I Like Men…

Like them, appreciate them, adore them for their ability to wade in there and … fix stuff. I like them for all those qualities and more, although sometimes they exasperate me, and I have been exposed to slightly more than my statistical fair share of total male fahrk-quads. Twenty years in the military will do that to you. At best, it’s an 85% plus male-dominated profession, and one is guaranteed to observe them in their masculine glory and also at their absolute piggish worst. But on the whole, I like men when they shoulder responsibility, when they are stand-up great co-workers, when they are good in bed and fantastic with amusing children, when they come to your physical and emotional rescue – which they will do – and when they give those perfectly thoughtful and slightly skewed gifts. From one long-time Significant Other, I got a birthday-Christmas present of two pallets of bricks. Yes, but it was what I really-oh-truly-oh-really wanted and I had said so. Dad once gave me a metal tool-box as a Christmas present, for pretty much the same reason.

I am unutterably saddened to read things like this post and the long trail of comments – about the continued and long-term demeaning of men in things as un-inconsequential as television commercials and stupid situation comedies. Over time – this all adds up, and to nothing good at all. I am also unutterably saddened to read about the constant bashing of the males of our species in any theatre you want to name … even the personal, when my S-I-L denigrates her husband on Facebook. That is my brother she is casually disparaging, who is a good and responsible father … but alas, if I am reading the zeitgeist aright, this is something that happens all too often. I have often described myself as a small-f feminist. Look, by this I meant that one should have the same pay for the same work, the same educational opportunities that your interests and intelligence warranted, the same opportunities to be hired for any work that education and experience qualifies you for, and to sort out your home and child-rearing responsibilities in any way that works for you; nothing less, nothing more. Really – at this point in time it is probably self-evident that no matter what the job is, there is probably a woman somewhere who is well-qualified to do it, with the exception of being a sperm-donor. The personal is not political, and no, it’s not even interesting to the rest of us. If your job pays great and you love it, while your significant other wants to cook gourmet meals, home-school the kidlets and keep the household ticking away like the proverbial well-oiled machine, well then – just go and do it, stop boring me with the details, and for heaven’s sake, stop whining. I’m not interested in the rationale for other people’s choices … and how all this got to be an excuse for male-bashing, I just do not understand.

But it’s been going on for simply ages and I am sick and tired of it. I started being sensitive as a parent to the subtle undermining of parental authority and male-bashing, back about the time that my daughter was ten or so, and returned to the US to encounter network television in it’s sordid glory. Yes, thank you for telling kids that they are intuitively wise, tolerant and understanding of all situations and parents are ignorant, bigoted dufuses, who can be safely and profitably ignored. “A little child shall lead them” is a Bible verse, not a strategy for raising kids. That kind of krep does long-term damage.

And men – real, manly men – our other half of the world, our partners, lovers and friends; they deserve better than the unsubtle knocks they get from the media world lately. I hate to earn the reputation as a nickel-plated b***ch … oh, wait – I already have that … but I don’t intend to let the next few examples of man-bashing that I see go past without comment. Now, let’s just see how tactfully I can get through to my S-I-L…I guess that a couple of bashes with a hockey-stick won’t do the trick, eh?

21 thoughts on “I Like Men…”

  1. This is a good post, thanks for sharing.

    I agree by the way – I think todays men aren’t manly enough and I think they have been brow beaten by media and other things. Good thing I have never cared about any of that.

    I hear it all the time from women at bars, sales meetings and the like.

    I am married and everyone knows it, yet the last ten years or so have been easily the best for me as far as mingling with the opposite sex (always OK to look at the menu, just can’t order is my philosophy).

    Time and time again they say that I am confident and act like a man should act – I guess women are saying that the men that are courting them are, for lack of a better word, pussies. Maybe I should have said wussies. Sorry.

    There seems to be a big market out there for women who want real men.

    Anyways, just my little anecdotal observations.

