Where are all the "real men" these days?

K

Kit Sullivan

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And by "real men", I don't mean some macho, tough-guy "bad ass" thing.

I'm talking about guys that act like mature, responsible men of integrity instead of childish, selfish children full of BS attitudes.

Sometimes I am disgusted that my 27 year old son who is severely autistic (emotional/ mental age: 4) is more responsible and more of a "man" than some of the dipshit employees I have to deal with.

Telling a grown man of 40 years old (or so) that he is required to bathe or brush his disgusting teeth before he comes to work is just ridiculous, or having another one of them not show up for work for SEVEN consecutive scheduled work days (over a 10 day period), and then want to know whay they aren't on the schedule is mind-boggling.

As I was growing up my dad always told me his annoying "a real man always..." platitudes, but I typically learned to ignore them because my dad was for all intents and purposes a rael piece of S--T in the general sense.

A drunken, abusive, raging alcoholic who was a world-class wife beater, my dad was not anything that anyone would coinsider a "role model".

And not a simple slap to my mom every once in a while...but a true "Ike Turner"-style beat-down at least a couple nights a week.

So, I didn't respect my dad a lot, but as i got older I could see the demons raging in him, and then he was gone.

The surprising thing is that now,well into my fifties, I find myself preaching and beliving the "real man" sayings he used to say to me all those years ago. And I say them because i belive them.

Even a bad man has some good in them, i suppose.

On random occasions, as appropriate to the situation he would say things like:

"You know son, a real man..."

Endures hardships without complaint.

Treats all women like ladies. (especially contradictory coming from him)

Doesn't make excuses.

Says more by talking less.

Takes pride in his work.

Has a job, period.

Does not make commitmnents lightly

...and...

Honors commitments.

Does not tolerate cowards. (He was a Marine, as he never let anyone forget)

Tough but fair...today.

Faces challenges immediatly and head-on.

Has nothing of greater value than his word or his handshake.

And he was fond of repeating this little three-parter quite often: "Live your life with three basic rules":

If it isn't true, don't say it,

if it isn't yours, don't take it

and if it isn't right, don't do it.

So, somehow...someway...my not-so-wonderful dad managed to pass onto me some basic ideals that I find myself agreeing to now more than ever.

In my life I have (finally) basically just condesnsed it all down to one basic rule for myself:

"Above All Else, Do The Right Thing"

Why is today's world so filled up with so many "men" who are more like whiny little snot-nosed brats?

 

Jeff73Mach1

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Kit, I don't know you, but I have to congratulate you on breaking the cycle and being a real man.

Real men become rarer by the day unfortunately, because to be all those things that your Dad correctly stated,

can be hard and too many people stop and take the easy route instead of the hard one.

as a father, let me add one more saying "Forgiveness is not for others, it is for ourselves."

 
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Kit Sullivan

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I'm no angel...I have plenty of "challenges", just like anyone else, but i appreciate the response.

Truthfully, the absolute biggest and most impactful occurence in my life (and my wife too, of course) has been raising our handicapped son. He is not self-sufficient and needs continual supervison and will always need that in his life.

He is 27 years old and has nothing other than his good health. Nothing in his life that each of us takes for granted every minute of every day of our lives.

He cannot hold a conversation with anyone. He can barely make his wishes and desires known, but the wife and I of course are better at undestanding him than most others. He cannot make himself something to eat when he wants to. He will never have a girlfriend, he will never have a sexual relationship with anyone and he will never father any children.

He will never ride a bike by himself, never drive a car. He will never talk on a phone. He will never enjoy a funny joke or a romantic movie. He will never have a best friend, or even a regular friend for that matter. He will never experience the satisfaction of a hard days work, or the joy of cashing his first paycheck.

He will never be able to go on a motorcycle ride with me (on his own bike), he will never be able to go scuba diving with me. He will never be able to help me wash and wax the cars.

He cannot wash his own clothes, he cannot tie his own shoes.

And there are a million, million , million other things, life's little privelages really that we all take for granted every second of the day that he will NEVER be able to do for his entire life.

