Where are all the good men?
This seems to be the question I often hear from the ladies. Talk shows are abounding with this topic. It’s the subject of many discussions at hair salons and social gatherings among today’s women. So where are all the good men? Many ladies say that all the good men are married, in prison, or gay this seems to be this seems to be the defacto response.
As a man, I often ask this question myself because deep inside, at the very core of my heart, I wanted to be a good man. I’ve always wanted to be some someone who would be considered a good friend, great father, and wonderful husband. You know, the Cliff Huxtable type of guy. Unfortunately, as I looked around, there were scarcely any males that I considered to be good men. Men I could learn how to be a good man from. The males I saw growing up were pimps, drug dealers, hustlers, and gang bangas. Some of them were married with children but cheated on their wives and abused them and their children. Those males I saw growing up is what I learned to view as men. But how could I learn to be a good man?
To be honest, through the help of three phenomenal ladies (all psychologists and therapists) and my STOP class brothers, I recently came to understand that I am indeed a ‘good man’ and have always been. I realized, though I acted like the men I spoke of earlier and made many mistakes, victimized and hurt many people physically, emotionally, and mentally, that it was never me that was bad. It was my behavior. I learned to separate my person from the behavior I exhibited.
And likewise, there are millions of men out there just like me. Who, at their very core, are ‘good men’. But because of bad decisions and bad behavior, have victimized and caused untold pain and trauma to so many people (namely you ladies).
So for us to understand what happened to all the ‘good men’, it is important for us to have knowledge, awareness, and understanding of several matters.
#1 Violent, abusive, adulterous men are not born that way. The destructive and unhealthy behaviors that they possess are learned behaviors. They are behaviors they saw as a child from adults and peers within their immediate environments. These behaviors become normal to them so they repeated them as an adult. From the very start, a young boy is conditioned to think and act a certain way. They are told not to cry or not to ‘act like a baby’. That to show emotion is weak and unmanly. They were spanked or shamed for crying. When they skinned their knees or scraped their elbows, they were told, “Don’t cry. That didn’t hurt.” When they know dang well it did hurt. I remember being told, “Act like a man.” I would be thinking, “For God sakes. I’m not a man. I’m only eight years old.” So from the very start, we were taught to suppress our emotions and hide our feelings. We were made to believe that the only emotions that were okay for a man to show is anger/aggression and lust/sexual prowess. Any other emotion is deemed weak and feminine. We were taught to handle our problems with fists and acts of aggression. We were taught that we were not real men unless we have several girlfriends and was a sexual beast.
Our whole society has been conditioned to believe this way. Through the music we hear on the radio with the violent stories and raunchy lyrics that degrade women to television where even baby food commercials are sexualized. This is what we call, in class, “being trapped inside the ‘man box.’” We have become conditioned to believe that these behaviors are what make a real man. Violence, aggression, and sex. Anything else is considered feminine or gay. How sad.
So, the first step to understanding what happened to all the ‘good men’ is becoming aware of the ‘man box’. How our society and culture has laid the foundation for the men of our communities to exhibit such destructive behaviors.
#2 Like men, the ladies of our society have been conditioned to think the same way (more on the lady box in the future post). For instance, the question is often asked of the ladies, “What do you look for in a man?” One of the most common responses is, “The strong silent type.” Which translates as a man who doesn’t show his emotions and can kick some butt. These ladies are trapped inside the ‘lady box’ by believing that this is what a woman is supposed to want in a man while letting the ‘male box’ define their image of a ‘good man’. If a man shows that he is compassionate and caring, he is called a wimp or ‘pu–y whipped’. Many ladies say they can’t find a good man when in reality he has been there all along.
He is the caring and compassionate guy. The guy who brings flowers and tells you that you’re beautiful. The one who pulls out your chair for you and opens doors for you. The one who sits up all night and listens as you lament to him about how your current boyfriend is such a dog. The one who works the 9 to 5 job, busting his tail every day to make ends meet. The one was still willing to spend time with you and the kids. Sad to say, those men are looked at as lames and suckers. They are often passed over because they work as a janitor or busboy and don’t have the six figure salary or drive Bentleys and Mercedes Benzes. Nor can they shower you with diamonds and gifts. Instead they are regulated to the back of the bus for the ‘bad boys’. The ballers, hustlers, and playas. This sends mix messages to us men. On one hand, many figure, “Why bother? I can’t compete.” On the other hand, others try to be that baller, hustler, or playa believing that this is with the ladies want and end up being a victim of that lifestyle. Either dead or imprisoned for multiple years. The whole time he was content in just being a ‘good man’ from the very start.
#3 Just as every woman wants a ‘good man’, every man wants a ‘good woman’. There is an old saying that goes, “Be the change you want to see in this world.” The same can be said for relationships. If you desire a ‘good man’, strive to be a ‘good woman’. If you want a man who is caring, compassionate, and respectful develop care, compassion, and respect within yourself. If you want to man who is honest, trustworthy, and faithful to you, work to instill these same qualities within you. A ‘good man’ and ‘good woman’ are like a sofa and love seat. They complement each other.
It is imperative that every woman knows and understands that she is a ‘good woman’ too. To fully understand this is to be able to separate the woman from the behavior. There are no ‘bad men’ or ‘bad women’. Just bad choices, decisions, and behavior. A ‘good woman’ must understand and fully comprehend her innate worth. She must understand that she is more than just body parts, more than thick hips, luscious lips, and flowing curves. A woman’s innate worth is NOT how she looks. Our culture puts so much emphasis is on how we look that women (and men) feel that their only worth is how they look. Understanding your innate worth or simply put, ‘the value of you’ leaves us with 2 important realizations:
#1. You are worthy of being loved unconditionally.
#2. You are acceptable just as you are.
In conclusion, when all is said and done, you must be able and willing to communicate to us men what a ‘good man’ is to you, and treat him like one! Be honest ladies. Remember, this man may be the father of your children and may be the man you and your kids will spend the rest of your lives with. It’s you who gets to decide what is a ‘good man’ for you, not society’s twisted idea of a ‘good man’. Take it from one heterosexual ‘good man’. There are more of us out there than ladies are led to believe. A good man isn’t hard to find. One is born every two seconds.
A Good Man
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