I’ve been accused of not liking men. On more than one occasion. Usually, because I’m holding a boundary or saying, “NO” as the complete sentence it is. Or doing some other radical feminist thing like believing women are people too.
But the ironic thing is this — I happen to adore men.
My entire life I have preferred their company to that of women. I have always thought they had better toys. And they got to do more fun shit than women did.
I was — and still am complete Tom Boy material. Don’t believe me? Ask the last dude whose ass I kicked shooting pool.
After my mother died I was raised by a man. A man who was emotionally absent and leaned a bit towards negligent — but he was never abusive to me. Or to my mother. Physical violence was just not done in the world I grew up in by the men in my family.
From this seed of nonviolence grew the men who make up my family today. And let me tell you — my family is full of Good Men.
I am equally blessed with the men who are my friends. Some have known me since we were kids. They are Good Men who see women not a thing to be feared but as the partner in humanity, we are to each other.
They are good sons and brothers and husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They are good friends and neighbors.
They see a need and they reach out. They cherish and they protect. They give and they share. They are kind and generous.
One of my cousins, this weekend, hit the nail on the head about the Good Men in our world. Even when they happen to screw up — they are easy to forgive. And make no mistake, they are humans and they can screw up in some pretty damn spectacular ways.
The magic potion which makes a man Good or Not is more than his opinion on equal pay, or the amount of time he spends at Hooters, or if he actually READS the articles in Playboy or not.
Good Men have within them a sense of honor.
I do not diminish in any way the life experiences of other women who have run across Men Without Honor. I have also been thusly unfortunate in My Life. But I have been blessed with enough experience to know my self-worth does not depend on the opinions of others. So fuck them. And the horse they rode in on.
When I was 12, my father handed me a gun and taught me to shoot and hunt as well as any boy child could have. Around that same time, my cousin — a guy — taught me to ride a horse. I had a good seat, a good horse, and I beat a lot of men in the show ring. I shot pool and learned that Lady Luck (The Universe) blessed me often — much to the dismay of my male challengers. When I got married, my husband took me trapping and fishing with him. At age 53, I got a motorcycle license and with the help of one of those Good Men friends — a motorcycle. And then another one.
In the world where I lived — the Good Men I knew made no distinction — did not discriminate against my ability — because I was a girl or a woman. Which ironically is the very definition of feminism. I recognized early on the men who made such a distinction were cut from a different cloth and were not worthy of my ire or attention.
In my world, I have always had the blessing of being judged upon my own merits. I never believed there was a single thing I could not do — if I decided I wanted to do it.
Because I was raised, surrounded, and continue to BE surrounded by Good Men.