20 Things I Love About Men

Neely Steinberg loves men. Below, she shares a list of qualities, actions, and moments that remind her why.

Recently I wrote an article for the Good Men Project about hook-up culture, in which Hugo Schwyzer and I disagreed about the effects of casual sex. It gained the attention of Susan Walsh, author of the blog Hooking Up Smart. She wrote a post about our contrasting opinions, and offered her thoughts as well. The comments section within her post grew quickly—as of today there are more than 1,000 responses. Reading through the feedback, I was struck by the disillusionment and disappointment among men with the content on the Good Men Project, a site whose very purpose is to bring issues of modern manhood to the forefront of national discussion.

One commenter on Walsh’s site wrote: “…the good men project inevitably implies that men are not basically good by default, but work has to be put in to making them that way, or in finding the exceptions who are.” Others agreed with the general sentiment that many of this site’s articles unfairly start with the basic premise that something is inherently wrong with men and men thus need to be socially engineered to become, well, good.

It was with this unfortunate perception in mind that I set out to create a list of things that I love about men. Pure and simple. No talk of feminism or slut shaming or gender depictions in the media or rape culture here—just an unadulterated tribute to men, a panegyric, a compilation of reasons to be thankful for the male species, in ways both big and small, superficial and profound, personal and professional. They are in no particular order, the creation of my stream of consciousness. I could have gone on for hours, but it’s my hope that you, Good Men Project readers, will add to this list, so that anyone who visits this site will see how much we appreciate and adore men and what they bring to our lives and the world. We can return to the heavier debates tomorrow. For now, let’s have a Kumbaya moment. Leave your reasons in the comments section, and let’s see what we can come up with together!

Here are mine:

  1. I love when a man puts his hand on the small of a woman’s lower back, as if to say, I’m here for you if you need me.
  2. I love when a man wipes away a woman’s tears or pushes a strand of her hair away from her face, tucking it lovingly behind her ear.
  3. I love how millions of men go off to work every day and then come home after long work hours to share in the housework and child-rearing.
  4. I love how men contribute hundreds of millions of dollars every year to charities in the U.S. and across the globe.
  5. I love when a man makes us feel like women.
  6. I love when a man waits patiently inside an elevator to let all the ladies out first.
  7. I love how a man who would go to the ends of the earth for a woman he loves.
  8. I love how a man who will rub his partner’s feet at the end of the day even though he’s had a hard day at work too.
  9. I love the men who so bravely and willingly risk their lives in service to our country and to protect us all.
  10. I love being Little Spoon.
  11. I love the way a man looks into his child’s eyes and loses himself.
  12. I love that men’s various discoveries throughout the ages (scientific, mathematical, medical, etc.) have made our lives easier.
  13. I love the way a man runs into the ocean like maniac.
  14. I love the shape of a man’s big, strong back when he leans over to pick up something heavy.
  15. I love when a man knows what to say and what not to say to make a woman happy.
  16. I love when a man tells a woman how lucky he is to have found her.
  17. I love the way a man takes a woman’s delicate hand, brings it to his lips, and kisses it gently, showing how much he adores her.
  18. I love when a man chows down on his food, as if only a 9.0 Richter Scale earthquake could shake him from his glorious feast.
  19. I love how a man in love thinks of his partner’s sexual pleasure before his own.
  20. I love a man who will do the jobs that most of us would never consider. Sewer inspector, anyone?

What do you have to add?

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About Neely Steinberg

Neely Steinberg is a freelance writer living in Boston. Her work has been published in the Boston Globe Magazine, Boston Magazine, the Boston Phoenix, and New York Magazine, to name a few. Formerly, she hosted two internet radio shows and an internet TV show on dating, sex, love, and relationships. Currently, Neely is the relationship/dating columnist for Blast Magazine. Send your relationship/dating questions to her at [email protected] and she will answer them in her column on Blast called “MP4 Love,” in which she posts her video responses. Follow her on Twitter and check out her website: www.neelysteinberg.com.

