In recent years, the image of men in the press has taken a definite turn for the more metrosexual. We’ve seen pictures of David Beckham in his sarong (shudder) and seen stories about how much time men spend in the bathroom, just they and their vanity.
This is all well and good: after all, it’s nice to have a man who actually listens when one’s talking; who can wield a recipe book with some ease; and who’ll have something pinchable in his bathroom cabinet for when the stubble rash gets just too scratchy to be bearable.
But I spent my formative years at a particularly pushy girls’ school. A huge majority of my fellow Old Girls (as we’re so delightfully known) are just as, ahem, spirited as I am. We spent a long time being told that we could do absolutely bloody anything we wanted (although in my case, that comes with the exception of being able to eat lunch al desko without spilling it all into the keyboard).
That background has led to my being rather non-plussed when faced with Potential Men who display too much of their metrosexual side. They don’t particularly strike me as deeply empathetic and caring – they’re just a bit wet. After all, if I wanted a long and detailed conversation about the perfect malachite bathroom tile, I’d go for dinner with a girlfriend.
And so it was with a sigh of relief that I read an article in Shortlist this morning, about reclaiming manliness for the men (although I don’t know how happy I am about the term ‘rogue male’ to describe them. In my experience, men don’t need any encouragement to be rogues).
Thanks to the popularity of such role models as Bear Grylls, and the lovely Don Draper, a resurgence of a little machismo is apparently what’s called for.
This is music to my ears. Whilst it is lovely to be listened to attentively whilst I’m on my soapbox, or told that a new jacket is particularly flattering, I do like my men to be men. I like them to eat steak, drink whisky and have a bafflingly large capacity for all kinds of sports trivia.
When members of Social Circle Blonde go away for the weekend, I’m fine with the fact that it’s the gals who’ll do the cooking whilst the boys ooh and aah over what’s under the bonnet of someone’s latest toy. I’m okay with it, because I know that they’ll also display the equally manly characteristics of gallantry and courtesy that frankly make the world a far nicer place for everyone.
I’m more than capable of looking after, and standing up for, myself in any sphere of my life: I can defend decisions I’ve made, and I can put up a shelf. But it’s nice when there are men out there who’ll take it upon themselves to do it for me; whose shoulders I can snuggle under whilst they feel they’d like to do it on my behalf. It’s very welcome, and I don’t take it as a slight, but the gesture of care and protection that it’s intended to be.
And if that resurgence of manliness means that there will be fewer discussions about bathroom tiles over dinner, then I’m all for it.
My year in going to the cinema
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