Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Man Who Dislikes Beer

With my sister and her delightful daughter visiting us briefly, we came up with "Alice's Tea Cup" as a quick morning experience that would be rather nice for a little girl visiting Manhattan.

It was neat to see my niece (one of thirteen, and nine nephews) swing up not only a fine china teacup, but also a mug (filled with hot cocoa) nearly as big as her head. I enjoyed the scone with cream and jam, and reflected on why the pleasures Alice's Tea Cup offers are thought to be especially for women.

I like beer. I like cigars. I like single malt scotch (The Cragganmore, if you're buying...). I like watching sports, mostly live rather than on tv. But I really don't like doing any of those things when men are doing them to be self-consciously manly. It evaporates my enjoyment of those things entirely. There is even an odd Christian subculture of doing supposedly manly things like this and it comes off as posing -- what the surfers I met in La Jolla, California described derisively of those who surfed for show rather than the simple pleasure of it.

So I admire more a man I know who, in the days when Mad Men was set, went into a tough bar and ordered a glass of milk. Because he doesn't like beer, and doesn't care what the other guys at the bar thought of him.

That's manly.

Of course, this leads me to consider my own vanity. I'd rather have a suntan than not, and the adage "you can tell a lot about a man from his shoes" has probably affected my footwear choices once or twice. I do plenty of things to appear cultured, intelligent, sound (in my settings, having the right views on theology) and am not worried about appearing macho, so maybe a post about each of those is in order. But until then, I'll have a milk, please.


Ran Barton said...

Given your manly past, E.C., and the manly renown with which you are well known in manly circles, I feel sure you can fearlessly order milk among manly men with no fear of scorn or derision. Happy Friday.

Clifford Swartz said...

Thanks, Ran, for your comment -- did the use of the word "derisive" remind you of the Monty Python "Bruce" sketch when the Aussie philosopher says "howls of derisive laughter, Bruce!"? Maybe not.

It is a real question, is it not, about true masculinity. Maybe another post on what women want in a man versus what they desire in the short term is worthwhile -- do you remember the Brendan Fraser film when the girl of his dreams wants a sensitive man but despises him when he becomes that man? Howls of derisive laughter...

Have a lovely weekend, and warm regards to you and your troops.