Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stemming the Tide of Wussification

I was born into a world of leisure suits, men with perms, and Alan Alda.  Clearly, the wussification of man had already begun.

Had I been born one hundred years earlier, things might have been different.  The rules for collegiate football were adopted that year, and Susan B. Anthony was fined for trying to vote.  Obviously, the wussification had not yet taken hold.

But the sad fact, is that even if wussitude were not the norm for American men today, there would be little opportunity for the kind of sweat-reeking machismo of years past. 

Take my own situation, example.  For the rest of my foreseeable life, it is highly improbable that I will have the opportunity to participate in any of the following historically masculine activities:
  • Killing a bear when I am only three
  • Drinking myself to an early grave
  • Discovering a lost civilization
  • Losing an ear in a bar fight
  • Starting a global conflict
Honestly, it is a bit depressing when one considers how limited one's prospects may actually be.  Deprived of expressing my manhood in one of these traditional avenues, I can understand why so many of my colleagues have begun trading their historical scent of partially burned hydrocarbons for musk-scented AXE body spray.

But I say no more.  I refuse to bow.  I will not be diluted.  I will wear my stubble with pride.  And yes, I will do the crossword in pen.  For in the absence of marital permission to run with the bulls in Pamplona, doing the crossword in pen is nearly the most foolhardy display of testosterone-addled insanity I can muster. 

And not the Monday crossword, mind you, but the Friday and the Sunday puzzles as well.

And not just any pen.  But a bold, bloody red pen at that.

To paraphrase Kennedy, who may have been our last undomesticated President:

I choose to do the crossword in pen. I choose to do the crossword in pen in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of my energies and skills, because that challenge is one that I am willing to accept, one I am unwilling to postpone, and one which I intend to win, and the others, too.

Heady stuff, this.  And of course, this is not my only salute to the greatness of the unwussified man.  For I choose to do one other thing, harder even than the Sunday puzzle. 

I choose to knit lace without using lifelines.

And because I choose to knit lace without using lifelines, I choose also to unknit lace.  I choose to unknit several rows of incredibly complicated lace.  Lace made from Filatura di Crosa Centolavaggi in a crimson red that would make your eyes ache even if you wore your reading glasses.  Which of course I refuse to do because I am a man.  And men don't wear readers.

But - Men do wear comfy vests.  Like this one, which I recently finished.  Manly.  No?



  1. You are clearly the Lee Marvin of male knitting... Lovely vest by the way.

  2. Does not using a life line when I knit lace make me a non-wuss too?

    I do love the vest, it could make anyone look rugged like they just returned from branding cattle for a stotch and cigar by the fire.

  3. I would look so good in that vest. (Hint x 2)

  4. Garret - I can't say for certain, as I'm not privy to your other non-knitting habits. For example, it is possible that you regularly get your eyebrows waxed, or order drinks with small umbrellas in them. Either could suggest a tendency toward wussitude. That said, not using lifelines while knitting certainly suggests you are not a wuss. Of course, it also suggests that you, like me, may be slightly off-kilter.


  5. I don't use a lifeline either! I am very good at tinking now.

  6. Come to Idaho, son. You will be able to accomplish at least 3 of the above-listed 5 historically masculine activities (I will let you decide which 3, but the bear is out).

  7. Here's what you should be drinking, then: