Wolves in Cascadia. Photo by Peter Beste
You’re walking home from the bar after being out with some friends til the small hours of the morning.
Feeling some of the effects, you’ve made a good call by opting out of driving, and are conversing with your significant other, enjoying the evening air.
Although the streets are mostly deserted, the area is well lit, and you haven’t given much thought being prepared for any type of encounter, since you assumed you’d be driving to and from your destination.
With another mile or so to go, you glance over your shoulder and notice that there are at least two figures following you from several blocks back, hooded sweatshirts, hands in their pockets.
Not wanting to alarm your partner, you begin running a quick assessment of your surroundings and your gear, immediately considering what can be done to even the odds should the situation go south from here.
As you are running this mental prep list, another figure rounds the corner ahead of you, illuminated starkly in the streetlight. Footsteps pound the concrete behind you, and you realize you are about to have to fight for your life.
Consider the above situation.
Put aside all your internet tough guy shit for a moment- it’s just you and me, cowboy.
How anxious does it make you when you really imagine the scenario above?
I’ll start: It makes me pretty anxious. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you are not Josey Wales meets Jason Bourne meets Mark Chopper Read- I’ve been in almost the exact situation described above, more than once in my life, and each time, I am not ashamed to say, it produced the kind of adrenaline response that only comes from deep, primal fear.
But fear is not the same as cowardice- cowardice is surrendering to your fear. Bravery is using it to attain victory or at the very least, mastering it enough to get out of there alive.
To quote a popular novel:
‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”
That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.’
Considering our relationship to violence is an integral part of a man’s self-examination process.
Like it or not, violence is a big part of being a man on an evolutionary level- whether you have a close relationship with it in 2016 does not discount the fact that your genetic line is still intact today because of your ancestors familiarity or skill with it.
From the caves they crawled out of to tribal warfare in forgotten aeons, into the pages of remembered history where men have died in innumerable droves on battlefields often not of their own choosing, men have always had to find a way to outlive the rest.
Whether through superior skill at dealing death and making war, or an unquenchable and iron will to survive and outlast, our ancestors paved the way for us to exist. Therefore, our way of life and understanding of our place in the world must at least give consideration to the possibility that at some point we will have to confront violence and death head on.
The average police response time in America is between 9 and 12 minutes. The average streetfight or violent encounter lasts between 5 seconds and 2 minutes, often with little or no respite or opportunity to even make the call, assuming you are the type of person who would call law enforcement in the first place.
This brings me to the actual point.
How would you fare?
Even in a one on one confrontation with someone who has decided to oppose you, who eats clean, trains 3 times a week in boxing or MMA, doesn’t poison himself with cigarettes or excessive drinking- would you stand a chance?
How about your friends?
In the prior scenario, if you had 3 of your pals with you, and it turned into a 4 on 4, all out conflict, would they be able to hold their own and punch their weight? Or would they quickly be dismantled by a superior foe, letting you down and forcing you into an outnumbered and outmatched war that you have no chance of winning alone?
If the first answer holds true, congratulations. You have chosen…wisely. You are surrounding yourself with lions, men who truly uphold the concept of Operation Werewolf, that of making themselves more capable, fearsome, and strong every day.
If the second answer is the more likely, then you are wasting your time with weaklings, parasites who rely on you, but provide no symbiosis. Remove them as you would with any bloodsucker.
If you yourself fall into the category of the under-prepared, think about how much you are dishonoring your peer group by being the weak link in the chain- a liability, like a child, who must be looked after and protected because you are not up to the task yourself.
If this concept fills you with utter disgust and shame, do the right thing and turn that into momentum- become what you respect. Be the kind of man that you would want with you in any situation.
Video games and popular movies and television are filled with examples of men who do things the way we wish we could. We watch them impotently from the couch while getting fatter. While you
“level up” in some digital fantasy world, someone is out there doing it for real, and I promise you, no matter what your girl tells you (if you even have one), she doesn’t think all those muscles and decisive actions are “gross” or “too macho.” Think about nearly every male leading actor, even in “chick flicks,” for the last 20 years or so. It’s not coincidence they are cut out of wood, chiseled and jacked, decisive, capable- in short, manly.
A woman’s desires are not purely individual. They, like us, have been shaped by evolution, and no amount of social engineering can undo that. What do you think she wants in a scary situation or a home invasion? Your dad-bod and knowledge of high thread count, cruelty free, locally sourced hemp shoulder bags? Not bloody likely.
Here’s the thing, fellas. No matter who you are, or how hard you think you are, there is someone out there who is training harder. Someone that someday, you might have to prove yourself against because they want your money, or your woman, or they simply decided they were going to fuck you up.
Those individuals who will read this and scoff, or say that this is an outmoded way of thinking, riddled with “toxic masculinity,” with no place in today’s society- I would respond that you have clearly lived a life of what the PC crowd refers to as supreme “privilege,” and that just because you haven’t experienced brutal, savage, bone crushing violence yet, doesn’t mean that you won’t. Never isn’t here yet.
I can only hope that you find yourself one day in a situation that calls for quick, decisive and violent action to save your life or that of someone close to you. Let me know how it pans out.
Photo by Peter Beste