Who doesn't love Christopher Walken?

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Definition of Manhood

I've seen several articles about "what it is to be a man".  Most of which have to do with the lack of "real men" in today's society.  They talk about men becoming more effeminate, substituting the classic methods of communication for the modern electronic pathways, avoiding physical confrontation and so on.  To me, this means that we, as a progressive species, require an updated definition of "manhood".

Now I still firmly believe in some of the classic points in the definition, but with the progress in technology and civilization, some of the classics have become obsolete.  A man should not be defined by his profession, what he drinks, what he wears, or his car.  A man should be defined by how he lives his life.

In the past, a man was someone who got his hands dirty.  Just because you work with your hands or serve your country does not mean you are a "true man".  What makes you a man is how you do your job.  Your willingness to learn, progress in your respective profession, respect authority figures but know when to challenge their judgement and take the opinions of your subordinates seriously.  If you are good at what you do and respect yourself at the end of the day, you have earned my respect as a man.

Technology is growing at an exponential rate.  These days most people can't spend hours talking on the phone.  Not necessarily because they don't want to, but because we're so busy these days.  Also because most people have cell phone plans with time restrictions.  Land-lines are a dying breed of telecommunication.  Just because communication isn't as vocal as in the past, doesn't mean it's less personal.  A man that can hold a solid conversation, regardless of the medium, is a good man.

Physical confrontation is such a primitive form of self-expression.  A good man isn't someone that always gets in fights in the street, whether he wins or not.  Most fights I see are over the smallest things; a look, a snide remark, etc.  To me that's a short temper, not a man.  A good man should know how to handle himself when he finds his liver pickled, and understand that not everyone has this ability.  A good man doesn't start a fight, he finishes it.  Whether by words or actions, when it's done it's done, win or lose.

I now realize how much of a wall of text this has become, so I suppose I should wrap this up.  I believe a real man is someone who has respect for others.  A man is not defined by what he does or has, but by who he is.  There are boys, there are men, and there are good men.  Which are you?