By Shaun Aquiline
EZ Rock Revelstoke 106.1 FM
Do I need to be able to bench 300 to be a man? Do I need to be able to re-wire the electrical without real training? Do I need to know how to build a shed from scratch? Do I need to keep my emotions and feeling buried away because men don’t cry? I remember the first time I saw my Father cry. It was mind blowing. How could this super hero cry? I didn’t know it was possible! It was also one of the memories I remember the most because it was about me that he cried. It was a pretty powerful way to learn just how deeply your parent loves you.
I don’t bench 300 – and never will. I can’t rewire anything let alone an extremely dangerous task-if executed poorly, I couldn’t build a shed or frame a house if my life depended on it, I went to broadcasting school because I can express myself emotionally and wanted to find a way to make money at it. When that little boy steps into the bee-hive in the movie My Girl — and doesn’t make it — you’re damn right I get a little misty. Does that mean I am not a man? Perhaps. Perhaps, not.
What does it mean when you hear someone say, “Be a man!” What does that mean? A term used in nonchalant conversations about being strong, getting over it and not allowing emotion into the mix? Where did this come from and when did the tides turn?
What is it to be a man? Each generation will have a different opinion on that. Perhaps being a man was to be the bread winner, to hold yourself with pride, to be stoic and strong by controlling your emotions. Perhaps being a man is to be tough, strong arms and an ability to physically overcome obstacles because of sheer brawn. Perhaps it is the ability to work hard labor, to build something with your bare hands and to be able to dabble on a variety of worlds; mechanics, carpentry, welding/sheet metal, electrical etc. This is what I was under the impression of what a “Man” is. Perhaps this is right, perhaps it’s wrong.
What does it mean to me to be a man today? Well, I can honestly say that because I am not skilled at any trades, I spent my time focused on the Arts & Broadcast that I always felt that I was not quite up to par when it comes to the term ‘Man’s Man.’ No one in my family ever told me that — in fact, they were all incredibly supportive with my life decisions. So why did I think that way? So does that mean I am not? Perhaps to some.
What does it mean to be a man in 2017?
Perhaps it has changed. Maybe whether you have children or not makes a difference in what it means to be a man. To me, a man is a father, who shows his wife kindness and love in front of his son so he sees how to treat his future partner, and shows that same love and kindness in front of his daughter so she knows how to be treated.
Maybe it’s being super buff, amazing at every sport, master craftsman and can wrestle a mountain lion with their bare hands.
Please activate the audio players below to listen to Shaun’s very interesting, two-part radio documentary: