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January 08, 2010

Who Wears the Pants?

AF Wife sent me this a while back but I didn't have time to comment on it:

Real men are set to wear the pants again - at least if you believe the new Dockers ads for khakis. But some are seeing subtle sexist overtones in the costly new ad campaign.

One of the new ads says, "It's time to answer the call of manhood," and the company's Web site exhorts men to "wear the pants."

A "Man-ifesto" posted on Dockers.com begins, "Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors ... Men took charge because that's what they did."

"Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny," the ad continues.

While I have a hard time seeing the ad as sexist or homophobic, I will admit to being somewhat annoyed by it.

I think the problem is the term, "Wear the pants". I've been alive long enough to have heard the phrase used a million times as a put down, usually directed at men by other men as in: "Real men don't listen to their wives - and if you do take your wife's point of view into consideration, you're not wearing the pants in your household."

I can't see getting my Hanes UltraSheers all in a wad over what's clearly meant to be a tongue in cheek ad, but I'm surprised that the protests seem to be more over some implied putdown to women or gay men than to husbands who aren't "man enough" to show the little lady who's in charge. I can't imagine having a discussion with my husband over who wears the pants in our household.

He's not ashamed to ask me what I think when making major decisions and I do the same. We've always found it sensible for there to be areas where he is the decision maker and areas where I am. I think what disturbs me a bit is the suggestion that a real man is threatened by a woman who is strong or intelligent. I don't think that's true at all. In fact, I've found that most often strong, intelligent men tend to marry strong, intelligent women.

And then find a way to get along with them without unnecessary displays of chest beating. What do you think?

Posted by Cassandra at January 8, 2010 08:56 AM

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Comments

Real men are set to wear the pants again...

I'm bleary-eyed and read that as "Real men are set to wear pants again."

My initial thoughts were somewhat disparaging of the fathion induthtry and those who follow its diktat.

Upon re-reading, my thoughts are *definitely* disparaging of the fathion induthtry and those who follow its diktat.

Posted by: BillT at January 8, 2010 09:38 AM

Now, be reasonable, Bill. It's a rough economy. Dockers needs to sell some pants.

I think Dockers has decided there's a market for their pants among would-be peacocks. They're probably right: this is just the kind of add that will appeal to those people who were swayed by the Venusian Arts. "That'll show those women that I don't need them or want them; and then they'll want a piece of me, but they'll know it'll have to be on my terms because I'm wearing Dockers! I'm the man!"

Separating fools from their money is a time honored capitalist tradition.

By the way, I saw this ad on my trip up to NYC. They've apparently purchased Penn Station, because it's literally wallpapered with this stuff; and there are signs; and they've decorated the stairwells to match.

So, that's their intended demographic: not country boys, but well-to-do young city folk who are unsure of their manhood.

Posted by: Grim at January 8, 2010 10:50 AM

...well-to-do young city folk who are unsure of their manhood.

First time I've ever known you to be redundant...

Posted by: BillT at January 8, 2010 11:35 AM

Dockers needs to sell some pants.

I suddenly realized what struck me about that.

My *wife* wears Dockers. I remember seeing the label when I was doing the laundry...

*waiting for it*

Posted by: BillT at January 8, 2010 11:40 AM

In this case, I'd have to agree with my buddy MRUN. If I were peacocking around, I'd go without pants.

Posted by: Oink :© at January 8, 2010 11:42 AM

Cassandra: I dunno.

We've always found it sensible for there to be areas where he is the decision maker and areas where I am.

Well, sure, if what you mean is what gets put on the dinner table that night, or what brand of detergent to use, and just about all other domestic/household decisions of that nature. That is properly the domain of the wife, sure enough, and woe to a man who thinks he can do better. No way we can compete with the institutional lore that's been passed down for generations and all.

But from a Christian perspective, the husband is head over the wife as Christ is head over the Church. It would tend to suggest that from a spiritual perspective, and in terms of familial leadership roles, therefore, that within a Christian marriage and family the husband/father is indisputably the primary authority figure. Of course, the ultimate head is God Himself, and both husband and wife must seek Him and His will in prayer... but the decisions should be coming from the husband.

I would welcome perspectives from any Christian pastors and elders on this issue, though. Seeing as I'm not married...

Posted by: Gregory at January 8, 2010 11:43 AM

I flat out applauded when I saw this ad, and not because I'm all about making myself subservient to my husband.

One of the things that has bothered me most about a lot of the men of my generation and those following is the lack of masculinity they seem to exhibit. Not ALL of them certainly, but a large number of them. So much so that I often find the line from The Godfather running through a loop in my head, "You can act... LIKE A MAN!"

My husband definitely has no lack of masculinity - and it isn't in the least threatened by having a wife with a tendency to her own mind and running her mouth (I hold the spouse record for Come to Jesus talks from the command, and I hold it proudly). In fact, when he was home on R & R he came to my boxing class with me and his reaction was way over and above what I expected. He LOVED the fact that I am apparently somewhat inclined towards a talent for whacking things (expect us on an episode of Jerry Springer in the future).

I've remodeled nearly the entire house by myself - plumbing, flooring, and other major issues as well as things like painting - and this doesn't bother him either.

He also holds doors for me, opens my car door (still!), and orders for me at restaurants (after I tell him what I want).

So in a way I get the best of both worlds; I can do the boy things like box and remodel houses and girl things like bake and wear make up and knee boots with my skirts and my husband isn't threatened by any of it.

