Long Live the Male
I remember being a teenager and having a certain fondness for the Marlboro Man. I never did figure out whether it was the same guy in every picture ad, or different guys with the same moustache and hat, but I didn't care. To me, he — or they — looked kind of rugged and handsome in those boots, and in that dusty Wyoming setting, and all.
Mr. MM and his particular look are no longer of interest to big-bucks advertisers. Not only is Mr. MM politically incorrect in the era of the smoking Nazis, but to much of the current crop of women, he is too much man. And since he ain't of the right looks, being too much man and all, that means he ain't going to sell products in today's market. But the "looks" that do sell nowadays are downright nauseous, at times.
Pick up any "high-and-fancy" magazine, or even more run-of-the-mill stuff like Spin and Rolling Stone magazines, and take a gander at all the fruitballs whose bodies and face we are supposed to admire. Ever notice how the guys in those Generation-X rags — who, by the way, are there to sell us on looks and style — all are akin to homeless heroin addicts awaiting a sex change?
Typically, in clothes, cologne, or other miscellaneous ads, there'll be some skinny beanpole with a 70's reject hairdo and a sloppy demeanor, looking like you don't know whether he's a guy or a gal. Sometimes, my only giveaway that it's a guy is that the advertised item in question is a cologne called Brutus — For Him instead of something called Lavender Girl. That kinda hints that she, um, I mean he, is a guy. Why any company would want a guy who looks like a cross between Twiggy and Anne Heche to sell its Brutus cologne is beyond me. Now any Calvin Klein advertisement leaves things entirely open to interpretation, and my interpretation is that I don't know what the heck sex any of them things are.
Androgyny. That's sort of like a hermaphrodite thing going on. You know, part guy, part gal, only without the "parts" problem. That's supposed to be beautiful to me the consumer? Yea right, and I like men who want to be sent flowers and candies, too! By the way, any guy who wants to be sent flowers and candies better not come knocking on my door, because nobody ever sent the Marlboro Man any flowers or candies.
Haven't you ever noticed the current crop of "sexy" guys as termed by today's dingbat Generation-X'ers and media molders? Faggy-looking (ok, it's an Un-PC word, but I like to use it) guys like Matthew Perry, Matthew LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, and gawd — Leonardo DiCaprio?! — have made the Hollywood sexy guy lists.
None of these guys is even remotely manly to me. (Leonardo DiCaprio?!) They all reek of some strange sort of characteristics, like they all have gotten way too in touch with their feminine side. Leonardo DiCaprio was about as miscast in the Titanic opposite Kate Winslow as Sean Connery would be miscast playing a transvestite florist chasing after Mel Gibson. But the thing is, many gals nowadays like a guy who reeks of certain sensitivities, and who matches their ideal of a man who can live ‘neath their fiery thumb.
I can't understand the infatuation women have with gay guys either, except that gay guys are astute enough to notice a woman's good hair days, and like to talk about wallpaper styles, CorningWare, and table doilies.
Now George Clooney reminds me of the Marlboro Man: silvery hair, the unkempt yet hunky look, deep voice, and stoic demeanor. Harvey Keitel is another guy who could put on Mr. MM's boots and hat, and look good being all dusty and tired after rounding up Wyoming cattle. Tom Selleck is still "in" for us real ladies. And Sean Connery, I bet, doesn't get flowers from sensitivity-loving ladies.
Another thing women like to do in these times is keep men home taking care of little Johnny while they go out and work. Now a man needs his ego, and therefore, his work external to the home, in order to flourish as an individual and a leader. Men are built to provide, to take charge, to make decisions, and all that stuff is necessary for a little healthy ego and long-term happiness.
If you think I'm making game of stay-at-home-daddies, I am. Show me a man who looks good pregnant, and I'll show you a man who should stay home and change diapers, order from the Lillian Vernon catalog, and load the dishwasher. I can't imagine coming home from work and having my man all stressed out over the fact that he burned the gravy for the beef stroganoff because he was too busy cryin' over the fact that some lady on Oprah had a right boob sagging after her silicone sack exploded. Any man who watches Oprah — and heck, you do see them in the audience! -- should be given testosterone booster shakes for breakfast.
But of course, that's just my opinion, you know, that men need to be manly, and women need to let them be manly, and that means taking on some serious anti-wimpification measures.
I watched Dateline not too long ago, and listened to someone interview that Laura Doyle gal, the one who runs the "Surrendered Women" groups. Surrendering sounds kind of submissive, I know, but all she is saying is to stop nagging your man, criticizing him, and challenging him. Those actions are a start to anti-wimpification, aren't they?
The Dateline people placed cameras in the homes of a few participating couples, and one could see how the women nagged and nagged at their men. This hardly builds a long-term life together, nor does it promote romance, nor does it make a guy feel like the Marlboro Man.
In fact, a smart lady would rather have her man smoking cigars in front of the pay-per-view heavyweight championship rather than vacuuming the dog hairs underneath the bed. I just can't understand a woman wanting to wimpify her man.
Reminds me of that little internet joke that went around at one time. The man's remote control had two huge red buttons on it: one that said SEX, and one that said FOOD. Very funny, but probably more realistic than one wants to admit. I don't remember what the ladies remote control looked like, but I definitely want mine to have an extra big button that says, "Stop at Bath & Body Works" and one that says, "Stop at Victoria's Secret on the Way Home From Bath & Body Works." That's not too much to ask, is it?
All I'm saying, is let him have his remote control buttons, and let us ladies have ours, for the strong American male may become extinct if we don't.
January 26, 2001
Karen De Coster is a politically incorrect CPA, and an MA student in economics at Walsh College in Michigan.
Copyright © 2001 Karen De Coster