James Fell says, “I made it seem like I thought less of men who don’t have traditional jobs, but instead put all their efforts into raising children. That was a shitty thing for me to do, and I’m sorry.”
It’s mea culpa time again.
I’ve lost count of how many articles I’ve had published. Somewhere around a thousand, I guess. I’ve written stuff I’m not proud of in that time. There was one article I wrote a few years ago that was so bad it launched an Internet shit storm, with bloggers giving me much deserved hate. I knew in advance that what I was writing was bad, but there were some extenuating circumstances. The idea for the article was not mine – the publisher asked me to write it that way – and I was brand new with this place and I went against my gut instinct by saying I’d do it because I didn’t feel like I was in a position to say “No.” I was a struggling writer at the time.
But still, I wrote it, and there was the shit storm, and then I went around those various blogs apologizing in the comments, and admitting that I was a dick, and people actually forgave. They forgave me because they looked at a bunch of other articles of mine and discovered that wasn’t really the kind of guy I am. In fact, I ended up becoming good friends with one of the aforementioned bloggers who called me out. (And don’t bother looking for that piece. I got the publisher to remove my name from it. I didn’t want to be associated with it.)
So, about a thousand articles published, and for probably four or five of them I was an asshole. I don’t think that’s such a bad ratio. Especially when you consider that each “asshole” one I considered a learning experience when the smackdown came. I gave myself a mental smack each time and said, Stop doing stuff like that.
After the above-mentioned bad article, I wrote something on a yellow sticky and stuck it were it’s always in my peripheral vision while writing:
I’m sure that sticky has helped me dodge a few bullets. But still, not every time. You can’t always be “not stupid.” Sometimes, you ignore the angel on your shoulder and go with the devil.
And so here we are.
I had an article published on The Good Men Project recently that people really liked about how to find (and keep) a girlfriend. Then I guess some people wondered: How did the guy who wrote that article also write this article? (Well, not that article at that link. That link is me getting called out here on The Good Men Project). But it links to the troubling article in question, the one where I ignored the yellow sticky and went against my gut.
Just FYI, I don’t pick my own titles, but all the words in that article are mine. So, yeah, my bad.
See, when I wrote it, it wasn’t like before. There was no big gut twinge, there was a smaller one. But still, I must have known something was going to happen, because in that article I wrote, “I’m going to get hell for this article, aren’t I?” Nevertheless, I thought I was being tongue-in-cheek because I put my opinions in perspective by saying the reason why I couldn’t be a stay-at-home dad was because my ego wouldn’t allow for it; society stigmatizes it and I can’t handle that. It’s true; I do have one of those sensitive egos where I feel the need to seek validation via making money, even though I realize that being a full-time dad is a tougher job. I make reference to my aforementioned sensitive ego several times in the piece.
But in communicating that, I still screwed up. I made it seem like I thought less of men who don’t have traditional jobs, but instead put all their efforts into raising children. That was a shitty thing for me to do, and I’m sorry.
I think when you screw up, and you know that you screwed up, it’s important to own up to it. Not only that, but to learn from it. I learned from this one, but it doesn’t mean I won’t screw up again.
Feel free to call me out the next time I do.
Read Dad on the Run’s critique of James’ AskMen article on full time dads, here on The Good Men Project.