It must have been the second or third week of Summer Bridge, a program designed to ease incoming Berkeley freshman into the rigors of college life by having them arrive a couple of months early and enroll in summer courses. I, a goofy seventeen-year-old-virgin kid who had literally never kissed anyone save for my family members on the cheek, was laying in my dorm room’s top bunk bed, watching TV with a cute girl whose name I don’t remember. I really need to reiterate that not only had I never been in a position close to this, but I had literally no clue what to do at all. It was never discussed that we were into each other, but it had been pretty flirtatious, so when she casually walked in (everyone kept their doors open in those first weeks to be social) and said she wanted to watch a DVD I nearly fainted. I really don’t remember all the details, though, because it was over 15 years ago. All I know for sure is that we were laying there, essentially in pajamas, in the top bunk… Alone.
The next part I remember more clearly. There was no talking whatsoever minutes after I put the DVD in so I, not knowing what I should do, put my arm around her a little. It wasn’t like full snuggle, but kind of a touch-so-you-know-I’m-touching-you type of thing. She didn’t move or react at all. Dope? I actually wasn’t sure. Life would have been much easier had she swatted me away, or if she welcomed it and maybe snuggled in. No response at all left me in an even tougher position. How much was I supposed to do? In all honesty, I didn’t want to do anything at all. I wanted her to turn and like just tell me she liked me or something and then make a move on me so I wouldn’t have to make any more moves. But that didn’t happen.
So, after maybe an hour of inching closer and closer with no response, I was basically fully spooning, with my arm wrapped over her chest. At this point I was like if she didn’t get it by then, then I was out of options. And that’s where I left it. As soon as the dvd ended, she basically just got up and left. I’m sure there were words, but it’s so long ago, I can’t remember them. I was just like what the fuck just happened?
Fast forward a week or two, we hadn’t talked at all. One day I saw her walking hand in hand with a football player. I, being a little hurt at seeing this, brought up the whole ordeal to a dude I was friendly with later that day. I told him about the night she and I had and at some point he interrupted me.
“Why didn’t you just whip your dick out?”
I’m pretty sure that was the first time I had ever heard that come out of someones mouth. I actually couldn’t believe that was his line of reasoning. I don’t recall what else he said after that, but he did mention that he bet the football player had whipped his out and that’s why he got her.
I tell this story because I have heard of dudes whipping their dicks out HELLA times since then. That may have been the first, but it was certainly not the last. I think I may have heard some guy suggest it to another as recently as a few months ago. I swear this is actually something some people say out loud out of their coddamn mouths. The logic goes that nights like mine were wasted effort. I could have figured out if she was “down” right away and saved myself the trouble of not only that night, but the future embarrassment of seeing her with someone else. There’s also the idea that a woman may really want something to happen, but if you’re not bold enough, then she might never know.
There has never been a day that I considered whipping it out as a litmus test for a future sexual encounter. Truth be told, most men wouldn’t do that either. That doesn’t mean that it’s not an issue. Obviously it’s incredibly problematic that there are some men who think this is a good idea. However, what’s even more problematic is how many men hear about it leading to sex. Let me be clear, I am not blaming women who enjoy the whip it out technique, I am saying that those dudes who get away with it talk about it. They brag about it. I haven’t only heard it as advice, but I’ve heard it as part of a sexual story. And I don’t just mean I’ve heard it as a success story. I’ve heard it described just as often when it fails. It’s bragging if it works, and it’s like a funny aww-man-well-I-tried-my-best if it fails. There’s no, “guys I fucked up and whipped it out.” It’s always so weird to be in the room when someone talks about it. Because it’s always that guy who is such an idiot and an asshole but he always has an audience. I must admit, though, that I’ve laughed at times, or been disgusted at times, or just sat silently at times. Problem is I’ve only considered how much of an idiot the dude is and not at all considered what the woman on the other side of the equation is feeling.
