Lighten up, boys

Who said Mormons can’t be fun?

After an exhaustive survey among North American women on what to write about men today (conducted over early morning coffee with my wife, Janet), I’m happy to report today’s topic is: stop being so deadly serious all the time, guys!

I don’t mean to pick on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the last grim men standing, those wild & crazy candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, but I mean, there they are. After 20 debates (I know spouses who haven’t had that many conversations after 20 years of marriage), their usually sour mugs are everywhere, all the time, they’re utterly unavoidable, their constant scowls and furrowed brows a depressing reminder of something many women get and few men do — it’s OK to be vulnerable; it’s human to laugh and cry occasionally; it’s not such a bad thing to admit you’re not The Master of the Universe.’Cause guess what? The rest of the world knows you’re not.

Faith. Family. Freedom. Funky? Not so much.

I mean, do I have to remind everyone that every single man alive today — including these bundles of male seriousness — was once a boy. There seem to be only two ways most men decide to react to this alarming fact.

The first is to pretend we’re still precocious kids, the kinds of characters featured in the Hangover movies. Grown men with Star Wars posters hanging in their homes, accountants and insurance salesmen pounding back brewskies in the evenings while playing video games and exchanging fart jokes with their equally juvenile buddies — you know who I’m talking about.

Then there’s the other, equally alarming type of man — the type I’m featuring today — who has decided the only way his family, friends, colleagues (and in some cases, the nation, indeed the entire world) will ever take him seriously is to… wait for it… be serious! Not just occasionally, like when his kid drops out of high school to join a commune in Eastern Oregon, but virtually all the time.

If you’re not serious, no one will take you seriously. I’m serious.

This, unfortunately, turns the offending men into caricatures of “normalcy.” You see, the problem is there’s more to life than, well, problems. There’s actually some love and joy and happiness out there too. These things creep up on all of us — even these dudes — from time to time. When that happens, The Serious Man simply doesn’t know how to behave. Honestly, tell me the truth now, is there anything more sadly hilarious than watching Serious Politicians like these guys attempting to come across as Regular Guys? Rolling up their crisply ironed sleeves to bowl a line with the unemployed guys and gals at the Ten Pin Alley in Allentown, having a Sloppy Joe and a Coke with the lunchtime crowd at a diner in Hutchinson, Kansas. To suggest they look supremely uncomfortable in their own skins doesn’t even begin to describe how horribly, shockingly stiff and otherworldly they appear. I mean, who buys this stuff? How stupid, how superficial do they and their handlers think we are?

Candidate Paul may be dull but this supporter knows how to lighten up.

To conclude, I just had to include this last photo. I apologize to all you Ron Paul supporters out there for not featuring a shot of your candidate looking just as seriously serious as the other three. But this isn’t a campaign blog. It’s intended as a gentle reminder: men who’ve moved beyond adolescence don’t have to be so freaking uptight all the time. Amazingly enough, men who find it in themselves to lighten up now and then, to not take themselves so seriously all the time, are precisely the men who others do take seriously.

That may be a bit too zen for some guys, but I’m serious.

Seriously.

Share this with a man you know who’s trying just a bit too hard to be taken… well, you know. Encourage him to lighten up — assure him the world won’t think less of him for it.  And be sure to let me know how it goes. I take this sort of thing quite, well… again, you know…

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