Unlike some of his friends, who get their male panties in a bunch whenever a girl intrudes on "their" domain. They aren't very assured inside that it is indeed their domain because they were raised to take ADHD pills and back down from even necessary fights rather than to stand up and act like a man. They still have that instinct, they've just been taught to suppress it.

So I'll admit, this ad resonated with me. Maybe because "wearing the pants" was never really a put down when I was growing up(at least in my experience). I want my son to be like his father - to treasure the strong women in his wife, to be a strong *man*. And I often feel that society is actively trying to thwart this. Raising him (and daughters that I don't want to fall into the whole drama queen dynamic that seems to be pushed on them from birth now) sometimes feels like a never-ending fight against people who think they know better - and most certainly do not.

I just hope that the message starts to take hold with parents - so that boys can start being boys again without having to fight society every step of the way. And this ad seemed like a start to that.

So - a rather long and convoluted explanation from my end. Sorry for that!

Posted by: airforcewife at January 8, 2010 12:19 PM

What do you think?


I think strong, intelligent men are unlikely to make decisions on what clothes to wear based on ads.

Posted by: Elise at January 8, 2010 12:39 PM

I think strong, intelligent men are unlikely to make decisions on what clothes to wear based on ads.

And, as Grim noted, that's not the target audience...

Posted by: BillT at January 8, 2010 01:01 PM

So Elise, what you are saying is that weak, stupid men decide on what clothes to wear based on ads? :D

I have an old pair of wingtip shoes in the closet at home, but they are "out of fashion", so I don't wear them anymore. I own a nice navy blue wool suit I bought about 30 years ago, that is out of fashion because the lapels are too wide. I also wear "Dockers" because my wife buys clothes for me when they are on sale at Kohl's.
I now admit to weakness and stupidity. :D

(Elise, I am pulling you leg here.)

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at January 8, 2010 01:02 PM

But from a Christian perspective, the husband is head over the wife as Christ is head over the Church. It would tend to suggest that from a spiritual perspective, and in terms of familial leadership roles, therefore, that within a Christian marriage and family the husband/father is indisputably the primary authority figure.

Yes and No.

The problem is that Christ was not an Authoritarian figure. His relationship to His church is not "King" but "Servant". He did not demand that we follow Him because as God, He has that Right and that is His position over us, but rather that through the demonstration of his love for us that we choose to follow.

That passage is not meant to set the Husband as a King whose decisions must be obeyed, but rather that the Husband has a duty to live a life in such a manner that his wife willingly acknowledges that her husband is correct.

This is, of course, an impossible standard as no one is so wise that they are never wrong, but then again so is living a life without sin. And yet we are still called to do it.

Posted by: Oink :© at January 8, 2010 01:02 PM

There is an in-depth article on the subject of traditional Christian thinking on women, as it relates to modern questions of equality, here.

Posted by: Grim at January 8, 2010 01:44 PM

IIRC (it's been years since I read the book), C.S. Lewis, in "Mere Christianity" wrote that when husband and wife were not able to come to an agreement or compromise on some issue that it was the wife's duty to submit to the husband, but also that such a situation should arise rarely, if ever.

Posted by: Donna B. at January 8, 2010 01:47 PM

Well, C.S. Lewis married late in life, so I don't know if that's a bug or a feature. :)

As I said, my wife BUYS the Dockers in my family, so we all just "try to get along", and sometimes when we don't compromise, she's right. Go figure.

And it's a good think we ain't married to someone life AFWife, or she'd slug us if we didn't agree. :)

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at January 8, 2010 02:32 PM

I don't think this ad will go over well in Scotland, Greece or parts of Canada. But I could be wrong.

Posted by: LittleRed1 at January 8, 2010 02:42 PM

""Real men don't listen to their wives - and if you do take your wife's point of view into consideration, you're not wearing the pants in your household.""
Ppppppt! I'd be hard pressed to agree that any male who does not love and respect his mate enough to consider her notions and when the discussion/debate proves he should concede the point, fails to do so, would be much of a man.

BUBBAISM ALERT: No one is always right or always wrong.

Distinguishing right from wrong, weighing the contentious issues against their value compared to the happiness of your marriage/partnership/hookup, and being willing to give in, when necessary, to win the peace, I've always figured was good strategic thinking. And it seems to have worked for over well over three decades, so far...

Yup, remembering that the wife || husband may not always be right, but they are always, till death or divorce, your wife || husband, and acting on that does not diminish your MANLY BUBBA FIDES.

Now seeing smart ladies as being sexy makes perfect sense when you realize that sex is as much a brain based exercise as the rest of the activity. That is unless you subscribe to the rules of attraction that these two fellows follow. And look what happened to them.

D@^^^3d Dockers! And I was just at the point where I was ready to retire the bib overhauls and adopt a Kilt full time.

Timing, I'm always tripped up by the timing...

Oh yeah, Thanks for the link Grim. Excellent stuff, that.

Enough of this, I've gotta check on the water buckets.

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 8, 2010 03:06 PM

Don - HAH! They do tell us to imagine the bag is our opponent... :)

All I have to do to get psyched up for class is watch 10 minutes of the news lately.

Posted by: airforcewife at January 8, 2010 03:23 PM

so we all just "try to get along", and sometimes when we don't compromise, she's right. Go figure.

Heh :)

My husband and I are both mega stubborn. We don't disagree all that often but man, when we do...

*sigh*

In general I'm pretty easy going. There isn't a lot I get my back up over, but that just makes it all the more mystifying to my poor spouse when he *does* run smack into an area where I have a very strong opinion.

