It’s not easy being a woman in 2016 in the South. I’d wager it’s not easy being a woman in 2016 anywhere, but since I’ve had my son, I’ve realized that it’s also not easy being a man or growing up as a boy in 2016, either. As the wife of an amazing man and the mother of a sweet little boy, some of the stuff I hear spouted about “what it means to be a man” or “manliness” just make me sick. The men I love are wonderous, and I HATE to see how they respond to the stupidity that is spouted about what they are supposed to be in society.
There are all these expectations on what a man is supposed to say and do and be in order to meet society’s manhood requirements…. An most of it is absolute and complete bullshit. So I’m here to set the record straight. From a normal woman who has exceedingly high requirements for the man I live with and love, from a woman who appreciates a beautiful body and a strong hand to hold. THIS is what I believe a REAL man is supposed to be. Please feel free to add to the list, comment, tell me what you think.
- A Real Man cries. He hurts, he feels, he is sad and happy and scared and angry and HE IS HUMAN. And he doesn’t hide it. Why? Because that’s what his DNA dictates and there’s no shame in being human.
- A Real Man Wears Pink. Or Purple. Or Salmon… Or Glitter… Shit… a Real Man wears whatever the hell he wants (that won’t get him arrested, mind you), because he doesn’t give a shit what you think about his clothes. He is confident in who he is and what he does, so he’s aware that if his sweatpants and pink tee shirt irritate you, that’s totally on you, buddy.
- A Real Man wants his kids happy. He will still teach his kids right from wrong, but if wearing a dress or sparkly shoes brings his son joy, then why not? If his little girl wants to be spiderman for halloween, he goes out and gets her the muscled up full body costume with the mask and teaches her how to do the spiderman wrist flick movement. If this means that his teenager daughter comes home and tells him that she likes girls rather than boys, then he supports her no matter what. Within reason, and with knowledge of what is safe for his kids, he should be there to help them grow into good, loving, honest people. The rest of it is just minutia.
- A Real Man goes to the damn doctor. (Looking at you, my sweet husband). Going back to that whole human DNA thing, you can get sick, and if you get sick, you don’t just sit there, being all sick, you go get meds and you feel better. Spock logic… sick = doctor = meds = *Poof* BETTER! (Sorry…. went off on a rant. Husband has had a cold recently. Colds suck.)
- A Real Man helps his spouse around the house. Folding little pink barbie panties for his 4 year old daughter to put in her dresser? Not below him. Putting stockings and bras in the lingerie bag before tossing it into the washer? Totally worth it considering it keeps that bra pretty and the tights useable. Those things cost $$! (I love you for doing this, babe. Seriously… there are weeks where the only reason I don’t leave the house naked is cause my husband is so incredible and the world thanks you, babe).
- A Real Man understands that he doesn’t always have to bring home the bacon all the time, or even most of the bacon, or even bacon seeds. This is 2016. Women work. There are great families where men stay home with the children. Honestly, some of us women just weren’t built for that (in our house, the risk of homicide goes up with over exposure to evil minion children when there is a headache and no coffee). And some men are more patient and enjoy that stuff (~shudder~).
And for those men that were working, but lost their jobs, that’s okay too! The economy is dragging itself off of the floor and trying to slap glittery bandaids over gaping, bleeding stab wounds. Lots of men lost their jobs or were demoted, or just paid less. And lots of women were kept on because, let’s be honest, they pay us less for more work so they were able to afford to keep us on payroll. And sometimes that means momma had the job and daddy didn’t. Sometimes that means that the wife made more than the husband. And THAT’S OKAY! Why? Because it all goes into the same pot at the end of the day! A Real Man doesn’t care who brings it home, so long as it works. He just wants to make sure his family is happy. And let’s be honest, staying home with the kids, or working and and going to school is hard work!
- A Real Man stands BESIDE his spouse, not in front, and not behind. He is on equal ground, and treats her or him as such. They make decisions together, and raise the children together and work side by side and laugh side by side. He knows it’s not a competition to be better, smarter, faster, wealthier (unless playing Settlers of Catan… then all bets are off and the man is going down).
- A Real Man knows the people he loveswill hit a wall and he can be there to pick them up and hold them while they shatter. But he also recognizes that his loved ones will do the same for him and is willing and able to let them be there for him.
- A Real Man understands that spending time with his family is infinitely more important and valuable than buying them things. So having a lower paying job with more down time with the kids is soooo much better than the higher paying job where you are gone all the time. Your daughter may not remember that you bought her every Disney Princess doll, but she sure as hell WILL remember that you played with her and her friends in the backyard doing an epic pool noodle light saber battle. Your time is more valuable than all the money in the world.
- A Real Man believes in whatever he believes, and he stands by it. Whether it’s Jesus, Odin, Buddha, or no God at all. Real Men have reasons for their beliefs and are firm in those beliefs. They don’t follow the herd like lemmings off the cliff. They FEEL their beliefs and trust them and don’t have to advertise or share them with others or force them on anyone to have them.
- A Real Man understands you have your own beliefs and is cool with that. He’s not there to change your faith or make you see how wrong you are. He’s there to experience who you are as you are.
- A Real Man loves. Whoever the hell he loves. Without getting permission first. And he loves unconditionally and without judgement. He doesn’t care if you gain weight or lose it. He doesn’t care if your hair turns grey or you are tired. He gets that you are human and will change over time and loves you anyways. And he’s good with his own changes. People change in life, all people, men and women alike. The open acceptance of those changes make love last and make relationships happy. Acceptance of those changes matter more than the desire to have the perfect spouse.
- Real Men are responsible for themselves and their children. They don’t let that responsibility lapse with time or distance. He takes his responsibilities seriously because these men are adults and being an adult sometimes requires adulting, no matter how much it might suck.
Real Men are Real. They don’t give a shit about what society says about how they look, or how they talk, or where they work, or IF they work. They accept who they are. So your judgment of the brand of jeans they wear or how they do their hair or whether they are tall enough or macho enough or whatever bullshit that society is spouting today about what a man should be, none of that matters to them. And this is why we love them.
Thank GOD for Real Men.