Are the Suburbs Killing Your Manhood?

by schaefer on July 20, 2008 · 63 comments

in A Man's Life, On Manhood

Editor’s Note: This article is from new Art of Manliness contributor Cameron Schaefer. Check out Cameron’s blog at Schaefer’s Blog.

Ever gone on a man trip? When I graduated from high school I went on a man trip, backpacking and ice climbing in Southeastern Alaska for 10 days with two friends of mine. It was part boyhood dream, part silent protest against the post-graduation-Mexico-binge-drinking -sex-fest that most of my peers were engaging in.

Before I left, everyone had to give me their two cents, even if their greatest wilderness adventure consisted of a weekend in their grandparent’s Winnebago. I remember sneering in disgust as people would tell me how dangerous it was (most recounting stories of a very distant relative that got maimed by a blood-thirsty Grizzly then finished off by torrents of pony-size mosquitoes) and how silly my parents were for letting me go. Danger was exactly the reason I wanted to go.

It was epic. A white-haired, green-eyed bush pilot dropped us off 80 miles into the Wrangell-St Elias wilderness and we spent the next week exploring, climbing, shooting, throwing large rocks off cliffs, getting scared after seeing foot-long Grizzly tracks and yelling, “Hey Bear!” for the next 2 hours. We never saw another soul. For 10 days we were three guys alone in a wilderness much larger than ourselves marking our passage into manhood by the amount of times we cheated death. We were kings of men.

Now I live in the suburbs.

I show my dominance by the length and complexity of my drink order at Starbucks. Life moves at a predictable pace, just as my neighbors and I have designed. Sometimes the amount of control I have is suffocating. A Vine Maple shrub exactly one foot from the left corner of my garage like all the other token shrubbery in our neighborhood, expensive fencing approved by the homeowner’s association so everything is uniform, trash on Monday, recycle bin every other Friday, and enough “Children at Play” signs to make even a school of blind orphans feel safe. Everything is under control.

David Goetz, in his book “Death By Suburb,” points out why people flock to the suburbs explaining,

“…many ‘burbs are arguably organized around the provision of safety and opportunities for children and neat, tranquil environs for the homeowners. Suburbs and exurbs have grown to dominate the American landscape precisely because, most of the time, they fulfill those promises in spades.”

There’s nothing wrong with safety or “tranquil environs.” In fact, they are both very good things. I love that my 6-month-old daughter will grow up in a place where she can play in the yard without concern. Or that due to our strict covenants I don’t have to worry about my neighbor turning his yard into a parking lot for old, rusty cars.

The problem comes when our environment begins dictating our behavior and thereby stripping men of the very things that feed our manishness.

In the introduction to Crabgrass Frontier, sociologist Kenneth T. Jackson writes:

‘The space around us–the physical organization of neighborhoods, roads, yards, houses, and apartments–sets up living patterns that condition our behavior.’…the environment of the suburbs weathers one’s soul peculiarly. That is, there are environmental variables, mostly invisible, that oxidize the human spirit, like what happens to the metal of an ungaraged car.

The danger that living in the suburbs is simply that there is no danger…it’s completely safe. Constant and complete control is a silent, but deadly killer.

Now, I don’t want you to think I’m complaining because I’m not. I love the suburbs and my life. But, maybe we’ve built the idea of being a man on some false logic. For as long as I can remember, I was under the impression that being a man meant being in total control of your surroundings. Ruling your job, family, and social life with an emperor-like authority and dominance. No surprises, everything on cue.

But maybe the truest calling of man lies in the wilderness of life; in learning to thrive in the environments where complete control is not possible.

Think about every man you looked up to as a kid. Chances are they continually faced environments outside their complete control. Environments in which there was no guarantee of safety or success. Where one can only hope to influence rather than rule. Firefighters dueling with fire, soldiers battling the fog and friction of war, explorers traversing foreign territories, pilot’s pushing the boundaries of flight, or even the missionary working in inner-city New York. Each learning to thrive without being in control.