Comments

  1. Always Sunny says:

    The fact remains that the things Neely loves about a man almost exclusively involve his utility to her.

    Love isn’t just what you get but what you give. If I made a list it wouldn’t have just the things about her character or things she does for me but also the things that I give to her. Love isn’t just a feeling. It’s a willingness to obligate yourself to another human being.

    We see that men are willing to obligate themselves in very powerful and longterm ways. Yet there isn’t a single obligation that a woman has that she can’t disregard on a whim.

    It is for that reason that women do not love men and as Neely has shown in the above list her “love” is conditional on a man’s service to her.

    That’s not love Neely and it’s the reason why more and more men refuse to marry and or are going their own way.

    This should make feminists happy since the destruction of marriage and family has been a stated goal of feminism for the last 40 years.

    • Her list isn’t about what makes a loving relationship, it’s not a bird’s eye view of how men & women interact. It’s some things she appreciates about men. In many ways, it’s probably how women would love to be appreciated by men, but as we communicate differently & interpret words differently, it’s not well received by men.

      You’ll notice, she is not using the word love in the sense of falling in love with a man. She is expressing appreciation to a group of people, living & dead, known & unknown. Every obligation men have can and are disregarded on a whim, so your question of what obligations women have that cannot be disregarded is ridiculous. My husband disregarded all obligations to me on a whim, completely, unequivocally, & with no warning.

      What I give to those I love (romantically and platonically) is not from any societal or legal obligation. It is an abundance of freely given gifts, thoughtfulness, compliments, support, encouragement, pampering, and cooperation.

      The man in my life has told me what he loves most about me: That he knows I have his back. No matter what choices he makes or what misfortune befalls him, I’ll stand by him & be there for him. He has no doubt that he can rely on me. Another thing he loves about me: that I accept him for who he is.

      I have never heard those words & thought he was being selfish. He tells me ways that I am special & irreplacable to him. That I provide for him what he can’t find (or hasn’t found) easily in other women. The ways that he gives to me isn’t why he loves me, it’s how he shows his love to me.

    • Always Sunny,
      Oh please. Like I said before, most of what men like about women is superficial and physical, so what’s the point of getting one’s panties in a wad over this post?

  2. @ Always Sunny: “This should make feminists happy since the destruction of marriage and family has been a stated goal of feminism for the last 40 years.”

    Guess again. Feminism is concerned with the problem of domination, and unfortunately, that extends out far beyond marriage and into the overall gender structure. Plenty of feminists marry and have kids (and report significantly more satisfying romantic and sexual lives), and plenty of anti-feminists don’t marry and have kids. It’s not a split issue.

    • If feminist are concerned that women are dominated in America then they need to find a new hobby. That simply isn’t today’s reality and the few examples of that behavior you could come up with could easily be countered by examples of women dominating men. Now if the issue is men in positions of power I think the fear of that is as irrational as men fearing women in positions of power. We should not presume either gender is inherently sexist and out to get us.

      Feminist did attack marriage as a oppressive patriarchal institution so it is fair to blame them for contributing to the decline of a good institution designed to foster stable families.

    • Paul, I actually agree with Always Sunny. Feminists have planned to destroy the family because they view it as an impediment to women’s success. If you go back a couple decades you’ll even find books where they extol the virtues of living in the ghetto. They like “da hood” because black women work and black men are less likely to be sufficiently employed. Yes, black women outearn white women, but black women are also less likely to get married. Black women as a whole have about a 50% abortion rate, yippee!!! What were going into is the Soviet/ghetto system.
      Ok yes a man will cheat when he’s married, but marriage is to provide stability to the KIDS.

  3. Very nice article Ms. Steinberg. I don’t get some of the negative comments though. I found your article as well as your reasons for plublishing it to be as I would say “Quite Refreshing”. I agree that sometimes a break is needed from all the Male Privilage/Female Privilage/Rape Culture/MRA/Feminisim/etc..etc… and I do thank you for sharing your appreciation of men.