  2. I have been married twice and have five kids. I have been in a 25 year relationship with a woman who seems to want me around but who I do not understand. My first wife I understood and my second wife was crazy. I still do not know if my youngest daughter knows that her mother and I are not married. If that is not a short history of the 20th century, I don’t know what is. I once insisted on family therapy when my youngest daughter was having anxiety attacks and trouble in school. The therapist could hardly believe that my “partner” and I were not married. She would say “Are you sure you have never been married ?” I might add that I have paid for everything for 40 years, including four and a half college educations. The youngest has a year to go and checks on my health frequently. She has been deputized by her sisters to check up on me. She obviously has the best reason. I have to give her credit; When I had a stroke last September, she was there and recognized what was happening immediately. She is pretty much self supporting and a great kid. She works as a waitress and I pay her tuition. She handles the rest although, when the “Ethiopian diet”get too much I send her a few bucks. She loves France and plans to live there. Maybe she will have room for me in a closet.

  3. There is a lot of confusion and perverse incentives. Women have more economic opportunity and higher incomes than they used to but they still want to marry (or mate) up, which means the pool of men they will consider shrinks, which they tend to rationalize by complaining about men. Feminist ideology exacerbates this problem by teaching women to blame or avoid men, rather than to act like adults by relaxing their requirements and dating nice guys who may lack some of the financial or social standing of the high-status men they have been unsuccessfully pursuing. The legal system is stacked against men, which makes many men cautious about commitment. Married women can get away with being unkind to their husbands because in the event of divorce the husband is likely to lose access to his kids as well as substantial assets. Popular culture takes its cues from the feminist Left and denigrates men and parents at every turn. So I’m not sure that men have changed. It may be that they are merely responding rationally to changes in female behavior, and to legal traps for behaving like an old-fashioned confident man. It could be that things will get bad enough for enough people that there will eventually be a cultural shift that restores some of the social status of ordinary men but who knows.

    As far as I can tell the pickup-artist bloggers are far ahead of everyone else in analyzing these issues.

  4. Dan – years ago when I was in Germany – courtesy of the Army – I had a German friend who worked in the photo lab – said that his wife would tell him, “ You can get your appetite anywhere as long as you come home to eat

    On metro-sexual males – Rush calls them the “New Castrati”

    On what women find appealing in men – I think half of your appeal is the “un-obtanium” factor. It’s like having the head hunters call you when you already have a job – don’t have a job and you pound the pavement for months –

    I have had one long term relationship in my life- and long story short I almost went nuts. (and that’s the short version)

    But during that time women would come up to me.

    These days I don’t care one way or the other ;-)

    But I do think that a good part of sex appeal is attitude – what the Sgt find appealing in men could equally be said for women – self confidence, a certain “aura”.

    Look at Sean Connery – or Sophia Loren – Sexy to this day….

  5. I’ve got a friend that thinks things may change because of the absolute veracity of genetic testing. After all, most societies have been built on ways for men to be sure offspring are theirs. Another would prefer that the next generation were more evangelical and Christian – those beliefs pointing the way to sounder families she believes. Me, I don’t know. I like the Victorian answers but don’t think we can do that again. Still, surely, respect for men, like respect for women, should be a given in a civilized society. That it isn’t may demonstrate how far we’ve fallen from civilization.

    It is true that the incredible vitriol aimed at Sarah Palin is not civilized. That disrespect burst out from men who mouthed the latest feminist bull all day in their social group. It may be a sign of what is bottled up from watching all those ads. I don’t see conservative men doing that. I think they are more at peace with both themselves and women because of a more self-reliant vision. Of course Sarah Palin, with her baby in her arms, is clearly pre-menopausal – embodying the life force. Perhaps such power is frightening in a society that doesn’t balance out that great power to bear children with men’s power in the public sphere.

    Academia is especially bad – not that that’s news to anyone. The ratio of men to women graduating is precisely the opposite of what it was when I started out – 60% of the graduates are women now and 40% are guys. (My students asked about the others, but as far as I can tell they aren’t pulling out lgbt stats yet.) Women are quite capable of teaching classes in which there are no men and not noticing, let alone thinking something should be done.

    The rapidity of these changes – and they run throughout our system – probably indicates how society had to spend centuries to mold men and women to be what they were a couple of generations ago; it may well not be natural. But I’d like to think that what the men did on the Titantic was more natural than what they did on the cruise ship disaster of a couple of months ago; and if they act as the men on the Titantic did, then I think they deserve a good deal more respect than I see them getting. (And I suspect it is circular – they aren’t going to do the gallant thing if they are treated like crap.)

