what is manliness?

Hello ole blog readers! I apologize for going dark as of late. When I transferred my blog to SquareSpace a lot went wrong (feel free to email me if you're thinking of doing so) and I've been spending all my spare blog time on getting things fixed. It feels amazing to be back. Hello :) Without further ado, a new, long overdue, post for you!

When I first started dating Chris, I feared he was too kind for me to stay interested. He planned dates ahead of time, called when he said he was going to call and put my needs first. He surprised me with coffees and little gifts and special date nights.
Oh, the crimes!
I’d spent years dating guys who taught me that these kind of habits – the patterns of a male in pursuit of a wife – were unusual and boring. I had been taught to believe they meant he was predictable. I had been seasoned to be a game player and the lack of guessing left me questioning if he could be a fit.  
I remember I tried to articulate what I was feeling and said that I didn’t know if he was “manly” enough. What I was trying to say is that the men I’ve dated prior to Chris didn’t treat me this well and, therefore, his patterns felt unusual and unlike any other man. But, my brain wasn’t ready to process the differences. His kindness and gentleness felt foreign and odd. He, being a true gentleman, confused me.

I’ve hesitated to write this post for a while because I know that all men are different. Some give gifts and plan surprises, others love with their words. Others love with quality time. I know there are a number of ways for men to love women well.
But, I think there’s an important distinction to be made. I see women all throughout their 20s who are running from men who treat them well. They’re wrapping up their own discomfort by stating that these men aren’t manly.

I know some manly men who are rugged and drive trucks and drink beer. And I know some manly men who iron their shirts and bake. It doesn't matter which end of the spectrum a man falls on for him to be manly - it's about a guy knowing who he is, being confident in it and treating a woman well.


To all my friends struggling with finding that balance, let me assure you: 
Not calling when you say you will is not manly
Being gamey and intentionally keeping a girl guessing is not manly
Ignoring texts for hours to maintain control is not manly

Refusing to commit to you is not manly

When he shows up on time with flowers and compliments you. That is manly!
When he makes a reservation and opens your car door? That’s manly!
When he listens when you speak and remembers what you say? Manly, my friends.

There is an epidemic, I think, with our generation. We are afraid to let these boys turn into gentlemen. We make excuses when they don’t text (maybe he didn’t get it! He’s really busy). Or get bored when they pursue us (he’s just so available it’s kind of overwhelming).
We run away from the manliest of men and wrap it up as the opposite – that he's not manly enough. But, in fact, those are the most manly of all; they are those who are confident in who they are, what they want, and how to get it. 

I get it. Some women just aren't attracted to men who care about their shoes or drink red wine. That's fine. But, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself at 27, as I was overwhelmed by Chris kindly bringing me medicine when I was sick and dinner when I was stressed: enjoy it. His kind heart is what makes him who he is. And being who he is and treating you well is the manliest thing he could ever do.