I’m enjoying Deadspin’s new series analyzing different chapters of the 1987 crisis of masculinity book The Modern Man’s Guide to Life, seeing how this advice holds up after nearly 30 years. It’s a pretty gentle satire of masculinity, in the case linked above, how to prove your manhood through building your own sweat lodge, which is a very, very bad idea since they can kill you. I’d probably be less gentle if I was writing this. Since manhood is in a permanent state of crisis and thus has to constantly be proven, you can argue it has defined much of American history. That certainly includes the most famous crisis of masculinity, typified by Theodore Roosevelt, but also includes the sexual assaults on urban streets by the Bowery Boys and other young men of the antebellum period, the straight-laced restrained Victorian masculinity, the fears of not being able to grow a proper beard in the same era, the countercultural masculinity of the 60s and 70s, etc. And of course this is a big deal today too with the MRAs and others freaking out about women controlling their own bodies, deep and very serious concerns over men drinking almond milk, demanding REAL MEN who yell and scream and throw interceptions instead of soft-spoken Hawaiians to be the top quarterback taken in the NFL Draft, making sure men eat a proper manly breakfast, etc., a topic that is of course a common theme at this blog.
I probably should do more poking fun at the historical crises of masculinity that leads to absurdities like building your own sweat lodge.