Our Forgotten Men – By Sandra G.

By Guest Blogger: SANDRA GLUSCHANKOFF — Argentinian (read bio)

One, two, five… ten. One.

That was the number of homeless men I counted while I strolled two blocks down a very quaint little town in the Central Coast of California.

Ten men and one woman.

The ages? Very hard to guess.

Under the many layers of clothing they wore, and behind the deep creases in their skin left by the incessant beating of the sun, these men could’ve been anywhere between their twenties and forties.

This is not the first time I have encountered homeless people in my life.

I come from a country where hobos are an institution. It is a tough pill to swallow because down there, a huge number of these beggars are children. Unlike the adults we are used to seeing begging on the streets wearing everything they own, these children are barely dressed. Their feet are blistered from their constant barefoot walking on the rough pavement and their faces smeared with dirt from their precarious living conditions.

However, one amazing detail stands out. Even though they are on the streets of Argentina, these young vagabonds are never left alone. Their parents are only a few steps away from them, watching. I personally don’t think they watch after the safety of their children. Their presence is a close watch on the money these little ones collect, making sure that not one cent goes unaccounted for.

Kudos to America for not letting us see this painful and realistic picture of true poverty, but the one common visual to us is that of single people wandering the streets.

Our government makes sure that children are protected, abused women are protected, mothers with children are protected, and families are protected. To round this up, there is a new national strategic plan where our President vows to eradicate homelessness among our veterans by 2015.

But, what about single men? At what point did our system stop protecting them and let them fall through the cracks?

Out of all single homeless adults, 80% are men. Out of all homeless people, adults and children, 65% are single men. These numbers reflecting the percentage of homeless single adults are ridiculous. There has to be more to it than what the stats tell us.

So, I refused to be satisfied with the statistics and just drop the subject. I researched and discovered that the most known reasons for homelessness are mental illness, substance abuse, unemployment, and physical abuse.

But what makes single men the highest rated in homelessness? Are single men more prone to addiction, mental illness, or unemployment? Is it the male figure of a warrior or a hunter that makes it acceptable for men to have to confront the roughness of living out in the open, unprotected?

After some heavy thinking, my theory took me for once to let the government partially off the hook and put some of the blame on us, members of society.

My first thought. Who is more inclined to stop a car on the side of a road and ask for directions? The response came to me without hesitation: a woman.

I asked myself a second question. Who is more prone to ask for help in a time of need? Then again, the answer came to me: a woman.

Men don’t want to be perceived as weak. There is a common saying in this country: “as helpless as a woman.” For some men, the mere thought of having to ask for help and falling into the “helpless” category would go against the master plan they have created for themselves, a plan they created when they realized their anatomy could not allow them to go through the pain of childbirth. Then, another pain should be imposed onto men, the pain of being a super-hero.

The role of men in society was defined centuries ago as the nucleus breadwinners of the family institution. The inability of men to provide for their families or even for themselves, disqualifies them as society worthy.

The choices they have are scarce.

They could be supported by their women, an idea that is abhorred by most men. They could ask for help, which in some men’s mentality is a symptom of emasculation. Or they could just leave.

Leave. Unfortunately that option seems the most popular amongst the men who fail in fulfilling the unrealistic stereotype they draw to themselves. I will also blame women, and particularly mothers, for re-enforcing this notorious stereotype.

Having a son has been, historically, one of the most precious trophies a woman could display. Beyond perpetuating the family name for generations to come, the addition of a male to a family served as a security blanket in the event the head of the household, call it the King, laird, or just the man, would perish. The women in the house would look protected to the outside world just by the symbolic presence of a phallus. Good or bad, it didn’t really matter, but a phallus in the end.

Not much has changed for many women who consider the raising of sons as the rearing of protectors.

To the detriment of some men, when they reach adulthood and fail to walk the path that was laid out for them, they take a different one and disappear into the unforgiving anonymity of homelessness.

I believe this social phenomenon to be responsible for countless broken households. In many cases, women rather stay on their own raising children with the help of welfare, instead of having a male figure in the house that does not fill the mold of breadwinner.

Where would an unemployed male, rejected by his family and unable to fill the men’s shoes go?

The streets.

The end result is part of an utter detachment from society. By being repelled as men, the warrior leaves behind his weapons and with them all the responsibilities that once where imposed on them. No more bills to pay, no more jobs to attend, no more excruciating demands to meet.

Then we see them wandering under the many layers that hide what once was the promise of a man. We walk past them and they shrink in the shadows with the hopes of being forgotten.

Forgotten…and free at last.

66 Responses to “Our Forgotten Men – By Sandra G.”

  1. frummytheclown says:

    Sandra G. You are Queen Bee. I sent three copies of this article to my wife. Frummy

  2. BlogFan says:

    Interesting article, but homeless men don’t have to worry about being raped. I would have liked to hear about the homeless women and children often raped and beaten on the streets of big cities.

  3. BDC says:

    hogwash. how does obama plan to get rid of homelessness among veterans by 2015? the man doesn’ t have a clue about anything. the good thing is that in 2012 he will soon know what homeless is. loser.