I know what you’re saying at this point. “Great, but I am a web designer and father of twins, not GI Joe or Vasco de Gama.” But, placing yourself in an environment outside your control does not necessarily mean changing jobs or even leaving the suburbs. It could be as simple as mentoring a troubled youth, working a few weekends each month at a homeless shelter, learning a hobby that has always seemed daunting to you, or starting the business you’ve been secretly planning during your work breaks for the past 6 years. Something that requires you to leave your comfort zone and step into unexplored territory. No guarantees of success. The hard way.

The suburbs convince us that the pinnacle of life consists of comfort, safety, and control. And the man that finally succumbs to this deadly logic is a miserable creature forced to live off the exhilaration of other men’s feats.

As George C. Scott so eloquently said it in the movie “Patton,” as he addressed an auditorium full of soldiers on the eve of their deployment to Europe, “Thirty years from now, when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you, ‘What did you do in the great World War II,” you won’t have to say, “Well… I shoveled sh*% in Louisiana.’”

The path to keeping your manhood intact while living in the suburbs is not the one of least resistance. Instead, it consists of willingly placing yourself in situations outside of your complete control, with no guarantees, and deciding to continue on anyway. These situations do not have to consist of killing a large animal or spending a week in Alaska (though each of those would certainly help), they simply require not giving up on the adventures right under your nose

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Adam July 20, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Great article, bud.

2 Riley July 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm

This was a great read, really enjoyed this article. Reading it reminded me of a movie I say on PBS a while ago called Alone in the Wilderness. I think you can read a bit about it on. It followed a fellow named Dick Proenneke who build a rugged life for himself on a lake in Alaska. If this article struck a chord with anyone like it did with me, watch that movie, it will inspire you a bit, I am sure.

3 Cameron Schaefer July 20, 2008 at 8:57 pm

@ Adam,

Thanks for the kind words, glad you enjoyed it!

@ Riley,

Sounds like an awesome story, I’ll have to do a little research on the guy. One of my favorite reads in high school was “Into the Wild” by Krakauer which was recently made into a movie….sounds like a similar story to the PBS one.

Alaska is definitely a place all it’s own when it comes to understanding the power of the wild. The mountains, lakes, glaciers and animals are bigger than anything in the lower 48…it’s very intimidating in a sense and humbling…but in a good way.

4 pete July 20, 2008 at 9:25 pm

I’d like to add Travel to the list of things that you can do to get away from your comfort zone. There’s nothing more empowering than showing up in a foreign city and finding your way around by yourself. I’ve taken it a step further and have lived in several countries, and I’m a thousand times more confident than I was before I first took the plunge!

5 Keith Brawner July 21, 2008 at 1:36 am

Good read, don’t stop doing what you are doing.

6 Wrathbone July 21, 2008 at 2:03 am

The suburbs would indeed kill my manhood, as I’ve lived in them all my life, but for reasons different then the ones listed here. It is the main reason that when I finally do purchase my own home, it will be on at least 10 acres of property that will distance me from any neighbors or uninvited visitors. You say in the suburbs everything is under control. I say it’s all under THEIR control, and it’s fine as long as you are comfortable with not being in control of anything.

The suburbs rob you of privacy and the God-given right to run your house YOUR way. My parents have to pay money to a homeowners association that does absolutely nothing for them. Neighbors frequently let their children run through their yard and let their pets do their business. They play basketball in the street, use foul language at high volumes, and drive by blaring horrible music through speaker-destroying bass systems. Police frequently ticket cars in their own driveways whenever even an inch of sidewalk is taken up. Salesmen and religious hustlers harass them at will. And I think one thing I’ve learned from living in the suburbs is that the modern definition of a neighbor is “someone who doesn’t know how to mind their own business.”

