Not all grown men are suave, sexy, progressive George Clooney/Viggo Mortensen/Colin Farrell lookalikes with sharp blue eyes, stubbly outgrowths and abs like World Cup forwards, all hearts of gold, full heads of hair and perfectly sculpted genitalia custom designed to satisfy a small harem, make birds sing and goddesses purr.
Not all adult men are strong and dependable, loyal and true, able to make you laugh, sigh, moan, buy you a drink, jump start your Mini in the rain, smell good all over, build a deck, parallel park a tractor-trailer, and feel sufficiently secure in their masculinity and humanity to champion gay rights and women's rights and pelican rights.
Conversely, not all men are of the other ilk either, the sweaty, overweight, woman-hating Republican homophobes in titanic SUVs, bad marriages and sad comb-overs, twitchy fearmongers who hate all foreigners and wear their baseball hats and grubby hoodies in fancy restaurants, men who spit on the sidewalk and blow their noses like open trumpets into the street, immature adulterers as eager for a war and a beatdown as they are for 20 minutes with a meth dealing gay hooker.
Did you already know all this about men? Does it seem forehead-slappingly obvious to suggest, despite all the clichés, lousy track records and Tiger Woods, that men come in such a huge array of shapes, styles and configurations?
Well of course it is. After all, the male creature has been dissected and bisected and demonized since time immemorial, from hero to Great Oppressor, father to magnate, hunk to egomaniac and back again in the time it took you to read this sentence.
But oh, is it ever worth remembering in light of what is right now being dubbed, with various degrees of pleasure and concern, confusion and delight, "the rise of the woman," "the new conservative feminism," "the end of men," and on and on, all sorts of amazing, disorienting pro-female bellwethers and signs, indicators and shifts.
It is something to behold. Right now I'm vainly attempting to cross-reference Hanna Rosin's fascinating mixed-bag article from the Atlantic that ran under the delightfully obnoxious headline "The End of Men: How Women are Taking Control of Everything," and mixing it with all the feverish stories about California's landmark political races, Carly and Meg and Pelosi, too, influenced by everyone's favorite winkin' ditzball from hell, Sarah Palin.
And I'm tossing in a dash of pop culture, all the MIAs and Lady Gagas and Miley Cyruses, the Kathryn Bigelows and the ditzbombs of "Sex and the City," trying to parse and understand and see some sort of through-line.
I am not having much success. Most women -- and many of us men -- are cheering madly at all the newfound roles, powers, titles, successes and attentions, from Hillary's stunning presidential run to Bigelow's Oscar to (even) Meg Whitman's pile of billions that could very well buy her the election.
But holy hell with the lost gospels of Mary Magdalene, many are also booing, hissing, screaming their frustration, entirely furious that many of third-wave feminism's cornerstone values -- abortion rights, humanitarianism, anti-racism, don't kill stuff -- are being violently, stupidly co-opted, inverted, perverted, repackaged, skinned like a moose and shot from a helicopter like a wolf skittering across the Alaskan tundra.
In short, most progressive women are right now discovering a brutally painful truth, one that men have known for millennia: With power, glory and long overdue cultural advancement, comes a whole delightful s--bag of downsides, drawbacks, jackals and bitches to poison the party. Fun!