Who are these men? Where do they come from? What forces form them? Is it nature? Is it nurture?
Is there a specific set of childhood variables that must exist in certain quantities in order to produce these men?
We must admit that one attribute that these men have in common is ignorance. As children, during the formative years, they must have been ignorant and unaware of situations where women hurt men. Oh sure, we’ve all heard of poor John Bobbitt’s pain, but, seriously, what man considers amputation a likely outcome that need be guarded against? In fact, there’s probably a man somewhere who has created some statistic which proves that the chance of a woman cutting a man is less than getting struck by lightning.
And men are proud creatures, the lot of them. And rightfully so. Is that it then? Can we point the finger at an adult man’s pride? (A father’s pride?) Is pride the causal factor? Is pride the reason that he wouldn’t share with young men that a woman had hurt him? Or maybe he, the adult man, had never owned up to himself that she had hurt him? Is this whole mess created by a simple lie? Is it created by simple denial? A virtual, “She didn’t hurt me. I wanted to break up. I hadn’t liked her for a while anyhow. I can do better”?
Whatever the causes, I haven’t been able to figure out what words would get through to these men–or as Heat puts it, “All you are is a child growin’ older!”–these men who rush into relationships with women. And no ‘mounta nothin’ cn talk ’em outta it–don’ matta who doin’ da sayin’. I know, because I was one of them. And then I almost repeated the mistake. And then almost repeated it again. And if I didn’t have such a hatred for patterns, I probably would’ve rinsed and repeated for the rest of my life.
Enter “old people”.
Turns out, they can hold their own in conversation. And they’ve got, by definition, no shortage of experiences to back up the talk. And I was looking for answers, ready to try anything.
So after a lot of listening, and a lot of thinking, the answer finally appeared. I believe that I am invincible to women. Or, rather, I believed I was invincible to women. No longer. Now, I know the truth. Women are just as capable of hurting men as men are of hurting women.
So fellas (you know who you are), I have broken down the (our) problem as simply as I know how. We need to acknowledge the simple, unbearable truth. This truth is captured by four words, though I think its most effective delivery comes with repeating the words four times in a row, emphasizing a different word each time.
She can hurt you. She can hurt you. She can hurt you. She can hurt you.
What’s the rush?
PS – As a reminder, hurt doesn’t feel good.
(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)
“So, guess what I just got?”
“I don’t know. What?”
“Tailored shirts. They’re great. Gone are the yards of fabric that hide my svelte figure.”
“Yeah, I actually heard the radio talk about how women like men who wear tailored clothes the other day. Though, I have to say it seems out of character that you’d do something like that. Did you have them done at the store? When did you even go shopping?”
“Oh, I didn’t get them done. My friend was going to throw some away, so I said I’d take them.”
“So, they’re not tailored…to you?”
Instructions for How To Stay Single
Step 1 — CROSSFIT for life.
Step 2 — WALK through Costco like a kid in a candy store.
Step 3 — ABSTAIN from soap.
Step 4 — TELL everyone you know about Steps 1- 3.
“I heard that his face was blue.”
“I heard that he still had a faint pulse, so they tried CPR on him for a long time. It’s all about oxygen in the brain. Doesn’t matter if there’s a pulse if the brain’s been deprived of it for that long.”
Any teacher looking toward the boys during the passing period could tell by their enhanced self-awareness that none of them possessed tools capable of handling the news. As if bound by tacit consent, each of them did their part to keep the silence–the sadness–at bay.
“His parents were the first to see him in the tree early this morning. Can you imagine it?” the boy asked, almost forgetting to avoid silence. “Knowing that,” the boy stumbled to resume, “knowing that while you were sleeping in your bed, right outside your window your child was…” the boy couldn’t say it.
“I’ll tell you something. His brother, Josh, is probably the reason I began lifting weights,” another interrupted in an attempt to lighten the mood. Attentive and curious eyes rewarded his move. “Seriously. I remember in gym, in 7th or 8th grade, that a girl was in awe upon, at her request, seeing his flexed bicep. She had such a big smile.”
Their acceptance of a prolonged silence told him they were happy to hear more of this odd revelation.
“Yep. I remember going home and flexing. I was so ashamed. He wasn’t much stronger than me, but compared to the sphere sitting between his elbow and shoulder, mine was like a straw. In that moment, I knew what I had to do if I wanted a girl’s attention.”
They shook their heads in disbelief at his confession, so he continued.
“Of course, if we were to replay the situation today, he’d look puny. On that day the big difference between he and I was that he was flexing incorrectly, his arm bent all the way, while I was already using a more proper pose, arm bent at ninety degrees,” he modeled to an approving audience. Dropping his arm, he concluded, “But she didn’t know any of that. And without her, without that smile, I can’t say for sure that I would’ve ever picked up a weight.”
“Great story man,” one of them voiced, lighting laughter’s fuse.
