What It Really Takes to be a Man

 

Ripped Abs.

 

 

American Crew products.

 

Going after lots and lots of women.

 

The “ideal” image of a man society projects out. Or at least in a majority of the mainstream media that promotes this kind of lifestyle. As I’ve said in the previous post, men are seen today as boys in mens bodies by the rest of society. The dummy, the mommy’s boy, the vain bro who constantly takes pictures of his abs for Twitter and Instagram.

 

You have to really wonder what does it really take to be a man these days. Society tries to “redefine” what it means to be a man with vanity and lust, but men were never meant to be this way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against having sex or being independent, but far too many people including men, think that they need these things to have a “real” masculine image of themselves, only to fail epically. Let’s dissect the samples of the so called ideal “modern” man.

 

Ripped Abs – You can lift all you want, get huge abs, and have all the ladies look at you. But at heart, you can be as insecure as the loner in the corner. A great example of this was shown in a recent prank by Vitalyzdtv. The prankster went to a local gym, asking the athletes there if they even lifted, mocking their muscle size. They almost all felt like their manhood was insulted. This comes to show that having abs and such doesn’t make you instantly an Alpha Male. You’re merely disguising the insecurity that’s still lurking around.

 

Big D – Getting Axe, American Crew, and other “manly” smelling products, doesn’t mean the chicks will come to you. Sure, they may like the smell, but the overpowering aroma will probably make you a drug addict.

 

The Player – You may look like 007 after having sex with more than 20 women. However when it comes to settling down, you’ll have an extremely difficult time building up trust with your significant other. Think of it, will your future wife focus on you while you’re making love to her in bed? Or will she be wondering if you are having a fantasy of being with one of your previous girls? If you do engage in this kind of activity, it makes it more challenging to gain the trust of others, causing a huge amount of pain in conflicts. Products offer advice for men to become bolder, go after an abundance of women, are often playing on the insecurities of men.

Being a man really means that you have honor, values, and integrity, not depending on external validation. Being a man means you have a great personality that exudes charisma, enthusiasm, and boldness. You can have no abs and a beer gut, but be considered a man when you have all of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Disposable Society: The Real World We Live In

The Disposable Society: The Real World We Live In

It seems that in today’s society, we dispose of literally everything we have in our hands. From the little things we use in our everyday lives, to the relationships we have with others. We think that we’ve become a better society than in the past by becoming more aware about “Global Warming”, bragging about how we’re now “eco-friendly”, and how activism gives us all rights, throwing away the negativity of our human race. Yet it seems that we’ve become more consumers than conservationists, hypocrites instead of statesmen, and playboy’s instead of keepers and lovers. Perhaps I am the only one seeing this through a personal observation of the society around me.

I had once previously shaved using any typical Gillette razor with a can of cream, thinking it was normal to throw away the entire cartridge after five shaves or so (reference to Geofatboy on YouTube!). Each cartridge costs around $2.50, an entire packet of them costs around $25. Using an entire set within a month, I had to buy another to stack up for the following. Not sure about the costs, but I was definitely wasting more money, energy, and missing out on a quality shave unlike my grandpa who used a straight razor, real shaving cream, and didn’t bother buying anything other than extra cream.

That’s one example of my old life swindling away money without knowing it. When it comes to personal relationships, there are more examples, yet they are the worst and most heartbreaking.

Throughout high school which is where plenty of relationships occur, I’ve seen couples come together looking all cute for a couple of months only to break up when everybody least expects it. In the adult life, I know more than 10 people who are divorced, or in the process of getting a divorce. It’s very saddening to see people that you know quite well do this to each other. For example, I was participating in a trail race hosted by a growing racing business. I knew both of the race owners pretty well then, both of them married to each other. They seemed like the perfect couple in many ways; having been former gym rats converting to becoming adventure athletes, both running a racing business, and both very outgoing.

However at this particular race, I noticed that the wife was missing. She was usually the one assigned to take photographs yet she was nowhere to be seen. Curious, I asked ended up asking the race director.

“Hey ____, where’s _____?” I asked.

For obvious reasons, I left out their names to protect their identities and privacy

“She’s not here obviously…” the race director replied, looking somewhat apprehensive.

“Is she sick?” I pressed on.

“No, she’s fine. In fact, she’s not coming to any of the races at all”

That made me even more curious as to why the wife wouldn’t be taking photographs at anymore race events. I felt some sort of tension, but had to ask one last question.

“Why? Isn’t she?”

“We’re getting a divorce…” the race director replied casually as if he was getting a routine cup of coffee.

