Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Myth of Manliness

True confession . . . I do not use cologne.  Never have.  I have never really cared to be smelly with manly perfume.  I never could understand how a smell could define a man . . . especially those smells that come out of a bottle of expensive cologne.  Hey, I have been in a locker room full of smelly men and none of them smelled like Old Spice . . . no, it was a more earthly smell like one might smell around a barnyard . . . a more natural smell.  Yet, if I am to believe Madison Avenue . . . believe in the advertising agencies that populate Madison Avenue; well, then I am supposed to smell like something out of this world to be attractive to the opposite sex and to appear (or should I say, smell) manly.  My body and nose just do not tolerate being smelly.

I love the way that the Old Spice commercials use reverse psychology on the market in making fun of the “manly” man myth to sell the “manly” man myth.  I know a lot of men, and very few of them can be smelled five minutes before I encounter them.  It is a myth that earns someone, somewhere, a whole heck of a lot of money.  But it is myths that seem to drive us humans . . . and, there are a whole lot of myths about men that are floating out there in the minds of people—particularly in the minds of other men . . . and, in the minds of women, that are just not true.

MSNLiving recently had a little blurb on the myths that continue to be perpetuated about men that a whole lot of people buy into.  I have to admit, since I am one of those that the myths speak about, that I had to laugh at what I read.  The list was short, but I am here to dispel those myths . . . based on my experience of men.  Now, I realize I might be breaking some sort of ancient rite and secret of the brotherhood of men . . . for which I apologize to all the brothers out there; but, the greater reality is that I must be true to myself and express what I know about these myths.  I must take care of myself first . . . that is the American (especially for those in the male gender) way!

Myth number one . . . men are not as talkative as women.  Where this one came from . . . I do not know.  I sat through a meeting today with eight women and two of us guys . . . the other guy dominated the meeting for nearly two hours . . . diarrhea of the mouth.  Guys talk . . . they talk a lot.  Especially when they have had a couple of beers . . . watching sports . . . and, jawing while hanging out with other men.  Aren’t the majority of politicians—men?  According to research, men actually talk a little more than women when thrown into the same situation.  I am sure that some guy came up with the term, “Yada, yada, yada.”  We men are not the strong, silent types that we are always portrayed to be . . . we can yak with the best of them!

Myth two . . . men do not like to commit.  Shoot, we men commit all of the time.  Trust me . . . I am committed to lots of things . . . family, friends, dogs, not cats so much, work, beer, the wife, the kids, especially the granddaughter, more beer, photography, writing, the University of Nebraska Cornhusker (through thick and thin), the state of Montana . . . I stick by a lot of things.  Yeah, I know that they are talking about relationships, but my track record speaks for itself . . . over 32 years of marriage to the same woman . . . nearly 30 years committed to the same children . . . all of which add up to commitment.  But the guys with the white jacket with extra-long sleeves still haven’t come to get me yet.  Researchers found that men are just as committed to relationship as women are.

Myth number three . . . I don’t know too much about because I have remained in a long-term, committed (over 32 years) relationship . . . but, it is that men don’t like to be asked out.  According to the researchers being admired and asked out is the ultimate showing of flattery.  Shoot, I’d loved to be asked out . . . anyone who is willing to take me out for anything, is a friend of mine. 

Myth four . . . men don’t have feelings.  That one hurt my feelings.  I have feelings . . . do I not cry when the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers get beat in football?  Do I not tear up whenever Ol’ Yeller dies . . . every man does because every man knows what it feels like to lose his faithful companion.  Yeah, yeah, I know . . . the wife want a minute of rebuttal on that one.  Did I get misty-eyed when I dance the “father/daughter” dance at her wedding?  Did I not get angry—and flip off the driver from another state which we won’t name—Wyoming, when they cut me off and made me nearly run into the borrow ditch?  Did I not lament when I accidently forgot to flip my steak on the grill and it go over-cooked?  When my last beer got knocked over by the dog?  We men have feelings . . . ask my banker each month when I have to pay the monthly bills.

Men are intimidated by strong women . . . that is myth number five.  I want everyone to understand, I live in a world of women . . . strong, opinionated women . . . determined women . . . bossy women.  My catch phrase, even beyond the wife, is, “Yes, dear.”  It is a pretty impressive group of females that inhabit my world . . . and, surprisingly, I admire them.  I admire them and that puts me right in there where research states that 99 percent of the time men are intimidated by strong women . . . instead, they are attracted to them.  I just wish that once in a while, they would let me open the door.

This next one, myth number six, cracked me up . . . cracked me up so much I just had to go out and tell a couple of the guys what I had read . . . but, it was that men don’t gossip.  No, we call it lots of things, but we do not call it gossiping.  Shoot, I know lots of men who gossip . . . every little town that has a coffee group that meets five days a week at 7:00AM . . . whether they call it a men’s club or a Bible study group . . . gossips.  Some of the best gossip come from men because most of the time we get it wrong.  The fact is, that men actually gossip more than women . . . we call it talking business . . . 33 percent of men indulge in daily gossip, whereas only 26 percent of women.  Trust me, I know it is true because I heard it at coffee this morning!

None of the myths that were shared in the article really fit me or any of the men that I know.  I know that we men are not the mythical creatures that people think that we are . . . despite the fallacy of commercials like Old Spice.  We are not some sort of macho image of manhood that exists in John Wayne movies (naw, I like to think of myself more along the lines of the Clint Eastwood image than John Wayne) or even Old Spice.  Nope, we are basically human beings attempting to make our way through this journey we call life.  We talk a lot . . . we gossip with the best of them . . . we cry . . . we commit . . . and, strong women turn us on . . . we are normal.  And, no two of us are alike.  God created us each as unique individuals with a lot of qualities that fit into all the realms of gender.  A myth should not define us . . . no, our lives should define us as the individuals that we are created to be.  I am who I am.  Toot!  Toot!

Which brings me back to cologne . . . I still don’t like it.  I don’t like being a lingering smell that fills a room for hours after I left.  I don’t like smelling like a bunch of smashed up fruit and herbs.  If that is manly . . . well, then, I am not too manly.  No, I rather smell like I smell.  It has never bothered me before . . . maybe because I have such a lousy nose.  Whatever the case, I have never defined my manliness by how I smelled . . . I smell okay.  I am John . . . that is good enough for me . . . and, it should be good enough for anyone else.

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