volume 2, number 7, December 1996
Last night I was rendered speechless. Not from joy, but from pure disgust. In fact, I have trouble putting into words the magnitude of my revulsion. I have always maintained that John Gray is a pseudointellectual. I have always asserted that he is a sexist. And I have always believed that the man is nothing more than a very wealthy charlatan. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t changed my mind about those things. Indeed, they have been reinforced. But I can now say something that I could never quite say before. John Gray is repugnant. And I also believe something that I could never quite fully believe before: John Gray is a misogynist.
You know, as much as I loathe the tripe shoved down the throats of the American (nay, international) public by John Gray, I thought that I had heard it all. I really did. Well, that was until I read Gray’s interview with David Sheff in Yahoo! Internet Life. (“If Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus, Are Net Surfers from Pluto? A Conversation about the Sexes with Best-selling Author John Gray,” Volume 2. Number 7. December 1996.) I cannot help but think that the full page photograph of John Gray juggling those balls isn’t somehow metaphorical. Indeed, I think that after reading this interview, print and on-line, that is all John Gray should aspire to do. It is all that his adoring readership should ever want him to do. As a matter of fact, I believe that it’s the only thing he is capable of doing.
“A potential to be fooled exists in the online world just as it exists in the outside world,” insists Gray. “You can’t always know if you are getting the person or a charade.” (49) With Gray there is no mystery; you know exactly what you get with him. Well, you know after you read The Rebuttal. You know as you’re reading a chat group where I have the last word and Gray’s cronies pull it off the web in haste. You know when you peek into his group and see the web equivalent of Caller-ID when the esteemed Michael Najarian asks those who want to go online for “hosted discussion” to submit their e-mail addresses before he goes on line with them (www.marsvenus.com/rap.html. Note: this has been replaced by a chat page giving readers the option to block out those they wish not to read.) And if you’ve read this interview you know. “When I go online, I can tell a fake,” insists Gray with hard-nosed surety. Well, so can I. And judging from my mail, so can most of you.
In his imprudent confidence, Gray insists that when “feminist women…hear me…in my workshops, ‘they’ don’t resist it because they want to know why they haven’t succeeded in getting relationships.” (50) Myopic as always, Gray not only assumes–and why should we be surprised–that feminists are exclusively women, but he actually believes that such a woman (or man, for that matter) would be caught within a light year of one of his “workshops.” We learn that women can get “addicted to romantic novels.” (50) That women “have to create the opportunity for a man to find her.” (50) [Turn the phrase around: if she hasn’t created the opportunity, than it’s her fault that she hasn’t found a man.] And, of course, we learn that a woman who chats online about explicit sex has “rejected her feminine side, [she’s] learned from men how to think like a man.” (53)
My interest was piqued when, at the end of the article, I read that the interview was continued on-line and, “due to the adult nature of the conversation” I was cautioned to exercise some discretion. (53) I went right to the questions that “Dr.” Gray answered. They were what I normally expected from the legitimate Ph.D. wanna-be, but one question has really stuck in my craw. If it’s not sticking in yours like hardened bubble gum under a school desk, then you need to wake up and smell the toast burning!
“What if want sex and my wife doesn’t?” the question so innocently asked. The answer is one that no one who calls himself a professional would offer to anyone if he truly (truly) cared about the well being of the couple and wanted to encourage intimacy and respect between them.
Gray proudly tell us that when his wife’s not the mood he says to her, “Honey, you don’t want to have sex? You’re not in the mood? How about a blow job?” Well, if she’s not into that he tells us that he wants a “hand job. If feels so much better when she does it, why should [you] do it?” Tell me, “Dr.” Gray, is a man supposed to say this to his partner as he’s got her by the hair and is banging her head into the wall of after he’s slapped her around a little bit? Why not leave a few bucks on the kitchen table when she’s through?
Then our little imaginary seeker of knowledge brings up a good point. “Perhaps she is just too tired, too busy from the kids and household chores, or work.” (Don’t you like the “or work” afterthought?) “That’s all excuses,” write the former celibate secretary to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. “It takes two minutes. That’s all complete baloney and that attitude ruins marriages.” Oh, I see, not the uncaring, unsympathetic attitude of a Neanderthal who can’t live with an erection. It’s all her fault. Why?
