Archive for the ‘Masculinity’ Category

10 ETERNAL TRUTHS OF THE GENTLEMANLY LIFE

1. A gentleman says “please” and “thank you,” readily and often.

2. A gentleman does not disparage the beliefs of others-whether they relate to matters of faith, politics, or sports teams. Exception: Supporters of non-SEC football teams may be ridiculed mercilessly.

3. A gentleman always carries a handkerchief, and is ready to lend it, especially to a weeping lady, should the need arise. Note: Especially helpful if you find yourself in Victorian-era England. 

4. A gentleman never allows a door to slam in the face of another person-male or female, young or old, absolute stranger or longtime best friend.

5. A gentleman does not make jokes about race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation; neither does he find such jokes amusing.

6. A gentleman knows how to stand in line and how to wait his turn.

7. A gentleman is always ready to offer a hearty handshake.

8. A gentleman keeps his leather shoes polished and his fingernails clean.

9. A gentleman admits when he is wrong.

10. A gentleman does not pick a fight. Note: That doesn’t stop the fight from coming to him, AND he should defend others against bullies and those who would terrorize.

All of these were taken from John Bridges’ How to Be a Gentleman: A Timely Guide to Timeless Manners. 

A Chivalric Code, taken from the song “Sophia” by The Cruxshadows.

1. Do not injustice to another.

2. Defend the weak & innocent.

3. May truth & honor always guide you.

4. Let courage find a life within.

5. Stand up when no one else is willing.

6. Act not in hatred or in spite.

7. Be to this world as a perfect knight, even if it means your life.

A Knight’s Code, taken from the Song of Roland, circa 1066:

1. Fear God and maintain His Church

2. Serve your liege lord in valor and faith

3. Protect the weak and defenseless

4. Give succor to widows and orphan

5. Refrain from giving wanton offence

6. Live by honor and glory

7. Despise pecuniary reward

8. Fight for the welfare of all

9. Obey those placed in authority

10. Safeguard the honor of fellow knights

11. Eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit

12. Keep the faith

13. Speak the truth at all times

14. Persevere to the end in any enterprise begun

15. Respect the honor of women

16. Never refuse a challenge from an equal

17. Never turn a back upon a foe

This is the third part and second continuation of my ‘Tackling Bitchy” series in which I address the 100 attraction principles found in the book Why Men Love Bitches. You can read the first post here.

 

51. The relationship may not be right for you if you find yourself jumping through hoops. When something is right, it will feel easier and much more effortless.

Absolutely true. Which presents just a big heaping helping of irony when you consider this list, which seems to be all about the hoops.

52. When you nag, he tunes you out. But when you speak with your actions, he pays attention.

Doesn’t everyone tune out naggers?

53. When a man takes a woman for granted, he still looks for reassurance that she is still “right there.”

True.

54. When the routine becomes predictable, he’s more likely to give you the same type of love he had for his mother–and the odds that he will take you for granted increase.

I think the odds that we take a partner for granted increase daily in any relationship. That’s why we call it a relation-SHIP. Like a regular ship, if we fail to steer it, pay attention to the way the wind is blowing, make sure the engine runs well and keep up with maintenance, the ship fails. The idea of the mother-lovin’ is a bit disturbing. I cannot personally recall loving ANY woman like my mother.

55. Negative attention is still attention. It lets a man know that he has you–right where he wants you.

Ok.

56. When you treat him casually as though he’s a friend, he’ll come your way. Because he wants things to be romantic, but he also wants to be the pursuer.

Sometimes. Men like to be pursued, too. Don’t buy in to too much of the movie-style stereotypes being thrown about here. Not all men are commitment-fearing apes.

57. A little distance combined with the appearance of self-control makes him nervous that he may be losing you.

And is that what you want? A man feeling insecure about the relationship you have? Because that’s not a foundation for true intimacy. It’s a foundation for distrust. Seriously, WTF?

58. A man takes a woman for granted when he’s interested, but will no longer go out of his way.

So he will no longer go out of his way to take a woman for granted? I think a man who takes a woman for granted will take a woman for granted at any depth. Because he’s a tool, not a man.

