What makes a real man? What does a real man do? What does he not do? Answers to those perennial questions have historically been pretty clear cut, even if they were not always very good answers. For some in the more “macho” tradition (for lack of a better term), real manhood is strength, prowess, and virility. The ability to seduce innumerable women? Check. Victory in battle? Check. Exploring and conquering unknown lands? You bet. Living off the land? Simply heaven.
For others of the more “sophisticated” persuasion (for lack of a better term), manhood is style, being well read, knowledge, education, and wisdom. Better yet is an appreciation for the arts, music, and the finer things in life. Certainly this real man is active, but it is through polo, fox hunting, skeet, and fly fishing. He also chases women, but it’s more like chess than bowling.
Then, there are those few who have it all, such as the “most interesting man in the world” dude made famous by the Dos Equis commercials. But even that guy has to retire at some point.
What about me? I like art, literature, and music. I played Soccer and Rugby. I have hunted, but usually didn’t hit a blasted thing. Paradoxically, I am pretty good at skeet shooting. I enjoy fly fishing, but have only done it a few times. I camped some in my younger days, but usually was really glad to get home. I am definitely a one woman man. It is easy to convince myself that I would like to jump out of an airplane, hike the Grand Canyon, and go heli-skiing, but then I just change the channel or open another book.
But . . . I have only thought of some things that real men might do. Sometimes you gotta know what a real man doesn’t do. For example, back in 1982 a book came out with the title “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.” It was a short lived cultural phenomenon until many men (including me) tried quiche (undercover, for sure) and actually liked it. What is the equivalent in today’s culture? What is something real men don’t do? Let me tell you:
Real men don’t use emojis! That’s right, real men don’t use smiley, winking, crying, or cringing faces. Real men don’t use hearts, clapping hands, or balloons. Let me explain myself.
It’s wonderful when my wife sends me the little face blowing a kiss. It’s just fine when she or my daughters use the thumbs up, hearts, or any one of dozens of expressive yellow faces. My granddaughters can send me any emojis they want. So far so good.
What is not acceptable is when a man uses emojis, especially in a message to another man! Come on, man! Just use your words. Using emojis is just too . . . too . . . cute.
Ok, ok. You want to use one in a text to your wife, your kids, or your grandkids . . . maybe that’s OK. Not very manly, but OK. Do you feel there is no other way to express yourself to your Dad, your son, or your brother? Highly questionable in the real man debate, but, please, just on the rare occasion. (Do I sound like I am backpedaling? Am I compromising my manly principle under pop culture pressure?).
Well, in principle, real men don’t use emojis. Pragmatically, OK, maybe every now and then. However, I stand firm on NO MAN TO MAN EMOJIS.
So, there. I got it off my chest. :)
P.S. Furthermore, for a man to receive emojis from a woman who is not related to him . . . awkward. :(
P.P.S. Yes, I know, there is a Biblical version of manhood I didn’t address. That’s for a more serious blog at some future date. :D