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Thread: Thoughts on Manliness

  1. #1
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Over the past couple months, I have been experience what could best be described as an identity crisis compounded by minor depression and ADD. The witch’s brew on mental maladies didn’t exactly make me the best person to be around. Upon a discussion one night with my wife, I was told that she is growing ever-frustrated with my current mental state and that I am not exactly exhibiting a “pillar of strength” in the house. That, as well as Maister’s wood chopping exploits sent the gears in my head turning and I realized that I was languishing in boyhood and not really becoming a man. Legally, I am of “adult age” but I certainly did not feel like it. Openly fretting about trivial matters to my wife certainly solidified the fact that my “self” was no longer trapped inside, but others were seeing it as well.
    This kicked off thoughts about the men in my life, what they have taught me and the examples they have shown. My father, probably the best example, is a hard working business owner, often working from sun-up to sun-down. He was a man that could seemingly fix many things around the house from the family car to the fence, to small appliances. This was accomplished often through pure gumption and pride rather than formal training. I looked at myself, realizing that I let the ceiling fan in the living room sit in its non-functioning state for 3 years before finally doing something about it. I often times balked at a lot of the duties around the house, many times leaving without making the bed, doing the dishes and overall leaving the house in a state of chaos, much like my college dorm room.
    Things changed since then. I looked online and found a blog that expressed a lot of my budding old school lifestyle changes, The Art of Manliness. Since then the house is humming along fine, I am rising early and taking care of things the first time-correctly. I have become a better husband, friend, pet owner and family man. I have bettered my appearance, which in turn has changed my confidence (sorely lacking) in both work and life. I walk to and from the house with my head held high and I have an optimistic look onto my future, whatever the world throws at me. I have also gained more confidence in my future (nothing “cooking” right now, mind you) fatherhood as well.

    Manliness is many things, my old school notions of dress, attitude and position are just a small part of TRUE manliness. Modern Manliness is not what one would see on television, in the movies or in Maxim magazine. Modern Manliness does not balk at Feminism (by definition, I am a feminist as well as a man) nor does it promote the man as superior to women.

    My next post is an article posted today on The Art of Manliness to read and ponder. I believe it is a good collection of thoughts from which to begin your own journey as well as solidify my recent thoughts.
    Also, I provide a link to the archives, if you are interested in reading more.
    http://artofmanliness.com/archives/
    Feel free to post your thoughts as I look to post more of my own should they come up.

    Here is the article as promised:
    Teaching My Son to be a Man

    Z's Highlights

    We may not need to wear three piece suits, seven days a week to look our best, but that doesn’t mean we should leave our houses looking like slobs. Proper grooming reveals our respect. Respect for ourselves, respect for those in our company, and respect for those we happen to meet. Proper grooming is not the sole domain of the affluent. Soap is cheap and time runs in equivalence to air.
    Looking upon the folks sitting in our Muni Court yesterday, I realized the above is a larger problem than previously thought.

    For example, my son will know how to admit when he is wrong, because a real man does not always carry the need to be right. Being a man means recognizing when we err, and then extracting our best lesson from the experience. He will know how to play with his children, because he will use the same imagination he has always been encouraged to use.
    The above was something taught early to me by my grandfather, a man for whom I harbor deep respect.

    Possibly the single most important lesson in this brave new world, where a treacherous credit line is often but a signature away, is responsibility. My son will understand that things should be bought only when needed, and that we should pay for them only with money we have.
    Very important today for all, no?
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 03 Dec 2008 at 2:32 PM. Reason: double reply
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I'm the boss, and father knows squat.
    Roseanne

    Okay, maybe a little off topic, but it's still a funny quotation.

  3. #3
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Prominently dropping my name on a thread about manliness is a sure-fire way to get at least one positive response!

    There was a popular novelty/gift book that made the rounds in the early 80’s called “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche” which explored (in a humorous way) many of the masculine stereotypes that are out there.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Men_Don't_Eat_Quiche
    I still have a copy at home and coincidently happened to glance at it for a chuckle a month or so ago.

    The book has both a humorous and a serious side to it. The serious side is pretty well disguised but by the end of the book an undercurrent/message eventually emerges. Namely the specific activities, professions, or endeavors that men engage in may change over time but the central theme that true masculinity means above all 1. SELF-SUFFICIENCY ,and 2. STRIVING FOR SOME GREATER GOAL have remained the constant defining characteristics.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    You could try....

    This book.....in fact.....you're due for an annual secret santa gift from me.....

    http://www.amazon.com/Real-Men-Dont-.../dp/1401301827

    I'll throw my copy (CD version) in the mail for you big guy.....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  5. #5
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I may get kicked in teh balls by my fellow men for this one, but....

