How my father viewed manliness was very different than how I saw being a man. But to be fair to him, how I described being a man when I was younger has changed since I have grown older. Things change and we scramble to keep up.
How men are defined changes not only across time but across place. I was reminded of this recently when I was in St. Kitts and a Kittitian woman suggested that my manliness might be suspect. I was puzzled by this at first until I realized that she was making reference to the way in which I had just bent my wrist. Well that, and I was the only man at a cooking class.
My understanding of heterosexual and homosexual behavior focuses on which form of genitalia you prefer. In St. Kitts (or at least to the woman to whom I was talking) it is all in the wrist. I could have engaged her in a geo-socio-political-anatomical discussion. But I was on holidays and I didn’t really care what she thought of me one way or the other.
So I smiled and said nothing.