Inspiration can be found in many places. Sometimes it is in a conversation I have or overhear, an article I read or within the moments life decides to hand me a lesson. There are occasions when it is clicking through Pinterest quotes that something syrupy and motivational set against a backdrop of stars or a lacy font makes my wheels turn. I want to grow the cute little quote that your 16 year old daughter is thinking about tattooing on her ribs into a story that will stick to her ribs.
Tonight it was overwhelming, this need to write about a quote I can’t even finish. That alone is telling. It started with, “A real man…” and I felt my eyes cross and I catalogued the primordial grunting sound that emanated from me.
I hereby request a moratorium on the proclamation that anyone is a “real” anything. I don’t know if those that feel they are above defining the qualities and values they appreciate in men and women are just looking for inspiration in a gif world or if they realize that blasting a very broad adjective in the context of demoralizing those they don’t consider “real” is tacky.
I have spent a lot of time making mistakes and talking to people and having meetings and reading and stuff and I can assure you of one thing:
Real people are flawed.
Gorgeously, inherently, deliciously flawed. It is the cracks and fissures that make us empathetic, lovable and granted, sometimes frustrating as all get out.
There are entire boards on Pinterest dedicated to “Real Man” and “Real Woman” quotes. They always proclaim that those that are “real” do not cheat, do not lie and a plethora of other things that the poster clearly aspires to manifest in their next relationship. I’ve heard the judgmental way women who are reapplying their Viva Glam sparkle sticks in the mirror of the cutest new restaurant assert this knowledge. While they all throw support at a girl who is clearly dating someone worthless they get that Goddess complex look, “A REAL man would pick up the check” or “A REAL man would order the most expensive wine.”
Or, worse, “Honey, I’m a real woman. If he can’t handle me at my worst he doesn’t deserve me at my best.”
What? I say with a wrinkled nose.
Why aren’t you always trying to be the best version of yourself? We all have our moments, but are you tucking your tantrums in the guise of worst as an ultimatum? That’s terrible and I will tell you why. I worry we are forgetting qualities, character and the celebration of difference because a marketing company figured out how to make it pretty, make it catchy, make you buy into it. You have sold your own values, your own adjectives, because someone gave you permission to be above them and then overlaid a blurry picture of stars.
Real: [ree-uh l, reel] adjective
1. true; not merely ostensible, nominal, or apparent: the real reason for an act.
2. existing or occurring as fact; actual rather than imaginary, ideal, or fictitious: a story taken from real life.
3. being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary: The events you will see in the film are real and not just made up.
4. being actually such; not merely so-called: a real victory.
5. genuine; not counterfeit, artificial, or imitation; authentic: a real antique; a real diamond; real silk.
I would argue, genetically, we are all real men and women. The words genuine and authentic above (number five) are used to describe an item physically.
I’d rather think of someone as being genuine in their manner, authentic in their spirit. How much better would it be to describe the person you aspire to meet or to be by qualities as opposed to hanging sixty pretty gifs on a page?
The most common theme I’ve noticed is that women want men who have character, who make them feel safe in their relationship and who value them the way their father said a man should. Women want to be viewed as strong, but not be labeled as a word I have come to despise – bitch. The two sometimes become synonymous and that is criminal.
Gentlemen, if you make a women feel safe in your relationship, and by that I mean supported, loved, respected and confident that you understand her value, you will watch her shine more brilliantly than you can imagine. You will experience a strength and a warmth that will feel like a tangible glow. Safety for a woman is paramount to her emotional security and this should not be confused with financial security. They are two very different things.
Women can be secure in our value and still maintain a level of humility and femininity. A man doesn’t need to be smacked with your strength. It is when we are busy being their lovers, their friends and sitting within our gifts that a man is drawn to the beauty and strength of you.
I have no other advice for you because I cannot figure out the rest.
Confusing creatures, truly. Do they want to be fed? Is it a sense of humor?
I got nothing.
With all this said, I simply ask that as we consider the people in our lives and ourselves, for that matter, we attribute characteristics and qualities as opposed to expectations or comparisons.
You get a lot more action that way.