The sexual “wisdom” of Jian Ghomeshi

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I know I probably shouldn’t pay any more attention to this wanker until he gets perpwalked or something, but Jian Ghomeshi really is the shitshow that keeps on showing. Today, the Toronto Star published a collection of his bons mots regarding life, love and le sexe, and…well, let’s just say the man reveals more about himself that way than he probably intended at the time.

First up, a snippet from his memoir, 1982:

Kim Inglewood and I had stripped naked at her house (in Grade 8), and I had pursued a forensic fascination with her chest. I stared at her breasts with a mixture of excitement and curiosity and then tried to caress them in a seductive way that would turn her on. I had no idea what I was doing. I remember looking up to see a befuddled expression on Kim Inglewood’s face as she stared at me staring at her naked breasts. I had done my best with my caresses. I’m not sure she really enjoyed it.

Poor Kim. I guess having your boobs gawked at and ineptly manipulated by a dorky 13-year-old would be rather confusing, eh?

But hey! Here’s the wisdom that Jian drew from that little bit of early sexual failure:

Without porn, how were we supposed to learn how sex was done? Of course, pornography was often sexist, exploitative, patriarchal, and full of the wrong messages about human relationships and intimacy. But even so, it could have served as a handy tool for seeing how this foreplay and intercourse thing happened.

Sadly, no, it couldn’t. One thing that never ceases to amaze me about studio-made porn (and homemade porn that mimics it, too) is how very much the opposite of erotic it is, never mind instructive. What passes for “foreplay” in it is some truly pathetic dialogue along the general lines of “Hey, wanna fuck?” And what passes for intercourse in it would be at best mechanical and unsatisfying, and at worst, life-threatening and extremely painful. But hey! At least Jian is upfront about the faults of the thing. Just a pity he can’t tie that into the understanding that no, you really can’t learn how to have sex from it.

Of course, if he’d looked hard enough, he’d probably have found something of the porny persuasion anyhow. Was he really that naïve and incurious? It’s not as though Thornhill was the boonies; that would be where I grew up. And even here, it was not hard to get your hands on a stolen Playboy. Or in my case, Cosmopolitan, which was pretty damned explicit in 1982. There was actually a pull-out sex guide in an issue from that year, and yes, I pored over it and learned from it. A LOT. Well in advance of my ever needing it, in fact. But I have a good memory, and let’s just say that when I finally did need that advice, my memory served me very well indeed. Granted, I didn’t fool around at 13, which may have helped some; I was over 20 by the time I finally put that advice to use, and I don’t regret having waited. I was a lot better at reading other people at 23 than at 13. And that, not the mechanics of sex, is really the key to the whole thing. A point which Jian seems to have sadly missed here.

Onwards. Here are some amusing little notes from Jian’s boner to Marlo magazine, in 2003:

1. Good communication. When a woman is gregarious and talking with other men, celebrating her attractiveness to others, but still sending subtle signals that she’s with me … that’s sexy.

2. Taking initiative. Saying, ‘Oh whatever,’ when we’re planning what to do, where to go or what to eat is not attractive.

3. Doesn’t get too dressed up, unless the event is explicitly formal. But I always prefer someone who cares about her appearance and looks great but hasn’t spent three hours pulling it together.

4. Never get too drunk. And yet consuming is good. I like someone who eats and drinks and doesn’t just order a salad.

5. Oh, at the top of the list should actually be, to be honest and real. It’s a cliché, but it’s true and it’s a turn-on.

Every one of these is a study in irony and walking contradictions. Let’s parse this, shall we?

Point #1. From what we now know of Jian’s so-called “consensual” activities, it turns out that he’s not a good communicator of his own intentions. His idea of “obtaining consent”, it seems, was to tell someone he “tend[ed] to get aggressive”. This would be followed up by a nonconsensual, unpredictable punch upside the head, or something equally awful. So to claim he’s attracted to women who communicate well is…well, you know.

