State Of The Union Address: An Old Schooler Talks Manhood
by Savage Tango
Most sane people dislike the part of their day when they’re getting ready to head out and face the drudgery of going to work. Most of them, hell probably all of them, and yeah, I can understand that. But ya know something? That doesn’t exactly apply to me here. Hey…I’m talkin the part about disliking that work routine, not the sanity part, but I do understand and sympathize with your confusion nonetheless.
I enjoy that part of the day because that’s when I engage in honest self-reflection, serious personal evaluation and take time to ponder the road I chose to travel in life.
It’s also when Divorce Court comes on!
Nothing, I repeat, nothing gets me motivated to set down my cheap beer, get off the couch, put some pants on and go work a job like hearing Judge Lynn Toler going off on some deadbeat dumbass. Her skills in verbally eviscerating and emphatically emasculating deadbeat dudes who have it coming to them are beautiful to behold.
It’s also kind of a turn on but, well…that’s another tale for another time.
So yeah, it’s kind of a version of motivational therapy I guess. Every now and then when I’m feeling like a degenerate underachiever, like I’m fat and no one loves me, all I gotta do is turn on her show and witness the carnage. Suddenly, I don’t seem like such a bad dude after all. I mean, hell…it could be worse. I could be THAT guy! And just like that, my ass is off the couch, I have managed to put on some pants and I’m rolling right on out that door headed down the road to reap the rewards of gainful employment. Hey, don’t judge me. Whatever works, ya know?
I’ve long been a fan of her “tell it like it is” and “say it like ya mean it” thing. Aside from the fact that she’s incredibly attractive and I kinda have this thing where she’s yelling at me cuz I didn’t take out the garbage and she puts that judge robe on and then she, uhhhh…whoah. Sorry about that.
Yeah anyway, imagine my pleasant surprise when I found her clip saying what needed to be said in that open thread we had here recently. It resonated deep within my soul as we both seem to share the burning question that, speaking as a man here, disturbs me on a very deep level.
“What happened to true manhood?”
I find myself wondering that on more than a few occasions and the fact that she went on about it herself reassured me that I was indeed in good company in that regard.
So really, what happened? When did it happen? How did it happen?
I’ve got my theories, I know my brethren have their theories and hopefully we can all make some sort of sense out of this mess.
Ok, time for some straight shooting and I’m just gonna come out and say it.
I’m Old School. Deal with it.
I am and I’ll be damned if I apologize for it. Being OS means different things to different people but in my book it means honor, discipline, strength of character and chivalry. Disciple of The Doctrines of Old Schoolery that I am, when I think of manhood images of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Sam Elliot and The Marlboro Man resonate with me. Rugged, masculine, independent and hell bent on doing what’s right.
Hey, just cuz The Marlboro Man sits around smokin’ on his ranch all day doesn’t mean he ain’t hell bent on doing what’s right. You think that guy cuts corners, does a half assed job and then refuses to accept responsibility for it when things go wrong at the end of the day?
We know the answer to that question. Let’s just hope he didn’t hear us ask it.
Granted, I’m rather biased in my personal interpretation of The Nature of Manhood. I make no secret whatsoever of 2 facets of my heritage and upbringing, namely my Danish descent and my independent Western ways forged in the high desert cattle ranching country of eastern Oregon. A formidable combination of Cowboys and Vikings right there. And not coincidentally, I might add, two of the manliest forms of manhood ye shall ever set eyes upon. I take a great deal of pride in my foundation, heritage and upbringing which especially pains me when I see what has become of what passes for manhood today.
As I said before I’m Old School, but what disturbs me is when actions and behaviors that should be standard conduct are now considered Old School.
Why? That should be Basic Manhood 101, dammit.
I’ve got 2 theories here, neither of which is particularly profound. In my Viking opinion one theory is a finger pointing cop out and the other theory is a serious problem and we are seeing the results perpetuate themselves.
When I find myself wondering what happened to manhood, one of the most obvious issues I see is chivalry went right down the drain, but more insidiously, something more important went down with it. There is chivalry, and then there is the far more important concept of basic male decency which society must have in order to thrive and succeed. When the chivalry started to slip, the line between the two became blurred and then it degenerated from there. What once was a gallant gesture became an optional gesture. What became an optional gesture then became an uncommon behavior. What is now an uncommon behavior has been replaced with the polar opposite.
