Not by me, neither in the find, nor in the review. A link in the middle of the night from my friend Nancy, a link to a book review of "BRO" [written by Daniel Maurer] by Holly Brubach/BiblioFile in The New York Times Style Magazine. Note that it's intertwined by her review of the book "Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men" by Michael Kimmell.
There some interesting concepts raised in the book/review, beyond the "Bro-cabulary". "Trojan whores" is hilarious to me - wherein a BRO hides in a group of hot babes in order to get into a hot club. That might work for some squirrelly little pencil necked tiny fucker, but not a "gargantu-man" like me. I just made that up.
Another concept is that I might be dancing tango not only to prove my manhood, but to also prove that I am not gay.
This one goes to Kimmell :: Brubach writes Kimmel is ultimately less interested in the details of what goes on in Guyland than in the conditions that created the need for Guyland in the first place, not the least of which are economic. He cites statistics indicating that annual earnings for men ages 25 to 34 with full-time jobs have steadily declined, to the point where in 2002 they were 17 percent lower than they were back in 1971. The only way to get rich in America today, the guys Kimmel interviewed believe, is ‘‘not by working hard, saving and sacrificing, but by winning the lottery.’’
And lastly, my favorite, "Here’s another idea, this one from Kimmel. We appeal to boys on the strength of the notion that they shouldn’t be forced to choose between their masculinity and their humanity." We could definitely use some more humanity out there in the world. Lots more.
These are definitely two books I'm going to have to add to my library. Once I win the lottery that is.
Dudes in Guyland
MANECDOTES? BROBITUARIES? OH, GROW UP!
BY HOLLY BRUBACH
The New York Times Style Magazine
Is there nothing more to life than watching football, getting drunk and getting laid? Of course there is. There’s literature, which is good for quoting when sex is the objective. There’s art, which can advertise your sophistication, improving your chances when it comes to sex.
And then there’s baseball, which is handy in the off-season for those times when the chances of sex are zero.
It may no longer be a man’s world, but it’s a guy’s theme park. Guyland, in Michael Kimmel’s description, is ‘‘both a social space and a stage of life,’’ an ad hoc fraternity and a way station on the road to manhood. In ‘‘Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men’’ (Harper), Kimmel goes door to door, conducting a census of this estrogen-free zone and its inhabitants, many of whom show no signs of wanting to leave anytime soon, or ever. ‘‘Passage between adolescence and adulthood has morphed from a transitional moment to a separate life stage,’’ Kimmel writes. ‘‘Adolescence starts earlier and earlier, and adulthood starts later and later.’’ He concludes that the expansion of Guyland to accommodate more and more guys for longer periods of time, into their 30s and beyond, does not bode well for the future of our society, though anyone who owns a bar should be in good shape.
Kimmel commutes to Guyland, getting his ticket punched and returning home at night to sleep on the far side of the border, in a neighborhood not so much anonymous as nameless, where full-fledged adults make commitments, buy houses and raise children. It’s a place that Guyland residents visit on rare occasion and only, one suspects, under some duress, staying just long enough to witness one of their own inducted into the marriage-and-a-family ranks before scurrying back to their beer pong and ‘‘The Mike and Mike Show.’’ These tragic occasions call for what Daniel (Danimal) Maurer calls a ‘‘brobituary,’’ a wedding toast that effectively eulogizes the groom, since ‘‘your bro’s life is over as he knows it.’’
Maurer has written ‘‘Brocabulary: The New Man-i-festo of Dude Talk’’ (Collins Living), a lexicon for the Guyland dialect so full of bluster and bravado, so relentless and manic — man-ic? — that I found myself needing to paint my toenails and take bubble baths between chapters, just to hold my ground in the face of such an onslaught of testosterone. Maurer has coined a word for everything, and then some. ‘‘Manecdote — an anecdote that shows what a man you are.’’ ‘‘Cupgrade — to upgrade to a girl with a bigger bra size.’’ ‘‘Hornery — ornery and horny at the same time.’’ ‘‘Trojan whores — hot chicks that you hide amidst in order to get into a club: ‘The doorman wasn’t going to let us in but we told these Trojan whores we’d buy their drinks all night if they took us in with them.’ ’’ To name only four examples, chosen not so much for their verbal ingenuity, which is typical of Maurer’s brand of wit, as for the fact that they are printable.
