“A real man is able to take his woman around the world at a drop of a hat”
“A real man is able to pay my bills and give me the good things of life”
“Darling! everyone knows a real man is at least 4-5 inches default”
“A real man is employed”
“A real man does not cry”
These messages (and more like it) shape the mind of the sincere (howbeit naive) male and thus begins his quest to become a “real man”. and then years later, he wonders why he is so stressed, restless and often depressed.
Before I passed out last night, a 2 line poem wafted into my mind and it goes thus:
Dear reader I have come to the conclusion that the typical male is under pressure. A lot of pressure. Pressure to meet standards that the society has determined he must meet to be validated. Those that rise up to these these standards are acclaimed and celebrated and those that do not are derided and labeled and used as examples of what “not to be”
The tragedy of all this is that these standards are ultimately a setup for failure. This is because they are ever-changing and subjective as hell and the male will eventually meet someone (or some people) who will consider him not “Man enough” or even “Man at all” and not “worthy of any validation” notwithstanding his efforts.
Don’t believe me?
Well then, think of the lady who mocks the guy as a “broke ass nigga” because he can’t afford to give her the high-class lifestyle she desires. Think of the people who see this male (despite his numerous achievements) as not even human because he is of a particular skin color, religion or caste. Think of the way society regards the unemployed (for reasons beyond his control) male.
And thus the man finds himself “failing” to meet up and shame is stirred up on the inside and needles him constantly and what happens is that he either turns inwards and berates himself for not being enough (one of the ingredients of suicide) or he turns it outwards and lashes out at any one or reminder of his “failure” (insert acts of aggression, cruelty, envy and abuse here) I read a book years back where the author narrated a story of a young couple. The husband was a loving, gentle and most amiable man but all that changed when he lost his job and was unable to secure another. His wife noted how he became moody, withdrawn and how he would no longer make love to her but would rather masturbate in bathroom. Things eventually came to a head when they were out driving one day and they had a slight collision with another male driver. The wife was shocked at how despite the little to no damage, her husband flew into a rage, tore of his shirt and engaged the “offending” driver in a very very public brawl.
It makes you wonder doesn’t it? As a man where does your sense of being lie? where do you look for validation? In a job? in your bank account? In your sexual prowess? In your physique? Living this way is no life at all in my opinion and will only perpetuate cycles of dysfunction in our lives and relationships.
So here is my counsel (if you choose to accept it)
Dear sir, realize today that you have nothing to prove to anyone. You are not a real Man because you have a job and can afford a lavish lifestyle. You are not a real Man because you look a certain way or have a certain amount in your bank account. You are not a real Man because you are married with kids. You are not a real Man because you are of a stoic nature and didn’t shed a tear when the titanic went down.
You sir are a Real Man simply because you are. Because you exist. You live and you have nothing to prove to anyone. Your validation is on the inside. You need no ones permission to relish in yourself. You will meet people who will consider you “not Man enough” or “not Man at all” and will attempt to label you but that is their issue and not yours. What is vital for Your life is not what they see but what You see.
Dear Man, you can spend the rest of your days vainly seeking to fill a social construct of what you should be or you can realize today that you already are.
Consider your ways.