Obsessions: The Roman Empire and Beyond

by Warren Seah

When it comes to stuff I obsess about, here’s a short list:

In Search of the Perfect Pizza

Why can’t I get a decent piece of pizza in New York City anymore? (I blame the dollar-slice industry.)

Musical Preference: Andrew Lloyd Webber

Which Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is his crowning achievement? (I’ve become convinced it’s “Evita,” not “Phantom of the Opera” or “Cats.”)

Baseball Dreams: Miami Marlins

And will the Miami Marlins — my favorite baseball team — defy the odds and win a wild-card spot this season? (I’m taking bets it’s going to happen.)

The Viral Trend: Men and the Roman Empire

But notice I didn’t mention anything about the Roman Empire.

If you’re a little confused about this Roman business, you’re likely not aware of this latest viral trend. Namely, a discussion about how men can’t stop thinking about that bygone era when Nero, Augustus and the like ruled the world — or at least a significant portion of it.

The subject has spawned many a social-media thread. It’s also been dissected by top publications.

Is it on Your Mind? The Roman Empire Frenzy

And naturally, it led to my wife of 32 years asking me: “So, how often do you think about the Roman Empire?” As if she didn’t already know my real obsessions? I just nearly extended our upcoming Washington, D.C., vacation to see a buzzy new production of “Evita.”

At the very least, we do know that men have particular obsessions that are less likely to be shared by women. We spend more on electronics and booze. We’re far bigger fans of professional football, which some might argue is just another version of the gladiator games.

Redefining Masculinity: Breaking Free from Gender Stereotypes

In today’s ever-evolving world, we are constantly reshaping our understanding of gender roles and redefining the very concept of what it means to be masculine. While stereotypes may have been grounded in certain realities in the past, these realities are subject to change over time.

According to Craig Agranoff, a renowned marketing guru based in Florida, companies are beginning to recognize the need to expand their definition of what appeals to men. While they may still adhere to some outdated rules, there is an increasing acceptance that men can also appreciate softer sheets for a better night’s sleep.

So, what about my personal interests? Some might argue that baseball is a quintessential “guy” thing, and perhaps even pizza falls into that category. However, when it comes to Broadway musicals, traditional standards may suggest otherwise, but I’ve discovered that many of my male friends can discuss theater passionately for hours on end. The point being that society’s preconceived notions and boxes do not neatly fit us all.

To emphasize this point, I decided to pose a question to my wife: “How often do you think about the Roman Empire?” Surprisingly, she had a deeper knowledge of the emperors than I did. This serves as a reminder that individual interests and passions transcend societal expectations and stereotypes.

In this era of redefinition, it’s crucial to challenge traditional notions of masculinity and encourage a more inclusive understanding. By embracing individuality and breaking free from restrictive gender roles, we pave the way for a more equal and harmonious society. So let’s celebrate the diversity within masculinity and move forward together, leaving behind the limitations of the past.

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