A frenzied attempt to define manhood in an increasingly complicated society. Journalist Brown panics when his wife, who is never mentioned by name, decides that they are ready to have a child. Blind terror, confusion, and a sense of self-betrayal at the prospect of becoming a father prompt him to research the state of manhood in contemporary America. Brown's desperate need to understand the part of himself that will be lost when he becomes a parent leads him to interview hundreds of men. His subjects range widely—from surfer dudes to Wall Street brokers, from a Tantric men's group leader teaching classes in masturbation to deep-sea fishermen, from pickup artists working in the shadowlands between scoring and date rape to sadomasochistic homosexuals cruising the bars for hot sex while watching their best friends die from AIDS. The variety of Brown's subjects appears staggering on the surface, but one eventually realizes that for all of their bizarre differences, their similarities are more apparent: Virtually all of these men are selfish, territorial, predatory, and incapable of communicating with the women in their lives. Brown has collected a sideshow of extreme stereotypical masculinity that embodies the part of his soul that he fears will be lost when he settles into the responsibilities of fatherhood. In lamentation, at times pretentious, of his ``adventurer, conquering hero'' side, Brown guides us through a definition of manhood that begins somewhere around the porn star and ends somewhere around the cowboy. Man Medium Rare is much more about ``sex, guns and other perversions of masculinity'' than it is about a general notion of what it is to be a man. A trite elegy to the wanton side of Brown's own masculinity as he is dragged kicking and screaming into the adult world of ``shitty diapers,'' committment, and responsibility.
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