AlimonyIf you were a man going through a divorce, would you seek alimony if your wife made more than you? Many men would not, but in a truly equal society perhaps they should.

Some men are starting to. Kim Shamsky is a 47-year-old business owner who pays her ex-husband, a 65-year-old retired Major League Baseball player, thousands per month in temporary spousal support.

A recent article in Forbes includes an interview with Shamsky, who portrays her ex-husband as a whining baby. The article tries hard to make the ex-husband look pathetic, and yet the circumstances are hardly uncommon, except that the roles are reversed. Of course, no one thinks twice about a woman seeking alimony, but a man?

The writer made certain to point out early in the article that “He’s not seeking alimony to help pay for the kids’ birthday parties, since they don’t have children.” If it’s okay for women to seek alimony for themselves, why shouldn’t it be okay for men to do the same?

Here’s how the ex-wife, Shamsky, portrays her husband in the article: “He used to scream and throw tantrums and demand more money…. It was like he thought, ‘Hey, you have money, why shouldn’t I?”

Shamsky admits she’s angry about paying her ex-husband spousal support mostly because he’s a man. After all, men are supposed to be breadwinners, not bread takers.

“A real man just wouldn’t do this sort of thing,” she says. “Maybe it’s my Italian upbringing, but I don’t think it’s right.”

What is so strange about his demand for alimony? It’s only the fact that he’s a man. It’s okay for women to seek alimony, but men who do the same are considered pathetic.

She adds flatly: “I will never marry again. And I’m getting T-shirts made with the word ‘prenup’ written across the chest.” No bitterness there!

A lot of women are indignant now that the shoe is increasingly on the other foot, says Carol Ann Wilson, a certified financial divorce practitioner in Boulder, Colo. “There’s this sense of, ‘What’s yours is ours, but what’s mine is mine,'” Wilson says. “My first response to that is, ‘All these years we have been looking for equality; well, this is what it looks like.’ I think women get angrier about having to pay than men do.”

This is not an isolated example either. “I’ve seen thousands of clients,” Wilson said in the article, “and almost every time I’ve seen a stay-at-home dad seek alimony, the wife–she’s usually a software executive–goes ballistic.”

There’s a trend developing. Singer Nick Lachey sought spousal support from ex-wife pop singer Jessica Simpson last year, and Parker Stevenson sought $18,000 per month from actress Kirstie Alley when they divorced.

Just as some women object to men’s request for spousal support, some men are particularly uncomfortable seeking it. Either they find it emasculating to ask, or they find the idea of receiving an allowance from their ex-wives humiliating, according to divorce attorneys.

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Some recent studies have suggested that women now make the majority of big household purchases. One study says women are the primary consumer decision maker in 80% of all households in America. This is probably why all the car companies are producing commercials aimed at women. And what’s an easy way to appeal to women? Make fun of men!

Kim Katrall Nissan commercialI think it’s great to be able to laugh at ourselves, our sex or our gender, and I don’t see any harm done except when media gang up on certain groups. When that happens it’s easy to see the trend. And right now car companies are making fun of men.

Here are a few examples of current car commercials you may have seen that make fun of men:

A woman and a man are in their parked car and the man is telling his wife or girlfriend about how smart he is and how lucky she is to have him. By this we are led to believe that women have to put up with this kind of gloating all the time. He says “not only did you get this” (motioning to his body), “but you also get this” (pointing to his head). He then steps on the gas and the car reverses instead of driving forward. The woman then has a smug smile on her face and she says to him, “what did I get?”

It’s moderately funny but the car-in-reverse joke is old. The message is this: Men are mostly stupid and women have to put up with their egos.

Here’s another one:

A man and a woman are driving in their car and the man says “it’s a rule: i before e except after c.” The woman then proceeds to list several words like “neither” that break this spelling rule. At the end, as the man helps their dog into the back of the car he looks at her and begrudgingly admits “rottweiler” also breaks the rule (even though “rottweiler” is not an English word so it’s hardly a good example).

Again, the smug look appears on the woman’s face. It’s the look that says: Men think they know everything but really it’s the women who have to correct them all the time. (more…)

The Ex Knife SetIt’s Valentines Day–which is not only the day for over-priced roses and expensive restaurants, but also a great day for man-bashing! Amazon.com is advertising this product, The Ex Knife Set, as the perfect “Anti-Valentines Gift for her.” It’s a set of knives and each knife is lovingly stored through the head, heart, stomach and thigh of a figurine man!

Of course there is no comparible product for men (a knife set in the figure of a woman) because that would be sexist and it would promote violence against women. But promoting violence against men is perfectly acceptable.

The product description says The Ex is “not only functional, but also therapeutic, this five-piece knife set plus holder makes for the perfect gift and a guaranteed conversation piece…. The included figurine block not only stores the knives, but also provides a rather unorthodox way to take out frustrations…. the whimsically unique holder features an anonymous effigy design that can be dedicated to anyone.”

One Amazon customer who bought The Ex Knife Set and rated it as a five-star product says she bought it for her daughter! I guess she wants to teach her daughter about respect, love, and kindness for mankind.

