Maverick Traveler

Location Independence, Geo Arbitrage, Individual Freedom

Why There’s A Lack Of Strong Masculine Role Models

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Traveling and living in many countries around the world allows you understand the local culture at a very deep and profound level. And one of the key differences between America (and other Western countries) and non-Western countries (e.g., Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East, etc) is that in the latter, people seem to mature and grow up much, much quicker. For example, I have many Russian and Ukrainian friends who are already married with several kids, and they’re only in their early-mid 30s (a few are even in their late 20s).

But, most importantly, in Eastern Europe (and this includes Middle East and Latin America), there’s a very different relationship between younger and older men. In those parts of the world, it’s common for a younger guy to have respect and admiration for an older man. Older men serve as mentors with invaluable life experience, experience than younger guys in their 20s simply do not (and cannot) have. The older man knows this and feels perfectly comfortable with this status. This is especially important where a young kid was raised by his single mother and grew up without a male role model.

When I lived in Latin America, I noticed a healthy display of family values and mentorship. It was common for a young guy to solicit an older man for important advice and help on a wide range issues. In many Russian (and other Eastern European) movies, it’s very common to see a male protagonist who’s in his late 30s, 40s, or even 50s. Naturally, he’s a very wise and interesting man. There’s even a common Russian saying that can be roughly translated that “a man truly becomes a man when he turns 40.”

The Western exception

But in the West, things aren’t merely different—they’re the complete opposite. Older men aren’t appreciated for their wisdom and intelligence. In fact, it’s very common for an older, more experienced guy to mimic and act like a younger guy instead of acting comfortable—especially from a position of strength and confidence—with his age and stage in his life.

Long ago, I remember watching a popular American dating show where they had two contestants: a 36-year-old guy and a 58-year-old guy. Both were wealthy multi-millionaires, but the younger guy seemed more confident and put together than the older guy; the older guy was dressed like a college kid and acted like one too.

It was a shame because if only the older guy dressed and acted more like a more experienced and sophisticated man (which he was), he would easily been much more desirable of the two. He was completely sabotaging himself by trying to act like someone thirty years his junior.

Another reason for such different dynamics between cultures is the kind of women the man can attract. In the West, women are taught to value youth over anything else. Popular shows like Sex And The City routinely show older women (cougars) spending time with younger men. Thus, in order to attract women it helps to be young or at least act or look young. In Eastern Europe and Latin America, however, older men are the ones who are sought after because of their increased status, experience and wealth.

That partly explains why the vast majority of Western men are either adolescents in their 20s or older men who still act like they’re in their 20s/30s. I often notice guys saying things like this: “Although I’m [insert any age between 40 and 55], I still look and feel like someone in his mid-30s.” Other times, when he might not explicitly say it, an older guy may still act like a guy in his mid-20s/mid-30s, perhaps as a way to fit in with men who’re younger than him.

As always, all roads lead to culture. Western culture is less about wisdom and experience and more about being young and living in the moment (i.e., “30s/40s are the new 30s/20s.”) Being a strong and independent man who’s comfortable in his own skin—regardless of his age—is all but completely discouraged.

Cultural damage

As a guy who was born elsewhere but mostly grew up in the West, I can certainly relate. I was always afraid of becoming older, and, in the process, very, very scared of growing up. And I’m not referring to turning 50 or 60, even the mere thought of reaching my late 30s felt like reaching the end of life.

When I was 28, I remember a friend complaining that when he tried to go to a nice club, he stopped and turned around after seeing a bunch of men in their late 30s waiting in the line to get in. That meant we were young guys, but apparently late 30s was too old.

That also meant I had a good ten years or so to go that club before some 28 year old would start making fun of me. From then on, my biggest fear became to one day turn 38. I mean, what was the point of continuing living past your late thirties if you could no longer go to that club without some younger kid making fun of you?

This phenomenon can explain why I still reminisce about my Brazilian life so much. I was a young(er) guy who was going out and having fun. I didn’t have a single care in the world. I also considered it to be the best times of my life. After all, how can life ever get any better than that?

