Friday, March 15, 2013

"The Mark of A Man" Blogfest

Hi everyone,

When fellow author David N. Walker asked if I wanted to participate in "The Mark of A Man" blogfest, I jumped at the opportunity. After all, how tough could this be, I asked myself. I'm a man, I'll just write about what I know best: me! Yeah, right. Self-introspection? What's that?

David suggests that society's views about men might be a bit fixated at the moment on ripped abs. Of course, he's right. Flip through the television channels and you're bound to come across another revolutionary ab-training workout system. Have you seen the covers of Men's Health magazine in the last ten years or so?

But ripped abs are just one manifestation of how modern society is obsessed with youth, appearances, and with youthful appearances. Nowadays, it happens way too often that as I'm watching television I see a face that is almost recognizable. I have to imagine what this person might have looked like thirty years ago, without the facelift. Eventually, I can identify them, and place them on the show they starred in. It's a weird feeling, seeing people who are much older than me look so much younger (than me) and than they used to.

Abs, facelifts, and anti-wrinkle creams are all symptoms of the same vain culture of youth and of appearances. Given that we're in the twenty-first century, one would think that everyone in the world would have learned by now the important lesson of misleading appearances as discussed in the allegory of Plato's Cave, 400 BC. Also, since deceptive appearances are the bread and butter of just about every piece of fiction written or filmed, again, one would think the lesson would have sunk in: reality is never what people perceive it to be. Shouldn't this lesson be taught in high school? Or grade school?

Yet, this fundamental truth hasn't set into our zeitgeist yet. Why not? What's wrong with looking old(er)? What's a few more grey hair and having a pot belly? What's wrong with looking your age? Do people honestly think they will be able to pass as a thirty year-old for ever? And, more importantly, why would they want to?

I was once thirty. Sure, they were good times, but I also enjoyed my twenties, and my forties, too. So far, although they're just starting, it looks like my fifties will be the best out of all the decades. Why? Precisely because I'm not in competition anymore with everyone else in the world. I'm satisfied with my lot in life. More than satisfied, I'm grateful to be where I am!

And maybe that's the answer, and the problem. Maybe this Baby Boomer youth-obsessed ego-driven culture is so dissatisfied with life that some of us feel the need to keep searching for superficial things to make all those disappointed dreams of our youth go away. And if not to make them disappear, then maybe to hide them for a while. As if a facelift could take all those problems away...

The truth, ladies and gentlemen, is that a chemical peel does not make you younger. The truth is that we should stop getting our narcissistic ego-boost from how others see us. Because, frankly, that's what it's all about, isn't it? It isn't a matter of looking younger for your own sake, but for everyone else. Do we really care how our neighbors/friends perceive us? Would we rather not want to show them how we really are, instead of presenting them such a superficial part of ourselves? Would a kind word or a helpful gesture not show our true self better than focusing our time, energy, and money on only looking younger? 

Save the time and money you would spend on changing some superficial aspect of yourself, and use those gifts to help someone else. I guarantee you, you'll feel great about yourself, and the feeling will last much longer than anti-wrinkle cream! As for those flat abs... if you want to pursue that pipe dream, you're on your own, buddy. :-)

Please take time to check out Rhonda Hopkin's contribution to this blogfest.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on this issue. And remember: Never judge a book by it's cover...  unless it's my new art-themed, young adult, dystopian, romance novella from Astraea Press - Sprainter!

Addendum March 1, 2015
Sprainter will be re-released by Fine Form Press in the fall of 2015.



  1. Great advice for both men and women. Great post, JT. And that cover is awesome!

    1. Yes, the cover for Sprainter is a work of art! Thank you for sharing your wonderful, inspired post on this blogfest!

  2. As I read through your post I kept thinking that this is wonderful advice for men and women alike. Rhonda noted it in her comment too. This was even more than Beauty of a Woman or Mark of a Man--it was Gift of Humanity.

    Ooh, there's another awesome blogfest idea...and it's all due to your great post, JT. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Eden. I'm truly grateful for your generous comments. I'm redirecting some of this blog love to Dave for suggesting the thought-provoking topic. :-)

  3. Great post, JT. Thanks for participating.

    1. Thank you for the blogfest invitation, David. I had fun sharing my views and I look forward to your next one!


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