Posted on June 23, 2008
So I have a bone to pick with our country. And despite the fact I have no idea how a bone would come to be picked or why that analogy relates in any way, I know enough to understand it means I have a gripe with our society. It has to do with “masculinity”. For those of you who may be thinking, “that is a big word, what does that even mean?” I will tell you. “Gripe” means to nag or grumble. (note to self…remove that last line before posting this blog. The last thing you need to do is insult all two of your readers! Also, buy milk at the store)
Just take a quick glance around our society and everything from the movies to the parking lot at Home Depot and you’ll see that one who is masculine must have two out of three of the following traits: big muscles, a large truck, or a hairy chest. Now while there are many people who fit this criteria (Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Rosie O’ Donnell come to mind), I do not happen to be one of them. My frame would be most aptly described as “wiry”, I drive a 1.6 liter hatchback, and my chest is as smooth as an ice rink immediately post-zamboni. Thankfully, my wife’s definition of masculine is different: height and the ability to ride a motorcycle. Unfortunately, that translates to strikes 4 and 5 for me.
What set me off on this rant was a situation that happened to me tonight at school. I was rolling my wheeled briefcase into an elevator at school when I ran into a coworker. He proceeded to ask if my wife knew I had her bag. As if riding in an elevator isn’t awkward enough, they provide no place to safely shed masculine tears of embarrassment (the whole thing is a mirror!). That was not the first mocking comment regarding my rolling tote. In fact, it has earned the nickname “Rollerboy” at work. For some reason, I am beginning to get the feeling that others are viewing it as a combination purse/stroller.
This sarcastic derision of my method of carrying my assorted work items, laptop, keys, contact lens solution…essentially everything, really has me perplexed. Why must I lug 20 pounds of “stuff” on my back in order to conform to society? Is chronic lower back pain another characteristic of masculinity? If so, I want none of it!
Another area that I seem to be ridiculed about (there are plenty of these areas, I will have to save the others for future blogs) is my choice of beverage while drinking socially. I am not a big drinker at all. In fact, I have never been drunk, but let me tell you, this one time I was buzzed out of my mind! Regardless, my choice of alcoholic beverage is usually green or blue in hue and topped with either a cherry or an umbrella. Now, let me ask…WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT?! Apparently something, because every time my wife and I go out, the waitress puts the beer for my wife in front of me and my frilly tropical cooler drink in front of her. And as if that kind of humiliation isn’t bad enough in front of my wife, try ordering a “mango passion cowboy roper” in front of coworkers. I’ve tried to acclimate to beer for social occasions such as these, but I’d prefer to pay far less than $4 a glass if I want to taste urine.
At any rate, you can clearly see that my nonconformity with societal standards of masculinity doesn’t bother me at all. In my mind, I am really a man’s man. While I may not have chest hair or large muscles, I do other manly things like watch Deadliest Catch, change out light bulbs, and keep what amounts to my diary online for my friends to read…wait a minute….
UPDATE! After great public demand, I have relented and posted a picture of rollerboy. As a token gesture, I have also included myself in the picture. As you can clearly see, the very non-staged photos show the intense back pain brought on by carrying my briefcase and the incredible relief/convenience of using the “wheel” feature of the bag. And yes, those are corduroy pants. Jealous?