Ernie woke me up at 5.10am and went back to sleep for a bit. So my international women’s day began. It wasn’t hard to find people tweeting “When’s International Men’s Day?” And it wasn’t hard to tell them it was November 19th. And to find new ways of riffing around that basic piece of information whilst pretending to have a mental breakdown. And then having a mental breakdown.
At the end of it, the gofundme page for Refuge had risen, for the second year running, by £100,000. If I do this every day I should make £36,500,000 and I am happy to give half of that to charity- I’m not greedy. I see no flaw with this plan.
I was relentless and persistent - I took about half an hour off for lunch (though still tweeted a bit) and then another 30 or 40 minutes for the kids’ baths and bedtime and my dinner. I’d somehow managed to get Ernie breakfast, unstack the dishwasher and tidy the kitchen whilst still tweeting. Who says men can’t multi-task? The kind of people who think men shouldn’t have a day. That’s why we’ll never get one. Due to prejudice.
It was more of a strain this year than last. As great as it was to raise so much money in such a ludicrous fashion, the numbers of people making this same basic remark without realising there is actually a day (on November 19th) is going up not down and the kinds of people saying it are less bumbling idiots thinking they’re making a brilliant point/joke and more slightly scary incels.
What I am doing is, of course, a little rude, but as far as I saw none of the people I informed got angry with me (barely any of them respond or thank me for answering their question - a lot of them delete their tweet when they realise their attempt at witty political comment was just a bit dim), but there are nasty elements buzzing around when I do this and not just from meninists who refuse to accept that the world isn’t skewed against them and that it’s MEN who need equality (equality is equality- I’m not that bothered about who achieves it. It always pisses off some feminists as well, thinking that a man is making the day about himself or that I am a hypocrite because I have made jokes in the past that they don’t like, or whatever.
I appreciate all their concerns - yes men have issues too (my problem is that the only time some men want to discuss them is on International Women’s Day) and yes there’s a danger that my antics get more publicity than the day itself (though the meninists seem to think that the day gets way more publicity than the men’s one due to some feminist conspiracy - impressive given the relative representation of the sexes in the media).
But to blame me is a bit rich, because all I am doing is trying to stop other men talking about themselves on this day (and asking this question). If they didn’t do it, I would have nothing to do. I still feel it’s best for a man to do this job and one who isn’t necessarily the most woke feminist in the world, because it means everyone else can get on enjoying the day and it’s harder for the idiots to come back with unpleasantness (certainly not impossible). I turn down all interviews on the day and direct people to Refuge and don’t promote any of my own stuff. Fuck, there are easier ways to get attention than this and if that’s why I was doing it, then it’s been a long (decade long maybe - not sure when I started exactly) journey and does not seem to have yielded any results. The meninists are still able to call me a so-called “comedian” and question who I am. If the focus was on promoting me, then you’d think I would have done better.
Weirdly the only comment that upset me was from a feminist who referenced my wife in a patronising and weirdly sexist way, but I suspect that she’d just seen me as a lightning rod for some other issues in her life and the tweet was quickly deleted.
The response is overwhelmingly positive - most people absolutely understand both the joke and the self-defeating nature of what I am doing. It’s really hard. I was at this for 15 or 16 hours today (and have been dipping in all week) - and the results are so spectacular that it’s amazing to think anyone would be snide about it - well over a quarter of a million pounds to a charity for two days “work”. A part of me hoped that people would have had their fill so I could stop it, for my own sake, but it’s difficult to turn down this opportunity when it can do so much good - even if my ultimate aim of just getting men to shut up about this stuff for today and to celebrate/fundraise on the right day if they are truly bothered (yet how many of them are?) seems doomed to failure.
The day leaves me fragile and the criticisms and rebukes and veiled threats do get to you by hour 15. Maybe one day someone will take a pop at me over this deliberate attempt to annoy - but I suppose it’s still worth it, for the number of people who find it amusing and the positive spin of it now raising money.
As will become apparent, my work load was a lot heavier this year though and the amount of money raised, whilst still bewildering, had happened before so wasn’t quite as surprising (though I did think we’d be lucky to get a third of last year’s total and we ended the day on about the same as we’d got by that point last year).
I am not sure that I was quite as witty or inventive as normal, but it’s hard for me to say. The real joke is the relentlessness which of course becomes more extraordinary the longer I do this. And it’s got to drive me mad and unsettle me or what’s the point?
With it all swirling around in my brain I found it hard to get to sleep.
Of course I am ecstatic with how things turned out, but it’s not a happy day for me aside from the fundraising. It’s sad that so many men are so glib and stupid and that others can’t understand what equality means and it’s a real mental battering, even for someone with the persistence of a Herring. But fuck me. Another hundred grand. It’s really unbelievable. Thanks for the support. If it breaks me or gets me killed I am still glad I started this. I will never be allowed to finish.
You can read all the stuff on my Twitter feed. And if you want to make a donation head here.