Thursday, December 17, 2009

TC Luoma - ATOMIC DOG: You Don't Know Dick About Manhood

TC riffs on the Tiger Woods mess and what it says about some popular views of manhood, which are totally wrong. He then gives his five main traits of masculinity. And he does all of this with his usual irreverence and humor (if you are easily offended this isn't for you). He comes off as a bit of a frat boy, but he makes some god points.

I left out a funny but raunchy bit at the beginning of the article, so you can read that if you'd like.
You Don't Know Dick About Manhood


You Don't Know Dick About Manhood

What was definitely unmanly about the whole thing—wussie, even—was the way he handled the aftermath of the disclosures. Rather than just cop to his long-term screw fest, he got coy. He crawled into a hole like one of Carl Spackler's golf-course destroying gophers.

He should have come clean. He should have looked the camera in the eye and said:

"Yes, I've been unfaithful to my wife but that's something for me and her to deal with. While I have some responsibility to my sponsors, only they can decide whether or not it's in their best interest to keep sponsoring me. Either way, I will continue to play golf, perhaps not now, but definitely later. In the meantime, have fun ripping me up in the media and laughing at my misfortunes. With a name like Woods, and a game that has holes, balls, and bags, you should have a field day with sexual double entendres. Consider it my gift to you. Thank you and have a swell day."

Of course, I'm not sure how many self-respecting black guys, even if they were Tiger Woods, would use the word "swell," but you get the picture.

Anyhow, that's not how it usually happens. Tiger, like the majority of men on earth, doesn't know dick about manhood.

Why Not Replace Your Dick With a Droid?

Most men, if asked to define manhood, would stammer something inane about not crying, not asking for directions, or refusing to wear anything in Adam Lambert's leather and lace filled closet.

And you can't blame them. Look at their role models. Look at two of our primary teachers, television and the Internet. They've taken manliness and distilled it to a weak, watery brew that consists of silly macho sayings.

They claim they're being tongue-in-cheek, but say it loud enough and often enough and it starts to percolate through the collective consciousness or unconsciousness of every dick-swinging American.

Take a look at some of the ad campaigns viraling through the ether, all designed to prey on male insecurities about their manhood.

Motorola's new Droid, in an effort to compete with the I-Phone, is striking straight at your dick bone with a virtual bat'Leth, the Klingon sword of honor. "Should a phone be pretty? Should it be a tiara wearing, digitally clueless beauty queen?"

Heck no! Hell no!

It should be "racehorse duct taped to a scud missile fast" so it " rips through the web like a circular saw through a ripe banana!"

It's not a "precious porcelain figurine" of a phone! No, it's a robot!

Do you want to trade a hairdo for can do? Then buy a Droid, fool, and not one of those sissy I-Phones!

And for a brief moment, I too was nearly convinced that a freakin' phone could symbolize and perhaps even inflate the testicles of any man who squirrels a Droid away in his pants.

Shit, why not go one better; why not replace your dick with a Droid!?!

The new Docker's campaign, however, struck out with me. I mean, my God, Dockers as an emblem of masculinity?

It drivels on about dropping our plastic forks and stepping away from the salad bar or something, culminating in a call for manhood, the call being, IT'S TIME TO WEAR THE PANTS.

That's right, manhood equals a pair of those lame Docker's khaki pants that previously hampered men from getting laid for an entire generation.

Other Dockers ads proclaim, "It's time to get your hands dirty. It's time to answer the call of manhood. It's time to wear the pants." Another urges you to "Khaki diem."

Oh please.

You just can't be a man unless you wear Docker's khaki pants and use a Droid to text. Likewise, Old Spice, the chosen scent of fossils everywhere, is reinventing itself as the "manly scent of experience, boys, and you need more of it."

"Are you an Experienced Man? Or a manfume-wearing sissy?"

Given the age of the average Old Spice user, the manly scent of experience is more accurately the scent of compacted, decades-old earwax, acrid apocrine sweat glands, and smegma-encrusted members that haven't had the will to lift themselves off their cushy scrotal pillow since their Testosterone levels had a fightin' chance of hitting 3 digits.

The ad for Campbell's "Fully Loaded Man" soup actually boasts that it contains "balls of meat."

Not only does that support my suspicions about the origin of the protein in most canned foods, the last two things I want to be thinking about when I'm eating soup are balls "fully loaded" with spunk.

A Burger King ad shows a guy eating "chick food" with his hot, elegantly dressed girlfriend. Indignant by not being served the caloric equivalent of one of Caligula's feasts, he storms out of the restaurant to join a band of marauding men—construction workers punching each other in the belly, men ripping off their constrictive underwear and burning them, all while singing "I am man, hear me roar...I will eat this meat," to the feminist Helen Reddy anthem, I am Woman.

Never mind that you left your girlfriend to strut your stuff through several homoerotic scenes, you actually equate eating shit food with manhood? You equate eating whatever you feel like, having the dietary wisdom and discipline of a two-year-old with manhood?

