People hate that I flip two cigarettes
Upside down in each pack
But I hate that people notice
When you gain three pounds,
But not when you buy a new hat.
I’ve been told that the way I sleep
With one leg draped over
The person lying next to me
But I think it’s annoying
When people tell me
I look pretty,
But only when I paint my face.
I’ve heard that old men
Like to touch the girls who work late at bars,
But I want to know
Why they never kiss the women they married
fourty-two years ago.
I’ve noticed that mothers teach their daughters
That it’s rude to refuse a hug
From an uncle they’ve met three times,
But forget to teach them
That they aren’t obliged to kiss
The boy who paid for dinner.
When young women are sexually assaulted, we question their pasts and critique their clothing choices, yet rarely ask their attackers to simply be accountable for having no self-control, and no respect for the humanity of the girls they’ve violated.
When middle school girls post half–naked photos of themselves on Instagram, we vilify and ostracize them as cheap and easy, while ignoring the dozens of young men who mindlessly vote their approval each time, who feed the insecurity, and who perpetuate each degrading act with the click of a mouse.
When high school girls get jobs at chain restaurants, which require them to expose their body parts to strangers over trays of nachos, we bemoan their lack of humility and class, yet never question the thousands of men who fill these eateries every day; many with daughters the same age as the ones they ogle.
When women embarrassingly writhe on poles for a few sweaty dollar bills, in dimly lit bars ironically called “Gentlemen’s Clubs”, we heap insults and judgement on them, yet let the many married men who pay both the dancers and the mortgage each month, come and go without blemish or critique.
Sooner or later, we need to stop letting boys be boys, and we need to challenge them to be men.
Sooner or later, we need to pull them out of their perpetual adolescence and into adulthood, and ask them to evenly carry the weight of sexual standards.
Sooner or later, we need to show our young men that the they can actually raise the moral temperature in sexual situations, not reflect them.
she’s not perfect;
but when we’re lying down
on our bed
and she fits my limbs
when she’s dragging her lips
on my neck
even in her sleep
i guess i’m allowed to boast
that she’s pretty