How to be a Man

garion333:

So you created this thread so you could talk more about yourself? What's the point of this thread then? You can do that by looking in the mirror or writing in a journal.

Nope. I created this thread because people apparently wanted to talk about it. It puzzles me greatly that now they seem only to want to engage me, obligating me to respond. At least Cheeze is posting his thoughts about it. Shrug.

SixteenBlue:

Or maybe it should be called "What does being a man mean to you?"

It was also meant in the context of cultural impositions on men, since the OP was about that. You've made a statement that you didn't think those are valid. I was wondering whether or not you're going to expound on that sometime.

CheezePavilion:

And we definitely don't live in a society where you can identify as third sex, let alone a-gendered. Of course, if we did live in that society, would we even bother with gender as a part--or even such an important part--of our identity anyway?

I live in a society where you can identify as a third sex. They generally consider it more important, since deviating from the dominant two sexes (genders? Not sure about terminology here) requires considerable commitment. People who don't care simply accept what society at large maps them as.

Demyx:

Well gee Larry, it's entirely possible that my tastes in what makes a person sexually attractive are highly unusual!

Or maybe whether or not makeup makes a person more or less sexually attractive depends on the person in question, the makeup in question, and how I happen to be feeling that day.

What I really don't understand is how my preferences figure into this discussion in the first place. What point are you trying to make?

If you are a (heterosexual) woman and you leaned one way or the other, my way to be masculine vis a vis you is to entertain whatever it is you preferred. Not stating a definitive makes it difficult.

You're talking about what it means for you in direct response to people who are saying that everyone should define their own masculinity, though. Do you not agree that that is the case?

Not sure. What do you mean by "should" in this sentence? Parse differently.

LarryC wrote:

If you are a (heterosexual) woman and you leaned one way or the other, my way to be masculine vis a vis you is to entertain whatever it is you preferred.

I prefer men who have a strong identity of their own and don't tailor themselves to what they think I will prefer. Seriously.

Not stating a definitive makes it difficult.

Well, a lot of women don't have a definitive list of what they always find sexy.

Not sure. What do you mean by "should" in this sentence? Parse differently.

I think that any person who identifies as a man ideally would define for himself what that means to him.

Demyx:

I find those statements puzzling.

I prefer men who have a strong identity of their own and don't tailor themselves to what they think I will prefer. Seriously.

Have I given you the impression that I don't have a strong identity? I've been told it's annoying and occasionally overpowering.

Well, a lot of women don't have a definitive list of what they always find sexy.

You don't need to justify yourself to me. I was not standing in judgment.

I think that any person who identifies as a man ideally would define for himself what that means to him.

I thought I just did.

Larry, then what did you mean earlier in the thread when you said this?:

LarryC wrote:

making maleness out to be nothing more than self-identifying as a man is also insulting to men.

I've skimmed, so not sure if this has been touched on already but as a father to a young son the question of how to be a man, and how to impart those lessons to him has been on my mind.

I was raised solely by women, but I was given positive role models through stories. I adopted the code I've lived by since my early teens from one such story and I hold to the code as my moral compass.

Never violate a woman, nor harm a child
Do not lie, cheat or steal
These things are for lesser men
Protect the weak against the evil strong
and Never allow thoughts of gain to lead you in the pursuit of evil.

I've lived by that for the past 15 to 20 years, sometimes falling short, but always striving to uphold it and as a result I can look in the mirror and be proud of the man staring back at me. Holding to that code has led me to work in industries that allow me to make tangible impacts in people's lives on a daily basis.

For example the other day I had a former client of mine I've assisted into vocational training and employment, a 32 year old man who is living in emergency housing with an 8 month old son and a wife with post natal depression say to me that over the past few months he has on several occasions contemplated just walking away from it all and leave his family. He then went on to say that I'd helped him through our conversations by being a good man who reminds men of what they have to do to be good men. I'll admit that story got me dusty.

My point is that it takes more than identifying as male and having a penis.

Prozac wrote:

I've skimmed, so not sure if this has been touched on already but as a father to a young son the question of how to be a man, and how to impart those lessons to him has been on my mind.

I was raised solely by women, but I was given positive role models through stories. I adopted the code I've lived by since my early teens from one such story and I hold to the code as my moral compass.

Never violate a woman, nor harm a child
Do not lie, cheat or steal
These things are for lesser men
Protect the weak against the evil strong
and Never allow thoughts of gain to lead you in the pursuit of evil.

