Guys don’t really have to shit-test each other because the male social environment contains an implicit contract of competition – we understand that we’re supposed to respond to challenges by competing, and that those who compete frequently or well have enhanced opportunities in the social order.I would note that it goes even further than the realm of competition. Yesterday, at the gym, a careless guy took all the weights off one side of the curl bar. There were a considerable quantity of weights on the other side; one guess what happened.
However, it’s also critical to acknowledge that the competition is a game, to not take it personally. That’s what is communicated by the post-game handshake. It’s a way for the loser to say “nice job,” and the winner to thank the loser for putting up a good fight. Even if you are hurt or humiliated, it’s an offer you need to accept as a way of showing there’s no hard feelings.
The problem was that I was standing just on the other side of the bar with my back to it. So the weighted side of the bar crashed to the floor and caused the bar to flip over and whip over as per the force of gravity. Fortunately, I heard the crash and something caused me to step sideways rather than turn around to see what happened. The end of the metal bar smashed down where I'd been standing; it probably wouldn't have injured me too badly, but it would have hurt and it definitely wasn't the sort of blow you'd want to take to your lower spine.
The guy responsible immediately ran over and apologized profusely. He didn't attempt to disclaim responsibility, he didn't make any excuses, and he didn't try to blame me for being in the wrong place. He just apologized. For my part, I didn't get angry with him, I didn't lecture him on being more careful next time, and I didn't take the opportunity to play the victim in some way. I just assured him it was no problem, it was nothing, and no harm had been done.
In five seconds, it was finished. He cleaned up the weights, and we went on with our workouts. There was no drama, no issue, no lingering resentments to be resolved.
To take everything personally, from a sporting defeat to a minor accident, is to be fundamentally unmasculine. The fact that the interests of others often run contrary to our own does not mean that they have anything to do with us personally. Don't be afraid to apologize or to accept apologies. Learn to leave the spirit of opposition on the playing field and save your wrath for the wicked, for those whose enmity is specific and personal and temporally unlimited.
It's not a surprise that the female boxer did not touch gloves after being defeated. She has no male honor and everything is personal for her. The match may be over, but you can be sure that she still sees the man with whom she was boxing as her opponent. In fact, she probably sees many men with whom she has never boxed and never will box as her opponents.