While the product comes in several different colours, another customer who gives the product five stars says “The red [colour] has the advantage of being blood colored.”

Another wesbsite selling the product says “Your future suitors will get the ‘point.’ You are not someone to be messed with!”

I would like to ask all the men out there: Would you date a woman who had this on her kitchen counter? What would you think or say if you found this in your girlfriend’s kitchen?

One could argue that the figure could be a man or a woman, but judging by the figure’s shape, I think most people will agree that the first sex that comes to mind is male.

Another company manufactures a similar product called the Ouch Toothpick Holder, which looks more like a voodoo doll. Of course it’s also in the shape of a man.

School record of bad boysEarlier this month a five-year-old boy was accused of sexually harassing a female kindergarten classmate because he pinched her on the bottom. Does a five year old boy understand what sex is? Does he understand what sexual harassment is? I doubt it.

“He knows nothing about sex,” the boy’s father said. “There’s no way to explain what he’s been written up for. He knows it as playing around. He doesn’t know it as anything sexual at all.”

The charge of “sexual harassment” was entered in the boy’s school record so anytime he flings an elastic band in class that record will be consulted, it will be read and interpreted, and re-interpreted each time.

In November in Texas an even younger boy (four years old) was suspended for “inappropriate touching” when he hugged a teacher’s aide.

Here’s what the school’s authorities say about the incident: “It’s important to understand a child may not realize that what he or she is doing may be considered sexual harassment, but if it fits under the definition, then it is, under the state’s guidelines,” the school administrator said. “If someone has been told this person does not want this type of touching, it doesn’t matter if it’s at work or at school, that’s sexual harassment.”

In other words they’re admitting the child has no concept of sexual harrasment, that his actions were innocent, but that they are going to accuse and suspend the boy of the crime anyway. Sure that will teach him the correct lesson. The poor boy will probably be confused about this for the rest of his life. (more…)

On Friday morning in Lee County (Florida) two women were arrested in unrelated cases on the same day for filing false rape reports.

One of these women alleged that a taxi driver took her to a field and forced her to have sex with him. Detectives interviewed the taxi driver who told them that the sex was consensual and that the woman made up the story because she was angry that he didn’t pay her for the encounter. When police confronted her with this story, she said she no longer wanted to press charges. Police then arrested her for filing a false report.

In the other case a woman went to a house to “buy some pills” and claimed that the man forced her to smoke crack and then raped her. But her story changed several times as police interviewed her. Eventually they determined it was all a lie so they charged her with filing a false report.

The detectives say that both women made up the stories so they wouldn’t get in trouble with their boyfriends. If they are correct, imagine if police had believed their stories? What would happen to the poor men who were accused of these crimes? Their lives would be ruined and all for some selfish person’s false accusation made to hide their own questionable behaviour. And the reason they would choose that story as an alibi is probably because they knew that few people would question the validity of their accusation. (more…)

Old white men - Four Roses Whisky AdOn CBC’s “The Current” this morning the tongue-in-cheek announcer said the U.S. Republican Party is worried they may be up against Hilary Clinton and Obama in the next election. I’m paraphrasing now, but the voice said something like, “they’re worried that two old white men can’t win an election against a woman and a visible minority man,” (although he said it much better). It made me laugh.

There’s nothing wrong with old white men, there’s just something wrong with those old white men. We’ve all known wonderful, inspiring, honorable old white men in our time. So cheers to you old chaps!

For those of you not familiar with CBC’s “The Current,” the beginning announcement is always meant to be taken with a grain of salt. It’s always a bit facetious.

But it got me thinking about age. When you’re 15 you think anyone over 30 is old. But the older you get the younger you feel because when you reach 32 you realize you’re not old at all, especially compared with someone who is 82. And I imagine when you’re 82 you feel you’re still too young to die.

I don’t have any stats to back this up, but I believe the idolization of youth was strongly helped along by the boomer generation–the generation that gave us rebellious rock-and-roll, plastic surgery, and botox.

When they were teenagers they would say things like “never trust anyone over 30.” But this is also the generation famous for its about face turns of opinion. Now they’re saying, “Never trust anyone under 30, except when you need help using your computer.”

And they still want to look 30, don’t they? Will the next generation (my generation) be as obsessed with trying to look young?

Canada’s health care system gives free mammograms and pap smears to women to test for cancers. But men don’t get the same benefits when it comes to testing for prostate cancer. Men have to pay a $30 fee for a test while women get their tests for free.

Today, a lawyer in Victoria B.C. is challenging this inequity before B.C.’s human rights tribunal, arguing that the provincial Ministry of Health is discriminating against him on the basis of sex because it won’t pay for his prostate cancer screening test, a blood test knows as a PSA.

David Durskin, chair of the Vancouver Island Prostate Cancer Research Foundation says the PSA tests are rarely requested, and “[even] if you’re showing a high count of prostate-specific antigens, then men are often required to pay for the test.”

And while the cost of prostate cancer treatment is covered by the Medical Services Plan, the side effects of those treatments are not. But for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer everything is covered.

The group hopes the tribunal will order the Ministry of Health to start paying for the early detection test for all men over the age of 40.