Off The Beaten Path: It’s A “Man Thing,” Right?
By Pam Pollock
You would think that after thirty years of marriage I would have finally broken through the mystique of the male species. I haven’t. I am still as confused as I was in my teens and 20s.
I possibly could be enlightened if I shelled out $18.95 or whatever the going rate is for a copy of the book, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.” But I am not going to do that, because: 1) I am too cheap and 2) the book was written by a man, so I know that everything written in there is not correct. (Ok, ok, I am half-joking, call off the angry, rioting males with torches!)
I guess I am just destined to go through life perplexed. This just happened to me earlier this week. I was out for my late afternoon walk with Gunny and I happened to glance over across the road. A group of men were congregated in the parking lot of the business next door. They were standing about 2 feet back from a brand new, shiny pick-up truck. The pick-up was strategically aligned in the center of the lot, slightly askew so that the sun was glistening and gleaming off the polished body. The men were in awe of the painted beauty. They stood huddled together, just staring and not saying a word. You could tell they were excited, however because they would rock back and forth on their toes. Occasionally one man would point out a spectacular detail to the others and they would all nod their heads in agreement.
I continued on my walk and upon my return home, I discovered that the truck had been moved ever so slightly and a new group of admirers were now worshipping the burgundy goddess of metal.
I was confused, to be honest. Obviously the owner was excited and proud of his new purchase and I think his friends were impressed with what they were viewing. But was there an unspoken man code that says that the male gender shouldn’t express emotion? Women (for the most part) don’t behave like that. A girl gets engaged and we all descend upon her like a flock of gaggling geese. We “Squeee” and insist that she extend her hand so we can admire the diamond ring. One lady will begin to bounce and squeal and the rest of us follow suit. Our voices rise in excitement and we perform a group hug. We do the same thing around babies and frosted cakes.
I was sad that the male population is forced to be repressed and retain their emotions. I may have even shed a tear. But – then I remembered that I have seen men get caught up in the moment every Sunday from September-February! I watch the football players (and hockey if they aren’t on strike) react with abandoned joy if one of their teammates scores a touchdown, gets a sack on the quarterback or has an interception. These macho men turn into a gaggle of geese – they leap into each other’s arms, they pat each other on the butt, they hug and they whap each other on the helmet.
There is hope for all mankind after all. So if you ever see a bunch of men at truck shows, embracing and squealing over an especially nice 18-wheeler – just smile and nod and walk away as they are clearly doing some intergalactic maneuvering from Mars over to Venus and that’s perfectly fine and acceptable to me.