A Question of Masculinity

Most people when they are in a relationship, they take something away. Sometimes it is property. You borrow your girlfriend’s CDs and you never give them back. Sometimes it’s a lesson. Don’t date chicks with tattoos on their titties. Sometimes it’s crabs or herpes. Yuck! Well, here’s what I got from my ex-girlfriend: Days of our Lives. Yes, the soap opera. This woman made me watch it with her every day, so I kinda got into it. Ain’t that a bitch?! Now, many miles from the place where we met and dated for a year and a half, I work at night. So now I watch that shit during the day when I go to the gym. They have like 5 TVs, and NBC is always on, so I can find Days if I go in at the scheduled time slot. So I watch this show to get my mind off of the workout and make time fly faster. Now, the fact that I watch a soap opera is nothing I would normally advertise, but what the hell, it’s not completely out there. However, on those small occasions where I have had to tell someone I was watching the show, I got a little more than a raised eyebrow and a chiding. In one case, nearly full blown mockery. I suppose I could understand a little ribbing; after all, there are some things that are classified as “man” shows, and other shows that are geared towards women. Soap operas like Days of our Lives, are decidedly geared toward women. But a full blown mockery was uncalled for and a little overdoing it. Let me explain how this came to pass.

Because I want to watch the show, I enter the gym at precisely 1:00PM and I station myself on one of the treadmills or lifecycles directly in front of the television. One day last week, I got into the gym at the usual time and prepared to watch another episode of Days. It was the day after the episode where Sami had caught Lucas looking through Will’s baby book, and she had just managed to snatch it away from him before he could acknowledge Will’s blood type, which would confirm Lucas’ paternity of Will and disqualify Austin’s. I was really interested in seeing what was going to happen that day. I climbed onto the lifecycle, pushed the seat back to the sixth setting, inputted all of the data into the computer, popped the Journey’s greatest hits CD into my player, and followed the show by simultaneously watching the actors and the closed captioning at the bottom of the screen. After a few minutes of pedaling, I looked down at the machine to see my heart rate. I took my eyes off of that TV screen for about two seconds. When my eyes returned to the television, Days was no longer on the tube. I was watching a women’s tennis match. “What the fuck?” I thought to myself. I immediately went to find out who the asshole was who changed the channel. I approached the assistant operations manager of the gym, who was fixing a liferower, with my concern. “Excuse me,” I began, “but someone changed the channel on the television. I would like it changed back.” I didn’t really want to say why – but he made it clear that unless I revealed the specific reason for wanting that channel changed back so urgently, he had no intention of changing it at all. So I did. When he realized I was talking about a soap opera, he said, “Oh no, you can’t admit that you watch that!” It was as much what he said that bothered me as much as he was disqualifying my complaint for the sole reason that I was referring to a soap opera. He was acting like it was a huge fucking affront to my masculinity or some shit. The fact that he blurted it out and made such a big Goddam deal about it didn’t help. To make matters worse, the CUNT on the first treadmill had to chime in with, “I gotta watch tennis…” Never had I desired to see someone’s head get stuck in a treadmill motor until that moment. However, not wanting to make a scene, I simply returned to my mechanical steed, got back on dejectedly, and resumed pedaling.

The workout didn’t seem to go very fast. In fact, it dragged on. And I sat there thinking, “Can’t admit I watch that. Fuck him.” That didn’t make things any faster. I mean really, what is the difference between this shit and professional wrestling? Drama? Nope, same shit. Hatred, vengeance, yelling, screaming, deception, people beating the shit out of each other, plotting against each other, good guys losing a lot – staged events? Yeah, it sounds a lot like professional wrestling. But professional wrestling is a soap opera PLUS half-naked men rolling around on a mat. Although I wouldn’t question the masculinity of someone who watches that, wouldn’t a man’s masculinity be more questionable by watching THIS type of show? Given, there are definitely things about soaps that make wrestling the more viewable choice. There are the things about Days that annoy the crap out of me. For instance, the played-out lovey-dovey crap is sickening. I just want to gag sometimes. However, when you look at the overall picture, the things that happen are quite entertaining. Maybe I have to hold my ears closed when one character makes some sickening, mawkish declaration of love to another character… but when one of those characters gets knocked on his/her ass by one of Stefano’s evil plans, I find it quite enjoyable. In soap operas, however, you seldom see two half-naked men on top of each other.

Not only is it not a big deal if a man wants to watch a soap opera, but women seem to be impressed by the fact that a man, who considers himself masculine, could be secure enough in his masculinity to admit in mixed company that he watches a “chick show.” When I was in college, I used to discuss the goings-on in this show with other women in my dormitory, classes, and social circles. They liked it that on any given day, I knew what Stefano was up to, or what was going on in the Marlena-John-Kristen love triangle. Now that they knew that they could get the soap opera updates from me, it certainly didn’t hurt my relations with them. So, if you can stand the woman-stuff, you can have more female friends to discuss the show with, and with that, more opportunities to get laid. I’m here to help.

You know, thinking back to it, Days wasn’t the first soap I watched. Over a summer in Potsdam, my friend Jodi-Ann would be watching General Hospital when I came over. I wouldn’t have watched that either, but there’s a character on the show, Brenda Barrett. Holy Jesus Christ O Mighty is she freaking gorgeous. I think that’s what got me into watching this shit in the first place. There is an endless supply of beautiful women on the show. When one leaves the show, they replace her with one who is just as good looking or better looking. Think about it. There’s Lexie, Billie, Carrie, Jennifer, Hope, Kristen, and even Marlena and Sami are pleasant to look at. That’s eight babes in a one-hour segment. You GOTTA love that! Days of our Lives constitutes more good looking women than Melrose Place, Baywatch, 90210, or any two of those three shows put together. So, while you have to spend three hours in front of the idiot box to get your fill, I’m done watching in one hour- and that’s one hour that is not wasted in front of the tube, because I’m getting something else done in the process. Days of our lives. A plethora of beautiful women. Masculinity problems? I think not.

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