    I believe that the rising divorce rate is largely due to the fact that men have not learned how to be men in our post-feminist society. The collective we have not figured out our role as husbands and fathers and it has lead to marital discourse.

    Sure, there are guys (like me ) who have it all figured out, but I think there's still a lot of work to do.

    Thoughts????

  6. #6
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Being equal partners in marriage is certainly on my spectrum of "manly".

    I would probably disagree with your assertion about the divorce rate. I would venture to guess that divorce is more culturally accept now than in the past and I bet the rates would be similar had people not felt they needed to stay in "loveless" marriages.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    Being equal partners in marriage is certainly on my spectrum of "manly".

    I would probably disagree with your assertion about the divorce rate. I would venture to guess that divorce is more culturally accept now than in the past and I bet the rates would be similar had people not felt they needed to stay in "loveless" marriages.
    True, but then I would argue that the reason they were "loveless" is because they occurred in a pre-feminist society where it was culturally acceptable for husbands to treat their wives differently.

    I guess what I'm saying is that the feminist movement really just brought women up to a more even standing in society with men, and many men have yet to figure out what this means in terms of being a "man".

    As one example; my wife makes more money than I do. She doesn't need me financially, which means it changes the paradigm of marriage that once had women subservient to men financially. Without this sense of purpose, I think a lot of men get confused about their role in the marriage and tend to act out.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    btrage, I think you have a point. While it may not be a sole reason, I think that a departure from manliness in post-feminist society has allowed men in marriages to carry less clout. While television and the media portray the "ideal" male as a slothful and dependant oaf, many men take on the role in real life. I think what women crave ultimately are confident men. Confidence shall not be confused with boyish cockiness, mind you, but someone who has goals and their own self-sufficent means are attractive. Just like my wife clamoring for me to exhibit a pillar of strength, make decision and lead at times, I had been bitten by the bug of letting the woman lead ALL the time and it made my wife CRAZY (and looking back, probably a few ex girlfriends as well).

    The above was written before the site crashed...

    The below is added to your post after I came back....

    btrage, again I think your on to something. Regardless of who makes more or who has more "employment status" I think that a Purpose for Provision is engrained in the male psyche. While modern man adjusts to life in post-feminist society (a good thing to work on for all men), one still must feel that he had a purpose in the family.
    My wife works longer hours than I do. Her commute time is longer. Therefore the timing for getting domestic duties completed falls onto me. Often times I have the house clean and dinner ready (or started) by the time she comes home. I take care of our "kids" (2 dogs) during the day as well. I don't do this out of "feminist guilt" but for the very fact that it needs to get done and I am there to do it.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  9. #9
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I believe that the rising divorce rate is largely due to the fact that men have not learned how to be men in our post-feminist society. The collective we have not figured out our role as husbands and fathers and it has lead to marital discord.

    Thoughts????
    I am reminded when my ex's brother and his wife came for an extended visit. They were at my house while I was at work, I came home from work, my ex got me a glass of juice and brought me the newspaper for me to look at. R.T. was a wee lass then and had gotten something on the floor so the ex took the vacuum to it while I was reading the paper. His brother was completely floored at the situation (they are middle eastern) and asked him what he was doing. He parked the vacuum and said "This is America. I am a liberated man now!"
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    [
    btrage, again I think your on to something. Regardless of who makes more or who has more "employment status" I think that a Purpose for Provision is engrained in the male psyche. While modern man adjusts to life in post-feminist society (a good thing to work on for all men), one still must feel that he had a purpose in the family.

    You are too damn young to buy into this! My dad told me way back in the '60's to get a life, a career, and support myself.

    To me, manliness is killing roaches for me (I have a major paranoia), being supportive and having an actual life not based on me or our relationship. The mirror image of feminist stuff except for the bug thing.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post

    To me, manliness is killing roaches for me (I have a major paranoia), being supportive and having an actual life not based on me or our relationship. The mirror image of feminist stuff except for the bug thing.
    I pretty much feel the same way as ZG, but I'll add this:

    I also have been learning to be a better adult lately. This has meant learning how to blow dry my hair to look more professional (I was a hairy-legged hippie teenager, and my grooming really never caught up to the cheerleader level), doing my dishes right away, and choosing to take the high road in my relationship with my husband. It is pretty humbling to realize how basic some of these things are, and how nice it is to wake up to a clean kitchen in the morning.

    There clearly can be differences in the ways modern men and women deal with these issues, but the common themes are much more important in my view. The idea that "manliness" has yet to recover from feminism may be accurate. But isn't it kind of devastating that it has taken the idea of "manliness" so long to accommodate the reality that women are just as well-suited as men to being leaders in the home and in public life?

