From the category archives:

Links

Last month the website Madame Noire posted a list of the “7 Manly Things We Wish Men Still Did.” I don’t recommend clicking over there, because they do that super annoying website thing where each item on the list is put on a different page and there’s a pop-up audio play ad running. So here’s the list:

  • Move Out of Their Mothers’ Houses
  • Insist on Paying the Bill
  • Dialing Our Number (as opposed to texting)
  • Hold the Door Open for a Stranger
  • Keep Us Warm (give a lady your jacket)
  • Help Us with Our Bags
  • Have a Signature Aftershave

What’s interesting, is that over the years people have sent us several iterations of this kind of article, but we’ve yet to see a list by men of things they wish women still did. Because of course, writing such a list would get you clobbered over the head with charges of sexism. This double-standard generally extends to all articles about the sexes these days–it is generally okay to complain about the deficiencies of men, but never women. One cannot imagine an article entitled “The End of Women” or “Where Have All the Good Women Gone?”

Whenever you read an article like this, in the comments there are always complaints that women want to have it both ways–to be equal and independent and be treated with chivalry. And some guy always says something like, “Well I’ll go back to doing some of these old fashioned things for women, when women start bringing back some old fashioned things too.”

So a few points for discussion:

-Are there old fashioned things that you wish women still did?

-Or do you think that neither men nor women should be expected to do any old fashioned things?

-Or do you think that men should have to still do old fashioned things, but not women?

Hat tip to Darren for this link.

 

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Recently came across an interesting article on Psychology Today about the growing problem of porn-induced erectile dysfunction. While ED is often associated with middle-aged and older men, a “growing number of young, healthy Internet pornography users are complaining of delayed ejaculation, inability to be turned on by real partners, and sluggish erections.”

The problem is physiological not psychological. As with any stimulation you give your brain, at first it gives you a lot of pleasure, but eventually the brain gets used to it, even numb to it. It’s like if you love chocolate ice cream; if you started eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, after a couple of weeks it would stop giving you pleasure, and it might even start disgusting you. Here’s the more scientific explanation:

Recent behavioral addiction research suggests that the loss of libido and performance occur because heavy users are numbing their brain’s normal response to pleasure. Years of overriding the natural limits of libido with intense stimulation desensitize the user’s response to a neurochemical called dopamine.

Dopamine is behind motivation, “wanting” and all addictions. It drives the search for rewards. We get little spurts of it every time we bump into anything potentially rewarding, novel, surprising, or even anxiety-producing.

Animal models have established that both sexual desire and erections arise from dopamine signals. Normally, dopamine-producing nerve cells in the reward circuitry activate the sexual (libido) centers of the hypothalamus, which in turn activate the erection centers in the spinal cord, which send nerve impulses to the genitalia. A steady stream of nerve impulses, which release nitric oxide into the penis and its blood vessels, maintain an erection.

Nitric oxide in turn stimulates the blood vessel dilator cGMP, the on/off switch for engorgement and erection. The more cGMP is available the more durable the erection. So, the pathway from the brain to an erection is:

Reward circuitry (dopamine) > hypothalamus > spinal cord > nerves > penis

Erections start with dopamine and end with cGMP. Sexual enhancement drugs work by inhibiting the breakdown of cGMP, thus allowing it to accumulate in the penis. Yet if the patient’s brain isn’t producing enough signals in the first place, ED drugs will not increase libido or pleasure even if they (sometimes) produce an erection.

In the case of age-related erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular conditions or diabetes, the primary weak link tends to be the nerves, blood vessels, and penis. However, for men with porn-induced erectile dysfunction, the weak link is not the penis, but rather the desensitized dopamine system in the brain.

In the last decade or so, addiction researchers have discovered that too much dopamine stimulation has a paradoxical effect. The brain decreases its ability to respond to dopamine signals (desensitization). This occurs with all addictions, both chemical and natural. In some porn users, the response to dopamine is dropping so low that they can’t achieve an erection without constant hits of dopamine via the Internet.

The solution to those suffering from porn-induced ED is to “reboot” the brain by abstaining from porn and masturbation for several months.

Read the whole article: “Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow” @Psychology Today

 

 

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The University of Akron in Ohio is conducting a survey of men in order to find out why men are less willing to ask for help than women are, and if their reasons are related to social class and their views on masculinity.

Here’s the link if you want to take part in the survey.

The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete. All participants are put into a drawing for a $50 and $70 Amazon gift card.

