Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche?
I have no idea what that means. Truly, I have eaten two great quiches; one was by a gruff, Harley riding chef and the other a gay man cooking in his kitchen. Both men have exceptional gifts and different ways of looking at the world. I wonder now how each would respond to the question “What is a Real Man?” and thus the point of this writing.
The picture you see is of a Bristol F.2B Fighter. It’s important to me because my Grandfather, being British, flew this as well as a Sopwith Camel in the First World War. Interestingly, the two planes are parked beside each other in the aviation museum here in Ottawa. At 18 years old, my Grandfather was stationed in France, flying in an air zone where the life expectancy was 2 weeks. He flew there for 6 months, surviving his plane being shot in aerial combat. He was decorated for his valour, and when WW2 began he entered it as a Wing Commander, or so I’ve been told. You see, while we have his medals he never spoke of what he endured. Never. He was one of the kindest men I’ve ever known.
This topic got traction in a conversation with two women. I was doing “manly” things in support of one of them and as a thank you I was offered baby lotion for my skin. My, “No thank you” was because of its scent. The other woman, having just met me, said, “Real Men don’t use lotion, right?” We laughed of course, though I wondered, “Real Men don’t use lotion? Why wouldn’t they?”
With the blossoming of the Feminine consciousness the world over, the question of “what is a man?” is now coming under the microscope. Women have been consistently evaluating who they, themselves, are and their roles in this emerging new spiritual world. The mirror they look into sees past what society says they must look like and reveals the true woman within. Women are learning to stand confidently in their truth and to stand together. “Where,” they ask regularly, “are the Real Men to meet them?”
Many women and men seem to be confused on what “A Man” is. In my Essence Within weekend retreats, groups of women were asked to describe the Divine Feminine, and then Divine Masculine. Each group easily found over 20 words describing her, and struggled to find an average of 5 words describing him. How can that be? Perhaps it’s been so long since women have seen one, that they have forgotten what a true Man really is. Of late the media has been quite successful in revealing the inappropriate men, every woman knows what they look like. Yet it is fascinating that when a true Man walks into the room he is also easily recognizable. So why aren’t younger men and boys seeing more of these? Why aren’t they being mentored? My Grandfather was a soft spoken man and now many years later I also know he was emotionally wounded. Still, he loved and was loved. His strength supports me now.
10 plus years ago, I participated in class that asked the participants to evaluate their masculine-feminine balance. Then others in the group reflected their view on how that person’s balance appeared to them. Most people were very close in their assessment of their personal balance. Mine, was 73% masculine 27% feminine and at the time that seemed reasonable. Upon the class’s completion, one of the women asked me why my feminine was only at 27%. She added, “You have the ability to be more balanced, what is holding “her” back?” “What a great question,” I remember thinking. I feel most women aren’t really interested in what a Real Man is. Women for the most part, just want that man in front of them to be someone they can believe in, someone they can trust. It would appear that there are still too many men believing that being dominant is what being a Real Man means. It would seem the rest of the world just sees them as bullies.
The combination that seems to unlock this “What is a Man” deadlock may be found in a collective revisiting of Masculine values. Only when we have, together, assessed and clearly stated what a man is, can we celebrate the true essence of the masculine. How he is displayed on the outside really doesn’t matter, whether he is straight, gay, asexual, transgender, tall, short, muscular or rounder. We, both men and women, are called to see his true heart as a measure of manliness. That is why we’ll know him when he walks into the room, his traits are well defined and clear. We see how easily women feel safe in his presence. How anyone feeling threatened finds comfort in his company and who knows, maybe he’s eating quiche?
For me, I met one. He was kind, soft spoken and tested. Thank you Granddad.