Ramblings about manliness

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(BluePrints Staff Photo // Dustin Braden)

BY NICK BYGRAVE (’15)

Is it fair to say that the percentage of truly manly men has decreased in the past few decades? Yes. Wholeheartedly so. A watch (and mandatory re-watch) of “Fight Club” will convince you of that much. But why is this? Is it advancements in technology resulting in less analogue, fix-it-with-a-hammer jobs? Yes. Is it a rise in it’s-about-time female equality and homosexual acceptance? Sure, I guess. I guess a better question is ‘does it matter?’

Well, no. Humans evolve and social tendencies change into whatever they turn into until we all die. But the definition of “manliness” is as concrete as Miley Cyrus’ future (ooh, look! A topical reference!) It’s subjective. For some, manliness is about muscles and presence and hard-headedness. I don’t know, John Cena? A person who solves a problem with fists.

To others, it’s bravery or courage, and can be represented with TV commercial for enlisting in the Army. Think of Bradley Cooper in his new film “American Sniper.” For many, and this is a good thing, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) in “Parks and Recreation” is a perfect example of man amongst boys. His mustache, red-meat eating, wood working, no-BS characteristics must make him the manliest of people in the public eye.

To me, manliness is about a person’s character. To me, a man is flawed, stressed and hard-working yet inexplicably unsuccessful compared to the younger guy who’s his boss. If I had to describe him physically, he would be messy haired, unshaven, tired looking and equipped with a beer belly. His teeth have a yellow tint and his pockets are full of change, not paper bills.

However, he would have a sense of humor. He’d be accepting of fate, well read and well fed. He has taken in all the pleasures life had to offer as best he could, while sacrificing nothing unless to aid someone else. Yes, there are better looking, taller and leaner people than him, but they where raised with money and born with good looks. Not Mr. Man, here. He was born middle class, and was asked to leave it by way of a “education.”

But isn’t this awful? Shouldn’t a proper man be strong and healthy, with good credit and back posture? Money, health insurance, an exotic car, a pretty wife, protégés for children and wolves for pets? Well, yes. But it isn’t always possible. And this person has no style. Nothing original about him. He bought a Ferrari because he could, and sent his children to private school because he could and got his teeth whitened because he could. Where is the originality? He’s the kind of person who I’d like to be seen with, but not talk to.

I’m rambling again. No point to this. It’s past 3 AM and still have to clean the cat’s litter box. I don’t think I even addressed anything properly. Oh well. If you’re reading this that means you were at least distracted from what you should have been doing.

That’s worth something isn’t it?