Survivor Series Trivia

1. The original 1987 Survivor Series event was created for three reasons:  to keep the Hulk Hogan/Andre The Giant program going, to directly compete with the original Thanksgiving Night Tradition, the NWA’s annual Starrcade event, and to showcase as many WWF wrestlers on the roster, hence the strict adherence to elimination tag team matches.  (40 men & 10 women performed that November night.  50 men worked the 1988 show.)

Hulk & Andre would feud right up until the first SummerSlam in August 1988 and the NWA would actually move Starrcade to December that same year.  It would never again be booked for American Thanksgiving.  The final Starrcade took place in late December 2000.  The Survivor Series stopped being an annual American Thanksgiving Night extravaganza in its own right after the 1990 show.  From 1991 to 1994 it was held on Thanksgiving Eve.  By 1995, it began its ongoing run as an annual Sunday night pay-per-view in November.

2. The 1988 Survivor Series marked the first time a double turn ever happened during a WWF pay-per-view, which is still a rare occurrence today.  The villainous Demolition, the then-WWF tag team champions, captained a team of 10 against their arch rivals, The Powers Of Pain, & their babyface team of 10.  (Each side was represented by five tag teams.)  Near the conclusion of the match, as Smash was being Irish whipped into the ropes, Demolition’s wily manager Mr. Fuji, pulled down the top rope which send him crashing to the floor.  Smash ended up getting counted out, thus eliminating Ax as well.  (When one man from a 2-man tag team was eliminated, his partner was gone, too.)

Both men angrily confronted Fuji.  Fuji whacked one of them with his cane.  Ax ended up body slamming him on the floor after Smash threw their terrified manager into his arms.  After a disgusted Demolition left ringside, The Powers Of Pain helped up Fuji, dusted him off and brought him over to their corner.  After disposing of The Conquistadors, the last team standing on Demolition’s side, Warlord & The Barbarian, the sole survivors, celebrated with Fuji on their shoulders.  If Fuji’s plan was to side with the team that would ultimately beat Ax & Smash for the tag belts, he should’ve aligned with Bobby Heenan’s Brain Busters instead.  They dethroned Demolition nearly a year later on a summer 1989 episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event.  The Powers Of Pain would never become champions themselves and would eventually be split up to pursue uneventful solo careers with different managers.  (Heenan took on Barbarian, Slick looked after Warlord.  They would remain heels for the rest of their original WWF runs, although Barbarian would return briefly as a babyface under a different name, in order to fill in for an injured Samu, to join The Headshrinkers.)  Fuji would eventually kiss and make up with Demolition (with Crush added to the team they turned heel again during their 3rd and final title reign in 1990) who would go their separate ways shortly after WrestleMania VII in 1991.

3. Before he made his debut at the 1990 Survivor Series, The Undertaker was originally billed as Kane, The Undertaker.  As the show drew closer, “Kane” was mysteriously dropped from his name.  The name would, of course, be recycled for his masked, long haired half-brother who would wrestle his first pay-per-view match at the infamous 1997 Survivor Series.  He defeated Mankind.

Curiously, The Undertaker was accompanied by Brother Love to the ring.  (The late, great Paul Bearer wouldn’t arrive to take over until early 1991.)  After eliminating two members of Dusty Rhodes’ Dream Team (including the captain himself), The Dead Man was actually counted out.  Ted DiBiase, Undertaker’s captain of The Million Dollar Team, was the sole survivor.  A year later, with a big assist from Ric Flair, he defeated Hulk Hogan for his first WWF Championship in the first ever Survivor Series singles match.

4. The three babyface and five heel survivors of every match in the 1990 Survivor Series went on to battle in a handicap Grand Finale bonus match to determine the ultimate survivor, a concept that was never repeated at future shows.  The Ultimate Warrior & Hulk Hogan were the last men standing that night.

