1.05.2011

An article about a beautiful young nymph and manhood, but mostly manhood:

"PUT THE BUNNY BACK IN THE BOX"
by AJay Smith

The coolest thing about divorce, other than two Christmases, is that my parents each had a lot more appreciation for the seemingly insignificant moments in my life. There was, specifically, the time my father and I sat at his kitchen table, each enjoying a cup of coffee. Ostensibly, this was just a trivial start to a lazy day. Instead, this would be the day my father decided I had entered manhood. Why? No milk or sugar in my coffee. He was so taken aback by my no-nonsense method of java consumption, that under his paternal eye, his son had demonstrated the necessary virility to be considered a man.

Can it really be that easy? With all that a man is, and all that being a man entails, can my lethargically-motivated resistance to walking the ten feet from the coffee pot to the fridge for some creamer really signal an acceptance into manhood? I mean, even the Jews, not particularly known for their masculinity, at least make you sit in a chair and pick you up. Where was my right of passage? The kitchen counter then became the setting for my personal reflection, a mental quest for the Holy Grail that is reaching manhood.

In order to pinpoint exactly when my personal crossover in manhood had occurred, I first had to decipher that deceptively small word itself; what is a man? It seems, in popular culture, that the “man” is more complex than the “adult male,” and thus, it is important to determine how one transcends the latter to declare a triumphant entrance into the former. Of course, your stereotypical man includes a burly mane of facial fur, a-la your classic Paul Bunyan lumberjack type, and more recently, San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, who taught us that growing a beard actually makes you throw a better slider. Beyond that, you have the oh-so-cliché Chuck Norris, most pirates, and the late Billy Mays, although everyone’s favorite pitch-man loses some proverbial “man-points” for his enthusiasm towards doing laundry. 

The beard is the staple of manliness, because other than that one obvious male-exclusive organ, it is the most immediately noticeable physical difference between the male and female genders. If this is the case, then genetics has made my journey into manhood impossible, as my best attempt at a beard lies somewhere between Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite and the title of character of Joe Dirt.

Perhaps, it is best then not to limit manliness to a strictly physical boundary. Still, even if we consider the man as an attitude, or more importantly a lifestyle, there still seems to be a glaring contradiction between the many popular ideas of the “man” we are consistently exposed to. Probably the most common depiction of the “man” is the action-hero. (Think John McClane and Cameron Poe, of Die Hard and Con Air, respectively.) Again, with their rippling muscles and strong jaws, there are certainly physical characteristics of the action-hero; however, as evidenced by the doughy-figured Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan, and all four Ghostbusters, this can be ignored so long as there is enough testosterone oozing from their heroic deeds to overshadow any physical shortcomings.

There is, on the other hand, a much different, yet equally manly man, who henceforth will be referred to as the “debonair” if for no other reason than to remind the French that even they can achieve manhood. The debonair displays manliness via chivalry and class, the classic example of which is Don Quixote. Contemporarily, we see this in James Bond, Leon Phelps, and Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World.”

And still, there’s me, beardless and confused at my dad’s kitchen counter, wondering where I fit amongst all the barrel-chested, martini-drinking men dodging bullets and answering sex-advice phone calls in my mind. My lifetime achievement for heroism is most likely limited to jump-starting a car, and to call myself a debonair would set the chivalry bar low enough to make Lancelot shit his armor. How, then, can I honestly call myself a man? By the time I could see the bottom of my coffee mug I had reached my answer. 

Clearly, all men are not created equal. There is no set in stone formula for masculinity. A man may or may not dive from exploding buildings, and he may or may not drive an Aston Martin, and he may or may not have to shave twice a day. Yet all of these men, from Paul Bunyan to the Dos Equis guy, achieve manhood nonetheless. What they all share is a sense of self-confidence derived from a discovery of their own abilities, whether that is the ability to be heroic, the ability to be debonair, or the ability to grow a gnarly fuckin’ beard. 

It’s almost paradoxical, in that a man is not a man until he realizes what kind of man he is, and that can be as unique to him as the smell of his farts. (As a side note, farts are always manly.) For example, Cameron Poe knows he’s a husband and a father, and not a criminal, and that gives his life, all adrenaline-pumping 115 minutes of it, a purpose. 

Beyond that, the details are insignificant. Consequently, the moment of transition, when the boy gains the ability to reflect upon himself thoughtfully and maturely enough to become a man, can occur anytime and anywhere. That may mean right in the middle of a high speed chase, during a romantic evening with a lady, game five of the World Series, or Hell, even at my dad’s kitchen counter, enjoying a cup of milkless, sugarless coffee.


//THE POWteam WOULD LIKE TO THANK SIR AJAY SMITH FOR HIS CONTRIBUTION. MUCH OBLIGED DOOD. WANT TO WRITE FOR POWzine, BUT YOU'RE A TERRIBLE WRITER? THEN DO NOT CONTACT US VIA POWzine@gmail.com. HOWEVER, IF THAT DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU THEN SHOOT US AN E-MAIL. WE LIKE THINGS GOOD. -POWteam.

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