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Dear Little Bobby,
When I drive past the abortion protesters in my mid-sized city, I cringe. I want to do something. I want to start a pro-choice rally amongst them, but obviously I’m driving which means I usually have something else to do.
What should I do? It’d be cool to do some kind of activist work to counteract this demented bullshit, but I’ve never done it before.
Also, I’m a musician. The music itself is a full-time job—sans the full-time wage—so I have a bunch of side jobs too. I have so much going on in my life and I’m not sure I can take on more projects.
What do you think?
—Pro-choice but busy
For many years, I have jogged past a women’s health clinic here in Albuquerque. There are often protestors outside who want to take away healthcare for women in the name of “life.” One time, these close-minded fools were blocking the sidewalk and as I approached, I slowed down my jog and I began walking. I walked right up a guy in the middle of the sidewalk who was holding a very offensive sign. I looked him in the eye, leaned in to make sure he heard me and I said, “I think you should spend more time putting your nose in your wife’s vagina instead of putting it in the uteruses of these women,” and then I kept jogging, because like you, I am also busy.
However, when I got home from that run, I wrote about the experience online. MANY people responded to that writing, mostly women. I took notice of this because I have been attempting, in my own life, to undo years of male-privilege and misogyny. Part of my ongoing effort to speak up about issues which are important to me.
I applaud you for wanting to help. But the desire to help is just the beginning—a very good beginning. For me, I have found that writing is one way to be an activist. I write a lot about the way our male-dominated society mistreats women, including opening up about the way that I have sometimes mistreated women in my own life, perhaps without even realizing that I was doing it. I also use my music to address issues I want addressed.
What are YOUR strengths? You could do many different things to become an activist. You could use your music. You could stand in front of them on the sidewalk, with an open guitar case (and donate the money to the women’s clinic). You could organize anti-protests, gather friends, create a social media event and literally organize your feelings into action. You can also frequently, and repeatedly, call/write your political leaders. Call those with whom you agree and those with whom you do not agree. Tell them the rights of women are important to you.
But yes, these things take time.
The only way to change this world is to change ourselves and then act. Educate yourself, speak up, organize, become politically active, vote and promote what you care about, in this case, women’s rights.
—Little Bobby Tucker
“Woman is the slave of the slaves, yes she is
If you believe me you better scream about it”
—John Lennon, 1972
Dear Little Bobby,
Do you agree with Taylor Swift that boys only want love if it’s torture?
-Ms. Blank Space
Dear Ms. Blank Space,
After I read this question, I thought, “What?”
So, I sought out the Taylor Swift song to which you are referring.
Then I listened to the mp3 through some crappy ear buds and after THAT, I was like, “Whoa.”
I walked over to my record player and, even though I was in the middle of listening to side two of El Dorado by The Electric Light Orchestra, I went ahead and picked up the whole thing—the entire turntable, the nice speakers, that ELO album, all of it—and I carried all of it out to the street and threw it down on the curb. After freeing myself from those shackles of ’70s album-rock on vinyl, I hurriedly ran back inside and listened to every Taylor Swift playlist that I could subscribe to.
What followed was my transition into a vibrant, strong young Woman…but let’s talk about boys. It turns out Taylor Swift IS right. Boys only want love if it is torture.
When I was a boy, back before Ms. Swift was around torturing folks like me, I only knew love as a lost phenomenon. Of course, I would not say this is true of all boys, but a large number of young men (and boys of all ages) have attachment problems, meaning they do not truly understand Love. They are only concerned with attachment and desire. I, for one, did not begin to understand Love in any true sense, until I was in my mid-30s and had a heartbreak that finally taught me a lesson: The lesson of how true Love is not the same as desire; it is not the same as attachment.
True Love is about letting go. It is about cherishing others more than we cherish ourselves and it is about vulnerability. And when a boy allows his vulnerability to give him strength (instead of instilling fear) then that boy can grow into a man. Even if it is a 30- (or 40-) year journey, it is a worthwhile trip.
Robert Smith famously sang “Boys Don’t Cry” wearing more lipstick than even I have ever worn (I prefer glitter), but I have always felt that being in touch with my emotions is a true blessing. But trying to tap into those emotions with maturity is another matter, and it often takes years of adulthood to achieve that maturity, if we are fortunate enough to ever achieve it.
A broken heart—caused by my own selfish actions—was the thing that finally helped me to see Love without all the drama and torture that I had previously associated with what I thought was love. Hopefully, Taylor Swift will one day find a man to take the place of all of those boys.
—Little Bobby Tucker
“I try to laugh about it, cover it all up with lies,
I try to laugh about it, hiding the tears in my eyes,
‘Cause boys don’t cry”
—The Cure, 1980