In light of recent developments among my friends (and some soon to be ex-friends), I feel compelled to ask and answer: What makes a man?
It’s not what’s between the legs or the ability to impregnate or the Y chromosome. That’s just what makes a male.
A man is a grown-up version of a human male.
“Well, duh,” you may be saying. “We all know that.”
My friends, let me explicate.
The difference between an adult male and a man is that a man does not run from responsibilities. A man is not a coward. he also does not create confrontations just to prove to himself that he's a man, because that proves exactly the opposite.
An adult male will taunt the fans of sports teams that rival his favorite and be particularly offensive about it. A MAN will suffer those taunts becasue he knows that except for joy or sorrow at a game's outcome, a team's actions have no real impact on his life. Sports is exercise and entertainment. If he's counting on the outcome of a game to make the month's rent/mortgage, he is an adult male, not a MAN.
An adult male will cry victim and use it as an excuse to indulge himself (alcohol, food, women, drugs) and shirk his obligations to the detriment of those around him/counting on him. A MAN will acknowledge pain and focus his energy on completing his duties.
A male may create a child or children, but a MAN sticks around to raise that child with its mother. And a MAN shows respect to that child’s mother. A man knows that he is always teaching and children are always learning. How a child will treat others is learned from observing the MEN and WOMEN around him. If the household only has children and adult males and females, that child will never learn ways of respect and consideration.
A male is usually stronger than a woman or child, but a MAN uses that strength to provide for and guard his family. A MAN does not use his superior strength to beat his children or their mother to maintain control.
A male may be tempted by other women (or men), but a MAN will not let that temptation take control of his actions. This is real strength.
A MAN takes pride in what he creates and nurtures. An adult male takes pride in childish things because he doesn't understand the rewards of actual achievement.
If you don’t want the responsibilities of properly raising a family, don’t create one. Wear two condoms and get a vasectomy. Have gay sex; humans haven’t evolved to the point where same-sex activity leads to conception. Yet. You never know.
There’s a lot of American political talk going on about “nanny states” and “socialism” and since the Supreme Court just upheld Romneycare (for that is the root), states are already screaming over increasing their Medicaid coverage to accommodate more people. Where’s the personal responsibility? We’re all rugged individuals and we should take care of ourselves and our own.
Yeah? How about you members of the Tea Party who, by walking out on a wife and two kids (including an infant) just put their families in danger of needing food stamps, subsidized housing and Medicaid? Hypocrite much?
And while I’m thinking of it, even though the kids are still pretty young, one of their first lessons is going to be this: you matter less than whatever piece of ass Daddy is chasing. Proceed accordingly.
Girls have a hard enough time keeping and building their self-esteem. Add to that seeing Daddy treat Mommy like something disposable and she’s going to have a bitch of a time learning about healthy relationships. In the ads for “Ted” right now, there’s a scene with the bear sitting with 6 hookers and the bear says something like, “I’d like to thank the 6 bad fathers who made this night possible.”
Congratulations, Pal: you just joined their ranks. And you're about as good as John Edwards, whom you said you despise.
Your son will grow up learning the same lesson: women are disposable and there’s no need to honor your commitments. So much for that much-vaunted personal responsibility. Nobody’s going to be there to show him the way.
Maybe, if your family’s lucky, they’ll be like shelter dogs: adopted by a responsible parent who WILL love them and care for them the rest of their days.
Hey, I don’t think my father was completely happy with his life, but he stayed married for 55 years, came home every night and made sure the family he created was sheltered, fed, educated and learned self-reliance (okay, well some of us bobbled the financial part of the lesson, but we’re learning). When it came to “for better or worse”, he stuck it out (he created some of it, but the stuff he didn’t, he stuck it out) Dad was a MAN; according to a friend of mine, a family man, “Men handle their shit.” They don’t play with it, they deal with it.
MEN understand that freedom isn’t free; yeah, you can follow a path of your choosing, but you WILL be accountable for your actions. Life isn’t consequence-free; adult males try to weasel out of situations they create (or pay lawyers to help them). MEN step up. If you hit another car in a parking lot when nobody’s there to witness, how you respond is the difference between a MAN and adult male: the adult male will quickly move away to park somewhere else. The MAN will leave a note on the other car with contact and insurance info (and if you’re driving without license or insurance, you’re not only not a man, you’re also a damned fool. You put me and everyone else on the road at risk, you had fucking well better be prepared to handle all consequences).
Like I said, MEN know that they are always “on” and their kids are watching. MEN know they are role models, whether they want to be or not. Adult males will deny the responsibility.
There was a movie in the 1980s titled “Men Don’t Leave.”
Real men don’t.