A Healthy Masculinity

A Healthy Masculinity

Hollywood's Manly Man is not the man we need.
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Gunfire. Explosions. Brawls. Beer. Babes. Mustaches. This is what it takes to be a man.

Or is it?

My father is one of the best men I know. He owns and maintains several firearms. He stocks up on fireworks for the Fourth of July. He taught me how to throw a proper punch. He keeps the cooler stocked with his favorite beers. He married the woman of his dreams. And on vacation, at least, he lets the beard grow. But none of these things define him as a person.

What defines my father, instead, is his dignity. He is a man of faith, and a man of hard labor. He loves to work with his hands. He treats my mother with respect and fidelity. He put just as much of himself into raising his two sons as every other aspect of his life; that is to say, 100%. He never seems to be working on less than three or four different projects and labors at once, and yet none of them ever seem to merit less than his full attention.

So which side of my father makes him a man? Is it the brawny, sports-car loving macho man? Or the gentle, stir-fry wrangling family man? And which image ought we elevate above the other?

The answer is glaringly, gleamingly obvious. The world has enough macho men running about in tank tops and Oakleys. What we need now is the family man in a collared shirt and reading glasses.

I was reminded of this juxtaposition when I went to see Logan with my father and my brother. The Wolverine always has been and always will be an action man; the leather jacket and jeans, the half-smoked cigar hanging from his lips, the unbreakable metal claws gleaming between his knuckles all labeling him as a hard man in a hard world. But in Logan, he's faced with his own age; at 200 years old, he's beginning to face the ravages of time.

Then along comes Laura, a young Mexican girl who is, for all intents and purposes, his daughter. He wants no part in her care, however, because he knows what his influence means: "I am f*ed up," he confesses, "I can't get you where you need to go." On the surface, it seems that he is referring to the toll their journey has taken on his body, but he is also acknowledging that for all the masculinity oozing from every scar and beard follicle, he is not the man to raise a child.

Unfortunately, that ultra-manly action hero has become the object of admiration in popular culture, and Hollywood especially. Any more, the odds that you'll find a family man trying to care for his own in a non-Western film are slim to none.

But that's what the world needs, now more than ever. We need husbands and fathers, men who are willing to put in the work and care for the people that God put in their care.

Because at the end of the day, a man is not defined by how many guns he owns, or the size of his handlebar mustache. He is perhaps best summed up in the poem If, by Rudyard Kipling:

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

"If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

"If you can make a heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

"If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!"


































Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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Things To Know Before Dating A Firefighter

You'll learn how to tell the difference between different kinds of sirens.
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There are just certain things you are going to want to know before dating a fireman. In my experience, I had to learn along the way. But at the end of all the calls, constantly smelling his gear in the car and sometimes even cancelled plans, I sure do love my firefighter!

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons To Date A Country Boy

You were promised a list, so here it is:

1. If they are even within 20 minutes of the station, they will always leave you to go on a call.

No matter the circumstances, if you have a fireman on your hands, he will jet to the car and be on his way.

SEE ALSO: What It's Like To Date A Police Officer

2. Meeting nights are not something you try and fight with them about. They are going to leave and you do not have to like it because it wasn't up to you anyway.

I have learned that these nights are not optional. Yes, other people miss them, but not my firefighter.

3. No matter where you are or what you're doing the minute they hear a firetrucks horn, they're looking for it and hoping they're not missing anything good.

You will learn the lingo. Structures, fully involved (the good stuff) smoke alarms, cat in a tree (ehh I mean they are fireman...soooo still good stuff).

4. They know the exact difference between an ambulance, cop, and, of course, a fire truck siren.

Which means that you will have to learn, too.

5. You’ll have to accept that when he has to do hall rental cleanup, you're going with to help.

You fold the chairs and he stacks them. And Im talking at like 12 a.m.,1 a.m.

6. When you come around the firehouse, there will be jokes made and they'll mess with him about you or even you about him.

Honestly it's a giant bromance going on and they prey on this kinda stuff.

7. At first, you won't really have a name to the fire guys. Until you're around long enough.

You'll just be Boyfriend's name's girlfriend.

8. The fire pager goes where he goes.

Next to the bed, in the car, next to your bed, your living room, EVERYWHERE. And even if it's not the real pager, it's the dog app that I can never remember the name of so dog app it is. (Say that really fast to get the full effect).