Role model conundrum

While a man instinctively knows what to do in his teens and twenties, that changes as he reaches his 30s; the things that he has been doing now bring him increasingly less fulfillment and joy. He wants to do (or at least try) something new, but he doesn’t know what.

Worse of all, he doesn’t even know where to look; he’s surrounded by other men who’re in the exact same boat as him. He has climbed a peak of a mountain, but has no knowledge or tools to keep going and possibly reach even a higher peak. He just needs to know that what awaits him is at least as fulfilling as what he’s been experiencing up to this point.

In a way, what you have is a conundrum, a catch-22. Young people don’t have masculine role models because the older generation that’s supposed to be mentoring them didn’t have role models growing up. It’s a vicious cycle that keeps repeating itself.

The richer life

Fortunately, it’s possible to break the cycle. Instead of being stuck in some past, the man must learn to embrace life with renewed vigor and energy as he enters a new stage in his life. Life should become richer and more fulfilling as you spent more time on this planet and accumulate more knowledge and experience.

On my last week in Serbia last year, I met a French-Congolese black belt. He traveled all over the world and spoke six languages. Like me, he also lived in Brazil. As he was getting ready to leave, I asked him a question that I ask everyone who used to live in Brazil: “Do you ever plan on going back?”

He took a deep breath, paused, let out a big smile, and exclaimed before heading off, “Those were fun times, but I’m too old for it now!”

While he wasn’t that old (34), that was his way of saying that he had moved on and entered a new phase in his life. It made sense. These days he’s busy trying to build his own export/import business and even start his own BJJ academy one day.

Another example is a good friend whom I’ve known since we were both 16. While we had a lot of fun back in our teenage years and early 20s, I can’t help to notice that his life is much richer and more interesting now (he’s 35). He’s running several businesses. He’s traveling from country to country while trying to clinch new deals. He goes to nice lounges and private networking parties. He has a nice house in America and an apartment in Europe.

Even though he had great times in his younger years, I really doubt he’s spending his time reminiscing about some distant path.

Fixing priorities

In my own case, I realized that my worries were about complete nonsense. The problem were my priorities and values—or rather lack of them. After all, who says that I would even want to go to that club when I would be 38? Why the heck would you? Shouldn’t you have better things now that you’re ten years older—like, perhaps, owning that club?

The way I now see it is that life is a series of chapters. A new chapter can only begin once the previous chapter ends. There are things that I was doing when I was 15 that I was no longer doing when I was 20. There are things that I was doing when I was 20 that I stopped doing when I turned 25. And there many things I did when I was 25 that I don’t do at 35.

For example, throughout my twenties, I stayed in hostels, but now I like the comfort (and privacy) of a private accommodation. Even if I could always justify it—which isn’t hard as I’ve seen plenty of older guys staying in hostels—I just don’t want to stay at hostels. It doesn’t feel right anymore. I grew out of hostels.

And not just hostels: I grew out of many of the things that I used to do.

Positive and inspiring force

Most importantly, men that have made the all important leap and crossed the chasm represent something greater than themselves: they’re a positive and inspiring force in a world devoid of any purpose or meaning because their wisdom and experience could be utilized for a very noble cause. They could mentor younger guys on various things, especially if the younger guys never had a strong masculine role model while growing up.

They represent an idea that it’s actually possible to build something meaningful and fulfilling in the present and future and not live a shadow of a life that consists of constant reminders of how great things were in the past.

This way, when younger guys are having trouble crossing the chasm and entering a new stage in their lives, they can always be assured of having a strong masculine role model that will help guide them making this crucial transition.

Unfortunately, these older and experienced men will never become such a positive force in the society until it’s no longer commonly accepted that being older, wiser and more sophisticated is somehow negative and undesirable. And that will do wonders of transforming our culture of boys into a culture of men.