    • I really appreciate #20. A month ago I went to the wake of a co-worker killed on the job (I work in heavy construction and he was killed by a hit and run while fixing a truck on the side of the road). It was the seventh one I’ve gone to (3 of them were in their last year before retirement). Other than police or firefighters, I wonder how many can claim to have that many people die on their job?

  4. I wish I could go to a magical place where women could be women and men men without all this messed up American feminist ideology gumming up society.

    One more generation and marriage and courtship (and society’s future) will be truly dead and buried.

    • Hi, mjay.
      In my experience, that wonderful, “magical place” can be the intimate space shared by a couple who is in love.
      Reading these comments, I am unhappily surprised to see how deeply politics penetrates into some presumably private, intimate relationships, AS IF the range of possible feelings, thoughts, interactions and experiences is — and must be — always restricted within a political straightjacket.
      Such painfully self-conscious politics can be quite boringly dull, to the point of cliche.
      I believe Naomi Wolf — who has, herself, earned the feminist-awarded label, “feminist,” has written about this same topic, the contrast, in fact, between the often strident rhetoric of feminism and the private lives of feminists.
      I regard myself as very much a pro-woman feminist, but some who imagine themselves to be more “feminist” by far regard many of my views as verbotten to contemporary feminism, which, in my impression, is often anti-man.
      As a heterosexual woman, I am definitely NOT anti-man!

      • “As a heterosexual woman, I am definitely NOT anti-man!”

        Noted. So, what does it mean to be anti-woman or anti-man? Is it being homosexual? If a person is heterosexual, does that mean that they are not anti-woman or anti-man?

        I’ve noticed that feminists often accuse men how strongly disagree with feminism of being misogynists, despite the fact that most of those men are also heterosexual, which means that they cannot be anti-woman/misogynists – correct?

        • Hi, Eric.
          I see your point, and I appreciate your pointing out my misstatement.
          I definitely do not imagine that sexual orientation determines even a little bit whether one is a misogynist or a misanthrope or whatever the corresponding word would be.
          In fact, I’ve known gay men who were horribly misogynistic, and I’ve known straight men who were misogynistic, too. I also have a very dear gay friend who empathizes deeply with women, and I have the pleasure of being deeply in love with a straight man who is completely adoring towards me and the other women in his life, too.
          Thank you for pointing out my misstatement, Eric.
          I just don’t understand the impulse, which, unfortunately, is not uncommon, to become sexually involved with — or have any kind of volitional personal relationship with — anyone whom you essentially hate. For that reason, I am both surprised at and confused by some of the man-bashing comments, attitudes and behaviors that seem to be fashionable lately for presumably straight women.
          Liz

          • Liz,

            BTW, I too, am pro-women/girls – as a father of two daughters. However, I’m not a feminist (nor an MRA). Somehow, the feminist movement has never figured out how to strike that reasonable balance of being pro-women/girls without being anti-male.

            I know many people who are pro-women/girls but are not feminists because they want to strike a reasonable balance of being pro-whomever happens to need a hang/leg up at the time, while being able to switch to whomever else needs a hang/leg up the next time, or giving both a hang/leg up (e.g. whether it women, girls, boys, men, minorities, whomever).

            The feminist movement doesn’t seem to be able to / want to see the world is such broad terms, or recognize that this isn’t 1921 or 1950 anymore, and that women do have the vote. It is instead busy claiming that virtually all married men are rapists, even if they are (in the opinion of their wives and children) great husbands and fathers.

            BTW, the argument presented here that essentially all married men are rapists was made by a male feminist. So, despite the seeming illogic, male and female heterosexual (at least they claim to be) feminists maintain overt anti-male views. I have seen a number of women stop calling themselves feminists, while maintaining the same views, for that reason.

