Tag Archives: Manliness

My Manliest Day

I’ve already talked about how unmanly I am. And now I’m going to again, in hope that rehashing a topic will allow me to sneakily circumvent the writer’s block that’s been dropped square in front of me like a henge of stone erected by anti-creativity druids.

Like writer’s block, my distinct lack of virility is a condition that plagues me day and night and dusk and dawn and all those obscure times in between (the witching hour?).

Sure, balding may be related to high levels of testosterone, but our backward and unforgiving culture still places a premium on a nice, masculine head of hair. But the head is the only place they want it! Thanks to the oily and sparkling likes of Brad Pitt and Robert Pattinson, hair has become a thing to be reviled and waxed away. Gone are the Connery’s and the Hasselhoff’s, replaced by pretty boys who do nothing to convince women that my massive quantities of shoulder and back hair are in any way desirable.

With the super bowl coming up and my friends still making fun of me for my womanly hands and inability to burp (which makes chugging beer an impossibility), I felt it important to reassert whatever masculinity I had left.

This is the story of my manliest day.

Perennial friend Tom was in town for a visit, and I think some of his man-essence rubbed off on me when we chest-bump-greeted each other.

Tom’s an officer in the marines, trained through sweat and blood and things that look like tears but are actually just blood-sweat dripping near his eyes. This is a man who loves American football with a healthy, brazen disinterest for any sport lauded in other countries. Ever since Prometheus graced our race with the gift of fire, true men have been natural born grillers, and Tom is no different. He honors the Titan’s sacrifice with his expertly roasted corn, delicious vegetable medleys, and most importantly, perfectly charred eagle meat.

And now he was at my apartment, helping bar mitzvah the crap out of me.

The first thing we do when he shows up is crank some Linkin Park to its full, screamy volume and step outside into the courtyard. Next, we remove our shirts, brazenly flaunting the double standard which allows we men to be topless in public. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about equality, especially concerning this particular topic, but as long as the law favors the harsher sex, I’m going to flaunt my nipples at every opportunity.

As a marine, Tom was well aware that unlike Samson, modern day “bros” draw strength from a lack of hair, so we power up a razor. As “Bleed it Out” blares into the waning light, we shave each other’s heads and damn well leave the chest hair alone. Passers-by are stunned by our increasing virility, boosted with every swipe of the blade. I think the scene may have been undercut a bit by our singing along to Linkin Park, though. Especially since we changed the words to “shave it off, cut it shorter, just to sweep it away!”

Newly badass, we hit the freakin’ gym, dawg, cause it’s time to get our swell on. On the way in to getting’ big, we hella flirt with the receptionist, and she’s totally diggin’ our swag. Sure that one of us would tap that later, we give each other a fist bump and head to the weight rack to pump some serious iron and get cut. There are a ton of bros there, so we give them fist bumps too and say, “Sup, bro?” They say “Sup, bro?” And even if we don’t know a guy, we throw him the “Yeah dude. We totally work out” head nod.

Feeling swoll, our guns loaded with blood and looking huge, we get back to the man cave with just seconds to spare before the most sacred of all endeavors begins: the fantasy football draft. We can’t go straight to the draft, though, cause we gotta have our post workout protein shake with creatine. We toss two scoops into some milk and drink the crap out of it. It tastes almost like food.

It may have cost me in the draft, but I’d been a man for a few hours now, and in that short time, I’d learned that you never, ever miss your post workout protein shake. We transition into beer (the nice kind—that comes in bottles!), and start scouring the internet for player predictions, arguing furiously over injury potential, ability to make big plays, and whether or not it’s morally acceptable to draft the evil, cocky, cheating, Tom Brady, who always defeats the Chargers in the playoffs then goes home and smirks about it while sticking it to his Victoria’s Secret model wife (consensus: it is immoral, though the person who did draft him ended up winning the league—that bastard).

I’d never felt more American than in this moment, drafting fantasy football players with a marine while drinking beer. Plus, we’re listening to country music. We sit there, reveling in the greatness of our fine country and thinking patriotic thoughts, images of voting flashing through our heads. Voting, followed by thoughts of mindless consumerism, thanksgiving dinners, global ignorance, and eating pie in the back of a red pickup truck on the way to a reenactment of the American revolution. If there’s something more patriotic than that, I’d like to see it.

