Author Topic: The High Cost of Manliness  (Read 19839 times)

skdadl

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« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2006, 05:35:36 AM »
Interesting question, thwap. I had something like that happen to me a while ago, except the two guys taking up the entire walk were just walking. Walking very big. If I hadn't jumped on to a sidespace at the last minute, I truly believe they would have walked right into me. Well, one of them would have.

At the time I was just stunned -- I mean, how could anyone want a collision? I still don't understand the thinking -- it was as though they really couldn't see me or something. Do they presume upon their rights that much? That other people are invisible? Or do they just assume that  other people will always jump out of the way? To me, it was obvious that no one could walk along a narrow sidewalk that way against oncoming traffic, and yet ... they did.   :shock:

There were two young women fairly close behind them, and they made eye contact with me when I jumped, and of course gave me space to get back on the walk. I think there was a shared moment of understanding there. But I was shaking my head in wonderment for a while afterwards.

I am a physical coward m'self, so I tend to back away from anyone who is getting too, ah, expansive. That might be ok from friends, but I'm nervous about feeling physically overwhelmed.

What would feminists want to see a man do in the situation you were in, thwap? Good question. On the one hand, I don't want to see fights. And most of us especially don't want to see a guy start an unnecessary fight because he thinks he's standing up for his woman. If I'm being attacked, of course, feel free to come to my aid.   :wink:

At the same time, feminists do want men to challenge other men to see where the problems with some of their presumptions are. Mostly, I am hoping that there are better ways to challenge than a physical fight.

brebis noire

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« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2006, 05:57:43 AM »
Quote
So, in retrospect, I think that I was right in the way I acted in that stupid encounter.  And that little incidents like that one are all part and parcel of standing up for bigger things.


I think it's learned behaviour too. And since I'm a mum (and not getting any younger, apparently), I'm starting to take it onto myself to be learnin' right behaviour to boys.  :wink: For one thing, I have taken to making eye contact when passing on the street. I've noticed that they make room when I do that.

It's the same way with clothes; as my SO said a few years ago "The problem with girls in high school is their clothes are too small, and the problem with boys is their clothes are too big." I think fashion is starting to change again, but your post reminded me of that. Teenage boys wear big, baggy clothes to feel big and take up more space.


Hm. It's early in the morning, and I thought I had something more substantial to say, but I guess I don't.  :? Need more coffee.

gunnar gunnarson

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« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2006, 08:39:15 AM »
Here, Brebis.  :coffee2

Debra

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« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2006, 08:39:30 AM »
A couple of years ago when I started just standing still when it became apparent someone wasn't going to give me room.

It's amazing the difference that makes they can't ignore you because you are just standing there watching them.
“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” —  Josephine Hart

fern hill

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« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2006, 08:56:59 AM »
The sidewalk thing. I don't think it's just male humans. I've long known that I am magnetic. I can see people coming at me, metres away, start to drift (ah, maybe that's the root of my problem with drift) towards me.

I reported here (or maybe there) an encounter I had with two young women on a sidewalk. I was following them. It was a narrow sidewalk, with cars parked on one side, fences on the other. Nowhere to go. I wanted to get past them. I came up behind them and said, "Excuse me, can I get past?' They turned with irritated looks on their faces. I squoze between them and as I passed, one said 'Bitch'. Huh? I was shaken. What was that about?

But, yeah, men do the sprawl thing. And, yeah, Debra's right. Stand still. I do that now when people are drifting towards me. Just stand there.

brebis noire

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« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2006, 09:05:07 AM »
Quote from: gunnar gunnarson
Here, Brebis.  :coffee2


Heh, OK now I've had three and can't sit still anymore. Have to get moving now.

The Wizard of Socialism

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« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2006, 01:47:44 PM »
You all have a nice day.

Debra

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« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2006, 02:04:32 PM »
Yabbut...with my fourth child the epidural needle was improperly inserted. I felt every cut and tear of the c-section but refused general anesthetic because because I knew it carried a greater danger for the baby.

Can't say that was my masculinity that got me through.

sorry forgot to add. I hope you are feeling better, sounds like you are going through a hell of a time.
“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” —  Josephine Hart

sparqui

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« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2006, 02:38:41 PM »
Determination to plow on through no matter how painful or frightening is probably a universal trait -- not gender specific.

I hope you have recovered fully from your operation TWOS.
If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a tractor. -- Gilles Duceppe

k'in

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« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2006, 03:59:07 PM »
I walk a lot, usually purposely.  If I need to get around someone, I ask politely once, ask more assertively the second time, then if they still won't budge, just plow on through.  It's uncanny though how sometimes just a couple of people can block a wide sidewalk better that the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line.  Some people coming at you have no radar and there are those that move in the same direction you do so you get to collide not once but twice.  If someone is coming at me though I hold my ground. I have deceptively strong shoulders and any collision is generally going to hurt them more than me.  That being said, I rarely have a pedestrian incident with another pedestrian.  Basic courtesy goes a long way. I walked up Yonge St. from Union Station yesterday for the first time in a while.  It was challenging as there were tons of people and lots of bottlnecks. I was thinking I wouldn't have to do that walk every day.

