Thursday, February 5, 2009

What does it mean to be a Man?

Michael wrote this the other day and I've been mulling it over for the last day or so.
[Michael] wrote a paper over 25 years ago that stated quite clearly that sissy men were the problem in this world. Men who would not take their place of responsibility as head of the house. Men who would not demand better government from their leaders. And finally, the sissies BECAME the leaders. Now we ARE fucked.
I had to ask myself what does it take to be a man?

Does having a penis make me a man? Hmmmm. Without offending any trans gender readers I'd have to say yes. To be a man one must be a male, and therefore have a twig and berries.

That enough? I don't think so. Since we are on the subject of physical attributes, is strength a requirement? I can beat up Bob, so am I more of a man than Bob? No, because as I age eventually I'm not going to be able to beat anyone up. Just because I am old doesn't make me any less of a man. So we can scratch physical strength and toughness off the list. My grandfather was as tough as an anvil, and he couldn't walk up a flight of stairs.

How about looks? Is my buddy "Al" any less of a man because he's a metrosexual who uses hair gels, hand creams, and gets manicures once a year? Am I more of a man because I'm ugly as a catchers mit, and have more scars than skin? I don't think that applies either.

Now for a big one, sexuality. Is a friend of mine more or less of a man because he likes other men? He's as queer as a three dollar bill, but I got one thing to say about it, he's not a pussy about being gay. I respect him for that. That is the way he is and that is that. He doesn't diddle kids, and hates the fuckers who do it as much as anyone else. So looks like that one is going as well. I know some readers are not going to be happy about it. But there are many kinds of people both gay and straight. I have no idea if my buddy is a "pitcher" or a "catcher" - I just don't want to know. Just like I don't want to know if another buddies wife takes it in the butt or not. Hate to get graphic, but that's the truth. Whatever someone does in their home with another consenting adult is none of my business. Unless they are lesbians and they are both HAWT. Just kidding, just kidding!

How about race? Is a man white? Is he black, or Japanese, German, Aboriginal, Mexican, Incan, or Apache? A man is proud of his race, the HUMAN race.

So now what? They saying is a man is as good as his word. AH-HA! here is a clue. I agree with this. A man keeps his word. Note there are no exceptions, the sentence ends with no "ands", no "ifs", and no "buts". Regardless of his personal inconvenience or hardship, a man will keep his word.

Duty. A man does his duty to his God(s)(ess)(es), to his family, to his friends, and to his Country. A man doesn't shirk his duty. A man doesn't try to get out of it. He does it. If that means he stays at home and takes care of the kids because the wife is the breadwinner, then that's the way it is. It doesn't mean he "wears a skirt." It doesn't mean he's a sissy. He is doing what he needs to do to provide for his family. When tough times hit he is there to shoulder the load. He takes care of his children. A man has a duty to his children, it doesn't matter if the ex-wife is a raving bitch.

A man measures another man by which he measures himself.
He will not ask someone to do something he is not willing to do.
He doesn't purposely and willingly cause pain outside of war.
He doesn't belittle those around him.
He nether flaunts his success nor hides it.
A man can admit he was wrong.
A man learns from his mistakes.
He listens. Not just with his ears, but with his heart and an open mind.

Notice I purposely neglected to include things like fighting fair, or any other such silliness. What I consider fair is not what you or anyone else might. It's best to avoid physical confrontation altogether. I might be able to whup your ass, but what if I break my arm in the process and now I cannot perform my duty to provide for my family? A man thinks of these things.

How about religion? Is a man Catholic? Protestant? Scientologist? Harri Krishna? Atheist? Heathen? I don't think it matters. I do feel that a man should examine his faith, and not accept the guidance of some preacher or priest if it interferes with his Duty or his Word.

Sitting around here and writing this has helped me think about what it means to be a man. My father had few, if any, of these qualities. So it has taken me a long time to figure this stuff out for myself. I guess because my father was such a scumbag I am a better man for it. It would, however, been a lot easier if he was a man himself.


erniesjourney said...

You put a lot of thought into this blog and I respect you for it and I respect your insight and have to say that I agree with you on most of it. A man does have a responsibility to protect and lead his family in all matters and stand up to anyone who tries to do them harm. Great Blog!

Andrea Murrhteyn said...

Great Blog, I agree.


They saying is a man is as good as his word. AH-HA! here is a clue. I agree with this. A man keeps his word. Note there are no exceptions, the sentence ends with no "ands", no "ifs", and no "buts". Regardless of his personal inconvenience or hardship, a man will keep his word.

Wow, now that would be something; for a start. Forget the rest of the responsibilities you added to 'being a man'; I'd settle just for a man who keeps his word. I ain't never met such a man in all my life.

Not saying they don't exist, just that if they do, they are an endangered species.

I met such a woman, who keeps her word.

Anyway, I look forward to perhaps meeting such a man someday. I appreciate you for your courage to confront your readers with the conversation, and to discuss what it means to 'be a man'.

Not sure if this perspective interests you; yet I imagine we may find more men 'being men'.. if they are willing to confront how very seldom they are 'being men' and how often they are 'being little boys'. Note I share it as a 'theory' not as a concluded fact.

In another respect, however, nature offers a less ambiguous symbol for the distinction between having and being. The erection of the penis is entirely functional. The male does not have an erection, like a property or a permanent quality (although how many men wish to have one is anybody's guess). The penis is in a state of erection, as long as the man is in a state of excitement. If for one reason or another something interferes with this excitement, the man has nothing. And in contrast to practically all other kinds of behaviour, the erection cannot be faked. George Groddeck, one of the most outstanding, although relatively little known, psychoanalysts, used to comment that a man, after all; is a man for only a few minutes; most of the time he is a little boy. Of course, Groddeck did not mean that a man becomes a little boy in his total being, but precisely in that aspect which for many a man is the proof that he is a man. [Sex and Character, by Erich Fromm]



FarmerGeek said...

Good post. I have to agree... actually I had a post about it on my blog a while back. So did Chris on his... here are the links. Its good to know that you aren't alone.

Lara, keep looking. There are men out there who do keep there words and to whom their word is their bond. We are rare, but we do exist. (Just like the smart blonde that I am)

Bitmap said...

Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowances for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting,
Or being lied about, not deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor too wise;

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master;
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breath a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings–not lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And–which is more–you'll be a Man, my son!

Mayberry said...

Good post. If nothing else, I am honest, and always keep my word...