I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking lately. I’ve been thinking about what I want to say with my writing and I think I’ve finally figured it out. Truth be told, it was there all the time. I just had to take a step back to see it.
Manliness. It seems to me that being a man, and I mean a real man, is rapidly becoming a lost art. Young men have no real role models to teach them what it means to truly be a man these days. They know nothing of chivalry. They know nothing of hard work and sacrifice of themselves to provide for their wives and children. Instead they are forced to turn to false role models such as musicians and movie stars to teach them to be men. In their misguided search for manliness, they instead become douchebags who think the way to manliness is racking up a long list of one night stands with women whose names they can’t even recall.
I realize writing for men may be career suicide as the majority of readers these days are women. However I can’t help but think that perhaps men might read more if there were more books out there geared toward them.
This leads me to the big question. What does it mean to be a man? I think I have a pretty good grasp on this. Luckily, I was blessed with a strong male role model in my father who did his best to raise me right. Still, I would love some fedback from you. What does it mean to be a man?
Here’s my list. Toughness, Courage, Chivalry, Selflessness, Compassion, Conviction.
Toughness & Courage: To me, these two go hand in hand. This isn’t to say that to be a man, one should go around picking fights or even being ready to fight at the slightest insult, but knowing when something is worth fighting for and standing up for it. It’s okay to be afraid, as long as you don’t let the fear paralyze you.
Chivalry: A man should never prey on or bully those weaker than himself. Whether it be children, animals, or weaker men. In fact, a real man should feel obliged to protect those weaker than himself. Women should also be treated with chivalry. Not because they are neccessarily weaker but because they are deserving of respect. This means not treating them like they are some sort of conquest to be forgotten about except when bragging in the locker room. To me it is manlier to love one woman with all your heart than to love thousands of women with one small part of you.
Selflessness: This is not to say a man should be subservient to anyone, nor that he should never get his way. He should however be willing to sacrifice what he wants in order to provide for his wife and children. I have nothing but respect for the man who spends his life shoveling shit because it provides for his family.
Compassion: To some, this might seem like more of a female trait but I disagree. Not that women aren’t also compassionate but some men seem to think that because it’s associated with women that it’s somehow unmanly to show compassion. Instead they replace compassion with cruelty in order to show their false manliness. To me, compassion is an important part of chivalry. There is nothing wrong with a man showing he has feelings.
Conviction: This is one of the most important things when it comes to being a man. Stand up for what you believe in. Some day, something might change your thinking. Until that day comes, stand up for yourself and don’t let others silence you or make you feel stupid for your beliefs.
That’s my list so far. Please comment with your definition of a man.
I should add this disclaimer. In no way am I suggesting I have mastered any of these things. They are however, qualities that I aspire to. I know I am particularly deficient in courage and selflessness but I am working on it.