0b6622fce10fd4eb2d2d03ed66c87c74.400x254x1.pngI’m not convinced this is actually a terribly important or interesting insight for anybody other than me, but it’s been on my mind for the last couple of days and I wanted to get it written down before it slipped away.

My son is four.  He’s in preschool now– real preschool, which means that I can’t just go get him if I’m home and bored in the afternoon any longer, which hit me the other day while I was heading to the car to do just that.  There are, I don’t know, eleven or twelve other kids in his class, something like that.

He has four friends.  Now, at his age, “friendship” is obviously a really fungible concept, but there are two kids from his previous day care who are still showing up at our house (and vice versa) every once in a while and there are two kids in his preschool class who he seems to be part of a mutual admiration society with more so than the rest of the kids.  That’s not to say that he doesn’t play with the others, of course, but these kids clearly are getting more attention than the others.  And, interestingly, they give me more attention than the others, too.  I’ve been dropping the boy off lately, and generally walk with him to his classroom, and one of the kids has been insisting that he also gets a hug before I can leave.  The other one seems to be more of a priority during the after-school program despite being in his class, but she too insists on me paying attention to her a lot of the time before I am allowed to take her (him!  Him! Christ, I’m only getting my own kid.) home– either that or he’ll drag me over to her to have her tell me something about their day.

1433504206201518479.jpgWhat’s gotten into my head is that he’s at least in theory at the point where he might know some of these kids for a very, very long time.  Now, I’m not friends any longer with anyone who I knew as far back as nursery school, but I was through college or so, and my oldest friends now are people I met in middle school or late elementary.  But part of the deal at Hogwarts is keeping their clan together– I get the feeling that a lot of the kids that eventually transition out of there are graduating, meaning that they’ve been with mostly the same kids for a bunch of years.  So it’s possible that he’ll be forming lifelong friendships earlier than I did, especially if we’re able to afford to keep him at this school. I have– most people do, I imagine– my own relationships with the parents of some of my friends who I’ve known for a really long time.  And it’s interesting that we’ve gotten to the point with him where I can look around at the kids he knows and go “Which ones am I going to have to buy high school graduation cards for?”

In, like, 2030 or whatever.

Nah.  No way I live that long.  Never mind.

#FeministFriday: Advice for #NotAllMen on How to Occasionally be Less of an Asshole

shut_up__listen_and_learn_by_cdckey-d4afs9aA couple of weeks ago I was at the doctor’s office.  They have a receptionist who is, oh, I dunno, in her mid-twenties and generally fairly lovely.

Since the last time I was in there (I’ve been spending my share of time at the doctor’s office lately) she’d dyed her hair grey.  I’ve come to understand that that’s becoming a thing.  If so, I approve.

As I was waiting, an elderly woman emerged from her appointment and engaged this young lady in conversation about her hair.  She was quite complimentary about it.

Damn right, I thought.  The grey hair looked great on her.

And I didn’t say a word about it to anyone.


Here is a rule for men who want to be either better people or better feminists, and frequently I have found that those two goals overlap:  practice the fine art of keeping your opinion to yourself a bit more often.  You will be surprised at how much it helps!  And, here’s the awesome part: never once will keeping your trap shut about your opinion on a stranger’s appearance be harmful.  Not once!  Not ever!

Is it entirely possible that me telling this young woman (a good fifteen years younger than me, if undeniably an adult, so I think I can get away with that title) would have made her feel good for a few moments?  Sure!  Sometimes people like getting compliments from strangers.  This is true!

It is also possible that at work is not a place where she’s particularly interested in getting opinions from strange men on her decisions about her hair.  Is this gender-specific?  Not necessarily.  While she was gracious to the old lady, she could have been gritting her teeth on the inside.  It’s possible that the old lady was the 44th person that day to tell her she liked her hair and it was getting aggravating.  (True story!  I once snapped at someone for saying Happy Birthday to me, because I’d heard it so many times that day it was starting to sound like an insult.)

Simple fact, dude: She doesn’t need your opinion on her hair.  She didn’t need my opinion on her hair.  She’s at work.  She’s not very much in the be complimented by fat bald married men on her hair zone.  There are literally no circumstances under which I would tell, say, the male nurse, or the dude sitting across from me in the waiting room, that I liked his hair.  So there should also be literally no circumstances under which I tell the female receptionist my opinion on her body.

