A Discussion on Men’s Fashion (or “Shut Up About Rompers”)

Shown here: happy, confident men. Not shown: judgment from me.
Source: upgruv.com

Okay, let’s make this one quick so I can get back to more important (read: ‘entertaining’) matters.

Apparently, the latest fad among us digital natives is the mainstream use by man of a piece of fashion once the exclusive domain of women. Yes, we’re talking about the romper meme.

For those who are just as fashion blind as me a mere few hours ago, rompers are, in essence, a one-piece jumpsuit that was worn primarily by women until some dude discovered that they actually do a damn good job of showing off his glutes and didn’t want to miss an opportunity to advertise that he doesn’t skip leg day at the gym.

Of course, that’s not entirely true; men have ALWAYS rocked jumpers like this. It’s just that it’s a big deal now because the speed of information via the internet makes things seem much bigger than they actually are. My earliest experience was in the 1964 movie Goldfinger when the debonair James Bond rocked a stylish, baby blue terry cloth onesie while parading about a swank resort. And I think we can all agree that if it’s good enough for Sean Connery, it’s good enough for anyone.

Look, this isn’t my first rodeo; I’ve seen this kind of thing before. Men have always come under fire for doing things that someone thought were ‘femme’ or ‘girly.’ From shaving body hair to wearing utility kilts to the use of make-up, there’s always some d-bag that can’t handle minor, easily ignored changes and dedicates themselves to making others feel bad about it. All this talk we’re hearing now is the same thing we’ve been hearing since the first millennial man realized that the hair bun was actually a convenient way of wearing long hair.

So, you got all that: It doesn’t matter if you personally think that rompers look awful because YOU DON’T HAVE TO WEAR THEM. And if you’re offended that you have to look at guys in them – TOUGH TITTY. I don’t care for them either, but I can at least respect that it’s the wearer’s call to make and their choice has no effect on me and how I live my own life.

Besides, let’s not lose sight of the REAL fashion criminals; those a-holes at Gucci that charge upwards of $600 to dress up in something that I could make for one-eighth of the price to cosplay at an anime convention.

Embracing Darkness and Why The Agent Hates to Self-Silence

“No, me; I will NOT shut up. This is some important s***.”
Source: Thinking Healthy

Just a quick stream-of-consciousness style rant today to discuss how I apparently have a ‘bad habit’ among my more private circle of friends.

I keep a private Facebook page exclusively for friends and family where I allow myself to get much darker in my speech and tackle weightier topics that I don’t discuss here simply because I treat this corner of my part of the internet like a business and I don’t want to drive people off.

But, if I’m being honest, that kind of pisses me off. I hate having to do that.

However, I got reminded of why I do that recently. You see, I share those dark stories and thoughts because it’s my way of letting others who may be struggling with depressing crap that I’m somebody that can relate, is listening, cares about what you have to say, and wants to see the world change for the better. I legitimately want people to turn to me for emotional support.

The problem is that when people see a long string of sad posts saying how I relate to people with depression, praising artists for speaking out against bullying, or sharing stories commending parents for being aware of the danger their kid may be involved in, they think that I’m about to go off my nut.

And while I may get annoyed with the ever-echoing mantra of, “are you okay,” don’t begrudge those people for wanting to check up on me. After all, they’re just as worried about me as I am about them. And I’d like to think ALL of us are worried about the state of the world. It’s only natural to want to be concerned with the each other.

But the fact of the matter is this; I talk about dark, depressing things because I feel that denying them is to deny serious look into the human condition. I want people to see just what’s happening in the world and understand how people are feeling until they have no choice but to do something about it as a collective whole.

Of course, I realize that part of the fault is my own. Nobody likes being told how much of a crap-sack the world is when there’s obviously plenty of good in it that keeps getting ignored (why do you think I post #GoodNewsFriday on Twitter every week?), but it seems just as easy these days to just ignore the horrible stuff and act like it never happens.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that we all have a duty to speak up and act when we see injustice and inequality in the world and remind those that are suffering that we want to help them. Go and enjoy the good things in life that keep you going; that’s your right and what we all need every day. But don’t forget to step into the shadows every once and a while so you can remind yourself and others when and where there’s a candle that needs lighting.

