Males are in crisis.

They are doing a lot less well in school than women, lots of them are searching for their ‘purpose’ in life, while females are racing past them. They’re not ready to commit to raising a family, whereas women are, they drag themselves to work and go home to play video games and -yes, yes, admit it- jerk off to porn, increasingly weirder porn, since porn works like a drug, for which you build up tolerance. And drinking alcohol -which can be fun and exciting and novel and rebellious at 16 – should be boring at 30, but it usually isn’t.  A lot of guys still give an exalted status to alcohol. According to masculinity expert David Deida drinking alcohol is the same as craving female energy. Today’s men are not comfortable around women, men were probably NEVER comfortable around women, because women are the ultimate procreation selectors, it’s they who hold the key, yes or no, and therefore they scare the hell out of boys. Spending time with older men also scares them. At the same time they have an overinflated sense of their own individual capabilities, are overambitious and are usually averse to any cooperation. You should see how many guys create a facebook page named after themselves, how more individualistic can you get?

As the so called ‘man cave’ -you know, some room with a bunge of bottles and a playstation 4- is on the rise, so is adult manhood in steep decline.

This is a wildly unfair generalisation, of course,  BUT, I think there’s a clear trend showing that men are, well, feeling lost.

In come the masculinity coaches.

Yes, really, that’s a thing these days.

And why not? There are coaches for absolutely anything these days, check this one out.

Sadly, the first thing these masculinity coaches seem to want to promote is ‘muscle gain’.

This indicates a very stereotypical view of masculinity.

If you would ask a masculinity coach to define masculinity they would probably not be able to.

Hence, the cliche images of muscled men.

On top of that, they are not comfortable marketing themselves as masculinity coaches without at least trying to look like a miniature Arnold Schwarzennegger.

As though muscles are really what it’s all about.

A pity, because I really don’t agree. The real men I know and have know were not physically strong at all. In fact, they were either skinny or pudgy or just slender. Because it’s not our physique or physical prowess that makes us men. It’s our character, it’s our wits.

I always have to think of this scene from Braveheart:

My father was a bodybuilder. He was physically tough. Tougher than anyone I have ever known personally. All the men I know call in sick when they have a simple common cold and even though they have desk jobs. My father went to work in a factory where he had to throw around hot rubber blocks weighing 40 kg a piece when he had a temperature of over 40 degrees or when he had the flu. Really. My grandfather on my mother’s side was the same. Tough as all hell when it came to taking pain.

My father could come stand beside me and put one hand on my shoulder and completely immobilize me. Just one hand on my shoulder and I couldn’t wriggle free.

At the same time he was also a deeply insecure male. He did not pursue his goals, he was entrenched, he was so afraid of rejection that he had a stubborn mantra explaining why there was zero point in trying anything at all.

He was very intelligent, yet instead of taking some evening class to better his work situation and escape from the factory he compared to a concentration camp he spent two hours a day in a fitness. He was huge. He had bulging arms and massive shoulders. He could practically walk through a wall.

Yet, emotionally he was about as muscled as an annorexic penguin.

No, I do not equate masculinity to muscles. I think it has very little to do with it.

When I myself was in my best shape ever, about ten years ago, I was deeply needy, very arrogant, and very insecure. My first girlfriend’s nicknames for me were ‘wild bear’ and ‘chippendale’. Near the end of our relationship she had seen through the muscular smokescreen and concluded: ‘You may train your muscles however much you want, it won’t make you stronger. You’re actually very weak.’

A friend of mine who trains intensely and is -at present- the most muscled guy I know personally, is also deeply insecure, self-negating, and a total pro when it comes to choosing career paths that are so not a good fit for him, because he’s too afraid to go for his dream. Yes, he’s twice my size, length and width, but if anyone is doing any revering, it’s him towards me, not so much the other way around.

I personally have to shake off my own adonis complex. It’s something I deal with every day. I have the silly habit of constantly checking if my biceps is still there.  I do lift weights almost every day, but only a little bit. I have come to realize that it doesn’t prove a damn thing. And when I was in a better shape than I am now, women usually thought it was just funny, except for a couple here and there for which it was a real turn on, but those were the exceptions.

The women rated and still rate me on wholly different qualities, and those are a lot less easy to acquire than somewhat bigger muscles. Although I admit to have an adonis complex, I would gladly trade in some muscle to get more of certain other qualities that I associate with manhood.

I doubt a masculinity coach who has muscles as his business card will be able to teach those qualities, since the focus on muscles betrays a poor interpretation of what makes a man.

I also doubt I would ever knock on a masculinity coach who is younger than 50…

I personally find more inspiration in the characteristics of the King archetype, you can read up on those here.

According to one train of thoughts there are four main archetypes that make up the male psychology: king, warrior, magician, lover.

The goal is to evolve into being a king.

I myself am often stuck in the lover archetype.

You can buy this book, to read up on it.

I gave my own copy away to a student-turned-friend of mine.