Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: 25 Things you need to be a man

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  • Rich Lock,

    I love how, at about 10pm, everyone started singing to each other.

    On-line virtual karaoke is going to be The Next Big Thing. Get in quick so you can say you were first.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    And most of these list seem to boild down to 'how to be a competently functioning adult (non-gender specific)'

    That's true. I wonder whether I'm just reacting to the framing. If someone gave me a list of great books to read or a list of useful home maintenance tips I'd be grateful. I've often thought that there must be a lot of good advice that gets lost between generations.

    On the other hand, we already seem to have some pretty strong ideas about what it means to act 'like a man'. No disrespect is intended, but when I see 'rules about manhood' I think of Doug Golightly gruffly intoning hard truths with a stern expression between sips from a sour beer. Which is probably not what Kipling meant at all.

    men have attempted to live up to the expectations of masculinity established in post-World War II America

    Thanks for the recommendation. I suppose our archetypes must capture something worthwhile, or something that was once worthwhile. (I always enjoyed the subtext to Rambo I.)

    Since Nov 2006 • 616 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Nothing in there about poetry. When I was but a strippling I remember being very impressed by the racy life and times of Byron and the Shelleys and I thought poetry would clearly be a useful arrow in the male quiver.

    Personally I've found memorising the XVIII Sonnet, The Sun Rising and other bits and bobs of classic love poetry then deploying them strategically and at the right moment very *ahem* *cough* handy. If you've never tried it, give it a shot.

    When it comes to lists of Laddism I find the whole thing depressingly stupid. Laddism seems to glorify being eighteen as the pinnacle of male sensibility, which is rather foolish given that everyone (particularly the girls) knows that we men maintain our high regard for ourselves practically into our dotage.

    All in all a somewhat silly distraction of a topic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1825 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    In any case, starting today I am going to go through the list of 25 things set down in Popular Mechanics, and I am going to master all of them. And over the next few weeks I'm going to tell you about them and maybe along the way we can figure out what exactly a man is in the 21st Century.

    Is it going to be all zen-like and stuff?
    Do we get to call you glasshopper?
    Will you descend from the mountain top with good back lighting?
    21st Century, shit, does time sneak up on you.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1239 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I always enjoyed the subtext to Rambo I

    The Rambo 1 (or 'First Blood' for the pub quiz pedants out there) stuff is very interesting.

    The original book on which the story is based is apparently much more explicit about the father/son-type relationship between Rambo and Trautman, and the training which Rambo is subjected to by Trautman in order to burn his humanity out of him, and turn him into a ruthless killing machine.

    The conclusion to the story is that the 'son' has been comprehensively betrayed by the 'father' explicitly because in teaching him to become a remorseless killer, the 'father' has taught him the exact opposite of what he needs to survive as a man in the modern world, and has in fact forced him to 'unlearn' what he would need (humanity). The contrast with that point and the fact that Rambo has become almost the pinnacle of the traditional view of 'Manhood' probably doesn't need to be pointed out....

    Of course, by the time the story transitioned on to the silver screen, most of that was lost.

    Personally I've found memorising the XVIII Sonnet, The Sun Rising and other bits and bobs of classic love poetry then deploying them strategically and at the right moment very *ahem* *cough* handy. If you've never tried it, give it a shot.

    Heh. The old 'pretend to be sensitive in order to get laid' trick, eh?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    There [sic] actually lady-shops for gentleman.

    So, anything to do with grooming, adornment or connoisseurship is automatically associated with the feminine?

    This all signals that there are multiple connotations of "man": most of them, such as the Popular Mechanics one, equate "man" with "bloke"; FHM equates "man" with "lad"; and I am quite happily countering that by conflating "man" with "gentleman".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    I suspect, Tom, that you really conflate "man" with "fop".

    Jus' sayin'.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    So, anything to do with grooming, adornment or connoisseurship is automatically associated with the feminine?

    Who said anything about femininity? or masculinity for that matter. Ladies and gentleman, we are talking about gender accentuation. Its choreography.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2807 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    The contrast with that point and the fact that Rambo has become almost the pinnacle of the traditional view of 'Manhood' probably doesn't need to be pointed out....

    I think it has tended to be seen in the light of the sequels, where Rambo is a juggernaut cum polymath (okay, not a polymath) rather than a person* struggling to adjust to life within an indifferent society.

    *Probably still not one to admit to liking at parties.

    Since Nov 2006 • 616 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Heh. The old 'pretend to be sensitive in order to get laid' trick, eh?

    In our household, we call that 'Fuck Me, I'm Sensitive', and it is regarded with huge suspicion. It's pretty funny to watch, though. :)

    It's been done.

