Real Men Give Up Their Seat For Pregnant Women

We went out to eat for Mexican food at Ted’s delicious Escondido the other night and it was amazing, as usual. The chips were hot, the salsa was refilled often, the food was served quickly, and the sopapillas were fluffy and sweet as they always are.

But I’m not a food blogger.

No this post has to do with our experience waiting to be seated.

We arrived at Ted’s around 6:45 on a hot Oklahoma July evening. The temperature outside was still in the upper 90’s with a heat index of over 100 degrees farenheit. This being Ted’s, the wait was a hefty 40 minutes (which for you non-Oklahoma City natives is pretty normal for this fine establishment of Mexican dining). As a man with at least a tiny bit of sense to him, I decided it was not in anyone’s best interest for my lovely, talented, and almost 8 month pregnant wife to stand outside in the heat as we waited on our table to be ready.

So we walked inside.

The inside waiting area at Ted’s Cafe Escondido is not large. There are only a few seating spaces and it was crowded but the temperature was a cool, crisp, refreshing 74 degrees.

As we walked in, David remarked, “Let’s see how long it takes for someone to stand up and offer their seat to the pregnant lady.”

Never being one to shy away from a good ‘ol fashioned social experiment and seeing as how this one would take absolutely no effort on my part, I agreed to participate.

So we walked inside and waited to see what happened.

As I looked around the waiting area at all the men seated comfortably waiting to be called to their tables, I thought, “Surely it will be only a matter of time before one of them offers a seat to my lovely, talented, and pregnant wife.”

And so I waited.

And then I waited some more.

Until finally… wait no, never mind.

Despite the fact that she was in plain view of several able-bodied, seated men, no one ever got up and offered her their seat. I know they saw her too as I was casually and objectively observing each one of them to see who might stand up first. Instead of looking at her and empathizing with her current status in the family way, most of the men just glanced her direction, looked away, and then went back to their conversations.

Finally a party of 6 got the call, headed to their table, and left a large seating space open. I motioned to the wife and her sister to have a seat.

I was disappointed but not really surprised. I wouldn’t be writing this blog if there were an abundance of real masculinity and chivalry in the world. The kind that makes a man stand up and offer his seat to a woman who is obviously several months pregnant.

A real man does not hesitate to give up his seat for a pregnant woman… for that matter, he doesn’t hesitate to give up his seat for anyone who appears like they may need it more than him.

So from here on out, I vow to be that man and encourage you to do the same.

If you are an able-bodied, seated male and you happen to see a pregnant woman or anyone else who’s current physical state makes them an unlikely candidate for athlete of the year, get up off your stinkin’ keister and offer them your seat!

At least that’s what a real man would do.

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Best of the Week

After a short hiatus, Best of the Week is back on Finding Manhood. For my entry, I give you this great jewel from Carlos Whittaker of Ragamuffin Soul:

My 6 year old looked at me in the eye today and asked me if I would go out on a date with her.

I told her yes.

In the back of my head all I knew is that I have a flight to catch and 55 phone calls to make.

2 hours later there are 55 people mad at me for not calling them back and I am late to my flight…

But she…

DSC_6142

…is in love with me and they never will be.

When you work for yourself, are behind on the mortgage, have sickness in the family, have a client waiting for something, are a lonely stay at home mom, or any other “grown up” problems…

Remember…

Your six year old will not remember those problems, just that her dad said “I’m busy”.

Los

Thank you Los for your wisdom, your authenticity, your always great photography, and your manly ways. Well done sir. Well done. Keep up the good work.

**********

David here with my selection for Best of the Week. Though it might surprise you to find a post by a woman about a woman at Finding Manhood, some of the implications of the post are directly related to Michael’s initial and recent thoughts on balance.

Here are some excerpts from Erin at Unclutterer.com in her article “What’s keeping you from climbing Kilamanjaro?”