Maurer is the garrulous guide to the ins and outs of this 24/7 resort community in our midst, like the fun-loving local pictured on a Chamber of Commerce brochure depicting island life as one big margarita by the bay. Kimmel, with his tales of lethal drinking games, traumatic hazing rituals and date rape, helps to put Maurer’s boozy exuberance into perspective. Though both Kimmel and Maurer acknowledge ‘‘Bros before hos’’ to be the undisputed law of the land, it has a decidedly altruistic ring in Maurer’s anthem to the joys of male bonding, while coming across as alarming and downright sinister in Kimmel’s account of the silence boys learn in response to other men’s violence, even when that silence means abetting a crime.
Kimmel is ultimately less interested in the details of what goes on in Guyland than in the conditions that created the need for Guyland in the first place, not the least of which are economic. He cites statistics indicating that annual earnings for men ages 25 to 34 with full-time jobs have steadily declined, to the point where in 2002 they were 17 percent lower than they were back in 1971. The only way to get rich in America today, the guys Kimmel interviewed believe, is ‘‘not by working hard, saving and sacrificing, but by winning the lottery.’’ One grad-school student claims that his whole life ‘‘has been one long exercise in delayed gratification’’ that will end only when he gets tenure. ‘‘I mean, by the time I can exhale and have a little fun, I’ll be in my mid-30s,’’ he whines, and Kimmel summarizes his case for the reader: ‘‘Matt is paving the way for his career, but he can’t wait to regress.’’ I’m not sure what gratification these guys seem to think they’re owed — though I understand that sex and drinking figure prominently — but have they ever met anyone who went to medical school?
Both Kimmel and Maurer offer 10 commandments, and while Maurer’s are mostly lame satirical variations on the Biblical kind (‘‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it wholly devoted to watching football’’), Kimmel’s are an inventory of the unwritten rules that most men in our society live by: ‘‘Boys Don’t Cry.’’ ‘‘He Who Has the Most Toys When He Dies, Wins.’’ ‘‘Nice Guys Finish Last.’’ ‘‘Don’t Get Mad — Get Even.’’ ‘‘From an early age, boys are taught to refrain from crying, to suppress their emotions, never to display vulnerability,’’ Kimmel tells us, summarizing recent thinking. ‘‘As a result, boys feel effeminate not only if they express their emotions, but even if they feel them.’’
Kimmel professes amazement at discovering that ‘‘men subscribe to these ideals not because they want to impress women’’ or ‘‘test themselves.’’ No, they do it to impress one another. Masculinity, he concludes, is a ‘‘homosocial experience, performed for, and judged by, other men.’’ Well, next time, just ask. Any woman could have told him that. The success of the performance comes down to what Kimmel calls ‘‘the single cardinal rule of manhood, the one from which all the other characteristics — wealth, power, status, strength, physicality — are derived.’’ That is, to demonstrate, constantly and repeatedly, that you’re not gay. This is hardly a new idea, but this book makes a persuasive case for it as the bedrock on which Guyland has been built. Without guys’ need to perform for one another, Guyland wouldn’t exist.
But even before Guyland existed, being a man seems to have been fraught with complications. Not that anyone was willing to admit to it. Mark S. Micale’s ‘‘Hysterical Men: The Hidden History of Male Nervous Illness’’ (Harvard University Press) attests to the fact that researchers discover and doctors diagnose only those conditions that their culture allows them to find.
