The inimitable Joan Blondell said it best in an episode of Starsky & Hutch: “There are no REAL men left in the world, just sissy boys.” Indeed, many of these “sissy boys” have made their way into my life, providing a thousand proofs of the absurdity of modern American culture. A few decades later, her sentiments were echoed by a female citizen journalist, albeit with slightly different language: “Men have lost their testicular fortitude.” Her soft voice ran over the clumsy phrase “testicular fortitude” like a vehicle driving through a dangerous stretch of city.
Even men who LOOK like men — with muscles protruding from their skin-tight t-shirts — seem only to have achieved a caricature of masculinity. Many of them obsessively inhabit two of the only remaining arenas where men are still allowed to be men: sports and gyms.
They are often are so utterly de-individulaized that they seem wholly incapable of channeling the other long-lost aspects of masculinity: good manners, a robust interest in the world, a beaming heroism, respect for tradition but an openness to new ideas, a dignified sexual prowess that does not hang itself on cheap crudities, a jolly good humor, and a willingness to take charge and assert the natural aggression and dominance of the “classic male.” When men fail to give these things to the world, all of society tends to become the chaotic mess that it is now.
I came of age with pains so large that I never quite saw myself as a MAN. At times when I heard myself speak, the voice that spoke seemed to belong to someone else — it was a voice I did not recognize. An explosion of homosexuality and bi-sexuality, and also sexual ambiguity, only confused matters ...
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