To Be a Man

This morning I had a really interesting conversation. Most of it centered around a good friend venting about relationship issues, but then I starting to think about how most of the problems centered around not having the notion of what it means to be a man. Then things got a lot more complicated in my head. What does it really mean to be a man… it could mean so many different things to so many different people.

My definition is pretty straight forward. A man is a provider and protector. His word is bond and he does not engage in childish behavior. A man has his priorities in check and plans ahead. A man has an open mind, but also clearly defined set of morals and values his integrity as well as that of those around him.

One of the situations that seems to be the most confused by people is that to feel like a man, testosterone has to be involved. Out-drinking someone, punching the lights out of someone, having a bigger car, being the ladies man are all things that simple minded people see as a mark of a real man. That is not to say that a real man cannot be or do any number of those things, but he is not defined by them or need to have them reaffirmed to solidify his manhood.

Nobody is perfect though, and we all make mistakes when it comes to wanting to feel macho by answering to nobody and just getting crazy. I know when I go to Michigan and hang out with some of my friends out there debauchery and childish behavior ensues. However, I don’t need to get drunk every single week and be out all night to feel like I am a real man.

So my question is pretty simple, and it goes out to both sexes. What is your definition of a real man if you are a woman. And dudes, what things make you feel like a real man? Do you need some kind of reaffirmation? Do you need a man-cave?

The End of Substance

We are more connected than ever before in history. I was watching a B movie that a friend had let me borrow. The movie was everything that I would expect from a B movie but it made me think of how much communication had changed. It had pigeons on it that were used to send messages in a modern setting… it made me think that we have come a long way from smoke signals… but in our lifetime we have stepped communication to a whole new level. During the 90s pagers became something that someone else other than doctors had access to, then everyone got a cellphone during the 2000s and in the last couple of years it seems like everyone is on Facebook.

This is an extremely exciting time to live in and witness how technology is making things of wonder, like the walkman, become obsolete. Entertainment, such as 3D movies, can now be enjoyed from your livingroom.

I do however feel that all this fluff of access and even instant entertainment is taking away some of the substance of communication between humans.

Twitter and even Facebook let us share small tidbits of our lives that others might even comment on. Our interaction there seems similar to what blogs used to provide, but in a lot of ways the interactions lack substance. Any kind of real discussion can turn into a Twitter war, and since people are not really face to face everything seems to escalate.

Back in the early days of the internet forums used to provide this type of interactions, often times around a hobby or common interest. Everyone kind of got used to each others internet tone and even though there was conflict it was almost always intended by one party to turn out that way.

Now I have seen several situations where people take a very public avenue to air out grievances while everyone else witnesses the onslaught. From a breakup being broadcasted to everyone in the “friends” proximity to a political or religious view bashed to pieces.

Conversations that would never happen around a living room or a family gathering seem to be out in the open; and while some of it might be positive (its always good to see people’s true colors) some of it lacks substance.

Besides my wife, I have only a limited number of people that I actually hold meaningful conversations with. Conversations that are discussions trying to elicit not just response but actual thought.

My interaction with people even around the world has been made instant, but the substance in many of those interactions seem to be gone and actual communication seldom accomplished.

Myspace is the perfect example. It was a useful tool for maybe a year but then it turned into an overinflated shoutbox with blinking text all over. I don’t think many people visit or even have a myspace anymore… well at least not the people I interact with. It seems that now points of view are about who has the loudest and most obnoxious sparkle than actual thought behind it.

What good is the communication age if all we do with it is shout our views to each other, but not actually listen or think.

Too many projects, not enough time

Right now I have several things going on that I want to work on, but not much time to do it.

I have several posts that I have started but cannot quite get around to finishing.

I really want to do a podcast with Deguia again and discuss the book “The Road.”

I want to finish 3 books that I have started, and stopped either because I started during travel and forgot when I came back or I happen start another one.

There are movies coming out that I actually want to go see in the theaters.

I am looking forward to Turkey day and the holidays, but not the inches I am going to get from it.

I want to find a pool close to home so I can go do laps every morning… I miss swimming a lot.

I guess don’t mind me, just putting down some mental notes here… and this not even begin to include the work related stuff.

So what is going on with your brains?