Simply put, suburbs rob men of their most precious right, TO BE LEFT ALONE. Communities are no longer bastions of togetherness, they’re giant social clubs that scrutinize and then judge you based on your social, financial, and religious standing. The concept of living in neighborhoods is completely antithetical to me as I’m VERY territorial. On the forums someone asked what one would do if gangstas started spraypainting their fence. First question I’d ask myself would be exactly how did these thugs find their way onto my 10 acres of property, and then of course I’d grab my shotgun.

I’m also fiercely solitary. I have no problem interacting with the outside world when I choose to join it in transit to work and school, but I feel that my home should be completely free from any elements that I do not wish to include. Quite frankly, I can’t see why anyone who values their privacy woud want to live in the suburbs anymore.

7 Will July 21, 2008 at 4:04 am

Well, I feel pretty inspired! Both to get some property out of town, and to stretch myself while I stay in town.

I always thought I would get back to the countryside I came from one day, but given my job it seems impractical. But I’d hate for our soon-to-be-born son to be as ignorant of country things as many of my friends.

Wrathbone, I don’t have a homeowner’s association (and wouldn’t). But I still can’t let a dog run free, raise goats or chickens, or shoot the deer browsing in my garden.

8 John B July 21, 2008 at 4:08 am

The environments where complete control is not possible have, I fear, shifted from the wilderness to a new age wilderness; our offices and workplaces.

That is even more scary than facing down a grizzly bear.

9 Jeff@MySuper-Charged Life July 21, 2008 at 4:46 am

This is a fantastic article! I have long thought that we are dying as men because of the safety of the world in which we live. Men were made to tame the wilderness, but once it is tamed, we need to move on to the next adventure. Adventure can be found in a lot of different settings as you mention above. However, it seems much harder to find in the subarbs than out in the woods. I feel the need for a man trip coming on!

10 Nesagwa July 21, 2008 at 5:12 am

Im kind of the opposite of a lot of guys (my dad being one of them) and dont really enjoy living in the middle of nowhere.

My house is slap dab in the middle of Tampa, right in the heart of the city. Its quiet, but its still a pretty active and diverse community. Couldnt do without it.

11 Ben Wilson July 21, 2008 at 5:13 am

Hello. Neat article, and timely. (We are city folk who’ve been surprisingly happy in the suburbs for the last five years, now considering a move back to the city.) I’m not a regular reader of this blog, so I don’t know your personal circumstances. However if your oldest is only 6 months along, I have good news for you – raising her (and any more who come along) will give you more daily and weekly encounters with danger and out-of-controledness than just about anything else you can imagine! I personally have three kids ages 3, 5, and 9. Think Steve Martin in the movie “Parenthood;” you better like the roller coaster…

There’s something important in this idea for this blog and this readership, I think, though I’m just firing this off quickly so I don’t expect to be very articulate about it. IMO there are few things more manly than being an attentive, involved, and caring father to your kids. It is difficult in a way that you can’t imagine, at all, until you’re several years into it. (Or I couldn’t, anyway.) It’s rewarding like that, too. It’s critically important to the future of civilization, etc., all those attributes of something manly. And for your danger / putting-yourself-in-situations-outside-of-your-complete-control jones – don’t worry it comes in spades! Grizzlies, ha! Try Chuck E Cheese with a dozen five year olds, and try maintaining the attentive, involved, and caring “good dad” part from start to finish. Now *that’s* an adventure right under your nose…

Best regards, and thanks for sharing.

12 Doug McIsaac July 21, 2008 at 5:35 am

Great article. I appreciate the insights. Learning and growing is just about stepping outside of our own comfort zones. For some that’s walking when it says don’t walk fro other it’s yelling “hey bear”
Thanks,
Doug

13 Brennan Kingsland July 21, 2008 at 6:03 am

Interesting article! However, especially after reading some of the comments, I am more convinced than ever that “ATTITUDE” makes the difference – no matter what environs you live in, or pass through.

I personally believe that the concept of “total control of one’s life” is a complete illusion. There is no “total control”, no matter how much we may delude ourselves otherwise.

Children playing on a lawn, or pets relieving themselves on your property, only become big issues if you choose to focus on them.

