WARRIORS TO WASTRELS
When I was a child I lived in the world of men. Men were in charge and as a boy I aspired
to be a man so that some day, I might be in charge.
At age 13, I got my first trial as a man. I had a father and brother that would accept
nothing less from me. Manhood is learned behavior. It varies a little from culture to culture but there are some
standards that exist or could be transposed to any culture.
My transition to manhood was pretty easy. I did not have to go out and hunt a leopard
or a lion or sit in the sweat lodge until I had a vision or be circumcised without anesthesia to be considered a man.
I had it pretty easy. I demonstrated to the men that were important-my father and older brother-that I was ready, willing
and able to deal with whatever they put in front of me. They offered to buy me a woman for my thirteenth birthday and
I surprised them both by being willing and unafraid.
Sex and sexuality was something that I seemed to take to very naturally by age 9 or 10.
Having a brother 6 years my senior exacerbated my interest. He showed me how to masturbate, seduced our second cousin
in front of me, and tried to date every attractive girl in the neighborhood, by the time he was 16. My father and
brother gave me NO clue that there were alternatives to heterosexuality.
Every weekend, my father would emerge from the bedroom without his shorts on. I was not
sure what it meant but it was in dick a tive that something significant had been going on in the bedroom. After
daddy pranced around short less my mother would prepare very lavish breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays.
When my parents were "in love" our family was the happiest.
There was an order to what was happening in our home that I wanted desperately to mimic in my
adulthood. I had a blueprint to follow. The culture, at that point in time in America supported the notion that
one would have a monogamous heterosexual relationship, produce 2.5 children, own a home, have a color television and take
a vacation by car every summer.
Things Fall Apart
I'm not sure when the American blueprint changed. Maybe it
was when they began fluoridating the water or maybe it was the radiation from all the above ground nuclear testing that was
going on or possibly the depletion of the ozone layer or the space shuttle launches that punched holes in the ionosphere!
Or maybe is was the evil media controlled by deviant factions of our then complacent society.
One day I looked up and the nuclear family was in total disarray. Grandma and grandpa
live in nursing homes if they are not raising our children's children. Most households are managed by single parents.
"Baby Daddy" has become a term used to describe the various fathers of one's litter of kids. And many young boys
and men think it's ok to be a fembot! Women cut off their hair and wear men's clothing and attempt to assume men's roles
in many modern households and they unfortunately believe those "roles" include physical abuse and infidelity.
I want to be old fashion. The older I get, the better I understand that the nuclear family
and monogamy came about as survival tactics in the evolving new world. When men and women paired off and developed families
a whole new definition of civilization began to emerge. We organized into hamlets, then villages, then towns, then cities,
then nations. We engaged in cooperative ventures like hunting and cultivation of food. We grew strong and able
to dominate the animal kingdom by our collective strengths.
Our progeny were able to take longer to develop. Our brains got bigger. We moved
from basic survival to developing leisure time. The collective grew stronger. Then when we go it ALL together,
things fell apart.
I spend a lot of time amongst the people. I am a cultural anthropologist by training and
orientation. I study people and I attempt to keep my point of view objective in order to be able to accurately assess
what I am witnessing. I don't always want to accept what I see intellectually and objectively, but I encounter the same
scenario over and over and it has become impossible to ignore.
The roles of men and women have shifted, since I was a child. Women are taking a more
and more assertive posture as men become more and more hostile and reticent.
I attended a party recently where a thirtysomething woman who had been drinking all night frustratingly
described her husband and the other thirtysomething men as "pussies". I hear more and more young women describing younger
men as "pussies" and "bitches". These type of adjectives were traditionally used by men to describe men that were
viewed as engaging in unmanly behaviors. More and more woman use these terms about men and accuse men in general as
behaving in traditional feminine ways or of being homosexuals. These perceptions are reality based and media fueled.
I lived with an alpha male as the head of my household. I was reared by an alpha female.
They was a constant struggle between the two of them. My father fought with my mother to maintain control of her and
our household. My mother's struggle with my father was to be more independent within the confines of our familial structure.
She did not want to be the "man" she simply wanted to be able to fully utilize tools that my father forced upon her.
The Mechanic Of Machismo
My father worked at Ford Motor Company. He was the only black elected union official at
the local. His juice got my mother a job at the plant where he worked. Some years later, a new plant
opened, in the exurbs. That opening forced my mother to commute to work. My father objected to my mother riding
with other men to work but also objected to my mother having her own automobile. That dichotomy created a tension
in their relationship that led to the relationships unraveling and it's ultimate demise.
I learned from watching my parents that there is a constant struggle between men and women.
What has come to be termed the "battle of the sexes" is in reality an intense battle of wills. What men and women fail
to understand however is that that dynamic tension also fuels all other aspects of the relationship.
In the mid to late twentieth century we forgot how to be tolerant of one another. The
big picture: families, progeny, culture faded to the background as our self indulgences pushed to the forefront.
The family, heterosexual orientation, rites of passage lessened in their impact and importance to the preservation of culture.
Brave New World
Depression, suicide, drug use, single parent households, same sexed households, sexual
assaults, venereal disease, and crimes of passion leading to homicide have reached epidemic proportions, in the 21st
century. The planet is in global crisis.
As a child, I worried about the fate of the planet. As an adult, my worry has become
more immediate. I worry about the next few global generations that must suffer from the failings of the last 4-5
generations whose duty it was to ensure their future.
It's getting harder and harder to be optimistic. Fortunately for us all the species manages
to evlove despite our offensive posture to nature. Can we remain in GOD's grace?