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Friday, April 1, 2011

What a man should be

The Heinlein quotation in the previous post has inspired me to define my own version of an ideal man:

A man should be able to take criticism without getting angry; and should be able to criticize constructively, without stirring anger.

A man should be able to get along with a wide variety of people, and like at least half.

A man should show the same manners to a waiter as to a billionaire. 

By the age of 30, a man should be able to spot a liar, and should be able to distinguish between his friends and enemies.

A man wouldn't be human if did not on occasion indulge in all of the seven deadly sins -- wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. But he should not let any of them take control of his life.

More importantly, a man should never use high-sounding excuses to excuse his indulgence in any of those sins.

A man should not be impulsive; but should be able to act quickly when necessary. 

A man should appreciate the visceral appeal of machismo, and feel it in his gut. He should also understand its essential silliness.

A man should be proud. But it should be a quiet kind of pride, that doesn't push him into foolish risks. 

A man should never judge others by their race, gender, sexuality, intelligence, or looks. Nor should he pretend that differences correlating with those do not exist.

No matter how intellectual he is, a man should have some physical aspect to his life that he challenges himself with.

A man should be able to make love in such a way that his partner gets at least as much satisfaction as he does.

A man should never expect more of others than he does of himself.

A man should be able to admit when he is wrong. 

A man should not continually put off unpleasant work.

A man should have a grand passion which fulfills no practical purpose.

A man should be able to laugh at himself.

Looking at this list the next morning (I wrote it last night), it seems to give off a faint air of self-righteous pomposity, and have an almost Biblical tone. Perhaps I should have called it "The Seventeen Commandments."


Anonymous said...

Contemporary competition for Kipling!

John Craig said...

G --
I'd forgotten about that!

I should rewrite this post so that it rhymes. (And, maybe, sing a bit more, as Kipling's did.)