Ok, folks, let’s talk about “real men”. For the last decade or two, I have been annoyed almost daily by some fool or other talking about what “real men” do or do not do. “Real men” are pretty amazing near as I can tell because they not only do nothing wrong but manage not to offend anyone when they are doing all the things that they do right.
Now I have been an imaginary man for thirty some years and I have met a lot of other imaginary men who seemed like the real deal but sadly turned out to be imaginary as well because they all seemed to have some weakness or other. Now some of these imaginary men I met were heavy hitters. They were people I would trust with my life and the lives of my children in a heartbeat but nonetheless, they all had some flaw preventing them from entering reality. My imaginary father was tough as nails but my very first memory of him was when he brushed the bottom of my socks off with remarkable gentleness before slipping my shoes on when I was four or so. Sadly, he did a number of things that disqualified him from being real later on so my best role model turns out to have been a figment of my imagination. Later in life, I met countless imaginary men that did amazing things. The last one I worked for was a decade or two younger than me. He managed multiple thriving businesses while still making himself available to babysit his two active children and literally saving lives as a volunteer firefighter when the need arose. Sounds like a real man right? Wrong! He occasionally lost his temper for a moment or two and yep turns out “real men” don’t come with that feature. Not sure what I actually did with all the time I thought I was working for him. Maybe the farm and tractors were just daydreams. That would explain why I enjoyed it I suppose.
There is just one thing that bothers me about the “real men” narrative. I can’t seem to find any real men who want to be the example. We would only need one really. We could film him twenty-four seven and broadcast him for all the young boys to see and then have an entire generation of “real men” to fix the problems of the world.
Alternatively, we could acknowledge that all men have strengths and weaknesses and allow the scared teenager who doesn’t feel like he could ever fit the bill to be “real” the entire time he transitions toward ideal maturity. We have a beautiful, responsible, intelligent, caring, generation in the so-called millennials so let’s toss aside the archaic judgemental attitude on what a man is and allow them the freedom for their own autonomy. They have enough on their plate.
The Blue Fairy is to blame for the entire problem anyway and I bet she ain’t real either.