Over the weekend I found myself at one of three soccer games planned for that lovely day. As the daughter runs her little butt up and down the field, I talk manly-man stuff to another dad plopped next to me.
Running, dreading our daughters moving into the inevitable realm of dating, vacation plans….those were just some of the many topics rambling from our mouths as we killed yet another Saturday on the sidelines.
My son wanders over, throwing a soccer ball in the air and catching it over and over again, trying desperately to find a way to work into our manversation. Finally, a very brief lull in the conversation takes over and that’s when the boy says:
“So, I’ve been hit in my balls four times in my life. Twice by a soccer ball, once by a baseball and once by my sister who did it on purpose! How many times have you guys been hit in your balls?”
I can’t say I was shocked because I’m used to his random-ass comments, but I was definitely not expecting that. So I reached down, flicked him in the head and said “dude, seriously? You really want to have a conversation about balls?”
And that’s when it hit me. That actually would be a pretty damn good conversation for three dudes to have while killing time. I mean, what guy doesn’t have a great story about getting hit in the balls? TV shows make millions by showing random nut shots. 37.8% of YouTube’s total content comprises of testicles getting dealt with in surprising fashion.
I didn’t realize it then, but I did later….my son is slowly developing the requirements to earn a man-card.
Then a shudder went down my spine as I realized what a huge responsibility it is to guide a young chap through developing those requirements.
I mean, he’s well on his way and Saturday was a perfect example. 1) he struck up a random conversation with two dudes by trying to tell funny stories about their balls, 2) he took a soccer ball to the face, bent over, sucked it up without running with tears for his mommy, 3) after finding out I was making spaghetti that night he asked, “you’re gonna put a bunch of meat in it right?”
But on the flip side, that same day, he 1) did a cartwheel, 2) played with a hula hoop for a while, and 3) watched a 30-minute My Little Pony cartoon with his sister.
It’s all about balance. The key is to teach the boy to do manly shit with dudes, and un-manly man-card revoking stuff when dudes aren’t around but ladies are. That’s still considered manly because then it just means you’re trying to get laid.
It’s when you reverse those two that you start to get into some real shit. For example:
Telling another dude his shirt looks nice. NO
Asking another dude if his mommy dressed him this morning. YES
Starting a conversation with another dude by placing your hand on his shoulder and saying, “hey guy, how’s it goin’?” NO
Starting a conversation with another dude by nodding and saying “what’s up shit-brick?” YES
Sitting at a bar with a bunch of dudes, watching the game and ordering a Malibu with Diet Coke. NO
Sitting at a bar with a bunch of dudes, watching the game and ordering a Newcastle and shot of Jack Daniels. YES
Wearing coordinated outfits with your wife at parties while holding her hand all night. NO
Walking by your wife in the living room and stopping to tell her she smells good. YES
It’s tricky business earning your man-card. It’s even more difficult to keep it. I’ve got a long road ahead of me.