5. In the near 30-year history of the event, there have been two shows that didn’t feature a single traditional elimination tag team match.  Aside from a couple of title matches, the 1998 Survivor Series was all about the Deadly Games tournament which crowned a new WWF Champion.  (The Rock defeated Mankind to win the strap.)  The 2002 Survivor Series had three different kinds of elimination matches:  a six-man tag team elimination tables match (The Dudleys & Jeff Hardy went over 3-Minute Warning & Rico); a three-way elimination match for the WWE tag team titles (Los Guerreros became the new champions over former titleholders Edge & Rey Mysterio and challengers Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit); and the very first Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship (Shawn Michaels became the new champion after outlasting five other superstars).

6. Between 1987 & 2013, there were exactly 70 traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team matches.  (November 24 UPDATE:  It’s up to 72 now, thanks to two more such matches in 2014.)  Up until 1999, with the exceptions of 1992, 1994 & 1998, there were at least four such matches booked for every show.  (1989 had five, 1990 had six, the most in a single event.)  Since then, there has been at least one elimination tag match on every Survivor Series since 2003 but no more than three.  (The last time that happened was 2009.)  After 2010 & 2011 had only one match each, there were two for both 2012 & 2013.

7. Of those 70 matches, only five featured women.  After The Jumping Bomb Angels won the first one in 1987, Aja Kong was the sole survivor in 1995.  Three more took place in 2008, 2009 and 2013.  (November 24 UPDATE:  A sixth match (4-on-4) took place in 2014, as well.)

8. Five years before their controversial world title match at the 1997 Survivor Series, Bret Hart & Shawn Michaels first battled for the WWF Championship in the main event of the 1992 Survivor Series.  The Heartbreak Kid had just won the InterContinental title from Hart’s brother-in-law, The British Bulldog, during the last Saturday Night’s Main Event of the 1990s, but that belt was not on the line.  Hart retained.

9. There was an unusual championship match at the 1993 Survivor Series.  The Heavenly Bodies challenged The Rock & Roll Express for the Smoky Mountain Wrestling tag team championships.  SMW was Jim Cornette’s short-lived independent promotion based out of Tennessee.  Thanks to an arrangement with Vince McMahon, the Bodies won the belts from the Express on a national pay-per-view.  It was the only title defended that night.  The two teams had been feuding over the titles for the better part of a year.  Originally, it was Stan Lane & Tom Prichard who were the Heavenly Bodies.  Jimmy Del Rey replaced Lane in 1993.  In the end, The Rock & Roll Express became 10-time SMW tag team champions, more than any other twosome.  When Lane was in the picture, the Bodies won it five times.  When Del Ray replaced him, they won it an additional three times.  In fact, Del Rey & Prichard were the last SMW tag team champions when the promotion went out of business in late 1995.  (Even before their high profile title win they were already working for the WWF and later appeared at the 1994 Survivor Series.  For their part, The Rock & Roll Express signed up for their own brief WWF run in 1998.)

Eight years later, two World Championship Wrestling titles were merged with existing WWF championships at the 2001 Survivor Series.  That marked the last time a non-WWF belt (excluding the ECW Championship which was briefly revived in 2006 as a third brand WWE world title) was ever defended at the annual event.  Both WCW title holders were victorious.  US Champion Edge became InterContinental champ & WCW tag champs The Dudleyz became WWF tag titleholders.

10. The 1997 Survivor Series is the only one in the history of the supercard that ever happened outside the United States.  It took place at the Molson Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

11. The ECW, European and United States Championships are the only belts that never changed hands at the Survivor Series.  Curiously, the Hardcore title was never defended at the event.

12. What’s the longest match in Survivor Series history?  Team WWF vs. Team Alliance, the 5-on-5 tag team elimination main event in 2001.  It lasted nearly 45 minutes.  The shortest match?  The Rock squashing The Big Boss Man in the first round of the Deadly Games Tournament in 1998 in just 4 seconds.  In fact, this might be the quickest match in the history of professional wrestling.

