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I have decided to contribute to the ongoing cultural debate that has spanned centuries and will probably never cease. The debate is over the answer to this question:

What makes a real man?

I think the answer is more simple than one would imagine, and I am more than thrilled to tell you I have found a definitive answer. But before I reveal this ground-breaking, earth-shattering breakthrough, I want begin looking at the answer to the question by asking a few of my own.

First, is a man made by his courage?

You know, that whole “This is Sparta” thing. Some would say so. Many, in fact. I for one think courage is overrated. Consider the apostle Peter. If he hadn’t been such a coward he never would have been such a shining example of restoration. And I think Peter was quite a man…fisherman, ear-cutter-offer. I don’t really think any man has courage when it comes down to it. Don’t believe me? Put any husband in a situation where he is being called out by his wife for (fill in the blank…forgetting to take out the trash, glancing at the TV during a Victoria’s Secret ad) and watch him squirm like a sniveling, pathetic six-year-old.

Then, is a man defined by his strength?

But what is strength? Being chisled and yoked? Or is it an inner thing–like doing the right thing in a situation when it is difficult to do so? I saw this girl at the gym doing squats the other day and I think she had like thirteen huge plates on each side of the weight bar. I looked at her upper legs and realized you could fit three of my entire body in one of them. I used the mirrors in the gym for several minutes to get a view of this person from every angle and I did indeed confirm that she was female. I then feared for my life, because I think she caught me doing this “research.” I exited to the “men’s locker room” ironically enough. No, muscles do not make the man. Inner strength, then? It does take inner strength to be an adult male. Like when I am at a stoplight and the person behind me honks and instead of hitting the gas I stay on the brakes until the light turns yellow, then watch the guy’s expression as he has to wait for the next green at the light behind me as I zoom through the intersection. It also takes great strength to find your way to your destination when you are lost without asking a single solitary human soul just to show your female companion that no, you are not lost, but taking a “short cut.”

What about honor?

To me, this is synonimous with intergrity. It means being the same person in public as in private. I look at Peter Parker and Clark Kent as my shining examples of this concept. If these guys didn’t have skeletons they wouldn’t be super heroes. Not that I am saying leading a double life is good. It isn’t. But every guy has secrets. That’s why we need a cave. Not all secrets are bad by the way. But whose business is it really that my #1 favorite cavetime activity is playing World of Warcraft. I am now going to go ahead and equip my “Epic Axe. “ And a little “Four Wheels of Fury.”

What about intelligence?

Have you ever seen Sixteen Candles? Of course you have. You know John Cusack’s sidekick, Wheeze? Boy was he smart. Though most would not consider him A man I would consider him THE man simply because he is my favorite John Hughes character and his name is WHEEZE. That is the most bitchin’ name ever.

Is a man defined by the size of his truck tires?

Um…no. He is not. Chances are the guy with the big truck also was also the guy in elementary school that promised you a knuckle sandwich if you did not hand over your Snack Pack. But then again I am probably being judgmental. You may have a big truck and be a swell guy. But maybe, just maybe, you are overcompensating for something. Or maybe you just like making others plummet nine feet to the ground as they exit your vehicle, thus causing severe injury. I for one drive a small shifter car and can still beat you up very badly, big truck guy.

So what about conquests?

Surely a man is a man when he boasts of successful heists while carrying on his back the carcass of dead creatures slew by his own hand while dragging his maiden behind him home to roast his hunting prize.

My dad will have my hide for saying this because he raised me to be a hunter. For some reason when I was twelve years old (sitting in the woods in subzero temperatures staring down the scope of my high powered rifle at that fuzzy, defenseless deer that I could have very easily taken home as a pet) hunting was not my idea of a good time. Killing cute, cuddly things, whether in actuality or metaphorically in reference to locker room talk, does not strike me in any way to be representative of any of the aforementioned qualities of maledom. Yes, I still shot the deer. And retired from the sport shortly after I dragged the steaming carcass out of the woods and bragged to all my friends about it.

OK, so, none of the above makes a real man, in my opinion.

So what does?

I am now going to tell you, and you are going to be shocked at how much this makes sense.


That’s it.

That is, if you cry ONLY for great moments in sports. You have to possess the emotional vulnerability of petrified forest to be a true representative of the male species. You cannot even feel the tiniest tug on your heart for anything else. This especially includes tender moments with females, your children, or Rachel McAdams films. You cannot show the faintest glint of breaking character ever when songs like “Wild Horses” (by the Sundays not the Stones) are played around you. There is no reason to shed a tear in any–and I mean any–of life’s circumstances. Except one:

Here is the litmus test. I want you to watch the following three things. If you cry after these you are male. If you do not, you are female:

1. Go to youtube and type in “Autistic Basketball Player.”

2. Watch any Michael Jordan DVD

3. Find a replay of the 1987 college football game between Boston College and Miami when Doug Flutie threw a touchdown pass to Gerard Phelan with no time on the clock to win the game. I saw this live on Tv when I was just a kid and I swear it changed my life.

I would also like to add that when I found out James Harrison was voted team MVP of the Steelers this past year I was brought to tears. The guy is 29 years old and was never given the opportunity to start before this past season. He was but from like four different NFL teams and is only 5’ 10” tall–tiny for a linebacker. He has been told he was too slow and too small his entire career. He had 3.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, one interception, and one recovered fumble against the Baltimore Ravens IN ONE GAME ALONE.

Talk about a man.

**Author’s note: I do not actually play world of warcraft. But I think that commercial for the Toyota trucks is hilarious. In fact, I don’t think being a man has anything to do with football or sports. And also, I find that when guys are completely out of touch with their emotions it is actually a huge problem (which is why I was making fun of it in this post). Being a man, in truth, has everything to do with having, honor, courage, faith, emotional honesty, and trust in God. Just wanted to clarify.

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