Over the years if there’s one thing that I’ve learned (much to my friends’ sorrow) is that one can find lessons in just about everything, no matter how seemingly disconnected. My man-crush on Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy? Boom: inspiration. Doctor Who? Here’s why you should be following Captain Jack, not Mystery.
Even after devoting 2500+ words to the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito harassment debacle, I realized that there are some important takeaways.
Paging Dr. NerdLove: We use every part of the news-cycle buffalo.
So stick with me here for a second. I know I promised we were going to get back to the dating advice after a couple of issues-heavy posts; trust me, this will all make sense in a moment.
You see, one of the things that comes up when we bring up the subject of “traditional” masculinity is the way that men are socialized to be out-of-touch with their emotions. Even now, when it’s presumably more accepted for men to be more sensitive and more emotionally aware, we still have to wrap the idea of “feels” up in a “but MANLY” way. Thus we get the joking-but-not-really “manly tears” over something sad. Men are still taught that they have to be tough… and part of that toughness means – oddly enough – being overly concerned with how others perceive that toughness. After all, you wouldn’t want the Gender Police to take away your man card for admitting to having your fee-fees hurt, would you?
Except… that’s not “tough”; that’s craving validation of your supposed masculinity from others. Real toughness comes from not giving a damn about what others think about you.
Case in point: Jonathan Martin1 . By all accounts, he’s quiet and a little withdrawn… a solid guy on the field but not A WARRIOR who BREAKS THE OTHER TEAM and PLAYS THROUGH THE PAIN NO MATTER WHAT. And yet he just proved that he’s tougher than a 320 lb ginger sack of rampaging anger-management issues because he came forward, admitted he was having a problem and went out to get the help he needed, ignoring the jeers and insults of his teammates and their weekend-warrior Twitter followers.
And in that moment, Martin proved a critical point: one of the key components to improving your life is to embrace being vulnerable.
- Told you I’d bring it all back around. [↩]