New Masculinity: The Only Good Man
[New Masculinity] • I’m not sure if the new masculine lives in words. I can sometimes show it to you but I’m not sure if I can tell it to you. Nor am I sure that this new archetype of masculinity can reside in one man. In fact, I know it can’t. We men of the early 21st century are isolated, living within ourselves, divided between inner lives of outrageous fantasy and outer lives of mundane duty. We are passionate and reticent. Hungry for something better and, for most of us, without very good models of masculinity. Raised by frustrated women, confused men, and made-up images on a screen, the only help we have is each other, and we don’t play together.
We aren’t going to manifest a new masculine archetype by working at it or by training for it. Sure we can work and we can train, in fact, we won’t be able to help but do these things. We were taught by the world from an early age to relish the manly feeling of working and training and getting things done. Being ready to fight and, if need be, die. This is not new. Where we will begin to find the new masculine is the place where we play together. Not the place where we compete, which is just more training for killing each other, but the place where we play, and heal.
My girlfriend is a sexual revolutionary. She studies and teaches about sexuality and has done so in academia, in the professional therapeutic world, and within the sex industry. Her studies have brought many Tantric teachers into our lives. As the teachings of Tantra have made themselves available to me I have found that, as much as I enjoy the company of women, it is the men who I feel inspired to do the most healing with. The women have it dialed, for the most part. We men, on the other hand, well, let’s just say that most of us feel better and safer around women. Nothing wrong with that, it makes sense. We have been raised to kill each other, why would we want to play together? Yet, as I have been called to find safe, intimate and playful relationships with men, either in men’s groups or by pushing through the isolating patterns in my daily life, I have been rewarded with a level of relaxation I haven’t known since childhood, when play was all there was.
What is play? Well, in my case, it’s not a euphemism for sex. My own sexual tastes are frustratingly straight. Like most guys, I am steeped in homophobia, and like many of you I know that I must be gay-er than I would ever let myself be, even to myself. It’s funny, when I was a kid, and first getting messages about gay-ness from TV I was confused. The gay characters always seemed so effeminate, but if gay guys liked other guys wouldn’t they all be more masculine? They don’t like girls, so why would they want to be one? Later, when I became an actor I made the decision that if I ever played a gay character I would play him as macho as possible. I was never cast gay, and other actors have pioneered that choice since then so I must not have been alone in my confusion with the limp wristed gay male archetype. The point here is that, in order to play together, most of us are going to need to confront our own homophobia and silence the bullying, faggot-calling voice in our head. The one that keeps us from getting close to each other, and keeps us playing, primarily, with the girls. Does this make us gay?
Women in our society get to be strong and sensitive and smart and intuitive. Of course, it’s also fun and ego-fulfilling to have sex with them too but most of us have a history of women friends with whom we share the kind of witty banter and playful vulnerability that typified the buddy relationship in cop and cowboy movies of the 60’s and 70’s. Women are our friends, women are our lovers, and men are the enemy, that is, except for us. Isn’t it true? Aren’t you the only “good” man you know?
Do you have a male mentor? A man who taught you about life and guided you into the world? I don’t. My father died when I was in my early twenties and I’m not sure how much he would have been able to guide me had he lived. My good male teachers, the few that there were, have seemed to prefer to enter into mentoring relationships with young women. Thus simultaneously challenging sexist patterns and reinforcing them by surrounding themselves with young feminine energy. My female mentors too have logically chosen young women as their apprentices. And all of this is good. The workplace was and continues to be male-dominated and this needs challenging. The negative result of this is that there is now a generation of men who’s only mentor is mass culture which, I’m sorry to say, doesn’t have our best interest at heart.
So we are left with each other. It will require vulnerability and courage to challenge the crushing isolation but when we do manage to look around we will see that the world is not populated with oppressive killer drones who look like us but other man/boys who are asking the same questions that we are. Let’s play with the idea of what the new masculine archetype is, shall we? There is a better man inside of each of us looking for the opportunity to come out and play, fearless and free, like a boy. In playing together we will get all of the work done that we need to and receive all of the training we require, and we will be able to do it all without sacrificing our humanity. With smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes we will make something special where nothing was before and this thing that we create will teach us all we need to know about the new masculine. Then we will be the mentors for the next generation of men (and that is the best thing we can do for the women.
Play song in attachment below.