Until yesterday, this was one of those essays that looked to be permanently placed in draft-limbo. This is a fate shared by quite a few essays that I have ideas for, but cannot quite figure out how to finish or what angle to take. Despite the fact that I found the subject-matter in this essay very interesting, there simply was no angle that encapsulated what I wanted to communicate. That is, until I heard of the death by suicide of Anthony Bourdain.
I’ve shared a little bit about my youthful culinary interests on twitter, what I didn’t share is that they were largely inspired by Mr. Bourdain’s book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly“, to this day one of my favorite books within the genre. The book describes the journey of a young man from chucking clams in Rhode Island to the Rainbow room in Manhattan, drug use, alcohol abuse, and high gastronomy, but more than anything it was about passion. As the years passed by, my interests shifted a little, but I tried to keep up with Anthony’s work whether on the travel channel, the food network or other places. For someone who still has a passion for food, and all that surrounds it, he was the culinary Christopher Hitchens, an irreverent, ghost-pepper in an increasingly bland world of cuisine. However, as his career progressed, it was difficult not to notice the gradual softening of his, the cursing became more rare, as did the drinking, he quit smoking and he had children.
I stopped watching TV some time ago, so it was a few years until he popped up on my radar again, this time coming across my twitter feed in a retweet after my return to the manosphere. Out of curiosity I looked him up, found that he’d gotten divorced sometime earlier and was dating an MMA star. I clicked the tweet and I noticed the unmistakable Beta tells in the pictures, the fact that his girlfriend’s instagram was filled with pictures of her with other men that were 30 years his junior, and I thought to myself “That’s going to blow up in his face, maybe we’ll get the old hard drinking, angry, Anthony Bourdain back. The man who banned Billy Joel from every restaurant kitchen he ever ran“.
Alas, yesterday I saw the news coming across my twitter feed, he was found dead in his hotel, having ended his life in a case that appears related to “girl problems”. I was going to let this go, but then the inevitably “toxic masculinity” arguments came flowing out into the media “oh if only men were more like women, they wouldn’t kill themselves” and I figured, ah that is a perfect frame for that essay in my draft folder.
The big, often glossed over thing about suicide is that women attempt to kill themselves just as much or even more than men, they are just less successful at it . They attempt to kill themselves so that someone will come to them and be like “Oh honey, are you OK, want to talk about it?“. Men are much better and more successful at killing themselves, because they do it because they are done talking. For women a suicide attempt is a comma in the sentence of their life, for men it’s the exclamation point at the end of it. If men were less “masculine” and more like women, we would simply see a drop in successful suicides, with an increase in suicide attempts. Continue reading