Thursday, 12 June 2008

An Epic Rant: Tad Safran is Tosspot McGee

Tad Safran just wanted to remind me that he is a useless tosspot.

I don't know why he bothered, since my memory of this is still pretty strong in my mind (Safran argues that British women just don't spend enough money making themselves look like eighteen-year-olds, is horrified about being set up with a woman he deems insufficiently attractive and is more horrified still that this ugly beast might still need to be sold on the good qualities he insists that he has - I think I may segue on to this piece, because it reads like a self-parody), but just in case, he informs me here that equal pay for men and women is "inherently unfair". The piece, if you're link-phobic, is written as a conversation of sorts between Tosspot McGee and a "reader". On the one hand, yes, get a woman in to argue with him, but on the other, get a journalist. And if she is a journalist, why isn't she credited as such? Lord knows. It seems to be a series, too, as another link on the side says "Tad and Molly: Why Women Are Sluts and Men Are Studs." I didn't have the stomach to click on it.

So anyway, let's humour him for a minute. Why, Tad, is it unfair to pay women the same as men? Why is it unfair to men, corporations and the economy in general? Do tell.

"Well, in most industries, there is a period of training, which is at considerable expense to a company. With male employees, the expense will be amortised over the next four or so decades because men will work until they die or retire. The majority of women will choose to stop working after a decade or so and the money spent on their training will be thrown out with the dirty nappies."

No, seriously. That's what he says. We should pay women less because some of them have babies and it's a waste of training. He makes no further points in the rest of the article, except to claim that men still "pay for" women (hence, they need more money) and then as his final line, says "I'm starting to think you get paid by the word." Oh God, yes, won't these women just shut up? And isn't he witty! I so want to shag you now, Tad.

I could make several arguments against what he's saying. So let's do that.
1. Tad is living in the 1950s. Men don't stay in the same job (and certainly not in the same company) for forty years anymore. Everyone chops and changes, quits for a better offer, decides it's not for them after all and trains to become a tennis coach instead.

2. Perhaps Tad intends to lock his imaginary wife up in the house with the dirty nappies, but most women actually, y'know, go back to work again. If we go with Tad's theory that the majority of women leave work after a decade, most of them don't stay at home with a thirty-year-old child wondering why they're still changing nappies. We go back, so as not to waste the corporations' precious time and money.

3. What, I wonder, would Tad's reaction be if women agreed to give up having kids in exchange for equal pay? If Tad wants a baby, he can grow one in a damn test tube. I sincerely hope Tad doesn't want a baby, because how fucked-up will that poor kid be?

4. Tad wants to know if it's fair that male and female docotrs are paid the same, since female doctors are more likely to go part-time. Tad, mate: Do you honestly want to be operated on by an underpaid surgeon? What if she is full-time and has been damned by your "all women are the same woman" theory? What if she is insufficiently attractive (use Tosspot McGee scale to determine) to catch herself a rich workaholic husband? What if she has to work eighty-hour weeks to keep herself afloat? Do you want to be cut open by that woman? I'm giving Tad the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he doesn't think women can't be surgeons, more for my sanity than anything else.

5. If a man opts to become a stay-at-home dad, can we ask for some of our money back? After all, he, by virtue of being male, cheated us into thinking he would work FOREVER, and now he's not.

6. Tad says men pay for women. Tad also says that the American women he knows spend about £850 a month all told on beauty and fitness, and remarks with disgust that the British women he knows don't even spend £700 a year on that stuff. Once again I am proud to be British, but Tad cites as an example the old "well, women don't pay in restaurants" schtick. If Tad is spending £850 on women's meals in a month, he's even more fucking pretentious than I thought. Also, if I went out to dinner with him, I wouldn't fucking pay either. He would a) have expected me to spend that much looking attractive enough for him to be seen with (his equivalent is "putting on a clean shirt") and b) have already cost me about half my IQ from having to listen to him all night. As we learn in the last line, Tad isn't keen on women getting chatty when he has some VITALLY IMPORTANT MAN-KNOWLEDGE to impart to the silly little women.

7. Tad is a whiny, entitled little ass who knows full well it makes no difference whatsoever to him if the woman he's arguing with in the article (whose responses I haven't copied out because she is mostly just telling him he's a useless fucker, which is fair enough) is getting paid the same amount he is. It makes no difference whatsoever to him or any of the rich idiots that he knows if everybody operates on the same scale of pay. He knows that, and he's not arguing from any objective position of fairness. He just likes having that superiority. He likes to know that he's earning more than his date, because it means his opinions are worth more and he doesn't have to listen to her. Entitled little brats like to remain entitled little brats, and he doesn't want any uppity woman coming along and reminding him that he's not that special.

