Friday, May 11, 2012

What Does It Mean To Be MACHO?

Okay, okay … I need your help again. In my latest paranormal comedy novel, The Training Bra, Miss Havana becomes an understudy with three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse: Stupid, Scourge and Macho. I’m not at all sure I have enough stinging parody for what it means to be macho, not being much of a macho guy. My elderly beta reader claims I write from a woman’s POV quite well, but need a boost when it comes to male characters. I won’t begin to address what that says about me. Anyway, I would appreciate a little input. Here’s the question: What is your most interesting memory of an encounter with a macho guy?

I’ve included a few paragraphs from Miss Havana’s meeting with Macho below to give you a concept of what I’m looking for. Your experience does not have to be comical—I can add that—but the more you were offended, the better.

Here’s the excerpt of Miss Havana’s first meeting with Macho from her point of view:

I stand before my daughter, expecting a little more instruction, but instead Lilith sweeps her hand above her lap and abruptly decrees, “Let your training with Macho begin!” I instantly find myself adrift in the spirit above snow-covered rugged mountains in the grip of winter. It’s good that spirits don’t feel cold or this would be a miserable place. A huge explosion rocks the hillside beneath me. Mud and rock blast outward and smoke fouls the clear mountain air. The stench of burning gunpowder wafts on the gentle breeze until a man’s screams are silenced by death. Macho must be nearby.
A band of armed horsemen approaches shouting and cheering. Several shots ring out. The lead man draws his horse to a halt near the remains of the dead man, thrusts his rifle into the air and fires several rounds before shouting, “This infidel will not defile our ground again!”
Another man dismounts, ties a rope around the dead man’s feet and attaches the free end to his saddle horn. He wheels his horse in a tight one-eighty circle and spurs the animal down the hill, dragging the body behind him and shouting, “All glory to Allah!”
The remaining group pivots to follow, but the last to leave holds back. He looks up directly at me. “Welcome, Miss Havana. Your daughter said you’d be visiting.”
Oh, My Home, he’s riding a red horse—a real one. “You’re Macho? I thought you’d be spirit.”
His grin widens, exposing smoke-yellowed rotting teeth. “Flesh outside only covers the spirit within—that’s what it means to be alive—but all that matters is attitude. If you had paid attention, then you would have learned that from your former mate. Attitude is everything, and that’s especially true of me. Get over yourself and fall in five paces back—that’s the way we do things here!”
I don’t like his condescending demeanor or the way he barked that last order. I am the Queen of Darkness; he has forgotten his place. My ire rises, but I don’t have the power I once had to smite him. I’ll deal with the insolent bastard later, assuming I can amass enough followers below to re-capture what once was mine. I take a deep breath, reminding myself I am here to learn, not to discipline. Retribution stew is best simmered before eating anyway. I drift above him, looking down with scorn and urinate on his haughty spirit. He’s right, attitude is everything. I feel better about him already. He glares, snorts and spits as he turns to follow the group.
The riders soon gallop into a mud hut village. What’s left of the corpse is detached from its tether and pitched into a nearby pig pen for a late afternoon snack. One man jokes, “Finally, a task an American can do well.” Another retorts, “Yeah, but it’s a dead end job.” They all laugh before re-grouping in a cluster and heading for a large yurt-like structure at village center. As the last fighter disappears into the hut, the entire building erupts in a huge fireball that sends body parts and building fragments over the entire area. Moments earlier bystanders cheered the arriving warriors. Now they are caught up in a shit storm. Some fall dead; others lose limbs and eyes. All are blown to the ground.
The victory celebration didn’t last long. Only hatred remains as Macho gallops from the rising smoke on a huge wild-eyed spirit horse snorting steam. He rears back on the reins and rumbles to a stop inches from my face. “Whoa, Johnson!”
With a lecherous smirk he extends his right arm and hand. “Come, Miss Havana, jump on up here and take a wild ride on my Johnson.”
I’m positively disgusted by his insolent attitude and glare back. “In your dreams, asshole.” I look over his massive red spirit horse and pat it on the thigh. It shakes slobber on my arm and tries to bite my shoulder. It is ill-mannered but impressive—if it were blue it could belong to Paul Bunyan. I suspect size matters to Macho. He probably thinks the big cigarette came after the big bang. I need to take him down a notch. “Might big horse you have here, Macho; sorry about your penis. Why don’t you just lower yourself off your Johnson and tell me what you know, if anything.”
He pulls back atop his saddle, feigning innocence. “Well, well. Looks like we got ourselves a spirited little filly here, Johnson.” The horse farts a long drawn-out venting like it might actually understand Macho’s lame humor, although the beast seems to have a particularly dull expression and reddened, bloodshot eyes.
I roll my watering eyes. Macho is a redneck as well as an asshole. “How about we dispense with the un-pleasantries and get on with business.”
He dismounts. He is short with red hair, has squinty eyes and a jutting chin. He’s wearing a dark grey French officer’s uniform from the early 1800s and dirty black knee-high boots. The jacket chest flap is pulled back and buttoned near his shoulder, exposing a triangular cream-colored lining.
He approaches with the confidence of a much taller man and responds with a Texas accent as thick as southern sweet potato casserole. “Friggin predator didn’t take long to rain down retribution, did it? Must be enough crispy critters sizzlin’ in that pile of rubble to make a bag of pork cracklings.”
I raise my eyebrows but maintain a deadpan expression. “I thought you were on the other side?”
He grins as he slaps dust from his pant leg. “You mean that poor bastard the pigs are havin’ for lunch? Hell, I got to him years ago when he was quarterback for his high school football team. That group went to the state tourney and they all thought they were invincible. Sure fooled them, didn’t I? They could drink like fish and beat their wives, but they weren’t bulletproof. Besides, sides don’t mean nothin’ to me. War doesn’t determine who is right, only who is left, but it’s all for the greater good. You know, might is right and all that shit. If you watched the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’, then you get it. It’s about who can inflict the most terror. Whoever that is, he’s the winner—the last man standing.”
I glance around at the suffering people. I don’t see any winners. Their warriors are dead; their future uncertain. “I don’t understand what you mean by it’s all for the greater good.”

