Friday, July 5, 2013
About 'All but one'...
I had an answer for Lonely Himalayan Bear that I was going to post up today.
And then someone else pitched up and blew my mind :-)
Ezriel says something that I have heard before. But not quite like this :-)
Ezriel is a MGHOW and a storyteller. And I like this story he tells:
"The others will not come back.
Women only want heroes on their parade.
The women rejoice at their returning heroes. A great celebration is held for the new members of the village. They feel the love, admiration and respect of everyone around them.
All but one.
Quietly a father searches the perimeter for his son. “He’ll make it”, he says to himself. But as the hours pass, he is forced to return home and comfort his mate over what is increasingly obvious even if he won’t admit it to himself. His mate is sad, but resolute. “It had to be done”, she remarks. “Only the strong have the right to survive.” As the night falls and his mate drifts off to sleep the father cries for his son.
When the morning comes, the father’s mate rolls over and finds a cold, empty bed. Sure that he is hunting she busies herself with her daily tasks. As the day goes by, more and more of the hunters return to smiling families, marveling at bounty they provide. A niggling doubt creeps into her thoughts, her mate has yet to return and night has fallen. She asks the other hunters if they had seen her mate to no avail. No one has seen him since the celebration.
Deep in the jungle, a father hunts not for food but for his son. He uses every trick his father taught him but it fails him. No blood, no body, no trace whatsoever. Sure that his son survived after all he rushes to the village expecting to find his smiling son, now a man!
Nothing but emptiness greets him. He knew then that it will never be the same.
Time passes: days become months, months become years but the father never forgot. Couldn’t, no matter how hard he tried. Everyone’s life continued as nothing has happened. Sick of it all, he drifts off to the jungle never to be heard of again.
Even without one of their hunters, the village prospered and grew. Their time honored tradition has served them well. The strong live, the weak are culled. The women prepare for that night’s celebration and as the boys, now men, return. The celebration is held and the men can feel the love, admiration and respect of everyone around them.
All but one…
I hope you don’t mind Spacetraveller, I took your narrative and made one of my own. It’s shorter than I wanted it to be but I’ve a limited space. I apologize in advance as English is not my primary language. What I’m trying to illustrate here is that, at least for me, the system becomes unsustainable. It works for a while but it will implode at some point. More and more men are drifting away from the village, if they make it back to begin with.
I turned 30 last month and it has turned my sight inward. I look back at the roads I’ve traveled; that my father traveled and his father before him. The beaten path is familiar to me, but no longer fulfilling. Somewhere along the line, something fell off and broke. Whatever it was, I couldn’t fix it. I had to make something new to replace it with but that something, that elusive thing, is now tugging at me towards a new path. One away from what is expected of me. But I don’t see it as a loss, more and more I see what awaits me at the end. It is not without its peril, to walk this path I must discard everything that has led me this far and remake myself anew. But what awaits me at the end is more precious than diamonds, more beautiful than your child’s first word, sweeter than a woman’s first kiss.
What awaits me at the end is freedom, and I like it."
Ezriel's story is easily recognisable to any man, I am sure.
I know this is every man's story.
I also know that many modern women do not know this story.
I know this story because I was fortunate enough to find it 'by accident'.
I post all of Ezriel's comment here in the hope that women will find it and read it. Again and again.
All but one.
If I didn't know this before, I can categorically say this now:
As a woman, I have never feared being that 'one'.
The one who never comes back.
The one who is 'missing in action'.
The one who is 'lost at sea'.
The one who is just 'lost'.
The one who is no more.
This is not a woman's reality. It just isn't.
Sure, there are women who are truly heroic, but this characteristic is not intrinsic to womanhood. If it happens to a woman, it does add extra depth to her character, to her fortitude and to her sense of self, yes.
But it is not what makes her a woman.
The 'All but one' phenomenon is unique to men, as well you know, Ezriel.