    OK, any list which says 'resist the urge to gossip' is totally bung.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3669 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I suspect, Tom, that you really conflate "man" with "fop".

    I prefer the word "dandy". Though if preferring good clothes and fine wine to torque wrenches and backing trailers makes one a fop, here's to foppery!

    Who said anything about femininity? or masculinity for that matter. Ladies and gentleman, we are talking about gender accentuation. Its choreography.

    I know that the language is fraught and complex here, and that "feminine" =/= "lady", but I'd have thought that the phrase "lady-shops for gentleman" was a clear indication that you considered the purchase of cufflinks and Chablis more ladylike/feminine/womanly, or less gentlemanly/masculine/manly, than the purchase of glue guns and two-by-fours.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    The Rambo 1 (or 'First Blood' for the pub quiz pedants out there)

    Most F*&ed up "sequence" of titles ever.

    1) First Blood
    2) Rambo: First Blood Part II
    3) Rambo 3

    What happened to Rambo 2 ?

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Actually, given the references to escaping from outraged husbands and general debauchery, I think Tom might be about to cross the line between fop and rake.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2977 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Actually, given the references to escaping from outraged husbands and general debauchery, I think Tom might be about to cross the line between fop and rake.

    Why thank you, good sir.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    OK, any list which says 'resist the urge to gossip' is totally bung.

    I was more put off by "60. Create a Sacred Space"

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    If my sweetie has a G-spot (and a vagina to keep it in) I've got to give back that toaster oven and the complete run of homosexual agendas. Bugger, so to speak. And my female acquaintances are not that helpful.

    Craig, he has one, you have one, we all potentially have one - male and female. Do a little googling, it's a long way from being a myth or a secret.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I was more put off by "60. Create a Sacred Space"

    That might be where you use the torque wrench?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6227 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Hey! I can shoot things just like everyone else!

    And everyone reckons I conduct warfare on rodents with a vigour that would cause a tear to spring to the corner of Herr Himmlers eye.

    Stupid rodents, unexpectedly scurrying out from behind things and frighteneing people.

    Oh and I haven't used the sensitive guy routine since I hit 25. Well, except for once, and to my surprise it still works.

    Rake?? RAKE????

    Sir, I demand satisfaction!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1825 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Rake?? RAKE????

    Sir, I demand satisfaction!

    The I suggest you see Mr Savidge about your G-spot.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    I agree with the earlier comment(s) that these sorts of lists often descend into "I can do this, and you can't, so I am a SUPERIOR ELITE you PLEBS"-ness. And, indeed, I find a lot of the actual items on the Popular Mechanics list annoying - the baseline assumption that to be a man, you must be a driver, for instance. But let's not quibble about the individual points: what they're basically getting at is the idea that you should be able to do stuff for yourself if you have to - that you shouldn't necessarily be dependent on someone else to get stuff done for you.

    Note that this doesn't mean that you would necessarily always do stuff yourself: it makes sense for me to get a painter in to repaint the house, because although I can quite happily do it it's actually more cost effective for me to pay someone to do it in two days rather than have me take a week off.

    But I think what they're stabbing at is that, in your own environment, you should be able to do stuff for yourself if you need to. And even for the most dedicated urban dandy, there are going to be times that you need to jury-rig something until you can get the professionals in.

    Of course, three things are always manly:
    1) Beards
    2) Scars
    3) Tattoos

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I know that the language is fraught and complex here, and that "feminine" =/= "lady", but I'd have thought that the phrase "lady-shops for gentleman" was a clear indication that you considered the purchase of cufflinks and Chablis more ladylike/feminine/womanly, or less gentlemanly/masculine/manly, than the purchase of glue guns and two-by-fours.

    Try it like this: Placemakers and Miter10 are gentleman-shop for Ladies.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2807 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Rake?? RAKE????

    Sir, I demand satisfaction!

    The I suggest you see Mr Savidge about your G-spot.

    Um no. I provide information, not stimulation.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Of course, three things are always manly:
    1) Beards
    2) Scars
    3) Tattoos

    Personal grooming and adornment?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2807 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    And I should mention that using a torque wrench is stupidly easy. It's is as simple as checking the torque for the part you're installing (they're very useful for carbon fibre bicycle parts, where torque ratings are very specific), and setting the wrench to that. Then just attach your socket driver and away you go - once you get over the torque setting, the wrench starts to slip, so you can't overtighten it.

    Simple as breakfast.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Jack - yes, that's what I was getting at - being competent enough to do basic stuff for yourself if you need to (doesn't matter if you're male or female).

    Of course, three things are always manly:
    1) Beards
    2) Scars
    3) Tattoos

    4) Laughing at pain. Your own or that of a friend.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

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