I’ve written a few posts to celebrate women, so I thought it was time for another post celebrating men. Did you know that November 19th is the International Men’s Day? I found out too late, but I’ll let this piece count towards that.
For this post, I got together with a group of my single, female friends and asked them what they admire in men. While we certainly appreciate the benefits that women’s lib won for our generation of women, we also find that we quite enjoy men. Here are twelve manly qualities we can write home about:
Courage/Boldness: we all seemed to think that this is the essence of a man. When a man acts boldly in the face of uncertainty, like approaching a woman whose feelings he is not sure of, or risking difficult conversations even with the possibility of losing relationship in the process, we fairly want to give him a standing ovation.
Gentleness: the dictionary defines this as a deliberate kindness in dealing with others. Not severe, harsh, cruel, rough or violent. Gentleness is one of the qualities we most treasure in men. We see it, for example, in a father playing with his children. He must be gentle in order not to hurt them; he must constrain his strength.
Action: men are about fixing things; they quickly look for solutions to problems. We appreciate this about them because it actually gets things done. Although sometimes all the lady wants is a sympathetic ear.
Brawn: hallelujah! We are thankful that men are generally strong enough to lift and carry heavier things than we can. So helpful! The last time I moved, a female friend and I were lugging a queen mattress between us, trying to get it into the truck. A male friend who was helping us move came to the rescue with the words, “Here, let me take that.” He lifted the thing above his head as though it weighed just a few pounds, and had it neatly stacked in the back of the truck in no time at all. OK, then.
Steadiness, Stability: now, my friends and I agree that there’s something about being in the presence of manliness that just makes us feel safe and protected. Men have this uncanny ability to remain unperturbed in crises, and to give reassurance. A man’s steady presence comforts and gives the sense that everything will work out just fine, even if he can’t do anything to change the current situation.
Leadership: we love it when men rise to the occasion and show leadership, assessing what’s important in the given situation and communicating direction. We find confidence that is tempered by kindness very attractive.
Attentiveness (a.k.a. Gentlemanliness): we know we’re living in post-feminist times; however, we are of the mind that gentlemanliness will never grow old or become obsolete. Some women may not like manly attentiveness, but we do! We enjoy it when men are intentional about getting doors for us, pulling out chairs, helping us into our coats, offering to help with heavy loads. Thank you, men!
I strive to verbally appreciate attentiveness and not take it for granted. I’ll thank my future husband ten times a day, if that’s how many times he holds a door for me.
Male Bonding: men, when you hang out with “the boys,” we notice that a completely different side of you comes out. We enjoy watching that: the humor, camaraderie, competitiveness, and your working side-by-side. It’s so different from the way women bond, and it’s wonderful.
Vulnerability: one of my friends got a letter from her dad when she went off to college. It read, in part, “I know I haven’t been a good father, but I’m trying to change.” Her dad went on to acknowledge specific shortcomings and list ways in which he would change. How beautiful is that? Glimpses of the tenderness behind the armor deeply touch us.
Speaking Affirmation: there’s something about the sound of a man’s voice that can grab hold of you and make you pay attention. When men speak affirming words, they burrow deep into the soul and make a person blossom. No wonder children are so deeply affected by their fathers! Fathers communicate identity–either positive or negative. It’s a wonderful thing when a man uses the strength of his voice to build others up.
Provision: men delight in providing, whether they have families or not. Provision goes far beyond “bringing home the bacon.” As single women, we have experienced this when our male friends have, for instance, checked that our cars are running as they should, or that our apartments or houses are secure enough.
Male Perspective: it’s no secret that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Still, the consensus in our girl-talk session was that we are grateful for the male point-of-view. Case in point: a few years back I was in an emotionally unhealthy relationship. I kept overlooking the red flags. My good friend William, after observing things for a while, stepped in with sage advice: “Forget that dude. He doesn’t value you, and he’s wasting your time.” That helped get me out of a rough situation.
My friends and I have had the pleasure of knowing men that embody these wonderful qualities, and we are better for it. We love you, men! You delight our hearts (most of the time).