The art of manliness by a young-ish, cisgender hetero male in a hurry.

mrporter

The weekly journal at men’s clothing site, Mr Porter, has an article this week titled, How to be a man in 2016. Gee, I thought to myself, I hope this isn’t going to be written by their terminally unmanly senior editor Chris Elvidge. Oh no, it is. That’s him above on the far right. The word man does not enter my mind when viewing that picture. Metro-sexual nancy boy comes a bit closer. Let’s have a look at his brilliant prose, shall we?

He starts off with this cracker:

And “man” is giving me a bit of trouble, too. Does anyone actually know what it means to be a man any more?

We’re about to find out that he doesn’t. He goes on to cite the case of writer Ian McEwan who recently remarked that he considered a man to possess both an x and y chromosome, something which he foolishly apologized for soon after. Real modern men would cite the third trait in this instance. But Mr Elvidge while seeming to agree then mentions,

Still, someone of his intelligence should have known better than to say it out loud.

How very cowardly, and unmanly. He needs to get himself a bit of the tenth trait of the modern man.

Moving on, he spends time on the subject of the new Lynx commercial which is now catering to gay men of the 11-14 age bracket apparently. It seems that this is a good thing because,

And to a man who has struggled over the years to relate to classical masculine norms – you know, hyperaggression, emotional detachment, a paralysing fear of homosexuals, that sort of thing – this newly inclusive, open-door policy to masculinity comes as nothing but welcome news.

Myself, I’m just a little tired of this self-flagellating impulse to equate masculine men as living in a state of constant tension and fear that homosexuals exist. A gay man that I know was drafted into the Australian army many years ago. While being quite obviously gay he remarked to me that he never encountered a single issue with his time spent in the armed forces. Which is strange seeing as his whole platoon must have been living in constant fear of him. At least if you listen to whimpering Quisling men like Mr Elvidge.

The seemingly off-the-cuff implication that masculinity equates to homosexuality at the end of that quote is such an outrageous falsehood that one can only hope that the piece is satirical. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

 Well, I can’t grow a beard and I have no idea how to wield an axe. I’m not particularly good at sport and it doesn’t bother me when I lose. I’m friends with gay men. It’d be a lonely fashion writer who wasn’t. I’ve been known to binge-watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Madonna’s Ray Of Light is one of my favourite albums. I’m prepared to go to pretty extreme lengths to avoid confrontation. I often struggle to contain my emotions. I watched Inside Out last week – an animated movie, for children – and cried like a baby when the cotton-candy elephant with the bowler hat jumped out of the song-powered rainbow rocket wagon. Does that sound like the sort of sentence a man would write? Maybe not, but I’m a man and I just wrote it. Deal with it, suckers!

You can just picture Mr Clint Eastwood reading that and shaking his head. Crying like a baby, well we all know the answer to that one.

That’s the wonderful thing about being a man in 2016: we get to decide what it means.

It would be so easy if that were truly the case. Everyone is a man because they decide so! But anything that requires no thought, effort, or sacrifice to get isn’t worth a damn. The writer is a self-declared young-ish, cisgender hetero male in a hurry. What that means is anyone’s guess. But it certainly has nothing to do with being a man. Metro-sexual nancy boy was pretty well right on the mark.

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