LARRY BILLMAN

writing in the newsletter in 2010:

Thanks to Jack Moore for his candid memories about growing up in 1940s and the changes he has seen. When I first wrote, I did not mean to concentrate on men’s sexuality. It was my poor attempt to talk about men’s “Guyland” ratings. In Guyland, being an athlete wins the “dude” rating, from our peers and, more difficult yet, from our fathers. In the USA, being a man is all about your sport skills. Your words, Jack, about not being picked for teams are on that very subject. I could never come up to my father’s hopes for me in sports.

Nearly every famous American male dancer I can recall constantly battled that “sissy” thing: Gene Kelly, Patrick Swayze, Jacques d’Amboise, all of the men in ballet and most of them in popular dance. To this day, John Travolta does not want to be called a “dancer” – continually turning down PDS’ and other organization’s honors. Fred Astaire is the only icon I can recall that never talked or wrote about discrimination. Perhaps he was “Above” it, as he was “Above” all mere mortals.

American men are sports crazy, to them it defines “masculinity.” There is a new book about Mickey Mantle which tells about his serial womanizing, lack of guidance to his sons – 3 of whom got into substance abuse and died early – and the lifelong shame and alcohol addiction his wife lived through, But Hey! Mickey was a Sports Monster: “One of the greatest baseball players in History!” Same with Tiger Woods. All is forgiven and overlooked by the guys out there in the stands, guzzling beer, painting their faces and whooping it up.

Trying to figure out what exactly is the male code, I read a fascinating book called “Guyland” by Dr. Michael Kimmel. I saw a review of it several years ago and purchased it to try and help me navigate the struggles to become “Men” that we male animals all go through.

If any of our European menwhodanced can add to the discussion that would give us other perspectives. And our ladieswhodanced can add their observations and help figure this all out.

So, what makes a man? A dancing man?

Practice, dude. Practice.

Larry