Man and Machine

terminator_endoskeleton_1020.0Today I want to address something that someone asked me about.

The question that was asked of me was “How should a man deal with his emotions? Like anger, joy, sadness, etc?”

It’s a very good question, good enough that I wanted to share that question with you all and my answer of at least what has worked for me over the years.

But first, I need you to join me in the Way Back Machine and we need to take a trip back in time to when I was in my early twenties….

Back in the early 90’s is when I attended college, (university for my Brothers on the other side of the Pond).

The Politically Correct Movement (aka The Thought Police, aka The Diaper Corps) was just really starting to take off. This was the predecessor of what would ultimately culminate in the #MeToo Movement that we have today.

Back then, the internet was really just taking off. There was no Messenger. There was no Facebook. IRC was the only real time chat program available, porn showed up as binary numbers instead of images that you downloaded and had to decode to see the goodies. Email was fairly new. The World Wide Web was still more or less in its infancy. Dial up was the means for accessing the internet. (AOL anyone?) I, like a lot of people at the time, thought that the internet was a “phase.”

How wrong was I?!

Okay, so I’ve set the stage in that respect for you. Now here’s something else that was going on, and still pretty much is, as far as I’m concerned…

Guys were being taught to “get in touch with their feminine sides.” We were told that it was okay to emote, to cry. To be like a woman basically. Now this hasn’t changed. This is still going on. I got the indoctrination too.

So here I was, early twenties, raging hormones, wanting to get laid, wanting a girlfriend, all of that good stuff.

Empathize with a woman? Check.

Be able and okay to cry? Check.

Be a good listener? Check.

Be that “nice guy?” Check.

I was surrounded by women. I was popular with women. Problem was, I wasn’t getting laid. I was barely getting any dates. And it frustrated the hell out of me.

Now before I go on, this post isn’t necessarily a “Game” lesson. But I want you to understand where I was, why I was there, where I went with it, and where it got me to today.

Okay, so my college years wasn’t spectacular. I didn’t have a girlfriend for the four years I was there. I only got laid once in that time too.

After graduation, I went to work. Kept trying to do the “nice guy” thing, and kept getting the same results.

Then I got pissed off.

Actually, I was more than pissed off. I got Angry.

I found some stuff through that was what would become the beginning of the PUA world. It was different, it was cool, it talked about things I had never heard of before. And for me, it didn’t work.

Now maybe this stuff would work for a different man with a different personality, but it just didn’t work for me. It was too cerebral for me. I had to memorize too many things.

So I bombed there for the most part. Granted it did get me laid a couple of times, but for the money, time, and energy spent, it wasn’t worth it to me.

So I got even angrier.

I decided, fuck it, I’m just going to do my thing and hit the gym. I’m going to become a Machine.

Now when I say Machine, I meant it. Ever watch the movie The Terminator? That’s the Machine I was talking about. Not Arnold as the Machine, but the Machine itself. That endoskeleton underneath the meat. (I love scifi.)

Machines are impervious (or so I imagined) Machines are unstoppable. They are ruthless. They feel nothing. They just execute.

And so that’s what I became.

Now, did I actually believe I was this killing machine from some future dystopia? No. I was never that delusional.

But I shut myself down completely.

I didn’t get angry much anymore. I didn’t get sad much anymore. But I didn’t feel much at all anymore. I felt no real joy, no love, no nothing.

In truth, I might as well have been dead. Looking back at those days, my “success” with women actually began to skyrocket as far as dates and getting laid went. I didn’t give a shit about outcome, and that’s a powerful thing. But I couldn’t connect with women either. I couldn’t connect with other men. I couldn’t connect with myself anymore.

I was totally drifting. That’s why I might as well have been dead.

I’ve gone from one extreme to the other. From emoting “soyboy” to cold, heartless, calculating Machine.

I can remember to this day, a woman actually called me that. A cold, heartless Machine. Back then, I took it as a badge of honor.

How stupid I was.

Men, there is a balance, for a lack of a better word, when it comes to your emotions.

Sometimes it’s okay to get angry. Sometimes it’s okay to cry. It’s what makes you human. It’s what makes you relatable. If you are so closed off, if you are so shut down, you won’t be able to relate to women, you won’t be able to relate to another man.

Do I still cry? Sometimes. When I do, I usually do it by myself. It’s what works for me.

I believe we as Men are the Rock for women to cling to. We are the Eye of the Storm. Women have the “luxury” of being able to emote and “lose their shit.” We don’t necessarily have that. That’s part of the “burden of performance” of being a Man.

If we emote as we have been taught to, we can’t be those things for women, and that’s because we are just like them then.

But that doesn’t mean you have to shut it all down. If you shut it all down, you’ll be dead inside. You won’t feel the anger (mostly) but you won’t be able to feel love and joy either. You won’t be able to connect with other men and women.

Accept your emotions. They are part of what make you a Man. They are just as important as what you Do.

Acknowledge your emotions. They aren’t “bad.” They just are.

Just don’t let them run your life.

Sometimes you lose your shit. Okay. No big deal. Acknowledge it. Accept it. Own it. Move on. Sometimes you are going to lose it. I’ve done it plenty of times in my life. Sometimes it’s necessary. It sets boundaries. It draws “lines in the sand.” It sends a message loud and clear. Sometimes that has to happen. It is what it is.

It doesn’t need to define you though. You don’t need to get hung up on it.

Like a song (can’t remember the name of it offhand) said, “There’s a time to laugh, and a time to cry. There’s a time to reap and a time to sow.” Something along those lines anyways.

Basically going to either extreme is not a good thing in my opinion.

What if your anger is no big deal? What if it doesn’t define you? What do you think would happen if you just owned it and moved on?

Check out stoicism if that’s your thing, check out meditation. Go to the gym and punch a bag. Go to the gun range and shoot some guns. I’ve done all of these things and more over the years. I’ve even wrote that shit down on paper (gasp! I know, right?!) and it works.

The point is, don’t go overboard either direction. You aren’t a woman (unless you actually happen to be a woman on this list) and you aren’t a Machine. You’re a Man. And Men have emotions. Men have their shit too. And that’s fine.

It actually makes us more interesting and more relatable.

I’ve waxed poetic long enough, and if you’ve read this far, thanks for joining me and journeying with me.

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3 thoughts on “Man and Machine

  1. The Byrds reference. Is it weird for me to mention givng the proper level of response to a situation (and no more)? I learned this years later. Others cant see my frustrations and I think it to be “ugly” that I force someone else to bear that load. Great post.


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