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Saturday, July 15, 2006

UNMANNED

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

Actor Ethan Dorff recently called for men to discover a "new kind" of masculine identity:

Hawke urged American men to re-evaluate their masculinity because he fears that the men who took the country to war are misguided.

‘Masculine identity has been ruling the world for a long time. You could make a case that it was needed at one time to keep people safe, build buildings, make roads and conquer nature. But that masculine thing has also led us to war. Men like to fight. But, because of globalisation, I think, in some fundamental way, ‘Might makes right’ is over.’

And while I believe Ethan Dorff is the one of the last guys I'd consult on masculinity, he's right in one thing: America, and the western world, needs to rethink their idea of what being a man really is. What is a man? What makes a human into a man, rather than simply an adult male? Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" is all about what he considered a gentleman to be like, how a man acts in public and private. Over the years, however, this idea has changed significantly.

TRUE MASCULINITY
Men are more than testosterone and strength, and more than Alan Alda-like castrati. Masculinity is defined not by brutality and dominance, and the true meaning of macho is not the tough guy bully. In recent years the very idea of masculinity has been cast in a negative light, as if manhood is questionable, if not wrong and one must always be more feminine. Consider traditionally male traits in western society: strength, silence, athletic, aggression, rationality, independence, daring. Each one of these is considered questionable if not dangerous to society. Men are told to be more emotional, more dependent on others, emphasize the intellectual, but not the logical, and be less agressive and ambitious.

Men, according to some feminist ideology, are brutes by nature and masculinity is negative because it emphasizes strength and aggression over compassion, nurturing, and emotion. Men are portrayed by such thinkers as thugs, barely controlled brutes who if left to their own devices would rape, pillage, and murder. One such thinker is even reported to have said that "all sex between a man and a woman is rape" because a man is stronger and dominant and thus is brutalizing and dominating his lover.

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 wornout tools;

But a man isn't about physical dominance or violence. Being masculine or macho is an entirely different focus. True masculinity is the use of a man's gifts and strengths to benefit others, and in this effort certain characteristics come to the fore.

Men should use their strength to protect, to defend, to build up, to provide and to withstand adversity so that others need not. The image of the final warrior holding a bridge against impossible enemies so that others can go free to safety is an incredibly masculine image.


Knighted by a LadyAlthough chivalry is more or less considered either a joke or an excuse for rich landowners to brutalize their peasants, true chivalry was a noble and lofty endeavor. Chivalry was deeply masculine, calling for a knight to defend the weak, stay true and honorable, to never lie, to never betray a foe or friend, and to work for justice. Chivalry can be considered this way, in the form of 10 commandments (taken from Leon Gaultier's thoughts on the subject):
  1. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions.
  2. Thou shalt respect and honor any host and Lord.
  3. Thou shalt repect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
  4. Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
  5. Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
  6. Thou shalt show honor and dignity to thy foes even in battle.
  7. Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
  8. Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
  9. Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
  10. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.

Whatever your position is on masculinity, this is hardly a cruel, harsh, or laughable code to live by. Whether any knights truly held to this code or not may be an area of question, and how it was applied is mocked by Sir Walter Scott in Ivanhoe. But the ideal is one that most people should at least find some good in. Masculinity in it's essence is using the physical strength and durability of being a man for the good of one's neighbor.

To do so, men have to have certain characteristics and personality traits. If you are to stand steadfast against foes, you have to have courage. If you are to take pains and wounds in this effort, you must be more stoic in the face of pain. If you are to know when and why to fight or not to fight, you have to be rational and able to analyze, understand what is happening. If you are to do so without distraction, you have to be less concerned about your physical appearance and not be prone to emotional outbursts. If a man is to defend, provide, and be masculine, he must be self reliant and able to stand and function on his own. For a man to be a real man, he will tend to take on the traits of the strong, silent type exemplified by John Wayne, for example.

The DukeThis is not because men endeavor to be tough guys, but because in order to be a man, one has to have a certain toughness. The stereotype of the strong silent tough guy came about as a necessary consequence of being masculine, not the other way around. That's why guys who try to be that tough guy never can pull it off, while men who really are masculine tend to be so without effort or conscious thought.

