What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little boys are made of.
(From the nursery rhyme)
Some double-entendre imagery?
I'm still partly a boy, many men of any age are. I pity the man who no longer has any bit of boy inside him. Then he is truly old, no matter what his age.
I became a man at 13, I suppose, when my late Mother, with tears in her eyes, told me that I was much smarter than she and my Father, and that I was now in charge of running the household. All major purchase decisions would be mine, the managing of the household budget, vacation choices, changes to the house itself, everything.
I was stunned. And I didn't want it. One moment I was a happy-go-lucky carefree kid like all my friends, the next I was the head of the family for all practical purposes. And I revered my parents, very smart & accomplished in their own right, and suddenly they turned the tables on me.
And it happened just as they said. I selected their cars (before I could drive myself), all their appliances, bought our yard power equipment, I planned our family vacations, landscaped our property, chose the carpeting and wallpaper (well, it was still the 1960s), planned house renovations, etc, etc.
I suppose the cynical view is that they both had very busy careers, and I often didn't see them. SOMEBODY had to run the house, and I was cheaper than hiring some kind of personal manager or assistant. But still, they placed that trust & responsibility in me at only 13, and I had to be a man at a fairly early age.
It served me well, good training. So that when I enlisted in the Army at 20, only intending to spend a few years fixing trucks, I was dragged into leadership positions, and eventually given an officer's commission.
I'm a man because I take a man's responsibilities & duties. A bit of a sexist view, I suppose, but don't forget my age, the generation I come from. Many women can do far better than me, I know, but still, I like that I know my duty, and I perform it, as best I can.
What makes me a man is that I have duty, while many women have indulgent deference. Now flame me all you like.