All of a sudden the cuddly little kitten isn't so cuddly. I am kind of with bthun - just remembering that things usually seem very different to the other person and that none of us is right all the time goes a long way.

As does being willing to forgive and forget.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 8, 2010 03:28 PM

Gregory, regarding "the husband is head over the wife as Christ is head over the Church."
God, here, establishes a chain of command for the family. It means that God will hold the man responsible for what the family does. It does not make him a tyrant that must be obeyed, but rather, like any good manager, responsible for the outcome of the families action. If your wife has expertise in an area, she leads the way in that area.

Gregory, if anyone gives you grief over that verse, remind them that as a husband, you are to love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. You are, per Christ's example, to be a servant. That should make them quiet down.

Posted by: Russ at January 8, 2010 03:29 PM

I have never minded deferring to my husband in areas where he is better at certain things (or even just has more of an interest in doing them). I am genuinely grateful and appreciative of the many areas he is strong in, that I am not.

And I try not to be prideful or arrogant. But if he started strutting around reminding everyone that 'he wore the pants in "his" house', I doubt that I would have the same attitude.

In fact, I suspect I'd be tempted to brain him with my trusty cast iron frypan :p I have managed people (many of them men) at work and I try to avoid anything that smacks too much of, "I'm the boss of you".

I guess I just believe it is rarely a smart idea to humiliate someone in public. Most people are reasonable if you don't push their buttons.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 8, 2010 03:44 PM

"I guess I just believe it is rarely a smart idea to humiliate someone in public."
You betcha! I've found that praise in public and rip a new orifice in private goes a long way towards maintaining face.

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 8, 2010 04:11 PM

I've been alive long enough to have heard the phrase used a million times as a put down, usually directed at men by other men as in: "Real men don't listen to their wives - and if you do take your wife's point of view into consideration, you're not wearing the pants in your household." - Cass

Maybe because "wearing the pants" was never really a put down when I was growing up(at least in my experience). -AF Wife

I'm quite a few years younger than Cass, and I've no idea AF Wife's age (nor would I dare ask).

But I'd always taken that phrase to mean "Real Men make their decisions because they think it's the right decision, not because their wife (or anyone else for that matter) told them to". I can see how this could be taken as "not listening to their wives", but it's not incompatible with them listening either.

That is, if I think A is best and my wife thinks B is best yet she has the superior argument I can fully make the decision to do B and still be "wearing the pants" because *I* now believe B to be the better choice.

It has to do with accepting responsibility and ownership for your decisions and not pawning them off and/or blaming someone else. "It's not *my* fault, *she's* the one who wanted to do B" is a cowards answer. The correct answer is "You're damn right we did B, it was a better choice than A".

Posted by: Oink :© at January 8, 2010 04:34 PM

Whoops, still forgetting to change the name back.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 8, 2010 04:36 PM

The correct answer is "You're damn right we did B, it was a better choice than A".

Or perhaps even more explicitly: "You're damn right we did what she wanted, her idea was better than mine."

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 8, 2010 04:39 PM

As a strong, intelligent woman, I'm glad to see a company trying to shame the pantywaists into at least pretending they wear the pants in the family once again.

True that it takes a strong, intelligent man to deal with a strong, intelligent woman. It takes a man totally secure in his own self, his own manhood, else you get a control freak, or worse, a sensitive crybaby.

Strong, intelligent women are quite skilled at orchestrating the family so that their strong, intelligent men believe they are running the show. They don't do this by intimidation, they do it be giving choices, any of which would be acceptable. The last thing either wants is a partner who is always a "yes man/woman." The relationships are built on equal respect and not on power trips, intimidation, or disdain toward the other's opinion.

It is hard, as a strong, intelligent woman, to find men today that one can have sustained respect for, a man of steel and velvet. Today's men seem to have abandoned their primary role as protector. In fact, as I listen to the teens and twenty-somethings that hang around my house, I'm not sure these guys even know there is such a role as protector.

As a military wife for over a quarter century, I have absolutely no doubts about my own ability to take care of a household, kids, work a full time job, fix the brakes, replace broken parts on washing machines, and install a complete sprinkler system and build a retaining wall at a new home. I proved I could get along without a man in my life for years at a time. Any military wife will say the same. But, it is sure nice when there is one around who will do the little things that make you feel cared for, has your back or will take point in areas that are best left to man to man encounters.

In the 32 years I was married, we had our rough spots, but we filled in the blanks for each other. I was the big picture person, the person with all the ideas, who set the goals, he was the detail person, the person who would turn my lofty ideas into reality. We complimented each other.

I learned early on that men basically want to please, so the goal is to make sure that what you want to happen happens and that the man is just as happy to make it happen for you. In the end though, it all boils down to mutual respect and trust that each person is as interested in pleasing the other as they are in getting their own way.

It isn't easy to put it into words, but it is something that both strong, intelligent men and strong intelligent women will recognize in each other almost instantly. And all I really know is that I'm a "capable" woman, but I'd love to have a man in my life today who I could trust to take the capable mantle off my shoulders, at least once in awhile.

If a Dockers ad that reminds men that they do have a leadership role in life, "wear the pants" in the family, then I'm all for it. We need to rescue our men from the grasp of those who have brainwashed them into thinking that being the protector is a bad thing.

Posted by: Sara at January 8, 2010 04:41 PM

The pants don't make the man, the man makes the pants as part of the whole "package" so to speak.