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21 Comments

  1. This type of thinking is pervasive and definitely toxic in the minds of the western men. As a man in my mid 20’s, I always hear friends or coworkers who are 30-33 years old say things like “I’m getting old man” or “I’m not a young buck anymore” when their birthdays come around in a way that implies their lives have peaked. They then reminisce and tell me things like how I should stay single and bang as many broads as possible, almost as if they are projecting things they wish they are doing onto me.

    Mind you, these are masculine looking, financially independent men who are established in their careers yet they are dating women their own age and believe it’s wrong to date 20 year olds. I secretly shake my head because feminist thinking seeps into their thinking but it’s not my place to tell them how to live. Still, when I reply, “no man, men age like fine wine…you’re a man in your prime…older men have more wealth, experience, knowledge.” It’s as if a light bulb goes off in their head and if only for a moment, they believe it and go”yeah! that’s true!” and feel young and alive again.

  2. Maverick

    April 20, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Great comment, Lee. Well said.

    • I have seen this phenomenon play out with a long time friend of mine. He, and many of the other guys I grew up with, all married under the pressure of girlfriends who were nearing their 25th birthdays. Well, many of the young ladies these guys married grew up to be overweight broads, no one they would ever have considered walking out of a club with in their life times. And now they were walking down the aisle of Walmart pushing an overflowing shopping cart besides such wildebeest before all men and God. Well, plenty of these guys ended up divorced, more often than not the woman filed and basically ripped the guys testicles out through his heart, owing to their seizing the house, kids, and half of the savings. But do you know that these same guys go out looking for women who are the exact same age as they are, despite the fact that they now have experience in the world, solid and stable incomes, and they have kept themselves in good physical condition? I have never married, despite plenty of prospects. I like to date women half my age, slender, sexy, feminine and attractive women. It is not a difficult thing for me to do. And, when guys from the old neighborhood hate on me, and it is a matter of bitter and scornful looks, I simply smile at them, look surprised, and then a bit downcast, like I am considering for a moment what life must be like in their shoes… And that is what gains their respect. Acknowledge that following the herd has been hard on them, and then go on and enjoy my life.

  3. At first, I completely disagreed with the introduction. I live in Texas and I have several friends who have been married with kids in their early 20s, started a business in their 20s, etc. I’m getting married at 23 and I plan on having a kid by 25-26 and starting an import/export business this year as well.

    Thinking about the many different people I’ve met…I started to change my mind a little. There are a lot of people who are sort of paralyzed by inaction. “I don’t know what I want to do.”

    However, there are way more unmarried 30+ year old women in SEA than anywhere else I’ve ever seen. Half of the girls I know there (and slept with) were 30+. One still lived with her parents. However, they were all in line with their career paths.

    I have several older men that I look up to (and work with professionally) and go to for advice. And I was raised with a deceased father.

    I think America has great mentorship between the generations. Maybe not the same as Chinese “guanxi”, but pretty much every successful person I know has a mentor. You can’t compare successful people in one country to the unsuccessful in another, and then call that weaknesses in the entire country. Especially with the US/western countries being such an economic powerhouse.

    Probably the best place to compare would be Japan. I think you should go to Japan and figure out their culture. They have barely any natural resources, but have a powerful economy. Their educational and professional culture is very different; for example, they do not have any testing in primary school, however the older students mentor the younger students to create an element of social responsibility. I think that is a comparison worth looking into.

  4. Maverick

    April 20, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Good feedback. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about SEA. But always wanted to go to Japan and see what it’s like.

    In terms of America, it has been my experience in California / New York—perhaps the more liberal parts of the country.

    • Greg C. You are not typical of the Millennial generation. You want to learn from older men. Most Millennials think they know everything. There are plenty of good role models in the 40+ group. Unfortunately it is not just Millennials that don’t want to learn, but most Americans don’t want to change. America has never been as beta as it is now!

      • One more thing. Maverick as you said America has an obsession with youth. American women do not respect knowledge, experience, and money. This why I can leave the country and date much younger and much more beautiful too. I done Ukraine and SEA many times.