Everybody who was within earshot had this completely shocked look on their faces with the same thought. Why would a great couple running a great business file for divorce all of a sudden?

“We haven’t been announcing it to the world, but we’ve decided to split the business too, so she’ll be taking care of the marathons and such while I will take care of these trail races” the director said before changing to subject.

I felt saddened. Not because he was family, or that I was witnessing a breakup, or because it’s another couple I know that’s split. But it was the tone of the race directors voice that really hit home. He was talking as if his relationship had run its course, and it simply had to end.

I began to wonder why people are treating their relationships and life like this, wondering why when things are broken these days, people simply throw them away instead of taking the effort in fixing or restoring what’s damaged. Seriously, why do we live like this?

We think we live better lives than our grandparents which is half true, yet we’re worst off when it comes to personal habits and relationships. I can go through more disposable cartridges in my lifetime while witnessing couples breaking up without thinking twice in today’s society. If I were to ask why, people will simply say, “oh, it’s just a part of life.”

I don’t think so necessarily, I honestly think we’ve accumulated too many bad habits that promote this kind of behavior.

We honestly have to reexamine why we live like this, from using disposable products, to not fixing up conflicts in relationships. We must learn to really conserve in our lives, not throwing away what can essentially be saved. We must learn to value the importance of what we use, instead of treating it like another throwaway item.

And this, is how we get rid of The Disposable Society.

 

Having Real Class: The Revival of a Gentleman

When people look at today’s generation of boys (or should we say young men as we should be), what do we see? What do we even think? At first glance at most boys these days, many would probably think of the craziest things ever possible, something along the lines of the TV show, Jackass, where idiots do the craziest stunts to themselves and others. In general people will think when looking at the typical boy:

1. That he’s probably messy by the way he looks (unkempt, possibly long, and dirty hair), the way he dresses (flip flops, pajama pants, ragged t-shirt, and a college hat), the way he keeps his room.

2. He’s probably done something extremely stupid (Like lighting a rival high school’s football turf on fire)

3. Probably spends most of his time obsessing over sports (Such as football)

4. Dead certain to play more than 4 hours of Call of Duty, League of Legends, Starcraft, etc. when not busy pulling pranks, trying to hit on girls, and getting drunk.

Were boys always like this? Having this immature, frat boy image that nearly every guy carries around in this world?

Frat Party Fans

I might be beating myself up on this as a guy myself. Yes I do have a messy room sometimes, and yes I can be a little immature when it comes to pulling pranks on somebody, yet I don’t want to have this kind of mentality hanging over me as I continue on my life journey. It’s not that I’m letting people put me on a pedestal to make me into their own image, but I would much rather have the image of a gentleman walking around. I’m talking about having that same class, swagger, and mentality that grandpa did, minus the negativity associated with men that comes from the past like chauvinism.

What I’m really talking about here is Manliness, the core component that men lack these days that would make them Gentlemen, not immature frat boys. Far too many people think this way, or that the ideal version of a man is this:

1. Having abs. Doesn’t matter whether it’s six, or eight, or even twelve pack abs, they look really sexy.

2. Going to exotic places that Occupy Wallstreet people can’t even afford.

3. Having one night stands with different girls every other night.

This is not made up. In fact, you can simply go to a book store, grab any Men’s magazine such as Esquire, Men’s Health, and GQ, and look at the headlines. They practically are all the same for every single issue!

“How to Have a Good F___”

“Get this Pill to Sharpen your Abs”

“Do this Exercise to grow your D___”

 

I mean really, is this what men really are?

 

 

 

metrosexual

 

Don’t get me wrong that I believe in physical responsibility as many men have shirked these days when they’re drinking beer and having way too much bacon, but whenever I grab an issue of one of these magazines, it literally has the same headlines over and over again.

 

Fortunately, not all men’s blogs and magazines are like the one shown above. There’s been a resurgence in a variety of manly activity that had been considered nearly extinct. One particular blog, The Art of Manliness, takes into consideration of many of these activities such as

 

1. How to shave with a Safety Razor like Grandpa did

 

2. What to wear during a party

 

3. Essential items needed before a trip

 

These headlines sound like some sort of metrosexual magazine like GQ, however it isn’t. While there are articles on how to be physically fit, how to behave like a real gentleman, and what to buy, there are more articles out there such as

 

1. How to be assertive

 

2. How to not be your absentee father

 

3. How to fight a bear (yes seriously)

 

The Art of Manliness does a impressive job of writing articles such as the ones listed above. I don’t think I would ever find an article like those in any other “men’s” magazine. This blog along with a few other ones that actually get it, strive to define that men aren’t exactly the hoodlums you see today frequently. Men can be the leaders of a house, leading a company, exploring a new frontier, know a handyman skill such as fixing a toilet, and killing an animal for lunch.

