Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dude, Grow Up! - The Infantalization of the American Male

Help Control the Dude Population, Have Your Frat Boys Spayed or Neutered

A Grumpy Old Man Post ©

“Lather was thirty years old today.
They took away all of his toys.
His mother sent newspaper clippings to him,
About his old friends who'd stopped being boys.” – Grace Slick

“I won't grow up,
I don't want to wear a tie.
And a serious expression
In the middle of July….
Never gonna be a man, I won't!
Like to see somebody try and make me…
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me, Not I” – Carolyn Leigh

I’m hesitant to Benedict Arnold my own species, my own genus, my own gender but… let’s face the ugly and honest truth, modern American men do not grow up.  A mature male “stars and striper” is a rarer phenomenon than a college graduate at a Tea Party rally, a clever line in a Chuck Lorre sitcom, a Palin purchasing contraceptives, or an organic fruit bowl at a Monsanto reception.  For some difficult to determine, but definitively post-World War II period, we XYs have heeded the lyrics of Mr. Zimmerman, and we may stay forever young. The Toms, Dicks, Harrys, Ethans and Aidans of the lower 48, plus Alaska and Hawaii, will ever reside in Neverland.

It’s the End of the World as We Know it

The responsible, self-reliant, independent American adult male has gone the way of the travel agent, Intellivision, Daniel J. Travanti, the compassionate Republican, the intelligent Republican, the charitable Republican and an audience for NBC – something now long extinct. Rather, we have devolved into a nation of beer-guzzling, pot-smoking, video game-playing, eternal frat boys in search of their man caves.

Modern Man Casual Wear
And what in Great Caesar’s Ghost (thank you, Perry White) is a man cave anyway, from whence does that terminology arise? If I see another 45 year old, father of two Sales Rep. on House Hunters rebuff possible and promising abodes protesting, bemoaning and almost tearfully decrying the lack of wall acreage to hang his 60 inch 3D LED TV or the insufficient space for the foosball table and kegerator he shares with his bros on the weekend; while his wife, by law, but his mother-figure, in practice, silently contemplates the potential damage of divorce on the future of their offspring,  I’m likely to go all Elvis on my own Samsung 1080i.

Instead of the fictional phraseology, “man cave” from here forward we shall refer to the babyish barricade in more valid verbiage – as a fort, a boy fort, your “He-Man Woman Haters Club.” Spare the basement or the extra room in the split level from your Delta House doings and instead build a tree house. Build a tree house in your backyard, adorn the exterior with a “no girls allowed” sign, and make sure, as is prerequisite, that the “s” is printed backwards. Now, feel free to flee family and commitment for your devoted and most faithful and fidelis paramours, your man/boyhood companions in childishness.

Friends, I know of what I speak for I am nycityman, and like the abject wretches already alluded too, also, a modern American male, remaining immature and juvenile far past the suitable expiration date. But, unlike so many others, I have the advantage of years and life experience, and so the ability to acknowledge and accept the frequent faults innate to arrested adolescence, feel appropriately remorseful and attempt to adjust conduct accordingly. Thus, for example, the boorish and interminably, irritating annoyance “dude” will never be present in any sentence, exclamation or utterance in any era in which I am still of sound mind, without threat of life, limb or property. I am not a dude. You are not a dude. This is not a ranch, and we are hardly cowpoke.

Modern Man Office Wear
Like Dr. Frankenstein, Let’s Make You a Man

If, as they say, it is indeed accurate that clothes make the man, then let us commence our metamorphosis with an examination and replacement of present infantile apparel, which begs the query – just when did mankind as a classification, and as a social animal, deteriorate to the degree that shorts and flip flops could be considered respectable and accepted adult male attire, fitting for any time of year, for any occasion or for any destination – be it church, work, weddings, theatre, dinner or dates?

Please purchase the following three necessary articles of clothing - some real shirts, some real shoes, and some real pants. Perplexed, dude? I will clarify. Shirts for grown-ups generally have buttons, collars and long sleeves, and should not and will not include weak witticisms, such as, “I’m with stupid,” “free mustache rides,” nor the logo featuring the prime product produced by your favorite brewery.

Shoes should be manufactured from leather, not plastic or rubber, and contain within, the entire foot. Do not arrive at my office or to the adjoining table at my favored brasserie in footwear designed for running along the beach in the opening credits of Baywatch.

Lastly, but no less essential, by “pants” we are looking for legs that will extend beyond the knee, and reach completely down to brush the top of your newly acquired, and always polished, Florsheims.

Modern Man Formal Wear

Should we American men continue upon our current course, rejecting maturity, and refusing behavioral responsibility, dependability or conscientiousness what is the hope for the successful future of our country and society? If we remain continually a Republic of children endlessly entranced by Grand Theft Auto we will lose out in this global economy and competitive world to men from other nations whose cultures demand, despite the pain and difficulty sometimes involved, that they genuinely reflect their correct chronology. With a land full of mostly Adam Sandler-esque man/boys who, no matter the age or generation, always feel, if push comes to shove and the need arises, they can still move back home with Mommy and Daddy, even if the folks are now requiring the use of Hoverounds and Acorn Stair Lifts (actually, mores the better as those needed medical appliances can now serve as new playthings for the re-nested) the recently exhibited Tea Party political behaviors and strategies of holding one’s breath, stamping one’s feet and weeping in spoiled frustration will become de rigueur deportment, and an expected element in this realm of supposed Exceptionalism.