    I do sound like a bitch in class – but, I agree with you, Sgt. Mom – we have to stop cracks like that when they happen and to model respect for manly virtues. That isn’t hard to do with literature which is full of them – but there are some pretty weird anthologies out there. And some people who make some pretty strange choices from those anthologies.

  6. Doris Lessing, quoted in a 2001 article:

    “I was in a class of nine- and 10-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men.

    “You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives.”

  7. “… but they still want to marry (or mate) up …”

    Not THINK. Women want to mate up the way men want to copulate with young, fertile women with a .7 waist to hip and waist to bust ratio.

    The vehement urges resulting from countless millennia of brutal Darwinian selection are far more powerful than mere thought.

  8. Whoa. Dude. I must be tired. I thought you wrote think, and even cut and pasted it without the word think.

    My apologies. You got it exactly right.

  9. @Ginny,

    “… 60% of the graduates are women now and 40% are guys.” But you’ll notice that the people generating these numbers are very careful to never discuss WHAT fields the degrees are in.

    There is a serious danger to women hidden here. What guy wants to marry and start a family with a woman who incurred tens of thousands in debt to get a non-employable (i.e. useless) degree in Theology and Womyns Studies? Or Communication Arts? Or Medieval French Literature? Even education isn’t a good bet anymore, simply because there’s a glut. And with everybody and his brother (or sister) offering MBA programs, I don’t think that’s even a good investment.

    I won’t assert that there were none, but I don’t recall a single interview with an OWS protester who had a degree in something actually useful.

    To sum it up, I think that ratio is pretty scary, but not for the same reason others might find it troubling.

  10. And those interviews were all of women? While I agree that education departments are essentially anti-intellectual, I doubt the debts are unusually high in an area in which the time to get a degree is shorter.

    The growing disparity is more broadly based than you imply. The long tail remains true and more men are the kind of stars that get into places like MIT. Sure, more women do education and more men engineering, but women are an increasing presence in even engineering. Note the comparison between 1970 and 2009 in the “young working cohort”: in 1970 only 11% of physicians, 9% of degreed accountants and auditors, and 1 percent of degreed engineers were women. An article traces the changes: Aliprantis, Dunne, and Fee note that by 2009, “50 percent of physicians, 57 percent of degreed accountants and auditors, and 19 percent of degreed engineers” were women.

    The trend lines and over-representation of women appears in high school graduation, takers of entrance tests, graduates with one or two-year technical degrees, from two year community colleges, from 4-yar schools, and in almost all graduate programs. Much has changed in the last forty years. At one time, girls dropped out of school when pregnant, now schools have baby-sitting facilities and reach out to the girls at home. That change is good – we have more educated, more goal-oriented baby mothers. And I suspect the average high school teacher prefers these to more of their boyfriends, who are likely to be disruptive (schools are becoming less and less attuned to men’s interests and abilities – besides teen age boys have never been easy). But a society that raises the minimum wage, increases the complications of hiring younger workers, and enlarges the safety net is likely to see these high school dropouts as leading less productive lives than they might have in earlier generations when they were expected to take on the responsibility of supporting their girlfriends. And of having narrower horizons nand more amorphous goals.

  11. My high school girlfriend was president of the society of women engineers a couple of years ago. She got her degree in 1960. More than half of medical students are women and medical education is changing as a result. It is a lot more about feelings than it was when I was a student. Maybe that’s good. The “tough” medical specialties are suffering for some of the same reasons the engineering majors (I forget the acronym) are still underrepresented. I spoke to a woman general surgeon who lived and worked in San Francisco. This was several years ago. She told me she did not know a general surgeon under the age of 50 in San Francisco. That may be a special case but the trend is still the same. Shift work has become popular in medicine. That is why emergency medicine is popular. “Lifestyle specialties.” No office, no overhead and you walk out when your shift is over.

    The Obamacare debate has stimulated a lot of rumination in various blogs about how health care is so complex that any adjustment of incentives will have unintended consequences that could be major. I had an opportunity to test the system about six months ago and I was pleased with the results. I wonder if that will be true in ten years. At that point I expect to be bits of ash floating off Diamond Head so I won’t care.

