Men Explain (or: An Incomplete List of Things Guys Have Said to Me Since Puberty)

by Meghan Bell

Meghan Bell’s writing has recently appeared in The New Quarterly, Grain, Carousel, Joyland, The Puritan, Tesseracts 21, Prairie Fire, SAD Mag, The Maynard, The Minola Review, and The Impressment Gang. She is the publisher and graphic designer for Room Magazine; in 2017, she spearheaded the publication of their 40th anniversary anthology, Making Room: Forty Years of Room Magazine (co-published with Caitlin Press), and was one of the co-founders of the annual Growing Room literary festival in Vancouver.

“Yes, we love the good men in our lives and sometimes, oftentimes, the bad ones too—but that we’re not in full revolution against the lot of them is pretty amazing when you consider this truth: men get to rape and kill women and still come home to a dinner cooked by one.”

— Jessica Valenti, Sex Object 

“Why do you consult [women’s] words when it is not their mouths that speak? Consult their eyes, their colour, their breathing, their timid manner, their slight resistance, that is the language nature gave them for your answer.”

  — Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile

 

But how can I trust you, when you let
someone kiss you when you were single

and drunk and didn’t want to kiss? Do you
know how to say no? Do you know how

to resist? He doesn’t want to be friends
with you because men only want

one thing. He doesn’t want to mentor you
because men only want one thing. Please

keep the door open, they’ll wonder
about closed doors. I’ve never been called

sexist before. I feel bad for women
with big tits because you can’t look professional

in a button-up. You remind me of girls
I used to fuck. Some men find it hard

to work with strong women, but I am not one
of those men. Some men find it hard

to date strong women, but I am not one
of those men. Do you have any friends

who are just as hot but less
feminist? I don’t want to date

someone smarter than me. You’re
not smarter, you just try harder

than me. Marry rich. Marry him. Marry
me. You have, ah, certain physical

qualities. Don’t be jealous, but
you have the second-best ass

in grade ten. You’re not like
other women, and I’m not like other

men. Do you ever feel different than
your friends? Smile. You’re too pretty

to be alone. Can you say yes yes
into my phone? No works too. You

don’t have to flirt, your hair flirts
for you. I’ll give you a thousand bucks to

suck my cock. If you lost ten pounds,
you’d be really hot. He doesn’t love

you, he just wants to get his dick
wet. If you didn’t want attention,

why’d you wear that dress? You shouldn’t
have kissed me if you didn’t want

sex. My buddy asked me what I wanted
for my birthday and I pointed at you.

Give me a hug, beautiful.
Why do you give such shitty

hugs, beautiful? Can I buy you
a drink? If you won’t let me

kiss you and you won’t let me
buy you a drink, what can I do? I love

you, but not in a way you can
understand. I love you, but you

will never find what you are
looking for. Look at me when I’m fucking

you. It makes me so sad, the way
men hurt women, but I am not

one of those men. It makes me so guilty,
the way I hurt you, I don’t want to be

one of those men. I’m used to being cared for
by women. I just want you

to hold me. I need you to
tell me I’m enough. I need you to

tell me you love me. You’re a slut.
You’re cold. You’re hateful.

You rage. You owe me,
you tease. You are not

stopping me.

 


Meghan Bell’s writing has recently appeared in The New Quarterly, Grain, Carousel, Joyland, The Puritan, Tesseracts 21, Prairie Fire, SAD Mag, The Maynard, The Minola Review, and The Impressment Gang. She is the publisher and graphic designer for Room Magazine; in 2017, she spearheaded the publication of their 40th anniversary anthology, Making Room: Forty Years of Room Magazine (co-published with Caitlin Press), and was one of the co-founders of the annual Growing Room literary festival in Vancouver.

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