Nov 09

There aren’t any rituals, rites of passage, memorized chants or graduation ceremony for manhood or womanhood. As men our sisters get the benefit of nature assisting their ascension through puberty, the first period and several other private things. For men we get theories, comparison checks to our forefathers and conflicting feedback on what constitutes a “man”. It is something that we never think about in detail but it has to leave many guys pondering, “am I truly a man, or am I a boy pretending at this grown-up thing”?

It seems as if the blood, sweat and tears spilled by women of the past to gain equal grounds with their testosterone fueled mates, has left many men scrambling to figure out our respective “roles” in a family structure. If you think I’m making this up just observe the barbs being thrown across gender lines in 2010 by the single, middle-class, each blaming the decline of marriage and the increase in divorce rates on the “good for nothing, cheating men” and the “brow-beating, emasculating, corporate diva”.  It’s the same chaos you get when you put a former manager and a new manager in a room and ask them to come up with a new structure of order for a business model. 9 times out of 10 due to the older lacking respect for the new and the new bullying up to prove herself to the old, you get a huge fight for dominance. I’ve said it before several times over – we are not our grandfathers, their world was an alien planet to us young keyboard surfing males.

Back when men kept their women barefoot in the kitchen and crying from them screwing loose whores on Friday nights, a man was defined as a person who could hold down a household. You grew up, you got work, you married someone pretty, you knocked her up and then you made sure that she and the kids survived – pretty straightforward right? Okay, define to me the role that man plays in our age where the woman may not want a kid, she has a job of her own and the whole barefoot in the kitchen thing… Try telling her that and see how far it gets you. Different rules are in play now which should be better, nobody should be confined to being a “lesser” on this planet. The problem isn’t women getting their well-needed rights to everything they work hard for, the problem is that nobody rewrote the rules to adjust for it!

I asked my friends to define for me a ritual that they would have their son go through in order to proudly proclaim himself a man when the time is right. Interestingly enough they all had different ideas. One stressed life philosophy, another – a primal ritual, one wanted to maroon his child for a year or two and force him to survive. The one thing that came back from all of their ideas however was the need for independence. They all wished for their sons to be able to survive the drought by his own means without the need to lean on another.

Keeping the tradition of independence

So I propose this to you men reading my words and agreeing on the lack of concrete thinking in what a man is. I propose that we maintain the independence of our forefathers for the sake of our sons and godsons. We be independent not because our women need us to be, not because we are the sole bread winners (which many of us will not be) and not because sexist ideals decree that we be forced to do so. We do it because it is what has defined man since time immortal; we do it so that if our partner falters in his/her endeavors, we can be there to keep the engine running. We do it to honor our wife beating, wife cheating, 14 hr factory working forefathers who knew no differently than to be independent because laziness was not an option.

Now I know I will have dissentors from the “I’ll do whatever the hell I want” camp, but this is not for you bohemians. This is for men who wish to have a definition of their stature beyond having balls and an Adams apple. Ambition, fortitude and unearthly will defined men, who’s to say it can’t continue to do so?

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  • McThick

    Nice! John Henry as the graphic is awesome too.