• mind of man

Mind Of Man: You Are Not “Single” — You Are Ronin

“Single” does not mean “Unloved.” “Single” means “I’m making myself a magical pot of pasta and re-watching season three of ‘The Wire.’ What are you bringing to my dope-ass party?”

”Those are our cosmic marching orders from the top down: Beget while the begetting is good. If the universe is such a smarty, why did it make life so fragile that it has to perpetually procreate? The same universe that filled the suffocating void of space with fire and ice also made life pretty flimsy. Did it run out of materials? Why didn’t it just make us out of diamonds and granite? If we were more durable, maybe we wouldn’t have to follow such strict rules. Thankfully, what makes us human is our adorable penchant for occasionally ignoring our biology. We eat forbidden fruit. Build towers of Babel. LOLcats serve no specific evolutionary purpose.

There’s a big difference between being alone and solitude. Recognizing this difference is the first step in wresting control of your story from the cliché script pop science says we can’t help but follow. When you’re alone, you feel lonely. Unloved. “Single.” Loneliness is just not being able to stand the person you’re stuck with your whole life. And that person is you. Loneliness covets what others have and frequently instant message. Loneliness can feel like emptiness inside, but it’s the opposite. It’s more like a cavity – a damp hole that’s full of rotted hopes, selfish prayers, and fear.

Solitude, on the other hand, is our soul’s default setting. Solitude is being alone, but not lonely. Solitude is an art; it’s projecting an avatar of yourself in the inflatable bounce house of your mind and giving that version of you a hug. It’s building a secret garden and throwing up a gigantic golden door not to keep people out, but to see if there’s anyone clever enough to pick the lock. Being “single” does not, in fact, mean you are incomplete. It means you are totally complete. “Single” is not a brand that scars Facebook and dating site profiles. “Single” does not mean “Unloved.” “Single” means “I’m making myself a magical pot of pasta and re-watching season three of ‘The Wire.’ What are you bringing to my dope-ass party?”

Men don’t fear the “single” label. We have our own issues and fears, but they are likewise illusory, socially created scarecrows, and generally deal with how every man is a falcon, a mighty falcon everyone wants to pluck! I’ll just go ahead and save that generalizing rant for another day. Men don’t mind being “single,” because we have mythologies that celebrate the whole notion of being on your own. Woman, you are not “single.” You are “Ronin.” Now, I know what the overwhelmingly female readership who frequent The Frisky are thinking, Do you mean nerd legend Frank Miller’s 1983 dystopian sci-fi comic book epic Ronin or the gritty 1998 cloak-and-dagger classic “Ronin” starring Robert De Niro? No on both points, ladies!

I am referring to the Ronin of medieval Japan. Ronin are samurai, the mighty warrior class who wield razor-sharp katana swords with fatal grace and serve at the pleasure of a feudal lord. Specifically, however, Ronin are samurai who have no master or lord, either because said lord was killed or disposed. They were free agents of badass. Granted, the most famous Ronin died avenging the murder of their master. But Ronin could also just, you know, stroll around the countryside, drinking tea and writing poetry about nature’s splendor, and hacking off the arms of bandits and nogoodniks. They are alone, and answer to no one. Ronin are serene and powerful, merciful and courageous. Ronin live that ancient Zen saying, “Que sera, sera.” A Ronin respectfully bows before kingdoms wild and civilized so that he may peacefully pass and resume strolling along the path he is forging for himself. Now, re-read that last rambling sentence and replace each “he” with a “she.” See? You’re not single. The world needs you, not the other way around. Sit and breathe. Defend the weak. Stop to salute the lotus flower. Roam the world and never feel alone. You are Ronin – you answer to no one. Your heart is your only master.

Follow John DeVore’s preening narcissism on Twitter.

Mind Of Man: Nix Sex With An Ex

Sex with an ex is a really bad idea. Whoever came up with the concept of “breakup sex” was either a pathetic masochist or just lazy. Breakup sex isn’t just “one more for the road.” It’s being given a delicious cupcake, then having it slapped out of your mouth. Breakup sex is a fluffy, comfy pillow for you to rest your head on while your neck is in the guillotine. I don’t think you understand me.

Let me rephrase: breakup sex is like getting viciously mugged, then running after the assailant because he forgot to take your watch. I imagine vampires always have breakup sex, because sex with a vampire is always melancholy, awkward, and then there are the tears of blood. Keep reading »

Mind Of Man: What’s Your Sign?