Masculinity does not avoid feminine characteristic because of a revulsion of such, but because femininity is reserved for what women do best, which is another essay entirely. But briefly, women are better at nurturing, compassion, emotional consideration, civilizing, and other similar concepts. True femininity sets its self apart from true masculinity not due to societal pressure or teaching so much as the nature of a woman vs the nature of a man, when best exemplified. That's why a true man is embarrassed by or uncomfortable with certain aspects of civilization, not because he's afraid of seeming gay, but because it's so different from his nature and who he is without needing to prove it to anyone.

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";

Even men who are not physically strong and natural leaders can live this life, showing quiet strength and self reliance in whatever areas they have. A man confined to a wheelchair can show his masculinity by not complaining, by working hard despite his weakness and infirmity, and by providing and protecting as best he is able in his situation. Men understand they have weaknesses, there should be no self delusion in true masculinity. And each man's weakness is unique to himself. Some men are more intellectually powerful, some are more physically powerful, some are more spiritually powerful. But in that power, the have areas where they lack and always should recognize and understand that weakness. Because it is how you triumph despite your weakness that masculinity is best shown.

None of what I've said so far should give the impression that men are unloving, unfeeling, staid statues hewn of marble with a cold, leaden heart. A true man loves with a great love, because that gives him the strength he needs to do what he must do. Protecting and providing is done out of love and concern for the weak and the needy, and a real man loves with all his being, without seeing anyone else. True masculinity takes vows with deadly seriousness, unwavering in his focus on the one true love he has.

If I had my choice of matter
I would rather be with cats
All engrossed in mental chatter
Showin where your mind is at
While relating to each other
How strong your love can be
By resisting all the good times with each groovy chick we see
-I'm a Man (Chicago)

Part of the code of chivalry was the code of courtly love, where a man loves his one sweet lady and no other, no matter how long they've been wedded, no matter how old she is, no matter what happens to her young beauty. Men love their children as well, fiercely protecting them and teaching them all he knows and can through example and precept. Few things are more manly than a man with his child, teaching them something new, showing them how to live right and face life. A man teaching his son what it means to be a man is one of the greatest triumphs of any real man.

FALSE MASCULINITY
But while being a real man is something that raises men to greatness and honor, there are many counterfeit masculinities that are promoted or idealized by some.

One is the weak man, the "feminized" man as some put it. I prefer the term "emasculated" or castrati. Not men who are like women, but men who are unmanned. Alan Alda exemplifies this kind of male. Such a man is not entirely without male characteristics, but they are pushed to the wrong areas. Such a man tends more toward emotion than rational thought, the kind of man who sits and ponders why the terrorists blew up his family in a carbomb rather than trying to fight, fight, and defeat the murderers. This kind of man was described well in an article entitled The Voice of the Neuter is Heard Throughout the Land. In it, writer Gerard Van der Leun responds to a pathetic column by Joel Stein about how he doesn't support the troops (despite admitting he has no clue what is going on in Iraq), and invites you to listen to Joel Stein's speech:

What is of interest to me here is not what Stein writes or says. His own words damn him more decisively than a thousand bloggers blathering blithely What interestest me is how he speaks.

If you focus on it, you realize that you hear this voice every day if you bounce around a bit in our larger cities buying this or ordering that, and in general running into young people in the "service" sector -- be it coffee shop, video store, department store, boutique, bookstore, or office cube farm. It's a kind of voice that was seldom heard anywhere but now seems to be everywhere.

It is the voice of the neuter.

He goes on to describe this phenomenon and what it is like:

You hear this soft, inflected tone everywhere that young people below, roughly, 35 congregate. As flat as the bottles of spring water they carry and affectless as algae, it tends to always trend towards a slight rising question at the end of even simple declarative sentences. It has no timbre to it and no edge of assertion in it.

And he concludes with this telling point:

What Stein has said is what his whole cohort has said in response to questions of honor, duty, country. It is the standard issue answer and will be their standard issue epitaph:

"Whatever."