While having tea with my aunt a few weeks ago, she told me the story about how she climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro when she was in her 20s. I’d never heard this story before, and my jaw dropped numerous times as she shared the once-in-a-lifetime experience with me…

My aunt has a house and a full-time job and a husband and two grown children. She’s not a travel writer and she doesn’t have a job in any way related to the travel industry, she’s simply a travel enthusiast. When her children were young, she and her husband took them along on all their adventures…

Seeing the world is at the top of her list of what matters most to her, and she has made it a real priority…

…What is cluttering up your time and keeping you from your remarkable life? Now is the time to clear the clutter and get started on your way up your own Kilimanjaro.

Find the full text of the article here.

As Michael declared in the posts I referenced earlier, not buying into the myth of balance actually gives you more than it takes away. And maybe your Kilimanjaro doesn’t involve the risk of frostbite or 19,000 ft. vistas; but being the best dad, employee, or husband is just as adventurous and courageous.

Thanks, Erin, and thanks to your aunt. Keep up the good work.

Heroes and Empathy

I wanted to write about one of my heroes today. He’s a single dad raising two mildly unruly but mostly compliant children. He lives in a neighborhood with a woman addicted to morphine, a man made into a figurative ghost by his family, countless gossips, and both hypocritical and avowed racists. And he treats them all with relentless dignity.

Atticus Finch of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird isn’t, of course, real. And some critics of the novel suggest he’s too perfect to be human. Still, he’s one of my heroes, primarily for this reason:

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Here Atticus is trying to help his daughter Scout improve her relationship with her teacher. But he’s also articulating the philosophy that allows him to walk away from the man who literally spits in his face. He is in fact extolling the value of empathy.

I believe this quality, the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, is at the root of so much of what is fundamental to being a good man.

This reality was illuminated for me by a fantastic, must-read post by Brett McCay of The Art of Manliness. In this post, he posits that the prevalence of computer-to-computer communication has decreased men’s already deficient but incredibly important ability to empathize. He backs up this thesis by presenting scholarly research about how empathy is rooted in physical interaction, and that research is synthesized into a coherent, convincing argument. (It’s the kind of post that clearly explains the A-list status of AoM.)

Here’s one of my favorite excerpts from Brett’s piece, in which he outlines some of the consequences of losing empathy as a result of relying on electronic communication. He describes existence without people like Atticus Finch:

Yet our internet-saturated lives are now filled with “long-distance relationships.” I read pretty much every comment made on this site [The Art of Manliness], and what often strikes me is how angry some people are. Even if it’s just disagreeing with the inclusion of one movie over another, the commenter seems to be fairly frothing out the mouth. It’s not that I don’t understand; having to spend so much time online has most definitely made me less patient, crankier, and a lot more cynical. The temptation to lash out is ever present. And it comes down to the decline in empathy. Hunched over our computers, communicating as disembodied blobs, we’re suffering a dearth of empathy transference. We’re little islands of one, free from the experience of stepping into another’s shoes, truly feeling what they’re feeling, and understanding where they’re coming from.

He describes a pretty dreadful place. And I can completely relate, my failure to empathize often (but not exclusively) being a consequence of dealing only with a voice over the phone or words typed on a screen. Such technology may facilitate more interaction, but as Brett conclusively proves, the quality of that interaction is, as he says, “diluted.”

Even with such a reality, we might ask ourselves why empathy even matters. Again I’ll defer to Brett, who says offers his answer succinctly and powerfully: “It’s a trait absolutely vital to both genders, the glue that holds civilized society together and allows us to experience healthy, satisfying, long-lasting relationships.” Right there is a pretty significant chunk of what makes us human.

And that’s why a character from a novel is my hero. Atticus Finch is the man who almost single-handedly holds together his small community, all while defending the innocent and raising his children. He’s a gentleman, and the way he treats others is grounded in empathy. That’s the kind of man essential to a healthy society.

I must have spyware…

because whoever created this video has definitely been recording my Google search activity the last several months.

Thank you Ann, you guru of all things web awesome, for the heads up on this video.

And then there’s this one that made the lovely and talented wife and I both get a little choked up:

Well done Google. Well done.

How am I unmanly? Let me count the ways.