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AoM reader and sometime style contributor, Leo Mulvihill, has a chance to score a walk on role to the AMC series Mad Men. But he needs our help. Vote for Leo to guest star on Mad Men. (You’ll need to login to AMC to vote. Yeah, it’s a pain, but let’s help an AoM brother out.)

Leo tried for this spot a couple of years ago, but came up short. I think this is the year that it will happen for him. Just look at him. Man, already looks like he works at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce with Don.

You can vote once a day until Sept 9. If Leo is in the top 10, he’ll be considered for the role.

AoM brothers unite! Vote for Leo today and every day until Sept. 9.

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Here’s a bit of manly movie trivia for you. Despite being one of his most iconic roles, Clint Eastwood wasn’t even considered to play the title role of Dirty Harry until a whole bunch of other actors turned the job down.

Frank Sinatra was originally cast to play Dirty Harry, but a broken wrist he suffered while filming the Manchurian Candidate prevented him from hoisting Harry Calagan’s signature beast of a gun.  So he had to quit. John Wayne was then offered the role, but he turned it down because he didn’t “like being offered Sinatra’s rejections.” Producers then went after Robert Mitchum, but he turned it down because he thought the role was a “piece of junk.” Burt Lancaster was then offered the role, but he turned it down because he didn’t agree with the movie’s violence. Finally Eastwood was offered the script and the rest was movie history.

Eastwood needs to ask himself one question: Do I feel lucky that everybody turned down Dirty Harry? Well, do ya, punk?

Via The Gun Nut

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After Christian Chensvold received a handwritten note from author Tom Wolfe, complete with Wolfe’s manly signature, he was inspired to improve his handwriting and create his own signature signature. So he turned to a NYC-based calligraphy expert for help and some tips on how to do so, which he shares in this fun article.

Read: How to Get Yourself a Swashbuckling Signature (@Park & Bond)

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US Army First Lieutenant Todd W. Weaver wrote a letter to his wife and his baby daughter to be read in event of his death. His wife Emma found the documents on his computer when he was killed in September 2010 by an IED during his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. The letters are achingly sad and poignant reminders of the great sacrifice being born by our military and the need to cherish the ones we love in our lives, whether you’re a solider or civilian.

Weaver's widow had the letters superimposed on pictures of she and their baby.

Dear Emma

Dear Emma:

Well if you are reading this, I guess I did not make it home and therefore, I was not able to remind you again of how much I love you. I love you so much baby and I will always love you. Although I may not be here right now, take comfort in the fact that I am watching over you right now. I am not gone and I will always be with you in spirit. I know this time must be hard for you but I also know how strong you are. Never forget that God knew what was best for us before we were even born. Take comfort in that. This happened for a reason. Although you may not believe it now, you will one day.

I want you to know just how important you are to me. I could not ask for a more caring, beautiful and loving wife. The memories that we have shared over the last few years have been the best of my life. Although it may seem like my life was cut short, I lived a life that most can only dream of. I married the perfect woman. I have a beautiful daughter that amazed me every day. I even had two great dogs – at least most of the time. I couldn’t ask for anything more. If you feel sad, just think back to the memories that we shared. Look at our daughter and how beautiful she is.

Be strong for her. Remind her about her Daddy and tell her that I loved her more than anything else in the world. Her birth was the best day of my life and she was the best thing that ever happened to me. Her smile and laughter represent all that is good and beautiful in this world.

Tell her that Daddy is in heaven now and will watch over her and protect her every minute of every day. I love you Emma. But never be afraid to do what you need to do to be happy. It is so important that you continue to find happiness in your life. Although you may think this is impossible right now, have faith.

Much better times are coming. You and Kiley have a wonderful life ahead of you and I am so happy to have shared some of it with you.

I love you.
Your loving Husband,
Todd

________________

Dear Kiley

Dear Kiley, My Sweetie:

Although you may not remember me, I want you to know how very much your Daddy loves you. I left for Afghanistan when you were 9 months old. Leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. You are so very special to me sweetie – you are truly a gift from God. The best day of my life was the day you were born. Every time I saw you smile my heart would just melt. You were my sweetie – my life was not complete until you were born.

I am so sorry I will not be able to see you grow up. But remember, your Daddy is not gone. I am in heaven now smiling down on you every day. You are so very lucky to have such a wonderful Mom to take care of you. Make sure you are good for her and help her out whenever you can. Always remember to say your prayers at night and be thankful for all your many blessings. Never forget how important and special you are to so many people. We love you so very much. When you get older and start school, do your best and try to learn as much as you can about the world you live in. Always be nice and caring to others and you will discover that the world will be nice to you. But when things aren’t going your way, never forget that God knows what is best for you and everything will work out in the end.