Every night once he is asleep, as the wife and I go to sleep, I weep a little inside for all the things missing in his life and pray (in my non-religious way) for him.

And I wake up in the morning and find him the same as I do most every day: We give each other a "high-5" every morning and he is happy. He is the happiest kid I have ever seen, ever.

And it pisses me off that I feel I am entitled to be unhappy for him, when he is happy himself. He compalins very little, but when something is wrong, it is no secret.

So...what am I saying...

Maybe my dad had a few nuggets of wisdom, but the most important stuff in my life (so far) that I have learned is from my son.

 

caspianwendell

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Kit, I too was an abused child by a drunken father. The difference for me was I was his target. He actually killed me once when I was a baby but someone brought me back to life. He busted my left eardrum, beat my head into the walls and floors, stomped me, kicked me so hard he broke his own toe (that really pissed him off), called me everything but my own name, but I can say I was never sexually abused. It all came to an end one night when I was 16 or 17. I came home from work and found him banging my twin sisters heads together and I lost my sense of control and the fight was on. He rammed my head through the bathroom door and was beating the hell out of me when my scared to death mother had enough. She stuck a butcher knife to his throat and told him if he ever touched one of us kids again, whatever is left of him will be behind bars. I was a mistake that ruined his life and he hated me for it. Old timers back then had to do the "right" thing and get married. He never loved my mother and had to get drunk to drown his misery, and that just intensified his anger toward me. Today I realize that because of him I was never satisfied with anything I did so I would not settle for anything less than perfection in anything I did. I refused to be the failure he said I was and would always be. So I learned as much as I could to better myself. It is strange how someone like that can actually end up being a good thing in your life.

 
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Kit Sullivan

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Holy crap!

That sounds like a true "Hell on Earth" scenario. I guess I was personally lucky, my dad never actually abused me...he barely paid attention to me actually. I was the last kid out of 10, and I think he was just tired of everything in his life by the time I came around. He was quite older by the time I was born, his life took a turn for shit well before I was born and I was really just kind of ignored for the most part.

Most of my brothers and sisters had troubles: without exception, every one of them had drug or alcohol problems in thier life, and I saw all the repercussions. I guess it was in a way lucky for me:

Because of all that i saw as a kid, I grew up never having any desire to drink, smoke or do any kind of drugs.

I have never smoked cigarettes ( or anything else), never a drinker and never any drugs. And for no reason really other than I just don't want to.

It has made me somewhat intolerant of those I have to deal with every day who are slaves to and let thier petty addictions to cigarettes and alcohol completely run thier lives.

Just today, a rare occasion in Florida: freezing rain...miserably cold and nasty, yet some of my employees can't wait to go outside and immerse themselves in that miserable cold rain just to satisfy thier slave-like nicotene addiction. Only to repeat it again an hour later...ad naseum. Psthetic and disgusting, and unbelivably: self-inflicted.

A parents job is to help thier kids develope good habits, and mine did...acvidentally.

 
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hyena429

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Kit, I too was an abused child by a drunken father. The difference for me was I was his target. He actually killed me once when I was a baby but someone brought me back to life. He busted my left eardrum, beat my head into the walls and floors, stomped me, kicked me so hard he broke his own toe (that really pissed him off), called me everything but my own name, but I can say I was never sexually abused. It all came to an end one night when I was 16 or 17. I came home from work and found him banging my twin sisters heads together and I lost my sense of control and the fight was on. He rammed my head through the bathroom door and was beating the hell out of me when my scared to death mother had enough. She stuck a butcher knife to his throat and told him if he ever touched one of us kids again, whatever is left of him will be behind bars. I was a mistake that ruined his life and he hated me for it. Old timers back then had to do the "right" thing and get married. He never loved my mother and had to get drunk to drown his misery, and that just intensified his anger toward me. Today I realize that because of him I was never satisfied with anything I did so I would not settle for anything less than perfection in anything I did. I refused to be the failure he said I was and would always be. So I learned as much as I could to better myself. It is strange how someone like that can actually end up being a good thing in your life.
Like i tell some of my freinds...It is not hard to find some real awfull things that happend to people and they still turn out great...You come from the same kinda story i did...Bit diff....Had a drunken step father...He beat the hell out of us too...One night he shot and killed my mother when she was getting home from work...i was only 6 years old...and sleeping...haunted me for years and took a while to let go...Only time heals wounds...and i never tell my story unless asked or others open up...I dont not mind talking about it...It was a long time ago.....I do not want people to feel sorry for me...And do my best at life ...Lucky my real dad was a wonderfull guy and raised me and still helps me out to this day when i need it..He sure had alot to deal with getting 2 kids dumped on him with some real issues..But we turned out just fine i think..And i can still smile after all these years :)

