I’ve been at Barstool Sports for two years, and times sure have changed. When I started, there was no Kayce Smith, no Liz Gonzalez, no Ellie, Call Her Daddy, or Kate. Ria was Caleb’s intern, Fran was Smitty’s intern, and we didn’t talk to them because we valued our jobs. “Chicks in the Office” was just a warning we used to alert everyone during the rare moments when women accidentally exited the elevator on our floor. “CHICKS IN THE OFFICE,” we’d whisper to our neighbors, hastily Febreze-ing our chairs and shutting our laptops to silence the porn that blared loud and proud from open speakers like a midday call to prayer.
Erika was here, but she wasn’t yet breathing down our necks about “don’t insult our advertisers” this and “don’t DM the swimsuit models” that. These shackles would come in short order. After that NY Post spread came out, it was officially unsafe to sleep in her office. Which begs the question: why have a couch, Khaleesi?
As Erika’s power trip gained steam, I saw our rights erode into an ever-widening, ever-quickening river of feminist aggression. She levied her restrictions slowly, almost imperceptibly at first. New female hires were limited to the second floor, on the business side. This kept us from looking at them, which would surely have derailed our work flow and led to a massive falloff in content production. As if we didn’t already have our hands full circulating cards for signatures and buying balloons to appease the “it’s my birthday month” demands of our new prom queens.
But as Erika’s confidence grew, women started pouring in, overwhelming the delicate, carefully-balanced hormone levels of our harmonious operation. What had started as a trickle soon turned into an all-consuming tide of overcorrection. Within days, the snack options became healthier, a matcha place opened on the corner, people were getting to work earlier, and the homeless started disappearing off the streets. On our side, the men began losing weight, paying more for haircuts, asking for longer paternity leave, and taking collagen peptides which, we’d overheard, were good for your nails and hair. Even the thermostat was cranked up a few degrees so that certain “coworkers” wouldn’t be forced to wear blankets over their plague-riddled, poorly-circulated extremities. For fuck’s sake, stamp your feet to get the blood flowing.
We went from confident to self-conscious, from swaggy to subservient. Under the speculative, judging glares of our new hires, I realized we were sunk. The Barstool Sports I had come to know and love… was dead.
Time was, Big Cat could duck into the kitchen when the bathrooms were occupied, open the barn door, lay it on the ledge, and clean the sink with his noisome, dehydrated stream without so much as a handbook violation.
Time was, I could lift a barbell overhead without worrying that my slim-fit t-shirt would ride up, exposing my neon happy trail, turning sensitive feminine eyes away in disgust.
Time was, you couldn’t set your scarf down on a desk without knocking over a Poland Spring bottle filled to the label with dark, sludgy tobacco discharge. We were cowboys once, and now we were cow-people.
Time was, on Friday evenings, we’d stick around the office and drink whiskey topless, guffawing around half-chewed cigar stubs as we heartily clapped each other on the ass, losing sight and score of bean bags that spun like saucers towards cornhole boards.
Time was, you could smear your defecate on the floor of the bathroom when the toilet paper ran dry, like a dog cleaning its asshole by scooting along the grass with its front legs, and nobody would bat an eyelash extension.
Tragically, those days are gone, buried by the pitchforks of so many ESPN anchors but also railroaded by a pro-feminist agenda within. We, the forgotten men, are casualties of the times, victims of circumstance. We sit in the dark, typing away, punching in and out of a job that once dared us to be great.
Perhaps we’ll find our way back. There may be a place out there where we can start over. Some haven where masculinity isn’t considered “toxic.” Where a Y chromosome isn’t a black mark on your soul. Somewhere safe, but not too warm. All we need is a flicker of Wifi. I guard that hope inside my heart like the last flame on earth, dancing against the roaring winds of progress.
A boy can dream.
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