Three Things I Hate About Dealing With Depression

It's time to start mending myself... Source: Everyday Health

It’s time to start mending myself…
Source: Everyday Health

Oh dear, I’m in one of my funks again.

Normally when my depression hits on posting day, I’ll make up an excuse for being too overwhelmed to work and take the week off. But I made a promise at the start of this year; this is the #YearOfTheIronWoobie and I owe it to myself and the people that look to me for wisdom, inspiration, and simple entertainment to press on.

So then, to help others understand that depression is a lot more than just unexplainable sadness (as an unfortunately large number of people tend to think), here are just a few of the struggles that I deal with that have suddenly been getting on my tits today.

Feelings of Inferiority

You know that feeling where it seems you can never make anyone happy with you despite your best efforts and it seems that you are just naturally built to suck at everything you do and you lose the drive to even try anymore?

Yeah, that’s usually the first sign that I’m having another episode.

This is probably the worst part of depression for me since it means that I lose interest in the passions that would be perfect for pulling me out of the stygian abyss of my crippling apathy because I don’t think I’m good enough to do them right. It creates a downward spiral that I feel I can’t break out of. And when I do break the cycle, I’ll never know what I did to get me out when it comes around the next time.

Self-Hatred

I’ve made it a point of advocating anger as a motivator (when used properly) and I make a clear difference between anger and hate. But you want to know what the worst kind of hate is? Self-hate.

Hating yourself accomplishes nothing. All it does is urge you to metaphorically rip yourself apart when you should be rebuilding your mind and body.

It’s okay to be angry with yourself. Sometimes we just do stupid stuff and can’t believe we would ever do something that terrible for us. But depression helps it to linger and become toxic – preventing us from taking steps to rectify our mistakes.

Misguided Frustration

Remember when I said that the feeling of inferiority was the worst thing about depression? Well, I hate to contradict myself in the same article but, no; THIS is the worst part.

It’s bad enough that I’m being compelled to destroy my own sense of self-worth by an irrational force I can’t comprehend, but having that anger and frustration get thrown on to people I care about because they don’t understand how I’m struggling with my own emotional state makes matters even worse as it drives away people that could have helped me.

Of course, if people aren’t bothering to take the time to understand you and stay with you despite your rough patches, they hardly count as good friends. But that lingering guilt stays with you and makes it harder to move forward.

Wow, I feel a lot better already. Thanks for hearing me out, folks. And I hope you’ll hear out your other friends who struggle with depression as well.

The Dying Art of Debate and Why We Need To Save It

See these dumbasses? They're doing it wrong. Source: Eligible Magazine

See these dumbasses? They’re doing it wrong.
Source: Eligible Magazine

Just a quick one while I’m bouncing back from a nasty cold.

Unsurprisingly, given the recent string of political events around the world, my Twitter and Facebook news feeds have been clogged with a depressing amount of posts calling other people stupid with little to no facts given – Just a seemingly endless stream of name-calling and bile-spitting.

That’s when I stopped to ask myself, “why don’t people debate anymore?”

I touched on this lightly on my Thanksgiving vacation announcement, but I wanted to go into it more here. It seems that people are genuinely afraid to debate back and forth on issues and fall back on schoolyard taunting these days and I want it to stop.

This is just me spitballing ideas based on my own experiences, but I feel the problem is that people look a debate as a win-lose game rather than a combination mutual education session and problem-solving process. Each side is convinced that they have to win because the other is ignorant, evil, or worse. So rather than work things out in a civil manner, they demonize each other to avoid debate and achieve easy success by shaming each other.

We see it every day; Democrats think Republicans are under-educated buffoons clinging to guns and religion when they’re just honestly worried about how deviation from tradition will affect them. Republicans think Democrats are spineless children crying over how everything offends them when they just want a country that anyone could be happy and honored to live in. People keep turning to broad generalizations of the opposing side rather than actually getting to know what they want.

