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In Praise of Sissy Men

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We've been spoiled with above average temperatures for the past two months here in Toronto, but Christie Blatchford's latest column, "Toronto, City of Sissies," carries with it an admonition common to the coldest of February frosts.

Blatchford's thesis is simple: we, the men who call Toronto home, are "sissies" and "delicate creatures" who have seemingly lost sight of our evolutionary roots.

The impetus for her column was the embrace of two pre-teen males in Toronto's Rosedale neighbourhood. She was "mortified", and now I am too, but for different reasons. For one, her lack of apathy towards the situation, and two, the accusation that I am less of a masculine figure if I hug my peers.

Perhaps if I refer to them as "bros" my actions will be rectified.

Blatchford's solution is an overall shortening of our emotional spectrum, but most importantly, the advocating of sexism against men. Ironic, given that as a marquee woman in the media, she herself has more than likely braved the detrimental effects of this discrimination.

Females in the workplace who discard their emotional roots to fit someone else's archetype of an efficacious manager are often branded the "B" word. I wonder if Blatchford would be so quick to lament the loss of the "femme females."

In Blatchford's utopia, men are either gay or a derivative of Chuck Norris. Gays get a pass, the rest must ascribe to an antiquated, ever-shifting definition of masculinity perpetuated in nearly every marketing campaign by Canada's top brewing companies.

So, if I'm paying attention, "real men" exist within thinly-defined parameters, replete with contradictions. For example, real men engage in physical violence, the antithesis of a civilized society. Real men are groomed and professional, yet many do so without much thought. Real men are emotionally reserved while simultaneously running the gauntlet of life experiences including failure, grief and heartbreak.

Living in Blatchford's nirvana is a near-crippling experience. It is no place for the fashionably conscious, non-violent, or the emotionally accessible. It's a dwelling for the "bad boys," the same group our young women are instructed to avoid.

One of my colleagues actually advocates for the division of household chores into "pink and blue jobs." This is, as he frames it, how it should be.

So here's to the rest of us! Somewhere along the line we traded regressive thinking to venture outside of our evolutionary roots. We traded our bats for an occasional hug. We extended our interests beyond the realm of sports, beer and cars. We've even shed a tear at the death of "man's best friend."

See, that's the thing about my dog: he would lay down his life for mine, yet he's an emotional little bugger. But most importantly, he interacts with me and everyone else around me on his own terms.