This week the #metoo campaign allowed me to understand the flip-side of whipping it out. It was actually horrifying. I had to stop reading after a while. The frequency with which it occurs, the emotions, the graphic nature of how each of those encounters went down, it all was too much. But why? I have heard those stories from the other side for years. Why was it different now? Because, as I said above, I was no longer looking at it like “this guy sucks I’m not gonna kick with him,” but instead I was looking at it like “holy shit that poor woman! I have no idea how I would handle that or what it would do to me.”
But there was something else, maybe something even bigger that struck me this week. It’s that “whipping it out” is different for man. Guys, dudes, fellas, there are many of us like me who think they’re “good dudes,” but have also “whipped it out” so to speak in the past. Maybe you didn’t go full Harvey, but you grabbed something that wasn’t yours. You said words that were hurtful, or threatening, or something you would never repeat to your sister. You got violent when turned down, or you cat-called from across the street This is important, because many of us think that if we would never date rape someone, we’re good. We think that if we believe in equal pay for equal work that there’s no chance we could make a woman feel like we’ve crossed a line. But I read the stories. You probably HAVE crossed a line. I know damn well I have based on what I’ve read. In fact, I’m stepping up to say #metoo. Not in the same way women have been using it this week, but in the way that acknowledges that some of the stories I heard made me consider my own actions and things I have been silent about.
I have a “friend” who once asked me to use BOOMTHO to do “casting couches,” like in the porn sense. I said WTF? No. But I also laughed to ease the tension.
I know a promoter who beats his girlfriend. I don’t consider us homies at all because of this, but if I’m in line outside the club, I’ll say his name if I see him so I can get in.
I’ve heard stories of bottle service girls and how certain big money clients prefer them, even after the club has closed, or they’ll “pull their business.” When I first heard about them, I just said to myself, that’s what they chose with that job, I guess.
I had one ex-friend who was the absolute worst with women and my friend John and I had to un-friend him, but there was so much before the tipping point (the final straw was him offending me, not the women) that we kind of thought was too much, but he was also a lot of fun. John and I actually used to joke “What Would (he) Do?” because it seemed to come off as confidence. But when it was just us two one day we looked at each other and agreed that we could never be like he was. Still, we let him around women who trusted us.
A girl once visited me in Korea (long ago) and I threw a hotel party in a room with 6 beds, and a dude who was cool with me came and when she layed down and I was still upstairs, he tried to jump into bed with her when he thought she passed out. I actually couldn’t believe it.
I’ve personally done a lot of things I thought were just “funny” but really weren’t, in the end. Beyond that, I’m so sure that someone may have something with me that I don’t even know about because I wasn’t thinking like I do now. Even the first story I told, while looking back at it, I wonder if I did something she didn’t want and I’m part of her #metoo. I’ll never know.
When #metoo began to take off, my mind went to these moments. The women of my timeline showed me something real: we all “whip it out.” Just because you haven’t put a roofie in someone’s drink, doesn’t mean you’re not guilty of being inappropriate. Or even worse at times, guilty of being complicit. Being 99.999% abuse free is still not 100. I can tell you this, 100% of the women I know well said #metoo. It can’t just be like seven mega-predators out there while the rest of us are approaching saint-hood. Really consider your actions, guys. I told my stories above not for women to hear, but for you.
‘Cause, see, I know why you “whip it out.” My first story? We’ve all been there at some point or another. Some of you learned after that whipping it out was easier than dealing with not knowing what’s up. Maybe you had homies who were getting laid and all you heard about them was that they whipped it out. Maybe you asked “What Would Jim Do?” and you did it and it worked one time. So you tried it a couple of times and it worked again. Success! Maybe it was just funny that time. Or maybe you didn’t mean anything by it. Maybe you get your butt grabbed at a party from time to time so you think it’s all the same. Maybe she was dressed oh-so-sexy and how could you do go on without whipping it out?
