On Masculinity

“And then he passed out,” Brielle concluded. “I swear, he does the dumbest things sometimes.”

“A friend of mine once told me,” Mr Magundi said, “that the male half of our species is really made up of two sexes. She called them ‘men’ and ‘guys.’ The difference, she said, was in the permanence of their masculinity. A man’s masculinity is simply a genetic fact; he never has to think or worry about it. But a guy’s masculinity is conditional. The most insignificant things can cause him to lose it, and then he can win it back only by doing something extraordinarily stupid or destructive. A guy can lose his masculinity if he drives a station wagon, or if he lets a school bus pass him on the highway; he can lose it if he is forced to sing in public, or—like your boyfriend—if he refuses another drink when the rest of the guys are still drinking. Most vandals are guys who need to prove that they still have their masculinity; for the same reason, the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are male. Most of the wars in the world can be explained as groups of guys desperately trying to preserve their masculinity. Women and men build up civilization, but guys tear down civilization, because they can lose their masculinity by being too civilized. I don’t normally give personal advice, Brielle, but I’d seriously suggest that, when the time comes, you should marry a man and not a guy.”


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