My Manhood Questioned

By Graham Glover


Last week I’m pretty sure my manhood was questioned.

I was working out in our Battalion gym when one of the Drill Sergeants asked if anyone had an iPod to plug in to the speakers. I was the only one who did and gladly volunteered.

A few songs in…no issues. I have a solid workout playlist that serves the motivational purpose well. But then it happened. A song not typically heard in an Infantryman’s gym came glaring over the sound-system. It was none other than Taylor Swift. Without prompting, every Drill Sergeant in the gym stopped and looked directly at me, with looks that obviously questioned their chaplain’s musical selection. I tried to use the, “I included it for my daughter” excuse, but it didn’t work. I was busted. My manhood was in question. And to quote Miss Swift from that afternoon, I think my Drill Sergeants wanted to say: Chaplain, “we are never getting back together.”


Don’t worry, I’ve recovered well from my momentary lapse of musical reason, but this incident reminded me how ridiculously out of whack we have gotten with our ability to make fun of one another.

Should I have Taylor Swift on my iPod? Sure, why not. She’s a great artist and compared to some other popular musicians, a decent role model for the millions of young listeners who follow her.

Should I have been ridiculed by my Drill Sergeants? Of course I should. Look, there was no discrimination going on here. There was no harassment. It was good, clean, fun. I was ridiculed and I deserved it. It was a funny moment that will undoubtedly be brought up again and again in the months ahead. In a strange way, it was a bonding moment with my Cadre. (I’m just glad my Spice Girls and Pink selections didn’t come up on the playlist!)


But moments like this are often blown way out of proportion.

I’ve written a lot about this phenomenon in recent posts. And each post makes my point. When I wrote, “Nobody Likes Me”, I was shocked how many people posted responses and sent me texts and emails assuring me that they like me. Trust me, my ego is not even close to being bruised. I’ve got a big head, literally (it’s a size 8!) and figuratively, so no worries about hurting my feelings. When I wrote, “I’m Fat”, some replied that I was being too hard on myself (I quickly pointed them to my Body Mass Index) and others said I was being too critical of people who may have medically induced weight issues.


It’s time to get a grip people. It’s going to be ok. People are going to make fun of you and you are going to make fun of others. It’s what we do. It’s normal. I dare say, it’s human. (And please, no commentary about “bullying”. I’m talking about adults, not children.)

Perhaps the issue isn’t our ability to make jokes. Rather, it’s our inability to have a thick-skin. We’ve become so stinkin sensitive that we can’t even laugh at ourselves any longer. And that’s sad. Actually, it’s pathetic.

So bring it on. Poke fun at your friends. I’ll undoubtedly ridicule Joel Hess when his Spartans lose to my Gators in the Final Four. But if my Gators lose to UCLA on Thursday, I guess the throngs of Californians that read ‘The Jagged Word’ will have a few things to say! I will continue to publicly decry the ever popular skinny jeans, and not just because my large arse can’t fit in them, but because no self-respecting man should ever – ever wear them. If you feel compelled, go ahead and call me out on whatever you want in the comment section of this post or on my Facebook page. I can take it…the question is, can you?

Back to my gym. You know, the one where Taylor Swift is now reigns and my manhood was severely questioned. On a dry-erase board the following quote was recently put up that summarizes exactly what I’m trying to say: “Sweat dries, blood clots, bones heal, suck it up princess!”