About two months ago, Matt Donnelly and I were sharing a bottle of pinot when, driven by some force hell-bent on witnessing an argument, someone mentions the A-word. Not the marshmallow one. Abortion.
I will preface this with some background info. Matt, who brings you the “Dirt” column each week, and I are pretty much the loudest, most obnoxious members of The Temple News staff.
Heaven forbid we are in the office at the same time, and Ben Watanabe just about forfeits his sports section for some peace and quiet. Never have there been two people more steadfastly grounded in the same mindset across the board. Two peas in a uniting pod of sick humor and fierce loyalty.
So, we fall upon the knife that is the abortion topic, and – gasp – butt heads. Earth turns on its axis, pigs take flight in the midst of a downpour of cats and dogs, Annie Sparkle pronounces her born-again-virginity and Ashlee Simpson sings on key.
Suddenly, nothing is right with the world. And, friends, I will tell you that this was a white-hot, tooth-and-nail debate that left us breathing hard with deep, semi-permanent battle scars, having said some pretty intense things to each other.
My point in reliving this episode with you is to point out that there are certain issues on which men and women simply do not see eye-to-eye. Sometimes, taking a stand on one of these topics can really rub people the wrong way, as happened with Matt and I. I learned that the hard way this week, as my otherwise modestly filled inbox was flushed with hordes of e-mails from readers responding to last week’s “Straight up Sex” where I admonished women for wearing degrading T-shirts.
Usually, I keep commentary private, but this week the resulting tornado of tongue-lashings was just too good to keep to myself. I think I made peace with everyone, so I promised not to print anyone’s private info. Incidentally, I did register all of you at www.mommyissues.com, so stay tuned for that newsletter and prepare yourself for the journey to healing.
I’ve talked a lot of trash in my life, so I was fully prepared for a backlash from empowered girls ready to put me in my place by telling me they could wear whatever they want to and party as hard as 1999 permitted.
I was ready to be tossed from the cool girl kingdom. I was ready for a stampede of angry liberated ladies defending their fashion freedom and their sexy potential.
I braced myself. I waited.
Low and behold you never came for me, girls. Instead I was greeted with open arms by more acceptance than I can shake my Sharpee at. The outpouring of comments like, “It’s about damn time,” and “Way to go,” plus the abundance of T-shirt requests (which, by the way, are still online if you’re interested) was gratifying.
What shocked me were the responses I got from the Mars category. Guys, I really upset you. And, I’m just about the biggest fan of men you’ll ever meet. The fact that I wrote a scathing article toward women and was kicked hard where it hurts by the “gentlemen” made me think. Why, when I take a deep dig in one direction was I blind-sided by the other? Is it true that a woman speaking her mind really is that threatening?
It leaves me feeling kind of bad, boys. A few of you wrote me some pretty severe stuff. I’ll sum it up into categories.
1.) Get off your self-imposed pedestal, Nadia. No one cares what you say.
2.) You’re probably a lesbian.
3.) You need to get laid more.
4.) You’re insecure yourself, and you’re only writing this to make yourself feel better.
5.) Your breasts aren’t big enough to write an article for you. (The ma’ams are doing quite all right for themselves).
All of this toward someone who’s written about aphrodisiacs, talking dirty, saving yourself from bad bar scenarios, how not to enrage your girlfriend and overweight intercourse.
Check my resume. Next thing you’re going to tell me educating people about safe sex is hella-conservative. I didn’t mean to make you mad, guys. Really. But don’t think trying to intimidate me with groundless arguments is actually going to intimidate me.
I’ve got some really thick skin, so you better come at me with some intelligent thinking if you’re going to sway my viewpoint. That means instead of throwing stones at me personally, throw them at my argument. All you’ve done is prove my point so far, so I’m feeling good about calling it a day. The last laugh is mine, and I hope it rings from the rooftops.
I’ll close with one of my favorite sayings often heard in the advertising world, one I used pretty much verbatim in a return e-mail. “I’d rather have you hate it or love it, but not like it.”
The fact that I moved so many people to get online and write to me, no matter how supportive or humiliating, makes me feel like I’ve done my job.
How’s that for a power struggle?
Nadia Stadnycki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.