    Being a real grown-up is hard. I still feel like I'm not quite there yet, even though I'm well into my thirties. But this challenge is not gender specific!

    Sorry to rant a little bit, I really do respect this struggle and process.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I will step on the roaches...unless zg means those huge Palmetto Bugs.
    I would respond further on the topic, but I have too much sewing, mending and ironing to do tonight.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    You are too damn young to buy into this! My dad told me way back in the '60's to get a life, a career, and support myself.

    To me, manliness is killing roaches for me (I have a major paranoia), being supportive and having an actual life not based on me or our relationship. The mirror image of feminist stuff except for the bug thing.
    Alas, ZG this thread is merely a continual exploration on the many facets of Manliness. The exchange between btrage and I yesterday was to discuss that point which is a small part of the overall picture.

    Killing bugs and having an actual life is important as well in not only manliness but feminism as well. However, being an integral part of the family is true manliness. I have seen too many men these days who have focused on their own lives only, thus ignoring the family or putting the entire family responsibilities on the mother (the examples of this are rampant in my wife's fam). However, you bring a good point. A true man must find balance between family and his own life.*

    *-Yes, this goes for women as well (as Future Planning Diva aptly pointed out. The rampant use of "man" and "men" as an example for my writings in this thread are merely connected to the title and topic and is in no way to discredit or discount the women of the world.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  14. #14
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    *-Yes, this goes for women as well (as Future Planning Diva aptly pointed out. The rampant use of "man" and "men" as an example for my writings in this thread are merely connected to the title and topic and is in no way to discredit or discount the women of the world.
    Nice try, zman but you only dig a deeper hole when you try to cover your assets with disclaimers. I wasn't going to jump into this thread but masculine and feminine are largely a matter of perception beyond the obvious attachment of the terms to people who are biologically male or female. The root of the issue is power of the individual no matter how you spin it. For a successful marriage (and I've done it badly once and much better although not perfectly a second time), you need to manage both your expectations and your partners and they need to do the same. What does that mean? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and hope that they do the same. Even if they don't, you'll be a better person for it.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    Over the past couple months, I have been experience what could best be described as an identity crisis compounded by minor depression and ADD. . .
    ...Since then the house is humming along fine, I am rising early and taking care of things the first time-correctly. I have become a better husband, friend, pet owner and family man. I have bettered my appearance, which in turn has changed my confidence (sorely lacking) in both work and life. I walk to and from the house with my head held high and I have an optimistic look onto my future, whatever the world throws at me. I have also gained more confidence in my future (nothing “cooking” right now, mind you) fatherhood as well.

    All those accomplishments over the past couple of months? That must be SOME BOOK!!

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    I am like OFOS, I wasnt going to get into this, buttttttt
    I have never given it much thought even though I have been accused on different occassions, different places and different people as "Mr. Macho" and it was not meant as a compliment.
    Mrs Katt who doesnt subscribe to this because I do cook, do the laundrey, clean house and taught our sons to do the same. She thinks that my actions are unintentional and probably have something to do with having become a member of Uncle Sams Misguided Children at the tender age of 17.
    I am just going to be me. I am lucky, I had been engaged a couple of times for couple years each and then I met the future Mrs Katt and a week later we were married, have been for a lot years, and are best friends.
    I dont worry about the manliness
    To bad the "Man Show" still isnt on
    All kidding aside, for the record, I am an over weight, balding (with a bad combover), short, older male. And I know that I am not going to grow in height, recapture my youth, or grow new hair.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    You are too damn young to buy into this! My dad told me way back in the '60's to get a life, a career, and support myself.

    To me, manliness is killing roaches for me (I have a major paranoia), being supportive and having an actual life not based on me or our relationship. The mirror image of feminist stuff except for the bug thing.
    But that's the thing. Historically, in pre-feminist, Western Civilization, "manliness" has been largely defined by the role of a man within his family structure.

    Breadwinner. Protector. Mate. Bug Killer.

    In our post-feminist world, women don't need men to be the breadwinner and protector, and many men have yet to figure out their role, now that is has been reduced by half. How do we fill that void? What is the expectation of women for a man to be manly? ZG has described her expectations. Supportive, non-clingy, killing roaches.

    Any other women. What roles do you need men to fill which aren't related to being the breadwinner or your protector?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Fat Cat View post
    To bad the "Man Show" still isnt on
    Yeah but, shows like that only perpetuate Manhood as a realm of continual boyhood while extremely lacking in the department of Virtue.

    Programs like this are what has derailed manhood in the past couple decades.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  19. #19
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    There is an magazine ad running for a whiskey company whose premise harkens back to the simpler days of man. Basically it shows a photo of a man or men, obviously shot in the 1960s or 1970s, and the men are doing manly stuff (fishing with the buddies, fixing stuff, or at a party with a hot chick on his lap). The premise is your dad was a real man; he drank our whiskey; you should too.

