This is the sign I posted in my yard for the start of deer season 2010.
It lasted until my husband saw it the next day. And took it down. And burned it, I am pretty certain. He said I was just antagonizing and it would bring us trouble – in the form of disemboweled deer entrails from the hunters who regularly carouse the road in front of our house in their pickup trucks of US origin with chrome pipes and Cummins stickers.
I said the deer need a cheerleader. An advocate. He didn’t get it. He was clearly on the side of the hunter.
So what if I did want to get my digs in at hunters – more specifically a certain subset of hunter. The type that considers “the hunt” one of the last dying vestiges of true manhood, posted land be damned. Who come August start framing my house in the beaming crosshairs of their spotlights. Who plot their drives like some military operation, usually crossing over a few highways and my Civic- and snag their deer in multiples. Who pose on back of said pickup truck with their bleeding kill, the one with the biggest rack and widest spread (hmm terms that are also used in describing women it would seem)… . And who carve up the meat behind garage doors with cardboard-plastered windows.
I call them “irrelevant men.” And I have a few in my family. Because I think these men desperately want to feel important, be some sort of provider, and are clawing at a way to remain viable in a world that with each generation sees less sociological differences between the Xs and the Ys. For these men “the hunt” becomes symbolic. Few are going hungry enough to rely on venison to get them through the winter. But it takes so little to trip their trigger; even a little plywood sign will do it. And the more they feel their essential manhood vaporizing the more they morph into Cro-Magnon man. But give me Cerebral man any day- the guy who makes me laugh, who uses dry wit to spice up conversation, and makes me think and work up a strong comeback.
My husband also likes to say that I stomp on men’s balls . Even though I don’t realize I am doing it mid-squash. Because I am fiercely independent and tend to figure things out for myself. Or pay someone to do it. And my husband has on occasion admitted to feeling slighted, even though when I am pureeing other guys’ gonads it is usually when I am talking him up, which in turn makes me feel better about myself and my choices. Because in the end it really is all about me, a woman. So sometimes I try to pretend to be needy. I say things like, “What kind of car do you think I should buy?” But my husband tells me to knock it off, that it is not working. “You know you want a freaking BMW. Just go get it.” He knows I can fend for myself.
But the deer can’t, I remind him.
And then I start scouting the garage for another spare piece of plywood and red spray paint.