The Heart of Manliness: The Brotherhood and a Pledge

“Who’s here seen any James Bond movies?” asked Steve, a classmate of mine, “Seems like he always gets a different girl, saves her, then sleeps with her, right? That’s not our definition of a man. If it’s yours, this group isn’t for you,” said Steve.

Me, Ant, and BobsexI was halfway through my process of joining a brotherhood—think “fraternity” without the booze, hazing, and sex—and this guy Steve was giving us the 411. A brotherhood. The whole concept seemed so foreign to me. But I couldn’t leave it alone—something about the way these guys lived both intimidated and inspired me.

I certainly didn’t come to college thinking I would be as big a hit with the ladies as 007, but I thought no guy, nor I, would mind if that happened. But joining this brotherhood meant I would pledge, along with other guys like me, to respect the women in my life with my eyes, mind, and actions as best as I can. I couldn’t help but wonder, am I ready for this?

Up until high school I had wanted to hold off until I was married because I was afraid of what might happen, like getting a girl pregnant, getting an STD, and the wrath of my parents who had always taught me that it was best to “wait”. But then I learned first hand how hard holding off actually is, and all those reasons no longer held any weight. So I had sex and I looked around and everyone else seemed to be having sex too. It was easy to convince myself that I was just doing what comes natural to any man. But I think deep down there was a part of me that believed that sex should be, for lack of a better word, special.

And these men, my friends and future brothers, tell me that I’m not crazy. Of course it feels like there is something missing, they tell me what is missing is commitment. Not just the “we are committed till we are not” kind of commitment found in exclusive relationships, but the commitment found in marriage—without any reservation and without any chance of retrieval. That kind of sex never leaves you feeling like your holding something back from your woman, it never eats at you the way it does when you have made your woman a promise that you might not be able to keep. These new friends of mine believed that real men pursue women to get to know them, not to “get some.”  And this brotherhood lived by that.

Ant, Me, Bobsex, and Patella photoshop cup shotSo yeah, I wanted to be around these guys who I could play Halo with, but who were also confident enough to question some things about “being a man” that most guys, like me, just assumed came along with it—namely reckless boozing and sleeping around. Probably the most appealing part, was that these guys seemed to have my back in everything. This sounded a lot more like the kind of man I wanted to be—a man that looks out for his friends, respects his woman, and betters himself.

But I was still tempted to bounce out of all this. Back home I had a girl I had a history with, and though we weren’t dating, it was clearly assumed we would hook up when I got home for Thanksgiving break in a couple weeks. I had been waiting all semester to get back with her. Hooking up with her though meant I’d be a hypocrite if I in fact pledged to this brotherhood and new life style. In my mind, I was either totally in or not at all.

This was a breaking point. I sat in a long silence considering what a commitment to this brotherhood would look like. It primarily meant becoming a guy who thought about others before himself. I knew I wasn’t going to be perfect at it, but I would have my brothers this time to back me and kick my butt if I needed it. It was time I stop thinking about the kind of man I want to be and step up and make an active decision towards that goal. I joined the guys, and I haven’t looked back ever since.

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