Sunday, April 17, 2005The other day I noticed this post at Mere Comments concerning the new phenomenon known as the "man date." The post quotes a New York Times piece defining the man date as the following:
Simply defined a man date is two heterosexual men socializing without the crutch of business or sports. It is two guys meeting for the kind of outing a straight man might reasonably arrange with a woman. Dining together across a table without the aid of a television is a man date; eating at a bar is not. Taking a walk in the park together is a man date; going for a jog is not. Attending the movie Friday Night Lights is a man date, but going to see the [New York] Jets play is definitely not.
I can't even begin to describe how silly this whole thing is. It's a "date" when two guys go eat? Of course it's a date in that two guys might set a time to get together for lunch or dinner. But we all know what's meant. Date means romance. We can't help ourselves, can we? Is this just a gross sexualization of society? Is this the gay-ing of society? I'm not making a statement about gay culture on way or the other, but gay culture has been elevated to some obscene level of prestige that anytime a man acts like something other than a redneck neandrethal, then he's left the burly confines of heterosexuality and is now floating in the ambiguous sea between staight and gay.
Remember the metrosexual? Certainly there's an excess at work here (dudes wearing makeup? No thanks.), but why in heaven's name do journalists feel the need to slap a label on people with suck reckless care? A straight guy with taste in music or clothes is no longer just a straight man; he's a metrosexual. He's into girls but he now has some gay sensibility. As though only gay men can dress well or appreciate a well-decorated apartment. This "man date" business is no different; two men can't have dinner. They have to have a date. What silly, obnoxious rhetoric.
Heterosexuals aren't without blame in this phenomenon. All the old talk about how real men don't do this or do that is nonsense. I like hunting, fishing, football, golf, guns, explosions and red meat. That doesn't make me more straight than I am when I go to an art museum or listen to jazz records. It's just what I do. None of these things say a thing about our identities as straight men. Sensible people, gay or straight, should reject this immature talk. Men having dinner is what it is; it is not a date. A man keeping a clean apartment or shopping at Banana Republic is not a mark of sexuality one way or the other. People are people and these sorts of social stigmas aren't helping anyone.
Lastly, the Touchstone staff got the following comment from one of their own concerning the man date. Pretty hilarious stuff:
Most of my man dates never get beyond foreplay. We eat beef jerky, engage in some provocative box-score exchanges, and then share meaningful bench-press exploits . . . But we never actually arm wrestle. (Sigh.)