    Often a man will use his own father as a barometer of what it is to be a man - good or bad. My dad is a good dad but very much an Ozzie Nelson kind of dad. He did not cook because that was woman's work. He did not do laundry. Same reason. He worked and my mom did not. Because a man provides and a woman runs the household. He was a kind man but a passive father. He really didn't get too involved with his kids until they were old enough to talk to him like adults.

    So am I manly in his eyes. Probably yes and no. I do cook and do laundry. I feel it is actually unmanly not to be able to cook. To be entirely dependent on a woman for my doestic well-being seems weak to me. I am a better cook than my wife, actually. I did it for a living for a while. I think my dad thought that was unmanly.

    He once said "Nice purse" when he saw me shouldering my computer bag. "Thanks, Dad." I said. In his eyes - a brief case is manly. Anything like a briefcase but with a shoulder strap is girly. OK, dad.

    My dad was a Marine and into his sixties he would ask men to step outside to settle an argument, but no one ever did, that I know of. He pulled that crap on me once and I called his bluff. He just let it drop.

    I am a more evolved father than he was. I changed diapers and fed my son. I read to him and he is my shadow. None of things my dad would think were "manly." My mother, on the other hand, has told me that I am a better father than my father is, which is probably the nicest things my mother has ever told me.

    I don't do a lot of the stereotypical "manly" things. I don't watch or play sports. I am not handy. I like to read. But on the other hand, I whitewater raft and canoe. I used to kayak. I hike in bear country.

    I like being a good father. I like being a good husband, which I am most ofthe time. I sometimes feel left out of the mancave talk of sports and fix-up, but not enough to become involved in stuff I have not interest in. I try to dress well. I am polite. I hold doors open for women (and men).

    I guess I am manly enough to suit me.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Mark's avatar
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    confusion

    I have four kids with the oldest in college. I've changed diapers, I do the laundary, cooking, kitchen cleaning, and the kids call me Alice. My wife works. I remember the crazy baby days with two parents working, plus the daycare issues. Just think how much easier it would of been if one parent didn't work full time. But that won't happen. I think back 25 years ago, if I met a women who said she was going to college to find a husband, I would of ran. So when you get married both partners work and keep working. It sure would be easier if one parent stayed at home. Just think about it! The dual income earning family is a pain in the jack aster. I could be a Mr. Mom, in fact if we had enough money I would gladly do it. Get the kids off to school and hit the trout stream, sounds like heaven.

    In my family being the man means taking care of the cars, the yard and teaching the kids not be wimps. And reserving my veto power for only the most important decisions I disagree with. It also means being strong and sturdy for the family or at least keeping up that appearance.

    I won't get into this, but men and women are different in many social and decision making matters. These differences also make manliness or demonstrate it. For instance, my wife will never understand that men don't care about greeting cards. In fact men don't even really read them. There are many examples that demonstrate these differences.
    Ohhhh Mama, can this really be the end!

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    Any other women. What roles do you need men to fill which aren't related to being the breadwinner or your protector?
    Technically I'm a woman, but I'm not at all representative of my gender, so any info I give would be... not too useful.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    I'm pretty old-fashioned when it comes my perspective of manliness, and it seems to coincide well with my wife's old-fashioned view on femininity and feminism.

    That being said, I take manliness to be confident leadership, acceptance of responsibility, chivalrous and charitable behavior, and principled morality.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    I'm pretty old-fashioned when it comes my perspective of manliness, and my wife is, too, for the most part, on her views on femininity and feminism. I take manliness as confident leadership, acceptance of responsibility, chivalrous and charitable behavior, and principled morality.
    Your summary is something my long winded expanations can aspire to. Good work and thanks for the brief summation!
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  24. #24
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    I will step on the roaches...
    If you use a roach clip you won't burn your fingers or drop as many on the floor where you have to step on them.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  25. #25
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    In our post-feminist world, women don't need men to be the breadwinner and protector, and many men have yet to figure out their role, now that is has been reduced by half. How do we fill that void? What is the expectation of women for a man to be manly? ZG has described her expectations. Supportive, non-clingy, killing roaches.

    Any other women. What roles do you need men to fill which aren't related to being the breadwinner or your protector?
    I'm female, and here is my opinion. I think that relationships should be partnerships and for me, I am fine with even steven when it comes to paying bills, chores, responsibilities. So, essentially 50% of the physical labor. But that can vary from household and as long as it works for both of them, great.

    I think what defines a "man" is someone who is 100% devoted to his wife and kids, honest, hard working, responsible, accountable, fun, knows his priorities.

    So for me, its not what you do, but how you do it that counts.

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