He eats steak, drinks beer, "scores" with women. He plays hard, plays to win. He tries to do everything by himself, by his rules. He never says ouch. Up with the trumpets: He goes by the name of Macho Warrior.
If the portrait is a bit two-dimensional (few men are all these things), it is also familiar. Macho Warrior is with us. At least some of him is likely to remain.
But can the impact of those qualities be lessened? Can men add sensitivity to their makeup? Or bring themselves to talk to other men about what's really in their heads and hearts?
Three hundred men gathered on a recent Saturday for a day-long series of seminars on these and other possible ways of freeing themselves. The prospect of freedom might sound glib, for no seminar can be anything more than the beginnings of change. But to hear 300 males crying ouch in public was at least novel. And some of those 300 said that crying ouch may lessen the ouch itself.
Take Jack Sundry. A computer systems executive in his late 30s, Sundry hungered to play the piano as a boy. But his father declared it a female hobby, worthy only of Sundry's sisters.
Now Sundry has the chance, and occasionally the time, to pursue piano. But he doesn't, and he doesn't like that. Perhaps he is a little lazy; perhaps he still hears glimmers of his father attitude. Whatever, the conflict is there.
After discussing the situation with a group of men in a careers workshop, Sundry did not rush right out for lessons. But he said he felt "a little lighter" for having explored the whole business.
Or take George Lane. A 16-year veteran of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Lane said he has met "only four or five" co-worker males in his entire government career who are not obsessed with what he called the Three B's: "baseball, broads and booze."
"In the federal government, the macho syndrome is total," Lane said. "Guys just talk about emotional feelings."
But two days after the conference, Lane was doing little esle. He said he left "uplifted. And next time I'll bring my wife."
The conference was the second in the brief history of a group called Free Men.
Based in Columbia, Md., and organized last year by four young professionals, Free Men "was founded . . . on the premise that society assigns men, like women, limiting roles," said executive director Richard Haddad. "It's not important who caused it. Let's change it."
But changed what exactly?According to the participants at the conference, each of whom was asked to describe on an index card his toughest "male problem," the answer is men's relations with other men.
Fully 80 percent of the index cards said that, since childhood, the absence of a "best friend" of the same sex to whom one could honestly open up has been troubling.
"Just like women, I can't talk to someone of the opposite sex and expect them to understand completely," said one card. "There is more to life than the Redskins," said another.
There is also more to life than many Macho Warriors are getting, declared the keynote speaker, Herb Goulberg, a California psychologist.
Author of a book called "The Hazards of Being Male" and a therapist with an exclusively male clientele, Goldberg said many men devote so much emotional energy to their relations with women that they have little left. Men might learn to spread their energy around, he argued, if they adopted some "female" approaches - such as touching.
"The only time men get touched is when they come in for a haircut," Golberg said. "If men could figure out how to have sex without touching, some probably would. Some probably do."
As for relations with women. Goldberg said too many men view sex as a contest ("It's final exam time every night"). Early marriage a particular problem for men, Goldberg said, for the young husband tends to "hide behind his Earth Mother wife" and avoid "real emotional contact" with possible male friends.
Even male advice-givers have difficulty. "I've been divorced, twice. And I'm not getting married again till I figure the whole damn thing out," Goldberg declared. He received a standing ovation.
Not all went swimmingly at the conference. Although the organizers had advertised free child care provided by men, babysitters embarrassingly proved to be two teen-aged girls. Although openness was the order of the day, a female reporter was asked to leave a sexuality workshop.
And one female participant struck a backwards blow for business as usual between the sexes. Just after Herb Goldberg had finished his address, she elbowed through a sea of congratulators, shook his hand - and asked for his phone number (he didn't give it).
For some participants, the day was a journey down Memory Lane. In one seminar, about 20 men reviewed their first sexual experience. All agreed it was awful, although, as one man put it, "It was like getting a union card. You weren't male until you did it."
For some participants, the day was painful. In a seminar on fathering, more than one participant said he "fathers" in much the same rigid style that his father "fathered" him. None was happy about that, and all felt it might be too late to change.
But it was a day of opened eyes, if not necessarily solutions. And that was enough for the moment.
"All my life, I have been told what I should do, be; how to do it and when," one man had written on his index card at the start of the day. Nearing dusk, he was able to say that "it may not mean much, but at least I now know I'm not alone."