Inspired by Michael’s list of what conventional wisdom says are unmanly traits, I decided to list my own as well. Like Michael, I also believe a man is constituted by the inside rather than the outside. Thank goodness, too, or else I might always remain a boy. Here goes:

1. I can’t use a grill. Propane, charcoal, nor even hibachi, I am utterly clueless about cooking over an open flame. I haven’t willfully avoided learning the skill; rather, several circumstances have contributed to my ignorance. At the age guys might first learn to flame-broil meat over heat, I lived only with my mom and my younger brother, two people also unfamiliar with the art of outdoor food preparation. In college, I lived in on-campus housing, which of course forbade open flames, seeing as university students seem to set enough things on fire without giving them a reason to use lighter fluid. Since graduation, I’ve lived exclusively in apartments except for a nine-month period in which my diet consisted mainly of Dairy Queen and Little Debbies. Now I’m at the point where I’m either too embarrassed to ask someone to teach me or I’d rather just eat someone else’s cooking. So my children, should I ever have them, will be destined for a life of steak from Outback.

2. Coffee is undrinkable to me. I know other men who don’t drink coffee, and I know most women drink it, but I still associate coffee with manliness. From cowpokes drinking it scalding and black in those old Western movies to soldiers savoring a steaming cup during reprieves from battle in military movies, it seems like drinking coffee hot, strong, and black reflects manliness. Still, I just can’t bear to dump any down my hatch, irrespective of the fact that it might put hair on my chest. In my defense, I don’t drink any hot drinks, chai tea latte or otherwise. I’m too impatient—can’t wait for any hot beverage to cool down to a non-second-degree burn temperature.

3. I’ve read pretty much all of the Babysitter Club book series, one book from the Confessions of a Shopaholic series, and at least one romance novel. (I can’t remember the title…no doubt it included some combination of the words “hot” and “forbidden”.) Part of my unmanly tastes is due to my proclivity for reading any book I could get my hands on as a kid, while the other part of my tastes is explained by my really getting caught up in those little babysitters’ lives. However, I’ve made up for this by reading my power drill manual cover to cover.

4. Speaking of power drills—I’m average to below average mechanically. And I’m not just self-deprecating: I took an aptitude test earlier this summer, and I scored in the 45th-50th percentile in manipulating tools. Consequently, I have crooked shelves, unhung picture frames, and a power saw that’s never left its box. (It was a gift…I’m self-aware enough not to buy a tool that spins a sharpened metal disk at 4000 rpm.)

5. I once shaved my legs with regularity. Is it just me, or does high school seem to actually encourage weirdness? I’m still not sure what I was thinking. Though I have to admit that I liked the feeling of crawling under the sheets with smooth legs…wait, don’t tell me, I already know: TMI.

6. Guns kind of freak me out. This one’s strange because I loved and shot all manner of firearms up through my early twenties. Now the thought of shooting one gives me the shakes, and the thought of owning one is inconceivable. (Well, except for writing that sentence just made me conceive of it…hmmm, I guess I should say the thought of owning one will never be consummated with actually bringing one into my house.) In all seriousness, I think my fear is actually quite rational—it seems to me that I’m much more likely to accidentally shoot myself with my own gun that use it to protect myself. I do own two BB guns, though, and I still have both my eyes.

7. I’ve never completed a pull-up. This has bothered me since those socially brutal Presidential Physical Fitness Tests President Reagan cruelly imposed on elementary school children in the 80s. P.E. class in second grade on those days was so crappy I’d have rather been repeating the unit on square dancing. Twenty-four years later and pulling off a pull-up is still as impossible as refusing a mint chocolate chip shake from Braum’s. However, I find solace in the fact that I can still run faster than most pregnant women.

8. I yell at referees, umpires, and all sports officials. This one is particularly unconscionable since I’ve been a baseball umpire at the junior high/high school level. I think there are few situations in which a man can acceptably raise his voice, and the perceived failure of the person humbly trying to maintain the integrity of the games we love is NOT one of those situations. No time is the maxim “everybody makes mistakes” more important to remember than when a ref botches a call. I can assure you that the official is beating himself or herself up enough with hearing a cavalcade of boos from you and me. OK, off my soapbox. (I realize this one is internal, not external, but confession is the first part to recovery, right?)