There is still the problem where a man holds the door for a woman who promptly berates him with a "I'm perfectly capable of getting it myself" lecture as she huffs by clutching her jacket to her bosom.

Then there are the women from the Reach-For-The- Light old folks home who want to ride with me on my motorcycle back to the home or, better yet, have me reach up for shomething on the top shelf while they ogle my butt! I feel so cheap, so used...so masculine!

Posted by: vet66 at January 8, 2010 05:40 PM

What can I say? We womyn are pigs.

We're not bad. We're just wired that way :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 8, 2010 05:43 PM

"There is still the problem where a man holds the door for a woman who promptly berates him with a "I'm perfectly capable of getting it myself" lecture as she huffs by clutching her jacket to her bosom."
I may have mentioned this before... but the first time that happened to me was in a building at NSWC in White Oak, Md. It was the early eighties IIRC.

I was stunned at the viciousness on the part of the woman's verbal attack on me for holding the door.

On reflection, I figure that person must lead a miserable life.

*looks at watch, yup, it's past Beer-thirty, GMT +5, so up goes the beer in salute*

To cheap, used, yet masculine!

That's has a nice ring. I may request that be carved on my tombstone in you have no objections Vet66...

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 8, 2010 06:02 PM

To cheap, used, yet masculine!

Here, Here! Masculinity was never meant to be a museum showpeice that you would show off and brag about how pristine *spit* it is.

Take it off the damned wall and do $h1t with it.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 8, 2010 06:31 PM

I like the ad concept. I really like the dig at androgyny as vogue in men. Everyone being a pretty boy is really not it. I keep telling one of my sons that chest hair will come back "in" someday.

Posted by: Jill Farrar at January 8, 2010 09:21 PM

John wears Dockers because I buy them for him. Real men don't like to shop.

Posted by: Beth Donovan at January 9, 2010 10:41 AM

So what you're telling me is, without women men wouldn't have pants to wear? :p

There is a joke in there somewhere. Heh :)

Posted by: Cassandra at January 9, 2010 11:15 AM

We'd be wearing buckskins.

I do seem to recall that the Anglo-Saxon word for woman translates to modern English "weaving person." (The word for man translates, also as I recall, as "weapon person.") In most societies, it is the women who keep men in pants -- or whatever else they wear.

Posted by: Grim at January 9, 2010 11:33 AM

The spouse's take on that was that it's probably true. He said, "Left up to most men, they would probably see no need to wear pants in the first place :p"

Posted by: Cassandra at January 9, 2010 11:43 AM

"Real men don't like to shop."
I beg to differ...

Most guys I've known do not object to shopping if the desired item lives at Cabelas, or Adventure Outdoors, or at a truck dealership, or a car dealership, or for firearms shop, or firearms related supplier, or for auto parts - especially after market supplies, formerly known as speed shops- or boats, or construction supplies, or Tractor Supply, or for tack, etc.

QUALIFIER: The act of shopping, as practiced by most guys I know, is not akin to foraging for food or doing laps in a mall. It's more along the lines of identifying a need, isolating the best candidate to fulfill that need as quickly, cheaply, and efficiently as possibly, then closing the deal with prejudice.

The epitome of a great shopping event for a man is when it can be done over the intertubes and/or phone. In those instances, we don't need no stinkin' pants. =;^}

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 9, 2010 11:50 AM

Or what Grim and M'lady's UNIT said.

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 9, 2010 11:52 AM

And it's even better when we leave the completed negotiation with what we came for and the other guy's shirt to boot.

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 9, 2010 11:54 AM

I should have been more exact - real men don't like to shop for clothes, especially if they need to try them on.

Now, John will spend hour upon hour shopping at a gun show.

I also hate to shop, but I will sacrifice for John so he won't go to work in his old BDUs.

Posted by: Beth Donovan at January 9, 2010 12:18 PM

Well, FWIW, my husband doesn't like to shop but I don't buy his pants. He really needs to try them on.

I don't like to shop either, so usually when he buys clothes we go in together. I order shirts for him all the time b/c they fit fine off the rack.

Shoes and pants, he has to be there.

Interestingly, my youngest son likes clothes and likes to shop. So I think this may be something that isn't so much gender dependent (after all, I'm female and HATE shopping) as it is personality dependent and also affected by how easily one fits into generic off the rack clothing.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 9, 2010 12:39 PM

I also hate to shop, but I will sacrifice for John so he won't go to work in his old BDUs.

A foul calumny! Everybody who's ever seen me in profile the last ten years *knows* I don't wear BDUs anymore.

They don't make them that big.

Posted by: John "Pulls only one wing off the fly because I like to watch 'em fly in circles" Donovan at January 9, 2010 10:10 PM

...my husband doesn't like to shop but I don't buy his pants. He really needs to try them on.

I buy my own pants from sheer necessity. I've had a 33-inch waist since I was eighteen, but KtLW keeps buying me pants with 36-inch waists "in case you gain weight" -- which means I give away a lot of pants...

Posted by: BillT at January 9, 2010 11:56 PM

1) My brother has had to switch to Dockers from jeans; no idea who buys them. Probably the wife. I'm not sure how canvas pants confer machismo upon a dude, but I'm sure the people at the Gap or wherever can explain the entire rite of passage . . .

2) That semiproblematic "wears the pants" expression is downright weird, and can be off-putting. It sounds a bit disrespectful to strong women, depending on how it's interpreted. But Dockers is tapping into the zeitgeist of insecurity on an ego-level, and regarding gender roles. [It's like when your friends accuse you of being PW'd because you allowed her to decide where to go on vacation, even though she knows more about plane rates--AND cared more about optimizing value by picking JUST the right isand in Hawaii.

