What is a man?

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You are a man.

You look as good in your three-piece suit as you do in your birthday suit. You’re not afraid to sport either. You can also roll up your sleeves and buck a cord. In thirty minutes. You wear collared shirts unless you’re exercising, which means you wear an old New Orleans French Quarter t-shirt. It doesn’t match your shoes, and that doesn’t bother you in the least. You do legs more often than upper body. Because you don’t want to be one of those chicken-legged assholes that does bicep curls every time.

You read Hemingway, but you don’t love him like you used to. You’ve dipped in the classics, and you like Carver a lot. You don’t talk books with people, though. When you talk you ask more questions than you answer, and you never over-share. You laugh at the appropriate impasses, but never at the inane. Your laugh is deep, and it makes other people laugh too. You shave unless you have no razor. Sometimes you shave a second time before dinner, because your beard comes in thick, and you are hot-blooded. And it’s polite.

You hold doors. You don’t throw down your coat, because it’s impractical, and embarrassing. But if she’s cold, you let her wear it. You pay for the first dinner. But you are progressive enough to understand that she makes money too. So she can pay sometimes. She’s your equal, and that doesn’t bother you at all. Things don’t bother you. It would imply that you weren’t thick-skinned enough to be the man that you are.

You drink the occasional beer. The occasional wine. The occasional scotch. You don’t overdrink, because that leads to over-sharing. You have civil relationships with college friends, whom you never refer to as “buddies”. You don’t use neologisms (or, “buzzwords”, because they offend you), and get your hair cut twice a month. You drive a car that is not lifted or dropped or over-tinted, and when the dealership asked if you wanted a spoiler you smiled and they knew you didn’t. It was a formality.

You take your coffee black, and never from Starbucks. You accept tea from your grandmother. You remember her birthday, and bring her a spool of wool every year. You wear the socks she knits for you. You are not gluten-free, lactose intolerant, pescatarian, or atheist. And it doesn’t matter what you are, because you don’t over-share. But everyone knows you were raised Roman-Catholic but aren’t fucked up from it. Your kids’ friends have nicknames for you. Your kids are normal, with normal names. Your wife is not in danger of becoming a lesbian at fifty.

You call your mother regularly. She too is normal. You tell her you love her. This between the seventeenth and eighteenth hole, where you are about to shoot par. It’s 6:30 AM. You have time to drive your kids to school and make love to your wife (it’s your wife; you can call it that) before you go to work.

You don’t bring work home, because it’s just money. Your full-time job is being a man. You were born to do it.

57 Ways to be a better man!

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