And The Men

By Tony Hoagland

want back in:
all the Dougs and the Michaels, the Darnells, the Erics and Josés,
they’re standing by the off-ramp of the interstate
holding up cardboard signs that say WILL WORK FOR RELATIONSHIP.
Their love-mobiles are rusty.
Their Shaggin’ Wagons are up on cinderblocks.
They’re reading self-help books and practicing abstinence,
taking out Personals ads that say
“Good listener would like to meet lesbian ladies,
for purposes of friendship only.”
In short, they’ve changed their minds, the men:
they want another shot at the collaborative enterprise.
Want to do fifty-fifty housework and childcare;
They want commitment renewal weekends and couples therapy.
Because being a man was finally too sad—
In spite of the perks, the lifetime membership benefits.
And it got old,
telling the joke about the hooker and the priest
at the company barbeque, praising the vintage of the beer and
punching the shoulders of a bud
in a little overflow of homosocial bonhomie—
Always holding the fear inside
like a tipsy glass of water—
Now they’re ready to talk, really talk about their feelings,
in fact they’re ready to make you sick with revelations of
their vulnerability—
A pool of testosterone is spreading from around their feet,
it’s draining out of them like radiator fluid,
like history, like an experiment that failed.
So here they come on their hands and knees, the men:
Here they come. They’re really beaten. No tricks this time.
No fine print.
Please, they’re begging you. Look out.

I think the Gospel teaches Priesthood holders to avoid becoming the kind of man that Hoagland describes. And certainly the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity help prevent Priesthood holders from certain types of undesirable male behaviors. So how do you think the Church is doing? Have the Gospel and church teachings such as Doctrine and Covenants Section 121 prevented male members of the Church from becoming this sort of man? Or despite our best efforts, is there a patriarchal culture within the Church that might lead to elements of what Hoagland describes?