Call me The Brostrologer. I can tell how a woman will be in bed just by finding out her astrological sign. It’s true. I’m not a student of astrology. I actually know very little about it. To me, stars are just what your father stole from the sky and put in your eyes. They are also giant balls of nuclear fire burning brightly in the inky infinity of space. Besides helping ancient mariners navigate, they serve no practical Earthly purpose, save to twinkle and occasionally fall. But enough about celestial aesthetics. In fact, I don’t even really believe in astrology (no offense to house sorceress Kiki T.). I also don’t believe in ghosts, Bigfoot, or conspiracy theories. To add to that list: I don’t believe in reiki, the prophecies of Nostradamus, or the words “fat free.” Keep reading »

Mind Of Man: How To “Talk” To Your Man

Brevity is the soul of relationship talks. The shortest distance between two hearts is a straight line. Don’t be a blabbercheeks. I don’t think I’m being clear: When you are discussing important issues with your significant other, keep the conversation short and sweet and to the point. One of the great male stereotypes is that men loathe having to talk about anything serious. That dudes would prefer a forced eel colonic to sitting down and hashing out our feelings. Part of this stereotype is the notion that men are scared of their emotions. This is actually partially true. We are scared of our emotions, and that’s why we respect them. Emotions can make a man feel like a soaring kite one moment and a gym sock full of warm parfait the next. Keep reading »

Mind Of Man: I Want To Grow A Sweet Mustache

I always wanted to grow a mustache. Fearsome pimp whiskers. To me, the mustache is to masculinity what long, flowing tresses are to femininity. Aphrodite’s long hair was the source of her sexual authority, which she’d comb while sitting inside her pet oyster “Chester.” Aries, God of the pointy phallus and the shield, wore a ‘stache no doubt soaked in the blood of a minotaur. This ideal was implanted in me at a young age. Growing up, there were three men who defined manliness. To a little kid, being manly was being a hero. Not that a woman or a girl couldn’t be a hero, but it was more likely that I grew up to be a man who helped those in need than a woman who would help those in need. Keep reading »

Mind Of Man: Why Men Use The “G” Word

I recently made a gay joke, and I should know better. Actually, I made two, and one of the jokes backfired. For guys, the term “gay” is an adjective that means “not masculine.” Chamomile tea? Gay. “Wicked: The Musical”? Gay. Capri pants? Gay. In the new bombshell Rolling Stone article about General Blabber and his knitting circle of kvetching combat hens, one of his aides refers to a diplomatic meeting with the French as “gay,” as if the talks were to be conducted with mimes wearing pink berets. I’ll kindly remind that while the French can be over-intellectualizing flowers, they did manage to invent the fist execution machine, write the blueprint for the modern military dictator, and ran a colonialist, mercenary army. Not to mention, inspire the first cartoon skunk rapist.

“That’s so gay” is an insult, a pop cultural punch-line, and a casual, socially acceptable form of prejudice. Prejudice is fear on the offense. It will never cease to amaze me how even the beefiest, baldest, baseball-cap wearing frat-beast is utterly terrified, and convinced, that every gay man in a half-mile radius has a zombie hunger for his junk. To be fair, it’s terror, and just a little bit of vanity … that traditionally feminine vice. Keep reading »

Mind Of Man: Funny Women Are A Natural Resource

Mind of Man

According to highly scientific polls, 15 percent of women think staring is cheating, 45 percent have tried the “fingernail” diet, and 99 percent rate a sense of humor as the sexiest trait a man can have (the remaining 1 percent picked “sparkle”). When such pop statisticians ask men the same question, they usually respond “boobs.” Judging from this inequality of opinion, one could conclude that women are selfless flowers who find self-awareness attractive and that men are shallow. This is not entirely untrue. That women prize a guy who can laugh at himself and all the unpredictable absurdities that life throws at you is great news to bros with bellies who can belch the melody to “Paparazzi.” I like to think of this as an evolutionary gift; otherwise, the females of the species would have been left having to choose equally matched mates by their ability to fling poop. Keep reading »