But you never considered what it’s like to be on the receiving end. Why? Because then you’d have to reconcile those feelings with your actions. It would be tough, right? You know why I don’t watch videos about how food is made? Because I would drastically change my eating habits if I saw slaughterhouse footage and I really like steak. Admit it, you enjoy what whipping it out gets you and you don’t want to consider what it may mean to anyone not you. It makes sense because we learned from our fathers who could live recklessly until their “daughter changed [them].” And they learned from their fathers who didn’t want women to have voting rights. So here you are, trying your best, thinking that sometimes women want it, so #metoo is kind of bullshit.
Some of you are my friends. I’ve SEEN you whip it out. Some you same people posted that they supported #metoo. Ok, bro. I challenge you to empathize and take a look in the mirror yourself. Lord knows I have and it’s tough to acknowledge. But how else are you supposed to actually improve? I’m actually writing this on a bus ride after a basketball game, and this shit was in my head during the damn game! Because it’s not easy to swallow what we’ve done. But, in sports, there are practice players and there are gamers. It takes a ton more effort to win a game. Don’t just post about it on facebook. Get in the game! I know it’s not easy to just speak up when it’s just us, but we have to at some point. At least challenge those who do those things one on one if the group setting is too awkward. I don’t have all the answers and many of the issues come from sexual expectation, gender norms, mating traditions, social expectations, etc. There is nuance at times and situations can be tough to read. All that said, you can learn a lot about how to proceed just by reading some more #metoo and talking to the women in your life in an open and honest way. Then maybe we can all stop whipping it out be the people we claim we are.
I want to preface what I’m about to say by first saying I like Hillary. I mean, I like her more than any GOP candidate sans Rand Paul (who has dropped out). She has a list of social and political accomplishments that runs deeper than most, and an absurd amount of time spent int he public eye. From what I read it’s (correct me because I’m remembering) something like the second longest “public eye” tenure of all time. Pretty special. Truly, I know people who have worked on her past campaigns (some still do), and many others who have been personally touched by her or her family and have been encouraged by her personal and political perseverance. If I could have her over for dinner and a chat, I’m sure I would learn a great deal from her and have an amazing experience.
Ok. That said, I don’t want to vote for her if I don’t have to. I totally will if push comes to shove in a general election, but I’m just not high on her as the future president of this country. For MANY reasons, I’m just generally unimpressed. I have been since 2007 when she tried the first time to claim America’s highest political position (“people think if Obama is elected the skies will open and light will raindown… blah blah” – Hillary 08). Now I base everything I’m saying on either policy, past political decisions, and my general feeling for the good for the country going forward (call it an X-factor?”). So it should come to no surprise that I’m very excited about Bernie Sanders going forward. For reasons I’ll elaborate on later, he’s my guy. It’s a primary currently, and things can change, but I hope it all works out and he can represent our country for the next four to eight years. In the past, this would make me an informed voter with an opinion, but lately it makes me sexist, or so I’m being told.
It was probably a week before the Iowa Caucuses (which is literally grouping people up and doing a headcount to determine the future of the country, but whatevs) that anti-bernie rhetoric began to come out of larger media outlets. Expected fire as a presidential candidate, but what I noticed very quickly was that the tone was very different than other endorsements/attacks I’d seen in the past. It wasn’t so much of “she has a better plan going forward,” but more like “stop making fun of her because it’s sexist.” “You only don’t like her for reasons she can’t control.” “She’s doing the best she can, and she’s a BAMF, and you need to chill.” I mean these quotes were literally the theme of, or quoted from some of these blog entries and articles.
One of these articles that first caught my eye was one entitled “Bernie bros, stop this meme: Your dumb joke about Hillary’s music taste isn’t funny — it’s predictably sexist” Go ahead and go read it. The author says that there’s a meme (I think it’s hilarious, but I guess I’m sexist) that is unfair to Hillary because women’s taste/knowledge/authority in music has always been marginalized by men and that there’s societal pressure on women to capitulate in numerous ways regarding a variety of issues. Another article that went viral was one called “An All-Caps Explosion of Feelings Regarding the Liberal Backash Against Hillary Clinton” Honestly, much of the same, but much angrier and less music focused.
