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Happy Marriage 101: Don’t raise your voice, yell at your spouse

I was eating lunch with my wife a few days ago when she said that in hindsight she is thankful for a rule I established early on in our relationship. I told her many years ago that I would never raise my voice with her, but that I would expect the same treatment in return. I said I was willing to end the relationship if she could not abide by the rule.

This seems like a common sense condition, but it does not take long to realize that many people do not follow it — even in public. In fact, some people claim that yelling adds “passion” to a relationship. I would argue that screaming at a spouse and calling the ordeal an aphrodisiac is a form of denial; it is dysfunction masquerading as love.

When a person raises his or her voice in an argument, it is a sign of desperation. It indicates a loss of control. The couple immediately enters an emotional realm that is conducive to mental and physical violence, which is why it is exponentially embarrassing if the man is the one who raised his voice first.

Yelling at someone does not add legitimacy to an argument, but for some reason many individuals think increased decibel-levels magically perform such a function.

Raising your voice does denote anger, but a healthier way of conveying that feeling is to simply say, “I am angry.” If you say what you mean and mean what you say with your spouse on a regular basis, then that statement alone will be treated with the seriousness it deserves.

As was already mentioned, a man should never yell at his significant other. The vast majority of men are physically stronger than the women in their life, so ending a disagreement by introducing the specter of violence — even if the man has never physically harmed his wife — is  cowardly, wrong, and ipso facto detrimental to the long-term health of the relationship.

“Anybody can become angry,” Aristotle wrote. “That is easy. But to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not … easy.”

Anger is a natural feeling, and in general there is nothing wrong with feeling anger. The key is to channel that anger in healthy ways. If you struggle with this task, then I suggest checking out the book “Overcoming Sinful Anger,” by Rev. T.G. Morrow. It is a short book, but one filled with advice that will leave you happier and healthier if you take his words to heart.

RELATED: Ten tips for a stable relationship

‘Dad bods’ explained using ‘Bloodsport,’ Van Damme’s 1988 classic

Frank Dux Ray Jackson“Dad Bod” articles keep popping up all over the place, which apparently means that women are attracted to men with soft midsections. Due to the wide variety or responses these articles seem to be generating in mainstream newspapers, there is only one way to break it down so red-blooded American men everywhere can understand: I will draw from Jean Claude Van Damme’s 1988 classic, Bloodsport.

Bloodsport JCVDFirst we have the Frank Dux body. In 2015, anyone can be fat. Poor people in the United States are more likely to be fat than malnourished (note: Doritos and Ding Dongs are cheaper than guacamole). The chiseled male frame obviously telegraphs strength, but it also signals discipline, consistency, control, commitment and focus. The downside is that it can also be an indicator of vanity, narcissism, obsession and a variety of other negative traits.

Ray Jackson BloodsportNext we have Ray Jackson, the beer-swilling, Harley Davidson-loving tough guy who works hard and parties hard. He’s a small-time bad boy with a big heart. He’s tough. He’s manly. He’s rebellious and loyal — but he doesn’t count calories. In short, he’s a good time and a man you want around in bad situations. His negative qualities are that his carelessness and sloppiness can inadvertently get himself or others hurt.

Bloodsport Forest Whitaker At some point we come to the bodies of by men like Norman Burton and Forest Whitaker, who play the soft-bodied government officials sent to bring home Frank. Their “dad bods” are definitely not like Ray Jackson’s, although they still probably are what writers from The Washington Post imagine when try to describe the physique to readers.

These men care more about their careers than whether or not any muscle definition is visible when they go to the beach. They’re not obese, but they probably would get winded if they chased a guy like Frank Dux around Hong Kong. For the woman who wants to raise a family, the Whitaker-body might say “I’m non-threatening” or “I bring home more money because I’m not spending it on protein supplements.”

The bottom line is that most young men would be perfectly fine imaging themselves as either Frank Dux or Ray Jackson; they would not easily opt to play “Helmer” or “Rawlins” as portrayed by Messrs. Burton and Whitaker. Women, however, could be attracted to any of them, depending on what they were looking for in a man — emphasis on “man.”

BloodsportFinally, we have the possibility that some women are just like Janice Kent (Leah Ayres), the reporter whose motivations are not quite what they seem. Just like the woman who wants to get close to the fighters — all so she could take down the tournament that means so much to them — some women are probably “attracted” to “dad bods” because then they become the more attractive one in any relationship.

Many insecure women wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with a man sporting a Frank Dux-type body, if for no other reason than to fight off the perception that they are the less attractive mate. Beauty often brings power, and one way to wield power over a man is to be his physical superior.

