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Life is only what you wonder.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Are We Not Men?

The hostess sat a group of 32 people in my section the other day.
"There's a job to be done and I'm just the boy to do it!" I exclaimed dramatically, hands on my hips in a superhero battle pose.

"Why do you call yourself a boy? Aren't you a man?" Nancy asked, cocking her eyebrow and tilting her head the way she always does when she's confused.

She wasn't the first to ask me this question.

Yes, I'm over 18.
Yes, I am an adult.
Yes, I'm (more or less) a responsible adult: I work, I pay my bills, I take out the trash, I don't drink and drive, I take care of my biz.

Being a 'boy" isn't a question of age, -- or of responsibility.
It's a question of attitude.
It's all about being youthful, being happy-go-lucky and carefree. Of seeing the wonder in the universe, and in yourself. It's about being open to new possibilities.
Boys (bois, boyz) have more fun.

Plus, there's all the garbage attached to the concept of the word "man".
It's all my father's fault.
As I grew up my father filled my head with all this primeval ideas of what being a Real Man (whatever that means) entailed.
For example:

  • A man is a King and the home is his castle.

  • Real men don't do "women's work" (washing, cleaning, ironing, etc.)

  • Men don't cry. Ever. Not even under extreme pressure, great pain, or when a loved one dies.
I could go on and on (and on) but you get the picture.

I'm sure some of the girls (women, ladies) have similar lists of things taught to them by their mothers of what qualities "Real Women" possess.

Technically, I'm an "adult male human", but that's too clumbersome of a phrase to use in everyday conversation.
So I'll continue calling myself a boy.
For as long as I can get away with it, anyway.