American Men; an endangered species

What kind of guy do you want to be? Ladies what kind of man would you want your son to be or your daughter to end up with? It seems like a simple enough question until you try to answer it. My short answer would be; “That I just want to be better than I have been.” My father was not the best role model and we’ll just leave it at that. Though I still hold tight to my anger and resentment towards him, I’m starting to understand that in general he did the best he could with what he had and what he knew. I’m not trying to justify his mistakes or excuse them. Even jerks know right from wrong, but I have also learned that life isn’t as cut and dry as we like to believe.

It’s a hard thing; to be a man in today’s world. For me the most difficult part has been trying to figure out just what the world expects of me. There seems to be no clear definition of manhood anymore. Most of the popular depictions of the male species are somewhat conflicting and that’s being kind. The media has us living as either complete morons, incapable of independent thought or functioning, outside of the supervision of a domineering over bearing much more intelligent woman. Or we’re portrayed as complete sexist pigs who would sell their souls to get laid. Our sports heroes have become over pampered whiny children without moral compass or common sense, and our leaders are just plain miserable excuses for human beings.

Added to this seemingly leaderless model is that fact that for all intents and purposes good men do not prosper in our economy. Nice guys finish last and assholes laugh all the way to the bank. At first you may be tempted to argue the point with me, but take a minute to really think about it for a second. How many nice guys do you know that are wealthy and or powerful? In all honesty men if you want to succeed financially in this nation you may need to be willing to abandon your scruples from time to time to cut someone’s throat. Sure there are exceptions to this rule and there are many men out there doing what they love and making a profit from it, but if you think at sometime they didn’t have to make hard decisions about right and wrong to see it through; you’re being very naïve.

I’m not trying to paint a bleak picture here, but I am trying to make you pause for a moment a take stock of the situation. Today we have two generations of men coming up into the world with no clear guideline for what they should be, how they should act, and what is best for them. Too many boys are growing up without fathers and strong male role models. Though their mothers are making a valiant effort the undeniable truth of the situation is; a woman cannot make a boy into a man. Her unresolved resentment for the abandonment of the father and men in general oftentimes comes through towards the growing son and ironically manifests in him as an adult in his own attitude towards women and life in general. If anyone would like to argue the case I suggest you visit your local jail and ask those well-adjusted men in there, how many of them grew up without a father. At some point a young man needs an older one to sort him out. For me that influence came from the military. For some it is their step-dad, grandfather, uncles, or older brother.

What are we going to do? How can we fix this problem? In nature when a male elephant reaches puberty the group will expel him from the herd. He than joins what is called a bachelor group. This herd is made up of bull elephants that teach the younger bulls how to act. They stay together all year only splitting up during the mating season then rejoining again to continue the tutoring. Game wardens in Africa and India have noticed a disturbing trend of violent attacks involving young bull elephants against both people and other animals. In both continents there is a common thread. The bachelors groups are no longer forming as there are less and less mature bulls alive to show the younger ones what to do. They have been killed off by poachers and disease. Now you have generations of male elephants growing up without guidance. The same effect is being observed in lions and other social animals. Without strong male leadership during infancy and puberty males grow up violent, reckless, and thoughtless. The same thing is happening today in our own species.

I struggle all the time to find my place in the world. Society is changing and so is my place in it. I wonder though what will I show my son as a man, how will I guide him. With this in mind I have noticed a shift in my thinking. I know longer accept what the media and popular society say a man should be. The older I get the more I start looking back towards male role models of my past. I wish men could come together today and reach out to these younger guys leaving high school and tell them what we know and what we’ve experienced. Guys used to hang out together. We had clubs and groups; we shared stories, and told tall tales. We also learned though. We watched the older guys and listened to them we looked up to them and emulated their behavior. That’s what we need again today.

The American man is in trouble. As a species we’re going extinct and I’m not exaggerating. Guys we need to get our act together and start acting like we were made to. We need to put down the pastel pink shirts and grow some hair on our chests. We need to stop being afraid to grunt now and then or flex our muscles. We owe it to the generations coming up now to be men. We need to come together and start showing these boys what tough is and what decent means. Stop leaving the TV to raise our boys, stop letting video games be their heroes. If we hope to have any good guys in the future we need to do something about it now. The pansy needs to die; we need more Sean Connery’s! The future of our species depends on it. Guys if you know a young man in your family, church, or friend circle that needs some guidance step up. Your daughters and granddaughters will thank you.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Shanny says:

    Great article.

    I wonder if the confusion that women experience regarding the work place and parenting/home care, being feminine yet tough etc. are influencing how we treat our men? If we are in turbo mode 100% of the time trying to wrangle kids, career, housework, fitness etc, wouldn’t we then put our man into that mix and wrangle him too? And if we are good at the wrangling and have everything under control all the time, then wouldn’t the inherent “laziness” that exists in men (this is not a dig, men seem to have much less emotional guilt over things like downtime so a TV night is more common) almost be fostered and nurtured by their go-getter wife?

    I am definitely guilty of this and my hubby is equally guilty of allowing himself to be taken care of.

    1. changingscottslife says:

      There was a recent article in MensHealth about women taking their attitude from work and applying it to their relationships. There was another article recently in Redbook titled, “Rise of the Beta Male” basically it was commenting on how many men have surrendered their confidence and backbone through laziness and just not caring anymore. If you’re male role models are lazy under achievers what will you grow up to be? I like a strong confident woman, but if you’re not a strong confident man the same kind of woman can be intimidating and even over-powering. Likewise I know many women who grew up underneath lazy spineless men and project that resentment towards their fathers, towards all men in general. These are usually the women who never stop griping or riding their man and consequently the man will do almost anything to get her to stop as it reminds him of his over-bearing mother. It’s ironic to me how often men and women both seek out partners who are so similar to their parents in regards to emotional stability and character.

      Men have a responsibility to themselves, their children, and their spouses to grow a backbone. Men were meant to lead and protect, if they are not in that position today chances are its because they surrendered the responsibility, it wasn’t taken from them.

      1. Shanny says:

        I fully agree with you, men are meant to lead and protect. But how does a man lead and protect a woman who has been brainwashed into believing that not only does she not need that leadership or protection but that the polar opposite is true, she is a dynamite who must do it all and all alone or be considerably less worthy than the women who do?

        From my own experience, it takes a concerted effort on my part not to just reach over and take control, do it myself, do it faster or better, make the plans, call the friends, do the shopping, pay the bills, plan our meals. But when I do step back and he steps up, not only do I feel more supported and less like I’m the maid and the president all at once, but his innate need to care for me is bolstered. But dude, it takes CONSIDERABLE EFFORT to pull that together. I wish it didn’t.

      2. changingscottslife says:

        You hit the nail on the head, it takes effort. In this modern society of instant gratification anything that requires time, effort, or sacrifice is quickly discarded. I know too many couples that think if their relationship isn’t story book perfect then it wasn’t meant to be. They drift from one failed relationship to another looking for the perfect partner jumping ship at the first hiccup. Guys have to work on finding the will inside the to stand up, some will never find it, because they don’t want to. Where is the motivation to take charge when you’ve spent your whole life having other people do it for you? I know many men who are incapable of doing anything themselves. It started with their mothers doing it for them now their wives just continue the coddling. If you’re with a man who can do no wrong in the eyes of his mother be warned you’re tempting fate with a spoiled ineffectual man-child. You were warned.

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