A Stupid Quest for Masculinity
Publication Date: May 2012
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The smudge looked suspiciously penis- like. The doctor confirmed: "That's the baby's penis!" which caused not celebration, but panic. Joel pictured having to go camping and fix a car and use a hammer and throw a football and watch professionals throw footballs and figure out whether to be sad or happy about the results of said football throwing.
So begins his quest to confront his effete nature whether he likes it or not (he doesn't), by doing a twenty-four-hour shift with L.A. firefighters, going hunting, rebuilding a house, driving a Lamborghini, enduring three days of boot camp with the U.S. Army, day-trading with $100,000, and going into the ring with UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. Seeking help from a panel of experts, including his manly father-in-law, Boy Scouts, former NFL star Warren Sapp, former MLB All-Star Shawn Green, Adam Carolla, and a pit bull named Hercules, he expects to learn that masculinity is defined not by the size of his muscles, but by the size of his heart (also, technically, a muscle). This is not at all what he learns.
Joel Stein grew up in Edison, New Jersey, went to Stanford, and in 1997, became a staff writer for TIME. In 1998, he began writing his sophmore humor column that now appears in the magazine every week. He's also written 14 cover stories for TIME, and has contributed to The New Yorker, GQ, Esquire, Details, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Businessweek, Wired, Real Simple, Sunset, Playboy, Elle, Los Angeles Times, and many more magazines. He has appeared on TV shows, taught a class in humor writing at Princeton, and wrote a weekly column for Entertainment Weekly and the opinion section of the Los Angeles Times.