The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Gene Weingarten: Karen’s better half? Darren, obviously.

(Alex Fine/for The Washington Post)

Almost as soon as the Internet began yakking about “Karens” — entitled middle-aged women who display a septic amount of white privilege — an informal competition arose to come up with a name for the male equivalent. For unfathomable reasons, the most popular nominees were Greg, Terry and Ken.

This debate was inane. For one thing, the male Karen is obviously “Darren.” I so declare it, and, inasmuch as I exclusively speak for smartass America, that’s that. It is Done. But the entire debate has been moot and misdirected: Who cares what Darren’s name is? What matters is who Darren is.

Karen’s official acknowledged personal profile is one item long: She demands to speak to the manager. But that’s just shorthand. People are entitled to make certain additional assumptions about her and her type. For instance: She orders dressing on the side but when the salad arrives, she says she can still taste dressing in it and sends it back. Her children’s names celebrate her artistic creativity: Elyzzabeth, Viktoriah, Xzavier. Her hairstyle is modern: short but not easy, and must be professionally maintained. There are highlights, lowlights, layers and colors, and, most important, the whole thing doesn’t move. Karen keeps asking people to define white privilege but has not liked an answer yet. All of her minority friends are people she can fire, but she wouldn’t, because she loves them all dearly. Every single college-bribing mom was a Karen.

The big misunderstanding is that Darren is not exactly the same. Darren is a man and Karen is a woman, and the genders approach life differently. No man — no matter how Darrenish he might be — “demands to see the manager,” because that implicitly acknowledges the authority of another. Men earn their Darrenhood differently. Darren wants to be thought of as a sophisticated man of the world. Darren feels he is inclusive, considerate, gentlemanly. Only when you poke him a little …

Darren drives a car with a wheelbase so wide that the guy coming toward him has to squeeeeze past or back up on a narrow street.

Darren knows that women deserve respect, and he knows that because he has a wife and two daughters. Darren’s wife rules the roost, and she runs a very tight ship, ha-ha, and Darren doesn’t know how she gets it all done, God bless her.

Darren has been told what mansplaining is, and he doesn’t do it. He just has thoughts on the subject.

Darren is totally color blind. He doesn’t care if you are White, Black, red, blue, orange or purple!

Darren is gravely concerned about property values, which is the only reason he likes his neighborhood exactly the way it is.

Darren wears a gleaming metal watch with a gleaming metal band. The watch is too large for his wrist. It is a well known brand popular with politicians and Mafiosi, costs thousands of dollars and is hideously, pugnaciously ugly.

Darren does not like being served fish with the head on; he’d rather not think about that. His canned soups of preference are trying very hard to sound manly, like “Chunks ’n’ Chonks.”

He doesn’t like antique furniture because people he doesn’t know sat on them first.

Darren doesn’t mind trans kids as long as they go home to pee. For emergencies, there should be a bathroom in every school labeled “other.”

Darren feels he could probably beat most female professional athletes at their sport. Not Serena Williams, but the rest.

Darren does not manspread. He just has a sensitive scrotum.

Darren knows this column is about someone else.

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