Macho Men and Kindness


victorianhomestiffanywindowsarticleI went grocery shopping this morning. And as an aside, I picked up the latest copy of Victorian Homes, which contains an article I wrote about a series of Tiffany stained glass windows: “Bringing to Light Opalescent Light.” That was a fun, challenging article, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Before I even got into the grocery store—in fact, just moments after I pulled into a parking space, a woman standing beside the van next to me looked mournfully up from her cell phone and said, You wouldn’t by any chance have jumper cables, do you?

Well, yes, I do. I haven’t used them in years, but I kept the instructions, and I even bought a bag for them once that also has a set of instructions, so I was pretty confident I could help her.

My, was she relieved! Except, when we’d hooked it all up and I started my car, her engine still didn’t turn over.

OK, there were things about her battery that were different from the picture, so maybe we didn’t have everything connected right. We pulled the clamps off, checked the pictures, reattached everything, and … no joy.

There was juice getting to her car, but the engine wasn’t turning over. I’m thinking, Not the battery. She’s got something else wrong, and what to do now? She said she didn’t have Triple A, didn’t have money to fix her car, that her grandpa did the work on it but wasn’t available. So what to do?

Just then a middle aged man walked up and asked if we needed any help. Wow! Kindness still lives! This guy saw two women struggling with a car problem and braved the scorn of a society that says guys bailing out women is sexist. Well, here’s one woman who is happy, happy that a guy who knew what he was doing came over. He refastened the clamps, told me what to do when I started my car, told her what to do, and sure enough, her engine turned over and started.

Then it dawned on me. How much has the Macho Man concept come about because the feminist movement robbed men of everyday chances of being heroes? It seems to me, when men knew their roles; knew they were needed and appreciated; knew they would be thanked for offering their help, not slapped down because of it, they didn’t need to prove their manhood in the artificial ways we see today.

In reality, a man who knows how to use jumper cables, seeing two women who are trying to use jumper cables and coming to help, is doing nothing but extending kindness. May more men have the courage to do so as well. May more of us women stand up and applaud when they do!

Published in: on December 9, 2008 at 2:26 pm  Comments (8)  
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