“Where have you been?” Jess opened the door for Chad.
“On my way home from work I stopped at Replete Christian Bookstore. I bought a bunch of books that are going to change everything.” Chad set the bag on the dining room table.
“Wow, a lot of books. I hope the change pays for everything.”
“Look at these titles.” Chad read them off:
“Divine Masculinity on a Dime”
“Practicing the Presence of Masculinity”
“The Thrust of Biblical Manhood: a Guide for the Closet Masculine”
“Broken Manhood: A Guide in Feminine Times”
“Not Content to Be Just a Man: One Man’s Struggle to be Masculine”
“Courage in the ManCave of Doubt”
“’Christianity Feels Masculine’ and other Manly Quotes”
“The Miracle of Masculinity”
“If Only: Thoughts on Ideal Manliness”
“The Ancient Art of Manliness and the Warrior Man: Losing is Not an Option”
“When the Church is Not Masculine Enough, Bring It!”
“If Grace Matters, So Does Larry.”
Chad pulled the last book out of the bag. “I got this one free because I spent $50.00 – “Shall we Gather at the Urinal? A Comic Graphic Novel for the Seeker Church Male”. You won’t recognize me after I read these books, Jess.”
“Truer words have never been spoken.”
“I think I’ll buy a pickup truck this weekend.”
“No you won’t.”
“But how can I be seen as masculine if I don’t have a truck? They say women think men are masculine when they drive pickups”
“They also say that women don’t like men who drive them to distraction.” Jess countered.
“It is written… right here in this article.” Chad picked up a copy of Christian Men that Matter Magazine. “Women like a guy who has a job and who drives a pickup truck and who pees standing up and who eats meat and is willing to carry them out of a burning building.”
“Four out of five isn’t bad. I guess I’ll keep you.” Jess broke a wry smile.
“If I have a pickup truck you will think more highly of me, you’ll respect me. I just know it.”
“I know that I will think more highly of you because I will be sitting so high up in that cab.”
“Aw shucks, all the guys at church, …some of the guys at church, traded in their vans for a pickup.”
“I’m going to trade you in for a man who drives a family van and is content.”
“Look what I got in the mail.” Chad waved the envelope. “It is an invite to “Your Call to the Wild: Unleash Your Masculine Anima – a Week-Long Seminar to Reclaim Your Masculinity. It is only $300.00 for the entire week. We bring sleeping bags and shoot BB guns and stuff. Sounds like fun!”
“Let me see.” Jess looked at the invite. She handed it back to Chad, “Return to sender. There is no one by that need here.”
“Oh, Jess. You’re not pooh-poohing the seminar, too, are you? I need to find my belly fire, my inner noble savage. I need to map my masculinity.”
“I’ll trace out a map of your masculinity later. It’s time for the kids to go to bed. Chad, can you take care of that?”
“Sure, Jess.” Chad put the envelope down without opening it. “All right kids.” Chad looked at Kim and Kevin, “It’s time to brush and flush.”
But now, though, Chad could tell that the ice cream –infused kids were not ready for bed. So, that night, Chad’s stomp ritual began. Chad stood at the end of dining room table and then stomped his right leg down onto the wood floor. The stomp vibrated the piano’s wires. A raucous dissonance followed.
The kids looked at dad wide-eyed. They saw the playfulness in his eyes. Kim and Kevin slowly got off their chairs. And when they did, Chad started stomping after them. The piano prattled and the china chattered as the three of them circled the table. Kim and Kevin squealed. Maggie, the Sheltie, joined the pandemonium. She barked trying to herd Kim and Kevin. The bedlam went on for ten minutes until Chad was out of breath.
Dad looked at Kim and Kevin. He knew from their red cheeks and their glowing glee that his tour de force would become a nightly ritual. So be it.
One look from dad and the kids knew what was what. Still breathing hard, the kids bounded up the stairs to brush and flush and await their bedtime story from dad.
Jess came out of the kitchen and over to Chad. She put her arms around him and said, “My, how you’ve changed – your face is beet red.”
“I heard you’re a cartographer.” Chad lifted his right eyebrow as he said this.
“A good man is not hard to find.”
© Jennifer A. Johnson, 2017, All Rights Reserved