Do you have the time?

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Let’s hope women who took part in #WasteHisTime will find Prince Charming

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Originally published in The Other Press. January 20, 2016

It’s a scary world out there for single men and women—even for people in relationships—and with trends like #WasteHisTime it appears as though it is only getting worse. #WasteHisTime first started as a way for women to get back at the men they had dated, had relationships with, or whatever you want to call it.

For example here’s a #WasteHisTime: “Ask him if he is good with his hands, then when he comes over make him put together that IKEA furniture.”

Very funny, right? Because all men want sex, right?

Dating is hard, and finding someone that connects with you intimately is even harder. I don’t believe it’s something you can force. It’s organic. It happens with communication. It happens through mutual respect. It happens through a simple give-and-take system of emotional and physical elements. When men aren’t able to satisfy women’s needs, it is only polite that they don’t satisfy theirs. No! #WasteHisTime is merely an admittance of creating a second wrong. And since when have two wrongs made a right?

Ladies, if you are waiting for a man to enter the room and sweep you off your feet, you better grab a seat because you might be waiting awhile. Searching for a boyfriend is a lot like hiring a good staff member. Women, like employers, have this wish list of qualities for their applicants. Should this fine person hit the right number, you’ll request an interview—also known as a date.

Remember the last job interview you went in for? Remember how nervous you were? You got dressed in your best outfit, you prepared your interview topics, and you stood by the elevator in the power stance for way too long. You wanted the job. Afterward, as you left the company building, you decide to check your social media. You see a new post from the company you interviewed for and it reads: “Had interview with someone with no experience. Wanted to see how many ‘umms’ she would say. 15. #WonOfficeBet.” How would you feel? Kind of shitty, of course.

It’s a hard enough world out there without having to create more evil. We should start treating each other better, especially those who are willing to open themselves up to you and be vulnerable for even 10 minutes.

And even if your date is bad, there is nowhere that says just because of that you have to be a bitch to him. There is nowhere that says you can’t just avoid him and find someone else. Life is too short. Don’t waste your own time.

Children of women and men

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By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. January 20, 2016

When China enforced the one-child policy in the late ’70s, few foresaw the gender imbalance that resulted from it. In Chinese culture, the male gender was preferred. The male gender had privileges. It is a sexist ideal that is slowly but surely fading, but it is not without consequences. The result is a high number of men without mates. This is more than a crisis of dudes not getting laid; it’s a problem of humanity. Humans are creatures that function naturally as couples, and with the disruption of nature, these men will live, grow old, and die single—unhealthily.

Today, we are on the precipice of making the same mistake in a number of ways. A recent report from The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees cited that 58 per cent of refugees from the Middle East into Europe are men; 17 per cent are women. It has been considered dangerous for women to migrate alone. Oftentimes, they wait for a male counterpart, such as a husband, brother, or father, to arrive in the new country first and then send for them afterward. What we need to do now is better understand the process of migrating for women. What is the procedure of entry? What is being implemented in order to protect them? I’m sure there is little being done.

Closer to home, we are not without gender imbalance of our own. Many high-level occupations are still considered boys’ clubs, creating a classic glass ceiling. While it may seem like an easy barrier to break, it isn’t; it takes generations and it begins while women are young. Empowerment is not a phase. It’s not something someone grows into. It’s a way of living. When girls and boys are brought up to have aspirations of running a company and to value collaborating with the opposite sex instead of against them, we can be assured that those lessons will follow them even after they grow out of adolescence.

However, those same lessons are changing the conventional values of men and women. Women who aspire to start a company and be more selective with mates are less likely to get married young and are less likely to have children. But this is, again, more than a problem of dudes not getting laid.

While we may believe our population will be on a constant rise, that isn’t true. It is believed that the human population will plateau at around 9 billion—from there, whether it holds steady or decreases is up to the push of the next generation. But for so many years men have treated women as nothing but birthing mechanisms. I can only hope that the population will decrease for that case, so that that cultural ideal can die.

The one-child policy was not a bad idea. It was the culture that failed it. If China valued women the same as men, would such gender imbalance happen? In Europe and the Middle East, gender-imbalance for refugees didn’t happen because women were meek, but because the culture targeted women as sexual objects. In the western world, women weren’t CEOs because they weren’t smart and savvy; it was because they were told they had to raise a family. They don’t.

This cultural shift will mean that people on Earth, male or female, will have more resources. And those same men and women will be empowered to make the most of their existence. As people, we need to do more than multiply.

Scent of a woman

Sweet Peach Probiotics

Startup ‘Sweet Peach’ offers supplements to eliminate stinky vagina

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. December 2, 2014

Up-and-coming startup, Sweet Peach Probiotics recently went under scrutiny for creating a product aimed to “freshen up” women’s smelly vaginas.

Before we go and slam Sweet Peach Probiotics as some sort of sexist organization telling women that they—mostly their vaginas—stink, let’s try to understand the biological elements of smell. Things that smell bad to us humans are repulsive because they also do us harm: rotting food, faeces, and even body odour. We are taught to throw away food before it spoils, we are taught to flush the toilet after we use it, and we are taught to take daily showers and brush our teeth.

True, it’s always a sensitive matter when confronting people about their stench. Most likely, they won’t even know that they smell bad. Inherently, we learn to appreciate our own aroma, the same way we appreciate our own uniqueness. We are constructed of a billion tiny bacterial organisms that generate our distinct odour. Bacteria, as you know, is not exactly Chanel No. 5.

As a man, I would never dare order a woman to take supplements to eliminate her natural body odour—not because I’m oblivious, but because I want to continue living. Natural fragrance is a sensitive matter, and although people should be proud of how they smell, it is also important to know when “things” don’t smell right.

