Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa, On a Horse

The Manhood Series: What I’ve Learned About Manhood Thus Far

Jose Vilson Jose 4 Comments

Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa, On a Horse

It’s no secret that this manhood series that been intensely personal for me. After reading the latest Esquire issue from cover to cover (June  July 2010 featuring Tom Cruise), I decided to engage in an exercise entitled “What I’ve Learned: Jon Farveau.” I can’t say I’ve had the same life experience or years as the famous actor and director. I do want to end this asynchronous series with a bit of reflection on what I’ve learned about manhood, navigating my way towards an august version of myself.

  • I’m still conflicted as to whether having my father “present” full-time would have done me good or not. When I was younger, I wished desperately for his presence, but as a man, I see that sometimes, things just don’t work out. Even with both parents around.
  • Men try too hard to unlock the mystery of “woman,” and hope somehow that one key works for all. Trust me: it doesn’t.
  • All the cartoons and commercials of yesteryear were wrong: cleanliness for men is extremely important.
  • I still remember my first “crush” but the affinity for her wore off after my first kiss. Mainly because it wasn’t the same girl.
  • I think we desperately need more male teachers, but if they’re only going to be used as people in power, then it’s a waste.
  • I’ve always hated fights, but there isn’t a more furious fight than the one against myself to better myself. That’ll never end.
  • Too many men crack their necks trying to check women out. Yes, it’s warm outside and clothes are more scarce. Yet, I don’t see the need to get wound up like that anymore. My brother, my cousin, and I used to have secret hand codes for that sort of thing. Kept us on our toes. Nowadays, I’m old enough to realize that there’ll be “another one.” Usually.
  • There’s something incredibly alluring about dating an older woman. It’s not just the danger and breaking of social norms as it is that, when you teach her something, she’s got a bigger reaction than if she taught you. Plus, they’re more natural and within themselves. And no, I’m not dating Betty White.
  • I don’t like movies that just blow up stuff and kill people anymore. It’s gotta come at me with a realistic plot, and a lingering message, even if I can’t quite write about that feeling later.
  • Porn is overrated.
  • Ladies, when accompanied by men, should still be on the safer side of the sidewalk. Not even if you’re trying to sell her (jokes!).
  • Nowadays, looking like you’re not trying hard to look good is the best look of all. The right t-shirt and jeans combination goes a long way.
  • Back when I first started on Compuserve (who even uses that anymore?), I wanted to run with the nickname “Iconoclast.” It’s not that I want to break down idols; I just don’t believe in idol worship. I love Martin, Malcolm, Che, et. al., but at some point, men have to find themselves in their rendition of previous men.
  • The first man to ever teach me that it was OK to cry was Mark Jackson (current NBA on TNT commentator and former Knicks / Pacers guard). I remember how passionately he discussed his father’s passing in the playoffs, and it spoke to me. I still carry those lessons on to this day.
  • It’s OK to critique so long as you’re helping to build. If you’re just hating to hate, then you have no business doing it to begin with.
  • Men are dumb. We use whatever intelligence we have to make up for these egregious faults, but we neither have the blood or mental capacity to sustain this Earth, much less a relationship. We make tons of mistakes, and most men probably agree that there’s at least one woman in their life who they don’t feel they deserve.
  • I don’t have children, but if the children from my class were any indication, I should be alright as a father.
  • “There is usually nothing wrong with compromise in a situation, but compromising yourself in a situation is another story completely.” – Immortal Technique

Jose, who’ll start something new manaña.

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 4

  1. Hugh O'Donnell

    “Men are dumb.”

    I must agree with that, mostly because we appear that way when contrasted with women.

    Just wanted to drop by and say, “Hey!” and let you know I’m still on the job, but have been maintaining a low profile while our District lurches toward standards-based grading — and we’re in the midst of certified negotiations (in this Great Recession). I promise I’ll fill you in on the drama. :D

  2. e.

    that fatherhood point hit home, i often think of this in my research, but i doubt it’d be popular to say, hey sometimes, dads should just scram. seems to go against everything i’ve worked on so far.

    mad i’m so late with the series, checking it all out now.

  3. AnacostiaYogi

    Great! Definitions for manhood, and masculinity are shifting (for the better). This is proof.

    The self reflective male perspective is soooo fascinating and such a pleasant detour from the preoccupation with the “what men want/think/feel” dialogue.

    Reading this, I have realized that the closest male teacher I have ever had was my Sunday School Teacher who was also a principle. Taught me basic tenets for success

Leave a Reply