There were two types of American men who entered my youth. The first were the Mormon missionaries who often made the rounds in my small Scottish town. Inviting them in to chat was like having bona fide aliens in your house. The bubbly candor with which they were willing to muse on the meaning of life was a rare treat for a laddie hushed by the emotional air seal of Calvinism. Some years later, on a tour of duty as a roustabout in the North Sea oil fields, I met the second type. On my very first day on the rigs, a stack of oil pipes unraveled, pinning my leg beneath. Tool pusher Bob, my gangly Texan boss, who, I soon learned, was investing the lion's share of his salary in an expedition to locate Noah's ark, ambled over to survey the scene. "Listen, son," he growled, "there's one thing you need to know. I don't want no blood on my deck." By some fluke, no bones were fractured, but Bob's, and the drilling company's, attitude took its steady toll. A year later, I jotted down, as my reason for leaving: "Being here was making me the kind of man I don't want to be." Bob sure got a kick out... More >>>
By photo: Debra Dipaolo
Promise breakers: Susan Faludi goes in search of the origins of male betrayal.