Nowadays, life in the suburbs is only marginally safer than living in an urban area. Criminals have vehicles and often choose to go where the pickings are easy – e.g. the suburbs and quiet neighborhoods. And traffic (crazy drivers) are everywhere.

I’m not trying to be an alarmist, but I wouldn’t rely too heavily on safety in the suburbs for your daughter. Too many tragic news reports have revealed only constant vigilance is acceptable protection.

From my own personal experience, I can tell you that home invasions occur in “safe” environs, even security-protected areas. And, no matter where you live, illness and accident can occur. It takes a real man to muscle-through a heart attack and rebuild his life.

Just so you know I am not a doomsday proponent, let me assure you that I’ve weathered several criminal attempts on my life. (I’m a nurse, NOT in law enforcement.) My husband has endured 5 heart attacks and open-heart surgery and we’ve come through fighting. I have Multiple Sclerosis, in remission, and we enjoy every moment of life we can share together.

My words of advice are not to delude yourself that ANYWHERE is totally safe (or emasculating). Life is designed to be exciting and dangerous and thrilling. Control is an illusion. Enjoy the ride!

14 Zach July 21, 2008 at 7:19 am

Life in the suburbs in frightening in its peace. To quote Lonely Planet, “Therefore, I travel.”

15 Jacob July 21, 2008 at 7:35 am

“Ruling your job, family, and social life with an emperor-like authority and dominance.”

That is the most troubling thing I have heard in this blog. ‘Dominance’ is not what being a man is about. I for one, looked for a companion that would not let herself be dominated over. if I ever have kids (which I don’t), I would teach them to never be dominated over, whether by me or someone else.

I do like the article, however. Spontaneity, though not directly mentioned, is my solution to the proposed “suburban mentality” of safeness and redundancy.

For me, spontaneous decisions keep me, as a man, happy. As an example, I am working this summer in D.C. from Texas. I decided to plan a trip to New York and decided to stay in a hostel. I wanted to keep the trip cheap and to stay clear of the touristic cores. I decided to stay in a Hostel in Harlem. To make a long story short, I ended up walking 4 blocks in Harlem, which despite what people say really is a rough neighborhood. It was 2 in the morning on Saturday night (making it Sunday, but you get me). Stupid, yes. Spontaneous, definitely.

And its the times where we risk something, no matter if its getting mugged or getting kicked out of somewhere by rent-a-cops that give us the best experiences and memories of our lifetimes. For fathers, it could be those times when you treat yourself or your child to something that really makes a difference in their lives. Something out of the norm is what they will remember most.

We don’t live in a time of war, we can’t say that we survived Iwo Jima or a bomb attack in Iraq. Its the moments where our securities are jeopardized and redundancy compromised when we get the fullest out of life.

16 Israel July 21, 2008 at 8:23 am

Hailing from NYC, the Bronx and now living in Tampa, FL. this really hit home. Wow.

17 Dave Atkins July 21, 2008 at 8:28 am

I’m not sure what the “unneutered” alternative to suburbia is; as you conclude it really is a choice of how you live and whether you “accept” the constraints of suburban conformity. But I have to confess I haven’t really give much thought to a need to “preserve” my manliness.

18 Meiji_man July 21, 2008 at 9:09 am

Good, thought provoking read.

19 Neil July 21, 2008 at 9:48 am

Cameron,

Agreed 100%. I spent a year living in Bolivia, where life is anything but predictable and controlled, and it taught me so much. More recently, I did wilderness therapy with a bunch of crazy at-risk youth in a desert for weeks on end. Now, I’m living in a suffocating suburb with my mom and looking for a “real” job, only to find that even a short time of ‘burbs + office may be too much (or too little?) for me to handle… we shall see.

Anyway, liked the article a lot! Looking forward to reading more from you.

-Neil

20 Brett McKay July 21, 2008 at 10:02 am

@Jacob-
“Ruling your job, family, and social life with an emperor-like authority and dominance.�

Cameron says he once thought that is what manhood was about, but he then goes on to refute that defintion.