“Give me a break! It’s just a memory I had,” he answered, smiling as they shuffled off to their classes.
Last summer an entrepreneur, friend, and sometimes blogger told me, “If you blog daily for six months, you should have 1000 followers at the end of those six months.” Well, it’s been more than seven months of daily posts on Captain’s Log, and I’m sitting at 199. As is the case with most facts, this amuses me. Just the same, seeing that I am a part of the human race, and therefore partial to round numbers, I’m excited to amass follower number 200. And I’m shameless when it comes to getting what I want. So here’s what I’m offering: the blogger who follows me as number 200 will get a free review of their blog. That’s right. I’ll take some time between now and Monday to peruse your blog and then I’ll write the review for Monday’s post. You can trust that I will be sure to say nice things as well as true things. If you’re on the fence, think of it this way: in return for a simple click of a mouse, you’ll get exposure to 199 readers who possibly aren’t aware of your stuff. Heck, I might not be aware you exist.
This is a one time offer, and it is sure to go fast. A little book called “The Magic of Thinking Big” mentions that “everyone you know craves praise”. Well, I’m offering praise in exchange for bliss. Whatdya say?
Schwartz, David Joseph. The Magic of Thinking Big. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1959. Print.
“Man, we knocked this lot out quick!” he thought to himself, looking up after the concluding push of the shovel. Turning towards his co-worker, Pete caught the tail end of his favorite human activity to witness: unexpected sharp pain–albeit temporary–caused by extreme focus on less important things. In other words, he just watched his buddy nearly knock himself out as he hit his head on a post that intense shoveling had hidden from sight.
As if physical touch could heal all wounds, Pete kept a constant hand on the man’s shoulder while laughing and asked, “Oh man. Are you okay? You really hit that thing hard.”
“Stop laughing man,” the third worker on the project admonished, shaking his head.
“It’s okay,” the injured man said, still not himself. “It’s not my head, but my cheek. My mouth was open and I bit my cheek really hard. Ahh!..shit,” he let out, trying to maintain his man card.
His fingertips still in contact with the wounded man, Pete nearly doubled over with a guffaw that revealed itself to be only the engine of a freight train carrying mankind’s most precious cargo–uncontrollable giggling.
“Jesus Pete!” the third man again chimed in, attempting to add some reasonableness to the situation.
“You don’t…giggle…understand,” Pete managed. “Watching that happen was like seeing a double rainbow. I can’t let social graces ruin this moment! Teehee. He almost knocked himself out and bit his cheek. Man…hahaha…I wish I could’ve seen him when his mouth opened. It was probably all the way. BwaHAAhahaha! Don’t tell me you’ve never noticed that when people bite their tongue or cheek their mouths open to the extreme. It’s like upon chomping down the body screams to the mouth, ‘OPEN!! Open, open, open! Disregard any other thoughts; just open to your widest. Now! And whatever you do, don’t bite down again until we can fully assess the damage.'”
After he had finished his defense, as one they asked, “What’s wrong with you?”
On this the 27th day of December, in the year 2013, I hereby challenge anyone worthy enough to accept. The object: spend money faster than me. That’s right. All you have to do is demonstrate to me that you can keep money in your possession for less time than me, and you win.
Think this sounds easy? Think again. I’ve been known to release dollars back into the wild faster than teens develop excuses.
Oh, and let’s not forget spending money before I even have it. Consider the upcoming tax refund? Yep, already spent.
So what do you say? Think you have what it takes?
I know some of you have the competitive spirit. If you’re worried about losing, don’t be. This is the only competition where the loser also wins. I know, I know. You’re nervous. Why? I’ve seen how you spend. You may be able to beat me. There’s only one way to find out.
Why? Why are you doing this to us? What are you even doing to us? We haven’t felt this way in years. Decades.
Don’t you remember the days when sitting is all that you had us do? Whether at a desk or in the cockpit? Weren’t those pleasant? Sure, you didn’t seem to be that stimulated, but at least we had it easy. Not everyone gets their way all the time you know.
Look at us now. Feel us now. Can’t you tell that we’re exhausted? So much running. And for what? Oh, and I spoke to Fingers the other day, they told me not to say anything, but they’re starting to feel it too. What about your piano? Are you really going to let Fingers become too tired to tickle the ol’ ivories?
We just don’t understand it. What are you running from? Responsibility? Failure? It doesn’t make sense. We used to live in harmony, and now look at us. Muscle mass is shrinking, and we’re sore all the time.
We aren’t saying we can’t keep up, we just believe you are underachieving at the moment. Remember what Bruce said in TDK? “I believe in Harvey Dent.” Well, we believe in you! We’re with you. No matter how far this road goes, we won’t let you fall. Just please consider us in the softer moments. Please. Okay, that’s all. Try to get us some rest.
