold a full meal. Her grey-brown eyes glaze Johnny, begging for nourishment.

Little Johnny becomes nervous under the pressure of her glazing eyes and digs furiously into the wet meaties, mixing things up, looking for the potato salad.

When Johnny's hand finally comes in contact with the potato-creamy container, he jerks it out of him and holds it up to Susy. Unfortunately, Johnny has pulled out an intestine tube with the potato salad. And when Susy sees its slime texture, she tosses the potato salad aside and takes a bite.

Johnny is very flattered and offers Susy some more intestine. It isn't every day that the coolest girl in school wants to eat part of you. She slowly pulls the intestine out of him, hand over hand, swallowing the meat rope as she goes. And little Johnny begins to feel faint, smiling.

Susy soon finds the intestines lacking the robust flavor she craves and drives her hand into Johnny to find something of her liking.

Johnny feels a tingling sensation in his private area as the prettiest girl in school fondles his insides, and Toby watches with disgust from behind a sand castle.

And when Susy finds Johnny's heart, she can feel it beating furious inside of her hand. Susy's grey-brown eyes glaze Johnny again, begging for nourishment.

Once Johnny nods hesitatingly, Susy pulls a fist of meat from his torso – still pounding violently in the air.

Johnny smiles when she wraps her pink-painted lips around his heart and bites into it, splashing blood all over Susy's dress, all over the sand castle table, all over Toby and his quincycle.

The little girl devours the organ as furious as it is beating, chewing the stubborn muscle, licking the blood, spurting growl-noises between bites.

And little Johnny claps his hands once she finishes, witnessing his own heart beating underneath her flowery dress, within her stomach – her belly pulsing with his rhythm.

Johnny can tell Susy likes him for sure now, especially when she kisses him and hugs him and dumps all of his innards onto the table to take home with her – the gore painting the sand castles and filling the sand buckets.

When Susy zips Johnny's torso back up, Johnny realizes he doesn't feel too good anymore, but he smiles merrily at Susy anyway.

Toby becomes jealous and attempts to steal Johnny's organs by collecting them into a bucket. Susy screams at him and tries to get her food back, but Toby takes the bucket of meat and rides away on the quincycle. Susy knows she can't follow Toby, because he is too fast. A quincycle is even faster than a bicycle because it has more wheels. And Susy runs to tell Teacher.

Little Johnny sits alone and hollow at the sand castle table . . . his belly deflated and wrinkly. But Johnny still has a smile on his face, because he is Susy's new boyfriend. That makes him the coolest boy in school.

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