I started to write about how I couldn't stop puking when he was born. He had a needle feeding an IV into his head and I didn't know what else to do with my worry. I wound up trying to continue typing through tears clouding my eyes because I am so proud of him now and because I am so happy that he doesn't remember most of the things I fought so hard to protect him from growing up. We're brothers, we bear scars inflicted by one another. Thankfully, his adult teeth settled in normally even after I'd managed to knock several of his milk teeth out with a baseball bat (by accident, I swear!), but my toenails have never looked quite the same since he picked up a rock and smashed them off of my right foot when I wasn't paying attention (not an accident, I'm certain!), although his doing so certainly got my attention.
But here's the thing that's interesting:
Western men are, in essence, expected to dissociate themselves from their internal emotional state and relate to general society through a very narrow prescripted set of emotional cues. We're allowed jocularity, enthusiasm (for sports, money, and women), and stoicism. If we have some modicum of power over our fellows, we're also allowed public displays of frustration and/or anger. But to be sad, withdrawn, or quiet is considered weird. Compassion is tolerated from certain professions (e.g., MDs only) but is regarded elsewhere as creepy.
I don't claim to know where these proscribed action sets came from, but I do observe that they are rather inflexibly reinforced through everyday interactions among men. I posit here that these perpetuate the irresponsible man-child phenotype I discussed in the post just below.
To completely assume adulthood and its obligations is to also assume its mores and social rituals, including the restrictive expression of male emotions. As a result, it is far easier for young men to float along expressing nothing but "dude!" and lust than it is to develop the maturity required to really feel anything in the first place and then be caught up in the inherent cognitive dissonance of Western expression.
Consequently, to help change the definition of a