misandrist? genius!

"you're a good role model for your cousin," my fifth grade teacher, ms. edwards, once told me. i was only a good role model because i got good grades and did what i was told, that's why she said this to me. there were no male teachers at my elementary school, not until mr. whalen arrived to teach us english part-time. mr. whalen was an idiot. he was a soft-spoken blonde boy who wore flannel shirts and didn't know the difference between a gerund and participle without having to first look it up in the book. he was creepy, too, the way he would look at the girls.

there was also dan, the extended program director, who substituted sometimes when our school apparently couldn't find a real sub. dan, too, was an idiot. he had long blonde hair that he kept in a ponytail and he tried to tell us about how he loved the works of aristotle. we were in sixth grade, so we didn't know (and didn't care) who aristotle was. he reminded me of the hippie on the beavis and butthead show, the guy who sang that song about lesbian seagulls.

then there was sal the barber, who still (as far as i know) works at rosemont haircutters. he had a busty blonde daughter who dressed like a prostitute, and she also cut hair with him. sal would drink on the job, and the last time he cut my hair, he was really loaded. i just wanted my whole head shaved, and he made really inappropriate remarks, stuff like, "that's how all the ladies love it - to tickle their breasts with!" his daughter just rolled her eyes, as if to say, "oh, dad, you're so out of control!"

there was also my junior high basketball coach, troy. during one game, in which we were down by about 20 - 30 points, he had nothing to say to us. "i have nothing to say to you guys. it's pathetic." thanks, coach. i can't remember how the rest of the game played out, though i'm sure we ended up losing by a lot more.

i finally had male teachers in high school. there was mr. andre, who taught latin, and mr. pell, who taught theology. there was mr. moulton for geometry, and mr. hastie for p.e. they were all white guys, and i guess, to some extent, i viewed them as "the man," authority figures i couldn't relate to. i suppose that they all meant well. they showed up for work, they didn't drink (at least not on the job), and for the most part, they seemed to care about their wives, their family, their god, their country. i didn't know who they were, though. i could've asked, but i didn't.

the only non-white teacher i had in high school was mrs. ellis. she was a black woman, and she kept us kids in line. she didn't hand out bullshit assignments, and she seemed to be a real person. once, after a white woman came to our school and told us all about how she worked in an inner-city school and saw all the gang violence, and how she hugged grieving black people at "funeral after funeral," mrs. ellis called her out. "i just don't believe that woman would really be holding and crying with all those black people she was talking about." a white student tried to object, but mrs. ellis stood her ground. "i've been to those funerals," mrs. ellis said, cutting him off. "i just don't see it happening."

there were more male teachers when i got to college. there were professors brown and green, and professor nichols. more white men over 50. they were all smart men, sure, but i knew nothing about their worlds. i knew that professor green lived on some remote island with his wife, and they had an old printing press. i knew professor green would sometimes host the ireland trip. i knew professor nichols had a weakling for a kid, some poor pre-teen with a rat's tail.

i had one non-white male teacher in college, and he was only a visiting professor. he was filipino-american, and a decent writer. as the course progressed, though, he seemed to no longer care. we showed up for class once, and he said, "i don't have anything for you today. go out. go write." we left class, supposedly to "go write," but instead, i went back to my apartment and slept. i wanted to sleep and sleep and forget that every person i was supposed to look up to as a potential role model had let me down.

while working for nonprofits and volunteering through americorps, i found that the only other guys were white "liberals" who felt entitled enough that they didn't have to pitch in for things like pizza or offer their cars up for carpooling purposes. they also possessed otherworldly knowledge and had to disagree (or else discuss to death) with just about every point someone else would make, no matter how trivial.

so, why is it that everyone knows the word "misogynist" but not "misandrist?" in my experience, we've clearly been the losing team.

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