You have such a bright and beautiful future ahead of you. Have fun. Enjoy it. And remember, your Daddy will always be proud of you and will always love you. You are and will always be my sweetie.

With very much love,
Your Daddy

Read more at the Mail Online

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Over the weekend, AoM readers flooded my inbox with this article from the Wall Street Journal called “Where Have the Good Men Gone?” It was written by Kay S. Hymowitz, who recently published a book entitled Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys.

In the WSJ article, Ms. Hymowitz laments that there are no longer good men out there, just a bunch of overgrown man boys. She then gives the same tired reasons for why American men aren’t doing so well today:  the economy, pop-culture, delayed marriage, video games, etc.

Personally, I’m getting tired of these “What’s wrong with men?” articles and books. I’ve lost count how many of them I’ve read over the past five years. I seriously have a bookshelf full of tomes on the subject. At first they were somewhat interesting–at least the place of men in society was being discussed and studied. But I feel like it’s just become an endless piling on. My biggest beef is that the authors typically don’t offer any solutions to the problem. Instead, they just pity these hapless men or laugh at them, but never try to help. Mostly because the solution–that men need to revive some of the lost virtues of manliness might seem sexist. The WSJ article says:

“What explains this puerile shallowness? I see it as an expression of our cultural uncertainty about the social role of men. It’s been an almost universal rule of civilization that girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, but boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors and providers. Today, however, with women moving ahead in our advanced economy, husbands and fathers are now optional, and the qualities of character men once needed to play their roles—fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity—are obsolete, even a little embarrassing.”

Those virtues are embarrassing? Embarrassing to whom? The truth is we need those virtues more than ever–they’re not just important in war and crisis, but in the every day decisions that we make, in how we lead our families, and build our communities.

These kinds of articles also always frame the issue in a way that makes all modern men seem like boobs, with the implication that all modern women are paragons of maturity and success (just look at the picture above that ran with the article!). Are men the only ones who need work? You would never see an article called, “Where Have All the Good Women Gone?”

Also, I have a feeling that these articles just perpetuate the low expectations that society has for young men today. The articles and books simply stereotype all men as loutish, clueless, neanderthals. If you want men to man up, we need to highlight the positive examples of masculinity in society and expect more from men instead of throwing up our hands and exclaiming “Men! What can you do?” How about an article on the fact that tens of thousands of men are extremely interested in bettering themselves these days? How about an article on the fact that while a lot of men grew up without a strong male mentor in their lives, and do in fact feel a little lost, they earnestly want to catch up on what they missed out on and are  eager to become the best husbands, brothers, and citizens they can be?

At AoM, we recognize that many young men are struggling today, but instead of just talking about the problem, we’ve made it a goal to provide the tools, information, and inspiration men need to improve their lives. We’ve also made an effort to highlight positive examples of manliness.

I’m really proud of the AoM Community that has built up these past few years. It’s an army of men who are sick of low expectations and unfair stereotypes. If women are wondering where all the good men have gone, then they simply haven’t met the men who I interact with every single day. Honorable men who are doing their best and who are dedicated to living a manly and virtuous life.

Thank you for being positive examples of manliness and your efforts in reviving the lost art of manliness. I know with all our efforts, we can improve the lives of men everywhere.

Read Where Have the Good Men Gone? – WSJ.com.

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Bill Clinton is (in)famous for the charisma he exudes. Countless stories exist of complete strangers (and even people who despised Clinton) leaving a first encounter with him feeling like they’ve known him for years.

What’s Clinton’s secret to his charisma?

According to Tim Ferris, it’s all about eye contact and understanding personal space. You can enhance your charisma skills by doing the following three things:

1. Practice Brief Eye Contact With Strangers

2. Master the Art of Personal Space

3. Practice Being Present

Read more about becoming insanely characteristic at Tim Ferris’ blog:

How It Works: Clinton’s “Reality Distortion Field” Charisma.

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Try free climbing a transmission tower that’s taller than the Empire State Building. This guy has some serious cojones.

Watch the video at i09.com: The Scariest Video You Have Ever Watched in the Name of Science. Be sure to watch the whole thing; it just gets crazier as you go along.

Hat tip: John Williamson

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