As we move on to the earlier and most amusingly parodic of the two articles, I remind you that were Tad not earning more than the women he dates, were he not more so-say successful than them, he would have much less of an inbuilt 'right' to demand that women devote all their time, money and energy into being sexually attractive for him. Well, American women already do that, he notes with approval, but then they spoil it by being - gasp! - shallow. How on earth do you manage to spend £850 a month on your looks and not be shallow (or, at least, Tad's version of shallow)? Let's look at this, shall we?

We start off with: Bridget Jones is soooooo gross. And I bet all you women reckon that you're going to have Hugh Grant and Colin Firth fighting over you, right? Well, you won't, because you're all gross too. Ha! Take that!

Then we move on to: eighteen-year-olds are hot. Why don't you stay eighteen? That's what I'd like. Stupid bitches. I sense that none of this article was directed at me, because I never resembled the "sublime rose" he describes in tones that are, frankly, gross for a man twice the age of these girls. "They dressed as if there would be a prize at the end of the night for the girl wearing the least" says Tad, dreamily. Ooh, yum. Women are Tad's shiny, naked objects. Then he goes to America and comes back and horrors! The gorgeous women have been eaten by fat lager-swilling slobs! No, seriously, that's what he says.

We get into what Tad considers to be "standard beauty maintenance" and a "simple and sensible investment in [a woman's] future". Here's what he lists:
haircut, highlights, manicure, pedicure, waxing, tanning, make-up, facials, teeth whitening, military fitness, spinning sessions, vikram yoga, Pilates, deep-tissue sports massage, personal training, the occasional spa day, a week-long “bikini boot camp” in Mexico at the start of every summer and seasonal splurges on personal shoppers and clothing. Apparently all his female friends in America do all this. I think that's bullshit, largely because I find it hard to believe he has any female friends at all.

Then comes my favourite bit: Tad's disastrous date with a woman not groomed to his exacting standards. "Now, I'm not saying I'm the greatest prize out there..." says Tad modestly, sort of ruining it by making clear in the rest of the article that yes, that is exactly what he's saying. Remember the list of all the things women were supposed to spending money on as he says " least I'd put on a clean shirt, shaved and brushed my teeth." Brushed your teeth, Tad? Brushed? Ooh, big spender. Anyway, apparently this girl (whose name he has kindly changed) used to be stunning, but now had the audacity to not be dressed like a slut, not be a gym bunny and not smell the way he would prefer. "I was hurt," says Tad, "that my friends thought I'd be remotely interested in Sophie." He was hurt! Guys, you hurt him! Setting him up with a nice woman like that! How could you! Then one of his friends attempts to show off Tad's successes to Sophie, in order, I assume, to demonstrate that they weren't just competing in a reality show called Who Can Set Up Their Friend With The Biggest Git. Tad, outraged: "I could not believe it. She was selling ME to HER!?" Yeah, I'm totally with him. I mean, obviously she was a moose (I know because Tad told me, in euphemistic language that was presumably meant to be funny), how dare she not grab on to ANY MAN who comes her way? How dare she have standards? I also think it's fairly clear that he was acting like the Biggest Git and the friends felt that some selling of this horrible tosser was needed. He informs us snottily that Americans don't touch carbs after 2pm, which is why everyone in the States is married and nobody in Britain is. It's also why the States is renowned for being the thinnest nation on earth and not at all characterised by the words "fat" and "stupid". He actually blames carbs for Sophie's single status, as opposed to the fact that her friends obviously hate her and keep setting her up with horrible people.

Tad, ever the egalitarian, does go on to blame the friends (well, the woman, as is only right)... for not "managing his expectations, whatever the fuck that means. He calls Sophie an "orc" which might be the least clever insult I've ever seen in print. He then compares Helena Bonham-Carter to Michelle Pfeiffer, calling them "equivalent". Erm, no, dear. There is no such thing as an "equivalent" to Helena Bonham-Carter. He quite hilariously implies that you never see American celebrity women looking rough. Tad lives in a very strange world.

It's all the fault of British parents, of course, for not shaming their little girls about their looks. Tad then talks about going for a manicure (HA! I'm sorry, men can get manicures if they want, etc, but HA!) and nobody wanting to talk to him. Of course they didn't, you asswipe. You were in fucking Britain and you were a creepy man trying to talk to strangers in a manicurists'. You claim to have lived here since you were three - have you learned nothing? We don't DO THAT. Who knows, they might have recognised you. "Oh, fuck, it's Tosspot McGee. Pretend you're Cantonese, quick."

