In your last post, you mentioned men “drinking rye whiskey cocktails like they were some kind of Don Draper starter kit.” I laughed, and it reminded me of a recent conversation I had. The guy informed me that “real men only drink beer.” Coke Talk, where do people get such ideas? I told him that real men don’t give a shit what “real men” do, and drink whatever the fuck they want. Men who are truly comfortable with their masculinity drink things they think are tasty. He then regaled me with tales of how he passes on things he thinks are turn-offs to women, like books, video games, and certain shows. I spent far too much time explaining to him that most women like men who are authentic to themselves and also that women who identify as nerds aren’t mythical creatures.
Now, my question – I feel I wasted too much time in my otherwise enjoyable evening of civilized debauchery. How much time is too much when attempting to challenge another person’s worldview when that worldview sees women as two-dimensional creatures? I have a feeling the answer is “Any amount of time is too much,” but I’m hesitant to give up altogether.
The problem isn’t that he sees women as two-dimensional. The problem is that he is two-dimensional.
He wants to be thought of as a man, and like all straight dudes, he wants to be appealing to women. No duh. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the slightest clue what real men do, so he takes his cues from the most influential teacher he can find on the subject of masculinity — no, not his father — mass media.
And why not? He’s a good little consumer — shallow, secretly unhappy, and totally brand aware. His identity is defined exclusively through popular culture, and if he wants to take on the identity of a “real man,” all he has to do is mimic what he sees on television.
Professional sports are just a distraction for advertisers to repeatedly hammer dudes in the skull with the message that “real men only drink beer.” You can’t compete with that shit, and rest assured that if you hear a guy actually say it out loud, you’re never gonna challenge his world view. He doesn’t have a world view. Not really. He’s just leasing one from Viacom.
There’s nothing underneath the logo on his hat. He’s an empty shell with a top coat of marketing that he thinks says “real man,” and that’s why you were wasting your time. Sorry, but you can’t ask for authenticity from someone who’s never had an original thought in his entire life.
Next time, ask him to give you his definition of a “real man.” Make him use his own words. Force him to examine where he gets his ideas. See if you can get him to squeeze out an original thought.
If that doesn’t work, well… stay thirsty, my friends.