Sitting in class, he found himself amazed how the successful application of the words juxtapose, pejorative and convention made it abundantly clear these people were serious scholars. Try as he might, over the course of a lifetime he never would discover non-academics offering such tidbits of wisdom as, “Ghetto simply meant neighborhood. It only became pejorative in the 20th century.” Or, “I was just thinking about the ridiculous modern conventions which require us to see differences where there aren’t any.” Or, “More than simply two women having coffee together, the author juxtaposes timeless love with unsustainable passions of the flesh.”
These scholars, in their own right, were a group deserving marvel. They believed they would boldly lead humanity to the Utopian future that always sits ripe for the picking, if people would only reach for it.
Returning from a brief break, he happened upon a group of these beings that had surrounded his chair with the never-ending favorite discussion topic of Americans–diet. Quelling his nausea, he sat down and calmed himself with the reminder that the subject usually provided uncommonly hilarious statements, most often centering around rationalizing some form of a stunning lack of discipline. These intellectuals didn’t disappoint. Below is a record of the dialogue.
“Yeah, I tried doin’ the whole cook-everything-for-the-week-on-Sunday-to-try-to-eat-healthy-during-the-week thing. It just didn’t work. I ended up wasting a lot of the food.”
“Me too. I always start the week off strong, but by Wednesday I get bored with the food.”
“I agree. What I didn’t like was having to thaw things.”
More proof that the saying was true–“If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.”
Tony was a nice enough looking guy. A new member to Gold’s Gym, he sat across from me with a look of genuine interest. He, the student. Me, the teacher.
He liked to laugh. I could tell that right away. That was always a relief when starting the process.
“We’re going to start by using what we call the 10-10-10. Ten exercises, ten workouts, ten times. While it seems easy, and not very manly, we need to start somewhere and this is it.”
“Okay, sounds good… I really want to know about about dieting too,” Tony furthered the conversation.
“What questions do you have? I’m kinda particular about diet advice.”
“Well, I guess I just want to get my six-pack back.”
“That’s it? That’s simple. No bread, no fruit, no dairy. If you’re on a budget, spend all your money on protein powders, tuna, and rice.”
“Really? It’s that easy?”
“Yep, I’ll tell you how much rice to eat a day, and you can eat as much tuna and protein powder as you can afford. The fat will be gone in no time.”
“That’s cool. When I have my six-pack back, the hair on my stomach will go away too, right?”
“When I had my six-pack, I didn’t have any hair on my stomach. And the bodybuilders that are all ripped in the magazines don’t have any hair. I just figured that being that muscular prevented the hair from growing.”
“Uh-huh. Well, unfortunately, in this part of the country, at this time of the year, no, that isn’t the case. You’ll have to shave like the rest of us.”
After several iterations of exercising and adding weight, the two have settled into their routine. This routine involves a most serious approach to lifting weight, sprinkled with endearing bits of jocularity as the men rest–endearing from the outside, terrifying from the inside. Between these two men the topics of conversation are limited indeed. Listening closely, we hear discussion about diets, discussion about the rest of the week’s workouts, and discussion about physical ailments (the more acutely described, the better). We’re terrified to learn that most of the conversation is about sex. Not real sex of course—fantasy sex. Over the course of an hour or so, a good three-quarter’s of the conversation revolves around the women present in the gym, and what these men would do with them. As if Petey Pablo’s hit “Freak-a-leek” was accidentally placed on endless repeat, they reveal themselves to be animals. Or do they? Here we leave the scene to explore this a bit further.
Reflection, based on time spent in the community, reveals that among the base, the paltry, the pornographic language, something more is happening. Remember, we are talking about men who take things to the extremes. Bodybuilders put massive amounts of effort into achieving their size and strength. They need a way to know they aren’t wasting their expertise, and that’s how their discourse community is built. It is about filtering. It is about learning who can to stay and who must go. If you don’t get it, can’t handle it, or just don’t approve, then these men don’t want to be around you anyhow. Men like these are endlessly pestered with attention, questions, and potential protégés seeking tutelage. They simply don’t have the time to address everyone. So they create a set of filters. Where did they learn to use filters? Their mentors. Each bodybuilder decided to put up with the immature crassness if he wanted to learn the art. Along the way, they determine that it is a necessary evil. Do you really want to know their secret? Stick around. Deal with the language. Deal with everyone in the gym knowing that you’re objectifying women, engaging in self-love at its highest level, and making jokes about everything once thought sacred. Do that long enough, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll accept you as a student.
Sure, there is something maladjusted within these men, but that is irrelevant to this discussion. We’re talking about why men whose physical appearance alone clearly communicates their physical superiority over other men still need to have their own language, still need to use paltry and base arts and entrenchments. At first, it is easy to think that of all groups of people, bodybuilders wouldn’t need to use these uncouth methods to distinguish themselves. Upon further inspection, they do. They do because their mentors required it in order to prove that these students weren’t going to waste their time. Before becoming a bodybuilder, these men have a goal. They do what is necessary to achieve it. Then they become the mentor.