Categorized | Senior Editorials, Viewpoints

Dudes doing dude stuff

Matt Porter

This month is celebrated by many college boys as a time in which they can grow pathetically wispy and patchy facial hair with little to no persecution because it is “no-shave November.” I often  do not participate in this because I tend to go “no-shave ever” since I have had a beard since age 17. I don’t begrudge other people for wanting to grow beards, and I understand the need to create a judgment-free space for the first couple weeks of growth because it can often look unkempt and scraggly.

However, I find celebrations like this to be somewhat limiting. We then tend to define ourselves as men based on our ability to grow hair. I am starting to fear that how we conceptualize ourselves as men is becoming restricted by quasi-ironic and over-thetop interpretations of dude stuff. The biggest place I see this over-blown sense of ironic dude appreciation is in how men look at each other as friends and how we view ourselves as consumers.

There has been an explosion in the portrayal of bro-mantic attitudes over the last couple years. It was as if some cultural event opened up the flood gates and made it okay to celebrate the love men have for other men in a very loud and vocal way; personally, I blame Judd Apatow. I have no problems with expressing feeling for your dude friends, but my problem is that men often do this while celebrating these relationships ironically. For some reason it is somehow funny that a man could share a nice heterosexual relationship with another guy, as if we men are just too insecure to admit we genuinely enjoy the company of other men. I don’t want to hear you say “no homo” if you want to give a guy a hug; that’s offensive and hugs are not something to be ashamed of.

Men have also been bombarded with over masculinized commercials and media representations of what it is to be a guy. I am in no way saying this is comparable to the way which women are marketed; we can all agree that’s worse but that discussion is for a different time. To some degree, I have come to accept this bombardment. I expect to see things like the Marlboro Man or the Old Spice guy just because of the nature of the products. I draw the line when I have to suffer through things like Coke Zero, Pepsi Max and Dr. Pepper 10. I like explosions and punching snakes as much as anyone but I just find it insulting that they don’t think I will realize it’s the same thing as Diet Dr. Pepper. You don’t need to trick me into liking diet drinks; I just don’t drink them because they’re gross.

I have no problem celebrating dude stuff, I just want to celebrate it genuinely, and I don’t want that to be the only way I can act as a man. Yeah I have a full beard, but I like taking baths (where I often make bubble beards for my real beard) and hugging other guys. As men, we need to be honest, and there ain’t nothing wrong with dudes doing dude stuff (property damage excluded).

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