Man oh Man!

at last, from the Big Blue!

week’s Scootie award was going to the two young men proudly driving down the
road, each with a rooster tucked under one arm, until I learned the
Cock-a-doodlers were going to be used in a cock fight. Shame on you fellows!
Instead, it goes to the nice young man carrying a behemoth of a cooler under
one arm, after returning from a day of fishing – I would give him bonus points
if I knew the cooler had a tuna in it.   

running regime is progressing nicely. I can now call it running as opposed to
shuffling, and I’m up to 12k now plus I’ve also been doing some hills (we have
only two hills on the island, so when I say I’m doing hills I mean all of
them). Of course, I have Rod to keep me company, he’s a big help. And not only
in the exercise department, Rod also helps with hut cleanings and other chores.
He even assisted me during a particularly grueling day of accounting. I haven’t
yet taken Rod to bed with me but it’s not out of the question. I love Rod.
What? Oh, don’t worry about Prez, he’s been known to use Rod from time to time,
while raking the grounds or some other monotonous chore. I suspect Prez is
almost as fond of Rod as I am.

Rod is
my iPod. Rod the pod. I name everything, it’s a silly habit. Isn’t that right,
Lappy? (She pets her laptop affectionately). 

I had this very long explanation for you about my naming fetish, and names in
general, but then there was the rooster scooter incident, followed by an
interesting discussion between Prez and me that changed my mind. So you will
have to wait until next week to find out what I call my…

In the
kitchen a few nights ago, Prez said to me, “You know I’m ashamed of the men in
this world.” He went on to explain how it seemed, to him, the majority of men
are either murdering bastards or spineless wussies. In other words, where have
all the good men gone? (Yeah, I know, we women have been asking this one for
years). While I know lots of good men, I can see his point. But what does it
mean to be a man? 

prehistoric times, a man’s purpose was clearly defined – kill things with a
pointy stick, bring them home for dinner, then create more humans. If Caveman A
could not produce dinner or babies, he didn’t last long and Caveman B would
step in. Brutal but simple.

In this
more civilized age, a man’s role is an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of
expectations. When does a man cross the line between Strong & Self-assured
and Egoistic Macho Pig? I suspect that depends very much on the environment he
finds himself in.  The Cook Islands are
still a very male dominated culture. My friend Moana was told at an Island
Council meeting she attended – she being the only female present – to move to
the back of the room. I’ve not experienced that degree of chauvinism but even
when the more enlightened in the business community get together it is hard for
the piggy among them to hide their true nature. Standing next to Prez, I’m all
but invisible and my words meaningless -not to all men here, but enough to make
it noticeable. 

At the
other end of the spectrum you have the men who John Wayne would slap silly if
he were here, and alive. We had a guest a few months back who certainly wanted
the world to see him as a He-man. Any time of the day, you could see him
strutting about, shirtless, gold chains swinging in the breeze. (It is
considered very rude to venture outside a resort here without a shirt on). In
the basket of laundry he asked me to do, was a large beach towel decorated with
all the signs of the zodiac…in various sexual positions. Ick, ick, ick! So,
imagine my surprise when the bare-chested wonder steps into the office, pale
faced and clearly distressed, to ask me if I would please kill the spider in
the bathroom for him. Yes, some people are afraid of spiders, but even my
friend Martha, who can barely tolerate a photo of one, has been known to tackle
the odd arachnid if she needs to. Men, would you not be even slightly ashamed
to have a woman march past you with a whisk broom to sweep away an insect?

F is an
interesting case study in manliness. He is a kind of guybrid. He is, hands
down, one of the most macho men I’ve ever met. To get him to the doctor for an
injury, I almost have to force him at gunpoint.  

“I’m fine, leave me alone.”

“Your hand has been cut off.”

“I’ll put a bandage on it.”

And yet,
of the two of us, he will be the first to admit that he is the most romantic,
the most cuddly, the most lovey-dovey. He’ll spend hours at a time giving me
“neck rubbies” or “head scratchies”. Softy? 

When I
made the observation that our VHF radio reception on the property is spotty, at
best, and should anything go wrong with the boat or the motor while he’s out
fishing he may not be able to contact me, his response was: “Well, you know
where I am and what time I should be back so wait an hour then get help.
Hopefully someone will figure out which direction I’m drifting in.” If it were
me, on the ocean alone, in a small boat, I’d have a GPS locator and several
flares strapped to my body…and a life raft…scratch that, I wouldn’t be out
there alone.

Yes, he
is a macho macho man…who loves cooking and claims Phenomenon is one of
his favorite movies because it’s such a great love story and tells his wife (on
an almost daily basis) that she is beautiful and he’s so lucky to have her.  

For all
his softer qualities, perhaps because of them, I consider Prez a “real man”.

fellows, tell me, where do you draw the distinction between a real man and a
real jerk?  

For me, I
believe it comes down to respect: for one’s self, for others, for the world at
large. While empathy is a quality more prominent in women, respect serves much
the same function in men. Men who respect women would never consider telling
them to move to the back of a room at a public meeting. Men who respect
themselves would put on a shirt when visiting a culture sensitive to nakedness.
Men who respect the world at large wouldn’t make roosters fight each other for
sport. I don’t care how tough you are, if you lack respect you will never be a

Or maybe Rudyard Kipling had a better understanding
of this subject than me? 


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

                                            -Rudyard Kipling

QUESTION: Are you a real man?

Until next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!

The Princess

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