The first rule of keeping a journal on the internet is knowing it's public and that anyone at any time can read it.
The second rule is not paying attention to what those people say.
Recently a site called The Advice Goddess rana small bit about how women value birthdays more than men. The author cited a post Ms. A wrote about two and a half years ago about me forgetting her birthday. It was an amusing post and actually more search results for "husband forgets birthday" hit my site than any other search, well, second only to the picture of Karl Urban I'd used for something.
So I read the post and it was harmless, just a simple query, "Why do we care so much about birthdays?" But people began reading the rest of the site and comments started to come up about Ms. A's and my relationship and the uniqueness of it. Most were fine even encouraging, and a couple were of the typical anonymous snarky variety. I believe the terms "limp wristed" and "spineless" were used.
Typically that would get me pretty steamed. I tend to get my hackles raised by such comments, but lately I just don't give two shits. I mean, who cares? I write for me and if some people think of me as weak based on just what I write here - well I feel pretty bad for them.
But of course I can't let it go at that, so I started looking at my life and wondered if I really am sort of a namby-pamby pushover with no backbone to speak of. I have to say, I don't think that's the case. I mean if we're just judging on sheer testosterone, I'm fairly certain I'm chock full of the stuff. I'm one hairy bastard and I have been known to have a bad temper. I pick causes and stick with them. I'm passionate about things that are bad in this world and equally vicious with my praise and commendations.
But if it's sheer manliness we're worried about, let's take a look at that. I've got a good jump shot. I've fired several guns including a heartstoppingly large shotgun. I know how to bar-b-que and make a slap shot. I have to shave four times a day. I know what the infield fly rule is and what it means to be down by contact. I've father two children AND I have a job to support them. I don't take medicines because I think it makes me look weak. I smoke and drink and have a love of tools. I'd rather play golf than go bowling and it doesn't take me long to take a shower.
Pretty average manly qualities I'd wager. (Wager, that's right, I can kick people's ass at poker.)
But, you know, because of this whole thing with my marriage, I can see how someone would take JUST THAT and run with it. I suppose I should maybe dress myself up a bit and talk about how when Ms. A told me this about her sexuality, I beat her up and then went and drank a case of Molson with the boys while we drove around in our El Camino smashing mailboxes. I know that may have been left out, let's just assume it happened. I probably failed to mention that I don't vote and I listen to top 40 radio and the only bit of news I know about is that Miami is still winless in 11 games. (Wait, I DO know that, huh...)
I'm sure those people have read back to my college and high school days when I was in theater and choir and wrote poetry and how I protested to bring troops home from the Gulf War and just ASSUMED I was a tree-hugging fairy...wait, I never wrote about that. Well shit. Maybe I just said I was in college and they took that as a sign of leftist elite education, you know, from my state community college years. That's probably it.
I do, I really do feel bad for those folks. I understand that what I write is public. I wouldn't put stuff out there if I didn't think that somewhere, someone might have a reaction. I'm maggoty with awareness of that fact. There are some things I won't EVER write here, some things I may not even tell my best friends. But this I thought was okay to discuss because it shows people are human and the idea of traditional anything is as archaic as loin cloths and hitting a potential mate over the head with a tree branch. I don't consider myself on the forefront of human evolution, I have the toes and forehead to prove otherwise, but I do consider myself a bit more understanding of what it is to be human and how best to interact with my circle of humans.
I didn't write asking for help, I didn't write it here first and THEN talk to my family and friends. Everyone knew what was going on well before that and in some cases before I even said anything. It's not about manliness, it's not about having a backbone. It's about respect. What happened was unfortunate, sad, heartbreaking and traumatic. Making a big stink about it and covering my ears and screaming LA LA LA LA LA, doesn't make it go away, and it doesn't make it better. Running away doesn't make it better. Ignoring it doesn't make it better. What we're doing was done after months of working out the best solution to the issue. I spoke my mind and I got some results that I'm happy with.
Manliness is looking out for your kids, keeping track of yourself and not letting anyone give you any bullshit along the way. Manliness is owning up to your problems and solving them without violence or harsh and ultimately meaningless words. Manliness is getting up every day and doing your job and then coming home and having time to play with your kids, fixing electrical problems around the house, killing scary bugs. Then you have some booze and a smoke, read a book with lasers or fighter planes and go to bed.
Manliness is not anonymously berating someone from the security of your ISP.
Carry on, men.