Heights of Manliness to Which We Can Aspire pt.1
I don’t think anyone’s going to dispute my being a paragon of manliness.
With my chestnut eyes beckoning you to lose yourself in them, my lantern jaw, and encyclopedic knowledge of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica, it’s not hard to see why I am one of the last bastions of masculinity in a sea of pasty vampires and Justine Bieber haircuts.
Thanks to my well-defined triceps and complete runs of Geoff Johns on Green Lantern and Grant Morrison and Howard Porter on JLA I’ve had sex many, many times.
Who were hot.
It is however, lonely at the top. The problem with being a thoroughbred is that there’s no one else at the front, to know my pain and share my joys. A few people have asked me, “Matt, as the idol of literally tens of people, who do you look up to? Also, you’re super handsome, and could you open this pickle jar? My hands are weak and child-like.”
After loosing the pickles, I let out a mighty chuckle, pat the person on the arm, nod knowingly, bust out a couple sets of at least fifty pounds on the ol’ bench press, and return home to a pile of women.
Upon reflection, I’ve done everyone a disservice. No one on the path to knowledge should be turned away, in fact curiosity and initiative should be rewarded.
So, here it is, a list of the men, that I, a modern cowboy who is also a samurai and ninja, that was raised in Sparta, look to when I need inspiration.
The Dude: Don Draper
Why: Uh, look at him. He looks like a guy. If you were going to show someone who had never seen or heard of America, what American men look like, you’d show them a picture of Don Draper, or least someone Draper-esque. The perfectly coiffed hair, the piercing gaze, and, let’s face it, this handsome son of a bitch can wear the living hell out of a suit. More than that, he drinks liquor, dark liquor, smokes all day, and has sex with every women who meets his eyes. He takes command at the office, in the home, socially, and everywhere else.
In his Wheelhouse: Besides looking dashing, Draper can talk. In world where everyone can sue everyone for even looking at them wrong, Draper can defuse a situation with a few well-chosen words. He can disarm you, sell you something you don’t need, sleep with your wife, and make you think not only was it a good idea, but you need to buy a Kodak carousel projector to display all those pictures he took of them banging each other. The man is the ultimate bullshit artist. Coming from someone who wants to be a writer and a comedian, Draper’s ability to shut out the world, gaze into the middle distance, and pull a genius sales pitch out of his ass is stupefying. He could be president, but why settle for that, when you could be secretly running the world?
Not in his Wheelhouse: Fidelity. This guy cheats on his wife all day, every day. Granted, she’s kind of nuts and more than a little childish, especially when dealing with children, but have you seen Betty Draper?
And have you seen Betty Draper with the eye make-up from when the two visited Rome?
Draper, what’re you, high?
Lessons to Learn: Confidence. Despite everyone having the internet in their pocket, you can make shit up more nowadays than ever before. If you can look someone in the eye, and say what you need to say to get what you want, you can get anywhere. There’s a lot to be said for a nice haircut and a sharp suit as well, but if you believe in you, and what you’re saying, so will everyone else.
The Dude: Malcolm Reynolds
Why: Mal was a dreamer who became a realist. He’s a guy who had big plans and grand ways to go about getting to where he wanted to be, and then it all got taken away from him. Instead of stewing over what was taken from him, and slowly circling the drain, crushed under depression, he just kept going. I’m at a time and point in my life where I’m surrounded by dreamers who aren’t where they thought they’d be, and it’d be easy to either give up or just be miserable about it. Mal chose a different path, far from the one he wanted and expected, but it was a choice, and it was a choice that kept him moving forward. Furthermore, Mal commands respect, but isn’t a jerk about it. He laughs with his crew, and they give him shit from time to time, but when Mal uses his big boy voice, everyone shuts up and listens. Even Jayne, an established killer, scoundrel, and all around dangerous wild card defers to Mal.
In his Wheelhouse: Leading. Mal takes a group of truly unique individuals, many of them not team players on paper, and not only created a truly ingenious and efficient heisting, thieving, and occasionally mercenary crew, but he turned them into a family. He’s the best kind of boss. He can have fun, but isn’t a pushover. He controls the room and knows what he wants, but isn’t a dick about it.
Not in his Wheelhouse: Details. Mal’s kind of a big picture guy, and tends to neglect the little things, which usually means he has to make things up as he goes or shoot from the hip. Sometimes this ends badly. But that’s why he has Zoe. Also, he can’t seem to say ‘no’ to a damsel in distress. This usually ends with him screwed over. Women are trouble.
