mnmlist: Manhood 101

Understanding that I might court controversy, I feel obliged to spout a crazy theory about how–if you find yourself a man–you might optimize your manhood (from an emotional, not anatomical, perspective).

I give the disclaimer that I am not, nor have been to the best of my knowledge, a woman. My manly mandate may apply to women as well. To what extent, I can only report second hand.

But here it is, one of the most basics of basic manhood. Ready?

Men keep their word.

In the original “Godfather,” Vito Corleone talks to Michael about managing the Family and says, “Women and children can afford to be careless, but not men.” The Godfather might seem like a specious source of spiritual wisdom, but his remark has been borne out in countless situations in my life. A man has a special bond with his word that, if not treated with great care, has the capacity to unravel everything about him.

This is not to say that women are immune to the impact of not being word-as-bond. But it’s a different–not quite as hardcore–relationship. They can say things that, if said by a man, would be unforgivable. To illustrate: If a girlfriend says she hates her boyfriend, he’s expected to shrug it off. If he said that to her, the remark would never, ever, ever be forgotten or forgiven.

If a man is 2 hours late for an appointment, he won’t be forgiven because he looks nice in a sundress. He broke his bond. He’s a punk and a flake. Many women can glide through the same situation and be labeled “mysterious” and “ethereal,” rather than “weak” and “unreliable.”

It’s different.

One possible explanation for the difference lies in the David Deida idea that masculine energy manifests as steadiness and integrity, while feminine energy manifests as flow and change. The caveat is that some men have feminine energies and vice-versa, but that’s the general idea.

The feminine works best when grounded by masculine integrity and direction; without that energy, her behavior is like one of those sprinklers with the spaghetti hoses, shooting and spraying everyone in sight. Alternately, she might take on the role of the man, protectively shutting down her emotions so she can enjoy the emotional constancy she longs for.

The masculine works best when it is charged with the feminine’s ability to connect with emotion and feeling; without that energy, he is dead to the world, an emotionless automaton doing shit for the sake of doing it. Alternately, he might be a hyper-sensitive wuss, a self-medicating strategy for treating his feminine energy deficiency.

In relationships, when the man–or the masculine partner if same-sex–is not careful with his word (i.e. his integrity), the feminine partner feels unsafe. She becomes anxious and/or erratic in her behavior. Rather than looking at his part in the situation, a man might say something like, “Women are nuts.” While it’s hard to argue that some women are nuts, most men don’t do much to improve that situation, demonstrating the reliability of the Greek stock exchange.

Men will perpetrate this same blame-shifting on other victims: their bosses, governments, etc. Rather than looking at their carelessness and lapsed agreements, they’ll declare the other party FUBAR.

Are you a guy or someone looking to be more manly? Having issues in your relationship, work, dealing with the Man? Consider:

  1. Where are you not keeping your word? Broken agreements, unkept promises, etc.
  2. Where are you not taking responsibility for your carelessness and lack of integrity? Are you blaming your woman, your guy, your boss, Mitt Romney, etc. for all of your woes?
  3. Write out a list of all your lapsed agreements and broken promises. It doesn’t matter how long the things are outstanding. Maybe it’s something you said you would do last year and never did. Late is better than never.
  4. Do one thing from the list immediately. It could be doing something for your woman, guy, pet, boss, standing up to the Man, etc.–something that you said you were going to do and didn’t do for some lame reason.
  5. Pay attention to how your perspective on that situation changes. You are responsible for your life and how it turns out.

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