Word of the Week #169:

Clique

So, I do not have a lot of male friends.

Well, I don’t really have a lot of friends in general, but a lot of my closer friends tend to be female.

I don’t think I have any problems bonding with men one-on-one. I can always find enough common ground to build a foundation for a viable relationship.

The problems arise with the prospect of “hanging out” with groups of male friends. As a kid, I never quite realised why being in groups brought out the worst in each member. Thinking about it now, the answer seems quite obvious. Groups of guys are based on the one thing a majority of men have in common: toxic masculinity.

While I did not quite realise this at the time, it did repel me from all such groups, and, by extension, from all such male acquaintances who could have otherwise become close friends.

This occasionally made me wonder if they were the normal ones and I was the weirdo. Most other times, though, I was convinced I was too great to bond with those mere mortals, anyway.

Recently, having had time to meet a lot of people and decide whom I like best, I have ended up with a colourful group of weirdos, and am beginning to realise that the male bonding experience, though often highly glorified in movies, does have value in one’s life.

Specifically, it has already added value in my life, and I am better for it.

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things, does the heart find its morning and is refreshed.”

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Word of the Week #153:

Misogyny

Even as a boy, a very young boy, I often despised how other boys would talk about girls. How they would reduce the girl’s identity to an assortment of body parts. How they would feel the right to spread vile rumours based on, well, plain malice. How they would gleefully discuss what I can now only describe as rape fantasies.

Now, I cannot take much pride in saying that I did not participate in such behaviour; much like I do not expect praise for not killing anyone in the past hour. It is the bare minimum one would expect in a civilised society.

If anything, I do feel remorse for not being able to raise my voice against any of it. It must have been partly because I did not have the strength to oppose them, and partly because I did not realise the damage such behaviour could cause.

Today, when I meet or speak with some of these boys, I can still sense the remnants of that mentality. It is often obscured by a mask of feigned civility—and occasionally it isn’t—but it is still very much there. Apparently, it is not something that can change by itself.

But one thing has changed: My willingness to call them out.

After all, there is only one way to ensure good guys no longer finish last. We need to weed out the bad ones.

Word of the Week #152:

Anthropophagus

I have never been too inclined towards male bonding, and only recently am I beginning to understand why that is.

Apparently, there comes a strange time in guys’ lives, between the age when they realise they are different from girls and the age that they realise they are attracted to girls. In this period, every boy decides the kind of man he will become, albeit rarely realising this at the time. Or ever.

It is around this age that boys receive a simple choice: To bully or to be bullied.

I still cannot understand why this happens. Blaming it on just the Y-chromosome feels weak and dismissive.

I was always strong enough to stop bullies, but not to stop bullying. This left me in a strange limbo, which soon, it solidified into solitude. Eventually, I grew accustomed to it.

These few years were among the loneliest of my life. And I spent them doing what every lonely kid does: I read, I watched, I observed. I learned how to understand the world around me. Oddly enough, since I was entirely alone, I grew up not caring about public perception or approval.

I knew my definition of self, and it was not a function of the people around me.

Unfortunately, the other boys that I watched seem to remain stuck in the roles they chose as children. They see the world as predators and prey, and they will do what they must to survive in their roles.

And we wonder what happened to concepts like compassion and courtesy. Compassion and cannibalism can rarely go hand-in-hand, right?

So, do you want to fix the world? I can tell you what to do: Fix the children.

Word of the Week #147:

Detoxify

How to detect traces of toxicity in yourself?

Simple. Swallow a pill of bitter truth, and observe your own reaction.

If you feel any inflammation around your cheeks or ears, you may be experiencing some symptoms of chronic toxicity. Let us take a look at the following video, for instance.

Thoughts? Generally, a nice video.

Nice message. A rare, but refreshing, example of a corporation taking a stand. Right?

Well, oddly enough, the video has twice as many dislikes as it has likes, presently around 1.2 million, with thousands of men claiming they felt attacked by the ad and vowing to never use a Gillette product ever again.

Just take a moment to think about this. What exactly does the video say?

  • Misogyny is bad.
  • Sexual harassment is bad.
  • Violence is bad.
  • Bullying is bad.
  • Men shouldn’t do above bad things, and set good examples for boys.

Now, if any of the above points seem like a personal attack on you…
You’re probably NOT the best a man can be. Just saying…