21 dadshouse July 21, 2008 at 10:44 am

I’ve lived in the suburbs most of my life, and don’t feel I’ve missed a thing. I take trips, get out hiking, sailing, skiing, cycling, visit other countries. And like you said, you can volunteer with youths (I’ve coached soccer) and place yourself in situations outside your control. The peace of the suburbs is indeed a great environment for raising kids, and it’s allowed me a great deal of introspection. The universe lies within you, after all…

22 Mike July 21, 2008 at 12:00 pm

I’ll tell you one thing,

Growing up and living in Queens NYC, the one thing your life is not, is predictable.
Every time I step out of my house and take a bus, adventure is bound to happen.

If I’m not walking on abandoned train tracks, I’m meeting a 90 year old pink hair wearing grandma who wants to tell me about the time she went to South Africa to stop diamond smugglers.

23 Mike July 21, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Cameron, this is a great article and I like the conclusion you come to. So often, we look at the world, which has been largely explored, settled, and filled with malls, and forget that adventures aren’t just for the Indiana Joneses of the world. Jackson’s book is really eye-opening, though I wonder if we can see the suburb as simply the symptom of man’s seemingly endless attempts to control his environment. An organic extension of the decision to settle into an agricultural lifestyle, rather than a nomadic/hunter-gatherer one.

24 Cameron Schaefer July 21, 2008 at 12:37 pm

@ Mike,

So glad that you understood my conclusion. It seems that quite a few readers have felt that I’m advocating leaving the suburbs as the only way to keep your manhood intact…this is simply not the case.

I tried to make the point that while trips to Alaska or other wild places are a great way to leave the controlled environment, there are thousands of opportunities right under our noses…even in the suburbs!

I agree that the suburbs are an extension of our decision to settle down which isn’t bad, just can’t let it lead to a “settling down” of or spirits.

25 Tyler @ Building Camelot July 21, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Nice story Cameron. I’ve lived “in the city” for 8-9 years now and I’ve never looked back. There have always been a “comfort-factor” associated with life, even in the city, but it’s definitely not at the same level as the burbs.

I even inspired my sister to move more into the city (she’s in Dallas) and she’s never been happier.

What I have found that kills my manhood is my sit-on-my-ass-in-a-tiny-cubicle day job. But…that’s a whole other story.

26 Meiji_man July 21, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Come to think of it adventure can be found where ever you chose to step away from the path.

Acquainted with the Night
by: Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain — and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
O luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

27 Zendad July 21, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Wow, did you hit the nail on the head!
My cure for this is rebellion in pieces. As standard dad issue I do NOT and will NEVER own or drive a minivan, EVERRRR. I instead bought a crew cab pickup truck. I get away to the inlaws place so i can fish, snowmobile and swim at their lakefront property. I dabble in woodworking and actually use my garage as a workshop and not a storage area. Yep, I always joke that the necks are a little redder on my side of the street but at least I have the calim that i “still have a pair”.
Kudos, good article!
Zendad
http://www.zendad.net

28 Jaye July 21, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Suburbia is pretty tighly controlled, however you can’t just accept the occasional ‘scheduled’ breaks where you go off to alaska or work at the shelter, sometimes you have to actually willfully shake things up inject some chaos into your life and be aware that safety is stagnation, that something can happen that changes everything. Accept this understand this and in some respects be prepared for it, by doing more than just your nice scheduled little forays into uncertainty, but actually doing something unexpected and out of character… maybe right off the rocker, but important to you, to understand who you are and hopefully make you a stronger person.

29 wozza July 21, 2008 at 5:09 pm

I think sport is great for this, especially contact sport. We have a league for the 40 and over age group in Australian Football. For other countries, there is over-age competition in soccer or rugby union. I recommend it highly

30 Brett July 21, 2008 at 5:12 pm

@Wozza-

Great idea. I played football in high school and still miss it. Sports, especially contact sports, make you feel alive.

