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Hot Single Men In Your Area Won’t Stop Pestering You About Their Fandoms

Can men just try to express their passions without causing women this much grief?

Cultivating interests is highly recommended. It keeps us entertained and helps bide time in the prison of life that is this capitalist hellhole. We seek solace in books, movies, TV shows, music. Most of us will find one or more piece(s) of pop culture to obsess over and just, you know, have some bloody fun. Finding other people who like the same thing, or people who are interested to hear what you like is sone pe suhaga. To be able to share our interests is a joyous experience but like with all good things in life, men have somehow found a way to take a dump on this as well.   

Women reading this already know what I’m talking about, but I gotta break it down for the cishet male of this species. A friend recounted how with one dude, post-coital pillow talk meant that she was subject to watching Weird Al Yankovic videos, on more than one occasion. She used to fall asleep out of sheer boredom, but that never came in the way. Another friend would randomly receive phone calls from her dude, where he would proceed to read out to her entire chapters of books. Her annoyance was irrelevant because *he* happened to love Soviet literature, and couldn’t keep it in his bookshelf.

I don’t care for their interactions with other men, but in answering the divine call of a fandom, men pester the daylights out of women. “You haaave to watch this movie (and enjoy it)”, “You haaave to listen to this obscure piece of music (it’s two-hour long drum solo)”, “Trust me, if you watch an entire season of this show, you’ll love it”. Their childish brain decrees that said item of pop culture deserves attention, and it doesn’t matter if the woman’s consciousness has wandered off to a galaxy far, far away.

Sometimes, we discover interests when someone introduces them to us, which is perfectly normal. To dudes who don’t get the difference, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m annoyed at the belligerent pursuit to *make* someone like a particular thing, even if they express disinterest. More often than not, men push their choices on women, who frequently comply in the spirit of paying attention to your loved one’s passions. These same dudes rarely reciprocate this sincerity, because it was never about actual bona fide *sharing*. This is the pop culture edition of everyday patronizing that men subject women to. It’s not like women are individuals with personalities and preferences, instead of sponges who must be taught how to fit into the man’s perspective of women and the world.  

There is nothing wrong with sharing what you like, or paying attention to what your loved ones like. All of us bond over things we find in common, and even things we don’t. My best friend can’t speak Hindi to save her life, but loves it when I discuss Urdu poetry with her. She likes regency romance novels, and I enjoy listening to her talk about them even though I never intend to read one. Because we understand that you’re not entitled to people’s time and attention, we don’t pressure each other to consume the respective art form like it’s a relationship milestone. Dudebros, however, operate on a different plain where aggressive evangelism of their personal interests and exhausting women in the process, is the norm. Football bros are the exception as they’re sexist enough to assume that a woman cannot possibly like football, thereby, sparing some of us the agony of watching a ball being kicked around for 90 minutes.

There are varying degrees of this terrible behavior. Mildly annoying is the dude who never shuts up about his favorite movie. The inconsiderate jerk pries your eyes open to make you watch it, even if your soul had departed during the opening credits and you really are, dead. Beyond redemption is the dude described in this tweet about a reddit post – a father who refuses to spend time with his kids unless it involves Star Wars type stuff because that’s what he likes. This is probably the most tragic case of self-absorption that leads men to become incapable of interacting with humans like actual emotional beings, independent of fandoms. Men have displayed their loyalties to fandoms in more toxic ways, like the violent misogyny of Gamergate, and the combination of misogyny and racism seen during the recent bullying of Kelly Mary Tran by Star Wars fans. Can men just try to express their passions without causing women this much grief? You may say I’m a dreamer but I got interrupted by a man who insisted that I read everything about how Yoko Ono influenced Lennon, so I don’t dream anymore.  

 

Mitali Agrawal is an education researcher in a Delhi based think tank and tweets at @just_screams.

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