There are a lot of questions floating around these days concerning manhood. What does it mean to be a modern man? I find the very definition has changed since the days of our fathers. The alpha males have seemingly been neutered by a society that embraces Dancing with the Stars. What would John Wayne think if he were alive today?
I've used "the Dad Test" for many years to measure whether or not my actions were acceptable. The Dad Test is simple. Let's say, for instance, you're out rollerblading in the uptown district of your city while wearing a pair of aerodynamic spandex bike-shorts and you have a sudden epiphany that what you are currently engaging in might not exactly be masculine. So you use the Dad Test to determine if your fears are justified by asking yourself one simple question, "Can I picture my dad doing this?"
Growing up, my grandfather would tell me a story from time to time about a bar fight that he had during his days in the Navy. As I grew up I couldn't help but come to the conclusion that a bar fight is quite possibly the most masculine thing a young man can do. So naturally I added this to the list of things that I must do before I die, my very own Bucket List (everyone has one, right?). The fact that I lost the fight is not important. He was bigger and tougher than me. I was drunk. And he was swearing at a woman. That's all the justification I needed. Now if he had been smaller than me and I had lost, the shame would have eclipsed me for the rest of my life. It would be a cloud that I could never escape from.
Recently, though, I've thought that maybe I should raise the bar. Getting slapped with a large, wet fish (alive or dead) is perhaps the next rung on the ladder of masculinity. No, I'm not asking for someone to slap me with a fish. If the fish-slap occurs under premeditated circumstances it loses any and all validity. Perhaps I should move to a city that has an open air fish market.
I realize that during these trying times, alot of us have grown up with Full House-era Bob Saget-styled parenting. So if the Dad Test doesn't hold up for you because your father is a fairy, just call it the John Wayne Test. And if you're wondering, John Wayne doesn't have time to text you on his Blackberry because he's too busy kicking Chuck Norris' ass.