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Be a man

Sean Mullen | Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I was troubled by Brian Metz’s viewpoint yesterday (“Practical men,” Feb. 8) that disputed the notion that toughness is a prerequisite for manhood. Mr. Metz seems to be offended that Siegfried promotes physical hardiness as a way to raise money for the homeless.

First of all, Siegfried’s Day of Man is one of the greatest dorm traditions at Notre Dame. Not only is it unique, but it raises money for the local homeless shelter, and the criticism of that charitable cause wasn’t necessary.

While technically anyone with an X and Y chromosome who is at least 18 years old is a “man,” the true meaning is so much greater. I saw a survey once that said that the average man cries twice a month (twice a month!) This type of behavior is nauseating and embarrassing to our culture.

By the way, just watch how many women go for the feminine, sensitive guy who is afraid of his own shadow. Trust me, none of them do.

As a Notre Dame student I am constantly reminded of the great men who helped shape this university: Fr. Sorin braving the miserable South Bend winter to establish Our Lady’s school; the dynasties of Rockne and Leahy who coached a tough, smash-mouth brand of Irish football. Just look at the statue of Fr. Corby or the Stonehenge Memorial fountain as a tribute to the brave men who gave the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom. These are just some examples of genuine toughness and manhood that almost doesn’t exist anymore.

Imagine if Father Sorin was too cold in 1842 and decided not to found Notre Dame. Imagine if Lombardi’s Packers quit on the one-yard line with 10 seconds left in the Ice Bowl because it was 15 below.

It isn’t “phallocentric” or “discriminatory” to hold men to a certain standard of masculinity. The absence of true manhood is a serious problem in our society. We need throwback men who are tough and know how to take charge. Men who are responsible, courageous and resilient. Men who still practice chivalry, but also know how to kick ass and take names. Men who know how to tie a Windsor knot and don’t know what conditioner is used for.

Thank you, Siegfried, for keeping manhood alive in 2011. Let them be an example for all men to rub some dirt on it. Be tough. Be man of tradition.

Sean Mullen


Keough Hall

Feb. 8