Why I still regard myself as cis-male (in view of all of today's ideology)

OK, I just had my 79th birthday recently, have never been married, have never begotten a child, and in fact have never consummated sexual intercourse with a (biological) woman (I won’t go further today with Matt Walsh’s film, reviewed here June 9).

This history goes hand-in-hand that I generally am distant or aloof and do not have strong emotional ties to anyone right now, in the since we have each other’s backs.  (Fantasizing sexual attraction is possible, but then there is the 'do not idolize' thing.)

Most 'normal' (??) adults have been imprinted with the need for these ties through growing up in and having families, which extend to extended networks, tribes, ethnicities, and sometimes even countries. 

But some introverted people can make a lot of the internal worlds they have set up for themselves.

The end result is that people “like me” feel very little incentive to 'join in' other people’s public professions of generosity, from raising money for social justice causes, to benefit harmed strangers we don't know, or making real sacrifices (like live organ donations including bone marrow);.

Jason Morton has a commentary on Medium Aug. 15, 2022, 'What Life Is For Thousands Without An Emotional Or Psychological Support System'.  The link is here (I note now that Medium essays are “members only”, which normally amounts to a $5 per month subscription, a nice name for paywall  I have one essay on it now on the power grid from Aug. 2018). 

Essentially, thought, this argument is the same as George Gilder’s book in 1986 Men and Marriage.

In conventional society, 'most' men grow up supposedly needing validation of their masculinity by protecting and providing for a family.  Gilder used to argue that the female gender is superior, because without families, men become superfluous.  Families provide them real people with real needs to benefit from “male power”.  You know how well this plays with the patriarchy, and doesn’t play with todays’ progressives.  (Look at the writings of Warren Farrell, for example The Myth of Male Power in 1993, my legacy review).

I grew up “different” in not being competitive physically with other boys in terms of strength.  I was underweight.  I had measles in the summer after first grade, and in third grade I was made acutely aware by the (female) teacher of my competitive inadequacies.  There is some evidence in narrative report cards that I had some deficits even in first grade, before measles.  But measles (in the days before vaccinations) did make kids sickly for a couple years after they recovered as it wiped out a lot of other immunity.Gradually I exhibited what we call dyspraxia.  I tired to make up for it by being smart and getting good grades.  But in those days it has hardly possible to perform like the most visible teens today (like Max Reisinger on YouTube).

The irony of my emerging dyspraxia (and measles-related hypochondria) is that in February 1952 I started piano lessons. I knew I wanted to.  My parents got a Kimball piano.  I got relatively good at it, and might have gone further than I did.  I quickly developed an ear for music and an ability to identify classical music pieces over the radio.

The surrounding culture demanded that men defer to and protect women, it was the 'girls first' and then 'women and children first' thing, like on the Titanic, or in Ukraine today.  In elementary grades, I actually imagined women and girls had it “easier”.  They got to be protected and did not get drafted to go to war.  Of course, at a younger age, I had no concept that pregnancy used to be very dangerous and difficult for women (and still can be). 

I am an only child.  I believe that around 1953, when I would have turned 10, my mother (who was 29 when I was born, my father was 40) mother had a hysterectomy, at GWU hospital in Washington.  (I was actually born in Columbia Hospital for women in Washington, near Georgetown).  I was never told the reason, maybe some kind of chronic infection.  When I was in fourth grade, my parents one time mentioned the idea of adopting a younger (of course, white) sister to give me more sense of family responsibility.  It never happened.  I never heard about it again.

It happened that my street in north Arlington VA had unusually large back yards, partly because behind it there had been a small stream and woods, which were cleared and stream buried underground in 1950 to make more room for houses near Arlington Hospital on 16th St.  (It is now the modern Virginia Hospital Center, affiliated with Mayo).  Many of the boys on the street were exactly three years younger than me, by chance.  So we converted backyards into softball (or sometimes whiffleball or stockingball) stadiums, “fields of dreams”, and had a “league”.  In that environment, which lasted through the summer of 1958, I was reasonably 'competitive', more so than the Washington Senators baseball. We also had hobbies of making wood or pinball stadiums as board games.

I’ve covered the long history of my association with the military in my first DADT book.  Essentially, I took the draft physical three times and went from 4-F to 1-Y to 1-A, and put in my two years after finishing graduate school.  My degree enabled me to avoid Vietnam – call that privilege – which I think is more about class than just race.  But during that Spring of 1968, about the time LBJ announced he would not run and then MLK was assassinated, I was in “Special Training” in the Army, because of my low PT scored on the first PCPT test.  I passed after three weeks and scored 357 on the PCPT to graduate from Basic.  In my case, remedial physical education, even at age 24, did make a difference in resolving some of the strength and dyspraxia problems, but I was still probably in about the 20% percentile for men of my age on physical strength.

I ponder all this in terms of today’s ideological wars on “gender” (the Twitter account “LibsofTikTok” is now at the epicenter).  It was not conceivable in my day to even ponder this idea.  Gender was sex assigned at birth and that was all she wrote (we did realize that very rare biological anomalies happen, and they aren't as rare as we thought). It would seem appealing to some young people who  fear comparing or “competing” unfavorably with others of their own birth sex (especially with some interpretations of Marxism).  This is not to say that there are not some genuine physical causes of male underperformance, which might include infectious disease (measles), or sometimes (maybe in up to 1.5% of boys) chromosomal or specific genetic or epigenetic factors that could be tracked down with enough effort.  And that is not to say that for some kids (a very small minority) a social transition in childhood and physical in early adulthood might not be appropriate.

It also would explain in my history why I would be imprinted with the idea of upward affiliation (crudely called idolization) and that would reinforce homosexual interests. It is interesting that in adult life, I have found that I am physically, at any age, much below the norm in physical strength for most (cis) gay men, too.

In the world I grew up in, I would not have been “fit” or competitive enough to be a husband and father and garner all the social benefits thereof. Instead, I detoured around it. In the 90s (starting in the late 80s), marriage and family became a privatized afterthought to career and work productivity. A single person with no obligations could play the system and have tremendous economic advantage of less or no debt. Equality (given a universe of people with adult personal agency) in a group sense becomes counter-productive.

In the video above, two "conservatives" talk about the way providing for others (in a family) socializes men and provides context for their own personal accomplishments. That seems more important to talk about now than gay marriage itself.

(Posted: Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at 2 PM EDT by John W Boushka)