The Male Manifesto

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We Stick To What We're Good At

A recent Internet survey revealed that a majority of women think men are only good for changing tires, barbecuing, drinking and killing spiders. They wish we would learn to iron, dance and follow fashion trends.

This is the sort of snarky thinking that denigrates all males. Many men throughout history, although perhaps not a majority of them, have proven to be valuable members of the species. That we concentrate on our core specialties, especially when we are not doing something heroic, like building and/or ransacking a civilization, just shows we know how to keep a cool head on our shoulders. We are not consumed by self-doubt because we do not know how to iron or dance. We merely think to ourselves that we could easily learn to iron or dance if we wanted to. I think this myself, even though when I iron a dress shirt, it looks like I am engaging in mixed martial arts with a flailing poltergeist and when I dance, I can barely manage the standard white guy shuffle while my partner dips and discos all over the floor.

Fashion is another matter. Fashion is for you girls and for gay guys. Making us watch "Project Runway" only reinforces this opinion. The only hetero guys who have to pay attention to fashion are celebrities, and this is only because somebody is waiting to take their picture every time they leave the house. If it wasn't for that, they'd go through every week wearing the same seven t-shirts as the rest of us. The only time we regulation guys appear on film is when we walk into a mini-mart, and for sure the guy who watches the security tapes doesn't care what we're wearing, unless it's a handgun.

What we would think is grossly unfair, if we were actually paying attention, is that while we are expected to learn these unfamiliar skills, our critics put no pressure on themselves to match our expertise in the areas we have mastered. Yes, we drink. It makes us more handsome and you more beautiful. What's not to love? We are not about to ruin the experience by worrying about how many calories are in our cocktails.

And we barbecue because then we can cook a piece of meat the size we want to eat and put as much salt on it as it needs. We know you are huddling in the kitchen worried that we are going to catch the yard and possibly ourselves on fire, and sometimes that happens. It's worth it.

We change tires. We're not going to get there unless we do.

We kill spiders proudly. You have seen those gigantic, eight-foot high spiders in science fiction movies, right? You know why we don't have them in real life? Because guys killed them all.

Not only do we kill things, we dispose of the remains. This is a facet of the male résumé that you survey respondents have completely ignored. It is we men that consign the contents of mousetraps and rat traps to their eternal rest. You're not touching them, especially if they're still wiggling a little. If there is a dead animal in the driveway, it is our problem. You girls never think, "Oh, I've invited all our friends over to a yard party and now there's a possum that's been bumper-stunned right by the edge of the road. I' ll run right out there, pick it up and bury it before I finish this cheese platter. Whoops! Looks like it's still breathing in a ragged, pitiful, near-death fashion. I better whack it a couple times with the shovel first so I can be sure it stays buried until the party is over."

Uh, no.  That's not happening. And I also realize you will not be saying to yourself, in an introspective, self-critical way, while you are watching the possum disposal from a safe distance, "I really ought to learn to pick up dead possums as well as he does."  As a practicing male, I know that possum is my job. I have to go take care of it right away

Even if I have to stop in the middle of my ironing to do it.

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