Lamenting the Loss of Hard Men
I just finished reading an article by #KevinAlexander for @Howler titled; “Where have all the hard men gone?” Alexander laments the end of the era of tough and steely footballers who once ruled English soccer. The thing is, the hard man persona has not disappeared from soccer only. His presence is also missing from other major league sports, and most importantly, from society in general.
The men in my family, my grandfathers (both of whom worked construction, and one became a merchant marine). Granduncles, cousins, my Dad, and brothers, all macho-manly men. The women and children felt secure in their presence, and there was a healthy amount of fear not to displease them. No child ever wanted to hear their mother say wait till your father gets home, so she could tell him how you misbehaved that day. “No Mommy, don’t tell Daddy, I’ll be good, I promise!” Admonishment or worse, a beating from your father was horrifying. For the “politically correct” who are offended by the word “beat”; in my day, we did not get disciplined or a time out. We got beatings. Get over it.
While watching the men of yesteryear play sports or do heavy work around the house, if you were a boy, you wanted to grow up to be like your dad. If you were a girl, you dreamed about meeting and marrying a man like your father when you grew up.
Kevin, the hard men aren’t just “relics” from the sports field, “the Hard Man paradox” as you call it has rippled throughout every facet of our society.
Interestingly enough, I had a conversation with my daughter a few weeks ago. She called me to ask; “…when did men break?” My answer was sometime in the mid-80's.
I was reared on a diet of Yule Brenner, James Cagney, “Mean” Joe Green, Bobby Orr, Harrison Ford, the Anoa’i Family legends High Chief Peter Maivia, and “Soul Man” Rocky Johnson. There is one more tough guy I feel impelled to mention…our local beat cop Officer Mike. I think he may have been my first crush. We’ve gone from those men to Dennis Rodman, Alex Rodriguez, Rasheed Wallace, Christian Bale (who started off well, then took the dive), and John Boehner.
The testosterone depletion has been studied and written about in some really great articles like the 2004 Psychology Today “A Nation of Wimps,” and BreitBart’s, “Charting the Decline of Manly Men on (and off) Screen,” (2013). The article describes how men of the 1990s were characterized as “ultraliberal…mopey dopey every guy who marries really good looking woman, then they have no idea how they got that woman, so they permanently stash their testosterone to save her the effort.” Still laughing about how true and timely that statement continues to be. I must digress for a moment to say; unlike BreitBeat, Kevin Alexander and myself, the Psychology Today article was not gender-biased. Whimpy girls were included in their case study.
So? Where do we go from here? As much as the “Hard Men” have been glorified in these reminiscing’s, there were downsides to the ultra-macho man — poor communication skills, difficulty expressing affection, impatience and intolerance. I was fortunate not to experience those negative aspects of the hard man’s personality. However, I did hear stories and I begin to learn firsthand the dark side as a teenager. As a young woman, I developed an appreciation for men who were vocal, expressive and “sensitive”. As with all things balance is best. Men like Hugh Jackman and Dwayne Johnson are contemporaries that satisfy my nostalgic longing for the tough guy image, with a great combination of sensitive, funny and nurturing.
If any of you know where the testosterone reserves are being stashed, there are at least four people who are ready and willing to form a raiding party to liberate the precious hormone and deliver it back to the male population in both the #UK and the #US. If things were to get a little bloody as a result, that would be fine by me.
Ginger Davis, a former tomboy aptly nicknamed “pitbull in a skirt” and recently “superwoman”, can be found at various sports bars and lounges around NYC during #football, #rugby and #hockey season. email@example.com @UNTOLDStoryMedia @UTStoryMedia