All who read my previous post about Alpha Beta men will have already concluded that I am particularly partial to the male of the species. How this came about from the fourth daughter in a family of five girls and one brother to a fully grown man-lover isn’t hard to understand.
Close contact. Through my three sons.
A colleague once claimed that boys brutalize their mothers. I disagree. Fully actualized men are marvels of creation. And they are the main reason I write happily-ever-after hero fiction.
Before we get into that, let’s have a look at the imitators – the half men who latch onto the more blatant qualities of manhood, thinking that’s all there is to the vastly complicated mechanism of maleness.
One of these manifestations of so-called manhood is the Macho Man – a favorite target of the radical feminist. These guys bluster and rail, fume and fight. As soon as they are crossed, they come out swinging. A recent demonstration of this are the arrests of NFL players. Those of us who like football like our teams to be aggressive, ready to lay their bodies on the line (as well as plenty of the bodies of the opposing team). However, we do not want that aggression to spell over into the off-the-field world.
My own local team leads the league in felony arrests. Those who follow this American sport will know which team that is. Football, being a contact sport and a substitute for battle, seeks the biggest, meanest, most aggressive players. Good judgment and common sense are not required skills. Only a small percentage – a ratio similar to that of the general population – commit violent crimes but because those are ‘celebrities,’ their behavior comes under intense scrutiny.
Several years ago, I worked for an organization that provided aid, support and refuge to battered women. Abused women and children arrived at the many safe houses we had across the country every week, sometimes daily, desperate to escape the cycle of violence. Often, this was not their first attempt to break the pattern. Though Nicole Simpson’s fate was in their future, like one other notable football wife, they returned to their abuser, sometimes convinced they were to blame, their abuser was truly repentant, promised never to do it again, really loved them, the prospect of single-parent poverty, never really free or safe, was worse than being beaten to death.
The evidence that our society is too often inclined to blame the woman is apparent in the number of women who chose to wear the felon’s number and made excuses for his violence. Drunk or sober, a man is what he is. These macho abusers do not regret or change, they believe they are entitled and happily blame everyone but themselves. Hard liquor brings out the real jerk lurking beneath the façade. Vino veritas.
Next in this unscientific analysis of three male identities, on the other end of the spectrum, we have Metro Man, We’ve all seen him. The guy with the sincere, puppy-dog eyes, rescuing stray kittens, picking up a frothy latte for you on the way. The guy we’re supposed to dream about because he’s so sensitive and caring. He is the direct opposite of the Macho Man. For a shining example: a couple walking along the street in downtown San Francisco. She was carrying a large pink bundle. He was carrying a designer briefcase and her bag – one that I, a self-confessed bag-aholic, coveted.
A helpful, secure-in-his-manhood new father? Not at all. The pink bundle was a white-furred puppy, its little paws draped over its pet-mommy’s arm. Metro Man exhibited his ‘male-guilt’ induced sensitivity. But will he put his body between that bag and the potentially dangerous street thug approaching with his eye fixed on that dangling shiny object of his desire?
As a teenage girl, I read fan magazines and dreamed about meeting the object of my adoration. The phenomenon of teenage girl adoration explains the Metro Man – safe, non-threatening, unrealistic, love and sexuality at a distance. That may also explain the middle-aged woman’s penchant for personalities of this ilk. Entirely understandable in light of the alternative above.
We know all about the Mars/Venus theory. I have my own. Most of what we consider masculine or feminine behavior is social conditioning. Each of us has the capacities attributed to one or the other. Modern Man has been around for at least 150,000 years. All the qualities and skills that straightened the sapient human’s back and drove the species out of caves, onto farmland and into family groups exists today in the Modern Man.
This male identity works day and night to put food on the table for his family, no matter if he has to dig potatoes or run a business. He’ll move to any town, state or country to make a better life for his offspring. He’ll stand between his wife and a street thug. He’ll go to war to defend what he believes in. He’ll stroke a baby’s head with the gentleness seemingly reserved for mothers. He will be loyal to his friends to his own disadvantage. He will take on the burden of almost anything to keep his family together. He builds castles, bridges, companies; leads the pack; defends the innocent; hunts and protects by instinct. He dreams larger than life.
Can you blame me for writing about men? The possibilities are endless. I write about the ordinary man, the common, hard-working, hero of every day life, the real super heroes.
© Leigh Verrill-Rhys 2014