Everything about women can overwhelm men. Because of how sensitive they are to women. Because of how fascinated and nurtured and enlivened and inspired they are by women. Because of how men need women. – Alison Armstrong
When I encountered it on my expedition into the wild land of Understanding Men, Alison’s statement astonished me.
Are we really so overwhelming and fascinating and inspiring?
Be honest now guys…
What’s your reaction to this statement? Is it true for you? …men need women?
If it’s not true for you, why isn’t it true? If it’s true for you, what fascinates, nurtures, enlivens and inspires you?
…and why did it astonish me, a woman?
I was raised to believe we don’t really need you, or we should act as if we don’t; that we can manage just fine (often much better) without you. Ergo, if we don’t need you, why would you need us? Note that I don’t believe this now, but I once did. I’m willing to believe almost anything is possible and, to date, I haven’t been disappointed.
I even made a vow at age 19 to never depend on a man again. Uh oh… father issues! Now I think, 9bless him—he was being my provider and protector. I thought he was trying to control me with conditional love—my first big mistake when it came to men.
Only a few weeks ago I deliberately—and not without nervousness—unmade that vow, for better or worse. My biggest shock in life was to acknowledge and accept I actually like men helping me out. That’s supposed to diminish me in the eyes of the sisterhood. They can avert their eyes if it offends them.
But back to my theme here: If this statement astonished me, it might surprise many other women. It might even astound some male readers.
If you’re a man who was astounded, let me know. Let me know why it had that effect on you. Those of you for whom it rang true are welcome to chip in perspectives others haven’t considered. I’m curious—deeply curious—as to what you, the men, think.
I’m with Brené Brown when she says, To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn…
I confess to having many regrets, mainly to do with—no-prizes-for-guessing—my past beliefs and behaviors towards men.
By my calculations, if I’m lucky, I have around thirty-eight good years left to enjoy you before I get that congratulatory telegram from the Queen (or King, unless Liz reigns until she’s 128 years old.) I don’t intend to waste the years wearing other people’s beliefs anymore. I want to know where my programming is still corrupted and recalibrate.
For those of us emerging from the primordial swamp of destructive beliefs into which our mothers, sisters and other female role models hurled us, the landscape is staggering.
On emerging, it’s as if I’ve come up for air and men are the air. Life has a whole other dimension to it. When I see you as good men, you are Good Men. My daughter is the next woman in my line. She hasn’t been thrown into the swamp. (She’s twenty-nine. Those destructive beliefs end with her. You’re welcome.)
Okay, there are some a***holes among you but then, so there are among my gender. I’ve been one myself, at times.
Let’s not waste words, time and energy on the bitter and resentful ones—male or female or those between—who are not ready to claim their wonderfulness. No one is ready until they’re ready.
I’m hoping to share a few perspectives of which you might not be aware (about women) and I’m expecting a few in return.
Welcome to my column.
It’s my first post as a Good Men Project columnist, and I’m really, really happy to be having this conversation with you.