The Ecphorizer

22nd-Century Battle of the Sexes
Dale Adams

Issue #60 (November 1986)

Mensa's literary magazine [The Ecphorizer, in case you were wondering!] serialized the continuing story of the War of the Sexes right through the 22nd Century. From December 1983 to February 1985, The Ecphorizer published "The Mismeasure of Mensa," a science-fiction tale of what happened after World Wars III and IV. Bitter at being cut off after merely twelve episodes, Lottie Fish-Bate (Ecphorizer pseudonyms traditionally include the word "Fish" or something fishy) retaliated by letting her obvious female chauvinism run amuck more than ever. Her parting lines were these:

Males flock to the standards of these monsters of history, so males cannot be trusted with any influence in politics. The only usefulness of males to their government is their willingness to die for them.

Banished in disgrace, Lottie announced that a prior alias, Dale Adams, would be re-assumed, and invited the readership to send "fan mail and critical queries regarding the interpretation of the "MoM" to Mr. Adams.

Lottie would have done better to return to the 22nd Century whence she came. An irate reader wrote in the May 1985 Ecphorizer his contempt for women who hide behind their skirts when the men are out fighting and dying for their country. He had accepted MoM as literally Lottie's viewpoint. No doubt the fact that the editor as of February 1985 had called Dale a "she" helped deceive him.

George Towner had resumed the editorship of The Ecphorizer by May 1985, and he let slip that Dale Adams was actually a male. Indeed, in typical male heedlessness and recklessness, I fired off the following angry retort:

Editor, The Ecphorizer:

"Hermaphrodite" am I? Hiding behind my skirts I admit I gave the Ecphorizer readers plenty of rope to hang themselves with, but wasn't there too much?

No, I've never fought and died for my country, but (by definition) neither have my readers. (My only uncle on my mother's side (an M.D. like his father and both his father's brothers) did die for his country, on Thanksgiving Day, 1944. His father was too mean to be a civilian doctor, so he spent all his career being nasty to patients (and his superiors) in the army and in the Veterans Administration. At age 70 he mellowed enough to become nice to men, but all his life he was nice to women).

I am a trained killer, however; I put in my two years during Viet Nam. No, I didn't go to Nam, I didn't want to, and would have hated it. But that's because there is no better way to turn a hot-blooded, idealistic man like me from a hawk to a dove than to put him in the army. Except for the fun of shooting guns and taking them apart, army life is for wimps and idiots. (Even so, my first and last names are identical with my master sergeant uncle who was even skinnier (alcoholism, smoking) and meaner than I am. But he was in ordnance, working always with weapons and ammunition. His avocation was as a pornography writer).

The only two years I was a liberal were the one before I got out of the army and the one afterward. Then I reverted to my temperamental contrariness too tough to need reinforcement by taking cheap shots at people I wanted to believe were weaker and wimpier than I was.

If any of you nincompoops out there knew better than to take MoM literally, but didn't know what I did mean, all you had to do was ask. Not one person wrote. I think that establishes pretty well that Lottie was no lady; all of you were too intimidated to cozy up to this firebrand!

Sincerely arrogant,

Well, I couldn't really expect George to embarrass his readership by publishing the above letter. He didn't. I did expect he would publish my first-choice letter in which I did explain what I did and did not mean in "The Mismeasure of Mensa." Not only is the literal ne plus ultra Women's Lib not the meaning, but neither is a complete reversal to a "sardonic rejection of any female assertiveness." I further stated, "the best presentation of my position on sexual relations is in Sydney Lanier's poem, 'The Symphony,' lines 219 to 323. In short I am a man who dislikes men and never learns that women aren't so wonderful after all. Incidentally, I never read the poem until a week before the May issue came out."

Well, I can see why George didn't print that letter, either. It would have proved that the reader who called Lottie Fish-Bate a hermaphrodite was right after all. I am a traitor — a traitor to my sex, an example of male self-hate. 

We have finally yielded to needling by DALE ADAMS, and publish herewith one of his letters regarding the inner meaning of the Lottie Fish-Bate articles. Their outer meaning was pretty challenging, too.

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