Men Die Early

Today I woke up before 4 am. After writing something cryptic on my Facebook status, I got dressed and started walking east. It was completely dark when I headed out and when it became completely light, I stopped, turned around and made the long trek back home. During that walk, I dissected life – my life, a man’s life and obtained some understanding.

You would think with understanding, comes peace. Not this time. It is akin to knowing something is wrong in your body and not being able to find the source and then after tests and tests, discovering that you have terminal cancer. Sure, there is clarity, but no peace.

So as I walked, I looked around at house after house – each with its own story that I wasn’t privy to. I looked at rock and flower gardens that someone painstakingly created. I saw new cars in driveways, satellite dishes, and fancy shrubbery. I saw newly built porches with Cracker Barrel rockers. I saw many things. It stuck in my gut in the realization that it was all vanity.

People, they have to escape, don’t they. They find their pleasures in toys, rockers and gardens. The image of a “nice home” is their drug of choice. I was on the outside looking in and found myself longing for their blissful ignorance.

Women have it easier in the area of coping with life’s tragedies and disappointments. Creating flower gardens or decorating a room or house just so is only part of their soul therapy. They also combine that therapy with a good crying session alone and with their girlfriends (they can even call their friends “girlfriends” because there is no shame when seeking emotional support if you have the double “X” chromosomes). They get their good cry in, they spend a couple of hours putting together additions to their scrapbooks, and they are good to go. God bless you women.

For men, it is a whole different set of circumstances. Working in the garage, or doing some kind of construction project on the house IS the whole ball of wax. There is no “good cry” or ice cream session with their friends. Why? They do it because there is a code. The code says that you don’t eat ice cream, you eat your angst. You don’t have support from your friends, because they are under the code, too, and they will not allow you or themselves to be “less than men.” No, men strive to be Donald Draper! We eat our angst and die early when the poison finally consumes us.

Of course, we do have the exceptions. There are those that cry with friends (usually with female friends or other “less than real men” types). Some join men’s support groups where there is chanting and drumming and “sharing.” However, society at large makes fun of these groups, don’t they? So that, in the long run, is just extra pressure and the “less than real men” label to boot.

Women tend to support men for reaching out and dealing with their emotions. They “respect” that. They just don’t want to “marry” that, do they? Women, with few exceptions, want a “real” man. A man that is always strong that they can feel safe with - a man that does not show his vulnerabilities, eats his angst, and dies early with a healthy pension and life insurance policy.

So, I and the like minded, continue on that path. We would rather die early as a man than live long as something “less.” I was concerned that I may be enlightening some of these men and ending their blissful ignorance. Then I realized that few “real” men read blogs. They would rather be in the garage nailing a couple of pieces of wood together.

As for the females reading this, show a little more compassion today for your dying men. And if you want to argue with me about my assertions here, you have already missed the point.


Brian said...


Jodi said...

You sound really bummed out. I hope you're feeling better.

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Sayre said...

I know what you mean. My father was raised in the stiff-upper lip European tradition. Even horse-whipped as a child in boarding school, he managed to keep the tears and the emotions under control. My brothers are in the same boat, having been raised by him. I do see the damage that caused in them all.

I feel lucky that I found a man who isn't afraid to express himself. He does cry. And that's okay with me. And I want my child to be able to express ALL his emotions and feel able to share. So far, so good.

I really am sorry that most men feel the way that you do.

Charles said...

Its funny you did this post. I just professed my feeling to my best friend and she shot me down. Then she was the one who made me feel better.

Meg said...

You make a good point. It would make sense that bottling emotions would lead to a shorter life.

If it's any comfort, there are women out there who accept the humanness of men. The day I saw my husband cry was the day I really fell in love with him and knew I wanted to marry him. Of course he worried that I would think him weak for showing emotion over a sad situation. Quite the contrary. I thought him human and respected him for being unashamed of feeling.

Jeff said...

It can be tough (internally) to maintain that stiff upper lip, but that is how most men are conditioned - for right or for wrong. I am sure there are women out there who appreciates a man that shows emotion. However, in my contact with women about this subject, most secretly admit that they just feel safer when the hurt emotion doesn't surface in a man.

Strange world; strange society . . . but what are you gonna do?

Unknown said...

If normal is what you strive for, you shouldn't resist too much the idea of drowning in mediocrity. Where did you get the idea that you have to fit into one of these silly images? I would never marry a conformist.
happy hunting

Jeff said...

Tina: To an extent, we all conform. Society dictates it. Only anarchists do not EVER conform. I will tell you a secret. There are no true anarchists.

Besides, it isn't a question of conforming. It is a question of having this imprinted on your psyche from the beginning - perhaps even your DNA.

This post is an illustration of me taking the "pill" in "The Matrix."