Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Are they throwing down the gauntlet?

What is Elena to do when her male blog readers start attacking/insulting one another's brands of masculinity? Intervene? Slap their hands? Lay down the law? Let them duke it out and clean up their own blood spatters and apply their own cold slabs o' steak? Stand back and drool? I dunno...

Guys tease one another all the time, throwing barbs and insults, calling one another names... And among some people, the "yo mama" barrage back-n-forth is an art form! (The females indulge in that activity as well.) According to my friends over at Blogger Blaster's (see "Nate" in the sidebar), learning how to take insults and dish 'em back out is a rite of passage for guys, especially among brothers within a family. I've never experienced this myself, since I only have Ashpenaz (or Ashley the Blue Raider, as some of you know her). We didn't have a brother to pummel or to pummel us or to tell us we were stupid poopheads. We had enough of the teasing and name calling from the boys at school. And we decided we didn't like that behavior when it was directed at us.

Over the years, I've noticed that I and other women find men's fighting (physically or verbally) with one another...kinda...you know...sexy. Maybe it's the displays of strength. But then again...the movie version is different from the real-life one. I mean, even if the guy looks like a hunk, do ya really want him name calling at the family reunion or throwing a large object through a restaurant window?

And what about in the body of Christ? Does the sarcasm, the teasing, the usual "manly" repartee amongst "the guys" have a place?

Are some guys being too agressive? Are others being too sensitive? I still don't know.

I think some individuals, both men and women, are struggling these days to figure out if their brands of masculinity or femininity are valid. Should he feel bad about himself if he's not white collar? Should he feel ashamed that he knows beans about car repair? Should he hang his head in shame because he doesn't own a gun or know how to shoot? Should she tease the guys like they tease one another and tease her? Should she be sweet and innocent, or is it OK for her to know about certain *ahem* things (if only in theory, not in practice)? Should she use her brain and go after a career (not necessarily climb the ladder for its own sake), or should she eschew the contemporary world and seek to build a lifestyle pre-1960s?

Who are we supposed to be? Are there only so many flavors of man or woman to be allowed and praised?

These are confusing times indeed.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Should he hang his head in shame because he doesn't own a gun or know how to shoot?"

Yes.

Nate said...

Should he feel bad about himself if he's not white collar? No.

Should he feel ashamed that he knows beans about car repair? Yes.

Should he hang his head in shame because he doesn't own a gun or know how to shoot? Yes. The man's first responsibility is to protect his family. Pretending the badman will go away is a failure. Refusing to make use of the tools of the trade is also failure.

Sweetheart... you aren't supposed to understand the manly arts. You ain't a man. Just know that there is only 1 brand of masculinity. It's the one that protects, loves, and leads the family.

Our 'games' are all designed to facilitate and train these qualities.

Ya know... We don't tell you what season to where white in...

A. P. said...

"Should he feel ashamed that he knows beans about car repair? Yes.

Should he hang his head in shame because he doesn't own a gun or know how to shoot? Yes. "


So, "real" men are rednecks? This insuates that men who can't do this are traitors to the sex. Can we expand our definition a little, Nate?

Shucks, and here I thought a "real" man was one who simply followed the God he believed, despite stumblings and failures.

Anonymous said...

A man is responsible to protect his wife and family. What the heck is wrong with saying that?

Since when is taking care of basic safety issues redneck?

Do you want the wife driving an unsafe car?

If your wife is taking care of the needs of the family that she handles best why wouldn’t the guy do his part?

Res

A. P. said...

Res,

You didn't read what I quoted. Read what I quoted.

The quote said:
"Should he feel ashamed that he knows beans about car repair? Yes.

Should he hang his head in shame because he doesn't own a gun or know how to shoot? Yes. "


Forget what he posted after this. The quotes infer that men who can't shoot a gun and fix a car aren't men.

I don't have a problem with men taking care of/protecting their families, and was saying this quote too narrowly defines a man.

Anonymous said...

AP,

I wasn’t responding to you in particular. I thought some things were self evident. I can’t imagine that they would even be a question about them.

Res

Anonymous said...

AP,

I wasn’t responding to you in particular. I thought some things were self evident. I can’t imagine that they would even be a question about them.

