How to Be a Man
by Richard DeFino
For years I wondered if it was weird that I always felt closer to my male gay friends than my straight male friends. But it’s not weird, it never was. It was only societies twisted views of what a “real man” is supposed to be that were throwing me off.
Recently, twice in one month while driving to work, I was passed by a big white pick-up truck with a pair of steel balls (men’s balls), hanging from the rear bumper. The second time that I was passed by this truck; I was able to get a look at the driver. It was a man. He had a large beard and a short unkempt haircut.
As this man flew past me doing at least 80 mph while I was doing the exact speed limit of 55 mph, I was shuffling through my playlist of Radiohead, movie soundtracks, Lana Del Rey and God knows what else. It was at that moment that I started to think to myself, “Am I doing something wrong? Is this what I’m supposed to look like? Is my car not big enough? Are my clothes to tight? Is this why I never get invited to any after work get-togethers from male colleagues?”
I’ve never been, nor am I now the typical, cliché man. I don’t drink, I despise sports and I’d prefer to listen to my limited edition Prince Vinyl rather than sports radio.
I’m a firm believer of individuality and self-expression and I can’t help but to feel that these are both lost traits in our generation, especially amongst men. It seems that most men today are just trying to impress other men. It’s almost as if they’re hiding from who they really want to be, like they’re covering something up.
Society tells us that men are supposed to be rugged, handy, sports involved, usually not groomed and come pre-equipped with some sort of Cavemen ideology; eat, get laid and go to sleep. But why do we men have to follow these rules? Why not go against the norm and break down some barriers and age old stereo-types?
Yes, my image does mean a lot to me and not because I’m narcissistic or self-centered, I just believe that everyone should look their best and feel good about themselves, men included. So my $23 haircut might be a bit expensive, but it makes me feel great and I watch what I eat because proper a diet is the key to longevity and I love the way I look and feel in skinny jeans. Does this make me any less of a man? No. The fact is, is that I am good person, I respect everyone, I just don’t watch ESPN.
I only wish that more people would be true to themselves and who they really are. At the end of the day, no one really cares, so why bother trying to meet someone else’s unrealistic expectations of how you should live?
Just be yourself.