So let me take a step back for a second. As a black man, I remember the 2008 election feeling like it was bigger than electing a president. It was about making/changing the course of history. I was awoken by a phone call in the dead of night (I was living in France at the time) to alert me Obama had won and I watched the Chicago rally and cried. It was a moment I wouldn’t trade for the world. But looking back, although everybody got swept up in the ideas of hope and change, Obama’s skin color was a large part of that. To elect a black man president was the biggest sign that there will always be hope and that the country had already changed, regardless of what came next. It was irrational, sure, but not unimportant. Obama’s actual time in office would serve to remind us that there are political shackles and that sometimes change is slower than we like. But in my mind, just putting a coddamn black man in that seat was enough.
Why am I saying this? Because I feel like we have reached another point in our history where a new version of hope is being offered. The difference is that it’s being offered in completely different ways by two different candidates. Bernie Sanders is offering the promise of complete political reform and revolution, breaking up of the big banks, and defending of the “little guy.” Hillary Clinton is offering something much smaller politically — to continue where Obama left off, essentially — but larger socially: the opportunity to put a coddamn woman in that seat. This has created a problem.
It is my opinion that the idea of “putting a coddamn woman in that seat” has begun to blind some people to the issues at hand. When I say some people, I mean some feminists. I need to be clear that it is not all feminists. Just some. But a rowdy bunch who I’m sure advocate for and actively promote real change on the front of gender equality. Still, that voice is the one that drives articles like the ones I posted above. To quote the latter article: “SO, YES, I’M EMOTIONAL AND I’M YELLING. BECAUSE THIS IS FUCKING EMOTIONAL FOR ME. I WANT A FEMALE PRESIDENT AND I WANT PRESIDENT HILLARY CLINTON. I WANT BOTH OF THESE THINGS BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE I WANT WOMEN TO HAVE AN EQUAL FUCKING FAIR SHAKE. I’M SICK OF THIS STUPID BULLSHIT DISGUISED AS POLITICS, MASQUERADING AS POLITICAL OPINION.
SO FUCK EVERYTHING. I’M WITH HER.”
Girl. I hear you. But you wrong, sister. Hillary isn’t getting an unfair shake because she needs to keep her hair together and wear makeup while Bernie doesn’t (although I agree that’s BS). She’s not getting an unfair shake because of societal pressures on women to appear more youthful and in touch and smile (also BS). She’s not being asked to whip and nae nae because she’s a woman and she has to “play the fucking game” to get where she needs to (although I acknowledge that many women have to and, again BS). True liberals (not the independent, the confused, right wingers, or people don’t care either way and won’t vote) don’t like her policy compared to Sanders. I mean really. I know that sounds CRAZY. I know you think if she had the same stance as a man she wouldn’t even need defending, but it’s just not true.
One thing I found hilarious was that the first article I listed basically said that the meme was a sexist representation of how “female music journalists, fans and musicians themselves deal with these false and stupid assumptions all the time.” I’m actually pretty sure that women do face all those issues, but the meme has nothing to do with that. It has to do with Hillary playing the game TOO much. Pretending to enjoy youthful things that makes her look out of touch.
You say she has to play the game, feminist? I say no. I truly don’t think she does. Her pandering to the youth is a bit newer, but her changing of opinion on important issues is something that has followed her for LONG periods of time. Many people (regardless of their political affiliation) have seen this for years. Take the time to watch this:
In case you didn’t watch, Elizabeth Warren takes the time to explain Hillary in a nutshell. Hillary’s very smart. She cares. She understood how a certain bankruptcy bill would negatively affect families after Elizabeth explained it to her in the 90s. She took that info to Bill Clinton who vetoed the bill after it passed in the house and senate. She took credit for having brought it to his attention (as she should), then as senator of New York, voted in favor of the same bill due to political pressure and money from lobbyists/donors. The question is, in any other election cycle besides the last two or three would this be a problem? No. So why has it been lately? BECAUSE BERNIE SANDERS IS ATTACKING HER ON THOSE ISSUES EXACTLY AND PEOPLE ARE LISTENING (how’s my all caps game? strong. I know.)