  5. Western world worships youth because youth is the key to female sexuality. A clear sign that this culture is far from being patriarchic.

    This is a good article, Mav. You have a way with words.

  6. Maverick

    April 21, 2015 at 3:53 am

    Thanks, Martin.

  7. Good article, Mav. I’m halfway through reading The Sovereign Man now and have been really enjoying it. I’ve been a long time reader and I guess you could say a bit of a lurker but this piece really spoke to me. I’m not sure if this has been relayed back to you, but I think one of your strengths is laying out complex and intricate realities affecting men in basic terms with real life examples you’ve experienced without ever getting overly negative. And that is more than some of the other sites out there right now can say.

    This article made me think back to when I was 24 and living in Mexico City and experienced Dia de los Muertos. I remember going to the UNAM campus and they had set up all of these pavilions that used death as a medium to make a political message. One that sticks out in my memory was a mock graveyard with tombstones that had social messages on them like “Justicia en Juarez” or “La verdad y la ley.” I also saw families taking food and drink to the tombs of deceased loved ones and having some sort picnic / party. At first I was weirded out and thought the whole thing was morbid and weird. However, the more I took it in I came to realize it was us who were not only strange; but deluded. It hit me that day that modern day Western culture stands almost alone in human history in that we have no societal relation with aging, getting older and ultimately death. If you look at other societies around the world getting older and eventually dying are part of the cultural experience. Yet people in the West spend billions of dollars a year on products and procedures in a vain attempt to delude ourselves in to thinking we can escape nature’s only true inevitability.

    Anyway further to your article, I’m about to turn 28 and I can feel like I’m on the verge of one stage of my life ending and another beginning. I’m Canadian and I’m currently living and working a good job in Europe, have traveled extensively, lived in Mexico, Venezuela and speak three languages. I am currently learning Russian (loved your last podcast on languages by the way and think you’re spot on with the “survival speaking” but am not sure how well it work in Russian due to the cases and difficulty etc but that’s another topic I should comment on!). I’ve been with enough girls that it really has ceased to be a big deal anymore- I love young beautiful girls as much as the next guy but it doesn’t consume me or give the validation it used to.

    I often find myself traveling to new places and falling in to the trap of just doing the same things over and over again and realize it is starting to bring diminishing returns. Eventually going out to clubs and bars pouring booze down your throat and trying to bang every girl that moves gets kind of stale. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, but for the tuned in man it’s not something you can rinse and repeat forever. I’ve been having the same thoughts for a while but I just keep asking “what’s next?” I’m not afraid of getting older but I guess sometimes it’s a bit disconcerting to look at other Westerners who may be years older than me yet have the emotional and intellectual maturity of 19 year olds. Feel free to disagree but I think it all links back to a fundamental oddity in Western culture to deny the natural aging process I laid out in my Dia de los Muertos example. We live in interesting times!

    Keep up the good work great article!

  8. Maverick

    April 22, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Great points, there, Pedro.

    Thanks

  9. This is no surprise. Mainstream media paints a social narrative of society that is patriarchal, with great emphasis on the victimization of the female (hype about rape culture, violence etc) with all the blame laid out at the men’s feet – quite disconnected with reality as males are much more likely to experience violence, statistically speaking, and in many surveys the definition of rape has been extended to be so broad it is laughable. Females are left feeling afraid of men and powerless, and the males with a feeling of guilt and fearful of being assertive or making sexual advances (i.e. being a man), so there’s quite a bit o repression there and its associated consequences. Then there’ s the apparent privilege of white males but pretty much nowhere is the benefits of being female spoken of. Gender roles are flipped. The strong, independent woman is something all women should inspire to but this isnt really emphasized to men at all. To be a valuable man, you must be young and beautiful, apparently, like you said with the example of cougars chasing younger guys. Women become masculine and men, feminine, and as a result the attraction between the sexes decreases, they are divided and conflict increases.At school, guys are taught to be ” good little boys” , unquestioningly obeying authority and any resistance is punished… there is no independent thinking or learning, only memorizing ” facts” from textbooks and then rewarded for spitting them out in exams. So clearly, this is not an environment conducive for the growth of ” sovereign men”. Its pretty much designed to crush any nonconformity, creativity and produce mindless consumer-employees. I suspect this toxic culture that sucks out individual authenticity and establishes the hostile ” us vs them” divide between males and females is significantly responsible for the explosion of mental illness in modern times. I’ve always been non-conventional and schooling put me into a deep depression. I think the other culprit is the abundance and promotion of unhealthy foods. GMOs, herbicides, pesticides, nutriet depeleted and artificially fertilized soils, and grain-fed and horomone injected meats included

