So the above image has slowly been making its rounds across the internet and as a friend of mine duly noted last night — “Being male isn’t entirely a matter of birth, but.. yeah“.
As I have seen that quote in a couple of places this year, lately as a tagline for a men’s fashion blog on Instagram, I decided to do a little digging and found the following:
Being a male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of choice.
This is credited mostly as a “Coleism” by Edward “Ed” Cole founder of the Christian Men’s Network. Cole is nearly as infamous in christian circles for his quotes and witticisms, as the late, great Yogi Berra was infamous in baseball for his. However, Cole and in various places online credits the italicized quote above to evangelist Ben Kinchlow of the 700 Club, another christian organization for those not familiar with it. This explains the initial thinking behind the first line. Though to be fair, acknowledgement, respect and acceptance of a person’s chosen gender identity when it differs from the birth identity is still something relatively new to modern society and the original quote certainly predates our glacially gradual acceptance of such.
Therefore the pictured quote, if it is indeed a statement from Vin Diesel, I conclude is more than likely his unknowingly paraphrasing the original. Or possibly, a fan of Diesel’s saw the quote floating about online and attributed it to him via creating this photo quote.
All of which, in Life’s funny little way of doing things, brings me to this morning…
A regular Tuesday morning rush commute. A young guy on train, legal drinking age – maybe is humming along with his music relatively quietly until he suddenly decides the song on his iPhone was something to be listened to by all of us, whether all of us wanted to hear it or not. Understandably, there several objections to this and most emphatically let him know. Embarrassed or emboldened by the public chastisement, he does what any man-child brought to task sometimes do. He starts singing a different song, when it was obvious that the first song had not finished. But this one was clearly meant as a bird flip to us all as it contained explicit language. With his head, back eyes closed and head phones he had effectively tuned us out. Unfortunately, two seats down from him was a tyke who, as most youngsters that age are prone to do, managed to echo every other dirty word and phrase the young man uttered from the song. The little boy’s mother was into her own music and oblivious to her child until a woman sitting next to her, brought it to her attention. She gently chastised her son for saying bad words (again), but understood where the real blame lay. She reached over the woman next to her and tapped the young man on the leg.
“Hi. I get you want to enjoy your music, but must you sing out loud with it? There are children on the train who don’t need to be hearing all that. ”
An older woman standing next to me grunted her opinion, clearly not a fan of his behavior as well. He rolled his eyes at both women claiming he’s a grown and can do what he wants.
Sometimes, I think I have a mild form of Tourette syndrome that’s activated by abject stupidity as a snort of disbelief came forth. In for a penny… as they say so I continued. “Just because you’re a male who has reached legal adulthood does not make you a grown man.”
“You saying I ain’t a man?”
“I’m saying being a male is a matter of identity, being a man is a matter of reaching an age where you know you can do what you want, but being grown gentleman is a matter of choice in knowing when it sometimes matters not to. ”
It did not magically resolve the situation on the train, but who knows as the young man exited at the next stop with much attitude, but without another word or song. I mentally smiled realizing what I just said was a take on the Diesel conversation last night. So now I guess I am the first to quote my friend by paraphrasing them all Glenn, Diesel, Cole and Kinchlow.
Timing is everything.
Let’s see how other’s are slicing up their day —
Slice of Life – Two Writing Teachers
It is a pity that some men, and I know a few, never reach the gentleman phase of their life. Hopefully when he thinks about it this young man will realize the important lesson he was being taught on that train. Then again, maybe he won’t.