  12. Well put Sgt. Mom.

    I think it is really nice that Sgt. Mom thinks this… as a 29 year old male I have a tough finding a woman in my age range who thinks similarly. They really are taught that masculine qualities on a male are as inferior as feminine qualities on a female – and it shows in my personal experience. It has been really hard for me to find a woman for a close personal relationship.

    I remember when I was in middle school the other mothers would scorn my mother because she *enjoyed* dressing feminine and staying home and making it work like a well oiled machine.

    I think the new wave feminism has temporarily destroyed a piece of human existence that will be hard to get back.

    I really think everyone deserves to be respected for who they are as long as it is not harmful to others. A man who naturally has masculine tendencies and a woman who has naturally feminine qualities are no better or worse people than the androgynous clones/drones churned out by public school and college.

  13. “I was in a class of nine- and 10-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men.”

    Let’s admit for a moment that’s true. Then society, a humane and decent society, that allows expression of the virtues of its members, should be warlike. Warlike men would be good and natural. War would be good: the fullest expression of masculinity. So all feminists: start making society congenial to men. Let’s have more wars.

  14. Oh, dear – men are innately violent and aggressive? You know, now and again when I was in junior high and high school, there would be fights, mostly always between boys … and these fights would usually mean a couple of punches thrown, and then it would be over. But when there was a girl fight, it would usually mean an ambulance called, for one or both of the participants.
    Frankly, I think the notion that men are more agressive or violent than women is an absolute crock. Women may not fight quite so often, but when they do – Katy, bar the door.

    I do remember a lot of the pre-wom-lib days, and frankly it all bored me to tears: I wanted to have adventures, and swashbuckle a little, I wanted an interesting life! As it was mapped out for the American female of our species at mid-twentieth century, it was all very, very limiting and kinda boring. So – now we have a wider range of possibilities, but it’s just depressing as hell how society and pop-culture went overboard with it. To give girls a chance at wider possibilities, now we bash men and marginalize boys. Yay for progress.

    I agree with Dan – that self-confidence is very, very appealing, especially when mixed with competence at something.

  15. I think this attitude – at least among the Left – started in the 70s – that men were the source of all evil ;-)

  16. Sgt – I think women are just as aggressive – but when a woman is mad at you – they stay mad and with men – it is over one way or another.

  17. Washington Irving describes what Rip Van Winkle’s wife taught him: “A tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.” (And so I had a student convinced Iving was a misogynist – well, maybe, but he was basically a satirist.) My kids described nasty physical battles at their school (especially, one of them observed, between pregnant girls) and my friend who is leading Bible studies at the prison describes the fights there. Me, I didn’t see any, well, really, ever. But I was never under the impression women don’t fight – even if it is via anecdotes. The women I’ve known (from my grandmothers and mother to my daughters and endless others) used words mercilessly when provoked. Our traditional role has been to teach the young to speak and then to read; we score higher on verbal tests of all kinds – and then some idiots want to talk about how language (and especially English – unlike all those sexless languages out there) is masculine and want to screw up all our # agreements with stupid he/she constructions, etc. etc. Maybe the reason some women in some subgroups or more women today hit is because twitter, etc. has reduced their vocabularies so they can not do the harm they want with words.

  18. I remember doing some work in the library of a business publication. A girl came in to show the librarian and her staff her engagement ring,which they oohed and aahed over. After she left the daggers came out. The ring was a cheap piece of dreck, etc.etc. I cannot even remember what was said except that it was unbelievably vicious. My wife’s comment, “You don’t understand how nasty women can be to each other,do you?” She thought that much of the venom directed at Palin had a similar source. The disinterested dislike of someone you fear is better than you.

  19. Oh, yes – we know how nasty women can be, and how vicious the school-age version can be. When she was in high-school (girls’ only Catholic high) my daughter used to say that she really felt more at ease with the boys in her church youth group than the girls from school. With the girls, she was always having to guard herself against saying or doing something that her school friends would take the wrong way and have a serious cow over … but with the boys, she could just let her hair down.
    I think it worked that way when she was in the Marines, too.

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