13. Besides the 3-on-5 bonus match in 1990, there have been four other instances where a traditional elimination tag team match wasn’t 10-on-10, 5-on-5 or 4-on-4.  There was a 3-on-3 in 1991, a 1-on-4 in 1999 (The Big Show took out his three partners before the event), a 4-on-5 in 2007 (Matt Hardy was supposed to be on the babyface team but was ultimately taken out prior to the event) and a 7-on-7 Divas match in 2013.

14. The WWE Championship has changed hands more than any other title in the history of the Survivor Series.  10 new champions have been crowned since The Undertaker’s historic victory in 1991.  CM Punk was the last wrestler to snag the strap at the 2011 Survivor Series.  Since it was merged with the World Heavyweight Championship (which has been captured three times since its introduction in 2002) in late 2013, it has yet to be defended at the event.

15. Whether he’s entering as champion or challenger, CM Punk has never lost a title match at the Survivor Series.

16. It was a bad night for defending champions at the 2002 Survivor Series.  Five titles changed hands, the most at any individual show in the history of the event.

17. Randy Savage is the only wrestler to survive a traditional tag team elimination match in each of the first three Survivor Series shows.  He’s the only one to go undefeated at the event in the 1980s.

18. “Tiny” Lister is the only celebrity to ever participate in a traditional tag team elimination match.  He appeared at the 1989 Survivor Series as Zeus, his character from No Holds Barred.  He was quickly disqualified for refusing to let go of Hulk Hogan’s neck.  Chuck Norris is the only celebrity to officiate a match at the event.  Well, sort of.  He was booked as an outside enforcer for The Undertaker/Yokozuna Casket Match at the 1994 extravaganza.

19. Of the aforementioned 70 elimination tag matches, only one ended with no survivors.  At the 1996 Survivor Series, Farooq, Vader, Razor Ramon & Diesel fought Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Flash Funk, Savio Vega & Yokozuna to a no-contest.  After the eliminations of Vega & Ramon, all the remaining participants were disqualified when they refused to stop brawling inside the ring.

20. Randy Orton, Hulk Hogan & The Ultimate Warrior have each survived four elimination tag matches, more than all other superstars in the history of the Survivor Series.  Additionally, Hogan & Warrior are the only ones to survive two of these matches in the same night.  As mentioned previously, that happened in 1990, the only time that was ever possible.

21. The Big Show is the only performer to win an elimination tag match in at least three different decades:  1999 (he survived a 4-1 handicap bout), 2004 & 2010.  He’s also the only performer to win an elimination match and a world championship in a second encounter in the same night.  After winning his handicap Survivor Series match in 1999, he went on to win the WWF Championship in a Triple Threat match against The Rock and defending titleholder, Triple H.

22. Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Kane & John Layfield all share the dubious distinction of having been eliminated from all six traditional tag matches they appeared in, more than all other wrestlers in the history of the Survivor Series.  If someone from Team Cena eliminates The Devil’s Favourite Demon in the main event of the 2014 Survivor Series, Kane will set a new record with seven.  (November 24 UPDATE:  He was pinned by Dolph Ziggler so Kane is now indeed the least successful wrestler in traditional Survivor Series matches with seven straight losses and no wins.)

23. Speaking of Layfield, he is the only performer to be eliminated under four different stage names:  Justin Hawk Bradshaw (1996), Blackjack Bradshaw (1997), Bradshaw (1999, 2003) & John Bradshaw Layfield (2005, 2008).  Jacques Rougeau was eliminated under three different names:  his own (1987-9), The Mountie (1991) and Quebecer Jacques (1993).

24. Matt Bloom is the only man to lose three elimination tag matches under three different names in three different decades.  He lost as Albert (1999), A-Train (2003) and Tensai (2012).  Like JBL & Rougeau, he is winless in traditional Survivor Series tag matches.

25. What do Demolition, Haku, The Honky Tonk Man, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Chris Jericho, Edge, Christian, Big Boss Man, Ron Simmons, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, R-Truth & Rob Van Dam all have in common?  Despite multiple attempts (five for Boss Man, three each for Edge, Truth, Snuka & Jericho, and four apiece for everybody else), they’ve also never survived an elimination tag team match.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, November 19, 2014
5:49 p.m.