“Women make a big deal out of a two-minute hand job. They want him to go do something for her! They want him to go clean this up or do this or whatever. Two minutes! That’s all it takes. Big deal!” Oh, I see now, this is how the man gets paid for doing things that any other respectful man would be happy to do for his significant other! How silly of me! “This can make a guy’s day,” we’re told, “make him feel happy, it can save the marriage.” Oh, there’s that saving the marriage bit again. If the marriage fails, ladies, it’s your fault. You haven’t pleasured your man enough in exactly the way he expects. How dare you!
And just hoes does the Ph.D. from the mail-order Columbia Pacific University reach this grand conclusion about why a woman wouldn’t want to perform this simple little act for her man? The man who touts himself as a professional concludes: “She’s just pissed off because she’s not getting what she wants, and she’s using that as an excuse. She’d get more of what she wants if she would take the time for a quickie.” Oh, and then we’re told that should she relent and bow to the sadistic demands of her partner that “hand jobs” are not enough. Oh no! “He’d resent it if all he gets are hand jobs.” She can’t do that. She’d ruin the marriage! She should obey the wishes of her man and provide him with oral sex and “quickie-intercourse. It only takes a couple of minutes. What’s the big deal!”
Let me ask you, “Dr.” Gray: What’s the big deal? Are you so emotionally retarded that you think you might otherwise die without ejaculating? This sounds to me like the puerile demands of a high school adolescent on the verge of date rape because he doesn’t believe that when his girlfriend said “no” that she meant just that: “NO.” Do your needs, wants and desires take precedence over her wishes? Well, apparently they do. Bad selfish girl! How dare you deprive him of the sexual pleasure that is his due! Close your eyes and think of England, little one. Your body is nothing more than a vessel for his pleasure and his progeny. A vagina is not a mind; a mouth is not a brain. Just turn yourself off and bow to his desires. After all, your bad attitude is going to ruin that marriage. Save your marriage! Do your marital duty and make him happy.
Angry? In truth, I’m well beyond angry. I am repulsed. As much as I write I cannot find the words to express the loathing I feel for Gray’s vile attempt to “counsel” his brainless readership. I cringe when I think of the men who would perpetuate such moronic behavior or a woman that they supposedly loved and cherished because it had been sanctioned by “Dr.” Gray. I wince when I think of those women who have bought your bag of sexist garbage and think they need to do this in order to “save the marriage!” How dare you, John Gray, lay the blame of a failed marriage squarely on the shoulder of the woman! How dare you, John Gray, assume that all men are such as you and put their selfish demands over and above any consideration for how their mates feel! And how dare you, “Dr.” Gray, offer this advice from behind the veil of a flimsy Ph.D. as if you were an authority on anything beyond self-promotion!
Take the advice of a truly rational Stoic, my male friends. “In the application of your principles, you must be like the pancratiast, not like the gladiator,” wrote the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, “for the gladiator lets fall the sword which he uses and is killed; but the other always has his hand, and needs to do nothing else than use it.” (Meditations 12:9)
21 November 1996
More advice from “Dr.” John Gray.
“It’s such a big deal, ‘Well, I didn’t get my 20 minutes of clitoral stimulation, so how can you think about penetrating me?’ This is all feminist stuff that came in, and women are brainwashed with that. They should have it. I’m not against that. Women should have great sex. It will make better marriages for men.”
Want to read some more?
“Does one spouse owe the other sex? The man goes out and risks his life for this woman. The man works hard for his family. What does she do for him? She has sex for him whenever he wants. That’s what sex was. Sex was always for the man. What’s this sex for the woman thing?…It’s takes 30 minutes [for women] to have a real sexual experience. How do you have sex for 30 minutes every day in a busy life with kids? You don’t. But you can do two minutes whenever the man wants.”
Check out these related links to Gray’s esteemed words of wisdom.
PLEASE NOTE: Much to my chagrin, Gray’s Yahoo! Internet Life interview is no longer on the web. The print version–lacking the base comments above–can still be found in print (see your local librarian for an ILL of Yahoo! Internet Life v. 2, n. 7, December 1996).