Was never much of a drinker..Social rarely..Quit smoking cigs when i was 24..Even know i play in a bar almost every weekend..I never have a drink while there "even know they are free for me" I get a soda pop lol...and only when with freinds ill have a beer or 2...I partied out enough when i was a teen...No need to be too plasterd all the time...Life is hard sometimes..But no reason to let the past hold you down...Nor use it as a excuse to be a child.

 
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caspianwendell

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Our past makes us who we are. As the old saying goes "what does not kill us, makes us stronger". Trust me, I am one strong individual. I know guys who have the greatest parents in the world, and they are just complete asses, with no respect for anyone. I don't feel sorry for myself, nor do I want anyone else to pity me either, my horrible childhood made me a better person today. When dad was dying, the hospice people were throwing a fit cause I would not be there with the family as he took his last breath. My brother-in-law (who knows the story) told the lady "shut your mouth, and let him deal with it his way...you have no clue".

I fought my own demons with alcohol when I was young, but soon realized that it's a sickness within ourselves that cause some to overindulge and put it down. Knowing that helps me to understand his problem, but not his stupidity for continuation. He did straighten up at the end and I finally met the real man who was my father, and he was a very good man...wish he would have done that years before.

 

rpmcarter

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hmmm a few thoughts. Kit ...your assignment is the toughest and I admire the blessed that are given that relationship. We cant say we understand...we have no clue. For those others you experience at work, you speak of .... you cant fix stupid. You have to let it go. I've tried counseling others like that and it simply makes you angry.

At first I felt if I apologized that my Dad was truely a great man it might make you guys feel bad. But I trust you wont. He was poor, uneducated and had nothing. He was a "sharecropper" Odd dont ya think a "white" sharecropper? Funny thing though anytime you visited family or friend you feasted like a King.

Now then, my mother remarried my stepfather who could go toe to toe on all the bad you guys described. I get it!! I hated every day. Prayed everyday to get out of his house and go to my real dad's house. Even as a child I knew I wouldnt have new clothes and it would be a struggle....and I was willing to make that move any day. Finally at 11 my mother divorced him too. At roughly 13 I called my brother fresh from Viet Nam to come get me "I'll take my chances"....17 I left his house and havent been back to be supported by anyone other than my own efforts.

My summary was to learn from that bad 7 or 8 years. My goal is to be better father to my daughters than my stepfather which takes very little effort. The challenge is being as good as my Dad!!!! So far.... I get an A from the girls but I feel like I have to work just to be good enough. .

My Dads funeral had what looked like 3 miles of cars ... an amazing site or better a reflection of the people that loved him.

And for Rudy KIP??? He did a fine job translating the bible.

So here is a script I would like to share from an old neighbor friend when my oldest daughter was born. he ask...so what do you think. I responded..I have no idea what to do.

"Son you just have to remember this one thing and you will be fine....kids dont think like you think....they think you think like them"

I've remembered that for the 29 years my daughter has been and I've got two very happy children.

 

Jeff73Mach1

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I'm not quite sure how to say this, but I want to thank you each for sharing.

A little over 10 years ago I divorced my ex and my two sons were very young 2 1/2 and 4. Lately I have been looking back at how my actions have shaped their reactions to change etc and have been beating myself up. Hearing what people have survived and thrived, in spite of, has helped me.

I try and be a good dad and I never miss a day I am supposed to have them with me, I pick up any extra days their mother has needed help and I actually spend my time with them when they will let me. I don't make every soccer game or band event when they are with their Mom, but I try to be there as much as I can manage. I have never once missed a child support payment.

