A Great Post from a woman’s heart – By my friend Ashley McIlwain at Foundation Restoration
I sat down at my pool hoping to catch a few rays, but more importantly, to snag some relaxation. As I cozied into an open lawn chair prepared to attempt a mental vacation, my “trip” was interrupted by a group of middle aged guys talking. They weren’t far from me, and considering they were speaking quite loudly, I couldn’t just tune out what they were saying. This was unfortunate because what they had to say was disconcerting.
“Man, you should have been there Saturday night. There were so many hot chicks. They were bangin’ hot.”
“Oh yeah? I was at a party the other night, and boy, there was plenty to feast your eyes on.”
This conversation continued for the next fifteen minutes or so while I sat there painfully listening to them talking about women like there were selections at the local meat counter. Speckled with vulgar details of their “manly” outings, they seemed unaware that there was a lady sitting just feet from them. I began to grow more and more uncomfortable with the conversation and eventually opted to quickly slip my towel around me and head back to my place for sanctuary and a debriefing.
Sadly, I know these types of conversations occur everywhere every day. Our culture’s definition of what it means to be a man is unbelievably off-kilter. Every day I look at my husband and admire him more and more for his understanding of what true manliness looks like. Men everywhere are getting it wrong. They are missing out on what is truly attractive, endearing, and desirable to a woman.
Perhaps not all women share my viewpoint on this matter, but I am pretty sure a good majority will be shouting amen to what I’m about to share. Men, we need just that … men! More men who refuse to conform to what society says is manly and who choose to be strong, bold leaders.
Below is a list of things I wish men knew we women are actually look for. Things that are truly attractive and what we consider to be manly.
- No Meathead Zone – The narcissistic meat head who cares only of sports and his physique is not attractive. Look, it’s great to be healthy and take care of yourself. I’m all for that. Also, I love sports and think it’s wonderful to be interested and engaged in them. The problem comes when these things take over. Most women will be more than accommodating when it comes to you caring for your physique and watching sports, but honestly, you don’t need to watch the Sportcenter highlights 15 times a night. Pick your teams and your programming, and remember that there’s a life outside of sports and the gym. Would you want to have to watch ballets, ice skating, gymnastics, operas, and/or go shopping 24/7 (cliché I know, but I’m trying to make a point)? I didn’t think so. Most of you have way more depth, intelligence, and interest to you, so don’t sell yourselves short by being one dimensional and stereotypical. Don’t miss out on the life in front of you because you’re so caught up in … well … you!
- Meat Counter Mentality – There are few things as unattractive as a guy that talks about women like they are pieces of meat. Granted, there are way too many women out there dressing like they’re pieces of meat (that’s a whole other issue), but that’s not an excuse to look at or let alone talk about them like they are. What if that was your mom, sister, daughter, or wife being looked at and discussed like that? Women aren’t objects; they are people, so start treating them accordingly!
- Macho Means Being Insensitive – Who ever came up with the idea that macho men never feel, empathize, or care needs to check his man card. There is nothing more macho or attractive than a man that is manly enough to be sensitive, to care, and to empathize. Real men have emotions and embrace them. I’m not saying you need to cry like a baby at everything, but a man that can hurt for his hurting wife or show compassion to a person in need, that is a real man. Emotions and sensitivity aren’t the enemy; they are what make you human (and enticing). If you want to be macho, take off the cool shades and get real. Roll up your sleeves and get in the emotional trenches.
- Pornography Comes With the Territory – I am tired of hearing that looking at scantily clad or naked women, pictures of women, or pornographic movies of women is “normal.” That it’s somehow hard-wired into the basic “needs” of every male. Bull! Not only does pornography create an unrealistic fantasy world, but it teaches men to objectify women instead of seeing them as human (which has correlated with acts of violence against women). Furthermore, research shows that viewing pornography has a similar destructive and addictive effect on your brain as that of cocaine usage. You read that right; pornography is dangerous! It can also lead to sexual dysfunction, and to top it off, it makes women feel insecure and horrible about themselves. Real men choose real intimacy with their wives. There’s no substitute for it, and there’s no excuse for pornographic exploits.
- Wives Are Balls & Chains – I’m not sure why men would even bother getting married if they truly felt that the woman they were marrying was a “ball and chain.” Talking poorly about her, neglecting her, and not protecting your wife is not only unattractive but it’s a waste. You have hand-selected your wife, and now you’re going to treat her like unwanted baggage? Real men know their wife is a treasure and cherish, protect, and love her.
- Success = Money & Status – There is a lot of pressure on men to provide for their families. I get that. No doubt career is important, but success is not measured by your status at your company or how much money you have. Those things only go so far, and they are not satisfying. True success is in the adoring wife and kids. Success is measured in hugs and kisses, laughter and memories, birthdays and anniversaries, a wife who feels loved, and kids that have a relationship with their dad. At the end of the road, you will never wish you had more money or spent more time at work. Sounds cliché, but it’s true. The greatest investment you can make is in your marriage and your family, and there is nothing more manly and attractive than a family man.
- Chivalry is Dead – Supposedly chivalry is dead and old-fashioned. Nonsense. One of my favorite things about my husband is that he always opens my car door. It’s not that I can’t, but it’s a sign of respect. It’s a small gesture, but it means so much to me that, rain or shine, he is right there rushing to open my door for me. Not only does it make me feel special, but it demonstrates that he wants to care for and protect me in even the smallest of ways. Men, chivalry is attractive and sweet, so don’t let it die or slip into oblivion.
I look around, and I see a scary trend in the definition of manhood. Men are praised for sleeping around, objectifying women, and neglecting their responsibilities. They are encouraged to be reckless in what they look at, how they treat women, how they live their life, and what they choose to invest in. They are told real men do chest bumps and grunt while toting around a beer in their hand like some tawdry commercial.
Men, that’s not what we find attractive. That’s not what we’re looking for. That’s not the man we want to marry. That’s not the man God has called you to be and delights in. Sure, we want you to enjoy your sports and be manly, but don’t forget what manly looks like. Any guy can be that stereotypical “player” who is selfish and goes with the flow “sowing his seeds” along the way. A real man? A real man is what every woman wants.
A real man is being a leader in your community and home, protecting your family, loving your wife. Choosing family nights and date nights over guy’s night (not that you can never go on those though). Keeping your eyes locked on your wife and not on someone else’s. Being pure and strong, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. Protecting your wife and kids in every way. Not being afraid to be romantic and sensitive. Being a man of integrity who chooses what’s right even when it’s hard and no one’s looking. A man who is more concerned with what God thinks of him above all else. A man who leads yet serves. A real man is countercultural, and that is as attractive and manly as it gets!
What I wish men knew was that being a gentleman – a kind, strong, thoughtful, earnest, romantic, God-fearing, God-loving, noble, and trustworthy man of sound judgment – is not only what women are desperately looking for, but they are what our society desperately needs!