But I don’t mean to be creepy!  I just want to give her a compliment!

Doesn’t matter, shut up.  A thing I tell my students on a fairly regular basis: your opinion is not necessary here.  Similarly, it is virtually never the case that my opinion is necessary on someone’s appearance, even if that opinion is a positive one.  If there’s even a tiny chance that me talking to her about her appearance is going to make her uncomfortable– and there is way more than a tiny chance of that— then I need to keep my opinion to myself.

But how do I get to know people if I don’t approach them in public, you ask?

Maybe go to places where people meet each other.  I hear good things about parties and clubs and bars.  There are probably other places, too!  But here’s the thing: even in those places, maybe you don’t start with the body talk?  Find something else about the person other than their body to start the conversation with, if you can.  You never know!  It might work out!

She’s at work.  Leave her the hell alone.

16b138fIt is, in fact, rather astonishing how often the “Shut Up” rule works well for men when dealing with feminist issues.  I know, guys: as men, and particularly as white men for those of us who are both, we’re used to society valuing our opinion– to the point where we’ve allowed ourselves to believe a conversation isn’t complete until we’ve weighed in on it.

Here is a thing that every woman alive knows more about than every white man alive: being a woman.  Therefore: if a woman is discussing her experiences and her opinions about her own womanhood with or (especially) near you, it is probably best if you shut the hell up and listen.  This is particularly true if you disagree with her.  If she tells you someone catcalls her every time she leaves the house, and you were with her one time and nobody catcalled, maybe you keep your mouth shut about that.  Because you know what?  Other dudes saw her with a dude.  Which means she was already owned by somebody.  And they kept their mouths shut, because that one was taken.

She. Knows. Better. Than. You. About. Being. A. Woman.

What, you’ve never catcalled a woman?  Have a cookie; hopefully you can bake them on your own.  Shut up anyway.

Are there women who like having things shouted at them by random men?  Sure.  There are also people who think voting for Ben Carson is a good idea.  There’s lots of crazy ideas out there.  But we’re talking about your behavior here, and unless the woman is wearing a sign saying “PLEASE TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT MY CLOTHES AND BODY” you probably ought to assume that she’s not interested in what you have to say.  Note that wearing revealing clothing is not the same thing as wearing a sign inviting comment.

Dude, all these goddamn rules.  How the hell do I even talk to women anymore?  Feminists are so fucking touchy!

Pretend she’s a dude.  If you wouldn’t say anything to a dude under that circumstance, chances are you probably shouldn’t say it to her.  You ever walked past a guy on the street and told him he should smile once in a while?  No?

Don’t say it to women.

There’s nothing new in this post at all, by the way.  If you happen to be reading it and nodding your head and thinking shit, this makes some sense, you probably should have been listening to women, because they’ve said this to you before– they’ve said it to all of us— and you didn’t listen.  You’ve never seen my cock, I promise, so I have no idea why it makes the stuff I say more worthy of attention than it would be if someone without one had said it, but unfortunately that’s how it works in American society right now.

So, yeah.  Shut up.

A TRUE TALE: The worst date I ever had

largeI don’t recall who I was talking to, but I was on Twitter not too long ago and talking to a few someones about dating.  We started one-upping each other about the worst dates we’d ever had.  I won, with this story, and it was requested that I give further details at some point in the future.  Having nothing else to talk about at the moment other than writing, and suspecting (as I do) that y’all may be tiring of reading about other words I’ve written, let’s tell a story about a bad date.

(The picture is relevant, for reasons I’m not going to reveal.)

There was a time in which I was doing a lot of online dating.  I was– and I’ll admit my grasp of the timeline here is a bit fuzzy– either in grad school or in between grad schools, and had discovered that Chicago had a high enough population density that finding potential dates through or whatever the name of the service Salon was using at the time was actually not too terribly difficult, even for someone with my, shall we say, nontraditional approach to personal beauty and somewhat suspect hobbies.

Point is, I found some sites that were full of women that weren’t too picky about appearances so long as you were interesting.  Turns out I can do that.  It was Nirvana.  I wasn’t dating a lot, but going out with 2-3 different women in a month wasn’t exactly unheard of, and compared to the entire rest of my dating history I felt like Casanova.