Res

Anonymous said...

Apparently the whole blogger thing is beyond me tonight. Sorry about the dbl post.

Res

Nate said...

"So, "real" men are rednecks? "

So everyone who has a blue collar job, or can their own oil... or gap their plugs is a redneck?

Masculinity requires a certain level of independence and do-it-yourself know how. If you depend on others for things as basic as transportation, then yes.. you are failing in that particular aspect of masculinity.

Doesn't mean you are totally unmasculine. Just means you ain't the whole package.

Men fix stuff. Modern society, and largely modern feminists have convinced generations that this is not the case, and that masculinity has nothing to do with this sort of thing... they are however, wrong.

And for the record... "redneck" is something to be proud of. I'll take a redneck over some useless academic panty waist anyday. I'm surround by those academics and white collar grubs, and if there is a lower form of life on the planet... I'm sure it can only be found in the bellies of avians or the streets of New York.

StarGazer said...

"So everyone who has a blue collar job, or can their own oil... or gap their plugs is a redneck?"

No, but assuming that one must possess these skills to be a "real" man is a very redneck trait, and a particularly ungracious one at that.

Society is built upon division of labor. Certain people have jobs as mechanics (or other such jobs) so that not everyone has to have certain skills, freeing up their time to make their own contributions to society. There is nothing unmanly about calling in a mechanic if you are having car trouble, or a plumber if your pipes are stopped up, or a repairman if your fridge stops working, ect. If a man works to make the money to pay for these services, he is providing for his family as much as if he was doing it himself. Following your logic to it's natural end, no family with a man in the house should ever go shopping at the grocery store; the man should grow his own vegetables and slaughter his own meat, because only by providing for all his family's needs by his very own hands can he be a "real" man. But, of course, if everyone had to do everything, we would all be stuck in prehistoric times, with no advancement to society at all, so labor is divided up. You may find cars interesting and fun, and more power to you if you do, but that in no way implies that every man has to share in your passion to be truly masculine.

As for guns, I don't like them, but when and if I have a family, I will have a gun in the house, and I will take the five minutes necessary to learn how to use it well enough to shoot an intruder. That is all that is required to protect my family; I don't need to be able to bring down a beer can at one hundred paces.

There is no simple definition of masculinity, because there is no single category of men. An accountant is as much of a man as a mechanic, so long as he follows God with all his heart and takes care of his family in the way that his talents and skills are most suited.

A. P. said...

Nate,

I won't be as eloquent as Stargazer.

Doesn't mean you are totally unmasculine. Just means you ain't the whole package.

Oh, really? So, I'm halfway unmasculine? And this is according to the Bible? No...wait...I don't remember that verse. Um, according to Plato? No...hmmm...he didn't write that. Oh, its according to you!

You're definition of a "man" is limited and insulting.

There is no one definition for what a "man" is and is not. If my wife fixes cars and I clean house is our marriage unhealthy because we have our gender roles reversed? No. I'm still a man if I lead spritually.

Nate said...

"You may find cars interesting and fun, and more power to you if you do, but that in no way implies that every man has to share in your passion to be truly masculine."

Hardly. Men understand the world. They are to know how things work and why. Part of protecting and providing is keeping and saving. So... for example... if you're to ignorant to realize that changing rotors because they are grooved is totally unnecessary... then you are wasting 300 bucks, and your ignorance is allowing you to be taken advantage of.

Hey... I understand that you don't like bein' called a pussy. To bad. I'm doin' it just the same.

You can buy all this modern bs about what a man is and ain't all ya want... 2+2 is still 4.

Women don't define men. Men do. Being a man is largely about meeting challenges, independence, and the ability to act, even when you're scared out of your mind.

These are the aspects of manhood that produce the pecking. Men may well have to depend on one another in a scary situation. Therefore, we like to know the men we are with are trustworthy, and won't pee their pants when the bullets start flyin'.

The needling is part of the testing, which has evolved as part of our society as long as we've had tribes to fight amongst.

Dislike it all ya want.

Sissy.

A. P. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nate said...

And umm... I have a limited view of masculinity?

Me?

Now that's funny.

That's like saying I have a limited view of addition because I don't think 2+2=22.

