Saturday, May 26, 2007


What characteristics make a boy into “A MAN !”? Most anthropologist and sociologists seem to agree that usually those characteristics are the same as those that make him attractive to women. Women are usually attracted to those features that make a man, a good provider, a good protector, a good mate. For example, world wide, women seem to prefer men taller than themselves. Taller men represent power and the ability to protect the smaller woman. Most of the other general “manly” traits (muscularity, aggressiveness, self confidence, etc) seem to match a similar general worldwide criterion.

So the “mystery is”, how did being able to drink large amounts of alcohol become a desirable trait for a “real” man. How does being a slobbering, almost incoherent, drunk make you a better provider? How does barely being able to stand, much less walk, make you a good protector? How does not being able to function sexually make you a better mate? As the loving son of an alcoholic, I can tell you it does not make you a better father. It took my father 54 years to commit alcoholic “suicide.” The world lost a good man and I got to watch him slowly kill himself.

Alcohol is a “legal” drug; but it is still a drug. Like most drugs, if it is not used properly it can damage or even kill you. My next door neighbor wakes up each morning to searing pain. There is a rock hardness near his diaphragm. To ease the pain he gets drunk, everyday. Judging from this and several other symptoms, my opinion is that he probably has cirrhosis of the liver. The alcohol destroys the cells of his liver and leaves hard nonfunctioning scar tissue. Every time he gets drunk, more of his liver will die. Within two years he will probably die, and his wife and children will be alone. She will have to go to work and the teenage boys will not have the father they need to help them become men.

I asked some young men why they sit around each night and drink tuba. The best they could come up with was, “We need some kind of recreation.” When I had the temerity to suggest they could do things less destructive like playing with their children, repair and clean their homes or try to improve their community they withdrew from the conversation. This is not just a Philippine problem. Drop by the Why Not tonight and you will find a host of foreigners pickling their livers, committing slow suicide.

For me, the male who chooses NOT to drink has to be stronger and be more of a man than those who yield to this “phalse paradigm”. Males who stay alive and teach their son’s how to be “men” are the real men, the real Everyday Heroes.

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