We are the champions

The Roman symbol for Mars eventually came to represent the male gender.

The symbol for Mars used to represent the male sex, as well as the planet Mars and the chemical element iron.

The symbol for Mars represents the male sex, the planet Mars
and the chemical element iron.

Although I’ve seen no evidence that they’d react to the symbol in any negative way, I know women who wouldn’t, under any circumstances, want to be a man. I know women who wouldn’t, under any circumstances, want to have a male child (usually current mothers having only a daughter or daughters). I know at least one woman whose sole complaint about reincarnation is that apparently she’d have to return as a male, at least occasionally.

While recounting this particular attitude toward males, the women involved invariably screw up their faces (in a remarkably similar manner as they might react to something ugly). Ugliness itself appears to be fundamentally related to human brain response, and is perhaps hard-wired in one node or another:

Ugliness is a property of a person or thing that is unpleasant to look upon and results in a highly unfavorable evaluation. To be ugly is to be aesthetically unattractive, repulsive, or offensive.

People who appear ugly to others suffer well-documented discrimination, earning 10 to 15 percent less per year than similar workers, and are less likely to be hired for almost any job, but lack legal recourse to fight discrimination.

These women often display a facial expression, not unlike the one shown here.

Woman thinking about man (or smelling something objectionable).

Woman thinking about being a man, having a son, reincarnating as a man, seeing something ugly, or smelling something objectionable.

Speaking of ugliness and stink, having just moved from New Jersey to Virginia, the recent news on same-sex marriages in New Jersey is of interest. Despite his declared opposition, pretty much everything Chris Christie does is of interest, as he has an interesting way of doing things. Although they share party affiliation, in terms of personality, Christie is sort of the polar opposite of, say, Mitch McConnell.

Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. (born February 20, 1942), senior United States Senator from Kentucky, and well known for a non-transfixing personality.

Addison Mitchell “Mitch” McConnell, Jr. (born February 20, 1942), senior United States Senator from Kentucky, and well known for a boring personality.

The existence of sex itself can be made very boring, as evidenced by this definition of “male”:

The existence of two sexes seems to have been selected independently across different evolutionary lineages (see Convergent Evolution). The repeated pattern is sexual reproduction in isogamous species with two or more mating types with gametes of identical form and behavior (but different at the molecular level) to anisogamous species with gametes of male and female types to oogamous species in which the female gamete is very much larger than the male and has no ability to move. There is a good argument that this pattern was driven by the physical constraints on the mechanisms by which two gametes get together as required for sexual reproduction.

Accordingly, sex is defined operationally across species by the type of gametes produced (i.e.: spermatozoa vs. ova) and differences between males and females in one lineage are not always predictive of differences in another.

Male/female dimorphism between organisms or reproductive organs of different sexes is not limited to animals; male gametes are produced by chytrids, diatoms and land plants, among others. In land plants, female and male designate not only the female and male gamete-producing organisms and structures but also the structures of the sporophytes that give rise to male and female plants.

And the depiction of masculinity in all forms of media today does not convey an overall positive impression. I’m a male, yet I’m not Ozzie Nelson. Or Walter White.

No one has ever written a song called “I Enjoy Being a Man,” although some country songs come close. And James Brown’s lyrics to “It’s a Man’s World” haven’t rung true since shortly after he penned them in 1964. I doubt he thought they were true then.

Yet, in my opinion, the pleasures of being a man are widely underappreciated. There is something exhilarating about sensing responses that have been crafted over hundreds of thousands of years, during which time the genetically most successful men were those who could best serve and protect (like the LA police department) the physically weaker members of a family or tribal unit (such as women, children, and the elderly, who to this day [perhaps together with Ezra Klein] are still allowed and expected to be the first to enter the lifeboat of a sinking vessel).

This primal wiring, which actually can be felt originating in the amygdala or other nearby reptilian neuronal precursor, leads to some disconcerting impulses that can plague the modern man, most of whom, if they’re like me:

  • Have little interest in interior decorating, color coordination, and clothing in general–whether for himself or those around him.
  • Enjoy opening a stubborn bottle of ketchup or jar of pickles. Conversely, his inability to do so can lead to shame and rage, or the use of inappropriate tools to accomplish the goal.
  • Love opening doors, lifting heavy objects, reaching items in upper shelves, and other physical feats of love, bravery, and strength.
  • Often scrutinize tree lines, storefronts, alleyways, and rooftops for potential enemies or snipers.
  • Know absolutely that sitting down to pee is more sanitary and requires less precision and energy, but refuse to do so anyway.
  • Sometimes feel that the people ahead of him in line could easily be pushed aside, and that his needs could be gratified more quickly by sheer physical force, if indeed he decided to go in that direction.
  • Often deduce the answer to a problem, but hold back so that others can eventually reach the same conclusion, thereby simulating cooperation and consensus.
  • Love the responsibility of being a decision-maker and bread-winner.

I’ve been known to wonder “What is the opposite of misogyny?” as that’s what I appear to be observing many times in some of the women around me. And there is so much else I like about being a man, this blog post barely scratches the surface. I’ve experienced as much drama in a single baseball pitch or football play than exists for me in any film or theatrical performance I’ve ever witnessed. And if you’ve never cried at bravery or self-sacrifice, you’re missing the man boat.

Nothing against women. If I ever come back as one, I’ll be happy to explore her side of the world. I mean, why limit yourself? It would be, well, very interesting. (I am, at this moment, briefly making an ugly face.)

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About Keith Croes

Nice to meet you. Thanks for dropping by.

Posted on October 21, 2013, in Battle between the sexes, Cultural observations, Evolution, Gender identification, Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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