At some point, I got really mercenary about the “exchange lots of emails” part of the process, though.  One or two, and then if you were interesting I was looking for a phone number and a date somewhere public.  I managed to attract the attention of a cute redhead, which was like the promised land as far as I was concerned.  I have always, my entire life, been hugely into redheads, and redheads have never ever wanted to have anything to do with me.  In fact, truth: this date I’m about to describe was the only date I’ve ever had with a redhead.  I love them.  They don’t love me back.

(My wife is a brunette.  Occasionally I get on her to dye her hair.  I got her into a reeeal deep auburn at one point; it’s as close as I’ve gotten.)

Right, so: This particular young lady made a request of me that, at the time, I found reasonable.  She asked that I not bring my cell phone along with me on the date.  Now, this was way before smartphones, and in fact it was long enough ago that the fact that I had a cellphone was still at least somewhat notable.  Nowadays, there’s no way that I comply with this request, and in fact I’ll find it a bit creepy.  Back then?  You don’t want me to bring my phone?  OK, sure.  I left it at home.  The plan: dinner, movie, “we’ll see.”  Typical, right?

She’d picked a restaurant near where she lived, which was on the north side of town.  Chicago’s easy enough to get around in that it’s difficult to get lost, but it was still in a part of town I was unfamiliar with.  Dinner was… weird.  We spent most of the meal arguing and taking shots at each other, in a way that felt like funny banter about 90% of the time and 10% of the time just seemed sorta bitter and mean.

Then, as we were paying for the food (strictly Dutch, by the way,) she wrote something down on a piece of paper and handed it to our waiter.  He gave both of us a weird look and moved on without saying anything.

“What was that?” I asked.

“My number,” she said.  “He’s cute.  I’ve been in here before.”

Now, at this point, most guys would have left, and it might be some sort of a commentary on my own self-confidence that I didn’t immediately end the date.  However, one thing I’d definitely learned about online dating?  Is that sometimes you go on a date for the date, and sometimes you go on a date for the story.  And this had just catapulted itself firmly into “good story” territory.  And she had a little twinkle in her eye that told me I was being tested somehow.

So.  We ain’t married, right?  I just met you.  Give dude your number, I don’t give a fuck.  It’s not like we didn’t meet online; I know we’re both seeing other people.

On to the movie!

Which was a little film by an independent filmmaker that both of us had heard of but neither of us knew much about named Darren Aronofsky.  (Ooh, wait, this means I can date the date!)

The movie?  Requiem for a Dream.  Which is totally the best date movie of all time.

(Admission: It’s possible it was Solaris, which was in 2002, and not RfaD, in 2000.  The Solaris date was godawful too, and I’m pretty sure I remember who that was with, and it wasn’t this girl.  But I’m having doubts right now.  Not big ones.  Pretty sure it was Requiem.  And Requiem’s definitely funnier, so let’s go with that.)

As we left the theater, we were joking about how terrifyingly inappropriate a movie we’d chosen, and one of us– I think it was me– started joking about how this had to be the worst date either of us had been on.  And we started comparing stories about shitty dates, while on a shitty date, and walking back to the car.  Like, trying to one-up each other, and come up with dates that we’d been on that were shittier than the one we were on.

In other words, the vibe was really weird.

And then she asked me if she could borrow my phone.

“I didn’t bring my phone.  You told me not to, remember?”

“Oh,” she says.  “I was going to call my friends and see where they’re at tonight.”

I raise an eyebrow.  Interesting.

“Well, we could go back to your place and just call somebody from there, and then head to wherever they are,” I said.

“Oh, you’re not going.  Would you mind giving me a ride, though?”  That twinkle was back in her eye; this was another test.

As it turned out, I did mind.  I took her back home, of course; I’d picked her up, so it was the proper thing to do, but I declined to deliver her to the next part of her evening.  The weird thing is that we both sorta shrugged it off; it’s coming off as astonishingly rude as I’m writing this, but remember that this was a blind date and this chick didn’t know me.  She’d made plans with her friends after the date.  That’s not actually a terrible thing, especially pre-cell-phone where otherwise I could have just taken off with her and nobody would have noticed for a couple of days.  Presumably they’d had something set up if the plan rapidly became I MUST BRING THIS MAN HOME AND BONE HIM IMMEDIATELY, but it’s not like I could get mad about it.