So I cannot pretend to know all about it. But what I can say about it is what it looks like from the other side of the fence. Which is all I can offer on this subject. And I hope it is of some value to you.
Yes, women want heroes. I agree, Ezriel.
It is an essential part of our make-up.
And what's more, we cannot lose this aspect of our wiring.
Because the minute we do, we are no longer women.
You already know the score: nothing new here.
You don't want the 'Strong and Independent' types who don't need men.
So we agree that men actually want women who want men. And to an individal woman, that man has to be something more than a man, to be special. He has to be somewhere between a man and a god. (No exaggeration :-)
And what's more, you do want to be a hero - not necessarily for a woman, but for yourself.
We women do not need to be heroes. Of course we can be, if the situation calls for it. But no-one expects it of us. So we don't seek to be anyone's hero.
But you, you need to be. Because your sense of manhood depends on this. In an outcome-independent kind of way.
But hey, you wouldn't complain if erm, you get some 'perks' along the way :-)
Unfortunately, not everyone can be a hero.
Indeed in chasing 'herodom' as you are wired to do - and society eggs you on to do it if your own Nature doesn't - you run the risk of losing life or limb, yes.
This is not woman's fault. But woman is designed to take advantage of this need of yours.
So if you come back from your sojourn, life and limb intact, you should be a hero to some woman, somewhere.
If you don't come back, you are the 'All but one'.
It is sad, and I lament this fact of life.
Which is why I think women should be more aware of the natural plight of men and not add to their troubles with unpleasantness, deceit, divorce rape and cuckoldry.
But no-one can help the 'All but one' phenomenon. Not men (who must compete fair and square to avoid being the 'one' and certainly not women who must definitely not meddle in the business of man-ness :-)
So I receive your heartfelt lament in the spirit of shared friendship ("good on you for revealing your inner pain - I sympathise with you, my friend") as opposed to a wistful attempt to circumnavigate an essential pillar of male upbringing.
There must be a reason why all successful societies put their young males through brutal rigorous rituals such as that which you describe.
Once again, it is not women's fault that these harsh sojourns of mind and body are in place for young men like you.
But I agree that at some point, you ought to be rewarded for not being the 'one who didn't come back'.
That is what is missing in today's world for the men who did 'make it back'.
They are not getting any sort of recompense for their fear, their pain, their sweat, their toil.
In fact, very often they are punished for coming back!
This is wrong. This is unfair. This will and is coming back to haunt womanhood...
In my view, before you are 'tested', you shouldn't be asking any woman, 'Will you cry if I don't come back?'
The answer will be 'no'. You already know that.
But once you are back, you shouldn't have to ask too many women if they will watch your back until the day you die.
The answer to that rhetorical question should be 'yes'.
In fact, it should be a given that you are shown the basic respect and possible affection reserved for someone who is 'back'.
But this part is missing in today's SMP.
I understand that...
Thank you for your story.
But I think your lament should be less about your fears about someone not coming back, and more about what should be your rightful bounty for actually coming back.
Which you do. Over and over again. Day in day out.
In your mind at least, you are a hero. Which means you made it back.
To your close family and friends, you are a hero too, perhaps.
But not so much to the wider society.
And yet, the wider society expects much of you.
This is where I see a disconnect.
And this is where I rejoice with you that you see freedom somewhere in this awful mix.
And I admire you for this, because I find it very difficult to see anything good in this sort of situation, as it currently stands for men.
But in all honesty, Ezriel, I cannot do anything for the man who didn't make it back.
But I think society can definitely do more for those who did.
That is where I focus my energies.
That is what this whole blog is about.
And now I feel compelled to ask you men:
What do you make of the man who didn't come back?
Do you share Ezriel's compassion for him?
Do you have the loyalty of Snoopy?
Or do you see him as a fallen rival, and therefore 'good riddance'?
Or do you, like socety in general, feel that his Worth is in his making it back?
Is this locker-room stuff that I should keep away from?
I shall understand if the answer to this not-so-rhetorical question is a firm 'yes'.