A Letter From The Nice Guy
Editor’s Note: In today’s post, Douglas opens up a little bit – and asks you women to do three things. Love it. Douglas blogs fiction at Conversations With The Devil and tweets at @Douglas_AmongUs. He’s a writer, self proclaimed nerd and, as the title suggests, a nice guy. Men – want to submit something for this month? Check out the Contribute page. We’d love to hear from you. – Lauren
When I heard the Good Women Project was taking submissions from men, I jumped at the chance. Not just because I welcome any opportunity to write, but I’ve been reading the blog for a while now and have been amazed (and educated) by all the things that have been said – though I realize they may not have been meant for me.
At the same time, I find myself unsure of what exactly I can offer. I ask myself: what do I have to say to you? What can I, as a guy, say to you that would mean anything? Do I even have the right?
Because I’m a man (not much of one but enough of one) trying to tell you how to be better women. How dare I. What do I know?
So, I won’t tell you how to be better women, mostly because I don’t think I have to. The women in this community are doing a great job of that already. But I do want to ask something of you, and I want to tell you something about being a man, or at least my version of it.
You see, I’m not a typical guy. I don’t like sports. I’m not macho or attractive or all that ‘masculine’ by most people’s standards. I’m what you might think of as the typical nice guy. In fact, I’m definitely what you’d think of. But I’ve seen enough of what people call ‘men’ to be ashamed for my gender. I read the articles in this blog, about the men who have hurt women, the men who have hurt you. The men who have abused you physically and emotionally, who have told you that you weren’t worth it; men who have taken from you what never belonged to them; men who have convinced you that you were a thing and not a person; men who have been anything but love to you and, in turn, anything but men. And, as strange as it may sound, when I read these stories, along with shame and sadness, what I feel most is the overwhelming desire to punch those men in the face.
I’m serious. I have a black belt; I feel I could pull it off. I imagine if any man tried to do any of those things to a woman I know: to my real sister or my sister in Christ, to a co-worker or a friend, to my nieces, and I wonder, as nice as I am, if I would be able to control the wrath that would stir up in me.
But as much as I want to play the protector, a role I believe men are called to fill but so few really do, I wonder what God really wants of me. Because I don’t need to tell you how to be women. I wouldn’t know where to start. And when I think of the women in my life, I don’t think of girls in need of saving. I don’t think of damsels in distress, that tired, old metaphor. I have a hard time imagining a weak women because I don’t know any, because every woman I know is strong in her own way, beautiful in her own way, wonderful in her own way, even if they don’t realize it. Even if someone may have told them otherwise.
And while I believe I am called to fight for you, and as much as I want to, I realize there is more to it than that. Because the truth of the matter is: we are not meant to fight this war for you, we are meant to fight it with you. Partners, teammates, warrior princes and princesses, as a mentor of mine would say.
Because you need us, but we also need you. So, if I could ask anything of you it would just be this:
1. Find better men. Don’t settle for less than what your worth, not from yourself, not from society, and especially not from us. Take it from a nice guy: we exist, please come find us. We’re great listeners.
2. Challenge the men in your lives. We need it. We need to rise the occasion, and we need you to remind us of that, so that we can return the favor.
3. Don’t believe the lies. Because if I’ve learned anything from the women I know, it is that you are all amazing. All lovely, all wonderful, all strong. You are not too much or too little. You are not broken or a waste or worthless.
And lastly, I don’t know where anyone reading this might be in her life. I can’t imagine what they may be going through, and I feel so inadequate to try and give them advice. But, ladies, if you ever meet a man who tells you the kind of lies written about here, who treats you like anything less than what God made you, who tries to treat you like an object of his pleasure. Please, do your gender and mine a favor and punch them in the face. And if you can’t bring yourself to do that, come find me. Because we all have fists and hearts. And I think it’s high time we used them both.
The nice guy.
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