UPDATE:  Regarding number two, I added some details about The Barbarian returning as a babyface after being a heel during his initial WWF run, just to clarify that part.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, November 23, 2014
7:46 p.m.

CORRECTIONS:  For number six, I said that both the 1989 & 1990 Survivor Series had five matches apiece.  The latter actually had six.  This has been corrected in the text.  I originally stated in number 12 that the longest match in Survivor Series history was the 10-on-10 match between Demolition’s team & The Powers Of Pain’s team in 1988 which lasted over 42 minutes.  Wrong.  Team WWF vs. Team Alliance in 2001 was longer, clocking in at roughly 45 minutes.  Also, I said that The Big Show’s 1-on-4 handicap elimination match was the shortest match in the history of the event.  It lasted less than 90 seconds.  While it is indeed the shortest all-time traditional elimination match, The Rock vs. The Big Boss Man in 1998 is the shortest Survivor Series match, period.  It was all over in just 4 seconds.  These corrections have completely replaced the original text.  My apologies for not getting all this right the first time as I should have.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, November 24, 2014
3:21 a.m.

CORRECTION 2:  Under number 9, I originally wrote, “The Heavenly Bodies ultimately joined the WWF and even appeared at the 1994 Survivor Series.”  In reality, the team were already working for Vince McMahon the year they won the SMW tag titles from the Rock N Roll Express.  My apologies for the mistake.  That section has now been corrected and bracketed.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, December 7, 2014
5:04 p.m.

Published in: on November 20, 2014 at 5:49 pm  Comments (3)  

A Haunted House 2

It takes a special kind of talent to create a laughless persona, an obnoxious character so devoid of humour & humanity that every time you see him you feel nothing but complete revulsion.  Malcolm, the protagonist of A Haunted House 2, is the absolute essence of this.

Played by an increasingly desperate Marlon Wayans, Malcolm is the very definition of audience repellent.  After surviving the terribly unfunny events of A Haunted House, here he is again trying to survive not just another series of unexplained events but also another completely moronic screenplay.

Leaving behind his still possessed girlfriend, Kisha (Essence Atkins), after surviving a car crash with his annoying gangbanger cousin, Ray Ray (Affion Crockett), in the awful opening scene, Malcolm moves on a year later with Megan (Jamie Pressley) and her 2 kids from a previous relationship.  One wonders what she sees in him.

When he’s not mocking her son Wyatt (Steele Stebbins) for being less than masculine (he has tea parties with an imaginary friend, for instance) and slut shaming her teen daughter Becky (Awkward’s sadly wasted Ashley Rickards), he’s having a strange affair with Abigail, an ugly looking children’s toy left behind by the previous owners of the home all of them have just moved into.

Abigail is obviously a goof on Annabelle, the doll from The Conjuring that also got its own spin-off movie.  In one of the most disturbing scenes ever captured on film Malcolm fools around with it so intensely you question why he’s even bothering with Megan.  He clearly needs professional help.

Following his remarkable stupidity and complete lack of impulse control, Abigail bizarrely starts sexting him.  She also keeps sending him the exact same message over and over again:  “Miss me?”  In a panic, he continually tries to get rid of the damn thing but no matter what method he uses, she always comes back.  Delightful couple.

Also left behind by the previous owners is a mysterious box discovered by Becky in the basement, a take-off of The Possession.  This leads to at least two terrible scenes involving vagina jokes.  It also leads to the inevitable moment where a swarm of insects invade her bedroom & Malcolm takes a while to figure out how to kill them all.

Meanwhile, he discovers some old home movies in the attic.  After finally figuring out how to load one in his projector (yes, he’s that stupid), he watches an inept demon fail to kill off a family on more than one occasion.  A transparently lame parody of Sinister, for some odd reason Malcolm seeks answers about this obviously harmless demon.  He repeatedly Skypes with an expert (Rick Overton), a college professor who would much rather be Walter White.  He’s just as disgusting a human being as Malcolm.

