Being a man

2016-05-03-00-18-37

the unreconstructed man, forgaging

In the 1970s one of dad’s many blind spots was his choice of family car.  As the Archaeologist pointed out to me recently we owned three of the worst ever British made cars in a period of five years. One journey, some 250 miles, stands out. We were in the two litre Austin Maestro with a leaky radiator. Dad filled the radiator with water, we set off and when steam appeared we stopped while mum went to find more water. Repeat. Never once did anyone expect Dad to go and ask for the water. We just all knew he couldn’t. A loss of face? An admission of poor judgement? A proof of his vulnerability? All and more.

He believed in the three three Ps of manhood: protect, provide and procreate. That’s not original by the way. These three come from a tweet by Grayson Perry’s wife that he revealed during his recent stand up show on Male Identity and Masculinity but they seemed to sum up men of a certain time and generation. If you don’t know Grayson, he’s worth checking out, here.

His point is that men, especially white men of middle years, lack a role.  Jobs once done by strong men are done by machines. Jobs done by brains are now more likely to be done by machines or women. We men still make the wars and commit the crimes but with less success and more approbation.

So whither men? Or wither men? Is our day done? Soon enough science will create artificial sperm and, poof, one of the Ps will go.

But instead of feeling sorry I think we should embrace the new softer expectations. I like a good cry, specially Love Actually at Christmas. I talk about my emotions so much I soon realise my male friends are asleep.

And this isn’t a new state. I realised soon after our son was born that the Textiliste, now working part time, lost status in the eyes of many. They still asked about her job in insurance even if its attraction to her was dwindling and, unless a parent or, especially a mum themselves, they glazed over at the rest of her life. Me, the commercial lawyer, I was the BSD, the Big Dog, the one who had the interesting stories to tell.

But I also realised that she had it harder and tougher than me. Sure I was a lawyer and occasionally a man manager, bill collector, confidente and business strategist but she was all that and doctor nurse surgeon podiatrist project manager quartermaster chef contractor plumber electrician negotiator educator… and that was just before midday on a Monday. And I left work. I had a break. Well until the advent of the sodding Blackberry. Never have I loathed fruit as much as I did then. She didn’t. 24/7. Even on holidays. Housewife is up there with POTUS and PA to Kim Jong-Un as the toughest jobs on the planet.

So Grayson, on stage the other day, gave we modern metrosexual metropolitan elite men a manifesto. I don’t remember them all but they included

  • the right to be wrong
  • the right to be weak
  • the right to be vulnerable
  • the right to ask
  • the right not to know

All true and something we males need to embrace.

Though actually his best advice came as an aside aimed at me and my subset, specifically the post 50 male, which was

  • never pass the opportunity to use a toilet
  • never trust a fart; and
  • never waste an erection.

Good man Grayson. Even if I thought his dress was a tad on the short side.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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31 Responses to Being a man

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Grayson Perry’s subversive mirror on society.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. willowdot21 says:

    Such an inspiration that Grayson Perry he is just so honest and open and bang on in what he says! My husband will never ask directions, read assembly manuals or admit anything is his fault ( except we have been feeding the dog the wrong amount of food) another p for your collection Procrastinate! Loved the post !

    Liked by 2 people

  3. rogershipp says:

    Ah… the wonderful men of yore…..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. L.S. Engler says:

    “Never trust a fart” is good advice for anyone, really.

    I think the whole issue is just mired strongly in the fact that we, for some strange reason, care passionately about what other people think of us. I know that has been (and still is) a huge driving force in who I am and what I do, but I’ve increasingly gotten better at not giving a flying fig as the years go on. I like what I like, I’ll do what I do, and if anyone has a problem with it, then why do they even care? It’s kind of amazing how much happier you can be when you stop worrying about whether other people will like what you’re doing and start focusing on whether you like what you’re doing.

    And I, for one, am quite pleased to have a “softer” man who is infinitely more inclined to ask for directions than I will ever, ever be.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Too funny, Geoff. Have a great new week. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. And why do men never, ever exert that “right to ask” when it comes to directions ? I always loved blackberries…the fruit, not the device. ☺ Funny stuff here.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Geoff Le Pard with some witty and wise words on the gender gap.. and a welcome recognition of the multi-tasking most women to.. I have to admit that I usually am very happy to answer surveys in the street until they ask me what the head of the household does for a living or earns… which is why I now do not trust myself to answer surveys in the street! Great post and would love to see Grayson in his mini!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Most entertaining and enjoyable. Good fun stuff. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This male inability to ask directions, admit a mistake and consider their day complete at the end of business always confounded me – I continue to be bowled over with delight when I meet a male without these traits. I was introduced to Grayson Perry by one of your country women a year or so ago and was delighted to have found him! What a man!! His talk sounds most enjoyable and informative – those last bits of advice cross genders too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ritu says:

    Oh His Geoffleship…. I believe there are still pre-50’s men following that same train of thought… but never fear. You are allowed to cry. Be emotional. Cook. Ask for directions… it makes you no less a man!!! Embrace that feminine side in a way that it becomes known as being human, rather than like a woman!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. HaHA! That was great fun, Geoff. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jools says:

    I too am a big fan of Grayson Perry and his pinpoint accurate social observations. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. noelleg44 says:

    Charming and humorous and profound, Geoff. I loved your photo. There is a movement against white men here in the US – I don’t know how many men I’ve talked to who say they feel oppressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I so love, Grayson Perry. If only he was about thirty years ago. I suppose he was, but what a difference he would have made then.
    I don’t what it is, but I still can’t ask for directions. Mind you, I’m a dab hand with the duster and hoover, but can’t cook! Iron a shirt? Yes. Sew a button on? No!

    Like

  15. arv! says:

    Those are indeed good rule for men!
    Unfortunately, in current times digital revolution has disrupted the old ways of society! enjoyed reading this post!

    Like

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