What Stace had to say on Thursday, February 8th, 2007
What Is Macho?

So what exactly is macho? What was it, and what did it mean? Most importantly, what does it mean now?

It started as a way to identify a “manly” man. A macho guy was above all, testosterone filled. He could grow luxurious chest and facial hair. (I will be doing a post tomorrow specifically on mullets and mutton chops, so be ready!) He was strong and tough. He maybe got in fights. He pretty much had a constant, woman-pleasing erection.

The macho man lived hard. He drank. Maybe he smoked. He probably had, as we’ve mentioned, a manual labor-type job. He did something where he was outside all day, getting tan. He probably had squint lines around his eyes and tan lines, in fact. Since he was usually shirtless outside, though, he didn’t have a farmer tan…his chest was bronzed. Only below the waist were the tan lines visible.

He hung in out real bars, not discos. He listened to rock or real country music, the kind about drinkin’ and cryin’ and going to jail and hopping trains with their lonesome whistles in the clear, starry night. He felt those lyrics deeply, but he would never discuss such feelings.

He played football on the weekends if he was the active type. If not maybe he worked on his car or watched sports on TV. He did not play soccer or golf. Maybe he fished, but only if the fishing involved copious amounts of beer. Maybe he and his fishing buddies camped out and cooked their catches for dinner, too. Manly cooking, which involved rocks, cast iron, and fire, and did not involve aprons or reducing anything.

The macho man was tender but gruff with his woman. He saw women as something to have fun with, but he respected women as well. And woe betide the man who did not, because the macho man was happy to let his fists do the talking if need be. He wanted a wife. He wanted children. He expected to support them and he did not shirk from the thought or the reality of his reponsibilities.

Somehwere along the line, this concept became bastardized. The macho man, instead of being desirable, became first an overblown caricature (big blow-dried hairdos, tons of gold chains, you know what I’m talking about). It became an excuse for men to behave abominably.

As a result, it became a derisive insult. The macho man, instead of being someone who did his best, became a neanderthal. A man who wouldn’t let his woman live her life, who expected foot massages every night and sex every other night and didn’t care what she wanted. As with so many other good concepts, people took the base but not the subtleties, and “macho” became synonymous for “sexist jerk”.

I think this is a terrible shame. I think men have been turned into wimps. I think the modern man tends to be a little sad, a little needy, more than a little insecure.

And the men who are attemtping machismo are going to the very worst extremes, referring to women as bitches and hos and impregnating them willy-nilly.

All because this man, the macho man, who used to set an example for young men and who used to give young women something real to expect from the men in their lives, has disappeared.

Maybe if we bring him back in fiction…and women start looking for him again…we can bring him back in life?

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21 comments to “What Is Macho?”

  1. Bernita
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 6:21 am · Link

    And another thing that has been lost, along with the “manly man,” is flirting.



  2. December Quinn
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 7:00 am · Link

    Ooooh, good point Bernita! Flirting has totally disappeared, hasn’t it?



  3. December Quinn
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 7:01 am · Link

    You should blog about that one, I’d love to see your thoughts on it.



  4. Anna J. Evans
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 9:00 am · Link

    Yes, flirting and courting are sadly lacking. That’s one thing I loved about my hubby, was that he bothered to open the door for me and be ‘courtly’ at the beginning of our relationship.

    Love this post! let’s bring back macho!



  5. Erik Ivan James
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 11:26 am · Link

    The description in your first six paragraphs is pretty-much me…I think. I tried, a time or two, to be something a little “smoother” than what I am. I thought that was the politically correct and socially acceptable thing to do…and what the feminist movement required if I didn’t want to face a bunch of “gender” related issues during my career. I hated “me” during those couple of attempts. I went back to hunting and fishing…and a few beers.

    ~grinning~ Good post from my alpha-male POV, December. Thank you.



  6. December Quinn
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 12:27 pm · Link

    Anna! You commented! You know, I think we do a pretty good job with the macho…but I want to step it up even furthher next time!

    Erik, there are lots of women out there who will be thrilled with you just as you are. I’m glad you stopped pretending. And long live the alpha male!



  7. Rashenbo
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 1:45 pm · Link

    It’s too bad that “macho” picked up the negative connotation. It’s a good word. :) I think you’ve got a great little article here. Thank you for sharing! :) Give us a macho man we can love! Just don’t use two men, a car, and a snickers bar… apparently that’s offensive.



