Anyone who knows me knows that I’m busy dismantling the patriarchy at every opportunity.
That said, don’t expect me to start in saying something about how sorry I feel for men and how they get such a bad rap. Sometimes that bad rap is richly deserved—and don’t even get me started on misogyny or rape culture or the massive gender inequities that are clear to anyone who’s paying attention.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way (my disclaimer, if you will), I can say this: There are extraordinary men in this world.
Not only do we know they are out there, we see them in our own lives. We do. And when we complain about men in general, we don’t mean you. But you already know that, because it’s not your fragility shouting, “But not all men!” You would never say that because you know that we didn’t mean “all men.” We meant “most men.” The majority, not the extraordinary. We know there are other extraordinary men out there, just like you.
We appreciate how you aren’t intimidated by the strength of women. You don’t feel insecure about our education, careers, or choices. You recognize our accomplishments and respect them. But then again, you just respect us—not because we’re the “weaker sex” or “fragile,” but because you recognize us as equal human beings.
We appreciate that you don’t think housework or childcare is just “helping out” or “babysitting,” but simply a part of your responsibility as a household member or parent. You do it without expecting thanks or acknowledgement because it’s just what responsible, mature people do.
We see you.
We appreciate that you don’t catcall or touch us without our consent. We appreciate that consent is equally important to you. We appreciate that you respect us when we say “no.” We appreciate that you don’t slut shame us or call us prudes. We appreciate that you respect our bodies as being our own and don’t try to control or judge our choices.
We appreciate that you don’t stay silent around “locker room talk.” You confront these attitudes and choose not to spend time with people who promote rape culture. You never, ever, say anything that could be construed as “locker room talk” because you actually respect women.
We appreciate when you identify as feminist and use your own voice to create change. Your masculinity isn’t threatened by feminism because you understand that gender equity helps us all. It doesn’t take anything away from you or any other man when women are given fair and equal treatment. You understand this, and we applaud you.
We appreciate that you still open doors and show courtesy. We appreciate that you keep your word and don’t try to pretend to be someone you’re not. We love your authenticity and your refusal to treat relationships as a game.
We appreciate when you tell us we’re beautiful—not just when we’re dressed up for a night out with perfect hair and expertly applied makeup. No, you tell us we’re beautiful when we’re exhausted after a long night with our kids or when we’re sick. We love that you appreciate who we are and what we do and aren’t afraid to tell us. We appreciate that you value our happiness as much as your own.
We appreciate that you don’t try to change us. We’re not too much or not enough for you; we’re perfect just the way we are, flaws and all. We love that you enjoy our similarities and celebrate our differences.
We appreciate that you touch us. Oh, not just our bodies (though of course we love that), but you also touch our hearts and our minds. You connect with us on deeper levels than just the physical because you’re not at all afraid of intimacy. We love that you look us in the eyes and listen.
We see you and appreciate you because we know that you see and appreciate us as well.
We appreciate the extraordinary men of this world. We see you and recognize your value, even if the rest overlook it or ridicule it or misunderstand it.
Know you are seen.
Know you’re appreciated.
And know that the right hearts will recognize you for the extraordinary men that you are.