31 schaefer July 21, 2008 at 5:26 pm

@ Wozza,

You’re right on the money, sports are incredibly effective at getting us out of our comfort zones, especially more physical ones as Brett mentioned. You sound just like my father-in-law, haha! He is a South African and a huge Springbok fan. You Aussies, SA and New Zealand have some great rugby teams!

32 Rodney Hampton July 21, 2008 at 5:52 pm

I don’t enjoy living in the suburbs anymore. I call it the tyranny of suburbia. Every Saturday morning, the lawn mowing starts. It continues through Sunday night. Too often the police shake down people for minor infractions. I understand law and order, but this place is ridiculous. All I want to do is earn enough money to get some land, raise some animals and some food, and keep other people the hell away from me and my family.

33 Kevin July 21, 2008 at 5:52 pm

This was an excellent piece. I think one notable reason why the suburban lifestyle (in general) is unmanly, is that it is selfish. It is finding a safe place, surrounding yourself with things that give you pleasure, and saying “To hell with everyone else.” That selfishness is largely where the inner dissatisfaction comes from, I think.

34 Chris W July 22, 2008 at 8:19 am

Good article. I’ve lived on a farm, in the suburbs and now in a major city and I have to say that there are good and bad points to all three, however, Where I am in my life right now, i have to say I am really enjoying city life. I like being able to bike or walk to were I need to go, whether that be the job, grocery, the park or the local bar. Having a diverse group of neighbors is also quite enjoyable. Here in the city, unlike the suburbs I’ve actually gotten to know some of my neighbors. Sure, the suburbs allow you to surround yourself by people just like you, but that leads to a boring existence in my opinion.

35 Paul July 22, 2008 at 8:45 am

The key element of your thesis (with which I substantially agree), lies, it seems, in the fact that suburbs do not represent the homeowner’s control, but rather the planner’s. It’s a pre-existing controlled environment into which households are introduced without altering their surroundings. You can’t control how your shrubs look because they were there when you bought the house and the neighborhood association has to approve landscaping alterations. All the control (or at least a great deal of it on a visual level) has already been exercised by outside parties. That, I think, is part of what kills me about most suburban areas: the visual uniformity.

36 Gary July 22, 2008 at 12:45 pm

“The suburbs convince us that the pinnacle of life consists of comfort, safety, and control. And the man that finally succumbs to this deadly logic is a miserable creature forced to live off the exhilaration of other men’s feats.”

This is why weekend sports sports is so popular. Men park themselves in front of the TV and get their blood pumping watching other men do things.

George Carlin had a good line about that. He said, “You always see fans after a game shouting, ‘We won! We won!’. No, they won. You watched.”

Wozza, Brett, and Schaefer, you are right on the money. Don’t just watch other people play, go out and do something.

37 Lee July 22, 2008 at 6:30 pm

You are what you do.
You are not where you live.

If you define yourself in terms of the length of your coffee order, and you define your manliness as a function of your domination of some barista, I have news for you:

You are doing it wrong.

I don’t care how many Alaskan pony-mosquitoes you killed.

38 ChrisB July 23, 2008 at 8:52 am

Just one quibble: Nowhere is completely safe. My suburb is one of the safest places in the country; we had four home invasion-robberies last year. The burbs may be safer than the inner city, but the hoods have figured out that the money is in the burbs.

39 Anonymouse July 23, 2008 at 10:49 am

Wow, this site has really jumped the shark. First, an environmentalist chick defines manhood. Now we have urbanist vitirol.

Mr. Goetz is from my suburb! A nearby metropolitan newspaper gleefully interviewed him to make the point that suburbanities are subhuman. I sent him an email and my advice to him is the same to those of you who buy into the myths about suburbia… Simply get rid of your car (and all motorized vehicles).

The suburbs are too safe? Try crossing multi-lane roads, even at the designated pedestrian crossings. Need a manly challenge? Try carrying your groceries a mile or two from the store in inclement weather.