            • I hear you, Eric!
              I often feel that good, worthy term “feminist” has been hijacked and held for some sort of blood ransom!
              I consider myself very much a feminist because I am pro-woman, pro-girls.
              However, as a heterosexual woman and the mother of a wonderful son, too, I am also decidedly pro-man.
              What’s more, I am staunchly pro life — same as another notable feminist, Susan B. Anthony!

      • “Reading these comments, I am unhappily surprised to see how deeply politics penetrates into some presumably private, intimate relationships …

        The Personal is Political !!! Go Team Vagina – oo-Ra !
        Surprised? WTF?

        • Hi, Perseus.
          I’m guessing from your remark you are a woman.
          I am interested, too, in knowing whether you are straight, bi, or lesbian.
          If you would not mind sharing your sexual orientation, I would be grateful as I try to understand your point of view.
          For example, I’m curious about why a person of any gender or sexual orientation would wish to have an intimate relationship with a person with whom they also have an antagonistic relationship.
          Thx in advance for your insights on this question.
          Sincerely,
          Liz

          • Hello Liz,

            Straight, according to my sex drive, so biology I guess is the answer to your curiosity as to ‘why’. Is that surprising? If so, how?

            Thanks

            • Perseus,
              Whomever you are and whatever your sexual preferences may be, your remarks appear to intentionally obfuscate.
              If you are not interested in straightforward communication in response to straightforward questions, fine. You can, of course, continue talking to yourself or directing your messages to whomever may “get” your coded meanings, if any.

            • Project much?
              What part of ‘straight’ don’t you understand?

          • Btw, bad guess, I’m not a woman.

          • I’m sorry for butting in, but I must.

            There is a difference between liking someone and wanting to have sex with them. There is a difference between wanting to have sex with someone and wanting to get to know them as a person. This is especially true for men. Oftentimes a someone will see whats on the outside and have sex with it and not really care what’s on the inside. Once again, this is particularly true when it comes to men.

            I’m a man basher, and I’m not currently not in a relationship. Id be open to one with an exceptional man or a man. I’m just not that horny most of the time so the urge to go out and find one just isn’t that great.

            • Alice,

              If you insist on maintaining that point of view it is very unlikely that you will find anything more than the men that you have already run into and experienced. You can only find something exceptional if you are expecting that something exceptional can be there in the first place. An exceptional man has the self respect to realize that he will not put up with a man-basher.

              From my experience, you’re right about the fact that a lot of men will talk big and give the impression that all they want is sex, when inside, most men I know really do want to find love and companionship.

            • Hi kckrupp,
              I see where are you coming from, but it doesn’t change the fact that men are the way they are.

              I think men still want activity partners or whatever, but they still will go out and look for the next thing to chase. I also think that men define love very differently from the a lot of women.

    • mjay,
      Let’s not forget that men are partially to blame. Men don’t value courtship and all that stuff unless it’s to get laid. But then again this is how feminists like things- just read Betty Friedan.

  5. Hey Steinberg,

    Andybob says, “I think Dr Elam is correct in surmising that Ms Steinberg is a plausable individual who is beginning to question feminist hypocricy, but who has yet to fully grasp the extent of the radfem horror so apparent to AVFM commenters.”

    The work that you do on our part is appreciated.

    Perseus.

  6. I can’t help but notice two things.

    First, that the intent of this article was thoroughly undermined by the commentary. That said, I love the commentary for the most part. It was inspiring in various ways – as many ways as its directions varied I suppose. To respond to the article’s concluding request, however, I will add some things that I love about men. Though I am doing my best to make my contribution irrespective of gender or predilection, I’ll preempt: I am a hetero male.

    21. I love that men are loyal to their friends, but also have the confidence and mutual respect to tell them when they’re fucking up.
    22. I love that men that die to win, and live to celebrate afterwards, no matter the game or the outcome.
    23. ____________(come on, keep them coming)

    Second,
    I found the first half of the article very engaging and thoughtful, but the actual list left me feeling slightly awkward in a way I couldn’t initially put an adjective to. After reading much commentary and deliberating on my own I realized that my discomfort was with the way the list, more often than not, used “when a man” rather than “that a man.” It was an ideal, rather than a universal.