  4. Timothy S. says:

    Sandra, not all homeless people are crazy, drug addicts and unemployed. Most of us are just a paycheck a way from a home on the streets.

  5. heyward says:

    what about the homeless vets?

  6. jaqui says:

    en ciertos aspectos coincido con la optica, pero bajo mi punto de vista, este fenomeno viene de mucho ntes de que las mujeres pudieran autoabastecer las necesidades primarias de su familia, detras e todo esto toda la sociedad es culpable, ya que dejamos que quienes nos gobiernan, tomen unicamente decisiones politicas, y no humanitarias, cuando una person, llena una solicitud de trabajo, y pone su edad, si es mqyor de 5o, ya es muy viejo, y si tiene 2o es falto de experiencia, mi querida amiga, nosotros como interesados debemos tratar de cambiar lo que ya esta establecido, esta en la s manos de cada uno de nosotros hacer una sociedad mejor, me encanta leer tus o[iniones sos muy inteligente .

    • Jaqui says:


      In certain aspects, I agree with your view, but under my viewpoint, this is a phenomenon that’s been happening long before women were able to fend for themselves and their families. Behind all of this, society is guilty, because we let the ones that reign; take in account only political decisions and not humanitarian ones. When a person fills out an application for employment and states their age, if they are older than 50, they are too old, and if they are 20, they don’t have enough experience. My dear friend, we are the interested parties and we must change what’s already established. It’s in our hands to better our society. I love reading your opinions, you are very smart.

  7. superduper says:

    Great article. I have been tempted to split many times but I’m afraid to end up on the streets, but it don’t mean I don’t think about it.

  8. Trevor says:

    I volunteer at the homeless shelters and unfortunately the stories are much worst than what you describe in your blog. Also, many of the homeless men are vets that can’t cope and decide to shrink in the shadows with the hopes of being forgotten. It’s ashame what America has done to our vets and how we have forgotten our heroes.

  9. carlos1962 says:

    You been to Tijuana, beggars vagabondes every where not only Argentina. Even here in America are vagabonds.

  10. Scott D. says:

    homelessness is more about economics $ then anything else, not about ego or a man’s di*k. okay post except for that statement.

    • Sandra G. says:

      Dear Scott D.;
      Thanks for your feedback. We agree on that point, the one about economics, which is mentioned in the article. Here’s the segment where it is implicitly quoted.

      “The role of men in society was defined centuries ago as the nucleus breadwinners of the family institution. The inability of men to provide for their families or even for themselves, disqualifies them as society worthy.”

  11. McVaigh says:

    Other countries have homeless but this is America the greatest country in the world. We shouldn’t have this problem if we truly are the greatest. Chronic homelessness in the downtown area of every major American city is America’s big shame.

  12. boomboom says:

    I love this blog. I’m glad you take on some of the social issues and write so passionately about them. Good job Sandra!

  13. zwing says:

    It just breaks my heart when I see anyone homeless, we should all volunteer at shelters and do what we can to brighten their day.

  14. Sandra Lord: Co-Founder of this Blog says:

    Sandra G., it would’ve been easy for you as a woman to write about an equally troubling problem – homeless women. However, you wrote about homeless men and I commend you for not going the obvious route, because that is an issue not often addressed. Men, women, children and sometimes entire families call the streets “home” and it’s a shame in this beautiful country. It’s even worse when vets end up on the street. In fact, the term “homeless vets” should not even exist, considering what these men and women give up to allow us to have the freedoms we hold so dearly. I believe our government has many programs in place to help vets, but maybe not enough, because I don’t understand how some fall through the cracks, to the extent that they become homeless. Also, you talked about the role of men in the household and how some of these men, unable to fulfill their duties, opt out of society, ending up on the streets, and single men often are too proud to ask for help and they, too, end up homeless. While all these explanations are true, I believe that the most common denominator and most pressing factor in the issue of homelessness for both men and women – single or married – is money…the inability to financially make ends meet.

  15. Minalga92.UK says:

    Wonderful blog! I really love how you combined the proverbial
    “men think with their penises” into the whole article. :-) That was clever. Congratulations on a neat piece.

  16. get over your ex says:

    This can be one of the most important post I ever studied today, I’m talking about this component of your article “… little town in the Central Coast of California.Ten men and one woman.The ages… Very hard to guess.Under the …” it also made me recall about the day I ran into my husband.

  17. ledzeplin33k says:

    Thanks for sharing this informations.

  18. Domenico says:

    I agree, very well done. Im not a vet but was homeless for one year in 2001. People treated me like dirt, in some ways was the best time in my life. Thank you. I’m working and doing better now but I never forget. Thank you.

  19. cymbalta says:

    had me at the begginning, lost me at the end.

  20. Sexy@900Speir says:

    Thanks for making the effort to make clear the homeless stastistics in this website!

  21. Josie says:

    Sandra thanks for championing the cause of the homeless vets. I feel it even more today, and I will be sending it to my brother in Iraq and my cousin in Korea. I pray they never end up homeless.