9. I occasionally use a version of man makeup. Nivea makes this cream specifically for dudes to put under our eyes when they’re puffy or dark. In addition to a dashing grin, irresistible charm, and a deft ability to gleek on command, I also inherited from my ancestors eyes which tend to puff or grow dark half-moons. So this kind of “grooming” is at least marginally justifiable for me. Admittedly, I could forego this practice, but you’d only replace your disdain for me with slack-jawed horror when I showed up at your house at 8 am.

10. I can’t even manage a round number for this list.

Real Men and Ironing (Another Perspective)

On Monday I wrote about how mastery of the iron and ironing board is a great companion to a man’s masculinity. I wrote about how silly an otherwise manly outfit looks when it’s not been neatly pressed and pleated. I wrote about the importance of first impressions and how ironing is one of the easiest things a man can do to take a step in the right direction in that department.

I still believe that a real man avoids wearing wrinkled clothing.

However, I also think there’s another (more metaphorical) side of this axiom. While a real man takes care to make sure his clothes are ironed, he does not do the same thing with his life.

The life of every man is filled with challenges and struggles. Challenges at home. Problems at work. Financial challenges. Health problems. Problems involving doors that don’t open correctly and stairs that need to be repaired. Challenges with uncertainty. Challenges with loss. Problems sleeping in and problems with chai tea.

A real man doesn’t hide his struggles and challenges. He doesn’t iron them away and pretend like nothing’s going on. He understands that most of the important problems in his life… the ones worth focusing on at least… do not lend themselves well to easy, quick, or solitary solutions. When problems come his way, he doesn’t just try to quickly smooth over them so that no one else sees. Instead, he’s OK with others knowing when he’s struggling or in the midst of a problem. He’s OK with letting other people assist him. Real men aren’t perfect and it’s OK for people to see that every now and then.

I’m not there yet, but that’s a big part of the reason I write this blog every day.

I’m not advocating for men to start airing every single piece of their dirty laundry for all the world to see. This isn’t the Maury, Montel, or Jerry Springer show.

What I’m advocating here is for men to start being more honest with ourselves and with others when we’re facing serious problems.

A real man doesn’t wear his heart on his (wrinkle-free sleeve), but he doesn’t put up a front either. When life jumps up and takes us to the floor for a good old fashioned wrestling match, our metaphorical clothing is going to get a little wrinkled in the process.

Let’s all try to be a little more comfortable letting others see the wrinkles in our lives.

—————

*Side note: One really nice byproduct of sharing our wrinkles with others is that we learn to see the humor in the struggles that often make up the everyday grind of manhood. Since no one wants to come across as pessimistic, sharing our challenges with others helps us look for the positive in almost every situation.

Celebrating the Small Stuff

I lost my wallet yesterday. I’m pretty sure that I accidentally threw it in the trash in the morning whilst cleaning out my car. I didn’t realize I’d lost it until the afternoon, and by that time the trash can’s (at my place of employment) contents had been taken to the dumpster, and as luck would have it Monday is trash day, so I couldn’t even go dumpster diving.

When I realized what I’d done, I was pretty angry at myself. Recovering from a lost wallet is such a hassle–a real time suck. Calling credit card companies, replacing insurance cards, and worst of all a trip to the DMV…it would be a real inconvenience.

But that’s about it. An inconvenience. Nothing would be permanently hurt (the good thing about my wallet ending up in a landfill is that credit card fraud would be highly unlikely). I lost nothing that couldn’t be replaced (except the wallet itself…that thing was my favorite wallet since high school).

In the past, it would have taken me quite a while to understand this. I might have stomped around for a while, literally grumbling, figuratively fuming, and probably being an all-around jerk.

Yesterday, though, I kept things in perspective. Now, I’m not perfect–I did speak a bit shortly to my wife even though she’d just helped me by giving me a phone number to our bank. But in general, I feel like my response to losing my wallet was pretty manly.

So I’ll celebrate the small victories and try to improve for next time. (I’m sorry babe!)