I call it a Myth for my friends in New York who always joked about how good men don’t exist. They certainly were a rarity there, no doubt. Though lucky for me I didn’t come of age in a city of narcissists and womanizers, so I’ve been fortunate to know, first hand, good men do exist. Contrary to the myth, good men can be very passionate, attractive, strong, capable, and attractive. It’s why I’ve written about how to find them, they do exist!
Admittedly, I owe it to my father for showing me early on how to be the patriarch to a family. Growing up I watched him open the door for my step mom, religiously, even if he was driving, buy her flowers regularly, hold her hand when walking, and even help in the kitchen. Although my father isn’t perfect, no one is, he taught me to expect men can be strong enough to never cheat on their wives, to not be tempted to ogle over women, treating them like objects. He didn’t spend his weekend plastered in front of the television watching men in tights running around, he taught me real men can participate in life.
It is with this role model that I entered the dating world, and I must say, up until my adventures in New York City, it is probably due to him that I successfully weeded out the losers, liars, cheaters, and players. That the men I dated were strong men – strong enough not to cheat, strong enough to tell the truth, strong enough to be there for me. Moving to New York, I had no idea that those traits I’d come to adore in men, adore in relationships would be so rare in the culture. It took me two years of weeding out countless guys to find my first boyfriend in NY, the first guy that was attractive, strong, capable, passionate, AND chivalrous to a tee.
Hearing the endless stories from my New York friends talk about loser guys who ghosted them (so disrespectful, really!), were so selfish, only called them for booty calls, openly compared them to their ex’s, manipulated them into feeling not good enough, and so forth – it made me realize how different the NY culture was from what I was used too. Not that the Midwest is perfect, but there’s a certain level of respect each of us humans give to other humans, even if we’re not that into them.
Having left the New York culture behind, I’m back to being surrounded with good chivalrous men and it’s made me appreciate them even more. Endured the NY dating scene for a few years taught me that not everybody had a good role model for chivalrous behavior and some don’t even know what it means to be a strong man. Which made me think it might be helpful share some of my experiences, so here it goes – feel free to contribute:
1. Strong men don’t cheat – they are strong enough to say no to temptation
2. Strong men don’t lie – they are strong enough to face the difficult conversations because it’s the right thing to do
3. Strong men protect the people they love – I’m not talking financial, but more making sure the house is safe, their partner is safe, the kids are safe, etc.
1. Open doors for women and children (house doors, shop doors, car doors, etc.)
2. Walk on the street side of the sidewalk (to protect from oncoming traffic, puddles, etc.)
3. Let the woman walk first to the table in the restaurant
4. Let the woman order first in a restaurant
5. Let the woman walk first out of an elevator
6. Carries things for the couple (their suitcases, backpacks, heavy things, etc.)
7. Keeps an eye on their women and children – not in a creepy, controlling way, in a caring making sure they are protected and taken care of sort of way
8. Lead in the dating stages (they pursue, make the first moves, etc.)
9. Are the big spoon (the man holds the woman, wraps his strong arms around her, etc.)
I hadn’t realized how used to these chivalrous behaviors I was until the last guy I dated in New York who didn’t do these things. He actually wanted me to do these things for him, which felt de-feminizing (if that’s even a word). I’m not to say being a feminist and being chivalrous to your man is a bad thing, I’m just saying it felt really unfulfilling for me. I hadn’t realized how much I’d grown to appreciate and feel loved by a man being chivalrous. Perhaps because I’m an ‘Acts of Service’ gal, or perhaps because it’s just really nice to feel like a lady when you’re with your man, but regardless, it made me have more awareness to how important that was to me.
I do also want to stress that although good men will do the three ‘strong men’ qualities, the chivalrous ones are more on a spectrum. I’ve found most the chivalrous guys I’ve dated tended to do all the traits I listed (I know, I’m a lucky gal – and I don’t take it for granted for even a second), though some guys just don’t know. Maybe they weren’t taught, maybe they weren’t exposed, or maybe it’s just not their thing. Either way, you have to know if it is important to you and if it is, you need to be strong enough to tell him. If it’s something he can do (or is willing to try), then you need to be strong enough to be patient with him. It’s also a-ok if it’s not your thing either!
If you read the love languages literature, most women prefer ‘Words of Affirmation’ over ‘Acts of Service’. Which means, for us ladies that prefer ‘Acts of Service’ there are the guys who have been raised to believe women just want to hear words – I love you, you’re great, you can do this, I prefer you over any lady, you’re gorgeous, etc. For an ‘Acts of Service’ gal, that’s nice and all, but it’s all words, which mean nothing to us, we need action. Do something to show us you love us. If your actions say you don’t care, then even if your words contradict, it is as though you are saying you don’t care. (Luckily most guys are ‘Acts of Service’ so it is a perfect pairing!).
This article is mainly to my single New York gal friends who are constantly battling the less-than guy and thinking they don’t deserve fidelity or honesty because it doesn’t exist in a male species, but that bar needs to be raised. Good guys are out there. So many of them. I promise. Now go find ‘em! ;)