Jefferson Keane, the pit bull, and the Unman: the lost masculinity

Guys always trying to find new ways to be “manly” and “macho” and “alpha.” All these male potions and user guides, personality primers, blah blah blah. They tire me. What does it say about our society that there is such profit to be made in the simple enterprise of teaching men to be men. There is obviously a void, and voids in our capitalist madhouse open their maw in hungry anticipation of dollars and cents. I see these wannabe he-men all the time and I’m sure most of them can probably kick my ass. But does this make them manly? Not really. They are still sorry excuses for men. Overly concerned with appearance and fashion and style and possessions, they lead the quiet desperation of the 21st Century Unman. They’ve lost their way and potions promising manhood fly off the shelves. Shysters get rich and faux-players go broke gooing up their hair while vainly hoping to stumble upon a lost masculine spark.

The solution is so simple and utterly cheap that its magnificence falls on deaf ears because the yearning male masses are hypnotized into looking for the “big cure” that will transform them into manly men. They want flashy and gimmicky, not realizing that the true path to gender fulfillment for the male lies in simplicity and serenity.

These boys need to calm the hell down.
They need to chill. Take it easy. Slow down. Quit rushing around, quit becoming mired in their external environment like cagey animals.

They are everywhere. Men, antsy, fidgety, restless and hyper-reactive, are jittery balls of undisciplined turmoil. Men walk too fast, they swivel their heads quickly on their pencil necks at the slightest sounds or images, they shake their legs, they do not focus on what’s in front of them. Instead of allowing serenity to issue from inner masculine strength, they are rattled little boys overly immersed in their environment. They need to leave that to the women. Women love to rubberneck and see who’s wearing what or who’s talking to who and an endless array of externalities seize their attention. Women rush, they are impatient…this is fine for them. They are women.

Men need to stop acting like this.
I’d like to take this moment to deconstruct a healthy dose of masculinity in order to assemble a rudimentary understanding of what propels the masculine manner. Men need to take control of their environment. Take control. It is foolish to think anyone is capable of controlling their environment, but with training and discipline, men can learn to control their reactions to their environment. Men do not do this! They are too busy looking at who is walking by or who is talking and what they are talking about. Men are too consumed with an external world that does not concern them. They are jumpy and hair trigger and nervous.

Two things happened along in my life that guided me toward this realization. One was this pit bull that a tire shop nearby kept as a guard dog. Every time I passed in the morning on the bus, the dog was laying there in the sun, exuding tons of canine alpha splendor. This was a fearless dog that would fight or defend itself against anything and die in the act without betraying fear. But what struck me every time I passed was its sense of impassivity. The dog would just lay there, still as a rock, unflinching, non-reactive, motionless. The world around buzzed and roared, people walked by, helicopters hovered, the world was filled with commotion; but the pit bull, unfazed and not distracted, sat in its own silent world, utterly aware of its environment but liberated from acknowledging it.

The other thing (kinda hokey) was a character on the HBO series, Oz. He was the prisoner, Jefferson Keane.

Prison is an alpha farm and amidst the mayhem and rape and brutal anarchy, Keane alone represented the domineering alpha figure. Serene of expression and deliberate of movement, he is what I envision a man should strive to be. Granted, he was a murderer, but that’s besides the point. The dude was immensely tough, but he was calm and he never rushed nor allowed the raucous environment to control him. See, the strong man appears to move seamlessly through his world like syrup gliding patiently along a solid surface. The world may be falling to pieces, but it does not impede his mental nor spiritual momentum.

One very important trait the pit bull and Keane both displayed is the placid, neutral facial and bodily expressions. Too many men wear their troubled mind on their shoulder. You can tell what they are thinking by the distorted and twisted expression clouding their face. This bespeaks of weakness and lack of control over one’s mood. A man in control is a man who does not let his inner torments derange his expression. Men must work toward neutralizing their expression through all contexts. I’ve personally worked on this for so long that I think I’ve come close to “perfecting” it. No matter what is going through my head, I refuse to allow it to manifest in my outward physical presentation. Keane was excellent at at this. There are lots of tough guys out there willing to fight at the slightest provocation. They walk around as if to dare the world to piss them off and they seem perpetually wrapped up in their environment. They are looking at everything and everyone with the vigilance of a frightened Chihuahua. They are tough but weak men.

Keane moved slowly and fluidly, much like the pit bull. A man never rushes for anyone or for anything. Well, there are situations where he must, but they are far and few between. The man walks deliberately, moves deliberately, and he does not fashion his entire existence around the pretensions of others. He thrives in his own immutable world and anything that happens outside his sphere is not his concern. However, he is aware. He is poised and vigilant. But he does not need to act like a hyperactive clown to present it. He is poised, and he is poised. Once a man refines and internalizes this behavioral thought pattern his masculinity will follow. As soon as he takes control of his actions and rebuts the demands of his capricious environment, he will discover he is an island of unfamiliar manliness in this hyper-feminized rushed society of inflated self-importance.

The world revolves around the Man. He revolves around nothing and is not ashamed of this.