What do Men Keep in "The Man Cave" ?

I love you guys!
I love you guys!

Fathers write with such ease when daughters dance on the end of their pen. There is a tenderness allowed in choosing words. There is an unspoken prerogative to employ the warmth of sentimentality in conveying our loving feelings for them. Men speak to women in such a way without fear or challenge to the authenticity of their masculinity. They write of daughters, free of the encumbrances, that are necessary when writing about their sons. Words written for men by men are measured by the testosterone content of what is expressed or not expressed.

How then, does a father write of sons? How does he write of love, that is ounce for ounce, equal in measure to that which he reserves for daughters? How does one extract sentiment from language without leaving it empty and sterile?

Is there a secret way in which men must speak to men? Perhaps, it is simply the absence of anything said? Some unspoken language which protects the sanctity of holy masculinity? Secret whispers that never part the lips and thereby, insure perpetuity upon our stupidity. Some where deep in the man cave, which is absent the light of day, our feelings cling to dark walls that keep secrets enclosed from spoken or written words.

It is altogether appropriate for men to past the torch of absurdity from one to another, because in doing so, although we might be stupid, there is no arguing that we are surely men. It is in keeping with such an age old tradition and in the interest of preserving "the right of passage" for all men everywhere, that I should keep such sentimentality from my sons and conserve such luxury, to shower exclusively upon my girls. There is a sacred ground, fenced by invisible boundaries, which define a mans place of comfort. We dare not trespass or violate such ground because comfort is essential to the preservation of our ability to not communicate. Things said in violation of the "rules of engagement" would cause our eyes to examine the ground, as though something had fallen there, we would find need to shuffle our feet and to muddle and mumble some incoherent response. There would arise a need to display the discomfort imposed upon masculinity, by the expression of feelings appropriate only for the women in our lives. I will, therefore, uphold the rules impregnated in my soul by the men who came before me. I will cling to my inherent right to silence, to translate feelings into secrets that can then reside in the cave reserved for their coming.

I will not tell my sons, the depth of love that rains upon my life from nothing more than the thought of them. I will keep that for my daughters. I will not tell them that everyday, I lift them so high in prayer, that only God and I can see it lite upon the sky. It is right that I do so, but, inappropriate that I should express such mushy reality. I will not yeild the whisper, that would reveal to them, that the very sound of their voices, moves my heart to meet the sound, before it even reaches me. No, I will not tell them that every day away from them, leaves some portion of emptiness clinging to my want for them. I will not write such things, for it is not for men to write such things to men. I will keep the whispers safe from leak and nail the words to the dark walls of my inner cave.

Unfortunately, my sons will read from this and know that I have sprung a leak and I will be found for who I am, by others more proficient at preserving the silence that validates the image of real masculinity.

It doesn't really matter. My sons have never listened to me anyway. They do not keep secrets in the cave. Their mother nailed shut the entry, too many years ago. As their father, I failed my duty. I fell asleep at my post and consequently, my sons are more, much more, than they were destined for!

Comments 36 comments

lisa 4 years ago

totally awesome article.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Thanks lisa,


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

You've kept another important promise, Alan.

I'm speechless, letting the full measure of all which this expresses sink into and move through my mind and senses like - mercury - creeping through my tubes; being aware that I've just been allowed a deep glimpse of a place seldom opened to anyone, much less to women for whom, of course, this is now made available to see and try to fathom, like a heart laid open during surgery is to the upper gallery of observers there to learn about the human heart's anatomy.

I'll stay speechless, lest I say too much and disturb the surgeon.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

You've kept another important promise, Alan.

I'm speechless, letting the full measure of all which this expresses sink into and move through my mind and senses like - mercury - oozing through my tubes; being aware that I've just been allowed a deep glimpse of a place seldom opened to anyone, much less to women - for whom, of course, this is now made available to see and try to fathom, like a beating heart laid open during surgery is to the upper gallery of observers there to learn about the human heart's anatomy.