I've lived by that for the past 15 to 20 years, sometimes falling short, but always striving to uphold it and as a result I can look in the mirror and be proud of the man staring back at me. Holding to that code has led me to work in industries that allow me to make tangible impacts in people's lives on a daily basis.

For example the other day I had a former client of mine I've assisted into vocational training and employment, a 32 year old man who is living in emergency housing with an 8 month old son and a wife with post natal depression say to me that over the past few months he has on several occasions contemplated just walking away from it all and leave his family. He then went on to say that I'd helped him through our conversations by being a good man who reminds men of what they have to do to be good men. I'll admit that story got me dusty.

My point is that it takes more than identifying as male and having a penis.

If you changed all references in this post to man and woman to person would the lesson change? Isn't that code how to be a good person? Wouldn't you help that guy with conversations about being a good person who reminds people what they have to do to be good people?

Yeah, you would. The lesson applies equally, and I don't want anyone to think that what I said is solely in the domain of 'Man'. But I was speaking of myself, a man. My thoughts regarding my son, a future man (or whatever he chooses to be) and a personal anecdote involving another man. Please don't misconstrue what I've said in response to posts I skimmed on the first page and take away from the meaning of what I've shared.

LarryC wrote:

If you are a (heterosexual) woman and you leaned one way or the other, my way to be masculine vis a vis you is to entertain whatever it is you preferred.

I divorced a guy for this, fwiw.

LarryC is the Mitt Romney of masculinity.

It was a common dating problem for me until after I dated for a while. Now I am just like "Damn, baby, only so much of me."

muttonchop wrote:

LarryC is the Mitt Romney of masculinity.

I am what I am and that's all that I am.

I'm not gonna wear a ladies wetsuit—I'm a man! Get me a small man's wetsuit please.

I've skimmed a little but I think there's a massive misunderstanding that occurs when people hear the phrase "Be a Man".

Be a Man does not mean "Don't act like a Woman". It does not mean there are inherently male traits of strength and capability and inherently female traits of subservience and dependence.

Be a Man means "Don't be a Boy". It means grow up. Mature. Take responsibility for yourself and those who rely on you.

Well, mostly that's what it means. Anyone who means it in the first sense is probably worth ignoring.

Are you saying that anyone who says, "Don't be a pussy!" even jokingly, is worth ignoring? Lots of people say that.

clover:

I divorced a guy for this, fwiw.

Since most people apparently can't really understand what I'm saying, pretty sure you don't either. Apparently, I have, once again, stumbled on some common cultural touchstone I don't know that kind of, sort of sounds like what I'm saying.

Yin and yang. This is what it is. This is what it has always been. Westerners simply chose to use explicitly gendered descriptive words.

"Oh my GAWD! A spider! EEK!"
Embrace a little yang, bro.

Orphans? Who cares?
Show some yin, man.

It's a battle between passiveness and aggression.

Maq wrote:

I've skimmed a little but I think there's a massive misunderstanding that occurs when people hear the phrase "Be a Man".

Be a Man does not mean "Don't act like a Woman". It does not mean there are inherently male traits of strength and capability and inherently female traits of subservience and dependence.

Yeah, defining what it is to "be a man" by defining it in opposition to what it is to be a woman is definitely one of the more insidious and poisonous issues with the current, patriarchal constructs of (male) gender. And I, personally, can't imagine that it's broadly healthy to define such a core component of our self-realisation in terms of what's attractive to others.

Gender roles are quite clearly a set of psychological scripts that we learn; some of which are good, some benign and some damaging to ourselves and society as a whole. There's obviously very little in most gendered behaviour that is innate given how plastic gender is across cultures and across time. It's clear to me that on the way to becoming an adult I learnt, internalised and now perform all sorts of stuff around what it is to be a man. So to me, the question of "How to be a man" is a question that asks me to look at myself and society around me and to evaluate the scripts available to me, discarding those that are harmful. Perhaps the process also asks us to come up with new scripts although I'm not 100% clear on how I might productively go about that.

I suspect ultimately most of the things we would arrive at that makes us a "good" man probably just make us good people.

DanB wrote:
Maq wrote:

I've skimmed a little but I think there's a massive misunderstanding that occurs when people hear the phrase "Be a Man".

Be a Man does not mean "Don't act like a Woman". It does not mean there are inherently male traits of strength and capability and inherently female traits of subservience and dependence.

