Like A Girl

I saw the Always #LikeAGirl commercial a few minutes ago that aired last night during the Super Bowl.

I was moved to tears.

There are a lot of things that I’ve said in my life and regretted later.
There are a lot of things I have done in my life and regretted later.

As a boy, there are things that are not taught.
There is no true boy growing up handbook.
My father was an amazing man. But I learned about life from my friends.
Growing up, I was apart of negative boy culture.
I personified negative boy culture.

The more mistakes I made as a boy, the more learning I had.
The more learning I experienced, the more knowledge I acquired.
The more knowledge I acquired, the better man I became.

But there are things that do not change.
Male culture is one of them.

The big secret about male culture is we say very offensive things to each other.
When men get together, men bust each others’ balls.
This is out of respect for one another.

“Stop acting like a girl.”
“You must have your balls in your wife’s purse, dude.”
“You’re being a whiny bitch, dude.”
“Hey man…take off that apron you borrowed from your girl, man.”
“Buck up, cinderella.”

We try to get under each others’ skin for the hell of it.
It’s a form of male bonding in a way.

I am not excusing this behavior, nor am I condemning it.
It is what it is.

Even as early than last night, i said,
“Dude. Your wife hits harder than you.”

What did I just say?
What did I mean by the vernacular in which I chose to use?
Did I say my long-time friend of 30-plus years is less than a man?
Could someone misinterpret my words to mean that his most awesome wife is more masculine, therefore downplaying her femininity and making her feel less than whom he truly is?

I have always wondered if the above comments were truly detrimental to my friends. But iI have never done anything to correct this behavior. Without excusing this behavior, this is male culture. This is what happens when men get together, drink beer, and crack on each other. This is the kind of bonding stuff that men do.

These are some things that are said between men. They may sting and they may be very inappropriate to those within earshot. But this is a side of male bonding that is very important to male culture.

I cannot explain it, nor can I offer a concise explanation on the larger philosophical significance of this.

It happens.

As men, maybe we should change the words in which we use.

Scrap this original blueprint and construct a better way of caring for one another.
Maybe it’s time to change what we say instead of how we say it.

What men think are benign, harmless male-bonding jokes are masked in damaging ignorance. I can’t imagine how devastated I would feel if my daughter came to me and expressed how hurt she felt if she overhead me say these things.

I had no idea until now how hurtful these comments could be toward women.
I had no idea that these things could be as bad or worse than telling a boy, “Be a man.”

Seeing this commercial made me take a very long look in the mirror.
And I do not like the man I see in the reflection.

I am sorry for saying these things.
I am not a perfect man.
But I can learn from my mistakes and change my behavior to be a better role model for boys growing up.
Maybe I can be a better role model for my daughter as well.

Please forgive me.
I am truly sorry.

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