Joy and I know someone whom has recently decided, after many years, to separate from her husband. Whilst hard, nobody could condemn her for this choice. Now please note that, to the best of our knowledge hubby has never been violent, or intimidating, or coercive. He was, or should I say is, simply an utterly useless man. I don't say this lightly; he's a nice enough bloke, but useless is the only appropriate word. For over ten years he has basically failed to meet her emotional and physical needs, and despite fathering two children he has more or less assumed the role of a third child, his wife making all the major decisions, having to remind him of everything, unable to trust him to carry out even the basics. Granted, he was always a bear with a pretty small brain, but all the same he's singularly failed to manifest anything close to masculinity.
What do I mean by that? Well here's my take; being a man means assuming a degree of responsibility. It means having a quiet inner confidence, a steadfast disposition, yet never losing the slightly primal elements that make us what we are. It means listening, it means facilitating, it means acknowledging that certain responsibilities cannot be shirked. It means showing a mixture of compassion mixed with strength, it means that your partner should always feel safe around you but never quite able to second guess your every move. It means mixing tenderness with resilience, confidence with humility, clear mindedness with a willingness to be open to new ideas and compromise. It's not about being the boss; just about having enough presence that your children respect you and that your partner doesn't have to direct you around like some stupid schoolboy.
There are a whole lot of useless men in the world. Or should I say a lot of boys who should really start acting like men. Alarm call, gentlemen; you're giving the rest of us a bad name.