59. When you nag, you become the problem, and he deals with it by tuning you out. But when you don’t nag, he deals with the problem.

He may also deal with the problem if YOU present it as a problem. Men are, by nature, fixers. We like to fix things, even those of us who don’t grasp which end of the power tool to hold.

60. If you take his chores away from him and praise someone else for doing it, he’ll want his chores back.

Unless he’s happy to have someone else do his chores. For example, its my job to clean the house. When I have maids do it, I don’t cry about it. I’m damn happy they cleaned the house. Also, I don’t own huge ladders. Therefore, I hire men to come and clean my gutters. My wife praises them for doing a great job. That stirs absolutely…nothing in me. I’d rather they fight the hobgoblin of my gutters than me.

61. When you nag, he sees weakness.

Or he just sees nagging. So don’t do it.

62. He perceives an emotional woman as more of a pushover.

Perhaps, but many men see emotional women as compassionate.

63. In the same way that familiarity breeds contempt, a slightly aloof demeanor can often renew his respect.

Or make him ask why you are grumpy. Because aloofness in a relationship doesn’t come across as aloofness…it comes across as “something is wrong.”

64. He’ll forget what he has in you, unless you remind him.

I’d use this as a case for doing your best to invest yourself in the relationship. We should all make efforts to remind the other that we care about them and their value to us. Today, I put a little note in my wife’s pajamas she was packing for a business trip. When she arrived at her destination and pulled out her pajamas, she found the note. It made her night. It took me five minutes, but it reminded her that I loved her and was thinking about her. We don’t have to go over the top to show others that we care. Sometimes, we can use Napoleon’s plan: we just show up.

65. Many women talk a lot out of nervousness–which is something that men will often perceive as insecurity.

Heh, I just think women talk a lot. Period.

66. Talking about feelings to a man will feel like work. When he’s with a woman, he wants it to feel like fun.

Sure, I think everyone feels this way. But I talk about feelings, too, especially when comes to areas in which I want my wife’s feedback. Because she’s brilliant.

67. Forcing him to talk about feelings all the time will not only make you seem needy, it will eventually make him lose respect. And when he loses respect, he’ll pay even less attention to your feelings.

Doing any activity the same way over and over will engender a sense of contempt, no?

68. In the beginning, the only thing you need to pay attention to is whether he keeps coming around, because he’ll only be able to suspend or hide his emotions for so long.

With caution, I can say this is mostly true.

69. Men treat women the way they treat other men. They “play it cool: because they don’t want to appear weak or desperate.

I do not treat women like I treat men. I don’t believe most men do that.

70. The element of suprise both inside and outside of the bedroom is important to men, and it adds to the excitement.

This is true of all sexual relationships whether you are male or female.

71. Don’t always do the same thing over and over in the bedroom. Vary it so that it doesn’t become a predictable routine.

See above.

72. Most men tend to disrespect a woman who appears to be too malleable.

True, we like “spirit.” But we would like that in a man relationship, too.

73. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself or speak your mind. It will not only earn his respect, in some cases it will even turn him on.

This should be your personality even when not in a relationship.

74. Men often automatically assume that a bitchier woman will be more assertive in bed, and that a nice girl will be more timid.

Well, we typically assume that an aggressive woman will be aggressive in or out of the sack. However, some of the most amusing surprises in the bedroom have come from those who appear to be the librarian and turn out to be quite the opposite.

75. When a man falls in love, suddenly he’ll go out of his way and think nothing of it. He’ll do things for this woman he wouldn’t have done for anyone else.

I think this is true of anyone who falls in love.

So today we continue dissecting the 100 Attraction Principles as stated in the book Why Men Love Bitches.

26. Bad habits are easier to form than good ones, because good habits require conscious effort. Waiting encourages this effort.

Fair point.

27. If you pull the sexual plug at the last minute, he’ll label you a tease.

Fair point again.

28. If he makes you feel insecure, let your insecurity be your guide.

I have no idea what she means. I assume that if the man makes you feel insecure, then examine why you feel insecure. Identify that and then be honest with him. If it is merely vulnerability you feel because of your feelings for him, rejoice. That’s what we call love. The best comparison is that when you are falling in love, it feels like leaning all the way back in a chair to the point where it begins to topple backward and just at the last second, you catch yourself.

