Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Paragon of Masculinity

Yesterday, my lovely co-worker and I were discussing something (very related to work, I assure you) when we came across an interesting page on Wikipedia. The name of the article: Heracles or, as we know him in the Western World, Hercules. As we read, we discovered the interesting part, and I quote: “He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity….” Ooh. My co-worker and I stopped. That phrase—it intrigued us. And it rolled off the tongue so nicely. Paragon of masculinity. I want one of those!

So we started throwing the words around in casual conversation. “Hey, did you see the paragon of masculinity on TV last night? Yeah, he won another gold medal in the Olympics.” Or “I think I just saw a paragon of masculinity walk past our door.” Or “I belong with a paragon of masculinity because I am a paragon of perfection.” It is now a consistent part of our vocabulary in the Freshman Academy office.

At one point, as suggested above, “the paragon of masculinity” became a title for a specific person: Michael Phelps of Olympic fame. After all, Hercules was Greek, and so are the Olympics. By right, Michael Phelps should have inherited the status of a paragon. Someday, his Wikipedia article will read, “He was the greatest of the Olympic athletes, a paragon of masculinity.” And I will be the one who wrote it.

Upon mentioning this newfound phrase to my friends, I was introduced to another fine English phrase: superfluity of naughtiness. It’s in the Bible—you should look it up. This one doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well (in fact, I have quite a difficult time saying it), but I think it can also be used to describe a paragon of masculinity. Like so: “Oh yes, Christian Bale is a paragon of masculinity with a superfluity of naughtiness.”

In the infamous words of Mulan’s grandmother in the Disney picture Mulan upon seeing such a man: “Woo! Sign me up for the next war!”