3) The collaborative style of decision-making mostly works best. No one should act the tyrant. In the best marriages, people each do what they do best. For instance, there are certain kinds of financial analyses that I have a knack for. So when those need to get done, my husband "requests" one in a respectful way, and I do it. Not because I want to, but because it's the right thing to do. (And who else is going to tackle it?)

In these situations I have to turn on a part of my mind that I don't like to use, but . . . I'm the woman for the job. Just like he's better at nagivating, 90% of the time. (My internal maps are maps of neighborhoods, and of towns--he's the one who can get through the ENTIRE Los Angeles Basin in the fastest, most efficient way, without looking at a map. Stunning focus!

BUT . . . when we were in Rome he kept getting lost. Using my classically feminine landmark-based [detail-oriented] navigation system, I got us UN-lost every single time. He looked at me with new respect after that.

4) Gregory, you are right that the man is the best candidate from a Christian perspective to be the "tie-breaker" under ordinary circumstances. But sometimes the woman will be physically or mentally ill, or will have extraordinarily strong feelings about something, or will have tremendous expertise that must be respected, and the man will find that from a tactical perspective, that isn't "the hill he wants to die on." The issue in question might or might not be that pivotal, once he thinks it over. The best men "pick their fights," even if they carry that elusive, third tie-breaking vote in the marriages in their back pockets. That is a power to be used judiciously. Jesus took a subservient role when it was the loving thing to so, and he definitely submitted himself to all kinds of things: to baptism by John the Baptist, to crucifixion at the hands of the Romans.

All kinds of stuff that don't seem to work in terms of strict hierarchies or "chains of command."

And even St. Paul, that magnificent "sexist" bastard, asserted that we are neither male nor female in Christ Jesus. The Lord simply gave us a chain of command that could be employed in emergencies: the man as the tie breaker. It's a fail-safe, and a way for the man to take as much responsibility as is moral/practical for the family's decisions. The Lord is into common sense in human relationships, and He is, as I see it, in favor of fully listening to this person you suposedly cherish.

After all, if the woman is treating you in your household the way she treats her boss at work, you have big problems. If resentments grow, they might percolate for years, but when they boil over ... well, I don't want to be there!

Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's, and unto God . . . what is God's. Above all else, recall that you dig this person you married above EVERYONE, except for the Lord (and, in some not-very- applicable ways, your parents). Act that way; God's not looking to hang you on a technicality.

Posted by: Little Miss Attila at January 10, 2010 04:43 AM

John, are those the right or left wings?

A movie recommendation: 'Second-hand Lions.'

A winner. Especially for men.

Posted by: Cricket at January 10, 2010 06:19 AM

My earlier comment was - as Ray Wylie Hubbard would say - a metafer. Strong, intelligent men aren't going to decide what pants to buy because of an ad and neither are they going to decide what sort of character they should have because of an ad. The flip side, of course, is that men who will suddenly decide to "wear the pants" based on a clothing ad are going to be clueless about what that means and quite likely to decide they should start acting like the men in Cassandra's latest post about Fact Checking The Futurist.

As for the whole who rules the roost argument, I like what Laurie in Little Women said when Jo accused him of being hen-pecked:

"Amy is too well-bred for that, and I am not the sort of man to submit to it. My wife and I respect ourselves and one another too much ever to tyrannize or quarrel."

Life being what it is, I'm sure that once the honeymoon glow wore off Laurie and Amy quarreled more than once. But self-respect and respect for ones spouse should make "who's in charge here" a question that is never even asked much less answered.

Posted by: Elise at January 10, 2010 11:30 AM

Amen, Elise.

Amen :)

Posted by: Cassandra at January 10, 2010 12:08 PM

No one should act the tyrant. In the best marriages, people each do what they do best.

Being a tyrant is what I do best. :)

Posted by: Grim at January 10, 2010 05:01 PM

Oh! Well, then--carry on!

Posted by: Little Miss Attila at January 10, 2010 09:36 PM

Attila: No, I understand what you are saying.

And certainly, it makes sense that if someone knows more about something else, then that information needs to be factored in.

I'm just saying that marriage is not a democracy, any more than the parent/child or the teacher/student relationships are. The least the man can do is to ensure that he fully understands the decision he is making is as right as he can get it, and not just fob it off to his wife.

Sure, I as a kid liked the generic idea of setting Dad off against Mum. You know, the "Ask your Mother." "Ask your Father." "But Mum said I could!" kind of conversations. I still believe that the moment a husband abdicates his responsibilities as head of household to his wife, even if it's just a little, there will be trouble.

It's one thing to delegate responsibilities, but quite another to abdicate, it's what I'm thinking. And I do not myself know how to distinguish, although some comments above do seem to shed light on the matter.

Posted by: Gregory at January 10, 2010 09:37 PM

Thank you, ma'am. I shall. :)

By the way, do you have a citation for this?

"And even St. Paul, that magnificent "sexist" bastard, asserted that we are neither male nor female in Christ Jesus."

That touches on something I've been thinking about lately, and I'd like to see what St. Paul had to say about it.

The particular problem that's been bothering me is this: bodies are either male or female, and therefore, as the Catholic Encyclopedia piece said, the human nature is a nature that is either male or female. However, the question is whether that is a condition of the body only, or also of the soul. I have heard that the soul is meant to be neither male nor female, but only a soul.

