On Being a Man
May 14, 2012 19 Comments
Jazz here. (Since this “theme” doesn’t display the author’s name like a certain somebody would prefer, I figured I would just announce it and save anyone the possible confusion.) So it’s me, Jazz, and I’m going to explain something at the request of Thorny.
I’m not sure how many other people might think this way, but I got this understanding from my father. He taught it to all 5 of his kids, but especially his sons: A man is defined by his actions, not his age. So when my father said “Be a man” he wasn’t trying to make me stop crying or face my fears; he wanted me to be honorable, trustworthy, loyal, responsible, and a whole host of other admirable qualities. Then I would be a man, not a boy, not a guy, a man.
Being a man isn’t so easy to achieve as remaining alive long enough to become legal or considered an adult. I know a male who’s 55 years old and I’d still call him a boy because I don’t trust him and can’t stand how he refuses to own his mistakes. At the same time, I know a 16-year-old who stepped up to wrangle his siblings and work a part-time job to help his mom now that his parents are divorced. He’s young and I might call him a kid, but his actions make him a man.
So what’s a guy? Generic or unknown. Either he’s someone who hasn’t done anything to move him up or down my little scale in all the time I’ve known him, or I just don’t know him. Not really an insult, just devoid of details at the moment. For some males, it’s easy to see where they fit the first time you meet them, but for others, it just isn’t. They’re just guys then.
This isn’t to say that a male can’t laugh at fart jokes, practice belching the alphabet, or some other kid-like behavior and lose his standing as a man. It’s not to say that when I cuddle Thorny up and call him my beautiful boy that I’m insulting him either. I certainly don’t get upset when someone calls me a boy or a guy because it’s not an insult until it is and I can definitely tell the difference.
So there you have it, my definition of what it means to be a man. Any questions?