It's also our friends' fault, because we're nice to each other. We don't tell our friends they look like shit, or need to lose weight, or are wearing clothes we don't like. First of all, I have very English friends who have done all three of these both to me and to other people. And no, I wasn't fucking grateful, and you know why, Tad? You know why? BECAUSE I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK. I don't care if you think I'm fat, or unattractive, or dressed badly. I just couldn't give a shit. I'm terribly sorry. When you go on to say that yes, we like shoes, but men don't care about shoes, WE DON'T CARE IF YOU CARE ABOUT SHOES. I have never in my life put on a pair of shoes and thought, "Hmmm, I wonder if these will make me more attractive to that git over there." I've never even thought, "Hmmm, I wonder if my partner will like these shoes." Hear that, Tad? I have never in my life bought shoes with a man in mind, and I don't know any woman that has, unless her man is a fetishist. We may think, "I wonder if he'll like this extremely hot piece of lingerie" (answer: yes. Every time, yes. Even though I've never been to a spinning class in my life), but a lot of us don't even care what you think of our clothes, and we certainly don't care what you think of our shoes. Shoes are for us, not for you, hence all the time and money we selfish Brits spend on them.

It's also just as off-putting if you're absolutely perfect except for one minor flaw. So, Tad, if that's just as off-putting, why should we bother at all? We obviously can't bring ourselves up to your level.

Tosspot McGee concludes by reassuring us British girls that we're miles ahead in the personality stakes, and devotes several misogynistic paragraphs to talking shit about the American women he was praising to the skies at the beginning of the article (remember that? All the way up there? I am pissed off today, I tell you). They're vapid, they have no social skills, they ask too many questions, they're annoying and confrontational and think sleeping with men makes the sexes equal (Tad sniggers a little, because of course nothing could make a woman equal to him), they're grasping, they're shallow, they've all got new faces from the plastic surgeon that they lie about. Ew.

He assures us that we're wonderful, we really are, "[b]ut when it comes to making the all-important first impression, do you really want it to be, “I’ll bet she was really hot ten years ago”? I couldn't give a fuck, Tad. I couldn't give a fuck if your first impression of me was "Ugh, fucking hell, that's a moose and a half." I'll say it one last time: WE AREN'T DOING IT FOR YOU, YOU ODIOUS PIECE OF CRAP. I don't wear make-up in the hope that some loser will think I'm hot. I am not going to starve myself so that some man who thinks he's entitled to a hot girl will think he's entitled to me. Also, your standards are YOUR fucking standards. Most men (I can generalise too) can't think of anything worse than a woman who spends a grand a month on her looks. No woman has to spend a grand a month on her looks to be thought of as hot. Poisonous people like you (and you are poisonous, Tad) try to convince us that we have to do it, no man will want us if we don't do it, but I've discovered the big secret: It's a huge fucking lie. My partner doesn't care if I've waxed or not. He doesn't notice if I put on a few pounds. He doesn't care how nicely-shaped my nails are. Unwaxed, period-bloat, straggly-haired, naked-faced me doesn't repulse him at all; he seems to quite like it. None of this stuff matters to most men. And frankly, if he did tell me to wax, I'd tell him to go first. It's taken a long time learning, and maybe I'm not quite there emotionally, but the logic stands, Tad, that I don't have to do squat to be attractive to men. Nor does this Sophie you were so scornful of. I can guarantee you that out there somewhere are several men who know her and think you're absolutely nuts. WE DON'T HAVE TO TRY. And when we do try, it ain't for you. We buy nice shoes because they make us feel good. We're more likely to put on a face full of make-up for other women than for you.

It upsets me that Tosspot McGee wrote all this, snark potential aside, because I remember being in a place where his words would have stung me, and perhaps he would have been successful in convincing me that I should "take better care of myself" and try to mould myself into his vision of attractiveness, and I am so grateful that I didn't see this then. It upsets me now because so many women still are. And he knows it, the nasty little tosspot. He knows he can convince women to change for him if he can get them to believe that he deserves to get what he wants. If he can pass himself off as someone so utterly wonderful that all women are throwing themselves at his feet - and thereby stand in for all men, who all expect this kind of care and attention to looking the way you're told to look - he can make us believe that he has all the power and we have none. Men like Tad look at the world as if there's only one bachelor left and all the hot women must compete for him. Women like me must stand atop Tad's roof and scream, "IT'S A LIE!"

And I have. My fingers are bloody exhausted.

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