What Real Men Do

My fiancée Danielle informed me recently that she had unfriended someone on Facebook because they’d posted something about how real men don’t kill wild things, they take pictures. That she was offended on my behalf – though I was not aware of the post, nor would I have cared one way or another about this guy’s opinion – is one of a thousand reasons why I love her. She has my back. But I think too, she’s learned a lot about why I hunt, witnessed all the conscientious effort that goes into it, and not least of all, tasted the savory, story-rich results. So, on her own, she knows that her former friend is wrong and that, knowing both of us, there’s far more to real manhood than slogans and moralizing.

It did get me thinking. I’ve never, in all my years as a hunter, questioned the real man-ness of any guy who didn’t hunt. I’ve tried to explain why I hunt – explain, not apologize or rationalize – on occasion, but mostly to get people to leave me to it, not take it up for themselves. To hunt or not to hunt is a deeply personal choice. And never mind what a bunch of smug, picture-taking yuppies do to the environment versus the nearly invisible conservationist hunter.

So why do some people feel the need to tell us to trade our guns or bows in for cameras in order to join the ranks of real men? This particular former friend is an overly bouyant scuba diver, so clearly he’s stuffing some dead things in his gaping mouth, just not any that he has killed himself. Doesn’t that mean he’s maintaining real man-ness at the expense of some poor guy in the fishing fleet or butcher’s shop who’s had to sacrifice his real man-ness for the sake of this corpulent moralizer?

Forced to consider all this, I’m led to the question of what is a real man anyway? When did it become manly to eat from styrofoam and plastic wrap but not from an animal you have stalked, killed, gutted and butchered all by yourself? If left in the woods, would the photo-taking “real” man survive or the one who knows how to hunt for food? But that’s what these Facebook posters have put on the scale, not me. I think a real man pays his debts, supports his family, does right by others, builds and fixes things, respects others and in doing so, minds his own fucking business. Have I left anything out?

So I wonder what someone who thumps his chest with the claim of “I take photos, not animals” is truly, deeply, psychologically saying. My guess is he’s trying to change the equation to one that suits his absence of skills, for it takes none to order in a restaurant or pluck from the meat department freezer.

But I’m OK with that. I don’t care that some men in America wouldn’t last a day in the wilds. Not every guy can stand a post or gut a deer. I respect the ones who admit it. I am more than willing to share with those who can’t, or teach and encourage those who would like to gain the skills. Just know that when you try to declare your real man-ness  based on your inability or unwillingness to get your own food, those of us who can and do, we pity you. We see straight through to your deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. And not to rub salt in the wound, but I know a few women who put wild food on their table. So maybe it’s just about being real. Some can handle it. I don’t mind the ones who can’t. But the ones who feel compelled to make comparisons? They are the saddest bunch of all.



~ by SpeakingZenaphorically on January 9, 2016.

4 Responses to “What Real Men Do”

  1. Nice to have a fiancee that’s got your back.

  2. The way of explanation about hunting is realistic and understandable. It helps to encourage and motivate others to involve in a positive way.

  3. I also face these Issues on my Facebook Page.. I Agree With this Article

  4. Beka Garris

    Shooting traditional gear, there are no sights or shooting aids to rely on. If you mess up, it’s all on you.
    That’s the beauty of it.


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