9. They will probably wear their station shirt/apparel at least 4-5 days a week.

AT LEAST.

10. If you've got a good one, you're always put first. The list will always go "You, the firehouse, me, everyone else."

But secretly they always want to put the firehouse first.

11. You will learn and know more stations, trucks, members, and chiefs than you will ever want to admit.

Unbelievably true.

12. When you're driving and you see a fire station, you'll have to look at it.

If its an amazing building, you'll have to remember the name. And then you'll have to tell him about it. And then you've just proved number 11 correct. Add it to your list.

13. Never make plans while he's on a call. You can never know when he'll be back.

Even if the calls are short, they could stay at least another hour washing the trucks and being boys, of course.

14. In case you didn't understand the severity of the first one, if you are on the phone and you hear the pager go off in the background, just tell him you love him and hang up.

Because if you don't, he will. "Got a call, Love you, bye." Mid-sentence is always what you want to hear.

15. You'll never want to watch "Ladder 49" again.

You will cry like a baby and then want to make him quit.

16. Outside of the stations, fireman tend to forget that fire isn't a toy and it's pretty damn hot.

*Playing with the lighter fluid or burning things on the stove*
"No it's alright, I'm a firefighter."

17. You will start your own station shirt collection.

From NYFD memorial shirts, a station from where you're vacationing even acquired old shirts of his, you will have started your own pile of station shirts.

18. You can't get angry or upset when he is unavailable because he's going to go to the firehouse for the fifth time that week, or if there's another fire prevention thing to do.

You can't be mad because he's doing what he loves and also because a man in a uniform isn't too shabby.

There are a lot more things to know before dating a fireman, but the rest you'll just have to learn along the way.

SEE ALSO: 5 Things To Know Before Dating Someone With Anxiety

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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The Daily Struggles Of Living With A Name That Is Not Considered 'Normal'

My name is No 'O' Livia.
Livia
Livia
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If you have any name that is not considered "normal" in the book of baby names, you feel my pain on this. While I feel thankful to have a first name that is not the most common, it can be very frustrating at times when I need to explain to people that I am "No 'O' Livia."

When I was little I would have done anything to have a "normal" name and get the 'O' added to my name, yet at almost 21 years old, I now am forever thankful my mom decided to think out of the box.

So to answer the question you're probably wondering, there really is not an 'O' in my name.

Why?

Simply because my mom didn't want it and liked the name "Livia" better.

Anticlimactic I know.

The first day of school is always a bit of a struggle. For example, yesterday I started my summer class and my teacher had a quick Q&A form with me in front of the whole class about my name, how to spell it, and why there is not an O.

Speaking of class, in high school whenever there was a substitute teacher they would call the roll until they got to "Lee-ve-a" I would silently roll my eyes and explain it was pronounced just like "Olivia" but without the 'O', no weird pronunciation is needed just because a letter is missing.

Legal documents also tend to be a nightmare because even if I meet someone and get them to say "Livia", they still automatically think that my legal name is "Olivia", so they write that on a document, then everything is messed up and now "No 'O' Livia" is sad.

On the plus side, I get to wow the elderly customers that I serve at work.

Me: "Hello! How are you all today...my name is Livia, I'll be taking care of you..."

Older customer, pushing glasses up to the top of their nose and squinting while leaning in much closer to look at my name tag: "But why is it not Olivia"

Me, fake laughing for the 15th time that night: "Because I couldn't buy the vowel!"

Customer: "Hahahaha, boy, are you clever!"

(Not really, I've used this saying probably ten thousand times already and I do it in the hopes that you'll like me and tip well.)

Now that this name issue is over, hurry up and tell me what you want to drink.

So I maybe have a few jokes. But what was not funny was when I was little and wanted a souvenir with my name on it from a new place that we had visited. You know what I'm talking about, the little touristy key chains you see in gift shops, or the personalized coffee mugs, license plate names, etc. Well, my childhood did not consist of any of these items.

Traumatic, I know.

So for what its worth, I am happy to be named Livia. Although frustrating at times, I feel it gives a good story and is a name people will remember!

Now for getting it added to the book of baby names...

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash
Livia
Livia

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