I'll return to the speechlessness, lest I say too much and disturb the surgeon or miss an important clue to understanding.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I've tried to post my deeply felt comment twice but it doesn't "take", it seems. Yet this 'nothing' one does. :-[ If I try again - it might suddenly appear in triplicate!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

A great hub. Your sons are so lucky to have a father like you. God bless!


empire mike profile image

empire mike 4 years ago from empire, colorado

dammit arb, i wish i had had a father like you, a brother like you, a friend like you. i told you there is no such thing as brotherhood any more, for the exact same reason- the women are right. MEN ARE IDIOTS AND ASSHOLES. football, beer and women- that's all that's important. DUDE! DUDE! that's all their conversation. Another wet one, DUDE? Wanna light up a torch, DUDE? men have devolved back to cavemen, if they ever evolved from them. they pretend to have no personal feeling- cuz that's for women- while their feelings build up and the beer turns to scotch and the weed no longer numbs the pain and the heart attacks and strokes finally take their stupid sorry asses back to the cave where they came from. WAKE UP YOU STUPID MORONS. ARB- I WORSHIP YOU!


empire mike profile image

empire mike 4 years ago from empire, colorado

too late friends- the censors already got it. good job guys! arb- i forgot to tell you...i'm psychic, and i predict you will not be hearing from many men on this one. also, i see the censors as men.


empire mike profile image

empire mike 4 years ago from empire, colorado

very good hub, arb


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Hi Mike and nellieanna! On the road and will respond monday when I return. Visiting one of my sons in Portland.


rahul0324 profile image

rahul0324 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

A great write!


CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago

Alan:

Thou art far more stoic than I am. :0)

Do you think some of your emotional restraint toward your sons was learned from your father?


empire mike profile image

empire mike 4 years ago from empire, colorado

obviously my error about the censors, arb. comments on your hubs apparently do not show up for a while.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Good morning Nellienna, Thanks so much for the gracious comment. You remembered, I said soon. Having lived also in Europe for 9 years and my mother being from France, I have seen much of a european culture, which is completely opposite to our culture. There is, at least, a very open affection between men and it is openly displayed. Being raised in both worlds, simply played havoc in my life as I moved between the two.

Had a wonderful time in portland visiting my youngest and his girlfriend. Spring has taken Portland's rainy season and given back a virtual living garden everywhere you look. A very eclectic city which has adopted a new slogan which is plastered everywhere, "keep Portland weird" They are suceeding.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Hey Mike, Thanks for reading. I really appreciate your comment and hey brother, I love you man!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Hello unknown and thank you for reading. I hope my sons are more than I. Then I will say that they were lucky. Thanks for thinking so.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

The nothing one is very cute!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Apparently it did post twice


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Thanks rahul!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

CJ! Great to hear from you! Absolutely. My dad was hardly openly affectionate and I don't recall, that he ever said "I love you". I knew he did, he just didn't say it. I showed less restraint than my dad and my son's far less than I.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

There is a delay. I have noticed it too.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Thanks again brother man!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

A lot of reads, not many comments, but the few are mostly men. I felt the same, but, maybe we will be wrong!


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

double post!


empire mike profile image

empire mike 4 years ago from empire, colorado

art, at least you new your father loved me. i had to get nellieanna to convince me after his death. but at least i didn't have to die not knowing. apparently i am somewhat passionate about the subject.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Well Mike, I hope you are finding rest in the assurance that he did love you. The absence of expression, although unfortunate, is not the absence of reality. Be well.


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

What a beautiful hub. Every young man should read this, as well as every father. Bravo. I'm going to share this with the world. :)


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Hi TTooms! What a gracious comment. Thank you. It was a long time in coming. I wish I had read something like it as a boy. Thank God for mothers.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Seems that posts on here have been somewhat star-crossed, what with duplicates and various glitches. But, thanks to our ESP, all seems well. I'm glad my written message finally made it through cyber-jungle too! Thank you for your lovely response to my erstwhile comments, Alan.

