When Neutered Men Speak to Boys
WHEELER MacPherson writes:
The small town at the base of our mountain counts among its charms a genuine country restaurant. Once a month or so, my wife and I treat ourselves to an early-morning outing at the breakfast buffet there. The fresh, family-prepared food offered there is worlds removed from the pallid microwaved sausage links and scrappy bacon ends and frozen biscuits and congealed gravy and out-of-season fruit one finds at a Shoney’s or a Denny’s. I am comfortable in saying that it’s obscene to think of the chain restaurants as worthy of comparison to such a good country kitchen.
This morning we made our trek down to the restaurant and found a booth and said our hellos to some of the Saturday morning regulars, including a little garden troll of a man who always orders a large plate of sliced tomatoes, which he eats buried in fresh sausage gravy and which he manages to keep from slopping onto the immaculate white snap-button shirt he always wears. We got our coffee and fetched our plates and loaded up with the food of the mountain South.
While we ate, we talked a little and people-watched a lot. This is our way. There were several young families in the restaurant with their small children, all of whom were well-behaved. There were also a number of grayhairs with their grandchildren or great-grandchildren in tow. The children were talkative and expressive and a wonder to watch. All those little blonde and red and brunette scalps atop all those little blue and green and hazel eyes.
As I watched, I became aware of something that’s been gnawing at me for some time now. The young fathers and the not-so-young granddaddies had a peculiar way of speaking to the male children. They squatted down to be on eye level with the lads, or they leaned way over to appear less tall. And when they spoke, the mens’ voices were…feminine. I don’t mean lisping or mincing or effeminate. I mean feminine. No matter how low the voice might have been naturally pitched, the men without exception raised the pitch of their voices and lowered the volume until they sounded like spinster Sunday School teachers, whispering in calming tones, asking questions and making observations.
“Do you see the birds outside, Chad?”
“Let Papaw tie your shoe.”
“Did you spit out your gum, Nolan?”
“What do you want to drink?”
“Show Miss Judy your tooth!”
Each of these sentences was uttered with an upward inflection into the high tenor range, as if singing a campfire song. The younger men were the worst offenders; their facial expressions were all wide eyes and open mouths. They reminded me of 19-year old female daycare workers. But most of the older men were also doing some diluted variation of these techniques. None of them seemed like whole men in the presence of these male children.
And so I began to search my memory, and I could not recall a single adult male in my boyhood speaking to me or my friends in such tones. I cannot recall any men routinely squatting down or leaning over to make themselves appear closer to my own height. I cannot remember any men putting a breathless wheezing whisper into their words. I cannot bring to mind a single incident in which a grown man opened his eyes and mouth as wide as possible and talked to me like some grinning, masculine Norma Desmond. What I do remember are the grown men who picked me up and lifted me to their naturally imposing height, instead of lowering themselves to mine. And such lifting was always accompanied by a feeling of safety and strength. I’m pretty sure (and confirmed by my wife’s memories) that I never talked to our boys or to my nephews in such a manner. And I know very well that I have never vocally nor vertically neutered myself when interacting with my grandchildren.
The men of today, both young and old, have been poisoned, it seems. Poisoned by the feminist doctrine that has been mixed into every social expression, event, and philosophy. Poisoned by the erasing of distinctions between the sexes. Poisoned by the need to be nonthreatening and never, ever overtly masculine. Poisoned by the need to be liked by their own children and grandchildren – liked like schoolyard chums, I mean.
The males of today have a horror of many things; the horror of not being a man does not seem to be listed in the catalog of fears.
When we left the restaurant, I felt that odd combination of bewilderment and determination that always accompanies epiphany. Now that I have named and described this behavior in my own mind, I will be keenly aware of it. And I will also be vigilant to see if any men alive today know how to talk properly to a boy. I want to know if men today realize that the lads under their gaze are future men, men who (God willing) will one day have their own lads to tend.
From The Thinking Housewife: http://www.thinkinghousewife.com/wp/2013/01/when-neutered-men-speak-to-boys/