At the of risk sounding like a workshop at a juvenile detention center, ‘What is Masculinity?’ In our current state, this notion is as loose and wide as a sumo wrestler's favourite pair of Calvin Kleins. Constantly it is examined in the media through the lens of love, war and circumcision. Sometimes it is easier to chip away at the outer chocolate shell of what-is-not, until you are left with what-it-is; a delicious ice cream of man-truth. In that spirit, over the forthcoming series of posts, I will take a stand and define what Masculinity is not. First item on my agenda- young gents walking their female partner's small dogs. Where have all the real men gone? I can tell you they are not out walking a Maltese Shihtzu!
This small, cultural ripple threatens to become a wave that drowns me in first world anger. Every evening I see them. Perfectly normal-looking young gents, in the prime of their lives, strolling like owned pets at the behest of their female lovelies. Trotting after designer, cross-inbred toy dogs attached to nothing but a bright coloured ribbon masquerading as a lead. Their robotic expressions tell of an argument lost long-ago. Both man and beast striding in neutered solidarity. Clearly these dogs represent not only a domestic compromise, but a compromise on what it means to be male.
What has created these dog walking wash-outs? Premarital cohabitation? High density living? Hollywood? Experimental dog-breed offerings not seen since German science labs in WW2? When did it become OK for any self-respecting man to be seen within a drop kick of these things? A real man should have a real dog. Think dingoes, wolves, junkyard mutts and German Shepards like Inspector Rex. Not all man-dogs need to be aggressive. A Labrador is probably the closest thing in temperament in the animal world to the average guy.
I think it is safe to say a real man does not exercise something he could feasibly eat in one sitting. He does not stroll with something that has both been in a handbag, and has a miniature superman costume, unless its his own child. He doesn't engage anything with the descriptor 'miniature' in front of it, unless it is golf or a chocolate bar.
I appreciate it is a slippery slope when you question a demographics masculinity, but if all we achieve today is that we can cross 'walking the dog, regardless of breed' off the list of qualities of a 'Real Man' than we can all walk a little taller.