Sunday, June 2, 2019 • Essays
How to Be a Gentleman
In my life I have been blessed to know women. There was my mother, my grandmothers and aunts. There was my first crush at 5, my first heartbreak at 17, and all the loves since. There were friendships, colleagues, acquaintances and brief cafe conversations. Whether for years or months or minutes, however long we shared time, fathomless is the importance women have rendered my experience.
There are men today who seem to forget. They fail to see this beauty that pirouettes about them everyday. Perhaps they are blinded by that veil of purported manliness that demands them to be bulky and careless and hard. For whatever reason they are stuck in themselves, drunk with conditioned ego, puberty unreleased. Time has brought age and stubble on the chin, but maturity remains virgin snow. Yes, I too was them. We all once were little boys. But today I think there no greater tragedy than to maintain such boyish perspective. When one goes searching for truth, the guide is most certainly feminine.
I have met women who embraced motherhood and lost children, yet turned such impossible sorrow into charitable joy. I have met women who created art that touched the very marrow of existence and made strangers cry. I have met women who refused the shackles of social inequality, who risked parental love to follow their personal truth, who tackled monumental ideas and stood astride the globe’s mess as warriors unfazed by a dozen political arrows to the chest. Whether with compassion or with blazing brows set against the dimwitted opposed, their will was potent and untainted and incomparable.
I have waded clear mountain rivers, rode buses through the Himalayan Hills, watched sunsets on empty beaches and witnessed the Alps turn purple, and yet if I were to die today, my final fading memories would likely be the love given by women. If I were to go blind today, I would miss the fire in their eyes and the lightness of their step. If I were to go deaf, I would miss their whispers in my ear and the determined tone of their worldly arguments. If I were to lose my touch, I would miss their lips brushing my cheek, the gentle curve of their waist, and their shove to inspire me.
To love women is to respect ourselves as men. To sit beside them in silence and wonder at their mystery–if only as men we would drop our false bravado. To hear their stories and listen when they suffer–if only we would accept them as they are. To show them our hearts and ask them for their wisdom–if only we would face our own insecure fears of vulnerability. To treasure our dearest memories of them–if only we would not blame them when our hearts break. To face our fears, and begin by surrendering to a woman. If only as men we would at least attempt these deeds, we might grow into actual men, better men, and love more things on this planet. This is romance. This is chivalry. This is manliness.
Men, we are given opportunities everyday to meet the eyes of women, to lift ourselves from boyhood and show our own strength and good character. To display our intelligence and charm and courage. To lead other men and show them a better way. To redefine the word Gentleman and set this top-heavy world spinning on a higher balanced plane. We should take this as nothing less than an epic challenge worthy of any Homeric tale. There lies no greater gauntlet at our feet. To be men. To love women.