In defense of the dirty old man.


Despite the fact that IÕm not particularly comfortable defending myself or any dirtier old men, lemme take a brief crack at it...


As I imagine, human sexual desire historically, with whatever attributes are associated with primates in general, was more analogous to that of the rest of the earth's creatures. The modern dilemmas of economics, leisure time, per-capita concentration and the like, have changed the practical and appropriate application of sex drive, but not the base man. Such is the expansion of the gap between evolutionary time scale and the rapid transformation of human life and experience. This leaves us with at least partially, the wrong tools for the job. Where it once was reasonable to engage in the act whenever it struck two's fancy, or at least one's fancy, now there are consequences like ŌunwantedÕ children. It is a bit too easy for me to romanticize a period when all children attainable were needed and thereby all sex desire achievable was to be employed, and further that sexual satisfaction for males was more likely a constant. One can hope that in this perhaps natural setting (if one can call it that for a moment) women could also have fulfilled their desires as well, should their partners have been aware and/or had the intention of 'helping out'. There is apparently evidence of a biological basis for advantage with such male ŌhelpÕ. This is not to suggest that such good ole days every existed or that patriarchies aren't primarily concerned with male whim (by definition). But in what one might call a functional situation, whereby at least people managed to arrange marginally monogamous periods where they went forward with their work, their sex lives and their children, there may have existed a period of relative sexual positivism.


I want to describe the parameters of the male desire in an effort to dispel the notions that it inherenetly contains dementia. By this discussion it is worth mentioning that I by no means intend to dismiss or minimize the predicaments facing women, sexual or otherwise.


We all enter this weird place through the fairerÕs sex to then look around, in astonishment if we take the infantÕs face value. We develop some varying opinions about what is sexy and beautiful. Much has been said about the distortions introduced by lewd images or lurid descriptive tales, and now by the industries of advertising and pornography. Prior to media, including oil painting and even charcoal scribbling, people no doubt influenced young men as to the expression of their sexual desire. I don't feel a need to defend the obvious goal of male sexual desire, that being, the spreading of genes as expressed in offspring. In defense of monogamy, there may be interesting positive benefits like emotional security, less risk of disease etc, but obviously multiple partners is contusive to the evolutionary requirement to spread thy seeds into a landscape. Such biological responsibility (a system which my feline side would never authorize) is of course subject to the inherent competition of the marketplace, and as with most species, the dominant males succeed while the bulk of horny onlookers loiter, scheming to participate by luck or opportunism.


I would at this point insist that the blight of advertising, eloquently accused by John Berger in the ways of seeing, should at least be burned at the news stand and the server for amplifying the salivation of the aforementioned army of on-lookers. But much has been written about this and it neednÕt be further described by me.

But the need for a defense for this biological ŌdistributionÕ has arisen seemingly because of a modern notion that these sexual tools of evolution are predatory, outmoded and crude. Yet short of lobotomy and castration (well alright, but in that order please), I donÕt see a clear path to the modification of the core of man. Perhaps we should start with a campaign to promote consent, and for godÕs sake emulate the religious Š START YOUNG! No, no, not those religious and those young Š I mean, start teaching the young that consent is where itÕs at. Apparently, raping women can be a turn-on for some, but most would agree that this is a complete dysfunction. Without complete consent, I personally would be either merely performing an operation or totally uninterested. ItÕs interesting that as we observe many species in the act, we donÕt see the females as willing participants. It takes careful observation to understand the subtle movements, proximity adjustments, or odors beyond our senses to find these clues even in mammals.


Now we come to a need to differentiate between the male observation, something called healthy interest, something indeed requested and the sexual predator, the mutant and dangerous behavior of the essentially murderous.


One needs to consider the behavior of the on-lookers that is unwelcome to women, because it is important to differentiate between demonstrating affection and imposing predatory behavior. Gifts, be them attention or object, are of course best when they are wanted. It may not equalize but: It isnÕt always a trivial procedure to negotiate the obstacle course of the attention women loathe or require. Consider the existence of expressions like win her over, or a man come a callin', words like suitor, or situations in which men are expected to demonstrate by facing public humiliation, procedures designed to balance the inherent vulnerability of the original cave-women burdened with child. Of course, this ancient female role has encountered some modern upgrade in recent decades; let's hope it can be sustained and enlarged in the current climate of back-stepping.


ThereÕs an interesting insult IÕve heard from both men and women (not just directed at me): To accuse a man of loving women, i.e., he loves women. IÕve never quite understood if this is to suggest that such a man is weak or unmanly, or has access to women that is worthy of admiration or jealousy or that such a man is interested only in the outer layers of the fair sex. Of course women (and men) have many attributes, some inherent and some social constructs; there is no obligation to embrace any particular attributes of any perspective. But as a son of a feminist and an absentee father who did not provide anything to admire about his classic patriarchal behavior, IÕve a natural taste for the positions of women (no pun intended).


The challenge is to demonstrate that such motivations of man contribute to a celebration of women, their whole, complex beings; a celebration rather than a primitive corner-drooling. I realize that language is important and I do not intend to defend the guttermouth: You dippinÕ her? is not really a defendable statement, should one want to suggest that such a comment could demonstrate anything but degradation. But crudity is not owned by a gender; she can do him just like he can do her. I'm not suggesting that the poor man, burdened by swarming nubiles, cannot concentrate on his work, must run to bathroom (or stay in plain view) to relieve his tension, or cannot live without resentment at his lack of access to the beauty about, but merely that there is something there with which to contend. The situation does not justify rape, or even unsolicited chocolate, but it is a dynamic, a parameter in the sexual life of modern man, along with STD, pregnancy, condoms or whathaveyou. This situation merely contributes to a general sexual malaise, which I wouldnÕt suggest is grave, but can hardly be considered ideal.


This essay originally appeared in 2005 at, the virtual mouthing off space of gibbs chapman.