40 Brett July 23, 2008 at 11:52 am

@Anonymouse-

From your incoherent comment I honestly can’t tell if you like the suburbs or hate them. At any rate, I don’t think you understand the point of the post.

As far as jumping the shark…if that’s the case, when would you say we had our glorious peak? Do enlighten me.

41 Cameron Schaefer July 23, 2008 at 11:56 am

@ Lee,

It was a joke as in “haha”…guess you didn’t think it was that funny.

42 Ken July 23, 2008 at 1:37 pm

We all hear a lot of suburb-bashing from those who would like to cram us all back into the the squalid urban wastelands from which we escaped (I exaggerate for effect). Keep in mind that the growth of suburbs is a direct consequence of the crime, high taxes, corrupt government and failed educational systems of our urban centers. People escape when they can, because they can, and want something better.

That said, I agree with the author’s point about the manhood-numbing effect of a life without challenges. At the age of 40 I felt like life was beginning to pass me by. It had all become too safe, too dull and too easy. So I decided to do something about it. First I did bike rides across Kansas and Missouri. Then with the encouragement of a supportive girlfriend (now my wife), I decided to pursue my childhood dream of getting my pilot’s license. I also decided to marry said girlfriend and start my own business. No guarantee of success in any of those ventures, but I’m a lot more challenged and happy than I ever was before I stopped playing it safe.

Risk! It’s what being a man is all about.

43 Anonumouse July 25, 2008 at 11:57 pm

@Brett – I was defending the suburbs against those, like Mr. Goetz and this article’s author, who say they are safe and controlled. My pedestrian advice was intended as a riposte. Perhaps I should have enumerated which myths about suburbia I was concerned about.

As for this blog’s peak, I would say it was the article about soda. I also enjoyed the articles about pocket squares and pull-ups. I’m currently reading a biography of Teddy Roosevelt, as also mentioned on this blog.

44 Brett July 26, 2008 at 8:24 am

@Anonymouse-

Thanks for the clarification. I get what you’re saying now.

As far as our “peak” goes, I’d just like to point out that the pull-ups post was posted only 2 weeks ago. So it’s a little premature I’d say to think that in the last 2 weeks we’ve suddenly fallen off the wagon. Like any publication, some weeks will be enjoyed by some readers more than others.

45 Aaron July 27, 2008 at 12:43 am

so true, we dont have burbs as such over here(nz) but it is getting that way, you tell someone that your off to the hills for a week instead of going to the pub most people have no clue on what your talking about.

46 MikeonTV July 29, 2008 at 10:32 am

Having grown up in the Suburbs I can say that I am damn happy I will never again be in the mentality of feeling I should live there again!`

47 EcoAussie July 29, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Really enjoyed that…my next house will be on water with lots of land.

48 Sunnyday August 30, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Hi there. Very insightful post here.

49 Chip Bell February 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm

I compleatly understand about challenging your self etc and not geting soft of leting fear rule you or what ever. What I don’t understand is why any one would want to link it to that “manhood” crap All that has done is but our genitals above our minds I know plenty of women who can do all this stuff. I won’t even date a girl if she’s not a feminist lest I wind up with some sissy “girly girl” who want’s her daddy to protect her. There is NOTHING special about being male. It’s the mind that counts being sentient able to think. Maleness is a mere accident of birth.

50 natural ponds April 27, 2009 at 6:26 pm

A man’s soul shall rot in a cradle of safety.

51 Adam September 20, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Funny me and my pal were just talking about how the surburben life sucks, and how men needs danger and risks in life.. must be destiny..!

52 senatorrosewater September 20, 2009 at 10:19 pm

if you liked this article, you’d like Babbit by Sinclair Lewis.

I won’t give away the ending, but will say that it fits with this theme.

53 AnnElisse September 21, 2009 at 7:55 pm

You could say the same thing about a city or metro area, although its fashionable to bash the burbs. Thank God there’s more to being a man than just mixing it up with nature, right? There is refinement, education, spiritual formation, manners. To paraphrase Mr. Darcy: “Every savage can camp.”

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