As women, it can be easy to complain about the unrealistic and unfair expectations that women are held to, the fact that chivalry often seems dead, and the fact that we are the ones saddled with the responsibility of being the hosts for new life-forms (and let’s not talk about the part where the aforementioned mini-humans have to exit the host-body…that birth-scene from Twilight might not be so far-fetched). All of that is true, but today I want to look at the other side of the coin.
Men, this one’s for all yall.
With so much focus directed at the challenges women face and the various ways the media and society at large project unfair expectations on them, it seems that we sometimes forget that men have their own set of struggles, they are portrayed in equally ridiculous and demeaning ways by the media (that one might warrant a post of its own, eventually), and they are just as valuable to society as women.
They may not be encouraged to starve themselves to fit into a size 0, but they’re bombarded with images of steroid-inflated men and digitally-enhanced abs and told that THIS is the standard of masculine beauty.
They may not be pressured to be flirtatious and sexy without being slutty, but they’re told that they have to be charming and chivalrous, but also able to seduce any women they want.
They may not be pushed to be equally accomplished academically, professionally, sexually, and domestically, but they are told that they need to climb the professional ladder, cultivate a monumental career, and prove their personal worth by constantly earning and achieving more.
I can’t speak for every single female, but I can tell you that most every girl I know echoes the following sentiments, so listen up gentlemen…
We don’t expect you to have a six-pack, 5% body fat, and 18-inch biceps.
If that’s the way the good Lord made you, then that’s wonderful and I’m sure you’re a very handsome specimen. But the vast majority of us ladies would prefer that you don’t look like the guys on the covers of muscle magazines. In all honesty, a lot of girls will freak out over how “grooooss” it is when guys “look all vein-y.” Fitness and strength are attractive– no one’s going to deny that- but we know that, just like us, you are more than just a body. So if your washboard abs and vascular forearms are the best things you have to offer, you might want to reevaluate your priorities.
Also, please stop shaving your chest hair. Unless there’s some kind of buffalo-fur issue going on, chest hair is a good thing.
And that’s all I’m going to say today about my man-scaping preferences.
We don’t expect you to be perfect. In an ideal world, chivalry would come naturally to all men, but we live in a less-than-ideal world where chivalry tends to be discouraged, ignored, and even rejected. As much as we women may enjoy a man that can charm his way into our hearts (and our bedrooms) in the space of an evening, we know those kinds of guys are like diet Pepsi….deliciously-packaged, quickly habit-forming, and really pretty terrible for our health. When you respect us, it makes us respect you even more.
We don’t expect you to be the ultimate businessman.
…Or lumberjack or lawyer or semi-professional luger, or whatever your chosen career may be, and we don’t expect you to be a multi-millionaire. At the same time, we would appreciate it if you moved out of your parents’ basement before your 30th birthday. Ambition is sexy, success is admirable, and a man who makes his dreams a reality is attractive and inspiring. But what matters more to us is that you know who you are, that you’re solid in your values and your faith, and that you’re willing to work as hard as it takes to get ‘er done.
Bottom line, guys?
We appreciate you.
We know that you have struggles.
We are aware that the way media portrays men is wildly unrealistic…and quite frankly, we think you’re better than that.
We notice when you open the door for us, when you wear aftershave (it’s lady-catnip, I tell you), when you work hard, when you stand up for the underdogs, when you lift heavy things, when you offer us your coat, when you act like a man.
In spite of all the jackholes and womanizers out there, we know that there are also a lot of really good men doing their best to treat women right and be men of character and valor. Even if we don’t say it as much as we should, we notice you and we applaud you.
The world needs more of you.
Now go out and show ‘em how it’s done.