But as I said I have been beating myself up lately over little stupid shit that you have all helped me to see is unimportant. So again thank you each for sharing.

 

Mister 4x4

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Jeff, don't beat yourself up. It sounds like you're doing the best you can, and trust me - it's more than most others in your situation. ::thumb::

Single Dad (detached) is one of the toughest jobs around - and not everybody is up to, or equipped to do it... let alone do it well. Be that as it may, it's one of those things where 'something is better than nothing,' especially early on.

I have a slightly similar story as the others: my father was a drunk and abusive to my Mom, and she finally left him about a year after I was born - in a fit of rage, he yanked me out of the car seat and broke my right collarbone. She hit her limit at that moment... apparently, she could handle the daily beatings, but when it came to me - not so much.

I grew up without a father (who actually lived less than 6 miles away). No child support, no visitation, no interraction aside from an occasional drunken phone call so he could verbally abuse my Mom. After I graduated high school, he dropped by - drunk, of course. He said he wanted to see what kind of a man I'd become. I think he was a little surprised, as I was about 6" taller than him and didn't take any of his crap - even though he had all sorts of random hateful and insulting things to say. For some reason, it didn't bother me at all, because in my mind I knew that none of the vile & petty things he was spewing had not influenced me at all... at that moment, I realized that I was actually a better person for not having him in my life. Then he made some disparaging comments about my Mom, to which I promptly grabbed him, spun him around in the cool arm-lock I'd learned from a neighbor (whose Dad was with Sandy PD), threw him into his car, and told him he'd regret ever coming around again - which seemed to stick, as we've never heard from him since (joining the Air Force, and later moving Mom to Texas with me probably helped with that as well - but oh well).

People have always asked how I got by without a Dad. Well, ya can't miss what you never had. However, I later realized that I didn't actually have it so bad. We basically had no money growing up, but my Mom and Grandma made sure I had plenty of 'Dad-type' influence in my life, in the way of getting me involved in Little League Baseball, Cub/Boy Scouts, and made sure I had plenty of 'jobs' helping out some of the elderly neighbors with odd-jobs, yardwork, shoveling snow in the winter, etc., which also helped replace any kind of 'allowance' most kids received that they simply couldn't afford. I didn't realize it at the time, but I also had the benefit of just about everybody else's Dad to draw from. So, while I didn't have my own father while growing up, I did actually have a really good array of Dad-type influence in my life - not to mention Grandma grew up during the depression, was a welder during WWII, and was tough as nails - so I probably got a lot of unrealized Dad-type influence from her as well.

No - you're doing fine, Jeff. As I've always said, "any man can be a father... but it takes a real man to be a Dad."

Guys - thanks for sharing what I know can be painful memories (regardless of how much time has passed)... I feel like I know all of you just a little bit better - and that's one of the biggest things I love about this little gathering place: like our beloved cars, we all have mileage on our personal odometers... and not all of 'em are what would be considered "Sunday Drive" miles, either. It's nice to hear that we've all survived the drives and grown as a result.

One more little cliche to add to the 'Real Men' discussion is one of my favorites, and one I live by: "Integrity is what you do when nobody else is looking."

 

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Man, you live the life of a real man every day when you hang in there and don't allow abuse to make you into an abuser. The fact that you find yourself repeating things your dad said just goes to show that even someone who never acted decently to you or your mother had some core inside of him that knew the truth about his behavior.

I was fortunate. My own father wasn't perfect but he was a perfect gentleman and he told me a lot of the same kind of things. As we get older we recognize the wisdom in our fathers. Flaws are easy to see, particularly when they're right out in the open. Sometimes the better qualities of someone are harder to accept when they aren't the defining characteristics of that person.

I tend to believe that things in general are more complex than we give them credit for and that nothing is more complex than a person. I go to work every day and do my job to the best of my ability because I was raised to be ashamed of doing less. I tend to think most people have that kind of pride. For every #^<& up who can't come to work for a week, how many people are there every day? For every jacka$$ who makes excuses for himself, how many people arrange their lives such that they don't have to? The "real men" are all around you and they, along with the "real women" are the people who make this world livable, day in and day out.

