Woke up yesterday morning feeling like someone punched me in the chest with an anvil still. Felt this insistent tug that I absolutely had to go run. Like running was going to somehow rid me of my sickness. It’s the ol’ “bite the bullet” or fighting fire with more fire. I’ll show it who’s boss. Gotta take the power back. Like if I was to prove myself a man to the virus, the virus would pack up camp and say, “I’m getting the hell outta here. This dude’s serious.”
Not that this is totally exclusive to men, but as I was pounding out two miles yesterday morning (when I had told myself that I would, without any problem, I would complete five miles), I thought of what a man-centric, testosterone-driven notion this is. Ever since I saw Rambo burn a shrapnel wound shut with a flame and gunpowder, giving up to anything is simply not an option. You never saw Bea Arthur bust one of these right here.
The reality of men’s tragic existence is they’re constantly measured or measuring themselves up against completely unattainable models. Like Rambo, Man-at-Arms, Hans and Franz, Ric Flair, John Wayne and Sgt. Slaughter, your models as a boy are often time the most badass of badasses (spell check didn’t pick that up right there). It’s hard for you to be a fearful, emotional and fallen creature. You always have to “man-up” and be the big boy.
Yes, ladies, I do understand that women have models they’re always compared to: like anatomically freakish Barbies, Martha Stewart, Pussy Galore, Jane Pauley (yeah, I said it), Cameron Diaz and Erin Andrews. Yeah, that’s how out of touch I am: my list of women that girls look up to includes Barbie, a Bond girl and Jane Pauley. I stuck my neck out with Cameron Diaz and Erin Andrews to keep it current and, even still, I’m probably five years too late on those. Sure, girls have models that are completely unattainable too. You’re expected to be the domesticated, emotional and powerless sex goddess. It’s completely archaic. When a girl wants to, say, guns for that number one spot, the fire fighter, the mayor, a starting position on the football team, it’s like she’s going rogue. Like Truman trying to escape from the dome. They’re called “feminist” when they stand up for themselves. But what we’re talking about here is the absurd hero role often attached exclusively to men. The psyche of a small boy develops this desire to be that hero. To thrust himself into danger, even if reluctantly, because that’s the expectation of a man. You take your lumps. You fight it out. You always have to represent, show-and-prove. We can talk about the tragedy of popular female role models later. That’s not what this post or this series of posts are about. I won’t debate this because I don’t like to argue because I’m a sissyman. Okay, I’m done with italics.
As the kinda guy who cries during toasts (even if I’m not given them sometimes), the kinda guy who cowards awkwardly if someone gets in my personal space and who would much rather run than play (even) flag football, I can relate to the absence of that competitive spirit. I could really care less. And that’s characteristic of more feminine qualities. I watch commercials of Brett Favre in his Wranglers playing tackle football with the guys (and a dog, always) and I always wonder, “Why in the hell are playing tackle football?” Why? Because they’re men. And if Wrangler wants you to believe anything, is that they’re product is marketed to men. Men who play tackle football in a pick-up game and laugh about it. They laugh about it because they never get hurt. They throw dirt on it and get on with things.
These images develop a horrible fallacy in the male. It’s part of our society. I was watching today as they neutralized this guy trying to shoot up the Discovery Channel headquarters. It was a group of heroic men in mustaches. Each one of them. Men with mustaches and really big guns that shoot really far really accurately. At the press conference afterwards, it’s all men standing there. Each of them standing sternly, emotionless, with arms crossed. No panic. No elation. They were machines. That because the man is developed to carry himself as the noble, proud and powerful, he is never allowed to express his emotional capacity. If a man cries (aw hell nah), his manhood is questioned. Often he’ll be called derogatory terms typically used to insult girls. Little bitch. Perhaps even slang terms for female anatomy. They’ll be hurled at him when he fails of the greatness expected of men. It’s his reality. Sometimes the size of his own anatomy will be called into question. As if the size of his weaponry is a direct measure of his manhood.
That’s why I like the idea of having girls. Because I don’t like Nascar. I think testosterone is responsible for, easily, 65% of the social ills in this world. It’s a drug that is rarely harnessed and used appropriately. I believe it’s alright for a man to cry at times other than retirement or victory. I grew up with an emotional father. A man who knew how to express, emote. A man who communicated incredibly. I got that from him. I got it from my mother too. Girls can be emotional, fearful, cowardly, shy and not quite ready to throw their bodies in front of a speeding Greyhound bus like freaking Superman. They can be themselves. Who they want to be and no one even bats an eye.
Girls are cool because you never have to tell them to “grow a pair.”