The Gentleman Adventurer on Men – Pt 7

Posted on April 9, 2010 by

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Surrogate Affirmation

If a boy cannot get it from his father or other male authority figures, he naturally tends to seek the affirmation of his peers. This is not as good, but it is usually better than no affirmation at all – everything depends upon the quality of his peers. If they are of resolute character, he is likely to turn out alright. If they are foolhardy and superficial, he will probably be the sort of man who shows off and tries to impress people his whole life.

The worst and sadly all too common option is for a boy to seek the affirmation of his masculinity from femininity. This quite literally never works.

It starts in adolescence. In lieu of male affirmation, a boy goes looking for someone to place confidence and trust in him. He finds it in the all-too-willing girl, who herself is struggling with the authorities in her own life. They enjoy one another’s emotional support; the girl leans on him, expecting future returns. The boy enjoys the validation and confidence that the girl affords, but because they are both still living at home he is not required to make any actual sacrifices for her. He thinks he has found all the perks of monogamy without any of the bondage – not realizing that those bonds are actually the biggest perk of all.

As he gets older he keeps looking for that. He wants the affirmation without the responsibility. He may become a womanizer. Life is all about the conquests for him. But he is a coward at heart. A truly courageous man can bow his head and enter the cage. From a utilitarian perspective this is not hard: true fulfillment and joy lie just inside that cage.

Or it comes through his mother. There is an old saying about “Momma’s boys.” If the father isn’t around, or is weak, then the mother will take the initiative. If she has help from masculine sources, the boy has a chance. But if she mollycoddles the boy – if caters to his every need, enables him, and does her best to mitigate his consequences (and mothers are more likely to do this than fathers), then she has by her good intentions done more damage than all the things she has “saved” him from.

He grows up to be weak. He knows he is a “Momma’s boy” and he desperately fears that others perceive him as such. So he talks loud, struts, and tries his best to find “manly” things to do. He has a sensitive ego and, by extension, a hot temper.

In either case, there is but one solution.  He has to find a masculine source of affirmation. The workplace is a valid place for this – a more extreme option is the military, and especially the Marines. The Marines specialize in producing man-killers; and to produce a good man killer you must kill off all that is feminine in them.

But best of all, he finds it in an older man, who can teach him what manhood is from an appropriately biblical cultural perspective.

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Posted in: food for thought