What’s it like to be a man?

               It’s easy to answer this question if you don’t think about it. You got something dangling between your legs, hair grows on your face, chest, back and arse, you feel threatened by any and all authority, you feel a need to project power, to appear strong, and so on. You lack the ability to simultaneously maintain blood flow on both your male parts and your brain. You probably lose the ability to ask for directions or put the toilet seat down, but this might be just a rumor started by our natural enemies, women. Belching, farting, scratching below the belt, all this seems like the natural order of the universe. And then you stop to think about it and everything lower than your brain sort of freezes. It’s all bullshit.

               It’s a trick question, the sort asked by the prosecution in My cousin Vinnie. What defines a man? Physical characteristics? Our reproductive orientation? Yes on both counts. It’s the correct answer to the wrong question. If I’d asked what is a man, that answer would have been right on target but I asked what it’s like to be a man. Not what makes you a man, but how it feels to be one. This particular question assumes you are a man and you consider yourself one. Those aren’t really interlinked, nor are they interchangeable. The brain is a wonderful thing, but quite flawed sometimes, it relies on consciousness to define identity and sometimes it misfires. You see, I don’t think that misfire is a defect. It doesn’t hinder the ability to function socially or professionally, it just makes you different. Like blue eyes or red hair, because consciousness is linked to physical mechanisms – hormones, neural connections, DNA, and the list goes on. Identity is a choice, consciousness is not.

               I don’t give rat’s arse about social customs and “politically correct” definitions – I choose to think in terms of common sense and fairness. I’ve seen women outrun me, I’ve seen women outthink me, I’ve seen women with enough muscles to lift me up on their shoulders and I ain’t exactly what you might call light. I only care about functionality. Today’s society doesn’t care about that. I can’t bloody sing, why should I demand equal employment rights in that area? I never understood the need for equal rights when it’s so damned right to have them. I never understood the demands to have an increase of female workers if they are less experienced or good at it than men. I never understood why somebody would hire a dumb man instead of a smart woman just because he’s a man and she’s a woman. I’d rather close up shop than think that way. It’s not logical so it’s worthless as a strategy. I’d lose on the long term.

               So what does it feel like to be a man? Exactly the same as a woman, I’d wager. Social pressure to appear manly, just like women are pressured into looking feminine. Years of hard to break habits, just like it’s in the women’s corner. Same eye for beauty. Probably less emotional response, but it’s still something we’re taught since before we’re out of diapers. Big boys don’t cry.. The hell they don’t, if you’re watching If Only, A walk to remember or Schindler’s List and you ain’t feeling moisture around the eyes you might want to seriously check your head for defects, I’m just saying. Oh, you think men are more logical and women are more emotional? Yea, right, that’s why men compare length and women cup size. Or why men are so insecure whenever somebody looking manlier is around them. Right. I’ve seen more women than men think logically, though my experience taught me women multitask better and men do better when they concentrate on a single thing. I might be wrong, I don’t know everybody.

It’s not really a big difference between what women and men feel. Hell, take things apart and everything’s almost tradition, social pressure and copied behavior. Maybe it was different a century or more ago, but right now, in the civilized world, it’s not that different. It’s not a specialization anymore.

               Do you really believe you have to feel manly? Or feminine for that matter? Why? Who told you that? Is it more important to conform to what’s expected of you or to develop your own set of rules? Because identity is just that – a set of feelings, emotions and principles that guide your behavior. It is what makes you who you are. It is who you are underneath your public mask. You might think you get a choice, but you don’t, not on the whole thing. You only get to choose who you want to be, your principles and your own little set of rules – you don’t get to choose what you feel. You can teach a left handed to write with his/her right hand, but that’s never the right answer. Well, that’s what science says, anyway. So why then are we so scared of the whole gay/trans/whatever thing? Why are we so threatened by it? I don’t get it.

               I do believe education is the key here. Our habits, our life rules, the social pressure that molds our behavior is based on what we’re taught even before we learn to walk. If that education leads to this, to gender discrimination, to frustration and to hate – can’t we agree it’s defective? Instead of demanding our children to ignore obvious issues, can’t we teach them to develop their own iron identity? That way, if they know who they are, they’re less likely to believe different means defect. That way, they can choose who they want to be. If we teach them right, if we give them the meaning of common sense and logic, there’s no reason to fear. It’s not about the “right way”, it’s about the correct way to live. You don’t get to say how I should feel, I don’t get to say how you should feel. Neither of us should care about that – both of us should care about who we are to each other. Nothing more, nothing less.

               Am I wrong?


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