People in general probably like to keep a bubble of space around them, mostly for security reasons.  I do agree that the oversize clothes and sprawling posture adopted by some young males is an attempt to claim territory.

skdadl

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« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2006, 04:11:26 PM »
Welcome back, Wizard -- I'm sorry to hear that you have had such medical adventures. I know the recovery is no picnic either, so I hope you're able to pamper yourself for a while.

What you did for the lady in extremis is admirable, although I agree with Debra and sparqui that that kind of endurance is not necessarily sex-specific. I think it would be good for all of us to be taught from an early age to value that kind of nobility, really -- grace and generosity under pressure. No reason women can't do that.

brebis noire

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« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2006, 04:21:39 PM »
I hope you are recovering well TWOS - that sounds like a very hard experience. Somehow, I think the fact that somebody was dying in a bed beside you gave you some extra courage or feeling to make it through.

But I honestly don't get the link between determination to withstand pain and masculinity, unless it's at a 'sacramental' or ritual level. Women in many cultures and situations are strongly encouraged to withstand pain as well. When I was training as an athlete, I was in an all-gril gym, and we were constantly being taught to suck it up, fight the fear, not complain, etc. I integrated that concept so well that I trained for three months with a broken vertebral process that still hurts some days, though it's been 20 years. I didn't even bother going to a doctor to have it checked out because pain was a part of my daily life anyways, and I presumed it was a pulled muscle and would work itself out. Not smart, but definitely determined...

A lot of what we idealize as 'masculinity' seems to me an aspiring to be as fully adult as possible. It's not much fun to be continually proving your strength/determination/endurance as a female person, only to be told that no matter what you do, no matter what you endure, you are weak by definition, because that is the feminine condition. Baloney, I say.

Gigi

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« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2006, 04:35:33 PM »
I refuse to concede sidewalk beyond the point of politeness.

This, people, is why you have elbows, and in my case, a laptop bag at crotch height (theirs, not mine).


ETA: This also reminds me of a recurring discussion I have had with a coworker about the wealthy and certain affectations.  He gets really really angry with men who do certain things (like cross their legs or use certain hand gestures) in what he has deemed a "feminine" way as though they are declaring that they don't have to conform to "male standard behaviour" because they are above it all.  I think he's insane, at least in this area. I should also state that he grew up poor in a way I cannot begin to imagine.

Oh, and the whole thing about needing to claim territory/primacy vs letting people go first as if you expect there to be more available to you later.  The whole "not giving in" thing seems to be about taking care of number one and living in a universe of lack, whereas "politeness" is about living in a universe of abundance, and thus letting you go first in no way deprives me.

I used to move right off, but now I will move over but not off the damned sidewalk.

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« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2006, 05:09:48 PM »
Interesting comments.  I had thought there might have been some condemnation, since it was possible that I might have come to blows over what was just a half-a-foot of elevated concrete.

It sounds like a lot of you do exactly the same sort of thing that I did.

Me, I generally move out of the way when I'm walking beside ephemeral and someone needs to get by us.  When they're coming towards us, I slow down and move behind her, ... and then I worry that it looks like I'm hiding back there.  ("Please, take her, it's her you want!  NOt me!!")

Same street, different night.  There's an apartment house on the corner with youngsters moving in and out constantly.  One night, after 2am, a gang of them were out on the street drinking and partying and arguing.

Then we heard some real yelling.  I went to the window.  It was this married couple and their friends.  The husband and wife were a couple of big, fat, lumps.  The husband looked like one of those wrestler-palookas, burly arms, tatoos, shaved head, over six-feet tall, 220-250lbs.

Apparently he said something insulting to his wife and her girlfriend was sticking up for her.  She started berating and insulting the guy and then dared him to do something about it.  She was about 5 feet, -
5'-2", 95-105lbs.  She kept it up for about 5-10 minutes.

"COME ON TOUGH GUY!! HIT ME!! YER SO FUKKIN' TOUGH!  WHY DON'T'CHA HIT ME!!!??? YA FAGGOT!! HIT ME!  YAH FUCKIN' LOSER!  I DARE YA TA HIT ME!!!'

On and on it went, she occasionally punching him in the chest (couldn't reach his chin).  He just stared stupidly ahead, maybe he was too drunk to really process it, but he never hit her.

Eventually they all staggered off in separate groups in different directions.

arborman

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« Reply #29 on: October 06, 2006, 05:05:37 PM »
Hmm, as a 6'4" 240 lb guy I've rarely had people try to push me off the sidewalk.  It doesn't help that my neutral expression is easily mistaken for angry.  

The big secret of course is that I'm a big coward.  That being said, I've found myself inexplicably holding my ground in some very uncomfortable situations.  In some cases, holding ground is a more effective way to resolve a situation non-violently than backing down, though it's a crapshoot to know which is to be done when.
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.

 

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