Thoughts? Do you agree or disagree?
In the heart of the divorce boom (starting in the ā60s, peaking in the ā70s) a generation of women ended up parenting (mostly) solo, and a generation of boys ended up being raised (mostly) without a positive father figure, if they had one at all.
Maybe it was partially a reaction to āwomenās libā that led men to feel less-than-needed. And maybe it was the grey flannel rebellion, personified by the whining tone of the dissatisfaction of the Playboy Men of the ā50s, that led women to feel fed up enough to stand up and say, āTo hell with this!ā
How far back this winding battle for self-actualization as war-of-the-sexes goes is a question that canāt be answered. But irrefutably, while entirely necessary, the attempt towards a leveling of the playing field has resulted in some serious casualties.
In the absence of a paternal figure, an inadvertent, angry, faux matriarchy emerged; one that was bound by the confines of the walls of the home, because outside of the home all the old rules still applied.
But in the home, woman ruled. Boys (and girls) grew up with women, angry women, women who were (righteously) angry at men, as the alpha and omega of their young lives. The mother became the sole ruler of the world that is childhood.
A generation of men really did fuck up. They left, fucked around, used women and dumped them. Fathers bailed, leaving an abscess as often as an absence.
And the absence of men, of good men, of real men, of responsible men, left a nasty taste not only in the mouths of overwhelmed mothers, but of boys raised in a world of righteously angry women.
This group of boys would grow into men. Men who still had a bad taste in their mouths. A bad taste about men. Which is hard to live with; especially if youāre a man.
For these reasons and more, a generation (or three) of sensitive and careful men have had to struggle to reclaim their man-parts. And the women of that same generation have had to cultivate the ability to trust men who, themselves, donāt trust men.
The struggle goes on.
As women have defined and redefined feminism, femininity, the feminine, men have seemingly struggled to keep their heads above water in the shifting tides of what it means to find equality. Weāve all had to learn that equal does not mean the same, that sharing responsibility and control means both men and women can be strong and vulnerable, and that there are things ā some perhaps genetic, but most almost certainly social conditioning ā that women want, and things that men need to step up to.
Vive la differance!
These desired things have come as a surprise to a generation of women who were raised with slogans like, āA woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycleā batted around. But under the stratum of fear and distrust lies a substrata of desire.
A desire to be desired. A desire to be seduced. A desire to be taken care of. A desire to be matched and met. And, most surprisingly, a desire to be stood up to, while being stood up with and stood up for.
The Lost Art of Strength
Women want strong men. Iām not talking about a man who can bench press their own weight, Iām talking about men who are not afraid to say yes, and not afraid to say no. Iām talking about men who arenāt afraid to take control of the wheel when the boat is drifting off course.
Strength comes in many forms. And the kind of strength a woman is looking for in a man is rarely, if ever, showy or flashy. That sort of display is more often insecurity masquerading as strength. Yet, most women arenāt looking for the āstrong, silent type,ā either.
Thereās a ground between aloof and overbearing. Thatās where most women want to see a man standing. Better yet, itās where she wants to see a man walking toward her from.
Women are tired of men who are scared to be men. Theyāre tired of playing mommy.
When a woman says, āYou decide!ā, sheās most likely not trying to trick a guy. Sheās requesting that he make the decision at hand. Too often men of generations X and Y (and some late boomers) would rather say, āNo honey, itās okay. You decide.ā In many cases this dynamic leads to the woman feeling like she needs to take responsibility for everything, and the man feeling disempowered. So if youāre a man, next time a woman says, āNo, really, you decide!ā just do it.
Once a guy gets the hang of that, he may even graduate to the level of being able to take the reins without first receiving permission.
Thatās the lost art of strength.
The Lost Art of Chivalry
There was a time not long ago that a man opening a door for a woman may have been met with scorn. For most of us, those days are over.
News flash; itās safe to offer to pay the check. Offer to take her coat for her. Offer to walk her to her car ā not to cash in on a kiss, but just to make sure sheās safe. The kiss may just come naturally as an expression of gratitude.
Furthermore, a man shouldnāt feel afraid to protect a womanās honor. Thereās nothing as sexy as a man speaking up to defend a girlās reputation.
Whether itās a stranger, a catty bitch at a party, guy friends, or The Mom whoās speaking ill of the object of a manās desire, he should decide carefully whose side to take. You can bet that the object of admiration will notice when the chivalrous man admiringly corrects someoneās misconceptions about her personality, attributes, or intents. Not only will she notice it, sheāll remember it fondly.
This attitude should not be abandoned once a man is safely ensconced in a relationship. These proper niceties will go a long way in making a woman feel safe, taken care of, adored. And all of these things are likely to lead to a sense of more stability and more freedom of expression and actualization in any relationship.
The gallantry of a fully expressed man is without compare, and that fully expressed masculinity becomes attractive rather than threatening when a woman knows that her man would not only lay his coat over a puddle for her, or raise his voice to defend her, but that heād put his body in front of hers to protect her.
The Lost Art of Romance
There is no study that can prove whether men or women are more romantic, but I know very few women who feel that their man is too romantic. Besides, for most of us, thereās no such thing as too much of a good thing!
A woman is likely to do a million little things a day to take care of her man. They may be things he doesnāt even notice. Sheāll offer subtle romantic gestures like reaching out for his hand when walking side by side. Touching his neck while he drives. Stroking his arm gently while engaged in conversation.
Itās just plain courtesy for a man to offer his lover the same. When he pays attention to her, she notices. If he strokes her, sheās likely to purr.
But itās the larger gestures that make most women melt; a candle-lit bath drawn for her without request. A massage without the expectation of return. A gift offered for no particular reason. A public display of affection. A surprise romantic celebration of a day thatās special to her.
Needless to say, some of these may be scary to try to pull off. But everyone, male and female alike, wants to be treated like the most important thing on earth every once in a while.
We all want to be someoneās everything. More over, we all want the one who is everything to us to show us that we are everything to them.
Thereās more and more being written about the divine masculine and the divine feminine. Thereās been plenty written about the wounded woman. Thereās little to nothing being written about the wounded man.
Itās time for men to claim their wounds, and in claiming them, start healing themselves into wholeness. Iām not your mama, but as a friend let me entreat you to take this advice seriously.
Many women are realizing that they want to be with men who are proud to be men. So guys, stand up, hold your head high, own those man-parts, and walk forward into the equal-but-different future of a world beyond the sex and gender wars.