Dear Past Me,
You’ve never been one for regrets. The stupid shit you’ve done, you always say, was necessary to make you who you are today. The rock music albums you burned for Christianity. The year you wasted enduring abuse, testing God, finding him absent. The time spent floundering around, partying, not getting to college. The money you never saved. There is no other way to learn, you say, no other way to become you.
But future you disagrees. Future you has regrets.
I beg you: cut your hair, stay away from that yuppie pool hall on the North side, stick with women.
Things have gone very far astray, haven’t they? When the person you gave your heart and soul and best years to turns away from real love to focus on the size of his facial pores, his angst about his childhood inability to play pitch and catch well enough, his penis, whether it looks right, whether he likes it, whether he can hide it between his buttocks, whether he can get the whole world to pretend that he hid it well enough.
When his desire to disregard the boundaries of women becomes so extreme that he not only does it, but delights in it, revels in a slur created for women who don’t like it, spends his dwindling income on a t-shirt advertising the slur. TERF: I hate women who don’t roll over and take it when I violate their boundaries. They are wrong, and they’ll see us naked whether they like it or not. A man who once argued against rape culture, joining rape culture, intimidating women with it. Because he’s the one who wants his way now, not some neckbeard video game reviewer or morally bankrupt fashion advertiser, and rape culture is different when he does it.
Things have gone very far astray, haven’t they? When his best friends belong to that group of people who threaten to kill you, and you have to wonder if you can stay in this town that you love. When a breakup threatens not just your lifestyle, but your safety. When you don’t know who your friends are because he’s lying to them. When death keeps crossing your mind and seeming like a reasonable way out.
You owe an apology to the feminist you bristled at for her “not my Nigel” commentary on your too-good-to-be-true sensitive, feminist man.
But don’t worry about her, because she isn’t angry.
Just make men none of your business: the ones who wear ties and the ones who wear lipstick. Let them keep running shit and being smug and lecturing and making up rules about who gets to wear a dress and who doesn’t and what sorts of brain feelings you need to have to justify appropriation. Don’t ask them about it; don’t encourage their sense of superiority. Just let them have it. In their own space, without you.
Try to meet with women, alone, if you can, without them, at least until they find out and put a stop to it. Try to meet with women long enough for the experience to nurture your soul, long enough to find one to share your life with.
Do this while you’re young, before you lose your decent looks, before the dating pool dwindles, before your past becomes a liability, before it becomes too late to build a meaningful history with a partner, before there’s only a few decades between you and death.
Surround yourself with women. Find someone to love who loves women.