Man cards and the demise of the male species

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I had a good conversation recently with a gentleman I respect very much.  We talked a good deal about how guys are, about friends and friendships, and about how men are becoming a different sort of social group these days.

Are you noticing it, too? Do you also see how a lot of movies and TV shows no longer push a strong patriarch, choosing to constantly show us strong women who take care of themselves and don’t need men for anything? Other shows (most on the Disney channel) show the dad as comic relief or as a bumbling fool.  

I have no problem with strong women. It’s about time. Many have been treated like crapola by plenty of people, and the fact women are demanding and getting respect these days is an awesome thing. Women have strong impacts on our lives. I have been influenced by many.

People are often anxious to find out who started the whole thing. They want to point fingers and place blame to make themselves feel better.

Look, the demise of the male species has been a long time coming.  I’m glad some of these jerks have been called out, and I’m glad folks are no longer standing for some of the behavior we’ve seen men display over the decades.  

But the fact that men are becoming a more downtrodden, mistrusted, maligned and almost unnecessary group has been caused by good old-fashioned evil.  And sin. The breakdown of families, the amount of households without a good leader who takes care of his wife and kids, and the general lackadaisical attitude toward what a family should look like is nothing more than evil.

Do I think women can do a good job raising their kids, taking care of a home and so forth? Sure I do.  But I don’t think they should have to.  

A solid family back in the day included a breadwinner who took care of his family, nurtured them and treated his wife as a helpmate and respected partner.  

I’m making sure I mention how the wife should have been treated. More often than not, I think some guys didn’t have it right, thinking they ruled over their wives. The good dads of yesterday and today love their wives the right way and work alongside them.

Remember when you had dads like Robert Young (Father Knows Best) and Hugh Beaumont (Leave it to Beaver) on TV?  I may be completely off base, and I know it’s not the 1950s and 60s anymore. But is it wrong to want strong men taking care of their families? I think there are probably enough of them still around, doing the right thing.

If so, good job fathers!  

I’d also like to know who started the whole “man card” thing? Like, who actually started dictating what makes a man a man? In my conversation with the respected gentleman mentioned above, we talked about how we shouldn’t use phrases like “most men” and “you know how men are.”

It’s hard to make generalizations about men.

There are plenty of guys I know who cry. There are plenty of them who are tender with their wives and kids, who play dress-up with their daughters or tea party, who dance around and act silly as much as possible. There are men who like to watch “girly” shows on TV.  

These are the same guys who scratch their armpits, who aren’t aware their feet stink, or who toss footballs and get dirty. These are the same guys who might want to wrestle or get into a scuffle. Manly men, we call them.  

Yep. Those guys can still go to tea parties.

Sure, I know what some of you are saying. Guys who have chosen alternative lifestyles have plenty of stereotypical traits (and I’m sure they don’t appreciate that either) assigned to them. Therefore, if you enjoy any of those same things or display any of those traits, it means you are headed toward an alternative lifestyle. As Jerry Seinfeld would say: “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”   

What I’m saying is this:  we have gotten so obsessed with image, or not behaving in a way the world thinks you need to behave, or the opinions of others, or our own selfish attitudes and opinions, that we have simply forgotten how to love.  We just don’t love each other properly anymore.  Just because you disagree with someone’s lifestyle or choices does not mean you can’t love them. It’s as simple as that.

And should we just start putting people into departments and categories, simply because they tell us what they like or dislike?  Aren’t we individuals?  

A couple of my buddies were also talking at my house the other night, joking with one another about liking theater. This is often something I’ve talked about, being an old ham and actor for a few years. Lots of guys like performing or watching theater, yet worry still they will have to turn in their “man cards.”  

Oh my. These guys were just having a good time, still admitting the shows they really like and which shows they’d like to see.   The conversation continued to include so-called “chick flicks” we admitted to liking.

For the record, I don’t like the term “chick flick.”  I don’t like women to be called “chicks” in general.

Men are fearful. They are afraid someone is going to question their manhood or think they aren’t men at all. That’s the No. 1 fear.  Kinda silly, but I think it’s true.

I’ve told you before about a good friend I once helped with the painting of  his living room. As we prepped the space, moved heavy furniture (I told you the furniture was heavy so you’d know how manly and strong we are), and took down curtains, I remarked how nice the room looked and how fancy the curtains were.

“I sewed the curtains,” he said.  

These curtains had a very stylish pattern and design. They would have been the envy of my wife and other ladies.  

“I picked the material and sewed them myself,” he said again.

I laughed.  This guy was a jokester, an avid hunter, a tobacco chewing sort.  He told somewhat coarse jokes from time to time, rode a motorcycle, lifted weights, and probably had a subscription to an outdoor magazine.

“I really did. I learned to sew years ago. I’m pretty good at it.”

He wasn’t joking.

So, I backpeddled and told him how talented he was. He showed me some things he designed and had sewn, including a really cool handgun holster one could strap to a leg. This guy could have probably sold his creations, both to women and men.

“Just don’t tell anyone,” he said.

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