Thursday, November 19, 2009

Manly Pursuits

In a discussion about great books for boys and young men, someone recently recently referred me to a website called The Art of Manliness. It includes articles on How to Use a Handsaw, How to Exit a Room Like a Man (stride manfully? I'm just guessing here), Three Essential Campfires, The Best Guns for Self Defense, and An Introduction to the Art of Gambling. I have missed out on all these gender-defining moments, with the possible exception of walking. Hence the poor, snivelling shell of a man that some of you see fairly regularly.

I do know that I am surrounded by Men. They run power tools continually (the current favorite is the Leaf Blower, which, true to its name, blows leaves around; I prefer the more primitive rake, and I'm usually done in less than half the time. This is good, because leaves don't particularly excite me or generate feelings of enhanced virility). They build fires; big, roaring conflagrations in their back yards, as if they were trying to survive in the wilderness instead of gulping beer behind their tract homes. They may own guns and/or gamble. I don't want to find out. They occasionally corner me in conversation. "How 'bout dem Buckeyes?" they say, or "What's your handicap?"

I never know how to answer these questions. Weak chin? Propensity to exaggerate? There are several, actually. But that's not what they mean. I try to escape as gracefully as I can. "Oh aitch," I typically call out, and make hand signals. That usually gets them going, as they complete the "eye oh" cheer with their own hand signals. They can go on that way for a while, and I can usually return to reading, or learning how to bake, or whatever feminine wiles I'm pursuing at the time.

I don't think any of them read. They know that when the can turns blue, the beer is cold, and that's enough.


Anonymous said...

I've got easy answers to those questions you're cornered with: 1) "I haven't got any buckeyes, but you can have all the pine cones you can find in my yard. (May I borrow your leaf blower?) 2) I wear bifocals.

Anonymous said...

You rock