Christian theology says that we will be reconstituted in our perfect bodies -- in other words, a male or a female body. Thus, we are supposedly perfected in our male or female form; and as such, there's no reason to believe that the soul wouldn't also have a male or female nature. If it does, though, then there's no "human" nature; we are either male or female.

I gather that Christianity has held that the soul is not male or female; but I'd like to know just why it holds that way.

Posted by: Grim at January 10, 2010 10:54 PM

Grim: No theologian I, but I'll take a stab at it.

Humans have to be viewed holistically; body, mind and spirit (or soul, I guess). Without one or the other, you cannot properly be human (of course, kinda hard to measure, but we're talking theory here).

Since humans are tripartite beings, it stands to reason that you cannot separate out the mind from the body or the soul. So it makes no sense to speak of the one as separate from the others.

Which, incidentally, is why most Christians hold 'ensoulment' to be from the moment of conception (or, if you are an n-tuple, from the moment of mitosis resulting in [partial] separation). Because we cannot see the human body as without soul, and inarguably the zygote is a human body.

Posted by: Gregory at January 11, 2010 03:04 AM

Christian theology says that we will be reconstituted in our perfect bodies -- in other words, a male or a female body."

Perhaps, Grim, it's more that a *perfect body* in God's or Jesus' eyes is neither male nor female in the first place. What that could be, I couldn't begin to hazard a guess.....said determination being (slightly) above my pay grade an all, yanno.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at January 11, 2010 03:51 PM

Sheesh, I go on vacation and I miss ALL the good 'sex and relationship' discussions.

The Dockers ad is childish and condescending, and meant to play on the insecurities of certain men. "If you don't wear Dockers, you're not a REAL man." Whereas a real man knows what makes him a man is not what he wears on his legs.

It is of a kind with that Venusian Arts crap. By claiming that "if you don't you my product, you are unattractive/less desirable/less (wo)manly, etc" plays on people's insecurities. And weak willed people will buy into it. I own some well worn Dockers. I got them years ago because they fit, were inexpensive and covered my nekkidness just fine. Past that, I don't really give a fig for what brand a pair of pants are. The only effect advertising has EVER held on my clothes buying was that I absolutely refuse to by anything by Old Navy because their ads annoy me greatly. I refuse to encourage their ads in any manner. I may do the same to Dockers because of this.

Posted by: MikeD at January 11, 2010 04:02 PM

The only effect advertising has EVER held on my clothes buying was that I absolutely refuse to by anything by Old Navy because their ads annoy me greatly. I refuse to encourage their ads in any manner.

OMG :p We must have been separated at birth, Mike. Welcome back - you were missed!

Posted by: Cassandra at January 11, 2010 04:23 PM

Product advertising seems to elicit an urge deep inside me similar to the one Elvis Presley is alleged to have had when seeing Robert Goulet on TV*. It's had that effect on me since I spent a few years overseas, entirely isolated from all but the most primitive foreign product adverts.

Regarding men's slacks, I've been partial to the Duck Head brand of casual clothing for several years. What with Dockers being a part of the Levi Strauss & Co. and Levi Strauss and I have some fairly profound political difference, I don't buy Dockers anything. My money does not go towards the Levi Strauss cash box if I can possibly avoid contributing.

And I like Carhartt clothing and Walls for outdoors work. In the past I've been fond of Walls garments in camo for sneaking about in the woods. But that's little more than a fond memory at this time.

All in all, I prefer clothing products that consists of durable material and construction, offered at a reasonable price. No BS, image or status required. But then I rarely go anywhere anymore that requires a spiffy wardrobe. And if I do, being an antiquated methane eruption, I'm apt to wear a suit anywho. If I can sort one from the closet that has not been keeping the N. Ga. moth population satiated. =8^}

My 2¢ on Dockers, Levi Strauss & Co. and being stylish in general.

* The rumor says that Elvis shot a TV with a firearm due to the TV having the misfortune of being tuned to a program which happened to be showing a performance of Robert Goulet.

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 11, 2010 05:34 PM

Sly & Gregory:

In Genesis, we are told (here I am consulting the Bible that the 2/1 AD chaplain gave me, in case the Marine Bible reads differently): "So God created Man in his own image, in the image of God He created him. Male and female he created them. God blessed them.... [A]nd he saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."

Now, that is before the Fall, when God is ordering the world as he wants it. And, having so made them he blessed them, and called them good.

So the body is, I think, clearly intended to be male or female; according to the Bible we were created that way by intent.

Now, the soul may not be. This may be analogous to the mystery of the Trinity, whereby the Holy Ghost is not of a male or female nature (apparently), but is a kind of raw Godhead. It may be that the whole purpose of the soul is to unite humanity, so we may have a thing called "human nature" that encompasses male and female natures both.

All I'm saying, though, is that it's something I've been thinking about. If anyone knows any important writings by theologians on the subject, I'd like to see the reference so I can look up what they had to say.

Posted by: Grim at January 11, 2010 06:40 PM

"So the body is, I think, clearly intended to be male or female; according to the Bible we were created that way by intent.

Now, the soul may not be. This may be analogous to the mystery of the Trinity, whereby the Holy Ghost is not of a male or female nature (apparently), but is a kind of raw Godhead. It may be that the whole purpose of the soul is to unite humanity, so we may have a thing called "human nature" that encompasses male and female natures both."

Well, I hope by saying the following that I do not undo all of the effort that Walkin' Boss has put into steering me towards the path. Or as I have, on occasion, been overheard to say, W.B. is attempting to slide me past St. Pete on a bye.