  8. Robyn
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 2:48 pm · Link

    The macho man was tender but gruff with his woman. He saw women as something to have fun with, but he respected women as well. And woe betide the man who did not, because the macho man was happy to let his fists do the talking if need be. He wanted a wife. He wanted children. He expected to support them and he did not shirk from the thought or the reality of his reponsibilities.

    Absolutely. Here was a man a woman could depend on. (And the kind I wrote about in my ms that the freakin’ editor still hasn’t notified me about yet. Grr.)

    Seriously, excellent post.



  9. Robyn
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 2:50 pm · Link

    Oh- did you know Burt’s dad was a cop? When Burt was 16 or 17, he turned to his mother and sassed her. His dad backhanded him and sent him sprawling. Whether or not you agree with the method, he never sassed his mother again. :p



  10. Jenn on the Island
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 3:26 pm · Link

    You see, I think the trouble is that somewhere along the way, macho got confused with macheesemo. What you described up there as macho is my husband. The man who chops the wood and builds the fire but still cooks dinner for me. The man who gets completely absorbed drinking beer and watching boxing, but threatens to kick his own brother out of our for being rude to me.

    Definitely macho and not a whiff of cheese.



  11. Isabella Snow
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 3:54 pm · Link

    “He pretty much had a constant, woman-pleasing erection. “

    LMAO!! I love this!!!! Ooooeee!

    But that picture scares me. Eeek. I dunno what it is about Burt Reynolds, but he really scares me.. I get all freaked out when I see him on TV and have to changed the channel, lol.

    He must’ve have killed me in a past life. 😉

    re chest hair – I have a strong aversion to too much chest hair. I think its because my fair has a lot of it, and I always thought it was icky as a kid.

    Though, I do hate a shaved chest. And I hate it cos I dont want to be with a man who cares that much about his appearance…..

    If you recall that fool who took me to the Eric Clapton concert last summer – he actually waxed his eyebrows.

    Eeeeeeeek!



  12. December Quinn
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 4:00 pm · Link

    Thanks, Rashenbo, I think it’s a good word too. It’s time we take it back from the haters! And thank you for reading and commenting!

    Oooh, Robyn, can’t wait to get some good news! How long has it been?
    And I don’t think I’ve heard that story about Burt, but how awesome is that!



  13. December Quinn
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 4:03 pm · Link

    Exactly, Jenn. Macheesmo! The media gets hold of shit and turns it all into a caricature. People who don’t understand the essence of something try to absorb it by copying the trappings…but since they don’t get it, they do it badly and it becomes silly.



  14. December Quinn
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 4:06 pm · Link

    Ah, Isabella, I’m sorry you don’t like Burt. You’ll want to stay away from here on the 11th of Feb, because that’s Burt Reynolds Day! I adore him. I still think he’s awesome.

    I actually don’t particularly like hairy chests. I used to HATE them, but now they don’t bother me as much. But a shaved chest, bleh, for exactly the reasons you listed. Who wants a guy that interested in his looks?



  15. EA Monroe
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 6:16 pm · Link

    Hello, December. A dear friend said he loved your post and directed me over here to visit. I’m with you. Let’s bring the macho man back to life.



  16. December Quinn
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 6:42 pm · Link

    Welcome, ea! Glad you came by!

    I really think we have something here. If we women start making it clear this is was we like and expect…especially if we start withholding favors…we’ll get it. Now all we need to do is spread the word.



  17. littlebirdblue
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    · February 8th, 2007 at 10:39 pm · Link

    He listened to rock or real country music, the kind about drinkin’ and cryin’ and going to jail…

    Is that like the joke where you play a country song backwards, and you get your job back, you get your wife back, your dog’s alive and you’re stayin’ sober?

    And about macho, I’m sorry, but I still don’t get it. I mean, my man is one of the most guy-liest guys I know–plaid shirts and hairy chest and full beard and jeans and a cherry red 1962 Ford Ranchero w/original red & white interior. He has a pit bull (we refer to it as a “boxer-mix” for insurance reasons) and you couldn’t pay him to watch a musical, and his daddy comes from smack-in-the-mouth culture (his great-great grandaddy the Texas ranger blah blah blah)–

    And I don’t think he’s macho AT ALL. If he were, I wouldn’t like him.

