The book was a bodice ripper with a silly title. Something like “Desire of the Highlander,” or “Lust of the Highlander,” or “Questionable Hygiene of the Highlander.” The man on the cover, a shirtless mass of muscles with a long black mane, held an auburn-haired woman who looked surprised she was still wearing clothes.
This book was on my wife’s night table hidden beneath her more typical highbrow reading choices of “Important Women of the 19th Century,” “A Pale Plight: The daily struggle of being a Norwegian-American” and “Why Your Husband is Wrong.”
“What is this?” I asked.
She looked up from the book “Little-Known XX Inventors and the XYs Who Kept Them Down.”
“Marital aid,” she said.
“You mean like that atlas you bought for the car because you think I never know where I’m going?”
She frowned. “Lewis and Clark asked a woman for directions. I don’t know why you’re so opposed to it.”
I ignored her and turned to the synopsis on the back of the book. I might as well have some fun.
“The moors could contain their clans,” I read in the Scottish accent I learned from Scotty on ‘Star Trek.’ “But it couldn’t contain their passion.”
The next thing I knew I was on the floor.
Marital aid? Oh, wow. Yeah. You could call it that.
As much as I now appreciate the Highlander series I’ll never read, the message bothered me. Here was a take-charge kinda guy set in feudal Scotland where being a take-charge kinda guy is expected. In today’s United States, society has spent so much time turning men into hipsters and vegans, people are surprised when a man takes charge of anything.
We’re even told it’s OK to cry, which is a barefaced lie. If you ever see a man crying, ask if he’s just read “Where the Red Fern Grows,” or “Old Yeller.” If he says, “no,” this is a good indication he’s undergone a “purge” of his “toxic masculinity.”
At least that’s what places like Dartmouth College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are calling it. These institutions have classes that teach young males it’s bad to act like a man, unless, of course, there’s something on a high shelf.
This is where Highlander comes in. This series of romance novels is an Amazon Best Seller. So, who’s reading these books? People who like men to act like men.
So, how do we cope with such confusing expectations of “don’t make direct eye contact with me/do make direct eye contact with me?” By doing whatever in the hell we want, like:
1. Quote “Predator” at inappropriate times.
2. Understand there are no inappropriate times.
3. Fit sports analogies into conversations.
4. Grow a beard.
5. Eat bacon.
6. Spend lots of time in the garage with saws and hammers.
7. Buy a beer fridge for that garage.
8. Start introducing yourself as Max Studley.
9. Put an Iron Maiden sticker on the minivan.
Of course, if all of this fails, learn to speak with a Scottish accent.
– Find out about everything Jason at jasonoffutt.com.