My wive treated me to breakfast yesterday. We’re sitting there enjoying our food when she looked out of the window and said “I’m so glad you don’t walk off and leave me baby, Look at that” she said, pointing out of the window. I turned to see a man who had just pulled up to the restaurant with a lady. By the time I looked he was already approaching the building and she was still across the parking lot, just starting to walk away from the car. He finally turned and waited for her to close the gap a bit, but as soon as she got closer he took off walking again. He stayed out in front of her the entire time.
My wife and I chatted about the whole scenario a moment more as I expressed how much I hate to see a man walking out in front of his woman. But then I started to think privately about how many other things I see men do with or to women, that really bothers me. Things like walking through a door in front of a lady rather than holding the door for her and allowing her to walk through first.
I could rattle off several, but you get it. Pretty-much every man I know would be irritated by seeing this or any of several other things we as men deem unacceptable treatment of your lady. Or ANY lady. There’s a certain “minimum standard” among most decent men in regards to how women should be treated- any woman.
Most men take that to an even higher level when it pertains to the woman in their life. Not only is there a minimum standard among real men, but most men who strive to maintain and go beyond that standard are very quick to criticize and hold accountable men who don’t do those things. We TALK about these things in social settings with other men, and it’s tough, critical dialog. So if you’re hanging around such men in social settings on a regular basis your own standard either changes or you become uncomfortable being around the men in that circle.
But I must confess, found myself wondering at that moment; where is the “real woman” list? Why doesn’t there seem to be any “standard” among women for the treatment of men? Do women have a universally agreed-upon minimum standard of treatment towards men in general, and more importantly, men they’re involved with? Do they hold each other accountable or call each other on BS like men do when we talk? The evidence doesn’t seem to suggest so. In fact it seems that the opposite is true.
But there used to be a standard. I know that for a fact, because I know such women. There are lots of amazing women out there who are quick to tell you that they were raised a certain way and taught to treat the men in their lives a certain way. But that’s the thing. It’s not getting taught any more. At least not to women. That, I believe, is the source of much of the disconnect among men and women as it pertains to relationships.
Because the principles of manhood continue to remain pretty-much the same. And so does the expectation of what men should do and how they should treat women. So these time-honored principles continue be taught to boys, almost from birth. Many men spend our entire lives being taught these things and pushed toward reaching that standard of behavior. Everything we are taught about being a real man involves the service of and caring for of women.
Everything we are taught to achieve, from financial security to a relationship with God to the basic principles of chivalry are all to prepare us for that task. Most men grow up understanding that they must work hard to “become” a real man before they even deserve a good woman, so that once they get one they know how to treat her. As we become adults we hold our peers to the same standards.
But even though what is taught and expected of men hasn’t changed over the years, what is taught and expected of women certainly has. While many women today are teaching their daughters to expect nothing less than a “real man” they have themselves come to view many of the same principles as out-dated and demeaning to expect of women. Downright slavery, in fact. So these principles are no longer being taught to young women coming up.
Many women below a certain age consider themselves millennium women and thus no longer see old standards of womanhood and marriage as relevant or practical. And that would be fine if their opinion of what’s relevant, practical, demeaning or slavery for men to do also changed accordingly. But for most women that isn’t the case. In fact the average woman today who was blessed to have her father in her life wants a man that will treat her the way her father did. But all too often the same woman has no desire to treat a man like her mother treated her father (read that again).
The very term “real woman” doesn’t even mean the same things it did 20 years ago. Ask a woman over 50 to describe what a real woman is to her and you’re likely to hear her talk about all the ways she serves and takes care of her household, children and husband. She’ll talk about sacrifice, unwavering loyalty, support, unconditional love.
Ask a woman below a certain age the same question and most her answers will focus on herself, what she deserves, won’t settle for and won’t do for someone else; especially that “real man” she wants to provide for her and protect her and open her doors and walk next to traffic. All while she refuses to fix his plate because that’s demeaning and she refuses to be some man’s “slave”.
All I can say is good luck with that. And I’m so thankful to have been born in the age of “real” women. To have been blessed to have been raised by one. To have them as relatives and friends. But most of all, to have one as a wife.