    The first half promised universals, I felt. In fact, it had to, in order to refute the named critics. However, “when a man” made it seem somewhat begging of a prince charming, which was the original contention of the people the article was meant to refute.

    But then I realized that this was a difference in gender’s linguistic tendencies, not in conviction or ideology. Here is something I love about women: even the feminists equivocate. They are all politicians in that respect. There is a tendency, for them, to say “when” rather than “that,” but this is a very ancient cognitive development, and I see no reason to try and “correct” that which has worked perfectly well for a very long time (nor would any of us attempt to re-engineer the lung or the foot other than to juryrig meager technology in place of a working part), or for that matter to pretend that “correct” is even relevant terminology.

    My initial awkward reaction was purely semantic. I appreciate the intent here on all fronts. Opinions and dissent make everyone better. Basically what I mean to say is, kudos to both Steinberg and all other contributors.

    • Though I just realized I missed many responses by not clicking “older comments,” I think much still applies. Sorry ’bout that though…

  7. I love when women don’t expect me to be subservient to them because of their gender out of some outdated non-existent chivalric responsibility. I love when a women doesn’t expect me to fit her unrealistic archetype of what “masculinity” is, especially because the very idea of it is similar to expecting the asian people in your life to be good at math… It’s a condescending stereotype that degrades those who don’t fit it by implying that they have something wrong with them. I love when women can take care of there own damn selves. Feminism brought a deserved power back to women, and with that power comes the responsibility of taking care of certain things for yourself.

  8. Quadruple A says:

    “12. I love that men’s various discoveries throughout the ages (scientific, mathematical, medical, etc.) have made our lives easier.” – I am not sure what to think about this. I mean it is generally agreed upon by feminists that women weren’t/aren’t granted the same opportunities as men so they weren’t able to make as many discoveries as men. So I wonder what Neely meant by this?

  9. Good point Patrick!I’ll have to try some of these for my subject lines as well ….Cheers,

  10. Imdefender says:

    “I understand the appeal. There was a time in my life when I thought the world of people who didn’t clutter my life with their own needs or concerns for their own well-being; who did all the nasty, painful, dangerous and sacrificing tasks in life, while I got to remain protected, carefree and clueless. I got to live on a pedestal at the expense of others, and I didn’t have to consider the cost.

    Yes, I remember it clearly now. It was called childhood. It was a time that was, in retrospect, one of unending self-indulgence – provided by responsible people that knew such sacrifices came with raising someone who, by the nature of life, was relatively helpless. Fortunately, they also took the responsibility of walking me through pain of growing out of that and showing me the more realistic world that did not revolve around me.”- Paul Elam

  11. for guys dont like this list, read this http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/i-love-men/

    its better, and its shows how she love about men even when they didnt do anything to women, they just be themselves, they just a man!!!

    read that, its so lovely….

    doesnt mean i dont like this list by neely, but i really hope to find our qualities women like even hen we didnt do anything to women.

  12. I can write 40 things I love about women :)

  13. Michael Rowe says:

    Reading some of these comments, the only conclusion that can be arrived at is that heterosexuals are lunatics, and it’s a minor miracle that you’re not all single.

  14. This comment is uncalled for, inappropriate and unhelpful. I so hate it when women do this on GMP.

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  1. […] are good men out there. Neely Steinberg has written a worthy post on The Good Men Project … 20 Things I Love About Men. It’s worth a read. – RP This entry was posted in Uncategorized by RP. Bookmark the […]

  2. […] comment was in response to 20 Things I Love About Men. The comment was from DavidBryon to Jean Valjean. We welcome additional comments here, especially […]

  3. […] things that are “manly”. My list of favorite man-traits contains most of the same things that Neely Steinberg’s does: your bodies, your strength, your fatherhood, your […]

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