Her problem is that Bernie has been on issue for decades. Do I agree with EVERYTHING the man says? No. I’ve never agreed with 100% of anyone else’s thoughts because my own life is specific and politics is a game of generalities (unless you’re super rich). But the man has been consistent AF. Like so consistent that it makes ANYONE who “plays the game” look bad. It’s just the man’s strength. Seriously, click that link. It’s kind of incredible how he’s never strayed from his message. Which, BTW, is one of many reasons the whole ‘bernie just says what you want to hear’ argument is trash — the man has always said the same thing. We just want to hear it now. It’s like he’s been wearing the same outfit for decades and that shit just came back in style. Hillary just simply can’t beat him in that arena. AND IT LOOKS BAD WHEN SHE TRIES. Don’t believe me? Watch this:
Further, does anyone remember that thing from a couple years ago? If only I could recall what it was called… Well anyway since I can’t- PSYCH IT WAS CALLED OCCUPY MFING WALL STREET. Yea, that. The point of all the marching, yelling, tear gassing, etc was not so that hippies could sleep on the steps of Goldman Sach’s. It was so that we could do our best to try to bring about change in that area. Bernie saw this as his clothes coming back in style. So boom, he threw on his pants of socio-economic justice and told us he’d like to be president. You think liberals aren’t going to love hearing that? You’re higher than the guy asleep on the steps on Goldman if so.
So what you see are people who want authenticity, wall street reform, income equality reduced, etc and then you have Hillary looking very hypocritical and even disingenuous at times when she claims to want the same thing. It has nothing to do with her being a woman. I mean really. It doesn’t. So many of the feminist articles go into how for her to be the first female president she will have to do all of those things and play the game to break through. I couldn’t disagree more. Know why? Because I WOULD VOTE FOR ELIZABETH WARREN IN A HEARTBEAT. WHY? BECAUSE SHE HAS NEVER FLIP FLOPPED OR TALKED DOWN TO HER VOTERS. I know a presidential run is different. It’s larger. It’s tougher. But Mrs. (Ms.?) Warren is like Bernie on the issues and has never (from what I’ve seen) been a political opportunist. She doesn’t have the authenticity problem. I can literally only name Bernie and Warren as politicians who have experience both in politics and staying on message.
Anyways, it’s not right to call those who support Bernie (or make fun of Hillary in a non sexist manner) “Bernie Bro’s” because many are women. Many are feminists. We aren’t sexist. We aren’t part of a larger problem. We just like another candidate more and for legitimate reasons. Most of us don’t mind your opinion either. That’s why we have a democracy, tho. Some of us aren’t into the idea of a “well-you-want-a-lot-of-things-that-just-aren’t-possible-so-just-vote-for-me-and-we-will-basically-do-what-we’re-doing-now” type of candidate. We just aren’t “settlers,” and it doesn’t mean we’re sexist.
Note: Excuse any errors as it’s late and I’m in Korea and my foot hurts. Valid excuses, all of them.
It was the summer of 2013 and I was fresh off my first championship in Korea. I decided to move into Hollywood this time instead of my previous residence in downtown LA. With the move came new scenery, new friends, and eventually, a new love.
As with most new relationships, we met one night through a friend. “I gotta introduce you to Uber,” he said. Much like the sneaky dater I am, I proceeded to online stalk Uber until I had all the information I needed. It looked perfect. Uber was always available, more fun than the rest, and a cheap date, too. I got with Uber that night and off we were.
