Quien es mas macho? Toledo o Kirk.
As Toledo celebrated its Number 8 with a bullet ranking in America's Manliest Cities, I lamented that I'm apparently nowhere close to being a man's man.
According to the study by author and researcher Bert Sperling, who has compiled this celebration of virility for four consecutive years, the machismo criteria for Toledo and other cities are sports, manly lifestyles, concentration of many retail stores, manly magazine subscriptions, and sales of salty snacks. (The list, it should be noted, was sponsored by Combos snack food.) And by these standards I'm as manlike as a soft spring rain in a field of pink flowers.
I haven't actively played sports since high school, although I played sporadically on a flag football team in college. It should be noted that the team had much better success when I missed games, which explains why my teammates seemed to care more about when I did show up than when I didn't. I'm also assuming Sperling wouldn't count my marathon gaming sessions of Skyrim on my Xbox 360 as athletic feats -- even for the endurance factor. I keep tabs on my favorite professional and college teams, but only if they're winning, like the Texas Rangers. Verdict: Lose points.
Manly lifestyle is vague. Is Sperling referring to a rugged, Marlboro man, sporting a checkered flannel shirt, well-worn jeans, and boots? Or, is it the suave James Bond type who charms women and villains alike? It really doesn't matter because neither lifestyle applies to me anyway. I camp once a year, so I guess that earns me a point, but it's usually at my wife's suggestion. She also researches the outing, plans it, and packs for it, so I guess I forfeit that point. Verdict: Even.
I have no control over how many manly retail stores are near my home, but I can tell you I mostly frequent home electronics, movies, and game stores, so I probably fail to earn any points in this category. Browsing at Target doesn't help my cause -- as does using the word "browsing." Ugh. Verdict: Lose points.
My magazine subscriptions are to Entertainment Weekly and Game Informer. Again, no help. Verdict: Lose points.
And finally, salty snacks. In the salty or sweet camps, I'm in the latter. I am fond of movie popcorn -- a horribly unhealthy and expensive guilty pleasure -- and on special occasions such as last week's Father's Day I'll indulge in a bag of Funyuns, onion-flavored rings without a trace of the vegetable to be found, save onion powder. Verdict: A point.
Total the numbers (or lack thereof) and I fail to qualify as a manly man.
I'm not surprised. When I was 16 and had longer, curly hair, I was mistaken for a woman by a grocery clerk. That does wonders for the teenage ego, let me tell ya.
A few years later I was corrected by a female friend after I used the word "cute." "Guys don't say cute," she said. I continued to say "cute" whenever she was around simply to irritate her. That's not only unmanly of me, but actually rather catty. Ugh again.
I also mostly prefer sweet and fruity liquored drinks to beer. A definite no-no for a man's man. I grew tired of Elizabeth Berkley taking off her clothes in Showgirls. (In my defense, that's the only movie to make gratuitous nudity boring.) And I'm as skilled with household tools as I am picking the correct lottery numbers.
But I do mow my own yard, have changed numerous flat tires in my life, and watched Dale, the 2007 documentary on the late Dale Earnhardt. Surely that counts for something? (And if doesn't, don't call me Shirley.)
Contact Kirk Baird at email@example.com or 419-724-6734.