29. A quality guy fantasizes about a woman who genuinely loves sex.

True story.

30. Any time a woman competes with another woman, she demeans herself.

True.

31. When there is that undeniable “spark,” there is only one key to the lock.

Kinda obvious.

32. Let him think he’s in control. He’ll automatically start doing things you want done because he’ll always want to look like “a king” in your eyes.

Again with the mind games. Control, control, control. Machiavelli never felt so Machiavellian.

33. When you cater to his ego in a soft way, he doesn’t try to get power in an aggressive way.

I would say that is basic psychology for dealing with anyone, but that would be obvious. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

34. When you appear softer and more feminine, you appeal to his instinct to protect. When you appear more aggressive, you appeal to his instinct to compete.

True, but the essence of this is how comfortable a man is with power. If the lust for winning and power is what drives a man rather than meaning, then you will have to come to terms with that. If a man is threatened by a woman who is educated, forthright and strong, then he needs to find a meeker woman. Do not lower your standards just because you worry about being alone. I can understand a woman believing that any man is better than nothing, but I don’t understand how women believe they have nothing in the first place.

35. He’ll let a woman who becomes his doormat pay for dinner on the first couple of dates, but he wouldn’t think of it with his dreamgirl.

If he’s a real man, it will be an agreement initially or he will pay. Class and style are not sacrificed because you might not be “the one.”

36. The token power position is for public display, but the true power position is for private viewing only. And this is the only one that matters.

I find this incongruous with the rest of her statements.

37. If you give him a feeling of power, he’ll want to protect you and he’ll want to give you the world.

Or, if he’s into you, he will want to do that. If he feels he is being manipulated, he will run – not walk – from you.

38. When a woman acts as though she’s capable of everything, she gets stuck doing everything.

That’s complete BS.

39. Men don’t respond to words. They respond to no contact.

Holy Sex Threats, Batman! I’m a man and I respond to words. I also respond to kisses, hugs, affection, and cheer. I also respect bacon, SEC football and dogs. If you want attention and you decide that you are going to get all Pavlovian about things and withhold affection so that he senses something is wrong, you’re a fool. Because in the vein of learning about your communication style, you will have to constantly disengage to get him to engage. It’s a slippery slope that leads to frustration on his part.

40. Talking about the “relationship” too much takes away the element of the “unknown” and thus the mystery.

At some point, the mystery vanishes. It’s called “getting to know you.” Once the two of you reach that stage, you are together. And then you have to work at the relationship. That’s the way the world turns, sports fans.

41. Men respect women who communicate in a succinct way, because it’s the language men use to talk to one another.

This is true.

42. When you are always HAPPY; And he is always free to GO; he feels LUCKY.

True. But you should strive to be happy, anyway. For your own personal well-being, not for someone else.

43. If you allow your rhythm to be interrupted, you’ll create a void. Then, to replace what you give up, you’ll start to expect and need more from your partner.

Whatever the hell that means. Listen, chiquitas, you are either going to invest in your partner or you are not. What you put into the relationship is largely what defines what you will get out of it. We all come to need our partner to a degree. It doesn’t mean you have lost control, it means you have allowed yourself to need someone and to rely on someone. Scary, sure, but a key part of developing something deeper.

44. Most women are starving to receive something from a man that they need to give to themselves.

This could not be more on target. I’ve met many women in my life who were smart, strong women who saw themselves as something quite less.

45. A woman looks more secure in a man’s eyes when he can’t pull her away from her life, because she is content with her life.

Anyone looks this way.

46. The second a woman works overtime to make herself fit his criteria, she has lowered the standard of that relationship.

True.

47. You jump through hoops any time you repeatedly make it very obvious you’re giving your “all.”

No. You jump through hoops when you jump through hoops. Being “all in” does not make you weak.

48. You have to keep from being sucked down into quicksand. Unless you maintain control over yourself, the relationship is doomed.

Sometimes we must lose control.

49. Jumping through hoops often has a negative outcome: He sees it as an opportunity to have his cake and eat it, too. But when you stay just outside his reach, he’ll stay on his best behavior.

