What it Means to be a Man V: Unashamedness
Shame is something that both I and I think men in general deal with awfully, frequently with disastrous consequences. When your gender identity is so driven by ego, anything that might tarnish that is inevitably swept under the carpet, and becomes a source of defensiveness and pain. Shame is such a strange and unique negative emotion as it can damage us so much, but it is perhaps the only one that can be willed out of existence by its owner. Admitting one’s faults has so much healing potential but is something that for some reason, men have just collectively decided we’re not prepared to do, even if it hurts all of us and all the people around us in the process. It’s… well, it’s fucking stupid is what it is.
Men should take pride in their weaknesses, weakness being inextricable from being human. There are a handful of men that come to my mind when I think about being unashamed, and they are all almost there, but I think the one who is closest is Fat Mike, singer and bassist for maybe the greatest melodic punk band ever. Despite being 53, arguably past one’s punk rock prime, he still dies his hair crazy colours, wears a dress on stage, and sings open about his depression, thoughts of suicide and drug use. He even does so without pretense, he isn’t peddling a sob story or trying to stay relevant when many of his peers have moved away from the punk sound or given up music altogether, it comes across as authentic. Perhaps it helps that Fat Mike clearly has some pretty deep flaws, but his willingness to engage with them publically certainly endears him to me (and seemingly a lot of other fans given the longevity of NOFX), and I think makes him worth holding up as an example of how to be a good man.