Look, I get it; debating is hard work. I know; I had to do it to graduate college. But it’s honestly the best system we have to figure out what works and what doesn’t. We need to stop seeing it as a battle and understand that debate should be an intellectual growth event for all parties involved. If one or both people have left a debate unchanged from the time they started, then they both failed to do their job.

That’s why I say not to shy away from a debate when it comes your way. It’s a chance to edify yourself as well as someone else. Who knows, the two of you may stumble upon a way to fix the world.

Remember; the chaos of debate may be uncomfortable and intimidating, but those choppy waters never go stagnant.

Archive News: Thanksgiving Wishes and Blessings From The Agent

So, as I’m sure many of you may have guessed, I’ll be off with family tomorrow for Thanksgiving meaning that I won’t have new material for you this week. That said, I do want to share some brief thoughts with you before I head out.

Thanksgiving is notorious among families as the day when, while trying to enjoy our day, someone will often pipe up with some sort of opinion or religious/political view that starts a HUGE argument that puts everyone off the meal. And given the tumultuous and nerve-racking events of the past year, especially in the past few weeks, that tradition not only seems much more likely to happen but seems likely to be more heated than usual. And that’s an even bigger problem for those who already don’t feel welcome in their own families (seriously, who’s the genetic defective that thought it would be a good idea to place Election Day so close to a day of family gatherings ?).

I feel that’s part of the reason the recent ‘Friendsgiving’ trend has gotten so big; I already know a lot of people who are much closer to their friends than their blood relations. Hell, even I refer to one of my best friends as ‘my little sister.’

But, in regards to the topic of uncomfortable conversations at dinner this year, I want to urge you to not diffuse or distract from those dialogs. Instead, encourage civil discussion on the topic. Encourage free-thinking from all parties involved (that means you as well) and try to clear the air. Turn the heated debate into a friendly problem-solving session.

And just to be clear, I’m not saying you should LOOK to start something. But, if something comes up, be the one to defend yourself IN A CIVIL MANNER and try to make peace while working out your differences.

Say what you will about this year, but everything that has happened so far has made for fertile grounds for a new golden age of pride, discourse, and activism. In other words, this could be a world where people like me who thrive on civil debate and discussion can be at our best. Go out, be proud, say your peace with grace, and stuff your face in joy and self-respect.

The Importance Of Sex In Fiction (Or “This Cartoon Is Hot And That’s Okay”)

Drink it in folks; this may be the only time I can LEGALLY get away with showing bare breasts on this site. Source: Wikipedia

Drink it in folks; this may be the only time I can LEGALLY get away with showing bare breasts on this site.
Source: Wikipedia

So, one reader this week left a comment on my discussion of Steven Universe‘s Garnet and the purpose of her sexualized nature saying that they found the article after doing a light search to see if other people felt the same way about her. They also stated how they felt odd about being so attracted to an animated character and wanted to know if there was “something wrong” with them.

Well, to that reader and to others like them, I say to you this; No, there’s nothing wrong with you.

Sex and sexuality have been a major part of fiction since the creation of fiction. When someone invented the wall, someone else said, “not bad, but it would look better with a bunch o’ NEKKID people on it,” and created the first mural.

Arthurian lore is a great example of this. The tales of King Arthur and the likes of Sir Galahad, Sir Lancelot, Lady Guinevere, Morgan Le Fey and others are often centered around or even solely motivated by sex.

Even when the issue of censorship started coming into play, people found ways around these ‘decency laws’ to simulate and imply sex without actually showing it as a legal loophole. And thus innuendo became mainstream.

Basically, sex is a big deal in fiction because it’s something we either all do or are at least affected by; a universal constant that we can all relate to. Even asexuals are affected by the conscious decision to abstain from intercourse. That’s why asexuality is STILL a sexual orientation.

