Friday, 11 September 2015

Confidence and Aggression

I sat watching the remains of the late night Thursday crowd in the bar, their drinking pace slowed down by now so much so all it was missing was the theme tune to the film chariots of fire in the background. The testosterone filled air over at one end of the bar late in the evening only could mean one of two things. Either there would be a short fight involving lots of pushing or one half of the couple who owned the place would sort it before it came to that stage.

It ended as the latter much to the chagrin of many of the punters in need of some evening entertainment. It's a scene repeated around the world in various forms. The outcomes are always the same. Either someone wins or no one wins. Occasionally someone ends up in hospital or dead. Whichever way you look at it, it can get messy.

Why do some males feel the need to assert their masculinity? How does it often get to the point where physical violence is the best solution? Maybe it’s down to the lack of confidence that many males feel in an increasingly demasculinized world plays a part. Could it be the lack of heavy industry and a world devoid of 'men's men' has contributed to a state of lack of confidence on their masculinity? Has it now become the state that some men missing confidence brought to their lives by ‘doing a hard days graft for a hard day’s pay’ feel the need to overcompensate?

I have noticed over the most truly confident of men rarely bite with overly aggressive types and never end up fighting. Simply put they have nothing to prove to anyone and are far more prone to simply ‘letting it ride’ that others would punctuate with a swift bottle to the face. After the whole 1990’s ‘girl power’ and ‘ladette’ culture, some men were left feeling that maybe they weren’t the strongest sex after all, maybe they’d been misled all this time by women who just let them think they were in control when really they were little more than puppets. That can have a profound effect on a generation!

In my travels to many different places and cultures I also see a disparity sometimes where you would expect a hard drinking down to earth culture in a rough area to have endless fights, only to find there are hardly any. Then other times you are in a supposedly civilized and ‘upper class’ area or place only to find anyone daring to not look at their own shoes finds themselves son the other side of one of a vast cornucopia of meat heads and knuckle draggers. So maybe the upper classes are not as different as they’d like everyone to believe? (Something most people have worked out long ago, but they seem to have totally bypassed.)
But is the solution to bring back hard work and give men confidence to behave like 1970’s caricatures of what men used to be like? I don’t think so, I’d prefer to think it’s all part of an evolutionary process where the male mind is finally starting to leave behind its knuckle dragging ways and push aside violence and aggression when it’s no longer need. It’s rare to come across a bloke these days that fight son a weekend for ‘fun and relaxation’. In that regard the film ‘Fight Club’ wasn’t that far from the truth. Back when I was in my 20’s and further back than that it wasn’t unusual for blokes to have a fist fight on a weekend to ‘unwind’ after a hard weeks graft.

But it’s also entirely possible that I’m talking total bollocks and making a prime mistake of using too small sample size to enable me to gain any true meaning and simply reflecting my own biases. A true man isn’t judged by whom he can beat up, but by smaller and often more important things like the ability to stick to his word, to protect those who are unable to protect themselves and to help out where he can. Besides which, how many noses you’ve broken isn’t really something that you can put on your CV at any point in your life unless you’re a mixed martial arts champion or a boxer. …and I for one am far too old for either of those professions.

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