 

droptop73

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Great topic Kit, thank you for starting this thread.

My fear is we (us boomers) are raising a generation of whiney candy assed boys. We don't want to let them fall down and get hurt, we want to "protect" them fom all life's ills. In turn we are not teaching them how to deal with the misfortunes and disappointments that are bound to come their way. I have 2 boys who have turned into fine men. I am very proud of them. They still frusrate the heck out of me from time to time. What I am most proud of is they have become real men and are dependable, honest, loyal and understand how to give their best. In many ways they are better men than I am.

For those younger guys with boys, don't worry about the minor stuff let them be boys. It's not natural for bous to sit still we are designed to explore, fall out of trees, get dirty, get stitches and broken bones, compete and occasionally get into a fight. Boys need to know how to defend themself but not be a brute. Turn the other cheek when required but knock the crap out of someone when necessary. The quickest way to stop a bully from picking on them is to allow them to punch the bully in the nose.

It truly sickens me to see professional "athletes" cry after losing a game, that loss should be the motivation to work harder to win the next time. Sure losing can be disappointing but giving up is a much worse disappointment. After all when did losing become such a big problem where we have to insulate kids from it.

Sorry for the rant but this hits a chord with me. Real men are tough, kind, rough, tender, loving, honest, loyal, mean to those who would do harm. Real men are NOT abusive to women, children or the aged. Causing others misery is not sport or "fun" like some of the thugs in media would have our boys believe.

 
K

Kit Sullivan

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Well, of my 6 children they are all girls except for my son, who is special needs and has unique circumstances in his life.

As far as all the girls go, I raised them in exactly the same way I suspect I would have raised my son under more fortunate conditions.

My oldest ( twins) are 28, and they are beautiful and take no crap from any man about anything. Ashley lives alone, goes to school full time, works full time and refuses to let any of her wanna-be boyfriends "help her out" by paying a bill for her, or just in general to give her money even when it is clear she may be " tight" on her bills. She refuses dates if she cant afford to pay her own way.

Because I have told her ( and all my kids) all thier lives so far that I am the only man they can always depend on to help them unconditionally if they need something, she really takes it to heart. She absolutely will not let anyone make her feel obligated to them about anything. She accepts no help if she can manage without.

In other words...she is a real ball-buster.

I have told her that when she finds the man worthy of her, he will win her heart with deeds of affection, kindness and tolerance to others, and not try to buy her affection with gifts and trinkets. She seems to believe that, and I know she'll probably not end up with a jerk...at least I hope!

Her sister Chelsea has already found her soulmate I think. He is 10 years older than her but I have met him and he is a great guy. He adores her andhas really helped her carreer ( She is a make-up artist in Hollywood, he is an AD on several productions). Last year they both worked on American Idol, Dexter, Arrested Development, and whatever the show with Christine Aguilara is called.

She knows I have always been screenwriter-wannabe, and she knows I am a beaming dad. She's great too.

I have both of them visit us about 4-5 times a year.

The rest are younger and all live with us at home still, of course. Shelby, my 17 year old is constantly going toe-to-toe with her music science teacher about statements he gets wrong about classic music acts, thinking the "kids" wont notice. On one occasion his subject of the day for the class was the "Beatles", and she corrected him on so many things in the class, he called me and the wife in for a "conference".

I showed up not with my wife, but with my daughter Shelby. He objected saying this should be a discussion between adults, and I said "She is more of an adult than you are. Anything you want to say about her you can say to her face...not behind her back."

He eventually got around to saying she was disruptive in class by arguing with him openly in class. I let him say his piece, and then I let her respond directly to him. She said that a teacher should know more about the subject at hand than the students, but at the very least give them correct information. Then details came out: She says "If you are teaching about Justin Bieber or One Direction, no one cares what you say because they will be all but forgotten in a few years, but The Beatles are one of the most influential things to ever happen in music in over 50 years, you should respect that and get it right, because it is important."

