T Nation

Alternative Models of T-Mandom

Heya folks. I guess this is a lifestyle/personal philosophy-type question. How many of you have embraced what you consider to be “alternative” models of manhood? In other words, how many of you don’t really consider yourself to be typical men, both in outlook and behavior? Here’s why I ask: I love T-Mag and the T-mag forum, and I’m eternally grateful for all the fantastic training information I’ve gotten from them, but I am, and have been since day one, dismayed to see in the T-mag community a lot of what I consider to be very harmful, “typical,” macho male behavior. There seems to a consensus among T-mag readers and staffers alike that there are certain “normal”, acceptable male behaviors that include chauvinism and heterosexism (if not outright homophobia). People excuse such behaviors as “manly,” “natural,” and the like. Personally, I am of the opinion that “manliness” is a social construct, a completely learned (and therefore meaningless) set of behaviors; and that those who appeal to “manly” behavior as natural are really hiding their own insecurities or ignorance behind the en-vogue PC-backlash movement. The notion of “manliness” in American society today prohibits men from opening up in so many ways.

How many of you have marched in a gay pride parade (you don’t have to be gay to do it!), taken a feminist political theory course in college, or made peace with a belligerent stranger instead of getting into a fight with one? It just makes me so sad that our society forces men into very narrow patterns of behavior, and fear of being labeled “queer” or “girly” keeps men from embracing the world holistically. To the external world I’m a “T-man,” (shaved head, buff weightlifter guy who listens to metal, wrestled, played football, etc.) but I’m also an intellectual, a pacifist, a gay rights activist, a staunch feminist (Yes, men can be feminists too. I was almost a women’s studies minor in college. I cringe every time I read one of TC’s sexist Atomic Dog articles), and a high school teacher. I helped found an organization at my college that attempted to address problems with eating disorders, and I’ve started a club at the school where I currently teach to try to help foster positive body image among female students.

In our society, all this makes make me a set of walking contradictions, “manly” and “unmanly” at the same time. I get the sense I’m a rare bird in this respect. Are there men out there who live their lives similarly? The reason I bring all this up is that I do feel a sense of camraderie with T-maggers because of their intellectual approach to weightlifting, so it pains me to feel so intellectually isolated from them otherwise. I’d love to find out that I’m wrong. Take care, all.

I dont’ march in gay pride parades because there isn’t anything prideful about the fact that you choose to use your sex organs to screw the excratory (sp?) organs of another man. I 100% believe that homosexuality is a perversion and should be treated as such. As far as Feminist…As long as they have my supper cooked when I get home, I don’t have any problems with them. Before I get any attacks for my opinions (as often happens when answering a post on this forum), remember they were asked for.

“I cringe every time I read one of TC’s sexist Atomic Dog articles.” Oh my, for shame! Clutch the pearls! I hear you. We should all be talking about gay pride and what we can do for the gay community. RIIIIIIIght. Don’t homos have porn? Is that sexism of men towards men? My god we just can’t be having any overt heterosexualality going on. TC, next time talk about the hairy backside of some dude you saw at the pool. Zev if you think that in general men will ever stop acting like men (real men, not sexual miscreants) you’re wrong. It’ll never happen. We will continue to make comments, suggestive behaviour, etc. about an to women. After all, if someone didn’t, how the hell would anybody ever get laid. At some point someone has to say or a “sexist” first move. Most women I know are not these academic feminists. Most women I know don’t want some millymouthed bedwetting man.

Bro, you just described what being a T-man is really about. You don’t have to be a stereotypical male to be a T-man. A T-man is someone who fights for what he believes in and sticks up for other people. Someone that has his own thoughts and disagrees with others and can do so in a calm and rational manner without resorting to violence. A T-man is also what TC talks about in his columns. Someone who isn’t willing to lay down to the rest of the world or let the “T” be sucked out of him by people who want him to be something he isn’t. You can look like a T-man physically or maybe not at all. It’s who you are and what you do that makes you a real T-man.

I'm right there with you bro. I've worked closely with a local organization that helps those infected with HIV/AIDS. I have gone dancing at a local gay club numerous times (It's one of the best clubs in town). I've taken the hits from the cross-dressing, ex-football player (known as Lady Pearl) on drag nights. They know I'm straight. They know I go with straight friends. I have a helluva good time. And yes, I get hit on by gay guys. And I tell them I'm not gay. They don't bother me. They are totally cool about it. I'm not at all homophobic, although I have homophobic friends.

I’m a mix of a nice guy and a bad boy. I can play both parts when needed. I don’t have the perfect T-man look (I’ll never be big and intimadating!), but people can usually tell that I train and take my lifestyle seriously.