Speaking of disgusting, what is with all the misogyny in this movie?  Becky, the teen daughter, is constantly mocked for liking a lot of sex with multiple partners.  Her mother Megan, also highly sexual, is a controlling shrew.  Malcolm’s ex, Kisha, is, of course, a psycho.  And even, Abigail, the toy, is portrayed as an obsessed, vengeful sex maniac unable to let go of her fixation with Malcolm.

Add to that the constant use of the word “bitch”, horrible rape jokes (not including one set in a male prison & others referring to pedophilic priests), inappropriate touching (thankfully not seen) & an actual defense of Chris Brown, and you have one of the most hateful films about women ever made.

Then there’s the racial material.  Babyfaced comedian Gabriel Iglesias plays a next door neighbour who pretends to be upset every time Malcolm makes a stereotypical presumption about him, even though every last one of them turns out to be correct.  In turn, Iglesias makes one racist crack after another about his black heritage and yet, Malcolm still wants to hang out with him.  Both must be really hard up for friends.

A Haunted House 2 is put together very much like the first one, as a Paranormal Activity-style “found footage” horror parody.  And like its predecessor, it’s a terrible movie.  I laughed exactly twice.  Cedric The Entertainer, who plays the returning priest Father Williams (he was funnier in the original which had slightly more laughs), got me with his dig at Bruce Jenner’s scary face.  Plus, there’s another funny line near the end that involves a famous room freshener.

Beyond that, there’s nothing else here but a whole lot of gross offensiveness.  Don’t waste 86 minutes of your life on this garbage.  You have better things to do.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, November 16, 2014
7:14 p.m.

Published in: on November 16, 2014 at 7:14 pm  Comments (2)  

Lena Dunham & The Importance Of Childhood Boundaries

30 years ago, I attended a birthday party.  It was for my best friend at the time who was a classmate in primary school.  We were inseparable, often going to each other’s houses to enjoy each other’s company.  We laughed & fought often as young kids our age are bound to do.

She was turning either 8 or 9 at the time.  Of the dozen or so classmates who were invited to come celebrate with her and her lovely parents, I was the only boy.

After we scarfed down some delicious pizza at a local restaurant, we went back to her family home.  Before she opened her gifts in the living room, we all ran up the stairs to her tiny bedroom to kill time.  In the middle of incessant giggling & chattering, one of the girls (not my best friend) suddenly asked a provocative question:

“Anybody wanna see my vagina?”

The specific details about what happened next are difficult to perfectly recall.  All I remember is that someone turned out the lights & when they came back on, this girl wasn’t wearing any bottoms.  All the other girls screamed as we all stared.  It was very uncomfortable for me.  And it was about to be even more so.

After she proudly put her underwear and bottoms back on, every girl in that room then demanded I give them a peek, as well.  I could feel the collective intensity of their gazes.  I started to sweat.  I said no.  They insisted.  I still said no.  For the first time in my young life, I felt immense pressure to do something I did not want to do.

Knowing full well they would not stop pushing me, I made a compromise.  I would show them my penis briefly but only with the lights out.  They accepted.  In the dark, I reluctantly pulled down my pants, my long johns and my briefs.  (It was winter time.)  I will never forget the screams.  It was one of the most mortifying experiences of my entire life, let alone my childhood.

I was only exposed for a few seconds but it felt like years.  The humiliation was palpable.  Anyone could’ve read it on my face, even in the darkness of that confining space.  I felt so dirty and ashamed.

As I immediately pulled up my underwear (which somehow got twisted backwards), my long johns and corduroy jeans, I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the evening.  In fact, I don’t remember anything else that happened afterwards.  I don’t even know what I got my friend for her birthday.  (My Mom bought the gift.)

When I came home, my parents noticed how strangely I was acting.  Mom started asking questions.  I confessed the bare minimum.  She actually stifled a laugh.  She told Dad.  He laughed, too.  I was humiliated all over again.

