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Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Millennial Meltdown. Part 5 - Male Edition

Dear God, another preface...  I have to, I just do.  My choice to preface is not for my regular readers and subscribers, but for those who may stumble upon my blog from a Google search.  I form my blogs around thought-provoking questions that cause open discussion.  Anything I say is not judging anyone intentionally.  Now, shall we move on?

Late last night when I was trying to sleep, I started thinking and kept myself awake much too long; just as I am doing right about now.  My thoughts compounded, then carried over to today and concern a subject matter about what my gender has evolved to exactly. 
Case in point, this:
Have you ever seen the movie "A Christmas Story"?  The father (who's name is never actually mentioned in the film) takes pride in being able to change a flat tire on his car in record time.  The movie taking place in the 1940's shows a pretty great reality of the mindset of men at the time;  a problem arises, they fix it.  The picture above is my car on a Sunday afternoon, in a parking lot.  Yes I timed how long it took me to change said tire, and I checked in around eight minutes from flat to back on the road.  After running at the park, I went back home and patched the faulty tire myself.  After that day a few months ago, I began thinking about how I do not know many men within my age demographic who have even the slightest clue about how to change a flat tire.  They would rather not get a little dirt on their hands but instead call Roadside Assistance and wait an hour for someone else to do the job for them.  Then I started asking questions...

I went to a restaurant to get an unbiased opinion.  What?  Yes, because if you are going to harass someone with stupid questions, why not let it be a server at a restaurant.  No, I am not kidding.  This server's name is Meghan and I had talked to her a few times prior so she knows I write blogs, and I cleared it with her before asking.  She is an attractive woman in her early twenties, I assume is in college, or is at least within the age range. Asking that question would have helped.  Whoops.

What I did ask her was related to masculinity and whether or not a man's ability to fix things or problem solve in real-life situations was attractive to her.  Being in the Atlanta suburbs, I did not expect to hear the answer she gave me as I assumed women were looking for the guy with a big bank account, free-spirit, or whatever else who pay someone else to fix their issues for them, but that is not what she told me.  As far as Meghan was concerned, she felt a sense of comfort, security, and attractiveness in men who possess the ability of fixing things themselves.  Her own words told me that being able to do so was "part of being masculine" and "a part of being a man".

My friend Katie and her boyfriend had walked in earlier, inadvertently sitting next to me, so I asked them the same question.  She confirmed the same things Meghan had told me, also saying her boyfriend had those qualities.  Apparently after dating some of the helpless men-types before him, she was now much happier.  Then he chimed in with "I would rather change a tire than a diaper."  Which made me realize he did, in fact, know how to do both.  Touche.  The question floated around to one more server and she confirmed the same thing about her boyfriend, who was oddly enough a good friend of mine in high school.  Weird.

What I am wondering is when we, as men, decided that an inconvenient instance was only to be solved by bringing someone else in to fix the problem for us, even if the task was relatively simple?  Maybe I am biased because of my learning nature.  What I mean by this is that I hate giving up on anything and I will beat myself to death trying to find a solution to my inconveniences which stem from previous "convenience".  

When my seventy-eight year old uncle and I were talking about tools a few weeks ago, he said "When I was growing up, we didn't take stuff to the shop to get it fixed, we fixed it ourselves.  If we needed a tool and didn't have it in the barn, we made it ourselves."  This is the same man who told me the story about hoisting an engine out of a car with a rope draped over the limb of an oak tree; and the same I admire so much for the tenacity you find in mostly men of his age, and not mine.

I think that maybe, somewhere along the way, most of us decided we would rather learn all we wanted to know out of a book, or be told by someone of experience in the subject while sitting in a classroom chair.  Application no longer became necessary and we stopped thinking for ourselves.  Maybe our survival instincts are waning in light of continual advances in technology,  I am not sure.  I hear the excuse of "I wasn't brought up around that sort of stuff."  But, for me, it all comes back to thinking for yourself and your own determination or hunger to learn things you do not know.

Maybe we have just lost the desire to help ourselves and became dependent in the process.  Once we hit that point of getting our degree or settling for some aspect of life, we also hit the wall and stop wanting to gain useful or applicable knowledge.  Some of us could rattle off the stats from the top picks in the NFL Draft last year, but have no idea how to change a car tire or change a light fixture in our house.  

Men in the past would learn new skills and become self-educated out of necessity.  
Men of today would rather spend fifty dollars for someone else to do a remedial task for them than learn something new, interrupt the football game on television, or hinder their time playing Call of Duty.

Somewhere along the line we stopped being proactive and stopped doing things for ourselves.  
At some point we stopped paying attention and started being helpless.
Problem-solving and the need to educate ourselves to reality is falling away from us.

Am I perfect?  Not at all, but I refuse to be the type who thinks doing tasks for myself is somehow beneath me.  I refuse to stop learning.  I could probably spend my days doing nothing but playing guitar and convincing myself of how awesome I am, but doing so is fruitless and would numb my brain too much.
Never take the easy steps away from a challenge.
Be a man...

Grace and Peace,



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