“Real men”, or those who no longer need to prove their manhood, no longer have a need to fight all foes and have learned the wisdom of choosing their battles. Whether that title would include me or not is subject to debate (or maybe just wishful thinking), but here are the rules I follow. There are only two rules, and each has just one exception. I suppose any “real man” would have to set his or her standards even higher than this:
- Never fight someone smaller than you. This would be a public relations nightmare. Should you win, you will receive no glory (since that is what you were expected to do), and most likely would receive ridicule for choosing such an easy target. Should by some chance you lose, you will never ever hear the end of it. The exception to this rule would be that if you were attacked you would be allowed to defend yourself as necessary. But even then you may use only enough force to subdue or dissuade the attacker. Keep in mind that exactly how much force is necessary to accomplish that will always be subject to later review by armchair quarterbacks everywhere.
- I don’t recommend fighting someone much bigger than you, for obvious reasons. (If the reason is NOT yet obvious to you, then you may disregard this rule for as long as it takes to discover a good reason. If you are winning all of these fights, then you are conveniently clueless about the definition of “much bigger than you”). As the exception to this rule, you may proceed if you are fighting for a good cause. One question, which some attribute to the U.S. Marine Corps (but may in fact go back much further) that you may always want to consider when choosing a cause is “Is this the hill I am willing to die on?” For me, ‘feeding my own ego’ just doesn’t make the cut. ‘Proving your manhood’ probably shouldn’t either. Some people get a lot of satisfaction out of their support of causes much larger than themselves. Besides their effectiveness rating, the grandness (or the smallness, even pettiness) of the causes for which they are willing to fight might be a much better way to judge a person than the more traditional characteristics of size, color, sex, or religious/political/social affiliations.
That’s all there is to it. But this is just one person’s opinion. If you think I’ve forgotten something, speak up. I would be particularly interested to hear what a “real man” might add to the discussion. Thanks for your time.