Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Manhood Chronicle

As I pen these blogs, I sometimes find that they leave a residual intellectual after taste. That is, one idea leads to another.

I had such a lingering thought the other day. I had published a blog in the morning about institutions having human traits. In that context, I made the following remark:

He [President Aquino] needs to get the Divorce Bill passed. Until he does, one aspect of the Philippine persona will remain abusive toward women.

As I sat at lunch slurping up some kind of animal-meat broth my wife had found at a local take-out restaurant not named McDonalds, it came to me that the Divorce Bill is not just a relief for women who are abused by their husbands.  It provides relief for men whose eyeballs are relentlessly under threat of scratching from the little lady.

Furthermore, the Bill offers an escape route for women who are not physically abused, but have kids and get no support from the father. In the US, fathers in this scurrilous bunch are called "Deadbeat Dads". Wives could divorce the deadbeats and re-marry responsible fathers who would actually care for the kids. Who cares if the priests object; the kids are worth it.

And as one thought often extends to another, I made a grand leap forward to the idea:

"You know, I don't very much like what masculinity in the Philippines represents."

Well, there is a hot blog topic if ever there were one. Never before have I thought about taking on the entire macho persona of the everyday Filipino. It makes me glad that I write anonymously and am deeply and safely ensconced in the deep, dark jungles west of Surigao. Or it could be I'm high on the mountain banks just east of Pinatubo. Or even, faking y'all out wildly, nestled in my aerie high up in the Snowy Range of windy western Wyoming, USA.

In other words, please don't bother to come looking for me. I hold few of the macho renditions common to Filipinos and do not choose to prove my manhood against any of y'alls via fisticuffs, pistols at 50 paces, or any other kind of painful process.

Now one of the traits I find common among Filipino boys and adult boys who think they are men is the tendency to laugh at another person's slip-up. If one boy falls down or gets smacked upside the head with the basketball, the rest laugh riotously. If he breaks his arm, they laugh even harder, and the laughter lasts until he gets his cast off.

This seems to me to be a side-effect of the tendency to look for ways to appear cool by diminishing others. You see this behavior in some blog commenters, the ones who attempt to paste diminishing names onto other commenters.  Moron. Idiot. Stupid twit. Those tags. The lower you can push others, the higher you seem to be . . . even if you are very much cemented to the bottom.

Also in the Philippines, If you have a big, fast car, you assert your manhood by driving like everyone else is of a lower class and obligated to get out of your way, blasting past slower traffic, running oncoming tricycles into the ditch and flashing your lights to instruct lesser vehicles to yield.

Certainly, it is not macho to wait for some lady with her kid to cross the street at the crosswalk, or to allow other cars the right of way in any circumstance, as long as you hold the power position. If you see someone looking for a break in traffic so he can cross the road, it is macho to speed up so that he has no chance to go.

Now you have to excuse my ways, but I am from the west of the west, that is, cowboy country in the US of A. There really macho macho guys in ten gallon hats climb onto the back of a one-ton angry bull breathing fire from his eyes and snot from his nose and try to ride it for 8 seconds. Or they strap themselves onto a huge 16 hand bucking bronco that flies into incredible Chinese acrobatic contortions in midair. Or they leap from their galloping horses onto the back of a big-ass horned steer at 40 KPH and wrestle the wild-eyed beast to the ground.

They don't cheer chickens that peck each other to death.

So I'm afraid I don't understand the obsession over chickens. My neighbor has about 20 of the birds camped out in little triangular shacks in his chicken yard.

But I can deal with that okay. It just doesn't inspire the hunter in me, you know the mountain climber, the explorer, the cliff diver, the soldier, the born killer.  But to each his own.

And I don't mind the wild roads anymore as I have become a highly skilled pinball player.

One of the facets of Filipino manhood I actually appreciate and have been known to partake in is the tuba table under the mango tree. That's the place at any social gathering where the guys collect to get away from the mind-numbing nattering insignificance of the conversations their wives are having. There they can get drunk, poke fun at one another, tell dirty jokes, catch up on the Pac Man and engage in other more invigorating topics.

I do, however, find it best to restrain from offering up a book report on my latest read.

The notion of chivalry is not common among Filipino males. Nor is kissing your sweetie in public. And it is the absence of those expressions of kindness and affection that bother me most.

It is not manly to be a gentleman, or a lover. Except under cover of night or blanket.

It is not manly to be literarily literate.

It is not manly to be gracious to someone you don't know. Unless you have something to gain by being kind, in which case gracious becomes "kissing up". A manipulative quality admired by other men.

So color me wimpy as I hold the door of the car open for my wife, carry a book everywhere, smile at the neighbors and offer my best wishes for a quick recovery to boys black and blue from the battles they engage in to prove their manhood to other guys.

And themselves.


  1. Blasphemy! You risk eternal damnation Joe.

    Malachi 2:16

    “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

    Matthew 9:6

    "So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

  2. @Joe (wherever you are):

    I could totally relate with you on this one, especially with your entry pertaining to big, fast cars... It's a good thing the 'wangwang' was banned (yeah, majority says so). I have one of those too!

    Men here take pride in fornication, infidelity, having STD. Circumcision- a teen's version. Cursing as a form of expression. The list goes on, with all the wrong reasons...