That one word is a surrender and yet unmoving. It simply refuses to care if a position makes no sense or doesn't matter. It is a word that expresses weakness and yet stubbornness at the same time. "I know I'm wrong but I don't care and won't change." This is a false maleness, a man that is not really any sort of man at all. This is no leader, no provider, no protector. This is someone who fears trouble and cares only for himself and what he can enjoy. As Van der Leun says:

This is not to say that the new American Castrati of all genders live sexless lives. On the contrary, if reports are to be credited, they seem to have a good deal of sex, most often without the burden of love or the threat of chlldren, and in this they are condemned to the sex life of children.

No, it is only to say that this new voice that we hear throughout the land from so many of the young betokens a weaker and less certain brand of citizen than we have been used to in our history. Neither male nor female, neither gay nor straight, neither.... well, not anything substantive really. A generation finely tuned to irony and nothingness and tone deaf to duty and soul.

For more thoughts on this pathetic wretch, One Cosmos blog has an article entitled The Pathetic Last Children of Nietzsche's Pitiable Last Men. Also, if you can find the time I cannot recommend highly enough the book Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis.

Another kind of counterfeit masculinity is the brutal thug. This is the kind of man who thinks beating women is proper, that thinks strength is shown in cruelty, that courage is shown in bullying, and that being a man means dominating everyone else. This is the kind of false masculinity that is shown in sawing a helpless man's head off then crying triumphantly. The kind of fake manhood that feminists fear, scorn, hate, and decry - and rightly so. Their mistake is not the contempt of false manhood, it is that so often they think that's the only kind of manhood that exists. Such a man is the kind that a true man fights against, not alongside. Such a brutal thug is the kind that true masculinity defends others from.

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";

d00dThe third kind of false masculinity is the kind that never grew up. This kind of "man" is simply a teenager with graying hair. This kind of counterfeit masculinity counts his manhood by how many chicks he's bagged and how many brewskis he can down in an hour. This kind of man is simply a boy in the form of a man. Rather than growing up and learning, maturing and becoming something better, he found an age he thought was the most fun and clings to it no matter how pathetic and foolish he is. Abandoning all the virtues of masculinity, he clings to it's physical trappings. He may be bold, he may be virile, but he is no man. Being a man is more than risking one's life and health, it is doing so for a good cause. Being a man is more than breeding it is having a family and raising them. Being a man is more than being a grown up boy.

CIVILIZATION AND EMASCULIZATION

Fish on a Bicycle"A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" -Irina Dunn

But what about today? Chivalry was an institution in the medieval times, cowboys were at their height 100 years ago. Today do we need real men? Something I don't believe gets studied or thought about much is the effect of civilization and comfort on men and masculinity. I propose that the more civilized and cultured a society becomes, the less opportunity and reason there is for masculinity to exist.

Masculinity flowers and is at it's greatest evidence in times of adversity. What men do best is best given expression when people need protection and strength and providing. Men are most men when they have a cause to fight for, a hill to take, a love to defend. But civilization is the organized, structured system of preventing danger, providing what is needed, and creating a stable, safe environment. Civilization is at it's heart feminine, it is baths and schools and police and streetlights and lawyers. Civilization provides everything men used to.

Need a house? Buy one, someone made it already. Need food? Go to the supermarket, it's even cut up and cleaned. Need protection? Cops are at a fingertip's reach. For a man, this creates an environment where he feels useless, unneeded, and extraneous. What does he live for, how does he show his masculinity? Why would a woman even want a man who cannot be a man?

FiremanWars come along all too often, providing at least some men for a chance to express their strength and masculinity, fires are lit requiring the modern knights to fight them and save the helpless. Policemen are given jobs to protect the people from the predations of criminals. But for the average man, it can feel as if society and civilization has cut off all that makes him male and left him helpless in a modern world.

More than anything else, I believe this is why men will do outrageously stupid and self-destructive things, dangerous things. The movie To Live and Die in LA starts out with the main character leaping off a bridge. It's not until the snap of the bungee cord whips him into the air, halting his plunge you see he's not killing himself. And in that powerful image (one of the first times most people had even heard of this kind of entertainment), the idea of a man needing something to give him that challenge, that danger and even the rush of all but certain death is explained.

