Newcastle — I believe we all have our male and female sides, in varying proportions. I have long advertised myself as 45 percent female, referring to the kinder, gentler part of my personality. But I have lately come to question how I was hoodwinked into believing those qualities to be female. Not so at all. Increasingly, women are becoming aggressive and dominant. You see it everywhere. Modesty and deference are a thing of a previous, so-called gentler sex, a ruse perpetuated while males were in charge. So, while I was once proud to feel “female” I sense I should de-emphasize that aspect of my nature.
I don’t want you to label me as anti-feminist. I think I am a realist. Women are unquestionably taking over the man’s world. They are certainly smarter, except possibly in the hard sciences, and I’ll take Larry Summers word for that. They are more focused. They are not as lazy and diffident. I read that we are to introduce women into our combat forces. That should be OK; they are more confrontational and generally nastier, but let’s have them fight with fingernails and do away with all that shooting nonsense. Only men are interested in rifles or missiles or bombs and all those slender pointy things—for obvious reasons.
Let me say at once that I have no interest in becoming an alpha male. I agree with Kate Ludeman who writes that they “inspire fear and resentment rather than trust and respect.” I find this type boring and insufferable. No, I seek modest changes. Perhaps a tattoo? I reject this idea for several reasons. Firstly, women are at least as likely as men to have tattoos. Also, the damage is irrevocable. I believe that most of those NBA hunks will feel pretty stupid when they’re eighty years old and their skin is shriveled and wrinkled, and that dragon looks like an earthworm.
A compromise might be simply to attend more football games and be willing to rip off my shirt at temperatures below freezing, displaying a chest painted in the colors of the team I favor. This is something women never do (unfortunately). However, a required corollary is that you must roar and wave your arms like a demented ape, and that gives me pause.
On the subject of sports I should clearly pay more attention. I was once quite interested. It was important to me that Michigan win football games. No more. I reject the professionalism, I deplore the salaries. I object to the proliferation of teams or the expansion of Olympic events. Many youngsters now practice (and practice) a single sport throughout the year. We have quarterback coaches for toddlers! This is alien to our wonderful world of diversity. Consequently I know almost nothing about current sports and so am unable to carry on an interesting conversation with ninety percent of other men. I should correct this. Go Blue!
I need to drink more beer. I was once really good at it. When I was stationed by the army for two years in Bavaria I never went to sleep sober. The beer was so good and so cheap! Then a few years ago I suffered a bout of gout; very unpleasant. Wiser men tell me that the condition is exacerbated by consumption of beer. Now I rarely imbibe of the barley and hops, except when I attend “The Great Taste of the Midwest” festivals in Madison, WI where my son lives. I usually get sloshed there. You have to be a man when you’re a father. I think this even though Robert Bly wrote in Iron John that you can never be a role model for your son.
Were I to become more of a man by drinking more beer I would have an additional obstacle to overcome. I like craft beers, especially the darker, stronger ones. But real men drink Bud Lite. I can’t swallow Bud Lite. I gag. I wouldn’t even wash my Airedale with it.
It seems I'm not a good candidate for increased masculinity. I’ll always be a milksop, not a macho guy. I guess at my age it doesn’t really matter.