da Papas’ bonhomie


Males unwilling to transcend their inheritance of patriarchy suffer most as a brutal feminist aggressiveness dots the social landscape of the West since the ’80s. Around the world, Chambers of Commerce discovered that getting Dad a new fishing tackle, electronic gadgets, and/or tools works best when coursed through the power of wives, girlfriends, and mistresses!

Diehard male superiority adherents still fight in our gender wars, but their tribe is diminishing as feminine assertiveness gets more sophisticated, ambient in the marketing of many former male prerogatives such as the choice of car styling, brand, color and the like, taken over in many homes as belonging to the decision-making of domesticating lassies!

I’ve written recently of bonne femme (I coined bonfemme for the occasion) as the phenomenon of female assertiveness in today’s social landscape. It is the bonhomie of da Papas’ that gets our attention today. 

Father’s Day, as decreed by many in the Western world to complement Mother’s Day, is observed in the United States today. I just came from Texas where the Public School System is accused of focusing on “jock culture.” Boys are trained to excel in sports and other athletic activities at the expense of the arts and the humanities. From building structures I saw in small towns and the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis, there evidently is not much quarrel against this perspective. The expenditure on macho physicality is out in the wide-open field. An accompanying ethos of boldly “looking gorgeously good” determines mainline lifestyle, though often zeroed in on the cosmeticized sartorial physique rather than on actual body space wellness and health.

As the heretofore virtue of softness attributed to the female of the specie that has in my experience turned more grunt than militant Marines, with many gals out-guying guys in corporate offices and playfields, many guys have mellowed to the level of light touched pre-school fastidiousness and concern.

I was a Mr. Mom within the beltway of Washington, D.C. in the ’90s to two young ’uns who were diagnosed under autism spectrum disorder. The challenge of maintaining a stance of tolerance for non-customary behavior and patience for spiked neurological tantrums taught me that compassion trumps discipline in fostering traits and habits on children any day.

The same is proving true for my former finance adviser son-in-law who stays home to tend to two active boys of considerable selfhoods, one also ASD diagnosed, while his wife, my eldest, traverses the wild and wooly world of techie consultancy.

Sadly, masculine bullishness, symbolized by a tenacious adherence to a culture of prolific gun ownership, remains an American addiction. With the tragic shootings of the Newton massacre in Connecticut and others that followed, we remain under the illusion that owning a gun will keep families from harm and individual liberties secured. A hard-headedness on the matter accompanied by the misguided NRA defense of the historical but irrelevant constitutional 2nd Amendment regarding armed militia remains a revered quality among those who promote a certain style of manhood in mainstream USA!

Fortunately, a rising tide of nurturing natural and non-steroid physical fitness married to inclusive psychological wellbeing is in the cultural DNA of many male groups today, nurtured by increasing habits of cognitive stillness from the understanding that what we have claimed to know as a human race is best understood from the perspective of diversity and the affirmation of vive la difference, rather than on competitive contrasts, conflicts, and contradictions.

As a Papa, I came to appreciate the virtue of being perpetually conscious about the richness of sense experiences followed by authentic responses of pleasure and pain, dread and delight, to the practices of comprehensive cognitive overview where one does not draw a line to separate one from others due to beliefs, but contain all in a circle wide enough to host the paradoxes of existence embodied in differences so that human resolves remain connected.

It is in definitive resolve that I encourage one to be resolute and decisive. Many communities are divided by differences of thought when the critical factor is actually on whether a group will consent to ride on the same bus if they decide to head in the same direction. “Consensus” is often bandied about to mean majority rule “overriding” minority opinion. I facilitate group meetings where members maintain lucidity and integrity in differing perspectives but are willing to design a working model that includes everyone’s vision. The minority opinion willingly suspends participation without hindering the majority choice from manifesting its decision, ending up “ownership” of the process and output nonetheless.

We are talking about the Papas beyond the new necktie and the latest in electronic gadgetry this Father’s Day. May their consciousness and tribe continue to grow rich!

Jaime R. Vergara | Special to the Saipan Tribune
Jaime Vergara previously taught at SVES in the CNMI. A peripatetic pedagogue, he last taught in China but makes Honolulu, Shenyang, and Saipan home. He can be reached at pinoypanda2031@aol.com.

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