David Plante Columnist
Men, take note.
Just in case you had not noticed, men come in all shapes and sizes and likewise (more apropos to this discussion) men come in all levels of development and levels of maturity or sophistication. We have to say that, as men, we do not distinguish among them. One of the things we have learned in our years of men’s work is that we really ARE all the same.
The problem stems from the simple fact that we see all men as just men and from what we call the “he’s ours” syndrome. You see, every group of men has one man who is (for example) cheap – like, when we get together to watch the game, he never brings the chips he said he would. Every group has one nerd or one of more nefarious history, and our response when asked why the cheapskate, nerd or sleaze is tolerated invariably is, “Every group has one; he’s ours.” So when you ask your male friends for distinctions between levels or types of men, they will either refuse, diffuse, or get confused. We do not distinguish.
So, I put forth the following classification system for identifying men, how to recognize them in their natural habitat, their evolutional / development issues, maturity, spirituality and of course viability as a mate – all in one easy-to-understand system.
Much of this thinking was spurred by Rob Becker’s one-man Broadway and touring show Defending the Caveman, well worth seeing a dozen times – especially with a bunch of couples. Becker traces the differences, quite comically, back to our prehistoric beginnings. He contends that it all started with the cavemen. We agree that we are all cavemen, but perhaps of differing types.
Let us explain:
- Australopithecus (A). As the first to come outside of his cave, A is, probably to your thinking, the least evolved man. A is in charge of his territory; he knows how to build and fix anything. He is the consummate home-builder and do-it-yourself-er. But our knuckle-dragging brother isn’t one who is much into conversation, more likely he’d rather sit silently for eight hours fishing, than ask you how you are. Spirituality is simple for A: he worships football heroes, and if he is a church-goer, he hears or digests little beyond God is good and it is bad to kill. As for sex, it’s on his terms and pretty much an athletic event. A loves the smell of it, the sweat of it, and the noise of it. A just wants to be rewarded for his job of protecting the cave. Forget much about love and money, just make a home with him and settle down; A can be counted on to never stray and to be a hard worker and a fierce defender of you and your offspring. At his best he is salt-of-the-earth, steadfast, and strong. At his worst A is, well, lewd, crude and a knuckle-dragger who scratches his nuts a lot.
- Neanderthal (N). N is a bit more tricky to figure out. He has a skeptical awareness that borders on cynical. Having left the cave behind he is distrustful and on guard. He will find the negative in anything, anyone or any situation. Nothing is good enough, strong enough or lasting enough for him. As such he is the “canary in the coalmine” and the first to sniff out trouble or bullshit. He is the consummate truth-teller, regardless of what you think of him. He calls it as he sees it, but on the good side, he’ll keep us all out of trouble because his ultimate concern is safety. N has high ethical standards that not even he can uphold, though he tries to with every breath. Perhaps that’s why he comes across as negative. Sex and spirituality “enjoy” the same fate. Sex is inadequate at best and God might be in question as well. However, N is shrewd in business and can be a classic “bring home the bacon” type of man. At his best, N will throw himself in harm’s way to save you from the oncoming bus. He is good in his core and as value-driven as the day is long. It’s just that his delivery sucks. At his worst, N is an arrogant prick that can drain the joy out of your life if you aren’t aware of his context and rock-solid values.
- Homo Erectus (H). Oh you think this means “upright man” but in actuality, H is upright in another sense. H is the sex machine among us; always up and hard and ready to go. H is the alpha male. H is the conqueror. H will sweep women off their feet and make them blush. If a woman can keep him under her sexual charms for 1001 nights, she may have a shot at keeping this man, but beware that others of her gender have their eyes on him too. H has no real allegiance to others. H is after success: defined as wealth, power and trophies. You may like the financial prowess or leadership capacity of this powerful man but judge him more through his actions and not his words. At his best, H is a leader, (the trick, as we said, being keeping him focused on a purpose higher than his belt buckle!) but at his worst H is a skirt chaser and is always and forever looking for the bigger, better deal (or trophy woman).
- Cro Magnon (C). The final edition to the evolutionary foursome, C is designated homo sapiens, the “thinking man.” He is the wise one, the leader of the pack, and the master of the disguise. C has learned to master multiple roles yet can be fulfilling on many levels. But beware, with this complexity comes a need to explore and move up and onward. C is on a quest. He understands that the highest expression of man is service to “man’s kind” and he is out to find his place in that servitude. C is purposeful in a different way from his brothers. What’s more he can talk about it, philosophize about it and write about it. C has created these tools – not for the tools themselves, but as a means to the ends of service. Be careful; talk is not to be confused with action. C needs to have commitment to complete the package. Sexually, he is a lover who focuses on his mate. This man has a huge heart and a woman will feel taken care of and have companionship with him, so long as she asks for what she wants. Spiritually he is deeply devout but rarely finds that outlet in formal religion. Once he stops talking and gets into action, he is a hero, but quite often we have to tell him to stop talking so much. As a result of his humanitarian side, C may never make much money. At his best C makes dreams come true. He shines with saintly luminescence and makes a genuine difference in the world. At his worst, he is all air, all talk and great ideas. As a mate, you would do well to ask him each day what his commitment is. Just keep him putting one foot in front of the other.
These are our men – yea, they’re ours. As men, we love them all; each with his contribution and foibles. Together we make a team. And if anyone asks us which is more evolved or better, or which will make a more suitable mate, we’ll most likely say we have no idea. We all have our faults and all have our great points. Underneath it all, none is much more advanced than our cave-dwelling ancestors.
* Note to our more scientifically conscientious readers: This section is not meant to be accurate or in any way reflective of chronology and anthropological evidence of cave dwelling. We are speaking figuratively in a way that makes sense to you and to our average brother.
When Dave Plante ventures forth from his man cave, he is our resident expert in Men in Relationships. His insightful book is available for purchase at Amazon.
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