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Sunday Reads: The Hot-For-Teacher Problem, What Scraping By Financially Actually Looks Like and Jordan Peterson, Jesus Freak

God help me, I’m trying to be a lifer here at MEL. Assuming they never shut us down, roll me out of here when I’m 90, still screaming about dicks. By then, I’d probably have racked up enough vacation time to only be in the office for half the year, anyway. That’s probably the main benefit of sticking with the same job for decades, rather than hopping around in hopes of an increased salary. But unfortunately, even 25 years of commitment isn’t always enough to protect you from a layoff, as a lot of these guys discovered nearing the end of their careers.

Must Read

Why We Still Believe Male Victims are ‘Lucky’ When Their Abuser is a Teacher
Society knows that an adult, particularly one in a position of power, having sex with an underage person is wrong. But why do the boundaries begin to blur when we talk about teenage boys being abused by their female teachers? Myths about young men’s sexual fantasies and the dictum of them “wanting it” continue to spin a criminal act into one we all too often give a pass. Andrew Fiouzi explores why we refuse to see women’s sexual agency as a threat and the young men they rape as victims. READ MORE

The Week in Features

What Pinching Pennies Actually Looks Like
How do single dads make ends meet with a razor-thin margin for financial ruin? And more largely, what is life like when every last penny of your minimum-wage salary pretty much goes to the essentials (if you’re lucky enough for it to even stretch that far)? Quinn Myers talked to three dads who are barely scraping by to find out

Mark Zuckerberg’s Playing for Keeps
Anyone live-stream Mark Zuckerberg’s speech at Georgetown University last week? Of course you didn’t. Maybe you should’ve, though, because it was a doozy. On the surface, it was a speech written to champion freedom of expression. But really, it was about staying rich and powerful, even if it means aligning with the ideals of the authoritarian right — and hardening against the populist left — to do so.

Avoiding Environmental Disaster Is… Gay?
Despite the fact that our ongoing Anthropocene extinction will eventually destroy concepts of gender entirely, many men see recycling and other Earth-friendly activities as inherently feminine. As Madeleine Holden explains, this leads some to aggressively shirk the practice entirely, whether it be intentionally dumping recyclables in the trash or even shouting “fag” at bicyclists from their coal-rolling trucks. How did we get here, and how can we convince the fellas that we need a planet to live on?

Art Crimes and Misdemeanors

Not Another Teen Movie Myth
Movies about high school would have you think there’s nothing more shameful than being single. That sad, depressed loner is all sad and depressed — until, that is, he gets a girlfriend. But in reality, the data shows that single teens are actually a lot happier than their coupled-up counterparts. Chris Bourn explains what teen movies get wrong about the high school dating scene.

Twin Brothers’ Tragedy
In the new Netflix documentary, Tell Me Who I Am, director Ed Perkins chronicles the lives of twins Alex and Marcus Lewis, now in their 50s, who were sexually abused as children — only, one of the twins, Alex, doesn’t remember. Tim Grierson spoke to Perkins, about the Lewis’ story, the process of getting the brothers comfortable enough to finally talk about the past and where they go from here now that they’ve shared their truth with the world.

Jordan Peterson, Jesus Freak?
Despite his own opaque stance on Christianity, Jordan Peterson has received wide praise from churches of various denominations across the country for his “12 Rules For Life” philosophy. Given that, among regular churchgoers, men are in the minority, it’s certainly possible Peterson might lead more of them toward God. But not everyone is sure his path aligns with Christianity as we know it.

Guys With Gal Pals
It might beggar belief, but some men choose only to have female friends. Does that tell us more about the individuals themselves, or men as a whole? Lauren Vinopal explores the complicated psychology behind the guys who aren’t friends with other guys.

Five Things We Learned This Week

  1. Adjusting for inflation, strippers are seriously underpaid. What gives? In many places, the cost of a lapdance hasn’t changed since the 1990s.
  2. Ranked by healthfulness, all fresh tomatoes are basically equal. That said, we always knew that grape tomatoes were trash.
  3. The idea that smoking weed on an empty stomach gets you extra irie is probably a myth. But when THC is consumed orally, through food, pills or tinctures, it’s the contents of the food in your stomach that can make all the difference. 
  4. “Workin’ hard, or hardly workin’?” has been a dumb phrase said by dumb middle-management drones since the 1930s. Still, the only thing dumber than the question itself is trying to answer it, since whichever way you answer, you’re gonna look dumb, too.
  5. Robert Egger’s The Lighthouse isn’t a horror movie about what terrifying things happen when two guys get extreme cabin fever. According to film critic Tim Grierson, it’s actually a terrifically funny comedy about having a terrible roommate. 

Quote of the Week

A generation ago, existential loneliness was a hole filled by getting married and having kids. Now, though, untethered millennials longing for a simpler, happier past are headed back to the comfort and relative safety of the rope courses and campfire singalongs of adult summer camp.

But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It…