You putz. "Real" men eat what they need for health, not what they want any time they feel like it.

I could go on for megapixels.

Your Girlfriend's Put Worse Things in Her Mouth

Granted, I've written plenty of these "what makes a man" columns, but most have been written tongue-in-cheek, and I've never used them to prey on male insecurities so that we could sell something.

Still, as someone who writes and thinks a lot about manliness, I was hard-pressed to actually define the word. Maybe my brain has been cock-blocked by advertisers, too.

Think about it, can you define manhood or masculinity in terms that aren't cliché? Most often, guys will spout something like the following, spoken by Maddox, the author of The Alphabet of Manliness:

Great. His dad had an aversion to soap, didn't know about Nivea, and he lacked the ingenuity to think of using the fishhook to slice open the fish's belly. Instead, his creative approach to cleaning the fish was to adopt the manly behavior of my puddy cat, Mr. Frisky.

Shit, your girlfriend's put worse things in her mouth, if you're lucky, that is.

Not only that, dad's got the emotional development of an orc. Hey, let's try an experiment. You dads out there, call your kid a pussy and walk away. Do that a few times and see what kind of emotionally stable guy he grows up to be.

Chances are he'll still be wetting the bed when he's forty. Chances are he'll secretly wear women's panty hose because he loves the way his matted hair looks under the nylon, but hey, that's just me. No telling how it would affect your kid.

Is any of that stuff Maddox mentioned about his dad actually manliness? Or is manliness something more, something far deeper, far more admirable, and far more rare?

The Traits of Manliness

Like I said, I've thought about this a lot, and my feeble brain has come up with several manliness characteristics that I think are universally true.

Authenticity: The majority of men are counterfeit. They assume the opinions, mannerisms, and even fashion tastes of the masses. Much of what they say is a lie, because the truth would damage their self-image, or at least the image they want to project.

Authenticity means being true to your character; it's being exactly what's claimed, free of hypocrisy.

Bravery: When I use this word, I don't mean the ability to bear pain. Granted, being able to bear pain is courageous if it's done in order to complete some heroic task, but lacerating your femoral artery while cutting out pictures of underwear models for your latest boner collage and refusing to go to the doctor isn't brave and it isn't manly, only stupid.

Bravery comes in many forms. It can come in the form of physical self-sacrifice or emotional self-sacrifice. It's going against popular opinion, standing up for injustice when it might damage your standing in your community.

It's boldly facing bad news instead of avoiding it. It's realizing that everything worthwhile has some sort of pain associated with it.

Confidence: Cockiness is different from confidence. One is a false front, enacted to protect your self-image and one is self-assuredness in your abilities, thoughts, and actions.

Confidence allows you to consider other people's opinions without having your ego damaged. Unfortunately, most guys hunt for opinions that match their own:

"Geez, that guy agrees with me. He sure is smart!"

Honesty: I'm convinced that every third thing said by the average man is an exaggeration or a downright lie. Again, it's all an attempt to preserve or project a false self-image.

I suppose this category links closely with authenticity, but there are some obvious distinctions. Honesty also has to do with not stealing and not cheating, which are merely other forms of parasitism. Manliness means relying on your own talents and skills to acquire the things you need. It also means saying "no" occasionally to those things you might want but don't need. (Tiger take heed.)

Purpose: Unfortunately, most men don't have any purpose in life, other than recreation and, in general, distractions of all kind whether they be sports, cars, gaming, or collecting Snapple bottle tops.

A man's got to have some purpose or purposes, whether they're internal (pertaining to emotional growth, personal growth), intrapersonal (family and friends), or external (occupational).

Maybe you want to be a truly qualified trainer or coach whose hunger for getting better never dies. That's a fine purpose. Maybe you want to be the best husband or father or friend that you can be, constantly giving energy to people you care about. Also a fine purpose. Or maybe you just want to develop the inner you, discovering your motivations and purposes, while uncovering your contradictions and curing your own neuroses, which is a very fine purpose.

Men are truly content when they're learning something new or accomplishing some task. Boys are content when they're playing.

Rock-Fucking-Solid Human Beings

Oddly enough, these manliness "virtues" are also what makes a good woman a good woman, which brings into question the whole manliness term.

Another problem is that we use the terms manliness and masculinity interchangeably. Tearing fish guts out with your teeth would definitely be deemed masculine. Chugging beer after beer and engorging on greasy animal meat is pretty solidly masculine, as would using your dick instead of a hammer to frame a house. Likewise, cheating on your wife again and again and again could definitely be labeled masculine, but that, or any of the preceding masculine traits, has nothing to with true manliness.

Maybe we need another term for manliness, one that satisfies the man/woman thing and one that doesn't get so easily thrown in the muck with masculinity.

It's a tough one. Maybe we should just call them rock-fucking-solid human beings. Sure, from now on, people who are authentic, brave, confident, honest, and purposeful are rock-fucking-solid human beings.

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