As you can see, dear reader, the “dad bod” debate offers armchair psychologists, sociologists, gym rats, and cultural critics hours of material. It can also be as deep or as shallow as we want it to be (feel free to go either direction in the comments section, as long as you keep it clean).

In full disclosure, I must admit that I really only used the topic as an excuse to once again talk about Bloodsport, because it should be required viewing for all American boys — along with Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rocky IV, Predator, Terminator 2, and The Dark Knight.

If you have read this far, then congratulations: You likely grew up in the 1980s and are a healthy American male specimen who still has testosterone pumping through his veins (or a really cool woman). I salute you. No matter what body type you have, I think the key to attracting a good woman is to exude manliness. For further reading, I suggest heading on over to (surprise): The Art of Manliness.

See you at next year’s kumite.

Doug

Elliott Hulse’s great advice for older men in the weight room: Stop trying to slay dragons that don’t exist

Smaug copy

I was talking to an old friend the other day and she asked if I was still doing “crazy weightlifting challenges.” The answer: No. Not really. The conversation got me thinking of just how much my mentality has changed over the years in regards to exercise, the goals I set for myself and how I treat my body. As I close in on 35, my approach to the weight room is not what it once was. For older men who plan on staying active I highly suggest checking out Elliott from the YouTube Strength Camp videos. He puts it perfectly: Stop trying to slay dragons that no longer exist.

From Elliott’s “The Truth about Muscle Building for Older Guys”:

When you’re young and you’re in full warrior mode and you’ve got that sword in your hand and you’re slaying dragons — as you should be — look, if you haven’t slayed your dragons at this point, you’re 40 years old and you haven’t slain the right dragons yet, you’re going to live your life in a constant state of sympathetic overload, stressed out trying to slay dragons that don’t exist.

The only dragons left are the dragons inside us at that point. … What are you going to do? What do you have to prove anymore? There comes a point where if you haven’t proved yourself to yourself — because that’s all that really matters — (young guys, write that one down) the only one you have to prove yourself to is yourself. But I get it. You have to prove yourself to daddy and the world. Okay. I did it. I understand. But you need to get to a point where you’re done proving yourself.

You [need to get to a point where you] can just relax and breath. Just take your time. Enjoy life. You’ve got to become a lot more Yin in your behaviors and attitudes. That place of low stress, high integrity about of the choices you make about your nutrition and the rest that you give your body will … preserve the foundation of vitality that was there when you were young … that allows you to do that you to do a select amount of physical activity that you deem important to you and your self development.

Don’t do things you feel you “have to” do. You don’t have to gain 50 pounds of muscle when you’re 40. Again, you have nothing to prove. And if you still have something to prove at that point then you’ve got deeper issues than building muscle. Engage in things that you enjoy that will support your health.

Yo Elliott

Boom. Amazing advice. And it doesn’t just apply to the weight room. Living and working in the nation’s capital, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met over the years who are searching for dragons that no longer exist. They drive themselves crazy trying to prove themselves to their mom, their dad, their brothers and sisters, fellow industry professionals and God knows who else when the only one you ever need to prove yourself to is you.

Elliott continues:

“What kind of story are you telling yourself? [T]he most resourceful stories that I tell myself and that I see in the older men that I train tell themselves is: ‘I’m not necessarily getting older and that means I lack vitality. What’s happening is that I’m becoming more sensitive and my body requires requires that much more attention to detail.’ This is what begins happening: When you’re young you can beat the fuck out of yourself. You can eat whatever you want to eat. You can be nasty. You can stay up all night … [When you’re older] you have to make better choices. You can’t eat double-cheeseburgers dipped in gravy after you’re hungover and play football the next day. …

… Structural integrity means more to me than squatting 1,000 pounds. … Structural integrity should be a word that you brand into your brain. … Consider what that means. Consider what it means when [I say] ‘instantaneous access of rotation of all joints.” That basically means that you’ve got balance throughout all of your joints, namely those around your hips and shoulders. You’ve got to stretch.

Forced to pick between brute strength and flexibility, I’d pick flexibility every time.

Look at your friends and family and loved ones who allow themselves to go into a state of disrepair well before it has to be that way. When you lose the ability to squat down and pick up those keys that fell off the dresser … when your can no longer reach that high shelf to grab a good book … when you can no longer bend and twist with those sheers to trim the bushes on a perfect summer afternoon, you lose independence. As humans, we are addicted to freedom and when we lose it — when we really begin to lose it — our spirit starts to yearn for greener pastures.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Elliott when I first ran across his videos, but over time he’s grown on me. He’s got a wealth of information at his disposal and he dispenses it to anyone who wants to listen — for free. He’s always positive and he gives it to his audience straight. If you want to build a better you, Elliott’s videos are worth your time.