This is a theme that soldiers sometimes express, that life is gray and empty, meaningless after coming home from the fight. They feel like they aren't living any more, that things are so tame, safe, easy, and provided for that their best virtues are useless. After living in incredible danger and needing to call on his strengths, courage, and face danger perhaps daily, modern life unmans him, leaves him just a lump of meat going through society's motions.

So what is the answer, how does modern man face society and a world that seems to utterly not need him or his strengths?

THE GENTLEMAN

"Doing what is right in the face of fear is a defining quality of a real man."
-Juliette (Baldilocks)

Soldier and KidA real man faces a challenge with eager anticipation, not despair and humiliation. And the challenge of being masculine in the modern society is a very great one. In a certain sense, it is easier to face death and danger in a more primitive world than to face difficulty, confusion, and a sense of being useless in the modern world. The answers are more direct, easier to find. We need food, I must hunt. We are in danger, I must protect. But a man faces these challenges, and finds a way to triumph even if defeated. This is the hill that we must take as modern men.

In the previous great civilization, the greatest empire the world has ever seen was at it's height. The British owned and controlled a full third of the planet's land mass, and controlled all of the seas, which consist of the greatest bulk of the earth's surface. Rule Britannia was the call of the day, Great Britain was truly great. But it did not start this way, and reached that only through providence, steadfast effort, and often brutal bloodshed.

Great Britain was one of several nations in Europe that rose out of the dark times of the Medieval age into more cultured times in the renaissance and beyond. And from the need for physical strength, violence, and steadfast courage in the face of tangible enemies, they faced the same dilemma we do now. Where does a man find his real place?

ButlerTheir answer was the Gentleman. Being a gentleman was an extension of the age and code of chivalry, it grew out of knights and daring-do into a cultured version. The same basic rules applied, but instead of a sword one had his money, wit, and understanding of law. In the place of monsters and raiding parties, one faced criminals, the uncultured thugs, and the immature wastrel. The Gentleman lives by a code, usually unspoken, like that of chivalry.

The Gentleman was referred to as such because he was considered "Gentle," that is, he did not do rough, difficult labor. But more than that, he was someone who was mannered and polite, honorable and a man who would do right by all he could.

A Gentleman is, like chivalry, much maligned. The image is often of someone who is effete, weak, patronizing, bigoted, and foppish. While there were those who gave the pretense of being a Gentleman while having these characteristics, they are no more so than a thuggish bully is a real man.

Being a Gentleman means that you keep your cool when all is going crazy, being someone reliable, trustworthy, and with integrity. That one word integrity carries a world of meaning and significance, if one word describes a gentleman best, that is it. Having integrity means being consistent, reliable, and strong in one's convictions. Integrity means that you hold to what you believe to be true even if it is hard, unrewarding, or even personally dangerous. Integrity means doing what you believe is right even if the whole world laughs at you and it seems to be doing you no good. Integrity is the opposite of being pragmatic.

High NoonA Gentleman understands the need to make allowances for the weaknesses and foibles of others, while admiring and trying to learn from their strengths. A Gentleman always tries to make others feel at ease, avoids their humiliation and embarrassment where it is possible for him to do so, and does not draw attention to himself. A Gentleman prefers to focus attention and glory on others, comfortable and confident in his own merits without need for acclaim.

Gentlemen are "tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd" to quote one description, a man who "makes light of favours while he does them, and seems to be receiving when he is conferring." The image of the perfect butler is a that of a Gentleman (indeed, their unofficial title is "gentleman's gentleman").

But Gentlemen are not always gentle in the sense of tenderness. Gentlemen understood honor and that one must fight evil, defend the weak, and face adversity. A Gentleman was a man who knew how to fight, and while the idea of duels and honor took this to absurd levels at times, the core of the concept was valid: fighting for honor and to protect others is right and good.

