Man Up.

How “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” Broke My Heart and Killed My Generation. Part 4. 

Okay guys. I’ve been pretty tough on the ladies. I’ve reminded them that just because you take us to dinner doesn’t mean you want to marry us. I’ve explained how we fail you when we jump the gun and imagine our whole lives planned out and when we take control of relationships.

These are tough things for a woman to admit – especially in the culture we live in today. Because guys, it SUCKS being a Christian woman in today’s society. We’ve been raised to believe we’re worthy of pursuit. That someone will fight for us. We cut our teeth on Cinderella and Pride and Prejudice and Redeeming Love. All wonderful fiction and I’ll address the topic of those expectations another day, but that’s what we crave. And we’re living in a culture where you just aren’t fighting for us. So for now, I’m going to be really honest.

If you don’t step up and start pursuing us, we’re going to lose an entire generation. The future is on your shoulders. And I get it – I really do. We women are half of the problem. And we could argue all day about which came first – passive men or aggressive women. But what I’m saying to you is that it really is time to stop. As men, it is your duty to be the warriors. I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman who, if she’s brutally honest, doesn’t desire a man to be the pursuer.

I’m not entirely sure when it happened but at some point in the last few decades men starting being portrayed as weak. We emasculated you and for that I am truly sorry. I’m sorry you’re the only ones who can be poked fun of in the media. I’m sorry that we started pursuing you. I’m sorry that our control issues took away your desire to fight for us. I’m sorry that we castrated you into a group of passive weak men. I think the LORD’s heart broke when this started. I believe He weeps when He sees the unhealthiness of how we view each gender.

It’s a fine line to walk. Because you hold the power in a relationship. It’s very very easy for you to abuse that and lead us on. Some of you do it intentionally because you’re selfish and some of you doing it unknowingly and all of a sudden it’s too late to salvage a friendship because someone’s heart is way too involved.

You set the tone. If you passively show enough interest we will take the lead. We’ll take control and as I mentioned the other day, setting us up to take control is setting us up to fail. When you act out of your masculinity, you allow us to be free. You give us the gift of not trying to figure things out and it calms our crazy brains. You may not believe me, but it’s true. A woman at rest is one of the most beautiful things in the world and you can help create more of those.

A few years ago I went on a ski trip with about 40 twenty-somethings. We had a blast of a weekend and a few of us ended up going to Denver on the way home to go line dancing. I had never really been line dancing and was never asked to a dance in high school. Add this to the fact that I had just moved back to Colorado a few months prior and didn’t know anyone and all my junior high insecurities came flooding back.

There was one less guy than girl so I assumed I would be the girl who wouldn’t two step with any of the guys. As a song ended and my friends came back towards me, one of the guys reached out his hand and asked if I wanted to dance. I was shocked. Like almost to the point where I couldn’t move. He grabbed my hand and took me out on the floor. I was so tense and could hardly move because I didn’t know what to do. Except lead. I knew how to lead all too well.

After we stumbled through some awkward steps he looked at me, half smiled, and yelled, “Let me lead, Rachel!! Stop trying to anticipate the moves and let me lead!” It felt like a gentle slap in the face. I didn’t know how to be led and every time I struggled to take control it made it harder on him. We made it through the dance and much to my surprise, I didn’t spend the night on the sidelines and had one of the funnest nights of my life. But I’ve never forgotten that firm reminder of who was made to lead.

Okay – enough about all of that. I know you men are pretty black and white and like to fix things. So I’ve created a list for you. Some practical things you can do if you’re thinking about asking a woman out:

  • Show intentional interest. Don’t make her wonder if you like her.
  • Ask her to dinner. With a specific date and time and restaurant.
  • Don’t hem and haw and sort of ask her out if she’s got some time and use alot of “…”‘s. Man up!
  • Don’t do the “hey! wanna grab _____” unless you’re actually asking her if you can take her to coffee, or a beer, or ice cream.
  • Pay. If you’re on a date, regardless of any type of protest she puts up, pay.
  • Hold the door for her. And anyone else if they are coming or going when you are.
  • Walk her to her car.
  • If you like her enough that you think you’ll ask her out again, follow up with something like, “I had a great time. We should do this again soon.” If she agrees, make a mental note to call her within a couple days and plan another date. This won’t freak her out.
  • If you don’t think you’ll go out again, thank her for a fun evening. Don’t give her any leading statements or room to assume. Because she will assume.
  • DON’T say “so when are we going to hang out again?” if you have no intention of following through with that statement.
  • Put a little thought into the date and don’t blow your budget. Most girls I know are way more impressed with something creative than something or somewhere expensive. Heck, Chick-fil-A can be fun!
  • DO NOT TAKE HER TO COFFEE. Unless this is a follow up to a movie, or dinner, or something else.

