Friday, March 06, 2009
What is Manly?
Mars US Snackfood Division and Spearling's Best Places announced that it had chosen America's Most Manly Cities. In it, Nashville came in First, and New York came in last.
I know this little contest was meant in fun. It got a lot of attention in the press (I heard it on 880 WCBS an all News radio station in NY) which was the point. It was based on a number of "values" that show manliness, such as the number of Monster-Truck Rallies and Drag Races. The number (or lack of)Sports teams in a city or home furnishing stores, the number of Home Depot type stores and how many men fish or bowl or hunt, how many salty snacks are purchased, etc. All allegedly manly activities (except for the home furnishing stores...evidently it is manly to build a home but not to put furniture in it???)
Now this got me thinking, how would I chose a manly city. I have to admit, I am a big fan of men's codes. I love reading Robert Parker novels because his protagonists are people who live by a code and sometimes have to deal with moral dilemmas stemming from those "codes". I thought about the attributes that make men heroes, to me.
I wish Mars and Spearling had used these ideas:
How many men:
Work in the same job for more than 10 years?
What is the incident's of divorce?
What percentage of Families are headed by a father?
What percentage of divorced men are behind or do not pay child support?
How many men, who have wives that are partially or fully disabled, stay married to, and support those sick spouses?
What is the rate of domestic violence?
What percentage cheat on their spouse or significant other?
What percentage cheat regularly (i.e. an affair?)
What percentage of men in relationships over 10 years say they are still in love with the person they were with? 20 years? 30?
What percentage of men, cook, clean, help with infant care (change diapers...)?
How many men participate in youth sports as coaches, referees, league officials? How many do so even if they do not have children who participate in the sport?
What percentage of Men have been convicted of a crime?
What percentage have served in the armed forces?
What percentage vote?
What percentage have graduated High school, College?
What percentage of men have been arrested for DWI?
What percentage has given charitable contributions?
What percentage has given TIME to a charity?
What number of men are involved in Breach of Contract law suits or better what is the overall percentage of these types of law suits?
How many men, employ females? What percentage of those females are employed at high level jobs?
What is the percentage of male owned businesses that have pro-family benefits paid by the company such as maternity, bereavement , family leave. Medical benefits, for a family?
What percentage of Men have put away IRA's or 401K'S How many of those are left to the mother's of the man's child or the child themselves?
How many carry life insurance and what percentage is properly insured so that if they should die, their families will not be impoverished?
How many men carry Disability insurance?
What percentage of men have spoken to their kids about drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, and especially violence toward women?
What percentage would describe themselves as Homophobic?
What percentage has a good driving record? How many speed per capita?
How many men, spend at least an hour a day working with the kids on homework?
How many read the front and back of a newspaper?
How many read magazines that are news oriented?
How many are actively involved in politics by giving BOTH money and time to candidates and/or organizations that they politically ascribe to?
How many men spend at least 7 hours a week playing with the children?
What percentage of dinners are taken together with the whole family?
What percentage have gone bankrupt? What percentage are behind in their debt? What percentage has a credit rating considered excellent? what percent has a rating that is poor?
What percent of men, with elderly parents, visit with those parents for at least 3 hours a week, or speak to them by phone for at least 3 hours a week?
What percentage of men spend at least a half hour a day exercising?
What percentage smoke?
What percentage use illegal drugs or abuse prescription drugs?
What percentage is obese?
How many go regularly to Religious services?
Being a man has nothing to do with eating salty food, consuming beer, leering at women and drooling over them like they were a Peter Luger's steak. It has nothing to do with Speed contests or Women conquests.
Being a man is not telling everyone how brave you are. It is being brave. It is not in beating up another man, or worse a woman or child, it is in knowing how to get your way by persuading them, or walking away from the violence even though you want to and could kick the crap out of the other party. It is in not kissing and telling.
Being a man, is choosing to put your own gratification aside for a while so that your family or community is better off. It is taking care of your family first, your nation second and then yourself. It is keeping your promise even when it is inconvenient.
Being a man is helping others grow. It is learning and teaching how to be a better person.
The list I have compiled here is not exclusive. If you have some thoughts or ideas, please leave them in the comments. Maybe you will help some guy be a better and more "manly" man.