“Are you Paleo,” some CrossFitter asked me. This was in 2008 and I should have invested in the Vibram Five Fingers shoe company, because the Paleo movement isn’t going anywhere.
(Click on this image to see the growth in interest, as measured in Google queries, for the Paleo movement.)
We have to ask:
Why is Paleo so popular?
In my view, the Paleo movement is a cry for help. It’s a way to say you’re masculine while remaining politically correct. Think about what the Paleo/Primal movement advocates:
- Eating meat
- Playing/goofing off
- Not taking life so seriously (i.e., having anxiety attacks at a cubicle job)
- Doing manly shit like lifting weights, hunting, and running obstacle courses.
Paleo is popular because men are afraid to be men
As a man, we’re expected to deny our very nature.
Go get into a car where you passively breath in polluted air to work in a cubicle to support some wife and brat at home. (Paleo man was not monogamous and monogamy is unnatural for a man.) Go home to “pitch in” raising your kid. (Paleo man mentored but did not raise his children. The day-to-day grind of watching the kid was left to the mother and her extended family.)
Image you said:
I’m a man. This work shit isn’t natural. Back in the day, we went on hunts and then rested and chilled out for a few days at a time. Raising kids ain’t natural. Banging the same woman isn’t natural. I want to lift weights, play, lay around in the sun and shade, bang multiple women, and sleep 10 hours a day.
You’d be fired from your job and women would want to castrate you.
Yet isn’t that what Paleo advocates (sans the stuff about monogamy, which is too taboo for modern cavemen)?
I’ve never identified with the Paleo lifestyle because I don’t need ideological cover.
I’m a man. I don’t think work is natural; I think it’s oppressive and should be avoided whenever possible. I don’t apologize for sleeping too much or remaining idle. I do not deny my sexuality.
Paleo is also popular because living in large cities is unnatural.
Where I was from, men didn’t apologize for doing manly things. Men didn’t need to create a “life philosophy” to justify eating meat, shooting guns, and getting into trouble. As a matter of fact, we actually killed our own meat with our own guns.
The Paleo diet and Paleo lifestyle is for men who are afraid to just say, “I’m a man and like doing manly shit. I don’t need to apologize or come up with a justification for it.” Instead, gusy are seeking intellectual cover by saying things like:
Man evolved to live in open spaces, to run and play, to be out in nature, and to eat meat. Men are naturally aggressive and need outlets for aggression. Although women should not be forced into traditional gender roles, gender is not a social construct. Men do better when they are hunters and providers and women do better when they are nurturers. Evolution. Blah, blah, blah.
Right now my relatives back home are working on cars that they are going to drive in a demolition derby. Their women will have a meal ready when they get home from goofing off with their man friends. When it’s time to “get out that male aggression,” men will smash cars into each other. Their women will be cheering them on. They’ll get drunk at a pig roast and then have wild, drunken, Paleo style sex.
My whole childhood was Paleo. We just didn’t call it that. We called it growing up in the country.
We didn’t have the helicopter parents that city slickers had. We rode our bikes until it was dark outside, got into fights, climbed trees, jumped off of roofs (when mom and dad weren’t around, we climbed out of our bedroom window to get on top of the roof), played baseball, went to creeks, tore up corn fields, and generally raised hell. We would lift up trees to find snakes and use our hatchets to chop the heads of snakes off. We shot stray cats and birds with BB guns.
Just as a Paleo child had to do work for his family, we had to have part-time jobs for spending money. We detasseled corn, bailed hay, used a machete to chop up nature’s overgrowth, and had to shovel snow in the winter.
As we got older, we cruised around listening to “A Country Boy Can Survive.” We had keg parties in corn fields and drove drunk. We played high school football and smashed into each other.
We knew to wait until after the first freeze until hunting rabbits. (The diseased rabbits wouldn’t survive the first frost.) We killed our own food and ate it without wondering if that’s what our “Paleolithic ancestors” would have done.
In the country, every man talks about getting “land” or getting “timber.” Property isn’t measured in square feet. Real men speak in “acres.” Once a man has timber, he sets up a deer stand and waits for hunting season.
We spent time in nature. We had to walk across a frozen pond hoping it wouldn’t crack while hunting pheasants. There were no medical aid stations waiting for us in case something went wrong during our “warrior dash” over electric fences.
We went went “pinging” with a Ruger 10-22 rifle, spending an afternoon going through over 1,000 rounds of 22 caliber ammo.
We got into schoolyard fights. We had guys drive a truck in the snow while hanging onto a tube.
Most of us were poor or part of the working poor. If you wanted a college education, you had to join the military.
A Spartan Run is the last thing I want to do. I did obstacle courses in the Army. I wore ill-fitting leather boots. I did road marches where I had to make the decision every soldier dreds: If you take your boots off to apply foot powder (to help prevent blisters by drying out your feet and socks) will your foot fit back into your boots (the ankle swells badly during a march and your boot serves as a de factor ankle brace)?
After hiking 15 miles, I feel asleep on my ruck sack with nothing between me and the stars – like my Paleo ancestors.
When I moved to the city, my country childhood friend (in the country we have lifelong friendships) my AK-47. He put it into a gun case in the back of his pick-up truck and took it to my dad.
When I look around the Paleo movement, I see people who are like me in my current state. I am yuppie scum. I have stronger opinions on the right moisturizer for men than I do on duck blinds.
Me and guys like Mark Sisson are hedonistic yuppies who can navigate around a Botox clinic far better than we could find our way around the woods. Do Paleo men shoot testosterone, HGH, and go to anti-aging clinics?
The Paleo movement is a front. It’s narcissism. It’s creating a false identity.
You can’t be Paleo living in the city.
When people ask me to go camping, I laugh. “Didn’t you get that shit out of your system when you were a kid?”
Now I’m sure some of you guys are “Paleo,” and will get pissed. There’s no need to be butt hurt.
I’m not hating on your movement because that would be hating on myself. I’m as much of a city pussy as you are. We are the same. We’re vain hedonists looking to make a buck, find some good espresso, read the latest book, and get our dicks wet.
I just don’t front like I’m a primal man since I know what it means to be primal. Being primal can be romanticized but cities are where it’s at.
If you want to live a Paleo lifestyle, leave the city. Go into the country. Instead of spending $750,000 for a few hundred square feet, buy hundreds of acres of woodland that will be loaded with deer.
Drill a well for your water. Go outside in your vast acreage and start a big ass bonfire. Invite your tribe over to eat deer sausages made from wild game that you killed yourself.
Get yourself a bow and go hunt those deer on your own land. Learn what it’s like to stalk an animal for real. Learn how to not step on a branch, to control your breath, and to become one with nature.
The real Paleo men are out living in the country, being country boys, driving around ATVs, and having a good time out in nature.