Curiously, as the years progressed, I would start laughing as well.  I transformed a terribly traumatic event into a humourous anecdote (mainly by exaggerating the vagina flashing & completely downplaying my own emotional devastation).  Or so I thought until 20 years later when one woman I recounted the story to over the phone didn’t find it all that amusing.  In fact, she felt bad for me.  She was saddened by what I went through.

Her reaction jolted me.  How could she not find this funny?, I wondered.  But she really didn’t.  The way she talked about it made me feel like I was a victim.

All of these years later, I finally realized she was right.  The blinders are off and my denial has disappeared for good.  I didn’t “enthusiastically consent” to the idea of flashing my female classmates at that party.  I simply gave in to their relentless demands.  I submitted.  I compromised.  And I felt horrible the entire time.

So, why did I spend the next couple of decades reframing this painful story as something comedic?

Because it made it less painful.  Unfortunately, it also made it less honest, as well.  Stripped to its vulnerable core, this dark, personal trauma really wasn’t funny at all.

And it wasn’t a harmless experience, either.  It had lingering consequences.

In the years that followed, I barely dated.  How could I when I lacked true self-confidence.  At times, I was the walking definition of awkward and I wasn’t always respectful to girls, either.  (As a stupid, insecure teen, I remember grabbing or touching a couple of girls’ asses without their permission.  (They weren’t pleased.)  I haven’t done that since, thank goodness.)  Due to deep physical and mental inadequacies, I always felt less than all the other guys in my classes who were much bigger, even though I had friends, participated in a number of extracurricular activities and was a very good student.  It didn’t help matters that many of the girls I crushed on didn’t reciprocate my feelings.  Looking back, I can’t exactly blame them.  I didn’t have my shit together.

Already fearful of getting someone pregnant and/or catching some incurable STD (I’m allergic to penicillin), I didn’t end up losing my virginity until I was 29.  (My ex was the only woman I’ve ever been intimate with, as of this writing.)  I’ve always had body issues.  (I’m nearly 6 feet tall now but still only weigh about 125 pounds.  I should be 150 but with all my numerous food intolerances (and the fact that getting to that ideal weight would involve having Ryback’s appetite), I’m permanently underweight.)  Most painfully, because of what happened that cold winter night, for more than 20 years afterwards, I had always felt woefully inadequate down below.

I’ve been reflecting about all of this while following the latest Lena Dunham controversy.

The Girls creator recently put out a much anticipated collection of personal essays called Not Your Kind Of Girl.  In a recent National Review article (picked up by a conservative blog), there are passages in the book where Dunham reveals that at age 7 she touched her baby sister’s vagina when she was 1 & when they were a little older she tried to bribe her with candy so she could kiss her.

All of this has led to heated debates online & in the press between her growing detractors and stubborn supporters.  I wish those conversations focused on one key point here:  the willful, unrepentant violation of another child’s personal boundaries.

It’s hard to know exactly what happened here.  Dunham openly calls herself an “unreliable narrator” which isn’t exactly helpful.  What bothers me about what she did write is not only her creepy interactions with her younger sister but also the lack of contrition she feels today for being completely inappropriate with her when they were kids.  Like all those years I tried to make a painful childhood memory amusing to myself and others, the lighthearted tone she uses to recount these stories feels like a major disconnect from the truth.  Dunham portrays all of this as weird but innocently goofy curiosity but that’s not how it comes off to the reader, at least not to me.  Whatever her intentions, she had no right to bother her sister in the manner that she did.  Children being curious about each other’s bodies & touching them without their permission are not the same thing.  Surely, she wasn’t too young to know the difference then and she’s old enough to know better now.

At first, when the revelation of all this caught fire on social media (it was curiously not mentioned in the media prior to the National Review posting), she lashed out rather defensively in what she deemed a “rage spiral”.

Days after calming down, however, she offered this public statement to Time.  Did she apologize for violating her baby sister’s boundaries?  No.  Did she express even a sliver of regret for what she did?  No.  “…I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances,” she said.  Her own misconduct not included.

