This post was originally published at The Scale. Cross-posted with permission.
There was a huge response to a recent article in ‘The National Post’ by writer Christie Blatchford regarding the men of Toronto. It was a call for Toronto to stop being a ‘City of Sissies’.
In response, I am going to share two things with you: a moment and a secret.
First, I am going to share a moment.
This is a moment in my everyday life that I personally dread. Not a moment like fearing my safety when walking down a strange, moonlit street, facing a boss and his sexual harassment-laced advances, a trip to the dentist or a strange man following me into the elevator.
I dread when my car acts up or needs attention. Some light goes on, or there is a rattling sound or grinding noise, which means walking into the auto shop.
There isn’t a moment where I feel more insufficient or I am made to feel more pathetic than when I need to do something car-related. Growing up I didn’t have the kind of father that was forever under the hood, asking me to pass the wrench and explain how the engine works. I literally could write on one sheet of paper the entire conversations I ever had with my father. The Strong and Silent type: My father, my example of a man.
Admittedly, I should take on my deficiency of automotive knowledge and learn more about the vehicle I use everyday (I just know how to drive, change the oil and gas up). Whenever I walk into any auto shop, however, is my moment of dread.
The moment the man behind the counter raises his eyes up from typing on the computer with hands adorned in grease and calluses…
Hands toughened from years of working with them
Hands manually manly
Hands hardened and thickened
Hands that don’t feel a thing
…the moment he quickly realizes my depth of automotive know-how is thinner than the worn out treads on my tires, I see a smirk. I see eyes rolling, or a subtle shake of the head. The soft groan under his breath is a mighty roar questioning my manhood, echoing in the empty cavity where my esteem once stood. This pressure, this feeling may seem trivial, but it is real, it is potent and it needs to be discussed.
Secondly, I am going to break the man code of silence and share a secret.
There is an invisible gun held to the head of every man and boy you know.
At any given moment, at every moment of everyday, familiar cold steel presses against the head of every man’s soul. Unseen hands take turns cocking it, pressing it against the temple. The hands belong to people you know and never knew, those you despise and those you will always love.
It is a loaded gun that we as men don’t point out, don’t signal for help with, certainly don’t discuss and don’t internally acknowledge even exists. It has been pushed into our temple since birth.
The gun is society’s impossible, elusive state of manhood.
The bullets are Vulnerability, Inadequacy and Emotion. Read more