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The Man On The Way To Be Beached

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In one of the recent issues of  The Newsweek there is an article by Steve Martin 'Dead Suite Walking' It tells   a story about 50+   white men who lost their jobs and cannot find   new ones.   Those people now have a definition -- Beached White Males, BWMs.   This means   they lost their course and   beached themselves   to die. The article   presents   several   cases   of such people and talks a lot about   how they   experienced many things for the first time- rejections,   humiliation,   helplessness.   That lack of experience made them very vulnerable. I agree wholeheartedly. I am 55.   And it   looks like I am on my way to the beach.

Recently     I passed a very tough exam and   got another highly praised technical certificate.   I was not even sure if I could pass that exam because I forgot a lot of that materiel but I   made it.   Now I   am   maybe the only person in   my company at least among the   technical people who has this kind of certificate.   I remember when we had celebrations   whenever   someone of our people would   raise his/her qualifications..   Not anymore.   The   Boiler   room approach seems to prevail.   Anyone remembers that movie with young Ben Affleck? A group of young, aggressive financiers started a boiler- room brokerage   The last thing they wanted were the professionals: all certified   brokers were let go. The new firm was not there to do business- it was there to do cookery

It is rather well-known that a man   becomes more distinguished with experience. Sort of the Picture of Dorian Grey    syndrome. Achievements, victories and struggle are the ideal painters of the man's countenance. And in the ironic kind of a way sexual prowess does not   make   you more distinguished. It    just   makes   you attractive and that's not the same thing.

There were times when people   got their experiences very early in life. Napoleon I was a general in his twenties, commanding the   Army of Italy. He was very self- confident indeed.   Right now    a majority   young men in their twenties live with their parents. Oh yes, they    take care of themselves,   have terrific abs   and   do sex nearly   every day but   their female partners   treat them as   living toys; they have nothing to offer emotionally. Mature emotions   develop   with   personal achievements.. Those are the   endeavors   you started and succeeded in developing against all odds.     How many of us can boas t   those   and how do we distinguish the real ones from the surrogates?   Is   becoming   the   PowerPoint warrior an achievement?   Or getting a major account?   How do your prove yourself to your wife and kids? And   do you have to?

Men are judged by their ability to secure    the income.   That's the mantra of the US psyche.   This makes every man intrinsically very   insecure.   I would imagine it also drives     a man to the life of   solitude; family   becomes really a burden   when your children come   to your room every day and ask if   you had found any job.   It is much easier to be a boyfriend with no ties, no children, no   judgments.   Paradoxically, the physical disconnection of a   boyfriend   life    makes    you feel less alone than   the case when you are alone in the   family. Maybe that's   the root cause   of the problem?

I saw a documentary once about a high- class hooker who serviced    very successful young financiers in NY. All of those men, real people in their late twenties and   early   thirties had psychotherapists.   They     used that hooker as   a medicine too. She soothed   their nerves. It was interesting that some of them were married or had girlfriends but only that hooker    gave them what they wanted- total relaxation. I   guess   it was because it was so simple with her. They did not have to think.   It was like slavery- you   summon your female slave and f&ck her. That's not love   or even lust. That's a   moment   of   satisfaction and pure pleasure like moving your bowels.

Here is a note of mine: I think one of the reasons we have   a perpetual financial crisis is the very fact that   those folks are the ones in the profession. They   are not cut for it. They got a   wrong message   in childhood.   The message was that   you needed to procure a pot of gold.   That pot does everything. It defines you as a person.   In the mad   run after the pot of gold they   forgot to ask the two questions: how big must it be and   what kind of a person you become. And the     answers are: it has no bottom and you become a leprechaun.

Leprechaun guards the pot of gold he   cannot   use himself. Try it sometimes. That   way   of life can   make   you very grumpy indeed. In reality it means   that those   folks realize that they are just servants, people who   are there only for chores. Yes, the crumbs    are sometimes very filling   but   you cannot   deceive   thyself -- those are still just crumbs and you are   still nothing.   That nothingness   becomes unbearable, overwhelming, it hovers over   you   like a   black helicopter and follows you everywhere. The whole tragedy of the current male generation is associated with that nothingness; even a   successful person does not know   why he is successful   but what   he knows   for sure is that it is not due to his professional   skills; it is due to something subjective like his looks or his ability   to   please or   even   maybe due to   a simple fact that he is young. How does it feel to be   nothing but a   screw?   How does it feel to   be   humiliated all   your life.

It is the   problem of all people and in all countries but in the US   it becomes a real double jeopardy. For years the secure employment   was promulgated as a criteria for   true manhood; the   man employed   is a moving aphrodisiac.   There were no other criteria. That's why, as a matter of fact, it was and is so tough to   reach the   economic equality for women;   it   takes away the   ONLY    manhood   our men know.   Without it they all   are eunuchs.   As such criteria was never applied to women ( female sexuality was never associated   with money and power, quite the opposite in fact), men feel the intrinsic unfairness in the game; they lose   while women gain without   sacrifice.

No man can imagine an upside- down situation like   his wife is unemployed and he   nags her every day about getting a job and n ot being   picky at it. No man   imagines himself as   a person who needs and expects support of others. No, men are not beached. They are lost.

I am   an engineer and if there is a   problem, there should be a solution. Usually wrong as HL Mencken said.   But   you   have   to try anyway. Thus I think that our male misery   can be broken only if we break that chain of mutual humiliation and   adopt   a strategy of   raising.   That means that we should associate our success     with other people involved.   It is not   I, UNO, against the world; It is E Pluribus Unum, we all. I was wondering, with all those contacts   those 50+ men have, did any of them offer a cooperation? Did any of them offer   help for free?    Did any of them   gather    not just to exchange   the experience on the   resume- polishing but to   perpetually help, keep afloat, progress.   I can do so many things: I can teach math, I can teach science, I can teach history, I can design, I can analyze,   I can   write. But I don't know how to do woodwork,   how to   talk to contractors, how to   invest.   I thus can offer and I   could use   help. I am who I am and here I stand- if we are beached or close to the beach   maybe we should make it our new habitat and become amphibious.   That will be an evolution indeed.

Many years ago when I was a   UN refugee   I offered   English   lessons for free   to any refugee who wanted it. It turned out a tough endeavor and   I was not there long enough. But I dearly hope   those people I taught, they   will offer something too.   Respect, honor, appreciation and    humility.     As Kipling said, 'I send them over land and sea, I send them East and West.'   That's  my God of Fair Beginnings.

 

The writer is 57 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.


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I am wondering  are there  many of us an... by Mark Sashine on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 5:11:45 PM
Social factors are involved--most wives are younge... by Margaret Bassett on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 5:56:14 PM
We are in a very similar position. It is very lik... by lwarman on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 11:45:51 PM
Of course it is not his fault and you are quite ... by Mark Sashine on Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 6:46:25 AM
As I've gotten to know you Mark, I think I see a d... by Ned Lud on Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 7:29:24 AM
Nobody can take away from us what we had gone th... by Mark Sashine on Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 8:23:21 AM
I think of it as advertising. Ipana for the smile ... by Margaret Bassett on Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 1:16:32 PM
My husband lost his job Dec. 2008. I have been mar... by Debbie S on Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 4:20:27 PM