Colorless Green Ideas Unintentionally Amusing In Person
Friday, February 21, 2003
A Good Man
I have read a couple of articles—and, to be fair, they were all in magazines like Vogue, and as a result, may be undeserving of the consideration which I am giving them—that have featured writers and/or celebrities talking about the importance of being a Good Man. I am curious about this, because it implies that a Good Man has qualities that may be different than the qualities in a Good Person. Now, I expect that a Good Person is probably thoughtful and considerate of others, and uses their turn signals, and is kind to their loved ones and all of that, but what additional qualities are needed to make a Good Person into a Good Man? Is it some sort of male-specific force that Good Men must possess, like Determination? Some traditionally-masculine requirement like Providing For The Family? The thing that I question in this Good Man concept is that it carries the implication that Men and Women have some gender-dependant inherent responsibilities, and I don’t really think that that is a terrific precedent to set. I know that there are all kinds of social pressures on us to conform to gender roles—and I have even been doing a really good (or bad) job of filling the Super Mom role lately—you know, the one where Mom gets up, goes to the gym, goes off the work until five, comes home and spends an hour making a delicious homemade dinner, and cleans the house every weekend. And my “children” are my boyfriend and my cat. Which is kind of good, because we’ve been eating much more healthfully as a result, and the apartment has been in pretty good shape, which is nice, but is bad because I am encouraging myself to get up at 9 am on Saturday and have a list of tasks to do by 9:15am (do the laundry, go to the grocery store, clean the litter box, mop the kitchen, make zucchini bread…), which can be a little stressful. (In actual fact, I suspect that I am wearing myself down & heading for either a breakdown or a seriously-necessary vacation.)
Anyway, my point is that this type of over-achieving behavior is pretty common in the intelligent, independent women that I know, and no one seems to be acknowledging that it might be a little too much to realistically expect from one person. So while the various husbands and boyfriends bustle around being Good Men, the women bust their asses doing everything else, often with little or no recognition. So why is it that guys are Good Men just for bringing home the dough, while women who bring home the dough and make dinner don’t even get that?