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STRESS-FREE ZONE | Humoropathic Theapy

Got to Be a Macho Man? Not Anymore

April 27, 1998|JIM SHEA

At the health club:

Pumping testosterone.

Feeling manly man.

Suddenly, sharp pain in the right forearm.

Dumpster-sized guy on next machine notices:

"How'd you hurt it?"

The usual real-men lies come to mind: 300-pound bench press, helicopter skiing, cliff diving, barroom brawl, old football injury.

Instead, for some inexplicable reason--maturity, at long last?--the truth:

"Did it typing."

I wait for the howls of derisive laughter. But they don't come. Rather, there is commiseration.

In the next few minutes I find out:

Most of the men in the room have either computer, child-care or yardwork-related injuries.

Which, I think, says this:

Macho ain't what it used to be.

In fact, it may not even be.

Weigh the evidence.


The party:


Men don't talk cars anymore.

When was the last time you heard a bunch of guys standing around linking their virility to their V8s?

Used to be that 400 horses and a four-barrel were all a guy needed to have under his hood.

Well that muscle car has sailed.

You even get guys on the subject of cars nowadays, and know what they talk about? Minivans, motoring's version of the vasectomy.

So then, what do men talk about?


They rock back and forth on the balls of their feet, bump pocket protectors and drag-race gigabytes.

Who wins?

Geek with the fastest modem, the biggest hard drive, the most RAM.


The bar:

Meet you at the bar.

The bar?

Yeah, the tavern, the pub, the gin mill.

You mean the alehouse.

You mean the smoke-free environment.

You mean the beer without the buzz.

You mean the place where everyone knows your log-on?

Right, we're all going to watch the game.

What game?

Women's basketball.


The fashion:

Although macho may be on life support, the macho look has never been more vital.

Work boots: rawhide laces, steel toes, big heels (can't be too tall).

Tattoos: barbed wire around the biceps, maybe a fierce bird on the upper back.

Abs: defined, personal-trainer sculpted at $35 an hour.

Earring: stud, of course.

Hair: meticulously styled to appear comb-free.

Face: shadowed by a four-day beard.


The bottom line:

Maybe macho isn't that important anymore anyway.

Maybe men are overdue for a self-image make-over.

Maybe it's time to step up to the mirror and declare:

"If I only have one life, let me live it as a blond."

* Shea is a columnist at the Hartford Courant. To reach him write to Jim Shea, Hartford Courant, 285 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06115.

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