 

It’s true that some of these skills might not be needed for those living in the city, but for those thinking that way (especially fellow guys here), what other skill would men have besides watching football and playing games?

Think about it…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling: Bringing out the other You (A preview post)

 

Someday I’ll add a picture of myself instead a random photo I find on the Internet to post, in an effort for a reader to see what kind of message I try to convey. A picture of my adult self in a Patagonia jacket, Eddie Bauer khaki pants, and maybe a pair of Vibram Fivefingers, a portrait of my traveling outfit. I don’t always where this outfit all the time, but whenever I do, I get this strange feeling that makes me become nostalgic of my past travels, having a desire to write like Jack London. Travels that have brought me to far off states, counties, countries, continents I’ve never dreamed of setting my foot on. Places, friends, memories that will forever be held in my heart, leaving a piece of myself where ever I visit.

 

 

 

As I reflect back on most of my life, I’ve done plenty of traveling. As a young boy growing up, I frequently went on road trips with my family to the coastal area of Washington State, to Portland, Oregon whenever my dad was on a business trip, and the Bay Area when we visited our family there. Family travels weren’t limited to just the West Coast as we also took trips to the cherry orchards in Eastern Washington, the potato farms in Idaho, and driving alongside bison at Yellowstone park whilst taking pictures of geysers in the rain. When I was 15, I would travel for the first time without my parents to the South and Midwestern states for a youth group convention. Many more of these were to come later as I stayed with this youth group. After graduation, I traveled to Italy, France, and Spain for World Youth Day 2011, where I would make friends from around the world, and send a story to Pope Benedict XVI as the only American pilgrim to do so. A year after that, I traveled to the South, and returned to the Midwest for youth group related activities, making more connections, and adding more mileage to my travel records.

 

Thinking of all these travels, it was never about going to wild parties, squandering money, or doing nothing. Doing those things, creates a multitude of problems. Nor was it about constantly updating my Facebook status where ever I was currently at, texting a friend about the latest crazy thing I did with some Swedish girls, or Instagraming a picture of myself climbing up a light pole. Despite the fact that we live in world ruled by Moore’s Law, where we constantly update our networks with what we’re doing by taking a picture of that event, then posting it on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, I steer clear of that trend, knowing the charisma and awe of an adventurer is lost in doing so.

Sure my friends would like to see my current location and that I have not been abducted by the ETA (referring to my time spent in the Basque region here!), but the idea of updating almost every second of our day from our phones destroy’s that justifiable mystery we all have when it comes to traveling.

This post isn’t exactly about how I’m trying to keep the ‘traditional’ way of traveling, rather, about lessons and experiences I’ve learned along the way whenever I go out to the world. Sometimes these experiences are so great, too good to be true, that I think I’m living in someones dream, someone else’s life, until I come home and look at what I just went through.

Although cliche, the world in many ways is my education. A life long learning process fueled by going far and wide to destinations people either already know, or have never heard of. It’s also the only time I’ve ever experienced what I wanted most in life. In fact, traveling seems to bring out the gentleman in me, a side that I am working to pull together to my other life.

In my other life, I am a Nice Guy, all comfortable and safe at home in Seattle. I have a few close friends at home, often eat alone, and dig myself into books at almost every coffee shop there is out there in the Greater Seattle Area. I am that guy a person barely notices, and can pass myself as a spy.

The traveling life, is the Alpha version of me. I am the guy with many friends spread throughout the United States and the whole world from the Philippines, England, and Australia. I sit down for lunch with people I’ve never met before, sometimes in the most exotic locations. I can easily make friends by simply going up to them and say, “I don’t think we’ve introduced ourselves to each other? What’s your name?” and go on to become good friends with him/her, something I would never have done at home.

At home, I’m a really shy boy when it comes to girls. Too intimidating, too many considered me a friend.

But when I traveled to the South, I would meet a girl that I would soon myself falling in love with, a girl that connected with me on multiple levels, and would also later break my heart. It was not all bad, as I realized that I had two selves.

I would learn about my Alpha self, wondering why I became doormat when I returned home, to the mediocre routine of running to Church, go to school, go to work, go home, and listen to my parents lecture about the virtues of a clearly mediocre public education system. I wondered why I let my Alpha self only reveal during my travels.

Then I began to realize the lessons I learned from traveling……….

