Putrid Modern Hell #1

by HST UK on February 7, 2011

To be the man you’ve got to behave like a man.

“Jesus Christ, I am a pussy.”

I remember in one of my more introspective days making that statement. I was stuck in a rut back then, struck down by anomie and a cursed case of ‘Poor Me’ Syndrome. Here I was a man, yet I didn’t feel much of one. My existence was passive, and in a moment that could almost be part of a Palahniuk novel I decided that things had to change.

The problem seemed to be that I wasn’t in control of my life; I was the driver of the vehicle but my hands weren’t on the steering wheel. What I needed to do was face my fears, step outside of myself and attempt to become a man.

But what the hell is a man? According to the Top Shop mannequins I need to wear clothes so tight that they split like the clothes did on Bruce Banner when he transformed into The Incredible Hulk. According to popular television shows like Jersey Shore and The X Factor I need to become vain, shave my chest and work out like a beast in the gym, and remember to make my fortnightly appointments at Toni & Guy, occasionally I also need to pick fights with random blokes bellowing “Come at me bro!”. According to the movies I need to become brooding and mysterious like a thoughtful pale faced vampire.

I’m confused so much by the concept of a modern man that it almost seems easier to be myself. But if my self is someone with little personality, prone to bouts of intense self obsession and delusions of grandeur then perhaps it is better to attempt to become someone else.

In my feeble mind, my idea of becoming a man involved taking on a rough and tumble, honest working class job. So, I became a security guard. Becoming a security guard meant that I needed to learn how to defend myself. So, I took up Martial Arts. Taking up Martial Arts meant that I needed to have an end goal, something other then a black belt. So, I decided to work towards fighting an Amateur MMA contest.

Within a hard floored dojo, with the odour of sweat lingering in the air I attempt to work towards this end goal. The progress is slow, for I am acquiring techniques that my muscles are attempting to memorize. My body, stiff and uncoordinated, legs off balance. There are days when I wonder whether or not this toil will lead anywhere, but it is quite easy to become addicted to this primitive form of attack as the best form of defence.

As the weeks and months of training go by you begin to see the light. Enlightenment comes in the form of ornate footwork. As you tap along like a battery powered Liza Minelli, pirouette then punch, you feel alive, your body flows, and it is hard not to believe in the power of Martial Arts as a crucial developing tool.

Truly I was branching out into unchartered territory, hitting a bag, blocking a punch. Then came the realisation “Jesus Christ, I’m still a pussy”.

Despite performing, and practicing Martial Arts since April 2010 I’ve yet to test what I have learnt, neither in full contact sparring nor a real life situation. This bothers me; as I now have a thirst for action that is unquenched.

The same could be said for my line of work. The main reason I joined the security industry was to test my mettle in tense situations. Again, as of yet my mettle has yet to be tested. There have been some potentially dicey moments, but nothing that makes you want to cack your pants as your body goes into fight or flight mode.

I have put myself into a position outside of my comfort zone; however this position has in itself very much become comfortable. Still the question remains, if I can not attain man status through working in a macho industry, or through a hobby/interest which provides certain risks then I must look at my own behaviour. I need to at least act like a man.

How does one go about this?

RJW

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