Yeah, defining what it is to "be a man" by defining it in opposition to what it is to be a woman is definitely one of the more insidious and poisonous issues with the current, patriarchal constructs of (male) gender. And I, personally, can't imagine that it's broadly healthy to define such a core component of our self-realisation in terms of what's attractive to others.

Gender roles are quite clearly a set of psychological scripts that we learn; some of which are good, some benign and some damaging to ourselves and society as a whole. There's obviously very little in most gendered behaviour that is innate given how plastic gender is across cultures and across time. It's clear to me that on the way to becoming an adult I learnt, internalised and now perform all sorts of stuff around what it is to be a man. So to me, the question of "How to be a man" is a question that asks me to look at myself and society around me and to evaluate the scripts available to me, discarding those that are harmful. Perhaps the process also asks us to come up with new scripts although I'm not 100% clear on how I might productively go about that.

I suspect ultimately most of the things we would arrive at that makes us a "good" man probably just make us good people.

From what I see here there is a current cultural divide between UK and US in this thread. What you guys are describing is not what they are describing.

I don't think I ever remember anyone saying "be a man" but more "just grow up!". Or maybe, "man-up!". They all mean the same thing to me though: responsibility and the ability to deal with things as they crop up.

Similarly, when I was growing up. I never learnt how to "be a man" but to be an adult. But then, that could be from my own "unique" background... and sometimes I *do* feel at a disadvantage because of it.

Duoae wrote:

I don't think I ever remember anyone saying "be a man" but more "just grow up!". Or maybe, "man-up!". They all mean the same thing to me though: responsibility and the ability to deal with things as they crop up.

You've never been somewhere where guys were egging each other on to drink more? "Yo, don't be a pussy and man-up" is not a phrase encouraging anyone to behave like an adult.

Duoae wrote:

Similarly, when I was growing up. I never learnt how to "be a man" but to be an adult. But then, that could be from my own "unique" background... and sometimes I *do* feel at a disadvantage because of it.

Well no one ever sat me down and gave me man lessons either but I'm not so blind to the culture around me and my own behaviour that I can't see that there are all sorts of behaviours that are or are not acceptable or expected of men. Some are specific traits (not crying, being stoic, being strong, providing for etc...) and some are entire personality constructs (jocks, nerds etc...)

Also last time I looked Maq isn't from the UK.

DanB wrote:

Also last time I looked Maq isn't from the UK.

?? Maq's location:

Location: London
ranalin wrote:
DanB wrote:

Also last time I looked Maq isn't from the UK.

?? Maq's location:

Location: London

Lives there, but not born/raised there

Tanglebones wrote:
ranalin wrote:
DanB wrote:

Also last time I looked Maq isn't from the UK.

?? Maq's location:

Location: London

Lives there, but not born/raised there

listening to him on vent/mumble you'd think he was

Demyx wrote:

I desire a man with glasses. And yet I've heard several women say that they can't stand glasses. Is the solution to compromise and wear a monocle?

I have 60 more replies to read before I'm caught up, but this was so hilarious I had to stop for a second and laugh at my desk for awhile before continuing. Well done.

I don’t know if I'll be much help but the topic of asexuality was brought up and I thought I'd chip in. I am in fact a-sexual and self identify as male gendered. The lack of sexual attraction or impulses has (for me) no effect on my gender identity. I'd be happy to answer any questions those of you brighter then me (all of you) have.

ranalin wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:
ranalin wrote:
DanB wrote:

Also last time I looked Maq isn't from the UK.

?? Maq's location:

Location: London

Lives there, but not born/raised there

listening to him on vent/mumble you'd think he was :)

Now we need a new "How to be a Brit" thread, where we discuss whether being from England is just a social construct and whether anyone who self-identifies as British is British.

Madonna is not British.

Funkenpants wrote:

Now we need a new "How to be a Brit" thread, where we discuss whether being from England is just a social construct and whether anyone who self-identifies as British is British.

You shut yer filthy pie-hole, pal. You can take the boy out of England, but you can't never take England out of the boy.

*sips tea*

*adjusts monocle*

Jonman:

Now we know why the ladies fall all over you. Gimme dat monocle!

LarryC wrote:

Jonman:

Now we know why the ladies fall all over you. Gimme dat monocle!

Word. Let's face it, it ain't cos of this face