When you were a boy, you couldn’t wait to grow up. To you, it looked like men were the most important people in the world. You saw the pending strength and freedom that awaited you and salivated with giddy impatience.
You might have been told to enjoy your boyhood, but what did they know? They got to drive cars and spend money and stay up late and make their own rules. Those adults knew nothing of the misery and despair that we were shackled to in childhood. A funny thing happened on the way to manhood, though. We began to noticed that it probably isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. But it was too late by then. Before you knew it, boyhood had all but vanished, and left you, a man, to fend for himself and learn the rules of this cold game called Life.
Take a look at the five disappointments of manhood that we weren’t expecting below and see if any of them sound familiar.
Remember watching your dad or stepdad or grandfather or legal guardian shave when you were a kid? Unless they used Magic Shave — a thick shaving solution older Black men use that’s basically a toxic cloud of eye-gouging funk that attacks the nose and throat of any child within a 12 foot radius — of course you do. I can also almost guarantee with Steph Curry-like accuracy that you even said “I can’t wait until I can shave,” out loud at some point, to no one in particular. Your dad or uncle probably heard you and chuckled and tried to warn you about wishing for things, as he wiped lacerated whisker limbs from inside the toothpaste-sprinkled wash basin. Now, as a man who has to shave no less than 3 times a week, you realize the pain in the ass that shaving is. That cool beard he bopped around with was likely as itchy as a turtleneck for the face.
As much as you’d like to say “Fuck all this,” you can’t. You’re a man and this is your fate. Think of shaving as the equivalent to a women’s menstrual cycle, in terms of inconvenience. We even bleed a little when we cut ourselves. Wait. Never mind.
Being a father/husband
As a kid, you think becoming a father/husband means that you’re elevated to a higher plateau of manhood. As a boy, even a teenaged one, you see the world moving aside for your dad or uncle or guardian when he’s out in it. People respect him, and it felt good to know that — one day — the world will respect you, too. Because you’ll be a man. And to a kid, men demand and receive respect. That’s the beauty of blissful ignorance. Little did you know that the world is a cold, callous, emotionless wasteland of broken dreams and traphouse promises, waiting to ignore you until it finally decides to turn around and devour your soul. You’ll be lucky if you arrive at old age with all your integrity and organs intact.
Men may be the strongest of the species, but trust and believe we are last to be considered on the totem pole of humanity. All we saw were handshakes and friendly exchanges from our adolescent vantage points. Now, unfortunately, we know it’s all part of a bigger, more sinister plan of moving furniture and killing spiders until we accrue enough work hours to finally retire from work, only to have a mild stroke the next day and be forgotten within the decade.
Damn shame, right?
I don’t know anyone whose parents didn’t annoy the snot out of them when they were kids. Self included. Every time I made a sandwich too slow or farted too loud, my parents were like police dogs, sniffing me for vitals and searching for evidence of the crime that assuredly took place. They governed my auxiliary activities through a healthy mix of fear and my dad’s work belt, and a couple of times, nay, on hundreds of occasions, they violated my personal space and made me feel like a second class citizen.
Man, how times have changed.
What I wouldnt give to know that someone aside from the family I made had my back to such a degree. That unconditional love that you didn’t understand doesn’t exist in real life. Smothering and hovering gave me a sense of comfort and relief. Comfort and relief rarely exist in a man’s world. And when you are granted the God-given luxury of having them, it’s usually only for a few fleeting moments.
I love my wife. I believe she’s a pretty good catch. The fact that we’ve been married almost 15 years speaks to how I truly feel about her. Because if you know me, you know I’m not about wasting time, it’s too precious. I’d leave if I didn’t want to be here, regardless of how much I’d be emotionally, spiritually, and emotion inept to handle the outside world. But lo and behold, I’ve grown accustomed to this lifestyle. It’s like Stockholm Syndrome but willingly.
Ironically, it’s not what I signed up for at all. I joined this gang with thoughts of free maid services and unlimited access to sex whenever I desired for life. That’s what the illustration on the packaging advertised. Not only is that not what I received, but I got some kids and a truckload of extra responsibility, too. The fuck?
Taxes, insurance, budgets, none of this was mentioned as promises of endless ‘tang and nonstop sandwiches wafted ‘neath my nose.
I started working when I was 18 because I needed money for weed and video games, but here I am, 20 years later, using my money to try and make a life for my family. Inhabe nonidea when all tjis occured. I remember going home afterschool back when, kicking off my, um, kicks, grabbing a bowl of Fruity Peebles, and freely enjoying the lush lavishness of having everything that I needed in arm’s distance. Only when I started footing the bills(s) did I truly understand the magnitude of being “the man of the house.”
I miss cartoons.
Death around the corner
It feels like the older I get, the more I have life figured out. That’s probably why old men are so indifferent and morose. And I’ve figured enough out to see that once you finally get the hang of life as a man, it’s just about time to kick the bucket. What a gyp.
Have a great day!