Not a boy, not yet a man
It struck me the other day, having just trimmed my moustache and assembled a barbecue, all by myself, that perhaps I could finally call myself a man.
Growing facial hair and cooking animals seems like something men do.
Tonight I’m going to a poker night. A man’s poker night. For men. With games for men like cricket and cards and drinks for men like Tooheys New and some sort of brown liquor like Scotch.
“Chris Paine. Man”. It doesn’t sound quite right. But neither does boy/youth/kid/chief/champ/ace or tiger. Definitely not tiger.
I recently turned 27. The barbecue I assembled which, just to repeat I managed all by myself, was given to me by my girlfriend. The moustache I trimmed was legitimate - my first - and grown in support of Movember.
I’m yet to reach other milestones like home ownership, fatherhood or making a piece of furniture. My hands don’t look worn like those belonging to the “real men” in the latest round of VB ads. I recently researched “playing golf” on ehow.com and I rarely pay for beer in cash. I’m good at cooking salmon but rubbish at fixing cars. I’m comfortable wearing salmon but I’ve never owned a proper flanno (thick cotton check shirts from General Pants don’t count).
I asked my fellow Punchers what it meant to be a man. Ant reckons you need to be able to master skills which once fell almost exclusively in the women’s basket, like cooking, cleaning and child-rearing to be a real man these days.
Lucy says real men boast integrity, smell nice and wear trousers. I say real mean know how to use “trousers” in a sentence. I’m not implying Lucy’s a man.
Tory (M) says real men can fix bung toilets themselves. Some may say that’s a turn-on. Too much information?
All I can say for now is that, despite the possibly antiquated notions of manhood that a moustache or a barbecue may bestow on a young up-and-comer, I finally feel like a man. Whatever that means.
I can rely on myself and be relied upon. I take responsibility for my actions. I treat people with respect. I no longer see kids as the place where fun goes to die. I’m more comfortable in my own skin, even if that skin is becoming increasingly marked permanently by swallows and self-affirming mantras and, soon, I don’t know, a Japanese-themed half-sleeve or something.
I’ll wrap this up before I get too philosophical. Men, when did you realise you were a man? Ladies, what qualities do you look for in a man?
On Twitter:@christoforpaine, man.
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