Once upon a time I witnessed one of the toughest, macho, ex-marine construction foremen I know do a beautiful thing. When our accountant got married, her wedding was in another state and thus no one from here was invited to the wedding. This man made a point to find out her favorite color and the size of their bed, and ordered some very fine monogrammed linens for her. He arrived at her office with a large cardboard box. He put it on her chair and told her gruffly that someone delivered the box to his office by mistake. After she opened the box, he made a few slightly suggestive jokes about what they were going to do on their new sheets. She was very touched and tried to thank him but he just turned bright red and sloughed off the appreciation. It was obvious to me that this macho man has a very tender, romantic side to him that he is embarrassed to reveal but still will because he has the honor and integrity of a man. I believe that men are like this all the time.
Before my mother died, she was in a nursing home with Alzheimer's. My dad who was an electrical contractor and president of every organization he ever joined is the epitome of macho. He would visit my mother daily. She did not even recognize him and could not carry on a conversation. He would go to the nursing home and sit with her. He'd turn off his hearing aid and just talk to her about what was going on in his life and with all of their 6 children. Then he would paint her fingernails, curl and brush her hair and take her for ice cream. This went on for several years until she died. I would never have imagined that my dad could have been so tender and sweet, but he was.
I was present at the birth of my first grandchild along with my son-in-law. I watched as my daughter delivered her son and the doctor checked him and then handed him to my son-in-law. Jason was so moved by the birth of his son that as he held him in his hands, tears rolled down his face. I have seen this scene repeated again and again at the many births I have witnessed.
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Years ago I saw my husband, champion wrestler, black belted in Judo and Karate, world class wrestling coach and former Green Beret shed a tear when our pet rabbit was mangled by a wild dog.
At my husband's funeral, there were about a thousand men, visibly shaken, some so shook up they could not speak, but those who did spoke of his commitment to them as men and how he had sacrificed to teach them to change their lives from pre-delinquent to upstanding citizen, mayor, school principal, police officer, business owner, fathers and coaches. He accomplished this as a man, actually as a wrestling coach who took the toughest boys he could find on the street and taught them to channel their aggression into an acceptable form where they could become champions and experience success.