Earlier this morning Stuff.co.nz posted an article about a brand new advert for Durex condoms which features a series of men caught up in the day-to-day rigamarole of parenting. The scenes are all in slow motion, and set to Beethoven’s famous Moonlight Sonata, and basically what we see on screen are a series of those classic challenging parenting moments.
The advert finishes with the message: “protect yourself”.
Sorry, what exactly is it that I should be protecting myself from here?
Becoming a real man instead of remaining a perpetual adolescent?
I do a lot of work speaking to young men in high schools, at conferences, youth events, etc, about authentic masculinity, and this advert offers a brief glimpse into pretty much everything wrong with a lot of modern messages thrown at men.
I shouldn’t be surprised really, after all, Durex is in the business of selling people latex devices designed to maximize pleasure while minimizing obligation and responsibility for actions.
Yep, parenting isn’t an easy gig, but so what?!
Easy is for little boys who aren’t man enough to grow up and do the hard yards.
And yes, parenting requires sacrifice, but then what man ever achieved true human greatness by being a selfish jerk?
Ultimately, the forlorn-faced males in this video need to take their concrete pills and harden up, because how you respond to parenting is one of the great tests of authentic manhood.
If you embrace the messy, complicated and challenging reality of parenting, and truly commit yourself to it, it will change you, grow you and take you to a whole new level of manhood. You will begin to live the only kind of manhood that is truly fulfilling, and the only kind which truly changes the world – you will become a man who is building a legacy that counts for something.
A legacy where others come first, and where you know how to serve and authentically love.
A legacy where people will say great and important things about you at your funeral.
The men who follow the advice of the Durex advert are ultimately shielding themselves from this, and are willingly allowing themselves to be robbed of authentic masculinity. And when it comes time for their funerals, the talk will be more reminiscent of frat house banter, rather than the comments you hear at the passing of a real man who has truly lived the great adventure of authentic manhood.
But there’s something else this advert has completely failed to mention, and that’s the fact that you would also be robbing… sorry, I mean ‘protecting’ yourself from some of the greatest moments and most rewarding joys a man can ever experience in this life.
Like the moment when your child paints their first picture just for you, or when they write you that first “I love daddy, he is awesome” crayon note.
Or the moment when they take their first steps or say their first words.
Or the moment when you first hold them in the hospital, and you look down at them in all their miraculous wonder and vulnerability and you experience the powerful realization that, just like that, your life as a man has just been forever changed for the better.
Or the nightly bedtime routine, where you hug your children, kiss them goodnight, and have them look back at you with pure childlike honesty in their eyes as they whisper “I love you daddy”.
No thanks Durex, I think I’d rather be a real man than a perpetual adolescent man-boy who is robbed of all that challenge and joy.
This post first appeared on Brendan Malone’s blog, The Leading Edge.