Of Fishing and Manliness


July 15, 2019. Jeff is a handsome man, especially in his fishing hat. My girlfriends would call him a “manly-man.” He’s also a fisherman. Well, he dabbles in it, like I dabble in writing-for-fun. He isn’t that serious about it. He loves to catch and eat fish, but doesn’t plan his time around it like many men around here. I see the hard-core fishermen in the store, especially when walleye fishing season opens. They have a look of total focus. They’re all decked out in “the gear,” but not the newest brand-name stuff. Here in the far-north, the emphasis is on utility and not on looks. I admire that. I understand that. I don’t always understand their behavior on the water though. Their fishing boats often scream from one location to the next and then sit stock-still at that location. Rush, then wait. Rush, then wait. It made me wonder … is it more “manly” to rush or to wait? Do women also rush-then-wait?

I don’t see many women fishing unless they’re accompanying a man. Jeff’s sister is an exception. Her preference is ice fishing. She knows how to wait. After all, dangling a line through a hole in the ice is all about waiting! She also kills beers and deer. I wonder why these are often called “manly” activities, as if a “real woman” wouldn’t be drawn to them. Again, I think about the nature-vs.-nurture debate. Is one born with certain preferences, or taught them? I’ll leave more ruminations about gender for another day. They always come back!

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