For lunch yesterday I ate bear and deer meat (i.e., venison). I felt manly and gruff, so I posted this on Twitter:
Bear and venison for lunch. Back to my MI roots. #likeacaveman
I spent all my formative years in Michigan, where nearly everyone’s a hunter at some point in life. Dad was an avid outdoorsman. He taught me everything imaginable about hunting, camping, fishing, and anything else manly. Every November we’d get together with my cousins and uncles during Thanksgiving break to express our manliness. Beards would be grown. Bullets would be hand loaded. Scopes would be sighted in. Tree stands would be carried into the woods. And showers and indoor plumbing would be shunned for at least a week. It felt good to be a man.
In fact, here’s a picture my cousin recently posted on Facebook:
Amongst my MI family, men are still expected to do traditional, manly things. Here are a few unwritten rules I learned from my northern family members about the role of men:
1. Lotion is not allowed under any circumstances on any part of your body.
2. Beards are required during hunting season. If you cannot grow one, try anyway so we can mock you.
3. Insults are appreciated on a much deeper level than compliments. In fact, don’t ever compliment me.
4. Nature is where we can truly see God’s handiwork, and there’s absolutely nothing like sitting in a tree stand as the snow falls and the sun sets.
5. A father and a son bond naturally in the woods. Anywhere else takes extra effort.
6. Fashion statements can only be made in camouflage. In fact, this is the one time compliments are allowed and even encouraged, such as “That’s a nice pair of camo shorts for a Sunday.” And you are NEVER allowed to wear these.
Since moving south, I haven’t had as much manly outdoor time as I’d like. And, I hate to admit, I’ve even used lotion a time or two. I guess I’m softening. Hopefully “metrosexual “will not be in my title in the near future. Although, at this rate, who knows.
While traditional roles of men have certainly evolved, I still think it’s okay for a man to be a man. What does that entail, exactly? There’s the tough question men today have to answer. Is it manly to change a diaper? Yeah, I think so. Is it manly to clean the kitchen or cook dinner? Sure, why not? Some roles and definitions have changed, but others have not.
Is it manly to be the priest of your home? YES.
Is it manly to provide and care for your family to the best of your ability? YES.
It is manly to love your wife and your children and to show it (and SAY it)? YES.
Is it manly to cry at Lifetime movies? NO (some things will just never be acceptable).
So, go ahead, BE A MAN. It’s okay. In fact, it’s absolutely essential. God’s looking for a few good men.
(Beards and lotion optional. Lifetime movies NOT optional.)
Read the follow-up: How To Be A Woman