sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

February 10, 2011

A Van of Their Own

Filed under: society — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:40 am

Found: A thought-provoking essay about the decline of male space (via Instapundit).  I have to say, before I had children I had no interest in exclusively female hang-outs, and found none of them.  The world of contemporary infant care, on the other hand, is abundant with mommy and me classes and La Leche League meetings.  None of them are necessary for female company, though: Just go to a neighborhood park in the a.m. hours on a weekday.  It’s overflowing with stay at home moms, nannies, grannies, and occasional pre-school teachers.  You can safely ignore the kids (they are too young to understand) and after a little warm-up proceed to discuss your episiotomy.  My husband doesn’t have an all-male space like this, but he once did.  That was before he had a family, and when his band toured the country coast to coast.

Never underestimate the ability of human species to carve out space where there is none.  The world of rock-n-roll, especially that of underground touring bands, is predominantly male.  Yes, there are women in bands, particularly in Olympia, Wash, and I am by no means against female musicians, but rock-n-roll is still a male genre.  I’m going to make a huge generalization here, based mainly on DH’s observations, and say that bands that tour the country coast to coast are almost exclusively male.  Few women are interested in driving in a stinky van with three or four other individuals men for weeks, if not months, loading and unloading equipment every night, not having a good place to eat or sleep, not necessarily having a place to shower, not having the privacy to call home, and on top of it all deal with a possible car break down in the middle of nowhere.*

I bet you she had roadies.

From time to time my husband and his former bandmates reminisce about their old van.  I don’t get the male brain.  I don’t get their fascination with the van, like I don’t understand how my toddler son can spend all this time choo-chooing.  The van made it across the country three times.  They’d meet other touring bands, hang out “backstage” (there is not always a backstage space), drink and exchange merchandise. Touring bands developed a masculine culture, and a young masculine culture at that.  There are probably hundreds if not thousands of bands zig-zagging the country right now, trading in Dirty Sanchez jokes.

Please note, that none of it is done in the name of consciousness raising or as a part of some sort of a men’s movement.  As a matter of fact, most of those men would be terrified to find that I made their exploits to be so un-pc.  My husband is not scared of being un-pc, but detests mass movements (except for the Tea Party).  He was merely playing music.

Young men form their subcultures in frat houses, of course, as well we the armed forces, even though the later have a sizable female presence.  I’m sure there is plenty of other examples.  Perhaps young men long for a male company in a more profound way than the middle-age, who, per The Art of Manhood, saw their hang-outs crowded out.  If young men long for it more, they find ways to create masculine camaraderie.

The term “underground band” takes on a new meaning in the context of men’s issues.  As if women, often in the name of feminism, try to take over rock-n-roll, which leaves men in the most uncomfortable, the steamiest, the stinkiest and the seediest quarters.  Exactly where rock-n-roll is meant to be.

*My husband reminds me of how I once flew to New York City to see them play, and the van was breaking down, and I “was complaining” that there is no air conditioning, and everybody wanted to kill me.  It was 90 degrees, and something like 98% humidity, and I thought I was going to die.  I said nothing about the stench, by the way.


1 Comment »

  1. […] in every society.  That’s why boys go to boot camps, subject themselves to hazing or drive a stinky van from San Francisco to New York and […]

    Pingback by Apology not Accepted « sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue — April 16, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

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