Here The Good Men Are! (A Guest Blog)

Previously, a law school classmate of mine, Bin Minter, wrote a guest post on the blog comparing Julian Assange to various Bond villians.  It was hilarious and enormously popular.  Today, I bring you another guest post from Bin, this time on the sensitive subject of sex, gender, relationships, and good men in the modern era.  Enjoy:

Back in February I “liked” a Wall Street Journal Article by Kay Hymowitz on Facebook, “Where Have the Good Men Gone?” Numerous female friends thanked me for sharing the article.  They particularly agreed that men today are “more like the kids we babysat than the dads who drove us home."  As one attractive UGA grad lamented, “When you go downtown in Athens, the girls get dressed to the nines and always look great to compete with each other; while a guy can wear a dirty t-shirt and a backwards hat, and girls will be all over him.”

If you haven’t read the article, Hymowitz’s point is this: if the world doesn’t need men, then guys “might as well just have another beer.” Or as Hanna Rosin argued last year in The Atlantic, Girl Power has made the Marlboro Man obsolete.

For most of human history, the basic act of procuring food required a lot of hard work, as did every other aspect of survival.  If you couldn’t make food or kill food, if you couldn’t protect yourself from nature and other men, you died.  G.I. Jane notwithstanding, men are stronger than women.  Women are also made vulnerable by pregnancy and motherhood.  Thus, men have historically occupied the role of provider and protector.

Today, however, humans are now exponentially more productive than even twenty years ago.  In first world countries, food is everywhere.  Instead of working to have food, people work so that they can pay other people to help them from getting too fat.  As for hard, physical work, we leave most of that to specialists or illegal immigrants, and even some of them are fat.  Bottom line: a person’s success and means of providing for himself are now completely detached from his physical strength.

A 25 year-old grad student I once dated put it best. When I asked her why modern women are increasingly acting like men, she said, “Because we can!” Or as my father explained years ago when lamenting the rising divorce rate in his lifetime, “women used to need men, but now, women don’t have to put up with men’s bullshit.   And that is a very bad thing because men are assholes.”  Pretty much.

These days, more women graduate from college than men, and young, female grads make more than their male peers. Countless professional women identify with the five year-old girl on youtube who wants a job before she gets married. “I don’t want to marry someone if I don’t have a job first,” she says. “I don’t care if I marry you. I don’t care if I marry another man. I care that I do something that’s special.”

Hell, sweetheart, why marry at all?   Now you can play daddy as well as mommy (but it helps if grandmommy can babysit once or twice a week).   The single mom, the prototype for the woman playing two roles, has gone from being societal outcast to society’s darling.  Look at Halle Berry, Padma Lakshmi, January Jones, or even Octomom. Watch Knocked Up.  No marriage.  No giving the child the father’s last name.  Men aren’t needed for anything other than reproduction, and they don’t even physically have to be there for that; the man is optional.

I am not decrying the female (or industrial) revolution and campaigning for women in the kitchen (though it would be nice to date a girl who could cook).  On the contrary, I, for one, prefer women who want to work and “do something that’s special” with their life.  I’m just explaining where the good men have gone.

One must be a man before one can be a good man, and what turns boys into men is responsibility.  In the article, Hymowitz's guy is content to play X-Box, drink beer, occasionally hit up Vegas, and totally shirk responsibility.  The funny thing about good men (who have always been hard to find) is that they like responsibility. That’s how they became men in the first place.  They don’t necessarily want to get married any sooner, but they do plan ahead.   Good men want to date women they could marry, and want the women to think they could marry the man, too.  Good men aren't day-traders; they're looking for a solid, high dividend stock at a low price that they can keep in their IRA for decades.  They only want to rent a house they might buy.

Here’s the kicker: good men scare the bejesus out of a lot of young women.  If you are a young, professional woman who sang “Amen” when you saw the little girl in the video, the thought of being married (much less being a mother) probably scares the hell out of you. It’s totally understandable. A lot of guys react the same way when they feel their girlfriends turning the screws.  But, you should realize two things: 1) a man could think you are marriage material without wanting to get married anytime soon, and 2) your less squeamish sisters are snatching up the good men.

Remember that girl who complained about guys going out dressed like they were in summer camp? She routinely turns down traditional date invitations because she doesn't want to get that “serious” with anyone. Is it any surprise that most of her relationships began with a hook-up?

Contrast that with a pretty cool graphic designer I know who, in my opinion, has the right approach:
“I take things one day at a time. I don’t get freaked out by the potential of future plans. My boyfriend is going to Africa this summer, and I just took a job in Baltimore. He has three years of school left. But I’m willing to try to date him instead of giving up at the fear of seriousness; just because he might want to potentially marry me someday doesn’t mean it will happen, just means it’s worth a shot.”
That’s what the good men are looking for.
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Write comments
August 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM delete

The funny thing about good men (who have always been hard to find) is that they like responsibility. That’s how they became men in the first place <----Truth. Can't wait for the follow-up blog regarding the double standards for good women.

Suzie Q
August 16, 2011 at 10:23 AM delete

So I'm only supposed to date men who might want to marry me?

August 24, 2011 at 1:27 PM delete

I have had a similar experience to Bin’s. I was down in Florida on vacation a few weeks back, on a bachelor party with nine other guys who were all in their late 20’s and early 30‘s. At one point I was standing in the ocean, Cuba Libre in hand and talking to a friend of mine, when a group of local girls sauntered up to us and started flirting. Now, both my friend and I are settled in long-term relationships, but this one girl didn’t know that and prattled on for about fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, at one point she splashed water into my cocktail, ruining my drink. It was an accident so I didn’t say anything. I lamented the loss of my rum and Coke and poured out the rest of the cocktail.

The girl did apologize, albeit in a baby voice, but she also chastised me for “wasting liquor.” “A real man would drink the salt water” she said to me. I looked at her and skeptically asked if that is what she really thought a man was, and she said: “Yeah! A man is tough!”

My friend and I exchanged perplexed looks.

I tried to explain to her what a real man is: A man is tough, but he is also confident, principled, loyal, honest, able to provide for his family. I tried to explain how drinking salt water is not toughness, just silliness... And she laughed at me.

It is true: good men are hard to find. Just ask Flannery O’Connor. However, we are hard to find not because there are so few of us, but because we don’t stand out more than the Frat Star, Jersey Shore Guy, or any of the other “boys” that are out in the bars. We just get overlooked.


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