Macho and sensitive or abusers...
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.
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.
What do all of these examples prove?
It proves that men are our heroes, saviors, gladiators and rescuers. They represent honor, integrity and toughness. They fight for what they believe, they are the first to come to the rescue of a damsel, child or animal in distress. They perform these tasks silently, not asking for praise or recognition. They are stoic, often working while in pain or sick, frequently refusing to see a doctor until they are severely ill.
They come across as tough guys and are unwilling to show their emotions for fear of being thought a wimp. It is these characteristics that make them our heroes and yet women criticize them harshly for being unemotional, detached and macho.
Our American society puts a lot of pressure on men to perform, control their emotions, be tough, and live within a tight definition of what is masculine. Then we criticize them for being the way that we have pressured them to be.
So what is it about men that creates their tough shell and soft insides?
Let us look at the extreme of what men are allowed to express. What is the cost of macho?
Perhaps it is true that men are raised from birth to "suck it up", "be a man" and "tough it out" but what has this created in terms of man/woman relationship? It seems that all of this "macho training" results in universal abuse of both men and women.
The "boys network", those conversations that go on in locker rooms, bars and places only frequented by men are focused on women as sex objects. A solitary man may be willing to show his emotions and feelings to a woman that he loves, but are men becoming more inhibited in that respect as well. Based on the current divorce rate and irreconcilable differences, it appears that men and women cannot transcend the emotional barriers that they must in order to connect and communicate with those that they love. The responsibility is not exclusively on men. Women play a huge part in the creation of these irresponsible expectations, which are placed upon the male species at birth and propagated throughout their lives. The suppression of male emotion results in the unpredictable environment of unfocused and inappropriate anger and possible violence. It is well known that anger is an acceptable emotion for men to reveal, but does it have to be the only one?
Have you noticed that the man who supports or defends a woman in a highly charged testosterone environment is targeted as a wimp and potentially places himself in danger?
These are the standards by which boys are raised and men continue to support. This is abusive both to men and women. One of Oprah's shows focused on these very issues and the guests on her show were all men, some former pro athletes, former spousal abusers, therapists and young college students all in support of a movement to broaden the definition of what it means to be a man.
I'm going to say two things that are very controversial.
1. American society tolerates a very narrow range of masculine emotion.
2. The abuse of women is so pervasive, underhanded and unrecognized that it is accepted as the norm by both sexes.
Thus, it is passively perpetuated. Many men who recognize but do not participate in this form of sexual degradation of women, just keep quiet and do not step up to the defense of women for fear of repercussions. It is in this way that men can be guilty of abuse.
What these two statements reveal is that we are still in the infancy of our personal development as a nation.
Web site: http://www.gettingwhatyouwant.com Buy my book http://www.HowToGetWhatYouWantFromYourManAnytime.com or e-mail me at Susan@gettingwhatyouwant.com
"I help people who want sacred intimacy in a hot relationship, get what they want from each other so that they can experience more fun, more sex and less bickering!"