Uber didn’t care that I got drunk. Uber never left me stranded. Uber was what I had always been waiting for but never knew I needed. I was happy. We were happy. I figured it would last forever. Two years later here I am… Unhappy.
All jokes aside, I ride in Uber vehicles nearly every day. Most days it’s twice. I know a great deal about the app, the pricing, and the changes that have come along the way. That said, it goes without question that Uber’s “surge” pricing has become more and more prevalent. It would seem that every time the price of Uber drops, the rate at which that price is “surged” rises. Lately, nearly every time I call for an uber I have to hit the “2” “.” “0” before I can accept my ride.
But that’s not really the reason I’m over Uber. I mean, I was still into them even after surge pricing jacked the price of my Uber at Coachella last summer to a nice $406 for a ride that was 15 minutes in total.
I was even still into them when I read that they surge priced people attempting to flee a gunman in Sydney last year.
I officially broke up with Uber when I realized why surge pricing happens so often in my area. Let me preface this by saying it’s only a hypothesis, but one that has been proven true time and again. So maybe there’s an Uber official who will let me know if I’m wrong, although I doubt it.
So here’s the deal: Uber drivers in my area are manipulating the surge pricing themselves. Let me explain. When I first moved into my building, I loved that I could turn on the Uber app and see 50 cars within a few hundred feet. My wait time was never more than one minute, and life was good. Then Uber dropped their prices and I began to see less and less cars. I figured it had something to do with drivers quitting the job because they were getting paid less. But nowadays if I open the app there maybe a single Uber X car available, if any. The wait times listed are between six and ten minutes, but then surge pricing kicks in and voila! 50 cars available once again!
I figured out that the drivers know that if there are no available drivers in the area, the surge pricing kicks in right away. So all they have to do is go offline, use their personal cell phone to open the app to make sure that other drivers are all offline too, then simply wait for a text saying surge pricing is on. At that point they go right back online and drive.
There are a few things that made this clearer to me. First of all, nearly every Uber driver in my area is Armenian. I have no clue why, exactly, but they are. 35-55 year old Armenian born men make up 95% of the drivers I get (funny side note: they always call it Hollyvood and Wine). I assume that they started communicating with one another about how to coordinate the surge pricing simply because I’m sure it’s a close community. A new driver comes to Uber via word of mouth, then is told how to work the system right away. Boom. Secondly, when I do get a non-Armenian driver AND it’s also not surge pricing, it’s someone super far away. The person will start heading my way, then cancel. It happens A LOT. I assume this is because as they get closer to my area, they get a text that says Surge pricing is on, and they cancel and pick up rides in my area, never knowing that it’s because the local Armenians have coordinated the whole thing. Lastly, some guys don’t even cancel when they figure out surge pricing is on, they just drive the complete wrong way. They do this so that eventually I HAVE TO CANCEL, meaning they can still charge me without ever having to pick me up and I can’t rate them.
Ok, so that may have been confusing. I’ll tell you what happened yesterday, specifically. My homegirl was at my crib and was ready to leave so she opened the app. She was surprised to see a 1.7x surge price. She asked if she should wait, and I told her no, citing the things I’m telling you now. So she accepted the surge and her ride was here in seconds (no surprise). As she was heading for the door, she got a confused look on her face. I asked her what the problem was and she said her driver had to cancel. So she opens the app again and bam! 3.5x surge. EVEN MORE CARS ARE NOW AVAILABLE TO DRIVE IMMEDIATELY. Clearly they were waiting until the perfect moment.
This is why I’ve switched to Lyft for the time being. I can’t say it’s better, because I don’t know. I’m only really switching to see if the Armenian mafia thing holds any weight. Lyft drivers are almost always young people raised locally. I don’t know why. I do know that Armenian or not, the drivers know what they’re doing and so do I. I’m leaving Uber. I got Lyft as my main, and Sidecar as my side chick. We’ll see how it goes.