by Risa Green (Tales from the Mommy Track)
I was standing in line at the market this morning when the cover of Newsweek caught my eye. Man Up! was the headline, with an image of a well-built, shirtless man facing away from the camera, holding a little boy in his arms. The subtitle was The Traditional Male Is an Endangered Species. It's Time to Rethink Masculinity. Isn't it though? I thought to myself, and I bought it, hoping it might be interesting, or at least that it might give me some fodder for my post this week.
Let me start by telling you what I was hoping the article would be about. I was hoping it would be about how men, at least the urban men where I live, seem to me in the last few years to have become more and more like women. And by that I mean that they just seem to be not so concerned with doing - or even knowing how to do - things that were, traditionally, done by men. For instance, I don't know a whole lot of guys who mow their own lawns anymore. Which I get, because mowing the lawn is a drag, and because it's a whole lot easier to just pay someone else to mow the lawn. But still, if all of the gardeners suddenly decided to unionize and go on strike, I think there'd be a lot of houses in LA with really, really long grass. Same thing for knowing how to hook up speakers, or how to fix a leaky faucet, or how to caulk a shower. (For the record, my husband is standing over my shoulder and demanding that I disclose that he knows how to do all of these things).
Aside from my husband, however, most of the men I know have "guys" who do all of this stuff for them, and in doing so, they've ceased being guys themselves. Which is fine, I guess. I mean, there's nothing wrong with a man being emasculated and helpless and unable to do things for himself. I'm not really passing judgment. It's just, you know, not all that hot. Like, imagining a guy calling another guy to fix his roof is not exactly the stuff of sexual fantasy. Or at least, the sexual fantasy isn't going to be about the guy making the call. Anyway, I'm just sayin'. It's what I thought the article would be about.
Tales from the Mommy Track is a weekly column about the daily life of a part-time working mom. Risa Green is a critically acclaimed author who lives in Los Angeles. Her previous adult novels, Notes from the Underbelly and Tales from the Crib were made into a television series. Her latest novel, The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball, is a Young Adult book.