I'm a stay-at-home dad A.P. My wife's an anesthesiologist. I take care of the kids. How's that for limited?

A. P. said...

Nate,

You're insulting and small-minded.

How dare you call a man you've never met a sissy just because you feel his type of "man-hood" is not up to your standards (which by the way you offer zero support for other than personal opinion). Hey, surprise! in the Real World, we Grown Ups like to actually give evidence for things other than "because I say so."

You are the school yard jock who associates toughness with ability.

I do not, in any way, see you attempting to care for and care about another Christian brother. Calling him a sissy. Pfft. Real big of you.

And in case you weren't able to wrap your mind around it, when i said your definition of man-hood was limiting I mean just that. You have defined "men" according to what YOU think men should be. That's limiting because the word limiting means some things are exluded, and in this case what is excluded is everyone else's difnition of a man.

Stargazer, don't post back. Let it lie.

This discussion is over.

Anonymous said...

Stargazer: I don't know much about guns but you can learn to point and shoot in five minutes. But at the moment of decision can you pull the trigger and kill someone else? Can you keep your head when your family is threatened? Those are the keys to self-defense.

JohnR

Elena said...

A. P., I suggest fighting fire with water rather than fire.

Proverbs 15:1

Elena said...

What I'm understanding here is, no matter what the task, a man is supposed to be willing to do whatever it takes to "get the job done." To be brave, no matter the circumstances; to trust that his God is both his admiral and his rearguard, so that the man of God does what needs doing--in faith; that a man sees obstacles as challenges to be met, not as walls keeping him out of the promised land.

Caleb and Joshua were manly men who saw themselves strong, as God did, and were ready to take the action He directed them to take---conquer the promised land. They stood for God and said, "Believe Him! He is no liar! He said we can take this land because He is with us. He will be our strength."

The rest of the Hebrews saw themselves as grasshoppers contrasted against the mighty and gigantic Nephilim...and quaked in fear and refused to obey God.

I think various versions of masculinity are valid. What is "masculine" and "virile" to me may be different from what it is to another woman.

If there were no women on the planet, would y'all have a reason to compete? Do you care more about women think of you or more about what other guys think of you?

StarGazer said...

JohnR,

It seems to me that, until I am actually in that situation, then there is no way I can fully know the answer to that question. It's not something that one can prepare for; no matter how much time I may spend practicing with a gun, I could never be truely prepared for facing another breathing human being at the other end of it, at the mercy of my own resolve. No simulation can replicate that situation, because it is the knowledge that I am going to end a real human life that would make the decision difficult, even in the case of self-defense. So I don't feel that I can give an absolute, honest answer to that question.

However, I can speculate. I think, in the case that I am the only one whose life is in danger, that it would still be difficult for me to pull the trigger, due to the absolutely final nature of the action. In the case where the person at which I am pointing my gun is threatening my friends or my family, that man is dead. No hesitation, no doubt. I would be willing to face any amount of personal guilt, or jail time (if I get stuck with a sufficiently liberal judge), to protect my loved ones.

Anonymous said...

Stargazer,

This is not meant to offend you. It’s meant as advice from a guy who has drilled with firearms for more than 20 years and who has had a loaded gun in his face more than once and been shot twice. (not seriously hurt, once was an accident and once was in anger.)

“I will have a gun in the house, and I will take the five minutes necessary to learn how to use it well enough to shoot an intruder.”

The use of a firearm requires more than 5 min to learn. Yes I think you can grasp the concept in 5 min, but learning in this case involves a very intimate familiarity with you weapon. You want to instinctively “know” every crevice of you weapon and you want to “know” how to make it do what ever you need done (make it go bang and hit where it’s aimed). It takes lots of time and practice to have complete confidence in what your doing with a firearm. If your going to get a gun, please take the time to use it correctly there are lots of classes and you’ll be able to find someone to help you do it right, and be sure to take your wife, she needs to learn about any weapon you have in the house.

“It seems to me that, until I am actually in that situation, then there is no way I can fully know the answer to that question.”

Sort of true, when the time comes I don’t think you’ll contemplate it, you’ll act, because every part of your being will compel you to.