Okay, enough of that. The idea is to weave more things like lingering high school football fame into the storyline. Come on now, leave a comment—this could be therapeutic.

Thanks for reading,

James L. Hatch
Author for Solstice Publishing, Eternal Press and xoxopublishing.com


Tina Donahue said...

Condescending demeanor and barking orders pretty much sums up macho for me. It's an exaggerated sense of importance often to overcome feelings of inadequacy around women. Haven't met many macho guys in my life. I don't attract them. I'm far too independent and sure of myself. Hope that helps. :)

Stormie Kent said...

I don't care for the attitude that anything linked to "traditional" women's roles/activiies is frivolous, childish or less than what men do. I don't have a specific example right now. I will keep thinking about it. Nice excerpt.

James L. Hatch said...

Thanks Tina. It does help. It's hard to put myself into the role of a macho person. My wife and beta reader gave me a few hints, which I tried to incorporate, but I'm still not sure if I have captured the macho "essence." I appreciate your comments.

James L. Hatch said...

Hi Stormie:

I like the "traditional" role comment. I'll see what I can do to put that in. That particular concept is not really there now. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.


Sarah J. McNeal said...

I once had a patient who actually said that God put women on the Earth to serve men. He was controlling, bossy, loud and definitely belittling. He had the brains of a gnat.
I worked with a lot of men in critical care. Two of them sported tattoos on their arms and had an overblown attitude of importance. The two of them almost got into a fist fight over how to do CPR when they answered a code on one of the medical units. I wanted to smack their heads together.
Most of the macho men I encountered were from work. If a macho man accompanied his wife or girlfriend to the ER, he usually ended up interrupting her every time she tried to talk and answered questions that were directed to her as if she couldn't speak for herself. Very annoying since the men didn't really know the answers to the questions.
Those are some of my macho encounters. Don't know how helpful they may be. Good luck on the story and your quest for macho, James.

James L. Hatch said...

Hi Sarah! Thank you for your great comments. I will use the interrupting thing ... and the tattoo thing. Great input! I just haven't been around enough red-necks to know how they think and act. Your inputs are very helpful!