Instead, she apologized for “the comic use of the term ‘child predator'” which she belatedly acknowledged was “insensitive”.  And she said “sorry…[I]f the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read…that was never my intention.”

Unbeknownst to me until recently, Dunham is a divisive figure in the feminist movement.  (The “child predator” remark wasn’t the first time she’s been accused of being “insensitive”.)  And perhaps, it’s no surprise that a number of prominent, mostly white feminists are defending her recent controversy.  (As they are so fond of saying to everybody else, “Check your privilege, ladies.”)  A certain Cosmo writer lamely dismissed it on Twitter as the result of  “Lena Derangement Syndrome” caused by “the right wing”.  Tell that to numerous minority feminists (along with a number of dissenting white ones) who are rightly angry about these revelations, as well.

As much as Dunham’s die hard sisters-in-arms want to downplay, misrepresent or outright ignore what she wrote and did, there’s no escaping two basic truths.  When she was a child, she touched her baby sister’s private parts without her permission and when she was older she tried to coerce her into being kissed by offering her candy.  Today, it’s comic fodder for a book.  How is any of that defensible?

A year or so before I was victimized at my then-best friend’s birthday party, I was in a school bathroom when a classmate, a weird boy in glasses who was always crying about something and constantly getting into trouble, suddenly groped me.  He grabbed my genitals over my cords.  It was simultaneously painful & peculiar.  I remember looking at him with a puzzled look on my face.  I can’t recall now if I shoved him off or if he let go voluntarily.  But once he did let go of his firm grip, that was it.  He left and it never happened again.  In fact, he would eventually leave the school we attended altogether.  I was 7.  He may have been a year older, I’m not sure now.

Again, this isn’t about mere childhood curiosity.  It’s about disrespecting someone else’s physical autonomy.  The young Lena Dunham didn’t care what her sister thought when she decided to do these creepy things.  She just went ahead and did them anyway.  And judging by what she wrote & how she’s reacted to the criticism, she still doesn’t care.  It’s all just fodder for punchlines in a book.  Hilarious.

But what exactly is funny about her stories or mine, for that matter?  Absolutely nothing.

In fact, they’re quite distressing.  If Dunham had written these stories with the intent of cleansing her conscience or even just to express regret for her actions, no reasonable person would have had a problem with that, including me.  Honestly, it would’ve been great if she had done that.  But her agenda was getting laughs, not making peace with childhood mistakes.

21 years after my humiliation at my friend’s birthday party, I was in the park with my then-girlfriend.  It was our first date.  There was a definite, unmistakable attraction.  After having many sexually charged conversations with her online and on the phone for months off and on, it was time for us to embrace the heat.  After some inevitable awkwardness (I was a little antsy and she wasn’t quite ready for that), we moved from a picnic table to a spot beside a giant tree.  In the midst of what turned out to be my very first French kiss (she had to teach me how to do it), she showed me one of her breasts (I think it was the one with the nipple piercing).  Hot.  I returned the favour by voluntarily unzipping my jeans, then pulling them & my underwear down slightly.

She didn’t scream.  She didn’t laugh.  Instead, she looked very pleased.  (I imagined her thinking, “I can work with this.”)  The resuming makeout session got a lot more exciting after that.

For the first time ever, I didn’t feel inadequate or ashamed.  I felt attractive and wanted.  Eight days later at her place, she deflowered me.  It was glorious.  (Too bad the relationship didn’t work out.  After many more conversations & 3 more dates, we broke up two months later.  Despite more online entanglements with several other women, I’ve not had any other real-life physical encounters since.)

I’m not that terrified 9-year-old child any more (although I am, by no means, 100% confident and secure as a man approaching 40) and now I’m far more respectful of people’s personal spaces, especially when it comes to women.  Now that she’s an adult like me, here’s hoping Lena Dunham has finally learned to respect the boundaries of others, as well.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, November 6, 2014
12:56 a.m.

Published in: on November 6, 2014 at 12:56 am  Comments (1)