The Male Survey

My boyfriend aside, I recently feel like giving up on men. As #metoo shows the devastating extent of misogyny and abuse, my faith in the unfairer sex is waning.

On this neverending footpath to Brisbane, men have been less forward with their thoughts on marriage equality than women, unless yelling abuse from a hurtling ute.

Yesterday we received our third offer of a lift, this time from a woman in her sixties on the outskirts of Lawrence. The other two were also from women, one in her twenties on the road from Ulmarra in the pouring rain, the other in her thirties walking towards Taree.

We refused each generous gesture, despite the protestations of our toes.

I’m not encouraging the widespread offer of car rides to men with rainbow flags but acts of kindness, giving and sharing on this journey have predominantly been from women.

Of course, there was the woman who screeched “save the family” as she drove from Crescent Head, executing a perilous U-turn to repeat the misguided cry.

There was also the woman in Terrigal who delivered a withering “sucked in” when I admired her breakfast order. That hurt.

As a gay man, I am not exempt from poor behaviour towards women, having indulged in man-splaining, man-spreading and eye-rolling at teenagers tottering in short skirts and high heels.

Like my racism, homophobia and transphobia I try to deal with my misogyny by acknowledging it and attempting to improve my behaviour.

Just when I was giving up on men, Adam and I jumped in a taxi from dinner at the Maclean RSL to our motel. We had already walked this path a number of times so a taxi was allowed.

After the usual taxi-chat we told the driver about our walk for equality. He went silent.

At this point I was preparing to walk the rest of the journey or roll out the passenger side but the driver just stopped the metre.

“This whole thing is stupid,” he said. “This country just has to wake up and catch up. The rest of the trip is on me.”

And suddenly I’m back to liking men – the men who know when things are wrong, are willing to make things better and keep my protesting toes happy.