    I just don’t get the appeal. But I do love the diversity of human aesthetics. Macho-Blog on; I’d love to hear more.

    I like smart guys. Funny guys. And as I get older, I can’t stand the look of young guys. I like guys my own age. Thank GOD! When I was 17, I thought every guy I would ever date EVER would look like Sid Vicious (and they did, for a while there). Now that I’m in my 30s, I look at a guy like Elvis Costello and I’m like, “OOoo–just look how smart he is, and so..funny, and adorable…and glasses make me HOT”.

    I think I’m attracted to stocky nerd-boys in vintage clothes? OHMIGOD, I’M A NERD HAG. I just had this epiphany right here, on your blog, December. I will remember this day.



  18. kis
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    · February 9th, 2007 at 12:46 am · Link

    Yeah, I’m not a fan of Burt, either, but I’d take him over Jerry Seinfeld any day.

    I think men these days have been largely emasculated. The modern world has done a very good job of letting men know we don’t need them. With greater opportunity and wage parity, we don’t need a man’s money. With all those female hosts of popular DIY shows, we don’t need them to change a doorknob, either. Single mothers out there are making it without a man. And with dildoes and our (relatively) newfound awareness of our sexuality, we don’t even really need them for their, um, male appendages.

    My dad was a heavy duty mechanic who turned down a position as a technical institute professor because he hated paperwork. He developed new prototypes for existing equipment that were patented by his company (he had no desire to have them patented in his own name), the original schematics of which are rotting in a trunk somewhere in his basement. I.Q. somewhere around 155. Machoest man ever.

    That man is basically extinct, even in the largely blue collar community where I live. Today’s high divorce rates, the death of the middle class, and political correctness have made it impossible for a macho man to take care of a woman. Modern media have taken what was once a noble and beautiful thing and turned it into “Dog, the Bounty Hunter” (now there’s a mullet for ya). And that’s just sad.



  19. December Quinn
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    · February 9th, 2007 at 4:20 am · Link

    See, lbl, it’s not so much that this is the kind of guy I’m always into; it isn’t at all. I just find it interesting that he’s disappeared from female fantasies, and I think he should come back.

    I like all kinds of men, I don’t necessarily have a specific type (although not only did I date a guy who looked JUST LIKE Sid, my username on a different blog site (my personal blog) is “Sidgirl”. Cuz I am all about the Sid love. Seriously. I used to have pictures of him up at my desk at the bank where I worked.)

    I just thought it would be fun to really explore a male archetype, especially one so prevalent in my childhood.

    That’s not to say I don’t find this man attractive, I don’t mean that at all. But it shouldn’t be inferred that this is the only type of man I find attractive. My husband? Nothing like this, really.



  20. December Quinn
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    · February 9th, 2007 at 4:21 am · Link

    That man is basically extinct, even in the largely blue collar community where I live. Today’s high divorce rates, the death of the middle class, and political correctness have made it impossible for a macho man to take care of a woman. Modern media have taken what was once a noble and beautiful thing and turned it into “Dog, the Bounty Hunter” (now there’s a mullet for ya). And that’s just sad.

    All of your comment, but especially this bit, is completely true, kis. As always we agree 100%.
    Your father sounds like a hero.



  21. Anonymous
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    · February 9th, 2007 at 5:30 am · Link

    To each his own.

    I can’t see the attraction of the macho male.
    My dad was a marine – but he never raised his voice or hand against anyone. I never saw him get into a fight with anyone. He was a quiet, shy person who wasn’t afraid to stand up for his country and his family. He was the opposite of a macho male, but everyone respected him.
    The same for my grandfather – a school principal and father of 7 kids. He kept everyone in line with his faith in God – not something you’d think of as macho. But he commanded respect.
    I can’t see where a macho man isn’t the same thing as an alpha male, and those creatures give me hives. I think I’m simply too strong, opinionated, and imaginitve a person to put up with a man who has to prove to the world that he’s strong and tough – a man who feels he has to ‘protect’ his ‘little’ woman (Gaaaaa! run and hide!).
    Personally, I prefer the strong silent types – like James Stuart. The ones you’d probably label a wimp, lol.
    Sam



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