Where have all the men gone?
This is not a rhetorical question.
I see plenty of males wandering around, but I see few men anymore.
Now, I'm not one of those who defines manhood by the sports you play or your golf score or the number of animals you've killed or the number of women you've slept with or the size of certain parts of your anatomy. I don't think you're more of a man if you make more money than some other guy. I don't think your giant truck is anything but a giant overcompensation.
I used to differentiate between men and guys. Both are male, but of a different sub species. Guys do all of the things that I listed above. Guys are obsessed with their bodily functions, and sports, and think of destruction as an acceptable pastime.
I can't stand the "guyness" of guys.
But, the thing is, even guys, when push comes to shove, can man up, when the chips are down -- maybe not until ALL of the chips are down, but still...
The problem is the guy is no longer the lesser of the male species, he's now only second worst of three distinct males.
You have the man. The guy. And the new subset -- the Manchild. And that last one is like a virus, and it's spreading fast.
I look around and I see males in their twenties, living in their parent's home -- sixty percent of 18-24 year old males live with their parents. That is astonishing. And depressing. They dress like they're twelve years old. They spend their days playing video games and drinking energy drinks -- because otherwise they would have no energy at all, seeing as the only things they exercise are their thumbs. I had occasion to be in Walmart -- so consider the source -- a couple of weekends ago -- and I started watching the little families doing their shopping. More often than I am even comfortable talking about, here is what I saw:
Mom pushing a cart, full of groceries, with one kid riding in the cart, one hanging on the cart, one orbiting nearby...and the father/husband...dressed in the jersey of his favorite sports team -- including a stupid looking hat -- shorts (even though it was snowing outside -- I can only guess that it was because it was just too much trouble to put on pants, they were usually the kind of shorts that you don't even have to do up), and, more often than not, a good number of tattoos. He was tagging along, completely disengaged from what the rest of his family was doing, almost as though it was simply gravity that kept him in the same universe. I actually watched one guy who kept asking his wife if he could buy this thing or that, and when she would tell him that they didn't have enough money to buy that item, and still pay for groceries, he would pout and stomp off. A few minutes later he would try it again. I began to feel like a stalker, I spent so much time watching them. He wasn't a man, he was simply another child.
And I see this kind of behavior constantly.
There is nothing inherently wrong with playing video games, or cheering for sports teams, or doing a lot of the things that these men do. From time to time. I'm a big advocate of getting in touch with the inner child (so to speak). I find great joy in thinking about my childhood, and talking about it, and reflecting on it, and how it shaped me in to the person that I am today. But there are limits.
Something is wrong, and it's getting worse. These guys really don't seem to see that there is anything wrong with this kind of behavior. They have no goals, no ambition, no motivation and no worries. Someone will fix it. They actually celebrate this behavior -- because they live in a society that literally celebrates everything. It's selfishness, and narcissism. And here's the real kicker, the real danger, as I see it -- when these guys finally wake up, when they realize how hollow their existence is, when they realize that they're not NBA stars -- it's just an Xbox score, they're not soldiers, or police officers, they're just really good at shooting things on a screen, when they realize that all of those "likes" they get on Facebook, for reposting some video of some other jackass doing something idiotic, doesn't really translate into the popularity that they think they so richly deserve, when they realize that looking at porn will never get them a real girlfriend, when they realize that they can't put a coherent sentence together -- hell, they can't even spell coherent -- and when they realize that they have no idea how to change anything -- when they have this moment of truth, and they stare into the black void that is their soul, something will snap. At the moment when they learn that their life is a worthless excuse for an existence, they will lose all hope for the future.
And a person who loses hope is a dangerous person. That's the person that takes a gun into an elementary school.
I have two daughters, and what awaits them frightens me. How do I protect them? More than that, how do I instill in them that, despite the examples of "manhood" that they see all around them, they do not have to settle for such a pathetic excuse for a man? This is more than the protective dad in me coming out -- I know there will always be a few good men out there, the ones who do it right. But, they're fighting a trend that is epidemic.
I think there are ways to reverse these trends, but I'm not sure we have the stomach or the will to do it anymore. Not when there's another party to go to. Another game to play. Another device to buy that we can't afford. Another shiny thing to look at. Another porn star to fantasize about. And a thousand other things to distract us from having a thought that last more than a half second.
Wow, I started off feeling a little sarcastic and then went into a full on rant...
Am I the only one that feels this way?
It isn't always easy to define what a man is...but what a man isn't? I know that when I see it.