A couple of years ago, I blogged here about what it feels like to be a man. The death of my partner, Su, almost a year ago, and the isolation inflicted by the pandemic made those feelings stronger. So I decided to rerun that blog post with updates. Here it is.
I’m glad I’m a man. I take pleasure in my size and strength, my courage and my stamina. I take pride in my manly achievements, everything from weight lifting to surviving Vietnam.
I esteem women and believe that they are equal to but different from men. I don’t claim to understand them. As a man, for example, when I prepare for sleep at night, I take off my clothes and go to bed. That takes something under five minutes. Women take much longer. I don’t know why. I can’t figure out why they spend as long s twenty minutes in the bathroom. What do they do in there that only women have to do before they sleep?
Men are bigger and stronger than women. That physical superiority brings with it moral responsibility. We men, to deserve to be called men, must honor and care for those smaller and weaker than us. It is our responsibility to defend, protect, and nurture women, children, and those not as blessed as we are, that is, the infirm, crippled, or aged. If we don’t meet that requirement, we have failed as men.
During the last half of my life, I’ve come to understand that we have another obligation—to respect women for their equality in every aspect of human life except physical size and strength. Women are men’s equals in mental, psychological, spiritual, and moral prowess. I suspect but can’t prove that they are superior to us in their insights about others and the way they handle human relationships.
Another of my unprovable insights is that women are superior to us men in solving physical problems. The first tendency of men faced with, say, a jammed door or package that won’t open is to use physical force. Women instead use their brains. More than once in my life I’ve found that no amount of muscular effort will open a bottle only to have a woman quietly run hot water over the top and open it easily.
I conclude that to deserve to be called men, we males must prove ourselves worthy of that honor by carrying out the duties inherent in manhood. Otherwise, we are men in name only.
2 thoughts on “Rerun: Being a Man”
Tom, rarely do any of us reflect on what it means to be a man or a woman. This is refreshing. While superiority is not in the eyes of the beholder, perspective is. I like to think the combination and interaction of man and woman have made a better, more interesting world. Way to go, man!
Thanks, Rose. As always, your comments bristle with insight. I have learned so much from women throughout my life, starting with the unique effectiveness of gentleness. I’m a better man for what women have taught me.