Point #2. Again ironic, considering that this dude is a noted control freak and probably wouldn’t care what the woman wanted. All he really cares about is what HE wants. Her initiative would probably be quite an irritant to him.

Point #3. Does Jian have any idea how much time and effort it takes to look pulled-together, but not like one spent a lot of, well, time and effort on it? No, he doesn’t. He’s never apparently been with anyone long enough to have the slightest clue as to what’s entailed here. I reiterate: Dude should have read Cosmo when he was a teenager. If he did, he would know that.

Point #4. Again, very ironic, considering that he’s known for dating women who look like twigs, and unless they’re all blessed with the metabolism of hummingbirds, they are not going to be consuming a whole lot of anything. Even the woman “doesn’t just order a salad” when she’s on a date is bound to be compensating for that, and hard, when she’s not around him. Again, as in #3, he has no clue as to what’s really going on there.

Point #5. Perhaps the most ironic of all, considering how honest and real Jian himself has NOT been for at least two and a half decades now, and maybe ever. And how turned-off we all are now that we know.

And here’s Jian talking about ethnicity to the Toronto Star, in 1998:

(I feel) different around them (Iranian women); I don’t know the protocol and am deathly afraid that I’ll make a mistake.

Uh, dude? You’re Iranian. You could always just have asked your parents, if you were really that concerned about ethnic protocols. Would it have killed you to ask? (One gets the sneaking feeling that Jian really doesn’t know how to carry on a normal conversation with anyone, doesn’t one?)

And finally, here’s Jian, being a “good” feminist guy on Q:

The term most often used to describe that complex of attitudes and behaviour is rape culture. The term has become common in feminist discourse and popular media, but not everyone agrees it is helpful or accurate. The notion of rape culture has been criticized in the pages of national newspapers and even by some advocates for victims of sexual assault. So we’ve decided to convene a Q debate. Do we really live in a so-called rape culture? Is that term accurate or is it alarmist?

Seriously, Jian? You took Women’s Studies at university, and you think that’s a matter of question, and up for debate? Even I, who only majored in English (and, briefly, Life Sciences) know that rape culture is a real thing…but then again, that’s because I was a woman student. I got most of my education in feminism the hard way. I was at Queen’s when male students postered their dorm windows with lovely messages like “No Means Yes”, “No Means More Beer”, “No Means Kick Her in the Teeth”, and so forth. I was also there when the Montréal Massacre went down; I volunteered at the Queen’s Women’s Centre, and spent much of my last semester’s shifts wondering if anyone was going to bust in there and gun me down, too. And yep, I got hit on in some mighty gross ways during those four years, by men who were invariably older and definitely skeevy. Not to mention scared shitless by talk of prowlers in the bushes in Sir John A. Macdonald Park (alias Pervert Park), and paroled rapists from Kingston Pen driving cabs around the city. And outraged by the blatantly sexist, rapey nature of Frosh Week activities. Even before I arrived on campus (where I promptly refused to let guys do pushups over me at Tindall Field), there were lurid signs all over the student ghetto, welcoming me with messages like “Shave yer dotter’s box” [sic] and “Kiss your virginity goodbye”. We got warnings coming and going, all about how not to get raped. Typical advice: Watch what you drink, and don’t dress like a slut.

And all this was after Queen’s had kicked out the fraternities in an effort to clean up its “party school” image. You tell me if that’s just me being “alarmist”.   

Oh, but of course. How could I forget? This is the guy who thinks nonconsensual choking actually qualifies as BDSM. And he was well known for being a “bad date”, and handsy even with other men, during his long stint at York.

He might just be tipping his hand a wee bit there.

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This entry was posted in Canadian Counterpunch, Isn't It Ironic?, Men Who Just Don't Get It, Morticia! You Spoke French!, Sick Frickin' Bastards, Stupid Sex Tricks, Teh Heterostoopid, The WTF? Files, Uppity Wimmin. Bookmark the permalink.