Western Europe seems to have a different definition of masculinity, one we can learn a a lot from.
The editors at GMP invited me to blog every day for 30 days. Lisa and Dixie are super, in skill and heart – and they made me believe that I could do it. But after committing, I freaked. I had to ask myself; “What’s valuable, that I know about, that I could turbo-write about?”
Well, I know a bit about European men. So here goes – 30 days of turbo-writing!
The European man I know the most about is my husband, Ron. He’s the guy in the photo, stopping for a client call during a three-day bike ride (with clothes in the saddle bags). Ron’s from Amsterdam. And two decades ago, he saw my photo on a book I co-authored, heard a voice inside say, “That’s the woman you’re going to marry,” and then traveled 4,000 miles to America to find me.
He arrived like a knight in shining armor from a foreign land. And he managed to hack his way through the hundred-year-old forest that had grown up around my single parent heart. It wasn’t easy. He’s says that he got some inner guidance and refused to let go of it.
Initially, I found Ron unique in many ways, yet he turned out to be pretty normal by European standards. Before becoming a boardroom coach, he was an MD. The story that he tells of his first delivery as an OB-GYN resident is so weird it always makes me laugh. It was a quiet night on the ward, and the nurses were trying to teach him to knit. They heard the elevator ping, announcing a new patient. Then a foreign man burst through the doors, yelling “Help! Help!” while pushing his rapidly crowning wife in a wheelchair.
Finally Ron would get to practice what he came to medicine for – to deliver babies. But when he tried to check the woman’s progress, the husband threw his coat over her and started yelling in broken English about the inappropriateness of a strange man looking at his wife. What was Ron to do? First, he calmed the man by assuring him that everything would be all right. And then he delivered his first baby by poking around under a raincoat without looking.
I like that about Ron. He believes that why people do what they do matters more than what they do. And he’s generally able to stay supportive of people, no matter what – to help them save face.
Maybe it’s that daily life is less stressed in Western Europe than in America. So there’s more time and space to make conscious choices – to live life rather than being lived by it. Whatever it is, there’s a lot of cool stuff going on with men in Europe.
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Photo: Author’s own