Oooorrrrr, he’ll see you as disengaging and distant.

50. The nice girl gives away too much of herself when pleasing him regularly becomes more important than pleasing herself.

This is true of all people.

Quick diagnosis – someone hurt the author of this book in some way that was very deep and it involved having a large amount of control over her life. The active word in today’s 25 is “control” and it could not be more antithetical to emotions. We control ourselves when we are buying a car – getting emotional there leads to bad business decisions. But a relationship that is built to last is not about control; its about when and how to release part of yourself to the other person. Truth and respect are the only controls in relationships. The rest of it is abandoning yourself fully to that other person. Listen closely – it has to be mutual. One person in a relationship abandoning their control in favor of joining together doesn’t work. Trust. It has “us” right there in the middle.

When I was young, it was a big deal to have my own money. I’d like to think that it still is and that somehow, these very young children carrying around lots of cash is just the by-product of the affluent circles in which I travel, but that’s off-point. Anyway – pocket full of cash. My family and I took a weekend trip somewhere in the highlands of North Carolina and we stopped in this small town. There was a bookshop there and I went in and bought my very first book. I’d read other books, sure, but this was the first that I went in and bought with my own money of my own choosing.

There’s a great line from Starship Troopers in which a teacher says, “Figuring things out for yourself is about the only freedom we really have.” (paraphrased from memory) And that’s true, and that’s why that moment was so memorable to me. I made the choice. It was money that I earned (as much as a nine-year-old can earn money) and I made the transaction with the vendor. It was part of the self that was developing within me. The book was The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.

Peter is one of my heroes. He’s written more than the Last Unicorn, and in fact, despite the massive popularity of the Last Unicorn, was largely screwed out of the profits that came from it and its subsequent film adaptation by Rankin-Bass. (You can find out more about the whole thing and Beagle in general by clicking your heels together twice and smacking BAZINGA with your mouse.)

The Last Unicorn turned out to be a great book. The interactions between male and female characters were both stereotypical and advanced, helping people like me form ideas on how women and men should interact. Not just from a heroic standpoint, but from an emotional one. And truly, understanding our emotions as men is one of the ways we become our strongest. We, men, are typically stronger than women physically. With that, comes an understanding that true strength means knowing when that strength should be held back rather than flaunted. I have found that the characters in fantasy books, really compelling books, advance that sense of strength not just in the face of adversity but in the face of relationships as well. The strongest act is that which lifts another up.

Unicorn was one of the first of many books that would challenge my perceptions of what it meant to be a man and how that related to women. Not just women in the context of  “the fairer sex,” but women as equals. I’m sure it helped that I had a mother who worked in a management role as I was growing up because I never really saw my parents in competition with one another. But it was the fantasy worlds that involved maidens and dragons and uppity maidens and knights and sultry maidens and wizards that really formed my concepts of who I wanted to become in the real world. We can say what we like about the “geek” culture, but you will generally find more evolved people there. Maybe not socially, but then, maybe more socially developed than we suspect. While the recent uptick in misogyny among gamers related to console video games has tainted the geek culture, those of us who still haunt gaming and pop culture conventions are a breed apart from those fools. Its the story, not the combat, that we relish. And in the story are found the clues to our concepts of masculinity and femininity.

Given the recent national attention on rape, it seems to me that most of us need to read the book Deerskin by Robin McKinley. Not only is it great fantasy literature, but its an intriguing look to understand the horror of physical and sexual violence.

I’m not into summarizing plots, but they key point here is the violation of a young woman  that forces her out into a fantasy world. It’s truly an ethereal read, and the concepts are all presented from her viewpoint – thus giving the reader a greater insight into the subject of interpersonal violence. I know that many male writers have put this kind of thing down in their books, but it takes a female writer to truly express the full measure of challenges presented in the female psyche. And we, as manly men, would do ourselves great favor by reading these. 

I’m not saying that fantasy literature will save the planet. But it might. As we look at science fiction and see the world created in Star Trek where the planet managed to conquer most crime, poverty, hunger and other social ills, we see that at the heart of every great story is the will to be better human beings. And that, my friends, is what manhood is all about.