This blog is sometimes paints a fairly one-sided portrait of me. You see, writing tends to show my softer, thoughtful, more introspective side. My more manly side doesn’t come through very often because of the topics I generally talk about here, emotions, sex, relationships, thinking, joking, etc. But I am definitely no metrosexual, or even much of an intellectual, I literally grew up in the woods and was named after a Mountain Man that my Dad idolized. I did write one previous post on Manly Attributes on blogger, which lays out some of my views.
So, I thought today I would spend a little time talking about my perspective on manhood. These come almost directly from my Dad, who’s wisdom on the topic I appreciate more and more as the years go by. Some of this might come across as sexist, or even cheesy and old fashioned, but PC or not here we go:
The most important purposes of a man are to protect and provide for his family. I have literally no respect for any man that can’t or refuses to do those two basic but vital things.
Protect the family. This is important in so many ways but probably the most simplistic view would be how can you respect yourself, or earn your partner’s respect, if you can’t (or won’t) stand up for your family? This could be from physical, mental, or emotional harm. If you can’t or won’t protect your family than what good are you?
I think part of this comes from the social evolution of humans and other social mammals. If you look at most social groupings, when a herd is threatened the females and the young group together in the center and the males protect the perimeter. Why is this? Because it is absolutely vital that the females survive… and it isn’t as vital that the males survive.
If there is a herd of twenty buffalo, ten males and ten females, and they get attacked by wolves, what losses will have the least impact on the herd’s long term survival? If five male buffalo get killed there can still be ten pregnancies that year, five males and ten females have survived. If five female buffalo get killed there can only be five pregnancies that year, ten males competing over five females. Obviously, having ten pregnancies rather than five increases the herd’s chances of long term survival.
Males only serve a few purposes in the continuation of the species, contribute genetic material and protect the females and youngsters. Other than fucking or fighting, males are basically superfluous.
Modern society has kind of watered down the role of protecting the family. There aren’t many physical threats to protect the family from but that just means that the role has evolved. A man might never have to physically fight to protect his family but he should always be capable and mentally prepared to do so. If something does threaten them a man should immediately place himself between his family and any danger, whether this is physical, mental, or emotional.
This protective characteristic is as much mental as it is physical. This is why I work out and practice martial arts. Will I ever need to use them? Probably not. But feeling capable, confident, means that I wouldn’t hesitate to step up if necessary. It’s the mentality and confidence that’s so important here, not whether it’s actually needed for physical confrontation. That confidence carries over into all areas of protection, mental and emotional as well.
I realized when I became a father that almost nothing bothers me anymore. Well, nothing bothers me when it affects only me. If some guy walked up to me on the street and got in my face, called me an asshole, a pussy, a fuck-tard, whatever, no big deal. I’d laugh and keep walking. What changed was that part of my brain realized that “I” am not the most important part of my own life, that “I” am only part of the larger picture. If a stranger walked up to me and my daughter on the street and started getting aggressive toward her… that’s when the “I’m going to kill a fucker” side of Johhny comes out.
And it’s not just my kid, it’s any kid. A man’s first purpose in life is to protect his own family, his second purpose is to protect all those who can’t protect themselves. As a parent, whatever gender, you should feel that same protective instinct.
While physical protection isn’t quite the same as it was a century ago, and some might think this is some kind of out-dated masculine thinking, consider a couple of points; if the cruise ship is sinking, who should get the life rafts first? Women and children. The men should step back, make sure the women and children are safe, and only then consider finding a raft for themselves. Any man that tried to cut into the line of women and children should -justifiably- be looked down on. Or let’s say you’re walking home from a movie with your significant other and a mugger walks up to the two of you, does the man step in front of his partner or behind her? Without a doubt, he should step in front.
So, while things have changed over the years, that ‘protective’ element does still have a role to play.
Does all of this mean all women need our protection? No. There are as many, or more, women that kick ass out there as there are men, but a man that can’t or won’t isn’t really a man, he’s a bystander. Mother’s are just as important as father’s (or more so) when it comes to protecting the family, and most mother’s are fucking badasses, but the man shouldn’t ever sit idly by.
Providing for the family is part of how “protect the family” has evolved over the years. Modern society is a little more complicated than the lives of buffaloes, so providing for the family unit is a natural extension of protecting them. If you don’t have any money you don’t have a roof over your heads, food in your bellies, and you’ve failed to protect them from all the other-than-physical dangers in their lives.
Does that mean that men need to be heads of the household? Does that mean that the man needs to be the bread winner? No. Modern society is a complicated and wonderful thing. Most of the time women don’t need the man to provide for her, there are plenty of extremely successful women out there… but the man should be willing and capable, and work together with his partner to figure out the best way the family can be provided for. If that means he’s a stay at home dad, or whatever, that’s fine as long as both partners are working it out together for the betterment of all.
Protect and provide for the family, it sounds so simple and yet we’re constantly hearing stories about guys that can’t or won’t do those things.