Men in modern culture don't have the easy way to express their masculinity, the obvious choices to make. So much the better, because in this age we must fight to find the way to express our masculinity, to conquer the difficulties we face as men in finding our way. And that is what being a man is all about. The easy way out is to be that beer-chugging wild man who skydives naked out of a U2, that's the theatrical, cheap version of masculinity. Be a gentleman and you'll be a real man.

Does a woman need a man like a fish needs a bicycle? Most women would disagree, but ultimately a real man doesn't care if he's needed or not. He does not do what he does out of need for approval or attraction by others. He does what is right with quiet confidence and no need for aprobation or praise.

Men have a responsibility and a duty to lead and to use our strength despite adversity to fight what is evil. Complaining that it is hard, capitulating so that things are easier, and giving in where we ought to stand firm with integrity, courage, and discipline are all failures to be a real man. Masculinity faces the opposition of the weak and the unmanned with quiet confidence and consistent action. And ultimately, that's what Rudyard Kipling was talking about all along.

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings - nor 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! -Rudyard Kipling, If


For part two of this essay: how men should be today, check this link
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9 Comments:

Anonymous President Friedman said...

I am on the fence on this issue. Women have a much more direct influence on American society today than they ever have in the past, and as such I believe it's fair that they increasingly expect men to be able to communicate with them on their terms. I don't think my marriage would work if I couldn't communicate with my wife on an emotional level that is admittedly feminine in nature.

For instance, if I vacation in Mexico, I try to speak a bit of Spanish while there out of respect to the locals. I butcher the language horribly, but I can always tell my efforts are appreciated. It is exactly the same with speaking 'girl' to my wife. I don't think this is a compromise to my masculinity any more than me speaking Spanish in Mexico compromises my status as a US Citizen.

However, somewhere along the way society has taken things too far, and instead of simply expecting men to be able to speak the language of feminism, we are often expected to walk the walk. It's no longer enough to agree on occasion to rent 'Terms Of Endearment' at the video store and watch it, men are often now expected to renounce 'Top Gun' as well.

This is clearly an unfair expectation, and I think 'empowered' women are slowly coming around to realize this. Unfortunately, too many men have rolled over in the interim.

Lastly, I think the prospect of a more feminized society isn't altogether bad, and this is clearly where we are headed. Historically, masculinism has enjoyed a disproportionate share of pull on society, so ANY gain made by feminism comes at the expense of general maleness. Much of what we are discussing here is simply a balancing of the scales. It only becomes a problem when these two facets of the human condition are set against eachother instead of looked at from a more macro-centric viewpoint... both sides are vital; the gentle mother concerned with emotional integrity of her children and stern father enacting a disciplined protection of his family. I think this dynamic could potentially work as well for societies as it does for children. But first, mommy and daddy have to quit yelling at eachother.

10:45 PM, July 15, 2006  
Blogger Anna Venger said...

While I do think we women have the right to expect some level of conversation, I don't think we can expect men to be like women.

For example, years ago, my hubby related a story of an event to me and I asked a very normal girl question: "Oh, how did that make you feel?"

He looked at me with a confused expression and responded, "Feel? Feel? What do you mean, how did I feel?"

Now a girlfriend would have instantly connected with that statement and said, "Oh that really hurt my feelings! I've never felt so betrayed and humiliated in all my life! I mean..." (Or some such reaction.)

Also another conversational difference between my girlfriends and guy-friends... I can talk about some problem that bothers me, and a girlfriend will nod sympathetically and interject with little comments, "Oh how awful!" "That's terrible!" "How hurtful!" "You must have been so upset!" and she understands that that is all she needs to do---listen and sympathize. Maybe at the end, we can brainstorm some solutions.

Few men seem able to do that. They immediately start interjecting with answers. "Did you try this?" "You should try that." ---leaving a woman frustrated because she hasn't felt heard.

I think CT properly identified some of the false roles men play today in trying to be masculine. The metrosexual guy (his castrati), the playboy, the brute. These are with us and are very troublesome. Testosterone (well, maybe not as evident in the castrati..) without big boy responsibility and honor can come to no useful end.

