Natural Air Conditioning

Since the heat index here in the heartland of America has been soaring up into triple digits the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I appreciate air conditioning. With that in mind, I give you…
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Keep scrolling. There’s something there, I promise.
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Not Masculine:


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Masculine:

Not Masculine, Masculine: Softball Edition

Not Masculine: The weekend-league softball player with spikes, striped pants, two batting gloves, wristbands, Oakley sunglasses (instead of eye-black), and presumably a $300 aluminum bat.

Masculine: The weekend-league softball player with sneakers, gym shorts, and no-cap-no-glasses-no-batting-gloves-no-wrist-bands.

It’s not the tools–it’s the craftsman.

Not Masculine

I could be mistaken, (after all, everything’s just alleged at this point), but it doesn’t sound like Mel Gibson is acting very masculine these days. Here’s the story from the New York Daily News.

In many ways, this is a perfect example of what I was talking about when I wrote about oak trees back in May of this year.

Thank you Ann for sharing.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Part of being a real man, at least in my opinion, involves A) being able to laugh at yourself, 2) not caring too much about what other people think about you, and C) being transparent.

In that spirit, I offer the following list of ten things about me that conventional wisdom might call unmanly.

1. I own several pink shirts and pink ties that I proudly wear several times a month. Then again, maybe a real man is secure enough in his manhood to wear pink and pull it off nicely. I happen to think it’s just a big part of my color wheel.

2. I wear brightly colored (and sometimes mismatched) striped, solid, and patterned socks. The dress culture where I work is pretty formal. I wear a lot of long-sleeved dress shirts, ties, and sometimes suits. Wearing socks that look more like they belong on the legs of a high school girl’s volleyball team than on the ankles of an adult male professional is like having a mullet for my wardrobe. It’s all business on top and a party underneath.

3. We’ve already established my love for Chai tea. I that weren’t unmanly enough, I also prefer to drink it (and any other beverage for that matter) through a straw. I’m not sure when drinking through a straw became unmanly, but one time someone told me it was. If drinking through a straw is unmanly, then you can call me RuPaul… just don’t make me drink straight from the cup.

4. I enjoy using our Swiffer Wetjet to clean the floors in our house. This may actually end up being masculine though so I’m not sure it belongs on the list. There’s just something about using the Swiffer that reminds me of playing with water guns as a boy.

5. I blow-dry my hair. I know what you’re thinking… and yes, I do have hair to blow-dry. I’m not actually doing it to dry my hair though. I use a blow-dryer like most men use a comb or a brush. I use the air to fix my hair.

6. I’m not going to lie anymore… I’ve actually enjoyed watching the Twilight movies. When the lovely and talented wife made me see the first one, I was skeptical. But then I watched and I actually enjoyed it. Same with the 2nd one. I haven’t seen the 3rd one yet, but don’t worry, I will. Now — in my defense — my interest in these flicks may have more to do with a weird interest in vampire stuff than the story itself, but I’m not going to analyze it or try to defend myself too much.

7. Sometimes, when it’s just me and the lovely and talented wife, I’ve been known to talk in a pretty girly voice. I’m not sure where it comes from, and honestly, I don’t think she’d miss it if it was gone, but it is what it is.

8. I have an irrational fear of: spiders, sharp objects (knives, swords, etc), firearms, and home invasions. In the first apartment the lovely and talented wife and I lived in after we were married, there was a home invasion just a few apartments down from us. After that happened, I started pushing our couch up against the door each night. I also started sleeping with a hammer next to our bed. I’m not sure what I would have done with the hammer should a home invasion have occurred, but with an irrational fear of firearms and sharp objects, my weapon options were pretty limited.

9. I’ve never paid for cable, but we have lived in places where it was free before. That’s not the unmanly part. When we had cable, do you know what channel I found myself watching more often than any of the others? Lifetime. Yep. That’s right. I’m a sucker for a good Lifetime movie (those three words might be an oxymoron). They suck me in every time. And although the plot is basically the same in every movie (usually involving a small town girl who gets caught up in the big city life, a sociopath stalker, or a woman who’s husband has either A) died or B) betrayed her), I still can’t change the channel once I start watching. This is probably a big part of why we don’t (and never will) have cable.

10. During my freshman year in college, as a dare, I shaved my face using women’s shave gel. It was an amazingly smooth experience and I never looked back. That was almost 10 years ago. If it weren’t for a renewed passion for frugality that has me buying whatever type of shaving cream is cheapest or we have a coupon for these days, I’d probably still be using lady’s shaving gel to remove my facial stubblies every day. In my defense, my current cream of choice does involve an old fashioned hand pump and a badger hair brush. That should cancel out at least 2 of the last 10 years of unmanly shaving.

11. I know I said this was only going to be 10 things, but just as I was about to hit the publish button, I remembered this last one, which as it turns out was the inspiration for the title of this post anyway. During my sophomore year of college, my roommate (Lance) and I had my computer hooked up to our stereo system set to an alarm that started a playlist to wake us up every morning. The playlist was varied and covered a lot of genres, but do you know what the first song on the list was? The song that we woke up to every day for almost a year? Um… yeah. It was Cyndi Lauper’s, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. I still smile every time I hear that sweet opening electro acoustic keyboard synthesized bass guitar riff.

I could be wrong, but I think if all men were gut-level honest with themselves and the rest of the world, they could each come up with their own list of similarly unmanly qualities about themselves. I used to worry about that stuff, but the older I get and the more I learn about what it REALLY means to be a man, the less I’m bothered by those things that conventional “wisdom” might call unmanly.

At the end of the day, the shaving cream I use, the wardrobe I adorn my person with, or the awesome song I choose to wake to every day has almost absolutely nothing to do with my manhood.

Being a real man is about trying to embody the intrinsic virtues of manhood. It’s about being honest and honorable. It’s about loving and being a friend. It’s about courage. It’s about loyalty and integrity. It’s about making sacrifices and being resilient. It’s about taking responsibility for your decisions, actions, and ultimately the direction of your life.

What traits or habits do you have that conventional wisdom might label unmanly?