I don't need drugs or alcohol to have a good time. And I can be around people who do those things and have fun. I stand up for what I believe in. I do what I like, but not at the expense of hurting others. Unless they deserve to be hurt. Then I can be the most ruthless little bastard you've ever met! But I'm usually pretty laid back. And it's not often people can get under my skin. But I let them know if they do.

My friends and the people I come in contact with think I’m the greatest. I’ve accomplished a lot considering I come from such a dysfunctional family. And I know what it’s like to live on welfare, food stamps, government milk, cheese and butter, and hand-me-down clothes. I’ve overcome those things. I’ve paid for my education. I have a good job, plenty of friends, a loving (dysfunctional) family, my health and well-being and of course some material things. So just like you, I’m a T-man. And maybe not in the stereotypical sense that many people expect us to be. And I know there are many more who are like that. And yes, they are here on the forum. Some may be afraid to admit it. But they are here. And yes, there are those who are the stereotypical T-men. That’s okay too. We are a diverse bunch. And we all have something to offer.

You’re wrong. If I pretended to care about all that sensitivty crap it would be a total lie. I act the way I do out of instinct. I’m sensitive to the needs of the people I care about but could care less about the misfortunes of those I don’t know. Just my wiring I guess. Sorry to disappoint you.

Zev, thanks for your post. I agree with your sentiments totally. I thought the Atomic Dog article entitled “Who Gives a Shit” was the best. It would be nice if we all had the courage to respond with our feelings instead of worrying about how we will be perceived.

Well Zev, I’ll tell you what, I grew up in a Redneck little California Town, and everyone was as homophobic as could be, myself included. Much of the ‘Macho’ traits you discussed were highly prevalent. However, after high school, I moved to San Francisco for college. As you might guess, I happened upon my fair share of gay people, feminists and people from more cultures than I knew existed. As a result, I had to change my views on everything, I discovered that just because a person was gay, didn’t mean they were going to somehow persuade me into joining their club. Feminists pretty much hated me on site though and I can’t figure how you can be much good at furthering their cause. As all the ones I ever met, were militant bitches who would prefer to rip off a guys nuts than take his advice or accept his help. Then so far as fighting, I never have, not with a stranger at least, brothers, hell yes, but I’ve never had the need to fight anyone, mostly because of my appearance, people just don’t seem to see picking a fight with me as being a very constructive use of their time, and I have even many times persuaded friends out of fighting such beligerent jerks, even though I play rugby and it’s usually one of my buddies being the beligerent jerk. My point though, is that after my time in San Francisco, I became a much more understanding person, ditched my homophobia, and most of the other stupid things I picked up in my youth. But I don’t think that a guy like myself needs to march in a gay pride parade or join a feminist movement to prove it, basically because I don’t have gay pride, what would a straight guy be celebrating in that instance? I also prefer women who shy away from flattops and don’t yell at me for having been born with a penis, so I let the feminazis do their own thing. I’ve always wondered too, why is it called the feminist movement, when it has nothing to do with femininity? I do understand your point that everyone needs to cool off and be more tolerant of their fellow man, but their everyday actions should prove what kind of person they are, they shouldn’t have to go out of their way to perform non-sensical acts. That’s my opinion anyways.

I forgot a few things. Being male (and a T-man) means we’ll always be different from women and the poor males of our society who have had their “T” sucked out of them by those Testosterone Vampirellas. And yes, we will most likely always make “guy comments” about various things (women, sex, homosexuals, feminists, etc). I do it all the time!!!That’s just one of those things we as men do.

I think the thing to remember is that it comes down to how you live your life and the actions you make. Not what you may say or think. Some people tend to be more ballsy or idiotic when they can post behind a fake name on a forum. Not to say that Apeshit and Naturalman are trying to hide something. They obviously have some strong opinions about certain things. Remember, all T-men have certain beliefs and opinions. That's what makes us unique. Whether you agree with what someone else says is an individual choice based on your upbringing, beliefs, morals, etc. And I consider myself a T-man in many ways, even if I didn't write everything on this post.

You know, on one level, I really feel where you’re coming from. You have a more Greek conception of manhood. In ancient Greek culture, homosexuality was considered the highest form of love, as it lacked the feminine element. That’s right; because Greeks hated that which was feminine, they loved men. So was homosexuality “unnatural” for the Greeks?

Biologically speaking, there is no such thing as “natural” or “unnatural.” There are only evolutionary viable or non-viable strategies. Socially speaking, natural and unnatural, however, rear their ugly heads. What these terms really mean is “moral” or “immoral.” And morality is, yes, a social construct. Still, I disagree that gender construction is a social construct.

