Let’s start with David Banner. He’s this rapper from Mississippi and I started to have a huge secret crush on him when I saw his episode of “Cribs” and he took MTV out to his catfish pond. Though it’s an old fashioned word, I’d say that he had something of a rakish personality.
Then, recently, I saw his new video and it’s him in these very handsome clothes and all these women working out on various pieces of exercise equipment and he’s not exactly Usher, if you know what I mean. And so, at the end of the video, which is just this gigantic misogynistic carnival of sights and sounds, he kind of turns away from the camera and grins this giant grin as if to say “Can you believe this shit?”
And that, America, is what sealed the deal, the fact that he seems to get that the persona of a rapper is pretty damn crazy and that there’s something unbelievable about getting to do it.
It’s like he lets the illusion slip for just a second, just to tip us off that this crazy shit is not real life, but it’s damn amusing.
So, let’s move on to big hairy bikers. I prefer that my big hairy bikers ride Harleys. I know that they’re “slow” and that they’re “loud” and that they “don’t handle as well as [insert crappy bike I don’t care about here].”
Do you know why I don’t care?
I have no fucking intention of riding a Harley. It took six very determined years to learn how to ride a bicycle and I sometimes fall down just walking across the yard. I’m not getting on anything that requires balance and goes fast and can tip over. If you ever see me on a motorcycle, you will know it’s me by the amount of pillows I have tied around me. (Fair warning, I will probably have no peripheral vision from within my pillowed, helmeted cocoon, so pass with caution.)
But to me, when I see these beautiful hairy guys on their big loud slow bikes, it says to me “I have no place I need to be; there’s no dress code when I get there; and, when I pass by, I want you to know it.”
Honestly, I don’t think I know any bikers–just as I don’t know any famous rappers–so I’m speaking only as someone who observes from a distance. But it seems like riding a motorcycle isn’t about going Someplace, it’s about Going someplace.
As is required of all English majors, I’m a fan of liminal spaces. Where do we first meet the witches? In a desert place. Where does Macbeth first meet them? On the heath, out there at dusk, where strange things happen. All these places that, in the context of the play, aren’t really any place. They’re between the places where the action takes place, the battle field and the castle.
And where do bikers move? Through the liminal spaces, out there on the roads and gas stations and bars that are all everywhere and yet no-places.
I learned a lot about male privilege this weekend and I’m sad about it. One thing I learned is that there are a lot of ways y’all are in the world that I don’t ever get to be. I just don’t ever get to experience the world like it is set up to please me. I never, ever get to be as safe in it as y’all get to take for granted. And I’m startled and taken aback by the ways in which y’all never have to be aware of that privilege.
So, the reason I love David Banner and Big Hairy Bikers, is that, in at least their public personas, they project this way of being in the world that says “I have right now everything I need to please me. And I’m going to revel in it.” It’s the reveling that I love. It’s the extreme pleasure y’all (yes, I’m now directly addressing David Banner and Big Hairy Bikers, two groups of people I’m certain don’t read Tiny Cat Pants. Ah well.) take in living your lives. If you have certain privileges–being surrounded by mostly naked women, being free in ways I am not, etc.–you celebrate them.
And that I can understand and appreciate. I might be a little jealous that I haven’t found a way to be in the world that will let me feel like that, but I feel more comfortable with that–I have these privileges and they’re fucking great–than I do with the other–I am totally unaware of how much power I have and how the world is set up just for me and people like me.
So, revel on my favorite groups of men. Let me take pleasure in your joy and don’t mind if I, for a few seconds, when I see you imagine what that kind of life might feel like.