American Man Then
American Man Now

You read the lyrics at the outset, now enjoy the songs, as we close with Jefferson Airplane performing “Lather,” and from the musical Peter Pan, “I Won’t Grow Up.”

Any comments, questions, criticisms, compliments, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Stout-Hearted Men: Days of a Dandy

Male Bonding at the House of Brews

But You Doesn’t Has to Call Me Johnson

“Oh Dandy, Dandy,
When you gonna’ give up?
Are you feeling old now?
You always will be free” – Ray Davies

“Stout-hearted men
Can stick together man to man” – Oscar Hammerstein II

A Dandy: also known as a beau or gallant - a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance and refined language. Historically, especially in late 18th and early 19th-century Britain, a dandy, who was self-made, often strove to imitate an aristocratic lifestyle despite coming from a middle-class background.

In the spirit of full disclosure, our tale will, at least, commence factually, and then at some juncture most certainly veer off of the turnpike of truth and the highway of honesty, onto the boulevard of bull and the avenue of exaggeration. When precisely the GPS of genuineness leads us astray is something we will uncover concurrently and, one hopes, that mutual discovery will serve to bring us all even closer together. Love is all you need.

It was a Friday, a slow Friday. Lacking any enlivening or exhilarating objectives and feeling a need for some form of activity, I meandered into my friendly neighborhood watering-hole where I oft-times find myself, not for the potables, but for the congenial and convivial camaraderie – minimally imbibing myself, of course, but in attendance as more of a positive presence to persuade other more weak-willed individuals of the wrongness of their behavior – kind of a 21st century Carrie Nation, if you will, sans hatchet, and naturally, substantially prettier.  And, there you have it, any attempt at reality already forsaken as it’s fairly more feasible that I was on-site in order to fulfill a desperate and despairing desire for several pints of Brooklyn Lager (unpaid/unremunerated non-celebrity endorsement.)  But as it was a time ago, and as life is so full, so rich and so active, it can be hard to recall such trivial and negligible details as momentary motivation.

As any tavern attendee can attest,  after an order or two of one’s selected spirit, the bloke with the equine begs conversation, the asp require egress and the vicar awaits, palm pleasantly extended;  so off to the gents it is – and, perhaps not unexpectedly, here’s where our yarn spins slightly askew.

Not to delve deliberately into detail, but I have always deemed the deed in which I was partaking to be a personal pursuit. Disappointingly, many designers of the men’s lounge seem to think it as more of a communal activity and one in which we should all share.  I prefer my pissoir performance primarily private, my urination unobserved, and not for the prying and peering lenses of paparazzi, TMZ or my fellow pub patrons; but the accommodations were hardly abandoned and so the quarters were as tight as a 5 star entry in Elliot Spitzer’s Rolodex.  And hence we found ourselves, shoulder to shoulder and bolder and bolder, two stout-drinking and stout-hearted men, when my comrade in answering  nature’s call turns in my direction (happily not his entire frame in my direction) takes in my attire and states, “you know what we are, you and I? We’re both dandies!”

Heinous Hollywood Dandy, Adolphe Menjou
 Now, perhaps I just don’t know how to accept accolades and admiration, and perhaps my dumbfounded stunned silence in response was an overreaction;  but the House of Brews loo seemed neither the appropriate time nor place to be exchanging complimentary conversation with a fellow XY. Standing there, side by side by Sondheim, John Thomas’s exposed and living free and easy, is generally a circumstance in which one stays more commonly to themselves; a rare moment of peace, a chance to look inward, a time of reflection, of singing to oneself quietly, or of recalling lists of things to do - but not normally a period for witty banter or repartee, or for comparisons of any sort. In regards to the "we're both dandies" commentary, this I cannot knowledgably address, for I observed proper protocol and did not reciprocate the apparel ogling and scrutinizing. 

Modern Dandy, Raymond J. Johnson Jr. You can call him Ray, or you can call him Jay...

 And why flattery in 19thcentury jargon - by all outward appearances the chappy did not seem to be from an earlier age?  Yet, despite his contemporary façade, he used the terminology, “dandy.” Should I have rejoined, “nay, my fine fellow, I am certainly no dandy. Charge me with thy term rapscallion, rake or even fop. But dandy I take offense to?” In retrospect, would a challenge to a duel, flintlock pistols at 20 paces, have been a fitting response?

To clarify for any women amongst the readership, from my understanding, men’s rooms and women’s rooms present substantially dissimilar environs.  Apparently, ladies rooms are superior to most New York City apartments, with couches,  large, well-lit mirrors,  seating areas, shelves to place needed accoutrements, big screen TV’s, open bars and masseurs. They are, by all accounts, perpetual personal paradises.  Men’s rooms, on the contrary, are basically holes in which things can go and then be disposed of; where one deals with the business at hand and then disperses as quickly as possible.

