Much has been written on this blog site about masculinity, and I thought it high time to share from my half century of being a man, some simple, everyday things NOT to do, if you want to protect your very precious masculinity:
1) Don’t express feelings or emotions – You’ll be accused of being “too sensitive”, and as you’ll see, that’s almost a fate worse than death in America, at the beginning of the 21st century.
In the recent movie, “Horrible Bosses”, there is a scene between the three male “buddies”: two are talking about who is going to be raped first in prison, each indicating that due to their good looks, they think they’ll be first; however, when they turn to the third and ask him his opinion, he responds that it isn’t about their looks, but instead it will be the guy who is “more vulnerable and sensitive”.
Wow, so imagine how crazy mad I got the other day when a good friend of mine (also a guy) told me I was being “overly sensitive” because I thought he seemed like he was in a bad mood, based on some recent behaviors (not responding to e-mails, not returning calls, and basically, just not communicating at all). I’ll admit it, I’ve been accused of being too sensitive all of my life, and it has become a hot button for me…now with this movie, I guess I’d better drive my sensitivity down even further – heck, maybe just bury it completely with a veneer of macho “I don’t care” and “what’s it to you”!
2) Don't buy greeting cards – If you’re like me, I still like the personal touch of a hand-written note or card. I just don’t get a warm and fuzzy from an e-mail or e-card, I think in large part because I have to wade through so much junk e-mail to find it in the first place. So, because I enjoy receiving hand-written correspondence, I feel compelled to purchase cards and to send them myself. I wish I could walk in to the card shop, grab the first one that’s close and buy it. But no, I have to read every card in the section to make sure I have found just exactly the right one for the person and the occasion. While card companies have made great strides in the past decade in offering more male-friendly greeting cards, there are still certain areas where improvement is needed. I mean it’s fairly easy to find a “manly” birthday card for a dude, but good luck finding a sympathy or thank you card from a man’s perspective. Watch out, if you buy for content, you might just end up with one that’s pink with glitter because it says the right thing and you don’t have any more time (or desire) to look at another card. If you need more explanation as to why that’s so terrible, re-read #1 above.
3) Don’t expect relationship reciprocity with other guys – I mean it’s just too much to expect a guy to be the one to pick up the phone or to initiate the next get together. I realize this may sound a little harsh, but seriously, while I’ve found a few guys in my 50+ years who are the exception to this rule, most don’t pay any attention and are sort of clueless about it being their turn to plan the lunch, the after-work beer or whatever. I’ve learned it’s just easier and less hassle to be the one who calls and suggests whatever it is, whenever I think of it – I certainly don’t complain about it, because to do so, would bring me under the auspices of rule #1.
4) Don’t speak about women in a positive way when a woman isn’t around – I suspect most guys have heard the usual locker-room banter, but I recently overheard 2 guys I don’t know talking at the gym. One asked the other if he had a son, to which the first replied, “No, sorry to say, I don’t have a son, only a daughter!”…Wow, that had to secure his masculine role model status with his buddy. I was startled and actually pretty mad about the carelessness of this remark, and felt instantly sorry for this guy’s daughter; however, I didn’t say anything. While I’ve seen them frequently, I didn’t know the guys – and frankly, now, I don’t want to; and besides, who wants to be accused of violating rule #1.
5) No matter what, don’t ever, ever let them catch you crying – It’s rare, granted, but there are those moments where it just seems so darned appropriate (like in moments of intense anger or frustration, or driving by your almost-adult kids’ grade school, or at an especially sentimental scene in a movie or play). My kids (18 & 21) will tell you, it’s not hard to catch their Dad tearing up, but I sure try to shove it down when I’m around others – especially guys. I mean, after all, above all else, remember rule #1!
By Mike Eggleston