He was totally speechless, I chuckled a little inside and we said our goodbyes. I asked her later to please take it easy on him in the future, because she cares about it, but its just a job to him. She's my pal...we do a lot of activities together.

The rest are equally tough on thier friends and teachers. I didnt do it on purpose, but they just wont be taken advantage of if they can help it.

I am not unhappy about that.

 
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Boss1Ray

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Hey guys- Thanks for sharing.

Kit, I have two nieces that are both 14. You've given me some great info to help them. I need to visit with them while they still listen to me - even just a little.

Ray

 

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Good stuff guys... I like the statement that these things make us stronger. Although we may back in those days prefer not to be so strong. We lived through those experiences and the difference that may contribute to the making of a man. We "chose" to be better men. We didnt whine and fold...we stood UP and walked straight, held our heads high and realized as young people that we were not the problem. The abuser was the one with a problem. For me, when the old neighbor shared that wisdom... I reflected on so many occasions why I felt..."if I could only communicate my feelings or understanding maybe this would stop". So as I became a father I took time to understand my kids and I suppose that translated a mountain of value to my kids over the years.

Although I didnt like the trip...the past did create who I am and I'm okay with that.

Last I suppose this thread dis-spells the myth.... "I had it tough and nobody understands"

 

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It seems gentlemen you have all become Men of Value. Thanks for sharing

 
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Kit Sullivan

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Kit, I have two nieces that are both 14. You've given me some great info to help them. I need to visit with them while they still listen to me - even just a little.

Ray
Good lord, don't use me as an example! For all the right decisions I've made (wether intentioanally or by accident), I've made many times more bad decisons!

I'm just fumbling through it, and hope I come out on the other end intact...

 

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This is an amazing topic, you guys have all shared some amazing things and it's quite a testament to the level of community here that openness like this can occur.

Kit, I very much understand what you're saying about "where have all the real men gone?" I'm not as old as many of you (insert old timey joke here) and as such I count myself more along the current generation. At only 24 years old I'm just in the state of my life where I feel like I need to be a real man. To offer respect and admiration more than I receive it. I often find myself looking around at the people that are supposed to be my "peers" and wondering just how they became so self centered. I think droptop said it well when he said

"My fear is we (us boomers) are raising a generation of whiney candy assed boys. We don't want to let them fall down and get hurt, we want to "protect" them from all life's ills. In turn we are not teaching them how to deal with the misfortunes and disappointments that are bound to come their way."

I think our society walks on pins and eggshells so much these days worrying about being politically correct and making sure that no ones feelings get hurt or that someone gets a "better" opportunity than someone else that they've created a generation of self-centered narcissistic whiners who can't wipe their own butts let alone be expected to act like men.

I thank my parents every day for showing me the real way the world works, that hard work, respect, integrity, and ambition are required if you want to be self-sufficient. I thank them for teaching me chivalry and the value of a hard days work. I am by no means a perfect example, but I do my best to be the change I want to see in my own generation.

 

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MechEng... you are on the right track and dont let peer pressure bring you down. I like your attitude! you'll stray possibly from time to time but those great parents "rents" sayings .... and talks will remind you on occasion to fall back in line and you'll find the road less curvy and easier to drive through life as time goes on.

I've got two girls, one 29 and one 16. Between them i've noted their friends and the deterioration of morals etc over the years between their ages has significantly deteriorated. For you at 24 ...your on the right track.

A funny story ...I'm 56 and much softer than years past. At a neighborhood barbque one of the neighbors kids...16 was sitting next to me and made some comment that was in line with the thinking you expressed of your peers. He mistakenly made a comment about girls as his "accomplishments" and just general disrespectful stuff. I explained to him if he crossed the street for my daughter as one of his treats...He would learn real quick that i was an old time jackazz and I would leave his azz in the street for his non responsible dad to see the next morning when he awoke. If his dad had a problem...I would gladly take out his dumbazz too and be happy to pay the bond money.

That story is not about me... that was an insight to what HIS Dad taught him was being a man. He truely believed that was living up to manhood.

You''ll be happy and respected by real men with your version of life. Glad to have you here.

 
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