You probably read a few news stories over the past couple weeks about the rising popularity of beard implants, specifically the $3,000 to $8,000 ones offered by a plastic surgeon in midtown Manhattan.
If you missed it, here’s a link to one story, and here’s a screenshot of the best comment that came from it.
It’s a funny time to be a man, especially if you read magazines (or just magazine covers) or things on the Internet. You can find out stuff like which body hair you should trim and which you should let grow wild, how to get a six-pack, how to buy a suit, how to get a six-pack, how to talk to women, and how to get a six-pack.
Men used to chop wood because they had to to keep a fire going. Now we just want to know which beautifully handcrafted axe we need to buy. Or plunger, if that’s more your thing.
I used to help lead backpacking trips for inner-city kids, and every night after dinner, we’d have a conversation around the fire, a couple of adults and five young men ages 15 to 17. Every night was a different topic. One of my favorite things to use to start discussions was the question, “What is a man?” And they all had different answers: a man takes care of his responsibilities. A man respects women. A man stands up for what he believes in. Honorable stuff, not superficial stuff. Nobody said “a man knows which type of underwear he should be wearing, according to Website XYZ,” or “a man knows which beard trimmer is the best.”
A few weeks ago, while flipping through a magazine containing some blurb about How To Sound Like You Know What The Hell You’re Talking About When You Talk About Bourbon or something like that, I said to my friend, Jeez, they’re just preying on guys’ insecurities about masculinity and telling them they’re not men, aren’t they? She said,
Welcome to being a woman.
Ahem, yes. I flipped back through the magazine. So, the female reader who needs to be told her thigh gap isn’t big enough and her hairstyle isn’t right for her face shape and her pubic hair isn’t trimmed correctly now has a counterpart: the man who needs to be told his abs aren’t defined enough and his stubble is the wrong length and his … pubic hair isn’t … trimmed … correctly?
Maybe we should all have a talk with Ernest Hemingway, or Tyler Durden. Or my dad.
Hey Dad, do you think women would be more interested in me if I had the correct jeans or cologne or motorcycle or jacket?
My dad: Women? Try listening to them, meathead.
You know, it was 49 years ago when Mick Jagger was watching his TV and a man came on to tell him how white his shirts could be, and Mick decided, “He can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me.” Are we any closer to knowing what a man is?