Real Masculinity, According To Me


“The hands of a brick layer, the mind of a scientist,  the heart of a poet.” 

Epitaph of  Saumel J Kirkwood  former Governor of Iowa, and what I’m thinking of carving on my tombstone 😉 DM

kirkwood-hammer certificae

I’m probably going to step on a few toes with this one, but you know what,  I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

I had the  privilege of teaching  8 young men in a construction program 2009-2010.   All the time in the back of my mind I was thinking, teachers have the opportunity to plant seeds in their student’s lives that can last a lifetime.

When I was a young man, there were very few healthy masculine role models as I recall.  The majority of men were either stoic males who suppressed their  emotion, or jocks whose sole purpose in life was to “get some”, great qualities to have in a future husband don’t you think?

I believe a real man can be tough and know how to stand his ground, but who also know how to admit when he’s wrong. (humble)  Real men  are in touch with their feelings, regardless of what anybody else may be telling you.

Since my years in High School,  I’ve been married for 35 years  to the  same woman, (and we still like each other). We’ve raised 4 children now in their mid 20’s to early 30’s, and  have  a healthy  relationship with each of them.

In addition to  teaching, I’m a general contractor.

I am a people person, and have known and worked alongside  dozens of men (and women) in the construction industry with every personality type you could imagine. In all these years, the one I had the most friction with was a  former bible college graduate twerp with a mouth.

I love pouring cement, stick framing a roof, riding motorcycles, writing poetry, baking my grandma’s rye bread from scratch, shooting a semi automatic rifle,  working in our  apple orchard, stacking bales in the haymow, butchering chickens, and bringing my wife coffee in bed.

I love working with the biker/just got out of jail types.

I love to look them in the eye and mess with their minds.

Six years ago, I spent the day with Johnny.  He was helping a friend of mine remodel a building.  Johnny was on work release, muscular, in his mid 30’s.  I came with my sawzall,  chop saw and diamond blade.  My job was to cut a doorway into the side of the masonry building 2 stories in the air.

I looked Johnny in the eye and said,   ‘”I’m afraid of heights.”  (because I am) 🙂

He looked @ me and sarcastically said, “Man, what kind of carpenter are you,  afraid of height?”

About 1/3 of the way into the process, there was an accident. Johnny, accidentally stabbed me with my sawzall.

New blade, with pigeon dung on it. Blade slid  into my forearm like a steak knife.   Two hours later, after a trip to the emergency room, we were back.  My forearm, with 7 stitches  was all wrap up.  I couldn’t leave because I had brought  the tools and know how.  I watched Johnny struggle for 5 minutes  with my chop saw. It was driving me nuts.

Finally, I said, “Let me have it.”

I grabbed the saw with both hands and went back to work.  Two hours later, we were done.

Johnny, looked @ me when I finished with the saw  and said, “Man, you are one bad @#s .”

Music to my ears.


I originally wrote this in 2009 on my personal blog.  Got a comment this morning  and decided to repost it on the farm blog.  DM


This entry was posted in enjoying life, faith, family, Iowa, life, personal, relationships, spirituality, wisdom and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Real Masculinity, According To Me

  1. micey says:

    I agree with Johnny. You are a bad @$$!
    😉 DM

  2. shoreacres says:

    I love that epitaph. I couldn’t remember Kirkwood, and now I think I know why — he was Governor during the Civil War. But that means he would have been Governor when my great-great-uncle David was helping to form the 34th Iowa regiment. I’ve got some Civil War documents. I’m going to get them out and see if Gov. Kirkwood’s signature is on any of them.
    Any luck? did you find his John Henry on any of the documents? DM

  3. emjayandthem says:

    Strength comes in many forms and the satisfaction you must have felt hearing Johnny’s words had to be priceless!

    It does. It’s just in our politically correct culture, the lines are getting more and more blurred, My heart goes out to the young men today who don’t have good role models. DM

  4. You and my “M” sure have A LOT in common… modern day renaissance men. Mrs. DM and I sure got lucky!
    🙂 DM

  5. Bill says:

    To heck with the stereotypes. We ought to all fully express all our talents and explore every intellectual and physical path reasonably available to us. I used to worry about whether certain things I enjoyed would cause me to appear insufficiently “manly.” Now I couldn’t care less about that. I’m just sorry I spent years inhibited by those social constructs.

    Good for you DM. This is a great post.
    Thanks Bill! I remember calling into a Christian radio station in 2008 and got into a short conversation about me cross stitching…all in fun, but the female DJ questioned my masculinity on the air… good times. good to hear from you. DM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s