...maybe then I could learn to swim like 18 miles away." Into the Ocean by Blue October.
Just a quick note: I discovered this blog post about manliness (the whole blog looks like a good read on the lost art of manliness, though as I just discovered it I cannot vouch for content outside of this one article.) via my friends Polish and Mr. Where?, who are in the front-line against the growing emasculation of men.
This topic is very near and dear to my heart, as I have often lamented (prior to meeting my husband) the lack of manly men in whom I could be "interested". I knew my boy was a keeper pretty quickly--most of you know the story--but I have to admit, one of the catalysts for me even considering him when he first asked me out was by a stark contrast between my boy--who is the strong silent type--and a few guys who propagated "manliness" and "chivalry" but showed no visible signs of this philosophy.
My life has been somewhat of an open book, and I've always let most anyone have say in my personal affairs (a habit my husband has decided to break me of) and the initial decision to date him was no different.
The aforementioned group of guys did not approve. There was one particular boy, we'll call him "gabby boy" who was particularly vocal.
I had known gabby boy for four or five years, and we'd always been perfectly friendly, but it was a sad truth that from age 17 to present I could've beat him in a fist fight. He was definitely the intellectual type, which does not imply weakness, but if I can beat up a guy, there's something wrong. When he noticed the boy was talking regularly to me, he sent me a long, vehement message, informing me in very crude and unpleasant terms that he (my boy) was Not Good Enough for me, being a mindless "jock" (This was the least offensive descriptor).
This was quickly proven to be false, as even my shallowest initial conversations with my boy showed strength, honor, and a sharp intellect that challenged and interested me at a very deep level, especially, interestingly enough, when we talked about the roles of men and women in modern America. I quickly felt that I wasn't good enough for him. It was these conversations that made me fall in love with him, beyond his other obvious attractive attributes. I believe my response to gabby boy was gracious, if short, and I suspect my engagement three months later came as a surprise to him. I later learned that they had never so much as had a conversation, so I am not sure where gabby boy was getting his information.
Blessedly, gabby boy and his cronies were the exception in my inner circle, and the man friends I respected, from my growing up years and my college years seem to agree that I found a Good Man. And I am eternally grateful for the traits and values that they portrayed so well throughout my life that gave me hope that there was a guy out there who would be both my best friend and the love of my life...and manly. And here I am, married to a guy who spent the last six months getting in ridiculously good shape, has to wear a bulletproof vest to work every day, who daily puts his life on the line for people he's never met, and yet is smarter than I am, and is good and wise and gentle and thoughtful and (don't tell him I told you) more of a romantic than me.
So, enjoy the article, and...be manly! Unless you are of the female persuasion, in which case, please do not. :P