Current/Recent Reading List

30 July 2008

How I Know I'm A Tough Guy

So, in what situation would I consider myself tougher, grittier, and more battle-tested than a stout, 27 year-old high school wrestling coach (and former state champion wrestler) who appears in excellent shape?

Why, when negotiating the world of women, naturally (Wyfe would totally agree, I'm confident). You see, this young fellow and I were the only two men in the Writing Project class this summer, surrounded and outnumbered by a ratio of 7-1. The women ranged in age from mid-20's to mid-60's, and they really were a fun group to work with. However, you know in a situation where over the course of three weeks everyone was asked to write and share childhood memories and personal narratives what was probably coming; you also know that when it's time to say goodbye and head off in different directions after bonding for three weeks that emotions will be outporing.

One activity we had to complete was to "spy" on someone over the course of the three weeks, careful not to reveal who they were, and then produce an appreciative piece of writing (I wrote a light-hearted sonnet, for instance) about them based on what we learned and observed. The last thing we did on Friday was share these and reveal who we were "spying" on. My man-creeps almost got the better of me when we were told to form ourselves into a "sharing circle" for the occasion, but I managed not to complain. Then the festivities began and, oh my, did the tears flow. After only the second presentation the lady sitting to my right spontaneously burst into sobs, and I actually wanted to turn and admonish her with a stern, "Oh, stop it!" Instead, I accepted my place in the universal order and fulfilled my given duty by sighing heavily, and then walking across the room and getting the Kleenex box for her. From then on I amused myself (and others) by being irascible tissue guy, walking the box around wherever it was needed. As for my poor young compadre, who is not married or dating seriously, he seemed shell-shocked, a wrestling coach out of water. Just follow my lead, kid - I'll see you through this.

I did suggest, for the sake of next year's two or three beleaguered male participants, that they at least relocate the "sharing circle" to a sports bar.


Steve Emery said...

Oh my. The "old juice" as Spencer Tracy called it in Adam's Rib. So difficult for guys - who after about age 9 can't use it much anymore, and hate causing it in the opposite sex. Sounds like a tough way to end.

I think parenting goes the furthest toward preparing a man to handle this... Too bad for that only other male participant - no significant other or kids...

School Master P said...

Yes, he made some comments earlier in the workshop about his former girlfriend, so sounds like he's had difficulties in relationships anyway (maybe his constant references to good old frat days doesn't help). Basically, he seemed a good guy, but now he may be really running scared .