There is a strength that a man is required to have if he has any hope of leading the life he should. Some of us are fortunate enough to develop this strength in childhood. Sunshine Mary:
I was at a carnival a number of years ago that had this enormous inflatable slide – the thing was like two stories tall, no kidding. A boy of about eight had gone up and was then too scared to slide down. His mom and auntie were trying to coax him down while the rest of us waited; a couple of minutes later, his dad walked up and yelled, “What the hell is your problem? Quit being such a little girl! Slide down the damn slide.” And the kid did.
And I bet the kid liked it.
Undoubtedly, that’s not the first time his dad did that sort of thing, nor was it the last. Childhood can be scary, and sometimes every kid wants protection. However, boys have to learn to confront their fears in ways that girls don’t, and a father coaching his son in how to confront such fears trains him in how to do so himself. Some boys require constant prodding, others get it right away, but it has to be done for every boy.
After all, it’s men who charge into burning buildings to save grandma, men who have to go downstairs to see what made that bump in the night, and men who fight and die in our wars (watch how quickly that “women in combat” rule changes once we find out what happens to the prom queen in the POW camp). Women find men who can do this appealing. No matter how feminist her politics, she’s going to hide behind her boyfriend when the mugger jumps out in front of them, and she’ll loose all respect for him if he runs away without protecting her.
Unfortunately, millions of men in our society have not been properly trained to fight our fears instead of succumb to them. His own desire to come down from the slide was amplified by his mom and aunt. Without a father there to oppose both them and the scared voice in his own head, he may have walked down instead of slid. His fear would have evaporated in the loving arms of his mother, instead of shame he would have been comforted for giving in to his fear. He would have sensed that something was wrong, very wrong, but hugs and sympathy can do a lot to make that feeling seem to go away.
But some very decent and noble instincts in a woman tells her that this is exactly what she should do. Sunshine Mary:
I have to confess: I was still kind of feminist-y at the time, and I tut-tutted about the way the man had spoken to his son. I thought it was terrible that he had shamed his frightened son like that. I thought he should have gone up the slide himself and helped his boy down.
Women’s instincts in such matters are fairly destructive to the formation of healthy masculinity, I now suspect.
Don’t just “suspect”, know. A woman’s protective maternal instincts are entirely appropriate for infants, and they can even work for older children regarding grizzly bears and child molesters, but she wants to keep him safe at all costs.
But he’s not safe, he’s expendable. If he doesn’t earn his way in the world, he won’t make it. Little Charlie is going to have to punch back against some bully in the playground. At some point he’ll have to tell a crappy boss to go to hell. His girlfriend’s going to get groped in a bar some night. Do you want him to be able to stand up for his beliefs even if he might be mercilessly mocked afterwards? A mother’s loving arms can’t protect him from a home intruder. If he’s afraid to talk to women, he may not even breed,
Whether it’s for his own good as he pursues his own dreams or for the good of those he loves, on offense or defense, he’s got to be able to fight. Without a father, he may well learn, but as frightened as the eight year-old may be on top of that slide, the twenty-three year old who never sucked it up and slid down may well have it worse.
Unfortunately, I know this first hand. I was raised by a single mother, and not the crack-whore kind, either. She loved me and did what she thought was right, but when I was five and Larry yelled “Get outta here!” whenever I went to play with all the other kids, she let me go back to her and told me it was okay. When I was afraid to climb over the top of this weird circular play thing at the playground (I wasn’t afraid to climb the ladder, just to go over the top part), the female pre-school instructor followed behind me and was very encouraging, but she let me have my way when I refused to climb over the top. When a bully bothered me in fifth grade, my mother’s advice was to back down because it wasn’t worth getting hurt over (I salvaged some of my pride on this last point by beating the crap out of him in seventh grade, but still).
Some boys will learn this without their fathers help. Mostly, they’ll grow into barbarians, for instead of dad shaming them for not sliding down the waterslide, they’ll be shamed into stealing a bottle of vodka from the corner store by the local gang.
Alphas who are also decent human beings aren’t born, they’re trained.
I’ve come a long way, but my lack of training has cost me years I’ll never get back. I’ve missed countless opportunities, sucked up innumerable humiliations, not only because nobody taught me how to face my fears when I was a child, I was taught instead that it’s okay to back down when it’s time to fight.
“[C]onfrontation is the hallmark of the alpha male…even when he doesn’t seek it out…he does not hesitate to embrace it if it comes his way.” Finally, I’m confrontational on a regular basis, not because I want to be, but because I don’t back down when I know I shouldn’t. I tell my boss directly and immediately when I think he’s making a mistake (he’s pretty competent, so this isn’t very often). When my lefty co-worker spouts some nonsense, I tell her why she’s wrong, and she backs down every time. After the Trayvon Martin incident, in the break area a black guy (former Marine, great guy, HUGE), was spouting the party line and I called him on it. I could tell he was surprised (isn’t telling big burly black men that they’re wrong about politics both unsafe and racist?), but I didn’t care if he called me racist, I didn’t care if he thought I was racist, I didn’t care if everybody else thought I was racist, and I didn’t care if he lodged a formal complaint. He was spreading lies and somebody needed to call him on it.
Oddly enough, he seems to respect me despite my supposed racism.
I still have my weak moments, and the confrontations I’ve been having are ones without a particularly large stake. However, just like sliding down the water slide at eight years old trains you to charge the machine gun nest at twenty-two, saying something politically incorrect to confront a lie at work is good training for telling some congressman where to stick it on national TV.
But I know I’ve still got a lot of training ahead of me, and I’ve got to accelerate things. I backed down right before getting to the really controversial part of my paternity idea, and although I didn’t admit it to myself when I started, the reason I wrote this post instead of what I really wanted to write is that I’m about to confront somebody I respect who’s been very supportive so far here in the Manosphere.
In his case, I’m not going for the throat, but I’ve got to call him out just like I called out that guy in the breakroom. I can’t do it every time, but I can’t play it safe any more. Some things are just too damn important.
And before you know it, I’ll be stabbing some folks in the throat (with words, don’t be a dumbass).
I don’t have anybody to help me down the slide, but I’m going anyway. In life and on the blog, no more holding back.