Mind Of Man: The Best Part Of Breaking Up

The best part of a breakup is wallowing. There are five stages immediately following a breakup, and they aren’t denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. They are as follows: shock, blubbering, wallowing, staring blankly at walls, and finally, dancing. The final stage is usually preceded by a music montage featuring upbeat adult contemporary music, a shopping spree, and a night out with your best slutty friend. But of all these stages, the one I enjoy the most is wallowing. It’s the best part of breaking up or getting dumped, because there is no such thing as a “mutual breakup.” That concept is strictly for the press. One party always wants the breakup a little more than the other party. Not that I’m advocating dramatic split-ups that resemble NASCAR fireballs. But one person is always left sniffing a forgotten, leftover sleeping shirt, searching for a whiff of their lover’s familiar funk. The wishbone never cracks completely in two. Keep reading »

Mind Of Man: I Don’t Totally Despise “Sex And The City”

“Sex and the City” is female wish fulfillment. But then again, “Iron Man” is male wish fulfillment. Women wish they could wear haute couture; men wish they could wear a flying robot suit. But such daydreams are just the candy shell of the Blow Pop. The bubblegum at the center isn’t that different from many of my favorite manly movies and television shows. The evil Emperor called Luke Skywalker’s faith in his friends his greatest weakness. But it was Skywalker’s greatest strength; the “Star Wars” movies are about friendships, loyalties, fighting monsters with people who will watch your back no matter what. Likewise, “Sex and the City” is a big wish: that we are not alone in our life’s adventure. You can’t choose your family. Romantic love is fleeting. Friends are forever. Keep reading »

Mind Of Man: Why Men Cry

Men don’t cry. We squint. Boys might be made out of snips and snails and puppy dog tails, but men are made out of leather and steel and “Hungry Man” meals. Kick us in the baby wallet and we might keel over. Let forth a grizzly’s roar. But cry? Men have three basic emotions: The Wave, Hulk, and whiskey. Our hearts are fist-sized beer kegs. Tears are just cowardly beads of sweat too scared to jump off our brow when sawing wood.

I’ve heard tales of some men who’ve cried when laid off. Which is nowhere in the man manual. When laid off, a man makes eye contact, shakes hands, and then calmly walks to bar where he plots revenge.

When a woman does us wrong, do we weep? Ha! We turn up AC/DC. Pull the curtains. Turn off the lights. Stand in the shower with our clothes on. Oh, did you think we got misty when you laid us off from the love factory? Well, you were completely right. Women have two tear glands: one to keep their peepers moist, the other to flood whenever Nicholas Sparks gives someone cancer. Our eyes were misting because that’s how they work, like automatic sprinklers on a golf course. That’s how we keep the ol’ skull cams lubricated in their sockets. When I buried my first dog, I bravely bid little Falkor good journey to Valhalla, the Viking afterlife. The last time I went to the optometrist, I sucked the medicinal eye droplets that were rolling down my cheeks back up into my face. I am that disciplined.

But as always, when it comes to platitudinous declarations, there are exceptions.

I’ve heard tales of some men who’ve cried when laid off. Which is nowhere in the man manual. When laid off, a man makes eye contact, shakes hands, and then calmly walks to bar where he plots revenge.

I suppose some cry at movies like “Rudy,” or “Braveheart,” or any of the “Friday the 13th” movies. Those dope-smoking camp sluts killed Jason’s mommy! I remember watching that scene in “The Empire Strikes Back” when Han Solo bravely prepares himself to be carbon frozen. My right eye twitched. It’s theoretically possible that men cry listening to country music, but dive bars are dark for a reason and no one can see you in your pick-up truck, the window rolled down and the night air whipping past your face. There are dogs worth crying over, I suppose. Living proof that licks are the real language of love.

Did I mention there are aberrations to my theory? At least personally? I didn’t? Maybe I’ve cried. I can’t remember if I’ve written about instances where such an improbable, but not impossible, event occurred. I don’t actually know how to read, so I can’t really tell you. Okay. So. Here it goes. I didn’t exactly cry when my father died. I snuck into the ICU and touched his cold foot and then I politely removed my skin and wrung it dry. And I’ve wept for a very simple reason. Because I wasn’t the man I wanted to be. A good man. An honest man. A man who didn’t keep his promises. Only the future cares about apologies.

A man who failed to cradle a loved one’s heart as if it were a football made of glass. Who is forced to keep the company of wreckage. Whose regret turns his bones to ice. A man sobbing softly because the road before him is long, dark, lonely, and there’s no turning back. The fire was set, and his words can’t extinguish them. But he sobs because he’s afraid that deep down, he never will be that man his father told him to be. I have been that man. Those tears will never be shed again. I can still feel their scars on my eyelids.

Follow John DeVore’s preening narcissism on Twitter.

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