“It's not something that one can prepare for; no matter how much time I may spend practicing with a gun,”

Practice isn’t entirely about preparing you mentally its about making your actions automatic and sure. You should either get with some guys who take drilling in actual situations fanatically serious or at least join an pistol league for practice.

Check out some of the “real life” shooting scenarios that people do for practice:

http://www.tacticalshooters.com/COF/index_page.htm

Guns aren’t for everybody, if you decide that they are for you, please take the time to do it right.


Res Ipsa

StarGazer said...

"Guns aren’t for everybody"

Well, I suppose I could use my sword. :-)

I do believe it will be necessary to have some means of defense in my home once I have a family to protect, but guns do make me uncomfortable (especially since my eyes are none too good). Are there alternatives you could recommend?

Anonymous said...

If eyesight is your main concern you might consider a shotgun instead of a pistol. For most folks a shotgun is a better option for home defense if they are unable to put in the time training to use a pistol. Load it with double ought buck (00 Buck is what the box will have on it) and you will be fine. But I would still invest a few hours at the range learning how to manage and shoot the gun, and you will want to know exactly what you can expect from the gun in terms of pattern and recoil.

Less than lethal weapons like pepper spray, tasers, etc also need a good deal of training. Other options like fighting also require skill and strength, which might be a good option. However unless you’re an expert you will likely loose against a guy on drugs who breaks into your home.

A good long handled trusting sword would make a decent defense in a hallway or door. Practice trusting it thru a 1in or thicker pine board to make sure you can drive it home through the bad guys rib cage. Like in shooting, defensive sword play is about hitting center of mass, you won’t have time to think about you point of impact, you need to drive it home, withdraw and drive it home again until the attack stops. You won’t have time to pin point your thrusts so practice on a 1/3 life size board held firmly in place vertically. Rapiers should be keep straight for the trust and withdraw otherwise they may break. You will have to keep up the attack till your adversary falls or flees. Likely you will be very bloody and may well take blows or cuts, do not loosen your grip on the handle or it may become slick with blood.

Like everything else, practice.

Res

Jeanne said...

I sure require a heck of a lot more of a man than just being "a spiritual leader". Laying your mantle of that is little more than a cop-out. And certainly not masculine.

Nate said...

"It seems to me that, until I am actually in that situation, then there is no way I can fully know the answer to that question. "

Hrm...

This is why we train. When TSHTF you revert to instinct. Therefore you must train until your actions are simply rote. You perform without thinking.

I can't tell you how many tales I've heard of cops who claim they fired 2 shots.. only to find after the dust settles that they actually emptied their clips.

It sounds wise to say that you don't know until you're in that situation... but really.. you're just sayin' you haven't trained for it.

The military has proven that training works.

Res is absolutely correct though... either go all the way, or don't go at all. There are attitudes that must be in place in order to successfully and safely use a firearm. Without them, you're just putting yourself and your family at greater risk.

In a bad situation... the best piece of advice I can give is this... You don't draw the gun until you've made up your mind to shoot. There is no "I'll point the gun at him to scare him." Hesitation will get you killed. Practice drawing and immediately siting and firing. It should be practicly one motion.

Anonymous said...

“Practice drawing and immediately siting and firing.”

I might practice sighting (aiming) and firing standing up, you don’t always have time to sit.

Res

The Pink Kitty said...

This is kind too late in the game but I just wanted throw out, what if I can change my own oil and give my own car a tune up? What if I can already protect myself? What if I can already provide for myself? What would I need a man for? I tell you what:

I need a man to hold me when I come home at night and to stroke my hair. I need a man to share in my life as I would his. I need a man to tease me a little and make me laugh as I would him. I need a man who's willing to watch some sappy Lifetime movie because he wants to spend time with me (I'll watch the game with him afterwards). I need a man to make love to me. It seems by the thread that since what I need man for doesn't involve cars, guns or "bringing home the bread", that I need a man who's not a real man?

