Archive for June, 2014

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Final Post of Men on the Moon

30 June 2014

If my grandfather were still alive today, he would have turned 100 this month. Raymond Hitchcock made it to 88, having lived a generous, courageous life. There were the remarkable occupational elements of his career: he exercised considerable skill in farming, automobile repair, business management, and real estate. He did everything with great determination. He was and is an icon of manly strength to me. All importantly, Raymond was known for his kindness. He showed tenderness to his family, friends, and neighbors. He demonstrated sacrificial integrity. He told great stories. He was famous as the designated hugger at his local Methodist church.

I mention Raymond Hitchcock as I close shop on this long-standing blog. It was started six years ago as a way to explore aspects of masculinity in the modern world. So often manliness is understood as a kind of oppressive imperative, some kind of social conduct which burdens men with high, even unrealistic, expectations. This blog has tried to show that masculinity can affirm many of the great traditions for men without demanding of them exact codes of conduct and being. Men can walk on the moon.

I close this season of my e-life with gratitude for the men in my life who instilled in me a solid core. My father, my pastors, friends like Mark and Travis and the guys from the Round Table and MKP. Men like Raymond Hitchcock. They affirmed that men can strive to be true men – from a starting point of real manhood. My grandfather had a center, and from that center he lived joyfully.

I wish the same for you, friends and strangers. May you be free men.

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Arriving at Cures for Man-parts the Hard Way

24 June 2014

Once a year my wife lets me shave a mustache. I use the word “lets” very loosely. She chooses not to change the locks to our house on the one day a year I shave the caterpillar of doom. The truth cannot be denied: it is a nasty feature on my face. Even so, once a year I elect to desecrate myself and risk my marriage.

In the past my mustache day has corresponded with pheasant hunting season. This year I may use up my prickly grace for a good cause: the Mustache Dache in Sioux Falls. On July 12, 2014 hundreds of men, women, and children (some with real facial hair) will race five kilometers in an attempt to raise money for men’s health. According to the web site (http://mustachedache.com/), funds go to a battery of ailments facing men: testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health, etc.

There’s a certain logic to it all. Who wants to think about the prostate, that funky little piece of flesh controlling the tubes down in the nether-regions? No one. But each time a disturbing mustache flashes into view, people can say to themselves, “As much as I don’t want to consider it, there are man-parts in need of care. Especially in men.”