I see you use “social construct,” probably ala Focult or Derrida. Can you really say that hormonal levels play absolutely no role in behavior? This is what you imply by talking about behaviors which are wholly “learned,” and therefore, “meaningless.” I would suggest you inject 200cc of T into a Women’s Studies professor for, oh, about six weeks. Observe how/if her behavior changes. In an old issue of the New York Times Magazine, a guy (I think he was gay) wrote an article about his own experiences with testosterone. The hormone does modify perceptions. And perceptions do, to some extent, create our realities. The objective world may be immutable. However, our inner subjectivity results from the interplay between our enviornment and inner biological mechanisms. We are not born tabula rasa, my friend. Hormones do matter.

Admittedly testosterone is a strange hormone. I have pretty high levels. However, I spend much less time chasing tail than I do reading books, writing poetry, and trying to help people. I don’t march is any parades, however. I’m proud of me, my family, and my friends - none of whom care to join in such self-glorification as parades.

Now, I think your criticism of the forum members is “less than accurate” (that’s PC for wrong). What I hear are stories dealing with trying to achieve racial harmony, mariatal fidelity, and respect for elders. Just because someone doesn’t condone homosexuality does not imply that he or she has fallen into a given gender role/identity. Most people don’t approve of the lifestyle for either moral or aesthetic reasons. That is, they argue homosexuals are heathens, or that rumphumping is disgusting (i.e. offensive to the senses). My guess is that most people would disapprove of homosexuality for aesthetic reasons. That’s why you so often hear, “I don’t care if you do it … so long as I don’t have to hear about it.” I don’t prefer abstract art: nor do I vandalize it. The same thing too with homosexuals. I don’t like to think about it, but then, I don’t really care enough about it to give it thought.

Have I left any of your points unanswered?

I don’t agree that TC’s Atomic Dogs are sexist. He is simply putting on paper what many men think. I also do not agree that being “manly” is a social construct. Most people who have had children will tell you that boys and girls are different. They are born different, with different needs. It does not mean that men do not need nurturing nor that they do not want to nurture, but we men have different ways of communicating. Acutally, it makes me cringe everytime I see the word “T-man” being thrown around. I’m not a “T-man” or an “E-man” or anything else that some e-zine came up with to boost readership. I am a man–a man in the unique way that I decided I should be. Look, I’m an avid reader of T-mag and a big fan of the writers of T-mag, but I don’t see it as being perfect and don’t need to be led around by my nose. You’re right, Zev. You don’t need to be a macho bastard to be a man. The strongest man that I know is my father. Not physically, but mentally. His strength of convictions, honesty, combined with his tender sense of caring and nurturing makes him a complete man. But he didn’t get there without some trip ups along the way. If I may offer my humble advice, I’d say, keep on learning and keep on improving. What you learn today may cause you to question what you used to believe yesterday. Sometimes you go through certain stages so that you can progress to the next. Buddha (I’m not Buddhist, but the man was wise) referred to life as a journey. At one point, you may need a boat to cross the river, but you must abandon the boat to continue on your journey. Those who have already abandoned the boat, do not mock those still crossing the river. Peace out.

“Some people tend to be more ballsy or idiotic when they can post behind a fake name on a forum. Not to say that Apeshit and Naturalman are trying to hide something.” What the heck are you talking about? Are you insuating that I would only state what I believe on this forum becuase I’m an idiot or ballsy due to an alias? I would hope that is not what you meant. Dude, don’t even start coming off as if you’re some feminist prima donna. I have seen you make many sexual remarks about women. As far as homos, I don’t condone their lifestyle. In fact, I think it’s perverse. However, I didn’t say that they should be beaten, harrassed, stomped, beat down, etc. I have been just as nice to every gay person that I have met as I would a straight person. But, they or noone else can tell me I should except their lifestyle as normal. I have told gay people this personally when they have tried to get my opinion on such issues. But, otherwise they would never be able to say that I treat them any different.

I am a believing Catholic so obviously my morals are oppossed to homosexuality. So, as far as marching at a gay pride parade, it’ll never happen. But, I do not hate homosexuals nor am I homophobe. It’s not fear that causes me to disaprove of homosexuality. Instead, it’s a sincere belief in my faith.

First of all, as others have stated, you don’t have to march in a parade or volunteer to be a sensitive person. As for gays and compassion in general, I don’t have a problem with gay people. A good friend of mine told me he was gay. I wasn’t going to end a friendship with him just because he likes to nail guys. He is still the same funny cool guy before he told me this. He has a great sense of humor about it too, I’ll call him a Peter Puff or ask him if he’s sucked anything lately. We joke and still buds.

