I'm not saying its any harder being a man than it is being woman. Each has its own things going on that require tremendous resiliency and work. The lessons a father teaches his son, be it a strong work ethic, how you treat a lady, or the basics of acting within a society are stepping stones of becoming a man. When you don't have that role model, one learns those things on their own, seeks another male role model or never quite learns them. I'm probably a combination of everything because I had the role model for 22 years and then it was gone.
Problem is, its really the twenties when it was time for me to really start learning those things. Growing up the way I grew up, everything was always part of a plan that was determined for me. I was going to school and then there was no doubt I was going to college, and by the time that was all over, I was 22 and it became time for me to make my own decisions in life. Did I decide on my own to major in Poetry (creative writing) in college? Absolutely, but when you decide something like that, you very well know you're not going to make your bones being on a ledge somewhere spouting out sestinas.
Since then, I've learned much on my own. Fortunately, I have an older brother who can somewhat fulfill that male role model, but even then your brother doesn't have that authority over you. I've always looked at my mom as my consigliere, but again, not a male authority figure, but an authority figure nonetheless. A male friend can't fill that role either, so you run out of options. There is nobody out there. What are you going to do, become friends with a 60-year-old man who can offer you wisdom and guidance even though you have no desire to befriend an old man? That's creepy just thinking about it.
So when I need these lessons, I can always turn to Don Corleone, because aside from the fact I'm using fictitious film to learn life lessons from, the man lessons are true indeed and should never be forgotten. Let's review some.
1. A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man.
If I ever decide to pro-create, and I know the world is on the edge of its seat waiting for that, what could I bring to the table? Though I'm not a loner, I am someone who does enjoy alone time and children would bring an immediate end to that. The flip side of that coin, is imagine a little Zacarias Moussaoui? Talk about terrorists, that little bastard would kick major ass. He could bring down the entire east coast with just a blink of an eye. Definitively, I guess he wouldn't be a bastard if he was my son, but a little Zach would be the man. Is the reason people have kids because they want a miniature version of themselves they can train to be badass? Doesn't sound right. In fact, this conversation is starting to scare me all together now.
2. A man in my position can not afford to look ridiculous.
Fortunately, I'm not a powerful man so this doesn't apply completely, but there comes a time in life where you need to be taken seriously. As one who doesn't take life too seriously, its lessons like these I admire because I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but I have to be ready for it. If one can't be taken seriously, their thoughts don't really matter. I'm an aspiring writer, my thoughts have to matter whether I'm writing humor or not.
3. Women and children can be careless, but not men.
This is growing up in a nutshell. The time has come where carelessness is a terrible attribute. Is it fun throwing back a few pops on Friday night with the fellas and acting intentionally careless? Yes, but that's not the point here. This is your one life and it's going to be whatever you want it to be. If you want to work your 9-5 and get hammered on the weekends and expect that pace to just be one of life's constants, it's not going to happen. There has to be something greater, be it finding a loving wife and making babies, or maybe a major life accomplishment like climbing a mountain, swimming the English Channel or developing a diabolical weapon of mass destruction that can kill 300,000 innocent Iraqis in one explosion, rather than drawing it our for years (sorry, had to do it. Bush's Iraqi Health Care Initiative got results. You gotta give him that).
4. Whoever approaches you is the trader.
Obviously, this doesn't apply to my life, or does it? It's kind of one of those Siren, or Beware the Ides of March issues. Is it bad to have a distrust for someone acting kind? Yes. Do I have a distrust for people acting kind towards me? Absolutely not, but that doesn't mean I'll keep my head floating in naivety. If one of my buddies comes up to me and tells me he wants me to attend a meeting of the head's of the five families though, I'm probably going to order a hit on him. Fortunately, if one of my friends ever wanted me to attend a secretive meeting, I'd be more concerned that it's some sort of intervention for acting like a horse's ass.
5. You keep your friends close, your enemies closer.
So this is really from The Godfather Part 2, but I want to apply it here. Is there any better lesson in life if your life is a constant battle with enemies and climbing up a power ladder? It's nice not having enemies so this doesn't apply, and the people who may not like me, or I don't like I simply just don't give attention to, it's a simple as that, but if my dad was the head of a crime syndicate and I was the next in line, THIS is the advice that would bring me right to the top.