London Fashion Week: Wouldn’t it be great if men dressed like women?

London Fashion Man Woman

Last Fall the editors of the Wall Street Journal Fall Fashion issue wanted you to know that androgynous was the new black. This winter, the designers at the London Fashion Week ask: Why can’t men be women?

The New York Times reports:

LONDON — Noble, strong, a proud label with a feminist stance — the powerful J.W. Anderson show on Tuesday ignited the London Collections: Men and rekindled the masculine-feminine debate in 21st-century fashion.

“It was a mix of awkwardness and fragility, the idea of broken aristocracy, as if people in a call center had a lightning bolt go through them,” Jonathan Anderson said backstage about a show in which the models balanced on platform soles and swung bucket handbags. …

The star of the trio was Craig Green, who had moved on from his conceptual body pieces to make some beautiful clothes, especially long coats sweeping over even longer skirts, both in complex combinations of color and pattern. The result was poetic and intriguing, with a shadow of the East and the ethnic. It was as if this intelligent designer was asking why, if other cultures can present males in skirts and robes, shouldn’t they be absorbed into Western culture?

Translation: Why can’t men just be more like Mike Meyers’ classic SNL character Dieter, from “Sprockets” (“Now is the time on ‘Sprockets’ when we dance!”)?

Alternate translation: Why can’t men walk around in giant outfits that are reminiscent of the time Lady Gaga showed up to the 2011 Grammy’s in a giant egg?

London Fashion Egg Man

The same people who want women to be androgynous and men to be women are also the same ones who want men to wear “mantyhose.”

As I said in March, 2011:

Speaking as a fan of David Bowie, Scott Weiland, and Michael Stipe—amazing entertainers with a history of gender-bending—I can’t help but hang my head in shame at the emasculated mess we’ve become. There is an interesting divide taking place: On the one hand there are men who seek to emulate Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle; on the other we have the Ted Danson fan club, complete with leg crossing and murmurs of angst when there’s a disagreement. On one hand you have men who can’t wait for The Expendables or The Dark Knight Rises to hit the theaters; on the other is the guy who probably asks his buddies to see The Lorax with him on opening night.

Lone Survivor,’ the big screen adaptation of former Navy SEAL Marcus Lutrell’s harrowing fight for his life in Afghanistan, will be released on January 10th. I’ll be there and review it before the weekend is out. If you want to know the answer to designer Craig Green’s question (i.e., Why can’t Western men wear skirts and robes?) I suggest paying for the price of admission during its theatrical release.

All balding men should pledge allegiance to Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis is a man who knows how to own his hair loss. Be like Bruce Willis, my dihydrotestosterone producing friends.

All good things must come to an end … like my hair. And so, since I am a conservative blogger I have no choice but to accept personal responsibility for my male pattern baldness. As much as I would like to blame my father, my grandfather, “the rich,” and a cruel, uncaring capitalistic system that surreptitiously gives men like me androgenic alopecia, I will do no such thing.

I first noticed my hair thinning up front. Soon, it wasn’t long before my crown began to crack under the pressure that baldness, the bastard, applies. The question became: Do I fight a slow war of attrition with my hair loss (one I was destined to lose), or would I employ a scorched-scalp strategy, whereas I could guarantee victory by embracing the landscape of a shaved head?

This is Bruce Willis thinking, “I’m incredibly awesome, even though I’m incredibly bald.”

As a former soldier, the choice was simple: I would go back to the future, buy some shears, and see to it that my inner Bruce Willis was given his time to shine. The key to baldness is to revel in it and say to those stubborn genes, “You will not shake my confidence.” People can easily tell the difference between a man who sulks over finicky follicles that turned off too early, as if he was Samson done in by Delilah, and a man who likes what he sees and is empowered by it.

There are many men who pull off a shaved or bald head. Terry Crews, Dwayne “The Rock”Johnson, and Jason Statham are just a few. But to me, no one knows how to make it work better than Bruce Willis. The dude is the textbook case for cool. As so, as a newly-minted member of the Balding Men Club, I hereby announce my commitment to always strive for The Willis Ideal.

12 Monkeys is required viewing, Willis 101, for anyone who seeks to emulate Bruce’s mastery of baldness.