Curmudgeon’s Corner: Are You Man Enough?

Written by Sanford Begley

Are you man enough?

I went to the barber today. New shop, my old barber retired. So the barber was making conversation. He asked me what kind of mileage I got. What he really wanted to know was why I was driving a girlie car. You see, I got a good deal on a used VW Beetle. To me it is decent transportation, no more, no less. He eventually got around to asking if it was my wife’s car. I told him “No, it’s mine. When you are man enough it doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive. I could drive a pink one, it would be fine.”  

The other barber razzed him that if he were man enough he could have kept his “Barbie car”. The indignant response was that “It wasn’t a Barbie car it was a (number designator)” He then admitted his friends has teased him unmercifully about one of his used cars, a faded red. They called him Pinkie.

Young Marines ca 1920
Young Marines ca 1920

The guy was young and suffering from a common malady, worried about being seen as manly enough. Lots of young men suffer from that.  The Marines even use it as their basic recruiting tool. Finish Marine boot and you too can be a man, a Marine. Unless you have a family history of Marine service that uncertainty about your manhood is the primary reason for becoming a Marine. Notice I am not talking about sexuality but a lack of confidence that you are really a grown up, sure ‘nuff, man.

The other services get that to a degree as well, they just don’t build their entire recruiting strategy around it. Why do the Marines do it? Because it works. The majority of advertising aimed at young men is built around two things. Reassuring them that this product will make them a man or that it will get them women. I’m not sure which segment is bigger, there is a lot of overlap between the two.

In a less direct way the same things are used to advertise to women. This eyeliner will give you bedroom eyes, that dress will make you hot! it is the same thing expressed differently. For most women, being seen as sexually attractive means being seen as a woman. Different pushers but the same thing, “I am an adult.”

In what I’m going to talk about here I will use masculine oriented phrasing. It will actually apply to both with a little wording change, but I’m not about to do the acrobatics of not wording it takes to do he/she etc. Ladies, this applies to you to. After all, I’m giving you the secret to being an adult, you can bear with my talking as if to men. I understand them better.

Guys, being a man is simple. Anyone capable of reading this and understanding can do it. All you have to do is fill your man card. How do you do that? Grow up. That is it. Now, what do I mean by grow up? Well that is damn near as simple. Growing up has nothing to do with age by the way. A lot of us know forty and fifty year old children. And at least some of us know some adult teens.

Chemists ca 1912
Chemists ca 1912

So, how do you grow up? Well you start by deciding what you think a man should be. Not a hero, a man. You know, the guy with the wife and mortgage and life? Well it isn’t the wife, the mortgage or the life that makes him a man. It is the fact that he has accepted his responsibilities. This does not mean the things others say are his responsibilities, it means the ones he decides are his. Now some of these things are universal. You must take care of your loved ones. You must do your job and do it right. If you aren’t being paid enough to do a day’s work? The go get a job where you are paid what it takes to get you to do your work. If you are unhappy to be making minimum wage and don’t think it is enough to get you to work hard? Then learn how to work hard enough to earn what you think you should.

Loss of the Famous ram, Queen of the West, under the guns of Fort DeRussy
Loss of the Famous ram, Queen of the West, under the guns of Fort DeRussy. Men row out to rescue the wounded and dying.

You can’t support your wife and kids? Learn to do so. I don’t necessarily mean financially. In another year I may wind up a house husband. It does mean knowing what your wife needs and giving it to her to the best of your ability. It means listening to her and backing her. It means doing what you can for her. Being an adult, a man, is about caring for yours. Now how you define yours is up to you. For some people it is themselves, these people are never going to be adults. It can be your wife and family. For a bigger man it can be his church, his community, his nation. This does not mean that you need to serve in the armed forces, or government. It means that you place these things above yourself. That is it in a nutshell. Oh and just for clarification, you do need to take care of and support yourself. Just don’t make it your only focus.

Being a Man is a choice… it’s a hard choice, but we women love the man who chooses it over endless boyhood and careless living. 


2 responses to “Curmudgeon’s Corner: Are You Man Enough?”

  1. Reality Observer Avatar
    Reality Observer

    You have to set your sights a bit higher than that, Sanford. I’m still campaigning for the title of “Domestic God.”

    Maybe I’ll wear them down someday…

    1. I thought that was the cat’s title?