There exists a highly exclusive cult, growing and branching out under our collective nose, posing a subtle threat to the cultural and intrapersonal establishments of this society. By accident I stumbled upon this cabal, and I realized that it was one of such audacity that I determined to share it with the world. Before divulging the name, I’ll lay down a few of my favorite rules from this society:

1. No wasted beer in the name of humor.

2. Sex is more important than talking.

3. No man shall ever read an instruction manual. If the man does not know how to use the item, trial and error shall be used until the correct function is determined.

That’s right, guys, we’re talking about “Man Law” this week. Facebook told me that the group “Man Law” resembled a few other groups I belong to, so I naturally wanted to see whether I could rightfully call myself a “Man” in our society. What I found shocked me: I’m really not a man at all. One would call me “semivirem,” a half-man with nothing worthy of note ‘twixt his legs. I don’t go to bars to tear through buffalo wings and chug beers, all the while keeping one eye on the football game and the other on the women. If I need directions when driving, I ask.

Some people apparently think these stereotypes and gender roles are funny: the group has over 200,000 members. But would it be funny, or even socially acceptable, if I decided that there should be Woman Laws, and they all involved cleaning, cooking and pleasing men? Nope, I didn’t think so. I don’t exactly comprehend the allure of Man Law. Sure, it gives a good excuse for any guy to act out his repressed fantasies of eating, drinking and sexing it up, but I’d argue that it takes more cojones to keep these desires repressed.

So, as an alternative to Man Law, I’d like to propose some tenets that I believe define a man. Of course, these are purely opinion based, as are those proposed in Man Law. Before you dismiss them as biased ravings, though, consider what guidelines Sean Connery or Chuck Norris would follow.

Men look to improve themselves, usually in whatever way they can, be it mental, physical or emotional. A man isn’t dissatisfied with himself, but at the same time realizes that he can become better.

When faced with adversity, a man doesn’t hunch his shoulders, dye his hair black and write songs about his tough lot in life. No, he buckles down, finds the source of the problem and stamps that bugger out! A man realizes that women are his natural counterparts, the yang to his yin, and that these wonderful creatures should be treated as equals, not objects to conquer and then brag about. A man doesn’t press the blue handicapped button on the doors; he offers to hold the door for the person behind him, especially if said person is carrying some fried delicacies from the Pit. Most of all, I think the term “pietas” in Latin, also known to the ancient Japanese as filial piety, sums up how a man should act: it is a constant devotion to everything and everyone, regardless of whether anyone is looking or keeping score.

I realize that the future of masculine identity is currently up in the air; it seems that at least some males are rejecting their traditional gender roles in exchange for things like, uh, feelings and stuff. The difference is that I’m not simply trying to emasculate men by questioning the way a “man” is stereotyped these days; I’d just ask you to think whether alcohol, junk food and girls should really define who we are as males.

Deland is a member of the class of 2010.

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