The Era of Wimpy Men
By Esther Hartstein
June 26, 2002
Sitting in New Jersey's Garden State Plaza mall, with a huge glass exit to my left, a carousel to my right, and a Sam Goody store to my rear, I peruse the sights around me.
Never the same type of person twice, it seemed, as the gentle flow of personage (Friday afternoons here seldom solicit huge floods of people) passed before my careful eyes. It seemed after a while that the presumed diversity of the men I was seeing abated before a near- consistent pattern: each of them was effimate, a sad being devoid of the masculine virtues that have hitherto defined the classic "man".
Prominent, as though popular among the demonic forces causing this tide of 21st century effimate manhood, among these creatures was the Schlep. His defining characteristics were the wandering, nearly directionless walk, the clothes that bore not the polish of respectability nor the rugged dishevelment of individualism. His countenence was indifferent, his eyes unfocused, as though the world around him meant little to his narrow mind. His presence was childlike, his features un-hewn, as though the burdens, trials, triumphs and wisdom of adulthood had failed to accompany his passing years.
It is a wonder how modern society can put out such crudely rounded men.
Perhaps less threatening in aura, another of the species I came across at the mall that day was the Sensitive Guy. Raised on a steady diet of cultural feminism, the Sensitive Guy walked into the mall proudly touting a girlfriend on his arm, but with enough pomp and stiffness so as not to be viewed as disrespectful to the woman. Perhaps the nest week the object of his respect would be a new girl, and likewise he will sweep her off to the florist, Victoria's Secret, and Godiva chocolate with the mawkish sincerity that he has shown to every girlfriend beforehand. Sadly, to the Sensitive Guy, this empty repetition is legitimate love, and he will probably know nothing else. Commitment and fatherhood are almost mythical concepts to him, for he lacks the discipline to perform these feats. Like the Schlep, he is still a little boy in essence, with no family ambitions, no true desire to commit, but he is also a romantic, lost in the very general belief that women are truly superior beings to his lowly self.
The Sensitive Guy is today's well-dressed swing dater, a man of the gym rather than the great outdoors, with a fundamental vainness behind his outward show of love and affability. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing eligible women today is the task of distinguishing between a Sensitive Guy and a family man. Each has a tendency to walk in the other's form.
My eyes then drifted toward the youngest of men, with a keen desire to learn. As they passed through the giant crystal doors to my right, from leisure to the real world, I noticed a sad pattern once again. Yes, the Era of Wimpy Men is compounding with each passing generation. If his father was a Schlep and his brother, a Sensitive Guy, the men of generation Y have come with an ugly undercurrent of full-blown wimps. No Kidding. While the Sensitive Guy may have struck you as gay, this one is downright girlish. He dyes his hair, wears tight clothes, and thinks nothing of buying cosmetics as long as it is labeled "pour homme". This guy is the feminists' perfect man. He takes his meds, goes to the therapist over anything and nothing, dutifully pays his taxes and tolerates the excesses of modern society without complaint. He is a silenced man, robbed of his voice by society, and shamed out of his will to speak up.
As I sat on that bench and the hours passed by, for a moment I almost wished for a re-installment of traditional roles in society- if it meant that men had to conform.
Copyright 2002 by Esther Hartstein. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.