wonders if anyone ever says that to a kid today . . . well, anyone besides the twelve people he probably knows who do. But, he further wonders, if anyone does say that, does the kid have any frame of reference worthy of note from which to gauge what a man is? Increasingly, the answer appears to be "no" or "not much of one."
Prager outlines a series of potential causes for what he views as a sad decline in American manhood. Many of the themes are familiar and things about which we have had some good discussions here. But one that strikes me, perhaps because I had never really questioned it, is the mindless practice of men in authority (think coaches, teachers, etc.) "high-fiving" a boy instead of shaking his hand when he's done well. I'm not sure that a kid can't respect a man who gives him a high five instead of offering a handshake. And I am pretty sure that, in many contexts, a hand extended for a shaking might get a slap in any event. Indeed, I'm pretty sure that a handshake suggested might cause, at least at first, a snicker or a mocking in some places. But I wonder, too, if there isn't something to this. Maybe a real man would insist on a handshake. Maybe a handshake is more serious, more dignified, more manly. And maybe, just maybe, a kid might sense this and, in turn, comport himself more like a man and less like a boy.
It's a small thing, I know. But it strikes me as a good one.
In comparison to the spastic high-five, a handshake does seem more dignified. It seems also to afford opportunity to take some measure of the other person. A handshake extends longer than a high five, firmness of grip is an indicator of confidence (and manliness), and, most of all, one can look the other party in the eye in shaking hands.
I think that especially these days, boys and adolescent males should learn the habit of meeting the other person's eyes (not hiding or skulking under a ball cap or hoodie).
Have you seen the Maniliness website?
"...a handshake does seem more dignified. It seems also to afford opportunity to take some measure of the other person. A handshake extends longer than a high five, firmness of grip is an indicator of confidence (and manliness), and, most of all, one can look the other party in the eye in shaking hands...."
Exactly. Usually after I have my handshaking opponent screaming for mercy, I commence the finger-tip push-up contest. That too should be conducted eye-to-eye.
You forgot to mention what we can learn from a man's haircut and neatly-trimmed moustache, as well.
And what about the lost FEMININE art of the curtsey, where has that gone?
Prager's (completely original) eulogy for manliness is probably the most important op-ed I've seen since George Will's expression of disgust for the dominance of vulgar denim.
This sounds a little andy rooney for my taste, but I think the problem is that in a society of consumers you need people to stay in a perpetual state of youth so that they will keep buying and wanting worthless junk. The idea of the middle age yeomen, stoic farmer sending texts is outrageous and yet that is what his modern counterpart does... Slapping high fives and chest bumping for fantasty football wins is the norm. I say the root cause is consumerism because there is something child like about the selfish lust for material gadgets.