I can't deny that after having dated an "intellectual" and fellow college graduate who knew zip about cars, was the same height as me and was a big p*ssy and was all "sensitive" that I do want a man who's a man and not too "in touch with his feminine side". But I think being "man" involves more than weilding a socket wrench and a gun. To me a man is someone who is happy enough with themselves to admit that maybe hey, they don't know as much about cars as I might but they'll still help me change my oil because it'll be fun to do it together. To me a man is someone who can shoot the sh*t with the guys but can still come home and tell me if he feels sad/scared/unhappy/happy/in love etc. To me a man is someone who might not know how to fix that hole I put in the wall but is willing to read up on and learn with me so we can do it together and then get in a paint fight when it comes to painting. To me a man is someone who will take time in the bedroom and please me both emotionally and physically and I would for him.

What I'm trying to say is that I think the biggest manly quality is being able to be sensitive when the time is right and being "manly" when the time is right. There's only one defintie quality that I really feel a man needs to be able to do to make him a man: he needs to be able to pick me up, throw me over his shoulder and carry me to bedroom because nothing would make me feel more like a tub tub than if my man couldn't pick me up (how's he supposed to carry me through the door when we get married then?). oh, and he's got to like Waylon, Willie, Cash and Townes. That's just how it goes.

The Pink Kitty said...

p.s. Res, I chuckled for a while about not always having time to sit :)

StarGazer said...

The Pink Kitty,

I couldn't have said it better myself. You've just described the exact kind of life I want to have with the woman I eventually marry.

Elena said...

Hey, TPK, good to hear from ya! For a minute there I was wondering if Pink Kitty had succumbed to "temptation" and found an Internet cafe in Colorado...but I realized which one you are. :o)

Nice profile pic, by the way. PK and I really like the French Kitty cartoons!

Nate said...

PK,
By that description darlin', I'd say you don't need a man. You need a woman.

Miss O'Hara said...

You know...for several years now, my definition of a man has been a male who "Loves God, his family, and his country, in that order" - and acts like it (that's how one of Jimmy Stewart's best buddies described him).

If you ask me, those ingredients in full make up a real man. In a few short words, a lot is encompassed, because much is required to fulfill that definition. The behaviours involved might very well include fixing the car, defending the family, and opening doors for his wife - as well as dedicating himself and his household to God and laying down his life for God or country if necessary. Or, if the lady of the home just can't manage once in a while - go to the grocery store.

I think Nate had it, here, too:

Being a man is largely about meeting challenges, independence, and the ability to act, even when you're scared out of your mind.


Kinda fits in with my idea (well, Jimmy Stewart's friend's idea). There is a lot to being a man - just as there is a lot to being a woman. Yes, I want a man I can snuggle with and have intelligent conversations with - but I also want a man who will follow God, isn't afraid to get his hands dirty, and who will protect me - physically and spiritually.

Just my two cents.

Okay, a nickel's worth.

For now. (Darn you, Elena!) ;)

Elena said...

Nate, that wasn't PK. It was TPK---The Pink Kitty. She's from California.

The Pink Kitty said...

Hi Elena! :) I love the kitty's but I've never seen the French Kitty cartoons! I didn't even know they made cartoons! I want to watch! :)

And Nate, I actually think it sounds like I want a man. To be able to be emotional with me and to be open with me would take a man who's secure in himself enough to know that there's more to being a man than grunting, scratching his a** and shooting his gun. Life is about living and when you're in a relationship with someone, it's about living together and continually building the bond and growing together. Just because one feels safe enough to tell thier woman how you feel and just because one is comfortable enough with their woman to just hold her when she says, "please just hold me", doesn't make one any less of a man. It just shows that the man in question loves the woman enough to be honest and real with her and I don't think that makes the man any less of a man.

okay, I'll stop now. I'm a lucky kitty because I've found The Boy who is all that and more. He cooks up a mean steak! Yum!

Pink Kitty said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pink Kitty said...

Had some typos in there... here's the corrected version of my comment:

Nate, please refer to me as PK...

The Pink Kitty is from CA and we call her TPK to keep the confusion at a minimum :)

TPK: you can find french kitty things at: http://www.french-kitty.com/

Thanks and now back to your regularly scheduled debate.

The Pink Kitty said...

PK, I checked out the site and I love all the stuff! But where can I find the cartoons that Elena mentions?

I have lots of French Kitty stationary. It's my favorite!:)

Anonymous said...

