I grew up with three macho brothers, with a macho father, with macho grandfathers, and basically the epitome of manly men clear back to Joseph of Arimathea on my mother's side and very Scottish men on my father's side. In fact my fourth great grandfather saved his pioneer camp from a Native American war party with a birthday cake. How manly is that?
So maybe I have a slanted view of what it is to be a man but I often find myself despairing that there are no more REAL men around. Like...Agent Phil Coulson, kind of manly. Total gentleman, uncompromising principles, moral courage, resourceful, and able to knock out a jerk with one punch. He may not look like Thor but he didn't take several millennia and a traumatic banishment to grow up.
I question that maybe I have unrealistic views but then...when the guys I'm dating start making me feel manlier than them...then I wonder who's really wearing the pants and high heels.
I got the impression from my family that there were sets of skills that were the standard of manhood, just how in the old days the standard was hunting, maybe combat, farming, and building. You know, survival.
So the modern equivalent would be, reasonable degrees of auto-mechanics, plumbing and home architecture, Eagle Scout, and etiquette. But as I've dated I've found most of these guys are sorely unequipped for survival of the modern world, marriage, and family and they're well into adulthood.
Some might say. That's a lot to expect of a guy. Well what if I wouldn't ask anything I wouldn't do myself? Which is where the problem of being more masculine than my dates comes in.
Since I couldn't go on scouts and I sorely wanted to, dad and I would do daddy daughter camps, just me and him and we did some crazy stuff out in the wilds. Like, ATV at midnight 40 mph while running over THOUSANDS of mice, racing rabbits, and narrowly avoiding hundreds of owls.
Then on family camps roughing it all the way with the bro's. You know, going a whole week without bathing, shaving. Getting blisters, bug bites. Building forts and fires, cutting wood, carving things with pocket knives, dutch oven, catching and gutting fish. Then when dad was a scout master he let me come on klondike. So I scouted as far as I could, even helped the bro's with their Eagle Scout projects in some cases.
Hey, it was my MOM that taught my dad, who later wrote the book on camping, how to fish.
(Kay, true story: My mom and I were fishing in dad's boat and I had her hold my pole so I could correct the direction we were puttering and then she gets bites on both poles at the same time. I was trying to keep us from running aground so she hooks both fish, then holds one pole between her legs, and reals in one fish. Then takes the other and reals in the second and essentially caught two fish at the same time. Who's your daddy now?)
So, when it comes to discussing camping with these dates I often find I surpass them in some areas and I think that challenges their pride. (Must be why the guys at youth conference hated me. I set up 5 spring bar tents before they set up one and I even repaired one in that time.)
Guys often give me the impression that I intimidate them. I don't try to, maybe I come across as macho. I kind of had to play macho to hang out with the bro's. Not like they were going to play stuffed animals or house after age eight. So I have many memories of playing Mortal Combat on the neighbor's trampoline, ninjas, wearing camo during night games. So maybe I'm macho.
I agree that some past standards of masculinity are unrealistic. Like, boys don't cry. That is SO unhealthy! Mama's boys usually make the best men. Home economics is not just for ladies; every guy should know how to iron a shirt and cook. That's just being independent.
But there are skills and principles that have been lost that shouldn't have been. Things that gave men honor, respect, and made them DANG attractive.
But for the entirety of my ten dating years I keep finding myself "out manning" my dates and that, ladies, is tragic.