In our pop culture, we have been conditioned to accept and relate to the cliche that men are constantly on the verge of forgetting their own wife’s birthday, their wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and/or Mother’s Day. At best, men at least need to be reminded of these dates regarding the love of their life and the mother of their children.
The Wal-Mart commercial above features this exact concept. I apologize for the poor quality, but I am assuming Wal-Mart pulled the actual one from YouTube after realizing how it negatively stereotypes men.
I decided to take matters into my own hands in outing this familiar cliche about men. In the attempt to find out if there was any truth to husbands forgetting important dates in regards to their own wife, I asked Twitter and Facebook this question:
“Husbands, have you ever completely forgotten your wife’s birthday or your wedding anniversary? Wives, has your husband ever completely forgotten your birthday or wedding anniversary?”
Guess how many people agreed that this has happened to them?
Instead, I received only comments from wives bragging on their husbands never forgetting these dates and from husbands who said not only would they not forget, but that it’s impossible to forget amidst all the commercialization of these holidays and events.
Here’s the simple truth: Men don’t forget their own wife’s birthday, their wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and/or Mother’s Day. That would be sort of impossible.
In fact, I’d say we not only don’t forget, but we can’t forget.
Consider how many thousands of sports stats most men keep stored in their brains. Consider history buffs; most of which seem to be males. Men are wired to remember important numbers and events; regardless of their individual math skills.
I talked to a guy at work about this recently. He responded with, “Yeah, that’s ridiculous. I’ll never forget my ex-wife’s birthday and our anniversary; and I’ve been remarried for a few years now.”
So sure, as a wife, I can see how it can be frustrating when your husband can instantly spit out who won the Super Bowl in 2006, yet forgets to pack the diaper bag before the trip the park.
But even if our short-term memories are crowded by random number-based facts like knowing what year the first Star Wars movie came out (1977) or that at 6′ 4″ Abraham Lincoln was the tallest U.S. President, those important dates regarding our wives and kids are taking up precious space too.
Do men have selective memories? Sure, but I guarantee we select to remember our own wife’s birthday. Not to mention our own, Wal-Mart.
If you have a “Man Cliche” you’d like for me to expose here on The Dadabase, let me know in a comment and I’ll consider writing about it in your honor!
Though the Eighties made it okay for boys to play with dolls, the same decade also provided these same young men, who are now today’s dads, with the perfect models of manliness: action figures.
After all, males are designed to be creatures of action. Virtually from infancy, we leave playing house and having tea parties to the girls. Boys are the explorers, the daredevils, and the protectors.
Why does a diaper ad that may or not insinuate that dads are 2nd rate parents get so many men upset? Since 33% of stay-at-home parents are now men, it mens that we can’t be the sole bread winners that dads evidently were back in the 1950′s.
So if our job is to work by raising our kids more actively than prior generations, then don’t diss our ability to work and to take action. I’ll say it until it’s a cliche, but today’s dads don’t babysit; they simply are being active dads.
(Maybe packs of diapers should come with a free “active dad” action figure?)
Reading too much into it, as I love to do, I have realized that each action figure on my Top 5 list represents an important aspect of fatherhood. It’s as if these toys subconsciously taught us what we would eventually need to teach and lead our children:
Masculinity, self-respect and self-defense, the initiative to implement change as necessary, adventure, and spiritual leadership.
After much discussion on Twitter, Facebook, and in real life, I have gathered my version of the Top 5 Most Butt-Kicking Action Figures of the 1980′s:
1. He-Man (1982). It can’t get much manlier when your name is “He-Man” and you ride a green tiger. Granted, he looked a lot like a pro-wrestler, with the velvet underwear and whatnot. Either way, dads are the ultimate examples of masculinity for their children. We are He-Men for our kids.
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1988.) Martial arts were a pretty big deal back in the Eighties. From The Karate Kid to Bloodsport, it was ingrained into our brains that we must able to defend ourselves against ninjas. Or in this case, to be ninjas ourselves. Dads must teach their kids self-respect and self-defense. We are Master Splinters for our kids.
3. Transformers (1984.) Everything had to transform in the Eighties. Like Mogwai transformed into Gremlins, so did robots transform into vehicles. I’ve said it plenty before, but today’s dad is constantly having to transform the traditional father’s role from what used to left more to the mom. In theory, we must become more feminine to be masculine. Dads must lead by example and know when to implement change. We are Optimus Primes for our kids.
4. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1982.) It’s funny how I never really remember any of the characters actually getting shot. A bloodshed-free military? Sounds pretty nice, actually. Dads motivate and inspire their children to be adventurous and to be all they can be. We are G.I. Joes for our kids.
5. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983.) This classic sci-fi series came to a chronological end in the Eighties, reinforcing the existence of good and evil and the need to choose the right side. But it takes “the Force” to get the job done. Dads are the spiritual leaders for their family. We are the Jedi for our kids.
Now you know my list of the Top 5 Most Butt-Kicking Action Figures of the 1980′s. And knowing is half the battle.
P.S. For a great place to find and buy items such as these mentioned here, check out The Collectionary, a growing go-to place to search for classic action figures!
Today, it’s basically ironic to think of Valentine’s Day as anything other than a romantic celebration. But for the majority of its existence, the holiday was intended to honor men who died for the sake of their faith in Christ.
So now I wonder: Can Valentine’s Day be used to celebrate love for all people, in brotherly and sisterly ways? I say it should. Because simply, loving God means loving others.
As a follower of Christ, I am fascinated with the way Jesus answered this question:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a]38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:36-40
I acknowledge the Bible is full of things I have a hard time understanding or accepting, yet I continue to believe despite my lack of competence. But seriously, the thought of truly loving my neighbors (everyone else beside me) as much as myself may be the most difficult part to grasp.
Is it even possible? And yet, Christ said that is the 2nd greatest commandment.
Man, that’s tough. It’s definitely easier said than done for a guy like me who has enough issues battling selfishness when it comes to my own flesh and blood: my beautiful son.
If I can’t get over myself enough to love my son like I should, how am I ever going to love those who annoy me as much as I love myself?
Being romantic for Valentine’s Day is the easy part. If only that’s all there was to it.