Girls, I love ya’ll but I think we know the reason American manhood is suffering so badly that it’s near unrecognizable. Here we have a perfectly good testosterone filled rant and ya’ll turn it into a discussion about cute fuzzy pink kitties.

French kitties no less!!!


Res

Elena said...

TPK, I meant the illustrations in general are cartoon style. I've not seen any cartoon strips per se.

At Borders I found a cute little book about French Kitty on vacation in Hawaii. (Also available are cute playing cards in the shape of tiki things.)

The Pink Kitty said...

I've seen the tiki inspired French Kitty! I love it! :)

This French Kitty site has a cute little flash animation in the beginning :)

Meow!

Ashley the Blue Raider said...

My 2 cents:

My roomie Girl X and I, like to shop, be girly, get lattes and talk about boys, but we also washed our cars this past weekend and are going to detail them soon. We like knowing how to be independent if a situation ever comes where we'll need to be prepared.

One of my guy roommates doesn't know how to deal with used car salesmen, but he can fix appliances, which us girls haven't done (yet,) and he hates to shop and loves movies filled with action, blood, guts and gore.

Girl X bought her own car, haggled with the sleazy salesmen and then they offered her a job at the dealership, which she turned down-- because who wants to be a sleazy car salesman?

Okay, so who is more masculine or feminine?

Nate, I already know your response, darlin'. Honey bunch. Sugar pie, sweet pea.

Personally, I don't want a man who is all brawn with no brains or tact. I want a thinking, reasoning, strong, but gentle (when the situation call for it) kinda guy who can communicate beyond Tim Allen grunts. Anything less is a neanderthal who has to consult his intelligent neighbor to explain situations that are obvious to everyone else. Hopefully, in this case, life doesn't always imitate art (or sitcoms.)

Serena said...

A man who has to cut another's manhood down is having problems with his own masculinity, in my opinion. All men are on a journey. All have had different experiences in life and lack of experiences. Some men have not had fathers to teach them. Some men have had to overcome incredible odds to become comfortable as the man Father is molding. Some men have a great ability mechanically and others don't. Some men are whizzes financially and others aren't and so forth. What is important is that a man is yielding to the molding of His maker and walks in integrity in his relationships and business. The scripture says that men look on the outside appearance but that YHWH looks on the heart. I think only He is a good judge of what a man is. He is perfectly capable of molding any man who will yield to His working in his life and what the result will be is His masterpiece of His intention and design.

A good book to read would be "Crisis in Masculinity" by Leanne Payne. She has quite a ministry to those who desire to come out of the homosexual life and has a lot of insight into masculinity from her many years of working with men struggling with theirs. She is a wise grandmother type so don't think that it would be unmasculine to read a book on masculinity written by a woman.

Love and shalom,
Serena

pacatrue said...

I came across this blog, following links on people who liked the book Perelandra. So, hi Elena, who's profile, I think, says she likes that book. If not, well, oops. So here is a stranger to throw in his two cents on this debate. To define a single concept of masculinity is in the end futile. It means you can sum up every virtue that 2.6 billion people should have. It is kind of like finding women with dark brown hair absolutely beautiful, and deciding therefore that any woman without that color hair is ugly or only half-way to perfection. Or like deciding C.S. Lewis is a wonderful author, which he is, and concluding that anyone who isn't C.S. Lewis therefore just isnt up to par. The list of men who should be heroes to us, and yet don't match one single description of what the ideal male is, is enormous. To name some people who should be decent, if not perfect, role models, let's try Jefferson, Franklin, Isaac Newton, and Einstein. OK, too intellectual? Add in whoever else you need. I have a feeling all of those guys would have hired someone else to work on their car, while they were being pansies by, oh, leading the cause of democracy, or changing the way humans understand the world. All this doesn't mean they wouldn't be even cooler if they didn't do oil changes too, but they don't stop being great male role models for that horrible deficiency. There just is no one perfect definition of maleness. I would rather have Attila the Hun at my back during a fight than Einstein, but I sure would prefer my son to grow up to be the latter. In case this all sounds like a rant against Nate's view, I will just say again that being independent, being able to work on your car, and being able to defend one's loved ones are all awesome things, but there are a million other awesome things as well, which men can and should do.