I am apparently a carrier of toxic masculinity. I have been sickening women all my life.

I once single-handedly ran off thirteen women from a bar. Right as I walked up to the bar to get a drink, all thirteen of them slipped off their bar stools and marched off.

Masculinity doesn’t get any more toxic than that.

That was decades ago and, to this day, my friends will not let me forget it. It isn’t very sensitive of them, but, then again, we aren’t exactly a sensitive bunch.

It’s not our fault. We were raised in the era before men even knew we had a sensitive side much less how to get in touch with it. If one of us had gotten in touch with our sensitive side and showed it to any of our buddies, our buddies would have laughed at us and maybe even kicked our sensitive backsides.

Let’s face it, we were not woke back then.

In our ignorance, we liked movies where the hero – a man, fought villains who were other men. If the hero ran across a women, fighting her was the farthest thing from his mind. Ours, too, but that was the toxicity talking.

These days movies are all about 115 pound girls who beat up on gangs of men with ease. They are smarter than the men, too. We men our supposed to like these movies, but the toxins in our bloodstream make us not like them. It makes us shout ‘two-word’ words that begin with “bull” and “horse” throughout the movie as she defeats one armor clad soldier after the next.

We can’t help it. We are toxic.

Back before we knew better, we thought it was just fine to like girls for their physical attributes. We went to bikini contests and, in our naiveté, we hooted and hollered and, believe me, it was not because floral prints were in that year. Ours was a “what’s in the bikini contest” type of perspective and we weren’t shy about hiding it.

Cast not the first stone. For our minds were poisoned.

We now know from the likes of Hollywood and news media that men are evil because of our toxic attraction to pretty women. Odd thing is, you don’t see Hollywood casting leading ladies that look like Whistler’s Mother and there apparently isn’t one female news commentator on the planet who doesn’t look like a Miss America contestant. If there were, I am sure there would be more plain looking women filling those roles. We know neither Hollywood or the media would intentionally pander to male toxicity. They are much too woke for that.

The only reason I am married is my wife, Marianne, appears to be immune to the toxins I carry. Marianne is happy to play the role of the female in the relationship, insisting, for example, that I pick my underwear up from the bathroom floor after a shower and I am happy to play the male in the relationship by watching sports on television with my hand down my pants.

It is a toxic relationship, but it somehow works for us and, oddly enough, most couples on the planet.

Truth be told, I am not entirely sure what toxic masculinity is. Whatever it is, I am afraid I have passed the toxicity gene on to my son. He seems to have his old man’s toxic attitudes and behaviors. I still remember the day he took down his Chipper Jones baseball poster and replaced it with a poster of a bikini model. Of course, as an enlightened male, I was appalled.

I am afraid he and his friends are about as woke as my friends and I were at that age.

They chew tobacco. Drink beer. They hock and spit. They lie to girls much like their fathers did and their father’s fathers did and so forth and so on. They lie to each other about girls, much as their fathers did, etc… They make crass and crude observations about the females of our species. They like a good dirty joke and tell it to their father who enjoys it, too. They all have girlfriends and they all secretly hate it when one of the girlfriends invites herself along on a hunting or fishing excursion.

“You mind if I take Sheila on the dove hunt?” One will ask the others.

“No,” the others will say with the same enthusiasm they show for a letter announcing jury duty.

I am understandably guilt ridden over passing my toxins to the next generation and I live with the distinct possibility my grandsons, when they come along, will inherit the same traits.

At least, I hope they do.