Men all around the world do the macho strut. It is not unlike a peacock flaring his gorgeous tail and strutting his stuff. The grandest flourishes are in the bull rings where matadors spin their brilliant red capes and taunt and stab el toro in the neck with spears until he is dead. Or on the race track where motorcyclists and auto drivers speed hell-to-high-leather for a glass of milk and a kiss from some blond bimbo they will try to bed after the victory party. Or those American cowboys who ride bucking broncos with fire in their eyes and gonads of steel. The riders, that is. I personally have a "Staying Alive" saunter that is a subdued version of John Travolta's famous bop down the sidewalk to the beat of the Bee Gees when they were young. I learned that walk when I was a high school jock, firing basketballs at a little hoop in the face of lesser men. Get 'em down and keep 'em down. It's attitude, man . . .
In the Philippines, the best saunters are those done by ex-military men and old power brokers like Ampatuan Senior who still pack a gun. They may lead with their gut and the strut might be an arthritic, drunken wobble, but you know not to mess with them. Cock-fight chicken-owners also have a unique walk, a slight tilt to the right or left, depending on what side they tuck their cock. I don't know if it is macho or not; it is outside my cultural grasp, and I have no desire to reach that far.
Young Filipinos don't know how to strut. I've never seen anyone under 30 walk with authority. That may give a hint as to why the nation is run by old farts whose idea of progressive comes with a recollection of what Manila was like when the Japs were in charge.
There are no bull fighters in the Philippines, and no bronc riders. There are lots of macho drivers, but they are on the National Highway, not the race track. And, come to think of it, they are more crazy than macho. Some Filipinos try to saunter to the beat of "Hotel California", but The Eagles are no Bee Gees and it comes off as a bunch of drunken ghouls sashaying in drag down the median strip of Roxas Boulevard. They also do a nice cha-cha to Waray Waray by the One Man Band, always at the highest decibel the 1950's amp can crank out. But a cha-cha is not macho.
Trust me on that one.
So I don't hold a lot of hope that much will change in the Philippines. The old farts hold the reins of power and right behind them are their sons and daughters, aging just in time to keep the Philippines locked in the stone ages, or whenever it was that the mountain tribes made the mistake of wandering down to the lowlands to find fatter pigs. Not much has progressed since then.
Most nations strive for strut. They are a representation of their leaders, after all. The leaders are mostly men other than that Thatcher battleaxe in Great Britain. And a few other broads tucked nicely away in lesser nations.
I'm not sure what music North Korea is strutting to, but my vision of Walt Disney's "Fantasia" comes to mind, where Mickey Mouse is doing battle with brooms that keep cloning themselves and hauling more buckets of water to the cellar. It is surreal slapstick done to a serious symphony, which is rather like North Korea.
Iran does the "Strut of the Fanatics", where you look into the eyes of the leaders and you see the kind of glassy stare reminiscent of that dead fish my wife likes to eat, the dry smelly ones. Scary, man, scary. The fish, too.
Syria has stopped strutting and is doing the "Collision of Murderous Malcontents". No one knows who is on first base or if what is on third or first. Abbot and Costello could do an good impression of Arab fanatics, I think. Arabs can't strut because of the physical deformity of the hips that crops up when carrying too many rockets, strap-on bombs and IEDs.
Myanmar until this past year did the psychopathic strut, with generals hiding the nation in the closet with hands over their eyes, the people babbling and drooling and doing what they were told. I don't know who there had the balls to man up to democracy, but that place has changed night to day. Soon, Myanmarinians will be authorized to strut to the Bee Gees, too. Respected on the streets of New York and Washington D.C.
Russia and China strut arm in arm to the "March of the Goons", still channeling Chairman Mao and that thug Stalin whilst pretending to engage constructively with the real men of the world, the US and Germany. Britain and France are locked into a knock-down drag out fight as to which is more refined and which still has any influence at all in the world, but they both prance rather than strut. Both Prime Ministers are rather like puffed up peacocks, now that I imagine them clearly circling each other at the latest Gang of 20 economic dance.
America under Obama has toned down its strut. Bush had the country stomping about like a muscular, mechanical Arnold Schwarzenegger in the days of his steroid use. The mechanics were guns and bombs. Now America is rather like chump boxer Floyd Mayweather on "Dancing for the Stars", a ship way out of its water. It is a strut where the attendees of Tea Parties and Occupy Camp-Outs are forced to stroll up the aisle together pretending to be from the same country. Not pretty at all. Not pretty.
Meanwhile, my impression of America as an ideal democracy has strutted itself right down the toilet. President Newt Gingrich? Give me a break. He has the character of a neurotic hyena on meth. Put Sarah Palin up as his VP, elect them, and I vow never to return to that land of lost values and class. I'd rather visit Myanmar and have a more wholesome experience.
That particular tree of poisonous apples will shake out in the next few months.
The macho strut is rather like the egg and chicken, if you think about it. Strut goes hand in hand with confidence, or its best friend bluster. You can develop confidence by strutting properly, and you can strut properly if you have confidence. Since we don't know which came first, nothing is ever lost by learning to strut like a real man.
So go to it, my good fellow . . . go to it. Walk the confident walk . . . plant your presence with authority . . .