Tag Archives: manhood

The Rest of My N.U.T.s

Last night I opened what I consider to be one my great guilty pleasures in life, a bag of Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds. If you’ve never had a Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almond, you are missing out my friend. In fact, they are so tasty that they were the one food I chose to bring with me to the hospital for the birth of my daughter. I’d heard horror stories of wives laboring for 12, 15, or 20 hours with very little time between contractions for their poor husbands to leave the room to replenish their empty man stomachs. Although I now admit that I was probably a bit overly concerned about the struggle against hunger that I might face if my wife’s labor left me unable to leave her side for 12-20 hours, I will say that my snack food of choice (if it had been the only thing available to sustain and nourish me) would not have let me down. Those little bite-sized bits of delicious salty almond goodness came through for me in a big way last September.

Understandably, when I think about A) how delicious those almonds are to begin with and B) how I now associate them with one of the most joyful and meaningful experiences of my life, it’s no wonder I harbor such a strong affinity to them these days. The problem is that once I start going on those bad boys, I find my own personal willpower and restraint begins to wane. Continue reading The Rest of My N.U.T.s

What ever happened to masculine rites of passage?

The Lion Hunt Masai Warrior by David Russell

Though rites of passage have been around since the dawning of time, as a general theory of socialization the concept (and the term) was first formally coined by the French social scientist and anthropologist Arnold van Gennep.

In his book Les rites de passage, Arny (as I’ve taken the liberty to call him) used the phrase to denote rituals marking the transitional phase between childhood and full inclusion into a tribe or social group. Having not read the book myself, I will have to rely on my trusty internet information steed, Continue reading What ever happened to masculine rites of passage?

In Defense of the Pocket Knife

The following is a guest post from David Roberts, who is one of the best high school English Teachers in the land by day and a defender of all things awesomely manly by night. He also happens to be my brother-in-law. The next three Wednesdays will feature posts by him as I am take a few weeks off off blogging to tackle a few other written pursuits. Enjoy!



I won’t claim that real men carry pocket knives. What I mean is, pocket knives are neither exclusive to Real Men nor a requirement for Real Manhood.
However, if you carry one, have carried one, have thought about carrying one, or don’t know what a pocket knife is, please read on.

The giants of my childhood carried a knife in their pocket or on their belt: grandpa, dad, step-dad, uncles, Rambo. In my mind, the correlation was clear: men carried knives.

I saw my grandpa skin raccoons, open envelopes, cut rope, dig out splinters, clean fingernails, all with the same pocket knife. I suppose that’s the root of why pocket knives, seemingly a vestige of some older time when dudes needed to carry sharp objects to protect themselves, have continued to be popular: so many situations render them necessary. Have you ever needed to cut fishing line, slice open a package (particularly those 100-ply-polymer-blend-government-grade plastic packages that kids’ toys seem to come in), pry a flat object from an even flatter place? In such situations, the inevitable query is, “Anybody got a pocket knife?”

I’ll tell you what: it feels good to be able to say, “Yeah, here’s mine.”

Many of the accouterments of manhood seem a bit like our appendix: nice to have, but not essential for existence. A pocket knife, on the other hand, has so much utility.

So whether you carry Buck or Case, Swiss Army or Ka-Bar, Gerber or Browning, know that you stand in solidarity with me and many others. Carry on.

What are your N.U.T.s?

A lot of the blogs I read have written recently about the need for men to have a firm grasp on their non-negotiable, unalterable terms or as Wayne Levine (the man who coined the term) calls them, our N.U.T.s.

To quote Levine:

To be the man, father, husband or leader you want to be, you must develop and maintain a firm grasp of your N.U.T.s

N.U.T.s – non-negotiable, unalterable terms—are the things that define you as a man. They’re what a man is committed to. And when these N.U.T.s are compromised, men become angry, unhappy, frustrated, depressed. They would rather blame others than take responsibility for their own actions. They’ll play the victim as they take out their negative feelings on those they love. They’re also the guys who will try to drown their sorrows in alcohol, drugs, porn, and a slew of other equally destructive behaviors.

I’ve borrowed a list of a few examples of N.U.T.s from Levine’s website and have listed them below:

* I am faithful to my wife.
* Compassion for my family trumps my need to be right.
* I am a risk taker.
* I do what I believe is in the best interest of my children, even if they disagree.
* I do not ask for permission.
* I do not indulge my addictions.
* I take my problems to men, not to women.
* I do whatever it takes to keep my family in our home.
* I honor my daily spiritual practice.
* I do not sell out who I am to please others.

Although I suspect I have an unspoken list of N.U.T.s, I don’t think I’ve ever actually voiced many of them to myself or anyone else. In the coming weeks, I’m going to spend some time thinking about my non-negotiable unalterable terms and will be posting them here on the RDC as a permanent reminder to myself of those things that I will hold to no matter what. Some of mine will be fairly similar to the ones above and some will be quite different. Either way, I’m looking forward to the process of considering, defining, and listing my own N.U.T.s.

What are your N.U.T.s?

Real Men and Fear

I’m afraid…

I’m afraid my daughter might grow up not realizing how much I treasure her. I’m afraid my wife might not know how much I really love her. I’m afraid I will get to the end of my life and realize that I’ve wasted many of my days chasing things that don’t matter. I’m afraid of insignificance. I’m afraid of not being awesome at everything I attempt. I’m afraid of people who would do me and my family harm with no concern whatsoever to the consequence of their actions. I’m afraid of the consequences of some of my actions. I’m afraid of getting passed over and left behind. I’m afraid my life doesn’t matter and my contributions aren’t significant. I’m afraid of getting cancer and dying before I’ve lived the life I always imagined for myself. I’m afraid of knives and guns. I’m afraid of not being liked. I’m afraid of snakes and poisonous spiders and velociraptors… yeah I went there. You would too if you happened to be a child the first time you saw Jurassic Park… those terrible bird-like buggers are some nasty creatures.

I’m afraid of all those things and more, but I don’t let fear paralyze me.

A real man knows that he’ll always have fear. No matter what he does or who he is, there will always be some things that cause him fear. And he’s OK with that because a real man knows how to experience his fear.

He doesn’t shy away from fear. In fact, he doesn’t even try to resist it. He wants to experience the feeling of his fear fully. He acknowledges the presence of fear and seeks to understand its cause. He knows that fear, much like happiness or anger or any other fleeting emotion is just that… a fleeting emotion.

A real man stares fear right in the face, tries to understand it for what it truly is, and then he acts. Continue reading Real Men and Fear