Lessons to Learn: Mal is a soldier and a dreamer who had his war and cause taken from him. He’s a man looking for something to believe in, and if that means it’s being with his ragtag family he put together so be it, but God help anyone who stands before him when he does find a cause. Mal will keep coming until the job’s finished or the problem’s done. The most dangerous person in the ‘verse is the guy who just does not give up.
The Dude: Indiana Jones
Why: Henry Jones Jr, who likes to be called Indiana, is the perfect embodiment of the dichotomy of man. He is both creator and destroyer. He seeks to advance mankind’s understanding and preserve ancient cultures, but he carries a gun and knows how to use it. He’s a professional educator at the highest level, but he’s gotten into bar fights and is, essentially a very well-read thief. Despite a high body count, the plundering of under developed nations’ culture, he is still a force for good.
In his Wheelhouse: Indy is a Nazi-basher of legend. Not since Sgt. Rock beat a platoon of Krauts so badly that fellow US servicemen had to pull him off the enemy, has someone found so many different ways to murder the Master Race. He’s shot them, burned them, punched them off of stuff, chopped them up with a propeller, and even melted their souls. The guy is endlessly creative, but more than that, there’s a lot to be said for luck. How many times do you see Dr. Jones pull of something that should probably impossible? A lot. And how many times does he seem surprised that it actually worked? A lot.
Not in his Wheelhouse: Planning more than two steps ahead. Jones, while well-read and erudite, is probably not a chess player. He knows he needs to get on the truck to get the Ark of the Covenant, so he just runs out grabs a horse, somehow catches up, gets on the truck, aaaaaaaaand now what? He infiltrated secret Nazi island, found the ark, stole a bazooka, aaaaaaaaaaaand now what? He got on the blimp, got the diary, got off the blimp, didn’t die from Luftwaffe attacks, twice, aaaaaaaaaaand now what? The ‘now what’ is usually unbelievably painful, except the blimp thing. Thank God his dad is James Bond.
Lessons Learned: Intelligence isn’t just for nerds. Being well-read, researched, and quick on his feet, has gotten Indy out of every scrape imaginable, and on more than one occasion a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing, ie; box full of ghosts and the Christian Murder Cup. Finally, as a greasy Frenchman, once said, “there is a time for diplomacy, and a time for action.” Look, you can sit there and be articulate and logical all you want, but at some point, you’re going to have to deal with Nazis and cult zealots, at which point you should probably turn to your pistol and the most devastating haymaker in the history of punching. After all, “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.”
Wait, that’s the other guy, isn’t it?
The Dude: The Dude
Why: The Dude is basically the modern Buddha. He desires nothing, so he cannot suffer. He is content with his life. He has his music, his bowling team, his White Russians, and the occasional spliff, but he doesn’t make them the center of his being. By eliminating any want, he eliminates all pain from his life. He simply is, and takes every event in his life as it comes, but is always apart from it. He is on the outside, an observer of the human condition.
In his Wheelhouse: Being one with the totality of the Universe by letting it be. The Dude abides, and by not exerting any sort of control or will upon the universe, he is allowed to join it. he is within the fabric of existence. He also has luck that rivals Dr. Jones’ by simply being, all the problems come to him, but so too, do the answers. The Dude abides and the Universe provides.
Not in his Wheelhouse: Being proactive, about anything. Even in procuring his beloved drugs, he smokes every joint to the lowest, lowliest roach. He buys the ingredients for his White Russians piecemeal, and as he needs it. Which, is again, a strength. He does not plan ahead for a tomorrow he can’t know. He lives in the moment. His weakness is his strength.
Lessons to Learn: Just be, man, just be. The Universe will provide; it will take away,vbut it is the one constant. Also, if the Dude’s good enough for Sam Elliott, he should be good enough for you.
So this is going to be a recurring feature. If you have any suggestions for future columns, leave them in the comments.
I’m leaving you with this video as something to remember, and now that I’m seeing it again, a preview, because you know we’re going to cover Roger Sterling pretty soon.
See you kids next week.
Posted on October 7, 2010, in Lists, Matt Loman, Movies, Pop Culture, Television and tagged don draper, duding it out, firefly, i have some weird heroes, Indiana Jones, mad men, malcolm reynolds, manliness, men, the big lebowski, the dude. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.