Something that every boy thinks about at some point is what it takes to be a man. Lots of cultures have some sort of stepping stone. The Jews have the Bar Mitzvahs. That’s where you gather up everyone you know, they give you presents, then you spit in Yiddish onto an old book of advice thousands of years old. You can’t not spit speaking Yiddish. I think spitting on itself means “good morning, well wishes” in Yiddish. There are some tribes in the world where it takes getting circumcised to become a man. Others where you have to kill a lion. What if while attacking the lion he claws off your foreskin then you kill him? Does that make you double man? As uncivilized as this seems, there needs to be some sort of passage to adulthood for everyone. Something that proves to us that we are now men.
First in order to know what it takes to be a man, you must know what a man is. A man is a male with a bigger penis then a 10-year-old. Yep, that’s it.
Now that you know what a man is we can go onto how to make a man. In Western cultures there are a few options when you officially cross-over to being a man. The most obvious is the first time a boy has sex. That makes you a man, right? Getting a girl to drink beer and pass out? That’s so easy! Girls love beer and other alcoholic beverages. The moment a girl becomes an alcoholic is when they realize their life might be worthless if they don’t give birth. And giving birth is a horrendously disturbing moment. Something THAT big has to come out of something this big? Ummm, no. Another passage to manhood could be when a boy turns 18. All he has to do is survive puberty. That doesn’t seem fair. There are plenty of wimps who do that. It’s like graduating high school. Anybody can do that. Show up and you’ll graduate. Show up and don’t be drunk I should say. Principals are kind of dicks about that. The only other thing I can think of that we see as making an adult is when we vote. I don’t think that’s right at all. Making a decision makes you a wrong decision makes you a man? All 18 year olds do anyway is vote for the Democrats. I think it’s funny when Republicans win. Have you been to a mall? It’s filled with 18 year olds. How do the Democrats not completely overrun this country? Old people can’t control their bladders but they can get in their cars, run over a pedestrian, and cast their ballot for an old white Republican. Voting is easy. If you’re under 50, vote Democratic. Over 50, vote Republican. Then we’ll get a tie and the candidates can possibly battle it out, like gladiators.
I had a girl once say to me that she wished more men were like real men. I took off the sundress I was wearing and sat down next to her to hear more. She explained that to her a real man was a guy who would sacrifice himself for her. A man who feared nothing. A man with honor. She said her ideal man was Maximus from the movie Gladiator. Huh? A fictional character who can’t protect his family and ends up getting killed by Joaquin Phoenix? That’s not a man. Joaquin Phoenix stinks. He stabbed stupid Maximus, who by the way wasn’t very loyal to his dead wife since he started falling for that other lady, and killed him. How does a man with a name that starts with a “J” yet is pronounced like a “W” kill you? I heard that Joaquin doesn’t even kill spiders when he finds them yet dumb Russell Crowe manages to go through all the shit he did to get stabbed by Joaquin, who if you remember wasn’t even very well-trained. Maximus was a well-trained soldier and Joaquin was a gay prince or whatever his title was. Russell Crowe should have let himself die right away and he would have saved a lot of aggravation for everybody. Oh, you might say he saved the dumb kid from his evil uncle but remember, that kid now has to live with seeing his uncle stabbed to death in front of him. That is damaging. Maximus was not a real man. He was a slave named after the butt muscle.
I’ve told you what a man isn’t and I’m still no real closer to finding out what really does make a man. Is it the power in his hand? Or his quest for glory? It’s not really something we need to think about all that much. One day you probably wake up and just are a man. But why the rush to being known as a man? Men pay taxes. They work 40+ hours a week. They drink because they can’t stand their wives. They have to shave every morning. They tuck their shirts in. Men hold doors open for women. Men also don’t care about the feelings of others. This being a man thing sounds so complicated. Best course of action, be mature. Worst course of action, get killed by the brother in Signs.
“Do you like movies with gladiators?” – an airplane pilot asked me this once