    • Maverick

      April 27, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      This is a great comment.

    • D, I give you a 100 on a perfect answer. Sometimes I read something I agree with 100% and somebody wrote my thoughts and said it so eloquently. Do you post under any other names because I’d like to follow some of your posts?

      • I don’t have too many posts here, I think I go by D in all of them. Thanks for the comment, was difficult to express my thoughts coherently, although I don’t really believe in perfection because there’s always something to improve on and perfection implies otherwise. I did notice I made a couple of grammatical errors lol.

  10. Jesus said this 2000 years ago : “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” He is my masculine role model.:)

  11. The articles just keep getting better Mav — you really do have a talent in this area — expressing the unspoken and complicating realities of western culture into understandable small bits.

  12. I am sorry that the following rant is unorganized, but this stems from a somewhat jaded individual. My apologies in advance.

    I stumbled on your site whilst googling “Is programming really worth it?”. This is the second articles of yours that I’ve read. I am a 28 year old dude living in Texas. I’ve been living in the States for about 10 years now and at one point in time I was about to lose my fucking mind. I thought I was insane or maybe I was stubborn for not completely assimilating to the American way of things. I work for a fortune 200 company as an petroleum engineer (want to get out of it) and I make good money, have a splendid group of friends, live in a well to-do part of town etc…

    One nagging feeling/observation I quickly realized when I lived here 2 years in was the gender relations in this country and how abysmal they are. Where I come from, there is no need to “have game” , you are raised with confidence because the society doesn’t frown on masculinity and the women do not emasculate you either. We have a fairly egalitarian environment where 40% of the parliamentarians are women and the speaker of the house is always a woman. We have women CEOs and what not…and they can hold their own. Men and women do not compete against each other, shit tests are unheard off. When it comes to sex and sexuality, women are very feminine and we openly discuss sex amongst groups of men and women.What I find depressing about the American society is the level of unnecessary stress and discomfort that any intimate relationship entails. Women are treated like hybrid children/goddesses over here. You CANNOT criticize a woman openly or else the whitenights and manginas will flock to the woman’s aide and land you in a hospital or mortuary. One of my buddies from the Spain said America is one huge luxurious prison and I tend to agree. Freedom of speech is a boogeyman…it doesn’t exist here. The PC,feminized, “you go girl”, dyke, butty-boy society has taken over. We have the thought police everywhere now, working in the cubicle is one of the most horrific places are sensible man can be.

    I always hear about the sacred American “individuality”, but I have never seen it in practice. If Gay Z wears blue tinted flowery shades today , you know 80% of the 20 somethings will wear the same shit tomorrow. The culture is filled with “buzz words” that excite the most base part of the general populous’ intellect so they can passively go shopping for the latest brand of shinny bullshit. It’s like living in the twilight zone. I see this exhausted men in bars just chugging down their brews before they departure to their nagging bitchy of a materialistic,vain creature they embarrassingly call “wife or girlfriend”.

    How can someone call this life really. It’s more punishment than anything else. I’ve had relationships with a white and a black African American girl, oh boy was it a learning experience. Who raises these people? Animals? The level of entitlement is astonishing.

    There is so much I could elaborate on but I am just mentally tired, but your articles offer some sort of relief. I thought I was alone in thinking there is an entrenched social malaise that permeates these lands.

    Godspeed on your endeavors mate. Thanks for the site and the articles.

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