I recall being taught in the Church that the nature of man is composed of the body, the soul, and the spirit so searching for some reference, I came across this:

I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow (body), and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Building from that, I think, the term for which you would want to search would be the eternal spirit, not the soul, or nephesh, which is possessed by all living creatures. Nephesh is used for the life or breath of both animals and man (Gen. 1: 20, 30; 19: 17).

I initiated a quick search through USCCB for papers on the eternal spirit and did not have any success in finding a paper specific to your question.

Failing in that I went back to Genesis 1:26-28

(26)Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

(27)So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

(28)And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

Given that both male and female were made in HIS image, both in HIS image, I'd suspect that gender, as it applies or not, to the eternal spirit would be either all of the above or none of the above

Beyond that rapidly assembled patchwork of guessitmations, it sure beats me...

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 11, 2010 08:33 PM

As to God, the idea of containing both sexes (and a lot more) is quite reasonable. What I'm curious about is the theology that pertains to the individual soul.

God didn't create us as parts of himself; that's the Hindu creationism (everyone is a dream of Brahman). Pantheism holds that God is in everything, and indeed that everything is God; so, in that case, everything would be (in some spiritual sense) part of something that was both male and female.

Christianity, though, seems to have held differently: that God created men and women, and endowed each man and woman with an individual soul as well as an individual body. The body is -- and was before the Fall, and presumably will be after the Second Coming -- either an individual male or female body.

Like you, I haven't been able to find anything certain about the soul (or spirit -- I'll try that tactic as well). But the spirit isn't what is supposed to enjoy eternal life: it's the resurrected body, re-attached to the spirit/soul. What is called for is the whole person, living forever, as an individual person under the kingship of the risen Son.

Since the body was male or female, that suggests that the division between male and female is something that God intends to preserve eternally. Right?

What I'm trying to sort out is how we think about what it means to be human, in this case. It's not the nature of God I'm after, here; it's the nature of men and women. Are women "women" in the soul, as well, or only in the body?

I'm not trying to make an assertion as to the answer. I don't know enough about the theology to know. It just occurred to me while I was reading some medieval writings on epistemology.

Posted by: Grim at January 11, 2010 08:47 PM

IF you come across anything good, don't forget to share. =8^}

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 11, 2010 08:53 PM

Be glad to do it, if I do. :)

Posted by: Grim at January 11, 2010 09:11 PM

bthun: Ahem. The image mentioned was not physical (as God is spirit), but MORAL instead. Mankind is the only creature capable of comprehending morality.

Grim: As God is a spirit, sex is not relevant. Jesus Christ, however, having assumed human form, was a man. Seeing as He resurrected as a Man, I'd just stick with the presumption He remains so.

The problem we are facing is, as always, one of definition. Because after all, is sex defined by biology or otherwise? I contend that sex is defined in humans by biology. That in this lifetime, if you are XX, you are a woman (female) and if you are XY, you are a man (male). If you are a chimera or some other expression of the X & Y, then it becomes more complex but eventually, since functional hermaphroditism is impossible in humans (or at least has not been seen to occur yet), it can be boiled down to one or the other.

Do these distinctions carry forward into the Kingdom of God? Well, the procreative aspect does not; we are told there is neither marriage nor giving in marriage. But seeing as Jesus was resurrected as a man, it would seem that the phenotype, at least, carries on.

And seeing as sex is a function of biology in humans, and that our current identity has a continuity with our 'perfected selves', it is logical to assume we will forever be male (or female, as the case may be).

But it probably is a distinction without a difference, as it will probably be like 'will a blonde be forever blonde'. Sure, but who cares?

So I contend.

Posted by: Gregory at January 11, 2010 10:13 PM

Well, I care.

As a sketch at why I care: let's say that bthun is right to say that God encompasses both male and female. Humanity is made in God's image; but made "male and female"; and, furthermore, we agree that it is logical to contend that God intends this separation to be eternal.

What does that tell us about the nature of the division? What is its purpose? Why -- aside from procreation -- might we have been so divided, and before the Fall?

It seems to me that there must be something important here. Perhaps God gave us separate natures so that finite humanity might better fully encompass the image; or so we might better fully comprehend the whole. Is the soul likewise bifurcated, or does it exist to unite what is otherwise put asunder?

St. Bonaventure's thoughts on illumination were what sparked this, I guess; they reminded me of something, and I'm now trying to think it through.

Posted by: Grim at January 11, 2010 10:27 PM

Gregory: Ahem is not required.

"bthun: Ahem. The image mentioned was not physical (as God is spirit), but MORAL instead. Mankind is the only creature capable of comprehending morality."
I'm not sure how my previous comment led you to conclude otherwise. Matter of fact, I tend to lean towards your first sentence to Grim.
"As God is a spirit, sex is not relevant."
But I might append, "to man's spirit beyond this life" to your sentence. And of course that's just a wild guess based on the teaching that I recall.

Furthermore, if I wanted to pick a nit, that is if I wanted to be abrasive, I would point out the use of the lower case "s" in the word Spirit, as it relates to GOD. But I won't.

The difficulty in my trying to transpose gender on to the Creation of man may have led to the leap that I have some notion of a GOD as depicted by Michelangelo. Although as I reread my comment I don't see quite how. Nup, I was just trying to sort through Grim's question.

I suppose if I'm that far off the mark in putting thought to pixel, I ought to park the keyboard for the night.

Cheers.

