Name: David Cordes
Bio: When this fast-talking yet sincere Fabreville resident isn't selling men's clothes at his retail store in St-Laurent, he's busy sporting the "new masculinity" he's attained through his involvement with the Mankind Project, "an international men's group that provides training, support groups and places where men can fully connect with themselves at all levels: physically, mentally, and spiritually." David says the Mankind Project "is not a cult by definition" but rather "appeals to men with a sense of adventure who want to challenge themselves." He first became involved with the organization three years ago after recognizing that "there were parts of me that were wounded and needed to be healed. And I knew that [the healing process] involved working with men." He drives a 1994 Saturn SL.
How one goes about attaining one's "new masculinity": By forking over between $550 and $750 to attend a New Warrior weekend where men go hang out in the woods with a bunch of other dudes for 48 hours. "Men are invited to participate in a variety of processes and highly experiential exercises that lead them to a place of safety. The weekend is, essentially, a male initiation ritual. All the noise of a man's life, like cell phones and radios, are removed so the man is separated from what he is comfortable with. The man is given the opportunity to take a deep, dark look into himself with the support of the group, and ultimately steps through his fears of going to that place."
Is an introductory 50-man circle-jerk an important part of the initiation process? It could be. "One of the principles of male initiation throughout the world, for thousands of years, is that what we do during the initiation process and ceremony is not discussed."
Is that because people are too ashamed of what happened to them to be able to talk about it? Probably not.
Is sleep deprivation a big part of New Warrior weekend training? "Look, over 30,000 men around the world have done this training and I judge not a single one of them have ever divulged what goes on during the weekend. But I do probably sleep more at home than when I'm on a weekend."
What David says happens to people after attending a New Warrior weekend: "Men experience something absolutely transformational. And when they return to their lives post-weekend, they have a deeper sense of themselves, an awareness of their own accountability and deeper levels of integrity and personal responsibility. For me, it's just wonderful to be part of the transformation of a man opening up and starting to connect with himself."
Is there a Reverend Moon/Grand Poobah kind of character lurking somewhere making zillions off of the "new masculinity"? Apparently not.