I can’t recall the last time I read something in praise of good guys. The general discourse tends to focus on the negative things some men have done (key word: some) – men in politics, men in business, male hegemony, patriarchy, men abusing women in relationships, paedophile priests – the list is endless. These matters need to be discussed off course, but they are not the only stories out there.
Let’s talk for a change, about the good guys. By “good” I don’t mean “perfect”, the pursuit of perfection (as in, to be without flaws) is futile . I’m just referring to the guys that are doing the work to be decent human beings.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many good guys. They are progressive in their thinking, they think about the positive contribution they want to make in the world, they do not have one-track minds, they are loving and loveable – and many of them give good hugs (good hugs are wonderful things!). Many of them are also actively working on self-improvement. They want to have meaningful empowering relationships with other men. The spoken word poet, Guante, has some great poems on being a man today. You can see some of his work here.
Often we can get caught up in jaded male-bashing conversations. I remember all the male-bashing #1 hit songs I danced to in my 20s. These days, I don’t want to do that anymore. It doesn’t help me and it certainly doesn’t help the world if I’m only adding to the cynicism and jadedness. I want to focus on the good guys.
I also want to spread the word about those who are doing the work to heal men and generate an alternative discourse about them. The book “The New Manhood” by psychologist Steve Biddulph is thought-provoking: “Most men spend their whole lives pretending that they’re fine when they’re not” he says. This book is a must-read for men and women. It gives insight into what the inner world for many men is like.
He explains that for a boy to become a man who is kind and generous “he has to see that, lived out, in someone who could be an older version of himself”. He also talks about what a pity it is that traditional cultures, where older men guided young men through initiation ceremonies from boyhood to manhood, have been undervalued. The lack of these important events in mens’ lives is what leads to “footballers who act like idiots…drunken yobs in the street…but most often, just men who do not know where they are going in their lives”.
Another handy read is “Knights Without Armor” by Aaron R. Kipnis, who points out the problem, for example, of cinema heroes “getting shot repeatedly during…conquests…[and reacting] with a mere wince”.
We’re all in this together you see. And this is in praise of the good guys – and there are many out there. Let’s also toast to the mums and dads that are doing their best to raise great guys. Again I say – we’re all in this together.
- Educate yourself on these matters by reading the books like those mentioned above and finding out about services in your city like mens’ circles.
- Know a good guy? Off course you do! Give him a hug.
- Encountered a not-so-good-guy e.g in a relationship? Think on why you let him into your life and intend to only allow the good guys in.
- Let’s spend more time talking about the good guys.
Got something to share? Leave a comment – someone might just need to hear what you have to say.