I love many things in this world. I love a good bottle of Scotch, filterless cigarettes, voluptuous red headed women and watching two fighters at the top of their game duke it out. I love the sound a car engine makes when you turn the key, how a woman’s ass looks in a pair of leggings and shopping for the perfect hat. But above all, I love being a man.
There’s a lost art of being a man. In a world of baseball caps, t-shirts and board shorts, there are all too few bespoke suits, custom-made hats and leather-soled shoes. The problem isn’t the men themselves. Indeed, if my writing career has taught me anything, it’s that men are hungry, voracious even, for a space to be manliness.
It’s easy to put the blame on other places it doesn’t belong. Feminism, for example, has absolutely zero to do with the loss of what I might call “high” masculinity. Blame things like the counterculture, a loss of social capital and deindustrialization, but don’t blame women and don’t blame yourself.
Still, isn’t being a man the one thing you cherish more than anything else? I know it is for me. I take great joy in the minor rituals of manliness — shaving or going to the barber, for example. But it’s more than just the little external things. Being a man has so much to do with your very being, it informs the way we walk, the way we talk, the way that we do everything that we do. And let’s not forget that 99 times out of 100, what a man does is ultimately what he thinks a man should do.
While I’ve heard literally dozens of women talk about how they’d love to be a man for at least a day, I’ve never heard a man echo quite the same sentiment. Men tend to be more confident with themselves in this manner. Any recourse to the old lines about male supremacy just don’t hold water. Women are increasingly the breadwinners, especially among married couples. And yet, there has been no corresponding increase (at least in my solipsistic experience) in the number of men who’d like to swap places. Put in a direct fashion: What would it take for you to want to be a woman, even for a day or two?
Now think about the best moments of your life. Your proudest accomplishments. The memories that will always stick with you. I’d be willing to bet that most of them are in some way inexorably tied with being a man. Because, let’s face it, there are few things better than being a man. You can see the sense of purpose and action in everything from some teenage punk on his skateboard to a stockbroker heading off to the office to make millions. Because while it manifests itself in different ways around the world and during different eras, one thing is certain: There’s something to this business of being a man.
And it’s something most of us wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.