I think that just as women's roles have been in flux and we've become confused at times, men's roles have been thrown into chaos also. I believe the sexual revolution wreaked havoc with our society.

I think the brute comes from guys who grow up without adequate male role models and haven't seen men demonstrate strength of character along with strength of body. With 70% of African-Americans and over 30% of Euro-Americans being born out of wedlock, there is over a third of our children raised without the benefit of seeing men thoroughly commit themselves to one woman and their children for life. Males especially need to grow up under the tutelage of a real man of character. They need to feel connected to something bigger which is why some will join gangs without fathers.

The perpetual playboy I believe may come from the sexual revolution also. With sex being easier to come by, men don't need to behave as much. Women had more power before, I think, even if perhaps it wasn't always as "fun" for us. A man had to toe the line and be willing to settle down. Sex cost. A lot. It cost a man his all since a lot of women wouldn't settle for less--love, a life-long committment, food, shelter, shared parenthood. Now men can stay perpetual adolescents, if they choose. They don't need to be faithful to one woman, or at least they can put it off until much later. They don't need to marry as young and commit to raising and providing for children if they value their independence and freedom, and they never have to sacrifice their sexual drive to keep that freedom.

Some of the traits that CT mentioned I think are a mark of a true man, such as courage and integrity. However, I don't think those are necessarily unwomanly traits. I would hope that a good woman would have integrity also. And while physical courage is more often seen in men, I believe courage is an important trait for women too. There are lots of things to be courageous in. Not just in the face of physical danger.

I think the point of marriage is that God wanted men and women to balance each other. Marriage can be a wonderful system of checks and balances. A partner of equal worth but different strengths can help us see from a different perspective so that compassion is not lacking but is not too soft or too tolerant of bad behavior, for example. Each of us have our personal weaknesses and blindspots that a valuable spouse can help mitigate the effects of.

5:10 AM, July 16, 2006  
Blogger Anna Venger said...

By the way, while I am no fan of poetry as I prefer someone to just say what the heck he thinks rather than be enigmatic and leave me scratching my head, I really do enjoy "If" by Kipling. In fact, I had read it a couple years ago with my boy. Other than that, if the kid has to do poetry, he's on his own. Good choice.

6:10 AM, July 16, 2006  
Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

I'd write something on what women ought to be like and how society has messed that up too but I don't feel as confident on that side, not being female.

7:52 AM, July 16, 2006  
Blogger Anna Venger said...

Well, Christopher, perhaps it's time to get in touch with your femminine side!

And if you decide to try a few days in my heels, please feel free to consult me for makeup and fashion advice. I'd be more than happy to assist. ;)

8:19 AM, July 16, 2006  
Anonymous President Friedman said...

Anna,

You cite perfect examples of masculine reactions to female questions like "how did that make you feel?" etc... And I agree, it is not natural or easy for men to talk in those terms. All I was saying is that I don't think it is unfair for a woman to expect her husband to learn to say "I bet it upset you when they said that." instead of saying "Well, did you try saying this to them?" By the same standard, I think it's fair for husbands to expect their wives to answer questions about car problems with something more specific than "it was making some kind of strange noise".

;-)

Another issue with modern masculinity is that a lot of men simply don't do masculine things as part of their every day routine anymore. It is perfectly acceptable in society for a man to work in an office all day, go home and play computer games in the evening, pay somebody to change his oil, pay somebody to mow his lawn, etc... Hell, you can even pay somebody to assemble all your kid's Christmas presents for you.

Where I live, it used to be a tradition for young men to haul hay for the local ranchers in the summertime. Now everybody stacks huge round bales in an air conditioned tractor... even the manly men aren't as manly as they used to be. I won't even talk about the average man's ability to fix a car these days (or, more specifically, their lack thereof).

5:22 PM, July 16, 2006  
Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

Well the complexity of cars has made it harder, it's not like you can take a screwdriver and adjust the carb any more. Even swapping out the plugs takes a computer these days to get the timing right.

But you're right, and it's my intention to come up with ways to be a man in today's world and how to live as a man next weekend.

5:32 PM, July 16, 2006  
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