“Mano Y Mano” = Authentic Manliness?

mano a mano

You’ve heard that phrase before yes?  Its Spanish for “hand-to-hand” usually implying two people throwing fisticuffs.  I am using it here to imply two men duking it out with each other verbally.  This happened to me recently at my house.  My neighbor came by to challenge me on an issue related to something that had happened in our community.

When he rang my doorbell at 7:30 PM in the middle of tub time and bedtime rituals, I was initially very shocked.  I greeted him warmly and asked him “What’s up?”  When his tone was rather serious and asked if he could talk with me for a few minutes, I stepped onto my porch.  What ensued in this conversation I will not go into detail about as it is not relevant to this blog, but what I learned about myself and men through this “mano y mano” encounter I would like to share.

First, when a man engages in a verbal battle with another man the way I did, there is an initial sizing up that takes place.  I equate this to two bull elks snorting at each other before locking their horns.  As my neighbor and I squared off, we both began to size up the situation. He was clearly the aggressor from the start with his choice to engage me at the hour he did and on my home turf.  Having never engaged in battle with this man before, I took in his tactics and quickly applied my knee jerk reactive own.  Although, I deemed his challenge and accusations none of his business, I did honor his request for information and I proceeded to enlighten him on the facts of the matter as I knew them and which clearly he did not.  That said, I returned the fire with some mild push back, but the initial engagement  was successful on his end. as he did bait me into battle rather quickly and effectively.  He acquired information and established his position unequivocally.

I think boldness and firmness are a tremendous asset for men as they confront and rebuke other men and situations in their life.  My neighbor gave a clear directive and did not beat around the bush.  I liked that!  I knew I was in a battle right from the start and so did my testosterone.  So for the purposes of manly development,  I must say bravo to my neighbor for taking decision action.

The next thing I learned about when two men square off is that one will usually back off if they perceive they are wrong or the other man proves to have countered adequately in response to the initial attack.  This is a sign of respect towards the other man.  It is a healthy way to enable cooler heads to prevail and ensure that a healthy dialogue will take place after the initial blitzkrieg.  Here’s where men can really excel in their ability to solve problems and work out differences.  Instead of holding grudges, men hash out their differences and accomplish their mission.

So, now that two men are talking reasonably and logically with one another, they both can hear the other’s viewpoints and opinions in a constructive and non-judgmental manner. The verbal assault and counter attacks have reached a veritable cease fire and negotiations, agreements and treaties are activated and ultimately reached.  I can tell you that my neighbor and I, although still holding strongly to our individual perspectives, found common ground by which we could amicably part ways and even shake hands.

I think the above is manly.  I think men do well if they engaged one another more often in a direct manner besides hiding behind an email, voicemail or text message.  So my takeaway from this encounter with my neighbor is a positive one.  I am thankful for his directness and brutal honesty and I believe we have achieved a greater understanding and perhaps appreciation for one another…we’ll see.

So the next time you are confronted “mano y mano” be open to the lessons you will soon learn about yourself and the other man.  You might be surprised how things turn out.  Then again, you might not.  As a disclaimer, I should say these scenarios are dependent upon a genuine spirit of pursuing the truth.  If one man is not interested in listening to the other then likely there will be limited fruit born from this engagement.

Good luck on the battlefield of manhood!