June 07, 2009

To be a Man

Webster's dictionary defines "Man" as: one possessing in high degree the qualities considered distinctive of manhood. Or: the quality or state of being manly. But what does that mean? Being a man has become diluted within the past twenty years and the two sexes have blended with each other to the extent that one can almost hardly tell the difference between the two. At Baker beach today, I was walking along with my father when we passed by a couple, typically in the emo style. But for a quick brief second, I could not tell who was the man in the relationship. Then it struck me, the one wearing pants and no top.

Unless I dare look at a flat chested female with an extraordinary liberty.

But staring at this grotesque person, his hair braided against the side of his head, and the rest tinted with blue and grown and tended to appear like a potted fern plant. I scoffed silently, not to show any desire at this male carbon unit that I was throwing up in my head.

But that brought up the ideas and the issue of what it means to be manly. Does it mean, when you wake up in the morning, you swallow three raw eggs and do a hundred push-ups with one arm behind your back? Does it mean wearing a perfectly tailored suit and appearing at work every morning promptly at 9am? Or how about being an all round good chum? We really love exaggeration, and that unfortunately has strapped binoculars permanently to our faces and we can't change that without allowing time and the natural process. The media, the art, the way we judge has afflicted us to imagine every "man" to be 12 feet tall, and chopping down trees for a living, wearing flannel and growing a beard. But nothing more than just an image.

I'm going to discuss some qualities every Man should possess and ones that men strive to possess but should not. We love to go for things that are unnecessary and for those of you reading who love the feminine aspects of being a man, stop reading here and do something else, or open your mind and see my side of the argument for now. You can fight and contest me later.

Things you ought to have

1. Character
Can you imagine, what sort of bull i'm talking about when it comes to character? I dont mean playing a role that you want to play like being an Egyptian tobacconist or a French peasant. Playing a part is different from doing the part that creates these qualities that we want. When I speak character, I think of good judgement, good personality, and above all a sense of duty and the difference between right and wrong. But surely, every man must make a mistake somewhere and they do, and no one holds it against them but considers it a lesson to be learned from. The ability to pick oneself up and dust themselves off and look at them and go, ok, I'm not doing that again in that fashion. He doesn't quit, but he doesn't forget lessons of the past. There are some things that my friends do that I cant say are the best things to do, but I cant hold them to do it or not to do it, but I encourage them to consider the results and to show good judgement and duty myself, to try to snub a dirty habit. But the effort shown, goes quite a long way.

2. Grooming
What is that look that is so popular with young men these days? It's more common to see a guy not visit a barber for months at a stretch and like wise to visit a razor. In all honesty, the look where you've rolled straight out of bed in pajamas and into class in the exact same things is something I take begrudgingly and really can't tolerate too much. I haven't the heart to tell these large strapping athletes that roam around campus in sweatpants and flip flops or ugg boots (once) to change the way they dress or take care of their face. They can say that clothes make a man, but you always remember the face. The way it grows, the way it creases as you get old. Anthony Quinn, Spencer Tracy, they all had such distinguished faces and in very few of their photos, they're hairy. Beards suddenly have become such a popular thing, I dont understand how it could have happened, but I actually am quite envious of those who can grow facial hair quickly. Maybe it's a blessing. I save a ton of cash on safety blades.

3. Intellect and Recptiveness
A man can spend hours, sometimes more time than some girls do working on their hair and on the outside can appear as something some girl would love to wrap her legs around, but when it comes time to talk and meet people at those cocktail parties and if the only thing that comes out is fart sounds and dirty jokes, there's nothing but shame in store. It's usually the job of the man to defend the honor, but that's rather difficult when he is dumb as a doorknob. I dont mean to say, you have to know about string theory or euclidian theory, but you should be able to carry on a conversation about sailing or politics or current events. Another quality that seems to be lost is the ability to listen and retain that sort of information. Many times, I have gone listing to a conversation and forgetting what was going on all of a sudden. But that only happens every so often, and I can listen and pick up from there.

4. Grace under Pressure
I am no exception. I have cracked under the pressure and as a cost consequence, my dignity has lain shattered before my feet several times. When an even turns dour, a Man responds calmly, cooly and with an intellect. To be able to decision make quickly and still retain your respect while doing so. So many of these young people you see, wearing gigantic tshirts with muscles rippling and hair gelled back. You offend these people with just one tiny thing, and they completely respond with an offense remark or even physical stupidity and violence. Example. I sat with my friend Ehren on the bus once. Some young black kids got into a fight with an old man just because he stepped on their shoes. I applauded the old man when he had to be restrained from knocking this kid in the head with a cane. The kid's only response is fuck you old man. Kids are too easily influenced and when their influence is this degenerate population, some future. There goes 40 years of hard work down the drain NAACP.

5. Respect and Culture for Things
Like with my previous criteria, kids dont know or learn to have this mutual and deep understanding for somethings. Art, music, dance, film, history, and so many more things. I try to converse with every I can, and learn from them. You woudln't believe the things I have learned and the things I wish I could have unlearned. You can take a group of inner city youths to the metropolatian museuem of art, and half of them will be texting, a third of them will be bored out of their minds, and a sixth will be genuinly interested. These people will grow up to be cultured, tolerant and curious and receptive to our changing world.

Qualities a Man should not Possess
1. Rude
You'll get farther along with honey than with vinegar. Especially when it comes to glazing a ham. The way you come out to other people generally give you the initial judgement. A group of black persons in their twenties was visiting at Bay Street in Emeryville. A young white couple with their child bumps into them. The following ensued:
"Yo fuck you man!"
"Watch your language plase!"
"Fuck yo child. Don't need to talk clean for no cracker kid"
*Walking away and to his wife* "Damn nigger kids"
I dont feel right using that last line, but that's the god to honest awful truth. Sometimes, the way one person for a stereotype responds and comes off as rude, there is only one way that comes out. They still wonder why the white man is opressing. It's because of a lack of tact.

2. Baggy Clothing
Clothing should fit closely and appear tailored yet be comfortable and reasonably priced. I've seen the football team come of the Cal bus on their way for saturday games and some of these guys that come off are quite well dressed, but the rest of them wear suit jackets that drape to the knees and pants that could fit two people and a god awful color coordination. Shop on a budget, yet shop well at the same time. H&M offers a really nice european cut in terms of clothing, but also at reasonably cheap prices. I tried mixing and matching a jacket and vest from there with a pair of dress pants from my dad. Did not work. The jacket was the slim european cut while the pants were too thick.

3. Lying
No one can tolerate that. Honest.

There are many more things I could possibly cover, but leave a comment and i'll add these in a further post.

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