Monthly Archives: July 2010

Manhood

Q.What about manhood do you know now that you wish you’d known at eighteen?

That there is no such thing as a tough guy, and that playacting at it is folly. But then again, it served me well, and I was fortunate to outgrow this posing and come to know myself. Too many go from cradle to grave without ever even meeting themselves. As a couple of cartoon characters – Popeye and the God of the Jews – said, “I am what I am.” Most guys these days are cartoon characters of a different kind – cell phone in hand, name tag hanging around their neck or from their belt, drinking beer responsibly with the boys, making noise to assert their meaningless existence, doing their best to act butch. Heed well Matthew Arnold’s poem “Growing Old” and, perhaps more so, heed the wisdom of Lightnin’ Hopkins: “Whatever you is, be that.”

— Nick Tosches, responding to a question in Gentlemen’s Quarterly.

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