I wrote a blog recently about a "Manhood Quiz." I got a lot of email, tweet, and Facebook traffic as a result of that post. Everybody wanted to know two things. First, why didn't I actually do the quiz? And second, would our leader on Huffington and in manliness at-large (particularly for us divorced dads) Alec Baldwin do the quiz and post for us all to see?
I can only control the first part. So here it is. The rest is up to you Alec....
1) Who taught you about manhood?
My college rowing coach, Will Scoggins, made a huge impact on me by asking me to set aside my childhood fears and become a man. His piercing blue eyes, beard, and chew all convinced me that maybe I should listen. He said that acorns don't become big seeds. An acorn has to transform itself completely to become an oak tree.
2) Has romantic love shaped you as a man?
I've had a hard time believing that I am worthy of that kind of love but the place I always come back to now is my wife's arms.
3) What two words describe your dad?
Brilliant and idealistic.
4) How are you most unlike him?
I have a mathematical mind that served me well in business.
5) What mistake did you learn the most from?
Drinking too much and thinking that making a ton of money might make me less of a a-hole.
6) What word would the women in your life use to describe you? Is it accurate?
My wife just told me "narcissistic." She is always right.
7) Who is the best dad you know and what does he do to make him so?
A guy named Tony who, like me, found himself a divorced dad. I was trying to figure out how to possible manage a one-year-old son and three year old daughter on my own. He had four-year-old twins and an eight-year-old daughter who was severely disabled. He taught me that being a dad is a ground war. No one part of it is hard if you just let your kids be themselves, attend to their basic needs, and find joy in their innocence. But you have to stay engaged.
8) Have you been more successful in public or private?
Early in my life I was hugely successful in public and a complete failure in private. I'd like to believe that as a father and husband I have made my way over the last years.
9) When was the last time you cried?
At my 99 year-old grandmother's memorial service. At my lowest point she took me by the shoulders and said, "Tom, there's good stuff in you I have seen it. Remember that's it's not how you fall in life, it's how you pick yourself up that counts!"
10) What advice would you give teenage boys trying to figure what it means to be a good man?
Always tell the truth about yourself.
For Bonus Points: What is the your most cherished ritual as a guy?
Walking our yellow lab Penny. Telling my best friends that I have and will continue to dominate them at running, swimming, biking and kickboxing.
(If you would like to participate in the Manhood Quiz feel free to post as a comment here or email your responses to me at email@example.com)