I was walking my kid home from preschool, and while we were strolling down the sidewalk, we had to get out of the way of an unsteady and teetering cyclist who would have knocked straight into us if we didn’t move. His shirt read “Men’s Choir. Real men sing.” I guess “Real men” also ride their bikes on the sidewalk.
I posted about this on Facebook, and the question was asked, “What’s a ‘Real Man’, anyway?” As the mother of two young boys, I think it’s important for me to process that question a little deeper because I’m responsible for the growth and development of these humans that will be men one day. Am I steering them in the right direction of becoming “real men”? I mean, I let them wear nail polish and make-up whenever they want. Am I protecting them from some of the harmful societal definitions of masculinity? Especially when random county-folk strangers try to say mean things to my boys because of the nail polish they’re rocking. So then, with my definition of manhood which is counter to the hyper-masculine machismo culture with which we are immersed, am I cultivating the growth of people that will wear choir t-shirts and shove children out of the way while they ride their bikes on the sidewalk?
What’s a “Real Man” anyway?
Honestly, I don’t know what a “Real Man” is. I’ve never had any great male role models in my life (which could possibly explain why I’m a comedian). I think Tim Gunn and Jon Stewart are amazing men, but I’ve never met them in real life. However, I’ve been able to develop my opinion/definition of manhood from my limited experience.
A REAL MAN:
…is a father to his children if he has reproduced.
…cooks, cleans, does laundry, and every other domestic chore.
…tries new things.
…helps those in need.
…talks about his feeling.
…goes to the doctor when he is well.
…laughs so hard he cries.
…seeks to understand.
…cries when it hurts.
…sees a counselor when he needs to.
…weighs more than me. ;)
…makes his partner feel special if he has one.
…cares about the environment.
…keeps a journal.
…is not afraid of women. (Except for Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.)
…interrupts and discourages ‘ism language and behavior.
…talks about his fears, feelings, and future plans.
I could go on, but I’d love to hear from you, readers. What’s a “Real Man” anyway? Should I get over this sidewalk thing?
Kelly Stone is a sexual health educator and college lecturer who likes to think of her stand-up comedy as “edutainment”. She began performing in 2006 at an open mic in Philadelphia and has been hooked on comedy ever since. She hosts the monthly Hot Mess Comedy Show at Bar 141 in San Marcos, speaks to various universities about anything they’ll pay her to talk about, watches Project Runway, and is still trying to figure out how to keep her boys from smearing Greek yogurt on the furniture. Follow her on twitter: @funnykelly or help stop her kids when they are trying to run across a busy street. There’s safety in numbers.
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