There’s more to being a man than football, guns, and hot rods.
When someone asks me if I had seen the Buckeyes (college football game) over the weekend, I usually reply, “I’m from Chicago; I never heard of that band.”
Frequently, this gets an amused smile or an infrequent hearty laugh. But once in a while, I get the incredulous look. You can almost hear their brain wanting to ask, You don’t like football?
Yes, I’m a guy. A 39-year-old male. And a fit one at that. I consider myself in shape, especially at my age, but I’m just not into sports.
Actually, there are quite a few things I’m not into, that I’m supposed to be. While I appreciate attractive cars, and would prefer not to own an ugly one, I’m not a car nut. I don’t know anything about engines, repairs, boosters, nitro, rims, zero-to-sixty, or handling.
I’m also a peaceful person. I’m anti-war and for responsible gun-ownership. I like a peaceful co-existence with my neighbors and desire for a compassionate, gentle world. I cringe seeing MMA shows like UFC.
So when guys start chatting me up about calibers and semi– this and automatic– that, I have little idea what they’re talking about. I mean, I understand that bigger calibers are more deadly (and noisier), but I just don’t care.
This is hard on me. I don’t care about monster trucks, race tracks, getting dirty, drinking crappy beer, wearing sweatpants out in public, getting loud in a party, or yelling weird things at female strangers. I don’t understand this behavior, nor do I relate to the stereotypical interests.
It’s one thing to have different interests, and not liking the same thing that the guys do. But the gender role of feeling like I should like those things, this is the hard part of having different interests or alliances.
Guys who don’t like football, guns, and hot rods are often called names by other men. They’re shunned as “part of the gang,” and are seen as sissies. They aren’t considered manly.
I might not be good with a wrench or ratchet, but there are many things I am good at. There are ways to being a man besides being boisterous with showmanship. I don’t have to have a loud bark to stand my ground; I can protect my family with a certain glare. I can woo a girl without invading her space. I can enjoy competition on a pool table instead of a field.
Being a man isn’t about the loud stuff or the messy stuff. Not that I’m against ammo, hockey or demolition derbies. I just hate the idea that I have to fake it to fit in with the guys at the barbecue.
Stereotypes and gender roles exist even in manhood, and I hope that all of us fakers can start being authentic men … without being called “queer.”
Photo: Flickr/Antoine Valentini
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