Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gamer Stigma

We had an early Thanksgiving dinner with some family today. At some point my wife was telling some members of the family about an event that occurred earlier this week...

We had purchased the new Star Trek on DVD. The edition we bought was the one that has the model of the Enterprise that doubles as the DVD holder. Once home, but before we began the movie, I had to slip outside and give the model a quick zoom-zoom around the driveway while I smoked a cigarette.

As my wife related this story I felt a twinge of...shame? embarrassment? What kind of man still plays with toys into his mid-30s? Was I a man or some type of man-child eternally caught in an immature phase?

I have throughout my life had this feeling of disconnect between what is manly behaviour (especially in Texas) and the hobbies/interests that I cultivate.

I am middle-aged man with a family, mortgage, normal pets (no snakes or spiders), car payments, and all of the attendant responsibilities that comes with that life situation. I am a combat veteran with 15 years of service under my belt.

So, why is it that I should feel this twinge? I mean, I am a free citizen on my own property pursuing my own type of happiness. Am I too sensitive to mainstream culture? Am I too aware of a society that favors certain manly behaviours over others as a definition of what it means to be a "man"?

Have you ever had the feeling that playing with fictional toy soldiers is somehow diminishing your manliness, in the eyes of others?


  1. My wife calls them Barbies for Boys to her friends.

  2. Yes, zoom-zoom. I had to take it to maximum warp and see if it could hold together.

  3. Forget what everyone else thinks... it's your hobby, and if they have a problem with it, then it's their problem...

    My wife is quite supportive, even if she doesn roll her eyes when my son and I are really geeking out, but then again she knew the job was dangerous when she took it...

  4. I am also a combat vet and have the whole normal family thing. If anything, you are more of a man BECAUSE you can be comfortable with your hobby. Besides, what else are you going to do? Chop wood?

  5. My wife is quite scathing. I sort of have to hide the little men from her. I only paint when she's out. Given an ultimatum, of course I'd chose her. But I don't enjoy the scornful attitude I get from her.