How A Teen Feminist Fell In Love With Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins by Beezlebubba via Wikipedia

I’ve never been a huge fan of Rollins, but I’ve always rather liked the guy. That’s why I was fascinated and amused by this article by Maggie Serota for Buzzfeed on her enduring love for the icon. 

I can relate to it in a lot of ways, since I’ve always been, shall we say, romantically attracted to Poor Little Lost Boys who just need scooping into my arms and being cuddled and told that everything is gonna be OK. That’s opposed to the reality where, whenever I’ve dated a PLLB, I’ve lost patience with them within about 30 seconds because they are entirely non-functional. It’s like in that clip that Ms Serota links to – his situation is pretty normal: yes, hormonal women do cry for no apparent reason – but his reaction is infantile, inappropriate and just plain pathetic. If Him Indoors says, “Why are you crying?” I say, “Tell you what: I’ll slam a 10-tonne juggernaut into your body, 24 hours a day, for 7 days and see how you react”. He then gives me a hug until the painkillers kick in – because that’s how a man behaves. Plus he’d never say some stupid s*** about “that’s why you’ll never be President” because I’d immediately retort with “and we give nukes to men, who punch the walls when their favourite toy breaks?”

I can’t fault Henry for his shallowness, though. Sure, to insist that his girls be physically fit is galling, but look at him (he’s in his late 40s in that pic): exercise is clearly really important to the man – it’s like a PETA activist insisting his girlfriend is a vegan. In my own way, I’m just as shallow – I’ve totally done the whole High Fidelity thing.

Of course, even when your man is everything on your fantasy wishlist, that can come with problems of its own. Almost our entire book, DVD and music collections were straight duplicates (although we did manage to fill in a few blanks). On the plus side, if he’s further ahead of me in a game he can help me through the bits I’m stuck on (and vice versa) – but on the minus, it’s almost unbearably frustrating to watch someone flounder at a level you’ve already passed.  It’s fun to curl up on a Saturday night with some trashy exploitation flick, but watching The 300 got downright ugly when we argued over its historical accuracy (the events and dialogue were right, but the armour and combat totally wrong). That’s not, of course, to say that I’m not delighted with my lot – but if you just have stuff in common, you’re setting yourself up for a whole heap of problems because relationships depend on whether you ultimately like each other.

“Just because she’s into the same bizarro s*** as you doesn’t make her your soulmate” – 500 Days of Summer

One of the comments reads “do not betray your adolescent self“, and I think there’s a lot to be said for that, but if you haven’t changed, you haven’t lived. I’m trying to think, now, about just how much I’ve changed since my teens. Lessee. I was left-leaning, and on drinking terms with politician Tony Banks who did more than anyone else to dissolve my socialist beliefs, disabusing me of the notion that politicians are anything more than puppets in a cynical game. It didn’t happen overnight – I lost my idealism by degrees – but it definitely started in my teens.

I used to like unthreatening boys like Mark Gardener from Ride and Tim from The Charlatans. I had a massive crush on Levitation’s Bic Hayes that transformed into a vague sort of friendship over a couple of dozen gigs. Like Maggie Serota, I was also surprised to fancy an apparently sexist hellraiser (Jim Thirlwell), but there was always something about him that was winking at the camera – I never really believed he was an actual misogynist. He turned out to be more of a “feminist” than I am!

Then again, I was never much of a feminist. For a start, the 90s riot grrls were all calling each other names and fighting with each other, so I figured they did a better job of hating women than any misogynist – if it wasn’t Kathleen Hanna vs Courtney Love, it was this academic versus that one, often slinging mud in playground terms I wouldn’t even think about using against another woman. I liked some of the music – Hole, Babes in Toyland, L7 – but took little interest in the acts personally, since they just seemed like messed up addicts who hated each other.

I had a massive, massive crush on Trent Reznor, but I heard he was kind of a prick where women were concerned and that did put me off him – though in fairness my “source” was something of a compulsive liar. On the whole, I’m pretty sure my poster-boys were reasonably nice people, and can definitely vouch for a few of them – at least if they were polite enough to sign my t-shirt.

I don’t think, from the linked clips, that Rollins is wholly unreasonable. Demanding that the women he dates should not like Nickelback is just obvious, and insisting that she’s intelligent – hell, I do the same. It’s just how he reacts that’s offputting, and presumably also why he’s single – though I think we can safely assume he’s exaggerating for laughs here.

So, yeah, I get it. I get the attraction, and I get the caution. Mostly, though, I’m inspired to check out a little Black Flag.

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