So many factors were part of the distance between Mike and his dad, but George was not at all a stiff-lipped stoic. He had his personal reserve, but it came from being inventive and able to get lost in his thoughts. He literally could focus to that extent. But he was always joyous to come together from our various projects and he would be as completely THERE then as he'd been into his project.

But there were surely other inhibitors in play when he portrayed another persona to his son, whom he loved very deeply, but must have had a communication block. The time apart was felt as a deep loss and gave him great concern. Sometimes, the obstacles seem insurmountable, though. From here, they almost did.

So, Mike, you can be very sure you were - and are - greatly loved. If he could step back into the present, what joy he'd feel at the way it is now. He'd say in every way to consider him in on it, as he surely is.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

It has been a difficult lesson. You can show love but if you neglect to say it, it is like an envelope without a stamp. It you say it and neglect to show it, it is like a stamp without the envelope. Obviously, we are fragile beings in need of both. Possession of both it seems, sends our message to its destination.

Nellieanna, if I have ever neglected to tell you, let me say it once again. You are a joy to know and I am not exactly sure why this finds expression in this moment, but, I will not argue nor deliberate, that which begs wings of me. I am reasonably assured that you are the medicine George would have prescribe for Mike in his absence. So many things say I love you! Sometimes we must learn the language of the sender. Unfortunately, we are stuck in the language that we alone speak. There is after all, when communicating, a sender and a receiver. Sometimes we simply speak, the only language that we know and the recipient receives alien transmissions. I too, am an alien of sorts. Apart from my writing, very few know me at all!


empire mike profile image

empire mike 4 years ago from empire, colorado

ttoombs08: please do share it with the world

arb and nellieanna: thank you and i love you both


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I can feel your emotion and deep senses after your weekend visit. The envelope-stamp is a wonderful metaphor, Alan. Another might perhaps be that the full message is what is IN the envelope, needs to BE 'in there' and to reach the addressee. Yes! You're absolutely right that it needs to be both said and demonstrated. Different receptors within a person receive one or the other and all need to get the message for it to fill them in both sender and receiver.

Michael and I just seem to relate, especially in person. It's like we've always known each other, in spite of the very late start & major differences in many ways. There's almost a magic about it. I've never hesitated to embrace him as a beloved son and it's among the most rewarding of relationships and is reciprocated both ways! :-)

In reply to your message here, there's more I'd like to say and have written - but think better of posting it. But for whatever reason, alien language isn't the holdup here. :-) Hugs.


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Nellieanna, if alien language was the hold up, we would be from the same planet. Whatever rest between the lines of all not said, is in itself, enough said. I think I just said, I understand. (:


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I believe you did, Alan! :-)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Alan - It is hard to know exactly what to write as I sit here with tears streaming down my face. The burden that men, society, and some women have placed upon men is a very heavy, and often crippling, one. Fortunately, my father was a Polish immigrant, and many European men are, as you say, so much more able and willing to express their feelings for one another. My two brothers benefited from the emotional, musical, compassionate, and responsive side he shared with all of us.

The man I married did freely express emotion through the mediums of art, poetry, and music. Our three sons did absorb that from him as opposed to the traditional cave stuff. After my mother died, a new tenderness and commitment to living in the present and expressing one's emotions became part of my relationship with them.

Your two sons are so very fortunate that their mother had the wisdom and strength to nail shut the door to the cave many years ago (she is my hero), and that you ..... out of love for them, could resist the societal and cave teaching, and write such an inexpressibly tender and beautiful essay about your feelings for them.

When the tears are behind me I am going to go call my sons. And the emotions and tears will start again, but that is as it should be. Blessings. ~~ Theresa


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon Author

Thank you Theresa for such a touching reply. It has unfortunately, taken longer than it should for me to add nails to that door. The wonderful thing is that it wasn't too late and my wife's forsight into her childrens needs usurpped my early ignorance.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working