The erosion didn’t stop with chivalry, it kept on going. The common expectations of basic male decency, i.e. protecting and providing became optional behavior. Getting a job and paying your bills became optional behavior. Raising your own children became optional behavior. What was once iron clad, nonnegotiable “do it or else” eventually became an option then deteriorated into an afterthought, and is now seemingly on the brink of extinction. How can we expect men to give up their seat for a lady when we can’t even expect them to get a job, pay their bills and raise their own damn children?
Seriously? Is this how far we as men have fallen?
But that’s just one miss step down the road to the ruin of manhood.
There is a slowly invasive misconception that the definition of manhood is determined by what you can get from others. The strong takes from the weak. Men seem to have lost their independence and have now turned toward others as a means of gain, rather than relying upon themselves.
My Cowboy thought is that there are those who see what a man has and want it, but they only see the end result of what that man worked to attain. They don’t see the effort to provide for the present and protect a secure future. They don’t take into account the planning, dedication and commitment required to achieving the end result they see and want. They see only the rewards and want none of the work involved to attain it, so they take from others to get their own version of the end result they covet.
So back to the erosion of chivalry for a moment. When expected behavior became optional behavior, expected roles became optional roles as well. The version of manhood that once was providing for yourself and others became replaced with get for yourself from others. What can you get, and how many can you get it from? But it didn’t stop there, the erosion continued.
The independence men prided themselves on degenerated into the pride of getting by on others. This illusion of the end result with all the gain but none of the strain is looked at as the measure of a man by growing masses. What can a man take and who can he take it from?
Sadly, it’s now quite common to see a man taking from women rather than providing for women. This view of receiving your support from the backs of women has gained popularity to where it’s not uncommon at all. It’s not only viewed as a badge of honor to get by like that, but from as many women as possible at the same time as well. We’ve reached a point to where manhood is no longer defined by his ability to provide for a woman, but for victimizing and using women and how many women he can do it to. It’s some backwards version of manhood that no longer enhances women, it comes at the expense of women.
When I see this backwards manhood, I see a guy who would have been a crappy caveman. He’d also be a dead caveman. Seriously, think about it in terms of basic human survival, courtesy of our ancestors who knew how to take care of business because their lives depended on it.
What kind of tribe would he have come from where the women performed the labor? The women did all the hunting, gathering, providing…and their sorryass cavemen did nothing but benefit from their cave women. What kind of sorryass caveman lives off his women? How would that sorryass tribe survive with that kind of sorryass backwards philosophy?
Time for a history lesson.
Here comes another tribe. A tribe with men who hunt. A tribe with men who provide. A tribe with men who protect. How is that sorryass backwards tribe gonna compete and survive when that happens?
Who are we kidding here, we know how that’s gonna go but I’m gonna say it anyway because I enjoy seeing vindication meted out like this.
The tribe with men who know how to be men is gonna run right over the top of that other sorryass tribe and it won’t even be close. No contest. And after that they are going to take their women and ya know something? The women of that sorryass tribe probably aren’t going to mind it one bit.
So let’s get back to today’s modern world, shall we?
There was a time when manhood was all action and few words. We all know exactly what that means, too. Did Clint Eastwood stand around running his mouth? No, cuz the Marlboro Man woulda walked up and punched it, but we’ll get to that part later.
These sorryass men that talk, they share a common trait that makes a mockery of men who take care of business and believe actions speak louder than words. The thing I notice that is so vastly different from Old School Manhood is the constant usage if the word “respect.”
God, I hate that.
There are 2 kinds of respect in this world. The first one, the original one is The Old School Respect that is never spoken of. It is well known, well thought of and held in high regard but us OS’s don’t talk about it. Why should we? We know who has it and who doesn’t. We know how to earn it, keep it and give it.
We also know the unwritten rule about Old School Respect, which is the second you talk about it, you just lost it. Hey, it’s the OS way. Again, think about it. Did John Wayne ever ride into town running his mouth demanding that you respect him?
No, because he knew he had to earn it through actions and actions speak louder than words. He also knew Sam Elliot woulda knocked him off his horse, taken his hat and rode off with it after telling him he wasn’t worthy to wear it. But we’ll get to that later.