Sadly, there was not a second date.  I did email her again, mostly out of curiosity about how she’d actually thought the evening had gone without me there.  It’s weirdly meta, right, joking about how shitty a date is going while you’re on the date, and we’d already set up this weird bantering/picking on each other vibe, so… were either of us serious?  I have no idea.  I didn’t get a kiss at the end of the night, but the hug was a couple seconds longer than it needed to be.  Was that good?  No fuckin’ clue.

And that’s the worst date I’ve ever been on.

Addendum: When this popped back into my head a few weeks ago or however long it was, I looked her up.  She’s got an extremely uncommon name, and is in fact still using some of the online handles she was using back then, which I still recall on account of the date being memorable.  She appears to still be single and is now a hot redheaded librarian.  I will not be sending her a link to this post, although I admit I’m curious as to whether she remembers the date as well as I do.

REBLOG: Color Blindness and the Black Girlfriend: The White Male Superhero’s Ability to Erase Race

A great post about one of the more interesting aspects of this year’s best new show.

The Nerds of Color

I’m not gonna lie: I was excited and a little bit warmed-in-the-heart-place when I saw that Barry Allen, aka The Flash, was in love with Iris West, his best friend, on The CW’s new hit superhero series, The Flash.

Because hey, how many times — in life, art, or entertainment — do we see a young White dude who’s honestly, deeply into a fly, well-rounded, educated Black girl? And not just as a sexual conquest or to “explore,” but as an actual love interest? Not often, that’s for sure.

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darren-millars-6th-birthday-29th-february-2008Extravviversary?  The words don’t combine together very well.

Anyway: today marks, roughly, six years(*) since my wife made the biggest mistake she could ever possibly have made and legally entangled herself in my nonsense forever.

Why “roughly six years,” Siler?  You don’t know your own anniversary?  You scumbag!

Well, no.  I am perfectly aware of the day my wife and I got married.(**)  You’re about to hear about, literally, just about our only argument.  We generally get along very well.  I tend to shake my head sadly at people who complain about marriage; getting married was, hands down, absolutely no room for debate whatsoever the greatest decision I ever made in my life and the best thing that ever happened to me, so I have little patience for popular whining about marriage.  You didn’t have to do it!  You don’t even have to stay if you don’t want to!  It’s okay!

But that’s beside the point and for once I don’t want to get sidetracked.  We got married on Leap Day in 2008– February 29th.  There is, obviously, no February 29th three years out of every four.  The fun part of our marriage (well, one of ’em) is the yearly argument about when to “officially” celebrate our anniversary.

I’m right.  She’s wrong.  I’m about to enunciate my own strong and undeniable reasons for celebrating on the 28th (yesterday) and her own silly and wrong reasons for celebrating on the 1st (today) and then will let the Internet decide once and for all, assuming that the Internet agrees with me, which you should, because I’m right.

(Why am I putting this post up on the 1st, you ask?  Because this year the first is on a Saturday, obviously, and so we’re going out tonight(***).  That doesn’t make today our anniversary.  Yesterday was our anniversary.)



  • We were married on the last day in February on 2008.  This year, the last day of February is the 28th, therefore our anniversary is on the 28th.
  • We were married in February.  March is not February. (I feel that this is my strongest argument, incidentally.)
  • We were married on the day before March 1st.  February 28th is the day before March 1st three years out of four.


  • We were married the day after February 28th, which this year happens to be March 1st.

Now, if you look, you will notice that I have three reasons for my correct decision, a full 300% greater than her paltry one reason.  Also, my reasons are correct and hers are silly.  So obviously I am right.

Internet!  Settle our dispute!

(*) Apparently the traditional gifts for a sixth anniversary are… iron and candy?(****)  I feel like someone creative should be able to come up with some sort of joke for that incredibly odd combination; I am apparently not a creative person today.  But… yeah.  Iron and candy.

(**) Speaking of important dates: I don’t tend to forget the boy’s birthday.  Weirdly, though, I have trouble getting the year he was born stuck in my head properly.  I don’t get it wrong, but I have to think about it.  Can’t explain why; it’s not like it was a long time ago.

(***) Mmm, sushi.  Also, for obvious reasons today is probably gonna be kinda quiet around here.  Although, who the hell am I kidding, I’ll probably get another post up while the boy is napping.  I took the day off from OtherJob, though, so this Saturday won’t be the usual constant-posting day that Saturdays usually are around here.

(****) WWE:  I want to see the Iron Anniversary in the squared circle today, not tomorrow.  Get on that.  The costuming alone should be hilarious.