The ancient Greek supposition that hysteria was situated in the uterus made men anatomically impervious to it, a cherished belief that persisted for centuries. The breakthrough in medical terms, according to Micale, came during the late Renaissance, with the emergence of a secular worldview: ‘‘What was once regarded as a divinely created soul in spiritual distress came more and more to be construed as a naturalistic mind, psyche or personality that suffered emotionally or psychologically,’’ he writes.
Even so, official instances of male hysteria seem to have waxed and waned according to the expectations of how men were supposed to behave, until the 18th century broadened the possibilities, for the healthy as well as for the sick. Nervous maladies like madness, melancholia and hysteria were regarded as signs of the refined sensibility characteristic of artists and aristocrats. ‘‘Good blood and bad nerves went hand in hand,’’ Micale says. In their lives and in their work, men of letters like James Boswell and David Hume corroborated what physicians were now prepared to believe, as ‘‘the Georgian literary hypochondriac evolved into a recognized cultural personality.’’
Not only were men permitted to deviate from the norm, but the deviation itself became the norm. ‘‘In contrast to Victorian medical moralizing, which linked nervousness to a contemptible lack of will and a hereditarian scheme of degeneration, there is notably little condemnation of the nervous patient in the 1700s,’’ Micale notes. Most amazing from the perspective of Guyland is the fact that signs of hysteria in men seem not to have diminished their perceived virility. Micale contends that ‘‘18th-century Britons conceptualized manliness largely in moral, rather than physical, terms,’’ and he lists ‘‘wisdom, virtue, rectitude, sympathy and responsiveness’’ as the era’s ‘‘key ‘manly’ attributes.’’
Micale’s survey stops short of the 21st century, with the reassurance that the symptoms and preoccupations previously diagnosed as hysteria are simply among the occupational hazards of being human, and a worrisome conclusion: that ‘‘the true male malady’’ is what he calls the chronic inability to reflect on oneself — without heroics, evasion or self-deception.
But hey, too much heavy thinking going on here and not enough drinking. Let’s get back to basics. Like the blonde at the end of the bar. Her sidekick is a double-wide, but your wingman agrees to hog tie her (‘‘hog tie — to tie up a fatty in conversation so that your bro can hit on her hot friend’’) while you strongcharm the blonde (‘‘strongcharm — to strongarm a woman with your charm’’) and try to remember Maurer’s foolproof tips for seduction, like ‘‘Display an utter certainty that she wants you’’ and ‘‘If you don’t let her talk, she can’t reject you.’’ Yeah, that works every time.
‘‘Brocabulary’’ should come with a warning label: May Cause Apoplexy in Feminists and Fathers of Girls. Its instructions for how to dump chicks, guilt-free, and how to get over an ex (find someone who looks like her but has bigger breasts) certainly corroborate Kimmel’s observation that the guys he interviewed ‘‘consistently spoke of women more with contempt than desire.’’
And then, after who knows how many years, guys graduate to manhood, right? Anyway, that’s the plan. And the long-forgotten one-night stands and the addiction to porn and the utter disregard for the women they malienated (‘‘malienate — to alienate a woman with male behavior’’) give way to profound respect and appreciation and love for a woman with whom they want to make a life. Will somebody please tell me how that happens?
I think it’s safe to say that manhood in America has an image problem, but it’s nothing that a really good marketing campaign couldn’t solve. We need to pitch boys on the joys of mortgage payments and parenthood, on the virtues of staying late at the office and saving for retirement. Maybe Danimal Maurer could be brought on board to coin some new words, to make adult responsibility sound like something clever and even more fun than getting hammered with your friends on a Friday night. How about ‘‘manticipation — financial planning for your future children’s college tuition’’? Or ‘‘manogamy — sexual fidelity because, after 10 years of marriage, she’s still the hottest woman you know’’? O.K., I can see that this is going to be a hard sell.
Here’s another idea, this one from Kimmel. We appeal to boys on the strength of the notion that they shouldn’t be forced to choose between their masculinity and their humanity. That might work.
Again, here is the link back to the NYT.