One day, maybe, I’ll talk about my “first love” (if you can call it that), or as she is more commonly known, Beelzebub. But today is not that day.
I do remember something she told me though when she decided we should break up (or at least shortly after…it was one of those long drawn out pointless endings, much like the latter seasons of The X Files, including to the point that my life involved a curious life form that was inexplicable to science). I don’t remember the exact words. It was something along the lines of “I can’t love you” blah blah blah…I mean who really listens to these things anyway, right? But I do remember one thing she said that stuck with me for the greater part of my adult life. “You’re not a man.”
I guess at the time it wasn’t something I’d really thought about much. Maybe she had a point. I certainly spent a lot of time thinking about it after that.
So when I write an article on the topic of being a man, I want you to know that it comes from seventeen years of deep thought. Ignore my directions at your own peril (unless you’re a cis woman or transgender man in which case I’ll leave the decision up to you).
I’ll get to the directions in a bit, but first I want to explain how I arrived at this conclusion. I will say one thing though: it’s simpler than you might think. There is just one golden rule, which, when understood thoroughly, will have you bouncing it with the manliest of men.
So here I was, coming off a relationship that I had thought was true love, and feeling crushed and worthless. I had to change. I couldn’t let this happen again. So I set myself on a path of self improvement. I would become the perfect man so that no woman could reject me any more.
To be fair, I guess I was part way there already. I’d mastered the skill of suppressing emotions. I think I learnt that from my father. To be honest he never talks about his dad much, but I suspect he learnt these skills from him. That’s very important to being a man: never ask questions. Your job is to follow orders and look good doing it.
Maybe that’s what I was missing. I mean, I suppose I was good looking in a Christian Slater, creepy skinny guy kind of way, but is that really manly? I’m fairly sure, from pictures I’ve seen on television, that a real man has arms like tree trunks, a brain like sawdust, and (not to press the metaphor too far) a nice piece of wood. Well ok, maybe I have one out of three.
I “tried” getting fit. I really did but my other problem (being intellectual) meant that exercise was just incredibly incredibly boring. Which to fix first?
I have found some exercises that work for me. I am a mean rollerblader. Still, I imagine people would call that a little too “metrosexual” but surely if I’m careful I can keep that hidden while I get the body that everyone will want. Oh that’s another important part to being a man: keep secrets about everything. This has a synergy with the above mentioned keeping your emotions inside. If you DO happen to (heaven forbid) have any real emotions be SURE not to let anyone know.
I also, later on, went through a phase of
studying (wait that doesn’t sound manly at all) training in kick boxing. It’s actually pretty fun (not that I experienced any happiness mind you, I want to be clear on that). The added side benefit is you can kick the ass of anyone you are ordered to. This is important. A man should be ready to sacrifice himself in violent fury whenever someone else’s safety and/or whim calls it to action. Also if you could be just a little bit angrier it wouldn’t kill you. Remember this: the measure of whether something is acceptable or not is solely on the measure of it not killing you (quickly anyway…a slow death is very manly or so I hear).
With the physical side more or less taken care of I had my unseemly intellect to take care of. I tried drinking, and it worked to a point. I would binge drink, and…well I’d love to have something witty to say here but honestly I can’t remember much. I do remember waking up one morning to discover that I’d driven home the night before, mud all through my car. I didn’t “actually” remember the driving but when I saw the mud in the car and the mud on my pants I put two and two together (not that I’m good at maths and if anyone tells you I am rest assured that it’s all lies). I guess it didn’t kill me so it must have been a good thing, but still I decided maybe I could find healthier alternatives.
I ran out of ideas.
And so, I reverted back to the previous techniques: suppression and lying. Sure I could have my own personal thoughts (call it my secret shame if you will) but if I just don’t talk no one will ever need to suspect that I am not, in fact, the manliest of men.
The transformation was complete. How could I possibly fail? I had become the perfect phallus right?
Strange though. Who would have thought that no one would like an emotionless, aggressive, lying, uncommunicative dimwit?
I went back to the drawing board and I think I’ve discovered the answer. I’m going to let you in on the secret. All you need to do, in order to be a man, is follow these simple steps.
1) Be born with both an X and a Y chromosome.
See, I told you it was simple. Heck, you probably don’t even need that. Who is anyone to question when a (previously) woman decides she is a man?
When I discovered the secret it blew my mind. All these years of being told what to do and what to be, and the answer was there right in front of me.
Being a man is something you are, not something you do. That thing that I had been lead to believe was “being a man” was really actually “being a phallus”. A big dildo for the pleasure of others. Don’t get me wrong, I like dildo’s as much as anyone but they’re something to use, not something I want to be.
Actually, screw that even. Forget everything I said. Be whoever you want to be, because you are a miracle. In spite of overwhelming odds, our one planet amongst millions of stars, one species amongst millions of species and in spite of all those who have lived and died, you have survived. Your very existence is a big middle finger to the universe. So make it whatever you want to.
I, for one, am going to stop with all these rules. I don’t need to be a man. I AM a man.
So fuck you.