A vagina (like a penis and anus) resides in a region of the human body that bacteria loves. The warm, dark, and sometimes wet area, if neglected, can become a marinating pool of microorganisms that can cause infection and discomfort.

I don’t believe Sweet Peach Probiotics is a glamourous product or a female-shaming initiative. Twenty-year-old student and CEO of Sweet Peach, Audrey Hutchinson tells us that it is a product aimed to solve a complicated health issue. It’s not about rejuvenated fragrance—or making vaginas smell like peaches—it’s about restoring a woman’s body into a healthy condition. “A vagina should smell like a vagina,” Hutchinson proudly declares in an interview with Huffington Post, “and anyone who doesn’t think that doesn’t deserve to be near one.”

Men and women alike have distinctive medical problems that can be embarrassing within our society. Instead of opening up and receiving assistance, we often choose to internalize it and hope it fixes itself, while avoiding the risk of being treated like a pariah.

Drugs and supplements may be a solution, but mitigating the risk is equally as effective. We already know the solution to stinky vaginas and other stinky parts of the human body: keep the area clean, and keep anything entering the area clean.

I’m not a creep; I’m not a weird-oh

Male fear of being labeled a creep is the creepiest thing of all

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By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published by The Other Press. September 30, 2014

Boys, have you ever been talking to a girl and suddenly have a thought pop into your head? You know, the one that says: “She’s not interested in you. She doesn’t want to talk to you. You should probably just leave.” Of course, this anxiety is normal. But feeling nervous is one thing, letting it sink in and destroy you is another.

Once that thought materializes it’s hard to overcome it, but understand this: if you aren’t able to rise above that thought, you have officially self-destructed. So please, do walk away before your lack of confidence rips you open and causes you to bleed anxiety all over the sweet girl. It doesn’t matter if she was interested in you or not, whether you were just chatting or if you were flirting, you cannot sell what you aren’t persuaded by yourself.

The overwhelming fear of being labeled a “creep” is what keeps most men from approaching women—not the other way around. So stop identifying everything you do as creepy. Making eye contact with a woman is not creepy. Asking a woman a question is not creepy. Being engaged in a conversation is not creepy. The only thing that is creepy is the weird thought inside your head that is telling you to feel guilty over nothing.

Good intentions shine through and bad intentions deserve to be discovered.

In many scenarios, a man often feels as though he is in a competition for a woman’s attention, but if that is your mentality, then you will be doomed; maybe not in a short-term sense, but definitely in the long run. You should not subject yourself to such pressure, especially if you are in a social environment where other people are waiting for you to strike out. Trying to control someone’s attention is not only creepy, but also neurotic. Don’t try to win someone over with a grand gesture or a long-winded story. The goal is not to keep her attention, the goal is to allow her to comfortably establish a rapport with you.

Your fear of losing the spotlight makes you creepy. You don’t need to be in the spotlight to be appreciated. Most people don’t want to engage with the entertainer, most people want to engage with a fan. So try to be attentive instead of attractive. Show that you can actively listen. Listening is the least creepy thing you can do.

As the Shins said, “caring is creepy,” but worrying about being creepy is 10 times creepier. Forget about it, act cool, and try to stay out of the spotlight. Focus on the story she is telling you, make eye contact, and don’t worry about what your subconscious might think of you.

Chivalry is dead and feminism dug the grave

 

Is my shining armour sexist? 

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Mar. 11, 2014

I believe in equal rights—at least, I want to. I believe I’m like a lot of other men, straddling the line between sexist and feminist, teetering back and forth by the push and pull of social expectation and traditional beliefs. Yes, I’m the kind of guy who wants to hold the door open, who wants to pull the chair out, and who also wants to split the bill at the end of the night. I want to be chivalrous, but what does that word even mean anymore?

Men pride themselves on being financial supporters. If my situation were different, I would pay for everything, despite the fact that my female counterpart will be earning the same amount or more. After all, a woman’s success is her success, not my failure by any means.

Yet, there is still this stigma towards a woman treating a man in certain situations, mainly in public—maybe it’s all in my head, but I don’t believe it is. I know that deep down men still strive to be the dominant gender. We feel good when we can open jars for her, do heavy lifting for her, and even put a roof over her head. It’s not that we consider our mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, etc. to be inferior, but like I said, we’re proud.

Women would argue that men do not need to be chivalrous; they only need to be polite and respectful. Many feminists will say that women don’t need men to protect them because they are not damsels in distress. But men want to protect women and save them from distress, even if there isn’t any. Guys, how many times did you feel the need to walk a girl home at night, or at least to the bus stop or the SkyTrain station? You know, because her safety matters. Girls, how many times did you judge a guy for not offering or for outright refusing to take you home? What a lazy thoughtless bum, right?

I don’t want to feel responsible, but I do. I know that if something does happen to her, I would feel guilty, and that is just the way I was moulded to feel. Sure, it wasn’t my fault. I’m not a superhero, I’m not even a mall security guard, but when a man can’t protect those he cares about, then in a way, he can’t call himself a man. It might be my generation’s narcissism or it might just be my own insecurity; either way, I feel a greater need to protect the women in my life than the guys. I’ll hold the door open for you, dude—while I’m here anyways.

It might be the fact that men have been mistreating women since the dawn of time, and there will always be dick heads out there. That was why chivalry existed during medieval times, to protect women from those dick heads. Now in the modern age, the measuring stick is not that apparent for either gender. But guys, whether you are a feminist or not, normal human decency will always ring through; it’s more important than any useless labels.

With all that being said, the chivalry period is over. But that doesn’t mean us guys can’t still do the things Prince Charming did. Yes, we should still open doors, we should still pull out chairs, and hell, we should split the bill once in a while—not only with women, but with all people.