I’ve been having the most entertaining conversation with a group of friends over the subject of Man Laws, and like most entertaining conversations, it got me thinking and writing.
I should put a big old disclaimer here in the beginning:
The following Conversation speaks in VERY broad generalizations. It may be construed as offensive to women, sexist and just overall in poor taste. My response? If you don’t like it, if you are easily offended, don’t read it. If it offends you, meh, whatever, you were warned.
We hear all the time about Man Laws, the Bro Code, those usually unwritten rules that men use to interact with one another. But what are they exactly?
I’ve been told that women can’t really ever understand these laws, which I don’t entirely agree with, but I will acquiesce to say that we can understand them intellectually, but the very visceral, ingrained nature of them is something that we cannot fully grasp. Having grown up with A LOT of men, I believe I have a greater understanding of them than some of my fellow women, but more importantly I have a deep appreciation for these Laws.
The fact of the matter is that men and women are different. *gasp* Shocking, I know. Revolutionary even. But we are. Personally, I have a serious respect for and am thankful for the things that make us different. The average man is physically stronger than the average woman. The average woman is more nurturing and sensitive than the average man. We balance one another out. It’s a Yin-Yang thing. It’s good to have balance in the universe.
Man Laws, Bro Code, whatever you call it, is the perfect example of this difference. Women may have some rules of the road as well, but they are not as cut and dry as those of men. I was told earlier that these Laws are imprinted in the Y chromosome. OK, I like that one. Not sure I buy it, but we’ll go with it. Being the obsessive Google-junkie that I am, I had to see if what I could find outside of chromosome decoding to educate me on Man Laws. Boy did I get an eye full. But my favorite site was this one because it fell in line with what my brothers and father have taught me for years.
The Laws are fairly simple. They mostly boil down to two concepts:
Always have your boys’ back.
Always have your boys’ back.
Yeah, that’s it. It’s the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!” concept of life. Sure, you should try to steer your fellas away from things they might regret doing later, but if they do them anyway, you essentially disavow any and all knowledge of what happened. According to one of the friends in the conversation I was referring to earlier. Every man knows man law and he knows when it is being violated. Talking about Vegas, eyes looking around in the bathroom. Sitting next to another dude when there are other seats available. Complimenting another man on his shoulders. All violations!
Now of course there are exceptions. Two gay guys hitting on each other in a gym? Shoulder compliments are acceptable.
I learned recently that the Bro Code starts pretty early in life. My son routinely goes roller skating with my Dad if he doesn’t have school the next day. One evening upon returning, my mother asked my son if his Grandfather had skated with lots of women. My son told her “Oh no, Grandma, he only skated with one.” Dude. Clear violation. The next week when asked again, he responded “He skated with LOTS of women this time.” I’m pretty sure that was still a violation, but apparently a Bro Code discussion had taken place.
**Note for the record: All the men folk at skating partner with all the women folk my wonderful Daddy is not doing ANYTHING inappropriate. He never would. He’s a saint. If you don’t believe me, refer back to this post.**
But the Man Laws and Bro Code aren’t just about hiding things your boy may do wrong. They’re also about standing up for what’s right. It’s that bond that men have where they stick together to make sure justice actually happens.
True story: once upon a time in a community that I will not name, a stranger came to visit. During his visit, that stranger sexually assaulted a young girl in the community. Upon finding out about the assault, the men folk in the community took said stranger for a walk. The stranger was not heard from again, and the old timers who live in this community still when asked about the stranger will either deny all knowledge of what you are referring to, or simply tell you that we don’t discuss these things.
Sounds like an urban legend, right? Maybe, but I can give you my solemn word that it’s not. And while I’m sure there are those who gasp in horror at the idea of such vigilante justice, I don’t have a problem with it. It is this kind of adherence to Man Laws that makes it easier, in my opinion, to tolerate the less than desirable sides of the Laws. There is something comforting to me to know that the menfolk in my world will always do everything in their power to make sure that we “little ladies” are safe and sound.
Man Laws are clear to men and even carry with them a series of punishments. I’m a bit more vague on what those entail, but the site I referred to earlier even has a list of those…I think they’re mostly tongue-in-cheek though…I think. Maybe not.
Our men folk have a very deeply ingrained sense of right and wrong. They stick together in a way that many women could learn a lesson from. They have each other’s backs figuratively AND literally. The in-fighting and back stabbing that women (particularly on soap operas) can be so well known for, typically doesn’t exist amongst those men who adhere to the Man Laws. That must be refreshing.
So to the men who stand together in the united brotherhood of the He-Man Women Hater’s Club or the National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood (NO MA’AM), I appreciate you and I salute you! I know that you don’t actually hate women. You have a deep appreciation for us truth be told. You just hate a lot of the bullcrap that comes with us. But I’ll tell you a secret…so do I!