Saturday, December 4, 2010
Take the Lash?
What drives a man to take the lash on his bare back so that the whole world can watch, like our Shirtless Muscle Dude? For me, it’s the idea that men throughout the ages have been forced to endure the whip as a form of punishment. No choice was given to the offender: an officer or judge simply ordered it and the man was seized up and flogged in public—acting as both a form of punishment for his offense and as a warning to his peers.
As free men, we have a choice. And as such, I choose to understand through personal experience how a man feels while hard strokes are laid to the skin of his back. From those experiences, I find the most intriguing part to be the fear of it. It’s not so much a test of pain endurance, it’s a test of fear tolerance. For example, if a man is taking a flogging and shouts out an established safety phrase to end the beating, it’s not to stop the pain from the previous stroke (he’s already felt that), it’s to avoid the pain of the next one. In essence, he fears the pain of another lash. The test is: how many does it take to force him to shout out for mercy? How many can you take?!
Don’t criticize a man who cries out in pain and uses an available escape route. The fact that the man had the courage to take off his shirt and put himself to this public test should be proof enough of his daring. If he comes back for more, that’s further evidence of his personal bravery. It is the man who stands ready to announce the number of lashes he will take, without the easy escape of a safety phrase, and doing it for the world to see, that is truly bold and deserving of respect.