Friday, August 01, 2008

Man Crush

man crush \ˈman ˈkrəsh\ n. 1. a feeling of excessive admiration or nonsexual attraction toward a fellow male who embodies many of one’s ideals 2. a desire to imitate the character, skills, or beliefs of another male 3. a strong identification with the values, priorities, or public image of a male figure. The object of a man crush is usually not personally known by the subject.

Man crushes need little justification. All men have them whether or not they would admit it. Each one reflects some trait that a man wishes was more prominent, more developed, or truer in him than it currently is. Man crushes can reveal a man’s personal aspirations and ideals, more about who he is becoming, and more about what he hopes and maybe even fears.

Typically, men will not use the term “man crush” to identify those public figures whom they respect or identify with. But do not be fooled, they are man crushes. Here are a few telltale signs of a man crush.

Macho compliments: Listen closely to veiled compliments for more-or-less famous men. They will say macho things like, “He’s a stud,” “Spurgeon is the Man” or “A lesser man would’ve crumbled under that pressure.”

Frequent references: Some men, however, will not so readily voice their admiration. In that case, pay closer attention to the frequency with which he refers to certain men. To whom does he often tip his hat?

Little-known facts: Oftentimes, your man will attach small but significant details to his appeals to their authority. It may sound like this: “C. S. Lewis had something to say about that in The Four Loves,” or “He’s holds the record in the league for [obscure record].” or “He sold that company when he was 38 for ten-point-five million dollars!” These details indicate that he’s done his homework. Be sure to listen also to the content of these details. The content will tell you more specifically what your man admires in his man crush. (For bonus points: Tell your man how you’ve seen him exhibit these qualities [but not in the same conversation]. If you are his significant other, he will likely stop what he’s doing and kiss you. If you are not his significant other, he will probably ask if you want to make out. If you’re his guy friend, don’t. That would be weird.)

Here’s a quick example of how to interpret a man crush. Consider “Romosexuals”—die-hard fans of football quarterback Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. There are a number of potential insights one could draw about Romosexuals. If you are to understand what your man see in another man, you may need to do some homework of your own to learn about a suspected man crush. After a little research you might come up with a few possible conclusions about Romosexuals: (1) They prefer to hide behind larger men who will protect them from those who could harm them. (2) They would like to be idolized and worshiped. (3) They would like be Jessica Simpson’s boyfriend, and any benefits accompanying that title.

A man can have many or few man crushes. If the number of man crushes is large, expect that your man spreads his ideals somewhat evenly across them. If the number is few, expect that he identifies deeply with those few. The man with only a few man crushes will be much easier to understand because there are only a few wells to draw from and those buckets are more likely to draw out what your man is so smitten by.

Whatever the case, man crushes reveal that all men want to be better men. This is a noble thing and something that can usually be encouraged. If you find that your man has man crushes on ignoble men, beware. The same truths still apply.

I had merely intended to define and list a few man crushes of my own, but it is generally the case that I find myself working backward to provide background first. Now that you know what man crushes can reveal, which I had not intended to reveal so forthrightly, I will share with you five of my man crushes, which was my original intent with this post.

Ravi Zacharias
Ravi is one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard. He can stretch your mind with a deft analogy of a brilliant concept one minute and then, on a dime, bring you (nearly) to tears the next by telling a story that captures the precise point he’s making. He brandishes speaking skills to capture mind and heart unlike any speaker I’ve heard.

John Piper
Two words: “Christian hedonism.” This is the essence of his book Desiring God. His book captures the intersection of deep theology with passionate love and longing for God. It is a holistic system for the heart and mind of man and a centerpiece for my faith.

Shane Barnard
Shane spreads a passion for and knowledge of God in music (He's John Piper for music fans). His lyrics are immersed in the Word of God, but he unites it with music that grasps at the emotions wrapped up in a dynamic relationship with God.

Dallas Willard
I got to shake his hand once. I said to him, “I read Renovation of the Heart. It took me about 8 months.” He responded, “That sounds about right.” I thanked him for writing it. Willard captures in that book a way of understanding the human person that resonates with me, one that helped me make real progress in my journey toward God.

Christian Wiman
This guy’s a stud. He’s the editor of Poetry magazine and a poet himself. I think you can only truly appreciate his work when you hear him read it aloud. His baritone voice sounds constantly straining, managing a few more words before taking his next breath. It makes me believe I’ve actually been to west Texas, where his poetry was born(e).

Share Your Man Crush
I’m sure that every guy reading this post can think of at least one man crush. Leave yours in the comments, or blog yours and leave a link.


Jonathan said...

I already got called out in your "little-known facts" section, since you quoted me almost verbatim, but my "man crush" would have to be C.S. Lewis.

Erin said...

Speaking of C.S. Lewis, I was surprised to see he wasn't in your list.

Adam said...

Ah, but the allusion was subtle, only clear to those who already know.

Lewis not on my list? Yes, it seems that he should be, but other writers and thinkers have had a more profound impact or a clearer ideal for me.

Mike Moore said...

I'll admit I have some man crushes. I probably would have called them my role models or heroes but man crush will do. In no order of importance

Denison Witmer
John Howard Yoder
John Lynch