This brings us to the other kind of respect, the bastardized cheap imitation which isn’t earned and goes hand in hand with the bastardized cheap imitation of manhood which isn’t earned either. This bastardized version of manhood is all about demanding respect but having no clue how to earn it. Again, they see the end result and don’t take into consideration what must be done in order to attain it.
There is a common theme amongst them readily discernible to us OS’s. They demand respect but at the same time refuse to accept accountability, responsibility and consequences. In this version of manhood, those least deserving of it are first in line to demand it.
So. All this OS’erry aside, how did this happen?
As I mentioned earlier I think 2 things get cited here, one a cop out and the other a serious problem.
There are those who say this came about because the women’s liberation movement eroded chivalry and men’s masculine roles in society.
The Viking in me says to hell with that sorry sorryass. There are those amongst us who think for ourselves, act for ourselves and do what we believe to be what’s right. Regardless. And that ain’t gonna change. Ever.
So if someone wants to sit around and blame women’s lib…sure, that’s right. You go blame the women. You don’t provide for the women, you don’t protect the women, you don’t stay and support the women who bear your children but ya sure as hell can blame the women for your own shortcomings.
I call BS on that sorryass idea and choose to lay the blame right where it belongs. On men, and to a certain degree, on all of us men.
I wholeheartedly believe the degradation and redefining of manhood is due to the lack of the most basic of manly obligations.
Men raising their children.
Far too many men refuse the responsibility of raising their own children. The concept of a man raising his children has degenerated from expected behavior to optional behavior. I find this completely incomprehensible, indefensible and inexcusable. How can a man father a child then turn his back on his own flesh and blood, abandoning them and leaving the children and their mother to fend for themselves?
And what becomes of these children, namely the boys aka the future men? We all know. They in turn grow up, emulate what they have seen, perpetuate the process and we eventually reach the point where true and honorable manhood has been indiscriminately bred right out of society and replaced with a weak, ignorant, pathetic substitute that gets accepted because the real thing is so rarely seen anymore. No surprise there.
At this point, I see things going 2 different ways here. We have the men who cause the problem and we have the men who want to fix the problem.
The weak men, the men who can’t accept the consequences of their own irresponsible actions continue blaming women. Instead of rising up to meet the challenge and become better men, they choose to continue their course and blame women for being unrealistic, too picky, too demanding and insist women accept their unacceptable behavior, lower their standards to meet the men on their subpar level.
I’ve seen the words of weak men claiming the problem lies in the fact that there’s an entire generation of young men being raised by women. Unbelievably, even though they realize there is a manhood problem, they still refuse to acknowledge their role in the cause of this problem. Whose fault is it that the boys are being raised solely by women? Who cares, just blame the women for raising subpar men.
Then we have the other way, the one we men got away from and need to get back to doing.
Remember back when The Marlboro Man punched Clint Eastwood in the mouth?
Remember when Sam Elliot knocked John Wayne off his horse and took his hat?
We men need to get back to that basic principle of holding each other to The Standard of Manhood. We let that one erode right alongside chivalry and that’s on us. We gotta fix that and get it back to how we learned it.
Old School Manhood polices its own. Old School Manhood calls one another out when it’s due. Old School Manhood keeps one another in line. Old School Manhood will look you in the eye when necessary and say, “What the hell is wrong with you?”
Old School Manhood all begins with a man raising his son to be a man and it continues from there. It doesn’t stop there, it continues from there. See, I don’t have sons of my own but that doesn’t mean I can’t jump all over someone else’s son when they deserve it.
Just ask the kid I saw in the mall parking lot that was walking alongside a young lady who was carrying 2 bags in each hand while he carried none. He opened his door, got in the car, closed the door and sat there leaving her to walk around the car, fend for herself and struggle to open her door while holding 4 bags. Ask that kid what happens when a bona fide Old Schooler sees the entire travesty take place and decides it’s time to go Marlboro Man on him…
“Hey, nice going there prince charming.”
Then turn to the young lady who managed to maneuver herself into the car with all 4 bags and say to her while pointing at the kid,
“You got yourself a real keeper right there.”
Who knows if the kid got the message. Who knows if it actually helped. Who knows if it changed anything at all but I’ll tell you this. Very similar to the triumph of evil, the only thing necessary for the triumph of the deterioration of manhood is for good men to do nothing.
Like I said, I’m Old School. Deal with it. That’s my story, that’s how I see it, that’s how I’m gonna say it and that ain’t gonna change.