Does the term “Good Man” even apply to any male anymore?
While I acknowledge that if it didn’t, this site wouldn’t even exist, I have to ask the question in a society that seems currently dominated by people who believe the #MeToo movement is a signal to initiate an open season on males everywhere. Fortunately, not everyone feels this way, but it seems like the man-haters outnumber the lovers by an unprecedented ratio.
Granted, I freely admit that my gender has earned the lion’s share of this ire, but as a man who has lived his entire life respecting women while living by an actual code, I’m getting frustrated, frankly. I am a good man. Not a perfect one by any means, but a good man, nevertheless.
And yes, toot toot.
I hail from Niagara Falls, Canada, a city that at one time was predominantly occupied by citizens of Italian descent. In the Eighties, the ultimate compliment a “mangia-cake” (a non-Italian citizen of Niagara) could receive was to be referred to as a “good guy” by an Italian. No one knew exactly what that meant, and this title was rendered null and void if you ticked an Italian off.
I once saw Nick Scordino and his brothers hang Joseph Gold off Chippawa bridge by his ankles after he called their mom a “spicy meatball”; they dropped the poor devil, but he was fine – after three months of physical therapy. They claimed it was an accident, “Our hands were greasy from dinner!”, and no one dared to challenge that claim…
In those days we used to consider a good man as someone who:
- Worked a full week, including overtime and maybe a second job if necessary, to support his family.
- Made time for said family on his days off, including sharing meals with the whole family.
- Attended his kid’s extracurricular activities.
- Stayed with his baby mama/wife/partner through thick and thin, respecting the sanctity of whatever arrangement he willingly entered into.
- Lived his life in moderation, keeping the drinking, smoking, gambling and other vices to a minimum.
- Respected all women, starting with his mother all the way down to the girl checking his coat.
But that was then.
These days it feels like society has convinced itself that just being present in your kid’s lives is all a dad needs to do to be a hero. In other words, simply showing up rather than being a deadbeat dad is a victory by modern standards. Beyond that, there’s also the issue of how someone with a penis and an air of authority treats the superior sex.
And that brings us to the #MeToo movement and its impact on my gender. As with most things that seem to change everything, this one started out small; I remember reading about the revelations surrounding Kevin Spacey and thinking, “Well, I just lost every good memory of one of my favorite actors.” Which is obviously nothing compared to the loss his victims felt.
I had no idea at the time that I was actually reading about a revolution, a movement, a reckoning for some of Hollywood’s biggest male power players. Harvey fell. Kevin fell. And the dominoes continued to tumble…
And once they did women outside of Tinsel Town began to feel empowered enough to step forward into the light and share their tales of mistreatment and outright violation by men who feel their power gives them the right to cross every line imaginable. Soon the world was forced to acknowledge something it’s always known but was reluctant, to say the least, to deal with: Men don’t respect women, they only see them as sex objects to be subjugated.
See what I did there? I didn’t write “Some men don’t respect women”. I lumped all males together, something some women do these days. Not that I blame them.
Many females see men as the enemy because some of us are…
But only some of us.
So, who can women trust? What exactly does it take to be considered a “Good Man” these days?
Well, in my opinion, a good man should always:
ONE) Never forget he wouldn’t exist at all without a woman. A wise man, even one that may have been raised by a single father, recognizes that a woman literally gave him life. We always picture the All-Mighty as an old guy with a white beard and robe to match but above all, God is a creator and a creator makes life where there was none. That sure sounds like a woman to me.
TWO) Accept that the pen really is mightier than the sword. As men, we claim to be evolved from our ancient forebears, but we turn to violence because it’s easy. Period. It’s true; I couldn’t build you a birdhouse or a mailbox if you offered me a billion dollars but ask me to tear down an entire home and I’ll do it for free. And I’ll do it because I know destruction is in my blood.
THREE) Stop pretending peace is a concept our species will ever fully grasp. You know why there will never be peace in the Middle East as long as men do the negotiating? Because men are doing the negotiating. It’s my last point revisited. It will always be mankind’s first instinct to destroy rather than build.
FOUR) Be present for his family. That means no devices at family meals (which must happen, as often as possible regardless of schedules) or in the rec room (or wherever the clan in question gathers). A man who loves his family doesn’t have to say it all the time, but he does need to show it by engaging his significant other and their kids to the best of his ability. Being a good dad and partner sounds easy on paper but we all know it scares the spit out of every deadbeat dad and cheating husband out there, hence their cowardice.
FIVE) Own his fears and limitations. Most males are raised with “Take it like a man!” echoing in their consciousness. Men aren’t supposed to own up to their fears. Little boys are supposed to believe they can climb any mountain.
It simply isn’t true. All of it.
There is a line between man and superman for a reason. If everything was easy nothing would mean anything. Once a man recognizes what he’s truly capable of and resigns himself to maximizing his potential (which isn’t limitless), he’s free to be a good man.
SIX) Respect women and their wishes always. No means no, always and every time. A vow, whether spoken or not is never to be taken lightly. Raising one’s hand in anger against a female will lead to the damnation of one’s immortal soul. Female co-workers must always be treated as equal partners and not potential hook-ups.
This respect must be present in every move a man makes on social media.
No dick pics. No, “Hey baby, show me your boobs!” on Facebook. No trolling of any kind. It’s really not that tricky.
SEVEN) Always acknowledge the power of four little words: “How can I help?”
Women simply don’t hear this question often enough from men. If they did, perhaps more of them would still be alive.
If mankind can improve itself internally perhaps womankind will begin to see us as something other than potential enemies. Maybe we can become partners in the #MeToo movement and not just the reason for its existence.
A good man also recognizes when to quit or risk a nasty fall off his soapbox. So as Dennis Miller used to say, I am out of here.
See you in the lobby, friends…
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