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 11, 2010 11:22 PM

Grim: As far as the Bible addresses the issue, the union between man and wife is (amongst other things) supposed to be symbolic of that between Christ and the church. So there is that.

bthun: The ahem is my way of saying, well, ahem. A cough signifying mild disagreement or a desire to interject. Bit if you say it is not necessary, sure, by all means let me dispense with it.

Also, wrt nitpickiness, by all means, please feel free to indulge. I will point out, though, that God the Father is a spirit in the same way that Jesus Christ was a man; in neither case do those descriptors need to be capitalised.

God the Holy Spirit, or the Son of Man, well, you would have a good case there.

Posted by: Gregory at January 12, 2010 01:19 AM

I welcome all attempts to ensmarten my ignorant carcass. And I'm just a plain spoken hillbilly so you can just cut to the chase without needing to Ahem your way in. =8^}

Now I claim no authority in this area Gregory, and I've only recently returned to the Church after a very, very, very long absence. Not a long story, but not worth sharing either. But again, I'm open to being ensmartened, or at least conversing on the topic.

So, WRT discussions of The Holy Spirit versus man's spirit...

*OMG groans in a way that only Lurch could*

I've got a heck of a case of indigestion tonight. One that's making me feel like the guy in Alien who was fresh out of ICU and seated at the table for a plate of spaghetti, having just had the face-snatcher implant the Alien seed in his stomach. Ouch! And it's keeping me awake to boot! Great supper, might spicy though.

If you will allow me, I'll just cut/paste a snippet from a discussion on The Spirit I came across at Bible.org.

"The Spirit

The word “spirit” when used in the Scriptures has several meanings. Whenever the word “Spirit” appears used with a capital letter, it has but one meaning. It is the name of the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit of God. The word “spirit” spelled with a small letter may have one of several different meanings. It can have direct reference to the spirit of man which is as much a part of the tripartite nature of man as the Spirit of the living God is a Person of the Holy Trinity. Or it can indicate an evil spirit such as any agent of the Devil. We will confine ourselves here to the Biblical usage of the word only as it relates to the spirit of man, one of the three constituent parts of his being."

That is pretty square with everything that I recall from my Bible studies long ago.

BTW, are pants required for this discussion?

Posted by: bthun at January 12, 2010 02:15 AM

I never believe that particular sentence "just a mite/tad/bit/wee spicy". It usually means several cucumbers need to be used to quench the conflagration thereafter.

As to the capitalisation issue, some Bibles capitalise John 4:24, and some don't (notably the American ones). Depends on which one you use, I guess.

Pants are not only not required but can be dispensed with entirely. I'm much more comfortable with boxers or briefs anyway.

Posted by: Gregory at January 12, 2010 05:20 AM

Pants are not only not required but can be dispensed with entirely.

Never had to run through a field full of thistles, evidently...

Posted by: BillT at January 12, 2010 06:43 AM

Cucumbers?! I've been using Tums and Sam Adams Boston Lager... Hmmm

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 12, 2010 07:54 AM

Simultaneously?

You should be able to quench a conflagration from 30 feet away, doing that...

Posted by: BillT at January 12, 2010 09:39 AM

Pants are not only not required but can be dispensed with entirely.

I'm with Bill here. Plus, it's like 32 degrees here in Augusta. I won't wear a kilt in anything below 60. I don't know how ladies do it. The draft is too cold on the gubbins.

Posted by: MikeD at January 12, 2010 09:46 AM

Three alarm chili, jalapeño cornbread, tortilla chips slathered in hot, chunky picante will raise that thermostat up 40° minimum...

Just be sure that you have plenty of beer and antacids on hand to try to regulate the furnace.

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 12, 2010 10:51 AM

"Three alarm chili, jalapeño cornbread, tortilla chips slathered in hot, chunky picante will raise that thermostat up 40° minimum...

Just be sure that you have plenty of beer and antacids on hand to try to regulate the furnace."

Sounds great, 'cept I don't drink beer for breakfast.....at least, not anymore.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at January 12, 2010 06:30 PM

New Year's resolution, Sly?

;)

Posted by: Grim at January 12, 2010 06:50 PM

"Sounds great, 'cept I don't drink beer for breakfast.....at least, not anymore. 0>;~}"
Heh. Recollections of two 16 ounce beers and a grilled honeybun, which at the time seemed to be the breakfast of champions, or of misguided youth exploring lost weekends at the beach.

But even today, it's only breakfast time if you've slept. Otherwise, it's just a real long day. =8^}

Posted by: bt_NeanderthalsЯUS_hun at January 12, 2010 06:51 PM

Call it a *new life* resolution, Grim, made about eleven years and eight months ago.....

"...it's only breakfast time if you've slept."

I had considered a qualifier to the 'for breakfast part', to allow for just such an occasion. But then I realized *just such an occasion*? Just don't happen anymore.
heh
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at January 12, 2010 07:43 PM

Ah, any time is Miller time. Anyways, according to my watch it's always beer o'clock.

And really, why anyone would be posting to a blog while running through a field of thistles instead of watching their step is beyond me...

And if it's cold that's what God made thermal underwear for.

Posted by: Gregory at January 12, 2010 08:58 PM

I don't buy clothes based on ads. My wife dresses me. :)

But seriously, I don't think the "wear the pants" campaign was aimed at "wearing the pants" in your home, but symbolically "wearing the pants" in the world (while wearing Dockers when you do it. ;))

Posted by: Tony at January 14, 2010 10:19 AM

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