Draft complete, we find ourselves too manfully energized to attempt anything akin to sleep, our muscles alive with awesomeness. But how to pass the time at this hour? We’re already drunk. We’d already worked out and hit on girls and shaved our heads. And neither of us feel like getting into any fights or building anything with power tools. If not that, then what?

In a moment of perfect mental harmany, we look at each other and, like two girls excited about manicures, simultaneously squeal, “Fight Club!”

The next two hours were spent watching Edward Norton and Brad Pitt beat the shit out of each other in the most primal display of raw masculinity ever to grace the silver screen. I’d never seen it before, and my life was forever changed. I wanted to thank Tom for all that he had taught me, but, warmed by alcohol and images of men fighting each other just to be able to feel something in a world bereft of any true emotion, I fell asleep.

But when I awoke, there was no sign that Tom had ever been there. The only hair on the porch outside was blonde, and half the beers remained untouched. My friends had seen us together at the gym, hadn’t they?

Hadn’t they?





Stay tuned for the future, in which the writer’s block may have been lifted by the crane of inspiration, who, with a mighty caw, will hopefully muse some thoughts into my brain.


Filed under Stories

I Am Not Manly

In case you didn’t know, men have this desire to be manly. You see, with manliness comes sex, and with sex comes…I guess that’s sort of the end goal really. So yeah, that’s the two-step process. Manliness → Sex.

I know what you’re saying: “Don’t worry, Russ. I’m sure you’re as manly as any chainsaw-toting, cigar-smoking lumberjack.” And while I certainly do have enough chest hair to weave a very small blanket or perhaps a fashionable handkerchief, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my manliness is about two hand-slain deer carcasses shy of ideal.

It all goes back to one fateful day in the dorms. There I was, minding my own business with some of my friends (if that’s even possible). We were sitting around watching The Simpsons, having just finished a rousing session of Rock Band, when in walks Chris, god among men, man among dogs, and regular dog among poodles.

He’s got these wavy blonde locks, arms the size of porpoises, and a smile that could cure cancer. His body is so sculpted Michelangelo himself might reshape David in his likeness. Not to mention that he’s unreasonably friendly and intelligent. He just got back from a trip to Iceland where he filmed a documentary on the whaling industry and learned to throw javelins. Anyway, he walks in, and in that unreasonably friendly way, asks us what we’re up to. We explain (Simpsons and Rock Band), and he’s genuinely supportive.

“Oh that’s cool,” he says. “I don’t really spend my time watching TV or playing video games, but it looks like fun.”

Just then, his painfully hot girlfriend enters the scene. “Oh, hey babe,” he says. “You ready to go to the beach for our hike and sunset picnic followed by pleasurable and numerous sex things?”

“Of course I am, you irresistible hunk of man,” she says, swooning.


I don’t know if that’s exactly how it went. Whenever I’m around her my brain turns to mush and all my words run together. One time she gets back from a run decked out in tight little shorts and a sports bra and I ask her how it’s going. That’s a good conversation starter, right? She says “so hot,” and all I can think of is “yeaaaauuuh you are!” which of course I say because I have no filter.

She gives me this, “I can’t believe you just said that” look and walks away.


Anyway, Chris turns back to us and wishes us good luck on the videogames and stuff with infuriating geniality. I know that deep down he was letting us know he’d be too busy boning under the crepuscular sundown to waste his time with such frivolous frivolity. Or maybe he didn’t even care. He probably thinks of us with only a vague, detached pity. I bet the car will break down on the way and he’ll change the tire and lift some heavy objects or something.

Damn, that guy is manly. Even if he’d been born a Viking or a barbarian in the age of extreme manliness, he would still be king. He probably lives a full, rewarding life, filled with physical accomplishment and a sense of satisfaction. But I bet he doesn’t have a complete set of Pokemon stuffed animals to keep him company, so there!


Filed under Stories