But, the relevant concluding question is, is nycityman indeed a dandy - a relic of a past era, an artifact from an ancient epoch, a remnant of long-forgotten days?  So, I happen to possess the footwear pictured. Is that walking stick representative of a dandy? (Hmm, a query that fairly answers itself, I suppose.) And I stock more waistcoats than the cloak room at Versailles and enough fedoras to supply a Broadway revival of “The Front Page.” That doesn’t make me a dandy.
"Maybe I didn't do such a wonderful thing, after all."

Okay, as I mature and the years pass, maybe I am hurtling dangerously toward dandy-ism, with mustache wax, silk ascots and straw bowlers all items destined as future acquisitions; but I do request, if so moved out of kindness and unavoidable observation to praise such sartorial garnishes, let’s reserve that tête-à-tête for areas outside of the sensitive domain of the lavatory, and the next round will be on me.

Today’s tomfoolery closes with a pair of artists destined for performance and concert stages together – the Kinks perform, “Dandy” and Nelson Eddy sings, “Stout-Hearted Men" (listen to Nelson holding on to that note from about 1:33 in - you've got to love it.)

 Any comments, questions, criticisms, compliments, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Song of Rafael - Killing a Country on Cruz Control

"Okay, who hates America? Raise your hand."
“I got fury in my soul
Fury's gonna take me to the glory goal 
In my mind
I can't study war no more
Save the people
Save the children
Save the country, now” – Laura Nyro

As of the date of this publication, our government is still shut down and the minute minority of the regressive, radical-right remains ruling the roost, while Canadian Cruz continues as uncrowned, craven king of the crazies.

A tidbit of a taste of the consequences in merely these last few days; just some results of this repugnant Republican reprobation –
800,000 government employees have been furloughed, while another 1.5 million essential workers must remain on duty, and in both situations, sans salary.
In the sphere of safety there are some startling and concerning particulars as the FDA is cutting back on food inspections, the EPA can’t currently monitor pollution or pesticides, the Labor Department has curtailed enforcement of workplace safety regulations, and the Center of Disease control has ceased, well, controlling disease – now, take a nice, big healthy breath of fresh air, shake a neighbors hand, and dig into that apple.

New, more accurate party logo
But luckily, on the plus side, with this intrusive, socialist, expensive, big brother government on lockdown, we are surely socking away savings like Scrooge at a Costco. Well, perhaps on Fox News, but in this solar system, the government shutdown is costing American taxpayers 150 million dollars a day, all thanks to the largesse and illogical logic of Ted Cruz and the celebrated, and famously fiscally-conservative GOP .

For Cruz and Boehner and Cantor and those of their icky ilk, who detest our government and despise America in their current incarnations, and express such daily, in ways both direct and subtle – rather than serve people and institutions so abhorrent, why not migrate to a locale more suiting their repellant temperaments? As the GOP is so smitten and man-crushed with Vladimir Putin, and lovingly view him as such a worthy world leader and one who has so outshone and outclassed our President, may I suggest Russia – a Tea-Publican Wonderland who’s leaders  persecute and oppress the identical populace that Conservatives do.

Tea Party Pin-up Vladimir Putin
Sometimes you can just picture the Republicans twisting the ends of their big, black waxed mustaches and laughing loud with evil glee, as they tie damsels to train tracks, kick puppies and deprive children of food and needed medical care. Their masters, the Koch brothers, pat their heads, and smile wide in proud approval, and Ted Cruz, their most powerful puppet, destroys a Democracy, with delirious dreams of a purchased Pennsylvania Avenue occupancy.

Role Model, Snidely Whiplash

 A Song of Rafael

He sallied forth from north of the border
With goals to create chaos and disorder
To break down a country
And rebuild it again
As a place only fitting for wealthy white men

Se nombre, Rafael
But he must go by Ted
Use his real Cuban name
His career would be dead.
In a Tea Party realm
For a Tea Party base
Where you’re only worthwhile
With a Caucasian face.
We must all be the same
No blacks, no browns, no yellows, no reds
Lest the Red Queen exclaim
Off with their heads

Palin can vouch for your brain and your wit
Congrats, you're endorsed by our land's biggest twit
You share the same loathing, you share the same scorn
You wish ill on others,
That is, once they are born.

So, he sneers, he scowls, he boasts and he brags
As the poor beg on streets, coins in torn paper bags
And the middle class fail, ‘til they owe so much debt
They may linger in jail
But he’ll feel no regret

The needy, the starving, the children, the ill
His Right will not pass a compassionate bill.
Best to shutter the state, best to close down the vault
They continue to say it’s the powerless fault

          The point of this pointlessness
The reason for pain
Only Rafael's selfish and personal gain

Presidential aspirations, political machinations, societal deviations
Until nothing but elites, Kochs and Romneys remain

"Say goodnight, Gracie..."

Now, enjoy the much missed Fifth Dimension with their recording of a Laura Nyro classic, “Save the Country.”