Men Don’t Get Periods. Do They?

The ACLU attacked International Men’s Day by insinuating that trans men, who are technically women, figure more prominently in the calculus of defining good manhood than men because their ability to have periods and be pregnant is a core men’s issue.

It’s actually a farfetched less than one percent elitist argument of exactly the type has infected tribal. According to Wikipedia, “A 2017 Gallup poll concluded that 4.5% of adult Americans identified as LGBT with 5.1% of women identifying as LGBT, compared with 3.9% of men. A different survey in 2016, from the Williams Institute, estimated that 0.6% of U.S. adults identify as transgender.” So split that in half, for absolute fairness, and you have a measly one third of one percent of adults in the United States in this oh so special ACLU focus group.

News Flash! That’s bupkiss. A total theft of the social compact that is the totality of society. I have nothing against gay or trans rights. I have many friends and family that are part of these communities and I love them very much.

But that’s not what men’s issues are about. The ACLU’s resident Twitter troll is a pinhead for dismissing far more serious issues affecting billions of men on the planet. Sorry, not sorry! Just STFU!

November 19 was International Men’s Day. Established in 1999, the day is celebrated in eighty (80) countries and is meant to bring attention to the unique issues and challenges that face the male half of humanity. It’s not International Women’s Day; that happens on March 8th.

The day draws attention to the medical issues unique to men. The life stresses that men face. And hopes to inspire men to lead good lives as part of their role in society.

According to their website, “The observances of International Men’s Day are part of a global love revolution. International Men’s Day is observed on an annual basis by persons from all walks of life, who support the ongoing effort to improve lives, heal scarred hearts, seek solutions to social problems, mend troubled minds, reform the social outcasts and uplift the dysfunctional. IMD is designed to promote positive role models in society and develop wholesome individuals. Such developments are badly needed in today’s wounded communities, which reflect distorted and outdated beliefs and constant clashes among men, women and children. These tensions unravel the fabric of the family and the society.”

That seems like a wonderful and uplifting mission statement to me.

So naturally in the perverse world that is the United States, that’s bad.

Men should be encouraged to be proud of who we are just as much as everyone else is supposed to be proud of themselves. Men are not new second class citizens of a segregated planet; we are equals who are vital to our species. Our values are not dirty; they are every bit as noble and worthwhile. 

This is not Mars or Venus. This is Earth. But we are not the same. Archetypes still exist. We have different roles to play in the complex matrix that is the social structure of humanity. Women who imagine that men are the same as them don’t know what being a man really is.

Manliness is a deeper and more meaningful thing than people realize. Political correctness, for all its aspirations, can be, not really “woke”. 

Manhood is not angry or militant. Men have no need to fight to be who we are. We already are who we are. We already bear the burdens and responsibilities of our gender. In a politicized world that wants us to think like women, what we men must fight for most is to not lose who we are.

Manhood is something in your soul that makes you a boy, an adult, a boyfriend, a father, a husband in ways that can take a lifetime being one and learning from your own mistakes to achieve.

Being a boy is an essential part of manhood. Women often hate the boys inside us. It’s because boys have no need of girls. It’s that stage of life where things are about play. Boyhood has no need for intricate co-dependencies or social expectations. It’s a state of freedom. A place to explore any idea. Every man has a boy inside him. Every good man makes the time to disconnect from the rest of the world and nurture that little boy. That disconnection is healthy. Men go there to heal. It’s where we recover from the hard work of being all the rest of what we must do to be male. If we are lucky enough to have a woman in our lives that really cares about our well-being, they encourage us to heal. Not all women see it as such. Some women see these moments of self-nurture as the insult of abandonment. They are so very, very wrong.

Being an adult male is equally essential. It’s a mode of existence that is an everchanging adaptation to external stressors. Work, personal, social, environment; the list is endless. Some of us adapt admirably with diplomatic sensitivity and storybook grace. Most of us struggle to just stay ahead of each bump in the road that comes along. Adulthood is a universal challenge that besets men and women. In this we are equal. These days, far more equal than we used to be. We share the burdens with a partner less now than in the past as the social compact of American society has changed to an everyone for themselves modality. It’s a crueler and lonelier struggle.

