I grew some hair on my chin for about a week and it prompted people to ask questions and make remarks. The remarks I can understand, especially since it made me look terrible. My favorite was from two different times when I was called Wolverine. It’s the questions that threw me off.
One question really got me thinking. I was asked if I was growing a beard as a sign of rebellion. What did I have to rebel against? That seemed like a silly question, but I hesitated to answer. Maybe I was rebelling against something. Maybe it was two somethings, softness and safetiness.
Raising my son has made me re-evaluate many things. One of them being a general attack on manliness. Ok, maybe it’s not exactly an attack on manliness, especially given your definition of a man and manliness, but there is definitely an attack on being a little bit rough around the edges, a little bit dirty, and a little bit wild.
Exhibit A: Antibacterial Gel – Since when did we need this? What happened to soap and water? Even better, what happened to letting your body fight off bacteria? Antibacterial Gel is safe. It helps prevent illness. It smells pretty. It seems like people are afraid of getting a little dirty. I’m not even going to discuss Swine Flu play on fear, which takes this even farther down the slippery slope.
Exhibit B: Toy Weapons – How did these staples of boyhood get removed from our society? Yes, we can still find them if we look hard enough, but how many kids do you see playing with them? Playing with toy guns and swords is not politically correct anymore. Owning real ones is even further away from PC.
Exhibits C & D: Bike Helmets and Car Seats – I’m not going to start my forever rant on these safety devices that were created with good purpose, but taken overwhelmingly overboard. Just know that they fuel my fire.
I’m still under an old premise that men are suppose to be tough. To me, men are suppose to strive to become leaders. Men are strong, rough, and willing to take risks. Men build and destroy. Men are not afraid to get a little dirty.
This type of thinking lead me to a book called Boys Should Be Boys, which is surprisingly written by a female doctor. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, given the mood that I’m in and the thoughts running through my mostly empty head.
So, when confronted with the real reason I was growing the beard, I realized that it wasn’t worth the ugliness, the remarks, or even the questions. I trimmed the hair close to the skin, leaving just enough to be rough without being furry.
Now that I have the attention of the three people who will actually read this post the whole way through, I want to give my recommendations. Walk outside without shoes. Stop buying that stinking gel. Go hunting or fishing and camping. Build something that doesn’t come in a box with “some assembly required.” Go for a bike ride and ditch the helmet. Better yet, ride that bike off the beaten path. Go enjoy the sound of a good V8 or a Harley Davidson. Fly your flag high and support our troops. Don’t act like you’re above people working in manual labor jobs. And finally, give your mom a kiss on the cheek because men are not better than women, just different.