A friend hates my blog.
“It’s boring,” he says.
“I’ve read enough about training and building a bigger ass. Write something different.
“Write about manhood.”
What the hell do I know about manhood?
Apart from being married and sitting on the wrong side of 40, I’m pretty much clueless on the subject.
Tell you what, ask me in 40 years. Maybe by then I’ll have something meaningful to contribute.
Yet that doesn’t stop some other guys.
Manhood is “hot.”
Many bloggers – especially the younger ones, ironically — love to gild that lily, or the even more popular/tired “return to manhood.”
They do it for less than noble reasons. One, it makes them appear smarter or more “evolved” than the reader. And two, it’s tasty low hanging fruit from the pretentious Tree of Privilege.
Even pondering your worth as a man is an unprecedented luxury. It’s tough to have crippling anxiety about that kind of shit when you’re sick, hungry, dodging bombs, or even just struggling to make this month’s rent.
However, cobble together even just the illusion of stability with a hefty dose of entitlement and suddenly an entire generation gets paralyzed by opportunity — then yearns to high tail it back to a “simpler time” when things “made sense.”
I wasn’t around 50 years ago (were you, hipster?) but I ain’t buying that life used to be like an episode of Leave it Beaver. Unless you’re willing to gloss over small blips on the balance sheet like world wars, genocide, nuclear paranoia, massive racial unrest, and mainstream acceptance of jokes about husbands punching their wives “straight to the moon.”
As a result, most of these articles are junk, written by and for insecure, naïve young men.
“Manhood” gets reduced to machismo clichés, like why you need a bone-crushing handshake when greeting your father in-law or how to survive a week in the woods with just a 9-volt battery and a box of condoms.
So I resist; refusing to be “that blogger” who professes to have “hacked” life because he knows how to spot a good whiskey or avoid checked bag fees at the airport.
Fact is, I’m like everyone else my age: a novice, at his first kick at the can. And just because I have an internet connection and an English degree doesn’t make me fucking Yoda.
Still, my boy did challenge me. So I gotta represent.
Here’s 5 things I’ve observed about manhood on the internet.
Now these are just like my opinion, man, but you might catch yourself nodding in agreement. Or maybe not.
Either way, I’ll be like, whatever.
1. Men are way too outraged by stuff that doesn’t affect them.
I think everyone has a preset number of shits to give. Historically, life’s challenges more than met the quota and then some. Paleoman might have eaten an organic diet but bloody hell his very existence was a life sucking chore.
Today most of us have it good by comparison. So our stockpile of shits is relatively unspoken for, building in strength and depth of flavor like fine wine in sturdy oak barrels.
All this unchecked passion creates a great disturbance in the Force. Men need to give a shit about something otherwise things fall apart; the center cannot hold.
Case in point: some doe-eyed tart says she found yoga mats in her enchilada and mere anarchy is loosed upon the online world with passionate intensity.
Whenever I feel overwhelming anger or outrage about something I see online I ask myself, is my outrage making the problem any better?
Here’s a new rule: Before you may express your outrage on any matter, you have to perform at least one (1) tangible, real-life act to address the problem. Volunteer, make a donation, organize a demonstration, even write a damn letter. Just not another Facebook post.
Otherwise it becomes a contest to see who can express their outrage the loudest. Which is yet another form of noise people eventually tune out, like Ron, Brick, and the rest of the channel 4 news team.
2. Men shouldn’t complain about women on the internet.
The whole online gender war unfolding is getting absurd. Interestingly, the “hardcore feminists” on one side and the “Male Rights Activists” on the other are actually similar — they’re both irrational assholes.
It reminds me of politics. Go extreme left or extreme right and you’ll eventually wind up in a echo chamber filled with delusional weirdos that dress funny and can’t get laid.
The whole scenario makes my head hurt. Men, if you aren’t achieving in life or in the bedroom, look in the mirror first. Pissing and moaning that women “just don’t appreciate you” is about the unmanliest thing I’ve heard.
I’m not saying your arguments or experiences are invalid. It’s just misplaced energy. Why fucking bother? Focus on what you can control.
It’s like training. One of my favorite sayings is “the harder and longer I train, the better my bad genetics get.” You can write blogs and post online about how shitty your results are. Or you can just bust your ass and focus on improving yourself.
If you want a woman who appreciates a smart, successful, jacked guy, you have to first become a smart, successful, jacked guy. Reversing the order doesn’t work.
3. Men should not aspire to be an internet Knight in Shining Armor.
Telling me how you admonished a magazine into printing an apology for referring to women as “gals” does not make me admire your bravado or sense of duty. It makes me want to avoid hanging out with you because your capacity for butthurt is way too high for my tastes.
My advice? Look after your backyard first. Maybe while you were flying around the internet White Knighting your wife was nervous walking to her car after a workout? Make sure your dearest feel safe and cared for before you front like the internet Charles Bronson.
4. Men should understand the value of their opinion – or lack thereof.
The older I get, the more I keep my opinions to myself. Because unless the subject is hypertrophy, movie quotes, or New York pizza, my opinion just isn’t informed. And therefore not worthy of widespread consideration.
An uninformed opinion is at best irrelevant and uninteresting; at worst it drowns out those who actually know what they’re talking about.
Back in “the day” our opinion rarely reached beyond kitchen table or the occasional “letter to the editor.” But the internet is the great equalizer – suddenly everyone’s perspective can and “deserves” to be heard, no matter how utterly moronic it may be.
I respect that a lot of brave people died to protect our right to voice an opinion. But listening to a white accountant from Ottawa comment on what’s it like to grow up black in Missouri isn’t what they had in mind.
5. Men should hate like they love – passionately yet selectively.
I don’t understand how dudes can summon up the energy to hate so much online. They profess to hate lifestyles, dieting approaches, bad movies, and poor internet connectivity. And of course they hate each other too.
It’s bullshit and a sign of a weak personality. Hate is the opposite of love. When you love someone you’d do anything to be with them and protect them. You’d take a bullet for them, or at least a few punches to the face.
It’s exhilarating yet consuming, which requires you to be selective. You can “like” a lot of things and people, but love? Not really.
So for the same reason, you can’t “hate” that many different things and ideas and people. It’s impossible. You’d run out of gas.
What you’re really feeling is just regular old annoyance. Or, if you want to get really insightful, a twinge of jealousy. Probably a bit of both. Neither of which is worth your time or focus.
Find a few evil things that truly matter and hate the shit out of them. Take steps to crush them, see them driven before you.
All the other stuff is probably just shit that annoys you. Tell it to go pound salt and move on.
Life is too short. It’s fleeting. Spend it doing stuff that matters with people that matter.
That’s probably the best and only advice on manhood you’ll ever need.
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