What I don't like about the gay community is that the majority of homosexuals, men or women, wear their sexuality around like a badge. Congratulations that you are gay and not ashamed by don't jump in my face and tell me how comfortable you are with it. Bear with me on this analogy but it's like me being introduced to you at a party and after I say "Hi my name is Krak, by the way I really like pizza!" The fact I like pizza has no relevance at this time. I have been in situations where guys or girls will say Hello, oh yea, I'm gay and proud. Who gives a shit, what you do in your bedroom is for you to know, I don't care.

As for TC's columns, please get a sense of humor about it. I hate having to tip toe around peoples feelings so I don't. I don't go out of my way offend but I don't hide timidly in a corner if a "controversial" issue comes up in conversation. I'm glad TC doesn't.

Mike C. as I mentioned, gays are fine with me. Actually love is love so who am I to say who does what to who. As for your natural/unnatural observation, well I don't think I follow you. Maybe I just read it too fast but to call butt sex just as natural as regular sex, that's pretty out there. Penis to vagina sex is not something that just got excepted by society and then socialized into us, it's hard wired into our natural brains. When I see a hottie bent over I want to run behind her and have my way. The socialization is me not doing it for fear of legal reprecussions. Find me an animal that has anal sex.

People often forget, we are animals. Mammals. Hooray, we have thumbs and big brains.

It’s pretty clear that my original criticism was on target. You are completely indoctrinated with relativist untruth. Feminism states that men and women are equal, and that men have been oppressing women forever. This is impossible as for A = B, A must be B. You have a Philosophy degree, but it is meaningless. There was a point in time where philosophy students HAD to study mathemematics, the most meaningful part of all human knowledge. I used your definition of racism to prove a statement racist, and you denied it based on something other than your definition, yet you (implicitly) maintained the same definition as valid. This is a logical impossibility. You have clearly extended your empty understanding towards this forum. Do you actually think femenist homosexual sympathizers are begotten from testosterone? You ask why can’t they be, but what the hell do you think reality and truth are; opinions, conjecture? If you think that the world can be interpreted “holistically” then why do the laws of motion, energy, P vs NP and so forth have any value? Perhaps we can just interperet gravity to not exist and then we can fly.

Yes Zev, you are unique and different…just like everyone else. And did you mention an intellectual giant among men? Why, yes you did! You are indeed intelligent, and the only one amongst us. Can we use you in our ads?

Get over yourself. We tend to talk about the things we talk about because they are the topics covered on this site. Go to the “(w)holistic man” website to discuss everything under the sun.

The Greeks predated the Romans and had alot of influence, because prostitutes that followed the roman legions were male, look at Russell Crowe’s ass…istant in the gladiator. Glad I’m not Roman Catholic! … hmm…tough crowd here tonight! …Geez…take some KAVA!
I have no problem with gay people. If that’s what makes em happy, then super!
As long as it’s consenting and not involving kids or the mentally challenged…
Phobia just doesn’t happen to me, because I have no interest… simple as that, don’t really give a shit. I’m more interested in women… yes plural… Ok… I’ll come out of the closet! I want sex with more than one woman at a time… in fact I even enjoy watching women together… I feel so free now that I admitted that… I wonder if they have sexual deviants parades for me?..
As for feminists… I think most progressive modern folk agree with what feminism stands for… equality! Unfortunately the most outspoken feminists were mistreated in some way and are men haters…Anyway… You may see me at a gay pride parade. I’ll be one of the rope holders for the giant lesbian balloons.

Krak,homo/bi-sexuality is quite common in
non-human animals.I won’t get into all the
details but one of the reasons is dominance.
Unpleasant but true.

First of I’m not homophobic. I don’t fear gays. In fact, if one tried to start some shit with me I’d whoop his ass.:slight_smile: Seriously though, that’s the stupidist word in the world. My disdain for homosexuality (not homos themselves) is based on my feeling that there are absolute truths. And, homosexuality goes against that truth. For me it is a moral and psychological issue. Fear is not part of the equation.

As far as the feminist movement…yuck! There was some use for them in the past, but now they’ve become a caricature of themselves. There are Feminist organization suing the friggin boy scouts to allow girls to join. Why the hell can’t they join the girl scouts? Have they ever hear of the freedom to associate? Then you also have the gays suing the boyscouts! Freedom of association…what ever happened to that? The word Tolerance gets misapplied everyday now. Tolerance does not mean acceptance. It means to tolerate. You can completely disagree with someone and let them now it, but as long as you don’t force them to abandon their beliefs (violence, etc.) then you’re being tolerant. So my friends you can very much disagree with feminists and the homosexual lifestyle, and still be tolerant. Speaking of gays, I’ve gotta run to get my hair cut.

Apeshit…I’m a little worried about your fixation with boyscouts…hehehe.
Neither here nor there… but there is no such thing as an absolute…