Yesterday we discussed the idea of when a Girl becomes a Woman and that discussion leads us into today where we try to answer when a “boy” becomes a “man” and, in my experience, there are three areas where tests are applied to make the difference clear:
In certain cultures due to religious beliefs or work that must be done, boys become men as young as 12 and 13 with responsibilities to the community and in jobs that advance the culture and understanding. They may not be encouraged to marry at that age but they are given greater “adult” responsibility in the tribe and the family. Many consider that transition the mark of a man.
Growing up in Nebraska it was generally considered among boys you became a man when you had your first ejaculation — either alone or with someone; but usually alone and during the night — because you had the power to help create life and that ability, even if not maturely accepted or verified by the outside world, meant you were a man because you could have a blood commitment to protect someone you brought into the world.
Reaching legal age where you can sign a contract is also, for many, the bright line transition from Boyhood into Manhood. You are held socially responsible for your overt acts and if you misbehave you will no longer be considered a child — your punishment will find you in an adult circumstance.