    In an article by Amber Pawlik (, she argued that "masculinity is efficacy," and that "efficacy is reason." Also, she said feminists equate masculinity with violence, but that's another topic.

    I guess culture has something to do with this. We have our own set of criteria. As long as we don't hurt somebody or each other, hell, live and let live

  3. Pastor Ernie,

    I'll leave it to God to make my final judgment, not you. You are merely Man, and bound by the limits of being such.

  4. 1DC,

    Nice additional perspectives. And I agree with the last statement, too. If we were all the same it would be incredibly dull.

  5. Joe,

    I may be a man but you defy The Bible, the Word of God. Your audacity to ignore His Word shall have its consequences.

    I will pray for you.

  6. Pastor Ernie, I eat pig, too, and Muslims think I am heathen. I don't need you to intercede as my representative with God. He and I have a direct line.

  7. Please for Christ sake help this poor boy from Haiti

  8. Majid Ali, maybe take it up with Pastor Ernie.

  9. Man, that was weird...

    Speaking of, I went to church - yeah - a couple of hours ago. Before the priest ended the mass, he criticized the CCP 'art' exhibit as he expressed his and the church's disappointment. A prayer was offered in the 'artist's' behalf...

    Cursing him would have been sufficient if you ask me...

  10. While we were not looking, Rep Pablo Garcia filed a divorce bill. But it's a sneaky attempt at putting divorce under the umbrella of a church annulment.


  11. Nice article, Joe. It was well-writen.

  12. MB,

    That's a strange piece of legislation. It applies only to religious people. To quote the introduction ". . . it is but proper, if not logical . . ."

    It is indeed not logical . . . or comprehensive.

  13. 1DC,

    Yes, that Sunday episode was weird.
    Yes, cursing would have been appropriate.


    Glad you enjoyed it.

  14. HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! You are goot, Joe, opening the door for your wife. Kissing her in public. Filifinos allows that ... BECAUSE ... BECAUSE YOU ARE WHITE ! YOU ARE FOREIGNER ! You can do whatever you wanna do. Your whiteness is your entitlement and privilege.

    -Filipinos believe WHITE IS RIGHT !
    -WHITES, fair skin, tisoys and tisays speaks goot englsichtzes !
    -Englsichtzes, in the Philippines, IS THE MEASURE OF INTELLIGENCE. Ask benign0 he knows. How that guy hates my style of englischtzes, the intentional syntax errors and spelling (which he totally missed out). How he hates that bloggers emulate my style and very few emulates his clubby englsichtzes.
    -Since tisoys, tisays and whites speak goot englsichtzes and they are handsome and pretty, IT IS ALSO ANOTHER MEASURE OF BEAUTY

    Who says Filipinos are not racists ?

  15. That is why the anti-wang-wang was a total failure. Because wang-wang exudes machismo, manhood, power, connection and wealth. No traffic enforcer in his right mind would want to pull-over a wang-wanger. If they did, they'd be assigned in lonely outpost in Spratleys to face the Chinese armada.

    Or, another measure of machismo and manhood is englsichtzes. Oh, this englischtzes. How people quiver before me when I start speaking fluent american englslischtzes ! Even the powerful here in the PHilippines are shocked and awed with my englischtzes. Even benign0, no less.

    I pity those who starts talking to me in englsichtzes before the bank counter and when I started speaking they go back to their local dialect.

    They have thoughted, "me, gosh, this dude speaks better than I, better shift to low level dialect, tangalog"

  16. There is a power in englsichtzes in the PHilippines. It is a covert discrimination. That I hate. A covert way to intimidate poor souls who struggles with englsichtzes.

    I cannot understand why Filipinos gather around the tuba-an while the wifey toils the farm, take care of kids, help with the assignments, cook for drunk husband. I just do not get it at all.

    I just cannot get why the rich, powerful and well connected have impunity to use wang-wang when they are pro-benign0 who is anti-wang-wang. IT WAS EVEN NEWS that a law enforcer TICKETED A TELEVISION DRIVER !

    Well, the enforcer got off the hook because it was Benigno that ordered the enforcer to ticket the Television Driver. SO IN ESSENCE, IT TAKES BENIGNO EVERYWHERE TO CATCH ALL THE CROOKS. UNFORTUNATELY, THERE IS ONLY ONE BENIGNO.

    My axiom still holds true: "What goot is a goot president if 99.999% of filipinos are not goot"

  17. Mariano, you are hot today! I find your views enlightening and your englisichtzes extraordinarily precise in their meaning.

  18. yeah, Smokin'...

    Love the 'bank counter' tidbit. Hilarious...

    I remember when I was younger(?), I used to watch Sesame Street. Compared to Batibot, my aunt said Ernie & Burt would help me enhance my englisichtzes. Point is, learning englisichtzes now a days don't come cheap. Those who can't afford good schools should exhaust all means necessary. The lesser 'tangalogs' would worship you whenever you open your mouth, especially when they could hear you talk straight englisichtzes in one breath of air.

    Man, imagine if you have the 'slang' accent to go with it... gals would go gaga, that's for sure! A total turn-on, guys, so listen to your aunts. Which, would lead us back again to the topic of manhood...

    Oh, and guys, when somebody catches you watching englisichtzes cartoons, just say it's a learning requirement...


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