Here’s what you need to know. I think it’s sexy when I see a man being a man. I mean if I wanted to date a girl, I would be a lesbian for crying out loud. What I want is a man in all his male glory. I want a man who is going to be the rational one when I’m crazy. I want someone who is strong enough for me to lean on in the tough times. I want a man who is strong enough to be tender. I want a man who is strong enough to be humble.

And I don’t think the man I’m looking for is Bigfoot because guys, I’ve SEEN you! You are amazing. You have so much potential and I believe in you!! There are very few men I’ve met in my life that I’ve truly thought they couldn’t change the world. The problem is that you’ve lost your fight.

When I see you in your element – helping me carry the big box that I’m too stubborn to ask for help with, holding the door, paying the bill before I know to ask for separate checks, standing up for a cause you believe in, praying with authority in front of others, or calling me to the carpet when I’m full of crap, I’m pretty sure my heart leaps a little bit because you’re there. You’re there and you just need someone to believe in you and cheer for your heart.

So here I am… without agenda or a hidden motive, telling you that you are strong. You are enough. You are worth fighting for. You are not a lost generation. You have everything to offer. You are the men we long for. You are the men our little girl hearts imagined. You are. You just need to be reminded of that.

Speaking of little girl hearts… tomorrow we’re going to dive into some more grit of how you can protect our hearts. Now that you know you can fight – I’ve got something for you to fight for.

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5 thoughts on “Man Up.

  1. Pingback: Friendationships | Ramblings of a Beggar

  2. Pingback: Bird poop changed my life. | The Heart of the Journey

  3. I realize that this is a (really) old post, but if you’re still answering comments: what’s wrong with coffee if you make it clear that that’s a date? I’m a coffee nerd, and if the girl enjoys coffee as well it’s also really good for conversation. Am I missing the point?

    • Hey there!! 🙂 yes it is a super old post and I would say some of my views have changed. I totally think a coffee date (assuming you’ve actually said, id like to take you on a date how about this cool coffee shop) is okay. I hadn’t seen “coffee dates” done very intentionally in the circles I was in or with my friends. So coffee is totally acceptable (in my mind) with crystal clear intentions 🙂

  4. I post this realizing it is an old blog post, but there is something in this post that really bugged me as a man, who isn’t traditionally masculine in some ways. The statement about men being black and white and wanting to fix things, and the overall tone of “man up.”

    When men who aren’t traditionally masculine in certain aspects hear these words of “Man Up”, it can feel like a stab in the chest. For one, it assumes all men are simple creatures who want to fix things. All of the male poets, romantics and philosophers get swept under the rug for this generalized picture of what a “man” is. A man is someone who enjoys competitive activities and spurns certain forms of emotional expression or activities. A man is someone who should pursue women and not worry about rejection. When you combo this expectation of men expected to pursue with a man who feels deeply AND courtship expectations of some Christian women on top of it, you have a recipe for disaster.

    For example, while I do like having emotional conflict resolved, I am enjoy abstraction. I feel deeply, even though society’s ideas of masculinity still restrict me from full expression in many occasions.

    Your overall idea of men being good leaders is good. But often, when men hear leader, they think of a traditionally masculine individual who can take charge and get things done. So when we hear statements like these from women, we think our more sensitive and shy nature is not only undesirable to women but also incompatible with “Biblical manhood.” The second doesn’t affect me as much because I didn’t grow up in a traditional evangelical manhood environment(that’s a mouthful!)

    Again, I realize this is an old blog post and my points were not directed at you, Rachel as an individual, but rather at the overall attitude of traditional masculine expectations. In fact, I plan to write a blog on this topic soon. 🙂

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