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Let’s come to terms with what it really means to be a man. – by David Albert

“Be a man.” God only knows how many times I’ve heard this. To all the boys and men, my dad and two older brothers, and to that particular young woman I briefly (actually not briefly enough) dated in college, who tried to impart their infinite wisdom about manliness on me, I say, “thanks, but no thanks.”

Men, it’s been said over and over again how we’re the best, the strongest, and oh, so powerful, and so, very, very important and, uhhh, great—don’t forget great! But seriously, we just sound like a bunch of assholes, don’t we?

So here’s what I know. Being a man basically means being a kind and decent person who just happens to be male. Now truth be told, it’s not always easy to be a nice guy—my wife would gladly offer her long list detailing all of my particular faults to prove it. But guys, I think our greatness actually shows up when we’re able to take that deep down hard look at ourselves and ask “who am I, and how do I want to be in this life?”

This passage from the book “Rules for a Knight” by Ethan Hawke has been helpful to me—check it out: Rule VIII, Honesty~ “A DISHONEST tongue and a dishonest mind waste time, and therefore waste our lives. We are here to grow, and the truth is the water, the light, and the soil from which we rise. The armor of falsehood is subtly wrought out of the darkness and hides us not only from others but from our own soul.”

Let’s come to terms with what it really means to be a man. To do this, it’s absolutely incumbent on us to question all of the established beliefs about masculinity we’ve been taught and try with all sincerity to understand the mindset from which those beliefs came. Big hint here—It. Aint. Real.

Now, I actually think I turned out pretty damn well. Despite the misdirected attempts of my two older brothers to turn me into a tough guy by repeatedly calling me a mamma’s boy, or sending me crying into the arms of my mother, I learned that it is okay for a boy to cry. Thank you mom for helping me to embrace my emotions. I’m teaching my son to do the same… God, he’s so beautiful, I know you would just love him.

So men, let’s not underestimate the power of the feminine but welcome it into our lives. Let’s treat women with the utmost respect and honor and seek their help in all things, because without them we can only ever be half as good as we really could be. And now, with the emergence of the #MeToo movement it’s clear, we are now, once and for all, on notice. The “boys will be boys” behavioral narrative will no longer be an acceptable excuse for our shitty behavior, and rightfully so. And yes, I often wonder why women haven’t collectively pushed us all off a cliff yet— but thank you, ladies, for your gracious restraint.

And, to those still buying those traditional toxic masculinity lines, knock it off, that macho, he-man, tough guy bullshit is really embarrassing, and seriously dangerous. How about instead you have the courage, a.k.a. the balls, to question the bill of goods you’ve been sold. And finally, once and for all, decide to be a REAL MAN who treats women with respect, equality, gentleness, and love.

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