Women want our adult male selves to be the perfect male. The definition of “perfection” is fickle. Every woman’s definition of perfect is unique; and the combinations of what works and what doesn’t vary widely. It also changes over time. And in some cases, minute by minute. That’s just another stressor; more reason to take those breaks back into our internal boys to heal and rebuild the strength to face another day.

Men are boyfriends. The manliness of being a boyfriend eventually results in an interesting epiphany. You are an actor. A role player. You are that male bird of paradise doing your dance to convince your girl that you are the one worthy of her trust and lust. You ae trying to be the one that fulfills her fantasy of what Mr. Right for each moment is supposed to be. And what that is can be different from moment to moment. It’s being on an endless treadmill morphing from desire to desire.

It’s ultimately tiring. And it’s fraught with more failures to launch that successes. Biology drives us. Mental exhaustion limits us. The chances that we will communicate our needs and boundaries perfectly with our mates, mostly slim to none. If we are lucky, our significant other’s notice, care and help us restore ourselves, either in place or by going to our internal healing place. If we don’t, it usually ends; and we’re back to being lonely. That happens a lot on this planet.

Men are fathers. Some of us have what it takes and some of us don’t. What is fatherhood? It’s one aspect of manhood. Not the only one. But it’s the one where the consequences of getting it wrong are the most important. Our children are the only people on earth who are entitled to our unconditional love. Even our love for our spouse is based on agreement.

Being a good dad is as complex a moment to moment challenge as being a good boyfriend; except you have to make things look perfectly calm in the middle of the storm. When your kids are young, they believe and adore everything about you; even your worst flaws. You have hopes for the best life for them. But you yourself still have a lot to learn too. You’ll pass on the generational mistakes that you were given by your elders to the next generation without knowing it. Later on you’ll see it clearly; and wish you hadn’t.

Fatherhood can be cruel. That’s when you realize that part of your job as your children grow up is to be the boxing dummy against which they must test their wings when they are adolescents. Those rebellious years when they have brain damage. When you sneak away when no one is looking to cry alone in the garage because your babies hate everything about you, and you miss them so much.

Men are husbands. Husbandry is all about giving. It’s where you realize that the world isn’t about you, it’s about the people you care about. Specifically, it’s about the people you love. The thing about the manliness of being a good husband is that you need to know how to persevere. There is no relationship without troubles that happen along the journey. You fall in love for passion. You stay together by working to reignite it. 

A husband at his best is a rock in a storm. He buffers the waves of change, those stressors that challenge tranquility. The reality is that a husband is not always at his best. He’s imperfect. At the height of his folly, he is years away from wisdom, which he may or may not realize. He hopes he doesn’t screw it up too much along the way there. Sometimes he does. Sometimes he can spend years repairing his errors. Sometimes the chance to make things right never comes. Like I said, it’s about perseverance.

There are moments of noble manhood though. When your wife, after losing herself to be a mother, reaches that point of being overwhelmed by the end of raising her family arrives, and the vacuum of life’s meaning swirls in her mind, fueled by the chemistry of menopause. That’s when you get the chance to tell her, “Hey you look like this girl I dated once. She was the best. You want to go out with me?” This too is about husbandry, to give a woman the gift of getting her identity back, to remember who she was. To tell her it’s who she still is; that she just forgot for a little while. That it’s time to be boyfriend and girlfriend again. Like it was, before the kids came along. Maybe she says yes. Maybe not. But you harbored that soul for her; and gave it back to her. That’s being a man.

Men are not holistic creatures. Holism, that need to feel that everything feels right, is not a luxury that men have. Nothing is ever perfect. Our fate is to be men and make things seem perfect when they are not. We don’t always succeed. And, for the good men anyway, it’s not because we didn’t try. Life’s just shitty sometimes. We can’t win them all. That’s fantasy. 

Instead, men are kings of segmentation. We slice life into manageable pieces. We focus on targets. We set our feelings aside so others can have theirs. That’s our job. The women in our lives don’t always see how hard we work to stitch things together.

That’s what we do. That’s why we honor International Men’s Day.