 

Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

Announcements

For those who’ve recently visited my blog, major apologies for not posting lately (since April!). I’ve been really busy with family, youth group, and other chaotic things in my life. Although my schedule will become more busy as I will be mentoring a group for my youth group camp in a couple of weeks, I plan on posting some more things on this blog.

Latest announcement is that I will adding Reflections into the category of subjects I will writing about. It’s not necessarily stories, but enhanced thoughts and a public journal where I become vulnerable for all to see. I have nothing more to say.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Storytelling: Reviving a dying Art

The-Storyteller

 

 

A majority of college students who fill the cavernous lecture halls of universities, find themselves bored to death with professors who drone on about class theories, equations, and stuff that the students could just have read out of the textbook. This problem is not limited in solely colleges, but across schools, churches, clubs, anyplace where people have a desire to learn about anything. The problem that we face is that we’ve been so used to this kind of ‘lecture me first, and I’ll please you next’ mentality that we forget how to find a way to pass down the knowledge that everybody remembers. Personally, I honestly can’t remember anything at all if a professor bores with by lecturing for an hour or two. But where I can remember things vividly along with associating anything I learn with something funny, is when someone is nice enough to tell a story to go along with the lessons to be taught.

I once had an International Studies teacher in high school who was considered one of the easiest teachers in senior year. Yes, the class was no doubt boring, I was constantly getting easy A’s because I knew the material before stepping in class, but I stayed because this particular teacher, who valued the importance of stories. He would talk about his adventures after college when he coincidentally met a Mafia Man in New Mexico when he tried to cheat the all you can eat system at a local restaurant. He would tell how he narrowly escaped the 2004 tsunami while teaching about the cultures of Thailand, and  would allow us to tell our own stories, often encouraging us to go on our own adventures. If you’re reading this Mr. Colin, thank you for inspiring me!

I can honestly say that never once did I ever sleep in his class, and I still remember what kinds of lessons he taught in class. If people realized that storytelling is one valuable way to get people to realize that they don’t have to drag on about a boring lesson, they can quickly get an entire class, or whoever’s listening to be eager for one to tell more.

I’ve experienced this as a Youth Leader teaching middle school aged kids in the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society. I was told that at this age, the kids would be hard to handle, that it would be hard to tell them to settle down without raising my voice, and that they had a tendency to challenge whoever was teaching in the class. While I’m not here to toot my own horn, yes, I did have to raise my voice a bit every once in a while in a class with almost 40 kids, but not because they were troublesome, but because they would not notice that I was there until I yelled, “KIDS IT’S STORY TIME!!!!!!”.  They not only listened intently, something that a Youth Leader yearned for when teaching kids at this age, but they kept asking me if I had anymore stories to tell before or after every lesson. The consequence of that is me having to dig into books, blogs, and watching Ghost Adventures to look for more stories to share with them.

This post isn’t about making storytelling a mandatory thing in teaching or for anyplace at all. Like salt, storytelling would be nice to have when it comes to talking about a boring subject such as politics, or if you want to give your children the chills down their spines at a campfire. We must realize that in this age of Moore’s Law, storytelling is still important, and that when used properly, can greatly influence a persons curiosity to learn more.

The Real Reasons for this Blog

 

Writing

 

What am I writing in this blog exactly? Maybe I was a little too vague about when I did my very first blog post. Commenting on life, that’s too general I suppose so I’ll break it down here…….

 

 

Self Development – What does it take to be mature? Do we structure ourselves? Do we influence others, or do others influence us? I suppose I can make posts on all of these kinds of questions, after all, self development continues throughout our lives, bounded together with life long learning in my perspective.

 

 

Relationships – I believe that true loving relationships happen not because people read Vogue, Men’s Health, Sports Illustrated, or watching porn, but realizing that by becoming independent, assertive, open minded, and passionate about life, is when real love emerges.

 

 

Education – After going through what I find is a truly corrupt education system, I know I have to write about unschooling and how we should throw out the school system.

 

Politics – Well, I should have a say on what I believe in politics right? You’ll see in future posts what I will be saying. Political wise, I don’t consider myself a Republican or Democrat, I don’t believe in parties anymore. I consider myself a voluntaryist with conservative social beliefs.

 

 

Faith – I am Roman Catholic, but I’m not here to impose my faith on others. Rather, I want to share my faith and values with others who may be curious as to what the Church is all about, or what’s going on in my spiritual life.

 

Traveling – I always wanted to write about traveling, so this blog will be a launching point for this dream of mine. Men can dream epically big (sorry girls, I had to say that).

 

 

 

With that being said, I hope this clarifies on what I’m writing about on this blog. One day I can be writing about the Federal Reserve, the other I’ll be writing about Brad Henning.

Cheers friends :)