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Manly

February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday is a very special day for me. I suspect my reasons for celebrating this day are different from most. The below was originally posted February 7, 2010. You can click here to see the original comments.

I’m not the most manly man.  I’ve never been into cars or sports.  I do not own any tools, and I cannot fix things.  The great outdoors has little appeal to me.  And I am very satisfied with my monogamous marriage.

That is not to say I do not have any manly interests.  I have always enjoyed action movies, and will watch just about anything with Bruce Willis (another handsome bald man).  Videogames have been a part of my life since the invention of the Atari 2600.  And I have never picked up an issue of Playboy for the articles.

Truth be told these are the few exceptions in an otherwise not-so-manly lifestyle.

So perhaps I’m not the best person to be declaring what should or should not be manly.  But that’s not going to stop me.

The only time I watch sports on television is the Super Bowl.  And while, for me, it is about the food first and the commercials second, but it is also about the game.  This is the one day a year I do something I considered to be truly manly.  I choose a team to root for, and I root with gusto and passion.  I eat things that on the other 364 days I don’t consider food.  And I eat them in significant quantity.

And when I watch the game, I drink beer.

In many ways I’m a realist.  I know that in America beer is masculine and wine is feminine.  Wine may even be considered un-American, especially during the Super Bowl.  Just ask Gisele Bündchen.

But this should not be the case.  And I do not quite understand how wine has been emasculated.

Wine is not anti-American.  The forefathers of this nation drank wine, dammit.  Thomas Jefferson was a great wine lover, and he made sure there was good wine in the cellars of our first few presidents.  Good wine is produced in almost every state, and it’s not limited to the coasts either.  Gruet in New Mexico is just one winery out of the major production zones that has a significant national following.

Wine is also not fundamentally feminine.  Winemaking is basically glorified farming.  And it’s mostly the purview of rugged men.  Tools are manly, and one needs a specialized tool and some brute force to open a wine bottle.  Certainly there is a part of wine culture that supports the manly ideal.  The big cabernet with the big rare porterhouse is a snapshot of classic male gastronomy.

Maybe the problem is that most people who drink wine like to drink it from stemmed glasses.  Gone are the days when wine would be transported in skins, and manly men could drink straight from their pouches.  Perhaps it has something to do with the surprising popularity of white zinfandel.  If most people think of this simple sweet pink drink when they think of wine, this could easily be the answer.

Regardless, even knowing these things about wine today I’m still drinking beer.

For me it’s about communing with America.  Today I will put aside my usual persnickety food prejudices.  I will eat unhappy meat and heavily processed foods filled with GMOs.  I will put a shameful number of calories into my mouth with no other thought than, “I hope someone’s getting more wings.”  I will watch several hours of television and pay rapt attention to the commercials.  I will yell at a TV screen as I cheer for large men in tight uniforms.

I will drink beer out of a bottle and maybe even from a can.

Today, I am manly.

For the record, I’m pulling for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Maybe I should have gotten beer from their fair city, but instead I’ve got some Yuengling Lord Chesterfield Ale. It’s in a bottle. They claim it is America’s oldest brewery, but regardless it is brewed in the proud state of Pennsylvania. I even still have one last piece of PA made kielbasa.

The anticipation is killing me.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2011 10:32 pm

    I am sure that you will be surprised to find that, Mr. Dave, is in fact at this moment drinking a fairly mediocre Bordeaux while watching the Super Bowl. I know, I know, after all the gentle ribbing to oenophiles that I dole out, and all the beer propaganda I spew, this is somewhat non sequitur. But I am fresh out of oat soda (besides the several gallons I have fermenting), and the wife is not feeling well. Our Super Bowl plans got nixed at the last minute and I am too lazy to run out.

    On the subject of manliness, manliness is expressed in ways very far removed from your beverage choices. I participate in several prototypical “manly” professions/endeavors (don’t ask) but many of my hobbies/interests would be outright mocked in the very circles I travel within if discovered. When I throw criticism at wine drinkers, it is because I find the practice culturally anachronistic in many cases. Most of us (at least around here) are thoroughly entrenched by heritage and history in beer cultures, and I don’t find anything to be ashamed of in this fact. In many cases (not all cases) I feel that wine drinkers are inserting identity into consumption in a way I find unseemly. Nothing personal against wine, I like wine.

  2. Stevo permalink
    February 7, 2011 2:01 pm

    What, no mention of whisky? I know you are an avid whisky and distilled sprits aficionado. Whisky is a decidedly masculine beverage.

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