I was walking behind two guys about my age, going through the mall food court, when I overheard one of them say, “Gotta get me some of that!” When I followed their leers I could see a nice looking, 20 something, pony tailed, blonde girl. My immediate reaction was an almost overwhelming desire to slap him on the back of the head.
I wanted to slap him because I could see wedding rings on both guys hands, so he probably has a wife and family. I wanted to slap him because I’m confident he knows better. I wanted to slap him because I have daughters who could be on the receiving end of garbage like this. I wanted to slap him because I need someone to slap me when I do something equally as stupid. And that last part is the piece I don’t want to forget.
As human beings generally, but as men in particular, we are all one asinine, fantasy driven, idea away from disaster. In this case the fantasy was that two portly, middle aged men, reeking of body wash, dressed like upscale hobos could attract the admiring attention of a lady the age of their daughters or nieces. It could just as easily be a fantasy like
- I can play contact hockey with my son and his friends
- I can shovel the snow off my roof
- I can have sex with this unconcious girl because she was looking kindly at me earlier in the evening
- I can drink X number of drinks plus one more and drive
- I can hire a prostitute while I’m in this foreign country
- I can beat up this punk who’s disrespected me
- I can . . .
- I can . . .
The possibilities for stupid extend to infinity.
Without accountability of some kind, eventually that idea will get legs and run off with us. If we’re lucky we’ll just damage our ego and we’ll laugh about it later, lesson learned. Sadly, too often that runaway idea destroys the very things we actually value and care about, our families, relationships, health, lives.
The support required to not have stupid happen needs to be immediate, regular, and unavoidable. All those conditions are met in the choices we make to let someone be close. If you’re married the first line of defense is your spouse. Obviously, that gets awkward (and doesn’t get invoked) in the situation I described, so you need a second layer of assistance. That needs to be another guy or group of guys who have high level access to your private life. You need someone who has access to hear you, and then the freedom to slap you on the back of the head, when you propose some variant of stupid.
So who is on your team of “asinine, fantasy driven, idea” protectors?