Man Medium Rare: 2sex, Guns, and Other Perversions of Masculinity

Ian Brown, Author
Ian Brown, Author Dutton Books $21.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-525-93825-5
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-452-27449-5
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Despite the flip title, this is a worthy mix of entertainment and introspection. Brown, a newsman who moved from Toronto to Los Angeles to follow his wife's journalism career, panics when she wants to have a baby. He fears both a marriage without shared purpose and also ``the complete colonization of my mind'' that a child could bring. He decides to face his fears, and his stopgap solution, at age 39, is a two-year tour of the country in a pickup truck to seek the varieties of manhood; he interviews some 200 men. His motley trail makes a sometimes disjointed narrative, but his descriptions are deft and his eye all-encompassing: a California ``men's weekend'' leads him to conclude that confessions are hastened not by intimacy but anonymity; a trip to the set of a pornographic film makes him feel both free and ``less than I was''; a gun-wielding Dallas friend's triumphant standoff with hoodlums reminds him of the limits of ``the moral sanctity of self-defense.'' Midway through his saga, Brown's wife becomes pregnant, and his thoughts about childbirth take him from AIDS and gay sex to Lamaze classes, ``baby-sitting for adults during the most stressful weeks of their lives.'' Brown's odyssey, it seems, has prepared him to recognize that manhood is a definition ``I still learn every hour of the day.'' (June)
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