    • Sandra G. says:

      Dear Josie;
      Thank you for your comment. I have deep respect for the men and women that serve our country putting their lives on the protecting ours. As a society we should do the same thing for them at home. We should be as loud as possible and never let any of our veterans be homeless. No matter their mental or physical state when they come back home. Being loved and accepted by the country they fight for is the best road to healing both mentally and physically. Allowing them to go homeless is the worst form of disrespect to show a hero.

  22. support our troops says:

    thank you for remembering our homeless vet, this is a great shout to our vets on this special day.

  23. brad glad says:

    happy vetran’s day y’all.

  24. Ron Tedwater says:

    Great work keep it coming

  25. Julius H. says:

    I’m just a teenager in highschool but i know im an alcoholic… been having alot of issues with friends, in one instance it was even over me being an “alcoholic”… i drink anything i can find as my parents dont drink so there is rarly any around- alcoholism runs through both sides of my family including my dad which is why he no longer drinks at all… i drink any and everything i can and its almost always alone.. i just dont see the issue with it…. leaving myself sober and open minded alone on a friday night is much more detremental to myself… i wouldnt be doing anything anyways but making myself depressed…alcohol is an escape from my severe anxiety

    • Sandra G. says:

      Dear Julius;
      (I will talk to you as I would talk to my teenage sons).
      You just took a giant step by reaching out! I’m proud of you. You are clear about what your problem is. The issue here is, why perpetuate a situation that is clearly leaving you alone and misserable? You are not a baby anymore and you know the difference between Alcohol or any other substance will only drown you. It is obvious you don’t want that. There are better ways to make a name for yourself other than being remembered as the “drunk”. For starters, put down that bottle and talk to your parents, they’ve been through it, and believe it or not they have the answers you so desperately need. Then, fill up that hollow feeling with something creative or nature related. You’d be surprised how many opportunities await you outside of your self imposed box. But, don’t go through it alone. Just like you did in our blog, don’t hide, reach out!!!
      Stay in touch.

  26. amazingbeacon301 says:

    Well said there!!!

  27. fedorah says:

    Sandra I just love this blog, everything about it especially your post. Congratulations on good research too, and for supporting our vets.

  28. F. Sheler says:

    I agree with everything but we should not pass by the homeless as if they do not exist. Your statistics are correct and any time anyone can be homeless at any time. We have to think about that as we celebrate this Holiday Season. Thank You.

  29. blueblood queen says:

    I am writing a paper on homeless for my anthropology class. Thanks for an idea, you sparked a thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet about the roll of the male in society. I should get an A. :-)

    • Sandra G. says:

      Dear Blueblood Queen:

      Anthropology was one of my two majors in school, so I’m very glad to be of help.
      Let me know how it goes.

  30. anna says:

    I like this very much. “J’aime beaucoup” like we says in French.

  31. Bill D says:

    don’t make me puke. our president is not doing one thing to help the vets, he don’t even salute the troops.

  32. chinaview says:

    I like your post, and for drawing attention to the homeless situation. Lets do what we can to help feed and clothe the homeless on thanksgiving.

  33. Sebastian Benyard says:

    A new war on poverty has begun. Be on the front line. Join http://ask-god.me and Helping Hand Mission of The Order of Friends in prviding hope to the poor, sick, old, and dying. A small donation goes a very long way.

  34. remode25 says:

    In these times when so many Americans are living at the poverty line we need to focus more on poverty and homelessness here than in foreign countries.

  35. linda.lemmetty says:

    Every one of us will certainly come across at the very least one homeless person in our lifetime which appeals to all of us in our consceince or some other way.

  36. Dejonge321 says:

    Good post.very relevant at this time of year.

  37. therapydoc says:

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!

  38. Steinmeiz says:

    happt turkey day

  39. RuthlessHoney says:

    What are the statistics for 2010?

  40. opengl4 says:

    sandra very special post this time.

  41. anesthetist says:

    Do you people have a facebook fan page? I looked for one but could not discover one, I would really like to become a fan!

  42. Correra78 says:

    I really liked your article.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

  43. CNA says:

    If you are open to having a guest blog poster please reply and let me know. I will provide you with unique content for your blog, thanks.

  44. Ducati Exhaust says:

    Hmmm thanks for yet another somber and interesting post. Where do you find your inspiration for all this :|?

  45. Yuriko says:

    so whats this thing about vets here? everybody know s homeless is drunk all the time, drug addicts!

  46. Hank B. says:

    Cool post! I don’t know why Google doesn’t make it easier to find this kind of stuff…. Keep it coming though!

  47. Herman Szwaja says:

    we know the problem what are your solutions?

  48. Y.B. says:

    Good blog with some useful information, but I disagree about the whole shebang about mens roles and women, didn’t work with the rest of the blog. I will be back though.

  49. medico says:

    Thank you for writing about homeless in America. Oprah and all those shallow celebrities jump all over the world trying to save the poor in those countries that don’t give a dam about Americans while we have homeless by the millions in this country.

  50. priscillap says:

    this post makes me want to drink alchoholic beverages

  51. befudge says:

    Great post. Your compassion shines through your writing. I love your posts and you passion.

  52. Jimmy A says:

    obama is enuff to drive everyone homeless. more vets on the street after iraq and afganistan.

  53. rsfiles says:

    have a nice day sandra g

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