When Boys Become Men and When Girls Become Miranda July

The next crop of lads is on their way to the frontline of manhood. Boys who are about to embark on the delicate time in one’s life when your chief concern is getting laid—or obsessing about not getting laid and I am worried for them.

It’s 2011 and anemia is an aphrodisiac. The times have changed.

I grew up in a very different era. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… Orange one-piece bathing suits were all over the small screen. Sarah Palin was a sportscaster. Men did not cry. Steroids were all the rage. Clinton was president.

Yes, gone are the days of inflated breasts, tawny skin, bleached hair, and enthusiastic pole dancing.

The sex that now sells comes in the form of doe-eyed and aloof raven-haired matrons. Now Peddling: commercially palatable versions of pallid, apathetic and small breasted.

Obviously tons of women (and maybe a few men) were involved in this shift, but when I sat down and thought deeply for twelve seconds, these women came to mind.

As of late

Miranda July humps the corner of a couch in a movie with a talking cat and we dig it. The product: A generation of girls who are looking emulate half-baked existentialism. They will wear ballet slippers, break hearts and abstain from sunlight.

St. Vincent (Annie Clark) sings about spending the summer on her back and we stop listening and fall in love. No doubt the song takes a different turn, but as far as I heard—the first seven words—it’s audible pornography. Remember when she said Marry Me?

And then, of course, there’s Zooey Deschanel. Can you imagine the droves of fifteen year old girls in Cleveland, Claremont, and Chandler who saw (500) Days of Summer, who are now eighteen and have spent the last three years modeling their behavior after one of Deschanel’s many overlapping  characters. All of which are overtly sexual, emotionally detached and frighteningly easy to engage.

I mean, did you see Gigantic? She fucked Paul Dano. Is there anyone uglier than Paul Dano? Sure, she went on to play opposite Joseph Gordon Leavitt. I feel a little bit more comfortable with that. We can only assume her next film she’ll play opposite James Franco or Ryan Gosling. Fine, great. Makes sense. They might even be a little bit out of her league.

But then remember, she’s married to the Death Cab guy. It’s true, he’s not as fat as he once was, but he’s also not as famous. Aesthetically, he’s practically a Paul Dano. I mean, subtract the rockstar thing and this guy works at Guitar Center, eats Subway and spends his weekends with his pants around his ankles in front of his laptop.

I’m just trying to objectively prepare young men for what Miranda July likes to call “The Future.”

Brace yourself, boys. All of the weird girls; I mean, the really weird ones who you thought could be “hot” have just gotten the OK from Corporate. They’ve gone sultry. Salacious. You’re salivating and they’re going to use the ancient Chinese torture technique of forcing celiac disease on you. After they’ve turned you gluten-free, they’ll run off with someone even uglier than you to start a chain of epicurean charcuteries called: Eat. Or maybe Food. Or Bar. Or Eat Bar. Or Food Bar. And they will serve Chilean wine, which is not gluten-free.

And you will cry about this. Then you’ll write a blog about it. Then someone will buy the rights and you’ll write a memoir. Then you’ll sell the memoir and Ryan Gosling will play the part of an ugly loser who lost his girlfriend (played by Zooey Deschanel).

Now that you’re famous, you will start dating Debra Ann Woll. You’ll have a lot to talk about. She used to (in 2011) date a blind guy. She knows all about love. You know nothing, but loss. You’ll be inconsolable. She’ll write a memoir about her life with you, exposing the fact that you’re still in love with the girl who thrust celiac disease on you. Of course, by this time that woman is far too old for you. So what do you do? I mean, for revenge, for the sake of your masculinity—you date her younger half-sister. You vow to never sell another secret and you start a brewery specializing in craft beers targeted at those on a gluten-free diet because after all these years… celiac disease is the only tie you have to the girl you once loved. You will name your brewery after her. You will name your dog after her.

But back to the girls:

They’re androgynous. They’re lethargic and they will quickly bore of you. You will love them. They will shack-up with your neighbor, your best friend, and they will steal your dog. You will still love them. They will join an electronic-folk philharmonic and write songs named after your street, your car, your inside jokes, your former-dog.

While this is happening, you will be crying and listening to St. Vincent play softly in the background of the new Miranda July film where a woman, at a crossroads in her life decides to leave her spouse for an older man. The backdrop will be World War III, but the protagonists will barely notice. The ending will be ambiguous. The title of the film: (Insert His Name Here).

Good luck, lads!

The Neapolitan Mastiff

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