It’s for this reason that I get a little hot-headed whenever I see trolls online poking fun at people who draw erotic art, read hentai manga, or have an interest in anthropomorphism. Here are a group of people engaging in a time-honored global tradition and now they’ve come under attack by closed-minded bullies that can’t separate reality from fantasy.

Fiction is fiction and fantasy is fantasy; no healthy-minded human being will debate that. The use of fiction and fantasy is a means of self-exploration; exploration of our minds, our morals, and – indeed – our inner desires. And to this day, we have yet to find a better way to explore those notions than through fictional narrative.

Basically, if you aren’t willing to indulge in flights of fantasy – including sexual fantasy – while reading a book, watching a movie or playing a video game, why are you even bothering with a story in the first place?

Protein Princesses: 3 Awesome Muscle Women In Fiction

Now, I know that a lot of you are expecting some kind of reflection on the election. But, I’m not doing that. I make it a point in politics to not complain about people regardless of what I personally think of them as I feel the REAL problem is in the mechanics of government. And since I’ve already made my point on that front, I’m not going to repeat myself (Side note: I did actually break my own rule and vote this year in a vain attempt to demonstrate the problems with the system so I have every right to complain).

Besides, I promised happier topics last week and I intend on delivering. So, let’s talk body positivity.

As some of you may have known/guessed by now, I’m pretty big on the idea that your size, shape, color, etc. doesn’t define you as a person. As a result, I get a lot of stories about men and women taking pride in their various forms.

But you know what story I almost never see? Women proud to be built like battleships.

There’s almost no talk about body image pride among muscular, athletic women. And that saddens me because I can think of tons of buff ladies that I admire. Ladies like…

Pvt. Jenette Vasquez

There’s something beautifully satisfying about the image of a comparatively small person with an over-sized gun…
Source: opensketchbook.tumblr.com

Aliens was the first time in my life that I was given the idea that a woman could be just as much (or more) of an ass-kicking titan of awesome as any man. But, in an odd twist, it wasn’t Ellen Ripley that I gravitated to. That honor went to Private Vasquez.

Ripley may have been the hero in the end, but I always felt like she was cowed by the machismo of the Marines. Not so with Vasquez; She took it all in stride and constantly proved that she could dish out whatever others gave her – as evidenced by her most famous retort.

Sure, she errs on the side of the butch stereotype, but she makes it clear that it’s her choice to be who she is and she owns it every step of the way.

Jennifer Walters; The She-Hulk

These muscles were forged in justice. Source: TV Tropes

These muscles were forged in justice.
Source: TV Tropes

An obvious choice, I’ll admit. But you don’t get as big (no pun intended) as She-Hulk without good reason.

See, Jen isn’t just a pretty face and/or mounds of muscle – she’s also quite brilliant. Remember, when she’s not running with The Avengers or subbing for The Thing on The Fantastic Four, she serves justice the old fashioned way as an expert defense attorney.

Basically, she will always be loved as long as she remains the proof that you can have brains, beauty, and brawn in one glorious green package.

Bismuth

There's nothing like the feeling of a satisfied customer. Source: Steven Univerce Wiki

There’s nothing like the feeling of a satisfied customer.
Source: Steven Universe Wiki

Have I mentioned my Steven Universe obsession yet? I feel like I may have brought it up at some point.

Firstly, to all of the Jasper fans out there, yes; technically the Big Buff Cheeto Puff qualifies for this list with her 80’s glamazon image. but I’m not counting her because, as a character, she’s not very sympathetic to me and has rejected every chance for redemption. Remember, this list is about RESPECTABLE muscle women.

Bismuth, on the other head, is a great example of a sympathetic antagonist. She’s not truly vicious and obsessed with strength and control like Jasper, she’s simply misguided in her attempts to protect the ones she loves. Once you get past that, you can see that the biggest muscle on her is her own heart.

Add to that that she’s a steel worker and a blacksmith – labor that is traditionally considered to be “men’s work” – and she’s a great role model that teaches us to, in her words, “… choose to do whatever [you want].”

We’ve only seen her a handful of times so far, but I look forward to doing BISMUTH with her again in future episodes.