Macho Macho Men

October 1, 2012

 

In addition to establishing the world’s first man cave, my Dad is an extremely macho guy. A mixture of The Fonz, Burt Reynolds and with a little Dirty Harry and Charles Bronson thrown in for good measure, he truly is the last of a dying breed that eats red meat, smokes non-filtered cigarettes and still doesn’t understand why “those tree hugging animal lovers” disapprove of his leather jackets and alligator cowboy boots.

He thinks the metrosexual movement is a sissy response to emotional men not being to control their emotions during “chick flicks” and that wearing a shirt with “one of those damn horses on it” is worse than a Nazi war camp bar code tattoo. He is of a different time; one that has always seemed to elude me.

When my brothers and I were young, we’d sit inside Dad’s old beat up white Pontiac Grand Prix (that we un-affectionately called The Titanic) and stare in wonder as he stood outside the car, pumping gas with one hand and smoking a cigarette with the other. He’d look up at one of the many ‘No Smoking’ signs and exhale a large plume of smoke as if to say, ‘Don’t worry, I’m man enough to survive an explosion.’

Another time when I was growing up, I was playing on the jungle gym in our front yard. Being gangly and awkward, I fell, smashed my head on the ground and ended up in the Emergency Room. Turned out there was nothing wrong with me, but since we had been there so long, Mom and Dad decided to pick up some fast food on the way home. We pulled up to the McDonald’s drive thru and my eyes fixated on the current Happy Meal toy accessories: Hot Wheels. Being me, I didn’t want the fire-red corvette intended for the boy, but instead the hot pink VW convertible with flowers emblazoned on the front hood. After begging and pleading with Mom and even grabbing my arm and wincing in pain to gain sympathy, she acquiesced and asked Dad to order two boy Happy Meals for my brothers and a girl one for me. Dad rolled down his window and when asked for his order he shouted out “Yeah, give me three of those things the kids eat.” When asked for the sex, he responded “Ah, hell. I don’t care.” At the time I was mortified, but in the years that have followed, I realized that Dad wasn’t embarrassed to order his nancy boy son a girl Happy Meal, he was embarrassed at all to order a Happy Meal. Maybe he was afraid the checkout girl would think he wasn’t man enough to eat at Big Mac; or maybe didn’t want to give the illusion that he had emotions. Who knows…

But the best expression of Dad’s macho man-ness happened when I was in college. He and Mom came to visit me my freshman year and they took me out to dinner. As usual, I ordered too much food and had to take my desert home in a doggie bag. As we were getting ready to leave, I asked Dad to hold my left overs while I fished through my backpack for my car keys. “I’m not holding that,’ he said as if I had just asked him to grab onto a stick of lit dynamite. I stared at him, wondering why he couldn’t fulfill this most simple request when Mom turned to me and explained “Real men finish their meals, dear.”

So anyway, I finished college, moved away from my parents and, until recently thought Dad was really the last of the Macho Macho Men.

But that was, until I moved to the south.

I was on the Park-N-Ride bus with other home bound travelers at the airport, driving through the sea of cars in the parking lot. The attendant would call out row numbers, prompting car owners to shout out the make, model and color of their cars. I heard “White Ford Truck” and “Silver Audi A4” and such. When the bus was about half empty they bus driver shouted out “Row 6D” and a Bumpkin (for more clarification, please read Inexperienced Air Travelers) piped up “Cadillac.” Not satisfied with the level of information provided, the driver simply asked “Make and model, sir?” Bumpkin did not reply. The driver repeated his question and Bumpkin finally answered “It’s one of them make up cars.” That was when his wife elbowed him and, as proudly as a mother on her child’s graduation day from Harvard said “It’s a pink Mary Kay Cadillac. I’m the top sales person in the district.”

I chuckled to myself, knowing that even though this Bumpkin was definitely a macho macho man, things had softened a bit since Dad’s time…Dad wouldn’t have ever, and still to this day, been seen in a pink car, let alone allow Mom to announce its color to a bus full of strangers. He would have preferred to walk to and from the airport instead.

My advice to Macho Macho Men:

The sexual revolution is over and you lost. Suck it up and learn to cry.

My advice to everyone else:

If you have a Macho Macho Man in your life, put him in those situations (Happy Meal, leftovers, pink cars, etc…) and see how he reacts. It will be entertaining.

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