If I had a dime for every time someone proclaimed, “He’s a good man,” well you know the rest.
I thought I knew what a good man was. What he looked like. What he did or didn’t do. In recent years my views have changed. No longer do I feel that a good man is subject to specific traits. Some, definitely. A good man is also relative. What constitutes a good man differs from person to person.
But what constitutes a good man in your own eyes? What if you were not a feminist?
What if you saw him every day?
What if in your eyes he was not good enough to be called a man?
What if you saw him every day but couldn’t recognize him in the end?
What if you told yourself that in the end you were right?
My views have changed because of books like “The Good Men Project”. Because of podcasts and presentations and articles. Because of you.
I no longer feel that way. And I want you to know that it’s not just about “him”. It’s about “them”. It’s about “them” because as much as we might like to believe that it’s “us” it’s not. It’s about two different images of what it means to be “manly”. One is the ideal and the other is the reality.
What constitutes a good man in your own eyes? What if you were not a feminist?
What if you just thought he was good looking? What if you thought he was “all in” and didn’t need a woman like you?
Without realizing it I raise my own standards. I work on my self-esteem. I work on my self-belief. I don’t want to be someone who just isn’t good enough. Without this I’m not a “good man”. A “good man” needs to like me. He needs to like me and I need to like him.
What is a good man?
For me the good man is the good guy I see when I glance in the mirror. The good guy I see when I’m in the company of children. The good guy I hear when another person is talking about their relationship with me. The good guy I have in my life who supports me emotionally. The good guy I feel safest with. The good guy I least want to be alone with. The good guy I most want to be with someone I know and love. The good guy who I will want to spend my life with.
I want the good guy I have in my life to be the good guy I see when I’m alone. The good guy who I will want to go out with and have relationships with. The good guy who will be the guy I go to for help when I need it and he will want to give it to me. The good guy who will be the guy I turn to when I fail and he will want to give it to me too. The good guy who will be the guy I think of when I’m bored and need a bit of excitement and he will want to give it to me too.
I don’t want the good guy I have in my life to be the bad guy in a horror movie. I don’t want him to be the scary man in the grocery store who owns the store and who makes fun of the women trying to buy groceries or try to leave someone.
I don’t want him to be the scary man in the grocery store who is physically abusive or threatens to kill us both if we leave (why would he want to leave, you ask? He won’t because he knows I would leave him first. He wants to keep us separated so he can never really “leave” us. Yeah, I think he’s kind of a shitty guy.)
I do want the good guy in my life to be the guy who knows how to love and be loved. The good guy who will want to give everything he has to make us feel loved and appreciated. The good guy who will look for ways to make us happy and will do everything he can to make us come back to him. The good guy who will pull me out of the woodwork when I need fun with someone new or want a break from my relationship when I’m feeling down and I see he’s online playing something I can connect with. The good guy I can think of when I’m lonely and want some fun with someone new or want to distract myself from some emotions and be with someone who isn’t me.
I know I can be that guy.
I know I can be the guy who shows up when the world seems like it’s turning on again. I know I can be the guy who shows up when your heart is pounding and fills your lungs with fresh air. I know I can be the guy who shows up when you’re tiny heartache becomes a lifetime of pain.